Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Nature's Calendar

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Monday 24th September, 18.30, BBC2
1.3M viewers, 6.6% Audience Share

Radio Times:
Autumn: Walking
Documentary series. A guide to the best places in Britain to see wildlife this autumn. Chris Packham visits the Galloway Forest in Scotland, where red deer, red squirrels and red kite are on the itinerary. Sanjida O'Connell listens to some bizarre autumnal screams in Lancashire. And Janet Sumner goes on the Stiperstones Stomp in Shropshire.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Up Close and Dangerous

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Friday 14th September, 8pm C5
0.6M viewers, 2.9% Audience Share

Radio Times:
Documentary featuring top wildlife filmmakers who share their most hair-raising encounters with the natural world. In this programme, a furious buffalo charges a camerawoman; a chimpanzee asserts his dominance in an attack, a reef shark tests the nerves of a diver, a leopard grabs onto a director's leg and a killer whale almost mistakes a cameraman for its favourite snack - a seal.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Light Saber Wii Remote

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This is just the coolest thing -I just had to post this to my blog too. I know some of my friends (some of which already have life size light sabers) will be drooling when they hear of this!

During a demonstration of LucasArts latest Star Wars video game - LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga for Wii, there was news that slipped of perhaps a motion-sensitive lightsaber action Wii remote in the offing. Could it be that gamers all over the world will be able to take their jedi fantasy up a new notch in the future? Lucas Arts has already admitted that internally, they’ve tested the possibilities. And this would seem like a natural step in the development process for Lucas Arts, who are currently engadged in creating an all lightsaber battle game for their faithful who will buy just about anything with the Star Wars logo on it.

Course, one could just take one of those cheap $7 Hasbro lightsabers and modify it by incorporating the Wii remote into it. I bet someone started working on that about 5 minutes after the Wii was released. It’s already been hacked for PC versions by the same guy who created iSaber for the MAC. But wouldn’t it be cool to have a WiiSaber to take on Darth Vader? Talk about “if you build it, they will come.” Just don’t go on some “damn fool idealistic crusade” once they do.

LEGO Star Wars: The Complete Saga is due for release on the Wii, Nintendo DS, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, and comes out on November 7 – just in time for Christmas.

From: Adele Chaplin Published: 13 Sep 2007, Newsbytes

Outrageous Wasters

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Tuesday 11th September, 7.30pm BBC3
258,000 viewers, 1.38% Audience Share

Radio Times:
Series in which a team of eco-experts are on a mission to transform Britain's most wasteful households. The Withey family from Aylesbury are packed off to purpose-built eco boot camp House of Correction, where they're forced to face up to the impact of their careless ways and learn to live a carbon neutral lifestyle. While they're away, their home undergoes a radical eco-makeover, designed to shock them into changing their ways on their return.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Convert almost anything to anything

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Zamzar is dedicated to helping you transform your songs, videos, images and documents into different formats. Our mission is: "To provide high quality file conversion for as many file formats as possible"

We are intent on bringing order to your filesystem by offering you a one stop solution for all your file conversion needs. Like others we were fed up with having files in all sorts of formats, and no easy way of converting between them - the quest to find a better way led to the birth of Zamzar.

Apple launches radio tagging system

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From Broadcast (7 September) by Yvette Mackenzie

Apple has unveiled new technology that enables US high definition radio listeners to "tag" songs that they hear on FM stations for subsequent purchase via iTunes. iTunes Tagging technology, which was developed by Apple in conjunction with iBiquity Digital and major US radio broadcasting groups, was unveiled across the US this week together with the latest iPods.
Apple vice president of iPod product marketing Greg Joswiak said: "When a song plays on your HD Radio that you like, a simple push of a button will tag it and later give you the chance to preview, purchase, and enjoy it with iTunes and your iPod."

The US initiative follows a similar scheme in the UK put together by UBC Media. The Cliq service displays the tracks playing on the radio and allows consumers to buy them immediately.
Cliq is available on new DAB radio sets and also via Java enabled mobile phones. UBC Media chief executive Simon Cole welcomed the introduction of the iPod tag service:
"This is great news for us and for the digital radio industry globally.

"Importantly, it confirms our very strong and long-held belief that radio has a huge part to play in the future of digital music sales and that those sales represent new revenue opportunities for radio".

The Cosmos: A Beginner's Guide

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Tuesday 11th September, 7.30pm BBC2
1.4M viewers, 6.9% Audience Share

Radio Times:
Is there another Earth? Adam Hart-Davis is on the summit of La Palma in the Canary Islands, searching for planets around other suns. He discovers how it is possible to find planets too small to see, and tells the story of how the first ever planet outside our solar system was found - an event that rocked the world of astronomy. Janet Sumner visits the Virtual Planetary Laboratory, where they invent inhabited planets so that astronomers know what to look for.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

2D to 3D photos - & an easy way to create true 3D images

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I was playing around with different ways to create 3D content for my new Video glasses and I came across this software Digital 3D Photos - one of the coolest and easiest piece of software that i've played around with in a long time. It turns a 2D image to a virtual 3D image (so long as you have the 3D glasses or video goggles - the video glasses provides a much clearer and less dizzying image as it eliminates the haze of red and green that is associated with wearing the R&G 3D glasses) - see images below.

I also came across a neat little camera attachment that can help you make true 3D images - Photo 3-D. This is Simply a little base plate that you use to move your camera from left to right quickly while taking 2 photos. You then import these two images as left and right stereoscopic stills into the software and hey presto a picture you can almost jump in to.

TV Goggles, 3D Video and Augmented Reality

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I was recently at the Edinburgh TV Festival and from this it seems alternate realities, anything to do with GPS/Geo, and 3D video glasses are the next big multiplatform thing.

Video Glasses
I won a pair of the video glasses at the festival and they are amazing http://www.icuiti.com/ They give a "virtual 72 inch feeling" like watching a big TV for a few metres away - so your eyes focus into the distance. Based on military technology they don't appear to strain the eyes and I've been watching the girls aloud videos for the past few weeks... on the bus, on the beach - they are great. I've also connected them to my PC when playing games like Doom3 and they really provide for a more immersive gaming experience.

Because they operate on two screens they have the capacity to deliver 3d stereoscopic content and also allow an added level of interactivity with augmented reality - several companies are selling these video glasses in the states and Asia and they are just about to be launched in a big way in the UK. I wouldn't be suprised if they became as popular as ipods during the next couple of years - particularly as they can take your mini-ipod screen and turn it into a virtual 72inch TV screen (I used my video specs with my archos but I can also connect it to my DV cam and get a live feed).

These extend the potential for delivering natural history in 3D, really allowing landscapes and animal behaviour come alive to the viewer like never before. What's more, as was being preached by Vint Cerf from Google at the TV festival, delivery of video over the web trhough services like the iPlayer allows for multiple layers of content and data to be delivered and hidden behind the video - each layer activated by different technologies, or methods of viewing.

3D Filming
The age of digital media has allowed for a development of products which can take 2D material and convert it to virtual 3D. IMAX and Warner Brothers did exactly this with Superman Returns in 2006 with 20 minutes of 3-D images converted from the 2-D original digital footage, and George Lucas has announced that he may re-release his Star Wars films in 3-D. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix was also released in IMAX theatres with 20 minutes of 3-D content.

James Cameron is planning to shoot his new films Avatar and Battle Angel (planned for released in 2009) in digital 3-D. Filming will use HDTV cameras and the Sony Fusion Camera system.

21st Century 3D provide the worlds smallest and lightest, HI-DEF, stereoscopic 3D camera system and they have just announced the released of 3DVX–H and 3D-SSR which are solid state stereoscopic recorders. http://www.21stcentury3d.com/

The 3DVX–H is particularly useful for long-shot natural history as it had a "modular hyperstereoscopic camera system" that allows maintains a strong stereoscopic 3D effect and high quality at long distances. "With ordinary camera separation, discernable stereoscopy diminishes as the camera’s distance from the subject increases. The 3DVX–H compensates for this by allowing users to increase the interoccular distance to as much as three feet or more."

Augmented Reality
I am going to be playing around with this - the way I see it working is if you strap a webcam to your forehead with the image playing through an augmented reality application and into the goggles you can create the illusion of projecting virtual 3d graphics into the real world whch you can then interact with. Cool!!

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Stranded in Grizzly Country

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Saturday 1st September, C4, 8pm
1.3 M Viewers, 6.1% Audience Share

Radio Times:
The reliable Alive strand ends with the tale of Blake Stanfield and his father Neil, whose rafting holiday on an Alaskan river hits a snag when they slam into an ice shelf and lose the raft. It's almost as if they're trying to get into a gripping Saturday-night drama doc: they haven't got a radio or a phone, Neil's 65 with a dodgy ankle, the place is bristling with bears, and there's nobody else about because the rafting season hasn't started yet. (It hasn't started yet because everyone else is waiting for the ice shelves to melt.) As Blake decides whether to stick with his ailing dad or risk hiking 60 miles for help, we're treated to the usual suspense, terror, relief and tears in that order, as superb narrator Zam Baring outlines a series of outrageous misfortunes with understated relish.

Attenborough Explores Our World

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Monday 3rd September, UKTV Documentary, 2/6pm

UKTV Online:
Attenborough Explores... Our Fragile World
In an exclusive TV premiere, Sir David returns to UKTV Documentary in Attenborough Explores... Our Fragile World, a documentary looking at the impact of climate change in the UK.

Our planet is the hottest it has been since records began - and it's getting hotter. Many predictions have been made about the future fate of a warming planet and its wildlife but, Attenborough Explores... Our Fragile World takes a look at the impact on the animals and habitats affected today. Global warming isn't a future phenomenon - it is happening right now. Sir David Attenborough said, "We are heading for a great worsening of the conditions of this planet for life of all kinds and I have no doubt whatsoever of the cause, which is the by-products of humanity's activities, and that therefore we should be curbing them." The United Kingdom offers unique insights into the effects of climate change on our planet. It has a long history of nature observations - particularly the timing of seasonal events such as flowering and bird nesting. So, with the UK as his platform, Sir David Attenborough takes a look at the effect of global warming, both local and global.

Outrageous Wasters

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Tuesday 4th September, BBC3, 9pm
197,000 viewers, 1.06% Audience Share

Radio Times
Series in which a team of eco-experts are on a mission to transform Britain's most wasteful households. The Buchanan family from Glasgow are packed off to purpose-built eco boot camp House of Correction, where they're forced to face up to the impact of their wasteful ways and learn to live a carbon neutral lifestyle. While they're away, their home undergoes a radical eco-makeover, designed to shock them into changing their ways on their return.