Category Archives: news

Panasonic Goes Big At NAB 2012

The New AG-HPX600 - Image Courtesy Panasonic

It’s been a big couple of days for Panasonic at the 2012 NAB Show in Las Vegas – announcing a slew of new products and strategic partnerships that boost the broadcasting chops of this tech giant.

Leading the Panasonic pack of announcements is the new AG-HPX600 P2 HD camcorder with 10-bit, 4:2:2 AVC-Intra recording and boasting the lowest weight of a shoulder-mount unit.

“With its ultra-light weight and low power consumption, the HPX600 is the first shoulder mount that’s easy on the shoulder while being super-efficient on battery usage,” said Joseph Facchini, Vice President, Panasonic System Communications Company of North America. “With its innovative design and selectable options, the HPX600 is upgradable to new technology such as wireless remote from a smart phone and much more.”

Weighing in at less than 7 pounds with noticeably low power usage, the HPX600 uses a newly-developed 2/3 type MOS sensor to produce HD and SD images. This future-proof camera aims to provide inventive functionality and improved workflows, with options such as wireless metadata input, proxy recording, and variable frame rates (available Fall 2012), and subsequently AVC-ULTRA recording.

According to Panasonic, the AG-HPX600 will be available in the Fall with a starting price around $16,000 for the body alone.

New Cards; Projectors; and Partners

In addition to the light-weight AG-HPX600, Panasonic also unveiled a new series of 64GB and 32GB microP2 cards – designed for high-speed transfers, reliability, and the writing assurance of all P2 frame rates, formats and codecs. Panasonic also announced the microP2 Card Adaptor, both slated for availability next Spring.

Other new products announced at NAB this week by Panasonic:

  • the PT-DZ21 3-chip DLP projector series – the world’s smallest and lightest 20,000 lumen projectors;
  • the expansion LCD production monitors with the BT-LH2170 21.5” and BT-LH1850 18.5” models; and,
  • upgrades to  the AG-AF100 Large Sensor HD Cinema camera; the AG-HPX250  P2 HD and AG-AC160/AC130 AVCCAM HD handheld camcorders; as well as to the AJ-HPM200 and AJ-HPD2500 solid-state recorders.

Panasonic also announced a few new partnerships that has the industry buzzing:

  • Panasonic and Dejero Labs will offer the Dejero LIVE+ NewsBook – a cellular uplink solution for remote production and electronic news-gathering operations.
  • Panasonic and Aframe will create the Panasonic Production Network (PPN), a cloud video production network that allows professionals to rapidly upload and view their high-quality video from dedicated cloud servers.
  • Panasonic and LiveU announced a new collaboration to deliver an integrated camcorder and live video uplink solution, utilizing the new LU40i video uplink device and the new AJ-HPX600 P2 camcorder with planned wireless integration features. Geek News Central covered that announcement earlier this week.

For more information about Panasonic’s NAB announcements, visit

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LiveU To Unveil LU70 Mobile Uplink Unit At NAB 2012 Show

New LU70 mobile broadcasting unit - image courtesy LiveU

Portable broadcasters will have a lot to digest at the 2012 NAB Show thanks to the newest LiveU video-over-cellular offering – the professional-grade LU70 Mobile Uplink Unit.

The big boost with this newest incarnation of LiveU’s backpack broadcasting unit comes in the antennae array on the LU70 – an internal/external arrangement designed to improve connectivity in less than desirable conditions. After all, a portable video broadcasting unit is only as good as its ability to get that signal.

“The internal antennas support a larger number of frequencies, ensuring enhanced signal performance with long-range reception and increased uplink capability, “ LiveU announced just days before this year’s NAB show in Las Vegas. “The new external antenna array provides additional resiliency for extreme scenarios, such as heavily crowded locations. Boosted by its remotely-located antennas, the LU70 supports up to 14 cellular links simultaneously. The unit can automatically swap between internal and external antennas as needed, according to the network conditions.” Continue reading LiveU To Unveil LU70 Mobile Uplink Unit At NAB 2012 Show

The Eagles Have Landed…in Decorah, Iowa

decorah eagle cam

You may recall that last spring one of the most popular sites on the web was something called “Raptorcam” – also known as the “Decorah Eagle Cam”.  Well, those same eagle mates have been using that same nest each spring and summer to hatch and raise their young and this spring is no different.

The male and and female eagles have returned to their Decorah, Iowa nest and have recently hatched three new young.  Once again they are on 24-7 streaming video and once again they are under the  watchful eye of hundreds of thousands of online viewers.  You can watch them live at uStream or at Decorah Eagle Cam.  You can get more information from the Raptor Resource Project.  The happy family are now the number one most viewed live video of all time.

Infographic: The Tech World in 60 Seconds

A couple of days ago I stumbled across a new infographic (something I have a weakness for) that displayed some mind-boggling information about the tech world around us.  We know how fast things move in today’s world, but the numbers put forth here are simply staggering.  What happens in 60 seconds couldn’t have been envisioned by even the most imaginative sci-fi writer from the past.

Here are just a few statistics of a typical 60 seconds in today’s world.  1,820 TB of data is created.  More than 950 purchases are made on Ebay.  Google made $75,000.  11 Xbox 360’s are sold.  81 iPad’s are sold.

Those are just a few of the numbers depicted.  If you love statistics then you will love perusing this infographic, which is courtesy of Go Gulf Design.  You can check it out below, and click to enlarge it.

60 seconds infographic

BBC Beta Homepage for the Post-PC Era

The BBC is embracing the post-PC world with a reworked homepage at Here’s what it looks like on my TouchPad.

The black arrows on either side slide the screen through three other views. It’s a little bit reminiscent of how the BBC’s iPlayer displays programmes on my Bluray player, which isn’t entirely unsurprising. Some of the other features, such as setting your location, aren’t yet working but will be fixed before this version becomes the standard interface.

Compare this with the current mobile version of the site and you’ll see the change.

The BBC’s homepage was probably due for a refresh anyway, but I think it’s fairly telling that the new page is going to look the way it does. One can only assume that the BBC has stats on the web browsers being used to visit their site and they show the trend towards tablets and mobile devices. Is this the post-PC era with touch now driving the user interface, rather than keyboard and mouse?

“News of the World” Phone Hacking Scandal

News International today announced that this Sunday’s edition of the News of the World newspaper would be the last edition and that the newspaper was closing down. Ostensibly the reason is that a phone hacking scandal had a irretrievably stained the name of the newspaper but the suspicion is that there’s far more to the closure.

For non-UK residents, it’s an astonishing story that involves several alleged crimes and some disgraceful behaviour. First of all, News of the World (NOTW) is one of the biggest selling Sunday newspapers with around 40% of the market and 2.8 million readers. It’s been going for 168 years and while considered a tabloid paper, it has been instrumental in revealing other scandals involving politicians and other well-known figures.

The scandal itself is that around six years ago, a private investigator used by the newspaper is alleged to have hacked into the voice mailboxes of over 4,000 people, including royal aides, sports stars, celebrities and politicians. Even worse, it is further alleged that the mailboxes of soldiers killed in Iraq and murder victims were hacked into. In particular, the alleged deletion of messages on Milly Dowler’s phone is suggested to have given hope to her parents that she was still alive when she had been killed.

Rumours of the hacking arose when the newspaper published stories that could only have been discovered from personal messages. The private investigator and the journalist involved were sent to prison back in 2007 and at the time, a police investigation suggested that the two individuals involved acted alone. In 2009, the Guardian newspaper claimed that thousands of mailboxes had been hacked and that the practice was well known and routine. The Metropolitan Police refused to re-open the investigation. It has also now been alleged that NOTW made payments to the police in return for information. The hacking of the mobile phone’s voice mail was not sophisticated. The private investigator simply relied on the fact that most people did not bother changing the default PIN on their voice mailbox.

Over the past week, as the revelations of the alleged hacking continued, public opinion turned against NOTW. Major advertisers in the paper withdrew their contracts, unwilling to be associated with the unfolding scandal. It was perhaps inevitable that the NOTW would have to close but it seems harsh to punish the current staff for the activities of their predecessors.

The intrigue continues as the parent company, News International, is keen to buy out the remaining shares in BSkyB. However, this had raised concerns that one single company would own too much of the UK media – News International owns the The Times too. The suggestion has been made that by closing one newspaper, NOTW, this will reassure the regulatory authorities but there are also now questions about whether News International is fit and proper to take over BSkyB. It is rumoured that News International will launch a Sunday edition of a sister newspaper The Sun. The domains “” and “” were registered two days ago, though it’s not clear by who registered them

It’s an amazing scandal and totally despicable – some of the stuff you couldn’t make up. If there’s one thing to be learnt from the scandal, it’s make sure you change the default PIN on your mobile phone’s voice mailbox.


Google News Mobile Gets a “Near You” Update

The Google New mobile app received an update today, that was announced at the Google I/O Conference.  If you are a news hound then Google News is probably something you visit frequently.  And now, it just got better on your phone or tablet.  According to Google:

“Location-based news first became available in Google News in 2008, and today there’s a local section for just about any city, state or country in the world with coverage from thousands of sources. We do local news a bit differently, analyzing every word in every story to understand what location the news is about and where the source is located.”

If your phone tracks your location, and most do, then you can easily build a local new feed on your phone.  To get started you will have to visit Google News from your Android or iOS device.  A pop-up will ask you to share your location.  Just say “yes” and the local news will auto-populate.  You will then receive a “news near you” link at the bottom of you home page.  You can turn off the feature at any time hiding the section in your personalization settings or by adjusting your mobile browser settings.

This update adds a nifty “local” aspect to Google News that has been lacking since launch.  It’s a great way to keep up-to-date with what is going on around you.  Google News has continued to improve since launch, despite threats from high-powered news orginaztions such as Ruppert Murdoch’s empire.  Now they are muscling in on the territory of local papers and networks to go one step beyond.

Flickr Hiring, Rumors of Demise Greatly Exagerated

Flickr posted on their blog yesterday that they are now in search of new employees.  This, of course, flies in the face of rumors that Yahoo is looking to shutter some their properties.  Names that have been bandied about have included Delicious, Yahoo Buzz, and even Flickr.  Clearly though, Flickr is alive and well and looking to move forward and grow.

Positions they are looking to fill include Software Engineers, Product Managers, Product Designers, and an Engineering Manager.  This is not only good news for Flickr’s large user base, but also for out-of-work computer industry types.

Flickr was the first mainstream photo sharing website and is still the king, despite the growing specter of Google’s Picasa.  The fact that they are looking to grow the business and improve their offerings will allow a large portion of the internet breath a huge sigh of relief.  We don’t know what they have in store for future platform updates, but this latest post is a good sign that updates are in the works.

iPad Not A Newspaper Substitute (Yet)

Britain’s The Telegraph was one of a few organisations to be given early access to the iPad before its launch and Tim Rowell, Director of Mobile Product Development at the Telegraph, reports on some of the thinking that went on as the team developed the first apps for it.

Initially, it appears that the plans were for a “all encompassing service” but as no-one knew what people wanted or how they would behave, in the end a simpler app was developed that tracked what the readers did. Over 60,000 people provided tracking data and the results were revealing.

“People are realizing that the iPad is not a direct substitute for the newspaper, they’re arguably complementary,” Mr Rowell says. The data showed that the average age of a reader was 47 and the app was only used seven times a month when the readers were unable to buy a paper.  Interestingly, the iPads tended to stay at home or at work and weren’t carried around. And to the Telegraph’s delight, the app was being used in over 186 countries.  “Here is a market, we can start selling the iPad edition to people abroad,” Mr Rowell says.

Mr Rowell went on to give some of the lessons learned from the experience (quoted from the original article)

– The iPad is not a direct substitute for print (yet)
– Users want editorial guidance – they want editors to provide the hierarchy of what is important.
– Production is a headache, building the app itself is easy.
– Advertising agencies and clients see the iPad app as a web product while newspapers see it as print. “We have to come up with a new metric,” Mr Rowell says.
– Apple’s insistence that anything offered outside the Apple store has to be offered inside is a problem, but Apple seems willing to listen to publishers’ concerns.

There’s some very interesting stuff there, especially when combined with the State of the News Media, reported on earlier in the week. Clearly some of the news media aren’t willing to have the web steal their lunch entirely and are fighting back, but what is revealing is the Telegraph app was mostly used when the reader couldn’t buy a paper.

For non-UK readers, The Daily Telegraph is one of the leading quality daily newspapers.

The State of the News Media 2011

The Pew Project for Excellence in Journalism has released its eighth annual of  State of the News Media 2011, a fascinating review of the news media over the past year, showing that news has reached a tipping point (if it hasn’t already tipped) with more news read on-line than in print.

In the last year alone, on-line news reading grew by a little over 17% with every other news source losing audience: cable TV lost nearly 14% and there’s bar chart showing the decline here. Getting news and information on mobile devices was a big winner with 47% of all American adults reading some local news on their mobile device. There’s also an interesting part on how many people would pay for news and how much they would pay. The full article on mobile consumption is here.

Newspapers are the biggest losers with a weekday circulation loss of 5% and an estimated 1,000 to 1,500 newsroom jobs lost in the last year. There’s also concern that the move to on-line reading and in particular, reading on mobile devices, has introduced new players such as Google and Apple to the news space and they want to both set the rules and take their share of the revenue.

And if you want to know who owns the news media, then there’s a whole page of “Top 5s“.

This is absolutely essential reading for anyone who wants to know what’s happening in news media but you’d need to set aside an hour or so to read it cover to cover.