Thursday, March 06, 2008

Flash: Dutch quality paper on iLiad


From today onwards, the Dutch quality paper NRC Handelsblad will be available on the iLiad eReader. It is the first Dutch newspaper available on a digital paper Reader worldwide. More info tomorrow.

BPN 1029 Dutch distributed numeric domains, but how

Last week the Dutch responsible institution for the distribution of domains SIDN finally started with numeric domains. In two days there were 500.000 requests. The landrush led however to a serious discussion among hosting companies, as a small number of companies took thousands of domains by barricading the access ports. Despite the protests the SIDN management considered the procedure fair. But politicians want to strike the results and demand an inquiry.

Before the landrush a number of domains had been set aside, as they are for general use such as the alarm number 112.nl and the public transport information service 9292.nl. But as soon as the landrush was open a few ISPs kept the access ports occupied for 20 minutes with technical tricks. In fact they actions bore similarity to ddos attacks. The distribution was on a first come, first serve basis.

SIDN said in a press release that for every possible domain there were 13 requests. When the landrush started 10.000 connections with the SIDN mail servers were attempted. In the first 10 minutes 10.000 requests were handled; on the first day by 16 p.m. 121.000 requests had been processed. In total 14.500 domains have been given out. The mail servers could only handle 200 simulaneous requests and one connection per IP-address. SIDN thinks that it handled the procedure fairly and that everyone had a fair chance.

However, one ISP gave an insight in how it picked up no less than 2.579 domains. MijnAlbum.nl, an ISP with a site for photographs, was after numeric number in the 2100 years series and the Telephone area codes. The numbers in the 2100 series were for births and marriages; the area codes in order to couple public albums with MijnAlbum.nl. In order to be sure to pick up these domains, the ISP designed a project with a budget of 35.000 euro and a preparation time of 2 months.

The chairman of the ISP association, ISPconnect had lodged a protest against this method. MijnAlbum and Funbit, both not members of the ISP association, have used excessive technical power to keep the e-mail servers blocked, so that other ISPs did not have a fair chance. No less than 63 members of the 250 ISP members have sent their experience to the association. This information is being processed and bundled for publication and possible legal procedures.

Also politicians have commented on the procedure and have asked to strike the allotted domains. One politician even went further and proposed to terminate the SIDN and transfer the domain activities to the telecom watchdog OPTA, which is also responsible for the allotment of telephone numbers. A system of attribution is preferred instead of a first come, first serve basis.

Blog Posting Number: 1029

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

BPN 1028 What do women play?

One third of the Dutch women can be regularly found on gaming websites. Of those women 75 per cent plays at least one quarter of an hour to one hour a day. Those are the results of the Natiional Gaming Survey 2008.

Recently the company Newzoo started its business in Amsterdam as a game advertising company. One of their first assignments was to launch the National Gaming Survey. The survey in cooperation with the survey bureau TNS NIPO interviewed 9522 respondents.

An earlier survey in the summer of 2007 drew two conclusions: almost as many men as women played games on a daily basis and the percentage of women playing games was almost 50 percent. However it was unclear what kind of games they played and where.

Some results survey 2007
■ 43% of the Dutch population plays regularly games, at least for a quarter of an hour;
■ As many men as women play regularly;
■ 36% of all women play on game portals;
■ 44% of all young males between 13 to 19 years of age play more than one hour a day;
■ 17% of the Dutch population plays games provided by popular brands (advergames).




From the National Gaming Survey it is clear that women love to play games online, while being alone. Most popular are the games on portals . One in three Dutch women (36 per cent) plays games, play this at least for one quarter of an hour and up to one hour and have 100 game portals to choose from. Four game portals are very popular: zylom.nl, spele.nl, spelletjes.nl and funnygames.nl. The most popular women games are puzzles, word games and board games like Mahjong. In the survey also the behaviour of men was surveyed. Most popular games for Dutch men are the games on CD-ROM and DVD. No less than 37 per cent of the men game this way against the PC or themselves. Only 17 per cent plays against groups online, usually action or strategy games. This is done by 17 per cent of the men, while women do this only for 9 per cent. This is rather remarkable as male players are usually seen as playing together online in action games. A per centage of 44 young men between 13 and 19 plays games daily more than one hour.

Newzoo found out that branded games or advergames are popular amongst women; certainly when a prize can be won. One in five women (21 per cent) play this type of games. Only 13 per cent of the men can be seduced to play this type of games. This type of games are used by advertisers for several purposes such as promoting a new product, collecting e-mail addresses or teaching people.

Blog Posting Number: 1028

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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

BPN 1027 Internet skills Dutch average, according to CBS

The Dutch like to tap themselves on the back when another ranking puts them in the lead. Of course they had an early start with consumer internet from 1994 onwards. But in comparison with other European countries their internet skills rank average.

Of the 16,4 million Dutch inhabitants, 11 million use internet. Almost everyone (95 per cent) uses a search engine to find information. And 86 per cent knows how to use e-mails and forward e-mails with attachments. But when it comes to chatrooms, news groups, skyping and sharing music or movies, the user group decreases to 30 per cent. And only two out of ten internet users can design a webpage on their own.

Internet users between 65 and 75 years of age are less active on the internet than youngsters between 12 and 25 years of age. Senior internet users used internet to find information or to e-mail in 2007. Youngsters use internet to chat (54 per cent), skype or msn (50 per cent) or share music or movies (57 per cent).

The Netherlands ranks high when it comes to internet facilities. And in 2007 one in seven internet users was very versatile with internet. But despite the fact that the number of internet users with skills has doubled over the last two years, the skills are just above average, compared to the rest of the European Union. It puts the Netherlands in thirteenth position. The conclusion is that the availability of internet facilities does not run parallel with the development of internet skills. The same phenomenon can be seen in Germany and Belgium. However, in Estland and Finland one in three internet users have high internet skills. In Ireland and Cyprus only 5 per cent of the users are highly skilled.

More than 80 per cent of the internet users learn the skills by self study. Two of three internet users are helped by their family, friends and colleagues. Internet users with few internet skills would like to participate in a course. Education does influence the skills. Users with a basic education keep themselves busy with sharing music and movies. Young internet users with a higher education more easily design a webpage. Only two per cent of seniors have ever designed a web page; only four per cent of them share music and movies.

Update 05/04/2008: These were the conclusions in the Dutch press release of the Dutch Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). I went back to the original research results collated by Eurostat and got a complete different impression. Eurostat designed eight skills as checkpoints:
- Use a search engine to find information
- Send email with attached files
- Keep viruses, spyware, computer
- Find, download and install software
- Messages to chat rooms, newsgroups or online discussion
- Use Internet to make phone calls
- Peer-to-peer file sharing for movies, music
- Create a web page
Totalling the results of these eight skills per country and dividing them by eight offered a complete different ranking arises.


EU27 less Malta
1. Romania: 10,37
2. Greece: 15
3. Cyprus: 15,12
4. Bulgaria: 16,62
5. Ireland: 20,62
6. Poland: 20,87
7. Czech Republic: 21,62
8. Lithuania: 24
9. Italy: 22,12
10. Latvia: 25,25
11. Hungary 25,25
12. Belgium: 27,75
13. Spain: 27,87
EU27 less Malta: 28,25
14. Slovenia: 28,50
15. UK: 32
16. Austria: 32
17. France: 34,37
18. Estland: 35
19. Sweden: 36,12
20. Germany: 36,25
21. Finland: 38
22. Netherlands: 43,50
23. Denmark: 44,12
24. Luxembourg: 44,37
25. Norway: 45,87
26. Iceland: 47

Source: Eurostat 23/2007

Blog Posting Number: 1027

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Monday, March 03, 2008

BPN 1026 FTTH spreads globally

The number of countries where fibre to the home (FTTH) connections are showing significant gains in the broadband services market continues to expand, according to an updated global ranking issued by the FTTH Councils of Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America.

The new ranking, based on statistics gathered at the end of 2007, lists 14 economies where more than one percent of households are connected directly into high speed fibber optic networks. On the first-ever ranking, released in July 2007, 11 economies exceeded the 1 percent threshold. In the new ranking Slovenia, Iceland and Singapore have been added as new entries to the list.


Globally, 2007 was the best year yet in terms of numbers of new subscribers to FTTH services, thanks primarily to strong growth in Japan, China and the United States, where a total of nearly 6 million new FTTH households were added for the three countries.

The updated ranking shows that Asian economies continue to outpace the rest of the world in terms of FTTH market penetration, with South Korea moving into the top slot with 31.4 per cent of households connected, followed by Hong Kong at 23.4 per cent and Japan at 21.3 per cent.

A large gap separates third place Japan from fourth place Sweden, where 7.1 per cent of homes are wired with FTTH, followed closely by Taiwan at 6.8 percent and Norway at 6 percent. Denmark, at 2.5 percent occupies seventh position on the chart.

The United States, by more than doubling its penetration rate to 2.3 percent, moved up three places to eighth position, followed by two of the three countries making their first appearance on the chart, Slovenia at 1.8 percent and Iceland at 1.5 percent. The People’s Republic of China moved from tenth to eleventh place as direct fibber connections in that country moved up slightly to 1.5 percent. Netherlands, Italy and Singapore rounded out the list with market penetration rates ranging from 1.1 to 1.4 percent.

The basic conclusion is that Asia is far ahead of the USA and Europe in glass fibre projects. In Europe there are 2000 FTTH and VDSL projects. European projects are usually a mix of small to large FTTH projects. In the Netherlands the penetration is around 1,1 per cent; its largest project is Cityring in Amsterdam with 40.000 households in the first phase, still to be connected. Also the cities of Rotterdam and Eindhoven have large scale projects planned, while my home town Almere has started connecting 70.000 households.

The speed of the FTTH connections is also moving up. Presently 50 to 100 Mbps speeds are offered. However by 2010 Draka Comteq, manufacturer of glass fibre, expects that speeds up to 1Gbps will not be an exception for FTTH. The capacity will be filled up fast with HD Gaming and HDTV; for proper IPTV a capacity of 100Mbps is just a start.

Blog Post Number 1026

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Sunday, March 02, 2008

BPN 1025 EU: safer internet for children at 55 mln euro

Last week the EC announced an even safer internet programme for 2009 till 2013. In the past weeks we have been able to see on the national levels several expressions of the present programme running from 2005 till 2009.

In the Netherlands the awareness club Digibewust published a pdf downloadable brochure for the family on how to handle internet dangers. The brochure is cooperation between government and business as Liberty/UPC sponsored the publication. The brochure got straight away flack. It was not because of the brochure itself, which has been a co-production between countries. And you can see that. It is a black colour film production. In the brochure only the text has been translated, while almost all the illustration have been left in tact, this is in English. No adaptation or translation. Even an exercise in SMS lingo has not been translated or adapted; this while there is at least one SMS dictionary in Dutch. Yet the spokesperson for the awareness club characterised the brochure as successful and a real European product. I beg to disagree with the lady: if European means that we are not going to adapt and translate colour film illustration because of the costs, give us national products and you can not call a brochure successful without a survey measuring the effects. I think more effort should be put into producing such a brochure.

But the brochure got real flack as it had been merely translated in Dutch and not adapted to the legislation. As for downloading the brochure states that downloading is forbidden. In the Netherlands downloading is still not forbidden. Of course music companies and lobbies like NVPI would love to see it. However, present legislation still allows people to make and save a copy at home. Selling copies commercially and uploading music or movies is forbidden in the Netherlands. The spokesperson has granted the mistake in the meantime; however the awareness club will not change the brochure, but will add a note (which has not been added up to this day of writing).

I am not sure whether this brochure will be very successful. I was more impressed by the Belgian game Become Webwise, in French and Dutch. The game is available on the 100 per cent safe site Kid City (supported by the local telecom incumbent Belgacom). Kid City cooperates in this game with Action Innocence. Aim of this project is to contribute to integrity and dignity of children on internet. The game challenges kids and parents about their knowledge of internet. The objective of the game is to get kids and parents to talk about the positive and negative sides of internet. The game has a back-up by way of help desk for children.

Blog Posting Number: 1025

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Saturday, March 01, 2008

BPN 1024 EU: safer internet for children at 55 mln euro (1)

The European Commission has proposed a new Safer Internet programme to enhance the safety of children in the online environment. Encompassing recent communications services from the Web 2.0, such as social networking, the new programme will fight not only illegal content but also harmful behaviour such as bullying and grooming. With a budget of 55 million euro, the programme, which builds further on the successful Safer Internet programme started in 2005, will run from 2009 to 2013.

The proposed new programme will:
· Reduce illegal content and tackle harmful conduct online: actions to provide the public with national contact points for reporting illegal content online and harmful conduct, focusing in particular on child sexual abuse material and grooming.
· Promote a safer online environment: fostering self-regulatory initiatives in this field. To stimulate the involvement of children and young people in creating a safer online environment, in particular through youth panels.
· Ensure public awareness: actions targeting children, their parents and teachers. Encourage a multiplier effect through exchange of best practices within the network of national awareness centres. Support contact points where parents and children can receive advice on how to stay safe online.
· Establish a knowledge base by bringing together researchers engaged in child safety online at European level. Establish a knowledge base on the use of new technologies by children, the effects these have on them, and related risks. Use this to improve the effectiveness of ongoing actions within the Safer Internet Programme.

The proposal takes into account the results of a public consultation on Safer Internet and online technologies for children which ran from April to June 2007:

It also includes recommendations made by children themselves at the European Youth forum organised by the European Commission for Safer Internet Day 2008.

In addition to the Safer Internet Programme, other political initiatives have taken place with leading mobile phones operators' agreement of February 2007 to develop self-regulatory codes to protect minors using mobile phones. More recently, the mobile industry also announced it would shut off all access to child pornography on mobile phones.

Blog Posting Number 1024

Tags: safe internet, illegal content, harmful conduct, ,

Monthly stats blog Buziaulane

Blog: Buziaulane is a daily blog in English
Period: 1-2-2008 till 29-2-2008

Stats February 2008
Pageviews: 1771 pages (January: 2076 pages)
Visits: 1426 visits (January 1612 visits)
Unique Visitors: 1289 visitors (January 1428 visitors)
Countries: 76 countries (January 78 countries)

Top 10 subjects
Rank/URL/Percentage of Pageviews
1. other (46,87%)
2. http://buziaulane.blogspot.com/ (15,81%)
3. ...spot.com/2006/07/serious-games-for-seniors.html (1,86%)
4. ...buziaulane.blogspot.com/2006_08_03_archive.html (1,47%)
5. ...lane.blogspot.com/2006/03/new-p2p-software.html (1,19%)
6. ....blogspot.com/2005/10/skype-and-webcam-era.html (1,02%)
7. .../2007/01/no-not-again-those-merger-rumours.html (0,90%)
8. http://www.buziaulane.blogspot.com/ (0,85%)
9. ...pot.com/2005/10/memorial-day-for-mata-hari.html (0,85%)
10. Rest (29,2%)



Pageviews from the following countries
Rank/country/percentage/last month’s rank
1. USA 27,72% (1)
2. Netherlands 26,65% (2)
3. UK 8,87% (3)
4. France 4,01% (4)
5. Canada 2,43% (6)
6. Italy 2,37% (13)
7. Germany 2,20% (5)
8. Australia 1,75% (8)
9. India 1,58% (7)
10. Belgium 1,36% (9)
11. Israel 1,36% 12
12.. Spain 1,07% (10)
13. Malaysia 0,90%
14. Poland 0,85% (11)
15. Finland 0,85%

Stats generated by Onestat

Friday, February 29, 2008

BPN 1023 Search engines in the Netherlands

How do search engines fare in the Netherlands? Of course some of the Dutch use Google, Live Search Yahoo, and/or Altavista. And others search in engines from Dutch origin. The result bears hardly any surprises as Google is way ahead of foreign and Dutch search engines. In fact nine out of ten Dutch people google, when searching.

Checkit and the marketing survey bureau RMI Interactive monitor the use among 1475 internet users by web survey twice a year. The method is simple. User get a list of search engines and are asked whether they know the name of the search engine, have used occasionally or use it mostly.
Below are the stats of the five most popular search engines in The Netherlands. Between brackets is an indication of the rise and fall over against the results of the survey presented in September 2007. Google, Live Search and Yahoo are foreign search engines with a Dutch language interface and Dutch priority search. Ilse is the oldest Dutch search engine, owned by the Finnish publishing company Sanoma. Vinden.nl is a meta search engine, combining the results of more search engines.

Familiar with name
Google 99% (+1)
ilse 83% (-3)
Live Search 63% (+15)
Yahoo! 71% (=0)
Vinden.nl 49% (+14)

Used occasionally
Google 95% (=0)
ilse 9% (=0)
Live Search 7% (-1)
Yahoo! 4% (=0)
Vinden.nl 7% (+5)

Used mostly
Google 93% (-2)
ilse 1% (-1)
Live Search 0% (-1)
Yahoo! 0% (=0)
Vinden.nl 2% (+2)

From these stats and this graph it is clear that Google is well known and well used. Remarkable is the fact that MSN Live Search picks up 15 per cent, when it comes to name familiarity, hardly used. Vinden.nl picks up name familiarity and converts this in more search actions. The eldest search engine in the Netherlands ilse is slipping further into oblivion.


Blog Posting Number: 1023

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Thursday, February 28, 2008

BPN 1022 Fabchannel.com and Universal jointly in live concert videos online

Fabchannel.com announced a recording and multi-territory digital exploitation agreement with Universal Music Netherlands, a division of the world’s leading music company, for live recordings of Universal Music artists performing at the Paradiso in Amsterdam.Fans from around the globe will have access to live concert videos from international and local Universal Music artists performing at the Paradiso and other Fabchannel related venues. Fabchannel will record concerts of up-and-coming as well as established Universal Music artists in broadcasting quality and make them available for fans to view on Fabchannel.com and to buy as video and audio downloads on their download service. In addition, Universal Music will distribute the video and audio downloads across digital and mobile services.

For Fabchannel.com this a giant step forward as the company and the site have been recognised by one of the leading music companies. Fanchannel.com has been pioneer of the model. The fact that Universal now comes in means a recognition of the business model: an ad-supported live music video model, which enables artists, labels and media companies to make their live music available. The model also gives brands and businesses new ways to connect and interact with a highly-engaged audience of consumers in the 25-and-under youth demographic range.

The cooperation between Fabchannel.com and Universal Music shows that music content companies are looking for other ways of supporting their distribution channels. So far the music conglomerates have never initiated a service of their own, but have used third parties to distribute music of artists under contract of the music company. Now Universal Music will take part in the distribution of live concert videos online. The agreement comes at a time that the music distribution services are re-arranging and consolidating.

Today Fabchannel.com has put the concert online gezet op www.fabchannel.com/jimmy_eat_world, recently given by the popular US band JIMMY EAT WORLD. This exclusive concert recording opname is the first result of the agreement between Fabchannel.com and Unoversal Music Benelux. The show, in which the band played hits such as 'The Middle’ and ‘Sweetness’ as well as new songs from the latest record 'Chase This Light’ can be viewed now completely for free. No less than eight cameras registered the concert. The recordings can used on own sites and in profiles through the video widget Fabplayer.

Blog Posting Number: 1022

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

BPN 1021 Building a virtual world at school

It is quiet around Second Life. No longer are governments, municipalities and banks wasting money and storming into the virtual world to show the world how internet savvy they are. But now a Dutch language (sorry; please try the translation facility) evaluation report Best practices: Virtual Environments in Education has been published about an education project using virtual environments. The conclusion is that virtual environments are valuable additions for education, provided that the virtual environment project is bundled in with the teaching content.

Seven high schools have participated in the pilot project. Four experimented with Active Worlds and three were active in Second World. The Dutch organisation Knowledge Net offered training and technical support. The pilot fits in the SURFnet/Knowledge Net Innovation program for education.

The report offers a series of recommendations in the field of technology, organisation, and didactics and practical tips for schools which want to start virtual world projects. Here are a few hints:
- Test the environment well beforehand and arrangements with system maintenance about support;
- Make a special section in the electronic teaching environment for the participating pupils and teacher;
- Produce a plan with clear objectives;
- Offer the pupils a special section in the system, where they can experiment;
- produce a map of the environment with the object to be built and a division of tasks;
- Bundle the project in with concrete teaching content;
- Keep the pilot small;
- Make the pupils depended on each other, which will promote cooperation.

In the report two examples are offered, which can be used during classes. In a module on Roman architecture, the teacher can show a lot of examples of temples and houses. Parallel with the lectures the pupils can start building a temple or a house with an atrium. Another exercise could be modelling the school (see illustration).

The report stresses that the virtual environment should not be a project for project’s sake. But it should be an exploration trip in which pupils can work together and use the knowledge they have picked up. A virtual environment object should help the pupils to gather information about a subject. Cooperation in such a project is essential. The virtual environment also serves to excite pupils and to activate them to learn something about a subject like Roman architecture.

In my opinion the teacher will be essential in starting such a project. And almost every teacher regardless of the subject which he/she teaches can start such a project. Of course subjects like chemistry, physics and biology as well as art can use virtual environments. But also language teachers can offer a virtual world around the Eiffel tower and have the pupils chat in French. Even those pupils following abstract subjects like math and philosophy can use virtual environments. What about building the cave of Plato and discuss the problem of representation of knowledge.

It looks all exciting, but these types of projects will depend on the enthusiasm of the teacher, his/her computer versatility and the factor time.

See movie.

Blog Posting Number: 1021

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

BPN 1020 EU funded movies win Oscars

The Academy Awards have been handed out again. And again this year EU movies were and actors and actresses were among the prize winners. For the first time in the forty years of the existence of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, all Oscars for the best performances went to foreign actors and actresses. The British actor Daniel Day-Lewis (There Will Be Blood), the French actress Marion Cotillard (playing Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose), the Spanish actor Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) and the Scottish actress Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) took the highest accolades of Hollywood for lead performances.

Also for the EU Media programme, the Academy Award ceremony was gratifying, as two European movies received three awards. The Oscar for the best foreign language film went to the Austrian-German co-production "The Counterfeiters" (Die Fälscher). Also "La Vie en Rose" (La Môme) from France was very successful last night, with an Oscar for the best actress in a leading role and one for the best Make-up.

In total four EU movies have been nominated for the Academy Awards. Next to the Austrian-German co-production of "The Counterfeiters" (Die Fälscher), there were three French productions "La Vie en Rose" (La Môme), "Persepolis", and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" (Le Scaphandre et le Papillon) entered. These four EU movies received a contribution from the EU MEDIA programme up to a total amount of 2.629.331 euro.

This is the third year running that EU movies have been successful in obtaining Oscars. Last year, the Oscar winner for the best foreign language film came from Germany, with "The Lives of Others" (Das Leben der Anderen), directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. In 2006, the French film "March of the Penguins" (La marche de l’Empereur) won the Oscar for the Best Documentary Film. The Lives of Others was also supported by the EU MEDIA programme with a contribution of over 0,5 million euro, while March of the Penguins received a contribution of 1,13 million euro.

The EU MEDIA 2007 programme is providing 755 million euro to Europe's film industry from 2007-2013. A clear priority is the distribution and promotion of European films outside their originating country, across Europe (almost 65% of the total budget). Under the EU MEDIA Plus and EU MEDIA Training (2001-2006), more than half a billion euros were injected into 8000 projects from over 30 countries.

The EU MEDIA programme's overall objectives are to strengthen the competitiveness of the European audiovisual sector by facilitating access to financing and promoting use of digital technologies, to reflect and respect Europe’s cultural identity and heritage, and to increase the circulation of European audiovisual works inside and outside the European Union.

Blog Posting Number: 1020

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Monday, February 25, 2008

BPN 1019 Archiving the Web

Well here we go with a real internet problem: archiving web content. Now the EU project LiWA will research Live Web Archiving. The project has a PowerPoint presentation on its vision. It looks like a project to follow. At last real preservation of real multimedia digital heritage (as opposed to digitalised heritage from museums and archives).

Web content plays an increasingly important role in the knowledge-based society, and the preservation and long-term accessibility of Web history has high value (e.g., for scholarly studies, market analyses, intellectual property disputes, etc.). There is strongly growing interest in its preservation by library and archival organizations as well as emerging industrial services. Web content characteristics (high dynamics, volatility, contributor and format variety) make adequate Web archiving a challenge.

LiWA will look beyond the pure "freezing" of Web content snapshots for a long time, transforming pure snapshot storage into a "Living" Web Archive. "Living" refers to a) long term interpretability as archives evolve, b) improved archive fidelity by filtering out irrelevant noise and c) considering a wide variety of content.

LiWA will extend the current state of the art and develop the next generation of Web content capture, preservation, analysis, and enrichment services to improve fidelity, coherence, and interpretability of web archives. By developing methods which improve archive fidelity, the project will contribute to adequate preservation of complete and high-quality content. By developing methods for improved archive coherence and interpretability, the project contributes to ensuring its long-term usability.

LiWA RTD will focus on innovative methods for content capturing, filtering out spam and other noise, improving temporal archive coherence, and dealing with semantic and terminology evolution. Two exemplary LiWA applications - focusing on audiovisual streams and social web content, respectively - will show the benefits of advanced Web archiving to interested stakeholders.

To ensure demand-driven RTD development and broad, sustained project impact, the LiWA consortium will closely work with the International Internet Preservation Consortium (IIPC) as well as important library and archiving organizations, two of which are members of LiWA.

The project partners are:
University Hannover - L3S Research Center – DE (Coordinator)
European Archive Foundation – NL
Max-Planck-Institut für Informatik – DE
Computer and Automation Research Institute, Hungarian Academy of Sciences – HU
Stichting Nederlands Instituut voor Beeld en Geluid - NL
Hanzo Archives Limited – UK
Moravian Library - CZ

Blog Posting Number 1018

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

BPN 1018 Missed chance: Barbie and new media

Last week I went to an outlet shopping centre. It mainly is for clothes, but there are also bookshops and entertainment shops with DVDs and games. Looking for kids stuff, I saw the booklet Barbie: the new media and I. In the framework of media literacy I examined the publication. Unbelievable that a brand company puts its name to such a shabby and superficial publication. The Barbie company Mattel had licensed the publication to the Belgian company Hemma. The text is in Dutch.

The publication exists of an introduction, an address book and another informative section followed by a notice section. When you open the book and pass the title page, you find the first section, opening with a sentence without a capital, asking you whether you have a computer. No problem if you do not have one; you can always write a letter or a post card! The anonymous author rambles on for two pages on how to produce a letter or a post card. Can you imagine this type of introduction in a book about new media?

The first section is followed by and address book. I did not expect that in the book about new media you have an address book and worse of all in this Barbie book you can only note address information of your female friends, not even address information of friends of Ken. The address book section is followed by an introduction into internet, or better into e-mail. The section refers to internet and e-mail screens. A closer look shows that the screens are in French, while the rest of the text is in the Dutch language! (Belgium is bi-lingual with Dutch and French; The internet part provides some information about internet, URLs, country suffixes and search engines, roughly 240 words long. The e-mail part tells about the composition of an e-mail, roughly 240 words long.

Of course you can not tell much in 240 words, so it will stay rather general. But there are no critical words or warnings against not trustworthy sites or spam. It is a missed chance for a big influential brand as Barbie to educate youngsters to be critical towards internet and e-mail and to act media literate. By putting out a media literacy responsible publication, a company like Mattel using the Barbie brand could show its responsibility towards society in the field of new media.

I bought a copy of the book for my business partner, who is heavily involved in media literacy to provide him with an example of a missed chance. Of course there is one excuse for Mattel, the book was produced in 2001. That was why I was able to buy it in an outlet store.

Blog Posting Number: 1018

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

BPN 1017 UPC NL starts printed mag to sell digital TV

This afternoon there was a mail shot from UPC under the slogan: Here you are, the magazine which is all about the pleasure of watching TV! It was a letter and a glossy, one big ad for digital television, larded with superficial interviews with Dutch TV VIPs. It is one big attempt to sell digital TV. It is clear that UPC has a problem in promoting digital television. Of course UPC subscribers do not understand what digital TV offers them; now and in the future. The letter continues: and why UPC is still the best choice for years; not only for digital television, but also for telephony and internet.

UPC started a big campaign to introduce digital television in 2005. It planned to connect 1.000 subscribers a week. The goal was to have 2 million subscribers at a cost of 300 million euro conversion from analogue to digital. (Update 28/02/2008: At the end of 2007 UPC had 550.300 digital TV connections; the subscriber population grew in 2007 with 10 per cent; UPC expects in 2008 a stabilisation). But UPC is not the only operator to offer digital TV in the Netherlands. UPC has a regional cable monopoly as has @Home, Casema and Orange. It has competition from digital TV through ADSL from KPN and its affiliates Het Net, Telfort, Planet and XS4ALL as well as from the Swedish operator Tele2 and the Telecom Italia brand Alice. It is clear that the campaign for 2 million connections of digital TV is not on schedule.

The letter continues after the introduction that UPC has invested to improve the cable network, which supposedly consists of 97 per cent of glass fibre. If this is true, then I still do not understand why the internet speeds are still so low and so expensive. When Alice offers a 20 Mbps speed on a copper wire at 30 euro and UPC offers a 20Mbps on a fibre glass connection after a cheap introduction rate of 30 euro at no less than 59, 95 euro. Ridiculous!

The glossy is there to convince me, the viewer, of an improvement of television viewing by watching digital television. (Funny thing is that the sender does not know whom he is talking to, addressing the printed glossy to Mr/Mrs). talking about personalising at conferences and not knowing the sex of the addressee. And apparently the printed magazine is not enough. For if you want to change to UPC Digital television you get the digital television service 3 months for free; after three months you pay 3,99 euro extra for the basic package. Of course UPC hopes that you will go for the special sports and movie channels. Mr Paul van Doorne, the Director Marketing of UPC (Regional, The Netherlands, Benelux or Inc.), wishes the viewers a lot of reading pleasure!

It is unbelievable how a company executes its marketing for a certain product, while it keeps up its basic service in such a sloppy way. Since three months the cable head-end box of our apartment building in Almere suffered a severe blow from a mowing machine. All the live wires are there to be seen and cut for anyone. In a telephone call to a UPC help desk employee promised to have the situation remedied as soon as possible. To this date the box is still lying open, baring the cables of 50 apartments. And this company is trying to convince me of digital TV with a printed glossy! Reliability and execution of a promise are the basic features of sound marketing, Mr Van Doorne. Forget the printed glossy!

Blog Posting Number: 1017

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Friday, February 22, 2008

BPN 1016 Dutch entertainment market stats for 2007

Every year he Dutch association for producers and importers of image and sound carriers (NVPI) publishes stats on DVD, music and game carriers (the categories in the document are in Dutch, but they can easily be translated). The survey of carrier sales, not rent of carriers, is executed by GfK Benelux. The Dutch consumers spent in 2007 no less than 915 million euro on music, movies and games; an increase of 5 per cent. A switch in spending the money has been noticed. More money is now spent on computer games, DVD boxes and music downloads. The real growth comes from the DVDs of television series.

An average Dutch household bought in 2007 four DVDs. The total amount of DVDs totals 32,4 units, which represents a turnover of 346 million euro. This is absolutely a record for the video branch. TV series on DVD represent 25 percent of this product group.

Interesting is to notice the second generation DVD war in the home turf of Philips. In total 175.000 HD products were sold, representing 2,2 million euro. Blu-ray represented 81 percent of the HD carriers; 40.000 Blu-ray discs over against 10.000 HD-DVDs.

The music carriers have been a sector for complaints for years. But in this sector new movements are coming up. The market for music albums has been stable in the 4 quarter of 2007 for the first time in years. The downloads showed a an increase of 20 per cent. A decrease is shown in the cd singles and music DVDs. In total 91,8 million euro was spent on music products in total. It is clear that the Dutch music sector is trying to stop the revenue decrease in line with the global music industry; it did not find yet new business models to compensate for the loss.

In the games market 2007 was the year of the games consoles. No less than 400.000 more units were sold in 2007 with the knock on effect on the sales of software with 1,4 million units, a rise of 26 per cent. The market for PC games remained stable thanks to the sale of some strong titles. But the game consoles like PSP, Xbox and WII Nintendo win it from the PC games.

Blog Posting Number: 1016

Tags: music, games, television series, Blu-ray, HD-DVD, , , .

Thursday, February 21, 2008

BPN 1015 European research project to shape next generation internet TV

This is an important announcement from the European research front on the next generation internet TV. P2P-Next, a pan-European conglomerate of 21 industrial partners, media content providers and research institutions, has received a €14 million grant from the European Union. The grant will enable the conglomerate to carry out a research project aiming to identify the potential uses of peer-to-peer (P2P) technology for Internet Television of the future. P2P-Next will develop an open source, efficient, trusted, personalized, user-centric and participatory television and media delivery mechanism with social and collaborative connotations using the emerging P2P paradigm, which takes into account the existing EU legal framework. The partners intend to develop a Europe-wide “next-generation” internet television distribution system, based on P2P and social interaction.

P2P provides an alternative to the traditional client/server architecture of computer networks and signifies the next big step in the evolution of internet media delivery. While employing the existing broadband networks, each participating computer, referred to as peer, functions as both a client and a server for a given application. A P2P network enables the sharing of content files or streams with audio, video and data content. Today it is considered increasingly as a potentially efficient and reliable mechanism for distributing any media to the general public worldwide.

The P2P-Next project will run over four years, and plans to conduct a large-scale technical trial of new media applications running on a wide range of consumer devices. If successful, this ambitious project could create a platform that would enable audiences to stream and interact with live content via a PC or set top box. In addition, it is our intention to allow audiences to build communities around their favourite content via a fully personalized system. This technology could potentially be built into Video on Demand (VOD) services in the future and plans are underway to test the system for major broadcasting events.

The project has an open approach towards sharing results. All core software technology will be available as open source, enabling new business models. P2P-Next will also address a number of outstanding challenges related to content delivery over the internet, including technical, legal, regulatory, security, business and commercial issues.

One of the project managers is the TU in Delft, which developed Tribler, a social based peer-to-peer system. The system can be downloaded for Windows, Mac and Ubuntu Linux and GNU Linux. With this system, the TU has been able to experiment and attract the attention of TV giants like the BBC and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU).

The complete list of Partners is:
AG Projects - Haarlem, Netherlands
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) - London, United Kingdom
DACC Systems - Taby, Sweden
Technische Universiteit Delft - TU Delft - Delft, Netherlands
Fabchannel - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Institut für Rundfunktechnik - IRT - Munich, Germany
Josef Stefan Institute - Ljubljana, Slovenia
Kendra Foundation - London, United Kingdom
Kungliga Tekniska Högskolan - KTH - Stockholm, Sweden
Markenfilm - Wedel, Germany
Norut - Tromsø, Norway
First Oversi - Petach Tikva, Israel
Pioneer Digital Design Centre Limited - London, United Kingdom
RTV Slovenia - RTVSLO - Ljubljana, Slovenia
STMicroelectronics - Milan, Italia
The European Broadcasting Union (EBU) - Geneva, Switzerland
University of Klagenfurt - Klagenfurt, Austria
University of Lancaster - Lancaster, United Kingdom
University of Rome - Rome, Italy
University Politehnica of Bucharest - Bucharest, Romania
VTT – Technical Research Centre of Finland, Tampere, Finland

Blog Posting Number: 1015

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

BPN 1014 The terabyte kids

The Dutch present day youth have received 250.000 e-mails and SMSs when they reach 21 years. Up to that age they also have spent 5.000 hours behind their PC, gaming. Besides they will have surfed 3.500 hours on internet. And this is only an average as some of the youths are active on the computer day and night. These are the conclusions of Marianne Hebert of Logica CMG in a study for financial markets. She points out that their behaviour has radically changed over the last two years. On the other hand companies have found new ways to approach them and penetrate in the target group by offering commercial products such as horoscopes, ring tunes, screen savers as well as other gadgets.

The digital 21 years generation now processes on average 80 e-mails and SMSs a day, including a bombardment of spam. The youths will have to learn to handle these spam messages as they will not decrease, but increase. According to Albert Benschop of the University of Amsterdam youths are able to handle more. They can filter enormous mountains of e-mail, SMSs and select chat sessions via MSN. They protect themselves and are very inventive. They can process more matters in parallel than we thought a few years ago.

These characteristics and their flexibility in filtering the mountains of information are worthwhile for companies. The more you can filter out, the more valuable you are as an employee of a company.

Logica CMG is not convinced that the new employee, who lives in the digital world, is already welcome in companies. The companies do not know how to handle these digital life employees and how to get the most out of them. The problem for the companies is that they do not know what is possible and how to optimise the knowledge of digital life employees.

IMHO, it is clear that a dichotomy is growing between the generations of PC and internet pioneers, the early adaptors and the contemporary PC, games and internet adepts. For the PC pioneers the pc was a large typewriter and calculator. For the internet pioneers internet is still a medium which produces information, including user generated information. But they do not maintain a blog, write micro-blogs or twitter. So even in a young company a divide will show.
Just think of the next generations, which will come onto the market every five years from now. My young grandsons will have a terabyte of multimedia information, mails and SMSs by the time that they reach 21 by 2025.

Blog Posting Number: 1014

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

BPN 1013 HD-DVD: It’s over

Toshiba stops promoting the HD-DVD format. From today on the company will decrease the distribution of the HD-DVD players and recorders, and by the end of March it will stop the entire distribution. Toshiba terminates the product line of players and recorders, as film studios and retail chains no longer supported the DVD format.

This is a real blow for Toshiba. The Japanese company had built up a slew of movie companies, hardware and software manufacturers as well as retail chains for the distribution of the HD-DVD players, recorders and titles. And now the game is over for Toshiba and its following, which includes Microsoft as the most prominent partner. Toshiba and the companies which followed will have to write off a lot of money on the research, production and stock. (Save a recorder/player and several titles for the Museum of the Future, for digital heritage's sake, please).

This decision proves that the market will not take two different formats for its edutainment products, certainly not when exclusive deals are being made. This was already clear from the history of the first DVD series, when Toshiba also tried to set up its own format, but bowed for the pressure of IBM, being helped by Philips.

Does this mean that Philips and Sony have won? This depends on the horizon of duration of this format. One lesson has been learned. Despite the fact that movie titles are a driving force of the DVD and HD-DVD format, the format of the second generation of DVDs has been dictated by the game world. Sony built in the Blu-ray in the PlayStation. Microsoft offered HD-DVD optionally for XBox users; HD-DVD would have had a better chance if they had been built in.

So now the victory march for Philips and Sony can begin. Their stock prices will rise a little bit, I guess. Just for some days and no longer than that. For DVD is no longer a real money maker for Philips or Sony. The recorders of Philips and Sony are still pricy, the players will drop and be given away, when you buy a few movie titles. But it is not the manufacturing which makes money for Philips and Sony in the field of DVD and Blu-ray, but it is the stream of license money on the patents. With the sale of every non-Philips and non Sony hardware as well as the discs, the cash till will rattle; be it for a few euro cents, yet we are talking about millions of pieces of hardware and discs.

The victory might also be short-lived as glass fibre becomes more common. By offering glass fibre connections, the need for DVD and its second generation will decrease, as the speed of downloading will increase dramatically. In fact it will be just as a milestone as the change from dial-up to ADSL was., but then exponentially. The whole optical disc movement which started in 1984 is temporary as optical discs contain only frozen online.

The DVD format war is over after two years. Let it be a lesson for the future.

Blog Posting Number: 10012

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Monday, February 18, 2008

BPN 1012 HarperCollins takes off the shrink wraps

After offering a few pages as a browsing teaser for buying books, HaperCollins Publishers goes further and puts up free electronic books on the Web. The company hopes to increase book sales.

The idea is to let people flip through a book like they could in a book store. HarperCollins has put a twenty or so books online now ranging from a novel, to a cookbook and a book about the US elections.

HarperCollins already offered internet users the opportunity to browse a few pages of a book, like Amazon.com. But apparently this did not stimulate the sales well enough. Now HarperCollins offers the entire book for the duration of one month. The books can be read on screen. HarperCollins will also be giving 20 per cent deduction prior to the publishing of hardbacks.

The marketing people at HarperCollins are convinced that readers keep buying books despite the free availability on the web. They think that readers will be tired from screen reading after 20 or 30 pages. Of course the company has taken measures against copying. The book can not be downloaded nor can it officially be printed, but a small public domain software tool will let you print page by page; a book like Silver Angel will take 235 times a print command to reproduce all the pages.

The argument that people will buy a book once the shrink wrap is removed is interesting, but not fully convincing. It depends on the type book. Of a novel you like to know how the plot shapes up and the last pages. It depends on the writing style whether you want to read the in between stuff. However with a cook book, you like to scan recipes; so a table of contents and a few examples will give a good impression of the book. If you offer the full cook book (for a month) people will select the recipes and print these with the public domain software. And the sale of a children’s book, especially one for small kids, often depends on the graphical design, the format and the concrete printed book.

HarperCollins sports the novel of Paolo Coelho The Witch of Portobello for this new way of marketing, even including an embedded link (oh so Web 2.0). Checking out the various distribution channels, I could not find the e-book version of this new novel. There are already e-books of Paolo Coelho’s earlier novels. So instead of offering the full novel for a month, as a publisher I would rather offer an e-book version simultaneously to the publishing of the printed version.

Last year the top three Dutch language books were two novels and a diet book: Harry Potter, a diet book and The Kite Runner. In the Netherlands and Belgium the top means more than 500.000 copies for that year. These titles have not been supported by a fully accessible file on internet. I believe that a title benefits from a well documented site rather than a fully accessible file. But the jury is out now.

Blog Posting Number: 1012

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Sunday, February 17, 2008

BPN 1011 European archived movies site to launch in April

A Europe-wide video-on-demand platform bringing together content from 37 film archives across the continent is to be launched in April. The free site will be known as European Film Treasures and initially offer about 100 titles but eventually expand to as many as 500 from over 80 years of European movie history. The site is partly being funded for 500.000 euro ($725,000) by the European Union's MEDIA Program, and is headed by Serge Bromberg, founder of Paris-based film restoration firm Lobster Films. A jury will decide on which films from various European countries' archives to include on the site, which will Footage will be accessible for streaming only, not download, but the site may in the future extend to associated DVD sales. Films will be available in their original language with translation where needed into English, French, German, Italian and Spanish. Lobster is coming up with original music to accompany silent films.

It has taken Serge Bromberg at least ten years to get the idea across to archives and potential sponsors. The last two years he spent convincing all the archives to come on board. So far the only major national archive not represented is Belgium.

The video-on-demand hype has helped Serge Bromberg a lot in the last two years. People working in the archive saw the European Film Treasures platform as an opportunity to attract viewers worldwide. Besides many of the early movies are short movies. Programming movies on internet is more grateful for the curators than recovering and restoring at cost for just a small local audience. Now the archives do not have to put money in making the movies available. The business model can be based on the long tail.

The curators are excited about the opportunity and the forthcoming publicity for their archive. Yet they are shielding themselves against too great expectations. So far people have not pushed their archives to open up. But now the historic movies will be made available online for streaming, not for copying, 24/7. And it will not be the movies only, but all the documentation that will go with the movie.

At last digital heritage is coming out of the dusty archives to be digitalised, documented, promoted and available on demand. Europeana will have this mission as well as European Film Treasures.

Blog Posting Number: 1011

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Saturday, February 16, 2008

BPN 1010 Preview of a European Digital Library

This week it was possible to take a sneak preview of the European Digital Library (EDL). The library should become the portal to the European digital cultural resources. From November 2008 the portal will provide searchers with digital information from European archives, museums and libraries. The demo gives the interested people an impression of what they can expect and how they can browse in paintings, photographs, books, archives, movies and sound bites from many European collections.

European Digital Library is a i2010 digital library initiative, a thematic network building on consensus. It will find solutions to the interoperability of the cultural content held by European museums, archives, audio-visual archives and libraries in the context of EDL. The results of the network now show a prototype demonstrating cross domain access to the objects and information held in the museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual archives of Europe. There will also be a series of recommendations for future research to continue to ensure access to the digital heritage of Europe.

A specific objective of the network is therefore to clear the ground to be able to propose one or more separately funded practical implementations of EDL. The network will work in harmony with the EDL Foundation and the EU Strategy Group for coordinating libraries, archives, audio-visual archives and museums cooperation for EDL. The network remains open for the lifetime of the project to all relevant cultural heritage institutions.

The criteria for inclusion in the network are sector or topic representation and reach, EU country coverage or specific technical expertise. Therefore the membership of the network to date is from more than 80 European cultural heritage associations, institutions or projects with all the European Union countries represented.

Sector or topic members will normally be organizations representing the interests of a relevant sector or part of a sector at supranational (normally European) level and capable of having multiplier effect. These are mainly networks or associations, but exceptionally individual entities, if they are a leader in a field essential to the network’s objectives. Some national executive cross-domain agencies such as ABM-Centrum (Sweden) and MLA (UK) are also partners in the network. A few significant European research projects (VideoActive, Dismarc, etc) that also represent cross-sectoral multinational consortia will contribute as well. The aim is that the interests and expertise of key cultural content providers are represented in the Network and that pan-European coverage is achieved.

The EDLnet is being coordinated by the National Library of the Netherlands and an EDLnet office will be set up at their premises to coordinate efforts and implement input from the various workgroups. It will be administered as one of the research projects of The European Library, which is a service of the Conference of European National Librarians.

Blog Posting Number: 1010

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Friday, February 15, 2008

BPN 1009 EU consultation on copyright levies

Charlie McCreevy, the European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services, is re-launching a consultation process on copyright levies. These are the levies which are applied in 24 Member States to compensate rights holders from losses accruing due to private copying of protected works.

This move is interesting as Mr McCreevy suspended work on this issue over a year ago since it was clear there was no hope at the time of finding a common way forward. But with the passage of time he believes it should be possible for all stakeholders to come to this debate with an open and constructive attitude.

In re-launching this discussion he made clear that it is not the intention to question the entitlement of rights holders to receive compensation for losses due to private copying. This is enshrined in Community law and Mr McCreevy has no intention of proposing a change to this legislation.

Member States are given the right to set how compensation for private copying is applied in their territory. In most Member States, this compensation is raised through the imposition of levies on items such as printers, hard disks, MP3 players, blank CDs, mobile phones etc. There is little coherence between Member States as to how they apply these levies, or the level of the levies.

He anticipates as a result from this consultation process ideas and a willingness to relate the level of levies to the loss suffered through private copying.

McCreevy illustrates the present situation in Europe with a few examples: a computer printer in one Member State has a levy of EUR70 imposed on it. Levies on a 4 gigabyte MP3 player, for example, range from zero in one Member State to over EUR15.00 in another. What should be the correct level to compensate for the loss due to private copying? McCreevey wants all stakeholders to come to this discussion with a willingness to find workable solutions.

Following the consultation period which will end on 18 April, McCreevey intends to hold a public meeting in June to see if common ground can be found among all stakeholders.

It must be a coincidence, as the Dutch financial daily Het Financieele Dagblad (FD) published a large article on copyright and especially the transparency in the payments of copyright levies. Is the action of Commissioner McCreevy focussed on the differences between type of levies and the heights of the levies, the FD article showed the range of Dutch collecting societies. At least 16 collecting societies are active in the Netherlands, collecting money from companies or intermediaries:

Organisation/Revenues*/Paid out*
Buma: 120,0/98,6
Stemra: 48,4/53,5
Sena: 48,2/45,1
Reprorecht: 22,3/13,2
De Thuiskopie: 19,9/n.a.
Videma: 5,2/5,4
Norma: 3,4/4,8
PRO: n.a./10,7
* Totals in million euro during 2006

Other collecting societies: Nieuwswaarde, Leenrecht, Lira, Musicopy, Pictoright, Irda, Vevam/Sekam/Sekam Video, Ibva.

The Dutch Public Broadcast company paid in 2006 almost 21 million euro a year for copyright on music and video. The cable operators, united in the association NLKabel pays some tens of millions euro a year.

Blog Posting Number: 1009

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Thursday, February 14, 2008

BPN 1008 The flood of press releases on mobile stops today

Today the boys and girls of the mobile industry pack up and will leave Barcelona. They have a lot to think of. They got quite some messages for the next year to think about. I am not in the mobile business nor am I in Barcelona. I am just a mobile user with an interest in the development of mobile content. So I have been reading the stream of press releases. Most of them could be relegated to the dustbin immediately and were not even worth reading. And as I wrote before about the Readius, the mobile with flexible digital paper, of course the old tricks were played to lure the press; but the press can have a better memory these days due to search engines. (I recently spoke to someone who had seen and felt the Readius and was shocked to find out that you have to open the mobile when called. There is no interface and/or screen on the outside of the mobile to accept the call. This mobile will not win a usability award, was his final judgement).

The flood of press releases shows that the mobile industry will have to deal with saturation. This year there will be more mobiles in China than in the USA. Of course there are still markets which still have to pick up mobile telecom, but they are not the most interesting markets. And the profit margins on devices are under pressure; Nokia has to move its production from Germany to Romania.

After saturation, consolidation sets in. No longer the various models of mobile telephone (or handy as the Germans call the device) are important but the software will influence the acquisition. And the software is based on the operating system. Presently there are some 50 operating systems and new ones still pop up like Google's Android. But the most important ones for now dominate the market: Symbian, Microsoft Mobile, Opera. And the manufacturers are no longer strict in using operating systems. Even Symbian shareholder Sony-Ericsson has now used Microsoft Mobile in one of its new models. And they are desperately looking for infrastructure like search engines. Of course Microsoft hoped to catch two flies in one go with Yahoo. Once the search engine would be part of the conglomerate, it could also function as mobile search engine.

But the main manufacturers and operators are still dancing around the issue of content. The latest item in content is of course television. This will bring in the ship with gold; so they think. I am not a believer of that. Mobile television will fit in the snack culture: short, funny movies. I do not believe that you will watch television series. In my view this will be something for the Ultra Mobile PCs, which will flood the market by mid 2008.

But also in other content areas, manufactures are looking again. Nokia started to distribute content of games, music, navigation information and other information through its Ovi service. Local operators will be glad to pick up the connect minutes, but will not get any extra’s out of it. The operators have also looked for the content revenue extension. But the time of the walled garden services is over. Besides people pick what they want to have and not what the operators think that they should have.

One of the reasons mobile content has not been a success is the tariff of connect time. Just downloading a1Mb from the mobile net cost a fortune. Of course T-Telecom has brought down the price, but if you have to pay yourself, you will not connect to YouTube for the daily selection. And money is not the only handicap, but also the operating systems. The scaling/reformatting of internet screens does not really work, even not on smart phone screens.

There is an old wisdom in the PC world that you have to sell a PC for free and ask money for software. IBM forgot to do this, when it launched the PC in 1981 and Microsoft came in. In 2004 IBM had to sell its PC business to Lenovo. Nokia is trying to hold the fortress by launching the Ovi service. But will this service mature in time to deliver profits, when the profits on device manufacturing will start to tumble and local operators are back to their old game of ticks and bundles.

Blog Posting Number 1008

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

BPN 1007 UK Gov: ISPs cash points for music and movie industry

Just when you think it is all over and Music companies finally understand that they will have to do something themselves, it is the legal roadroller which revives the discussion. Now the UK internet users can await a legal stop on illegal downloading of movies and music. The UK government has sent a draft to the House of Commons. It is one of the many legal solutions which are offered in Europe.

London thinks that Internet providers should play a role in preventing illegal downloading. ISPs should take steps when they see illegal files being downloaded. The internet user should get an e-mail warning after the first illegal download, at the second illegal download a suspension and after the third time a termination of his internet contract.

The UK chooses to control illegal downloading through ISPs. Regardless whether ISPs are happy with this, the UK government takes that route. Of course the ISPs are very unhappy to be institutional policemen for the music and movie industry. In other European countries like The Netherlands the ISPs have to save traffic logs already, at their own expense, for a long period of time to assist, if needed, the police. On top of that they might get the policing task of controlling illegal music and movie downloads.

Besides this, is not the first model to combat illegal downloads which is using the ISP. During the introduction of internet it was proposed that the ISPs should pay the collecting societies for the music downloaded (movie downloads were still far off); the ISPs should organise their own way of recovering the fees paid, either by charging the individual downloader or sharing the costs among all subscription holders. This model of using ISPs to be the cash point for the collecting societies never made it, although the Swedish Performing Rights Society (STIM) has recently shown willingness to sign cooperation agreements with ISPs. STIM wants to sit down with the ISPs and discuss how it can work together to enable their customers to pay - via their internet subscription - for the music streaming through the providers' networks, thereby allowing them to become legal music surfers. According to STIM's model, an average user's monthly internet costs will rise in proportion to the total amount of music being downloaded. In return, internet users will be able to access and download all the music available on the internet at a given time; in time a similar measure would apply for movies. But STIM concedes that a number of technical, financial and legal barriers need to be overcome before their proposal gains general acceptance.

Of course it is unfair to push such a task to a party which is not part and parcel of the music and the movie industry. In the UK and Swedish cases, the ISPs become the cash points of the collecting societies and indirectly of the music and movie industry. This while this industry only assists in uncovering illegal download cases and has so far not put up a download service which offers easy access, reasonable prices and a fair policy for media shifting. They let Apple set up iTunes, but could not yet organise a decent download service themselves.

Blog Posting Number: 1007

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

BPN 1006 EU Safer Internet Day

Today is the 5th Safer Internet Day. At the occasion, Eurostat, the Statistical Office of the
European Communities, presents a selection of statistics concerning internet activities, security concerns and virus attacks. The Safer Internet Day is part of a global drive to promote a safer Internet for all users, in particular younger people, and is organised by Insafe, a European internet safety network co-funded by the European Commission.

The data presented have been collected from the 2006 and 2007 surveys on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) usage in households and by individuals from 16 to 74 years in the EU27. The individuals use internet at least one time in three months.

e-Shopping: The percentage of individuals aged 16 to 74 in the EU27 who ordered goods or services over the internet increased from 24% in 2005 to 30% in 2007. The highest proportions of internet shoppers in 2007 were recorded in Denmark (55% in 2006), the Netherlands (55%), Sweden and the United Kingdom (both 53%), and the lowest in Bulgaria and Romania (both 3%) and Lithuania (6%). In 2006, 12% of the respondees in the EU27 had not ordered goods or services over the internet in the preceding 12 months because of worries about giving credit card or personal details online. These security and privacy concerns were most common in Spain (27%), Finland (26%) and Cyprus (20%).

e-Banking: In the EU27 internet users, meaning individuals aged 16 to 74 who had used internet in the last three months, increased from 52% of all individuals aged 16 to 74 in 2006 to 57% in 2007. During the same time period, the proportion of internet users who used internet banking grew from 38% to 44%. In 2007, this proportion was highest in Finland (84%), Estonia (83%) and the Netherlands (77%), and lowest in Bulgaria (5%), Romania (7%) and Greece (12%).

Safety: One quarter of EU27 internet users suffered a virus attack in the last twelve months
In the EU27 in 2007, nearly a quarter of internet users had had a computer virus in the preceding 12 months, which resulted in a loss of information or time. Virus attacks were most frequent in Lithuania (41% of users), Slovenia (35%) and Malta (34%) and least common in the Czech Republic (7%), Estonia (15%) and Sweden (16%). One way of protecting oneself against the loss of information is to regularly make a safety copy or a back up file of information. In the EU27 in 2007, nearly a quarter of internet users always or almost always made safety copies or back up files from their computer. The highest proportions of individuals making safety copies were found in Greece (43% of users), France (35%) and Malta (34%), and the lowest in Poland (13%), Estonia (14%) and Sweden (15%).

Blog Posting Number: 1006

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Monday, February 11, 2008

BPN 1005 Dutch public broadcast videos available

The public broadcast companies NOS and a BNN offer now the opportunity to copy videos to the personal Hyves.nl pages. The NOS offers already feeds to sites and blogs. Copying NOS and BNN videos to a Hyves.nl profile, internet sites and blogs will be just as easy copying YouTube videos. The NOS now offers items from the news programs; the NOS has now applied micro-chunking to their news and broadcasts, so that specific items can be selected. Also BNN offers videos through the digital channel 101.tv.

Now users can add fragments to Hyves.nl pages concerned with specific programs from BNN or news or sports items to a Hyves.nl profile of a user. At the same time Hyves.nl users can start to broadcast with their mobile phone, as the site allows for example software from Livecastr.

The move of NOS was announced in November in an iMMovator cross-media café. It has some likeness with the move of the BBC, which offers also video fragments to users. But there are some differences with BBC and there are some unsolved questions.

The NOS offers actual news and sports items and items of the short term archive Program missed?. It does not offer any long term historical items. These video items are archived by the Institute of Image and Sound. In order to get a 3 minute item of 1980, the item can be retrieved by any internet user on a public database, but then a long way of negotiating starts. The item might still be on nitrate film and has then to be converted to a digital format. But before this is possible, permission is needed from the news staff. Once that is given and the conversion has been done, you will have to pay about 600 euro for the 3 minute item in order to show it on a site. It is not possible to make an embedded link to that particular video.

BBC has clearly limited the opportunity to use embedded video or a requested video to users in the UK. They have paid for the television license and can use it. I have not seen any country restrictions on the use of embedded video fragments. I will have to ask one of my tech savvy friends outside the Netherlands to try it out.

The public television allows now embedded video links. Of course the question rises again, whether money can be claimed by collecting societies for neighbouring rights or for art work rights. When a news item deals with a special concert like the Lohengrin concert opera a week ago, the collecting society for neighbouring rights can claim that embedded links are new publications. Or when someone gives an interview in front of a famous contemporary painting a collecting society for art work protection will send an invoice. I wonder when the first invoice will be on the doormat of a blogger, if only to start a test case.

At last NOS starts to experiment. It will be interesting to see how long it will take them to offer historical items.

Blog Posting Number: 1005

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

BPN 1004 Mid March: Hyves.tv

The Dutch social network Hyves.nl with 5,6 million registrations is very prominent in the press at present. During a meeting of the Dutch cross-media network iMMovator later on radio, Yme Bosma, business developer at Hyves.nl, explained that Hyves.nl starts to deliver movies to digital television channels from mid March onwards through Hyves.tv. Presently Hyves.nl friends look at movies for 15.000 times a month. And this is only the beginning. Hyves.nl will have to do this as it will be up against competition in the near future of the Dutch version of MySpace and indirectly of the international version of Facebook.

Yme Bosma told the audience that Hyves.nl friends are not always online. Especially in the weekend the pageviews jumped up and down and people used mobile to consult Hyves.nl. These are indications for Hyves.nl that the Hyves.nl users want to view Hyves.nl whenever and wherever.

Hyves.nl now wants to extend its movie content to digital television as well the Who What and Where info of users. TV viewers will be able to see movies and can call up user profiles. In the first instance Tele2 will transmit the pages trough its digital channel to a television set. Other digital channel operators will also be able to transmit this feature in due time.

The announcement brought back memories of webTV, for which Philips bought a European license and never used it. Yet this rendering of internet on television works differently. WebTV had a local converter box. Hyves.tv will use technology of Avinity, Technically this will mean that the ‘signal’ goes to the company Avinity, which will convert the signal to television format in size and pixels.

Yme Bosma also believes that the Hyves television community will start another trend. The group will be able to compose its own electronic program guide by voting for the best videos. The users can also show their relatives movies they put up on internet.

Hyves.nl willl have to be very active in the coming time. Although Yme Bosma did not say a word about the competition, MySpace launched a Dutch edition of MySpace including its own ad sales office. So far MySpace has experimented with a Dutch trial site and picked up some 400.000 users, but now it will aggressively go into the market. That is what Travis Katz, managing director of MySpace during his presentation. He does not see Hyves.nl as a problem, remarking that in every country so far they always found a competitor against them He referred to the situation in Germany where MySpace superseded the incumbent social network.

MySpace has developed a Dutch language site with its own content. It has its own music and video channels. It will also show content specially produced for MySpace in the Netherlands, just like the thriller series Beyond the Rave in the UK and the drama series Quarterback in the USA. MySpace Benelux will also organise offline events like small intimate surprise concerts with popular musicians, singers and entertainers.

It will be interesting to see, whether MySpace will make it in the Netherlands. MySpace does not possess the Dutch domain name; the site does mention that it is not related to Myspace.com. Recently a National Day Against MySpace was organised. MySpace users were called by the message: MySpace users fed up with glitchy pages, annoying banner ads and an abundance of spam may finally have the motivation to take the plunge and delete their accounts. Wednesday (February 7th,2008) is International Delete Your MySpace Account Day, an online protest geared at uniting users eager to ditch the popular social networking site. But also business wise, MySpace will have trouble to be profitable in the Netherlands. IT would not be the first international internet company that did not make it. Yahoo.com abandoned its sales offices in the Netherlands. It is a country with only 16,5 million inhabitants, with a language different from English and a television oriented advertisement market; on the other hand English is a second language to all Dutchmen and many people prefer to join the international edition of MySpace and Facebook due to their global orientation. And given the home grown social network of Hyves.nl, I still have to see that a Benelux office will survive.

Blog Posting Number: 1004

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