Buy Tomorrow’s SMH/AGE

Tomorrow (Tuesday Aug 15) you should buy The Age or The Sydney Morning Herald and read the cover story in NEXT, their IT section, about the state of web hosting in Australia. I was interviewed by Nick Miller from Next recently about why TPN hosts our shows out of the Texas. And, no, it’s not because of my cozy relationship with the Bush cabal.

August 15 is also Napoleon Bonaparte’s 237th birthday. I’ll be singing La Marseillaise every hour on the hour and it’s as good an opportunity as any for you to check out my Napoleon podcast. You might learn something, bunch of savages that you are.

The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect

I can’t remember who or when, but sometime in the last year someone (to whom I am extremely grateful) recommended to me this 1994 book by Roger Williams: "The Metamorphosis of Prime Intellect". Yesterday I was sitting in the kid’s piano lesson, scrolling through the hundreds of ebooks on my PDA, looking for something to pass away the time, and discovered it. I started reading and I was BLOWN. AWAY. This is without a doubt the best post-singularity fiction book I have ever read. Sorry Cory – it’s even better than "Down And Out".

"Metamorphosis" deals with the ramifications of a superpowerful computer that can alter reality after a technological singularity as well as how the descendants of post-singularity humanity deal with the boredom that would come with being able to manipulate the universe at will. Brilliant, totally freaking brilliant.

Thank you, Long Tail, for making this book available.

By the way, as I’ve mentioned before, I’m also reading Chris Anderson’s "The Long Tail" and it’s also brilliant. I’m continually being struck with how well Chris is able to articulate concepts I’ve been trying to convey in my own muddled way for the last couple of years. I guess being a trained journalist has benefits after all. 🙂

Almost every paragraph in Long Tail is a quote you want to be able to recite. If I was still using highlighters, I know this is one of those books that would have more highlighted space than white.

What have we done…?

Is Andrew Bolt, News Ltd’s #1 right-wing apologist in Australia, finally starting to wise up?

In his blog yesterday, talking about the arrests in Britian, he wrote:

We must meanwhile wonder what we’ve done to breed alienated – and, I’m tipping, increasingly well-educated – non-Muslims who see salvation in a violent fascist ideology all over again. 

Andrew, at least you’re starting to ask the right questions. "What have we done…?". I’d personally like to see the people in the media with your level of readership spending more time helping us focus on what we have done to create this situation and less time using emotional trigger words like "fascist", "terrorist" and "insurgents" to justify further Western military and economic warfare. Until we discover and understand the root cause of this situation, we will stay in denial and have to live with escalating payback-counterpayback scenarios from the hawks on both sides.

Until folks like Ron O (one of Andrew’s commenters) realize that this is a two-way street and that they are also protecting themselves from us… this isn’t going to stop. Unless, of course, we seriously think we can bomb the enemies of Western Imperialism off the face of the earth without being compensated.

I agree with Ibrahim, a Lebanese blogger who I recently interviewed on G’Day World, when he said "it doesn’t matter who is wrong or who is right. What matters now is peace and an end to the violence and deaths." To even HOPE to achieve an end to the violence we need to understand and accept the position of our enemies. And this isn’t "lefty" talk. Even Sun Tzu, the master of military strategy, will tell you that if you don’t understand your enemy, you will lose more battles than you will win.

The 2nd Anniversary of Australian Podcasting

November 26th 2006 will be the 2nd anniversary of "G’Day World" and therefore it is also "The 2nd Anniversary of Australian Podcasting" and the anniversary of what-was-to-become-TPN. So I guess we should start planning the party. I’m thinking we should take over a bar or something in Melbourne, take some video cameras, and drink tequila all night. As the 26th of Nov is a Sunday, we should start it on the night of the 25th and see in the anniversary. The event will be limited to:

1. Current TPN hosts

2. TPN listeners

3. TPN sponsors

I’ll be looking for someone to sponsor the event. Preferably an tequila company. Anyone got Sammy Hagar’s number?

So… who’s coming?

GDAY WORLD!!! #148 about Reeltime and blog architecture

Check out our new sponsors! iTrainer.com.au and lastminute-auction.com

Today on the show I’ve got two interviews.

The first is the John Karantzis, CEO of Reeltime, an Aussie start-up that’s just announced a JV with Yahoo7 to deliver movie and television downloads over the net.

Second I chat with Aaron Brazell, Chief Geek for b5Media, about the evolving needs of blog architectures. Aaron’s blog is at TechnoSailor.

StJohn – I’m onto you!

Last night, while Netspace (my ISP) was down for the second night in a row, I happened to be checking my router and noticed a PC called "StJohn" attached to my network. I didn’t worry too much about it because my next door neighbour (and regular tech support guy) David has the WEP key for my network and sometimes jumps on to copy media files or just when his network is having issues. I know StJohn isn’t a PC name I normally associate with him, but he’s always getting new machines.

HOWEVER… I happened to be up tonight (it’s about 3am), turned on my desktop PC in the study and got an "IP conflict" message from Windows. So I went to check the router again and discovered "StJohn" control of the router and I couldn’t log on!!

So I walked downstairs, manually re-booted the device, then scurried upstairs, logged onto the router, and set it to "trusted PCs only".

So… StJohn… As DeNiro said… "I’m. watching. you."

“Studio 60” pilot full of promise

Last night I watched the full pilot episode of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip", the new television show from Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme, the geniuses who brought us the first few seasons of "West Wing", without doubt one of the smartest, best cast television shows in recent history (until, that is, Sorkin and Schlamme departed the series, after which it was still better than most TV, but nowhere near as brilliant as the first few seasons).

Where "West Wing" took us behind the scenes of The White House and was mostly a serious political drama, "Studio 60" takes us behind the scenes of a sketch comedy show similar to Saturday Night Live. In the opening scenes of the pilot episode, the Exec Producer of the show (which is also called "Studio 60 on Sunset Strip"), has a major argument with one of the execs of the network ("NBS") over a sketch which makes fun of Christians (called "Crazy Christians"). The network execs have demanded he must pull the sketch from the show. Moments later, the Exec Producer thrusts himself onto camera and rants about the lack of integrity and intelligence in television (you just KNOW I’m going to love this show, right?). This rant goes on for 53 seconds before the vision is pulled by the control-room director (played brilliantly by Timothy Busfield, "Danny Concannon" from West Wing) who is under enormous pressure from the afore-mentioned network exec.

Recently-promoted president of Studio 60’s fictional network NBS, Jordan McDeere (played by the very sexy Amanda Peet), on her first day on the job (even though her contract actually doesn’t start for another 72 hours), convinces her boss that they need to move fast to improve the perception of integrity of the network and the show by hiring two former employees, Danny Tripp (played by Bradley Whitford, "Josh" from "West Wing") and Matt Albie (played by Matthew Perry, "Chandler" from "Friends"), to take over the show. Danny and Matt had been resigned from the show, where they were lead director and writer respectively, four years previously when they felt they were being managed out. They have since become famous writing and directing films but are about to fall on harder times as Danny has just failed a medical exam due to cocaine found in his system and he needs 18 months of clean tests before he can get completion insurance to direct their new feature film. And so, somewhat reluctantly, they accept the job of taking over the ailing show. Throw in the fact that Matt has recently split up rather acrimoniously with one of the lead actresses on the show, Harriett Hayes (played by Sarah Paulson who was "Miss Esringhausen" in "Deadwood"), who is a committed Christian. They split up because she appeared on Pat Robertson’s "700 Club" to promote her new CD and Matt was completely offended that she would associate with such company. By the way… the sketch that the network execs wanted pulled, "Crazy Christians"? Matt wrote it, four years earlier. And Jordan, the new president of the network, wants him to open next week’s show with it.

There’s the plot of the pilot.

I loved it. It’s played much more for laughs than "West Wing", but it has the same fast, hyper-intelligent dialogue and the same cast of brilliant-yet-flawed characters. Throughout the pilot, not only do we learn that Danny has recently tested positive for cocaine (and had been clean for 11 years previously), reminding us of Sorkin’s own arrest in 2001 for possession of crack cocaine, but Matt spends the entire first episode spaced out on pain-killers. Jordan is obviously a smart, successful woman who is more than comfortable using her ample sex appeal to get what she wants if she needs to. Add to that the fact that the show looks like it is going to launch a frontal assault on the pathetic state of television in the 21st century (towards the end of the pilot, when asked by a network exec if he can talk to reporters without embarrassing the network, Matt replies "you could put a camera on two people masturbating and it would easily be the least embarrassing thing on the network", to which Jordan quips to her boss "I’ve already got a mutual masturbation series in production"), and I think Sorkin and Schlamme are onto another winner.

Of course… it’ll be 2008 before any of the TV networks in this country bother to air it and then, is West Wing is any guide, they will consider it too smart for their mainstream audience and run it at 11pm at night… so thank god for bittorrent is all I can say.

Which reminds me…

Here’s the link for the torrent of a 6 minute promo for the show.

And here’s the link to the full pilot.

Ewan Spence again breaks new podcasting ground

Just some of the things you will be hearing on the Edinburgh Fringe Festival podcast in coming weeks…

… The cast of the theatrical version of TOP GUN (a story about a man’s struggle with his own homosexuality) perform a scene featuring Ewan Spence as "Maverick"
… challenged by the world’s 8-Ball trick shot pool champion to a game of pool for ten pounds on the podcast (see photo below)
… the guys who act out all six harry potter novels in 55 minutes
… Hamlet performed on a bouncy castle

Not to mention the coverage he’s getting from The Stage, the UK’s version of Variety mag, which is the official sponsor of the podcast this year and is partnering with us to bring the cast to a much wider audience.

Add the EFF podcast to iTunes by clicking here!

“The Long Tail” hits NYT top ten

Chris Anderson, Editor of Wired Mag, wrote a great book called “The Long Tail” about the way the internet is changing how we consume products and media. It was released two weeks ago and it’s already hit the New York Times Top Ten seller list for non-fiction books.

But the best piece of this news (apart from the fact that this means a bunch of people are going to start to get their head around the long tail meme) is that Chris blogged the book while he was writing it, so it should be clear evidence for publishers around the world that blogging a book will not necessarily hurt it’s sales.

Chris sums it up on his blog:

Part of the reason the book is successful, I believe, is because as I was writing it the smart readers of this blog helped improve the ideas, catch my errors and suggest dozens of applications and dimensions of the Long Tail I never would have thought of myself. So today’s recognition is also a recognition of the power of tapping collective intelligence. I couldn’t have done it without you!

I’ve been talking about the book a lot recently and I like using this quote from it:

“There’s still demand for big cultural buckets, but they’re no longer the only market. The hits now compete with an infinite number of niche markets, of any size. And consumers are increasingly favoring the one with the most choice. The era of one-size-fits-all is ending, and in its place is something new, a market of multitudes.