Jay, Rayanne, Josh, Daniel and Eric over at Ant is not TV have created a nice little screencast introduction to FireANT for Windows.
Get FireANT: Screencast | FireANT
I should state that I've been a huge fan of ANT right from the first public beta of their Macintosh version. I haven't gotten enough time in the saddle with the Windows version of FireANT, but I really like what they have going. The interface is coming along really nice and the screencast really does it's job as an introduction to the tool. Exactly what's needed.
I just have one thing to say about the interface: simplify, simplify, simplify. 1) subscribe 2) watch, 3) comment, that's all that FireANT need be about. (Well maybe subscribe, download, watch, comment.)
The screencast glossed over how to find and add good feeds using the ANT Directory and the download process was to involved. There's no way a newbie would follow the all the downloading processes, nor do they need too. The overview of replying with comments really rocked, it just needed to be spiced up, as in "you can't do this with TV".
While I liked the intro to RSS I'm not even so sure that newbies get RSS even matters, especially since most newbies wouldn't have any idea outside of the directory where to even find a "video feed". Besides the acronym is scary and unnecissary. Maybee for more advanced users yeah, but for newbies, all they need to know is they're "video feeds" and you can get them from the ANT directory.
Maybee it would make more sense to split the screen cast into levels such as basic, advanced, special power user features. That way the basic user gets all the information that they need to get started before getting hung up on some new concept like RSS, or more advanced power user features like downloading individual videos that frankly they don't need to get to use ANT. Besides, where's the piece de' resistance, the super amazing watching videos on the PSP. Let's remember that this is not a feature list though RSS, bittorent and the technical details don't matter. Put them in the white paper. People will find them.
I still find the default Windows interface a little intimidating, mostly it's just that visually there's a lot going on. All these little icons, buttons, and other extraneous information, but it's really getting there thanks to Eric Radmall's hard work. It's very tough to keep all those power user features and yet make it a no brainer for first time users. Perhaps the only way to do it is user modes, but in many ways the fate of video blogging is tied to ANT. Ant is the platform for video blogging just as iTunes is the platform for music.
Future products and future hardware devices will take their cue from ANT so nailing the interactivity model and the user-expectation is really important now. For example if ANT doesn't put a big empasis on feedback future devices and products might miss that close looping the conversation through feedback and comments is an essential part of the why video blogging works. Such a loss would mean the death of video blogging as it would disincentive people putting videos online in the first place. In fact if you just use ANT without ever leaving a comment you're missing out on all the fun.
In summary, it's all about:
1) overiew, ant is a platform for anyone's and everyone's media
2) How to subscribe / unsubscribe to feeds with the ANT directory.
3) Click the download button.
4) Watch downloaded videos from the playlist.
6) Rinse and repeat.
Now that you've got the basics... On to advance...
8) Finding video feeds outside of ANT / using yahoo search
9) Subscribing to feeds not in the directory
10) Advanced download options
11) Advanced playlist options
12) Awesome special features... like the PSP, managing podcasts?
13) How to create your own video feed for ANT... check out freevlog...
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