Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Dolby Atmos – a visit to Dolby’s new screening room in Soho

January 30, 2013
Dolby's creening room in Soho Square, London

Dolby’s screening room in Soho Square, London

Last week I had an opportunity to visit Dolby Labs new London home in Soho Square, the trip was mainly to visit one of our students from one of our audio engineering programmes at Salford University who is on placement there for 12 months. The screening room here is impressive in itself – a small cinema with near-perfect acoustics and a 4K projector, pretty much an ideal listening environment and as part of the visit I got to experience Dolby’s Atmos demos. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while…

Atmos is an exciting prospect for many of us involved in audio research as it is the first commercial object based audio system that has potential to go mainstream. Read the rest of this entry ?


UK Govt report: Not using social media “could appear unusual or even suspicious” in 10 years

January 22, 2013


My eye was just drawn to a couple of pieces about the UK government report that was published today. The document, entitled Future Identities, Changing Identities in the UK: The next 10 Years is covered in an article in The Telegraph here whose headline, Rise of social networks in Britain ‘risks fuelling social unrest’ will certainly help fuel its readers suspicion of social. Is this just media paranoia? Certainly there has been plenty of that over recent years, remember the furore over the riots here in the UK?

Reading the article more closely though, and looking at the report itself there are some interesting, and yes, some quite unnerving things to consider. The report speaks of a changing situation where people have several overlapping identities rather than a single one. We knew that. Our students learn about the importance of digital identity and how to separate their personal from their public identities. My kids and their friends are not so switched on about it unfortunately but hopefully they will learn. They’ll have to be very good at it.

The report talks of social media remapping the social relationships of the UK, of Read the rest of this entry ?


Update ‹ Audio Flipboard Anyone?

January 21, 2013

Some time ago I posted that I’d love to see an audio equivalent to Flipboard, the wonderful social media agglomerator that presents your connected networks in magazine format. The audio version would collate your audio based networks and content (Audioboo, Soundcloud, Last.FM etc) and present it as an interactive personalised radio programme.

Well one of my students is taking on aspects of this in a final year project. Joe is using the OSC communication format to create an (almost) audio only interface which can drive the application. In the first instance he’s controlling a programme written in PureData with OSC and looking at interacting with multiple spatially separated audio sources. The same interface could of course be implemented stand-alone as a mobile app to curate audio feeds but this is outside of the scope of this initial project brief. Early questions involve asking how many sources can be simultaneously processed and navigated successfully by shifting the focus of the user and there’ll be some testing going on over the next few weeks..

You can follow Joe’s progress here as he is keeping a logbook online. I’m hoping this is something that can be developed further in future projects as well. Lots of coffee needed I think but all going well so far….



Academic Publishing Rant follow up

December 30, 2012

blog open access

I recently posted a blog entry that started off as a response to, and supportive of @melissaterras article on using social media to promote research. The post turned into a bit of a rant – sorry! At least this time it is clearly labelled 😉 Read the rest of this entry ?


Through the Looking Glass: return to the ETC

October 3, 2012

The Entertainment Technology Center

Over the last couple of years I have written a little about my previous visits to the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University here and here, a few things have changed since then so this visit was an interesting one in a number of ways. First of all Don Marinelli has now retired. As Don was one of the two founders of the ETC this leaves something of a hole in the place: Don is something of a superstar – inspirational speaker, larger than life character and a truly gifted teacher with a tight grasp on how learning works. A good friend too. Nevertheless, the ETC is bigger than any one man and Don and Randy Pausch provided enough momentum that I suspect their ongoing project is pretty much unstoppable now.

Also, last semester we had the pleasure of hosting one of the ETC’s project teams here at MediaCityUK, (I’ll document that in another post soon – complications around a parallel project meant that I’ve been obliged to keep quite about it till now). This was my first return visit since hosting the project at MediaCityUK and I was here to do more workshops on 3D audio and how ETC projects could use it in game development. The brilliant Dave Purta, the ETC tech support, made sure all the hardware was set up for me and ready to roll so I arrived with a couple of laptops on the audio evangelist tour pt II.

A nice welcome when I arrived

Last year I showed Read the rest of this entry ?


A very good cause indeed

May 23, 2012

Last year a friend of mine from Coniston Sailing Club, Grant Spooner, had a heart attack in Coniston and his life was saved as a result of the NW Air Ambulance service arriving promptly and getting Grant to hospital in Blackpool within 20 mins. NWAA cover 5500 square miles and a population of around 8 million people. They are called out between 5 and 10 times daily and rely almost entirely on voluntary contributions.

Read the rest of this entry ?


Audio Flipboard anyone?

January 5, 2012

Listen: Sign on BBC Building at MediaCityUK

 I think 2012 will be the year that audio in social really explodes.

When I first got my hands on an iPad Flipboard was a revelation – previously I dug into Twitter and Facebook chronologically and Flipboard’s magazine layout and easy-to-browse nature made it a much more random and fun process. I’d spot things I hadn’t before but more interestingly, I was reading social media streams like I’d read a newspaper and not at my desk with a computer.

While reading Katie Moffat’s predictions for 2012 I was struck by, “ I think 2012 will be the year that audio in social really explodes.

I commented on the post that, “ it really needs a platform that will manage audio well. If we had something that would do to podcasts and AudioBoo what FlipBoard does for text you’d have yourself a custom radio magazine show, it’d be awesome! I’d listen every morning on the daily commute.

The post made me think, there must be a way of aggregating audio content, esp social content in a similar vein to FlipBoard. I’d be interested in knowing if anyone has done this effectively yet BECAUSE I WANT IT! And if it’s not being done, looking further into developing ideas around it. Would make an interesting project for some of our bright students perhaps. are doing it for music but I haven’t yet found an equivalent for spoken word….


Public Engagement and Progress: UOS at MCUK

December 1, 2011

Since my last blog post we’ve been pretty busy at our MediaCityUK campus.

Touch screen magic during Believe

Teaching, learning and research are now fully up and running, staff and student reaction to the incredible facilities we have here has moved from wide eyed wonderment to getting down to business, and they really are getting on with it. The students I have contact here Read the rest of this entry ?


RIP Alex Roy Carmichael

October 6, 2011

Alex with my daughter, Georgia in 1999

Last week my friend Alex Carmichael lost his battle with cancer. Read the rest of this entry ?


Picture Post: the University @ MediaCityUK

September 27, 2011

Photos of our new building at MediaCityUK

The mezzanine with open access PCs, information desk and chilled atmosphere

All my previous blog pics from MCUK were taken with whatever phone I had in my pocket – sorry about the quality. So today I took the opportunity to spend an hour wandering round the building with my camera to give our students a taste of what they’re going to get when they arrive.

The foyer - open to the public from 4th October

So, starting on the ground floor…. Read the rest of this entry ?

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