Tuesday, December 26

Microsoft patents web based aggregation - the growing problem of patent spam

So! Microsoft filed for a patent last wek (Dec. 21st) for a web based RSS aggregator. What's so funny (or not so funny) about this patent application is it covers absolutely NOTHING that services and software like we at Mefeedia.com, and others like Odeo.com, Fireant, Democracy, Bloglines, and even the Google news reader, among many others haven't been doing for years.

Here's the summary.

A content syndication platform, such as a web content syndication platform, manages, organizes and makes available for consumption content that is acquired from the Internet. In at least some embodiments, the platform can acquire and organize web content, and make such content available for consumption by many different types of applications. These applications may or may not necessarily understand the particular syndication format. An application program interface (API) exposes an object model which allows applications and users to easily accomplish many different tasks such as creating, reading, updating, deleting feeds and the like. Further, in at least some embodiments, a user can subscribe to a particular web feed, be provided with a user interface that contains distinct indicia to identify new feeds, and can efficiently consume or read RSS feeds using both an RSS reader and a web browser.

It's like some Microsoft stooge desided to start an write up a specification for a news read and the first step in documenting the process was to apply for a patent on it while there's not a single new or original idea in the entire application. If it were car it'd be like the first step would be patenting the idea of putting wheels and an engine on a car. Quite simply and plainly put it's 100% patent spam. Much like spam in your email it has absolutely no value and serves only to further gum up our already very troubled U.S. patent system.

Spam is a problem with any open system... but ussually it's one we hear about with email, or comment spam, or mailing list spam... done by individuals or small groups of individuals on the dregs of society... and usually it has legal reprecussions as with email spam or telemarket spam.

However, in the world of patent spam increasingly the biggest offenders are large companies and corporation that quite often are doing the least amount of innovation as is clearly the case in this patent from Microsoft. The guys out there doing the innovation, the innovation that patents were originally SUPPOSED to encourage are increasingly discouraged in having to defend themselves agains such crap. The weight on innovators, the patent system and above all on the judicial process is becoming a huge factor in the tech industry.

Mefeedia as well as hundreds if not thousands of others have already implimented nearly every method for which Microsoft is applying for a patent on.

Here's some of the points it covers.

  • covers a method of storing "enclosures" or downloaded media in the file system on devices or software that don't read RSS

  • the creation of a "post queue"... (such as my queue on mefeedia)

  • simplified method's for subscribing to RSS feeds... (such as mefeedia's single click subscription and single click queuing system, much like every other aggregatory webservice)

  • a "feed store" which stores both a list of subscribed feeds and feed data (Wow that's genius, at mefeedia we just call these "feed stores" databases.)

  • the syncronization of feed data between the webservice and software and devices explicitely mentioning media players and digital image viewing applications (At mefeedia we deliver RSS to desktop news readers via RSS, OPML, XML and of course anything that can read HTML.)

  • the presenting of feed data to non-syncdication aware applications... such as when applications like mefeedia, google reader, and bloglines present data for mobile devices or TV devices that don't recognize RSS (Like I said, at mefeedia we display data in whatever format a device desires, OPML, XML, HTML, and many others... bloody brilliant. In addition we'll deliver information in the future to such devices anyway the end user like, text messages, email, WAP, mMode, who know. We always thought we were brilliant, but brilliant more along the lines of obvious.)

There's more, but frankly I think you get the point.

The patent: United States Patent Application: 0060288011

Oh, and let's not forget microsoft's content syndication platform

A content syndication platform, such as a web content syndication platform, manages, organizes and makes available for consumption content that is acquired from the Internet. In at least some embodiments, the platform can acquire and organize web content, and make such content available for consumption by many different types of applications. These applications may or may not necessarily understand the particular syndication format. An application program interface (API) exposes an object model which allows applications and users to easily accomplish many different tasks such as creating, reading, updating, deleting feeds and the like.

Bloody brilliant!

Via: Techdirt: Because The Patent System Sucks, The Only Thing To Do Is File For More Bad Patents

Microsoft patents web based aggregation - the growing problem of patent spam

Blogger blows... double posting again. For the actual article go here.

Saturday, December 23

Don't anger the Amanda!

This is a follow up from my last post about Amanda Congdon's new video based thingy on ABC which got some heat. While that's clearly a failure as a web based tool for video communications it rests soley on the sholders of ABC. They do Amanda and themselves an injustice. On the other hand amanda's new vlog Starring Amanda Congdon rules and is a fine example of what a vlog should be. I loved her latest post about Time Magazine declaring "you" the people of the year.

"People of the Year"

Watch movie

Original post on December 22, 2006 from Starring Amanda Congdon: (RSS feed)
(Via Mefeedia)

Best line, "This is not a television show. Please don't make amanda mad by calling this TV."

Amanda was one a complete newb to the blogging vlogging and the tech space in general, but since that time she's really embraced the people and the culture and she really gets what it's all about, which is not about simply TV or entertainment. It's about connecting people.

And I really hope ABC get's clued in that you can't just slap a video in a pop up window and expect success and viewership. This isn't TV... the audience isn't captive. The infinite distractions of the web demand that video on the web be open and accessible and there are MANY many mechanisms most of which come from blogging that help keep viewers keep up with a vlog, not just RSS. Again for that see my last post about Amanda on ABC.

ABC, clue up! Amanda, keep rocking! ... and PLEASE clue in ABC.

Friday, December 22

Amanda Congdon's new "vlog" on ABC is not a vlog

While I could frankly give a crap less about the general Amanda Congdon vs. Andrew Baron scrap, Andrew did have some very astute observations about the new Amanda Congdon "thingy" on ABC's website.

Why did I call it a "thingy"? Because it's absolutely positively NOT a vlog. It isn't even a damn video in a web page. It's a video buried in a pop-out window. Even Amanda herself is a little frustrated with ABC, as well she should be. They are absolutely clueless and her video based thingy is almost guaranteed to be a flop unless ABC does an about face.

1) has no permalinks

2) no archive

3) no display of shows in reverse chronological order

4) no RSS feed

5) no comments

6) no copy and past urls or code to embed or re-blog a show like youtube

7) absolutely obnoxious pre-roll advertising

Much as I may like and even respect Amanda all in all these points add up to a HUGELY damning prospect for her show. It's almost doomed to be a flop.

Amanda's success on rocketboom came from the shows accessibility, conversational and participatory nature. ABC has done a complete 180 on this, a failure.

In essence ABC has replicated what made Rocketboom successful not at all. They have taken the conversation and the accessibility completely 100% out out of the picture. What's left is bupkiss. Nada. If I were Andrew Baron I sure wouldn't be getting into another spat, I'd be feeling sorry for Amanda right about now. She's starting 10 feet in the ruff, nay in the sand bunker, and frankly I don't see how her ABC web based thingy is going to be a success at all.

If there were to be any discussion of the new Amanda Congdon show on ABC around the blogosphere, which there won't be, it would go something like this.

Person A: Heh did you see yesterday's episode of the Amanda Congdon show?

Person B: No, where's it at?

Person A: Hell if I know.

Person B: F*ck it.

Person A: Yeah, never-mind. Sorry for bringing it up.

All this courtesy of ABC, much to Amanda's disgrace.

I've seen a lot of "videoblogs" that aren't really videoblogs at all in the last two years, but this is cut and dry one of the worst cases ever. I really strongly advise anyone in a position to do so to tell ABC to get their head out of their arse before they drag Amanda down with them.

Podcasting News did a great post on the advertising angle.

From: Podcasting News - More Proof That People Hate Intrusive Advertising In Online Video

Remember Rocketboom founder Andrew Baron's recent critique of ABC's new Amanda Congdon video blog? One of his chief complaints was the show's 'irrelevant pre-roll ads that outlast many people?s curiosity.'

While Baron's critique may not be completely impartial, his experience as a video podcasting pioneer gives him insight into what works and doesn't work in video podcasts. And new research suggests that Baron is right about intrusive video advertising.

Burst Media has released a study that found 69.5% of survey respondents actively view video content on the web and 56% recall seeing ads in content they have watched.

The study also found that 52.7 percent say they typically continue watching video content once they encounter an advertising unit. That means video publishers could be losing nearly half their potential audience with the use of intrusive ads.

The study found that (77.5 percent) of respondents say advertisements in online video are intrusive and nearly two-thirds (62.2 percent) say advertisements in video content disrupts their web surfing experience

?We did not explore the quality of video ads and if the creative played a role when the ads are abandoned by users. But I suspect that it is a significant factor, especially since one in four users like video more than inert online ads,? says Chuck Moran, manager of market research for Burst. ?For users who take the time to watch video ads, their recall rate is pleasantly high.?

The survey highlights that video podcasters and mainstream publishers can learn from the experience of pioneers like Baron and other successful video podcasters and vloggers. Baron's Rocketboom has focused on creating engaging sponsor ads that features the show host. Vloggers like Ze Frank have successfully used end-of-roll ads.

Even manufacturers are using video podcasting creatively. A great example is the Will It Blend video podcast - an incredibly entertaining way to promote a product that, otherwise, isn't that exciting.

Here's the message ABC! I can't put it any louder or clearer.

First make them laugh, THEN people will be more receptive to your advertising!

Clueless, clueless b*stards.

I hate to say this but whatever this new Amanda thingy is it's the worst case of a bastardized misunderstood videoblog I've ever seen, and that's pretty damn sad because I've seen a lot of wannabee PR video blogs come and go over the last two years.

the owl, a music video

I stumbled on this on del.icio.us. I love the beautiful simplicty and intensity of it. It's a music video for the band I love you but I've choosen darkness.

Watch movie (22.6 MB, 2.8 min)

Original post on December 21, 2006 from del.icio.us/popular/system:filetype:mov: (RSS feed)

(Via Mefeedia)

Tuesday, December 19

Amazon to open DRM-free MP3 Store in Q1 2007?

Could it be? An actual honest to god digital marketplace for music with downloadable MP3's which will play on any MP3 player not just the iPod or the Zune?

In addition it's rummored this marketplace will have *variable pricing* allowing it to meet a supply and demand for music based in reality and not the arbitrary $1.99 per song price schema.

Could the digital marketplace every music lover has been waiting for since Napster actually arive in the first quarter of 2007?

Bob Caswell from Computers.net sums the rumor up best.

Looks like rumors are afloat that Amazon is planning on a late first quarter 2007 launch of a new music download store. In an already crowded music download market, Amazon hopes to differentiate itself in two major ways:

The company is apparently telling labels (politely, I'm sure) that it is only interested in selling DRM-free mp3s (meaning, once you download the song, it's yours for whatever purpose you see fit, no more restrictions like you can burn only X amount of times or you can only have it reside on X computers, etc.). The second difference is that Amazon seems interested in offering variable pricing.

Rumors are claiming that Amazon began circulating contracts to labels late last week. Obviously if Amazon goes the DRM-free mp3 route, the company nicely avoids playing favorites on the hardware side, as it will only sell music downloads that are compatible on all devices.

Right now it's not clear which major labels might be included at Amazon's launch. Indie labels seem to be branded as the likely first movers. The DRM-free approach may not be what some labels want, but variable pricing is a feature other labels have been interested in for some time.

So the question is: Is Amazon big enough to take significant market share away from Apple & friends? If the DRM-free ideal comes true, I think we may have something to look forward to in 2007.

Monday, December 18

santa park, NY

santa park
santa park
, higres version

Santa infestation.

Comment that sums it up best.

"its like a scene form the warriors but with santas, how many where there?"

Who here knows The Warriors? :)

Participatory culture, the things we create have magic powers

, higres version
From: pt's photstream>

The things that people have made themselves have magic powers. They have hidden meaning's that others can't see.

This from a craft makers manifesto posted by Phil torrone on his Flickr feed, but it bears some strong parrellels to not only why we make crafts, but also media, and why not why we create and develop software. In fact anyone with a creative bone in their body will recognize the points here.

We are all makers. We're all creators. It's not just the story of crafts. It's the story of media makers as well... and not just media makers... but the makers of software and webservices that make the media making possible. But I am being redundant. :)


Saturday, December 16

A Charlie Brown Christmas Remix

I'm flumuxed by this enigma. A remix of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" with a new script and voice overs by the cast of the television show "Scrubs". I don't have the backstory of this posting yet. I don't see how the Scrubs crew could have gotten permission for the Peanuts gang, but the production quality is high I'm guessing it must have been done as some sort of in-house christmas video card, now leeked onto the web. Reminds me of the christmas video that led to the creation of the TV show South Park.

Watch movie (53 MB, 9.3 min)

Original post on December 14, 2006 from Film Threat: (RSS feed)

Former "Scrubs" production assistant Ryan A. Levin presents the Charlie Brown classic, as re-dubbed by the cast of "Scrubs"...

(Via Mefeedia)

Thursday, December 14

Lip Dubbing: Endless Dream from Jakob Lodwick

A fun suggestion to videobloggers everywhere. Record yourself while walking along singing or lip-singing to your favorite song on your iPod. When you get home redub the acutal mp3 of the song over the video of yourself. Post it to your vlog and be sure to tag it "lipdubbing".

Enjoy: Watch movie

Original post on December 14, 2006 from Vimeo / mmeiser's contacts' video clips: (RSS feed)

From jakob:I walked around with a song playing in my headphones, and recorded myself singing. When I got home I opened it in iMovie and added an MP3 of the actual song, and synchronized it with my video. Is there a name for this? If not, I suggest 'lip dubbing'. Music by Apes + Androids http://apesandandroids.com

(Via Mefeedia)

Martin Scorsese's Sesame Streets

Watch movie (5.3 MB, 1.9 min)

Original post on December 12, 2006 from Vlog of the Day: (RSS feed)

Sesame Street will never be the same after this mashup trailor. Mason Dixon's notes: This should be shown in editing classes. Every shot is recontextualized according to the codes of filmic reality. Robert Dinero in Martin Scorsese's Sesame Streets from Apollo Pony

(Via Mefeedia)

vlogosphere needs more independant verification

From: Frank Barnako: Technorati follow-up

Technorati?s doing the best it can. While Google Analytics (GOOG), Alexa, Podtrac, Feedburner ? the list goes on ? each have their own technologies and are also making efforts to measure what?s going on. Which convinces me there is a huge opportunity for somebody to wrestle this metric reporting monster to the ground. While Nielsen/NetRatings (NTRT) and ComScore have rocket scientists working on Web traffic tools, features like RSS and podcasts and blogs have exploded. And there appears to be no third-party, verifiable resource for measuring them all. Yet.

I've been saying this about the videobloging space in particular for a long time.

Needs more independant data veritification and ratings companies.

Speaking purely from a business sense if you want a marketplace to evolve, say an advertising marketplace, you're going to need more than just a technoratti rating, or some unverified traffic stats.

Tuesday, November 28

There is a limit - using obtuse technological means to solve sociological issues

From: Good Experience - How (not) to prevent people from using bus lanes

This video is hilarious. It should have simply been entitled "DRM", for this is the perfect metaphor for what DRM is. All to often we think technological means can solve sociological issues... when often the technology is completely clumsy, poorly executed, and quite simple obtuse.

The world is not a perfect place, there are exceptions to every rule, life and society will always be messy... there will always be some spam... there will always be some theft. There are no "perfect solutions"... there is only prevention, deterrence and an increased understanding of social engineering.

I find it fascinating that we look endlessly for solutions to sociological issues in technology.

The problems in the IP world are not technological ones, they are due arrogance, greed, complacency and just plain laziness. The culmination of 10+ years of complacency in the music industry. Music executives and media makers at large companies just find it easier to label their customers as criminals and treat them as criminals then to actually trusts them and try to understand them.

As is often said it's easier to hire lawyers then it is to spend money on R&D.

So, with a little innovation and a whole lot of evilness apple now has something like 75% of all online music sales. Why? The music industry created it's own tyrant. They literally handed apple the keys. It's freaking hilarious. Nice job music industry.

And yet... the music industry is no closer to having an open and competitive music market.

The real innovation is happening away from the ball.

The only other music label with any major market share is eMusic with about 10% of digital music sales. How do they do it? While eMusic is not perfect... essentially requiring a stupid monthly service fee instead of allowing people to openly buy music with a simple credit card as they need it... they do do one thing right. They sell unprotected mp3s that will work on the iPod or indeed ANY music player.

I'm torn, because on the one hand I want for these record labels to get a clue, but on the other hand...

Because all these idiotic mainstream labels are standing on the sidelines this has created huge opportunities for independent labels, musicians, and distributors as represented by CD Baby, eMusic, and above all so called "podsafe music", which is music with a simple liberal copyright license, aka. copy-left license such as those from the Creative Commons.

For all these fine institutions have done nothing has done more than the failures of the mainstream media's own endeavors.

Specifically the failure of products like Microsoft's Plays-for-sure DRM, the Zune and the iTunes music store. They have become proofs and vindication for anti-DRM advocates.

1) Plays-for-sure, Microsoft's proposed standard, because of it's complete failure... and the fact that it has become synonymous with 'plays for shit'... not only does it not play on the majority of mp3 players out there, but Microsoft themselves have abandoned it on their latest attempt at competing with the iPod, the Zune.

2) The zune, because of it's notoriety for being completely anti-consumer and obtuse.


3) the iPod/iTunes combo because it has created a gigantic monopoly that benefits no-one at all but Apple.

In conclusion...

The solution is sociological not technological.

Monday, November 27

The inherent flaw in youtube

From: BBC NEWS | Entertainment | The first superstars of web TV

Internet video is coming of age, with the best amateur film-makers attracting millions of online viewers.

Two of the web's hottest film-making teams have made videos for the BBC News website, talking about what they do and where they think it will lead.


Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla are two 19-year-old college students from Carmichael, California.

They are also two of the biggest stars on YouTube, where they go under the name of Smosh.

They started by filming a spoof music video for the Pokemon theme tune, which is now YouTube's second-most watched clip of all time, with 17 million views.

They have since branched out into their own comedy sketches, which have established the pair as firm favourites among the online video audience.

So where's the problem you ask.

1) Money Ian and Anthony have made of youtube: $0

2) Money Ian and Anthony can potentially make of youtube: $0

3) Money youtube has made of just one of Ian and Anthony's videos given 17 million page views and a conservative $5 CPM for all the ads and related traffic. $90k

4) Money google paid for youtube and needs to be made back before youtube can become a profitable enterprise for google: $1.6 billion

So... What does happen when all the stars of youtube wake up and start realizing that youtube is making hundreds of thousands and even millions of dollars off of them and not sharing a penny and they have no mechanisms for making a profit or experimentation?

Provided google does start a revenue share, whatkind of percentage do you think these youtube stars are going to get? 5% mayb 50% even?

It all boils down to this.

No matter what google offers them the stars of youtube are going to wake up and realize thay can make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year if they migrate their fan base away from youtube onto an open vlog where they can place advertisements, or do paid subscription... or sell DVD's and merchandise or anything they damn well want, and take home 95% of the profits.

As they say, easy come, easy go.

Dare I say it?

Yes, I day say it.

Youtube is a fad.

One HELL of a fad, yes, but definitely a fad.

That google bought it will give it some staying power and longevity, but the masses are VERY fickle.

I think we're likely to see the migration away from Youtube over the coming years starting with the best and brightest stars that bring them the most traffic unless youtube offers them some serious revenue share AND... youtube must open up to the great world of iPod's, PSP's, and other portable media players and video podcasting which is going to increasingly threaten it's closed business model of web only video.

I speak of no killer app, and I speak of no rapid decline in youtube. All I say is this. Remember mp3.com. Yeah? Well that's youtube five years from now if google isn't very careful about taking the culture of creatures on youtube and turning disenfranchising it by treating it like a culture of consumers whose eyeballs are available to the highest bidder.

Audiences are no longer captive. They owe no loyalty to even the most hard core social networking sites as Orkut, Friendster and many, many others have found out.

This generation is increasingly savy, they get while the getting is good and move along. Youtube is to rigid of a playground, too much of a clay sandbox for the best and brightest of video producers.

Increasingly I'm find more and more of my favorite video makers have started their own domain, their own brand, and their own video blog... and they're using youtube the way traditional media companies are using youtube... purely for product marketing.

Tuesday, November 14

MobuzzTV got Hacked

Not many details, but a reminder that all is not always a hug fest in vloglandia. Mobuzztv.com got on the 9th. They were back up the next day to leave this brief video message, but have not posted a new video as of this posting. :(

In Anil's own words in the comments.

"They wiped the server, destroying everything. No message left.."

I just want to give them a shout out and say, I miss you guys. Get well soon.

(big group hug)


Re: MobuzzTV Vlog: We got Hacked?

Hopefully they'll get some PR out of this and rebound quickly do to RSS subscriptions keeping them connected.

I'll try to follow up when they post their next video.

Monday, November 13

Rocketboom's Congdon Headed for HBO Comedy

Big news. Congratulations Amanda!

I hope Amanda won't forget about vlogging... and that HBO will find some great ways to bring Amanda back to the videoblogging world.

From: Rocketboom's Congdon Headed for HBO Comedy

Amanda Congdon, co-founder and former host of the comedy video blog Rocketboom.com, is developing a comedy program for HBO.

Details of the project are still being hammered out, but Congdon said she's aiming for a multiplatform property that will be integrated with original video content online. She intends to write and star in the series.

'HBO is exactly the place where I want to be,' Congdon said. 'I'm most interested in playing in that new dimension with two parallel levels of programming, online and on TV.'

Congdon has worked as an actor onstage and in commercials. She remains an owner of Rocketboom but is now concentrating on the HBO project and her www.amandaacrossamerica.com video blog. That project, chronicling her cross-country trek, revolves around environmental issues and is sponsored by the National Resources Defense Council, Environmental Countdown and Ford Motor Co. She recently signed with Endeavor for representation.

Wednesday, November 8

The opensource wikitchen (wiki kitchen)

I've seen the future and it is web3.0. Open source, wikis and social media are starting to have revolutionary implications in the real world.


From: mmmff: WikiTchen

Sunday, November 5

Crowdfunding / people-powered film / community driven financing

Regarding His Fans Greenlight the Project, Robert Greenwald Tapped a New Funding Source: The Audience
by William Booth, Washington Post, Sunday, August 20, 2006

From: NETRIBUTION - People-powered film financing raises $267,000 from 4 emails in 9 days

Adam P Davies and I have recently begun work on a new film funding book - an update to the One With The Pig on the Front. One of the things I'm most interested in this time round, following on from the Cluetrain stuff, is community-driven financing, and in particular how filmmakers who communicate directly with their audience online can bypass conventional sales and financing methods to some extent.

Tell me if this isn't what videoblogging is all about.

Well Robert Greenwald, who Stephen Applebaum interviewed for his Wal Mart documentary earlier this year, recently completed Iraq for Sale which gets a showing at the Leeds Film Festival next week. Struggling to complete the finance on the film, with producer Jim
Gillam, Greenwald emailed everyone who had previously bought copies of the film. Four emails and nine days
later, just over 3000 people had raised more than $267,000, which in
turn released another conditional $100,000 from a philanthropist. Film financed, industry reinvented, job done. I hope to case study this in full in the book, but meantime, here's a Wall Street Journal article telling more.

From Michael Sullivan Crowdfunding.com | People-powered film funding

This article was brought to my attention tonight and it's a GREAT example of Crowdfunding.

Smart use of the Internet to raise money!

Four emails and nine days later, just over 3000 people had raised more than $267,000

Call it community driven financing, crowdfunding, people-powered film or whatever you like but we're starting to see a repetive theme where a whole industry of middle men are being bypassed... where the audience and the artists are connecting directly to fund projects in art, music, film and media.

Read more about Crowdfunding on Wikipedia.

Monday, October 30

St. Louis & Detroit take #1 & #2, America's most-dangerous cities

From: Annual study of crime lists St. Louis as America's most-dangerous; Detroit 2nd | Chicago Tribune:
Days after the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series, their hometown jumped to first place on a list no one wants to lead: the most dangerous cities in the United States.

The ranking was being released Monday by Morgan Quitno Press, a private research and publishing company specializing in state and city reference books. Violent crime surged nearly 20 percent there from 2004 to last year, according to FBI figures released in June.

Is there some correlation between the baseball & violent crime?

Obviously not, but I remember the riots in 1984 after the Tigers won it.

Tried hitting Morgan Quitno Press's website, just appears to be down.

Sunday, October 29

'Web 2.0', a 'viral video'

I'm so sick of the terms and even the very idea of 'web 2.0' and 'viral media' of course I had to post this viral video about web 2.0. :)

Watch movie

Original post on October 23, 2006 from No fat clips!!!: (RSS feed)

A little something you have probably seen before, as it won at The First Post Viral Competition. But if didn't, this is the right time!It shows a very interactive computer system, a kind of interactivity that goes beyond virtuality.The short has been directed by Leo Bridle and Leo Powell. The music was composed by Tom Rubira.Neither of the directors has had any formal training to date although both did Art foundation courses at Winchester School of Art in 2005. This autumn, Leo Bridle goes to Bournemouth Arts Institute to study animation while Leo Powell will study Fine Art at the University of East London. (Source: The First Post)P.S. Ok, there were a money prize but also, the winners "will be shown on a number of online entertainment websites including YouTube.com".

(Via Mefeedia)

Friday, October 27

Can Ask A Ninja make $50-100k a month?

From: Ask a Ninja' visits Madison Avenue - MarketWatch

The two funny guys behind 'Ask a Ninja' are asking serious money for advertisements placed in their podcast.

Douglas Saline and Kent Nichols are pricing their five-minute episodes at a CPM of $50. They told Advertising Age they get 1 million to 2 million views a month, which could mean a price of $50,000 to $100,000 per show. Saline and Nichols were in New York last week to pitch the show to marketers.

Mark McCrery, CEO of Podtrac, the Ninja ad-rep firm, says the pricing is justified by Ninja's audience: 57% between 19 and 34, and 83% male.

There have been 47 episodes of 'Ask a Ninja' since the series got started about a year ago. The venture began after the Saline and Nichols failed to sell a Ninja movie script and decided to try something on their own. It clicked. (Apology for the pun.)

Fans were not pleased with the Ninja decision to take advertising. 'Presenters' get a graphic at the start of the show and a 10- or 15-second scripted segment at the end, with the Ninja endorsing the product. Advertisers have included Sony Pictures and Warner Brothers.

There are other sources of revenue: 'Premium' members pay $12 to $15 a year and get access to shows a few days before they're posted on the Web. The Ninja show's theme song can be purchased as a ring tone. And the Ninja Mart Store sells $20 caps and $16 T-shirts.

'We're just a couple of funny guys trying to pay our bills,' according to the site. 'Bills that are in the tens of thousands of dollars. We don't want to rip anyone off, and we don't want to go broke doing this either.'

First note Ask A Ninja's business plan

1) advertising

2) paid annual subscriptions

3) merchandising

Second... not merchandising as Ask A Ninja is quoted as doing here has been around on vlogs for years... sell some hats, t-shirts and coffee mugs... if you've got a great brand like Ask A Ninja it's a piece of cake.

What's new here is a) advertisting which I'll get into in a second, and b) paid subscriptions.

Paid subscriptions first. It may not be the best model for them and it's still VERY experimental in the video podcasting space. In short I know NOONE doing it yet... and yet I think Ask A Ninja is right to dive into it and include it in their business plan. It's a good experiment.

Now then!

Let's get down to this crazy specs on advertising

1 - 2 million monthly views X $50 CPM = $50-100k/mo

For those of you who don't know CPM is an online advertising term "Cost Per Thousand Impressions" In this case those impressions are pre-roll ads I assume 15-30 seconds on the front of every Ask A Ninja episodes.

So can Ask A Nija really make $50-100k a month?

First... I don't question that Ask A Ninja is getting 1 to 2 million video views a month. It's a very realistic number given my experience with other vlogs.

The real question therefore is can they effectively transfer that ALL to ad views and is a $50 CPM ($50 per 1000 views) a realistic target.

Well... Ask A Nija actually quoted a $50 CPM... but this is quite high. I'm guessing they're NOT making this kind of money on EVERY ad view. I'm betting to some degree they're bragging about their upper limit... and rightfully so... nothing attracts advertisers and gets them to chuck up the big bucks like showing off your biggest brightest tail feathers.

That said... irregardless of wether Ask A ninja is making $50k or $100k a month or just $20k a month we're talking 2-3 guys working out of their basement! They're succeeding... and this is only the start... in the next couple years this industry is going to explode... and they're going to be more and more advertisers competing for premium video and audio podcasts... whomever can come out on the top of the barrel is going to make tremendous money. Right now I think Ask A Ninja is right where they need to be... as is Rocketboom and Ze Frank.

We're at the start of a new industry. A whole new sector for advertising.

What we need now is a Billboard 100 of sorts for various facets of video podcasting, audio podcasting, podsafe music... some industry rags... some groups competing to be the Nielson's ratings of this space to veryify and standardize how numbers like Ask A Nija's are tabulated... so advertisers don't have to gamble on wether they're closer to 1 million or 2 million.

And let's not forget advertising ISN't the end all be all... protect your intellectual property people.

Build brand and idenity... trademark it... merchandise it... later maybe you can licensce for who knows what.

Right now if you've got the talent the sky is the limit. The playingfield is level. You can do all the same thing as big media players.

licensce it

syndicate it

advertise on it

sell it

And most importantly of all make sure you realize that 95% of vlogs and audio podcasts will never monetize like this because Ask A Ninja is ENTERTAINMENT... and while that's funa and all the other 95% of vlogs and podcasts are merely COMMUNICATIONS.

Just like blogs before them 95% of all video blogs and audio podcasts will be closer to telephones than they are newspapers, TV shows and such... this is to say... they are interpersonal communications... that JUST so happen to be public... just because you're communicating in public... standing on a soap box or not... doesn't mean you're a movie star people... know the difference and by all means REVEL in your new found freedoms and encourage others to participate... but don't mistake these completely new media and your place in them for something they are not. This little evilution isn't about entertainment and news... it's about everday communications.

"The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it, and the number of spectators will be proportional to the number of friends the director has."

Truffaut saw almost 50 years ago the future of the moving image would be one day belong to everyday people... and the audience would find these everday moments interesting because they would be the creators friends, family and peers.

This is precisely what we're sing on services like youtube... once you get past the "viral videos" and the spectacle of it... you'll realize it's just people sharing little everday pieces of their life with friends, and peers around the world. Not entertainment... just communications. Youtube is more akin to what people one day envisioned as videoconferencing than it is TV or movies. It's like a big video conference party line... with an open ended timeline.

Most of it has very little to do with where Ask A NIja is going and that's great and fine and dandy.

What you thought everyone was going to be a TV star?


Monday, October 23

YouTube turns over user data to Viacom's Paramount Pictures

From: YouTube turned over user data to media firm lawyers - MarketWatch

On May 24, lawyers for Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures convinced a federal judge in San Francisco to issue a subpoena requiring YouTube to turn over details about a user who uploaded dialog from the movie studio's 'Twin Towers,' according to a copy of the document.

YouTube promptly handed over the data to Paramount, which on June 16 sued the creator of the 12-minute clip, New York City-based filmmaker Chris Moukarbel, for copyright infringement, in federal court in Washington.

That YouTube chose to turn over the data, rather than simply remove the offending video from its site -- as it did Friday when it agreed to take down 30,000 videos at the request of a group of Japanese media companies -- came as a surprise to copyright experts.

The video in question was a student created film with student actors. Based on a segment of script from the movie "twin towers".

Bravo Youtube. Bravo Viacom / Paramount.

Without your bold and heavy handed moves Twin Towers would have had serious box office setbacks as it hits the theatres.

What's more youtubers and bloggers everywhere will cherish and praise your good names.

And meanwhile millions of copies of pirated versions of Twin Towers will flow out of manufacturing facilities and across P2P networks world wide.

But you've shut down one student filmaker, Chris Moukarbel, whom dared to make his own homage to your film.

Way to kick some fan ass.

Money well spent. Bravo.

Again... this was in May. Youtube is just f*cked.

Sunday, October 8

JPG Magazine, a fine example of participatory media

For some time, particularly since Current TV I've been talking with people (particularly video bloggers) about making high level media that is truly participatory bubble up media.

Flickr has acted as a hot bed of activity within the photographic community allowing all sorts of opportunities to create high level participatory media.

Some have created simple photologs of multiple photographers whose work they love. The economics of these mediums are very simple, they promote the very photographers they love and what could be better than that.

Even more interesting though is some books have been published. (I've been flattered to participate in a couple) Magazines and newspapers have established user groups as marketing tools or to aggregate potentially publishable photos.

JPG Magazine is one such magazine. It is a fine example of what can be done with such participatory media.

Ultimately where Current TV failed to create a truly open and sustainable ecosystem for their users by merely creating a giant ongoing contest... JPG magazine, at least in combination with Flickr and other photo-sharing services and independent photo blogs, is a great example of how participatory culture can be bubbled all the way up into traditional and higher forms of media.

In JPG Magazine's case that "higher form" of media is of course a magazine but why can't other opportunities be created.

- A network of videoblogs could create a cable/sat/TV channel, or a weekly show, or a movie... or a film festival, or a gallery opening, or films screening?

- Why can't a network of bloggers publish a collection of essays, a weekly or monthly newspaper or journal, or even a book, or how about a collaborative work of fiction, a novel?

Some of my first impressions on JPGmag.com

One of the first things I checked out was JPG magazine's usage restrictions on users submitted photos. I was AMAZED to find out it wasn't draconian, but in fact simple and very user friendly.

JPG Magazine is a big fan of copyright. We respect yours and reserve our own.

Contributors to JPG keep all their rights, and do not have to license their work in any particular way. By contributing your photo, you simply give us the right to display the photo online, and print it if chosen.

That's just freaking beautiful when you consider most websites that take submissions for whatever reason have absolutely draconian terms of service. For example take Youtube, it's terms of service have improved but in essence they claim ownership to anything you submit and can do anything they want with it they like.

JPG Magazine's terms of service alone warrants this blog post of praise. It's an inspiration and it gives me hope that we ARE moving into a much more humane legal age. Needless to say I will be participating in JPG Magazine in the future primarily because of this point, not that it doesn't hurt that JPG magazine pays $100 for each photo it publishes and offers a free subscription if they publish any of your photos.

Side notes:

One of the first things I noticed is that the JPG mag signup had some nice AJAXian automatic verification of data in the signup form. For example when you enter a username the signup form automatically checks that username and verifies visually if it's available. A minor detail, but a very nice detail. ...even though it doesn't tell you if the username is NOT available, which I think might be more important still. :p

Second, after you signup there's a nice introduction to JPG magazine that gives you the lay of the land. Here's the opener to it.

Welcome to JPG, Michael!

We're so glad you've joined us.

JPG is not just another photo sharing site - it's a community that's come together to create a photo magazine.

Here at JPG, we like to say we're all about "imagemaking without attitude." That means we want JPG to be a positive experience for everyone. This isn't about photo snobbery or pixel wanking. It's just about the joy of photography.

If you love photography like we do, welcome. But if you're looking to have yet another fight about film vs. digital, or confrontational critique, that's not really what we do here.

We're also about mostly unmodified photos. That means we do not accept photos that have been overly Photoshopped. No fake borders, digitally-added text, or cutouts. Adjustments to color and sharpness is just fine, of course.

Just keep it real, baby. Here's a handy rule: If anything has been digitally added or removed (well, besides dust), it's probably not right for JPG.

There's more, but I'll leave it to you to signup to see it all.

In fact, the only problem I had with JPG view in this otherwise glowing review was their profile page.

After I typed in a nice little bio I was appalled to find that JPG magazine's website just deleted my copy arbitrarily after a certain number of characters and lines... roughly after 500 characters. Quite contrary to the attention to detail on the signup form there was no limit on the form to ensure I didn't type over 500 characters and no alert when I did. Everything over 500 characters was just deleted when I clicked submit. Frustrated I left the following copy as my profile.

I was surprised at how good the usability was on jpgmag.com until this profile page. It throws all high standards out the window.

The very idea of a "profile" implies and encourages the user to write freely, but jpgmag arbitrarily truncates (deletes) the users first attempt at a well written profile at 500 chars with no alert, and no way to recover a lost attempt.

There's no reason why there should be a 500char limit. It's just asinine. Why have a limit at all?

To be fair the input form does say "maximum 500 characters" above the form, but this is no excuse.

An arbitrary limit of 500 characters does NOT discourage spam or other negatory activity. It merely tells the user they're unimportant, makes users take less pride, and makes a site like this whose value is in it's sociability a far less powerful and therefore useful too.

The profile page is not just about identity, it's the root building block of user participation... the precursor to the users submitted photos themselves. Case in point I've noticed quite a few grease-monkey scripts floating around on the web that change the user icons all over flickr.com to link directly to the users profile page and NOT the users photo-stream. JPG magazine like Flickr may be about the photos, but the identity is still the most important building block in community interaction.

The objective of JPGmag.com is to aggregate great photos, but without strong identity and identity based mechanisms for identifying great photos JPGmag.com and Flickr would merely be websites with a bunch of meaningless photos. Identity is directly tied to meaning. And MEANING, not beauty or interestingness is the root value of such sites and the root underlying mechanism for discovery and sharing.

To put it simply identity is the root from which all things participatory media grow. The stronger the identity, the stronger the community, the more trust, and participation.

BTW, I also submitted my thoughts to their bug report form which is at the bottom of every page. Yet another VERY nice touch.

All in all I thought I found JPG Magazine to be one of the finest if not the finest example of bubbling up participatory media into higher and more traditional forms of media.

JPG magazine only pay $100 for each photo they use in JPG Magazine, if they do use any. ;) However, while this is pretty low considering how much revenue they take in I suspect or at least hope it will rise in the future as their subscriptions and profits increase to attract an ever greater quality of photographers. This could be both a good and a bad thing. In fact... maybe one day there should be an amateur photographer's JPG magazine and a professional photographers JPG magazine. (competition anyone?) The only difference between such magazines would be the bounty they offer for photographs. This would keep the amateur photography magazine accessible to amateur photographers, while creating the opportunity for all to shoot for a higher level of profit and status. Some like me will revel in amateur photography, others will aim for profits and status... and so be it.

All in all, while I do hope JPG Magazine's bounty for great photos continues to rise. I would probably still submit at least some of my photos to JPG magazine no matter what they paid.

This is not to say money doesn't matter to me it does, but being published in JPG magazine is worth more than simply money. There is a far greater value that's often completely over looked. That core value of participatory media is simply social capital.

Social capital includes things like trust, visibility, recognition, credibility, good will, shared history, education, connectivity and above all the potential for greater upward mobility... aka. opportunity.

Let's not forget simple bragging rights and fun! :)

JPG Magazine is creating a tremendous amount of social capital among photographers and while it just past it's second year birthday I'd still consider my contribution an investment and the greatest ROI not money at all, but simple social capital.

Besides what else am I going to do with all the awesome photos I take with my $150 camera? :)

Monday, September 25

Mobile AV podcast agregation support to be unvieled on the Nokia N95 tomorrow!?

As many know I've blogged time and again about the idea of the fabled "networked ipod"... The idea being "hubless media aggreagation" or "direct to portable device media aggregation"... taking podcasting and videoblogging "beyond the desktop"... and I've put it many other ways.

The ultimate vision is that that one day soon we'll be walking down the street and our portable media device will suddenly beep at us and we'll pull it out and see we have a new video or audio podcast from a friend right there and ready to play.

Ideally this device will transparenly jump on and off any open or trusted network checking all our photo, audio podcast, or videoblog subscriptions downloading any media in the background transparently without needing any attention. We'd then be able to pull it out at any point and be assured that the absolute latest videos, photos or audio podcasts would be right there waiting for us.

Such a device will allow podcasting technology to become untethered.. to go with us out into the world, to be experienced not in realtime, but in web time. Such media will then start to become not just more ubiquitous than traditional broadcasting and entertainment... but also a seemless tool of everday inter-personal communications.

The wifi enabled Sony PSP has been the closest to this vision, but it is not a automatic aggregator... it's simply a browser... and it requires way to much attention to discover, download, and prepare content prior to simple playback. You must be on network to browse media and download individual videos and pieces of audio individually for later playback. In order for such a device to be successful content must come to the device without the need for constant attention and require us only to choose which mp3 or video and press play.

Nokia has been making some major in-roads lately with devices like the n770 and more recently the n93, and now it appears that their latest device the n95 will be out as soon as tomorrow and that it might, just might, finally have full on support for audio and video podcast aggregation!

I'll believe it when I see it! :)

I don't have the exact specs but Steve Garfield just posted about the Nokia N95 which will supposedly be out tomorrow. According to him it will have an audio and video podcast aggregator on the phone.

This is Steve Garfield reporting from the Soho Grand Hotel where Nokia has gathered bloggers from around the world to preview the new Nokia N95, prior to it's public unveiling tomorrow in NYC at the 7th Regiment Armory.


There was an application called podcasting and I asked about it. It's a media aggregator that will be able to subscribe to audio and video podcasts which you'll then be able to watch on the device. It's really a lot more than just a phone. It's a multimedia computer.

I have lots of questions steve (and nokia)! and I want answers! :)

First, I want specs!

  • video/audio codecs supported -- 3gp, mp4, mp3 ???

  • RSS standards supported -- RSS 2.0, mediaRSS, Atom ??

  • memory -- Onboard memory size, explandability, flash card type?

  • does it aggregate via any open wifi? what about authenticated wifi?

  • does it aggregate over wireless!? i.e 3G

  • can it jump on and off trusted and open networks without my attention

  • can it aggregate media in the background

  • how do i get RSS feeds to the phone? does nokia have an API?

Steve, and Nokia... if you're listening... send me one already for testing!

We over at mefeedia.com have been waiting and prepared to take videoblogging and audio podcasting beyond the desktop computer and "tethered devices" like the ipod... for over a year... just give us basic RSS 2.0 support, some good formats support like mp4 and mp3, a way to get a feed in the device and a simple easy to use aggregator / playback interface we'll do the rest! :)

Steve G's whole post is here: Nokia Test Center Blog: Blogger Preview of the Nokia N95

, ,

Sunday, September 24

82,978 podcasts and counting

pcast_popularityHaven't seen any stats on the number of podcasts recently and was pleasantly suprised to see a podcaster (Victor Cjiao of typicalmacuser.com) went through and totaled up all the numbers in the iTunes podcast directory.

82,978 podcasts and counting

According to Victor that's a ten-fold increase since apple started the directory just over a year ago.

What with all the great podcasting platforms like Odeo, Hipcast, Vimeo, Blip.tv and dozens of directories and platforms like Mefeedia the iTunes directory certainly doesn't contain everything. (In fact i'm sure it has but a small fraction of the total number of video and audio podcast feeds.) However it's a good indicator of how big podcasting has grown and how fast it's growing.

So why is it so important that there are 82,978 podcasters in the iTunes Podcast directory?

Because Apple sent out a cease and decist against Podcast Ready claiming their name infringed on Apple's trademarks. This implies that Apple believes that any name containing "podcast" might infringe on their trademarks and it has got many of those 82,978 podcasters blood boiling.

According to Russell Shaw over at ZDNet this is not simply a case of trademark protectionism gone mad.

According to him it appears Apple is attempting to do a trademark land grab not only around the term "pod", as was previously known, but now also the term "ipodcast".

Now there's virtually no chance Apple will succeed in maintaing total control over the user of "pod" and especially "podcast" in this space but they sure hasn't stopped them from trying and they sure are pissing a lot of people (and businesses) off.

The ZDnet article: » EXCLUSIVE: Apple Trademark Office docs point to REAL reasons for" Podcast" controversy | IP Telephony, VoIP, Broadband | ZDNet.com

Thanks Victor for the info.

Saturday, September 23

Apple threatening Podcast Ready over use of the term Pod

Well... if this isn't just the bees knees... Like I need another reason to hate Apple these days. I'm already pissed the new iTunes 7.0 STILL doesn't have permalinks / linkbacks to podcasters. Now this.

From: Apple Hits Podcast Ready with Nastygram (Wired.com)

Apple Computer has slapped podcastready_smallerPodcast Ready with a "cease and desist" letter, claiming that the terms "Podcast Ready" and "myPodder" infringe Apple's trademarks, and that they cause confusion among consumers. The company has been cracking down on use of the word "pod" by all sorts of parties, even though its trademark is for the word "iPod."

Podcast Ready CEO Russel Holliman said he'd consider dropping the name myPodder if he had to, but "Podcast Ready"? If that's infringement, Apple is claiming that it owns the word "podcast." Sure, the word originated with the word iPod, but most people now see it as a general term for downloadable audio shows that isn't affiliated with one brand more than another.

Coincidentally, Apple's letter arrived the day before Podcast Ready unveiled a new version of its software -- one that works with the iPod.

Podcast Ready works by sucking down subscribed podcasts directly to a portable device whenever that device is connected to a computer. This allows you to update your player's podcasts on any computer, instead of just the one running, say, your iTunes software. The latest version of the program works better with iTunes because it adds freshly-downloaded podcasts to your iPod's navigation database without you having to import the podcasts into iTunes first.

It's important to note they're are two different issue here... It's quite likely "myPodder" may be an infringment... However if "Podcast Ready" is an infringement that would make any company who ever used "podcast" in their name an infringing.

I am actually really pissed at Apple... they didn't CREATE or invent podcasting and clearly they're behaving with both iTunes 7.0 and with their trademarks like they own it... it is a "comsumer driven culture" or better explained as "a community created" and "community driven technology" and whatever apple now thinks of the term "podcast" now it's to late for them to try to claim ownership over the term or tech after it was created by the community and Apple has embraced and encouraged the terms general usage for almost two years. The term "podcasting" and the tech for podcasting were around before Apple started using the term and before they added the technology to iTunes... and I'll bet anything if there's a showdown that the technology and term are still around long after Apple and the iPod have gone the way of all other companies and products over the years.

At this point I'm really hostile toward apple on the podcasting front and I wish the blogging community would just get organized and create an uproar and put apple in it's place. We litterally number in the hundreds of thousands whereas apple is just one company.

Apple has with their vertical integration of Podcasting into the iTunes store endoctrinated podcasting, making podcasting rigid, stiffling innovation, and disenfranchising thousands of bloggers, videobloggers and podcasters with their business 1.0 model of vertically integratation and lockin into the itunes store, directory and software.

Apple is creating a golden silo or walled garden to capture and drive traffic and sales in the iTunes Store... greedily grabbing traffic and locking people into the iTunes store with DRM and the iTunes podcasting platform.

With Apple all traffic is inbound, none outbound.

Bloggers and Podcasters everywhere are driving thousands and thousands of users to iTunes via thousands of inbound itunes links... I'm willing to bet we are THE number one driver of traffic to the iTunes store. I challenge you... who else is driving traffic to Apple? Apple is using YOU.

There is not a single permalink or linkback anywhere where our content is being watched and listened. Not one link in the media playback interface back to our own sites! There are plenty of links from the iTunes interface into the iTunes Store.. but no links to OUR websites... where we conduct OUR businss.. sell our content... or just discuss the podcast episode you've just listened to in iTunes.

I'd call it a slick bastardization of podcasters interest... but it's NOT slick. It's sickening... an outrage.

There are no perma-links back from itunes to independant artists... musicians, videographers, or podcast producers whom are strugling to make a dime... to do everything from sell an mp3... to simply get some achnowlegement. Apple has shaped ALL workflow around and within iTunes disconnecting bloggers from their audiences.

As I put it before. All links are inbound to iTunes and NOTHING is outbound.

It's particularly vexing to me because podcasting is based on blogging and RSS.

RSS syndication would not even EXIST without linkbacks and permalinks. If syndication didn't drive traffic back to websites it would not exist at ALL!

Permalinks are FUNDAMENTAL. So fundamental in fact that of the hundreds or even thousands of RSS podcatcher and newsreader applications out there I'm willing to bet 99% of them link back to the original blog post... pretty much every single one but Apple!

Perhaps it's time to create an Creative Commons legally binding RSS license and include that anyone syndicating content MUST link back to the original place where that content was posted. You would think it would be obvious wouldn't you!? But Apple's iTunes has had podcasting support for over a year, it's now in it's second major revision with podcasting support and still no trackbacks!



Backing up... I think we're going to see another Streisand Effect over this Apple vs. Podcast Ready thing. And I welcome it. I think it's time for an uproar.. for some outrage in the blogging community. Enough of Apple bending the will of the podcasting community to suit it's needs. Enough. This is a symbiotic relationship, a partnership or it should be not at all.

Fortunately this is great timing and great PR for Podcast Ready, just as they've come out with a new version of their software... I'm sure they'll benifit tremendously from the publicity.

Remember kids... Conflict is good for business... especially if you're the underdog like Podcast Ready and not some big gorilla with plans to embrace, extend and vertically integrate an entire creator's culture into your little schema to take over the media world.

Apple's got to give here... they're doing a crap ass job of courting hollywood and podcasters. Not only is hollywood not buying it but independant musicians and media makers are being squashed on the other end of the spectrum. The entire spectrum of the media free market cannot be represented in a closed market owned by one company. The center of the market mist remain open. Something has got to give... and i'm guessing it's already starting with Apple's reputation as a platform for independant media makers.

As for me... I'm switching to podcast ready today... I'm so damn sick of iTunes bloatware. The latest edition of myPodder couldn't have come out sooner. Nor Apple have spurred publicity around it at a better time. I emplore everyone to take the jump with me... and switch those iTunes subscription links on your site that point to iTunes to people like PodcastReady.com, FireAnt.com, Mefeedia.com, Odeo.com and others whom are actually providing services for the community.


Tip via Yahoo Podcasters group

Apple threatening Podcast Ready over use of the term Pod

blogger screwed up and double posted again... go here for the full post.

Friday, September 22

Be wary of clumsy incentives

Be wary of clumsy incentives - Tom CoatesFrom a presentation by Tom Coates, Greater than the sum of its parts Greater than the sum of its parts - Tom Coats.

Related items...

Crowdfunding (wikipedia)

Social Capital (wikipedia)

Reciprocity (wikipedia)

Where is it all going?

Links via my partner in crime Michael Sullivan.

Godaddy shuts down MacCast podcast

There was and maybe still is a sh*t storm (pardon my french) brewing on the yahoo podcasters group and in the blogosphere.

This is mostly an issue of due cause and crisis management on godaddy's part, but it's much more interesting than just how godaddy handled it.

On Thursday, Godaddy shut down maccast.com without any prior notice1, 2. Apparently the MacCast Podcast had become to popular and was eating up NOT to much bandwidth or storage, but most interestingly to many processor cycles.

This is a new twist on an old theme. The big problem with GoDaddy is no prior notice was given before they pulled the plug. Lack of due process is always a critical issue in said takedown situations. Sure MacCast's processor utilization could have spiked unexpectedly but more than likely this problem could have been spotted weeks or even months in advance.

One thing is beyond debate, GoDaddy better invest some time implimenting some sort of notification system for processor utilization, because Adam Christianson of MacCast had NO way of knowing there was a problem. More thoughts on this later.

Luckily, and I think this is a quick recovery, within 24 hours, possibly do to outside pressures Godaddy's VP of Technology contacted Adam and they got it back online pretty quick. Godaddy err'd yes, but a quick recovery. Adam was lucky.

So, I'm not certain wether people will think this reflects poorly on godaddy or positively. I'm interested, but there's no sense on my debatting it... let's just wait and see what others have to say. For my part I'll just say... they left some room for improvement, but responded suprisingly quick. Overall a B+. Flame away.

The questions I have are these.

1) How are processor cycles specified in contracts? Specifically Godaddy's, but what about other hosts like Dreamhost. Who else is popular and how are they covering processor cycles in their contracts.

2) What good is are these contracts if we have no way to track processor cylces as consumers of their services?

3) Is this increasingly becoming and issue? Because it appears that hosting providers are increasingly beefing up the selling points of bandwidth and storage and perhaps ignoring and underselling server cycles on shared hosting plans.

4) What can we podcasters and video bloggers do to protect ourselves?

I don't have the answers to points 1, 2, and 3... I'm hopping others will jump on them.

What I can say in this... while it may seem like a great idea to put everything on one server for tracking and organizational purposes, just like with your financial portfolio diversification is a damn good idea.

Off hand there are three things that can save your butt... not just with hosting issues... but also with DMCA takedown notices... if you're pushing that legal edge of fair use.

1) Host your website on one provider.

2) Host your media on another host.

3) Use a 3rd party for your feed such as feedburner.com.

If these things aren't self evident then let me just say... that all these things have seperate and VERY specific needs.

1) Your website is most likely to use processor cycles unless it's a blogger.com site... or some static HTML. Most platforms like Moveabletype and Wordpress are getting better at scaling with traffic, but processor cycles will always be an issue. If your blog is hosted on livejournal.com from Moveabletype, or wordpress.org or blogspot.com from blogger... those aren't bad cheap solutions.

2) Meanwhile your media has two major requirements, server space and bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwidth. On a side note, it might be nice to have all your media hosted on a nice domain you own so you can mirror it if any problems... like say media.yourdomain.com. But don't be putting it up at simply yourdomain.com/media Even small time or beginner podcasters and videobloggers can quickly run into problems. Better to have a $5-10 a month blog... and a $10-20 a month media hosting server than a $20 a month server hosting everything.

3) Finally, a service like feedburner is a given... not only do they provide excellent added services and added value, but even if your site is down you can STILL get a show out and people using aggregators or directories like itunes will still be able to find and subscribe to your feed and and people using search engines will still be able to download your episodes when they stumble on them. If your feed and website are on the same domain and your domain goes down, so does your feed, and potentially if you're using tracking or redirection on your server so does all access to the media even if it is hosted elsewhere.

Also a great read on MacCast. My Word with Douglas E. Welch: On Podcasting: GoDaddy.com - Web hosts that don't host

Saturday, September 16

Interested in videoblogging for the U.N.?

UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is launching a call for submissions of video podcast proposals for a series of production grants.

The organization wishes to produce and distribute a series of video podcasts for all audiences, but especially young adults (20-35), aimed at increasing understanding of the development and societal issues identified as priority fields by UNESCO, namely:

  • Human Rights;
  • Peace;
  • Tolerance;
  • Fight against discrimination, based on race, gender or other issues (e.g. HIV status);
  • Millennium Development Goals, particularly poverty-alleviation and gender equality and women empowerment;
  • Freedom of Expression;
  • Intercultural communication.

More info: Video Podcasting News ? The United Nations Needs Video Podcasters

Friday, September 15

Evan Williams: How Odeo Screwed Up

I've been a long time user of Odeo... I've followed them since the first day... I've used odeo.com pretty much everyday since then because it's made my enjoyment of podcasts better... sort of.

I've endlessly been frustrated by their lack of improvement (ironically much like blogger.com)... particularly in services for podcast consumers.

It seemed to me to be architectural or systemic of their culture.

Here I am using the core consumer features of Odeo and yet there were huge bugs and glaring errors like tremendous duplication of podcasts when I aggrgated them in iTunes which wastes huge bandwidth... podcasts that would come through days late, weeks late... sometimes never. These two problems in particular have persisted for over a year, possibly a year and a half with little to know improvement.

I found myself asking the question... are any of odeo's people even using this?

And then I saw this post by Om Malik.


Last year Williams wrote a widely read, much-bookmarked post titled ?Ten Rules for Web Startups.? ?Be Narrow,? he said, ?Be Tiny.? Today, he flat-out admitted ?I was working on Odeo at the time I wrote that, and I was ignoring most of those rules.? Incited by excitement about podcasting and an early demo at the TED Conference leading to a front-page New York Times article (behind pay wall), Odeo got unfocused and bloated, according to Williams.

Williams went through a tidy list of the top five Odeo screw-ups:

  1. ?Trying to build too much? ? Odeo set out to be a podcasting company with no focus beyond that.

  2. ?Not building for people like ourselves? ? For example, Williams doesn?t podcast himself, and he says as a result the company?s web-based recording tools were too simplistic.

  3. ?Not adjusting fast enough? ? The company thought its comprehensive web-based strategy would win out over the competition, primarily Apple, in the long term. ?It turns out long term is not soon enough for a startup if you?re trying to get a foothold.?

  4. ?Raising too much money too early? ? Williams seeded the money with $70,000 of his own money, and after the TED excitement added another $100,000. After he tied up over a million in angel funding, a term sheet came through from Charles River Ventures at three times the angel round valuation. They took the money.

  5. ?Not listening to my gut? ? ?When you?ve got a bunch of money and you?ve hired a lot of people and you?re talking to your board and you?re talking to reporters, your gut can get drowned out.?

You should really read the whole post: GigaOM - Evan Williams: How Odeo Screwed Up

That said... I think it's pretty big of Evan Williaams to speak so candidly of himself, and I have great... even renewed hope for Odeo.com.

Thursday, September 14

Rushkoff on Videoblogging

Ok, so I'm always talking about the failure of Current TV, and the great potential to build a new media network for the internet age, like what CNN was for the age of cable and satelite. I thought I should quote a little source on this. So when I stumbled on this little interview Johnny Golstein did with Douglas Rushkoff I thought I'd post it. Vloggersations at their finest.

More below.

"Rushkoff on Videoblogging"

Watch movie (Quicktime, 4.5 min, 17.8 MB)

Original post, from jonnygoldstein.com:

Watch the video I recently had the pleasure of speaking with bestselling writer Douglas Rushkoff about his latest projects "Get Back in the Box," and "Testament." At the end of our interview, I couldn't help asking him for his take on videoblogging.

So what is "the failture of Current TV" and what is "this future media network"? My opinion might vary from Douglas Rushkoff's a bit, but the failure of Current TV in my opinion that they had the opportunity and certainly hyped the idea of making a user generated channel. A true participatory medium. However when it came right down to it and they created the Current TV cable channel they used the same old top down editorial mechanism used for the last half a decade.

Instead of encouraging people to create their own channels, find their own voices... and create a sustainable and decentralized ecosystem of media and then filtering or aggregating the very best of that media Current TV became just another "contest".

The difference is while one is sustainable and empowers users giving them their own platforms on which to speak and their own audience.... the other says... make us videos... and maybe if their really really good... you'll have a one in 10,000 shot of them being actually seen by another real human being.

Current TV didn't connect the mases, empower them and give them a voice and hence profit from the huge cornicopia of creativity. What they did was create another MTV. It's the same old s*** with a new label. Send us your best stuff and maybe we'll put it on TV... maybe it'll be seen.

Real change is not a new marketing angle... real change depends on architectural change. Ted Turner of CNN fame understood that the change in architecture from broadcast TV to cable and satelite would allow him to do something revolutionary. Today CNN doesn't seem that revolutionary. There are thousands of niche cable channels. But when Ted Turner started CNN with the idea of having 24x7 around the clock news people literrally thought he was a kook. He stood amongst the giants of NBC and ABC and said I want to do 24x7 news. It's hard to imagine that time. But amongst those generalists who at the time would have thought that there would be enought people in the world interested in just news?

Who want's to watch 24x7 around the clock news!?

The anwer to that was pretty much the entire world.

Well right now I pose you this riddle.

Who want's to watch high school girls talking about their latest crush on crappy quality web cam?

Who want's to see an old man tell his life story?

Who want's to see videos of a guy walking down the street talking into a camera on his way to the grocery store?

Well, believe it or not I already know the answer to that.

The answer is their friends, their family, and their peers.

And when you consider that everyone has friends, family, and peers doesn't that litterally mean that the potential audience for such a network is pretty much everyone in the whole world?

You bet your ass it does.

So is youtube this network of the future? Is videoblogging this network of the future?

[About youtube] I don't know. But I don't think so, for one thing this network can't be owned. I think they're pieces of the puzzle.

This network can not be incorporated like CNN. Sure parts of it can.. and maybe Youtube is one part of that... maybe. But it can't be owned because it's made up of people, not just one class of people... but eventually and ideally pretty much everyone on the planet.. Noone can own this network, the capacity of this network is not determined by pipes and bandwidth. It's capacity is litterally determined by the capacity of the people themselves. Their interest. Their passion. The number of friends, family and peers they have. Their ability to be the filters and propogaters of media for those friends, family, and peers around them.

The internet is a vastly different network than cable or satelite. And so much like the kooky visionary that decided people would be interested in watch the news 24x7. I believe that yes..the world does want to watch the ramblings of everyday ordinary people. And why not, they being everyday ordinary people themselves have a LOT in common.

As Francois Truffaut said... and as has been cited enclessly by vloggers.

"The film of tomorrow appears to me as even more personal than an individual and autobiographical novel, like a confession, or a diary. The young filmmakers will express themselves in the first person and will relate what has happened to them. It may be the story of their first love or their most recent; of their political awakening; the story of a trip, a sickness, their military service, their marriage, their last vacation...and it will be enjoyable because it will be true, and new...The film of tomorrow will not be directed by civil servants of the camera, but by artists for whom shooting a film constitutes a wonderful and thrilling adventure. The film of tomorrow will resemble the person who made it, and the number of spectators will be proportional to the number of friends the director has. The film of tomorrow will be an act of love." — François Truffaut, published in Arts magazine, May 1957 Source: Miami New Times

(video via Mefeedia)

Wednesday, September 13

National Geographic is Video Podcasting

In case you haven't noticed National Geographic is video podcasting. Quite frankly they are some of the best quality and most interesting podcasts I've ever seen. The vision of bringing that same exotic look into world cultures is alive and better than ever. Video podcasting seems to me a natural extention of the vision of those first national geographic magazines to use pictures. It's an interesting point of perspective with 100's of thousands of videobloggers on youtube and throughout the web. To me these videos illustrate how far we have yet to go before the world truely becomes the global village so talked about in the past. THey're a far cry from teenage girls sitting in their bedrooms talking about their secrete crush or viral videos of people lipsyncing lyric to crazy pop tunes.

"Unusual Food: Fried Rat"

Watch movie (Quicktime, , )

Original post, from National Geographic Video Shorts:

The thought of eating rats would be disgusting to many people, but there are areas of the world where a grilled rat is considered a yummy treat.

To bad national geographic doesn't even have a decent web page. But you can see their posts on mefeedia, http://mefeedia.com/feeds/18639/

(Via Mefeedia)

Monday, September 11

Blackberry or Crackberry?

A bit of media zen from the medianipple. It just made me laugh. Reminds me of breakfast cerial.

Have you had your crackleberry cerial today? :)

"addiction to technology"

Watch movie (Quicktime, 1.1 min, 5.8 MB)

Original post, from Media Nipple - Visual Communication:

BlackBerry or CrackBerry? These five videos look at how technology and addiction is often presented in broadcast media. Addiction is bad of kids, but good for adults? (Click image - and links below - to view Quicktime video.) This post will not address the realities of technological addiction – if there even is such a thing – and instead we ask these questions: Why is addiction always fearfully presented when describing adolescent usage? And why is addiction always presented like some funny naughty habit with adults? On TV, adult media addiction is like chocolate. If there is tech-addiction, isn’t it bad for everyone? If we believe that kids should not be immersed in technology for extended periods, why is it funny when adults exhibit these same obsessions? One thing is true, if there is no legal stand for adult tech-addiction, there will also be none for kids. And why should there be? The main purpose of media is to self-promote. Media begets more media. And addiction begets more addiction. Go buy some more, who can resist? Consider visual literacy and grow better media communication. tags: VLOG visual LITERACY television MEDIA communication CULTURE

(Via Mefeedia)

Videoblogging, is it art?

Better Bad News takes on videoblogging.


Watch movie (Quicktime, 5.6 min, 17.6 MB)

Original post, from The ReVlog:

vlog: http://www.betterbadnews.com feed: http://www.betterbadnews.com/rss20_xml comment: http://www.betterbadnews.com/65

(Via Mefeedia)