Saturday, December 15

T-Mobile blocks Twitter

This strikes a cord lately with cellular services like Verizon and then AT&T paying lip service to "open". And people say we don't need net neutrality laws? I can't wait to see what becomes of this issue.

From: Alternageek Technology Podcast > T-Mobile blocks Twitter? (updated)

"T-Mobile would like to bring to your attention that the Terms and Conditions of service, to which you agreed at activation, indicate “… some Services are not available on third-party networks or while roaming. We may impose credit, usage, or other limits to Service, cancel or suspend Service, or block certain types of calls, messages, or sessions (such as international, 900, or 976 calls) at our discretion." Therefore, T-Mobile is not in violation of any agreement by not providing service to Twitter. T-Mobile regrets any inconvenience, however please note that if you remain under contract and choose to cancel service, you will be responsible for the $200 early termination fee that would be assessed to the account at cancellation."

From: T-Mobile Turns Off Twitter?
I’m a T-Mobile customer and testing the issue right now, although I have received sporadic updates as recently as last night. It would be quite astonishing if T-Mobile is blocking an opt-in text messaging service considering how common they are and T-Mobile’s relatively small market share in the U.S. However, it wouldn’t be the first time the company has been at loggerheads with a third party service. Earlier this year, T-Mobile blocked VOIP-based free calling service Truphone, but eventually lost in court.
There's an bit more including some responses from twitter on it at the interesting customer empowerment site > T-Mobile Shuts Down Twitter Service for Good?

Tuesday, December 11

Western Digital DRM Hard Drive, the most insane DRM implimentation yet?

When I read this I thought it was a hoax, but April is 4 months off.

From: Western Digital DRM'd Hard Drive Won't Let You Share MP3, DivX
Western Digital's 1TB MyBook external hard drives won't share media files over network connections (UPDATE: Don't install the "required" client software! See workaround below). From the product page:

"Due to unverifiable media license authentication, the most common audio and video file types cannot be shared with different users using WD Anywhere Access."

It doesn't matter what the files are: If you try to share these formats over a network, Western Digital assumes not just that you're a criminal, but that it is its job to police users. You see, MP3, DivX, AVI, WMV and Quicktime files are copy-protected formats.

The list of banned filetypes includes more than thirty extensions. Some of them are bizarre: .IT files are banned — these are Amiga-style music modules composed with Impulse Tracker, a particularly well-loved tracking sequencer that hasn't been updated in almost a decade. I composed with IT myself, back in the day, and still have all my shitty compositions, none of which Western Digital would have me share. (Try MOD vs. Speak&Spell masterpiece Eddie Dreams of Women, if you dare: IT, MP3)

Isn't it cute how the only data it views as worthy of policing are music and movies? These are the only copyrights that matter under corporate monkey law.

It's the most astonishing example of crippled equipment I've ever seen. A DRM'd hard drive! Whatever next? Dreaming meat?

Mmm.... Dreaming meat.

Wait... what the hell is wrong with Western Digital!?

It's so arbitrary, and they've done it on such a large scale. This may end up being the biggest DRM debacle ever.... though it will be hard to beat Sony's rootkit fiasco.

Certainly someone is going to end up suing them over this.

Friday, November 30

youtube, censorship and the open conversation space

Re: Egyptian anti-torture blogger says YouTube shut his account. - Boing Boing

This is a very egregious case of censorship. I've been following the censorship issue on youtube as it has happened time and time again.

These issues of censorship will inevitably happen again and again and again because Youtube has little concern in safeguarding the rights of it's users. It has an fundamental incapacity and has no economic incentive to protect it's users rights, nor the rights of copyright holders. In short, youtube is a mess.

Whether the excuse be violation of youtube's terms of service or copyright infringement the bottom line is centralized closed systems like youtube are fundamentally bad for safeguarding diverse conversation and culture.

On one hand video bloggers should know better to depend exclusively on a service like youtube. In order for the space to be diverse, dynamic and safeguard free speech it must support a diversity of hosts including completely independently hosted video blogs.

You might accuse me of tooting my own horn here, but this is not me promoting mefeedia (a pet project of mine for several years), but this is WHY I started working on mefeedia in the first place.

There must be an "open alternative" to the walled gardens like youtube. Mefeedia is approaching 30,000 video blogs and audio podcasts and they're hosted on 14,000 websites. Which include 300-350 video or audio specific hosting sites and the rest completely independently hosted endeavours. These videoblogs and podcasts reflect a quality and a diversity that is not found on youtube. This includes everything from the entire CBS nightly news (hosted by CBS), to independant endevours like Alive In Bagdad.

In a marketplace / conversation where people can host their own media or choose from a variety of competing services that marketplace can support the innovation and the diversity of the whole world and those people can safeguard their own voices from censorship.

Youtube may have had an early lead, and I bear them no ill will, but they have simply become the AOL of video. Just like AOL before it is not an ecosystem which can meet the diverse needs of a global conversation. The conversation must be decentralized, diverse, and remixable.

These means independant hosts of content, and independant places for sharing, searching and discussion of that content. It is not just about Wael Abbas' right to securely post his videos of human rights abuses, but also the right of the individual to comment and discuss them independantly of Wael Abbas's domain. The videos are the very article of discussion. As such they must not be bound to any one host or domain and to do so it to restrict and censor the scope of that conversation.

Thursday, November 29

The future is open, Verizon to support any device or app on it's network?

Some people may overlook the importance of this.

Verizon opens up, will support any device, any app on its network

However, the end-to-end (aka. common carrier, aka. network neutrality) principal of the Internet is slowly taking over how other networks operate as well.

These networks are increasingly finding themselves *competing* with the Internet and they cannot do so without opening themselves up and creating a level playing field for innovators as well. You can see it with cellular networks (competing with wifi & the infinite array of internet services), traditional telephony (competing with VOIP), and to some degree cable TV, which is now competing in a very direct way for the attention of younger generations.

What this eventually means for Verizon customers is:

  • Good bye having to *rent* the GPS features on your phone.

  • Good bye ridiculous 10 cent text messages.

  • Good bye paying $2.99 for ring tones.

  • Good by buy or rent stupid applications like "weather" on your sell phone.

  • Good bye having to pay $10 a month extra just to be able to blog photos from your camera capable phone.

  • Good by having to choose a cell phone based the scant choices your cellular company provided.

What this means is in the long run a veritable cornucopia of services will be available to you on your phone, whatever entrepreneurs or anyone else can dream up, and all you'll have to pay Verizon for is the bandwidth you use.

What Verizon looses off charging service fees for few obtuse services they will MORE than make up for selling bandwidth for the 100,000's of thousand mobile services that will increase the utility, use and validity of their network.

Verizon no longer gets to tax based on the contents of the package or the type of service. Unlike the cable companies they no longer get to pick which content makers get to use their network.

They're now pledging to be a "carrier neutral" shipping company for bits. This throwing away of arbitrary and frankly stupid criteria can now mean innovation can really happen. Verizon will no longer arbitrate the winners and losers instead the playing field will be open to ALL comers. All, specifically meaning anyone who has access to the Internet or a cell phone. This means potentially billions of users can use or offer services or benefit from services on their network instead of the few dozen services Verizon offers its customers now.

It is funny to watch how the cellular provider "tax" on items like the absurdly overpriced 10 cent text message and other capabilities of cell phones have shifted and distorted innovation which has routed itself around them.

This taxing has been going on, and will still continue to go on for a while, but with Verizon declaring its cellular network neutral, the apple iPhone challenging traditional rules set down by cellular carriers and above all Google throwing down the gauntlet in helping create an open source mobile OS the paradigm for these closed networks like cable, cellular, and traditional telephony seem to be opening up.

The future is open.

Related article: Apple to Unveil Faster IPhone, AT&T's Stephenson Says -

Friday, November 23

Six things to be thankful for in technology, 2007

From: Six things to be thankful for in technology, 2007

Number 1:

Finally, DRM is dying

Ken Fisher: 2007 is the year of the infamous Steve Jobs open letter on DRM, the year that EMI got brave enough to kick DRM to the curb, and even Universal is considering the idea. I've long argued that DRM isn't about piracy, it's about selling your rights back to you. With the growing backlash against DRM, smart players are realizing that their customers don't want to be treated like thieves, even if the MPAA has the gall to suggest that they do. Yet, even the MPAA knows that customers are tired of seeing their fair use rights trampled, coming out earlier this year to call for a change in the industry.

DRM isn't dead yet, but the writing is on the wall. DRM for music will likely not last another year. DRM for video is another matter, as those players remain convinced that their products need protection. Once DRM dies in the music scene, however, the pressure will be on Hollywood to explain why it continues to trample on fair use.
Number 3:

The big disrupter: the iPhone

Eric Bangeman: I admire many of Apple's products—and I've been a Mac user for 22 years—but I also find myself irritated by some of the things the company does. But this year, I'm truly thankful for a game-changing product from Apple, the iPhone.

I've been a smartphone/PDA junkie for close to a decade and have used just about every mobile OS known to humankind during that time. The iPhone has truly made my life easier with its innovative UI, ease of use, and incredibly tight integration with Mac OS X (something no other smartphone has ever achieved). It makes me more productive (NewsGator's iPhone RSS interface is simply amazing), entertains me when I want to be entertained, and in its jailbroken form allows me to add extra functionality as I wait for official third-party apps to be released early next year.

The iPhone is significant not just because it is such a compelling product, however.The iPhone is sending a message to people at Apple and indeed everywhere that phone lock-ins aren't cool, and that the product can and will be made better by its community. In just a few short years, we'll look back and see how the iPhone caused a mobile revolution much like the BlackBerry did in the Enterprise.

No further commentary necessary. :)

Monday, November 19

Is there any potential for youtube high definition?

For those of you who don't know a few weeks back, one of the leading hosting services for video creators offered a high definition hosting service. Last week Youtube announced their own intentions to do so. Note, no youtube service yet exists.

This brings up a very valid point.

What use is their in HDTV for youtube?

Youtube has in effect created a service that fundamentally gives creators neither freedom, nor security.

Censorship of content is completely at random and widespread on the service as is copyright infringement to the point it's entirely impossible to track where the infringement ends and the censorship begins.

Authors have had whole histories of 100's of video deleted on a whim. These and all comments and discussion on them are gone from history has if they never existed. Youtube takes no responsibility for safeguarding creators works and simultaneously takes no responsibility for protecting copyright owners.

Worst of all youtube fundamentally requires ownership of all materials posted to it. Requiring users to give up all liberty / freedom of their content. This means there shall be no profiting and no innovation on youtube except by that by which youtube deems fit. Furthermore there should be no illusion as to whether any potential profit shall be taken by the users or youtube given youtube's sale for $1.6 billion to google and given creators have signed away all right to such profits on any materials posted.

This sort of lopsided structured agreement (if you can call it an agreement at all) is not a conducive environment for creators of valued content.

One must therefore question whether their is any chance for youtube's service to become anything more than the simple experimental playground it is. One must question whether it has any potential to grow up into a content provider that offers anything more then at best fair use clips, viral video clips, experimental clips from home users and other such elements of so called "clip culture" or at worst copyright infringing materials.

Personally I see no future for youtube as a host for any content worthy of HD. It's not a host for artists, not a host for videographers, not a host acceptable for film shorts, not for documentaries, not for sitcoms, fundamentally not acceptable given it's censorship for forms of news, societal critique, critical dissent nor any other form of valued content.

In short youtube has defined itself as a proprietor of only the most base form of video and has no capacity or potential for greater value to either the general public or the traditional media companies whom are pulling out of it in droves. Youtube has defined itself as such, and is now stuck in a rut. It is no longer the nimble young company it is and no longer has the capability to redefine itself as a worthy proprietor of content.

On the flip side (disclaimer: my hobby of the last 2.5 years) has tracked to date almost 30,000 video feeds coming from over 15,000 different hosts. These vary from Vimeo, to, to over 350 similar professional video hosting services. However the vast majority of these 15,000 hosts are independent creators.

This content represents the true vitality and future of the video space. These creators and OWNERS of their content represent the true scope of humanity. They vary from hobbiest and home recorders to professional artists, videographers, hollywood types, even the largest traditional media companies. They represent from simple video snapshots as one would shoot and record photos, to the entire CBS news, feature length movies in the public domain, to critical political dissent, to the politicians themselves.

This is a diversity that is not reflected in youtube and which can fundamentally only occur where the creators retain their ownership, and with that ownership both their freedom and security of their speach.

This is fundamentally important because this space is not simply about entertainment or any of the more traditional forms of media, it is above all about communications. Not mass communications, as in communicating to the masses, but mass communications, as in video henceforth will be another means for the masses to communicate with each other, like email or the telephone but infinitely more powerful.

The following is what Jakob Lodwick had to say on the same issue. Hopefully he will not mind my putting it forth in it's entirety. It is not a subject that I feel can be made sound bytes or pull quotes of.

A lot of people are asking me what I think about YouTube’s vague HD aspirations. My response is the same as to any other YouTube product announcement.

YouTube is an illicit organization built upon a self-destructive philosophy. This is not an academic point: all businesses depend on their philosophy. Whether that philosophy is determined though conscious design, or whether it accumulates randomly over the months, is the choice of the businesses’ leaders.

YouTube acts upon the premise that the creator does not have a right to his own creation. Claiming safe harbor under the DMCA is the cop-out of the decade. If they valued digital property rights, they would proactively delete stolen content.

Today, the quality of YouTube vids is so abysmal that it’s not an alternative to the iTunes Store or television. But releasing HD will bring YouTube one step closer to the legal decision that either cripples them or shuts them down entirely. It will only hasten the fury of the creators, both corporations and individuals, who hate seeing their hard work ripped off so that other corporations have a place to advertise. Both those groups have tremendous power: the corporations because they have billions of dollars, and the individuals because they’re creating the videos that are being watched in the first place and can easily post them elsewhere.

YouTube still has the opportunity to adopt a legitimate philosophy. They could adopt a policy of protecting the rights of the people who make videos. But do you really expect it from Steve Chen, who has uploaded two videos in the past 10 months, or Chad Hurley, who has zero videos? If you are a creator, these guys do not give a fuck about you, neither as a person nor as a demographic. They do not understand your values nor why you are valuable; why do you think this will change?

PS: I imagine they feel deeply guilty, consciously or subconsciously, about their current evil policies, and this explains their goofy non-profit “cause” efforts. If these guys truly want to “make a difference”, how about doing the right thing in the first place? One limp ‘right’ does not reverse the damage of a collosal ‘wrong’.

Sunday, November 11

F.C.C. Planning Rules to Open Cable Market

"The Federal Communications Commission is preparing to impose significant new regulations to open the cable television market to independent programmers and rival video services after determining that cable companies have become too dominant in the industry, senior commission officials said" I'll believe it when i see it and not a minute sooner!

read more | digg story

Friday, November 2

Saul Williams - The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!

I thought I should blog about this.
My Dearest Friends and Fans,

It is my greatest honor to present to you The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust!,
my new album produced by Trent Reznor and mixed by Alan Moulder. The wall of sound that we've created is tagged with such graffiti that a passerby would seek out doors and ways to ENTER. Once inside a world defined by dreams come true they'd find aligned with the simplest act of sharing what we treasure. Most people aren't aware of the world of art and commerce where exploitation strips each artist down to nigger. Each label, like apartheid, multiplies us by our divide and whips us 'til we conform to lesser figures. What falls between the cracks is a pile of records stacked to the heights of talents hidden from the sun. Yet the energy they put into popularizing smut makes a star of a shiny polished gun. The ballot or the bullet for Mohawk or the mullet is a choice between new times and dying days. And the only way to choose is to jump ship from old truths and trust dolphins as we swim through changing ways. The ways of middlemen proves to be just a passing trend. We need no priests to talk to God. No phone to call her. And when you click the link below, i think it fair that you should know that your purchase will make middlemen much poorer...




I think what he's trying to say is go download his album.

Pay $5 if you like for a 320kbps mp3 or lossless flac version, or try the 196kbps mp3 version for free. He may be more poetic, but he's one of the few people who's wordier then I. Great song writer, bad copywriter. Get to the point buddy, we have short attention spans here! :)

Seriously though. This is the future, wordy copy writing doesn't mean a damn thing. Even if he had misspellings it wouldn't really mean a damn thing in the big picture. Such things miss the point. Being personal, building an honest direct relationship with your fans, that's what this is all about. Saul and Trent are just doing what huge corporate conglomerates have been doing for years, cutting out the middle men. This is just a first step, no need for perfection. Musicians have all the time in thw world to polish their communications skillz.

I must admit, I haven't listened to Saul's latest album yet. (Six minutes remaining till download.) However I have very much enjoyed what I've heard of his previous work in all its untamed rawness especially his music video, List of Demands. Since I haven't listened I don't know what I can say about this new album other then, "Why not go download it for free and see if you like it?"

If you do like it be a patron, add to the tip jar and pass on the good word.

P.S. Love the references to David Bowie's stage persona Ziggy Stardust.

Read more on Saul Williams/Niggy Stardust on wikipedia.

Also, It's important to acknowledge that Trent Rezner and Saul Williams are obviously following the lead of Radiohead with their freely downloadable, name your own price album In Rainbows (wikipedia) which came out in the last week or two.

This release follows the exact same model as Radiohead's In Rainbows. Trent Rezner and Saul have learned from Radiohead's rookie mistakes making sure it's much easier to find the new album on the website and are using Amazon's muchos scalable S3 hosting platform to handle the anticipated rush of downloads.

We are definitely at the very beginning of something big here. After years of it running over the damn is finally letting go. Let the music flow!

Update: Upon second, third and forth reading, I love Saul's copy.

Friday, October 26

Comcasts' leaked talking points memo

I had to repost this. It's just amazing. Lying to your customers is step one for Comcast. I think this pretty much makes the case for the need for net neutrality laws.

Re: Leaks: Comcast's "We Don't Throttle BitTorrent" Internal Talking Points Memo
You may get customers who are contacting us with regard to several articles which were published recently, accusing Comcast of blocking or otherwise filtering customers' Internet traffic. An in-depth AP story suggests Comcast is hindering our customers' ability to use BitTorrent, a peer to peer file sharing program. If a customer contacts us to inquire about this, please use the following talking points.

Comcast does not block access to any applications, including BitTorrent

We respect our customers' privacy and we don't monitor specific customer activities on the Internet or track individual online behavior, such as which websites they visit. Therefore, we do not know whether any individual user is visiting BitTorrent or any other site...

We have a responsibility to provide all of our customers with a good experience online and we use the latest technologies to manage our network. This is standard practice for ISPs and network operators all over the world.

We rarely disclose our vendors or our processes for operating our network both for competitive reasons and to protect against network abuse.

If a customer asks:
I read that Comcast is limiting customer access to BitTorrent. Is this true?

No. We do not block access to any applications, including BitTorrent. We also respect our customers' privacy and don't monitor specific customer activities on the Internet or track individual online behavior, such as which websites they visit. Therefore, we do not know whether any individual user is visiting BitTorrent or any other site.

We have a responsibility to provide all of our customers with a good experience online and we use the latest technologies to manage our network. This is standard practice for ISPs and network operators all over the world.

Are you working with Sandvine as these reports claim?

We rarely disclose our vendors or our processes for operating our network both for competitive reasons and to protect against network abuse.

Please do not deviate from the responses above. If you have any questions about this issue, please reach out to Brian Becker, Gene Bridges or myself.

Michael S. Groman
Manager / IP Support
MD-DE-RCH Region

IP, it's not intellectual property, it's Intellectual PRIVILEGE.

Trademarks, Patents and Copyrights are not physical goods. They don't behave like physical goods. They cannot be stolen like physical goods. They are not rights. They are economic incentives. It's time we start calling them what they really are. IP is "intellectual privilege".

read more | digg story

Wednesday, October 24

The Best of Lonely Tree: Fog, Tree, Road

I'm honored to have one of my photos chosen as The Best of Lonely Tree :)


Keychain GPS

GPS technology is getting there. And by there I mean the proverbial cheap and simple.

I've been telling people for a while I'm waiting for a GPS unit that costs $50 or less, has an on/off button, can record for 24+ hours, has a USB port and fits on a keychain. No screen, no maps, just a button an on/off button and a USB. Bonus points if it can run on a standard AAA or AA battery you can pick up anywhere.

Why? I don't need to know where I'm at. I don't need some complex device that I need to keep charged constantly.

What I need is something I can throw in my pocket or keep on my kechain that can passively record my bike rides and other various activity for fun things like route sharing, mapping, analyzing the proverbial fitness data like speed, distance, vertical footage and other data easily deriveable from GPS data, and finally syncing the GPS location/time data with other data such as photographs and videos for geo-tagging and mapping happiness.

So where are we at on this little dream?

Well, the Freedom Keychain GPS still retails for anywhere from $80 to $100 so it's a bit over my $50 price point but it's extremely overshot all my other expectations. It can run for 10 hours without a charge and it turns out there's no need for USB output. It has Bluetooth. All the better. With Bluetooth it can theoretically add GPS support for any bluetooth compatible device from your smart phone to your laptop.

There's only three questions that aren't clear.

1) I don't see anything about passive date/time recording. Can it actually record time/location in a standard format like GPX?

2) What kind of software is available for my Mac?

3) Apple has announced they're opening the iPhone up to developers in February. Soo... when am I going to be able to get software for my iphone that lets me tap into this GPS data in realtime and mash it up with things like google maps?

I've got to say. Other then the fact that it doesn't seem to passively record time and location (at least in so far as I can read) it seems like it's already well exceeded my expectations.

I'd also like to point out pretty much every new cell phone has GPS built in. The only reason we don't have more GPS aware apps that mashup google and gps data over wireless data is because cellular providers are morons. Not just any kind of morons, but evil morons.

Tuesday, October 23

3 major things that annoy me about Apple Quicktime on the web

It has became abundantly clear that Apple Quicktime has some major failings for video playback on the web. There are many issues but right now I just want to focus on three extremely obvious things Apple is doing wrong which is pushing video makers, video watchers and video hosting sites away from quicktime.

1) lack of fullscreen playback in web browsers

2) lack of support for linux

3) conflicting keyboard shortcuts make playing quicktime videos in Firefox and safari painful.

Quicktime has no fullscreen playback in the browser

I could name off the top of my head over two dozen video hosting websites from to Youtube to that have fullscreen playback as a stock feature of their video players. Nearly every single video hosting company today uses Flash as their default playback mechanism and nearly every one has a button right in the default player that allows for the immediate playback of their videos in full screen.

Counterpoint this to Apple Quicktime. Apple just recently stopped requiring users to pay $30 to buy a Quicktime Pro license to be able to play videos in fullscreen mode among other things. Having to pay to play videos fullscreen has always been a thorn in the side of quicktime authors and their fans and thank you apple for finally allowing fans to view videos in any manner they choose... but... Apple has not included in either the menu or as button in the web browser player a fullscreen playback option.

In an age where everyone and their mother has fullscreen playback as a default feature of their video Apple has fallen way behind.

No quicktime support for linux

I've been dabbling in linux for years. For the last year or so I've been using the very nice linux distribution Ubuntu on my primary desktop computer. My one major failing with the Ubuntu platform is there's no browser plugin for playing back all the quicktime formats in the browser.

Quicktime is available for Windows so why hasn't Apple released a version of Quicktime for linux or at least worked with open source developers to create a plugin that will play back Quicktime videos in web browsers on linux. Clearly linux and particularly Ubuntu are a large part of the future of desktop computing.

Macromedia Flash does have an available plugins for linux, which is yet another reason why it's so popular with video sharing sites. So why not apple?

Apple Quicktime has conflicting keyboard shortcuts in Firefox and Safari

I recently upgraded to Firefox (a very nice release) that makes the browser much more "mac-like" in both appearance and usability. There is however one thing that they carried over from Safari that's just plain wrong.

Firefox now uses the key commands "command-option-left arrow / right arrow" to switch between tabs. They copied this shortcut combination from Safari.

The problem is in their infinite wisdom the Safari team had used the same key commands to switch tabs as to play quicktime movies forward and in reverse. Therefore if you have have any Quicktime video in a web page and you flip through your tabs left or right it will automatically start the video playing in forward or reverse.

Add more tabs with more videos and what you have is a major mess with multiple videos playing, your speakers squawking gibberish, and very quickly these videos start stuttering and skipping as your hard drive and your processor get over taxed and up comes the "multi-color spinning pizza of death" (or "the spinning beach ball of death" as some prefer to call it) mouse cursor as your system becomes somewhat unresponsive making it increasingly hard for you to undo what you've just started in .5 seconds by skipping between a few tabs using command-option-left / right.

That my friends is piss poor experience and usability do to one of the most obvious errors in usability. First do know harm. Or better the number one rule of implementing quick keys: First make sure no other commands use the same key combination.

We're talking pretty basic and obvious stuff here.

I find it both funny and extremely bad that Apple, who's focus on usability is legendary, has completely missed this point with perhaps the most used application on the mac OS, Safari. I find it even more humorous that Firefox has replicated the issue by bringing the same keyboard shortcuts conflict to the Firefox browser. No doubt many people are running into this usability bug on a daily basis in some shape or form.

The only workaround I know at present is to use control-tab and control-shift-tab in firefox to switch tabs. This works on mac, not sure about windows or linux. No idea on a work around in safari. You also cannot change these keyboard shortcuts in safari, firefox or quicktime with the Mac OS system wide "Keyboard Shortcuts" control panel because none of them can be selected via the menu so they're not scriptable. I've also checked the "about:config" settings in Firefox, and done some initial digging around in the system and library folders on the Mac OS. Still there appears to be no way to change these settings. If you know of any please leave a comment. :(

In summary

In summary it has become increasingly clear that Apple Quicktime supported formats such as MP4 have huge advantages when it comes to video syndication and distribution. They scale well to high definition, they're downloadable and portable unlike many Flash videos and they're playable on a wide range of devices from iPod's to Tivo to the Zune and Sony PSP. However, when it comes to web based playback of video Flash is kicking Apple and everyone else's butt (including Windows Media and Real Media).

Flash has become so popular for web based playback because it has such highly customizable playback interface and streams so well. In many ways flash is fulfilling much of the promise of what many used to call "interactive television" or "interactive media".

Instead of being able to click on the skirt of model as she walks down the runway to get more info on the item or purchase it... Instead of "choose your own adventure" in video interactivity has been primarily obsessed with a few key features such as the ability to share a video via a wide range of options and the ability to click through and view a whole host of alternative videos, content, links and meta information that goes with the video (and don't forget commenting). While these forms of interactivity are nothing like the slick ideas we were so focused on in the past they are in many ways far more powerful, robust, interactive and meaningful then anything we'd previously imagine. As I'm fond of saying: The future is nothing like we thought it would be and yet so much better.

Where as purchasing a skirt worn by a model on a runway is one of those silly ideas of the past. The present reality of interactivity is thousands of people seeing a video on a website like youtube, sharing the url with their 14 million friends via IM email and other means, favoriting it, downloading it, remixing it, posting it to their own blogs and thereby potentially effecting great change in the "hearts and minds" of a nation. The later example may not be as slick and shiny an idea of interactivity as the first but in is in it's simplicity of technology and the sophistication and ubiquitous social nature far far more power.

As the market evolves instead of these online viewing and offline viewing paradigms converging they seem to be at least for the moment diverging. While the the iTunes Podcasting Directory and podcasting with it seems to go one direction web-services like youtube seem to be going another. Both are equally as important though.

Meanwhile the core user group, video bloggers / video podcasters and the web-services that best represent their interests like and are increasingly offering MediaRSS feeds that contain many different enclosure formats for playback in various situations including Flash for playback on the web, low res Quicktime for playback on the iPod and various hand held devices, and the latest greatest buzz high definition MP4 or h264 encoded videos for playback on HD television and/ or with video aggregators like Miro.

The point is video will get more ubiquitous. Platforms will become more varied. They will become simultaneously higher definition and lower resolution. They will also simultaneously become longer in form and shorter. More personal and more aimed at entertaining or informing a general audience. Simultaneously more interactive and more passive.

The cell phone and ubiquitously connected wifi handhelds like the iPhone are one of the next hot platforms. And more and more videoblogs are also finding their way onto high definition TV screens in the living room via media centers and set top boxes like the Tivo and AppleTV. And of course with great new linux distro's like Ubuntu 7.10, aka. Gutsy Gibbon, increasingly a larger share of the general public is going to be using operating systems other than Apple and Microsoft. Let's not forget all the proprietary operating systems in handheld devices and set top boxes either. While web playback is the key the video space is increasingly becoming about far more than just the two primary operating systems Apple and Microsoft.

This is not be a winner take all game. In fact there's room for many different codecs and many different formats, sizes and resolutions. The web browser as in so many markets is the key platform. However as this market evolves whomever pays the most attention to and puts the most resources into bringing video these evolving markets like linux, cell phones and set top boxes is going to obviously take a key position in this market.

Right now Flash has very quickly (really since the advent of youtube only a couple years ago) taken the upper hand with web based playback. Apple has a very strong position with portable devices with the iPod and AppleTV (bringing media to the pocket and the living room). Apple would also seem to have a lead in the cellular market with the iPhone, but Flash has very bright prospects there as well with it's ability to be customized for streaming and playback over 3g and wifi. We'll see how it all plays out.

Thursday, October 18

Will Apple Open the iPhone?

From: Will Apple Open the iPhone?

It's rumored that some major players already have been given the iPhone development kit. The list is said to include gaming software maker Electronic Arts (ERTS) and Google (GOOG), which has already built versions of Google Maps and its YouTube video site for the iPhone. Electronic Arts declined to comment, while a source at Google indicated that the search company hasn't been give early access to the iPhone kit.

Meanwhile, companies that specialize in software for wireless phones are jockeying for Apple's attention. "We've been working with the Web interface for some time but would love to embed our technology on the iPhone itself," says Brian Bogosian, CEO of Visto, a privately held software outfit that specializes in e-mail software for mobile phones. Similarly, a startup named iSkoot, which offers an application for making Skype (EBAY) phone calls on mobile devices, says it's eager to adapt its software for the iPhone platform.

All I want for Christmas is a new iPhone which works with my choice of VOIP carriers so I can make free calls anywhere there's wifi. I figure that adds an immediate $150-$250 to the price as skype phones start at $150. But it's way more than that in long term benifits. The convienience of VOIP on the iPhone will make it even more compelling still over the long term. And this is just ONE application that can be brought to the iphone overnight. Once apple opens the doors to the long tail of innovation the network effect takes over. The true value of the iphone will skyrocket blowing the value curve/ value proposition for all other cellular companies. They will eventually have to stop playing favorites with controling services and features on phones on their networks with bullshit service charges like text messaging, and streaming video feautres and accept that allowing others to create and market these feautres which will run on these phones will cause the value of their cellular networks and the utlizization of their cellular networks to skyrocket, just like web services created value for internet service providers to sell broadband.

The problem is *sshat cellular companies still think we're in a cable tv paradigm where they can block millions of innovative services and instead opt to sell you one or two like text messaging at ridiculously inflated prices. That paradigm is dead or dying. User perceptions in the market are changing rapidly. Customers will no longer be willing to pay greatly inflated prices for a very limited selection of services. They will come to expect on cell phones as they have on the web best of breed apps regardless of who the cellular carrier intends to favor. The iPhone is perhaps the greatest symbol of that change. If cellular carriers don't respond to this shift in paradigm from service provider to common carrier access provider innovation will route right around them, just like VOIP on WiFi.

Friday, September 28

youtube, free speach and the tyrany of private public spaces, v2

"Youtube. This account is suspended."

This is a story we're starting to see time and time again. Youtube deleting user accounts completely without any due cause being given to the owner of the account. Traditional media companies abusing the DMCA to silence critics.

It's an issue I've written about before.

As covered on newteevee "an online destination for video reports from St. Louis and the state of Missouri published by Anotonio D. French, a newspaper reporter who was frustrated with local news coverage" had his entire youtube account deleted on accusations that one of his videos violated Channel 5 St. Louis' copyright.

The video (embeded below) was critical of Channel 5's unsubstantiated claims that an local alderman took bribes in a realestate swindle. Was it fair use or copyright infringement? View it below and be your own judge.

Pubdef has re-hosted the video on his own site. Of course the majority of the other 200+ videos are gone. You can read his original post over on

What disturbs me most about this is it's hard to feel sorry for the guy and his readers when he apparently has gone right back to hosting his videos on youtube under the the new userneame PubDefTV. Dude! Move to a reputeable host like!

Thursday, September 27

Yahoo Podcasts Joins The Deadpool

Re: Yahoo Podcasts Joins The Deadpool

Yahoo Podcasts, a comprehensive podcasting search, directory and listening service that launched in October 2005, is closing at the end of October, a fraction past its second birthday.

There is no official word from Yahoo as to why the site is shutting, aside from a message at the top of Yahoo Podcasts that reads “Yahoo! apologizes deeply, but we will be closing down the Podcasts site on Oct. 31, 2007.”

Other podcast directories have struggled as a medium that years ago held so much promise was surpassed by the rise of video. Odeo was acquired from investors, then sold off, then acquired another podcast directory called FireAnt; and more recently the podcast provider/ directory Podshow is rumored to be closing a third round of funding this week as they run short of money.

Yahoo Podcasts joins the ever growing Yahoo graveyard along with Yahoo Bill Pay (announced in July for Sep/ Oct shutdown) and the hat trick of closures in May of Yahoo Auctions, WebJay and Yahoo Photos. Yahoo Podcasts joins the TechCrunch Deadpool.

I think this would be a great time to mention Mefeedia just rolled out OPML import. You can now import all your subscriptions from yahoo podcasting, Fireant, Miro, and of course iTunes. Best of all you can not only use mefeedia with video and audio podcasting aggregators like Fireant, Miro and iTunes but mefeedia's services greatly enhance the experience because you can access, manage, view, and listen to your subscriptions anytime and anyplace, not just when you're at your home computer.

Tuesday, September 18

Universal Music snubbing Apple and its customers

Anymore I love reading about what the major music labels are doing, because it's so damn entertaining!

Re: DailyTech - Universal Jumps to SpiralFrog's Free Downloads: iPods Not Welcome

In what appears to be a snub to apple (like NBC's recent move from the Apple Store to Universal music has chosen to sell it's music through a music service that doesn't work on the iPod, I assume it uses the irrelevant and unsuccessful Microsoft DRM, but the truth is it doesn't even matter.

Has Universal ever been more irrelevant?

They're behaving exactly like a spoiled child.

This is a fight Universal fundamentally has no chance in the world of winning, because it's not about Apple. It's about them waking up and finally realizing that mp3 IS the standard. It's the only one true way to sell music in this era.

A recap, first Universal makes Apple the king/master by demanding DRM on their music, apple delivers the only successful DRM option, then Universal rails against the master they've made. Finally Universal tries to snub it's master by choosing to make some other 3rd party the general public has never heard of their master.

What Universal fundamentally doesn't seem to get is by snubbing apple's Fairplay DRM and the open MP3 format they're snubbing ANY and ALL successful or working options to sell music to their customers. They're giving them no choice BUT to steal music! Which is why Trent Rezner of NIN, one of their biggest artists is off in Australia telling his fans to just go ahead and steal the music. (read on.. I'm getting to it)

I have one further suggestion for Universal based on their brilliant logic.

Universal: 99% of all P2P shared music is ripped straight of a CD! (epiphany) Why don't you simply stop selling CD's as well? Anyone selling CD's is clearly inducing copyright theft. You must stop selling CD's!

Furthermore I would suggest Universal then start selling ties, and start calling themselves a clothing company, because they certainly aren't by definition in the music industry anymore. They seem to be doing anything but selling music.

In related news (as mentioned above) Trent Reznor of NIN and also represented by Universal Music was so disgusted by the price gouging by Universal on NIN CD's in Australia, a topic that he spoke out against months ago, that he told his fans at an Australian concert "...Has anyone seen the price come down? Okay, well, you know what that means — STEAL IT. Steal away. Steal and steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealin." Enjoy the clip yourself, I've embedded it below. It's short, sweet and clear. There's no question about the issue.

This just makes me laugh and laugh. Universal has outlived it's utility in the music age. It's whole *idea* of the music industry is, is dead. The only competency they have left is as a marketing arm to promote bands in traditional media. Which is funny because anymore radio and TV are increasingly loosing relevance to word of mouth music sharing on the internet. Web services like and have far more relevancy in shaping tastes and developing the music market then pretty much all of traditional media combined.

The CD is dead as a format. Therefore there's no need for distribution, so what it all comes down to is there's just no need for Universal at all.

Adios Universal, unless you pull your head out of your *ss and start selling mp3's you're dead... of course you've been dead to many like me for a long long time anyway.

Thursday, September 6

youtube, free speach and the tyrany of private public spaces

Let me just start at the end,

F*ck youtube.

Ever day I become more appalled by youtube's complete disregard for it's users.

Sooner or later people are going to realize youtube is a complete tyrant that has no respect for their freedom of speach or right to fair use.

Youtube is one tyrant putting other tyrants, namely big media companies, concerns over individuals right to free speach and fair use. I don't understand how there hasn't been a mass exodus from youtube. Enough already. Vote with your feet people and leave. There are far better video hosting sites. Two of my personal favorites are and Most importantly though, host your own vlog.

I'm not calling for a boycott here. I just wonder why there hasn't been more backlash. I hear more and more cases about DMCA take down abuse on youtube every day and I wonder why people don't do the obvious thing and simply leave youtube.

Case in point, I just stumbled on a nice little post by Washington DC vlogger Kenya Allmond about the deletion of one of her videos by youtube. Apparently it was just 3 minutes of her friend singing along to a few lines of a prince song as they drove down the road. She has reposted it without sound to see if youtube delete's it again.

Yesterday I received a lovely notice from YouTube indicating that one of my videos was removed due to copyright infringement. The notice also stated that repeat incidents of copyright infringement would result in deletion of my account and all the videos uploaded to said account.

What was the video? Did I record something from TV and post it? Did I rip a DVD and post it? It was none of these. It is a video of the boyfriend lipsyncing to Prince’s “Kiss”.

Excerpt from: Kenya Allmond: In My Own Words � YouTube Video Removed for Copyright Infringement

Great eh? How absurd is it that a person can't even share a clip of their friend singing a song while driving down the street? Why do people still use youtube again?

This may seem trivial, but it's not. It's a basic free speach issue. Our right to be secure in our ability to communicate with and share our personal moments with whomever we choose. Video is the new frontier of free speach. Just as you can quotes from a book we need mechanisms and established methods for quoting or referencing in video.

Let's go over some key points:

  • youtube doesn't even bother to review DMCA take down merits

  • youtube often simply deletes videos and even whole accounts without pre-warning

  • youtube not only deletes the video but all the comments, discussion and related material that go with it... effectively "disappearing" it (sort of like a corrupt regime might "disappear" political dissidents) so no record exists of potential wrong doing, not even how many videos youtube has "disappeared".

  • once deleted accounts and videos often can't be resserected even though clearly the reason for doing so is often flimsy and unstated

  • youtube automates the process for big companies to take down literally anything they feel like regardless of merit

  • youtube doesn't even bother to tell you who requested a take down, why, nor offer you any due process

  • often videos are deleted without review simply because the title mentions an artist, show or movie

  • often videos are taken down because someone sings, quotes lyrics from, or even plays a song

  • youtube is extremely quick to respond to take downs without review but very slow to respond to DMCA counter notices

All this adds up to one thing. Youtube really doesn't respect its users. They've put big media's interests far above citizens rights to free speach and fair use. I encourage people to go find someone who does respect their rights. Like Kenya use a better video host like or, and host your blog on or or even your own domain.

Meanwhile on a respectable video host, a site that respects it's users freedom of speach and fair use the hot meme for over a year has been "lip dubbing" with 1114 vidoes as of this writing. Put a song on the ipod and lip sync the lyrics into the camera as you listen along. Clearly on youtube the majority of these lip dubbing videos if not all would be removed.

This is Nagi. from Knock Knock and Vimeo.

Monday, August 13

Virtual architecture in Second Life

Someone recreated the famous all glass house by Mies van Der Rohe in Second Life. I being both an architecture geek and second life wannabe geek (not to mention being grade A vlog geek) of course am overjoyed to see the virtual tour on video. I can't believe I've never gotten down there to see this thing after spending 11 years in Chicago. Maybe I'll at least get a chance to go check it out in second life now. I wonder if this recreation of architectural wonders in second life is becoming quite the trend? I must admit my favorite video game ever was grand theft auto and it wasn't hurt to much by it's fairly amazingly accurate recreation of famous European cityscapes.

from: YouTube - Archiblog visiting Farnsworth House, Second Life (via mefeedia)

Thursday, August 9

Universal to sell DRM free songs

It's happening as predicted. Since the announcement by that Apple would be selling non-drm music in iTunes from EMI other major labels are slowly falling in line.

The New York Times is reporting that the Universal Music Group is going to be selling part of its catalog sans DRM for the next few months to gauge consumer interest. This is great, but the only catch is that these DRM free songs won't be available via iTunes. Universal, in an effort to lessen Apple's dominance of the digital music market, will be offering up the DRM free music via Amazon, Google, RealNetworks, and Wal-Mart for $.99 a song (a price many accredit Apple to pioneering).

From: Universal to sell DRM free songs, but not on iTunes - The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)


You might recall that Universal recently decided not to renew their contract with Apple to sell music in iTunes, and switched their commitment to a month by month basis. What does all this mean? I am betting that this experiment will succeed, and that Universal will reverse their decision and sell DRM free tracks via iTunes, why not sell your wares on the top online music store? has a good take on universal's inevitable move to selling non-drm music too.

The original article is on NYTimes

Tuesday, July 31

'I Like Turtles', a viral video post mortem

The only thing better than a random seventeen second news clip "going viral" on the internets and being seen by at least three quarter million people is a three thousand word post mortem on the spectacle from the Washington Post.

Re: For the 'I Like Turtles' Boy, 17 Seconds Of Fame -

There was a time, not long ago, when a 10-year-old boy could head to a neighborhood fair, get his face painted like a Halloween zombie and blurt out something utterly inane to a local TV news correspondent and nobody would ever think about it again. Oh, there'd be an audience that night, much of which would chuckle and think "Whaaaaa?" But that would be the end of it.

The moment would not endure as a video snippet, posted on Web sites and viewed more than 500,000 times, nor would it inspire T-shirts, or parodies or remixes or mash-ups. It would not lead a company in, say, England to track down the lad and offer him -- or rather, his parents -- cash to turn his baffling three-word apercu into a cellphone ring tone. He would not hear from the Jimmy Kimmel show. A handful of strangers would not call hoping to send him pets.

Saturday, July 28

"P2P networks harm national security"

This has been going around lately, and it just amazes me how ignorant this article is.

Congress: P2P networks harm national security | CNET

Politicians charged on Tuesday that peer-to-peer networks can pose a "national security threat" because they enable federal employees to share sensitive or classified documents accidentally from their computers.

At a hearing on the topic, Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) said, without offering details, that he is considering new laws aimed at addressing the problem. He said he was troubled by the possibility that foreign governments, terrorists or organized crime could gain access to documents that reveal national secrets.

Also at the hearing, Mark Gorton, the chairman of Lime Wire, which makes the peer-to-peer software LimeWire, was assailed for allegedly harming national security through offering his product.


The most scathing criticism came from Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.), who launched into a lengthy monologue in which he deemed Gorton "one of the most naive chairmen and CEOs I've ever run across," and accused his company of making the "skeleton keys" that grant access to material harmful to U.S. national security.

"I'd feel more than a shade of guilt at this point, having made the laptop a dangerous weapon against the security of the United States," Cooper said. "Mr. Gorton, you seem to lack imagination about how your product can be deliberately misused by evildoers against this country." (Cooper also, at one point, claimed that Gorton's own home computer was probably leaking sensitive documents.)

Aparently either one or both congressmen Henry Waxman and Jim Cooper are in the pocket of the Hollywood lobyists.

Come on Henry and Jim, clue in... everyone knows the route to getting p2p networks outlawed is to claim they induce child pornography.

"Save the kids!" Jim & Henry. That's the battle cry to go for. It's a much more righteous way to pass legislation outlawing p2p then hollywood or some percieved threat to national security. Not that you could outlaw p2p without completely shutting down the internet... because of course fundamentally the internet is a peer based network.

Email is a far greater threat to national security then p2p. Perhaps we should ban all government emplyees from using email. We can start with Henry Waxman and Jim Cooper.

Friday, July 27

No parody required, white house politics

I couldn't not blog this, the white house is it's own disgusting parody.

Re: Democrats Urge Perjury Probe of Gonzales | World Latest | Guardian Unlimited
Senate Democrats called for a perjury investigation against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Thursday and subpoenaed top presidential aide Karl Rove in a deepening political and legal clash with the Bush administration.

``It has become apparent that the attorney general has provided at a minimum half-truths and misleading statements,'' four Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee wrote in a letter to Solicitor General Paul Clement.


In response, White House spokesman Tony Fratto said, ``Every day congressional Democrats prove that they're more interested in headlines than doing the business Americans want them to do. And Americans are now taking notice that this Congress, under Democratic leadership, is failing to tackle important issues,'' he said.
"doing the business Americans want them to do"

That just made me laugh out loud.

According to polls the majority of Americans support impeachment... and the approval rating of the president is at record lows... so... I would say that the white house spokesman touches properly on the vital issue... and of course comes to the exact opposite conclusion as to what the reality of the situation is.

The obvious reality is the Democratic leadership IS doing what the vast majority of Americans want... holding the White House accountable.

This is a perfect example of spin at it's most outrageous and ridiculous ends. Parody is no longer required. The White House has become it's own mockery.

Saturday, July 21

Darknet culture and the Harry Potter leak

My friend Raymond from Copenhagen did an awesome write up on some of the behind the scenes culture that went on before the Harry Potter leak and the corresponding Newsweek article.

It's truly fascinating and unlike anything I've read before.

Re: Evil Vlog is... Darknets and the Harry Potter leak

Here are some Cliff notes on his writeup and the corresponding Newsweek article

1) the NEWSWEEK writer admits to downloading, or at least attempting to download, a pirated copy of the book

2) it's overwhelmingly obvious based on the opinions of those in the Newsweek article this leak will in no way effect sales of the book and does in fact enhance the experience of the fans.

2) What really undermines and subverts the piracy efforts are scores of fan fiction... only a true fan would be able to tell the real from the fake.

4) Raymond's posts takes a look at the behind the scenes culture and collaboration on transcribing the book by multiple groups who are all competing to be the first to release a pirated copy. They are not driven by anything other than pride and being big fans.

5) Raymond's post documents the remarkable transparency of these groups, even documenting the Newsweek reporters direct contact with one of the P2P groups transcoding and leaking the book on Pirate Bay.

6) The Newsweek article while pointing out the inherent impossibilities in stopping piracy both inside the publishing world and by fan culture also documents how remarkably pervasive watermarking technologies are getting. While the age of DRM may be finally slowed or stopped moving forward we're now entering an even more dangerous age of ubiquitous watermarking. Soon every digital good you make and every digital good you buy will be watermarked and traceable back to you. This is a very scary thought, which has implications well beyond piracy such as freedom of speech.

Hopefully more later, that was just the cliff notes.

Tuesday, July 10

T-Mobile announces seemless VOIP / cellular package

Of all the rotten times to launch an amazing new service.

On July 5th T-Mobile announced T-Mobile HotSpot @Home. In a word it is a cell phone that also does VOIP.

For only $10 extra a month you can make calls from the same phone both via cellular and VOIP potentially saving yourself thousands of dollars a year.

To put it another way, this service offers all the ubiquity of a cellular network with all the inexpensiveness of VOIP.

Re: IPhone-Free Cellphone News - New York Times

It’s called T-Mobile HotSpot @Home, and it’s absolutely ingenious. It could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year, and yet enrich T-Mobile at the same time. In the cellphone world, win-win plays like that are extremely rare.

Here’s the basic idea. If you’re willing to pay $10 a month on top of a regular T-Mobile voice plan, you get a special cellphone. When you’re out and about, it works like any other phone; calls eat up your monthly minutes as usual.

But when it’s in a Wi-Fi wireless Internet hot spot, this phone offers a huge bargain: all your calls are free. You use it and dial it the same as always — you still get call hold, caller ID, three-way calling and all the other features — but now your voice is carried by the Internet rather than the cellular airwaves.

These phones hand off your calls from Wi-Fi network to cell network seamlessly and automatically, without a single crackle or pop to punctuate the switch. As you walk out of a hot spot, fewer and fewer Wi-Fi signal bars appear on the screen, until — blink! — the T-Mobile network bars replace them. (The handoff as you move in the opposite direction, from the cell network into a hot spot, is also seamless, but takes slightly longer, about a minute.)

I say hurrary!

This first generation service may not be perfect but at the very least it shows that T-Mobile "get's it".

Cellular companies are no longer in the voice communications business... they're in the internet communications business.

This service is a huge step forward. For a cellular company to embrace VOIP to save their customers money and in so doing potentially make much more profit itself is unprecidented.

But this isn't the only way for a cellular company to utilize the internet to make more profit.

Many may also see a direct parrellel between this service and the potential offerings of the iPhone. The iPhone is after all among other things a device that already has all the hardware capabilities of T-mobiles new service. It is an "internet communicator" to quote Steve Jobs... yet it has no VOIP application on the phone.

I assure you hackers and many others are VERY hard at work trying to bring VOIP to the iPhone.

Personally my friend Adam (a non-blogger but brilliant guy non-the-less ;) thinks Apple is trying to use the iphone to leverage itself into the world of communications in exactly the same way it used the iPod and Pixar to leverage their Apple from simply computers into media. This final piece of the puzzle would of course give Apple the unprecidented power to sell and deliver digital media and services DIRECTLY with it's customers anywhere and anytime.

What's more with already ubiquitous WiFi and the potential for ubiquitous WiMax sometime in the next 2-10 years my friend thinks Apple is going to try and leverage the iphone into being a communications company by either buying out a current cellular company or slowly using their leverage to turn all important cellular services into a mere commodity regardless of whether the end use of their networks is voice, data, text messages or accessing ANY webservice.

This may sound like a long shot, but it is VERY similar to what apple is now doing with the iTunes Music Store in shaking up the music biz and turning major music labels product back into a simple 99 cent commodity.

Not only do I think my friend is right on all counts but I'll one up him.

Given DRM dies in a fast and firey death as it is extremely anti-competitive and a huge hindrence to fluid markets the commoditization of BOTH these markets (digital media AND cellular data) will bring TREMENDOUS innovation to both markets over time accellerating the pace of innovation and creating ironicly explosive growth and revenue for Apple's unwitting and often disagreeable partners.

In so commoditizing cellular services into merely data access providers much like internet service providers I think the cellular companies will find a cornicopia of growth like they've never seen before as millions of webservices innovators, so called web 2.0 companies, strive to deliver services over their networks.

As cellular networks stop trying to be the gatekeepers of cellular networks like Cable TV operators... offering extrmely limited services like 10 cent text messages and $2.99 ringtones and finaly offer full unprecidented access and integration with the internet like the iPhone and T-Mobile's new Hotspot @Home service... the tremendous innovation in web based services will add tremendous value to their network and with it exponetial usage and revenue increases.

The most basic lesson here for cellular network providers is this:

Better to make a penny a kilobyte then a buck a minute.

Cellular services only THINK they are in the voice communications business.

Soon they will wake up and realize they have it all wrong. While they were slumbering on their profits or trying to find more ways to nickle and dime their customers to death their industry changed.

Cellular network providers are no longer in the voice communications busines they're in the mobile internet access business.

Sunday, July 8

Rupert from twittervlog, one of my favorite video blogs as of late, posted this excellent video of his thoughts on videoblogging since returning from Pixelodeon Fest 2007 in L.A.

His words are of equal merit.

Today, I realised that everything i've been looking for is right here in front of me.

It's happening right now.

It might not be your dream, but it's mine, and I've only put the pieces together after meeting everyone at Pixelodeon and seeing all the curated sessions of films.

This is why i've fallen in love with internet video distribution. Funny how it's taken me so long to realise the obvious.

I guess i was too busy looking ahead for the one big idea, and not realising that it wasn't a 'show'.

As we say in Jedi school:
It's not the End, it's the Means Whereby.

And as the Dwarf said in Twin Peaks:
Let's rock.

I don't know this Jedi school that Rupert speaks of and I've never had the pleasure of following Twin Peaks, but Rupert's sentiment hits home for me.

Being in Los Angeles Pixelodeon was highly focused on the growth of videoblogging as an industry with a heavy focus on so called shows and "episodic content", but in it's optimism over future growth as an industry what most pleased me is it retained and remembered it's roots. It is at it's core simply a new method of communications and therefore as much of a communications industry as an entertainment industry. And of course this changes everything.

This is something I think audio podcasters so often forget in their own strive to grow into an industry.

We call video blogging "video blogging" and not "video podcasting" because it isn't television and it isn't only about news and entertainment. It's roots and all the things that are important to it come from blogging world and remebering those roots are what keep videoblogging going strong.

Like blogging, videoblogging at it's core is just ordinary every day people speaking their mind, sharing their stories and simply communicating. In that videoblogging has and is succeeding beyond many of our wildest dreams.

In the video blogging world we are already living the dream, vlogging IS a success... all the beautiful things we've dreamed of have come true... all the "overwhelming intangibles" have been there since the first day people picked up their camera and posted videos to their blog.

This amazing ability between people across the world to connect on a deep, profound and personal level is inherent in the video blogging medium. Much more so then good old fashion text blogging, photo blogging or even audio blogging.

One might say though that this "message in the medium" has even been inherent in the web since before blogging, and that videoblogging is simply an extension of the obvious... of what the internet already is with all it's blogs, wikis, bulletin boards, mailing lists, and even it's earliest bulletin boards. However, it is clear that videoblogging is currently and for the near and foreseeable future the height of this fulfillment and that as we move forward this new space will continue to bloom as it becomes accessible to more and more of the world. I truly believe we haven't even begun to reach the full potential of this sector; video as a tool for mass communications... not communicating TOO the masses... but for the masses to communicat with each other.

So while many, myself included, will always be struggling to take it to the next level, to grow this fledgling little hobby of ours into an entertainment and communications industry and to continue to improve on it and make it ever more accessible throughout the world the truth is we're already living the dream. We're already doing what we want to do.

Like blogging the majority of us may never make money off our video blogs, at least not directly, but that is of no consequence for us. Videoblogging connects us in new ways and opens not just new doorways but a whole realm of possibilities around the world. It's a very large step down that path to the new global village.

It is not about the entertainment for us... it's simply about a radical new shift in communications. All the power of CNN to connect with people around the world and much more is now afforded to anyone with a digital camera and internet access.

In many respects videoblogging has fulfilled on all those misdirected concepts of ubiquitous video telephones and then some. That we didn't realize that realtime one to one video wasn't the solution is inconsequential. The real answer is web-time one to many... and whatever role those original concepts of video telephony held we can now see that while they had may have their place they are to video misdirected. They are in fact as misdirected as the concept that Alexander Graham Bell had that the telephone would be the new radio, broadcasting messages to the world.

Recently I've read a lot of hype about the iPhone and despite the slow AT&T EDGE network, and despite the fact that it doesn't have a video camera and can only shoot still photos... despite this and yet because it is has ubiquitous and powerful wifi accessibilty with full and unprecedented access to all webservices (read: END to END interoperability) it will wether it gets it's video capabilities soon... or wether AT&T and the EDGE continue to suck... or even if apple refuses to open the platform to software development it has truly changed the game and will accelerate this world where we will all be able to participate in a ubiquitous and immersive media rich communications revolution. It has accelerated this eventuality by at least one or two years.

As our ability to both create and respond to each other with rich many-to-many audio, text, video and photo becomes untethered from the desktop the power and utility of these medium as tools of communication will expand exponentially.

Apple's iPhone's with it's many great promises and despite it's few minor flaws brings new and unprecidented access to this world of media rich communications on the street, in the world and puts it at our fingertips and in our pockets. That it doesn't yet fullfil every promise hardly matters. It has changed the game, set new precident and laid out the model for all others to follow. Within a year or two's time we'll not just have $500 iphones and $1000 Nokia N90 series phones but sub $100 phones which are capable of ubiqutiously accessing and creating many to many video, audio, and photo communications around on cellular networks, wifi, and hopefully even wimax... where everything we know now about these communications will simply explode and we'll realize huge new potentials and efficiencies we have yet to even dream of.

The model is already set, and some would say has been since the internet began, with it's inherent end-to-end architecture. All that remains now is to sharpen the toolsets and services, to cheapen and improve the hardware, to make it more accessible, and to enjoy, revel in and evangelize these new freedoms.

Rupert's video, shot so simply with a Nokia video cam as he speaks his mind rushing to work down london streets, not only summarizes the optimism I've felt about videoblogging since I discovered it myself in 2004 but is also for me a demonstration what it's all about, communicating and connecting with friends, family and people of like mind you have yet to meet no matter where they are in the world.

Re: Waking up at

P.S. Thanks, Rupert for the inspiration, I hope you don't mind my theivery of the idea and spirit of your message and I hope that maybe I've expanded on it in some worth manner if not just exposed it to a few more eyeballs. ;)

Wednesday, June 6

Ramblings on Viddler's time based commenting and tagging and on what makes Mozilla kick so much a**.

Originally posted as a comment to FactoryJoe, Thoughts on Mozilla. I more or less posted here for archival reasons, but if you find it interesting feel free to comment. Disclaimer, this is a comment, I did not proof read it or even spell check it. You've been forwarned. :)

Re: FactoryJoe, Thoughts on Mozilla
Just checking out the viddler interface.

Viddler’s time based tagging and commenting is interesting but let me know when they get the comments out of flash and use the blog API (, moveabletype, wordpress) to post them as "real comments" to your blog post where they belong… where they can be read with the rest of the comments, where they can be tracked with and other trackers, where they can be syndicated with RSS… where I can actually READ them instead of them being in a tiny little 320×240 little window.

The bottom line is there’s two different conversations here. There’s the one in viddler, which is… whatever… can’t follow it. And then there’s the one in the page… which is awesome and useful…. and I can actually read… and which I will actually get responses on because I’m tracking it with

Now… as to comment on what I read and hear here [on the original blog post].

Mozilla is a PLATFORM… this is why it rocks and [Microsoft] IE SUCKS. Because mozilla is open source, it can be extended… innovation can happen… Greasemonkey, plugins… exetentions… to a lesser extent themes. You’re right, most people DON’T care what browser they use, but if that was the ONLY case then Mozilla would be DEAD and has no future. Mozilla’s job is to MAKE people care! There’s NO way around that. In order for mozilla to succeed people MUST care. Mozilla’s success right now is because they ARE making people care. My DAD uses mozilla. My dad would never go back to IE. Why? Because of security and popups for one. And btw, he see’s that as the same issue. Because in many ways it is. IE craps all over him.

Extentions he’s installed = 0. Theme’s he’s changed to or installed = 0.

Why do I say this. Because just like Apple who buys or simply outright steals the best 3rd party OS innovations and hacks like quicksilver, and the current application switcher and tons of other innovations. Mozilla needs to roll the BEST of these innovations, the most popular, the most sought after into the DEFAULT mozilla. Because Mozilla CAN and IS winning at making a large part of the population CARE about their browser. Security, pop up ad blocking… maybe a few other key components… but people WILL NOT configure mozilla… they will not sift through it’s endless preference panes no matter how well designed and simple they are… **intelligent defaults are extremely important** and even more important still they will NOT go through and install plugins. The best of breed plugins need to be integrated into the core mozilla. It’s good for the developers of those plugins to aknowlege their hard work and integrate it into the core… and it’s GREAT for the customers. That cycle of encouraging innovation through creating an OPEN PLATFORM… I’m thinking grease monkey too… by courting the developers… by making great API’s… by using copy left open source licensing to encourage branching. That and lots of consultants and strategists and developers donating their time and energy is the key to mozilla creating a product that’s so much better than Microsoft IE that people CARE to install it.

[read: If it's not good enough to be included and configured properly in the default install for Joe User, then it isn't worth installing.]

Personally, I have infinite thanks for Mozilla. If you set a side the fact that I use firefox and love it… take that completely out of the equation all together… mozilla has still been a RESOUNDing success. Even if it only had 15% of the market share… and not the 20 or 25% it has… even if it never progresses beyond 20% it’s still a success because it has brought innovation and openess back to the web space. Of course… to most people commenting here they’re like “no sh*t, you don’t say”.. but I had to say it. Even though I would hope Mozilla would take 50% market share or more and make I.E. the #2 browser it really doesn’t matter in the scope of things. All that matters to me now is that the mozilla foundation turns a 10% or 20% PROFIT while staying true to it’s manifest (being open and not evil) and keep innovating so that it can sustain itself as a very equitable business and keep innovation alive in the space for another 5, 10, 20 years.

Anyway… just thought I really just wanted to comment on viddler, because I was checking it out, but I thought since I wrote so much on viddler interface I should also respond to the actual post.

One last thought on viddler. While the interface is interesting there’s a lot more to a company than a cool flash interface… look at My fav video blog host. The key to blip’s success thus far is serving the core videoblogging community… which unlike youtube.. wants to have their own domain… their own blog, the ability to monetize… to OWN their own content and have control over it… to not have it deleted or removed because of some arbitrary DMCA notice. Anyway… none of that has to do with a slick interface. It has to do with strategy and architecutre and business direction. Then again.. blip could REALLY stand to have a slick viddler flash interface… maybe the two should partner… of course maybe viddler sees blip as competition. They shouldn’t, but maybe they do.

Tuesday, May 29

The Munny Show, DIY vinyl toy show

As mentioned on many occassions I love Bill Streeter's mini-docs (mini-documentaries) on St. Louis alternative arts and culture scene. They range from interviews with local artists to local events like local semi-pro wrestling and ladies roller derby.

Bill posted his latest mini-doc, this one on the Munny Art Show in St. Louis. The Munny is a design-it-yourself vinyl doll. Watch the video, it's pretty cool.

Watch movie (MP4 video)

Original post on May 24, 2007 from LO-FI SAINT LOUIS DOCUMENTARYS (RSS feed)
Play Flash version Play Quicktime version A Munny (pronounced like “money”) is a vinyl toy that comes completely blank so it can be customized. Star Clipper Comics sponsored a Munny Art show last week for St. Louis Artists to show off their own customized Munny creations. LO-FI SAINT LOUIS was there to document the event. Music by Dan Warren, via the Podsafe Music Network.

(Via Mefeedia)

Thursday, May 17

The revolution will not be televised

The first videos of students using the OLPC "$100 laptops" has come out today. Appropriately on a videoblog called

While the true utility of these laptops for teaching in developing countries has yet to be proven (critics say more fundamental needs like lighting, text books need be addressed) the saying "the revolution will not be televised" does come to mind.

The silent and distributed revolution of knowlege, education and power does not suit itself to primetime TV. It's not something you can point to like a riot or a mas demonstration. In this case, if it works it's going to be happening in tens of thousands of tiny little school houses all over the developing world. If this does work the change in the next 10 or 20 years could be far more dramatic.

Original post: - Students playing music

Amazon to launch music store with DRM free music

As predicted it's happening, the wall is crumbling. Now that apple has announced DRM free music offerings in their music store on EMI we knew soon others would follow. Amazon was as predicted the next, also partnering with EMI to sell EMI's catalogue DRM free.

Jeff Bezos puts it very clearly in the amazon press release.

"Our MP3-only strategy means all the music that customers buy on Amazon is always DRM-free and plays on any device," said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO. "We're excited to have EMI joining us in this effort and look forward to offering our customers MP3s from amazing artists like Coldplay, Norah Jones and Joss Stone."

To paraphrase, "MP3-only mean it will play on any device." That's something everyday ordinary people who don't spend all day obsessing about their music can not only understand, but always have understood. The market wants MP3 and always has. It's just taken the music labels 8+ years to listen to them.

That's two major stores and one label down. About four more major labels to go.

My prediction is this holiday season will pay big rewards for Apple, Amazon, EMI and others selling DRM free music. Putting a serious haste in the step of anyone still not selling mp3's. By this time next year nearly all the major labels will be selling non-DRM music and there will be over two dozen major online music stores like Apple, Amazon and other early players like the wonderful emusic, CDbaby and innovators like ArtistShare.

Users will once again have choice, as to where they want to buy, what hardware they want to use and where they want to listen. This combined with podcasting will put an end to things like satelite radio, win and real media, digital music stores like napster that sell DRM music, and whole industry of middle players that have sprung up to serve this inequity in the market. This includes the P2P black market. Well may actually start seeing a slow down in it's explosive growth, though any decline in p2p's popularity will take years.

It occurs to me that in as little as 3-5 years time that people won't even remember what "DRM" was in the first place... that most people won't even know this battle was fought to keep the future of music, media, culture and innovation open. It's a silent fight mostly, one the majority of the public doesn't really even fully understand let alone will most realize this battle has taken nearly *10 years*, and cost billions in lost revenue. We'll be taking it for granted again in no time. In five years time music mainstream artists profits will be at an all time high and the music market will have realized it's explosion not only in profits by the major labels, but in the breadth of new music and artists in the market.