I Remember When..

I REMEMBER WHEN

I remember when a collectible was something rare, something that was prized, and something worthy of being lovingly stored. So I was taken aback when I realised that in the roof space of my house, I was sitting on a collection that didn’t quite make it to the local rubbish dump. A whole box of old AOL CD-ROMS.

Yes, get the ladder out because if like me you threw them in a box and meant to get around to driving them to the dump, they are now officially a collectible thing. Go into my garage, and it is like an extreme edition of storage hoarders, items quickly shuffled away to make room for emergency chairs around the dining table when more than four people want dinner.

AOL CD ROM
AOL CD ROM worth more than you think!

It has been so long since we saw an AOL trial CD-ROM attached to everything that we purchased, I had almost forgotten that they ever existed. I was only reminded when a couple of hundred of the things dropped on my head when I was trying to make room for another box. I really need to clean up some space. Why on earth did I even keep them?

AOL spent more than $300m handing out free trials, sixty minutes of free dial-up internet access, and allegedly the distribution cornered 50% of the world’s CD market at the time. The most prolific collector apparently owns a staggering 4000+ of the things. For a price I can sell him a few hundred more. In 2002, there was an auction of the most collectible ones for upwards of $400 each. Yes, you need to clean out your house.

Niche geeks are not the only people collecting these things, the Internet Archive wants them, and the National Museum of American History even has an AOL floppy disc on display.

So my number one tip this week is do not take a box full of these things to the tip. But please can you hold off selling them all at once because I want to get rid of mine before the market gets too saturated with the shiny historical artefacts.

THE BUTT DIAL.

It seems that this week there is a word for everything. The butt dial is essentially now a thing. San Francisco’s Department of Emergency Management, I love some of the U.S departmental names, has been struggling to keep up with a growing number of 911 calls. This issue it seems is not a surge in criminal behaviour, nor is it a surge in accidents, it is all down to a surge in something called butt dialling.

Emergency calls grew by 28% between 2011 and 2014, and since all 911 calls require a follow up, these pocket dials or what are now known as butt dials are becoming a bit of a pain. (In the butt).

Mobile phones have to have the ability to make emergency calls even when locked. Operators then have to triangulate the phone and figure out where the call is coming from, and that’s not always easy. To figure out what was causing the 911 call surge, the San Francisco mayor’s office called in a team of Google engineers to help. The Google engineers reported that accidental butt dials made up 30% of the total mobile calls to 911.

iPhone
Put it in a case!

 

This isn’t happening only in San Francisco, it is happening all over the world. Maybe the system needs an overhaul, maybe Apple and their biometric system are a way forward, but that still doesn’t get around that the phone needs to be unlocked.

Have you ever made a butt call? I must admit I have made a few to colleagues in the past, now I have learned to keep my phone forever in a case, and because it is an iPhone 6, never in my butt pocket. I don’t want the thing to bend!

DUBAI

Dang this place is hot. A city in a desert, and wealth wherever you look. Dubai is also home to a vibrant art scene. That art scene is about to get bigger with the opening of Warehouse 421, a converted storage unit near the capitals old port. The venue will feature performances, exhibitions and work shop space for those who want to step out of the heat and enter a cultural retreat.

Dubai
Dubai - A rising star

 

The concept behind Warehouse 421 is intriguing, set up as a collaborative space, providing a place for people to meet and share experiences. It is within that context that Warehouse 421 should be seen. The building acts as a hub, allowing people to come together and allowing collisions and collaborations.

There are other spaces in Dubai that offer a similar experience, places such as the Two Four 54 Media Zone, (they do like numbers in Dubai), grassroots art flourishes in a myriad of venues, each with its own social community, and it is the colliding of these communities that will ensure that the Dubai art scene takes off. Dubai it seems is gearing up to become the next major player in the art world, and it is well on its way already.

THE NETFLIX PRICE HIKE

Yes Netflix has once again explained, this time in the company’s third-quarter earnings report that the price of its most popular subscription package will be increasing again. This time the increase will be $1 for the streaming services two screen, high definition plan. But actually it might not be a bad thing, and you have already asked the company to do it. Not directly, but when users have been asked what would make the service better, the reply has been more content.

In a letter to shareholders, the company explained that the price hike “will improve our ability to acquire and offer high quality content, which is the number one member request”.

Netflix is continually adding more and more content to its service, including original exclusives, with its first feature length film, Beasts of No Nation now released and Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous Six, launches on the service this December.

Despite Netflix ending their deal to carry movies from EPIX, which included blockbusters such as The Hunger Games – Catching Fire, and World War Z, the latter not being a big loss, a deal with Disney starts in 2016, so hits from Lucas Arts, Pixar, and indeed Marvel will fill in those gaps.

Quality content costs, and Netflix is not shy in spending cash to secure blockbusters, but this meant that they had a lower free cash flow total than the second quarter of this year. Despite this, there was a lower than expected U.S subscription increase in the U.S this quarter.

Netflix is by no means a struggling platform, it has nearly 70m subscribers around the world, and more subscribers will join when the service starts streaming in Spain, Italy, and Portugal next week. Other countries such as South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan will join the streaming service in 2016.

Compare Netflix prices to the UK’s Sky TV platform and you will be hard pressed to find better value. Even compared to the BBC’s TV license charge in the UK, the platform offers significant value for money. I have Sky TV, Amazon Prime, and Netflix, but for the last three months I have not once watched any other TV service other than Netflix. That’s not to say I will stop subscribing to the others, Amazon Prime offers me one hour delivery slots, and my wife is the guardian of the Sky Box. To me though, Netflix offers more of what I personally want to watch so a small increase is absolutely worthwhile if I want to continue to receive such high quality content.

COMING UP – ARTS CALENDAR

With Frieze week in London all but over, you still need to clear diary space for the next round of major art events. Here’s what’s coming up.

November 5th 2015 - Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale.

Sotheby’s New York has announced that La Gommeuse (created 1901), and Picasso’s ‘finest’ Blue Period artwork to go to auction in many years, will be available at its Impressionist and Modern Art evening sale in New York.

November 13th - 16th, 2015 (preview Nov. 12) Fine art show New York.

1 mile north

See contemporary design, decorative art, antiquities, and ethnographic art from around the world at The Salon Art + Design in the Park Avenue Armory.

London Jazz Festival Fri Nov 14 – Sun Nov 23 (Various London Venues)

The EFG London Jazz Festival is so different to how it began back in 1992. The festival is now in its 22nd year, and has evolved from the long-standing Camden Jazz Week into an internationally recognized celebration of Jazz music. Recent headliners have included Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, and Omette Coleman.

New York – November 26th 2015 – Macy’s 89th Annual Thanksgiving Day Parade

On November 26th, all eyes turn to Manhattan and the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, an annual pageant of giant balloons, floats, cheerleaders, clowns, marching bands, Broadway shows and celebs. Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade kicks off the holidays with unparalleled pomp and pageantry. The scale of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is immense: more than 3.5 million people view the parade live along the parade route, and more than 50 million viewers tune in to the television broadcast.

 

CHRISTIE'S

A rare Apple-1 computer and a Sundial. Another great week for Christie's.

14TH CENTURY SUNDIAL DISCOVERED BY METAL DETECTORIST TO BE OFFERED IN ONLINE-ONLY SALE

14TH CENTURY SUNDIAL

in Seven Centuries of Science auction

ONLINE-ONLY SALE NOW OPEN FOR BIDDING

15 - 29 October 2015

London – This October Christie’s presents a new online-only auction, Seven Centuries of Science, which offers a curated group of scientific instruments that span the centuries from the 14th to the 20th century. The earliest artefact featured in the sale in a medieval sundial, known as an horary quadrant, which was found by a metal detectorist near Chetwode, Buckinghamshire (estimate: £50,000-80,000).

Dating to the 14th century, it is the oldest English scientific instrument to have been presented for sale at Christie’s. The 18 artefacts in the sale tell the story of the history of calculating and computing, from the ‘Chetwode’ horary quadrant through to the iconic Apple-1 that heralded the revolution in home computing (estimate: £300,000-500,000).

Highlights include a rare Enigma cipher machine (estimate: £80,000-120,000) and a working wave machine designed by Charles Wheatstone (estimate: £20,000-30,000). Estimates start at £500 and the sale is open for bidding from 15 to 29 October 2015 at www.christies.com/multidaysales/seven-centuries-of-science.

The newly discovered medieval sundial, or quadrant, is marked with lines for unequal hours, to be used as a sundial. It uses unequal hours to tell the time, dividing the amount of daylight as opposed to equal hours, thus rendering winter hours much shorter than summer hours. Only a handful of comparable instruments are known and of this small group the ‘Chetwode’ horary quadrant is the earliest.

Related Sale Sale 11675

Seven Centuries of Science

15-29 October.

A LITTLE MORE ABOUT CHRISTIE'S

Christie’s, the world's leading art business, had global auction and private sales in the first half of 2015 that totalled £2.9 billion / $4.5 billion. In 2014, Christie’s had global auction and private sales that totalled £5.1 billion/$8.4 billion, making it the highest annual total in Christie’s history.

Christie’s is a name and place that speaks of extraordinary art, unparalleled service and expertise, as well as international glamour. Founded in 1766 by James Christie, Christie's has since conducted the greatest and most celebrated auctions through the centuries providing a popular showcase for the unique and the beautiful.

Christie’s offers around 450 auctions annually in over 80 categories, including all areas of fine and decorative arts, jewellery, photographs, collectibles, wine, and more. Prices range from $200 to over $100 million. Christie's also has a long and successful history conducting private sales for its clients in all categories, with emphasis on Post-War & Contemporary, Impressionist & Modern, Old Masters and Jewellery.

Christie’s has a global presence with 54 offices in 32 countries and 12 salerooms around the world including in London, New York, Paris, Geneva, Milan, Amsterdam, Dubai, Zürich, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Mumbai. More recently, Christie’s has led the market with expanded initiatives in growth markets such as Russia, China, India and the United Arab Emirates, with successful sales and exhibitions in Beijing, Mumbai and Dubai.

AND FINALLY - TIME TO BIN THE WI-FI

Yes, it is time to bin the wi-fi. Don't worry if you have just purchased the latest in Wireless AC technology, it's not defunct just yet.

A city in the South-West of China is about to launch street waste bins with built in Wi-Fi. The bins will be installed in Chengdu, the main city of the Sichuan Province. According to China Radio, free wi-if isn't all the bins promise. As well as cleaning up the streets by letting you drop your litter into them, the bins are equipped with two solar panels with excess power being stored in abated you in the base of the bin.

The bins are also equipped with GPS receivers to alert street cleaners when it is time to take out the trash. It's an innovative move and will likely catch on should they be successful. However I have a worry that the conspiracy theorists will drive stories that the bins are watching everyone. No need to worry about the damage though, they are both bomb and blast proof.

Not only are they tough, they also have a built in odour neutraliser and only open when someone approaches them. Surely it won't take long for these bins to reach our shores.

So that's all for today, I will be working on my arcade machine build, and in between I will also be creating some new pieces of art, and completing a few commissions. In the meantime take it easy, sit back and relax. I have a week off from my day job, I think you should take a week off too!

 

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