Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another day another product review -Snapit screen capture


don't think I'm just becoming the "Digieus B*tch" - but they've offered me another product free for review (If you want to test /review and can write a few words on your blog you can get a free download too - just e-mail Julia at

This product is another cracker -easy to load and use; I reckon if you're doing technical documentation it'd really be the business - what it does is make screen capturing really simple so imagine you're writing a PC manual and want to describe the functionality few captures bung a few words in -job done.

It's got all you need to enable you to easily capture anything on the screen including windows, menus,

full screen, rectangular regions,
web pages

you can take shots of moving images. it supports hotkeys, auto-saving, and clipboard
best of all it automatically copies screenshots to the clipboard giving proper windows functionality (Ctrl C Ctrl V etc).

For example I find a webpage with the image I want. I just hit the "print screen key" (next to the f12 on your keyboard) - define what I want (put a rectangel round it) and then paste into a word document 9from the clipboard) it is as easy as the Jackson 5 would have said as "1,2 3" .. ABC etc .

You've got the ability to save files in the regular standards including BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG and TIFF formats.

I've put a few images in here that I used the Snapit on.

More as I find out the full details - you can check it out here !!

Here's another grab from a great news story!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Windows 7 TuneUp Suite 4.7.680

I (like a few others!) have been given the chance to review the Digeus System Optimizer – the review is not biased and I take it as a good sign that they’re happy for the package to stand on it’s own merits.

I’m running Windows 7 at home and I’ve been a little unhappy with my PC in the last few months, (crashing and so forth) there are a number of tools out there which are designed to tune and remove troublesome files.
The one I can now comment on is the Digeus System Optimizer it’s a whole suite that is ideal for removing irritations and speeding performance – it’s quick to download and requires no specialist knowledge to set it up.
The first of the tools on my I used was the Registry Cleaner the first run through showed in excess of 1600 invalid entries which I must say seemed pretty staggering from what I can find out these ‘invalid registry entries’ can slow PC performance before deleting I was given the opportunity to back up the registry – as a first time user I thought this was safest so I did this it took a few minutes to create the back up which I put on an SDHC card – then I selected ‘fix selected invalid entries’ and they were gone – all looked good.

The next step was to have a go at duplicate files (as I’ve got a couple of large disks well over 2GB I left this to trundle along while I had a pancake or two). update 15/09/2010 after about 15 hours no duplicates found - I'd be careful when I choose to do this it takes time!

It’s got a help file and for me (a PC user rather than a Geek) it was fine to use some bits take time so be patient and follow the instructions– I’ll be revisiting and trying other elements within the suite. I’ll let you know in a few weeks if my perception is that performance is improved – e-mail me if you have questions or comments.
The package includes the following elements – I’ve highlighted the bits I’ve used so far…

* Digeus Data Encryptor
* Digeus Disk Space Analyzer
* Digeus Drivers and Programs
* Digeus Duplicate Files Finder
* Digeus Icon Manager
* Digeus IE Manager
* Digeus Junk Files Cleaner
* Digeus Memory Cleaner
* Digeus Multimedia Settings Tweaker
* Digeus Optimization Wizard
* Digeus Privacy Protection
* Digeus Process Manager
* Digeus Registry Cleaner
* Digeus Registry Defragmenter
* Digeus Repair System Settings
* Digeus Service Manager
* Digeus File Shredder
* Digeus Smart Uninstaller
* Digeus Startup Manager
* Digeus System Customization
* Digeus System Info
* Digeus System Security Tweaker
* Digeus System Speed Optimizer
* Digeus Unnecessary Files Cleaner
update 2 16/09/2010 - still facing some issues with my display but no PC crash since my fisrst tuing
If you are interested to review the suite you can create a review in any blog/forum/twitter/facebook, etc, just contact with link to the review and she will issue a "reg" code for you

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ombudsman shows clean pair of heels (ITVPlay scandal)

I was sorry to learn that Bob Winsor was unsuccesful in the hgh court last week.(it's near the end of this article ;the MoS seems the only paper covering this scandal not really sure why that is?)
For those who need a reminder here's a sample of what it's about.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

OFCOM's judgement day (or one of them anyway)

There is some news that the so called 'whistle-blower' Bob Winsor will get his judicial review heard in court in early September.

Bob bravely tried to bring attention to the scandal that was the participation TV fiasco run by all of the terrestrial broadcasters (to a greater or lesser extent) about 4-5 years ago.

Along with some deception there was some action that looked pretty shady - hopefully some light will be thrown on what went wrong.

(For those who are not aware of what went on there's some background on the case here ).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Way out west

Last w/e we visited my brother in Cardiff, now Cardiff is a city that I thought I knew as it was where I studied Electrical and Electronic Engineering many years ago but it has undergone the change that so much of Britain has in the last quarter century or so.

Cardiff has been for some time a place of paper pushers rather than manual labour but now with the docks gone there is even less of an industrial landscape and gentrification is the name of the game.

There are some fantastic shops a bright new John Lewis shopping centre and many cultural attractions - we visited the Wales Millennium Centre where we had a fantastic meal and enjoyed Calendar Girls (a play adapted from the earlier film featuring Jennifer Ellison - right) we also had a great curry the previous night at Mint and Mustard.

What does this mean for the UK and Welsh economy? Are we placed to compete with Germany (or even France) - I fear not, will dramatic spending cuts help? Again from me a 'no' I don't believe they will.

From Cardiff we went on to Bath a city I know less well and probably one that does not have a great industrial past, but a city now very much based on tourism and services - worrying.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

has ITv a pay strategy?

I was interested to read that Adam Crozier might have a pay TV strategy for ITV - but somewhat puzzled by what it will deliver for ITV.

Much as the UK has been labelled as the junior partner in the US/UK special relationship it appears that ITV is becoming a junior partner in a SKY partnership - as what it is bringing to the table is somewhat questionable I would worry - ITV2, 3 and 4 have slightly downmarket viewers of oft repeated or generic content (often at the low end of SD)how it will work remains to be seen. Certainly didn't help the share price short term.

Perhaps their new CTO Paul Dale will have some brighter ideas (that's chief technology officer if you hadn't guessed)?

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Edna and The death of Labour Plus Ealing Festival

A couple of things (particularly) bring into focus the demise of the British left..

the first is the death of Edna Healey at the age of 92, are there any Labour women who will be remembered as Edna Healey was (by Harriet Harman) as
"a remarkable woman and a true friend to the Labour Party." - I an afraid not for the current list includes women like Hazel Blears and Jaclyn Smith who appear only care to be friends to themselves.
Is it worth asking why this is the case, what has happened that means that so little value is given to the pillars of what was once the Labour Party's ambitions for the UK?

The other topic which has reviled me is Mandelson's book 'The third man' described by many as self seeking it hits a further nail into the coffin of principled Labour - what is the benefit away from the man's vanity and his bank balance?

Will this be rectified by any of the candidates for leadership - I hope it does, but I'm not sure that any have the zeal or principle of Brown (or even Wilson or Blair).
Ealing Festival
Couple of events we've managed to enjoy this year:
1) Tosca - quite impressive that you can have Opera in a tent but the problem with this one is that for Debbie and I no memorable tunes, we'd done some homework and knew roughly what was happening. Despite it being in Italian and with limited orchestral support the show was fun and I stayed awake. Well done to the Opera A La Carte compay.
2) Ealing Comedy festival
Wednesday night we went and sampled a comedy night which featured Emo Phillips, Ardal O’Hanlon and Jo Caufield amongst others.
Emo was well received, part of his act seemed to be taking off items of clothing and putting them in his pockets and then later putting them back on again.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Remotes and small world ..

Navigating the multi channel world

I was particularly pleased to see that there is consideration being given to connecting smart phones to home entertainment - seems like an evolution that makes sense - I've just got a replacement phone this week I use hardly any minutes but my phone was looking like it had been in a war zone - for about £15.00 a month I now have a Samsung Tocco and 100 minutes call time - seems incredible I used to have (my first use of mobile phone) one of these Motorola jobs and goodness knows what it cost my employers.

What a small world.

We had a great time in Leicester,this week I was recieving the MBA degree which seems to have taken forever to complete.

And if I'd been atFriday's ceremony I would have seen Sir Terry Wogan get his honorary degree!

At the department reception after the ceremony Debbie and I were busy enjoying the hospitality and I heard this voice from another table (directed at me)
"Have you ever been to Antigua?"

It was the father of another student, a policeman there who recognised me from our holiday (Jolly Beach Resort) about 6 or so years ago! They were over to see graduation and have a bit of a holiday - seems incredible that he should remeber me (I had been on my best behaviour I'm sure).
As they say small world..

Here's an un official photo of me (in Miami not in my robes).

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Getting Stoned In Iran...

Take a long hard look at this picture

And here's an admission -another instance where I've been shown to be undoubtedly wrong (it's hardly the first) - protests and petitions do make a difference if you agree with something sign up - it might have a marginal effect but do it.

We (UK and other modern democracies) might moan - life's tough, we work hard, the cost of living is crazy etc etc...
What about the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani the women who had been expected to be stoned to death for committing adultery? Please look at this picture and have a think.

Iran is run by a bunch of crazy buggers who would have been out of step with modernity in the Middle Ages - not sure how reform will come but charities like Amnesty UK are worth considering.

BT – a bright future?

The fact that BT has decided to actively push for new subscribers to its BT Vision service via a loss making (for BT) deal that provides its customers with Sky Sports might on the face of it look worrying. And if you are a shareholder who is worried that it’s made a too generous (three year) deal with its workforce then you might not decide to rush in and increase your holding.

But I think BT is a good long term bet with its new C21N (network) rolling out fast chances are that Virgin and Sky are the ones who are worried - if it could sort out a mobile strategy I’d be even more pleased but as it stands I definitely wouldn’t write them off.

Tribute bands

Having seen Macca a few weeks back it was interesting to compare and contrast the Bootleg Beatles and UK Beach Boys with an original act/acts (albeit one somewhat locked into his past and another I've not seen for 25 years plus). Kew Gardens on a lovely July evening is a great place for a picnic and nostalgic music – the crowd of course were well behaved and there were numerous freebies in form of drinks, fruit and for us 11 tubes of Sensodyne toothpaste (at least it wasn’t Fixodent). The Bootleg Beatles (still going strong after more than 25 years together) had the advantage of a story and humour – the UK Beach Boys the advantage of perfect summer music - neither band could give the shiver down the spine of the originals.
I suppose the grey pound and nostalgia have a place to play here as is the case for Vintage TV due to start September 1st

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The month of June

Ah Ha - I was so busy in June that I didn't blog..

Trip to Miami was fun - it was both further away and more foreign than I'd expected
suppose that the Little Havana was linked to the residents rather than the locale which was somewwaht lacking in charm and character.

Also saw Macca in Hyde Park - have seen him a coupe of times before but was somewhat blown away by his band and the fact that it was a lovely hot day in London - nice to find out that there were some recipients of largess that hadn't been forced down anyone's throat too.

Less impressed by CS&N but thought Crowded House and Elvis C both gave good perfomances.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Victims of Britain's Got Talent?

Article in the Observer this Sunday highlighted worries around TV shows that seek to get cheap laughs from hapless victims- seems that there are people on TV shows who are there just to make the others look good!

Not sure if it's pure sensationalism when commentators say that there'll be a death before something is done - anyway bit of a shock to realise that the only victims aren't just those folks who are watching.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Project Canvas gets something of an all clear and the press?

Change is the one constant in media and those who stand still get left behind (and other business clichés).

But and as Mr Lopez would say to his missus that's a big butt - there is some truth in it...

UK by a series of historic coincidences and accidents is able to make something of its media industries and the primacy of English as an international language; its broadcast market has benefited from consolidation in cable and a single large satellite operator, it has too the inordinate benefit of the BBC's scale and ambitions.

Project Canvas the means of allowing simple access to a wealth of audio visual content to the humble living room telly has cleared a major obstacle in terms of the OFT - others can try other means to delay uptake and commercial production of this new Set top box.

The new gov't I would hasten to bet though has bigger battles to fight than worry about some low level whingeing from Virgin and Sky and we must hope that this moves forward at a pace that provides sufficient momentum for our European neighbours to put together similar solutions.

On the subject of this story take a look here I like the graphic and the commentary is good.

And the Press

Is the traditional newspaper moving into oblivion? Are paid professional Journo's under threat (as opposed to threatened) this topic was under discussion earlier in the week on the BBC Radio 4 The Media show - as above it could happen faster than we expect.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Hunt and Vaizey expense comedians to run Broadcasting

It seems to me that this pair are far funnier than much of the so called TV comedy we have to put up with and I can't help thinking that Cameron has an edgier sense of humour than I realised.

The hilarious DCMS team for the new coalition government is to be a Liberal free zone run by the well off Mr Hunt (worth around £4m from PR business) who as an MP claimed 1p for a mobile phone call (loads more too) and Ed Vaizey who returned the cost of furniture claimed for his second home when it was found to be delivered to his primary habitat (and the furniture cost £2,000).

It will be interesting to see what they expect of the BBC in terms of expenses, the fact that even the right leaning Daily Telegraph considers the party has a 'dog's dinner' of policy on the corporation does not bode well for broadcasting policy.

The DCMS may well also have a battle with London's Mayor BloJo over its kite flying shot at the 2012 London Olympics as a target for cuts.

I would have thought amongst the ranks of the two parties we might have found some more trustworthy politicians to handle the care of broadcasting and our world beating broadcasters!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Cleggeron anyone? And Posh power

The overall effect of the Prime-ministerial TV debates seems to have been negligible in terms of advancing any of the three major parties but has (perhaps) increased voter turnout on Thursday and debate amongst the masses on politics .

Since the inconclusive result I have been hearing on the radio that the nation has decided and their collective decision is that no party should have an overall majority - I think I missed this option on my ballot form but anyway Cameron and Clegg are working on this and might be on course to cobble together a dog's dinner that suits them but perhaps not the electorate.

Headlines for the agreement being

More spending on schools


Electoral reform

How this addresses the record deficit I'm not sure?

Posh excursion

On Saturday I visited, with an old school friend The Royal Court Theatre (great theatre with super sausage rolls) to enjoy the impressive ensemble piece that is Posh.

Posh was written by Laura Wade and is expertly directed by Lyndsey Turner - some have labelled it an indictment of Boris, David and George and their membership of a certain club but I think, with a little light editing it could equally have been a play written about group of left-wing radicals - it was good fun but perhaps a little less of the 'agitprop' would have increased it's effect?

The other irritiation was trying to work out the time the play was set - some things indicated 10-15 years ago others (like the smoking ban) indicated a more recent date.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

End to uncertainty?

it appears that there are business decisions that are on hold waiting for the outcome of Thursdays UK election - these go from major infrastructure programmes to office moves, there is a danger (for business) that the election will not bring a clear end to the Blair years.

The site of a tired and out of sorts Brown is not going to win the Labour party votes particularly when the alternative (or alternatives) is a relatively charismatic and charming upper middle class man (or men if you include Nick Clegg),Will this sway me when I vote for my local MP on Thursday - no, I will choose the candidate I trust and the party I trust.

Will it mean that we have a clear mandate for a new government? To be honest I don't know and that is not really my job, I can not second guess what others will do but I plan to exercise my democratic prerogative and vote.

I hope that it means the major projects planned will go ahead (but not new Heathrow runway) and ITV can get the changes it wants- it's going to be quite a week.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Well the Paradigm has well and truly shifted (perhaps) with another TV debate by the leaders of the UK major political parties keeping the Lib Dems in the frame for a coalition government or so it seems.

I'm not so sure that people will always vote for the person/party that they feel has won a TV debate, which brings us to the question do we vote for what we believe? (or perhaps we vote for the party that we think will do best for us and our nearest and dearest? )
Anyway 3rd debate this week and I reckon Brown might surprise us.

ITV new boss arrives as mood music improves.

Interesting that the decision to run QVC and gambling overnight on ITV has been made ahead of the arrival of ex Post office boss Adam Crozier by all accounts he's got a fantastic deal and the ad market has started to pick up - lucky or what?
Seems ITV might try and acquire C5 too - it's got some bankable shows and the synergy looks good.

Good Programme on McLaren

Watched the Yentob tribute to Malcolm on BBC iplayer - is linear TV dying even for me?
And the press
Have been given two copies a day of the free cut down independent , can't see it'll be doing too much for their sales also for a change bought the Observer today and thought what a good paper it is.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

UK TV Prime time political debate ratings shocker

Like almost 10 million other UK citizens I watched Brown, Cameron and Clegg respond unscripted to questions posed by potential viewers in a Manchester TV studio.

Many had predicted that the 76 'rules' that were being invoked would mean that the debate would be boring, for me this was not the case and the 90 minutes mediated by a largely unseen Alistair Stewart was almost compelling.

How much of a paradigm change it wil invoke remains to be seen but the immediate jump in Cleggs popularity is in itself an indicator that things will not be the same - I did anticipate that the Lib Dems would be the big winners just by the fact that they are being treated as equals (whiuch they have not been in recent times) they also have a very big advantage in being able to blame the labour and conservatives for all recent woes.

I don't expect the audiences or reactions will be so great to the next two debates (particularly as one is on Sky News).

Let's see how the 2 majors (labour and tories) cosy up to the cleggies in the next 3 weeks.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

End of Malc (22 January 1946 – 8 April 2010)

As you get older 64 no longer sounds like an old man - and I think McLaren could not have been an old man.
I wasn't an enourmous Sex Pistols fan although I'm about the right demographic, what I did like was the contrary personality he showed when ever questioned, the fact that as a non musician he felt qualified to make 'recds' and that he mixed together things that shouldn't go with such aplomb - I hope someone will surface to carry on his work as a cultural irritant with the humour that he had.

Monday, April 05, 2010

that Ofcom ruling

The ruling by OFCOM that BSkyB should drop the price which it offers Sky Sports 1 & 2 to Virgin and BT might seem like unnecessary market intervention for the simple reason that it is.

Despite what some people might think Sports TV channels are not a necessity and in a capitalist market (ish) if Sky choose to charge too much for the channels they will lose customers, they will then have an opportunity to re visit their charging structure if ultimately they are unable to create a profitable proposition they will go out of business (like ITV digital did a few years back and more recently the way Setanta did) and another operator will then be able to put together a bouquet of channels buy some rights that they hope will meet/desires/needs of viewers.

This sort of intervention by OFCOM (an unelected regulator/quango) is a reason that politicians (and not just those of the right) are calling for OFCOM to be trimmed back, one can not help but be cynical of the objectives of government in that it fulfils an agenda relative to News International/Sky.
Be interesting to see how the issue is tackled post election.

Windows 7 tune up

I got an unsolicited e-mail asking me to provide a link to a so here it is it is for Windows 7 tune up and the words to go with it are :

Windows 7 TuneUp suite is your all-purpose tool for better PC maintenance and security. Plus, it protects your computer from system crashes, repairs and maintains your PC health, removes unneeded Internet clutter, regains valuable disk space, cleans your registry and tweak windows to perform better.
Main Features:
* Support Windows XP/Vista/7
* Eliminates system crashes, freezes and slowdowns
* Automatically identifies and repairs common Windows problems
* Eliminate BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)
* Speeds up boot up time
* Repairs defects by building a fresh registry
* Compacts registry by removing gaps and unused space
* Removes fragmentation with a linear and sequential registry
* Improves system performance due to faster registry load/read
* Finds and deletes duplicate files of any type
* Saves space on your hard drive
* Extends internal system uninstaller with features to find and delete left traces (e,g registry keys, folders etc.)
* Improves your Windows PC's overall performance and stability
* Question based services and drivers tune up
* Automatically tweaks system services and drivers for better performance
* Recovers CPU & Memory usage taken by unneeded services and drivers
* Full control of the programs that are loaded during Windows startup
* Add/remove/edit startup items
* Task scheduler configurator
* Cleans Browser History
* Cleans history index.dat file content in Internet Explorer.

Sounds good doesn't it?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

but will it be Independent?

The news that the Independent has (sort of) been sold throws some light onto the challenges that the UK press that was once Fleet Street is currently facing.
The Lebedev family has to my mind so far made something of a success of turning the London Evening Standard into a 'quality' free paper I reckon it’s better than it was when we were charged for it, particularly after it held the London Evening paper monopoly.Alexander Lebedev is certainly a man who has beenon a journey from his days as a Moscow high flier in the KGB

Now some commentators are saying that The Independent may move to a free/give away model how successful that could be for a quality national newspaper remains to be seen but it does make the changes that Murdoch is making to the Times and Sunday Times online seem even braver (or is that foolish), how much is online revenue worth and does the Times have much that is unique that will make its online readers part with £1 (or £2 for the week) – as many have said before free can be a very attractive price.
Is a quality paper sustainable by advertising alone and how would the Telegraph et al respond?
As a concept the funding of organs of Western democracy by former KGB agents does feel a little odd doesn't it?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

OTT - Another future of TV

I’ve attended a couple of very illuminating sessions over the last week, they both were focused on the broadband connectivity of the TV of the future (and it’s already here in
some cases).

That future is typified by Canvas but is unlikely to be restricted to this tamed version of internet TV (suitably titled OTT/Over the Top TV), the expectation that it will be sanitized and not driven by pirate and adult content may be some peoples wishful thinking.

The first presentation was given to the London section of the RTS on Wednesday by a couple of guys one, Bill Scott from Easel TV banner, and the other Rob Walk from Novarising (who also appears to be part of Easel TV) although not strictly speaking representing Project Canvas it was clear that they had strong associations with the BBC driven initiative.
Bill and Rob were clear that they believed that this TV would remain a 'lean back' experience with limited search facilities and a semi walled garden philosophy that relied on some form of markup language to enable TV guide like functionality.

On Thursday I went along to another presentation this time at The Cavendish Centre in London's W1 this had a slightly random mixture of panelists under the stewardship of a somewhat crazed Kate Bulkley.

The panelists were Kelvin's not so little boy Ashley MacKenzie representing rights holders (he seemed a restrained version of his father and considered that aggregating rights was going to be an are of significance).
Representing the Gorilla in the front room that is YouTube (Google TV?) was Anna Bateson she seemed a little detached, perhaps aware that it was for others to court her favours as being the deliver of internet TV audiences who can afford to play the slightly longer game.

Claire Tavernier of Freemantle was able to represent content and the potential loser of this new dawn, Sky TV had Griffin Parry as its cheerleader. The views of Michael Cornish CEO of Blinkbox kicked off the evening and as something of an industry veteran they were worth listening too.

My views on what I heard over the sessions are:

1) The (slightly) old guard are not fully aware of the paradigm shift that is about to be unleashed (the current youngster will consume media differently from how the present generation do for a variety of reasons)
2) Human behaviour with respect to the drivers with respect to content will be constant namely such things as, sport, adult material and free movies.
3) Search will not be an add on at the periphery - I expect 'smart phones' to be hooked up with killer applications that act as an itelligent remote/gateway come video search engine/purchase tool.
4) The BBC is doing the right thing in fighting to be at the heart of the evolution of the TV screen -it matters otherwise TV can be just about delivering audiences and the viewer is the loser.

5)One thing I think the panelists did get right is that the Samsungs, Sonys and Panasonics have a big part top play in the gate-keeping and enabling side of things.

If you have a different perspective I'd like to hear it and I'm sure it's something that will be a topic for some time.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Coronation Street and Poundland meet in Ealing

Ealing shopping centre has been battling to keep shops occupied and over the last 3 or 4 years some retailers have deserted the area (or gone out of business).

The fight has to some extent been successful and shops such as Primark and H&M have helped to revitalise the area attracting young fashion seekers on a tight budget.

Tomorrow Poundland arrives in Ealing, it is perhaps not the sort of shop one associates with the 'Queen of suburbs' but as recession hits London it fills a need (as will New Look which will also open soon).

I was intrigued to see that on Saturday Becky of Coronation Street will be making a meet and greet appearance, signing atographs and pressing the flesh, it seems that Coronation Street has links with the shop and it seems a good fit, I wonder if the on air programme will build on this as product placement emerges on to our screens.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Papal fallibility

Next time I start letting rip into the political establishment or start going on about what awful examples of the human race estate agents are remind me about the Roman Catholic church.

I know it's best to steer clear of religion but here goes.

Having checked out what the Pope is and does I found that there is a concept of Papal infallibility and that the Pope is a successor to St Peter.

I have never warmed to the current Pope (or the one before either, and the Pope's brother seems an unpleasant sort too ) but the knowledge that he was part of a cover up of a child molesting German priest is truly shocking. The cover up has been receiving much coverage, to me it only goes to show the depth of corruption within the RC church establishment.
The church recognising the potential damage that such revelations would have decided to cover up these terrible crimes against children, crimes that have led people to years of misery and in some cases suicide.

So some people might say that this was an isolated case - for those people might I suggest they look at what happened in Ireland, Cardinal Sean Brady who was party to ensuring that children kept their mouths closed to the abuses they had suffered to protect the law breaking 'fathers'.

He will only resign if the Pope asks him to - unbelievable, do they know nothing of guilt (I thought that was the RC stock in trade)?

I am surprised that the Catholic church can survive in educated western democracies and that those with morals and honour remain within it.

Monday, March 08, 2010

The death of the book

Let's face it it's only time before the majority of us get an e-reader, an ipad variant or kindle or whatever the trendy brand leader happens to be.
Does it make me a Luddite to feels that this inevitability is a bad thing?
Has the mp3 player made us value music of whatever type we prefer more?

Does the fact that TV can now be delivered to a host of platforms mean that there are better programmes or that we appreciate them more?

I think not although technology is a wonderous thing it does not help us recognise the value of things in fact it probably does the reverse.

When I first started taking photo's with a box brownie camera there were 8 pictures on a roll of film, they were black and white and I took care what I photographed, when I started making my own prints I understood how the process worked and trail that led back to early pioneers like Fox Tablot. Now I have cameras in phones and cameras that can take thousands of colour pictures that I'll never print.

Education as an experience is dying and becoming a process mediated by computers and technocrats.

Why should I despair I have a book lined study and my education was haphazard and human, my record collection remains a mixture of records some bought to impress some because they are cheap and some that I felt, deep in my heart I must own. i recall the record shops where I bought them and the pleasure they gave me - do downloads feel the same?

So an electronic book (and newspaper) with sound effects and moving pictures, why should it cause me such sorrow?

{I hope it's not just that I'm an old fart.]

Sunday, March 07, 2010

ITV back in profit but what next?

After what was a tough and challenging year at ITV the company has reported profits.
New brooms Norman and Crozier now need to build on this success and retain focus, as the UK and the rest of Europe emerge from a deep recession advertising revenue is sure to bounce back but this will not mean that the company can ignore the structural changes within broadcasting.

ITV is a small fish in an increasingly large and turbulent pond and needs alliances and strategic partnerships to avoid being swallowed up by one of the larger players.

As an alternative Crozier and Norman can fatten the company up in preparation for a takeover by RTL or one of the other large European media outfits.

Under Grade big improvements were made and the company has become leaner and more efficient no longer saddled with 'Friends Reunited' it still has the challenge of moving away from its heavily regulated past and must deal with issues such as ITN who continue to make poor business decisions (such as getting into bed with Sports broadcaster Setanta).

ITV continues to make steady progress with its Internet strategy but has some distance to go to catch up with C4 and must consider the new kids like Arqiva's See-Saw.
It should not be forgotten that ITV continues to produce really high quality mass TV including Coronation Street (in its 50th Year) and audience magnets such as The X factor and I'm a Celebrity.. Where though does it go from here? Moving to a pay/subscription proposition is not going to be easy or quick. Although Norman and Crozier know advertising they haven't worked in Broadcasting and they need to continue to deliver audiences - it'll be interesting to see where ITV is in a years time and what the profits are in 2-3 years.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

BBC beats itself up?

Ones suspicions are not unsurprisingly raised by lead stories in News International papers on the subject of the BBC.

It might not be the case that directions are being followed but it does not do too much harm to the 'The times' to earn some brownie points from a certain family dynasty leader.

I'm far from a fully paid up cheerleader to the BBC but do regard the News International agenda on the subject of UK broadcasting as questionable.

In truth the BBC is often attacked for being both successful and unsuccessful, drawing too small an audience on BBC 3 and too big an audience on BBC 1, super-serving the middle classes with Radio 3 and pandering to the masses with Radio 2.
The review conducted by/for Mark Thompson (who incidentally if web comments are any sort of indicators of popularity is deeply unpopular) seems to indicate that for PR purposes radio services BBC Asian network and Radio 6 are to be sacrificed the reports also suggest a retreat on Internet ambitions and a cut on BBC TV imports.
Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised that the reports of potential are meeting with approval by the Conservatives?

Now several questions occur one is why is that males in the 35 year old age bracket (sought after by advertisers) should not have a radio network that serves their musical tastes? (and it costs around the same amount as Mr J Ross)

Another question could be why a praised radio service for Britain's Asian should be closed?

And a third - Isn't the dramatic capital projects overspend more significant? (£110 Million).
Perhaps in fact a Chief Executive on a salary of something like £880,000 a year plus perks who has been in post at such a time should be replaced rather than sacrificing the public services the organisation should have at the heart of its existence?

So perhaps the BBC needs to get closer to its audiences but it could be that this can be achieved by other means than making it smaller which incidentally benefits certain commercial interests?
{There's a petition here against the proposed radio closures if you are interested.]

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brand repair & recovery ? (an object/abject lesson)

What an interesting phenomena were witnessing with the damage limitation exercise being carried out on Toyota's behalf.

Will the press adverts and associated PR fluff cover what some believe has been revealed by the safety recalls of late?

If ever a brand has had to fight for it's survival then this is a prime example.

Mass market cars have become a commodity product with differentiators becoming of negligible significance - so how do we select our bulk standard family car -by reputation and brand the answer thunders back.

Which country and manufacturer produces the most reliable cars - Toyota is what I would have heard 6 months ago but now the response is anyone but Toyota.

As the beleaguered US car industry rubs their collective hands together a recovery operation moves up a gear and Toyota starts a fight for life (make no mistake this is serious).

Time will tell if it can regain credibility and acceptance - The jury is out.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Red Bee and the role it plays in UK Broadcasting

I went to an interesting presentation held under the auspices of the IET at their West London venue.
I realised that Red Bee was responsible for the transmission of the BBC TV channels but I was not aware that it also provided presentation for channel 4's services (Channel 4 regional feeds E4 More4 4OD and Film4 included) and had carried out the transfer from Channel 4's Horseferry Road to Red Bee's White City centre without missing a beat.

Ian Wimsett Senior Technologist and David Popper the Head of Solutions Build at Red Bee Media gave a full account of how the transfer was planned and managed, they emphasised the importance of TUPE staff and the value of a parallel running programme.

It is in some respects surprising that these outsourcing arrangements are made which seem to provide benefits to the incumbemnt operators as well as profits for the company taking over the operation (other examples include SIS and Siemens).

While Discovery has bucked the trend in Chiswick Park and 'insourced' from Ascent its playout of 50+ TV channels operation others continue to remove staff from their payroll and rely on carefully drawn contracts to make sure they continue to deliver to their audiences.

Is it a good thing or should broadcasters retain responsibility and control of their own destiny?

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Ex Broadcasting ministers and former DG second guess the Tory policy

Cavendish Centre W1 4th Feb 2010 - RTS - The Tories are Coming?

Much as a group of old soldiers join up to relive their glory days a bunch of former broaddcast policy makers got together under the chairmanship of Channel 4 News's Krishnan Guru Murthy to talk about their goldne past

The stellar line up of former MPs Chris Smith and Norman Fowler (both now Lords), David Mellor (ex MP and Chelsea strip wearer) and Lord Birt (former Dalek BBC Director General) spoke about their expectations around a possible Tory Broadcasting policy on Thursday. All agreed that their wouldn't be a sudden lurch but that the BBC trust was doomed.

While Mellor spoke about how he craftily defeated Thatchers plans for the BBC Chris Smith spoke about how it was necessary to have a reasonable length of time on the job (of late the Media portfolio has changed hands with worrying speed ).

City TV could be the one innovation if cross ownership regulations are relaxed and if it is considered worthy of investment (good news for the Guardian Media Group who have been slogging away at this for some time.)

Birt was determined that change was inevitable and thaat the DCMS had not risen to recent challenges -all agreed that ITV would no longer be able to function as a PSB in the soon to be digital only TV environment.

There was some praise for OFCOM but a view that policy should lie with government and not the unelected quango seemed to hold sway.
Time will tell if a future government feels obliged to hold to the Status Quo - if pressure for cuts and sales of assets become impossible to resist change will be inevitable - let's see how it all looks in 18 months time.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

New TV Boss creates early controversy


Adam Cozier has had a high profile career to date with FA and Royal Mail leadership catapaulting him into the news.
Like so many in the media firmament he's from an advertising background and knows the value of a brand, he's also got the inside track on UK soccer which can only help.
Not sure if he'll carry through the plan to make some ITV channels pay fayre
Many in the public consider he's not the guy for the job but perhaps it's a little early to say and perhaps he's really there to oversee its sale or split into two?

VoLAV seeking new Chairman.

The public service broadcasting lobby group VLV (Voice of the Listener and Viewer) is looking for a new chairman as Richard Lindley stands down, it's a role that needs the right person young enough to keep up with a challenging schedule but beyond the ambitions that many in the broadcast world harbour into their dotage - be great to see someone suitable installed quickly.

Fools and Horses keeps its West London Links
Although set in Peckham only Fools and Horses much of its filming was done inn and around Ealing, with Acton supplying the Nelson Mandela flats the recent prequel Rock and Chips Chiswick Town hall had a cameo role as Peckham town hall and filled the role admirably.
There's a load of Fools and Horses locations at this flickr site. It doesn't include the Ealing restaurant ' Noughts and Crosses (now sadly closed) that I remember discussing with the patron some time after he'd seen the programme on a airplane journey though.