Thursday, November 27, 2008

New Colombia Embed

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Knight News Challenge for IPTV - From local news to local democracy. Congratulations! You have been selected to complete a full proposal.

Dear hamish campbell,

We have completed our review of your application to the Knight News Challenge for IPTV - From local news to local democracy. Congratulations! You have been selected to complete a full proposal.

Please access the online proposal form located at

Please remember that the Knight News Challenge contest requires several more steps before a final decision is made. This letter does not indicate that you have been selected to receive a grant.

Your proposal is now available for public viewing, commenting and rating. You may decide that you want to change your proposal based on comments received.

To do that, open your submitted application, make your edits, and then submit the proposal. Your changes will be updated on the public site and reviewers will see the changes you made to the previous version.You must complete your proposal, at the site above, by November 30, 2008


Gary Kebbel
Journalism Program Officer
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The true cost of streaming video?

This is an interestingly one as it gives some idea of the true cost of hosting and serving video - and the films are interesting to - watch em before they go (:

"the charge for transferring our film archive will be £26,000.00 and we have only received donations totalling £30.00 to the film archive since it launched last year"

>>ChristieBooks anarchist film site to close
>> Brightcove (or film server provider) has just informed us that as of
>> December 17 they will be closing their network account programme < >> which is
>> the service we are using <>> Brightcove 3. As
>> the charge for transferring our film archive will be £26,000.00
>> and we have
>> only received donations totalling £30.00 to the film archive since it
>> launched last year, we are unlikely to be able to continue
>> providing this
>> service beyond December 17 this year. We are looking out for other
>> servers
>> and service providers so if anyone has any suggestions please let
>> us know.
>> Meanwhile, there are 760 unusual and interesting feature films,
>> documentaries, shorts, talks and some animations up there <>> haven't checked them all out yet you have just over a month to do
>> so before
>> they disappear.
>> Hasta la vista!

e-mail from

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Convictions for protest brutality G8 Genoa

It was not a good result for the police trial in Genoa from the G8 protests - my video filmed on the night of the raid was key evidence used in the court and is used in all these mainstream media reports:

Top cops cleared over G8 violence, There is anger as senior police officers are cleared over violence at the G8 summit in Genoa seven years ago. C4 report

Police, prison officers and two doctors were convicted of mistreating protestors at Genoa's G8 Summit. C4 report

29 police officers go on trial in Italy for alleged brutality during the G8 demonstrations in Genoa in 2001. Like a butcher's shop - that was the description by a police officer of the way Italian police beat innocent protesters at the G8 summit in Genoa 2001. C4 report

An Italian court has found 15 officials guilty of mistreating protesters during the unrest that surrounded the G8 summit in Genoa, 2001. BBC report

The trial of 29 Italian police officers accused of brutality during the G8 summit in Genoa in 2001 is set to resume. They are accused of beating demonstrators in a school where they were sleeping. Christian Fraser reports from Genoa. BBC report

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Age of Stupid - trailer

The Age of Stupid is a 90-minute film about climate change, set in the future. Oscar-nominated Pete Postlethwaite (In The Name of the Father, Brassed Off) stars as a man living alone in the devasted world of 2055, looking back at archive footage from 2007 and asking: why didnt we stop climate change when we had the chance?

New York Times - Iraq War Ends

Iraq War Ends U.S. Army helicopters begin moving troops and equipment from Saddam Hussein's former Baghdad palace. (COURTESY ARMY.MIL) Ex-Secretary Apologizes for W.M.D. Scare 300,000 Troops Never Faced Risk of Instant Obliteration By Frank Larimore Ex-Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice reassured soldiers that the Bush Administration had known well before the invasion that Saddam Hussein lacked weapons of mass destruction. Court Indicts Bush on High Treason Charge By Bart Garzon George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, was indicted Monday on charges of high treason. Troops to Return Immediately By Jude Shinbin Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom were brought to an unceremonious close today. Streets Come Alive as Relief and Exuberance Greet End of Conflicts By Schuyler Frank Thousands take to the streets to celebrate the announced end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After the War * Last to Die in Battle Remembered, American and Iraqi * Torture, Rendition "Not Such Good Ideas After All" * War Brides (and Husbands) Find Their Place in a New Iraq

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)

another one... kinda sweet

Our new CMS is up on our test server

Have a play with our visionOntv CMS feel free to create an account as we are gonna re-install in a week. This is an opportunity to get the team to play/explore with the possabilertys the CMS offers before we start work on the public one.

Its rarely useful to watch the videos to learn how to use the CMS near bootem of page. Its probably the only way you will get anywere - its logical ones you get the on the mission (;

Monday, November 10, 2008

Liferay - The CMS for our visionOntv project

Liferay Portal 5.0 includes the core collaboration tools needed in
today's enterprises, including:

-- Blogs, Message Boards, and Wikis

-- A dynamic tagging system for user-driven categorization

-- AJAX-based mail client that allows users to send email
directly from the portal

-- Shared calendars, chat and polls

-- Direct portlet publishing to the MySpace and Facebook networks

-- Ability to leverage iGoogle gadgets directly within portal

All tools in the suite are complemented by a common set of
enhancements such as RSS support, email notifications, comments,
rating systems and social bookmarking.

The is an existing Liferay TV project

Friday, November 07, 2008

Cult Friction - Anti-Scientology demo in London

Cult Friction Anti-Scientology demo in London, May 2008 As part of the world wide anti-scientology protests the Church of Scientology in London saw two hundred V for Vendetta-masked up demonstrators hold a noise protest outside the scientology building in the square mile. Scientology has always had it's critics and it's only been recently that protesters under the umbrella name of "anonymous" have stepped up their activities and began to picket and publicly highlight the insidious way that this cult can ruin lives and destroy families. Just recently the Church of Scientology have began to fight back by steering a law through the courts that deems the word "Cult" arrestable if used by demonstrators. And would you believe it the City of London Police had no problems with implementing this barmy law to the latter....stupid cults!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Behind giant walls of bulletproof glass

USA is a sorry place to make a victory speech.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Murray Lachlan Young Performance Poet shot by Robert Hertner

Have been asked to shoot a poam in the style of this one

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Development of the CMS

What's different?

The video on the web revolution is shaking up old media and making space for media to work in ways that are more beneficial to our societies. Our project will both work as “stupidly simple” IPTV and as interactive video on the web. To facilitate this it will both provide a “lean-in” and “lean-back” experience, depending on user interaction. The “lean-in” will provide all the tools for web 2.0 social media interaction, while the “lean-back” will come at the viewer with the simplicity of old-style TV.

We believe that the IPTV CMS we want to build has to come from the bottom up rather than from the top down, as only by interacting with flourishing local groups can the design decisions that are usually made by a small group of technicians effectively be tested.

The visionOntv CMS uses all the traditional web 2.0 tools for interaction, but the interaction takes place around the content of videos, rather than expecting people to interact usefully in an empty space. Whereas facebook is mainly about existing communities of friends, our CMS is about creating action-based communities with a democratic purpose. We are pushing connections between people and encouraging physical meet-ups. Therefore our project is more like an IPTV version of couch-surfing (, aiming to create real-world communities by virtual tools. Instead of merely commenting in a dead space like youtube, ours has live chat during watching a film and turns this live chat into forum posts, relationship links and membership/involvement in outside groups.

Technologically, we aim to progress IPTV from open source to open standards.

The backbone

Liferay was named “Technology of the Year” in 2007 by info magazine. It uses jsr286, an industrial standard portlet specification for java. This provides a convenient programming model for portlet developers, which means that they can talk to each other. In other words, we can widgetize any part of it. For instance, chat could be copied into any other website.

How the CMS works

We will use to the full the “micro-broadcasting” that IPTV makes possible. We will enable physical connections between people so that they can see themselves in a way that traditional media has no power to do. Working in a geographically limited community means at the most basic level that a neighbour walking down the street could say “I saw you on TV last night!”, with all the implications this has for community-building.

We are using rss as a database exchange format. At the moment rss is a very confusing experience, with feeds taking you all over the place to different source files' websites. In our case, the rss feeds will go to the Hackney TV news page with a link to the source's website, keeping the viewer within the VOTV CMS experience. Comment can be syndicated between VOTV and originator sites using a site such as This allows everyone to publish on their personal blog and to be independent in the creation of media, if they wish, but to benefit from the syndication of media in a complete TV station.

Local mainstream media such as the Hackney Gazette will be sucked in as well via rss, but our focus is on media creation from the bottom up.

We will not host the videos, avoiding unsustainable server costs. All content will come in via and bittorrent by rss.

Films will be viewable with streaming inside the CMS itself or in conjunction with the visionOntv player application, which is an already-operating customized version of the successful open source Miro player. This peer-caching player provides a superior user experience to streaming, both in terms of quality of image and avoiding the stop-start which is many peoples' experience of streaming. Use of bittorrents also protects us against the potential closure of streaming sites under economic recession.

When watching a video the viewer will be told, for instance, that there are 7 posts about this video, that 20 people are currently watching it, and 150 watching the channel as a whole.

The viewer will then have the option to chat directly with people watching the film and to create less ephemeral forum posts . A highly novel feature is that if you are the only person currently watching the film, you will chat with people watching the channel as a whole, and if no one is watching the channel, the station as a whole. In other words, there will always be people to interact with even with the dustiest or most minority content.

Ultimately, as the project develops, the CMS will be highly directed to the personal user, where programs, adverts and info-verts will be personalised to the individual. At this local level, advertising and the TV news programs themselves become a community noticeboard.

In terms of pushing physical screenings and meet-ups, a number of models are possible. In the first version, people on the street could organise a meeting and then advertise it. In future, this could be fully automated. Venues could register a space available, then a critical mass of people could decide they wanted a meeting. They could then even turn up as a “flash-mob”.

In terms of local democracy, the news could become interactive through “e-decision” plebiscites by text, web-voting and interactive IPTV “mini-cinemas” in public venues, community cafes etc. We have trialled the IPTV booths already to play continuous video on recycled computers in community spaces. Our CMS is WAP-enabled so that it will work on low-end mobile phones, and users can post directly to the CMS using text and picture messaging.

The IPTV mini-cinemas help deal with the “digital divide” by age, education, and broadband access. What also helps is the deliberate simplicity of the applications and the community-based training provided as part of the Hackney TV program.

Local business sponsorship by automated advertising will help to make Hackney TV sustainable.

This is a 3-year project designed to run until the 2012 Olympics, but the Knight News Challenge funding of the technological development is for the first two years only.

The aim is that Hackney TV should be a trail-blazing example of visionOntv embedded in a local community, replicable globally.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hackney TV

Background – Why Hackney?

The London Borough of Hackney, population 168,000 in a high density, is the ideal size to trial a local IPTV news channel, large enough to have a diverse range of interesting content, and small enough for residents to be able recognise neighbours and local characters.

The borough itself faces particular challenges. Hackney has extremely high levels of deprivation across all domains, rated 5th severest nationally, and 2nd in London. Employment rates are so low that Hackney is 406th out of 408 districts in Britain, and unemployment is double the national average, while the crime rate is high.

On the other hand, Hackney’s population is very young (and therefore internet-savvy) and one of the most ethnically diverse in Britain, with a higher than average number of knowledge workers.

The existing challenges will be thrown into sharp relief over the next four years, with Hackney's hosting of the London Olympics in 2012. For some residents the games represent an opportunity, for others a threat, as gentrification looms. The questions for local democracy are which social groups will benefit, and if re-development will merely be imposed from above. In this period of rapid change the residents would benefit from an independent voice – independent of the local council and of the corporate media, and under their own control.

Giving a voice to the “wisdom of the crowd”

Hackney TV will be a mix of local news and views, including rapid-turnaround, “live-edit” studio shows, as well as news reportage.

Our project also mixes in the video-blogging revolution, syndicating blogs geographically. Personal v-logging is taken to new heights by syndication into a television station. Local newspapers such as the Hackney Gazette are also syndicated by rss. These two combined mean the content is always renewed and is sustainable beyond the funding period. Local business sponsorship by automated advertising gives it a means of financial sustainability as well.

As a two-year programme, Hackney TV will initially network and make links with existing community groups in the borough. It will then do presentations and provide training for those groups. Training will take two forms, production and outreach.

Production training will focus strictly on the practicable and repeatable. We have looked long and hard at the obstacles to high-quality community media being created, especially outside the hothouse of an intensive workshop. To solve this we have developed a template for producing news stories with stills taken on a cheap digital camera, with added voice-over and automated animation. Editing sessions will happen at least once a week with tea and coffee, and even lunch.

Outreach training will show people how to use the CMS, with the aim of building or consolidating active community groups. The simplicity of our CMS means we can bridge the digital divide, and gives us the chance to experiment and obtain feedback to make it simple enough.

In addition there will be a studio space with regular live-edit shows, plus community screenings and automated “mini-cinema” interactive screenings on recycled computers in local cafes and community spaces. This last again crosses the digital divide by providing a way of consuming the media and participating in “e-plebiscites” without internet connection.

Thus local groups will be able to use the iptv to build themselves, and Hackney will speak to the world while the world comes to Hackney.