September 27, 2005


Thinking about "Roadcasting" a bit this week. The article by Mr Kennedy [here] has had me pacing the hallways in thought.

My ex-flatmate has an iPod FM transmitter. She tunes her car radio into a frequency and "picks up" a transmission from her iPod Mini. Its a wireless solution, and range is no more than 4-5 metres.

Roadcasting is an advance on this idea, where each iPod/laptop broadcast can be tapped on a larger scale by way of community P2P. They are effectively Mobile Radio Stations.

The software would learn your musical tastes and then sift through the "broadcasts" on offer from various vehicles and choose the one – or mix of songs – that might suit your tastes. You wouldn't know which car the music was coming from as the only identification would be that you would get the chosen nickname of the "broadcaster".

The technology is described by the creators (a car manufacturer) as a unique, fun and exciting innovation. I think one major downfall is when some new technologies come through, the designers tend to forget that there are existing rules out there, and it seems the approval of their invention is made through a technicality. In this case, I refer to existing radio licenses. The device has every intention to overshadow existing frequencies (and broadcasts), although this largely depends on what kind of reach Roadcasters are able to have. 4-5 metres like iPod transmitters? or 4-5km like LPFM in NZ?

Not investigating RSMs stand on this, I wonder if existing FM license owners have submitted their dispute to this. A car radio is the most powerful radio station receiver out there, and "in the car" is the highest radio-listening zone, yet now with this technology, it allows each vehicle to leech the 'medium' that radio stations use, yet choose to override them with their own 'pirate-type' jukeboxes. I will get to "level of threat" a bit later.

The lines are blurring with every new invention and the rules should be changing with them. I would like to think that we could place black and white rules before approval is given to a new technology, but nearly always, the technology evolves in an unforseen way and creates loopholes. Maybe a detailed grandfather clause would fix this, or could there be a positive spin to these loopholes?

My next thought: The two ugly sides of copyright infringement.

Roadcasting is in a form of P2P technology, using the airwaves instead of internet as its medium. This medium is heavily regulated and really is a can of worms. Broadcasting Standards, Licensed Frequency Infringement, Copyright Law, Technical Standards and eventually (like blogs and podcasts), advertising will find a way in (quite easily I suspect) bringing Advertising Standards into it as well. Traditional radio offers us either talk, music, or a mix of both (or a talking clock in some places). I go back to blurring lines: Is Roadcasting for private use, or public use? This I think is a very important question that will ultimately hold its fate.

I guess the "level of threat" needs to be determined by existing radio and record companies. It directly impacts radio, and the record companies may see it as an uncontrolled medium.

Dubber points out to me that "the fact that the record industry is doing its utmost to prevent this going on at all entirely misunderstands the role of music as an occasion for shared and social experience." True. It always seems to be the record companies who are the bad guys in any equation with multimedia technologies. Radio on the other hand is much more transparent.

As a working example, Radio has embraced iPods (so far). Having listeners time-shift their stations content is still considered 'listening', and has potential to INCREASE crucial radio listenership statistics like TSL (time spent listening) especially around survey time, because iPod users are more relaxed when listening, and listen over longer periods of time. Their morning trip may take 45 minutes and a radio show may be 60 minutes long. If the iPod listener pauses, then continues to listen on the trip home for example, then that 60 minutes of listening can be accurately measured as listening to the radio. Radio advertising (or sponsorship) will still be heard (or partially heard), so its considered a win. Same deal with podcasters, although it leaves commercially driven podcasters behind when it comes to zoning. Ads in highly subscribed podcasts (dayparts) may increase the rate-card for that show. Another win for all (less ads, more revenue). If podcasting had never come around, would radio have gone the other way and not supported iPods? I don't think so. They are just another way to market and listen to your station - and in this respect, Roadcasting might just be another way existing radio can evolve within its medium.

I find myself at the opposite end of my initial reaction to Roadcasting. A technology that threatens traditional radio, yet radio itself can embrace (and probably monopolise). I suspect Radio, the Record Companies, and RSM will be looking carefully at this.

September 26, 2005

Is Auckland Shot?

In the event of a major earthquake, eruption or any other major disaster how would Auckland fare?

May I paint a grim picture of our existing peak traffic flows in Auckland, if we are capable and how we would evacuate the city:

It is likely that in the event of a major earthquake, the Harbour Bridge would no longer exist, and thus the only way out of the region would be south.

The motorway would only be partially usable, due to the large parts which are actually overbridges being damaged to the point of no longer being usable.

Great South Road is a rather narrow main road that in much of its length consists of only one lane each way, north or south - at least as far south as Drury.

Much of Auckland is very soft land that in times past used to be swamp land. Anything constructed on those parts of Auckland would strongly feel the impact (of a tsunami or earthquake). [various | Google groups: nz.general]

Auckland does have a civil defence plan [pdf]. It estimates damage reports for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclone, tsunami, fire, terrorism, biological or chemical accidents, and flooding. No metion of meteorites, however. It details the 5 different emergency levels, and what happens on each level. It is a fairly detailed document, but not the document you want to read during the emergency!! Here is the document to print, staple and put in your emergency first aid kit.

As for keeping your ear on the radio, 80% of all stations out there are likely to be automated at that time, so I suggest either Radio Live, Radio Pacific, Newstalk ZB or National Radio for emergency coverage.

Whats interesting is that "Disaster Reduction Week" is coming October 9-15, and there is a very limited national radio campaign on The Rock, Kiwi, More FM, Edge (why not Radio Live or Pacific ..TRB?), Newstalk ZB (who will also integrate it through their news services), also privates IXX Whakatane and Hokonui Gold in Gore. The advertising will be based around a series of "know what it takes to survive" messages, and promoting the Civil Defence "sting". Sadly, most of these stations will only play 13 ads over the entire week! Bonanza. We're all saved!

I remember starting out in radio, putting together scripts for "in case of emergency" broadcasts. I had bemused looks by my boss at the time (coz we were increasingly using automation at the time), yet I got a quiet nod by upper management for taking initiative.

Take your own actions. Read (and print) this Be Ready Kit [link], get a first aid kit organised so you know that in the event of a natural disaster or other emergency like a chemical spill to terrorism, you'll be sorted.

September 22, 2005

Minutes: 22 Sept

Happy Thoughts:
Kanye West, thank you for having your eyes open, and keeping it real[.wmv].
Gilmores for their glorious rows of bulk goods, at cheep prices.
Michael Campbell. What a turnaround! every Blogger out there doing what they do, giving us an alternative. our expats who voted in the NZ Election. You matter more than ever!
J.D Fortune is the new lead singer for INXS:

Angry Thoughts:
Skytower patrons were evacuated, yet Skycity Casino patrons were not.
The London Bombers successfully completed a dummy run 10 days earlier.

September 19, 2005


Yeah Boy!

This had me engulfed today. What a load of fun!
Whoever came up with this is a genius.

September 12, 2005


It's interesting times in the world of Retro 80s artists. Remasters, boxed sets, original mixes and remixes are under extraction, and mostly hitting UK shelves. Props to siart for the heads up.

Of note, this one that comes out on Sept 27th: The Human League "Original Remixes". A few of these tracks are debuting for the first time on CD here (previously available on vinyl).


1 Being Boiled (Travelogue Version)
2 The Sound Of The Crowd (12" Version)
3 Love Action (Instrumental Mix)
4 Hard Times (Instrumental Mix)
5 Open Your Heart (12" Version)
6 Don't You Want Me (Special Extended Dance Mix) - hell yes!
7 Mirror Man (Extended Version)
8 (Keep Feeling) Fascination (Improvisation Mix)
9 The Lebanon (Extended Version)
10 Life On Your Own (Extended Version)
11 Electric Dreams (Extended Version)
12 Human (Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis Mix)
13 Love Is All That Matters (Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis Mix) - v good!
14 Heart Like A Wheel (Extended Version)

Also, wouldnt you know another 80s supergroup with a new found abundance of superness in 2005? Not Bon Jovi, not U2, not Depeche Mode, nor Tears for Fears, Def Leppard or Duran Duran - yet all these guys have current releases out there (didya know?). Im on about the most impressively progressive Simple Minds. These guys always seem to shy away when labelled a stadium band, but lets face it, the music sounds epic. Tidy production speaks out on the new single "Home".

If you can find this album, give it a listen. I expect you will be surprised.

Not so much a supergroup but yes to superness. If you want to dig a little deeper, then XTC's "Apple Box" is a treat. A massive 4 CD set includes the demos from Apple Venus and Wasp Star. In UK music stores October 11. Just get on the blower to Dubber to go shopping in Birmingham for you. He may even blog about it (his blog is gathering dust of late - why Andrew?).

Tracklisting (includes):

River Of Orchids, I'd Like That, Easter Theatre, Knights In Shining Karma, Frivolous Tonight, Greenman, Your Dictionary, Fruit Nut, I Can't Own Her, Harvest Festival, Last Balloon, Playground, Stupidly Happy, In Another Life, My Brown Guitar, Boarded Up, Standing In For Joe, Wheel & The Maypole, In Another Life (Excerpt Of Original Demo), In Another Life (Jug Band Version), Some Lovely, I'm The Man Who Murdered Love (Early Other Cassette), I'm The Man Who Murdered Love (Tamla Demo Excerpt), I'm The Man Who Murdered Love, Were All Light (Early Cassette Idea), Were All Light, Standing In For Joe (Lounge Version), Wounded Horse, You & The Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful, Lie For A Lie (Cassette Demo), Church Of Women, Pot Won't Hold Our Love (Cassette Demo), Everything Decays (Early Cassette Demo)

Cool Tool

I have a sales meeting this morning at 9, so Im gonna print one of these out, and make a few notes using it. It should work. It should make me look like Im paying attention and making notes on meeting minutes.

What it is, it is what it is. It is office organising origami.
One A4 folds into 8 delightful blank canvases - you design what template you want on each.

Lads and Gents. Make your Monday unMundane.

September 10, 2005

Thoughts about 9/11

If you were a victim of 9/11 - my heartfelt condolences to you, all the way from little wee Auckland in New Zealand. A guy a 1/4 the way around the world sends his admiration on how much stronger you have become as a person.

How much more aware of terrorism you have become and I applaud any action you have taken against terrorism. A donation to any fund that had anything to do with supporting other victims of 9/11, or placing an american flag in your yard or a small one on top of your christmas tree. I am proud of you for staying strong, and impressed with how you have managed to move forward with your life. How you console with your old and new friends on days like today about the tragedy.

The mixed feelings of hurt, dumbfoundedness, anger, and admiration for those who saved lives but their own on 9/11/01, must sometimes be an unbearable potion to lump.

From my office in Auckland, New Zealand - I wish you all my warmest feelings of comfort. I am nobody, but somebody who wanted to let you know that there are a lot of nobodies who are all thinking of you today.

Richard Phelps

September 5, 2005

Make that change

Jacko warned us '87, asking us to Make That Change. He asked us again in '01 to Change The World. Some thought the "browser wars" were over, but was clearly the beginning.

Realign your mind. Upgrade yourself. Find out why Internet Explorer sucks.
Below is a link to a great site which will explain the flaws with the default Windows web browser.

Forward this onto someone who has no clue why people are saying install Firefox or Safari. Why we should give Netscape another go, or opt for Opera.

Even your grandad has the skill to upgrade, so what are you waiting for?

Browse Happy logo

Last July we were given our new laptop. On receiving it, I followed by brother’s recommendation and set up Firefox. It was fairly straightforward to download, and has proved easy to use since. We get absolutely NO pop-ups or adverts, and 99% of our favourite sites work. On that basis I installed it on the desktop; the children report that “those grey boxes” and “rude things” have stopped coming through, and that it doesn’t crash so often now.

If only our I.T guys would listen to Michael Jackson.

nb: I consumed 6 hours of Jackos 1992 concert from C4, plus every music video he's ever made over the weekend. Forgive me. Ahh heee heee!

September 2, 2005

The truth about radio


Not iPods, not newspapers, not TV, but radio is the medium people are flocking to, in New Orleans right now for information after the lashing by Hurrican Katrina.

When is help arriving?
Is there more bad weather coming?
Where should I go to keep safe from disease?
When is help arriving?

Plea to all radio station owners: Direct your listeners to make a donation through Red Cross. Run ads now.

September 1, 2005

Price of Petrol

My head. How do I deal with $1.53 a litre of 96?

A few ideas about perceptual changes to the way I buy petrol came up in conversation at Red Rooster the other night. Why not fill your tank, and then refill it only when it gets down to half. That way, perception says you only pay half price for a full tank (and you'll always have a full tank at half price).

Please dont dig holes into this pereceptual dream of mine. I know its flawed, but I just cannot face skyhigh prices to fill a tank any more. Im done, and is the very reason why Im gonna put this spam on my blog:


It has been calculated that if everyone in New Zealand did not purchase a drop of petrol for one day at all the same time the oil companies could possibly choke on their stockpiles.

At the same time it would hit the entire industry with a net loss at the current prices of $1.50 per litre (30 litres for a full tank) $45.00 x a conservative estimate of 2,000,000 vehicles in NZ that would equate to $90 million dollar loss (one day) to the oil companies and hit their profit margins.

Therefore September 5th has been informally declared "Stick it up their butts day".

Motorists of New Zealand should not buy a single drop for that day!

The only way this can be done if your forward this e-mail to as many people as you can to get the word out.

Waiting on this Government to step in and control prices is not going to happen and there is an Election coming so why not throw them into a panic.


Remember one thing about raising gas prices:

* Airlines are forced to raise their prices

* Trucking companies forced to raise their prices

* These prices affect the cost of shipping

* Flow on effect that your GROCERY BILL goes up

* Flow on effect on clothing, building, medical supplies!

* It effects all of us in every area while companies can write off these expenses, consumers cannot.

Who pays in the end?

WE DO - The consumer!

We can make a difference if they don't get the message after one day we will do it again and again.

Enough of these ridiculous excuses that the oil companies use to justify their increases everything from President Bush missing a golf stroke on the 9th hole to Aunt Fanny's artificial leg falling off.

If you are sick of this manipulation vote with your car and do not buy a drop. Spread the word and mark the date on your calendars.

What rips your pants?

Drivers who leave their indicators on.
Cheesy-as "I wanna throw the TV out the window" punchlines on TV commercials.
The ZB Traffic Van (am I supposed to feel better you are in traffic jams WITH me, creating more clutter?)
The Briscoes Woman, Dave from Wendys, The Telecom Cat & Dog.
How I get sucked into things like NZ Idol then start complaining about who got voted off, when I really dont care.

Thats it for now. Feel free to add your own (what rips YOUR pants?)