We have been having issues playing back new content on TVNZ On Demand due to their accepting a new DRM protected video format for their service.

This has only happened in the last few weeks and confirmed by their techs. From the text of their email to us when we notified them of the error, they do not have a fix and only suggested a starting point for some potential solutions.

It appears that it is the HAL module that is the sticking point.

Following the Adobe link provided, correctly mentions that the HAL module is the missing piece, but the instructions to install it do not work. It appears that the HAL module is no longer available. A “HAL-INFO” package was available, but this did not solve the problem.

After trying all of the solutions proposed by Adobe, I tried a few additional options, such as installing the Flash plugin provided as an installable package from within Mint (this did not work either)

I did some more research on the net and found the following page


Specifically this to install a package including HAL

$ sudo add-apt-repository ppa:mjblenner/ppa-hal
$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get install hal

The key thing here is that there is a PPA in the repository that contains HAL. Since trying to install HAL by itself fails, this packaged version includes the HAL libraries.

Interestingly, there was a mention in the output of the installer about “Keeping HAL alive” so it does seemt o be in response to the demise of HAL as an installable piece in it’s own right

With all of my trial and error, I have not gone to a clean system and installed just the above PPA to test it outright. However, I am pretty confident that this PPA will resolve the issue.

Spotify Launches in NZ, have we arrived?

As Spotify launches in NZ, does this mark a bit of a turning of the corner for the internet world in NZ?

Now Spotify is not the largest property on the internet that NZ has been waiting for, but I think it is a significant step in the right direction for many reasons.

Firstly it is a widely loved streaming service that has slowly made it’s way across the globe. Unsurprisingly, NZ is not early on the release timetable, but with it’s launch here we do not have to look longingly offshore for another service out of our reach.

Second, it is another legal content service to be added to the few currently in NZ. With Quick Flix and TV Ondemand peoples choices are becoming wider with more content online. Add Spotify (and Rdio) to the mix and online content is becoming more and more compelling. With the Commerce Commission’s investigation of SkyTV, their tying up of the distribution rights to many items of content will be under more scrutiny.

Is this  the start of a change to an avalanche of online services and will it bring the choice that we have been calling out for.

Will it take something like Netflix to finally push it over the edge?

I want to see more content via the internet, whether I consume it via my PC (which is the only way I can at the moment) or via an internet connected TV, we should be given the choice for content and the distribution.

I think the traditional rule makers in this industry need to change their thinking. What they need to do is work out, in a blue sky way, how consumers have all of their needs fulfilled. Build that infrastructure and then build the monetisation around that. Currently, there are hanging on to the shreds of their old model and squeezing it for everything they can get.

They know that things are changing, but they are not bold enough to make the step willingly.

Maybe they need a push


We Don’t Want to Watch What You Want Us to Watch

Especially when you want us to watch it.

Times are changing in TV land.

While we in NZ still have restrictive broadband limitations in speed and monthly data caps, the world moves ahead in the use of streaming video.

Offerings such as Hulu and Netflix, plus streaming options through other providers such as Amazon mean that video delivered over the internet is dominating internet traffic in those markets.

But even in New Zealand, on demand video is becoming more and more prevalent. MySky allows for easy recording and playback of shows from SkyTV’s plethora of channels and the free to air networks have the OnDemand services where you can catch up on shows you have missed only a day later.

But what this “on demand” method of consuming video (and audio) does, is it puts the control of the content back into the viewers hands.

Apart from live events such as sport, where the “watching it live” component is eminently important, most other forms of TV or movies can be consumed at the viewers leisure. No more checking the TV guide and planning your life around when a particular show is on, just watch it when you like.

Imagine a world where you can pick and choose all of the shows you want to watch with no reliance on date and time.

What impact could this have on the different parts of the ecosystem?

Producers of Content: Major producers might be more selective of what content they invest in and so the number of productions might reduce in size (possibly better funded). Independent producers of content such as the Twit Network may be encouraged to produce more content to fill the gaps left my changed in major network production.

Advertisers: Much improved analytics and viewer statistics will allow for much more targeted advertising. Ads for lower rating shows will reflect those lower ratings and advertisers can get a real idea as to the viewership of their ad portfolio.

Consumers: Fringe shows (from the current model) will become even more marginalised until they disappear. Niche shows will be created by nimble producers focussed on fanatical audiences. The only scheduled shows will be live events.

I like this future as it enables true choice for the consumer and a better experience.

Dashes vs Underscores for SEO – Winner announced

We have a definitive answer from Google as to what is better for word separation in URLs.

Matt Cutts released one of his Webmaster videos discussing this and while there is not much in it (to the point he said not to change it if you already have underscores), that if you are starting a new site, dashes are the way to go.

Incubus’ Clever Use of the Internet

There are an increasing number of clever uses of the internet as a marketing tool for companies, products and brands.

Once that I think is really good is that of the band Incubus.

They are releasing a new album soon called If Not Now,When? and using (as far as I can tell) a novel method to promote the album, have been using a website called http://www.incubushqlive.com/ where they have been streaming live performances from the band plus interviews and clinics from band members.

But it also seems to be a great way to promote the band while practising for upcoming appearnaces and concert tour.

Each of the performances can be attended by emailing the site and getting an invite. The venue is small, only really big enough for a ring of people around the band as they play their set. The performances have been a mix of old songs and those off the new album.

The interaction of the band with the small audience is great too, they make mistakes, laugh about it and go again, till they get it right.

Most performances I have seen there have been over 4 thousand people watching the stream. Tweets with the bands hashtag get displayed live on the screen behind the band.

All in all a great use of social media and technology to promote an upcoming album.

Speaking of social media, how did I find out about this? Facebook. I’m a fan and so follow them on Facebook, where they have been advertising what has been happening at “HQ” leading up to the album release. This along with their website provide all of the information needed for fans to get prepared.

All we need now is for them to come to NZ   *hint, hint*

Streaming Tech TV – Great Stuff

twit live tvMy latest must see is TWiT. It is a streaming online Tech tv service that has shows screened throughout the day and then replayed around the live broadcast times.

For the broadcasts I have seen, they are, for the most part, well presented and produced pieces. With a variety of themes around technology there is a good range to keep techheads up to date with whats happening.

For me the ones I return to are TNT with Tom Merritt, All about Android and The Week in Google

All have one or more main presenters usually with guests beamed in to the show by video.

There seems to be good banter between the hosts and guests which makes for a much more watchable experience.

Go and have a look for yourself.


All Whites Deserved to Win Halberg – So Says Biased Football Fan

OK, I am biased, I am a football nut. I think they deserved to win the Halberg Award and given that the 28 person panel voted accordingly, there was obviously enough support from the people who mattered.

The panel consist of 10 media types and 18 sports people from a wide range of sports. Interestingly, none of them are from Football.

Possibly sentiment carried the day, Dick Taylor is due to resign as he didn’t “agree with the end result.”

As the President of the Canterbury Rugby Supporters Club, you could guess that football is not his favourite sport, but his beef seems mainly that he thinks you must win something to be eligible.

“Really, they (All Whites) didn’t win anything. Part of the criteria for the Halbergs is about people winning or high achieving.”

He mentions that bit at the end “or high achieving” as a bit of a throw away, but it does change the criteria significantly.

Is high achieving significantly surpassing everything people expect of you?

If so then the All Whites were a shoe in for the award.

People expect the All Blacks to win, The Kiwis and Silver Ferns are one of only 2 or 3 contenders for every trophy. This is a massive achievement in the world of football.

Giving the award to a “non winner” has precendent:

Here is a list of recent winners:

  • 1990 Halberg Award Winner – Peter Blake
  • 1991 Halberg Award Winner – Philippa Baker
  • 1992 Halberg Award Winner – Annelise Coberger
  • 1993 Halberg Award Winner – New Zealand Men’s Amateur Golf Team
  • 1994 Halberg Award Winner – Philippa Baker & Brenda Lawson
  • 1995 Halberg Award Winner – America’s Cup Team
  • 1996 Halberg Award Winner – Danyon Loader – (1990s Decade Champion)
  • 1997 Halberg Award Winner – Beatrice Faumuinã
  • 1998 Halberg Award Winner – Rob Waddell
  • 1999 Halberg Award Winner – Rob Waddell
  • 2000 Halberg Award Winner – Rob Waddell
  • 2001 Halberg Award Winners – Caroline and Georgina Evers-Swindell
  • 2002 Halberg Award Winners – New Zealand Men’s Basketball Team
  • 2003 Halberg Award Winners – SILVER FERNS (netball)
  • 2004 Halberg Award Winner – SARAH ULMER (cycling)
  • 2005 Halberg Award Winner – MICHAEL CAMPBELL (golf)

Full Details can be found here and here

The 2004 triumph of the Tall Blacks is a similar award of the Halbergs to a non winner, their amazing 4th in the world championships is arguably an ever bigger non winning achievement.

It was also a great result for Winston Reid’s equalising goal as the Sporting Moment award. I was awake, ready to pack the kids off to bed after a competent, but anticpated loss.

But THAT goal changed everything. The kids were buzzing. They didnt want to miss the other games and the whole World Cup took on another dimension from that point onwards.

Enjoy these…

God on you Boys, well done!

Avalon Biddle – Awesome Bike Racer

We are proud to sponsor Avalon Biddle. She is an amazing person, racing a Honda rs125 amongst the men in the 125gp class here in New Zealand and Australia.

We provide her website services and it is a real priviledge to help her in this way.

Here is a great view of her doing a flying lap at Hampton Downs (around 240 kph down the straight and it still didn’t sound flat out!)

Well done Av! Check out her website here

Bruce Clay on Search

I love the Webpronews Videos, a great source of info, especially from presenters of Search and Marketing conferences.

This one with Bruce Clay, at 18 minutes long, is a great discussion around search, how it has grown, broadened in it’s nature to include Interactive Marketing and Optimisation on many levels.

He makes a few key points:

  1. The new first page is actually the top three, especially as results are continually refined and made more personal
  2. The distinction between Search and Find, Search being research based, looking for overall information, whereas Find is all about what is around me know, especially on Mobile
  3. How Google’s Caffeine update has made the “accidental long tail”, ie those pages that are found for a phrase when that page is not about that phrase, less findable while improving the rankings for intended long tail pages.

Check out the video for some interesting information

Jane Campion on the Kevin Pollak Chat Show

Webpronews did a piece on Kevin Pollak using the internet as a medium to overcome censorship and time restrictions of mainstream media formats.

Unlike Parkinson or other chatshows with 10-20 minute interviews, his internet only format has some interviews of over 2 hours.

The additional scope this gives can provide for some compelling interviews

He has done nearly 30 shows now, including one of Jane Campion, the New Zealand director of recently released Bright Star and earlier works like The Piano and An Angel at my Table.

I really like the fact that these interviews are unconstrained and allows the interviewee to provide in depth answers to the questions posed.

Also, the use of viewer questions from Twitter and the online chat room get real viewer participation in the show.

It was great to hear Kevin tell other celebrities to embrace new media and what benefits it offers.