Wednesday, July 30, 2003
Domesday Redux: The Rescue of the BBC Domesday Project Videodiscs
"For the video data, Adrian started to frame-grab images from the videodiscs using an RGB frame grabber  card in a PC, and a custom cable to connect to the RGB output of the videodisc player. This approach has been used in other resurrection projects, but it takes a lot of time to download thousands of images, and it does not give the highest quality for a number of reasons - some to do with the nature of PAL television and some with the inherent problems of videodisc. After Adrian had grabbed a sample of images sufficient to test out his new system, he agreed to use images derived from the original videotapes that Andy Finney was tracking down. The earliest copies of the tapes turned up in Peter Armstrong's loft....
The rescue project came just in time. A working original system to compare with and validate the migrated system is invaluable, especially in multimedia migration where the look-and-feel and user interaction is important. Some original systems and hardware components were still available and could be made to work, but the systems were fragile. Wear between the videodisc drive spindle and the disc has caused the loading of the disc to be a delicate operation on most systems....
The timescale was unknown at the outset, and it eventually took sixteen months to produce the new Windows version.
The lesson of this digital preservation project is that if you have enough time, individual skill, dedication and imagination then almost anything is possible, provided that you don't leave it too late. If you start counting the cost this may seem an expensive project, but then the value of the record is high too - and that applies equally to the original Domesday Project. There is of course a great need to preserve other electronic records in a routine and predictable manner, and this rescue project is not a suitable model to be followed in such cases." [Ariadne, via Resourceshelf]
Interesting article on how some dedicated folks saved the Domesday Project data. Relying on finding early copies in someone's loft is definitely NOT a best practice. Then sixteen months for just one operating system (Windows). And just imagine how impossible this would have been if any BigPub Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions had been involved.
There's a forest of a lesson in those trees that the media companies will completely ignore.
Best-Kept Secret Dept.
"Meanwhile the cell-phone folks are putting better and better cameras into handsets. Many have 1-megapixel sensors, and those are likely to keep increasing. The big battle seems to be taking place among sensor makers, with CMOS finally starting to make inroads. Toshiba, for example, is making a 640-by-480 CMOS sensor for phones that can crank out a 30-fps movie. I predict that within three years we'll see phones capable of delivering an HDTV image!" [PC Magazine, via Aaron]
Welcome to their Worlds: Female bloggers Build Strong Presence on the Internet
"Men tend to use the filter format for their often political Weblogs, whereas women lean toward journals about 'day-to-day stuff,' or traditionally female topics such as cooking, knitting or motherhood, Blood said. However, she quickly pointed out that many female bloggers like herself and Meg Hourihan (www.megnut.com) or Brigitte Eaton (www.eatonweb.com) address subjects such as media, politics and technology....
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks brought Elaine Frankonis to blogging. In an attempt to wrap her brain around the horror of the attacks, the 63-year-old divorced mother of two began e-mailing her thoughts to her son, who posted them on his Weblog. It worked for awhile, but soon Frankonis needed her own site to accommodate all her ideas.
In one of the first entries on her new site, she wrote: 'I am finding this whole blogging thing curiously engaging, since I've never been able to write fast enough to keep a journal. But I type really fast, so this might well wind up being my legacy to the world at large (like it cares!). But I do care. About a lot of things. And this is one place that I can record what's on my mind, in my heart, and stuck in my craw. So, look out, cyberworld, here I come....'
For someone interested in subjects like free will, psychopathology, addiction and people in general, University of Chicago student Danielle Hubbard sure picked a good hobby. The English and philosophy major who posts her thoughts on her Web site several times a week has a laboratory of the human condition at her fingertips.
In the year and a half since she began blogging, Hubbard has made a few observations and learned a lot. A recent posting on her site indicated the impact of regularly mining her life for Web nuggets: 'I reached an important realization about myself today. I cannot do anything, not a thing, without keeping an inner running commentary on it. Is this particular to me? I'm sure it isn't. But I think it's great! It's the stuff that comedy gold is made of!' " [Chicago Tribune, via Gloria!]
What I find interesting about this article (and about BigPub blogging articles in general) is how similar the language of surprise, enthusiasm, and community is to the way folks first talked about the internet in general. Though the story is about female bloggers, it concentrates quite a bit on age, too, which is an angle rarely taken in stories about male bloggers.
Teenage Boys to Hollywood: 'Drop dead, We Have Our DVDs. Who Needs to Find 'Nemo' Anyway?'
"For decades, movie executives could count on adolescent boys -- a key audience for summer fare -- spending a large percentage of their waking hours at the local cineplex, fueling the box office for movies such as 'Return of the Jedi' and 'Die Hard' with repeat visits. But as studios this summer report a drop in box office for the first time in years, teenage boys seem to have added movies to the list of things they're ambivalent about.
Many kids say sequels don't live up to the originals, DVDs full of bonus material come out just a few months after a movie's release anyway, and video games are more fun.
Those who do drag themselves to a film often complain about rising prices, pre-movie commercials and movie house workers who in recent years have actually enforced the Motion Picture Association of America ratings....
Searching for a sympathetic adult to buy their tickets for them, the San Franciscans said they prefer their movies on DVDs, which often feature extra scenes, voice-overs from actors and filmmakers and sometimes a documentary about the making of a movie.
'They're sometimes cheaper than buying the ticket for a movie,' Sachal said.
'And you can be in your pajamas and doing whatever you want, talking on the phone while you watch it.'
'Also, the quality is better,' Aaron added. 'I just saw 'Ocean's 11' again last night for, like, the 40th time.' " [SFGate.com]
Say, you don't think these same attitudes could have affected the music industry, do you? Nah, couldn't be at all related. "Piracy" must be the answer to everything. I expect Jack Valenti to again step up to the microphone later today to combat this news story, spouting some nonsense like, "It's not bad movies, it's not high ticket prices, it's not that the technologies we fought (VCRs and DVDs) have become more popular and profitable than we could ever have dreamed it would... no, I'm here today to tell you that piracy is the root of all evil, including this summer's drop in box office receipts. Piracy bad."
Here's my favorite part of the article:
"While DVDs increase in popularity, video games have become firmly entrenched as the No. 1 slacking choice among many Bay Area teens.
Anthony Kwan, 13, said the difference between the two forms of entertainment is obvious.
'With movies you just get to see the same scene once,' Anthony said. 'But with video games you can play with different people online....'
Out of 12 boys interviewed at the Emeryville cinema, 11 said they would pick video games over movies if they could choose only one. The 12th interviewee, 9-year-old Sterling Boutte of Oakland, refused to consider life without either."
NetGens prefer interactive entertainment far more than previous generation. It's affecting our culture already, and it will continue to do so in ways increasingly obvious and subtle. Is your library truly interactive with these kids?