Saturday, January 28, 2012

ACTA in Ireland

Here's the copy of the email I wrote to my TDs last week and our MEPs. Sometimes I wonder….


I am writing in connection with the proposed legislation being pursued by Minister Sherlock in relation to copyright material and online services.

I could say I am writing as a resident of such and such an area, and voted here there and everywhere along the political spectrum over the years.  But I'll spare you all that.

I am writing as a filmmaker who has worked in many creative fields, from music to art, theatre and photography over the intervening years, I've produced several feature films and had some modest success.

I have also followed the rise of technology since the mid-Eighties, lectured on Computer Animation in Ballyfermot in the early Nineties, and continue to teach in Digital Media in the IT, Sligo.  I've over twenty five years experience, researching and tracking the steady advance of digital technology as it has swept over the creative sector, from digital creation, through digital distribution and consumption. 

What it is important to understand right now is that we are in the middle of a watershed, a period of transition and various creative media are at different points in their transition.   But all of these:
- Music
- Television
- Publishing
- News
- Art/Photography
- Film
All of them have entered the watershed right now.  Moving through huge changes.  It's, as the word of the day says, disruptive.  Extremely disruptive.  It's been tough on all in the business.

Each of these media, to a lesser or greater extent,  find themselves transitioning, through creation, distribution, combination with each other and the interaction of the public, gradually being absorbed into another medium, Software.   Software is emergent as these other forms break apart and transform.  

That, from a bigger picture, is what is in play.   And a bigger picture likely is a century long viewpoint.  At some point, there will just be creative software, it's the key art form of this 21st Century.

It's absolutely vital that we don't get in the way here.    The challenges facing the creative sector is not to stem, contain, or alter the creation, distribution or consumption patterns.   The challenge is actually one of excellence, we just need to get better, a lot better, at what we do.  I, personally, have every faith in the creative and content sectors in getting to do that, excellence and innovation are two keywords we have lived or died by for a long time.  We need to embrace the technology and just be better than the pirates, we need, in short, not to contain or stem it, but to actually push it, and get involved in deepening it as this century progresses.

Please I would use your connections to urge the Minister to move away from this legislation and to spend his time and portfolio encouraging the content industries to focus on their own path, to encourage partnerships in particular with our software and technology companies and to pursue excellence in these fields.

I would be happy to discuss this further with you should you so wish.


What you gotta do…. Anyway please visit and sign up.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

On Software

Today I discovered that this blog was down, all my permalinks were non-functioning, so I loaded it up to have a look and see what was up. It was an easy fix but over the course of checking through the links I had a read… I've been spending a lot of time on Twitter over the past while and not so much time here. I had been wondering about that, about what it said and why. Perhaps looking at what I'd discussed here, bar posting the odd photograph, held some insight.

I've lost my earlier postings in the previous incarnation of this blog, whatever platform I used prior to Blogger. I'm pretty sure that I was talking about the same area of focus, various bits and bobs on technology and the creative sector. One clear benefit to blogging, even casual short notes, is that such thoughts are captured as some form of argument, a postulation in formation, at least how I practice it. So perhaps of interest to some readers, here's a summary with handy (and functioning) permalinks.

First, back in 2006, I had a note about the music industry, which has always led the way, despite how that industry works. Those guys had issues that the film industry was going to face.

Then in January 2007, some speculation about an iTV, perhaps Apple would release some video device for consuming video. But in fact they didn't, it was something else entirely, "something so interactive, you'd never put it down'. And yes, I still haven't managed to do that. Little did we fully realise that the iPhone was the platform for ubiquitous computing which the public would fully embrace.

In April 2007, when financing creative projects online started, I compared it to our experience financing a feature. And in that month I talked about some people who were doing just that, the gang at Four Eyed Monsters. in July 2007, I welcomed the arrival of Charlie Rose and his content online, the early vanguard of mainstream media. I also noted that interactivity was changing, that search had become the norm, that the structuring of data had moved to algorithms rather than experts providing links, the data equivalent of the democratization of links in hindsight.

In January 2008, I stopped listening to mainstream radio entirely, moved my listening needs to podcasts. I've been a lover of good talk radio longer than any other medium bar books, but I've never looked back. That month I also noted that I was a Grumpy Old Punk, but thats neither here nor there. in February I celebrated the podcasts of IT Conversations, an unashamed quality stream which broadcasts content from various sources, including conferences, a model which will be developed further I feel. The IT Conversations crew are actively exploring podcast curation around topics, Colleges take note.

In June, 2008, I wrote a short piece about Computer Art and what had happened. And what was beginning to happen now... The following month I revealed my file naming nerdiness to the world.

In January 2009, I had some inkling about personal tastes and software, but the real thing which was developing in my head only became clearer later, in April 2009, when Apple sold a billion apps. The revolution underway was about a relationship between the consumer and software.

Then in August 2009, I arrived at what has become the equivalent of an organising principle for me, how software has become the key artform of this century.

In September 2009, I had some thoughts about iTunes Extras, Apple making a start on digital delivery, and in October 2009. I speculated along with everyone else about Apple's upcoming predicted iPad, about a computer based on content, that content being primarily software. And in May of last year, I talked about Sony's latest efforts in iTunes Extras. There hasn't been enough development here in the interim, I still think this will be the field of apps.

And more recently I've been thinking about curating again. Looking back, it's a little like feeling like the guy who was pointing at the oncoming tidal wave. It came alright and washed over me like everyone else. Time to digest I think. The wave has happened, the transition is in play, and the future is clearly software. And time, definitely, to resume blogging.