Hard News by Russell Brown

Large File Alert

It's taken an unseemly time to get together, but we have the video of the interview with the BBC's Ashley Highfield from the Karajoz Great Blend last year. Grab it here as a tasty 73MB, 51-minute MP4 file, or feel free to view a rather blockier Flash video version over at Google Video.

If you're not up for the full glory of video, Matt has kindly made audio-only MP3 versions at 32k (11.5MB) and 96k (34.7MB).

It's the first time I've uploaded to Google Video, and I was quite impressed with the process. The file can be freely shared on a non-commercial basis, so feel free to upload it to other relevant sites, or get it on the torrent. Just flick me an email to let me know. We'll consider releasing a higher-quality version if there's demand.

Of course, we're not the only ones offering video for download. Check out this puppy. Hot on the heels of BSkyB, Sky New Zealand has launched Sky By Broadband, which offers extra via-Internet content to Sky Sports and Movies subscribers. But it's Windows Media 10 DRM = sod off if you use a Mac. Boo.

Kudos to the producers of Maddigan's Quest, the Margaret Mahy adaptation jointly produced by South Pacific Pictures and the BBC which debuted on TV3 (in an excellent 7pm slot - when did you last see TVNZ offer that kind of opportunity to a local family drama?) last Saturday. There's a good official website, and actual episodes archived online in Flash video format. There's also a podcast, but contrary to appearances, it offers accompanying material, but not the episodes themselves. Still, good effort - and I liked the show too.

Meanwhile, Computerworld editor Paul Brislen had a salient comment on yesterday's The End of the Internet post:

Don't forget that this is EXACTLY what Telecom's next generation network is all about ... a walled garden approach to the internet where you will be billed based on what you want to do. Voice? That'll cost Xc/minute. Video? That'll be $Y/movie. Gaming? $XYZ/month.

And if they can do it to the likes of us end users, you can bet they'll be doing it to the content deliverers as well. Trade Me wants to use our network? It can pay!

Smart networks suck. That is all.

Indeed. Yay for stupid networks.

Neil Smart also pointed out The Jeff Pulver Blog, which is hot on this stuff at the moment.

BTW, we had our first really bad My Sky failure last night: it appeared that the EPG was offline ("Listings updating - Please wait …" - for hours) - which meant not only no listings, but no recording, pausing or anything but watching the pretty pictures. But it appears the problem may have been in the box. Switching it off then on didn't help at all, but this morning I got round the back and disconnected the power lead for a few seconds. We had our functionality back. Interesting.

I got a wee advance peek at The Dagg Sea Scrolls, a documentary about the life and work of John Clarke, focusing on the Dagg years, which will screen on Monday March 6 on TV One. It's really very good, not least for the chance to see a lot of archived Fred Dagg Dagg video. I was a huge fan as a kid - I listened to Fred Dagg on the radio, watched him on TV, wore the t-shirt, got one of the books for Christmas, and could recite back a number of his finest works. I still have two copies of Fred Dagg's Greatest Hits - a couple of times as a live DJ I even mashed some of that up with Madonna ("y'ever thought about opera?"), which just goes to show either that I was way ahead of my time on the mash-up tip, or that I never got over my childhood.

Te Ara has a short clip from Country Calendar, and naturally there's a Fred Dagg wiki. Would it be too much to ask for the copyright owners (presumably Clarke, TVNZ and EMI) to celebrate the doco by letting a little vintage Dagg media out into the wild? I, for one, would be grateful.

PS: Thanks for all the entries for the Public Address Virtual Super 14 list. I'm just off to add the latest batch of names and make my picks. Whatever I say the Blues will do, they will doubtless do the opposite …