Tuesday 30 September 2008

IATUL - eBooks and the End User Perspective

Here at McGovern, especially on the Studio side, we often get a buzz out of seeing how people use the tools we make. One of the most effective is the blog/ezine tool we made for IATUL - the International Association of Technology University Librarians. 
Their  current version is available here. This is an extract - the source is definitely on my list for further study. Feel free to subscribe.


eBooks –The End User Perspective
eBooks form a growing part of the collections at research and academic libraries. Although still in the early stages of adoption, eBooks have demonstrated advantages in the areas of accessibility, functionality, and cost-effectiveness. 

End users are just beginning to incorporate eBooks into their information experience and research habits. Libraries are eager to learn more about the rate of eBook adoption among their end users and the ways in which users are interacting with eBooks. 

In 2007, Springer surveyed librarians at six institutions to understand their views on eBook adoption and benefits. In 2008, Springer followed up that study with a survey of end users at five institutions to gauge their usage of and attitudes toward eBooks. 

The survey uncovered some encouraging results regarding eBook adoption. Most users were aware of eBooks and had accessed them at least once. Respondents also overwhelmingly said that eBooks are useful and that they would like to incorporate eBooks into their information experience more frequently. 

These positive findings are supported by additional Springer usage research and studies from independent organizations that have found a surprising level of uptake for eBooks given their relative newness. 


Monday 29 September 2008

Google and TVNZ partner in New Zealand election leaders debate

This morning, YouTube and TVNZ have announced what they call a world-first political debate, where New Zealanders will be able to put questions directly to Prime Minister Helen Clark and Leader of the Opposition John Key via the ONE News YouTube Election Debate.

The debate will air live on TVNZ One News and YouTube on October 14th. The TVNZ journalist Mark Sainsbury will moderate, with three of New Zealand's leading political journalists asking additional questions.

Submitting Questions
Starting today, YouTube users in New Zealand, and expats, can submit their questions at www.youtube.co.nz/debate.

Is this interesting?
The announcement was made by Steve Grove, global Head of News and Politics for YouTube. This was interesting. Moreover, he seemed genuinely engaged in what he saw as a global experiment in local democracy.

And, when you consider that something like 13 hours of new content is uploaded by YouTube users every minute of the day, then having someone like Grove fronting the story is indeed interesting.

Finally, given that the the entire debate plus the questions will remain online at YouTube for anyone to come along and do they mash-up thing, there might be some interesting post debate interest in both the story and the ongoing saga?

Missed Opportunity?
That said I think there is a major missed opportunity here. Thus, instead of uploading a thirty second question to the two leaders, how about inviting New Zealanders, and their offshore friends and supporters to upload not just a question, but also a ten minute video of their take on the answer to their question?

Building a world class digital democracy
For example, my question to both Helen Clark and John Keys is, "In addition to your intention to roll out ubiquitous broadband, what plans do you have to make New Zealand a world class digital democracy?"

Open public good data sets
As part of their, and indeed my own answer, I would be looking for strong and binding commitments around getting all state funded data out onto the net as a local and global public good.

Moreover, I would be looking for immediate policies to overhaul current DRM/copyright systems, as well as a major measurable commitment around getting existing bought and paid for New Zealand knowledge frameworks digitised and up in the cloud as intellectual, economic, and cultural seed capital.

In short I would be looking for real political leadership around taking New Zealand online.
What about you?

Thursday 25 September 2008

You Tube - digital anthropology

Be advised the YouTube video I embed at the end of this post is long. It's almost an hour. It's a lecture given by Michael Wesch, the digital anthropologist. In a wide ranging presentation to the Library of Congress, he discusses You Tube, social networking, the impact on individualism and identity etc.

He is also the guy who put together the seminal piece The Machine is Us/ing Us. I am grateful to Nat Torkington for sharing the link.

The week.
This last week feels like I have been living inside both videos. First with the first Digital Development Forum meeting in Wellington, then some project trips to New Plymouth. Tomorrow brings a trip to Tauranga.

We also said goodbye to Aidan who has been working on the design desk for McGovern. He is off to Sydney. But that's okay we have already figured out how to keep him in the McGovern loop. On that score we also have Alex, our lead programmer working from us remotely from Vladivostok. Who says when people leave New Zealand they are lost to us.

Afternoons- Radio NZ
Back to this week, yesterday I also got the chance to talk to / work with Noelle McCarthy who was fronting for Jim Mora on Radio NZ. She was great. The auio link is here

Story links.
The story links include www.nzmuseums.co.nz , the new TePapa Our Place wall, and the archive of the Internet NZ TVNZ 7 election debate on the Internet, here.

As for right now, I have lots to process around all of this stuff. I will be back in a few days - but in the meantime have a look at Michael Wesch's presentation. 

Friday 19 September 2008

The Subprime Primer

This is a brilliant expose of the sub prime crisis showing how the whole sorry mess eventuated. Please be advised there is a bit of strong language. Also thanks to the source which is currently sitting on Google docs, Also to Hard News who alerted me to this. If you need it bigger choose the full screen option.

The sub Prime Primer
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: sub prime)

Monday 15 September 2008

NZ Inc - role of innovation - two reports from Canada and Australia

With the New Zealand election period just about to start its marathon eight week stretch, and with the upcoming Digital Development Forum only a week away [registrations still open] it seems appropriate that we start thinking about the idea of innovation, especially in the creative sector, as a key driver to our future productivity.

In line with the aspirations of the new
New Zealand Digital Strategy, 2.0, we might also wish to have a long hard look at how to unleash the potential locked up in our science, cultural and heritage collections.

New Zealand has a reputation in the wider world as having taken some leadership in these areas. However, two reports, one out of Australia and the other out of Canada, would seem to indicate some interesting and challenging thinking is also to be had elsewhere.

They are also inspiring, so be warned!

Valuing Culture:
Measuring and Understanding Canada’s Creative Economy
This report sheds light on the value of culture as a cornerstone of the creative economy and as a contributor to economic performance across all sectors.

It also presents evidence of how countries around the world recognize the pervasive role of the culture sector in building social cohesion and improving quality of life.

The report examines key trends and drivers that are fundamentally changing the way we create, access, and experience culture, and the business models that support culture activity,

They also see the new interactive Internet-based digital technologies as being central to the changes taking place in the creative production process and emerging global value networks.

Taking into account the substantial direct, indirect, and induced contributions of the arts and culture industries, the Conference Board estimates that the culture sector’s economic footprint was $84.6 billion in 2007, constituting 7.4 per cent of Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP). Employment in the culture sector exceeded 1 million jobs.

In total, culture accounts for more than $43 billion or 3.8% of Canada's GDP. Libraries account for $1.3 billion of Canada's Gross Domestic Product.

Download (upon free subscription) from the Conference Board of Canada e-library: http://www.conferenceboard.ca/

From Stephen's Lighthouse via The NLNZ Source

Review of the National Innovation System
The final report, was prepared for Senator Kim Carr, Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, by consultants Culter and Co, headed up by industry consultant and strategy adviser Dr Terry Cutler.

It places a strong emphasis on open innovation. There are over a hundred recommendations, each of the grouped under the chapter headings.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 10
Two of these chapters - Chapter 7 ,
Information and Market Design, and Chapter 10, Innovation in Government, are of direct relevance both to the open information access lobby and collecting and cultural institutions.

Global Public Commons
Specifically they Recommendation 7.1.4 states 'to the maximum extent practicable, information, research and content funded by the Australian governments - including national collections - should be made freely available over the Internet as part of the global public commons ."

Creative Commons
On the government information side Recommendation 7.8, state , "Australian governments should adopt international standards of open publishing as far as possible. Material released for public information by Australian governments should be released under the Creative Commons licence".

Web 2.0 projects
Over in Chapter 10, to paraphrase Recommendation 10.2. "at least five substantial web 2.0 experiments should be established in different areas within two years and be evaluated within three". I have no idea what they mean by web 2.0 projects, but perhaps they might look at a local version of My Society for some inspiration.

The executive overview is at:

Willaim Hogarth and a cautionary tale from the National Library, New Zealand, in Wellington

Last week, I managed to get to the NZ National Library's current exhibition of satirical  engravings, from  William Hogarth [1767 - 1794] all of which are from the  Alexander Turnbull collection. 

Headed Cautionary Tales, the exhibition gives a really interesting insight into one man's interpretation of the English tradition of satire that flourished through the first half of the 18th century. 

Well known for his popular engravings in the likes of 'Gin Lane' and the series 'The Harlot's Progress' and 'Marriage à-la-mode, Hogarth's work is filled with scenes of drunken debauchery, infidelities, and wanton acts of crime and violence. Most of it takes place in London, with the gallows of Tyburn never far away.

In a neat twist, the exhibition also brings the key themes and formats up to date by including works by contemporary New Zealand cartoonists.

David Low
One of these is the cartoonist David Low. He is credited with working the tradition of Hogarth, even producing a modern version of 'A Rake's Progress'.  

Trace Hodgson
Also Trace Hodgson's series of 'Underbelly' cartoons are offered as a local contemporary take on Hogarth's satire of the streets, with Hodgson's heavily tattooed, chain-smoking bogans and their vegan girlfriends replacing Hogarth's cast of fashionable rakes and harlots.

Mary Kisler - Auckland Art Gallery - visiting lecture
I also caught the evening lecture from Auckland Art Gallery senior curator Mary Kisler who gave an interesting and well research  presentation on the theatrical connections of Hogarths work. 

These included the satirical traditions of the day; but she also gave herself plenty of time to trace the earlier threads of continuity to the Italian theatrical traditions of Commedia dell'Arte (Italian: "the art of comedy") 

As she explained, the Commedia dell'Arte [Wikipedia here]  not only offered a brilliant framework  to political and social subversion, the formula had developed a tradition of street theatre which survives right through to our modern notions of pantomime etc. Moreover, the characters  have also endured, with the 18th Italian varieties,  morphing into newer more localised characterisations in the likes of Punch and Judy.

Peter Jackson moment
It was a lovely surprise of an evening. I also enjoyed watching the audience appear and dissolve into the Wellington night as if conjured out of mist by a sorcerer's apprentice. 

 I've seen this effect  before at the National Library Auditorium. The latter is in the basement - and is quite hard to find. However, once found it is surprisingly spacious. 

When I got there, there was hardly a soul around.  I sat near the front, and sensed rather than saw the arrival of people around me. And then, as if I had been nudged, I looked behind me. The place was full. Just like that.

Everyone, mostly older, but with a respectable smattering of the young gifted and slighty grubby,  listened to the presentation with grave and polite attention, refused to a man/woman  to detain Ms Kisler with anything as rude as a question, and then, as quietly and as a quickly as they had appeared,  faded back into the rain.

Maybe I dreamt it? 

The exhibition is on until the 18th November. The online pages  are here. 

Tuesday 9 September 2008

Apple TV meets Sony Bravia and the New Zealand iTunes Store

Be advised, as  this is a toy review,  there may be drooling. Moreover, user reaction may cause extreme apathy in some and sofa rage in others. So don't read it while driving a sofa . 

Last Sunday night had me and mine sitting in front of the 'big tele' [bought and paid for - well nearly] in this case a Sony Bravia with Dolby surround sound via five external speakers.

To the right of the tele was the rather cute wee Apple TV box currently on loan from Apple Australia. In my hand the little white remote, which was all set to play the hi-def version of Batman - begins, which we had rented and downloaded from the New Zealand iTunes store for the magnificent sum of $5.

Two hours later I was a complete convert to 'download a movie from the internet' idea. The hi def pictures were lovely, the soundtrack integrated just fine.In short it works. You pays your money - and hey presto the movie arrives. Sort of. But more of that latter.

In the meantime was the set-up painless? To be honest , it truly was. Herewith the steps.

The Apple TV
First up you need the Apple TV box. See above for picture. The cost in NZ is around NZ$500 for a 40GB version. [160 GB version around NZ$650]

It comes in the typical well designed perfect packaging which once again delivers on the famous 'Apple out of the box experience' It included the HDMI cable. You plug the latter into the back of the TV - plug in the power , and switch to the assigned HD channel. The screen flicks into life, the Apple logo appears. And your onboard.

Internet connection
It then looks for an Internet connection. If you had chosen to extend an Ethernet cable from your DSL modem then it would have sorted all that in the background. If, like us, you run a Wifi home hub, then it displays the available wifi zones, including your own. You select it, and then , bingo the Apple TV is online and is heading for the iTunes store.

The iTunes Store
The iTunes store is even easier. After you authenticate - still using the onscreen commands including an onscreen keyboard, you are presented with the menu of movies, either to buy or to rent. You pick one, agree the terms and conditions, and then it starts downloading.

The drawbacks
Naturally there are some drawbacks. First up the selection of movies is, frankly, a little US centric. Moreover, lots of them feel old. For example Batman begins is listed on the IMDB as having been released in 2005.

The download
Second - the download. Even with a decent ADSL2 service it takes a while to download. Thus, though I started this tale by saying we sat down Sunday night, actually I had started the whole thing late on the Saturday night.

Download Streaming
The download message first of all said three hours - however, to be fair it did start to play about 5 mins later when 12% of the movie had arrived on the Apple TV hard drive.
But it needed to pause and catch up a couple of times - so 20 minutes into the movie I thought, leave it - come back tomorrow Which is what I did . And yep, for sure, there it was sitting waiting for me when I checked the following morning.

So definitely not an instant download hit - and so the question is, why persevere - why not stick with Sky, especially the new HD channels, and give away the notion of Internet downloads

The other stuff
Good question. I guess the answer is complex. First up, I'm intrigued by the idea of Internet movie downloads, and am keen to keep it as an option. Second, and probably more importantly, the Apple TV offers a lot more that just a 'download a movie' service.

The movie download came at the end of a week in which I had already twinned the Apple TV to my laptop. This gave the Apple TV access to my podcasts and music and photos. Actually I did very little - just click two options telling both devices to talk to each other. And that's what they did.

Photo Library
The same process had linked the big screen TV to my photo collection on the laptop - so the screen saver while listening to the podcasts, or music, consisted of a lovely slide show of all my own pictures, including the predictable, but nevertheless completely precious collection of family pictures, many of which had come via email from Scotland.

I was also able to set up a permanent connection to my Flickr account, and could use the on screen keyboard to search across multiple collections including the increasingly intriguing Flickr Commons project.

You Tube
Finally, using the same on screen keyboard I connected to YouTube and have had a lovely couple of sessions playing some of usual nonsense, as well as catching up with the detail on the Sarah Palin acceptance speech, i.e. the detailed stuff which main stream TV just doesn't have the time for.

The hub
In short the Apple TV experiment gave a really solid glimpse of how main stream media - in the likes of movies or TV-  can become part of a personal cultural hub which I can manage, contribute to and programme to my needs and interests depending on whether I want web 2.0 social content, mainstream Hollywood, or more serious learning and teaching material that I might be interested in, including the likes of the OII lecture series.

The Context Machine
And that's interesting. In fact, its more than interesting. It feels like I have had a glimpse of the context machine I was trying to explore over a year ago when I was up in Seoul with the IBM deep divers. At that time I spoke of looking for a  'context machine', which I described then as as a connecting point for context and content. Here's a flavour of that post. 
The connecting point to all this is context - and for me, that's where the future lies - not so much creating new content streams [though that is an inevitable part of the mix] but creating new contextual tools and spaces - which in turn give me the framework[s], to interact and rearrange my relationships between one kind of media and another, and, crucially, integrate these content
relationships with the different social groups of friends, colleagues and family who share all this with me.

For example - if I've totally enjoyed a new movie in the family area - say
Pans Labyrinth - I'd like to see a layer, either on the DVD, or more likely the web, that switches to a deeper set on linked sources on the Spanish Civil War, or the History of Fayriae, etc.

I also want to share this with the people I saw the movie with. Similarly, if I'm in a study space, I want to be able to switch out of the space I'm in and see how current news or other media is treating what I have been studying.

Or maybe, all I'm doing is responding to an IMS, or a skype call. Or, if I'm in the noisy eating/chattering space of the living room, I want to be able to pull up all manner of local happenings reviews, restaurants etc, as well as mark some stuff for quieter times in the study area.

In short the changing context of my life is matched by an equally intelligent context machine which is able to scan the surface of an issue - flood it with group noise and opinion, or take a step back, quieted down, and be able to take the time to sit and think with some serious sources.

Reality Check?
I'm not saying apple TV has given me this - I'm not saying that at all - however, in the last two weeks, thanks to the cute wee Apple box sitting to the side, I've definitely seen a flavour of it. I also had some fun with a really neat toy.

And yes, I have to give it back.

Monday 8 September 2008

City Gallery Wellington - arts marketing by email

City Gallery do a lovely e-mail newsletter. This is an extract from their latest. I think it's a great example of e-mail arts marketing.

ARTSPACE has a new director

ARTSPACE is definitly a place to watch in terms of contemporary New Zealand art. so it's a pleasure to share the annoucement that ARTSPACE has a new Director, Emma Bugden. 

She joins ArtSpace after two and a half years at the Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts in Manukau City, where she is credited with transforming a regional community organisation into a world-class public art gallery and bustling cultural hub.  

Bugden brings with her a wealth of experience and enthusiasm for growing and consolidating ARTSPACE' s position as New Zealand¹s leading institution for contemporary art.  

 Emma Bugden is actively engaged with the international contemporary arts community through travel, research and projects. Her upcoming exhibition at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts is with Polish artist Artur Zmijewski.

 Emma has recently worked with international artists Cao Fei (China), Harrell Fletcher (US), Gabriella Fridriksdottir (Iceland), Aeronout Mik (The Netherlands), Andreas Siekmann (Germany), Tellervo Kalleinen (Finland) Tom Nicholson (Australia), Heath Bunting (UK) and New Zealand artists Kate Newby, Judy Darragh and Peter Stichbury.

 ARTSPACE makes an international call for a new Director every three years.

The three year term means ARTSPACE can keep pushing forward by harnessing the new energy and innovations that each Director brings. It's an artist-focussed, independent institution, with an innovative and fast-paced programme, and an international outlook that fosters opportunities for artists locally, nationally and internationally.

ARTSPACE farewells Brian Butler, our current Director, who is returning to Los Angeles in November with his new family. Butler will maintain connections with New Zealand as a mentor and initiator of ongoing projects.

Brian Butler says, 'Emma seems the ideal choice for this time in ARTSPACE's history. She brings to the position a combination of thoughtful independence and a broad knowledge of contemporary art.'

Emma Bugden has extensive experience as a curator and manager in contemporary art institutions throughout New Zealand, from the grassroots artist initiative The Honeymoon Suite in Dunedin to working as the Director of the Physics Room and curator at City Gallery Wellington.

 A recent ambitious project entitled The Land Wars in 2008 at Te Tuhi Centre for the Arts was held over several platforms in two parts and reassessed concepts of control over land with a global perspective.

 Emma Bugden has built on her international experience and networks through travelling regularly to do research, projects and by taking up professional development opportunities such as curatorial residencies including the Nordic Instutute of Contemporary Art, Helsinki, PROGRAM Berlin, and an upcoming residency at Galerija Miroslav Kraljevic. 

She has formed a range of partnerships with institutions, from organisations such as Tate Modern to the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane as well as developing relationships with corporate sponsors such as Ernest & Young and Telecom.

 Highlights from her solid publishing and writing portfolio include managing the publication of LOG Illustrated and establishing The Physics Room Annual.

She has produced an extensive range of catalogue essays and published numerous reviews and articles for art magazines including: Artlink, LOG Illustrated, Art New Zealand, Natural Selection, Ramp and Landfall.

 Through her professional affiliations and board commitments she has fulfilled roles as diverse as being an external assessor for Creative New Zealand, advised on numerous curatorial panels including Judging the National Drawing Award at ARTSPACE. 

Emma Bugden¹s commitment and passion for contemporary art is evident in her advocacy for artists and developing audiences through deepening the connection between the public and their experience of a gallery.


Friday 5 September 2008

Readers and Writers - the Festival circuit moves to Christchurch

The Christchurch Writers Festival kicked off yesterday, and runs through to Sunday. I'd have loved to have been there. The offshore stars include Robert Fisk who is now being offered an extra session to cope with demand. However, there are also 20 international and 40 local speakers, so there will no shortage of activity over the upcoming weekend.

The web site is here. I like the design and layout - however, I'd have liked a bit more news on what was going on.

Christchurch City Libraries blog their own
This being Christchurch, this gap is more than taken care of by Christchurch City Libraries blogging team. Given this is their home turf you would expect them to be there: however, you have to give it to them - they are starting to develop a real style of their own, both in the topics they cover and the strength of their authorial voice. In short the writing is neat. I also think their audio interviews are well worth a listen.

McGovern - Auckland Writers Festival
Given McGovern Online is the web site sponsor to the Auckland Writers Festival, as may be expected, I take more than a passing interest in how the literary festival scene is using the web - both as a promotion and marketing tool, but also as a space in which they can offer more innovative reader and writer type experiences.

Melbourne Writers Festival
On that note, I was intrigued to see this experiment coming out of the recent Melbourne Festival where over the weekend of Saturday 30th they hosted Remix My Lit's live remixing event
Still Going
This involved a big screen in Federation Square dedicated to the live multimedia remix of RML stories. Tales by authors such as Cate Kennedy, James Phelan, Kim Wilkins and Danielle Wood were stretched, tweaked, mashed and generally brought to life in a live set by A/V artist M.
The remix project was possible because these stories have been licenced by their authors under the Creative Commons framework.

ReMix Site - deadline extended to 19th October 2008
The project is also open to people wishing to contribute/take part from home, and the deadline has been extended to the 19th October 2008. Versions of what people have managed to date, are here

Melbourne Digital Fringe
Also worth looking at as a benchmark is the Melbourne Fringe Festival's Digital Fringe program .They have issued a call out for material and screens for its 2008 program (24 September to 12 October).

Run out of the experimental media bar, Horse Bazaar , Digital Fringe showcases the work of emerging and established new media artists on hundreds of screens across Victoria.

Contributions can be from anywhere in the world and can be in any form, from works by professional artists to kindergarten multimedia projects and everything in between.

You provide the material, they provide the novel environment - whether it be a bar, a gallery, a wall or even a mobile phone. They even have a Mobile Projection Unit, which moves around Melbourne from dusk, projecting onto buildings and structures and interacting with the city life and local goings on.

For a more local "big wall" effort, you might want to spend a Friday afternoon moment checking out this brand new site out of Te Papa, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa who have just announced it is opening its doors to all its Our Space contributors.

Our Space is Te Papa's new interactive multi-media experience. It is made up of user generated content either uploaded inside the Museum, or from the web site. You get to be a contributor by signing up on the site.

The actual wall inside the Museum officially opens to the public on September 27th. However, on Thursday 18 and Friday 19 of September, from 10am- 4pm, Our Space members are welcome to visit the new physical space, explore the new technology and discover the images submitted by hundreds of contributors.

If you want to be one of the contributors, become a member, or see what the Our Space user generated content experience is all about - then head over to the web site, here.

Wednesday 3 September 2008

Broadband in NZ - noise on the line

David Farrar, aka DPF, of Kiwi Blog is running a lovely thread on the NZ National Party current billboard campaign, where his readers are making their own. The real National one is over here. I like this one.

The Infrastructure debate.
The tug is to the proposal on road tolling, subsequently denied/amended by his leader, from the NZ National Party's Transport and Communication spokesperson, Maurice Williamson.

Both roading and broadband will be big infrastructure issues in the forthcoming NZ election.

I heard Maurice Williamson speak twice last week. First at the TUANZ Telecoms day where he shared the platform with David Cunliffe the resident Minister of Communications. Second, at the TUANZ Innovation Awards dinner in the evening. He really is a smart funny guy. It's a pity he doesn't seem to have any colleagues who give the impression they are as interested in broadband far less understand it. And that includes his new boss John Key.

There again, with the exception of David Cunliffe, there is a dearth of real enthusiasm for the broadband infrastruture issue from the upper ranks of the Labour cabinet. As for the other so called minor parties - let's just say nothing comes to mind that makes me cheerful.

The Broadband Fibre Fund - noise on the line
Despite my own theorectical enthusiasm for the concept of fibre to the home, and the potential of a national fibre fund, I have no notion whatsoever as to how National would actually implement their throw away statement they would invest $NZ1.5 billion to help make this happen. I take even less heart from recent statements that they will figure it all out early next year should they get elected. This isn't a policy, it's just noise on the line.

Alan Freeth - CEO Telstra NZ
As for the CEO of Telstra NZ , Alan Freeth , I rarely if ever get involved in personal criticism, but his recent statement that fibre to the home was a nonsense, wouldn't help NZ business, or NZ productivity, and all that would happen is people would download more movies and pornography - sorry , but this guy needs challenged on this. It's arrogant and bordering on the offensive.

Update on the Alan Freeth challenge.
Internet NZ, the Internet Society of NZ,  has just published a press release challanging Alan Freeth. I welcome it, and so report it below.

InternetNZ (the Internet Society of New Zealand Inc) is concerned with comments from TelstraClear CEO Dr Allan Freeth reported in the New Zealand Herald yesterday.

 “Dr Freeth’s view that true high-speed broadband available at home is not important for New Zealand’s future is not a view we share. High speed broadband – 100mbps and more – is vital to New Zealand’s future,”says InternetNZ Executive Director Keith Davidson.

“Freeth is reported as saying that the main benefit of true high-speed broadband at home may simply be faster porn and movie downloads, and that there would be no impact on productivity,” Davidson says.

 “All across the economy, innovative applications are being developed that help people work in more productive ways. In the rural sector, for instance, many new and little-known applications were illustrated at the TUANZ Rural Broadband symposium in July. 

“High-speed broadband already allows effective work-from-home and telepresence arrangements, greater social interaction through video contact between family members; and sustainability gains through, for example, realtime monitoring of energy use.

“More importantly, a whole array of services and applications that can’t even be developed without ubiquitous high-speed broadband will be invented and rolled out once the infrastructure is available.

 “Many applications – whether already available or yet to be developed – will boost productivity, and people’s quality of life.

 “New Zealand needs to keep up with other countries in rollout out true high-speed broadband services. If we do not, then as the applications it allows demand higher bandwidth and become more critical to our economy’s future, we will be left behind.

 “Dr Freeth has a job to do, in protecting TelstraClear’s investment in an HFC network that is not capable of delivering the services that a fibre-to-the-home network would allow. His comments should be read in that context,” Davidson says.

Network Strategies
 “InternetNZ considers that the case for true high-speed broadband has been made. That is why we are now focusing on developing the best possible roadmap to roll it out, and the research we commissioned last month with Network Strategies,[PDF] which will be released before this year’s election, will help paint a clear picture of the approach which is best for New Zealand.

 “Incumbent network owners will always be sceptical of plans which increase the competition they face. That is to be expected, and as a result it is important for all participants in the debate to make their voices heard,” concludes Davidson.


Tuesday 2 September 2008

ARTSPACE exhibit work of Hood Kraus Nolan

Artspace is one of New Zealands leading independent art galleries with a 20 year history of bringing provocative and stimulating new art practice to Auckland, and New Zealand. 

Exhibition dates: 12 September  18 October 
Their upcoming exhibition features Robert Hood, Cyclical Adjustment Vacuum Idle Manifold Chris Kraus, Plastic Is Leather, Fuck You: Chris Kraus Films and Videos 1983- 1995 and Isabel Nolan, The Trance of Inaction. 

Opening reception: Thursday 11 September 6pm

Robert Hood 
Robert Hood is a Christchurch based artist. Hood's work evokes a post-apocalyptic tone embracing diverse influences from the paranormal to stock markets:  'Rob Hood deals in paranormal oddities; apocryphal worlds that incubate hope; utopias only a hair's breadth away from sliding into the mire and those seething bedrocks of capitalism, the financial markets' Says Robyn Pickens.

Hood utilises a range of media from photography and installation to video and found objects. He was the recipient of the Olivia Spencer-Bower residency in 2007. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally and was part of Headway, the annual new artists show at Artspace in 2006.

 Selected solo exhibitions include projects at Jonathon Smart Gallery, The Blue Oyster Trust, The Physics Room and High Street Project. Robert Hood graduated with a B.F.A in 1998 from the University of Canterbury.

Chris Kraus
 Chris Kraus is a Wellington born, L.A. based filmmaker and author. Vast in scope and both visually and textually experimental her film and video works span from 1983-1995. This is the first time her film and video works can be viewed in their entirety in New Zealand. 

As an independent filmmaker working in New York in the early 1980s Kraus¹s interests range from; the myth of literary figures such as Antonin Artaud and Frank O'Hara to crime scene photography, sadomasochism and meditions upon memory, nostalgia and longing.

Kraus is also known as a writer. Index called her ³one of the most subversive voices of American fiction.  She is the author of novels I Love Dick, Aliens & Anorexia, Torpor and Video Green and is a contributor on art and culture to many international publications including Index, Artext and Art and America. She was the founding editor of the Native Agents imprint, new fiction series for Semiotext(e).

 Isabel Nolan
Isabel Nolan is a Dublin based artist. Drawing is central to Nolan¹s art practice; she describes it as catching a thought, a way to begin: 

 'Drawing is a great way of describing anything - an object, an idea or a feeling. Aesthetically I like its variability, it can be hard, soft, cold, warm, really conceptual or very emotive, often it is, or at least it appears, very direct and personal ­ the human touch.'

During her stay in Auckland Nolan will be undertaking research at the Auckland  Museum. Nolan has exhibited widely in Ireland and internationally, including at the Project Arts Centre and the Goethe Institute, Dublin. 

She represented Ireland at the Venice Biennale in 2005 has participated in exhibitions at the Centre d'Art Contemporain, Geneva and the Irish Museum of Modern Art.

For more information please  media@artspace.org.nz
Web site www.artspace.org.nz

Note: mcgovern online build the Artspace web site.

USA election meets web 2.0

 Perspctv is a "dashboard" of what is happening in mainstream media and user-generated content on the web leading up to the US election. This project presents different perspectives in our world, including that of Mainstream media and user-generated content on the Internet

Monday 1 September 2008

NZ Community Repository Kete 1.1 released

The news that the community repository software, Kete has a new release with a bunch of new features is a welcome one. Congratulations to all involved.

Tell me a story
As is explained in the detail below, Kete gives communities a tool to tell their own stories whether as a family, hapu, or community. As part of the new features you can also give it an in-line Creative Commons tag, restrict your content to family, or local group, and have a confidence that the privacy level around how your information is uploaded and stored is much stricter. Finally the code base is now OAI compliant making content in the various Kete available for harvest into other repositories of practice, including long term digital preservation projects.

Community Parnership Fund
The original Kete project and the subsequent modifications have all benefited from an ecology of project practice which emerged out of the Community Partnership Fund, or CPF. Delivered out of the NZ Digital Strategy, the CPF has now completed two funding rounds and $17.4 million has contributed to over 100 community ICT initiatives. As part of the revised Digital Strategy, there is to be a third round of $6million.

This 2008/2009 funding round of the Community Partnership Fund will open 6 October 2008. Expression of Interest forms and applications will be available on that date. Details, here

Aotearoa Peoples Network, APN
The Aotearoa Peoples Network contributes to the Kete story in three ways. First, the APN also got its original funding layer from the Community Partnership Fund. They were then given additional funding as part of an increase in base line funding to the NZ National Library at the last budget.

Part of that funding was invested in offering the Kete software to individual APN libraries. This gave the local communities the ability to start recording and making their own community memory. To achieve this a local sandpit was developed and a common hosting environment commissioned by the APN technical team.

Second , the APN commissioned the development of two new features which helped give the now open source Kete project more flexibility

Creative Commons Licence
The Kete tool was modified to give people the ability to give their stories or contributions a Creative Commons license from inside the Kete tool.

OAI compliant

The Kete tool was adapted to make it OAI compliant. This makes each Kete visible to other community repositories, thus allowing the community of users the tool to offer their content into bigger archives for long term preservation.

In New Zealand terms this also means that if people give their permission their content can be harvested into the likes of the Digital New Zealand project, or in the longer term, become part of the preservation memory being build and sustained by the National Digital Heritage Archive.

APN extra funding
The third aspect comes from the announcement that Digital Strategy 2.0 refresh is to give a welcome $2 million addition to the core funding for the APN. This will accelerate the national roll out of the APN to public libraries and marae which provides free access to broadband internet services, a range of web-based tools and services and training. See press release.

However, this new funding also has a specific component to extend the use of the Kete software to set up digital repositories for community user-generated content for each participating community.

APN targets
The targets are by 2009, up to 30 open-source community Kete repositories will be established, and by 2010, the network will be rolled out to 130 libraries and 10 marae.

Other projects in the ecology
The NZ Chinese Association in Auckland, in partnership with Auckland Public Libraries are also building a community story telling project in Kete.

Over in the West coast of the North Island, Te Reo o Taranaki recently went on line. In the 1980s Te Reo o Taranaki was established to focus on revitalising the mita of Taranaki reo within their communities. More than 20 years on, their emphasis is on inter-generational language transmission within the home, whānau and community.

The Kete ecology of support
In short a bunch of different strands are coming together each of which illustrate the development of the ongoing Kete story in particular, and the wider ecology of community practice it both contributes to, and benefits from. And so to the detail.

Kete 1.1.
Kete 1.1 is now available with new features and improvements. This is also the first release where you can get Kete from the code repository's new home at Github.com , or browse the code online

Features and Benefits
Kete is open source software that enables communities, whether the community is a town or a company, to collaboratively build their own digital libraries, archives and repositories. Kete combines features from Knowledge and Content Management Systems as well as collaboration tools such as wikis, blogs, tags, and online forums to make it easy to add and relate content on a Kete site.

New highlights.
An in-depth list of features and issues resolved can be found, here, but the new highlights are:

• Privacy Control - ability to designate any item version within a basket as only viewable to its members

• Content Licensing - Creative Commons licenses are available to be loaded as license options with one command on the server.

• OAI-PMH Repository - an Kete instance can optionally answer OAI-PMH harvester requests for its content.

• Force use of SSL Encryption on Private Items and User Account Information (optional) - Kete now can be configured to use HTTPS for all sensitive areas (login, registration, private items, certain administrator functionality).

Kete 1.1's major work was funded by Te Reo o Taranaki, Aotearoa Peoples Network , the New Zealand Mental Health Commission, Katipo, and HLT. It was done by Walter McGinnis, Steven Upritchard, and new Kete team members at Katipo, James Stradling and Kieran Pilkington. Patches were contributed by Joe Atzberger and Mason James for Liblime as well as Sam Villain for Catalyst IT, Ltd.

Ruby on Rails
Kete is a Ruby on Rails application, so huge thanks go to those that have worked on Ruby and Ruby on Rails for providing a great foundation to build an application on top of. Thanks also go to the team at IndexData for their work on Zebra which Kete uses as the basis for its search and browsing functionality.