Archive | September 2012

Skillbuild Hours: IV

So there wasn’t a Skillbuild post on wednesday (You can thank a faulty alarm clock and a driver who insisted on driving through the puddle next to the path for that), so I’ll just post an update now.

So, we’ve been researching different aspects of the Media industry and information about companies within the different fields (See ‘Five Companies’). We’ve also began learning to use Photoshop, which I’ve been avoiding for a while, but its better to learn it now than never I suppose. I’ll post my first attempt at it in a minute; I don’t use ‘first attempt’ lightly.

Right now, we’re having to look up companies within Liverpool, and find out some basic information about them; when was it founded, key people, ECT. I’ll post what I find when I’ve done.

I’m heading back to work.


Five Companies: Social Network.

Here we go, this one will be a bit more interesting to research. Here we go:

Starting with one of the most used forms of social networking today, we have Facebook. To put it in perspective, as of 2012, Facebook has 955 million active users. For anyone who’s seen the 2010 film, The Social Network, which was ‘based’ upon Mark Zuckerburgs creation of Facebook with his college roommates, Facebook began as something only people attending Harvard University could use; it then spread to other schools, until eventually becoming a form of social networking independent from Harvard or any school, becoming the Facebook it is today. Of course, being as big as it is, it has had its share of criticisms and lawsuits, but I won’t go into them right now.

Next, we have Twitter. A ‘microblogging’ site (most likely due to the 140 character limit), that allows people to view small, text-like posts from other uses, named tweets. It was created in 2006 by Jack Dorsey, and although not as popular as Facebook, it has 500 million active users. Twitter Inc. is based in San Francisco, and connects people in  a simpler way than Facebook; it isn’t as emphasised to ‘follow’ people you know, and instead connections you to millions around the world. Interestingly, Twitter has been used to organises things such as protests, such as the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

What next? … Ah, Skype. Although still a form of Social Media, it is far from Twitter and Facebook; Skype allows people to connect via voice and video over the internet, but also allows them to call on traditional telephone networks. Placing between Twitter and Facebook, it has on average 663 million registered uses as of 2011. Its headquarters are based in Luxembourg, and was created by Janus Friis in 2003. Microsoft bought Skype in May 2011 for $8.5 Billion from eBay Inc.

Fourth, we have MSN. Originally named the Microsoft Network, it was created in 1995. A popular social networking part of MSN is its ‘Messenger’; an instant messaging service that allows real-time chats with other users. In my opinion at least, it seems like MSN Messenger has died down over the part few years, especially with the Facebook Chat feature, which essentially meant that Facebook users had no need for the MSN real-time chat feature; MSN Messenger has also been replaced by Microsoft with Windows Liver Messenger.

Finally, we have Tumblr; the only one of the list that I haven’t used myself, Tumblr, like Twitter, is a microblogging service owned by Tumblr Inc. As of 2012, Tumblr has 64.7 million active blogs, making it the least used on the list; it is also one of the newest, being created in 2007 by David Karp, whose headquarters are in New York. While there isn’t much on Tumblr, its creator Karp won the 2009 Best Young Entrepreneur for BusinessWeek.

Five Companies: Part Two.

Okay, the first part of our task this morning is to finish the task we were given last friday: find five companies in each media sector, and find some information about them. I won’t have much time to do this, so this one isn’t going to be as detailed as the last. Okay, here we go:


BBC (British Broadcasting Company): With its headquarters in Westminster, London, the BBC is a public service broadcaster, and the largest broadcaster in world by employee’s, with 23,000 staff. it was founded on January 1st, 1927 by John Reith.

Channel 4: Founded much later in than the BBC, in 1982, Channel 4 was initially a subsidiary to IBA (Independent Broadcasting Authority), is ultimately publicly owned, and commercially funded.

ITV: A major commercial service broadcasting network in the UK, ITV was launched in 1955 under the ITA (Independent Television Authority). Its purpose was to provide competition for the BBC, and it now has sister-channels ITV2, ITV3 and ITV4. It is owned by ITV plc, STV plc and UTV plc.

ABC (American Broadcasting Company): Owned by the Walt Disney Company, ABC is an American commercial broadcasting company, and is the largest broadcasting company in the world by revenues. Its headquarters are in Upper Manhattan, and it was founded 1948. Key people within the company are Edward Noble and Robert Iger.

FX (Standing for Fox eXtended): Owned by ‘Fox Entertainment’, FX has been running since 1994, it was one of the first large forays into interactive television. Its headquarters are in Dallas, Texas, and the channel is widely known for its original programming.


Machinima: (See previous post ‘Five Companies’ post.)

The Times: The Times is a daily British National Newspaper. Founded in London in 1785 (then named The Daily Universal Register), it has been running for 227 years to date. Both The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are subsidiaries of News International (See Below) since 1981. Its Editor is James Harding.

News International: NI Group Limited is the United Kingdom newspaper publishing division of News Corporation. It contains three subsidiary companies; The Times, News Group International and NI Free Newspaper Limited. Its headquarters are in London, and two key people within the company are both Rupert and James Murdoch.

NBC News: NBC News, a division of NBC, is a news division of the American broadcasting company. Its President is Steve Camus, and they offer their footage for sale in the NBC Universal Archives. It claims the highest ratings for its morning, evening and sunday interview programs. Founded in 1940, key people are Steve Burke and Steve Capus.

The Independent: A British National Newspaper, it has been owned by Alexander Lebedev since 2010. It was launched in 1986, making one of the youngest British National Newspapers. Its headquarters are in London, and its editor is Chris Blackhurst.

Task Two: Definitions.

1) Private Ownership: When a company is owned by people or organisations that are not part of the government or a country.

2) Public Ownership: When something is owned collectively by the public as a whole.

3) Public Service Media: Public Service Media broadcasting includes radio, television and other electronic media outlets that receive some or all of their funding from obligatory fees, such as the television licence fee which the BBC pulls its funding from.

4) Multi-Nationals: When something operates in multiple countries.

5) Independents: Any form of media that is free from influence from the government or companies.

6) Cross Media: Advertising in all media (?).

Okay.. that took a little while. I know this hasn’t been the most interesting of posts, but it needed to be done, so there we go. If you managed to read all of that than… well… congratulations, because I nearly gave up myself halfway. I promise my next post will be more interesting… probably.

Studying Liverpool as a Globalised City: Three Sources.

Okay, so this morning, we’ve been given a task to complete over the hour: Find three resources on Liverpool, to do with anything of our choice, so long as it incorporates Liverpool. I decided to take a look at Liverpool’s history, which, interestingly, sent me to articles on slavery, and also lead me to its crime rate. I haven’t wrote much on the sources, because I think we’re going to discuss them as a group, and I don’t believe that we were supposed to write an essay on this small task. For more information, click the links from my sources and give them a read yourself.

1) Liverpool and the slave trade: While it may have been ‘capital of culture’ in 2008, Liverpool’s history isn’t exactly ‘cultured’; Liverpool was a major slaving port, its ship dominating the transatlantic slave trade in the second half of the 18th century; Liverpool’s ships carried half of the three-million Africans carried across the Atlantic by British Slavers. Why was this? Well, it’s debated to this day why Liverpool had such a dominant role in the British slave trade, with some suggesting that it’s due to Liverpool merchants were being pushed out of other Atlantic trades, such as sugar and tobacco. Still, that’s at least one and a half million African slaves, taken by Liverpool alone.


2) Liverpool Slavery History Trail is a website created Eric Scott Lynch because, to quote the site, ‘He wanted to research and record the true history of the port, in particular the part its merchants, officials and others had played in African enslavement, and the transatlantic crossings.’ The site goes on to say that racism, slavery and Liverpool are all inextricably linked, and how ‘the past record does not shine favourably on the city’. Lynch states how the black population in Liverpool are mostly contained to ghettos, such as Toxteth. Here is a link to the site, which goes into a lot of detail on Liverpool, slavery and racism:

So, Liverpool, the so called ‘capital of culture’, played a huge part in the slave trade, with its ships carrying half of the entire British Empires slaves. Still, this is all long in the past, and although Lynch states that racism is still present in much of Liverpool, it doesn’t account for the entire city, right?

3) Well, lets go for something a bit more modern, and something that will give us a broader look at the city as a whole; ‘’ lists, of course, the crime rates of places within the UK. Liverpool City Centre is listed, and while it may not be the worst on the list, it has some rather shocking statistics; in July 2012 alone, 958 crimes occurred during that month-long period. For those who want to see the crime rate of the last year, just take a look at the table below:

Month Anti-Social Burglary Robbery Vehicle Crime Violent Crime Other Crime Total
Aug 2011 292 52 13 23 183 503 1,066
Sep 2011 168 34 9 41 95 524 871
Oct 2011 270 43 31 32 118 594 1,088
Nov 2011 217 45 21 37 93 539 952
Dec 2011 198 56 15 54 124 662 1,109
Jan 2012 214 42 15 36 111 493 911
Feb 2012 213 32 16 65 108 534 968
Mar 2012 306 33 10 36 114 627 1,126
Apr 2012 268 37 9 48 43 620 1,025
May 2012 280 34 8 41 100 591 1,054
Jun 2012 286 40 15 47 70 510 968
Jul 2012 242 29 14 38 93 542 958

So, as you can see, slavery, racism and crime are all a large part of Liverpool; in a way, it made it the city it is today. Our ‘capital of culture’ has a shocking history of racism and slavery, with a crime record which, although it may not be as high as it used to be, is still shocking.

Those are my three sources for this mornings task.

Five Companies: Gaming.

Okay, so our task for this morning our task is to look into the creative media industry, and find five companies that operate within certain sectors; film, television, radio, gaming, advertising… and so on, and write what year they began, where its headquarters are and some key people within the company… and I’ll probably throw in some un-related ramblings along the way (exciting, right?).

So, it’s easiest to start with what you know, so here we go.

Edit: After reading through, I’ve marked in bold the key parts of the assignment, e.g. what year they began, where it’s headquarters are and key people.


1) Machinima: Okay, so presuming you’re on ‘youtube’ often, you’ve probably heard of ‘Machinima’; their web site ( boasts a 17.8 billion annual viewership, so it’s unlikely you haven’t heard of them. Just incase, here’s some information about them from their website:

‘Machinima is the next generation video entertainment network for video gamers, providing comprehensive gaming-focused editorial and community programming to the hard-to-reach core 18 – 34 year old male demographic. Across our global network, over 210 million unique gamers viewed in excess of 2.25 billion videos in August 2012,* making us the number one all-time Entertainment Channel on YouTube. Machinima properties are found across the largest global distribution platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, iOS and Android.’

As you can see, they are easily one of the largest gaming editorial groups to date. was formed in 2000 by Hugh Hancock to publish work, and although it’s still in the gaming community, it has evolved into one of the largest gaming groups in the world, especially one ‘youtube’.

2) Bungie, formed in 1991, are responsible for one of the largest game series to date, which has spawned a billion dollar franchise; ‘Halo’ (a personal favourite of mine). With its headquarters in Washington, U.S, key people within the company are Harold Ryan and Jason Jones. In 2007, Bungie split from Microsoft, whom it had been apart of since 2000, and became a privately owned company, with a ten-year publishing deal with ‘Activision Blizard’. I’m keeping this one short, because I honestly don’t have enough time to write as much as I would like to for all of these companies.

3) Bethesda Softworks, a subsidiary of ‘ZeniMax Media’, are mostly responsible for the creation role-playing and racing games (Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls being a primary example). For the part two decades (it was formed in 1986 by Christopher Weaver), the company has a very long history with PC and Console games, and it also has been known to publish movie games, such as Terminator. I’m having to restrain myself from praising this company in this part, and it isn’t easy; I’ve wasted more hours of my life on Fallout 3 and The Elder Scrolls then I am proud to admit. Anyway, before I get off topic of the assignment,  Its headquarters are held in Maryland, U.S, with key people involved in the company being Vlatko Andonov and Todd Vaughn. 

4) Infinity Ward are well known as being the creators of the, in my opinion, most repetitive game series known to existence: Call of Duty, which earn hundreds of millions with each release to the franchise (I could literally write for hours about this game, and very little of it would be good… but I’ll save you all the paragraphs of complaints and aggravated ramblings). The company itself has had its share of problems, with lawsuits such as ‘West and Zampella v. Activision’, ‘Infinity Ward Employee Group v. Activision’ (A quick google search about them with tell you what they’re about).

Oh, before I forget, its headquarters are in California, U.S, its key people are Mark Rubin and Tina Palacious, and it was formed in 2002. 

5) Rockstar Games, widely known for being the creators of Grand Theft Auto, a game which taught my entire generation that stealing a car and speeding down the street while shooting cops and hitting pedestrians is a better way to spend your time than working. of course, they make other games; Max Payne, L.A Noire, Red Dead, and so on. I think what I like about Rockstar is summed up by creative vice president Dan houser, whom told ‘Famitsu’ that:

“We’re deliberately avoiding that right now, It’s in our DNA to avoid doing what other companies are doing. I suppose you could say that Max Payne 3 is something close to an FPS, but there are really unique aspects to the setting and gameplay there, too, not just in the story. You have to have originality in your games; you have to have some kind of interesting message. You could say that the goalpoint of Rockstar is to have the players really feel what we’re trying to do”.

Rockstars headquarters are in New York, U.S, and was formed in 1998, with key people being Sam Houser and Dan Houser. 

So, thats the first part of todays assignment done. Admittedly, I probably did more than we were supposed to do; i’m pretty sure right now that a simple bullet-point list would have done, and I’d probably have finished fifteen minutes ago. But still, I’ll do them one at a time, and get it finished another day. Five Companies: Television coming soon.

I’ve definitely ran out of time today, time to get working.

Skillbuild Hours: The Might Wah!

Okay, so our tutor this morning (I’m having trouble remembering names… Tom, maybe?) told us that this song best captures Liverpool during the 1980’s; I suppose it was too much to hope for thinking it could be anything by the Foo Fighters Mayday Parade… I would have even settled for Take That.

But no, we have ‘Come Back’, by ‘The Mighty Wah!’. Never heard of them? Yeah, me neither. Still, the lyrics in the song apparently best capture Liverpool during the 1980s, which after less then a couple hours of researching, I can already tell was a troubling time by any cities standards; riots, unemployment… I can’t be too specific right now, I’m still reading up about it all myself; there’s a lot to take in.

So, here we go, for future reference: The Might Wah! with Come Back.

Down by the docks the talking turned:
“As some are striving to survive,
the others thrive”
(Reaching the realm of no return)
“I don’t want charity, just half a chance
and it’s all up to you, yes it’s all up to you”

Come Back! I’m willing to try
Come Back! Don’t let time go by
Come Back! The will to survive’s
Come Back
Come Back! With time on my hands
Come Back! I’m making a stand
Come Back! To kill or to cure
Come Back! To god-given belief

Well did you ever hear of hope?
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
A small belief can mean
you’ll never walk alone
And did you ever hear of faith?
Encouragement! Development!
And it’s all to you!
Yes, it’s all to you! 

Come Back! I’m willing to try
Come Back! Don’t let time go by
Come Back! The will to survive’s
Come Back
Come Back! With time on my hands
Come Back! I’m making a stand
Come Back! To kill or to cure
Come Back! To god-given belief

Come Back! With time on my hands
Come Back! I’m making a stand
Come Back! To kill or to cure
Come Back
Come Back! I’m willing to try
Come Back! Don’t let time go by
Come Back! The will to survive’s
Come Back! I’m begging you please

Come Back! Now I’m making my stand
Come Back! with time on my hands
Come Back! Time to kill or to cure

And hats off to Hatton!!!

I’ll look over those lyrics soon and see what I can get from them. I’d go over them now, but someone has music playing in the background, and it’s hard to find the deep meaning in a song about a struggling city when you have such creative lyrics as ‘Eh eh eh, ah ah ah’ going on in the back of your mind.
That’s all for today I think. I’m back off to research.

Skillbuild Hours: I’m making this brief.

Okay, so I’m back on skill build hours this afternoon. We’ve just finished our first… tutorial, I think it was called. Anyway, this morning, we were told a little more about our Unit 2 assignment. To get to the point, our task is to research Liverpool during the 1980’s… Thatcher, riots, unemployment, and so on. I’ve already read up a little; I’ve saved a news article titled:

‘Thatcher Government toyed with evacuating Liverpool after 1981 riots: National Archives files reveal ministerial warning to Pm not to spend money on deprived city, saying decline was largely self-inflicted.’

Just type that up into google if you want the article itself, I’m going to go through it myself shortly. I’ll be honest, I know very little, verging on nothing, on Liverpool; My entire History lessons were more focused on Elizabethan England and American Civil Rights, not the state of Liverpool in the 1980’s. Still, I’m excited to be getting back into History a little. We’ve got a ‘trip’ to Liverpool next wednesday so that we can walk around the city and get a feel for what we’re going to be researching; I have no idea as to what part of Liverpool I’m going to research, but I’ll figure it out; there has to be something I’ll think is worth researching in the so called ‘capital of culture’.

Well, I’m off to research Liverpool.