AMITIAE - Sunday 24 January 2016
Cassandra: Weekend Review (2) - Changes in Media
By Graham K. Rogers
I subscribed to the top level of service just in time to have two series I was enjoying come to an end and there is no telling when, if ever, they will return. I am still waiting to see part 3 of Battleship Galactica. There is the occasional must-see movie, but these are rare. The only things that are essential for me are Formula One and MotoGP.
I have subscribed to Dorna's video service for a couple of years, so MotoGP is ok, although they still insist on Flash for the Mac, so I watch on the iPad or iPhone and use AirPlay to watch on the large screen of the TV. It also has the advantage that, in the walk-rounds and interviews before (and after) races, there are no interruptions for advertisements, which here are usually no more than displays of what Fox is doing: bathroom time.
That leaves Formula One, which has always understood the importance of selling its content, but still only deals with TV companies, unlike Dorna that sells to TV and individual consumers. Is that one sport worth staying connected for?
I was not wholly convinced when Apple changed to app-oriented delivery for the new AppleTV and TVOS, particularly as Thailand is so poorly served by content-providers. I now have a couple of news and business apps, but hope for more. Bloomberg TV is OK, but I also want CNBC. I have now found a Reuters channel and have always had apps for Al Jazeera. There are a couple of movie- and documentary-based apps too, but one that is missing is Snag Films. I have this on the iOS devices (so could use AirPlay) but there is a lot of content there.
The clincher for me is Netflix, despite the poor level of content available in this country: something less than 10% of what US users have. There are those here who use VPN connections, but Netflix is trying to stop that, starting with Australia, and I like to report on what consumers here experience.
I had installed Netflix during the week and signed up for the service as part of the installation, meaning I could use these on iOS devices too. I may yet. It was not until Friday that I had time to sit and watch. So far I have been seeing what is available and finally made a couple of choices that evening: Top Boy and Peaky Blinders, which I thought was a stupid name for a series, but found that really was the name of a criminal gang in Birmingham. They have razor blades sewn into the peaks of their caps, which I thought was the preserve of Glasgow gangs at the beginning of the 20th Century. With Cillian Murphy and Sam Neill leading a strong cast, this is compulsive viewing.
I started watching when I was ready; but when I wanted to pour a drink, or visit the bathroom, or speak to someone on the phone, I could of course pause the transmission and then restart when I was ready. On Saturday, I tried a couple of episodes of each, pausing when I wanted, selecting the series I wanted, when I wanted it. As I say, the penny dropped. . . .
I buy a lot of the hardware and software I look at, although in the last year or so, I have been loaned some hardware. Other sites are not so lucky, although the major outlets will still have review options - hardware, cars, theater, movies, electric and other products - because it is in the interests of the manufacturers to have publicity. That was why car companies used to fall over themselves to offer the best they could make to TopGear, although some may have wished they hadn't.
The whole concept of media delivery is undergoing a change, and the smartphone is part of that with its access to the internet. That is where news is consumed these days, rather than on a desktop. On my site, 48% of ad hits come from PCs, while the rest is from smartphones (12.9%) and tablet devices (38.3%). That figure for tablets has grown considerably in the last few months with the advent of the News App for users in US, UK and Australia. Obviously, I am keen to see this app appear in other countries.
This week it is reported by Jennifer Faull on The Drum, that The Guardian is about to announce another round of job cuts, to follow the 70 or so that went in 2012. Losses rose from £45m to nearly £50m in the year to March 31, she writes.
My first problem was locating this. I went from Chong Nonsri BTS station and walked to Silom Road, but missed the shop as I was on the wrong side. When I tried again in the afternoon, I crossed the road, walked down towards Charoenkrung and it was about 300 metres, although the exterior is a little bland: glass and marble, with identification too high up.
When I walked in I was recognised which is always useful and I had a look at the cameras, starting with the top-of-range D5. This was quickly off my list. It has not yet arrived in Thailand, but with a price, just over 200,000 baht, I am just not in that market.
I did look at the D7200 as a direct replacement, but that is (I was told) now an all-plastic body and having dropped a D90, I know the effects. The D810 was a full frame camera, all magnesium body, with some useful bells and whistles, but at 99,000 baht is just a bit much. It did feel good when I held it.
The assistant also suggested the retro DF, but despite (or perhaps because) I already have a Hasselblad, there seems little point, other than making a statement. It is a modern digital camera underneath, so why not have a modenr digital camera.
The D610 looks about the best compromise for me. It has a part-magnesium alloy, part-plastic body (front and back are metal), is a full-frame and the price in Thailand is 52,900 which is in the ball-park sort of.
As well as Phil Schiller and VP of iPhone, iPod and iOS Product Marketing Greg Joswiak, VP of Procurement Tony Blevins, Senior Director of Industrial Design Christopher Stringer and Chief IP Counsel Bruce Watrous are all listed as potential witnesses. Also shown as possible witnesses are Scott Forestall, who was iOS chief before his dismissal by Tim Cook and Susan Kare who was responsible for the original design of icons used in the 1984 Macs. The list includes a number of others all of whom may need to give evidence. Neither Apple, nor Samsung want to give up on this.
See also:Cassandra: Weekend Review (1) - Changes in Access
Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs. He is now continuing that in the Bangkok Post supplement, Life.
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