Registered with Walt Disney studios for PR material

When I do get round to film reviews, I thought it would be nice to be (legally) allowed to show some stills from the film with my review. I'm discovering that many of the big studios have dedicated PR sites that you can register and download preview content from.

Here's a shot from the latest 'Cars 2' movie:

A shot from Cars 2

Executing cygwin (unix) commands from Windows batch files (.bat)

Here's a batch file that executes a few cygwin (unix) commands from Windows.

@echo off
rem get (DOS) current working directory
set inputDir=%~dp0
rem change slash direction for cygwin
set result=%inputDir:\=/%
echo.Processing directory %result%
echo.DiSCO (php and js)
rem execute a cygwin script using bash
bash --login -c 'cd %result%; wc -l `find ../receiver/classes/DiSCO ../receiver/js/lib/DiSCO -name "*.php" -o -name "*.js"`;'
echo.WITO client (js)
bash --login -c 'cd %result%; wc -l `find ../receiver/js/global -name "*.php" -o -name "*.js"`;'

Innovation policy through experimentation

I read a great blog post from Hasan Bakhshi at NESTA entitled Innovation policy through experimentation and commented:

Transdisciplinary collaboration

I was asked recently to contribute some thoughts under the heading of "Transdisciplinary collaboration". How do you encourage two different communities of innovators to work together? Is there anything that collaborators can do to deliver better projects when working across sector boundaries?

For me the critical thing is translation. I believe:

  • a single message for two communities doesn't work. We have to describe the challenge for each community in a language it understands;

The value of independent feedback

I've just posted two pieces of very negative feedback here and here. Upon submitting the feedback I got a message saying:

"Thank you for your review of this item. It has been submitted for approval by our staff."

Windows 7 file sharing with XP/OSX peers

Recently I've been blighted by a minor network glitch that meant I couldn't file share from my Windows 7 laptop. I was convinced it was something to do with Windows Firewall, ESET NOD32 or even the ZyXel router. I downloaded the excellent Wireshark and used it to analyse the packets; lots of outgoing requests but nothing back from my server (miata). I could ping and transfer HTTP packets, but no file sharing.

Wireshark set up

Windows-based PHP profiling with Xdebug and Kcachegrind

The last few weeks of development have driven me to adopt some old technologies from my C days. I've got PHP setup with a debugger (Xdebug and the buggy Komodo IDE) and a profiler (Kcachegrind) under Windows (WAMP Server). Today I optimised one tiny part of the DiSCO codebase:

Kcachegrind screenshot, before

Evolution of

I've been fielding a lot of questions about how will evolve. Here's a mockup in Prezi that shows the zooming/panning interface that we're working on.

Media Festival Arts panel

I spoke on a panel at Media Festival Arts about Technology Strategy Board and our £5m Metadata competition.

Where once there was complexity, now an installer

I'm consistently bowled over by the way communities of users solve each others' problems and share their solutions. I race online in SimBin's Race 07 / GTR Evolution. Following the release of MMG's F1 mod, I'm playing more custom games, which necessitate the installation of additional mods (tracks/skins etc.) To participate in the latest games means spending time surfing the forums looking for the right download, then installing it. There's usually a lot of trial an error.

Alex Stanhope is a Technology consultant to the UK Creative Industries and Venture Catalyst. This is my personal website.
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