Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Sony Playstation Portable as a video player

I recently purchased the Sony Playstation Portable (PSP) primarily as a portable video player. Up till now I had been using a Sony Clie NX60 and a NX80V to serve this function. While they will fairly well they are constrained by a small screen size and limited battery life. For example on a fully charged NX60 I could watch about 80 minutes of video before the battery gave up.

The PSP is primarily a games console. But Sony endowed it with video playback facilities, primarily through the use of UMD discs. Sony released a number of titles on UMD concurrent with the introduction of the PSP but they never took off for a number of reasons. I don't have the market intelligence but the word was UMD videos cost about the same as a DVD so why pay the same for a movie that can only be displayed on a PSP.

Then Sony had only themselves to blame when they provide the PSP the ability to play (albeit semi proprietary format) videos on Sony Memory Stick DUOs. It didn't take long for the hacker community to develop the tools to convert any format video (DVD included) to a form that could be stored and played on the PSP.

Decrypting DVD's had been done already when a Norwegian hacker cracked CSS. The development of other tools such as X264 which can convert many video types (through the use of Avisynth) from their native formats (such as divx, avi, mpeg) into H.264 format in a format that can be played on the PSP opened up the PSP as a portable media player.

Here are some interesting statistics. Using TV shows captured and posted on bittorrents as an example, a 42 minute TV show uses about 350MB as a xvid video file. Once passed through x264 and encoded in H.264 format suitable for playing on a PSP, that file can be compressed to about 200MB and retain good quality. 2G Memory Stick Duos are readily available which means you can store about 9 shows on one stick.

More later...

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Knowledge Management - a dying discipline?

KMWorld06 just held recently in San Jose featured Knowledge Management, Content Management and Intranets. A key theme running through the conference was the death of KM as we originally know it. But it is still an important initiative for an organisation - it's just that it needs to be renamed in order to gain traction with sponsors and users and for stakeholders to see the potential benefits.

Also in order for the conference to maintain some momentum and size, it was combined with conferences on Collaboration and Intranets. This seems like a sensible marriage since a key goal of KM is successful collaboration and shared used of organisational knowledge. Intranets provide just one way of developing the IT infrastructure to support them.

Web 2.0 and the new social networking tools like Blogs and Wikis were also popular. These new tools free users from the shackles of rigid IT structure and allow a greater freedom of speech (a mixed blessing some company execs might argue). But Wikis can support a much more free mode of collaboration and joint authoring, moving from autocratic authoring to democratic authoring.