I was lucky enough to be interviewed by Peter Price from BBC’s Digital Planet. Some of what we talked about got onto the Digital Planet Podcast (dated 7 April). Peter also captured Over the Air speaker/participant Brian Fling and spoke about the coming revolution of “Mobile 2.0”. It’s a great piece, which really captures some of the flavor of the event, interviewing one of the competition entrants (Simon Maddox) who was busy learning J2ME in order to build a location-based game. Contrary to what Peter says on the podcast, Simon and his team-mate Kevin were actually one of the winners, for best location-aware app. Because of the hybrid nature of the event, Simon and Kevin had access to some top-level experts in Java J2ME from Sun, Aplix and Vodafone who had presented in earlier masterclass sessions. I think it’s also notable what BBC’s Matthew Postgate and Bill Thompson had to say about why BBC is getting involved with events like Over the Air. It’s all because BBC’s public remit means they have a mandate to encourage and facilitate creative expression and “programming is just as valid a form of creative expression as writing books, making videos, or drawing pictures.” I think they’re absolutely right. Certainly, a lot of “creativity” was evident in the contribution entries. The question on everyone’s lips at Over the Air was “when are you going to run another one?” I think the answer is “not for a while” but in the meantime, BBC Backstage is gearing up for their own, more PC-Web-oriented, event, Mashed …

Over the Air Captured on BBC’s Digital Planet Podcast Read more »

Well … we are living in interesting times. Apple’s Steve Jobs has released an Open Letter (published on apple.com) effectively championing the idea of a DRM-free world. Why? Because DRM systems “haven’t worked.” I completely agree. In fact, DRM is a dangerous delusion. Jobs may see the writing on the wall with the release of Microsoft Zune. Who knows why he has chosen this moment in time to express these thoughts. Meanwhile, here in the UK, the BBC are doing their own soul searching around DRM. The BBC Trust, which is a kind of watch-dog organization that sits on top of BBC, has launched an online “consultation” regarding its use of DRM in the on-demand services it plans to launch shortly over the Internet (branded iPlayer). They want to know how long users of this server should be able to save content on their PCs for later playback. They also want to know how important it is to be able to support multiple OSs. The current plan is for the player to support only … you guessed it … Windows DRM format (currently not available on Macs let alone Linux). As a Mac user (despite what the Guardian says, they just work better) I was appalled when I heard this, but even if you’re a PC user, think about this: I can go buy a Tivo or get a Sky+ box and download shows and save them for as long as I want. Furthermore, I can download most television shows without DRM protection over the Internet …

Jobs Denounces DRM while BBC Embraces it? Read more »