Saturday, July 30

Roadside Taiwan - More architectural oddities

Hmmm... If people can start collecting and creating galleries of screwed up signs, and broken user interfaces, and cool street art, then perhaps I should start a gallery of favorite post-modern architectural oddities. It's such an interesting genre, and so much material. This one popped up on BoingBoing today. It's a nice bus stop in Taiwan Japan. It's delicious.



The Kissmobile(R)


Seen on the Chicago streets on June 13th. Second only to the Oscar Mayer Wiener mobile in my opinion. It may not be new for all I know. It may be quite old and charted territory. However, I have resolved that this photo has not gotten the attention it merits.

Whether you acuse me of being a corporate shill or not this harkens to the route 66 post modern roadside attraction era. An era that produced a whole host of enigmas from giant dinasaur attractions, to the simple little igloo taste freeze. An era in architectural thiking I'm entranced by. An era when high society and tact were blissfully non-existent. A golden age in the commercialization of culture. Mies van der Rohe eat your hart out.

Via kissmobile on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Tuesday, July 26

Tiny bit o' street art

Street art

Spotted somewhere on a sewer lid in chicago.

Except it's not a sewer lid, it's a communications tunnel access lid. Still damn cool.

Via vangogh on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

PBS | I, Cringely . NerdTV

nerdtvlogoI can't tell you how excited I am about Cringely's Nerd TV comming soon to bittorrent near you. I just hope the mac version of FireANT will have Bittorrent integration by Sept 6th. It's the beautiful progression of "getting it", and public broadcasters like like PBS, NPR, CBC, and BBC are a very important step in that process. it was partly the proliferation of podcasting shows like NPR's On the Media and the tremendous amount of BBC material that really bolstered podcasting through the middle ground to make it the success it is today. 2005 will really be looked back on as the year democratized media exploded. And exploded it has. Audio podcasting is now an undeniable force in media, and video blogging is hot on its heals with the announcement last week from PBS about Nerd TV.

Perhaps it's time to hit up everyone's favorite ficticious video blogging rabit. it's about time he start supporting RSS w/ enclosures. The content is certainly there, flash games, mp3's, videos, and the latest weekly builds for FireANT for Mac is now supporting Flash superbly, and in large format 640x480 too! Everything is falling into place. :)

Read more: PBS | I, Cringely . NerdTV

What's changed since 2002 is a dramatic expansion of broadband Internet access and a dramatic lowering of both bandwidth and distribution costs. I make a distinction between bandwidth and distribution expenses because there are technologies like Bit Torrent that can take much of the expense out of video distribution by removing some of the bandwidth demand. I say SOME of the bandwidth demand because Bit Torrent is a fickle lover and if I throw a couple hundred episodes of NerdTV up there, only the most recent are likely to be broadly seeded, meaning the archive distribution costs fall back on me.

Yes, me.

Even with 355 megabits-per-second of Internet bandwidth, PBS can't take a risk of derailing the NewsHour or crippling PBSKids if NerdTV happens to be a surprise hit, so the real heavy lifting for NerdTV will be done through a network of distributed servers I've created as a kind of "poor man's Akamai." My distribution cost using this system, by the way, works out to be approximately ONE PERCENT of Akamai's retail price, which shows how much profit there is in that business, or should be.

Full article: PBS | I, Cringely . July 7, 2005 - Pod Person

Good Commentary: The Long Tail: NerdTV

A couple random quotes...

"[A] new fact has now become painfully clear to me: you don't say you have the Ph.D unless you REALLY have the Ph.D." ... Cringley upon being exposed for having falsely claimed a Ph.D. from Stanford University.

"If the automobile had followed the same development cycle as the computer, a Rolls-Royce would today cost $100, get a million miles per gallon, and explode once a year, killing everyone inside."

More Info about Cringley: Robert X. Cringely - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ian Mills on the cover of the NY Times Arts page, Steve Garfield demands retraction

Ian Mills on the cover of NY Times Arts page

Congratulations to Ian Mills and all the vloggers mentioned in the NY Times Arts cover page. While the NY Times doesn't completely understand video blogging I think they did a great job of not making a mockery out of it. With one exception. The author thought they might add some snark about everyones favorite vlog, Steve Garfield's "Carol & Steve Show" which is wholey unwarranted.

"Another vlog, the Carol and Steve Show, in which a married couple offer up the tedium of their daily lives - shopping, driving to the gym, arguing about American Idol' - has stolen its type and its theme music from the land of sitcoms."

Steve's not taking it to well and has
demanded a retraction and I think he's right! They accused him of outright theft! That's defamation! ...worse it's judge, jury and executioner! This is America baby! You can't go printing such tripe in the NY Times and expecting to get away with it!

Join me with Steve in demanding a retraction from the NY Times!

We'll see the NY Times too hell and back, the vlogosphere won't stand for it!

Also, Steve got a mention in Forbes best of the web. Best of the Web

NY Times Art Article Watch Me Do This and That Online - New York Times

Photo from: Ian Mills on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Wednesday, July 20

You look like a terrorist - and other tips for getting the most out of Flickr

I'm having to much fun today, and if this isn't over the top then forgive me, I'll try harder next time. I wanted to point out the fun I'm having with Flickr these days and this was "the most immediately gratifying path of least resistance."

What follows (much, further down in block-quotes) is a comment I posted on Phil Torrone's flickr photos page just (quite a few) minutes ago. (BTW, for those who don't know him by name Phil is of Make Magazine and previously of Engadget.) In short this illustrates not just the hellacious fun you can have with flickr, but it contains two important tips on how to get the most out of flickr... well, maybe three.

  1. Use flickr for your blog. Post thumbnails of any images you're using on your blog to Flickr and call them from Flickr. Flickr has excellent snapping utilities for grabbing thumbnails from the sites your blogging about, plus, you can actually post to your blog right through flickr if you like.

    Make sure to put links in your flickr photo pages linking TO your corresponding blog posts on your blog. Perhaps in the future Flickr will pick up on this and automatically create links and trackbacks to any pages that refer to a photo to automate this process.

    Congratulations, people can now subscribe to your Flickr feed and see a visual representation of your blog. While this doesn't give them the precise blow-by-blow or post-by-post on what your blog is about it's a LOT of fun to follow and makes it really easy to keep up on a blogs goings on during the day when most people are to busy to read many blogs. Note: this is particularly useful for photo blogging.

  2. Get the most out of your Flickr Friends Feed If you haven't used Flickr to subscribe to all your "friends" flickr feeds do so... after you do that go find yourself a specialized, stripped down, simple RSS reader or desktop widget that reads RSS and place your Flickr Friends Feed in that RSS reader. Make sure you remove all other feeds. I personally use NetNewsWire, it's not a desktop widget, but it is an awesome RSS reader and notifies me of new photos in the Mac Dock without being intrusive. Now that you've placed your friends flickr feed into your RSS reader set you're RSS reader to check your Flickr Friends Feed every 30 minutes or so. Now photos from your friends should trickle in as they're placed online.

    Congratulations... you can now see what all your friends are doing visually in near realtime. Yesterday I noticed 4 of my "Flickr friends" including Eric Rice, Chris Pirillo, the Scobelizer and Phil Torrone of Make magazine were all flying over Mt. Rainier just East of Portland on a magical plane trip to promote the new in-flight wireless internet connection service Connexion. Four perspectives on the same event. I just wish I would have had discovered this little tip before SXSW or Gnomedex. Traditional media, eat your heart out.

  3. Bonus round. Ok, now that you've mastered the art of Flickr feed blogging and flicker friends feed viewing go back and subscribe in your Flickr only RSS reader to some more flickr feeds. Find a good event like Gnomedex or SXSW, but something that's going on right now, and subscribe to the photo feed using a couple of flickr tags. Congratulations, you can now watch any live event unfold live before your very eyes. I wish I would have thought of it during the London bombings, but alas I was a flickr neophyte.

    Traditional media... you know the drill... that's right... eat your heart out.

Posted to: DSC03646 on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

(Warning: misspelerings, and gramatical errs not corrected for the sake of preserving the spontaneity of this post)

"You look like a terrorist!


Just joking, you're a fine looking man, you just need to smile more for craps sake!

BTW, I don't think I've commented before on your flickr feed. So I wanted to say a few words.

IT ROCKS! I can't keep up on make, to much going on, but through your flickr feed I can CAN keep up on make. I can flip through your photos and get the skinny on a story in about 1/1000th of the time it would take to keep up on all of Make, and that let's me find and spend more time reading the make stories I really like as opposed to skimming them all.

In short the use of flickr as an alternative blog feed interface is bloody brilliant! I've been posting all my blog images on flickr since the beginning of time, but I've failed to link them through to the actual articles so while it makes a great 'life picture' it's useless for following my day-to-day blog.

Sorry, I aspire to but cannot compete with your brilliance. :)

Oh, soo, a tip for a make article, you should focus in on using a specialized news reader, or desktop widget with your flickr 'friends feeds' to keep up with your friends photos in real time. Also very useful for events, I wish I had thought of it during the longon bombings, to watch tat unfold in realtime would have been overwhelming.

I got the idea from a chris pirillo interview with the napsterization gal, I forgot her name, oh, and she's sort of also the person behind this here thing, flickr, I think. :) Anyway, I immediately went and downloaded NetNewsWire and removed all its default feeds and popped in just my flickr friends feed and set it to 30 minute updates.

Yesterday was amazing watching you, eric rice, scobelizer, chris and the rest of the gang all post your raineer photos in damn near realtime from the flight. I got an amazing near real-time impression of the whole event, and was able to follow up through all yoru blogs, podcasts, and especially eric's video blog. Needless to say I'm bloody hooked. An whomever came up with that idea to invite you all on that flight... hot damn... I've never seen better media coverage of a single even in my life. Screw the superbowl!

Thanks a million!

-Mike of"
On a final side note, how often do you get to call people you hardly know terrorists? You just can't pass up opportunities for that type of irreverent humor.

Tuesday, July 19

A call for "bookmarklets" bar in FireANT

So, I saw the proposal by the ANT gang for a standard "rel=payment" or a payment url spec in the RSS metadata specs such as mediaRSS, which I've been taking to Andreas about, and we had another idea for extending ANT and making it a more flexible platform allowing for not just a "payment" link but to help it become a platform for all sorts of feature advancement by developers.

Essentially Andreas and I talked about the possibility of including a javascript programable "bookmarklet" bar that acts upon the metadata that's contained in the RSS of the post. With the amount of innovation going on with javascript and other open AJAX type technologies this could be a huge boon for ANT. It would opening up the doors for ANT to become more of a platform for additional functionalities that are driven by vloggers themselves and outside developers. Instead of continuing to add individual functionalities to ANT such as "email this" or "blog this" this "bookmarklet bar" would allow anyone with a basic knowledge of javascript and a blog to create their own functionalities.

Will we one day have a google map features that show where a video was taken in ANT? So called geo-vlogging? I don't know, but we could certainly have a bookmarklet that searches the feed or post meta information for geo-location information and push it to google maps, and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

There are some possible developmental issues with Javascript implementation in ANT and there are some differences between acting on a web page and acting on RSS, but I believe making all the variables contained in the RSS via Javascript could make ANT a very flexible, very powerful and very extendable platform.

I've created a simple little mockup just to enumerate a few possible ideas. I'm not sure all of them are so technically possible, such as sending a screen snap of a video to Flickr, but this would ensure that ANT can operate not only with quite easily, but with, Gmail, Technorati and a infinite amount of third party web services, which I believe is going to be key to FireANT's long term success.


Monday, July 18

On Bernie Ebbers and the next big tyrant

Bernard_EbbersFrom Bernie Ebbers, a 19th century-style tech tycoon? Salon Technology Log, Oct. 6, 1999

"The rise of Bernie Ebbers bears comparison with the rise of the industrial tycoons of the 19th century. If it seems incredible that after just 16 years in the business Ebbers should be engineering the biggest corporate takeover in history, consider this: Andrew Carnegie first invested in steel in 1861. Forty years later, after buying out a string of competitors, he sold his steel holdings to J.P. Morgan. They formed the core of the new U.S. Steel, and Carnegie, the onetime 'bobbin boy' (yes, all the histories still call him that, even now when no one knows what that means) from a textile mill was reputedly the richest man in America.

There is, however, one great difference between the Carnegies and Rockefellers of the 19th century and the mega-tycoons of today. Carnegie, effectively, was accountable to no one but himself (and a conscience that was for Carnegie always a source of some trouble); Ebbers is the servant of his shareholders. This is certain: He will stay on top of the world only as long as his share price keeps rising. We live in a far more rational, and arguably more honest, economic world. Whether that turns out to be a fairer one, less prone to the excesses of monopoly and more hospitable to those at the bottom of the economic ladder, is still an open question."

That was Oct. 1999. The writer of that article couldn't have been more on point. Just two and a half years later on April 30th, 2002, the board of WorldCom called for Bernie Ebbers resignation and two months later on June 25th, 2002, WorldCom announced $3.85 billion in accounting misstatements, a number that would grow to $11 billion. Pretty much everything Bernie Ebbers had was wrapped up in the value of WorldCom's stock as well as the very stability of the company itself. For him it all culminated this last week on July 14th, 2005 when he was sentenced to 25 years in prison for his part as head of WorldCom during the largest accounting scandal in U.S. history.

It's a fascinating story, one that raises a lot of questions about not only about 19th century and 20th century business practices, but now only a few years later it raises new questions as we move into a completely different business era. Should we be so bold as to believe that this newly evolving era will be (to paraphrase the Salon writer) "far more rational, honest and less prone to the excesses of monopoly"?

What are the new demons? What is the tyranny of the long tail, of open source, of decentralized business and media?

Via: Bernard Ebbers - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Speck Products' iGuy - the iPod "suits up" and becomes an action figure

iguy-d-5Ha! I just spotted this over in Steve Garfield's coverage of the MacWorld Boston conference last week and even though I'm a week behind I couldn't not post it. This little product, the iGuy from Speck Products, fits squarely in the "emotional design" category as a prime example of products that illicit an emotional attachment.

What could be more affirming than suiting up your favorite little mp3 player, the iPod (or iPod Mini!), in white rubber suit and turning it into a little iGuy action figure. It's time for the star wars action figures on your computer desk to move over, there's a cool new action figure in town and he's all rock and roll baby! :)

iguy-d-1The best part? Look at how he drops trou' to sit down on the iPod docking station. Now that is an "elegent" design solution, if not irreverent, which is perhaps the word of the day for the iPod crowd what with their podcasting and all their lack of reverance for the grand traditions of not only radio, but record labels and pretty much all of traditional media.

The Spec Products guys are bloody genius. I'm betting they'll be a lot of knock-offs, but something this original is always one of a kind and can't be duplicated. I know I love it, but I just hope it catches on with the mass market. I'd love to see an iGuy gracing the cover of Rolling Stone.

Maybe they need to produce a little guitar for him, a Sid Vicious outfit and a little anarchy symbol right on his docking suit crack. I wonder what would happen if all the tallented vinyl urban doll makers went to town on creating iPod suits. That's what happens when a great product becomes an iCon. :)

God save the queen.

Check it out: SpeckProducts - iGuy

You can also check out Steve's video coverage of Macworld Boston at the following url.

Steve Garfield's Video Blog: Macworld Boston 2005

....but I'm not hot linking to the video because in addition to the interview with Tim Hickman of Speck Products there's a lot more great coverage of the Macworld Boston conference. To much for me to chat up here. Go check it out.

Saturday, July 16

On being the media

be the mediaRene of posted the first in a series of "doodles" about "the fine art of moving digital media" the other day. She calls this clip "Be the media" and it's a topic which is central to this blog.

Watch Rene's "Be the media in" in Quicktime:
(video/quicktime Object)

...or in Flash:
(x-shockwave-flash Object)

The cool little Flash animation is short and fun, with some cool collide-a-scope effects, some great music and most importantly a powerful message, be the media.

It's very short but touches on the two important issues, "making media" and "distributing media". However there's one other important point that I talk about heavily here.

"Being the media" is a process that involves widespread conversation.

Perhaps it goes without saying but in order to truly "be the media" we must not only "make media" and "distribute media", but we need to comment on, talk about, discuss, remix, re-blog, re-contextualize, redistribute and otherwise have debate on those things we find important in any manner we can, because it's only through open conversation that we can be heard by others outside our immediate scope of influence. With participatory media we are all now the conduit through which those we know access and hence perceive the world. If something is important to use, it's most likely important to them. Some would call this aspect "peer based media" or simply "peer media".

What it means is we must talk about and point out those things which are important to us, much like I'm doing right here in pointing out Rene's animation and in extending the debate to the next person. If only five people read this post, then that's five more people that might come away with a more thorough understanding of what it means to "be the media" and five more opportunities that they may pass whatever ideas they may contribute on to yet more people.

In new media now more then ever the masses need to be stirred to take action. Unlike those who would call for action in the past there are new opportunities to take action that do not involve making a large commitment in time, effort, or especially money.

It's the lack of money driving this new collaborative media that people have the hardest time getting. However, free software, better known now as "open source" has taught us that there are new more efficient and even more profitable means of contributing. Through new mechanisms we can engage in a larger variety of tasks with increased effectiveness. Our small contributions can make a huge difference to the good of the whole and reap huge rewards for us personally and these collaborations don't need to involve money.

The barriers to participation have come down, the efficiency of collaboration and communications systems has definitely evolved and an evolution if not revolution has sparked what is now arguably being called a renaissance in human development. To accentuate this accessibility aspect of new media some might call this "open-access media" much like "open source software".

It is our very participation in the process that makes US the media. With traditional broadcast media the viewer was but a spectator, a "couch potato with a remote". (I cannot even begin to comment here on how that's affected our society, though it is a favorite topic of interest. Perhaps another time. :)

With new media your participation is a vital part of the process. It's not just your opinions that are welcome in this new media, (and they ARE very important) the most important part of new media is that you express yourself on that which you have an opinion on because it is your conversation that truly steers the topic of debate. Because new media allows us to engage at will and to rapidly process others comments and ideas without being bombarded or overwhelmed we can through it express ourselves openly and freely even at great length if we want (as I'm doing here) without "polluting the global word-space" as once was the catch-phrase.

An analogy, what it means to truly "be the media".

Now, this may be an old example, but it's the simplest and clearest analogy I have over how your participation in media is changing media.

Way back in December, 2002 Sen Trent Lott, then Senate Majority leader made some pretty interesting statements at a party honoring Strom Thurman.

"When Strom Thurman ran for president, we voted for him! We're proud of it! And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn't have had all of these problems over all of these years either."

Strom Thurman was, as most of you know by now, a devout segregationist way back in 1948 when he ran for president. In fact segregationism was part of his primary campaign platform, and he was QUITE outspoken on the issue.

So what was Trent Lott saying in his quote at Strom Thurman's party? That we would be better off with segregation? That he condoned the ideas and principals? How could a current Senate Majority leader condone such a dark era in US history?

Who knows what he truly was thinking, but the mainstream press all but ignored the statements and they would have likely gone unheard by the majority of Americans. However people started discussing it in the blogosphere and on online news groups. Some thought it was inconsequential, some said Trent Lott should resign.

Not to downplay the importance of their opinions, but what mattered most is that they were talking about the issue. What's important is that there was an uproar, that there was a huge proliferation of conversation, because that uproar caused the mainstream media to pick back up on the story that had otherwise gone almost completely undiscovered by the eye of the general public.

Wether you agree or disagree about what happened as a final result of widespread public outrage Trent Lott resigned as Senate Majority leader. It would not have happened if common citizens had not focused their attention on the story in a very visible public forum such as in the blogosphere. Our press would have failed to address the issue had it not been for the debate that happened online.

The lesson here is that internet based media is taking over as the dominate form of news media in the US from TV (as TV took over from radio and newspapers). As it does so there will be a power-shift from a more centrally dominated debate to an ever increasingly decentralized debate where the individual has an increased opportunity to make a difference and participate.

Media, if it ever was, is no longer the tool by which the few steer the great debate for the many. Media is increasingly becoming the tool by which the masses participate and shape the debate for themselves. Because of this the capacity for original though, for understanding, for rich conversation, and yes, even possibly for mob justice will become larger.

On the one hand we can finally have national debates that aren't written up in newspapers for those with a sixth grade education when 99% of the population is capable of much more complex emotion and thought. We can also as a nation entertain sustained debates on topics that can't be summarized by not so brilliant little sound bytes on the evening news. However on the other hand, some traditionalist and conservatives might argue, "what will pacify the mobs?", and I guess it comes down to a certain faith in humanity.

Do you believe that the hand of the few keeps the masses in check, or do you believe that the hand of the few is what causes the majority of the problems and that the hand of the masses will keep the few in check. The issue is being well explored in open forums like wikipedia, blogging, bulletin boards and other open systems. Contained in them are an infinite multitude of social experiments.

With participatory media comes great challenges and great opportunity. Will this shift in conversation create a world run by mob, or will it allow the masses to mobilize and create consensus on world changing issues in a way that our political bureaucracies have never allowed us before. Will participatory media allow us to gather together consensus on local issues that previously couldn't gain the necessary interest through more traditional media?

I'd love to say that new media has helped the world stand together against terrorism as we see in the london bombings. ...or that participatory media has the capacity to hear the voices and ideas of all those who stand for ending world hunger as not even a world wide series of "Rock Against Hunger" concerts could. ...what about the world wide mobilization of support after last years tsunami? What does that say about internet based media?

The truth is that this evolution in media may appear at times to be lightening quick and certain events will be like a slap in the face, either refreshing or disturbing, but mostly that these changes will play out over decades most often moving so slowly as to be almost untraceable and unnoticeable.

As is the case with the Trent Lott scandal we will only be able to ever fully understand these changes after carefully studying them from the perspective that history gives us. Right now we're only taking notes, writing first drafts, making the rough cuts. When we look back at it all from some future point only then will we be able to tell who was right and who was wrong, what was hype, and what was misconception. All I know is we won't be able to gain such understanding if we don't continue to weave the rich tapestry we're just now starting to weave by sharing our thoughts and ideas and in doing so become a living breathing word-of-mouth media.


As a point of humorous perspective you might want to check out one of Trent Lott's other endeavors in this short little clip From April 19th, 2000 via Wired.

(audio/mpeg Object)

Yes, Trent Lott was in a barbershop quartet with Larry Craig, John Ashcroft, and James Jeffords called The Singing Senators.

You have to respect a politician who's willing to be that human... and yes, truth is stranger than fiction, though the website and CD are now very hard to find. :)

Thursday, July 14

Is video blogging podcasting?

Wow, Robert Scoble wrote an excellent, if not extremely abbreviated article on Web Pro News that brings to head a topic which I have strong feelings about. It's about wether or not video blogging can be considered podcasting. With the launch of the latest iTunes which supports video blogs (albeit in a VERY clumsy way) it is a very hot topic.

For the sake of expediency I'm going to quote heavily from Scoble here and make my point, but if you've got the time I do suggest reading the
original article and from there following the conversation thread between Mike Hall and Rob.

From: Scobleizer: Microsoft Geek Blogger

"Mike Hall and I are having an argument in the halls here. I believe that podcasting is a term that should only refer to technologies that deliver MP3 files via RSS feeds.

He, on the other hand, believes that podcasting can refer to any file delivered via an RSS feed.

I suggested that we use these terms:

podcasting=MP3 delivered via RSS.

screencasting=screen videos delivered via RSS (format could be Camtasia, WMV, Flash)

videocasting or videoblogging or or vlogging or vblogging=videos delivered via RSS (format could be Quicktime, Windows Media Format, Real, MP4, Flash video, etc).

Do we need other terms?

Oh, and what happens when Steve Jobs releases a video iPod?

What do you think?"

It would seem that Robert Scoble has for the time being come around to Mile Hall's thinking.

Web Pro News

"....if you followed the argument with Mike Hall and me you'll see that I lost the argument and so now I'm calling any kind of audio or video file delivered over RSS a 'podcast.'

Why? Cause podcasting in my mind is 'Personal On Demand Casting' "

So, I'm not known for being without opinion and I have very strong opinions on this debate which has been raging at least since January on the Yahoo Video Blogging Group.

  1. Podcasting is a GREAT term, people GET IT!

    It perfectly sums up the PORTABLE, on demand, anytime, anywhere ideologies that are unique to this new medium. There's no better term I've ever heard or seen to define the "portability" of this new medium.

    It's portable. You put it on a "pod" and you can take it with you whereveryou go and listen to it whenever. Portable pods. Pods are portable. This medium is portable. The term works.

    Despite any aesthetic considerations people get the "pod" concept. It's the same concept as the that of the "portable music player" of the last generation, but now we have a snazzier name than "portable player" and now some pods are starting to do more than just play music, they're playing videos and showing photos. What could be more awesome than portable broadcast media. It perfectly illustrates the difference between new media and the old media cartel which is trying like hell to make portable media "un-portable" with their DRM and their broadcast flags. We now have terms like "pod safe" music that illustrate, "heh, this is free to put on your podcast" or "This is free to broadcast", and that my friends rocks. Podcasting is doing what Creative Commons alone can not.

    Podcasting is (through expressions such as "pod safe") putting the intentions of law and the language of law back in the peoples hands. Maybe now the media cartel will finally start to get the idea behind open access media and the creative commons. It's about accessibility to the media. The people are taking the media back and in doing so we're going to need a whole lot of new language to define things that were previously off limits to us. Personal freedom, freedom of language, freedom of speech, and freedom of media all go hand in hand.

  2. Podcasting is NOT iPod specific

    Despite apple's genius marketing they did not invent the idea of the "pod"! It has been used to describe everything from architecture to personal transportation, to personal space for a very long time.

    Just because Apple put an lowercase "i" on the front does not mean they own the damn term. I'm sick of this "media darling" mentality in which people and the press credit Apple with re-inventing the wheel every time they come out with a new product. If Steve Jobs weren't so damn charming and didn't have his own uncanny reality distortion field we'd all see his claims for what they are. Instead we see this time and again every time they come out with a "new" product even though the products are often just an improvement on others technology. (Albeit sometimes substantial improvements.) Apple has invented only a handful of things. I keep waiting for Apple to introduce a multi-button mouse. The headlines will read "Apple re-invents the mouse!". And they will, just wait and see.

    If people don't get the difference between "podcasting" and the "iPod" then they soon will. And screw Steve Jobs or any press for perpetuating the idea that he invented podcasting. Steve Jobs hasn't invented anything in his life including the personal computer. He took a business computer and made it a personal computer and in so doing revolutionized computing, and I love the man and what he's done through Apple. I'm an avid fan, but that is not invention and neither did he invent the "pod". I hate to break it to you but it's fancy hocus pocus marketing people!

    People tend to make the same mistake when talking about revolution and evolution. There is a difference between owning and inventing an idea and building on ideas from the past. Re-mixing ideas is the very cornerstone of our culture. A premise that's at the very core of the copy fight. Though Disney owns and viciously protects the copyrights and trademarks for Mickey Mouse, he is a DIRECT descendent of characters that came before him, right down to the red button pants. If you don't believe me there was a "History Detectives" show on PBS with a segment pertaining just to this fact. (Update: ref 1, transcript (302_mousetoy.pdf), referring page)

    Anyway, this is all to say that the world is to small to start granting ownership to companies over three letter words. Apple does not own the three letter word POD, they merely borrowed and built upon it to create a brand. With a single damn lower case "i" no less! Back in the 80's they came out with "iWorld". If it would have been successful would the World Wide Web be considered an Apple thing! I think not! Then why are we still all living in Apple's iWorld!? Stop it! Just Stop!

  3. Podcasting is NOT a media specific term.

    I completely agree with Mike Hall. Any media type can be podcast. Podcasting contains nothing to indicate its specific to audio only. It's simply broadcasting with the intended playback mechanism being a POD-like device or a PORTABLE device. As such podcasting can be considered audio, video, images or any broadcast-able media.

    As for video there really aren't many pod-like devices that handle video, hence I think the real reason why people hesitate to call video blogs "video podcasts".

    I do expect that in the near future portable devices that play video will become as ubiquitous as portable audio devices. As we near that future I think we'll start referring to podcasts as "audio podcasts" or 'video podcasts". That's just my speculation on how it will evolve, but I'd bet money on it.

    As for text and images and what not. I see no point in specifying that they are "podcastable" because in fact they've always been portable, except for the lame attempt to make them "un-portable" with ebooks. (Once again large companies have come in with an "un-solution".)

    Portability and accessibility are not bugs, they are great and fundamental features of the internet. It's not that they SHOULD be embraced. It's that in embracing them we have so much to gain. Podcasting and other open access media are proving this and it's all thanks to open source computing which lead the way.

  4. Podcast is NOT an acronym!

    Perhaps it's the abusive use of acronyms in our culture, but "pod" already has a definition. I very much respect Robert Scoble, but why must people always try to reverse engineer real words into acronyms.

    Pod wasn't an acronym when the term podcasting was coined and telling people it's an acronym will not help the general public "get it". Tell people podcasts are "portable on-demand media". Tell people podcasts are "anytime / anywhere media". Just don't tell people that podcast is an acronym that stands for "Personal On Demand Casting" because not only is it complete whoey made up after the fact but it in no way helps people "get it". I love Robert Scoble but I'd love to see the look on people's faces that have never heard of podcasting when he tells them its an acronym meaning "Portable On Demand Casting".

    Come to think of it as I search my mind for what exactly that means I realize I already have one of those things. I like to use it when I go fishing. I call it a fishing rod. Forgive me Rob, I couldn't resist. ;)

Well, those are my points. I agree with Rob and Mike about most everything else.

Call videos podcasts, "video casting" if you like since most people don't watch them on portable devices.

I like the term "screen cast". It's a great term for defining a very specific thing. Don't ask me to explain it to anyone though, I don't know how.

In the future I think "audio podcasting", "video podcasting", and even "image podcasting" will become more and more common in the english language as people seek to both define that these types of media are similar in that they're "portable and on-demand", and that they're still uniquely different experiences. In fact I expect to see odd references to "PDF podcasts" and "document podcasts", and I don't see any problem with it. I personally think "Flash Podcasts" will one day be a hot thing. After all Flash artists are making some of the most creative media I know of.

Perhaps in the future we'll have "video moblogging podcasts." :)

And thanks to Scoble and Mike Hall for really talking about a tough issue. I talk harsh but it's a tough issue.

Your flames, trolls and especially positive comments, if you have any, are welcome.

Monday, July 11

Core Values - Are Blog Comments More Vital Than Posts!?

blog%20comments%20moreFrom: Blog Core Values: Blog Comments More Vital Than Posts
Blog comments are more vital than posts.

Comments make a site interactively dynamic, rather than non-participatorily static.

A blog post just starts the conversation.

Blog posts are a dime a dozen.

It's the unpredictable, uncanny, unnerving response

that steals the show. The star is the comment,

not the post. Post as star is narcissistic.

Without comments, most posts are dead-ends.
It's an excellent post, well written and there is much more, but I could not post it all. However. I DISAGREE. I'm posting my response here on my blog, and it should be apparent as you read it why.

MY RESPONSE: Aha! I agree on the bit about conversation. It's all about the conversation. Conversation is core, but I disagree on the execution. It's not all about comments. I seek quarrel with you! (Or at least good disagreement and debate. :)

Comments are good for the spirit and soul. But what about reblogging!?

Reblogging is what blogging lives on. Not comments! Without re-blogging blogging would wither up and die.

Reblogging is good for the spirit and the soul AND it feeds the conversation in a way comments cannot. It not only feeds the "google juice", but it makes us the bloggers the conduit through which we find things of importance.

Reblogging makes our friends and other bloggers the conduit through which we learn.

I'll take one reblogger over 1000 comments. I can live without comments. Can you live without rebloggers?

If no one blogged about you who would know you existed? Where would your readers come from? You would be a one handed tree clapping in the forrest! A sheep in a wolf's suit!

Sure there are other means in other medium through which you might reach new ears and eyes, but it comes down to this....

When we blog we make media but when we reblog we become the media.

It's through reblogging that we know what blogs are good, what posts are good, what's news is interesting. Every step of the way the color commentary is added. The sparks and fizzle, the spice of life. Important points are honed, validation given, credibility is found, useless drivel falls away, all that is left in the revlogging process is truth, brutal truth, agreement by fire.

And politicians fall from grace, and news anchors resign. Not because of the first post or the first word, but because of the rallying on, the groundswell, the uproar which comes there after. It's not that the first word was true. It's that the millions of bloggers there after found it and found it true and then reblogged it.

It's because of reblogging that I keep up on the important aspects of the blogosphere. If a pin drops on the far side of the world and it pertains to me I will find out about it because it's more likely that one of my trusted sources of like interest will blog about it than a newspaper will write about it. The blogs I read become my conduit.

Bloggy media is the future because only the collective we has the capacity to cover all the news that matters to us. No committee can, no political system, no media, no other system known to man has this power. A newspaper will not write about this post or you or me but these words are important, vital even to we who write them, if not many others.

But while a newspaper may not write about this, it is quite possible it may not fall on deaf ears and many will, and so the ideas, the passion and the truth in these words may travel outward virally.

Through reblogging the capacity of this medium is directly proportional to the amount of readers and the amount of rebloggers.

Comments are merely the niceties, the frosting. Reblogging is the business end, the mortar, the cake.

Reblogging is what makes blogging golden. It ignores the unfit, the unwelcome, the uninteresting, the uncontroversial and it embraces the bold, the thoughtful, the artful and the beautiful and it rallies them on.

That which is of no consequence falls on deaf ears and that is where it dies. That of interest finds its keepers in exactly those souls who find it interesting and worthy, and hence they reblog it, and on the story goes in exquisite form. Growing, adapting, evolving, finding new minds and fresh eyes. Twisting, turning. While it would appear to have a mind and life of it's own a soul even it is dead. Reblogging is an exquisite corpse at the same time it would appear to be alive without the hearts and minds of rebloggers it would be dead. It is only through re-blogging does the conversation lives on.

And so it goes with this post.

If you consider it worthy, I'm working on a little article on the etiquette of revlogging. It's in it's first stream of conscious draft, a rant, over on my wiki at:

mmeiser wiki - Mike's Guide to re-vlogging etiquette

Though it's focused on aspects of reVlogging not reBlogging it pertains directly to this post. The issue of reblogging is 100x's renewed in podcasting and video blogging.

As it is a first draft, it is sucky and narcissistic just like you'd expect it to be not serving but its own master. But it's full of pop and ooze and goo and stuff and it's on a wiki. So, please come help me fix it or send me an email, or comment in the "talk" function or reblog it, or quote it, or disagree with it tear it apart where it stands. That's what it's there for. It has nice creative common license on it or it should. It's for all to hammer upon and borrow from and rewrite. And just as long as credit is given where credit is do I don't care.

-Mike of

40 years of Italian parmesan cheese commercials

i_casi_sono_due vuoi_mettere giovanni nevicata

I can't understand a word of Italian, but I still found it fascinating and fun flipping through all these parmesan cheese commericials dating all the way back to 1965. I stumbled upon it from the wikipedia article on parmesan cheese. Don't ask me what I was doing there. I guess I had a momentary interest in the history of cheese. Anyway, here's one of the latest commericial of a pole vailting cow.

(video/quicktime Object)

I don't think you need to know italian to follow it. I'm guessing the cow just really, really wants to be a Parmigiano Reggiano cow. Also, the wannabe cow is brown and the parmesan cows are black. What's that suppose to mean? Brown cows aren't good enough? If it were a U.S. commercial would all the cows would be black? I can only wonder. :)

Personally I like this old B&W animated ad from 1971, but it's a little hard to follow not knowing italian. Something about the middle east and snakes. Hmmm...

(video/quicktime Object)

Fun factoide: You should know that Parmesan cheese is a stringently regulated thing in Itally. This from the almighty wikipedia.

The name is trademarked, and in Italy there is a legal exclusive control exercised over its production and sales by the Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese Consorzio (created by a governmental decree). There are strict criteria each wheel must meet early in the aging process, when the cheese is still soft and creamy, to merit the official seal and be placed in storage for aging. Cheese which fails to meet these criteria is removed and fed to pigs, which are then used to produce prosciutto di Parma.

Fun stuff that cheese. :)

The old commercials going back to 1965 are here: Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano

For more of the pull-vaulting cow antics in the latest commercials go here: Consorzio del Formaggio Parmigiano-Reggiano

Friday, July 8

MIT Weblog Survey

I was just catching up on my email and found a solicitation to the MIT weblog survey. I've been seeing a lot of blog posts about it so I thought I'd fill it out. It looked interesting enough. It seemed a little convoluted, just toward the end. Perhaps it's because it asked me some questions about some odd random links from my blog that really didn't seem to apply to their questions, or perhaps it was just the last page that asked me to many silly questions about the types of people I know, my relationship to them and wether I'd met them online. Such as do I know "unskilled laborers" or cooks, or "policy makers" and wether I met them online or not. It's was quite a list and a little convoluted. Still I can't wait to see the results, when they finally come out.

More into about the survey: MIT Weblog Survey : Information

Monday, July 4

The Spirit of Christmas in July

South_Park_intoNote to self: Be sure to include South park in the history of viral media. I almost forgot about the Santa Claus vs. Jesus gem. I think it's around somewhere though. Oh, yeah there it is.

Watch it:

Ehh.. who hasn't seen that? Here's a spoiler. Kenny dies for the first time evar.

South Park got its start in 1991 when Parker and Stone, then film students at the University of Colorado, created an animated short called Jesus vs Frosty. The crudely made film featured prototypical versions of the kids of South Park, including a character resembling Cartman but called "Kenny", bringing a murderous snowman to life with a magic hat. The baby Jesus then saves the day by decapitating the monster with a halo.

Executives at the Fox network saw the film, and in 1995 executive Brian Graden commissioned Parker and Stone to create a second short film to send to friends as a video Christmas card. Entitled The Spirit of Christmas, it closely resembled the style of the later series, and featured a martial arts duel (and subsequent truce) between Jesus and Santa Claus over the true meaning of Christmas. The video was a hit and was quickly shared, both by underground duplication and over the then-burgeoning Internet. This led to talks to create a series, first with Fox, then with Comedy Central, where the series premiered on August 13, 1997.

Overnight Success. Viral. Only took one video and six years. :)

From: South Park - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Inside the Tornado and other good summer adventures

Hot damn, I just love the storm chasing footage.This is from Josh Kinberg. They were definitely NOT inside a Tornado or they REALLY would have known it, but hot damn, they seem to have gotten pretty close, not that that's something to be desired, they're very lucky they didn't get nailed with golf ball or softball size hail among other things. There's no place to run when you're driving through Nebraska. I've done the similar trip from Chicago to Denver a couple times myself.

tornadoAnyway, I couldn't NOT re-vlog it.

It looks like I'm not the only one who's been distracted with summer travel fun. In fact it looks like everyone's been distracted in the last couple weeks with great summer fun. Jay and Rynanne are off camping. Josh's helping friends move and learning to play "shit head". A lot of traveling going on. I myself haven't even blogged in about two or three weeks. :( Good summer distractions like weddings in St. Louis, and I just got back from Columbus Ohio and even further down in downstate Ohio. I was really shocked to find myself in the Appalachians, a completely unexpected suprise. It's been so long since I've driven through them and so long (15+ years) since I've been that far down in Ohio I forgot they stretched that far west. Simply beautiful country, but so damn far off the beaten path! Thank god I had been trying out the new iTunes with podcasting as I discovered I had all this simply awesome IT Conversations, Gilmore Gang and other podcasts from Gnomedex.

Speaking of which the gnomedex coverage was GREAT. A big thanks to Steve Gilmore, Eric Rice, Adam Curry, Clint Sharp and everyone who podcasted, video blogged, blogged and took photos. Incredible stuff, though never as good as being there. There's something absolutely beautiful about listening to that much technical geekitude in such a place of simple living as the Appalachians. Will post more on my travels later.

Well Enjoy the clip from Josh Kinberg. I can't believe only two people have commented on it, and that includes myself. :)

Watch it:
and comment!

Read more: sandbox films: Inside the Tornado