I’m turning older next month and a few people have asked what I might be interested in receiving as a present. There isn’t much that I want and either don’t already have or could reasonably expect as a gift, so I’m asking people to donate to any of the organisations below.
Humanitarian aid, environmental protection, and conservation:
It’s clear that there is a move towards streaming video hosting on the internet, and I’m rather interested in where it’s all headed. I have a few predictions and I relate them to television. It’s a very different medium (to television) but the television licensing model is the closest system to base it on.
The following seems likely to me:
YouTube pays royalties or licensing fees to host content, effectively becoming a world-wide “free-to-air” television station sponsored by advertising. Is this already happening with their pursuit of music video licensing?
Some other websites operate subscription services or pay-per-view becoming online “cable” television stations. This model didn’t work out so well (before YouTube), and might be restricted to live events (like sports). People won’t pay for something they feel confident of finding for free elsewhere (with little effort).
Independent media and amateur video makers migrate to profit sharing sites like Revver. Ask a Ninja has already mentioned that this is an easier way to monetize an internet show.
Sites like VideoSift remain as a sort of online “television guide”. Increasingly important as visiting single sites (like YouTube) can limit the amount of media you might find.
For people interested in simple free hosting or promotion, YouTube and Google Video remain good options. As Google video automatically (?) grabs videos, it may run into more copyright concerns than YouTube or similar which put the onus of responsibility on the video submitter.
Another prediction that might change the way things progress: a large multi-format media company (like Fox) screws over an amateur video maker by exercising their royalty-free license and profiting from use of a popular internet video in their larger media (television) network.
Housing prices have been going through the roof. The reserve bank recently increased interest rates. Now the housing industry is advising that another rate increase is a bad idea. That’s just a quick list of recent events, but what does it all mean?
What’s behind it all?
Established people are buying investment properties using money borrowed against their current property. Demand is high and they are competing with people who want to buy somewhere to live. The government provides a first home buyers grant to help prospective owners compete in the market. Arguably a positive gesture, but it fails to offset rapid price inflation. Many people can’t get into the housing market and end up renting.
What does it mean in the long run?
Maybe interest rates increase and people default on their loans and have to sacrifice their homes. A bunch of people lose out and spend their money paying off overseas banks, instead of spending their money here. That can’t be good for the economy. Would this really happen? Maybe the government will bail people out if it’s a widespread (vote affecting) problem.
Maybe people actually manage their loans by offsetting them against their real estate assets and a lot of people get rich. Of course this happens for the people buying investment properties, and not for the people buying their first home (who get stung by interest rate increases). One generation owns the majority of the land and subsequent generations are stuck in the rental market. Unless they get land via inheritance. Yay. Nouveau riche and a greater gap between rich and poor.
If the government has to choose between (high percentage of the voting population) baby boomers and (lower percentage of the voting population) later generations… well, someone is going to get screwed. Maybe a better preemptive move than the first home buyers grant would have been to increase taxes on speculative investment properties… but that wouldn’t have been popular with their demographic.
Is it wrong?
Is it ethical for people to own property that they don’t live in at the exclusion of others that need it? Especially when they can exploit the need (for housing) and (collectively) set a rental fee that is the maximum the underprivileged can tolerate?
AIBO’s playroom is a research project and art installation with a lot of AIBO styled accessories and environments. It includes a range of items from AIBO spacesuits to AIBO bowling (for the AIBO, not with the AIBO).
Don’t be afraid – these Nordic warriors aren’t here to burn down your homes. They’re here to help you make delicious cakes!
So I immediately knew that it was the right gift! (That and I saw Heidi checking it out online a few months ago). The day it arrived Heidi decided to make a cake (even though we only had 2 hours before we had to go out). She unwrapped the package, started mixing the ingredients, and got me to clean the pan:
An hour or so later, and it was done. Just in time for Tone to have some as well (he was giving me a ride). It was a chocolate cake:
The next cake she make looked more castle-like. It was… some sort of orange butter cake I think. Much lighter in colour, so the details stood out a bit more. No photo because it was eaten very quickly…
Update: The Nordic Ware website has a great picture of a castle bundt made to look like a sand castle.