Monday, August 28

Firefox crop circle, best firefox publicity stunt yet

Firefox crop circle, best firefox publicity stunt yetSome Firefox fans spent a couple weeks planning for and then executing a beautiful Firefox Crop Cricle in Oregon.

Via ComandN

Sunday, August 27

"media does not converge"

A superb post from Media Nipple. I think their commentary is smack on. Superb. All I can say is Newscorp is planning on selling downloadable movies for $19.99!? Ha!

DRM, unburnable... junk. Every major content company is just insane, the majority of these services are going to fail straight away. However we must look on the bright side. They've finally come to a point where the can no longer afford to ignore the market for digitally shipped content. The demand is to high. Atleast they're all starting to put a foot in the game.

Watch movie (Quicktime, 1.8 min, 9.8 MB)

Original post, from Media Nipple - Visual Communication:

One false media theory is that of convergence. Media does not converge – it mutates into ever more varieties. Old media does not die, it moves over to make room for more. (Click image - and links below - to view Quicktime video.) MySpace will not die, it will now ADD movies to its repertoire. YouTube will not die, it will add music videos available for download. This is the pathway of all media. In a mediated world, citizens are awash in ever widening communication possibilities. Books will not die, they will also migrate to the internet. TV news will not die, it will also be available on iTunes. What is happening here? What comes next? Who can watch, listen, learn? Remember this: Information is not wisdom. Entertainment is not knowledge. And a mediated world is no substitute for the real thing. Keep your wallet in your pocket – and go outside for a walk. Consider visual literacy and grow better media communication. tags: VLOG visual LITERACY television MEDIA communication CULTURE

(Via Mefeedia)

Thursday, August 24

Wikimapia - annotating the planet

If you only check out one website this week, make it Wikimapia. it's a bold combination of google maps and the wikipedia metawiki and it allows you to draw a little box around and start a wiki page/description for absolutely anything you can see on google maps. The interface is pretty damn impressive too... full screen google maps.

If there's one thing I wish this project had it would be an implimentation of tags... anything you tag or edit should become a part of your personal browseable library of places.

I can see this becomeing VERY popular very quikly... and I can also seeing it turning into a catastrophic mess... I'm not so sure it's as people policeable as wikipedia yet... what I think it could use is "place feeds"... RSS feeds on any geographic region from a county, to a city, to suburb or region... so that people can subscribe to a geographic region of interest and keep track of updates and cheanges within that region. That might well clear up the issues in a hurry.

Also... I'm having a hard time trying to find permalinks to specific locations... like the article on the local ice cream parlor. :) The link structure is awesome and updates on the fly, but the specific item descriptions need to be linkable.

Wikimapia - Let's describe the whole Earth!

A little more heat in the video sharing space this week

Grouper is one of the three dozen or so video-sharing sites, such as, Guba, Instant Media, Veoh Networks, Heavy, and a host of others that have emerged in the last 18 months or so. All do roughly the same thing, with a twist here and there to provide differentiation. And, Grouper is the second video site to be sold this month. The first was online production company Atom Entertainment which Viacom purchased for $200 million.

I despise the hype as usual. Particularly the three title and subtitles on this single article.

"The video frenzy has only just begun"

"It's a sellers' market; Who is next?"

amd worst of all...

"Prices are insane!"

Irresponsible reporting like this is what cause irrational exuberance (as Greenspan put it) during the last net boom.

Luckily there's one HUGE difference here. None of these companies, not a single "web 2.0" company has gone on the public market. VC investment and the search and media companies buying out these smaller companies luckily are a little bit less prone to hype and a little better able to absorb and capitalize on these startup companies then the open public market.

Of course if you're an investor you might see it differently, but I doubt it based on Vonage's performance after it went public earlier this year. It went so badly they've actually been sued.

The video frenzy has only just begun - MarketWatch

Wednesday, August 23

"Weird Al's file-sharing anthem"

Sorry, it's not like boingboing needs my traffic. And well, this is pretty lowbrow... off topic... and I love it. it's that one thing I've stumbled on lately that just made me fall to the ground laughing.

iisten to mp3

Original post, from Boing Boing:

Cory Doctorow: Weird Al Yankovic has produced an anthem for the download generation: Don't Download This Song: You don't want to mess with the RI-double-A They'll sue you if you burn that CDR It doesn't matter if you're a grandma Or a seven year old girl They'll treat you like the evil hard-bitten criminal you are... Link, MP3 Link (Thanks to everyone who suggested this!)

(Via Mefeedia)

Friday, August 18

Bike are worse for the environment than cars

Hilarious and insightfully, a fun read.

The idea of this thesis being that if more people ride increased longevity of life may increase popupulation and therefore general power consumption. Assuming that new forms of power are just as dirty as cars this would negate the overal environmental impact of more people riding bikes. :)


In the authors own words.

· Human-powered transportation can substitute for trips by single-occupant automobiles. This substitution has a direct and immediate benefit of reducing energy consumption, even
accounting for the latent energy content of the food required for human power.

· A substantial increase in the use of human-powered transportation would engage a substantial
number of currently sedentary people in physical activity.

· Physical activity by previously sedentary individuals increases their longevity, and therefore
their overall energy consumption.

· Depending on the characteristics of the population that adopts human-powered transportation,
there may be little net environmental benefit associated with an increase in human-powered

Discussion on If bikes are bad for the environment, what happens if we put a two stroke motor on them? MetaFilter

Monday, August 14

Piecing together a mystery with GPS

huntmap_2The short story. Disoriented runner finds himself running on wrong road, with cuts, scratches and dirt on himself, uses info from his heart rate monitor / GPS unit and a route sharing website to piece together the details of what happened. GPS reveals that he passed out for more than five minutes and after coming to proceeded to run not only on the wrong road but in the wrong direction before returning to his senses

I was coming back from what felt like a typical morning run, although I felt unusually tired, which I attributed to the heat and humidity of Virginia. Having traveled from Connecticut two days before, I was still not properly acclimated, but I thought I could complete my weekly long run by starting early, carrying plenty of water, and stopping frequently for walk breaks. Coming home, I broke my pace and faced three questions that surfaced over a period of several minutes:

Why do I have cuts on my hands and arms?
Why is there a fine layer of dirt in my mouth and in my hair?
Why am I running along Route 50, a major road that I usually only cross?

Overview: MB Provides clues to fainting spell

Quote and comple first person account from: Garmin Blog: YOU Take US There, Week 9

My two cents: I guess why this story interests me is because I'm interested in the future potentials of GPS data... geo-tagging photos, bike & running route sharing, geo-caching, censensus built trail mapping, a potential new kind of racing... where one races against otheres on the same route though months may pass in between... and then there's this. The potential of our technology to safe guard us... location awareness phones for children, the so-called child low-jack systems, and to piece together histories, help us when we're lost. I guess you can say that we've barely just begun to scratch the surface of what GPS can do and as it becomes more pervasive a whole world of possibilities will open up, many of which we have yet to even identify.

One thing is clear though. I think what has made GPS take off so well among enthusiasts is that unlike some other new technologies the individual maintains full control over how they disclose and use such data. Meanwhile technologies like I-Pass, location aware cell phones, RFID, other technologies have serious personal trust and security issues. In many ways the use of personal GPS technology has mirrored social phenom like blogging, wikis/wikipedia, photosharing, podcasting and video blogging. All this goes to say if you empower the individual and give them the choice to put their best foot forward not only will they embrace the tech, but they'll be amazingly forthcoming and liberal in what and how they share. Not only is a much more secure model to give liberty than to automatically aggregate it, but it also has the net affect of creating much more positive, creative, collarborative and rapidly developing environment.

Thursday, August 10

Random thoughs on social media

Notes summed up from multiple conversation with friends over the last couple days.

Some things you should know.

1) Screw TV. Video blogging is not like TV or Film. If there is a revolutionary idea behind new media it's that it's simply personal communication that just so happen to be public.

2) Screw entertainment. While it's fun and all to be entertaining, vlogging, like blogging is not soley about entertainment. It is about communication not entertainment.

3) Screw "monetization". Blogs, video blogs, audio podcasts and photo-casts are about sharing, collaborating, and communicatng. New media is NOT not about making money directly. First and foremost social media is about Social Capital.

New media is about connectivity, mobility, visibility, trust, shared history and many, many other factors that connect you to your peers, friends, and family.

Sure social media like video blogging can be used for entertainment and advertising... but WHY? The return on investment simply in participating in new media is the greatest ROI you'll ever find.

Social media is about connecting like minded people... the "monetization" is in what you do with these people after you connect with them.

4) Screw advertising... Unless it is your object to entertain and appeal to the masses by creating "entertainment" or a "show" then putting advertising on your social media makes about as much sense is putting advertising on your phone conversations with your MOM. Spare your mom and spare your friends. Friends don't spew advertising at friends.

5) It's not JUST about video. New media is about communication... as such it's about communicating whatever way you can, whatever medium best suits your message and your needs. Communicate any way possibke. Use photography, sketch it, write about it, talk about it, make videos. Every form of media has it's purpose and its place. Media is the new language of the mases.

It's about audio podcasting, blogging, photo-sharing and video blogging... use them all... IM, phone, email too.. and don't forget the importance of meeting people in the real world and shooting the shit over a beer. New media doesn't work simply in isolaton.

6) About fidelity, "quality", and perfection. Remeber... it's not about the medium, it's about the conversation. All these media are simply facets of a whole system of communication that connect you with those around you.

Unless it is your objective to simply be entertainment and appel to people who could give a crap less about who you are and what you're interested in don't obsess over the media. You're friends, family and peers will enjoy and follow your grainy, scratch low fedelity self just the same as the high-fidelity you. They will enjoy it just because it's YOU and because of what you have to say... not because just because you're a beautiful blond with big... Be an original. Be you.

I think that pretty much sums up the issues of the day in a nice little package. I'm sure I missed a few points... and it could have been shorter... but you know what.... screw perfection. :)

Disclaimer: Screw proofreading too. :)


Wednesday, August 9

How long until there's an IKEA of prefab housing?

How long until there?s an IKEA of prefab housing?Random thought of the day.

pic from:

Be sure to check it the original post, it's pretty cool. Complete with schmeatics and interior shots.

Tuesday, August 8

An audio podcast about monetizing video blogging

I've been catching up on a few podcast the last couple days and have been very pleased to hear some of the interesting debate that came out of the Blogher conference, particularly on how to turn new media into a day job.

At conferences one of the biggest underlying issues is always how to keep the debate going. As such I'm very pleased that Zadi Diaz and her (new) hubby Steve Woolf have decided to start a new podcast. The primary topic at hand... turning video blogging into something more than a hobby.

On a side note, if you think this podcast was "too long" or "not well enough produced"... then I guess it isn't for you, because I thought it was freaking great and right on the money. Though I do think that Zadi and Steve will refine their creaft I very much enjoyed the meandering conversational format.. it works well for podccasting. Make no mistake about this, podcasting is NOT radio. It's something altogether different and I encourage Zadi and Steve to do whatever makes them happy just as long as they keep it going.

Thanks Zadi and Steve! I'm already waiting for your next episode.

BTW, I think others from the vlogosphere should take this as a great example of how simple it is to put some theory out there and how important and useful it is... everyone should be sharing their thoughts.

I'd love to do a categorical breakdown of the episode, but right now, let's just say the primary focus is on the major advertising players (like rever) and major advertising techniques for video blogging. It's standard "best practices" talk and I for one am very glad to here it.

Again, thanks Zadi and Steve, congrats on your marriage, and keep the podcasts coming.

001 - An audio podcast about videoblogging. Huh. (0:47:41)

From: New Mediacracy: An audio podcast about videoblogging. Huh.

Featuring Zadi Diaz and Steve Woolf from their Los Angeles apartment.

After some deliberation, we decided to record our thoughts about videoblogging and the future of making money through videoblogging.

Please note that this is a temporary URL while we set up!!!

In this podcast, we introduce ourselves, talk about how we got involved in videoblogging, discuss the current ad revenue models, and drink a bottle of wine.

An audio podcast about monetizing video blogging

Once again is double posting. Drives me up the wall. I must move to wordpress. Sorry. Sorry. This post actually lives here:

CinemaNow claims 94% of download-to-burn DVDs work

From: CinemaNow claims 94% of download-to-burn DVDs work - Engadget

Somehow we had a feeling CinemaNow wouldn't take the news sitting down with regard to the claims espoused by an anonymous engineer who claims their new pseudo-DRMed download-to-burn DVD service is horribly, fatally flawed, and won't play but in any but the most robust standalone DVD boxes. CinemaNow shot back stating that the service has been 'well received by our customers and studios alike,' (ah, isn't that the trick?) and that tests had the burned DVDs working on '94 percent of DVD players.' Which tests and using what DVD players we don't know, but somehow we don't expect to have that data readily divulged. Guess there's only one way to find out though, right? Download a marginally overpriced flick for about ten bucks, get yourself a spindle of DVD-Rs, and go to town. And while you're at hit, howsabout letting us now how it worked out for ya by shouting it out in the comments, yeah?

I just had to comment on this. Cinema has been getting a lot of heat (not just from engadget ;) on their puchase, download and burn movie service. They now claim that though they purposefully introduce errors that show up when the movie is burnt to DVD that these DVD's work on 94% of all DVD players.

This sort of statistical talk is simply and obvious bullshit. As someone who knows something about usability research I know how to identify bullshit when I see it.

First, quite honestly in a world of DVD players there's no possible way to determine market impact.

Second, even if they could test every DVD player (which they can't) that still doesn't tell them what percentage of customers are using what DVD players.

Third, I assume therefore that they're therefore basing such statistics on ancedotal evidence such as customer feedback... that is if they've got any basis for such statistics at all.

So, if my assumptions are right I guess what CinemaNow is saying is that only 6% of their customers called up to complain. LOL! Do you know how bad things have to be broken before 6% of your customers will complain!?

So my question to Cinema now is what percentage of your customers had trouble playing DVD's that didn't call? People who just though CinemaNow was just plain broke... People whom just said "fuck this shit it's not worth my time".

In a world of usability testing if you have that high of a negative feedback rating (six percent!) you are simply S.O.L. and the sign above your e-store should read "Abandon hope now all ye' who enter."

This is why I follow the DRM issue, not because I have an acedmemic and vested interest in it, but because it's so damn fun and entertaining!

Ultimately... none of this matters. At the end of the day all that matters is wether CinemaNow succeeds as a business and fails... And guess what... that's great, because at the very least we'll all be entertained... maybe everyone will learn something.

Since Apple's Fairplay has been the only widely successful DRM'd market place yet and they're increasingly facing anti-trust issues I'm thinking that lesson will be that DRM is fundementally defective-by-design, anti-competitive, and just plain broken.

DRM is fundamentally rife with in escapeable conflicts.

The only way to leverage DRM into the marketplace is to have complete, 100% control over that marketplace... Silo businesses as their called, or technologically perfect little walled gardens, as they're also called. Apple has been the only one to pull this off so far... and their success ironicly may very well be their downfall.

My view of the future is as follows.

1) There will be "competition" between multiple silo's or marketplaces of media. You'll have the choice of what platform you want to be locked into. These services will divy up a small percentage of the highend market for high-def and hollywood media... so called big media.

2) The majority of the market will eventually become open and competitive.... based on standards based media like mp3's, mp4's and eventually even more open media formats like ogg-orvis and others.

3) These open marketplaces will fundamentally (because they're open) become the the center of the digital media marketplace... they'll be where grassroots and independant media take hold and where all innovation occurs. Because innovation always takes the path of least resistance. DRM marketplaces will relegate themselves to small niches around the periphery of the open marketplace, just as AOL eventually relegated itself to the sidelines of the internet.

Marketplaces fundamentally must remain open and free in order to reach the greatest state of efficiency, competition, and equitable distribution for all.

You can already see these two alternative worlds of media shaping up. On the one hand there's all these non-innovative, highly inflexible marketplaces like Apple iTunes, Cinema now, and every service based on Microsofts DRM... and on the other hand there's video and audio podcasting... CDBaby and thousands of hosts and platforms for open and independant media.

As for what percentage of the market will be open, and what percentage closed I cannot say.

But I have one fundamental premise.

The center of the marketplace MUST remain open.

Saturday, August 5

"8 1/2 Mile" - a film trailer remix

Fellini meets Eminem

Watch movie (Quicktime, 2.1 min, 12.6 MB)

Original post, from Film Threat:

Fellini's classic film re-mixed Eminem-style...

(Via Mefeedia)