November 30, 2004

Can't catch a break!

I feel sorry for Asian drivers. Too often they are labelled slow unpredictable road users and get abuse yelled at them.
A few weeks back I saw what shocked me - an Asian Driving School. Today, I saw the result. A police car had pulled over a speeding asian.

November 26, 2004

Disaster Week

Ive been away from the Blogosphere this week - what a hell week.

This is the week that everyone needs you, everyone wants you and everyone cannot do without you. Advertisers target you, bill collectors hound you, friends vanish off the face of the earth and youre left with a face full of egg. This time of year sux. Heres a couple of tragic tales at my expense, for your entertainment.

Microsoft coughed up a doozie for me this week - just to put the pepper on.
I reject XP, and stay with 2000. Is that so bad?
I have all the OS patches installed yet the bug infested software "corrupts my user file" See error #318011. This particular system fault cannot be repaired and forces you to do the unthinkable - which is - when you are in a state of "Im really pissed off" mixed with "why the fuck does this keep happening?" and "im so tired, but I have deadlines", I make the decision to reinstall every last program on my PC, coz guess what? ..none of them work. They did 5 minutes ago, but now they don't. Whats worse is that I've lost all of my settings, my registered programs and every single email since March (the last time this happened!!!!!). I could have punched holes in a brickwall, and all I would've seen is a smiling and winking Bill Gates holding a meat platter and tropical fruit to congratulate himself, but no. That was Tuesday night.

Its now Friday and everything is finally back as it was. All programs reinstalled and re-registered, keyboard shortcuts back in action (I forget how my life was without them), although Im yet to reinstall all the skins and extensions to my Mozilla software yet - Gmail Alert, Weather Column, Blog Shortcut, RSS/XML feeder - a thought just now - did I need all that? Answer: No, not really but it saved me a LOT of time logging into websites looking for updates. The web comes to me and thats what its all about these days.

Anyway, Im in a much happier space now, until I tuned into 88.1FM this morning and heard static. Arrrrrggh! We had gale force winds last night, and I had worried about the wind, but the aerial had been through worse (actually in its second day) so its surely going to survive this bit of wind. I was wrong. So I put on my trackpants and busker gears, and up I went with the box of bits (solder, screw sets etc) - discarding my day of paperwork I had planned - to the transmitter site. The gut wretching feeling of "oh no" hit me when I got close enough to see the aerial was not visible, where it should have been. When I got up there, one of the tripod legs had bent right over. The fallen aerial was suspended on one of its support ropes as if the finger of god had flicked the whole thing from underneath. It would've taken a gust of 120-135kph to knock this baby off its hilt, although the almighty wasnt far away as I had to keep climbing up and down to avoid the sudden bursts of rain and howling wind today. No fun (unless you work at BCL).

I might continue my week of tragic tales sometime, but not right now. I must sleep (-p

November 23, 2004

Stern Sells Sirius

The Late Show with Dave Letterman had Howard Stern as a guest last night (actually last week in the US).

I had been eagerly awaiting this interview, as to understand how big of a move this is by Howard, and to help me understand the impact this move will create in America. Sure, the whole thing was an ad for Sirius Radio but I think if paying for it gets the bigger message across that radio listeners now have a choice - and a far superior one compared with the limits that existing terrestrial american radio serves up - its money well spent by Sirius. XM should thank Sirius too.

Howard made no bones about sticking his neck out and taking a huge risk with digital radio - especially when it seemed like he was begging toward the close of the interview, although his point was made and nailed. For 40 cents a day, the product is far better and you'll get over 100 channels of YOUR music, WITHOUT commercials and you can get Howard Stern uncensored and unrestricted by the FCC (radio restrictions tightly controlled by the US Government). Now if I could pay a body here in NZ 40 cents a day to be rid of commercials - where I do sign up? Y'know Howard, we share the same birthday....

Stern is certainly worth his $500 million contract and I believe every American radio announcer would have watched that interview with great interest, as Stern sent a direct message to them, saying that Digital Radio and the networks that provide the hundreds of different genres and radio formats on this digital platform offer so much more freedom and greater rewards for a radio broadcaster than they'd ever get with their existing contracts and current employers. Listeners would respond more positively and become excited about radio again, even passionate about it. Radio personalities would have a much better chance at creating better radio and grow so much more on a professional level if they thought seriously about joining up. Sirius has even been recognised by one of the music industrys biggest critics - Eminem. He even has his own channel "ShadE45", programmed by.. him.

It slightly saddens me that I've not heard much response from our own industry about this.

Radio has become increasingly dull in the USA over the last fifteen years, as corporate giants such as Clear Channel have aquired so much of the media and entertainment business across the USA, threading strings to every product they have in an effort to maximise the companies reach and ultimate control of the industry. That is a great idea as a business model, but unfortunately radio became but one element of an empire, and the glory of radio perished when they failed to support its lovechild and lost the plot along the way.

Innovators, frustrated listeners and now giant-size personalities are fed up with the prehistoric restrictions placed upon them. They want to reach their goal of creating, and continuing to create great radio for an audience who demand it. Who could ask for anything else? Yes, I would happily pay for it if I got what I asked for.

Howard used the example of cable television in the USA. CNN and HBO are classic examples of how such risk, innovation and ultimately - demand, evolves a medium and forces change and creates opportunity, rather than restrict it. The same goes for Sky TV here, and I believe it will be the real boom for radio here as well.

I watched this show with great interest for another reason also. Digital Radio is but a draft concept in New Zealand at the moment. Clear Channel own over 50% of the NZ Radio Market here and everyone in our industry is very aware of it (or should be!). Digital Radio has the potential to stop the continuing deregulation and bulk overseas ownership of our radio market, although the products are not all bad, this will catch its decline before it gets to the horrific state that the USA currently have.

The paper on Digital Radio in New Zealand is in suspended animation at the moment, because there are a lot of issues surrounding the cost of implementing into our system. We're merely scraping the surface of the beginnings of Digital Radio here at the bottom of the world, as Simon Morton touched on the topic also.

The other interesting result of Digital Radio which I feel needs discussion, is what will become of the old 'advertising campaign' - where do advertisers go once radio ends up commercial free?

Will Digital Radio create a new revolutionary way to get a clients product 'out there', or will the concept of having radio as an advertising medium completely vanish?

November 15, 2004

Retro Hit Radio - launch

Hey everyone

This is a massive spamzy out to you all, to reveal what all of my secret whispers, dark handshakes and ferret swapping was all about over the last 24 months.

I have launched my own radio station in South Auckland - it's smack bang in the face of the 350,000 that populate Manukau City and Papakura.

Retro Hit Radio has been running in - if you like - "Beta" stage since February this year and now with the help of a man dressed in a robot suit and plenty of crazy legs practice, I have launched the station off the top of Manukau Heights, which now radiates the gusto of many peoples in South Auckland.

If you find yourself south of Ellerslie at any stage, join the thousands of japanese car radio owners down here and tune to 88.1FM for a dose of Retro joy!

There's a tonne of awesome kiwi music on playlist (MiSex, Supergroove, Push Push, Strawpeople, Jenny Morris, Narcs etc etc) plus an abundance of international gems! Bad hair, yes - but some great music.

To a select few of you, of whom I have kept in the loop over this "secret" period - I thank you for your discretion as there could have been an uproar by my penguin folk if someone tried our idea. The brand is protected now, so I'm ever grateful for your courtesy. Thanks for all the support - you all know who you are ;)

If you want any further info about it, then drop me a line.

International Retro formats
Belgium, Russia, Spain.

Retro formats in the US
Wisconsin, Nebraska, Tennessee: [1][2], Washington, California, Oregon, Hawaii, Sacremento, Rochester, Michigan, Florida, Milwaukee, North Carolina, Indiana, Minnesota, "The Point" Networks, and theres probably a lot more. If you have some time, and interest - read up on how Amercian Retro (or 80's) formats have panned out.

November 14, 2004

November 12, 2004

Spit on the mic

Entertainment Weekly has named their greatest hip-hop album of all time.

The winner is the 1987 album "Paid In Full" by Eric B & Rakim. They admit it was a tall order and its list, which marks 25 years of mainstream rap is subjective having Eric B & Rakim at No. 1, but they stand by their decision and plead that "the album made hip-hop a true art form, doing for rap what Bob Dylan did for rock in the mid-'60s".

Second place went to "3 Feet High and Rising" by De La Soul, number three "Ready to Die" by Notorious B.I.G. and Public Enemy and Run DMC respectfully clock the the top five.

There was no sign of Vanilla Ice.

Howard Stern on Letterman

On Monday November 22 (NZ Time), Howard Stern will appear on the Late Show with David Letterman (he says Jay Leno is a tool...)

I'm really interested in this interview as Satellite Radio is an ongoing thought in the back of the NZ's radio industry's collective mind. We know that Stern will be earning $500 million dollars from Sirius - and god know how much more in advertising for his new digital network. The subject of Digital radio and how it will come about here, is dubious.

Howard will hopefully shed some light on the subject from the inside out, and 'enlighten' us.

November 8, 2004

No more politics!

Having watched F9/11 off a download last week, then watching Journeys With George last night on TV1 (a 2003 doco from a press core journo in the air with the Bush campaign back in 2000), I'm utterly buggered on how the Americans could make an informed decision at this years election?!?!?

I'm thankful for being a proud New Zealand citizen, and extremely fortunate to have never set foot on American soil. Probably never will either ;)

Official Page - Journeys With George

November 7, 2004

Cut n Paster - ep1

I now present the Thoughts from the studio "Cut n Paster"!

"Bill Ralston says he has no plans to change what goes out on TV1 at 7.00pm every weeknight. I think [Holmes'] ratings are stronger than we've had for several years, and that's one of the indicators. I think they're breaking stories a lot more than they did in the past. There's got to be acknowledgement within that that you're getting a quality product, and I still think we're getting a quality product out of Holmes. Obviously the viewers think so, too."
Bill Ralston - Listener Oct 2004

One month later, Holmes confirms he leaves for Prime TV in direct opposition to TVNZ.

"The move would be good for Holmes."
Bill Ralston on National Radio - NZ Herald, Nov 2004

Now I read over the weekend that Bill and Ian back at TVNZ are on the defensive. Allow the cut n paster to do its job:

"Paul's view that he's in the summer of his career, well, frankly, it's not TVNZ's view," Mr Fraser said. News chief Bill Ralston said he was in "100 per cent agreement" with his boss. "Ian has seen the same research I have and, it would seem, Prime hasn't."
NZ Herald - Nov 2004

Holmes will receive $1m per year over 3 years to produce something for Prime TV that goes head to head with TVNZ. Although I've never watched an episode of "Holmes" in my life, I think I may watch this Prime space.

November 5, 2004

Letterman gets interviewed

I have an odd soft spot for Dave Letterman. A likeable goof who loves to talk about things that mean nothing, do weird shit like blow up pumpkins or drop bowling balls from the top of a building into a bathtub just to see what happens.

To my amazement, Dave is a very private person and every now and then accidentally leaks a little of his personal life on his show - often by accident and probed by a guest (usually female and flirty!). Yes, Drew Barrymore is welcome anytime on the Late Show.

His current big news this year is that he and his partner (recently upgraded to "girlfriend") had a baby boy last year "Harry", and is close to his 1st birthday. Will he tell us how he will celebrate or just let the date pass by without a whisper?

Dave has always declined the romantic assumptions about his celebrity status, always downplaying his intelligence and nearly always staying modest - this from a man who had quintuple heart bypass surgery in early 2000 yet sold Official Dave Bypass T-Shirts!

The other big news is that for the very first time, Dave has agreed to be on the other side of the coin, and have the questions asked about him. It's a giant lollypop begging to be licked, and who gets the privelige? Regis Philbin is a dear old friend of Daves (he hosted The Late Show during the surgery, and recovery) although they both banter crazy slurs toward each other much like a couple of old fishing buddies.

Regis is a long standing figure amongst American TV audiences, and no doubt he is as classic as Dave. This interview will broadcast on the 8th (Tuesday morning NZ time), and you can bet I will be combing the internet for clips of the interview next week, and will no doubt be locked to Prime TV all week to hear his afterthoughts on the show.

There's no business like show business, but there are several businesses like accounting. -David Letterman

Interesting Dave Facts:

• One of his most memorable moments occurred in the 90's when Johnny Carson made a surprise walk-on appearance. Letterman stood up and let Carson sit at his old desk for a moment, with the intent of delivering a joke. The audience went crazy and applauded for so long that he never got in a word.
• Dave is the executive producer for the show that follows his: "The Late Late Show" although Craig Kilborn (the host) has decided to leave. He also brought us "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Ed".
• Dave sometimes uses the name "Earl Hofert" as an alias.
• Dave was the voice of "Motley Crue Roadie #1" on "Beavis & Butthead Do America"

Late Night with David Letterman first aired on NBC, February 1, 1982. He later left bitterly and joined CBS in 1993 after Jay Leno was given the vacated Johnny Carson slot despite Letterman's public desire for the coveted position.
He reformatted the name to The Late Show with David Letterman and its been that way since - often rating #1.
Dave pulls in approx $120 million in advertising a year and takes $14 million for himself. We can see Dave and his team of bandits (Paul, Alan, Biff and Rupert) weeknights on Prime around 11pm-ish.

November 1, 2004


Wow, I'm charged up on this one!

Did you catch the Nightline story on this last night? You "can now" download commercial releases LEGALLY in New Zealand through a service called Digirama. Umm, so what the hell is then - a mirage?

You register at Digirama (which was simple), then browse and add your chosen songs to your shopping cart much like any other shopping website. At the time of publishing this post, the selection was VERY poor. The only major record companies to subscribe are FMR, Warners and Wildside.

If you have ever downloaded any audio from the net, or through the likes of P2P filesharing like Warez, KaZaA, Morpheus or old Napster - mp3 is a great standard to go with - and most say anything higher than 128kbps is sufficient for everyday listening.

The sad and very unfortunate news is that all songs downloaded from digiRAMA are 128kbps WMA (Windows Media Audio) format which offers "superior sound quality" and a small file size. Superior sound quality? It's shit.

I also have to mention that the WMA files are coded with DRM protection - a license that limits use to the computer you downloaded it to - rendering this entire project void - plus the restrictions a-plenty to where you can transfer it - your brand new iPod is not compatible sorry.

This is Microsoft at their ingenius best, by limiting playback to WMA audio in turn alienating the digital music world (as we all use mp3s fools) and being a complete pack of tossers in the process because - whoopdeshit, you must use Internet Explorer to pay for your music at the checkout. So let me get this straight, you want me to punch in my Visa details in a browser with all them security holes for all the world to see?? You gotta be kidding..

I say: Wait for iTunes - however long that will be. The music industry will bend over (they already are with this effort). Audio quality will be much better and prices probably similar but shit nana, once you've paid for your copy you can do what the hell you like with it (obviously within reason/law). Smear it over your body, lick it or whatever.

Random Blogmah

The funny thing about Blogs, is that everyone has one, yet a chunky portion of the world don't know what they are.
Top right of this (and many others) blog is a button that says "Next Blog".

I clicked it and found: - This guy is using blogger to clock his hours at work. - This guy loves to, haha, laugh, hehe. - Interesting comments of the US Election by a former US Marine/Army/Australian Police Sergeant. - The mind of a cheerleader (i think they have minds). - Need some poetry now? Star Mart can't help but this blog will. - Life in Norway for this adventure seeker! - A Kiwi in Japan! - Reid the "College Student" has a great blog - my cuppa tea! - A 12 year olds blog. Read it if you can!

And could this be true?