Archive for March, 2008

Technical audio/radio/geek question

Anybody know of a quick way to get the audio off a DVD and into Adobe Audition 3.0 that doesn’t involve recording it in real time via WinDVD or even *shudder* Media Player? I swear I’ve done it a different way before, but can’t for the life of me remember how or what I did. Even if it’s just a way of converting the files into something different so Audition recognises it would be helpful. I’ve got a horrible feeling the answer may involve downloading plugins or software that may not sit that well with the IT bods at work. Any ways of avoiding that too would be good.

I don’t ask for much do I?

This is the redesigned news

As a creature of habit, I don’t usually react well to redesigns of sites I regularly visit. Normally bleary eyed, I click on the URL and go ‘Waaaaagghhh it looks horrible’ and cower beneath my keyboard, vowing to perhaps, if I have time and it’s really not too much of a problem, you know, to possibly write a mildly miffed letter to those responsible.

After a couple of days, I usually decide it’s not so bad, and by the end of the week I’ve completely forgotten what the old site looked like.

I suspect that will happen with the BBC News redesign. At the moment I don’t like it. It looks like they’ve just used the tool to make it wider and added in lots of white. I liked the deep red. It was a cosy colour. White has nothing and leaves me both cold and scared.

But, even so, it does look like an early internet design – the kind of thing sites were doing about five years ago. And how does the design translate into mobile browsing?

So, yes, I don’t like it at the moment. I’ll probably forget I’ve even written this mildly miffed critique by the end of the week though.

I must be dreaming

I’m sure most broadcast journalists have had a similar dream: you arrive late at work one day only to be told you’re reading the news in the next few minutes. There are no computers, scripts, or printers, and you end up reading whatever happens to be close to hand, which is usually a telephone directory.

Last night, I had the other journalism dream: I come into work arrived with a host of great stories and after pitching each one, the editor says: “How is that relevant to our listeners in x,” which is usually the furthest and most obscure point from the epicentre of the story and so each story is rejected. I’m then handed a series of more “newsworthy” stories, all of which are ridiculously complicated or nearly impossible to tackle, and nobody will speak to me on any of them.

I woke up in a cold sweat this morning and my immediate thought was: “Shit, we have no news.” Then I remembered that I don’t work in that field any more, and went back to sleep. It’s still pretty vivid though; almost as the vivid dream I had last week where Kate Nash died and I spent the entire dream comparing the coverage on Sky and BBC.

In my defence, I’ve not been feeling that brilliant of late and I think this is affecting my subconscious. 

More MyFC

Members of MyFC, the supporters’ website that now owns Ebbsfleet United, have been receiving an email from the club’s manager Liam Daish [1]. The email comes in advance of the not-too-distant time in the future when MyFC members will pick the team.

Daish’s email (assuming he wrote it) on one hand seems like a mixture of the optimistic, the cautious and the brave – there’s not many managers who’d offer to enter into a regular two-way conversation with the fans, although given the nature of MyFC, he’s got little choice. Even so, he offers more olive branches than you’d expect.

But, reading between the lines, the familiar problems and criticisms that have been levelled at the MyFC experiment. Won’t chopping and changing affect the balance of the team? Why should a player put in his all if he knows his selection next week doesn’t lie with the gaffer but 2,000-odd people on the terraces, some of whom may not rate him? What does the manager see in training that we don’t on the pitch? What the hell will the average non-attending MyFC member know about the intricacies of Woking’s tactics?

Now that Ebbsfleet have reached a Wembley final, there’s also an interesting dilemma – do the MyFC owners stay true to their principles or do they defer to Diash at a crucial time. If they do the first, isn’t that undermining the manager? If they do the latter, why the hell have their members paid £35?

And at the bottom of the email is a little poll:

The Web Team invites all members to take part in a poll regarding team selection. It will help the manager and members develop a team selection process that reflects the owners’ wishes.

The poll, which you can take part in here, asks the following question:
Which statement best describes your view on “Pick the team”?

* I want to pick the team but I don’t want the manager to make any changes to the members’ selection

* I want to pick the team and I’d like the manager to have some flexibility to make changes to the members’ selection

* I want to pick the team and I’d like the manager to consider, but not necessarily follow, the members’ selection

* I am not interested in picking the team

* I abstain

So, let me get this straight? You’re asking people who paid to join the experiment to vote to continue one of the key attractions and principles behind signing up before you’ve even put it into practice? And if members vote for anything bar the first option, why on earth should anybody carry on paying their £35 if they’ve got no connection to the club? And where will that leave Ebbsfleet?

I’ll still give it about three years, max.

Anybody want to guess what this week’s Soccerlens piece will be on? 

UPDATE: I’ve just seen on Ebbsfleet forums that the poll isn’t a binding vote. In which case, what’s the point of it? And if the majority of members vote for Daish to continue picking the team, doesn’t that leave the MyFC leadership in a pretty untenable position?

[1] WSC isn’t the only place I’ve seen the email, it’s been doing the rounds elsewhere.

Out of the frying pan

Mansfield Town thought they probably couldn’t do worse than Keith Haslam. The current chairman owes the club over a million pounds in loans and to say he’s a bit unpopular in Mansfield is like saying the Titanic had a few structural defects.

But now colourful John Batchelor wants to buy the club and rename it Harchester United. For those who’re wondering why Harchester, it was the name of a fictional football team on Sky One’s Dream Team a few years back. Batchelor apparently thinks adopting the name will tap into extra support and possibly untold riches. Riches that will probably head towards Batchelor.

As the Pitch Invasion piece notes:

“Mr. Batchelor has, as they say, form on this kind of behaviour. Of his many ill-fated schemes while helping drive York City into the ground, one included renaming the club York City Soccer Club to attract American interest. Batchelor has confessed to asset-stripping companies, making £120,000 out of York City (having bought it for £1 eighteen months earlier) before its collapse.”

It all sounds like prime material for a reality TV show, so perhaps Harchester is an appropriate name after all.

Polly on voting reform

Ack. Polly Toynbee has a very good point right in from of her eyes and misses it with regard to voting reform.

First Past The Post is a rubbish system. I may not even vote at the next election because there really feels like no point to it. So I’d definitely welcome a move to change how we cast our vote – preferably with a ‘no suitable candidate’ option as well.

But… but… Is AV really the best system? It’s not really Proportional Representation is it, as Polly seems to think it is. Anyway, both are probably better than FPTP.

But is class and a growing wage gap really the reason we’re not voting anymore? Somehow, I’d imagine the fact that this government has shown no inclination whatsoever to listen to the electorate (bordering on contempt at times), plus the succession of gravy-train stories, like the Conway scandal, and a lack of real choice between Labour and any of the other two main alternatives, has more to do with our apathy than Polly’s world view.

Though she does manage to make one good point in her column:

“Jack Straw, publishing his draft Constitutional Renewal Bill this week, says he intends to consult “on how we might instil in citizens a greater sense that voting is an important civic duty, as part of a wider citizenship agenda – though we have no intention of criminalising those who do not vote”. Personally, I doubt that any amount of “instilling civic duty”, flag-flying or exhortation to Britishness will make any difference. What makes people vote is having something worth voting for – and something to vote against.”

I fear it’s probably a case of monkeys, typewriters and Shakespeare with regard to this though.

Right, I’ll go back to waffling on about Web 2.0 and obscure football teams now. I promised myself I’d try to cut down on the politics, mainly because I’ve got very little to say that hasn’t already been said elsewhere, and partly because I worry I’ll end up sounding like a stuck record.

I’m scared

Impressively the Prime Minister’s office has its own Twitter feed – 10 Downing Street.

Now, my fifteen regular readers will know I’m no great fan of our current government, but even so, it’s at least nice to see they’re at least engaging with social media sites. And I was also curious how they’d use it. And I should probably get a bit more politically aware. So I added them.

Now, after a couple of days, they’ve added me back. So, yes, that’s a good part of the conversation and very Web 2.0 and probably a good thing in some respects. And, yes, it’ll probably help whoever’s running the feed to refine strategy, and possibly, god forbid, get our politicians closer to Joe Voter.

But the idea that the Prime Minister’s office are now following my every tweet is… well… a little disturbing.

Not that they’ll glean much from me, other than I often get colds, have ongoing battles with my willpower and the gym, and like non-league football. But even so…


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Yes, this is my name. And my email. Use it wisely or you're not getting a biscuit with your tea: garyllewellynandrews [at] gmail [dot] com