WINOL: Features Archive

At the age of just 15, Paul Blackburn was wrongfully imprisoned for 25 years. Presented, edited and produced by Tom Morgan.

Media Law - Year Three Notes Archive

A collection of posts looking at media law, including tips for journalists, case examples and information on the various codes of conduct. Click here for more.

American Election 2012 - US Embassy Report

Myself, Lee Jarvis, Sam Sheard and Kirsty McDonagh spent the evening at the US Embassy as part of WINOL's coverage of the 2012 American election.

Work Experience: The One Show

This blog post serves as a summary of what I got up to during my time at the BBC and also provides some information on how the One Show is run.

Work Experience: PC Advisor

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The first of these placements was at PC Advisor in London.

Work Experience: Basingstoke Gazette

After breaking up from University for the summer, I arranged two separate work experience placements to keep me occupied over the break. The second of these placements was at the Basingstoke Gazette.

HCJ Notes Archive: Year One and Year Two

A collection of lecture notes, seminar papers and seminar summaries from Year One and Year Two on the HCJ course at the University of Winchester

Friday, 30 September 2011

WINOL - 'Dummy Week' Thoughts

Winol - Week 1 Analysis

So earlier this week I got my first taste of the WINOL experience. It was an interesting experience all around, really. I knew the role of reporter would be tough, but you don't really get a sense of the pace and stress of the job until you actually start giving it a go.

I think overall the package I produced was OK. Not awful, but by no means brilliant. By far, the best thing about the dummy week was the fact that it pointed out the mistakes and flaws in what I had produced. Disappointingly, the majority of my footage was either too bright or too dark. The opening shot was well lit, but from there it seemed to get slightly shaky.

My interview was OK, I feel. Councillor Lucille Thompson was very knowledgeable with regards to what I needed answering and the framing of the shot was fairly good. The lighting wasn't that bad in that shot, either. At the start of the interview the microphone was in view slightly, so that needed fixing. I'll bare that in mind next time I'm conducting an interview. Obviously, you can slightly zoom into the image using Final Cut, but I think the quality of the image dips slightly when you tamper with it like that. I'd rather not have to tamper with zoom functions at all.

Another BIG problem I had was audio. The audio was captured correctly, but I hadn't adjusted the audio levels so they remained consistent throughout the piece. What I ended up with was a clearly delivered opening and a very quiet, muffled ending.

For my next story I intend to get more shots without me in front of the camera. That way it'll be easier to transition between shots smoothly and give the package a more professional feel. I like the idea of being able to pick and choose from a big selection of shots. That wasn't really the case this time around.

The talk we had after the WINOL broadcast was useful too. I jotted down some tips that will help me improve in the future:

* Don't start with a piece to camera
* Don't say: "I talked to.."
* Up the quality
* Use a range of shots
* Never use a grab from an interview more than 12 seconds long
* Keep audio levels consistent
* No 'mediocre' shots
* Get other people to read quotes

My first piece was far from perfect, but I intend to fix all the problems I encountered in the next piece I produce.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Facebook F8 Conference 2011 - As It Happened

Today Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg addressed  fellow engineers and social media entrepreneurs at the F8 conference, discussing the latest features to hit his website. Held in San Francisco, F8 is an event that gives the team behind Facebook a chance to explain the changes that are on the way in great detail.

There was an abundance of news and features announced today. let's start with 'Open Graph', a term that I heard over and over again as I watched today's live stream. Essentially, Open Graph enables application developers to integrate web pages into a social environment. Ultimately, this means developers can allow Facebook users access to their websites without the users having to leave Facebook at all. Of course, Open Graph is far more complex than this, but this is merely an introduction to what the technology can achieve.

Open Graph appeared incredibly versatile in the tech demo shown this afternoon. "Every piece of content in Open Graph has a picture associated", said Zuckerberg. This means that the feature can provide you with a greater insight as to what your friends are doing. The Facebook founder used the example of 'Words With Friends', a popular online game. Zuckerberg was able to see his friends playing the game together in real time via updates delivered to the 'ticker' on the profile page, all thanks to Open Graph.

Clearly, Facebook is to undergo a complete facelift. The profile page alone is to experience a redesign, along with the iconic 'ticker' (A real time update feed at the right hand side of a Facebook user's profile page)

Perhaps the star of the show was the new 'Timeline' feature. As the large projector screen at the convention centre showed, Timeline gives users a more personal news feed than ever before. There's now even more ways to interact with your Facebook friends. It has also been confirmed that Timeline will be fully supported on handheld devices. Timeline lets you share information about films, television, books, people, music, events and more. As Zuckerberg put it, Timeline is 'The story of your life with a completely new way to express yourself'.

Netflix CEO Reed Hasting's took to the stage to briefly discuss the new NetFlix app. Netflix, founded in 1997, is an American provider of online streaming media. Hasting's explained how the NetFlix app will be integrated into Timeline and Open Graph yet was reluctant to disappoint the crowd after revealing the feature will not be available in the US at launch. Primarily, this is due to 'a law (The Video Privacy Protection Act) banning the sharing of video rental information'.

Personally, I feel the Spotify application will be a real crowd-pleaser when it arrives along with the newly polished Facebook. When you're listening to a song through the Spotify client a person on your friends list can also join you as you listen to your music, all in real time. As a side note, I imagine this has really gotten the team behind iTunes worried. It'll be interesting to see how Facebook's new Spotify feature and iTunes compete with each other as the Spotify application gathers momentum.

Zuckerberg also addressed the world of Facebook gaming. "Games have been the most successful [applications] on Facebook and we think Open Graph will take them to the next level by allowing you to discover even more of them." Presented to the audience was a graphic showcasing a number of games developers thought to be developing new applications for the website. The list included a number of notable publishers including the likes of EA and Playfish.

'Lifestyle Apps' were also discussed, with a quick glimpse of a Nike application that lets you track routes you run and the time in which it took to complete the run. Now combined with Open Graph and the Timeline, the application allows your friends to see when and where you have run recently. Facebook's motto behind the Open Graph feature is a simple one: "Frictionless experiences, real time serendipity".

This year's F8 conference ended with some important dates. Zuckerberg announced that the Timeline feature is now available for developers, yet public Facebook members must apply to test it out. The beta starts today, with Zuckerberg announcing soon after that the Open Graph feature will be available once users have had time to learn their way around the new Timeline feature.

It was an action-packed F8 this year with lots of interesting discussion points. How will Facebook users cope with the changes made to the website they've already learnt to navigate? Perhaps the beta period will go some way to answering this question.

Facebook F8: Live Stream - Watch Now

Right now, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is addressing fellow engineers and social media entrepreneurs at the F8 conference, discussing the latest features to hit his website. The conference is also expected to be the place where Zuckerberg will reveal features that are yet to hit the site, such as a rumoured musical feature that will enable users to listen to music online with people in their friends list.

UPDATE - The live stream has now concluded. Click HERE for my summary of the event.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

American Firm Creates the World’s Smallest Camera

A team of designers from New York have created the World's smallest camera, which is around the same size as a fingertip.

The device is just one inch-squared and is capable of taking two-megapixel images at a resolution of 1600 x 1200. It doesn't end there though, as the device is also able to record video footage at 30fps.

Weighing just 28 grams, the product has become the World's smallest commercially-available camera. Designed by American firm Hammacher Schlememr, the tiny gadget is set to hit shelves with a retail price of approximately £63.

The camera features a rechargeable battery which is powered through USB support, meaning images and videos taken by the device can be transferred to a computer with ease.

Hammacher Schlemmer's General Manager, Fred Berns, stated: “Although The World's Smallest Camera is only slightly larger than a marble, it takes still images and records video just like much larger cameras.”

"It comes with a wrist lanyard that keeps it close to hand and enables ease of portability," Bern's added.

iPhone 5 Announcement Coming Soon?

Although yet to be confirmed, popular technology site 'All Things Digital' has claimed Apple's next significant media event will be held on October 4th.

It will be a little different to past conferences however, after Steve Jobs decided to step down as the company’s CEO late last month. The new CEO Tim Cook, who joined the company in 1998, will be presenting the media event this time around. Naturally, the whole world will be watching to see how Cook copes with his new role at Apple.

The new Apple CEO is expected to present the upcoming event

All Things Digital claims the media event will primarily serve as a way of revealing the new iPhone 5. The article states: “While Apple could certainly change its plans anytime, sources said that the October 4 date has been selected by the company to showcase the iPhone 5.”

It's also thought that if the event is to unveil Apple's new phone, the product will go on sale within weeks of its initial announcement.

According to Engadget, sources 'close to the situation' claim Cook will be the main presenter at the event. This is highly likely, as Steve Jobs was given the task of presenting Apple's keynotes and conferences before he stepped down. This will be somewhat of a milestone for Cook as it'll be his first time leading an event for the company.

I'll be sure to update this blog as news rolls out. I'll also be covering the Apple media event via live updates as it takes place. The date for the event is yet to be confirmed, so keep checking back for the latest.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Amount of Junk Floating In Space Reaches New, 'Dangerous' Levels

According to a new report, the amount of debris floating around the Earth's orbit is at a critical level, putting NASA equipment such as satellites and spacecraft in danger.

The report, released by the National Research Council, claims that budget deductions by NASA are making the situation worse, resulting in the need for more large-scale equipment.

Despite NASA's current efforts to track debris, 'millions more pieces' remain unmonitored as they are simply too small to track. US scientists have warned we are now at a “tipping point”, with enough space waste in existence to cause a serious problem for spacecraft.

Pictured above: The International Space Station, which is also under threat.

Due to the ever-increasing amount of rubbish floating in orbit, constant collisions are taking place which thicken the already dense cloud surrounding the earth. The International Space Station is also in danger from debris.

The author of the report, retired NASA scientist Donald Kessler, stated: “We've lost control of the environment. NASA needs to determine the best path forward for tackling the multifaceted problems caused by meteoroids and orbital debris that put human and robotic space operations at risk.”

As it stands, there are approximately 22,000 objects in orbit that are large enough to be monitored by officials on the ground, yet this number continues to rise alarmingly. Kessler's paper is quick to list a number of reasons the problem is yet to be solved, one of which includes limited NASA budgets and a lack of 'unified management'.

The National Research Council has urged NASA to develop a plan to help combat the issue. Furthermore, it called for an increase in the amount of research used to monitor 'meteoroid and orbital debris'.

Ongoing LulzSec and Anonymous Investigation Results In Two Further Arrests

Two more hackers have been arrested after being linked to online groups Anonymous and Lulz Security.

The men detained have been described as 'aged 20 and 24' by the UK Metropolitan Police Service's Central e-Crime Unit (PceU). They were arrested in Mexborough, near Doncaster and had their computer equipment seized following the police forces arrival.

A blog entry by Sophos, a computer security firm, has hinted the arrests may also have been conducted in connection with the activities of 'Kayla', the handle of an individual heavily involved with recent computer intrusions on an international scale. The identity of 'Kayla' remains a mystery, although 'she' once publicly claimed to be a girl aged 16 during the time of her involvement in the hacking attack against HBGary in an interview with Forbes' Parmy Olson.

Pictured Above: A screenshot of the official LulzSec Twitter page, which has over 350,000 followers

Interestingly, the Twitter account linked to 'Kayla', @lolspoon, has been inactive since Thursday afternoon, when the arrests were made.

Detective Inspector Mark Raymond from the PCeU claimed the arrests were made as they concerned “a series of serious computer intrusions and online denial-of-service attacks recently suffered by a number of multi-national companies, public institutions and government and law enforcement agencies in Great Britain and the United States.”

'Kayla' is widely considered one of the key figures in Lulzsec, a group that has caused a lot of trouble for a number of reputable companies including security firm HBGary, which sells services to a number of government agencies.

For now, the investigation continues. “We are working to detect and bring before the courts those responsible for these offences, to disrupt such groups, and to deter others thinking of participating in this type of criminal activity," Raymond added.

The interview with 'Kayla' conducted by Forbes is particularly interesting and revealing. Have a look here:

Pirate Bay Founders Have Change of Heart, Launch Legal File Hosting Site

Two co-founders of the Pirate Bay have launched a new website which, unlike their previous one, is completely opposed to the uploading of copy-written content.

Remember The Pirate Bay? If you're not particularly up to date with your taboo websites, it's a website that enables users to upload content from their computers and enable that content for download by other site visitors. The catch? A significant majority of the content uploaded to the site is illegal, breaching sharing regulations and copyright ruling.

Pictured above: The infamous Pirate Bay logo

The Pirate Bay clearly doesn't really have any rules, which has resulted in its Swedish founders tackling an onslaught of lawsuits from media companies and software developers since its arrival on the net. The team behind the website aren't exactly known for being remorseful either, with one section on the website dedicated to mocking threatening emails received from companies such as EA, Apple, Microsoft, Dreamworks and SEGA.

In an interesting turn of events, the minds behind the naughty file-sharing network have launched another website named 'Bayfiles', which instead has strict regulations in place controlling what users can put onto the site. Founders Peter Sunde and Fredrik Neij have likened the website to other online services already in place such as 'Rapidshare' and 'Megaupload'.

Fredrik Neij described some of the websites unique features, saying: “[An] advantage is that users can be sure that content stays up, which is important for personal backups”. He went on to add: “It also guarantees that other personal files such as your MP3 collection are always accessible, so users are able to stream it live to any device.”

The former Pirate Bay co-founders have made a conscious effort to remain on the good side of the law, accepting copyright infringement notices and claiming copy-written content found on the site will be removed as soon as possible.

Not everybody's convinced the website will be morally sound, however. Susan Hall, a lawyer with legal firm Cobbetts, told BBC News that she felt the founders know very they are to expect a lot of stored content on the site to be illegal. She went on to add: “I suspect what they're concentrating on is the idea that if it can be shown that they're infringing or facilitating the infringement of an identifiable copyright work, they will comply with the requirement to notice and take down in time.”

The question concerning how the website will actually deal with illegal uploads is yet to be answered, but it will be interesting to see how committed the owners of the site are in removing uploaded material that violates Bayfiles terms and conditions.  

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