About time I posted this (just to get it out there) p.s. sorry it’s a bit in the past :(

•January 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

China's non-event

Apple’s renowned iTunes programme has taken the world by storm over the past half decade, but it is during the last 18 months and with the ever-growing success of its application store, that new life has been breathed into the award-winning software.

Known as the ‘App store’, Apple has taken the industry’s number one music application and bulked it up with a simple addition, reaping over two billion downloads in less than two years.

Up until last year, games and applications for mobile phones and similar devices had been a realm exclusive to phone networks and specialized companies such as Jamster. Companies, who hold the customer to ransom by charging high costs for apps, usually followed with a subscription fee. The ‘App store’ has blown this market out of the water by placing it in the hands of the consumers and third party developers to make their own applications.

The result being, as of last month, estimated at over 100,000 downloadable applications. Many applications are free to download, whereas some are priced at the basic rate of 59 pence, comparatively cheaper to the price a similar product would have cost two-years prior.

It is in this developer bond where the ‘App store’ has really exploited a niche. By allowing third party developers to create the content, and giving them a 70-30 per cent split of revenue (Apple receiving the latter) it has laid a foundation for the most basic developer to become wealthy overnight.

Through the release of iPhone SDK (software development kit) alongside the summer 3.0 operating system update, Apple has allowed developers to easily create applications using Xcode. In order to do this though, developers require a minimum subscription fee in the region of $99 (£59). It is here where Apple has generated sizeable revenue.

The current success of the ‘App store’, has recreated both the iPhone and iPod Touch as mobile gaming devices. This has become a huge selling point for established video game developers. Travis Boatman, vice president of Worldwide Studios, EA Mobile said, “The App Store has forever changed the mobile gaming industry and continues to improve. With a global reach of over 50 million iPhone and iPod touch users, the App Store has allowed us to develop high quality EA games.”

Despite the iPhone’s release in China seemingly a non-event, with China Unicom, the exclusive tariff for the region, only shifting roughly 5,000 units, it is thought that iTunes has reaped over $1 million in application sales alone. It must be said though that most of this revenue has come from the estimated two million ‘illegal’ iPhones in China. However, Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., believes that Apple can sell in the region of three million units in China by the end of 2011, saying, “It will be the fastest-growing overseas market.”

With the iPhone now openly available in Asia, and with the growing popularity and accessibility of the ‘App store’, it could well be another billion-dollar asset for Apple Inc.


Sol, Sol, Solid?

•January 13, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Campbell back in action for Arsenal (courtesy of Sky Sports)

Sol Campbell, you know that guy who crossed the North London border from Spurs to Arsenal, then ran out on Arsenal to Portsmouth, before trying his hand at some League Two football? Yes, him, has made a very bizarre, yet ’emotional’ return to Arsenal.

The one-time Gunner, played 45-minutes of reserve football for the side, against West Ham and has done enough to convince Arsene Wenger that he can still do a job.

Campbell, 35, has been training with his old club for the last two months, after leaving Notts County by mutual consent. The ex-England international has spoken about his ‘enthusiasm’ returning to the game and believes that Wenger has played a role in this.

He said: “Arsene Wenger has been an inspiration. He has watched me closely after letting me train at Arsenal for nearly two months now.

“He’s not stupid – he wouldn’t have taken me back if he didn’t like what he has seen, and I have worked and worked. I do believe I can contribute.

“I really have my confidence and fitness back and I believe I can make a big, big contribution.”

Campbell will be returning to Arsenal colours on a contract until the end of the season, but is not thought to feature against Bolton this weekend.

Despite being tracked by Newcastle and Hull City, the defender admitted he could not resist a chance to return to the club that gave him a Premier League winners’ medal.

“There have been a few clubs, quite a bit of speculation. But going back to Arsenal – well, that is serious, and I am serious about this.

“I’ve missed it and I’ve a gut feeling this is the right move.

“It’s no longer a hunger to get back, it’s turned into a craving. I am champing at the bit. I’m fresh, I’m raring to go. It’s unbelievable to be back.”

It seems like a strange move for Wenger, who tends to employ a youth first system. However, considering his move for Mikael Silvestre in 2008, and a noticeable lack of defensive cover, this decision could well prove a masterstroke.

Final-ly over?

•January 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Final-ly over?

The Final Destination 3-D

(now available on DVD and Blu-Ray)

By Simon Knights

Stars: Bobby Campo, Shantel VanSanten, Nick Zano, Haley Webb, Mykelti Williamson

Written by: Eric Bress

Certification: 15 UK

Runtime: 82 mins.

Directed by: David R. Ellis

Over the past nine years we have been treated (and this term has been used loosely) to a series which centres around a theme of inevitability of death. This is of course the Final Destination saga, which every time sees a group of people killed by ‘death’s design’.

There is no real difference in the latest and perhaps last in the series, The Final Destination, compared to the others. Death still has it’s devious design for killing people, and one of the key characters still has a premonition about a tragedy and avoids catastrophe, with friends and fringe characters in tow. All ending with quite ridiculous and hilarious deaths for everyone.

The added bonus in this film though is the chance to watch it in 3-D, something which is focussed on a bit too much. Although it is enjoyable to see nails and flaming tyres flying in you direction, the over use of the gimmick makes you more than aware that the film is very much a B-movie with a bit of cash.

The film opens with a great carnage setting, a speedway track, where main character Nick (Bobby Campo) senses something is wrong and avoids catastrophe with his friends and others. After some of the characters die in typical Final Destination fashion, Nick and girlfriend Lori (Shantel VanSanten) discover that there is a history of premonitions and naturally try to ‘break the chain’.

The hilarious death of a racist later on in the movie, all to the tune of ‘Why can’t we be friends?’, adds to the ridiculous comedic value of the film.

As with the previous instalment of the series, and more recently with the latest addition to the Saw movies, it has got to the point where the writers appear to have run out of ideas for killing people and instead are just relying on insane ways for people to die. Note: the pool death towards the end of this film.

All in all, it is a timely end for the series, but it seems to go out with more of a fuzz than a bang.

* * – Two stars

We are, we are…the youth of the nation

•January 10, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Today's youth

While filling in an application form earlier today, the bit where you write about life experiences and how you represent or interact with diverse audiences, I realised something. Young people really are demonised in this country.

Young people get a real bad press, as do certain groupings of people. You tend to see this a lot in the make up of broadcasting, as most shows are stuck in parameters, whereby they will only appeal to a certain audience. Obviously each channel has a specific target audience, and obviously programming will reflect that, but if you think about it, there are big parts of society which are almost ignored.

Looking at the youth for example. There seems to be an assumption that a majority of adolescents are ‘hoodies’, hang about in gangs, binge drink and rob and stab everyone. And that’s my point. The creation and use of the word ‘hoodie’, has immediately created a stereotype of a young person, conjuring a bad image. Then when that word gets shopped about everywhere, everyone assumes that a youngster will rob you, will stab you, will cause trouble. And I think that a huge portion of the blame goes to the ‘elders’ of society.

I’ll refer to them as ‘elders’, because it’s easier that way.

This bracket of people I’m claiming as those who more than likely grew up in the ’80s, had their late 20’s/ early 30’s in the ’90s and now instead of growing older gracefully, still believe it is their youth and inflict that idea on everyone else. And everyone else from around that period sees this, follows suit and ignores the fact that they are hurtling towards their 40’s. All the while trying to reinvent themselves as the current trend of the era and dismissing everyone else as ‘old’, a binge-drinker, or a ‘hoodie’.

An example of this prevalence is in programming. The prime time ‘comedy’ programmes (and I use that term loosely), such as ‘Not going out‘ with Lee Mack, and ‘Miranda‘, are examples of a generation which are still ruling the roost and highlight this idea of ‘Yeah I’m 30 something, I’m still cool, and everyone else is either a granddad or a stupid drunk adolescent’.

And it is in pandering to this idea, that everyone else gets essentially demonised or vilified.

It would be naive of me to ignore the fact that there is a deal of street violence, there is a huge drinking culture and that there is some inherent problems in society, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that young people in general are being misrepresented and have no way of being targeted in a positive way. By beating down the youth and giving them no chance of being represented fairly, many will just give up and follow suit, falsely justifying people’s pre-conceptions.

So, just consider it this way, for all those who speak ill of young people, think about what you were like when you actually were young.

I want you Pat for good

•January 8, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Vieira is back in the Prem

Patrick Vieira, the once feared Arsenal stalwart and now ex-Internazionale bench warmer, has been unveiled as Manchester City’s first signing of the January transfer window.

Vieira, 33, will link up with old boss Roberto Mancini, having worked with the Italian previously, after passing a medical on Thursday.

It is believed that the ex-Arsenal captain will be on £100,000 a week, wages, not bad for someone who hasn’t had got a look in at Inter or for France for a while now.

The move, which Arsene Wenger admitted he would be ‘shocked’ to see, is thought to be a last ditch attempt for Vieira to stake a claim for a World Cup berth.

No doubt Vieira is one of the greatest players to have ever graced the Premiership, during a period when he won the league title three times with Arsenal, but a move back to the big time, at this stage of his career seems a bit odd.

No doubt the huge pay packet has had some bearing on his decision, and if the rumours of him being given the captaincy over ex-teammate Kolo Toure are true, it still doesn’t add up why City have brought in yet another midfielder to add to the 15 (??) they already have.

The arrival of the big Frenchman is surely going to shake up the rest of the squad, especially the dodgy defence, as it now looks as though no position is safe at Eastlands.

Mancini said: “Patrick is a world class midfielder with a winner’s mentality and will fit into this group very well.

“He knows me and my staff well, and importantly he also knows what the Premier League is all about.”

How refreshing…

•January 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Vassell arriving in Ankara

Today I came across a piece on the Guardian website about Darius Vassell and his blog, which by the sounds of it is starting to gain a bit of a cult following.

I’d heard over the past month or so that he’d been having a couple of problems adjusting to his new life playing for Ankaragucu in Turkey.

After reading the Guardian piece, I thought I’d have a look at Vassell’s blog, just to see what all of the fuss is about…

I was surprised, I mean really surprised. This is a blog in the rawest form, unvetted, untweaked and uncaring. Nothing like that of his former international team-mate, one David Beckham.

Beckham’s Christmas entry of “Good to spend some time with the family in the lead up to Christmas . . . have a great Xmas everybody…” smacked of some pr updating it. A lifeless splattering of words to make him appear more human and endearing to normal folk. Nothing like Vassell’s, which shows everything, warts ‘n’ all.

It’s so refreshing to see someone who was right in the limelight, only a few years ago representing his country at the highest stage, opening his heart and mind to joe public.

Vassell’s poignant blog shows the struggle of a man who is homesick and struggling to adapt to a completely new culture.

It’s fascinating to see him wonder how the hell he got here, while he amusingly quips about his inability to grasp the language:

16 December
…Now back in my room, i wonder if i could ever fully learn this language?? My favourite sentence is “Bier cay lutfen?” [one tea please] but there is only so much Turkish tea that i can drink before the novelty wears off.

Not only is it interesting to see him documenting his life since his bizarre move abroad in July, but applaudable that he is breaking the mould of the stereotyped ‘idiot footballer’. A man, who has more money than brain cells and spends it all on gold plated hummers (El Hadji Diouf).

Every now and then Vassell will write a rhyme or poem, or even a simile, and you’ll stop and think ‘Hang on, did Darius Vassell just write a simile?’

People were all talking about Darren Bent and his tweeting, especially about his ‘F-ing’ Sunderland move, which suddenly made him more appealing and human.

If 2009 was the year of the Tweeting sportsman, then 2010 should be the year of the blogging footballer.

You can check out his blog here:

Glastonbury ’09 posts Sunday

•July 1, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Haven’t done much so far, dossed about. Bought a hat. Looking forward to Blur.