Sunday, January 29

The network effect - the power law behind the lightnet and open access media

The network effect is the reason why AOL died and why closed and inoperable networks and markets fail.

People used to mistakenly think it only applied to pure communications technologies like telephony... the value of the network was directly proportional to the number of people with phones and therefore INoperabile telephony networks failed... but it's not just an issue of people connecting to people.... It can also as is clearly the case of the internet people connecting to ALL the services and tools of the internet.

The internet has brought the issue of accessibility to the forefront because it has changed the expectation. Having to have a VCR and a DVD player was an expectation in the real world... now that people have such an increased awareness and expectation of access they won't stand for in-operability... like NOT being able to play a CD on this computer or that computer... like NOT being able to play certain videos on certain devices... but more importantly not being able to use THEIR email platform with their cellular carrier... or view certain kinds of media with their computer or hardware. In-operability is not an option.

What most people don't understand is how, much like AOL, anything connected to the web that is not network agnostic (aka. network independent) such as cell phone carriers who play favorites and block other IM, mail, video, ring-tone, or other content... or bell south / AT&T and other ISP's whom want to block things like VOIP or "prioritize" their bandwidth to discourage competitors... well it's why they will ultimately fail...

The value of these internet access providers to THEIR customers IS (or if not already, will be) directly proportional to their customers being able to use ANY service on the internet.

The network effect is the internets own innate power law... above and beyond the fact that some of these practices being proposed by ISP's, cellular carriers and other access providers are or may be illegal and anti-completive.

So... in addition to this being a fundamental power law of the fantabulous and all reaching and spreading internet... it will also explain why things like podcasting and video blogging will proliferate to ALL edges of the network from Tivo's, Akimbo's, to cell phones, PSP's and ANYTHING that's network connected.

The real issue is not that some ass-hole cellular provider has in their greed mistakenly thought brokering "exclusive" content details will increase their profit... the real issue is how fast and how important is it for hardware makers to build the hardware, such as portable network devices that support rich media (RSS, mp3's, mp4, and other media and syndication formats)... and how fast can we build the infrastructure to get ALL this media piped to these devices.

Specifically we'll need seamless transcoding and rich tools for intermediation and piping this media to these devices like,,, and future webservices that support personal RSS queues and feeds for media by which any audio or video on the web can be found and piped or aggregated to any portable network device for listening and playback.

The next step will be to reverse that flow from portable devices back to any service on the internet.

Furthermore I'm betting all my money and resources (vast as they are) that there will be a flash-over in 2006... a complete land grab by hardware manufacturers to support the RSS syndication of the widest range of audio visual media to their devices over first wifi... and secondly high-speed cellular data networks.

This gold rush is already starting with portable devices that accept RSS syndicated media like the Apple iPod, the Sony PSP and the Creative mp3 players. But it will quickly become unleashed from the sync cables and desktop as the digital hub with wifi handhelds like the Nokia 770 and other cellular devices like the Treo's and pocket PC's.

It will start first with wifi... like the Nokia 770, possibly even the fabled "networked ipod", but it will branch out to cellular too. ONE cellular network provider will snap and realize the benefit to offering complete access to the internet realizing they can make MINT on the increased bandwidth usage.... the other cellular networks will fall like dominos and the flash over will be in full effect for internet based media to finish eclipsing satellite and cable as the top media, entertainment and communications network. Just as satellite and cable eclipsed broadcast before them... Just as broadcast TV replaced radio... as radio replaced newspapers.

The important thing to realize here is that while the world will be completely changed by this democratization of media that these old mechanisms of satellite, cable, radio, and newspaper will not "go away"... some may in fact find MUCH increased economic viability as they're still the most efficient mechanism for delivering popularist media....

Satellite and Cable may in fact continue to grow tremendously... they may enter into a new golden age as the widespread access to media on the internet may at the same time it appears to be fragmenting markets actually simultaneously create more appreciation for popularist media...

This is at the heart of my argument as to why the breadth of the long tail will increase the breadth of the entire tail... GROWTH. In short while there is exponential growth into smaller and fragmented markets of one or more... there will still be TREMENDOUS growth in the head of the tail as well... Or as I like to put it we'll not see less Brittany Spears we'll see MORE and more popular popular icons... they'll be known to MORE cultures around the world as there's more access around the world to them... and those cultures will also produce their own icons just as big as their markets materialize... We can already see this in China and in India's so called Bollywood. These markets may possibly even eclipse the U.S.'s large media networks.

SO... what I'm saying is while there will be CRAZY growth in the long tail of media do to it's democratization... which will break open closed markets and networks do to the demand for access to ALLL of that long tail content... on the surface there we will actually still see tremendous growth and proliferation of so called "big media" for some time to come... that is when they pull their heads out of their asses and realize much like newspapers have with bloggers... that while they now longer 0wn and control the market for intellectual property we do not in fact THREATEN them at all but are in fact tremendously advantageous partners in their growth and the growth of this new media ecosystem and information economy.

Call it lightnet, call it the network effect... understand it's power laws... call it "the call to open networks and open markets"... call it "free market economics" because that is indeed where the economics have come from.... but it all ads up to one thing.... an increasingly human and accessible global communications and media network... and therefore very likely a much more chaotic, yet potentially much more humane planet. A planet more equitable and accessible on a HUMAN scale... not a large multi-national corporate scale.

This new economy will not be without it's problems... such as the fact that the physical real world access to this economy, the so called digital divide, will be a tough and very important battle in ensuring the equitable distribution of the benefits of this new information economy. However it will be a beautiful and world changing event and define the better part if not the entirety of this century. We need to remember this when we get excited about how fast things are moving and what's right around the bend... we need to remember much like how the printed word changed the world this change is deep and it may even take centuries... We are only at the very start of it all. We're still perhaps in the dark ages of it all... though it may appear we're of a renaissance era.

I hope you enjoyed reading this... it has been another stream of conscious rant by me, mike of :P

Tuesday, January 24

Copyrighting the word of God

This is just too damn funny. In a world where accessibility will rule the economy nothing points to the confused state of things more than the Vatican enforcing fees for anyone wanting to reprint the Popes words. Perhaps Cathololics will start a P2P darknet for trading papal edicts... perhaps the Vatican will respond with a DRM.... if DRM is law expressed in code what would this new word of god be expressed in code? I thought we already had that? Wasn't it called Latin? Perhaps they should just go back to issuing the words of the Pope in Latin as a security measure... I believe if you could classify Latin as a security measure it would be illegal under the DMCA to translate to English! Ha! LOL! This is to much fun!

From: Vatican 'cashes in' by putting price on the Pope's copyright - World - Times Online

THE Vatican has been accused of trying to cash in on the Pope?s words after it decided to impose strict copyright on all papal pronouncements.

For the first time all papal documents, including encyclicals, will be governed by copyright invested in the official Vatican publishing house, the Libreria Editrice Vaticana.

The edict covers Pope Benedict XVI?s first encyclical, which is to be issued this week amid huge international interest. The edict is retroactive, covering not only the writings of the present pontiff ? as Pope and as cardinal ? but also those of his predecessors over the past 50 years. It therefore includes anything written by John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI and John XXIII.

The decision was denounced yesterday for treating the Pope?s words as ?saleable merchandise? and endangering the Church?s mission to ?spread the Christian message?.


Vittorio Messori, who has co-authored works with Pope Benedict and John Paul II, said that he was ?perplexed and alarmed . . . This is wholly negative and absolutely disastrous for the Vatican?s image.? A pope?s words should be available to all free of charge, he said, and to ?cash in in this way surrounds the clergy with the odour of money?.


The Union of Italian Catholic Publishers and Booksellers said that it had not been consulted, and that the edict ?flies in the face of what we do ? spreading the Pope?s message to the world?.

A Vatican spokesman said that the Holy See had to defend itself against ?pirated editions?. The move is also aimed at ?premature publication?. Journalists accredited to the Vatican are handed papal texts under embargo. The Vatican said that if embargos were broken in future not only would the journalist face sanctions but also his or her publication would face legal action.

Ha! Stealing the word of god... pirates of gods word! This is to good. It's not April yet... is this some very elaborate April fools joke very early? Will these pirates of God's word be banished to hell? :)

Stanford and Apple's iTunes, taking the "access" out of open access media

I love a good accessibility story. While I see accessibility as a singular and central issue to social media and podcasting, others who really should know better like Stanford continue to put out (with much hype and fanfare) podcast feeds for "everyone" to enjoy that go absolutely nowhere because they're buried in Apple's walled garden and are completely inaccessible to those who would reference and discuss them.

First, enjoy this story from Jon Udell of completely unnecessary inaccessibility and how it kills and completely contradicts Stanford's declared social goals in launching their podcast feeds. Then if you want my breakdown keep reading below.

From: Jon Udell: Stanford, meet the lightnet. Apple, get a clue.

I'm continuing to enjoy the Stanford lectures I mentioned the other day, but the iTunes lock-in really bugs me. So today I liberated three of the feeds, in a modest effort to nudge Stanford in the direction of the lightnet.
It was an ironically circular exercise. I started at, which is just a web placeholder for the JavaScript code that launches iTunes and points it at the special Stanford area of the iTunes Music Store. Then I subscribed to some of the Stanford feeds in iTunes. Capturing the URLs of those feeds was way harder than it should be, because iTunes displays them but won't let you copy them.

Those feed URLs are, of course, extremely nasty-looking, e.g.:

You'd have to nuts to write something like that down. Well, I guess I am, because I did. My reasons were partly selfish. I want to be able to get directly to the audio URLs contained in those feeds so I can automate conversion to MP3. Why? I like to listen to long lectures while running, and my iPod isn't the preferred device in that situation. My Creative MUVO is lighter, and when I drop it or get it wet I don't have to worry so much.

More broadly, I want these freely available lectures to be able to spark the sort of web discourse that I'm sure Stanford intends them to. URLs are the currency of that discourse. If I want to refer you to Robert Dunbar's global warming talk I should be able to link you directly to it. Discussion about the talk should be discoverable on the web by way of that URL.

Here's what shouldn't have to happen, but currently does:

I heard an interesting talk about global warming by Stanford's Robert Dunbar. I wonder what you think about it? To listen, make sure you have iTunes installed, and then go to in a browser. From there, click the link to open iTunes. Then click on Faculty Lectures. Then scan the list for "Is Global Warming Real" or "Robert Dunbar".

So anyway, after laboriously capturing those feed URLs and posting them to, I turned around and subscribed to them in ... wait for it ... iTunes. It's a decent podcatcher, after all, and I'm technology-agnostic. I'll use anything for its strengths, while working around its weaknesses. The workaround, in this case, was simply to expose the feed URLs, and through them, the individual lecture URLs, to public discourse: linking, tagging, blogging, playlisting.

That is the kind of intellectual activity that Stanford wants to encourage, isn't it?

Update: Glenn Cole points out that you can, indeed, capture the URL of a track in the iTunes Music Store using CTRL-Click -> Copy iTunes Music Store URL. So, as Glenn says, the situation isn't quite as dire as I suggested. But it's still heavily Apple-centric. Note, for example, that in the Podcasts area of iTunes, the equivalent Copy operation will capture neither a feed URL nor the URL of an enclosed item. That's why I had to manually transcribe those Stanford feed URLs. If you were designing a podcatcher without an axe to grind, it would never even occur to you to make feed URLs uncopyable and not (easily) reusable.

The chronic breakdown of Stanford's podcasting failures...

1) Not on the open web - Stanford offers their podcast feeds ONLY through the Apple Podcast Directory and they are wholly inaccessible from the open web... indeed their web page is just a place holder for launching itunes..

2) Walled Gardens & Darknets - You must have and use iTunes regularly in order to listen to the Stanford podcasts. There is no other option. They're not available to use with any other software.

3) Locked in - The Podcast feeds for Stanford's RSS feeds are ARCHAIC and convoluted containing a ridiculous amount of odd characters in a seemingly random pattern that is insane to type out... WHICH is exactly what you have to do if you want to "steal" the RSS feed out of iTunes to subscribe to it with another tool.
1770144-1770152--1770196_visitor $

4) Inoperable by design - The media file urls are equally absurd, but more importantly they're in apple's M4A format which is ONLY playable on apple's iPod, iTunes or other Apple software. They work in no other portable mp3 player or other software.

5) Un-reference-able - There are no permalinks to an original post... though one can link directly to the ridiculous M4A audio url.

6) Unsearchable - There are no accessible or searchable texts or meta information... indeed these items are COMPLETELY unsearchable by google, yahoo or other search engines.

7) Digital Dark age? - I look at these urls and all this lack of data, made completely inaccessible and the ridiculous urls for the feed and M4A and I have to believe that in one or two years time... if not tomorrow, this data will simply disappear from the web as if it were never here with little to give witness but couple odd posts like mine and Jon Udell's to bare witness.. We'll look back in just a few short years and wonder just what was the Stanford Podcast about? What were they talking about? And the only way to find it will be to track down some crazy anti- meta-bastard like me who's archived it for my own personal use.

If it was indeed Stanford's intent to SHARE their educational lectures with all then well... they've embraced the hype and ABSOLUTELY missed the point. The only people who can or will find and enjoy these lectures will be rich upper class completely geeked out technical types, most likely white and male. Way to go Stanford you've embraced a new an open medium only to allow Apple to feed you're same regurgitated elitist market right back to you. Congratulations.

I heard Adam Curry today say today in his podcast that in 2 days his podcast and the Dawn & Drew Show get 6 million downloads. Now that doesn't mean they have 6 millions subscribers.. that's total downloads in a 48 hour period. Including downloads of past shows as well as new shows. I still find it amazing and hard to believe, but all I want to say is how many downloads do you think the Stanford podcast receives from their iTunes only feeds.

Check it out: DSC-321-2006-01-23x.mp3. It's about 30 minutes in.


Jon has liberated Stanford Podcast feed, but I've gone a step further...I've put it in an open relatively lightnet directory, thus giving it a homepage on the open web and making it browse-able and reference-able... you can even comment on it... it'll show up on the search engine even. Check it out.

BUT, perhaps we should go one step further... perhaps we should rip the entire bulk of this or another Stanford podcast and put it online in an open an accessible blog with the ability to coment... with permalinks... trackbacks... usable mp3's. Perhaps we should dare Stanford to do it right... challenge them to either sue us and vilify us or change and become open and accessible for the benefit of them and everyone, as I believe was their stated purpose.

Stanford, it's time to come out and play with the rest of the podcasts, the net, and the world.

Apple, that goes for you too, and shame on you for entrapping others in your walled garden. I feel like it's the Chronicles of Narnia... the wicked witch keeps trying to trap people in their beautiful and enticing fantasy world with Turkish Delight and turn them to stone. But I've got news for you... it's a TRAP! Get an axe!

Specifically it's a media, educational and cultural trap... don't bite on Apple's closed solutions... DRM especially... it IS a trap... and when at some point you get tired of the Turkish Delight and want some good old American vanilla ice cream to go with your apple pie don't come crying to me. The record labels are already crying and complaining under Apple's rule in their fantasy world, but that's their own doing, they asked for a queen, Apple became their queen and now they're trapped. But Stanford didn't ask for a queen... so I question the stink of this issue.

P.S. Jon, you wanted to reference or comment on Robert Dunbar's global warming leacture? Go right ahead.

Of course Odeo's player won't play the M4A and you'll have to have Quicktime installed in order to listen... and you wouldn't know who's giving the lecture based on the poor metadata from the RSS, but at least you can now tag it. I've already added a couple tags to begin making it more findable and searchable for you. Enjoy.



note: Thanks to Jon Udell for posting such an excellent post and I hope he doesn't mind me reblogging the whole thing. I just enjoyed it to much. I tire so of being the only one bitching about the accessibility aspect of the digital divide and am just so happy to see others doing it for a change.

Tuesday, January 17

A link between online accessibility and increased TV Ratings?

theofficeI'm not saying I believe this or validating it or anything, but it is very interesting.

NBC's 'The Office' delivered a 5.1-its highest ratings ever-last Thursday among adults 18 to 49, a bump the network credits in large part to the show's popularity as an iPod download.

In fact, the series is NBC's top-performing video podcast available on Apple's iTunes, where it has been available since Dec. 6.

Such a connection between podcast success and broadcast ratings success is particularly significant because the NBC data is among the first available evidence of what network executives have been gambling on when striking their new media deals-that the new video platforms are additive because they provide more entry points into a show for consumers.

In the case of 'The Office,' the series was one of 12 NBC Universal shows that have been available since NBC struck a deal with with Apple in early December. (NBC added 'Saturday Night Live' to the lineup last week.) In that short time period, 'The Office' has accounted for one-third of all the NBCU downloads on iTunes, clearly the lion's share of NBCU content available through the site.


"Lost," ABC's most popular show in terms of downloads, has seen its total audience rise 14 percent and ratings for adults 18 to 49 are up 28 percent. "Desperate Housewives'" total audience is up 7 percent and 18 to 49 ratings are up 3 percent. ITunes downloads for both shows also rose in the last few weeks.

That growth and the knowledge that iTunes distribution possibly grew and certainly did not cannibalize ratings gave the ABC Disney Television Group the confidence to add another round of iTunes programs last week that includes content from ABC Family, Disney Channel, SoapNet, ABC Sports and ESPN, said Albert Cheng, executive VP of digital media for the Disney ABC Television Group.

From: TV Week

I'd like to hear some analysis on P2P distribution of the Daily Show vs. viewership. Of course that's cable. Hmmm... not only are these iTunes downloads "competing with free" but they way also be having residual effects in TV viewership how interesting.

(via the unofficial apple weblog)

UPDATE: True to form Techdirt picked up on this exact same point and added their interesting comments.

From: Techdirt:TV Execs Missing The Point About Connection Between iTunes Downloads And Viewers

There's a good chance that all of these factors contributed to the viewership quite a bit. However, the really interesting point is that, if NBC execs are so thrilled about this bump in viewership by putting out an expensive download with a limited audience who can view it, why not just offer the same show up for free? You get a lot more viewers who are likely to get hooked on the show, meaning many more who will watch it on TV. They could even add in some commercials and recoup some money that way. It would definitely provide a lot more viewers, and viewers who are happier, since they'll have more freedom with the content and they'll even be able to share it with their friends to get more buzz going. There are obviously tradeoffs here, and perhaps the execs are calculating that $2/show and a much smaller overall viewership is worth more than a much larger viewership seeing the ads -- but it's hard to see that calculation adding up. Still, it is amusing that executives insist that things like BitTorrent have no redeeming value in terms of attracting people to a show, and yet $2 iTunes downloads are just dandy. Something doesn't add up.

I just love that I'm not the only one preaching about the economics of accessibility anymore. Not that techndirt hasn't preached about this in the past... but I think more and more people are picking up on the economics inherent on the internet... lightnet economics... the fact that perhaps on some level everything must be accessible... Traditional advertising and marketing no longer work... "the conversation" is now back in the hands of the masses and if you want to success in this new marketplace you fundamentally have to make yourself accessible. We will see this time and time again as power is unwillingly rested from incumbent media which then turns out to benifit them... publishers suing google book search being a typical example. The creative commons phenomenon "giving back" some rights to the commons is another... This thing called open access publishing is not just a strategy... it's simply the future of media.

Monday, January 16

Why do you video blog? - a use case study

I stumbled on this from Nathan Miller of Bicycle-Sidewalk (infinite praise) and I thought it to be a really insightful, excellent and elegant study of the so called "economics of video blogging". The "Why?" question is of course part of an ongoing and important question at the center of the whole video blogging phenomenon. Use cases have a way of... in a very simple way... helping us and others gain insights into why we do what we do.

I quoted the entire post and in fact added a video just below from Bicycle-Sidewalk so you can gain some perspective on how Nathan uses his blog while you're reading the post. I recommend right clicking on the video link and opening it in a new window so it can load and you can watch it while reading the post.

"82nd Post"
Watch movie (Quicktime, 7.9 min, 42.5 MB)

Original post, from Bicycle Sidewalk

From: evilutionary virtual log » Blog Archive » Why why why why why why why?.

Vlogonomics…well, not really just my story…

Great stuff here!

I have been thinking a lot about my last six months, I feel I have been involved in the vlogging community…I went from zero hits on my site to over 1500 a day in less then 6 months…

If I try to think about the how and the why…I just got lost, and I find it better to just make something…

I do my best to keep my production time under an hour or so, however I often go over this…I also have no desire to make a show, however these days I have come to realize that I am the one and only host of Bicycle Sidewalk…and if I was to try and explain the essence of my little thing, honestly I would fall on my face…

A little history, last summer I was working in a Japanese government office, getting ready for the arrival of 40 American high school students…the paperwork, me visiting the schools the students would attend while they did 10 days abroad in Saga Japan, …well, long story cut short - I mentioned to my boss that by putting a bit of video on the net, the students in America would be able to get a feel for what they were in for…that is when I came across Freevlog…well my boss listened to my idea…however, turned it down because we didn’t have net connection at the office…urgh, anyhow, the American students came and went and that job came to end, it was a temporary gig…anyhow I am glad I found Freevlog that hot summer afternoon…

Now, pick it up six months later, present day…(Jan 2006) I am glued my iMac…I have lost all interest in Japanese TV, I watch vlogs, I tell Japanese folks about this great thing happening across the world…It has consumed me.

Come this spring I may be starting a new teaching job at a top notch high school…not sure what will come of Bicycle Sidewalk, however there is no doubt I will continue to post, yet not as frequently…

Is there money to made? I have no idea. Perhaps yes, and honestly, I am leaning toward yes. I work as medical technician in a cardiology lab, my boss watches my vlog and has been pushing me to do a handful of videos for the hospital…and of course post the stuff to BS…money to be made…perhaps I will be able to pull a bit more yen from the hospital, who knows…and medical videos are great educational tools…

I guess you could say I caught the video bug about three years ago. About my fourth year as an expat in Japan, I thought it was about time to show my folks what kinda place I live in…I went to the electronic store (there plenty in Japan) and bought a nice Panasonic 3CCD camera, have always been a Mac user…got my hands on a copy of FCP…studied up…and started making short video things, for lack of a better word…I was proud of them…I would burn em to CD’s and send via snail mail to my folks and friends. At that time I was clueless regarding file transfer via the net, actually I am still rather clueless…anyhow, pick this story up to present day…

After my summer job at the government office, I followed all the Freevlog steps…Thanks Verdi and Ryanne and everyone else involved in the project. I got a blogger site up, hated it and decided to forked out a bit of cash…invested in a Dreamhost account…love it. Started posting…as for my style, me in the corner…

The idea hit me from a far, narrate my everyday little videos in a way that is a bit different from the camera in your face…I went to the Japanese version of Walmart and bought a blue sheet for 1000 yen, (about $10) turned one of the rooms in my house into a tiny studio…I bought a long pole and hung the sheet there…turned on the lights and walla…it was rather painless, however at that time I was on a first generation 1Ghz Powerbook G4 and the render time was hmmm…I had plenty of time to wash my dishes, take the trash out, shower, shave…and even catch a few zzz’s…a 5 to 7 minute piece would sometimes take over 60 to 80 minutes to render…urgh…so I bought a faster machine…vlogging is a rather expensive hobby…however I was planning on buying a new machine regardless…yet in my case I came across vlogging with all my tools already lined up…

I have mentioned vlogging as a hobby…just my opinion…I do work…ahhh…I am running out of time, actually I do have to go that place called ‘work’ in 20 minutes…

I am not sure if I got anywhere with this post, however I felt today would be a good day to share my story…with that said, Sayonara!…Best regards to all the vloggers out there, and Chuck good luck, it’s gonna be a tough question to answer, why DO you VLOG?

So! Why do you video blog?

Friday, January 13

The open access web paradigm and impending Google vs. Apple video media showdown

I just stumbled upon this take on the impending showdown to sell video content online between Apple, Yahoo and Google. Technically I don't even think Yahoo is in the game as their only plans are to stream media. Ha! Fat chance that'll have popular appeal.

Google's new entrance into the Video market announced at CES may not look like much yet but their rapidly putting in place some serious infrastructure to sell not just the same old Hollywood content but indeed anyone's content. I've lambasted their video search in the past for being a closed solution, but they do appear to be making moves to make it more open by allowing all videos to be downloaded in several different formats including iPod and PSP compatible formats. Now... if only the could figure out how to include non google content in their search I think they'd be in a whole new league. They are no longer quite the "content trap" I had originally labeled them as.

Anyway... as this market shapes up google's more open and more flexible marketplace is really really going to theaten Apple's closed marketplace, fixed price schemes, and it's proprietary only playback platform. In short apple's poor interoperability will ironically turn it's platform into it's prison and the more open, more interoperable and more flexible google marketplace will quite simply kick it's ass if it comes to that. It's still WAY WAY to early in the game though, buth players have a long way to go but I expect this showdown will really be apparent before the end of 2006.

"Google is used to attacking 900 pound gorillas. Just ask Steve Balmer. But its announcement this weekend, seems squarely targeted at Apple and its recent successes with the iPod.

On Saturday, Google announced that its Google Video service will be incorporating an open and flexible pricing mechanism for content distributors that are interested in offering video content online. This move is markedly different from Apple's decision to set pricing across the board.

History dictates that an open paradigm will win, especially for such a nascent industry. Apple does have a significant advantage in this case as it is far and away the leading distributor of mobile content players. Even though most iPods do not play video, look for video to take an ever increasing role in the product offerings.

As in the late 80's, being a one-stop shop for consumers has an advantage for Apple. But it also has its disadvantages. Google, with its cash war chest and leading online position, is in a strong position to begin co-marketing with all the other mobile device manufacturers -- think : Archos, Creative Zen, etc.

Moreover, Apple's commitment to its own proprietary standards will prove to be a significant achilles heal. This is especially true as more categories of devices begin to share the same video content. Eventually, the industry will converge on DRM standards, which means that you will be able to record content on your cable box and tranfer it to your laptop, cell phone or other mobile device. I seriously doubt that Apple's codecs will be included in any of these packages, regardless of how popular the iPod is or becomes."

I just can't believe someone else really plainly gets that when you do business on the open web interoperability always wins. This is an open access information economy and those that don't do business on the open web with interoperable non-proprietary platforms ultimately lock themselves out.

Thursday, January 5

Why RSS helps humanize the Web

Just something I stumbled on.

From: Latest insights into evolution explain why RSS helps humanize the Web

I guess some of us will have to content ourselves with pioneering new definitions of trusted clans while remainging online, and to try and find an economic viability therein. We can redefine local, but also keep it at the proper scale. The role of podcasting, for example, adds a new layer of humanity ? offering the richness of people's voices as an important gauge of trust and authenticity. You can distinguish me, and I can distinguish you. Who knows, soon the software vendors and service providers may better appreciate the needed human elements of age-old interactions instead of trying to force people into a mass-market, corporation-driven, anonymous typing machines.

Perhaps the last 100 years of mass media and mass communications and massive corporations have been the exceptions, and that technology is about to begin to allow us to return to our true roots, of clans, cottage industries, and independence balanced with a tight bond to the 'local' collective regardless of where it is. We now have the tools, we just need to manage trust and authenticity virtually on a truly human scale.

Amen. This is what I'm saying... one good look at vlogging and you realize the future of mass media is going to be a whole new personal world.