Thursday, November 24, 2005

Another online source for sound effects

[Tags: , ]. From on behalf of Bill Best:
"The Freesound Project [1] aims to create a huge collaborative database
of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps - not songs - released
under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License [2]. The Freesound
Project provides new and interesting ways of accessing and browsing
these samples. In less than 7 months it has over 30,000 users and has
collected more than 10,000 samples that have been added by various
people around the world. The Geotagged Samples [3] are highly recommended.


[At the time of writing the Freesound Project server is not available
due to too many visitors]."

Interactive PR: Tool to help come up with keywords

BBC2 first to broadcast simultaneously online

[Tags: , ]. "next year as part of the BBC's efforts to reach viewers via the internet and mobile phones," reports The Guardian. "[BBC2's controller, Roly] Keating said trials indicated that shows benefited from being available over the web."

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

What is a Web proposal?

[Tags: , ]. There's an interesting forum going on at about what you should put into a website proposal (the design of these forums isn't the best - click on the 'next' icon below the message to see replies). Reply no.4 points to Creative Latitude and their rate calculator (Excel file) - there are also plenty of other helpful documents on their Resources page, including a website briefing questionnaire.

Another useful response goes as follows:
"I'm the head web designer for an action sports ad agency, and I've been doing this for a while. When we do a web proposal, we first put together a site map of the work we propose doing. Then in the proposal itself, we list exactly what work we are doing for them, line by line, with the price for each item (based on hourly, but give a hard price-clients need that) and if there are multiple aspects to each item, list them. This is basically a simple outline and you can put it together in MS Word. Put your grand total at the bottom.

"NEVER do a design comp or mock up without getting your first payment (50% for new clients). If you don't stick hard and fast to that rule, you WILL get screwed sooner or later, especially doing freelance. People had told me that, but I learned the hard way."

Media students 'most employable' - and a strengthening jobs market for IT graduates

[Tags: , ]. That's the verdict of a recent survey of over 200,000 ex-students. "What Do Graduates Do?" "reveals that media graduates have among the highest employment rates," reports the BBC, which also notes "a strengthening jobs market for IT graduates".

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Test how type will look on screen

[Tags: , ]. Another great recommendation from Ideabook - the Typetester, which allows you to compare up to three fonts and type settings - including leading, spacing, tracking and colour - against each other on the screen.

Even better, and shamefully under-highlighted, you can get the CSS code for your final choice (the links are hidden in the top right corner)

[Tags: , ].'s latest briefing highlights as follows: "Interesting navigation solution--click the "Navigate/Search" tab at the top of the screen.
Here >" - one problem: if you have to tell people where the navigation is, it means they can't find it by themselves. Cut piece of design, though.

Web TV tipped to reach 9m by 2009

[Tags: , ]. So reports The Guardian:
"The latest report from market researchers Screen Digest claims Europe will have 8.7 million internet TV subscribers by 2009 - nearly 10% of the pay-TV market.

"Daniel Schmitt, the author of the report, believes telecommunications companies such as BT and France Telecom would benefit most from growth in TV over the internet, or IPTV, which is delivered down high-speed phone lines."

CMYK to RGB convertor

[Tags: , ]. Here's a useful site if you have a CMYK (print) colour that you'd like to convert to a web-safe colour.

Grand Theft Auto Goes Flash

Grand Theft Auto makes it onto the PSP with it's own set of new stories, but that's enough about the game, check out the flash site.
I like it, but then I like the game.

Check it out at:
[Tags: , ].

Monday, November 21, 2005

Accessibility Is Not Enough

[Tags: , ]. So says Jakob Nielsen in his latest Alertbox. Here's his concluding par:
"When you want to improve your website for users with disabilities, remember the real goal: to help them better use the site. Accessibility is a necessary, but not nearly sufficient, objective. Your main focus should be on the site's usability for disabled users, with an emphasis on how well the design helps them accomplish typical tasks."

Streaming with

[Tags: ]. Here's another site for streaming: Seems to be a more personal than broadcast service, but worth checking out if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Screen reader simulation site - and tips

[Tags: , ]. Casting around for screen reader software I came across this fantastic simulation of how pages sound to a person browsing using a screen reader - plus some tasks you can try to undertake. Well worth a visit.

While you're on that trip - have a read of Trenton Moss's article 'Seven Screen Reader Usability Tips' for some advice on designing with screen readers in mind.

New Web and New Media mailing list

For some reason the Yahoo! Groups mailing list for this blog ( has stopped working (it's the same for sister blogs Interactive PR and Online Journalism Blog), so - off to Google Groups I've gone. If you want to sign up for email updates when new messages are posted register at

test - ignore

TV shows on the web in America

[Tags: ]. Another online media article, this one about TV shows on the web in America. Here's my usual key quote:
"[The examples given] do more than repurpose made-for-TV format on the Web. They add extra video content, interaction among audience members, and cutesy add-ons like games and polls. The TechWeb article points to a significant stat that surely has motivated content dealmakers:

More than 94 million people, or 56 percent of the online U.S. population, have watched streaming video online, according to Web metrics firm ComScore Networks. Over the last three months ending in June, the average consumer watched 73 minutes of online video a month.

In addition to a sizable audience, there’s the not-so-insignificant fact that publishers and advertisers are getting more comfortable with video ad formats on the Web. AOL’s advertising model incorporates streaming advertising within the content, banners and sponsorships."

Analogue is the new digital Ofcom announces it will sell analogue spectrum when it is freed up by the switch off of analogue television, "a move eagerly awaited by technology, telecoms and broadcasting companies".

Premiership games could be bought by ISPs

[Tags: ]. Premier League games could be bought for online broadcast following a new TV agreement that will put an end to Sky's monopoly on coverage. The Guardian reports on the agreement with the following key paragraph:
"The Premier League will also encourage bids from new entrants such as BT, France Télécom and AOL by making all the packages "platform neutral" for the first time. That means that instead of hiving off new media rights into a separate package, it is understood winning bidders will be able to distribute games as they see fit. As such, a telecoms company could choose to boost take-up of broadband by screening games exclusively over the internet."
This won't be until 2007, however, so until then you might have to rely on those Chinese websites...

Thursday, November 17, 2005

A resource for those wanting to learn to stream

[Tags: ]. I do love the Internet Media Service mailing list, especially when it throws up posts like this:
"Just found this:

> The Streaming Suitcase is a resource for those wanting to learn to stream. The material is all licensed under Creative Commons and is free to download and distribute.
> The manuals are all available online, and can be downloaded in PDF, or output in a print friendly format. The manuals will also be updated periodically so check them for updates.
> The glossary has the basic jargon needed to learn streaming.
> Tools in the menu above has some bandwidth calculators and links to other handy streaming tools.

Bill Best"

America still owns the internet

[Tags: ]. The not-hugely-surprising outcome of talks about who controls the internet has ended in a deal which basically amounts to the US continuing to be in control, with a new body that has no teeth allowed to talk about things. From The Guardian:
"The US government will retain overall control of the technology which powers the internet - its domain name system, root servers and the oversight of the California-based, not-for-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (Icann) which looks after it all - for the foreseeable future.

"An Internet Governance Forum will be created to discuss and decide upon the over-reaching issues of the internet, but, crucially, will not have any oversight powers. Governments have also agreed to work within existing organisations and infrastructures to gradually transform the way the internet is run."

C4 in dispute with producers over web rights

[Tags: ]. Article from The Guardian on interesting conflicts over the right to show programmes online:
"Eager to develop its own online operation and to shore up its ratings, Channel 4 is arguing for a 30-day hiatus between a show's first screening on TV and its reversion to the programme producer.
"Since a change in regulations last year, broadcasters' control of shows is now limited to their first screening and one repeat. After that, the rights revert to the maker, who can sell them to channels overseas or broker a DVD distribution deal."

Google Launches Google Base

As Google spreads its arms to envelop everything in the world, here's the latest project: Google Base. How do you describe it? Poynter says it's "a way for anyone to post almost anything to Google", which is as good a description as ever. Currently there are a number of 'item types' that you can pre-select, ranging from course schedules to jobs, recipes, and services - but there's also the option to enter your own item type. Perhaps I should enter something suitably unusual, like "personal habit".

I'm not sure if this is an attempt to move into the territory of sites like (articles and news are included), or more likely a way of further categorising content beyond simple websites (it allows you to search wanted ads, or personal profiles, or jobs), or even more likely a way to extend its reach into classified ads, recruitment and anything else that anyone can think of.

The best way to understand it is to add something yourself, like a personal profile. Even then, I'm still not sure how this is going to work...

Avid Editing Software for Free

Avid Editing Software For Free

Budding young, old or middle aged editing boffins, looking for free editing software then look no further than Avid Free DV.
Avid Free DV is a basic non-linear editing software package available for free download from the Avid Website.

I'm using Avid Xpress Pro HD which is an extremely good piece of software, but for home movies and short films
Avid Free DV could be your non-linear answer.
I've just downloaded a version myself and will feed back to you about it's features, good and bad.

Remember to spread the word,
free software is never a bad thing.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Web stats from Google

[Tags: ]. Google have announced a web analytics service which "tells you everything you want to know about how your visitors found you and how they interact with your site. You'll be able to focus your marketing resources on campaigns and initiatives that deliver ROI, and improve your site to convert more visitors."

In other words, it's a web stats service, but a pretty impressive one. The reports page includes a lovely world map showing where your visitors come from - and there are sections for reports on 'Marketing Optimisation' and 'Content Optimisation'. As I've only just set it up I've yet to see exactly what these do.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Good designs

[Tags: ]. One great source of design inspiration is Chuck Green's - here's some nice examples of site design from a recent mailing:
"Design ideas

"Nice combination of images and solid colors. Great photography.
Here >

"More beautiful photography. This time black and white.
Here >

"Very nice example of web story telling.
Here >"

Flash Menu Bar Design

Here's a great website that show's the use of flash on it's menu bar.

[Tags: ].

A former student blogs

[Tags: ]. 2005 graduate James Allsworth has been making us all jealous by taking jobs in far flung climes and then telling all on his blog, - take a look and feel free to post comments telling him how sunny it is in Perry Barr and really we're not interested in going to Singapore. No way sirree.

The tab interface gone insane

[Tags: ]. Now while tabs can provide a useful interface for any website - Amazon being one of the best examples - you can go a bit too far with it. Consider this example from the the West Midlands European Structural Fund Programmes. Just looking at it makes me feel confused (click for bigger version).

How to solve the problem with disappearing columns in Blogger

[Tags: ]. My colleague Caroline Wilson recently had a problem with her blog where the outside column (About Me, Links, etc.) was shunted down to the bottom of the page for no apparent reason.

Well, now she's solved it.

The cause was a link address so long that it ran into the column and forced the contents downwards. The solution: change the link text (but not the link) by putting a gap where a line break is needed.

There's also another possible solution: use This site helpfully assigns you a brief URL where you don't want to have to type out a hefty database-generated address.

(note: HTML will see a hyphen in an address as a natural break and put anything following it on a new line without affecting the link - but that's assuming the address has a hyphen in it, and at the right place)

New media and control

[Tags: ]. There's a lengthy and fascinating article on the Media Guardian site about the Paris riots, related arrests of bloggers for inciting violence, and politicians advertising opportunistically on Google for keywords including "riots", among other things. Here's an indicative quote:
"the arrest last week of at least three young bloggers for allegedly using their sites to incite violence precisely highlights the confusion this new medium brings. So does a controversial government official's use of internet search advertising to push his inflammatory agenda. And so does old French media's fear that covering this explosive story would only favour the politicians they do not favour.

"Taken together, this illustrates how media used to be all about control - with journalists and governments managing the messages - but now are all about the loss of control. The audience took over the internet and blurred all the old lines: where is that line now between witnessing and reporting, between communications and conspiracy, between inciting violence and expressing rage, between speech and crime?"

Thursday, November 10, 2005

The dangers of automated email promotions

[Tags: ]. I received the following email from Amazon today which raised a smile:

"Dear Customer,
We've noticed that customers who have purchased Hot Fuss by The Killers have also ordered Hot Fuss by The Killers. For this reason, you might like to know that Hot Fuss will be released on November 21, 2005. You can pre-order your copy for just GBP 11.99 by following the link below."

Something for Nothing: No preowned games for Playstation 3

Lee Aplin's post on No preowned games for Playstation 3 raises the old spectre of Digital Rights Management, but with a new twist that begs the question: why would Sony stop us taking a game to our friends' house to play?

[Tags: ]. Well I said I needed to buy a proper domain name for this site, and I had a sneaky feeling wouldn't be registered, so off I went to snap it up and point it here. I've done the same for (aka and (aka

If you need an easier-to-remember address, now you have one - and hopefully it should mean better search engine listings too...

New Designers website

[Tags: ]. From the latest Arts Council West Midlands bulletin:

New Designers website

"New Designers has helped thousands of graduates to launch their careers over the past 20 years, and has recently launched a new website to help designers get started in the industry. The website contains a comprehensive online directory of new design talent and enables designers to publicise their work and develop contacts with potential employers, galleries, manufacturers and retailers throughout the year. Designers will be able to create and manage their own mini-website, and receive details of placements and job opportunities. For more information visit

Monday, November 07, 2005

Shavedskunk's Place

You know when you've been skunk'd!

I just like to point out that a link to my blog 'Shavedskunk's Place' has been added to the Web and New Media blog, created by Paul Bradshaw (Paul if you read this, much biggin' it up, is needed for you).

Please check it out, I post links to great uses of animation, flash design and much more. Future blogs will include Gaming Technology: Past Future and Present as well as my views on Ideology and Semiology (within a gaming context). Oh and there's personal content about the crazy world of Shavedskunk aka Mark Hetherington.

So people, be safe and peace be with you.

[Tags: ].

Ambient Findability

[Tags: ]. What? Essentially what Morville is talking about in this article is simple processes to follow to make sure your website is well listed. There's also a link to a free chapter [PDF] of his book on the subject...

audio and online tutorials for interactive media

[Tags: ]. Here are sites that are useful in finding sounds and online tutorials for interactive media


comtastic is fantastic

[Tags: ].

Have a look at I dont know why but once you play the games you are hooked.Who needs Gran Tourismo? Shooting emoticions with mouse arrows, now that is exciting!! As you can tell i am enjoying my Multimedia course at UCE and will post up many more interesing links for you to feast on. Just as soon as i kill some more emoticons and get the puppet to breakdance!!!!

Fantastic Flash Site

[Tags: webdesign]

I found this site whilst looking for interactive ideas. This site is fantastic that it teaches a dance/training video. The video is accesible to all of the countries which are on the site, and all have different dance routines.

Check it out


Friday, November 04, 2005

Why we shouldn't shovel TV programs online, ads and all

[Tags: ]. That's the upshot of Poynter's piece on the NBC Nightly News program being put online without the TV commercials:
"For one thing, an online version of Nightly News can (and should) be a separate ad buy. For another, online offers the opportunity for behavioral and/or demographic targeting of advertising -- something not possible on network TV.

"For additional perspective on this, I also urge you to read media consultant Terry Heaton's latest essay (which is wonderfully insightful) on unbundling media content."

MediaOnline: Storage space

An old posting about sites where you can post large files for others to pick up (when email won't carry it), but worth re-posting to this blog:MediaOnline: Storage space

Online TV: UKNova

[Tags: ]. One to take a look at if you're interested in online TV programmes - UKNova "provides" UK TV programs supplied by users in the same way that Napster used to "provide" access to loads of music, before it got eaten up by The Man. The BBC aren't happy with them, by the way.

Using your audience to classify content

[Tags: ]. That's what the BBC are doing with the Annotatable Audio project, according to, which reports
"radio listeners would be able to mark and add descriptive keywords to segments of programming they want to flag for bookmarking or sharing with others. It means they could highlight a specific item within a lengthy bulletin stream and return to that particular point later.

"Inspired by Flickr and Wikipedia, the project is a private, early-stage pilot of social software produced at BBC Radio and Music Interactive that lets listeners slice programmes into chunks that can be identified by using tags.

... Searchable data is already added by journalists to radio and television clips that are posted to the BBC News site and an earlier prototype let readers tag stories on the site."