Tuesday May 12, 2009

Multiple Sources and Simple Gadgets

At North Hall, professors constantly remind the students of the importance of multiple sources in getting to the story.

Some 6 years ago, soon after I installed our Free-to-Air (FTA) stallite dish and box, the remote control to the set top box broke. Without a remote control, it was impossible to "program" the box and I had to rely on factory settings for channels and occasional updates through a pre-canned search of the channels.

Last week, I had a brief moment to order a new remote control by phone. It arrived yesterday, and I "programmed" the box yesterday evening to receive FTA channels Press TV (Iran) and Russia Today (Russia). These are both English channels hosted by professional journalists, with quality productions of a whole range of forums and views one rarely finds in British or American mass media. I'm not sure if these channels are also available through community cables.

These days, among other topices, Press TV reports on Iran's presidental elections, 2009. RT is currently broadcasting a whole range of reports, including some from Moscow's Eurovision 2009.

I am also able to receive Al-Jazzira in English and a wide range of Arabic TV. I have had to adjust and search about 4 different satellites for these FTA channels.

A simple little tool, like a proper remote control, can do wonders to one's capabilities to get to things.  Without the remote, it was impossible for me to edit satellite transponder settings.

Thursday Sep 20, 2007

Zero Degree Turn -- Persian TV mini-Series


Farnaz Fassihi of The Wall Street Journal ("Iranian Unlikely TV Hit"), Washington Post, Nasser Karimi of Associated Press ("Iran's Newest Hero Aids WWII Era Jews"), a certain teenage family member ("Persian Stuff: Zero Degree Turn") and now NPR ("Romance on Iranian TV Crosses Cultures") have all published stories and bits and pieces about "Zero Degree Turn," an Iranian TV mini-series shot in Paris and Budapest.

The mini-series involves a love story between an Iranian-Palestinian Muslim man and a French Jewish woman during World War II. It is based on the true story of an Iranian student-diplomat in Paris who saved some 1,000 French Jews by issuing Iranian passports to them as a means of passage to the safety of neutral Iran.

YouTube seems to have some pieces of some of the episodes. I hear that the theme song of the mini-series has become quite a hit in Iran, and every Monday night people gather to watch it. Here, in the U.S. it broadcasts every Friday night on JJTVN through free satellite connection.

(I also ran into a CNN character and political analysis of the mini-series on YouTube. Unfortunately, it was grossly, almost purposefully, inaccurate. While commenting on the mini-series, the reporters don't even bother with getting any of the characters correctly and blatantly confuse very minor characters for the major ones. However, I am hardly surprised. Much of the mainstream media's bar on accuracy in reporting on Iran remains fixed shamefully low.) 

Friday Apr 06, 2007


In his MetaMedia blog, Thomas Crampton gives a nod to Joost, and the folks behind it, who also brought Kazaa and Skype to the Internet users.

By the way, did you know that Skype uses PostgreSQL as its system DB?

Monday Dec 18, 2006

Watch That Video!

I still do not have cable at my home and while I may be willing to tolerate some advertising or exchange some micropayments for some particular programming, I do not have an urge to consume all the programming that comes with various types of cable subscription. I simply do not have time to digest (or should I say "to be digested by") that amount of programming.

I should confess that I would rather read a book than watch a video whether on the web, on my home entertainment center or through cable or satellite. However, given that large numbers of consumers now have multiple computers and boradband access,  most can easily search, select and watch videos on the web.

For example, my own children have found videos on the web quite entertaining. The content they are interested in may vary from sports events and footwear advertisements to movie trailers to home-made comedies about school and family, not to mention music videos from the 1970s to the present. The home-made comedies (often made by the generation in whose life web has always been present) have become an immediate hit with the kids of the same age.

Video on the web offers fast distribution, unique programming and self-selection through search. Search-based self-selection by consumers must be most intriguing for advertisers. (In the meantime, Wired's Robert Lemos tries it all for himself.)

Thursday Dec 14, 2006

Disruptive with TV

Roberto Chinnici puts some probing questions to non-mainstream English language TV channels. His solution to their problems to break into the U.S. market: Use the web to your advantage to be disruptive with conventional TV programming.

To address the complaint regarding economic cost of bandwidth, finding a way to include decent advertising may prove sufficient. Furthermore, there can be a web-based subscription model that collects small subscription fees (or micropayments) for access to programming. This will work because bandwidth will still be able to serve all users particularly if programming does not emphasize real, real-time news and breaks content into pieces available separately.




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