Ian Singleton

iPad

Posted in Uncategorized by iansingleton on January 27, 2010

Here’s the pic I screengrabbed, the first photo I had seen of the iPad. Jobs appears in a photo taken by   Stephen Fry in front of a slide which reads ” Our most advanced technology in a magical & revolutionary device at an unbelievable price.”

And when I showed the picture to my nine year old daughter, her response was “That’s so cool.  When I’m a grown up I want one of those. But then it won’t be as much money because by then there’ll be more new things.

And when I went to Twitter to see what the reaction was there, all I could find was a screen which read as follows

Apps

Posted in Content by iansingleton on January 27, 2010

I’m writing this about three hours before Steve Jobs is due to launch the iPad or iSlate or whatever it’s called.

While the press has been full of speculation about the hardware, there’s been an equal amount of speculation about what the iPhone and its bigger-screened brother mean for the content industries.
There’s talk – for instance, in this article in Wired – that it will prompt a new industry of developers. And my inbox now contains messages about how I can learn to market my app or develop it better.
And the minute I saw this book, I was reminded of the story of Joseph Kennedy’s shoeshine boy.
There’s this comment which was made on Techcrunch
“I am a developer and I have been wondering for years now when we were finally going to merge all the quality content (mostly stuck in old media) and all the superior delivery forms the web has spawned. As to what you posit:
“Many of these things could be done were this content converted to a rich webpage, but up until now there hasn’t been much benefit to doing so because there was no way to comfortably consume it.”
I completely agree but would just change this statement to say “…there was no way to comfortably consume or profit from it.”
So, now here is the model that makes it worth doing – content as paid applications. Apple has gotten everyone much more comfortable paying for apps with the IPhone. And books (especially textbooks) are so expensive that consumers will have a much easier time paying for that content in a vastly more immersive form and engaging form. Plus, unlike subscriptions and paywalls, the consumer gets something physical(ish) – the application.
I think the best part of this will be for self-publishers though. Any author/content creator will be able to hire a developer to build a nice application around their content for a small fraction of what it would cost to self-publish in traditional forms. I would especially expect to see established authors who won’t need to do a ton of marketing becoming their own content production companies.
Finally, this will give rise to a new breed of content-creator which will be a author-designer-photographer-researcher-etc-etc hybrid which is already where we have been heading with the web. This should just accelerate that.”
My own experience from icanplayit is that the content industry is unbelievably tough. So Boddd is conceived not as a get rich quick scheme but as an app which will be genuinely useful – to me.

Tags

Posted in Uncategorized by iansingleton on January 27, 2010

Once I started looking at tools like Flickr to provide an online hosting service  for the scans, I came across tags as a way of sorting them. I badgered a friend  of mine Paul Beddoe to help me.

Paul came up with a neat way of taking the data from my Excel sheet and  writing the information into a number of the tag fields on the jpeg. If you look at this Windows Explorer window, you can see not  only the scan number but the comments and the description.
The problem, however, is that this information is written to the EXIF tag fields for XP. Which means that it’s not readable in Flickr or Photoshop.
So what do I need is extract the data from the EXIF fields and insert it into the IPTC fields. And in a sense, that’s retrofitting. What’s more important is working the application forwards from here.

Paul came up with a neat way of taking the data from my Excel sheet and  writing the information into a number of the tag fields on the jpeg. If you look at this Windows Explorer window, you can see not  only the scan number but the comments and the description.The problem, however, is that this information is written to the EXIF tag fields for XP. Which means that it’s not readable in Flickr or Photoshop.So what do I need is extract the data from the EXIF fields and insert it into the IPTC fields. And in a sense, that’s retrofitting. What’s more important is working the application forwards from here.

Apps

Posted in Uncategorized by iansingleton on January 27, 2010

I’m writing this about three hours before Steve Jobs is due to launch the iPad or iSlate or whatever it’s called.

While the press has been full of speculation about the hardware, there’s been an equal amount of speculation about what the iPhone and its bigger-screened brother mean for the content industries.

There’s talk – for instance, in this article in Wired – that it will prompt a new industry of developers. And my inbox now contains messages about how I can learn to market my app or develop it better.

And the minute I saw this book, I was reminded of the story of Joseph Kennedy’s shoeshine boy.

There’s this comment which was made on Techcrunch

I am a developer and I have been wondering for years now when we were finally going to merge all the quality content (mostly stuck in old media) and all the superior delivery forms the web has spawned. As to what you posit:

“Many of these things could be done were this content converted to a rich webpage, but up until now there hasn’t been much benefit to doing so because there was no way to comfortably consume it.”

I completely agree but would just change this statement to say “…there was no way to comfortably consume or profit from it.”

So, now here is the model that makes it worth doing – content as paid applications. Apple has gotten everyone much more comfortable paying for apps with the IPhone. And books (especially textbooks) are so expensive that consumers will have a much easier time paying for that content in a vastly more immersive form and engaging form. Plus, unlike subscriptions and paywalls, the consumer gets something physical(ish) – the application.

I think the best part of this will be for self-publishers though. Any author/content creator will be able to hire a developer to build a nice application around their content for a small fraction of what it would cost to self-publish in traditional forms. I would especially expect to see established authors who won’t need to do a ton of marketing becoming their own content production companies.

Finally, this will give rise to a new breed of content-creator which will be a author-designer-photographer-researcher-etc-etc hybrid which is already where we have been heading with the web. This should just accelerate that.”

My own experience from icanplayit is that the content industry is unbelievably tough. So Boddd is conceived not as a get rich quick scheme but as an app which will be genuinely useful – to me.

Tags

Posted in Uncategorized by iansingleton on January 27, 2010

Once I started looking at tools like Flickr to provide an online hosting service  for the scans, I came across tags as a way of sorting them. I badgered a friend  of mine Paul Beddoe to help me.

Paul came up with a neat way of taking the data from my Excel sheet and  writing the information into a number of the tag fields on the jpeg. If you look at this Windows Explorer window, you can see not  only the scan number but the comments and the description.
The problem, however, is that this information is written to the EXIF tag fields for XP. Which means that it’s not readable in Flickr or Photoshop.
So what do I need is extract the data from the EXIF fields and insert it into the IPTC fields. And in a sense, that’s retrofitting. What’s more important is working the application forwards from here.

The New New Bodleian

Posted in Uncategorized by iansingleton on January 27, 2010

When I was a student, the most impressive library in which to go and work was The Bodleian. Across the road from the original building was a library called The New Bodleian.

The way it worked was that you would arrive in the main cataloguing room which contained huge directories of books. You’d fill in a little pink slip which contained the book’s title, author and ISBN number together with a reference number for the seat in which you would be sitting.

After a period of time – about half an hour – you’d go to the collection point nearest to your seat where, magically, the book awaited you. This was after somebody had disappeard into the stacks, invisible to the readers, below the library.

What I want to create for my paperwork is a digital version of the Bodleian. For the purpose of this exercise, it’s called Bodd.

I want to be able to see all of the document types that I have – photo, newspaper article, invoice – and also the subject matter – Eleanor, icanplayit, film-making. And the way to find those is to use the tag fields on the jpegs themselves.

The New New Bodleian

Posted in Boddd by iansingleton on January 27, 2010

When I was a student, the most impressive library in which to go and work was The Bodleian. Across the road from the original building was a library called The New Bodleian.

The way it worked was that you would arrive in the main cataloguing room which contained huge directories of books. You’d fill in a little pink slip which contained the book’s title, author and ISBN number together with a reference number for the seat in which you would be sitting.

After a period of time – about half an hour – you’d go to the collection point nearest to your seat where, magically, the book awaited you. This was after somebody had disappeard into the stacks, invisible to the readers, below the library.

What I want to create for my paperwork is a digital version of the Bodleian. For the purpose of this exercise, it’s called Bodd.

I want to be able to see all of the document types that I have – photo, newspaper article, invoice – and also the subject matter – Eleanor, icanplayit, film-making. And the way to find those is to use the tag fields on the jpegs themselves.

The Day Of The iPad

Posted in Uncategorized by iansingleton on January 27, 2010

Over the last month or so, the hype about Apple’s announcement on Jan 27th has jumped transgenically from the tech press to the mainstream media (I’m writing this so that I can look back on it after we find out what it’s all been about).

One of the articles that struck me the most is here and it contains the following quote:-

So, now here is the model that makes it worth doing – content as paid applications. Apple has gotten everyone much more comfortable paying for apps with the IPhone. And books (especially textbooks) are so expensive that consumers will have a much easier time paying for that content in a vastly more immersive form and engaging form. Plus, unlike subscriptions and paywalls, the consumer gets something physical(ish) – the application.

I think the best part of this will be for self-publishers though. Any author/content creator will be able to hire a developer to build a nice application around their content for a small fraction of what it would cost to self-publish in traditional forms. I would especially expect to see established authors who won’t need to do a ton of marketing becoming their own content production companies.

Finally, this will give rise to a new breed of content-creator which will be a author-designer-photographer-researcher-etc-etc hybrid which is already where we have been heading with the web. This should just accelerate that.

Let’s see

Currently…

Posted in Uncategorized by iansingleton on January 25, 2010

At the moment, the filing system that I use is incredibly unsophisticated. It looks like this. It’s an Excel sheet which records the scan number and a description. Over time, I’ve come to realise that there are common types of document – photos, letters, newspaper articles – and common subjects – my children, projects in which I’m involved, topics of interest – and I’ve written a set of Excel macros which scan every now and again I work through the longform descriptions and pull out those keywords.

This system works. After a fashion.

But there are a number of problems with it.

  1. If I want to look for a a bank statement, then I type in “Bank statement” into Find and go through them one by one.
  2. I can’t find all of the photos of my daughter in one go.
  3. The database information is separate from the images. I have to identify the scan that I’m looking for, make a note of its number, then fire up a graphics or imaging package and open the file from there. And repeat the process if I’ve chosen the wrong image….

There has to be a more elegant solution to the problem.

Backstory

Posted in Boddd by iansingleton on January 22, 2010

Like everybody else and every business and organisation I can think of, In my life I’ve accumulated a lot of paperwork.

One of my regular jobs was for a publishing company to produce a preview of that year’s upcoming titles. For the first couple of years I shot all of the covers using a rostrum camera. And then one year I used a bit of the rostrum camera hire fee and bought a scanner.

When the job was over, I started to scan things. As I write this, the number of scans has reached almost 21,000.

People react to this story, generally, in one of three ways:

“You’re mad! Spending all that time doing this!” I timed myself last week. I spent 43 minutes on scanning.

“What if your computer crashes? You’ll lose the lot!” All the material is backed up. To three different online backup facilities; to five different portable hard drives; to a USB pen drive; to four different computers.

“How can you ever find anything?” In many ways, this is the most interesting question. And it’s what this project is really all about.