Long old day yesterday, starting off for me at 4am, driving over to Tunbridge Wells for around 6, then up to Bolton for Lunchtime (thankfully I didn't have to drive that bit), do some filming and then back to Tunbridge Wells and drive home by about midnight. Wake up far too early this morning feeling like I'd been out on the piss all night and doss about all day bar typing up an invoice.

Another momentous landmark appeared yesterday, apart from being my first corporate gig, it was also the first time in my life I'd ever stepped foot inside a football stadium (Wembley Stadium not included as it's pretty much multi purpose and was kitted out for a gig at the time), the one in question being the Reebok Stadium, home of the Bolton Wanderers.

It's smaller than it looked from the outside.


Web 2.0 is all the rage, and I'm registered on various Web 2.0 sites, Facebook, MySpaz, Digg and for a short while now Pownce.

Pownce is apparently like "Twitter on steroids", Twitter is basically the "Status Update" bit of Facebook, it's called 'micro-blogging'.

Now Twitter I've not touched, I update my status on FB a fair bit, from serious to ridiculous statements, and for actual blogging, well.. you're reading it, so I'm still a bit in the dark as to whether Pownce is filling a useful niche in my life, so the features, or the different things you can send:-

Messages:- As I said, like Twitter or the Status Updates on FB. I rarely use the status updates for any real serious application, more that I feel the need to change it on an ongoing basis. I can kinda see an advantage to this aspect of Pownce in that, you can use it seriously and targeted, whereas your status on Facebook simply crops up in the news feed to everyone of your friends. How does this apply? Not sure, it's not as immediate as an IM or text (SMS), is it more immediate than sending an email?? Hmm.

Links:- Looks pretty much like a message except it's got an http tag attached. There are times when you need to bung a link over to someone, I can do that on email, in a Facebook message (which are basically my two main forms of online communication now) or if the person's online in an IM. Hmm.

Events:- Facebook has an events section, allowing you to create an 'Event', say a gig or a party, send that event to your friends, who can then RSVP to said event online. Handy. There are various levels of privacy available, so if you're having a party at your house you can keep the Event hidden from the rest of Facebook, or if it's a gig, advertise it to the world, then, post event, people can upload pics, videos, discuss, all within the event's page. Cheers.
Pownce is a lot simpler, allowing you to simply post the event details publicly or to select friends. Quicker, so for a informal get together a lot less hassle, but for bigger events, more a reminder tool??? Hmm.

Files:- Pownce allows you to send files to other users, a standard account can send up to 10MB and a Pro account ($20/yr) can send up to 100MB files.
Now this for me could be the hidden gem, or not so hidden as the case may be. Email is the usual method for me to send a file over to someone, but a lot of email systems, especially company (corporate if you prefer) ones have poxy 2MB ceiling on their attachment sizes either in or out, not the best as I work in film/video/broadcast and files can be a tad bigger than that! And even some other email providers will start to quake under larger file sizes. Ok what about IMing the file? Well, MSN Messenger is what most people I currently know currently use and file transfer on that it bigshite, sending a sub 100k JPEG is painful enough at times! FTP? Yea there's FTP, I could upload the file to my web-space, send people a link to the file to download it, but then if I'm in a situation where I'm bunging files around, that'll probably rape my bandwidth, plus it's a bit of a hassle.
So the whole File side of Pownce is intriguing, send (potentially) up to 100Mb files, people either pick them up immediately (I think) or next time the log on and it's there.

There are other file options out there, which I've yet to fully explore, there's one called Tubes or something that sounded interesting, but at the time I looked was Windows only, cross platform is better thanks. Then there's the issue of my MySpz headline "How many sites does one man need?"

If you're on Pownce add me, plus if you actually know me I've still got my 6 invites if you wanna have a lookie.

Just been pondering as i commented on the lack of British TV stuff in the iTS, as to what shows i'd actually buy (from wherever) from the store.

By the way, it seems the British offering currently consists of:

Genie In The House (Nickelodeon) - Disturbing kids tv offering
Jongleurs Unleashed (Paramount Comedy) - Stand-Up stuff
Comedy Blue (Paramount Comedy) - possibly British
The World Stands Up (P.... C....) - some Brits in it.

Oh yay.


What would I buy...

Battlestar Galactica (not gonna happen)
Heroes (nor this)
possibly The 4400 as I'm getting into that now.
also The Night Stalker sounds intriguing but dunno what it's like.
My Name Is Earl (dunno what network)
Bionic Woman
- maybe, but again i think it's NBC and I'm not entirely sure if it's good yet.

Yes I am a geek.

Anything British if it were to appear?

Lead Balloon - Bloody good, but it's more of an impulse watch thing as are..
The IT Crowd, The Mighty Boosh, and other similar ones.


Wire in The Blood - but my girlfriend watches it as well, so I'm quite likely to see it broadcast, I have been tempted with the DVD's if I get them cheap enough.
There's nothing else that I can think of that I actually WANT to follow over "watch it if it's on".

There's no way I'd buy any sort of reality or "talent" show.

Well the BBC are ditching production on various dramas, I'm hoping we're gonna see a decent 16-24 episode series that can compete with the Yanks, I've a feeling it's gonna be more expensive one offs and 6 episode blips and maybe another Dr. Wo spin off :/

TV Shows in UK iTunes...


But wait...yep as expected, no British ones. But then I don't watch Dr. Who anyway (c'mon, y'know that'd be the first in there, well if the BBC gets over itself with the whole charging thing and drops the cockPlayer).

So, is it worth it?? Well they seem to have arrived with less fanfare than they did in the States on their initial launch, maybe everything's being overshadowed somewhat by NBC/Universal's imminent departure from the store, but anyway...

I've been waiting for TV shows in the UK store ever since the original launch, my TV viewing habits have changed considerably over the past couple of years, moving away from the traditional schedule driven pattern and more towards a hip, funky on-demand lifestyle for my main programmes with my "traditional" style sitting down watching TV generally being more 'impulse' viewing if you will, sit down see what's on.

So being able to get the series I watch downloaded podcast stylee to my Mac, so that I can watch either at home or on the train to/from work is ideal.

Now of course that option is pretty much already available to me, should I wish to pursue it, albeit, it's not legal and involves file-sharing (BitTorrent has only ever worked once for me, it's shite, don't know what all the fuss is about...or I'm missing something), hoping the description matches the content and that the connection's good enough, oh did I mention it was illegal, thus not something I or anyone should do.

Do I want to wait a good decade for Heroes to reach BBC2? No. Do I have regular access to a Sky Box? Normally, no (I do at the moment but that's not the point).
Sky have done a pretty good job of securing deals with the Yanks to get Battlestar and Lost pretty quickly, the last series of Lost aired literally a few days after it did in the US, so props to them... if I had the option of Sky all the time that is.

So anyway, I'm very tempted to buy a season pass for the next season(s) of Lost and Battlestar (unless that dissappears with NBC which I have a feeling it will...wait it's not even there now!! DAMN!), so again is it worth it?

Well let's have a look..
All 3 seasons are currently listed at £32.99 on the UK iTunes Store, each are the full 23/24 episodes and are the (now) standard iTunes video res of 640x480 h.264, I'm not sure on the file size as I haven't bought an episode yet, i'd hazard a guess at around 350Mb tho, and I'm pretty sure 16:9 & widescreen aren't letterboxed as files.

Compared to a DVD box set, Lost Series 3 will retail at somewhere around £50, so iTunes is cheaper, but then you don't have them on a 'physical' media..get over it, no DVD extras, ok that's valid, I'm normally a geek for extras but for some reason I'm not that fussed about them for the shows I watch, whereas for a film DVD, it could be a deal breaker.

You don't have to wait half a year for the DVD to come out, true, but is that a worthwhile comparison? Kinda as regards the fact that I'm, paying for the episodes, but not kinda (?) as the download is instead of watching the broadcast.

Yeah? But what's the quality like??? According to Apple (for the movies at least) "Near DVD". Oh.

iTunes - 640x480 h.264 QT
DVD - 720x576 PAL MPEG-2

So DVD's are a higher picture quality, on both res and compression, HD?? Not fussed at the mo so we'll leave that one.

What's the alternative download option tho? Well, if you were on of those pirate people, there is the BitTorrent, File sharing option, how does iTunes compare to that?
Well there's a massive price difference for starters, that's assuming you're ok with breaking the law every week. The end product is essentially the same, a single episode each time, no extras, but the BT/FS options aren't encoded by the studios or Apple, they're done by some enterprising young scallywag somewhere over the pond, so surely the quality won't compare to pro stuff that you pay for from the store??

Well let's compare an episode of Lost series 3 (Greatest Hits). I previewed the episode, full screen, in the store and used the standard Mac screen cap for a few shots, then I opened up a DivX version that I'd been given to test with, played it full screen in Quicktime Player (Perian thankyou) and screen capped as best i could the same shots without being too anal about it.
Here's the stats for the DivX vid:

iTunes wouldn't give me the stats on their one :(

Now for the screen caps (iTunes on the left, DivX on the right and hopefully clicking on them will take you to the relevant page on my Flickr account)...

Picture 1Picture 5
Picture 2Picture 6
Picture 3Picture 7
Picture 4Picture 8

Now I don't think there's a lot in it, I think the iTunes one's a bit over saturated, but at first glance, it could be ok. BTW it may be worth noting that currently I'm either watching this stuff on my 19" CRT or my 13" MacBook, not a 40" HD LCD ;)

Anyway, I'm gonna ponder some more in a bit as I have to go out now, but would be interested in people's thoughts on this...

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