Things what I writ

I sometimes write nonsense about things to try and sound clever

ihavea Player

Following the rampant success of the BBC iPlayerITV has done what it does best, and nicked it. Ok, so the implementation is different, as are the system requirements, oh, and the reach, ah, and the general niceness of it, but it’s is pretty much the same thingy that allows you to catch up (their call to action) on the fabulous ITV franchise programmes you may have inadvertently decided you didn’t want to watch in the first place.

What I like most of all about this little gem of interactivity, however, is the name. Inoffensive, to the point, and generally following the trend of at least 3 years ago to start everything with an ‘i’. Except this little ‘i’ isn’t the mactard freeform freeload bangwagonesque all-seeing ‘i’, it’s the BBCi. The BBCi brand, label, bucket, whatever, was around for many years as a catch-all bitriquadquin-media expression of anything vaguely digital. Stands to reason that when they finally delivered their TV-ondemandonlineovertheweb player that it would fall under that broad BBCi category of products, even though they don’t really call it that anymore. So, why not just stick the ‘i’ at the front? Viola!. iPlayer. Nothing to do with fruit. So when ITV finally scraped enough funds together to bake a TV-ondemand cake, it’s no wonder they want to leverage a bit of the success that the BBC iPlayer enjoys. So let’s maybe start it with an ‘i’. But wait. We’re ITV. We start with an ‘i’ anyway. Hang on, itvPlayer! Bingo!

Not to suggest that it’s a little like cybersquatting a domain typo, but the similarities are striking. Take a little look at the branding around ITV Player and the BBC iPlayer and you get the picture. Even down to the little pointy triangle video play device in the logo. ‘But everybody uses that’. Oh, ok. Of course, the presentation and user experience for each product are the usual worlds apart, but when it comes down to it, the products are pretty much the same online. What used to be the crucial advantage of what used to be called not the itvPlayer but something else entirely was that you could watch ITV programmes near-live, which I spouted some eulogy about a while back. That was clearly a huge competitive edge, like a virtual sabatier to the heart of copyrighted 7-day backlog of the BBC. Not any more though. I mean, you can’t just watch anything live. And they make you work hard to find it. In fact, all I can watch right now is a live repeat of the UK pre-buget report statement on BBC parliament, but, they do now do live TV online. You still need to pony up for your TV license to actually legally watch it, but I tell you, to get the Scottish Parliament from the 26 November on a programme originally broadcast on 21st December live on my desktop via a repeat on the BBC Parliament channel on 31st December is some thrill indeed. Better than fireworks.

Happy new year.

Listening Post: M83: Graveyard Girl

eye of the beholder

how far do I go to get a photo the way I like it? the answer is miles. I was a designer first and a photographer second and so I have the designer habit of fiddling mercilessly until I think its as perfect as I can get it and then deciding I didn’t mean to do it that way and then then having some kind of identity crisis about brand and perception and deciding that I’ve just visually misrepresented myself with the overuse of a high pass filter and I’ll store the photo in a cardboard box until I decide its too late to post it. I mean, that doesn’t happen every time, but it often does.

having said that, I know that there are many times where I’ll see potential in a photo of mine which didn’t really amount to much because I’m not particularly good at using my camera and then set to work on it. in 90% of cases, my aim is to frighten the life out of a perfectly reasonable exposure with the threat of filters, masks and crops until it submits everything it knows. after that, I’ll spend a good few hours getting it to calm down and try to look presentable in the hope that when it gets posted to flickr, I’ll get nice comments somewhere between ‘nice capture!’ and ‘awesome!’ by way of ‘er, what did you do there?’.

a perfectly good example of that process is a photo I recently snapped (and I mean snapped, as in, almost didn’t look at the camera while I waved it in the direction of the subject and hoped I’d not got some mad manual setting going on from when I was trying to take a picture of a dog under a blanket in the dark) of the london eye. after I’d got it home it was one of those RAW files that was just taking up too much space but there was something about it. compositionally, I quite liked it and it had clouds and some metalwork in it so there’s alway potential there. it was a pretty lifeless photo though as the light was rubbish that day and there was hardly any contrast but that’s not going to stop me having a go so rather than finishing off a flow digram for a organisational wiki that I was supposed to be doing I spent about an hour fiddling about in photoshop. the befores and after (we love before and afters) are below:

london eye 1
london eye 1 by Tim Caynes

(actually just the after as I lost the before. kind of defeats the point now)

whether you think they are tweaks too far or if you prefer the results or if you wish I hadn’t told you that I’d actually mucked about with it or if you even prefer the original then that’s up to you do decide and you can let me know if you feel compelled although if you are actually reading this then you’re probably me.

lost last loss leaders

me 30
me 30 by Tim Caynes

ooh. I was just thinking yesterday as I downloaded about 4 mp3 albums from amazon in the uk for 3 quid a piece that it probably wouldn’t last. I didn’t buy everything I wanted and frankly I bought a few things I wouldn’t have bought at 7.99 or 8.99 but when they are so ridiculously cheap and are 320 kbps and are DRM-free then there really isn’t any reason not to. so I thought I’d get some more. I’d had second thoughts about the glasvegas album even though I’d been listening to it on napster but I thought I really couldn’t pass up the 3 quid loss-leader and so I headed back to amazon this morning to shovel a few more bargain-bucketfuls of coinageable purchases only to find that they had as was inevitable raised the prices on everything that wasn’t glen campbell or pendulum both of which I got anyway. I mean, they might have only increased some things by a pound or maybe 2 but in some cases they’d really exposed their primary loss-leaders such as the rihanna album which jumped from 3 quid to 7.30 overnight. I guess they’re pretty confident they can recoup large wads of cash on that one. maybe not so much on the simply red greatest hits which was rightfully stuck at 3 pounds which is in fact 3 pounds too much and does not really qualify for loss-leader status as they should be paying you to take it away and throw it in a virtual skip.

some things never really got the loss-leader treatment, of course. if you didn’t already have the duffy album, you weren’t about to get that cheap. or the coldplay album. or, um, the ocean colour scene album. not sure about that one. I did manage to pick a couple of things of my christmas wishlist at the 3 pound price tag, but, curiously, the 4:13 dream album by the cure remained steadfastly at a think twice price. and amazon don’t even have the late of the pier album so I snuck over to 7 digital for that one and the fabulous m83 saturdays = youth album at a knock-down price.

all-in-all if you were stuck for something to do between christmas and new year and happened to be sat at your computer, there were some fine savings to be had but they’re mostly gone now and mp3 downloads will undoubtedly match or approach regular cd prices on amazon from now on so there’ll be less chance of that girls aloud album finding its way into my library. well, the next one, anyway.