Monday, December 26

XOLO.TV interview with David Sifry or Technorati

"WATCH ME @ XOLO.TV "Technorati"

XOLO.TV has great interviews with people in and around the world of blogging and video blogging. In this interview Gabe of XOLO.TV interviews David Sifry of Note of caution, on many of their interviews and segments have really poor audio... which follows a good, but relatively loud and longish intro. Keep your volume contols handy.

Word to XOLO. Great videos guys, keep working on the sound!

Watch movie (Quicktime, 5.5 min, 69.3 MB)

Original post, from WatchMe at

Shownotes: Technorati, Les Blogs, David Sifry Click here to download the show Tags: lesblogs video podcasting technorati david sifry

(Re-vlogged with Mefeedia)

Friendster Misses You

mmeiser : HA!
mmeiser : I just got an email from friendster
Raymond M. Kristiansen: friendster
Raymond M. Kristiansen: ?
mmeiser : it's taken on the personality of a needy child
mmeiser : friendster
Raymond M. Kristiansen: ahh
mmeiser : google's "social network"
Raymond M. Kristiansen: "come back"
mmeiser : it says "Friendster misses you" in the subject
Raymond M. Kristiansen: haha
Raymond M. Kristiansen: blog that
Raymond M. Kristiansen: please
mmeiser : OK
Raymond M. Kristiansen: omg i need to do some expanding of my brain

This goes to what I was saying about social networking being a means to end end, not an end unto itself. My response...

But friendster... I know we're friends... but it's not my fault we have nothing to talk about anymore. I told you all about my hobbies... we talked about my favorite movies... books I've read... but now there's nothing left to talk about. :(

Perhaps if you would have focused just a little more on the conversation itself we'd have something to talk about. :(

Saturday, December 17

Fixing itunes - on iTunes lack of permalinks

I posted this earlier on the Yahoo videoblogging group. It's a little wordy, but it's important.

If Apple isn't going to fix iTunes and put links (permalinks) back to the original weblog post directly from iTunes then I think it's high time we fix it for them and perhaps in the process show them we as a community of podcasters and vloggers mean business.

I don't do this often, but this is the only way I know to get Apples attention. (They don't return my phone calls :)

So, please join me in asking the wonderful team at Feedburner to impliment a "fix itunes permalinks" feature by commenting or reblogging as you will. Hopefully the combination of our efforts will get Apple's attention.

Details below.

On Dec 17, 2005, at 4:01 PM, Michael Meiser wrote:

Howdy Rick, My compliments on the new features Feedflare.

This is an open letter to ask if you and the guys at feedburner would be willing to fix itunes.

What specifically I mean is itunes supports plain-text ONLY, no formating, no links in their silly comments box. They do in fact NOT have any links anywhere back to the permalink page on which the podcast or video was posted.

I find this a slap in the face of podcasters and vloggers everywhere as podcasting and video blogging have the opportunity to be much more than simply a broadcast medium. In fact many would say being able to comment is an essential feature of videoblogging and podcasting. Which is why EVERY OTHER RSS READER HAS CLICKABLE PERMALINKS. Sorry, I just wanted to be clear about that.

Anyway, my friends try to console me in my constant bitching that it's not that apple is evil, but just that they didn't have a good mechanism for displaying rich text, that they're sort of clueless. And so I've waited. However it's been to long, I would have thought they'd fix it by now in one of the many version updates that have come out. In fact apple has now put in links back to the homepage of the blog for every post, right near the podcast title, but STILL no link directly to the permalink page... I'm beginning to find it impossible that they're that clueless and am beginning to wonder if it's not part of some diabolical plan to either undermine the success of podcasting, or just to see if they can't piss absolutely everyone in this community off. Well, I'm pissed off, but I don't get made I find solutions... and maybe get even. ;)

So how can you help?

Simple... you should, might, could, add in plain-text permalinks into a feed at the end of the description field.. it would then be readable and copyable right from itunes info box. Easy for you to implement in a feed and much better than thousands of users having to go to a blog and browse around and look for the right post so they can read or comment upon it. Example below.


Well, you get the idea, i just wish apple did. Of course you could add your other features of your FeedFlair like emailing and delicious too. Just as long as your urls aren't to long. And of course you have control of that too.

How to do this...

1) Well the easiest way would just be to put a switch into the feed and just allow people to turn it on.. call it the "fix itunes" switch. I'm sure it'll not only get peoples attention, but get blogged about a bit too. ;)

2) Option two, detect feed calls from itunes... would work great, but requires some spryness on your part... then just put in the permalink at the very end of the post no matter what. Won't get you much publicity though, just help out the community.

I suggest option one, you might put have an optional checkbox put in where people can add the additional feature as follows.

Tell apple to fix these permalinks in iTunes!

Be as nice or evil about it as you like, but if nothing else all the attention and publicity you'll get out of it will help you, help your customers and give apple a wake up call so maybe they'll fix it a little sooner.



Michael Meiser - fun stuff - link blog - serious lunacy has a new domain - I love mefeedia

Thursday, December 15

And before long, they don?t seem like strangers anymore - on video blogging

One of the best articles I've read on videoblogging.

News & Features | I like to watch

A pretty artist chats silently with a toy giraffe. A guy sifts through his garage-sale junk, reminiscing about his old new-wave buttons. A man driving in his car talks to his wife about their thrilling weekend jaunt to CVS. Band nerds kill time at a high-school football game while the gridiron jocks kill each other. These are the people in your neighborhood. And they want you to see what they?re up to.

Once upon a time, blogging promised anonymity. One of its big selling points was that it allowed desktop philosophers to pound out their opinions and broadcast them to the world, all while wearing their pajamas. But the past year has seen a profusion of video blogging ('vlogging,' if you prefer neologisms). People can now videotape themselves in their pajamas, and post it online with a few simple steps.

It?s the next stage in blog evolution. Cheap digital cameras, free editing software, and video-hosting services have made production and publishing easy as pie. RSS aggregation technology offers the means to distribute content to loyal viewers. Broadband connections make watching it a snap. And every new iPod comes equipped with video capabilities.

Even as the iTunes music store rushes to stock up on U2 videos and episodes of The Office, the increasing plenitude of video blogs points to a real democratization of media. No one owns the means of distribution anymore, so more and more people are making their own shows. Some offer scattershot glances at fleeting moments. Others are meticulously edited and set to music. There are video diaries. Self-produced sitcoms. Citizen journalism. Talk shows. These real-time glimpses into strangers? lives ? funny, serious, contemplative, provocative ? are almost always compelling. Sure, they vary wildly in quality. So do all blogs. They?re made by artists, news junkies, pop-culture addicts, high-school kids, even the politicians. And before long, they don?t seem like strangers anymore.


If anyone can be called the father of video blogging, Steve Garfield is him. And not just because his vlog was one of the first. The fortysomething Jamaica Plain resident, a freelance photographer and video producer, is one of vlogging?s biggest proponents, a cornerstone in the burgeoning vlogging community. Just try doing a Google search on the subject without seeing his name or his wide-grinning mug pop up: 'I want YOU to video blog!'"

Read the hole thing. I demand it. :)
News & Features | I like to watch

Tuesday, December 13

The Washington Post is video blogging

videopodcastSo, the Washington Post very quietly rolled out an RSS 2.0 video feed this last week. They may be the biggest media company to start vlogging (aka. "video podcasting") yet, though who can keep track.

Let's take a look at one of their latest videos in their feed, shall we.

The National Zoo's giant panda cub Tai Shan made his public debut on Thursday before an adoring audience of all ages.

Video: 120805-8v.m4v

Some thoughts on what's going on here...

  • no homepage... no permalinks... no comments! ... no trackbacks! Oye! They're missing the whole point! I can't believe they don't at the very least have a ling to an associated article!

  • makes a lot of sense for a traditionally print news company who doesn't have access to the TV/Cable platform to move into IP based video media... let the floodgates open... I suspected that most of the early adoption would happen from those just outside the realm of satelite/cable media... small and large size publishing companies who want to leverage their knowledge and expertise... finding new ways to connect with their demographic... this is a primary example

  • hmmm... putting a skip-able ad on a downloadable and editable file... genius's eh? damn straight they are! big media companies have been WAY, WAY to uptight about their content with DRM and streaming media... such inaccessibility of content fuels black markets.... With content as accessible as this from the washington post why would anyone bother editing out the ad and redistributing or even skipping the add when the washington post has made it so convenient and easy just to download and watch it from anywhere anytime. Ubiquity, convenience, accessibility and usability will be the killers of p2p blacknets.... say hello to the lightnet of the future... open, accessible, social and beneficial to everyone.

  • now that it's not streaming media people can link directly to it and re-vlog it... even redistributing it to their friends... Just like I'm doing right now! how evil is that? Not at all! I'm giving the Washington Post free press and exposure... just by doing this I'm giving them somewhere around 300 to 400 new sets of eyeballs... Them and their advertiser... and yet I'm getting to explicitly reference and talk about the video will those who subscribe to my blog... That 300-400 people that will see this video... should they find it interesting may each pass it on to a 100 more... who may pass it on to 100 more.. Now that's potentially a LOT of people... and no small matter! Just from one vlogger... Of course it depends on how interesting the subject matter is, but being able to share and explicitly reference media is one of the primary advantages of social media, aka open media, aka portable media.

  • now that it's not streaming media it can be taken anywhere... or at least put on the iPod... they need to use mp4 it's not only compatible with the ipod but also the PSP and much easier to play on all platforms... expect vlogging such as this to expand to more platforms like the Tivo and elsewhere rather quickly in 2006. It's already starting in fact.

  • the content doesn't have any narration and little editing! in fact without the text intro you might not even know what it was about. crazy! but it works... Actually they might want to put at least some minimal narration on it just in case it does get separated from it's description

  • the format is a short bit sized piece pertaining to only one story or issue... new media favors convenient bite size pieces of media that can quickly be sifted through, watched, referenced and shared...

  • the content - I find this to be the most amazing aspect... even for a huge media company this content is perfectly typical vlog media, it's just a slice of everyday life... simply some raw camcorder footage of new panda at the National Zoo! Not much different than making videos of your cat except a lot more people will find it interesting. Expect the quantity and quality of content to improve very quickly.

In conclusion... this my friends IS the future of video based media... the VERY humble beginnings... It may not seem like much but the everything is in place, including the economics. When it becomes so ubiquitous and accessible that everyone is doing it and you can get everything and anywhere you want it and watch it anytime... well then these humble little pieces of micro-content are going to start changing things in a very, very profound way. But for now... one humble piece of content at a time eh. :)

mefeedia - Video

Vlog subscriptions on the rise


Mefeedia has worked with feedburner to more accurately report the number of people subscribed on mefeedia to feedburners stats as a result there should be an upswing in the amount of subscribers video blogs using feedburner report.

Not technically more subscribers, just more accurate reporting. :)

BTW, Don't mind the crazy jump in Ryanne's blog, just a minor data glitch I hear... the data is already fixed. We'd all love to see her jump that high, and she and Michael Verdi did get some great NYTime's press, but she's not quite that popular just yet. :)

Read about it: Mefeedia blog - Blog Archive - Feedburner stats for Mefeedia

BTW, the chart is from the excellent

Also, for those of you who didn't know it has rolled out with services including the ability to manage your subsriptions and queue/unqueue videos right on mefeedia... and it's completely compatible with the iTunes/iPod combo, FireANT, DTV and the PSP so you can use any software or device for watching your videos... or even all of them. I do! :)

In fact, a little birdy told me a whole new version of Mefeedia was going to roll out sometime in the next 24 to 48 hours. Look for whole lot more personal features and some ongoing updates to make it even more fun to use. However, I must admit, I'm a little biased. I've begun to help Peter and the Mefeedia crew with a little direction and usability, including the subscription management and queuing. So, I guess I'm no longer impartial.

Oh, and btw, the Washington Post now has a video blog! More on that in a bit.

ban/sign the man - michael verdi remixed

I couldn't not not not revlog this. Michael Verdi is on the road to stardom with his recent mention in the new york times along with a few others... he's also one of the most loved vloggers... aparently all the energy he's generated, plus the amazing mad remixing skills of Raymond K at Erik Nelson of and have made a powerfully explosive remix...

(Update: Raymond informs me that this is evidence of the mad skills of Erik Nelson of fame.)

Most of people who are not vloggers won't get this at all... but those of you who are and know Mike V will probably fall out of your chairs... In my opinion this IS the future of media... It's media deconstructed to it's purest and most personal and communicative form. It's not for everyone, but that's precisely the point... this ain't no TV.

For those of you who don't get it... well if you're a blogger think of it as your absolute favorite insider blog... the blog of your friend of friends. The one you check out ten times a day to see if there's a new post... the one noone else but you and you five friends get... That's the future of media. Why? ...because media doesn't have to be accountable to the masses any more and indeed what's most relevant to you probably has absolutely no use to the other 9.999% of people on the planet, and that's not just fine, it's great!

So, enjoy!


Friday, December 9 gets yahoo'd

Not another one... all my favorite services are getting bought up. This is like a mini version of mergers and aquisitions trend that happnened in the 80's.

We're proud to announce that has joined the Yahoo! family. Together we'll continue to improve how people discover, remember and share on the Internet, with a big emphasis on the power of community. We're excited to be working with the Yahoo! Search team - they definitely get social systems and their potential to change the web. (We're also excited to be joining our fraternal twin Flickr!)

We want to thank everyone who has helped us along the way - our employees, our great investors and advisors, and especially our users. We still want to get your feedback, and we look forward to bringing you new features and more servers in the future.

I look forward to continuing my vision of social and community memory, and taking it to the next level with the community and Yahoo!

I don't think there's any denying that we're in a bit of a bubble at this point. This bubble is defined by the winners of the last .com boom buying up the new potentials.

At least it's much more efficient and less speculative of a bubble then the 1999/2001 bubble, when millions of ametuer investors invested in the market blindly. No we've got google, yahoo and a couple other big savy companies on competing shopping sprees.

The disadvantage though is the investment opportunities aren't well distributed either... less risk distribution but also less wealth distribution. Although I do wonder how this wealth is trickling down into the pockets of millions of developers in the space working on small independant projects. Perhaps they'll be the real winners in this bubble. Oh, and FYI, I don't think we can call it just a "tech bloom" anymore.

Maybe it's a "tech blossom". :)

And don't even get me started on the Web2.0 hype. I'm officially sick of it.

LOL y.ah.oo!

Killing the TV channel - new subscriber models

With lots of folks suddenly debating a la carte channels for paid TV systems, thanks to the FCC's sudden change of heart, it looks like Tom Evslin has come over to our view that it isn't the bundles that are outdated, but the concept of the channel. Evslin predicts that the next generation of children will have no concept of what a channel is because they'll just subscribe to shows individually. The thing is, just as setting up a la carte channels would mean a big change for cable companies, setting up the ability to subscribe to individual shows would be an even bigger leap. That's why it's unlikely the cable companies will be the first to go there (though, they've done some experiments with on-demand shows). It's the perfect way, however, for the telcos pushing IPTV to jump into the game, by offering something a lot more interesting and different than just a cable copycat.

Sounds a lot like vlogs, podcasts and the RSS subscription mechanism... So how long is it before apple mimics or just plain uses the RSS subscription model so used in their podcast directory to deliver a seasons of shows in their store. RSS distribution is perfectly compatible with DRM'd videos or songs. Technically Apple doesn't need the RSS, but they do need a mechanism for allowing your to "subscribe" to a season of shows and automatically deliver each new episode as they come out. Right now you have to keep coming back and buying each show one by one as the season progresses. I randomly pick their January expo for this to roll out... but must admit it's probably not high priority for them.... at least not untill they have a larger variety of content and sales have become more robust.

As for TV channels... I think they're going to be here for a long time to come in satelite and broadcast TV... but no... channels make NO sense whatsoever in the digital domain... just like "streaming media", which I wish would just die already.

Techdirt:Forget A La Carte Channels -- Unbundle The Shows

Saturday, November 19

Regarding web 2.0 companies who don't get web 2.0, namely Odeo

In case I haven't mentioned it enough, I'm a huge fan of Odeo. Not only does it have a lot of potential, but it's actually not bad for a beta. That said it's got a lot of show stoppers and I keep hitting them. To me they're obvious things too. But anyway I'm going to make this about more than just odeo. What this is about is sometimes companies, even the most of progressive of companies become nameless faceless tools. Seriously, it sound bad, but it's true. I don't need another nameless, faceles tool. I'll go use an ATM, I'll shop at walmart. Anyway, sometimes these well meaning companies that fail to be more than tools they need guidaince. They need tuff love. They need someone to scream at the top of their lungs, wake up!, wake the fuck up!

It sounds harsh, but the truth is that it's just to important not to do, because it's life and death for many of these companies. Especially the new startups. No matter how genius you are, I don't care if you are Evan Williams creator of the famed (and now lamented), no amount of genius can execute and create a thing of beauty and sucess in a vaccum. Why? Because markets and communities and cultures are incredibly fickle and they are completely subjective. So at some point you have to actually listen to them.. ESPECIALLY in this market where customers and community are the driving force of innovation.

Plus, I'm doing this for my own sanity, because in order to keep using a tool with so much promise and flickr that's so god damn infuriating I have to do this, or I have to leave them. I have to do it to make it fun. So, with out further adieu. I give you my "feedback to Odeo" I posted in thair crappy feedback form five minutes ago. Complete with misspelrings and gramtical errs.

An open letter to Odeo.

This should be fun. :)

Ok, not sure what "past downloads" is doing but it appears to be only things I previous downloaded. In which case I say, WTF, as in why in the hell would I want to know just what I previously downloaded!?

I donloaded them goddamit I've got them on my hardrive and on my iPod, don't you think I know that.

Here's a though. Don't you think it would be a whole lot more useful to be able to see what I missed!? As in, I was on the road for two days, now I'm back, let's see what I missed... This as opposed to your thinking... I'v been out of town for a few days.. let's go see a blank list of stuff I didn't download so I can not do nothin with it. WTF? Clue in already.

So, here, how about this, DON'T choose one or the other, just call the god damn thing "history" and put everything that crossed my queue on it and hilight those items which weren't downloaded as "not downloaded". That way I can selectively re-queue them. Wow, that woud be kickass eh!?

I've written you about this before, but I'm writing again, just to make sure I'm short sucinct and clear about it and of course just ot put some emphasis on the issue.

And on a side note where's the damn Odeo user group!? I'm going to harp about this until it exists.

Start a damn user group already! So I can stop being a dick and being bitter and sending messages into this black whole of a feedback form where who knows if the nameless faceless machine that is Odeo will respond or even register my glorious awesome and genius ideas. (I'd be more modest btw, but if I didn't think they were all important to your existence I wouldn't bother, because of this GOD DAMN USELESS FEEDBACK mechanism. Am I beling clear! Am I beling beligerent(sp?) enough? I mean common, this form is tiny and it doesn't even have a fuscking spell check. Stop shitting on my god's gift ideas already.

It's a bout a partnership with your community goddammit! What do you thing this is web 1.0?

Go flock yourself!

... and then when your done...

PUT SOME SKIN IN THE GAME! It'll be the best thing you can do for yourself. Help me, help you!

Let the users help you polish your website and help you make it HUMAN and useable. They want too... because they use Odeo, the love odeo, and they want to see it succeed. But if you keep ignoring them they're gonna get lost. I'm gonna get lost. And you don't want that, because you obviously are missing half your clue. The half of clue that makes your site usable and humanly accessible. You machine, you tool you.

Sweet! I'm glad we got that out of the way.

love, mike of

For more things that are broken visit They have a nice new site and snazy new domain name.

Poop. Mr. Hankey was right. Poop does make the world go around.

Monday, November 14

TV Experiments Just Keep Coming

Man, I just love They're not always right, but there always up on the latest happenings, and they "get it' like noone else. I need not even put in my two cents on this, they just nailed it. We're definitely entering a little bit of a craze. I wouldn't even call it a boom, some people might call it a tech bloom.. I'd call it a new media bloom... that's creating a very rapid incumbent media panic. The market is exploding, I've lost all track of the number of audio and video podcasts. I think it's somewhere around 10,000 audio and 2000 to 2500 video podcasts.

There has been an awful lot of experimenting from TV executives lately. It mostly started about a year ago, but in just the last few months it's really heated up, from the Cartoon Network's streaming of Adult Swim to UPN and Google streaming Everybody Hates Chris to Apple and ABC offering $2 downloads of shows to be viewed on the new iPod to NBC and CBS selling extremely limited versions of shows for a dollar. Now we can add to the list that AOL is streaming free versions of classic sitcoms (well, depending on your definition of "classic"), with commercials. On the good side, it's clear that TV execs realize they need to do something. They need to change and they're trying out a lot of different things. That's a step forward. However, all of these experiments have problems. None of them really take advantage of the medium, and all of them practically scream out how afraid the TV execs are of losing "control" on the internet.

Read the rest: Techdirt:TV Experiments Just Keep Coming

POD people - Audio and videocasts are a big hit

Well you can't really complain about a headline like this from the New York Daily News now can you? I'll just worry about reading it later. ;)

POD people - Audio and videocasts are a big hit (New York Daily News)

I'm please, but I won't consider that we've actually "arrived" until the New York Times and Washington Post come out with similar headlines.

Furthermore I won't be truely happy untill everyone in the world, including people in third world contries have access to portable network connectable devices at rates well below $100 dollars.... plus sub $100 network connected cameras that can automatically push video, photo and audio directly to web based video blogs. Perhaps they'll one day be a sub $100 device that goes both ways. :)

These devices don't need to be "always on", they just need to be able to independantly connect through open wifi or highspeed cellular services or even wimax. Perhaps just at a cybercafe.

What's important is that we need to quicken the pickup on the other side of the digital divide. That's going to be where it really gets tough, but it's also the most promising. I'm not going to repeat myself about exposing inhumanities in every dark corner of the earth to many more times. Nor even begin to conquer the privacy issues here.

Furhtermore... Almost on a side note, I want to see every fat cat politician in Washington DC and every Wall Street trader embracing portable media and portable media devices as closely as they clutch their Blackberries. I hear government workers were 10% of the Blackberry market. Crazy.

Here at M. M. and Eiser .com we're developing the systems for piping media from anywhere to everywhere,

...and we won't stop untill everyone, and we do mean EVERYONE is in the game.

Sunday, November 13

Current TV is video podcasting, but are they 'getting it'

Current TV has finally started to deliver some of it's content via RSS enabled video feed. They have custom feeds for iTunes, Quicktime, and WinMedia format. All powered through Feedburner.

Current TV video blog

Current TV Quicktime RSS feed

Via: Current TV // Blog // Feeeeed me

The promise of Current TV...

Unfortunately there are no comments or conversational mechanisms on Current TV's video blog so it's really just a one way conversation. Current TV talking to you and not the other way around. It may be on the internet, but it's still just more broadcast.

There's so much more potential here! Current should be an advocate in helping their community make media, because in addition to all the indirect social benefits in the end that citizen made media will become a pool of content on which Current TV can draw.

There's three things Current MUST do.

1) Current should be promoting media education, educating people on how to make their own media through workshops, conferences, and other programs.

2) Current should be partnering with not for profit and community groups like and Node 101 whom will help provide these facilities and training.

3) Current should then encourage people to not only submit their individual videos to Current, but videos from their vlogs or even submit their whole video blog! That way Current TV will have an ever growing pool of content to draw on. A pool of content that will come from a community that's both self sustaining and growing.

Without these three things Current is working on an unsustainable model. It's unsustainable because it's "one way".

Current's submission system is NOT sustaining. Who has time to create one video to submit just to Current TV? Especially when the majority of the time that work will simply be rejected and will never be seen by public eyes? If people want to create something bad enough that they'll create it and submit it to Current, then they want it SEEN. While current doesn't have enough time on it's cable channel or even website to showcase every piece of media submitted, they can help people to help themselves.

By stopping to think about what it's customers need which is a community, some visibility, and a voice (NOT just to see their videos on TV) Current can light a fire in the community. It's not even a big step, it just involves implementing a strategy that is a little less selfish and a tiny bit more altruistic.

Video blogs are a great source of citizen made media with benefits for both Current and the individuals that create them. By encouraging Current viewers to create their own video blogs as well as submit media directly to Current everyone wins. On the one hand there will be an established and growing independent, self sustaining community which will not only entertain itself through social interactions, and on the other side Current will in so facilitating this community build a huge base of content and a community of media creators from which it can readily draw on. A community of media makers who've "partnered" with Current by saying "my creations are available to Current TV to use."

Some details...

I could see an "I video blog for Current TV" badge campaign by users who've successfully submitted videos to Current TV. I could see Current creating a standard creative commons like license by which media creators can openly deed the work on their video blogs so that they have a pre-established legal relationship with Current TV where by they'll be compensated.

I could see Current tracking the popularity, comments and "interestingness" of those video blogs to mine for potential videos, stories and leads.

Best of all I could see current living up to and creating a new standard in TV where those such as CNN or MTV have before.

So how about it Current?

It's time to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. MTV and CNN showed how to take niche markets like 24 hour music videos and 24 hour news world wide... The hallmark of this new revolution in media will be that network that can position itself to really feed upon and take advantage of the tremendous amount of independent citizen made media bursting forth from the internet. It will be that network whom connects to this, the new generation whom demand something more than the weekday sitcom.

Instead of 24 hour news bits or music video bits the next big revolutionary TV cannel will be 24 hour citizen media bits.

Establish the infrastructure...

So Current, come join the vlogosphere and use it as a pool on which to draw. Take the time to establish those connections, educate and facilitate. Give a little something to the community and it will give back to you a thousand fold. Take the time to establish the infrastructure by which you can fit into your communities lives, and they can fit into yours. Infrastructure that will allow you to interact with each other on a higher level than just a form on a website. Help build the infrastructure with legal frameworks, blog mechanisms, and media creation facilities by which we can better interact with you.

It's time for the "great debate" to be elevated to the next level. We're not just screaming at TV's anymore or writing letters to editors. We're making media. We're establishing the legal groundwork and we're communicating with not just text, but video and audio. And we're not just talking on our cell phones either. We're having personal conversations in open forums. Though it may seem odd to all the old school crowd, we're talking openly because we're inviting each other into our personal conversations, we're you in. Just as I'm inviting others into this conversation though it's become a personal message to YOU. Come work with us on a new level. That's the promise. That's the vision.

Enough of the silly forms and your bureaucratic systems... stop being so hierarchical and elitist... stop being the judges... and come join the hive. Once you establish the relationships you can then "curate" your channel. We're a lot more sophisticated and ready for you than you think. Take the leap of faith. It's a very small one. We're spelling it out, what more do you want? Do want us to do it all for you? Because we're pretty much doing it.

Doing it:
(video/quicktime Object)

Via: Current TV // Current International // The Caves of Tora Bora

Saturday, November 12

An open invite to David Cross and the Arrested Development Crew

You know, I may not be one of those crazed fanatics that has watched every episode of the TV show Arrested Development multiple times, but I do believe David Cross hits the nail on the head in this clip which seems to be a tailor made reponse to Fox who yesterday pulled the plug on the critically acclaimed show.

watch it (Quicktime)

Dear Dave and the gang,

Please consider this an open invite.

You're just our type of people here on the internets and we love your odd sense of humor. Please, don't throw in the towel just because Fox cancelled its order, just ditch those dudes and come on down to the new game in town.

You can call it internet TV, Video On Demand, IPTV or whatever you like, but it's a great time to jump in the game. Everybody's doing it. And some are doing it well.

I'm sure we can hook you up with a few hundred thousand paying subscribers since the internet reaches a hare more people than the WB network. And if you're worried about protecting your IP, well I'm not the biggest fan of DRM, but if it'll make you feel secure in the transition, well I'm sure Apple would be happy to bring Arrested Development to iPods, computers, and TV's everywhere via iTunes and the Apple Store. It's a wining combination and a sure bet.

Just follow the lead of those not so desperate 'Desperate Housewives' and the not so poor 'Lost' souls. I hear they made a million or so in their very first week. Not bad for a first week, eh?

So call me! ;)

PS. Long live internet TV! There's enough channels and a big enough market for all of us. Not to mention a lot less commercials. Not that I have a problem with commercials. I just think there should be a little more "show" in the average TV show than there are commercials. Is that so much to ask?

-mike of

Via: - There is/are no god(s) :(

BTW, the video clip interestingly enough comes as an extra on the Season 2 Arrested Development DVDs.

Tuesday, November 8

Official Google Video Blog


I love it. I just noticed google has a video blog to go with their new(ish) video search. It doesn't have a full RSS 2.0 video podcast feed because all the links point to google's website for video playback in their Flash player, but it does at least have an atom feed.

Link: Official Google Video Blog

Some side notes: Google has some VERY significant legal issues with their video search. It's spectacular but unbelievably they re-compress and re-compress and redistribute EVERY video so it can be played back in their standard Flash player. Not just a legal issue, but also a HUGE logistical undertaking. I can't imagine them re-compressing videos in real time to stream to you, but I also cannot imagine them caching what appears to be every video on the web!?

Personally, I think we have to rethink what it means to "redistribute" content. I'd not consider codec shifting (aka. format shifting) to enable playback on different platforms to be redistribution as long as it doesn't break any DRM, but I highly doubt the rest of the world sees this as fair use. One thing is certain though, we need this type of forward thinking innovation to push the resolution of copyright issues in this digital age.

That said Google is way to progressive for the current legal climate. By moving videos into their interface they could arguably deprive video creators of traffic and ad impressions. I'm also a little curious as to why google provides no links back directly to the video, nor information about the original format making it at times very hard if not impossible to find the link to the original video. I thought this was a search engine. If I can't actually find the original video exactly what is the point?

Now, just for the hell of it I'm going to try re-blogging one of google's Flash videos. I doubt this will work in iTunes, but hopefully it will work in FireAnt.

Watch it in Flash: Sandboarding in Chile (.swf)

Well, I couldn't find the original from google's site. (Great search engine eh.) So enjoy this video of Cameron Diaz going sandboarding in Chile instead of the non-flash version: Cameron_Diaz_trippin_in_chile_sandboarding_HQ.wmv

(via google's video blog

Wednesday, October 12

More crazy talk about the future of vloggy media

I just posted the following to the video logging group but thought I'd post it here as well since it's incredibly on theme. It was in response to Peter Van Dijk of fame's post about providing transcoding services to provide video feeds to the PSP, and it was inspired by the release of the much anticipated video iPod today. Beware, it's long and indepth, but I think you'll find it very interesting and fast paced. It's a rant.

On Oct 11, 2005, at 5:16 PM, Peter Van Dijck wrote:
Hey Nerissa,
I won't be charging people to watch videos.. I guess I explained it
badly. I was thinking more charging for a synching tool that lets them
receive the videos on the PSP's.. But your ideas are interesting too,


Or... now what we'd need is a webservice that lets user manage subscriptions on a website and transcodes all content to H24 for the new video iPod. I guess I was right about the whole server side subscription thing. And I bet people would possibly even pay for it as Peter suggests. Let the monetization begin. ;)

The future of portable media - we need server side subscription management


This is not about gloating this is about loving all of you all and the awesome creative media you create. This is about the people taking back the media and about media literacy. :)

Now, can we please turn the web into a giant Tivo? :)

I will write a detailed specification, mockups, wire-frames, and maybe even do some CSS, jscript and what ever it takes for anyone who will help me prototype the first server side subscription mechanism capable of queuing any video on the web with a single click. Let's get this party started.

It would also be nice if and other hosters and middle players could focus in on transcending transcoding (damn spell check) services and figure out ways to offer cheap transcoding service because for the time being portable devices are going to be rife with video codec incompatibilities. Some of these solutions could tie in nicely with and Ourmedia using them for hosting.

In fact I could see someone like Prodigem or maybe even Feedburner offering a service that will take your standard RSS video feed and transcode all the videos in it to H23, put them on a host or and create a H23 iPod compatible RSS feed or better yet a RSS bittorent feed full of H23 videos, which solves the hosting cost problem. ANT could then act as the aggregator of the bittorent feed, download the H23 iPod compatible videos and hand them off to iTunes to be synced with the video iPod. (Or ant could just sync directly as it does with the PSP on windows.) This bittorent approach would bring the cost of transparently transcoding and hosting the new videos down significantly. But let's not forget... there's also plenty of need for core video blogging services like Eric Rices to offer all this in one package. Smiley. Smiley.

Well... I'm just saying. :)

So, I think the monetization will start to happen in the middle players like Mefeedia who can create "marketplaces" for finding and purchasing content and offering services like transcoding for specific devices. But there's no reason why it can't also happen with hosting providers and vlog platforms like Audioblogs, and others. People will likely pay for services to get video to specific devices like the Akimbo, TIvo, PSP.... or pay for overall access to specific subscriptions. The key will be aggregating enough great content into a single marketplace to gain market-share and build a brand, this is why I think content independant middle players have the best chance.

In order for these middle players like mefeedia to become marketplaces they will need to manage subscriptions, some may offer transcoding service, and of course take payments. Think of these middle players as the grocery stores of media. They may not make all the content, but they'll be able to broker arrangements with vloggers and content creators collect pay for subscriptions and services such as transcoding and pay back to the content creators. (Let's not forget advertising, which will gain new value on portable devices.) The reason we need these marketplaces is because I HIGHLY doubt people will "buy direct" or sign up for subscriptions on individual blogs. NYtimes for example has enough of a time getting subscribers and there's one of the most trafficed sites on the web. So what we'll need is marketplaces. Only a few select players like Rocketboom and Mobuzz may ever be able get people subscribing directly, but of course this shouldn't stop everyone from trying.

I'll try to make some models and post them soon here and to my blog to help people visualize what this marketplace will look like.

Also, I forgot to mention Webjay and others who are in a prime position to offer such services for creators and subscribers.

I'm a little stoked. :)

further thoughts on the evolution of the marketplace..

First of all it's important to note that most people will not be interested in paid subscriptions, because media will no longer be ONLY about entertainement. It will be a full blow communications network used more and more for inter-personal communications.

This is just the very start with the video iPod... as the model evolves and proves itself other makers like Creative, Sony with their PSP, and many others should start delivering more compatible players some of them with aggregators built into the device like what Peter was saying with the PSP. These devices will use Wifi or 3G to aggregate content directly from these middle players or marketplaces directly to the device, essentially removing the computer from the delivery mechanism and making our media both portable and hub-less... Imagine a world in the next 6 months where you can buy a $150 PSP device and use it to aggregate and watch ANY video from the web using the actual computer only for managing subscriptions and queuing content. This will cut the barriers for entrance into the sector significantly. In this way you could user your home computer, work, school or any internet connected computer to manage your subscriptions and ANY open wifi network or cellularly connected device to aggregate the media to the device. This type of highly flexible aggregation and subscription mechanism will eventually allow media to flow anywhere and go anywhere with many many options for monetization in communications services for personal media and subscriptions for entertainment media, not to mention advertising. I suspect players like Rocketboom and Mobuzz will be much more enticing to advertisers as they move onto portable devices like iPods, PSP's, Tivo's, Akami, and of course the Video iPod. But it's going to take some time for momentum to grow.

The big vision though is that one day in the near future someone in africa may be Able to get your media delivered to a $100 or so PSP-like device with little more than wifi internet acces and access to the local cybercafe to manage their subscriptions. And after that? We reverse the flow and make wifi enabled digital video recorders and create the mechanism by which those devices will flow video directly into your vlog and video feed.

People like Eric Rice, kudos to him, think this will happen on the cellular level, and he has a great many points, the marketing hype for video on cellular devices is hot but in my opinion cellular networks and the devices tied to them are way to closed at this point not allowing aggregators for RSS yet, besides this type of media does not require always on services. One of the primary problems of these cellular devices is there interfaces are to small and to poor for finding good content. Sure when you're just looking for the latest hot music video or simple news clips these interfaces will be capable enough, but once you start getting in to finding the local college footbal game these interfaces will become to cumbersome. This is just one of the reasons I suggest moving subscription management and content queuing into webservices at least in part.

Still people ARE working on RSS aggregators and playback for Palm devices. There's also an issue of penetration. Cellular penetration and wifi penetration are battling each other in markets all over the world. Both have their advantages in different markets. To me it doesn't matter how this happens just that it does.

As we (both vlog and podcast media) go portable it's going to be harder and harder for incumbent media to keep up with us and we'll gain momentum... essentially turning what was primarily broadcast media and accessible (interms of creators) ONLY to a few into a very flexible world wide rich two way mechanism for audio, video and photo. Media will stop being a spectator sport and become a communications tool as ubiquitous as mail or a phone. A dream of mine for many many years. It's under this light concepts like DRM, the Broadcast Flag and other legislation to control digital media and digital media channels will slowly become irrelevant in the light that communications networks and devices are used more and more by the people and not just movie houses, media companies and record labels.

In the future media communications by the people will quickly come to dwarf the amount of media these networks transfer for these incumbent media companies. For example... if you looke at the number of podcasts, conservatively 5k- 7000, the average number of shows per week, conservatively 2-3 shows, and the number of subscribers, which is untrackable at this point, you get an astronomical number of files traded which is quickly growing to dwarf the number of files traded on P2P networks. It will eventually make what's happening in that space seem trite. It's something I've written about again and again since very early on on this group.. which is dragging media and media communications back out onto the open web where it can grow and flourish in size and complexity. J.D. Laisca's "darknet" is slowly coming into the light.

Back on point, ironically as it is as much as the record labels, movie houses and rest of big media bitch about this change it will benefit them tremendously as it will expose them to new markets and opportunities. It is ironic that we call these companies big media and us small media. In the future it's going to be funny trying to explain to younger people why we call coporate media big media when our so called little media will actually dwarf them in all aspects from number of participants to number of media items. This is in much the same way that the word count in the blogospher and other bottom-up media has come to dwarf the word count of the news print media. In my opinion this will take 5, 10, 20 years before it become fully realized. It sounds ridiculous coming from just one nobody with with a tendency to rable but I'd bet a hell of a lot of money on it if I were a rich man. Of course I'm not, so I pledge my sweat equity. :)

And yet I fully expect they'll be MANY twists and turns none of us could even anticipate, and tons of people that will disagree with me. To which I say, please share your ideas!


Sunday, October 2

Search and Rescue - New York Times

Tim O'reilly of O'reilly books on Google's project to digitize thousands of books to make them searchable. The article reiterates a point that's important to ALL forms of intellectual property, and he ought to know what he's talking about being a widely successful publisher of technical books.

"Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors than copyright infringement, or even outright piracy.'"

In my opinion it's a fundamental truth about the long tail of intellectual property that applies to everything from books to music, movies, and blogging... you name it.

From Search and Rescue - New York Times:

"A search engine for books will be revolutionary in its benefits. Obscurity is a far greater threat to authors than copyright infringement, or even outright piracy. While publishers invest in each of their books, they depend on bestsellers to keep afloat. They typically throw their products into the market to see what sticks and cease supporting what doesn't, so an author has had just one chance to reach readers. Until now.

Google promises an alternative to the obscurity imposed on most books. It makes that great corpus of less-than-bestsellers accessible to all. By pointing to a huge body of print works online, Google will offer a way to promote books that publishers have thrown away, creating an opportunity for readers to track them down and buy them. Even online sellers like Amazon offer only a small fraction of the university libraries' titles. While there are many unanswered questions about how businesses will help consumers buy the books they've found through a search engine for printed materials that is as powerful as Google's current Web search, there's great likelihood that Google Print's Library Project will create new markets for forgotten content. In one bold stroke, Google will give new value to millions of orphaned works.

I'm sorry to see authors buy into the old-school protectionism of the Authors Guild, not realizing they're acting against their own self-interest. Their resistance can come only from a failure to understand the nature of the program. Google Library is intended to help readers discover copyrighted works, not to give copies away. It's a tremendous service to authors that will help them beat the dismal odds of publishing as usual."

Be sure to read the whole article.

Wednesday, September 28

More odd architecture

I've seen a lot of architecture, but this building looks more like a vehical then a building. A giant vehicle. Perhaps a freaky ship in dry dock? It's the ING building somewhere in Netherlands. Yes, ING the bank. Such sparse landscape too.

ING Building, Netherlands

Saboteur Responsible For Recent Flickr Outage Caught

Flickr was down for what seemed like the whole day a few days ago. The flickr team tried to keep it light by displaying distracting messages and someone has posted this final wrap on events. I can't normaly stand any such cuteness, but I guess I must be in a good mood today.

Enjoy: Flickr: FlickrCentral

Seen on Flickr


It's things like this that make me love flickr so much.

I heart flickr

Monday, September 26

What if you could have your own personal TV channel?

What if you could have your own personal TV channel and you could simply add any item on the web to that TV channel at any time like a big giant Tivo so that when you got home you could turn on the TV and watch whatever it was you'd queued up during the day?

Think of it as Netflicks, but a) your selection is any video on the web and b) instead of videos arriving by mail they'd arrive via the internet to your set top box, media center or other device.

Or you can think of it as a giant Tivo. Except instead of queuing anything on TV guide your queuing any video on the web.

Does it sound simple enough? Impossible?

The technologies are all in existence to make this possible. Video syndication, aggregation and playback tools like Fireant and iTunes are now widely available for free. In fact if you have a basic computer and a reasonably fast internet connection then you've got everything you need. And, If you have a a camera that does digital video (as many sub $200 cameras do) to go with your computer and internet connection then you've got everything you need to make your own media. But for the sake of turning the web into a giant Tivo all that's now needed are some creative webservices.

The basic premise for queuing is simple.

1) Upon clicking on a "queue it" bookmarklet in your web browser a bit of javascript grabs the referring url and hands it to a webservice.

2) The webservice parses the HTML and presents any videos available on the page.

3) If more than one video is available you simply select the video you'd like and it is added to the your queue on the webservice

4) Some sort of confirmation is displayed and you are returned to the page from which you came.

Simple enough so far, but what happens after the webservice has the video you'd like to watch?

1) The webservice then takes the url of the video as well as any meta information associated with it and puts it into a user specific RSS 2.0 feed w/enclosures.

2) An Aggregator on your media center, set top box or other internet connected device then downloads the RSS feed, parses it, and downloads all videos referenced, adding them to the playlist awaiting your attention.

3) When you return to the device all you have to do is press play.

In addition to individual video queuing such a webserivce could also allow subscriptions to existing RSS feeds and video blogs. Even whole web pages not containing RSS feeds. Here's how.

1) Upon clicking on the "subscribe" bookmarklet in the browser a bit of javascript takes the referring url and hands it off to a webservice

2) An application on the webservice retrieves the referring web page and searches for an RSS 2.0 feed with enclosures. If none is found it searches for videos.

3) Upon verifying that the page either contains either an RSS feed containing videos or videos itself either the page or RSS page is added to the user queue and a confirmation is displayed before the user is returned to the originating web page.

So what happens after a web page or RSS feed is subscribed too?

1) the RSS feed or web page is parsed and individual items are added to a user specific RSS feed with any other content in the users "queue"

2) An aggregator on your media center, set top box or other internet connected device then downloads the RSS feed, parses it, and downloads all videos adding them to the playlist awaiting your return from work.

3) from this point forward the webservice periodically downloads and parses the original RSS feed checking for new videos and the aggregator periodically checks the webservices RSS feed for new videos.

Why? What's new about this? Why bother?

Queuing is to subscription based media what Tivo is to TV channels.

Right now we have the existing existing Video syndication, aggregation and playback technologies and creating and watching peer based content is starting to take off. But current methods are completely focused on subscription based mechanisms, aka. channels. I suspect this is because they are modeled at least in part on television, however it is rare that we want to watch every item in a channel and further more there are many times when we only want to watch one item in a channel, so why than would you subscribe to the entire channel when you just want one item. Alternatively you may simply want to watch random items that are not associated with any channel. It's times like these that we need greater control over our viewing experience.

Why not just watch videos from the web in the web browser?

This is a good question. First of all the web is an active viewing experience. While browsing the web we're actively engaged in and interacting with the content. Do to both the attentive nature of the web browsing experience and serious lack of capacity for delivering video early video based media on the web were delivered in smaller, shorter, lower resolution, "bite sized" chunks. Many of these early restraints still shape the internet based video viewing experience today, but now their are new opportunities.

Do to the increased proliferation of high-speed internet connections at home and the drop in cost for bandwidth and hosting we now have an opportunity to offer higher resolution and longer video based content to home users. A place where people have more time and are more apt to relax and take in a more passive viewing experience.

This does not mean that all video should be watched at home, in a video specific player, or that all videos are getting longer. What it does mean is that there will be a proliferation of all formats of media online and that as some of this content gets longer in length we need to improve our systems for how we find and watch it. Queuing videos for watching at a later time in an alternative environment such as on the TV or the home computer (even portable devices) allows us more control over what we watch and how we watch it.

Now then, the only question left is, what will you watch?

Sunday, September 18

More speculation on the video iPod

From slashdot a few days ago.

Via: Slashdot | Apple Launches Video Podcasting For iTunes: "'Apple has launched support for video podcasting in the Podcast section of the iTMS. Ars Technica has a decent write up of the news along with speculation on what this means in the way of a video iPod and Apple's recent application for a patent on the phrase 'iPodcast.'' From the article: 'The quiet, fanfare-less launch (in fact, it's not even clear when it was launched) is a bit surprising for the company, but there may be a reason: there's not too many video podcasts out there in the wild. Furthermore, video podcasts are currently only playable on your computer, although it seems clear enough that a video iPod is on the way. If you didn't believe it before, you should definitely believe it now. For now, it looks like video podcasting support is limited.'"

The article: Apple supports video podcasting

Comments: Support for 'video podcasts' (aka. video blogs or vlogs) has been in iTunes from the initial podcast supporting release, version 4.9. Case in point my video blog feeds has been in Apple's podcast directory since day one. The Ars Technica author Ken "Caesar" Fisher is completely unaware of this and much of the history of video blogging. So, yeah, the article is full of misinformation and misconceptions, but what is interesesting is the level of interest in speculation about a potential video iPod and videoblogging, being as this was posted about on slashdot.

Video iPod, Video iPod, Video iPod.

BTW, Peter Van Dijk has been following the speculation closely too.

Peter Van Dijck's Guide to Ease » iPod video?

Peter Van Dijck's Guide to Ease » video schmipod by November 9th?

Personally I love this concept. It's just screen. Put the controls on the back, or better yet, make it a touchscreen interface. :)


Thursday, September 15

Rock's Big Bounce (Back)

Now I'm not quite yet running around yelling "it's working, it's working" because of this one article, but I've been keeping an eye on the band postal service since, well... the beginning, and this is why.

They and their related projects like Death Cab for Cutie are prototypical next generation bands. Somewhere in this equation lies the future off rock. It's ironic or maybe poetic that such a progressive group of musicians named a band after their old school collaborative method. They mailed CD's back and forth through the postal service, but I'm guessing their collaborations don't involve snail mail anymore. Ahh... nostalgia. :)

They've been a great meme to follow because their trail leads straight through stories like this one.

From: Rock's Big Bounce - Newsweek Entertainment -

"After a grim decade, the rock scene is once again producing music - lots of it - that's worth getting on a plane to hear. And better still, people are buying it. Last month, Seattle bizarro-rockers Modest Mouse turned heads when their new CD debuted at No. 19 on Billboard's album chart, selling 80,000 copies in a week. Gibbard has become such an indie rainmaker that his side project, the electronic-pop duo the Postal Service, has sold 250,000 copies of its first CD, 'Give Up.' 'Five years ago, a record that sold 50,000 copies was a huge success in our world,' says Rich Egan, president of Vagrant Records, home of punk pinups Dashboard Confessional. 'The standard has totally changed.' File-sharing, once thought to be the death knell for the music industry, has actually helped trigger a spending spree. Even MTV and big radio are starting to notice, playing artists they wouldn't have touched three years ago. Does the current scene have a Nirvana, an R.E.M., a U2? Not yet. 'But I've talked about this with friends a lot lately: something amazing is about to happen,' says Gibbard, 27. 'I don't want to guess what it'll be, but you can just feel it coming.'"

So is it working. Is the radical shifting due file sharing, innovative bands and small record labels starting to reinvigorate music. Is podcasting going to have any effect here?

Let's not pat ourselves on the back just yet.

First, the music industry regularly undergoes a revolution every few years. Wether it's hip-hop, gangster rap, grunge or motown, it's always happened. It's all part of the process. When it becomes to much of a big business commodity, just like hair band rock at the beginning of the 90's it gets burned down and recreated. It's sort of a beautiful thing when you think about it.

Second, we're just, just seeing the tip of the iceberg in new business and new media. New business models, new marketplaces, new companies, and new technologies like podcasting are just getting off the ground. Any acknowledgments should wait perhaps 2 more years, then we should really see where this is all going.

I'd just say that articles like this are some of the first signs that yes, there is life after file-sharing for the music industry.

It's been such a long road if you would have told me two years ago anyone was going to ever get in the game I wouldn't have believed you. I was in disbelief that billion dollar companies were set on sitting out digital music like it was a fad. Then sicking their lawyers on the future, and they're still doing it!

Sony didn't even allow mp3's on their players until after last christmas, when everyone from Creative to Apple had taken the entire portable music market-share from them and people like Cory Doctorow and the rest of us were laughing our asses off at their "A-track" players calling them 8-tracks.

All that and Apple is still the only digital music market that's even viable, and the Canadians and the Swiss are still taxing digital music players and/or recordable CD's like innovation and progress is illegal. Like this the current reality we live in isn't reality, like the future and digital music were not here right now and here to stay.

It's a long hard road and it'll continue to be. I just wish the dinosaurs would die already so we can get on living.

I'm sick of listening to the RIAA and their cohorts.

Shut up and die already or get in the f'n game!

We're sick of listening to your bitching and moaning.

Wednesday, September 14

The future of portable media - we need server side subscription managment

I've been starting to get a little gravity with my last post on the future portability of media on (also posted on and while I'm sure most are getting what the hell I was blathering about, the responses are not all that clear.

This is in response to unmediated and Marc's Voice: Hey look - there's Eric Rice. First, Here's Kenyata's post on unmediated. This contains his comments as well as Mark Canter's original post.

When I first saw this picture - i actually thought it was working code:

But then Michael Meiser discloses:

"Eric Rice posts this picture of the Sony PSP loaded up edge to edge with thumbnails of videos theoretically just a click away. It's not really there, but it is a vision of what could be."Then I see that Michael is complaining that the PSP doesn't have enough memory.

Dude - let me tell yah about the time we convinced Phillips to DOUBLE the amount of RAM it was defining for CD-I - from 500k up to a whopping 1M of RAM! That was back in 1989.

There will NEVER be enough RAM. My XP machine running 512M of RAM is constantly swapping and running out. RAM usage is like gas in a vacuum.

(I'd love to see someone get a PSP vogbrowser going sometime soon, as I've been working on PSP-friendly CSS and Javascript version of Rocketboom for a couple of weeks now. Hey Peter: I could've sworn you had a working demo of something like this going on somewhere. -kc.)

First, With all do respect to Mark, this post is not about the RAM memory, but the PSP does tap out at 1gig in flash memory right now, and that won't hold to much video footage. Sure it's enough for basic usage considering video blog videos are usually less than 30mb, but a movie is about 700mb and that doesn't leave room for to many vlogs, not to mention other content people may have on their PSP like mp3's. I'd also like to point out in the near future 4gb flash cards should be out and affordable if not already, and the PSP may well support future flash cards that are in the 10's of gigabytes. Yeah, so, memory is a small issue, but it's not the most important issue.

Second, The interface seen in the PSP IS working thanks to Peter of Mefeedia and Eric Rice of My apologies to Eric and Peter if I confused the issue. They're both doing amazing things. My point is this interface is simple not easy enough for the everyday user. Sure you could argue you could teach your mom to use it, and I'm sure she could, but there's no one save a few media geeks like myself who are ever going to even play around with this interface let alone use it on a regular basis. It's a novelty. A very cool novelty, but still a novelty. It's simply "not ready for prime time". Specifically:

1) You need to type the url into the PSP or otherwise have it bookmarked. Fair enough, but it's a few clicks at the least.

2) Then after when you click on an thumbnail image you are taken to the post about the video, not the video itself

3) You then have to browse through the post to find the video. It does not simply play.

4) Once you do find the direct link to the video (if you do find the link to the video as they are not always contained in the post) you then have to click on the link and the video will download to the PSP for later viewing in the media player. It does not stream.

5) Provided the video is in the right format, you can browse through the PSP and find the video on the flash card and play it.

Now, I may be wrong on one or two of the specifics, but the overall outcome is obvious. I suspect noone besides a few of us media geeks would consider it enough "fun" to repeat on a regular basis. You would in fact spend more time getting the videos onto your PSP then actually watching them. It's got huge whopping way to go in accessibility and usability. If you continue reading I'll lay it out for you right here and now as I've talked fairly extensively about this with certain people whom have the ability to bring this vision to fruition, if not fully then in part.

The basic gist of it is the videos need to be delivered to the PSP via an RSS enabled mechanism without any attention by the user so that when the user turns on the PSP and essentially hits the play button they're watching the latest greatest videos from their friends or family.

In order to accomplish this we will need an RSS aggregator on the PSP that downloads videos from the subscribed feeds and the meta information automatically without the constant attention of the owner. The means the PSP itself needs to auto-handshake with any trusted or open wifi point so that this aggregation can happen without any attention from the user whatsoever.

The is another part, but this is the easy part and I think some people are already working on it. For the sake of simplicity we need to offload the subscription management to a webservice like Odeo (but for video) or more likely Mefeedia or another video blogging webservice. By offloading the subscription management from the PSP to the webservice only a single RSS feed need be put into the PSP. Through this single RSS feed Odeo, Mefeedia or other said webservice can use this unique RSS feed to deliver all the subscriptions content to the PSP. This removes a tremendous amount of PSP based complexity allowing you to manage your PSP subscriptions from any computer anytime.

Odeo is the only one I know that uses this mechanism as of yet. They employ a single unique RSS feed for each users and push all subscribed feeds through the single feed to the PSP. Thus making subscription management independent of the device / aggregator and moving it to the webservice.

In addition to this being independent of the aggregator it has the very important added bonus of enabling one click subscriptions and additionally the queuing of individual content (more on that later). Since you no longer need to get every feed link into the aggregator (just the single feed the Odeo-like webservice creates for you) you can enable one click subscription from any individuals video blog to the webservice. To reiterate you're basically moving the subscription management out of the aggregator and into the webservice. This transparently works with every aggregator already out there including iTunes, iPodder, FireANT and a half dozen other video aggregators.

There are many other advantages to. For one its got a nice migration curve to. I, the end user can slowly move my subscriptions management out of itunes and FireANT and into a webservice like Odeo giving me (the end user) the additional advantage of being able to switch between any aggregator anytime, manage my subscriptions from any computer, and have the same subscriptions on any aggregator wether at work, at home, or out and about with my PSP-like device.

Imagine getting all the same videos at work, home or on your PSP without any syncing.

But that's not all...

(I feel like an infomercial sales pitch guy selling you on server side subscription management)

If you act now you'll also get single click qeueing!

About the queuing. I mentioned this in my last post, but there were many questions so I'll go into it more thoroughly here. I think this will be the next generation of inter-mediation of content. You can think of this as part of the "next generation directory", or "directory 2.0" but that would be to limited. This takes the directory beyond being a directory and turns it into a "marketplace" for video content. I'll write more on the marketplace concept later. It's a subject that's going to require another post.

Now back to queuing. Currently while browsing around on Odeo site you can with a single click add any piece of content to you queue so it will be downloaded to your computer / device next time it loads. Essentially this is "beyond the subscription model". To put it in the terms that made sense to me instead of subscribing to just the Ipod Lounge podcast, you can do a search or browse by the "ipod" tag and queue up individual episodes from any podcast feed about the iPod with a single click even though the podcast feeds themselves might not be specific to the iPod. That's getting beyond the subscription model. Currently there's no way to do this. It's sort of like browsing tags on technoratti and being able to search just for podcasts. In fact maybe Technoratti will have this feature in the future, though I doubt Dave Sifry and any of the google crew is reading this. Such future searching and single click queuing will allow for the user to create a much more controlled and therefore enjoyable experience.

To summarize, being able to search or browse podcast content by tags and queue individual pieces of content with a single click is monstrous "directory 2.0" type intermediation. Truly "beyond subscriptions" as I like to say. At this point it's is not really a directory at all, but starting to become a true "marketplace".

But wait there's more! If you act now....

Once such a service is created by Odeo, Mefeedia, or another web service provider plugins can be created for Moveabletype, Wordpress, and even a little crafty code that can be inserted into a Blogger template that will allow video bloggers to not only put a single click subscription link in their video blog but also add a "queue it" button automatically on every video blog post, perhaps right next to the video or perhaps by the permalink. It's only a matter of passing certain information contained in the blog post to Mefeedia, Odeo, or whatever webservice is first to offer it.

But the advantages just keep coming!

Act now and you'll not only get aggregator independent subscription management, single click subscriptions and single click queuing, but with a handy bookmarklet it is entirely possible to enable single click queuing and subscriptions from any page on the web!.

Yes, it's true!

Imagine your users being able to click a single button and add any video on any page on the web to their PSP-like device!

You mean with a single click I could put any video on the web on my portable video player?

Yes that's right, by creating a handy little javascript "bookmarklet" a webservice provider like Mefeedia or Odeo can not only enable single click queuing for their users, but with a little nifty Javascript they can quickly identify and video enclosed (or not enclosed) in any page on the web and add it to your queue so your portable video player can download it. Tricky? Not any more than any self righteous javascript developer can handle.

In summary... It's time to get beyond all the video blogging (and podcasting) 1.0 style directories. They were a great start, but it's time to start building 2.0 style marketplaces where monetization can happen (more on monetization later). This can be done by,

1) getting beyond subscriptions

2) enabling the consumption of individual pieces of micro-content

The cornerstone of these new webservices marketplaces will be...

1) aggregator independent, server side subscription management

2) one-click subscriptions

3) one-click queuing

4) and of course all that good searching, browsing and tagging goodness you've come to expect from, flickr and other web 2.0 type webservices. Don't worry I'm already working on another post to explain this marketplace idea more thoroughly we'll get into marketplaces and monetization yet.

In summary... PSP awesome, it could use a little more memory but that's not what's important. What we need is to be able to develop an RSS media aggregator for it and I don't think Sony has an API. Perhaps there are some interested linux lovers. What we can do in the meantime is.

a) create better directories with one-click subscription among many other things... to turn them into more publicly accessible marketplaces.

b) Come up with standards and specifications for what we need in a piece of hardware / software to enable videos and audio podcasts to be auto-magically aggregated from the web directly to a portable device (sans Apple's "hub"). If I had a million dollars I'd OEM one, but I don't think anyone like Sony gives a crap, they could probably care less about our little democratization of media because it makes far more sense to sell us all Hollywood than allow us to make and share our own media. After all it took them untill this year to finally come out with an mp3 player. Perhaps a more progressive hardware company like Creative is listening.


Now, if I was a real bastard I'd patent all this stuff, but first of all Odeo is already on it, if not in the entirety, then at least they have a partial vision of it. Second, my ideas are hopefully the exact opposite of "bastard ideas". I'm sharing this because idea's do have mothers and fathers, to patent ideas like these is to simultaneously take credit for the ideas while denying the do credit of those people whom they came from. Hopefully by sharing my ideas they'll make sweet idea lovin' and spawn hundreds and thousands of other baby ideas (or at least one or two) which will hence keep going forth and multiplying like a big beautiful "idea virus". Yummy. That's what good ideas do, if they're good. And hopefully some of these ideas or those they spawn will actually be implemented in real live tools I'll get to use. Wow! Won't that be neat! So, that is my ROI, and it's a damn good ROI. (But hopefully someone somewhere will one day recognize my brilliant ideas and pay me money to do other brilliant things in this area because as the saying goes I can dance to it but I can't eat it. That and it's time to get the lead out and monetize this schite! Yeah, I'm talking to you. You the tinkering with some cool webservice I may have mention. You the guys working on the directories and pretty much anyone developing infrastructure in the vlog-o-sphere or podcast-o-phere. Including but not limited to FireANT,,, Odeo, Brightcove, Mefeedia, Ourmedia and at least a dozen others. Let's get this medialicious party started.

More on next generation video blogging marketplaces later, today perhaps.

Cheers! :)

Friday, September 2

The future of media - the next big step is portability

I've seen the future of portable media. It's direct to portable video player subscription content. Always on, always with you, always updated with the latest content, anytime and anywhere ubiquitous media anyone can produce it. Even your grandmother. We're getting there, but video blogging needs to flash over into the hardware market.


Eric Rice posts this picture of the Sony PSP loaded up edge to edge with thumbnails of videos theoretically just a click away. It's not really there, but it is a vision of what could be.

Now, some points.

a) the PSP needs more memory, I know it can hold like a gig of videos, but that's not enough. I'm not sure if it supports 4gig flash cards or anything larger yet, I don't own one, but we need a device exactly like the PSP with at least 20 gigs of HD if not 60 or more gigs. 20 is a nice start though. I should point out the controls and the screen shape and size on this device are perfect for video media. The only issues then are memory and software.

b) The implied interface here is that you could click on any thumbnail and instantly play the video. In actuality these thumbnails just link to the blog post, which would then need to be navigated in order to get to the video. It's to much work. Playback needs to be immediate. Obviously this thumbnail interface is easily navigable with the thumb-pad. The controls are perfect, the information architecture or click architecture needs work. This shouldn't be a problem for Peter who created this interface for his being as he's an information architect. Peter, it's time to go beyond Flickr. Photos can't do what videos can do, they can't go where videos can go. You need new metaphors and ideas.

c) meta information -- while the thumbnail interface is very pretty it would be really, really nice to be able to hit one of the keys on the right, say the triangle button to instantly display all the textual meta information from the blog post on the selected video. Not only while browsing in this, the thumbnail state, but also while watching the individual video. The meta info should always be a single click away.

d) Caching - I assume information is loaded right off the website using the PSP's built in wifi. It's live updating, which is awesome, because new videos coming into (in this case) Eric Rice's subscriptions will appear automatically, however their needs to be a recursive cache mechanism, because a) you're obviously not going to be always online when you are using the PSP and b) it's highly unlikely you would be able to stream videos in realtime in the majority of cases. It would be EXTREMELY nice if the PSP could automatically detect and jump on any open network and start updating with the latest content without any interaction with the owner. I'm not sure thought if the PSP does auto-connect to wifi networks, and furthermore this would require some additional PSP based software and I know nothing about developing to the PSP platform. It's quite likely that Sony has everyone locked out, but it's also quite likely there's already a linux hack in development.

So what are we talking about here? How close are we to this future of ubiquitous portable media?

Well, here's my little brainstorm on what it would take. This is just one possible scenario using the PSP as a basis for departure.

a) First off I know nothing about developing applications for the PSP, but the most obvious thing at the bare minimum there's going to have to be some sort of software to download and cache videos. This is the hardest part

b) Secondly, does have all the mechanisms in place to interface with such software. If not for the caching issue mefeedia could easily configure a specialized script that takes all video in a users subscriptions, compile this interface and make sure the videos are only a click away. I'm sure that's easily within Peter's capability, and hopefully he'll work with Eric and give this a shot. Who knows, perhaps the PSP will stream videos well without even caching them. One thing is for sure if they even get this primitively working they should schedule a date with Sony and demo the technology. The prospects of such a device as this could radically change the way we interact with media. The proposal is a future where theoretically anyone can produce and syndicate media to be watched anytime or anywhere. Imagine your pocket TV, but instead of 4 fuzzy channels there's an infinite amount.

b2) Configurations and settings - Oh, obviously would contain all the settings for the services.. caching, subscriptions, user preferences and all that jazz.

c) the format and codec wars - I'm not sure what exactly the PSP will play but I assume there are some issues with what type of videos it will playback. There's proprietary Win media player format, Quicktime format, Real Media and more open formats like mpeg. I don't know what the PSP will play, but the easiest thing to do would be for Mefeedia to have a user setting for choosing the preferred format and than do video conversion to deliver videos to the PSP in the preferred format.

d) button and other interface niceties. -- In order to get the interface working as smoothly as possible there would need to be some control over the button functions. I'm sure sure the PSP has by default full controls over video playback but a single click "info" button read meta info, a "delete" button, and a "bookmark" or "flag" button would be infinitely useful. There might be some others, but the right side interface keypad would be perfect for this, assuming it's programable.

Important note: You will notice this solution completely bypasses the computer as a base unit or hub, something that's obviously a large part of Apple's "digital hub" strategy. It's time to move beyond the "hub" strategy and go direct to device. This will change customers perceptions of new media entirely. Media will be liberated from the computer. That's "outside the box" thinking. Quite literally. :)

Well, I guess that just about sums up all the points I can think off off hand to make this future a reality.

Essentially it consists of either a PSP or PSP like device with tight integration with a web-services like or for handling subscriptions or content. There are in fact a whole host of services ready to enter this space including, Brightcove, Eric Rice's and even Ourmedia who's aim is making sure everyone has access to new media. Let me know if I left anyone out. I'm sure I have.

All we're asking these providers to do is shift their focus from deliverance to the computer to portable playback devices.

Motivations? Here's one... Whomever puts together this marketplace has the best chance for monetizing new media. Will people pay to subscribe to video based content on their computer, possibly. But if you're meefedia, odeo, Apple, or any of the others.. I would be betting ALL my money that people would pay for a la carte subscriptions delivered direct to a PSP like device. Because let's not forget, once it's on a portable video player, it's not only anytime and anywhere ubiquitous media, but it's also quite possible to plug such a device into any TV with a simple AV cable and watch it on the big screen.

I've seen the future and it is ubiquitous subscription based media viewable anytime and anywhere through portable handheld devices loosely coupled with web-services. That's the future, that's where the money will be. Whomever gets there first will own the future of media. Now I'm just a know nothing media haxor, but I'll bet in 5 to 10 years this will almost certainly gobble up most of the video rental market and a tremendous amount of the broadcast TV and satellite delivered media market. We're talking billions of dollars. The opportunities are amazing. So... let the race to build the platform begin.

Oh and if anyone has a job for a screwy media haxor punk with some vision, some usability and design skills please put me to work, I want to be a part of this.

P.S. Let's not forget about Apple, I didn't mention them much but with the spectacular iTunes / iPod combination they could easily leverage into what I'm talking about here, though they'd almost certainly port it all through iTunes and their desktop to cell more computers. The computer though need not be the central part of the equation. Direct to device will ultimately cripple such an Apple plan, especially when all you need is a $150 portable device to go with whatever cheap computer you already have. That definitely beats even a "$500" Mac Mini + video iPod, especially when we know the cost of the Mac mini is much higher.

So while I think Apple would seem to have the best shot, I really hope some of my favorite players who are much more customer driven and customer savvy down in the trenches like Mefeedia, FireANT, Brightcove, Odeo and the like will find a way to either OEM or more likely partner with hardware players like Creative who's been a leader in the portable hardware market and very good about supporting open platforms.

Oh, let's not forget about the content providers. I, Mobuzz TV and whatever content creators are in a position to monetize video blogging, or let's just say the video over IP subscription model. The chance of monetizing (getting people to pay) for your subscription based content for computer delivery is highly unlikely in the foreseeable future until a marketplace develops. There is NONE right now. The same with set top boxes. The Akimbo is cool, but people already have Tivo, satellite and cable. You need to as my Art & Tech professor used to say, "get it out of the box".

We don't need more content on the computer or on the TV. We need something new. New content requires a new platform and a new marketplace. You're quickest road to monetization is to partner up with those mentioned here, those in a position to develop this portable video player marketplace and leapfrog all the existing media platforms. Portable anytime / anywhere.. is the one place that none of the huge traditional media players can go do to their own dinosaur like practices. It's in this new marketplace that you, video bloggers and all new content creators have a chance to make it in new media. Quit playing their game, play your own game. Get out of the box. Never before was the term "think outside of the box" more appropriate.

There we have it.. We need partnerships between new content providers, new video based web-services providers, and hardware creators. We need partnerships and we need them now. Let's see some hats thrown in the ring. Right now whomever takes the initiative will determine how open and how customer oriented this platform is. And I'd hate to see the future be some Microsoft DRM (digital rights managements) delivered American Idol to some proprietary hand held devices. Lets see the customers drive the innovation.

In fact I've been sitting on a proposal for many months to create a customer driven initiative (hear yahoo group) to focus on realizing this portable hardware based vision of the future of media. Perhaps the time is now for consumers to unite and lead by lobbying the industry for a portable media platform. Let's taking video blogging and decentralized media into the future, a place where the traditional media empire can't follow.

Anyone listening? (Big goofy grin. :)

Now watch this trippy Honda commercial by Wieden & Kennedy with voice over by Garrison Keillor of Lake Wobegon fame. It was voted commercial of the year recently by the British Television Advertising Awards. Know that advertising is not always evil. There is hope for it yet.

Watch it: