Scripting News for 11/12/2006

Have you noticed that there’s a formula out there, for Flickr-like sites, that, instead of providing social networking around pictures, try to do it for podcasts or videos. Examples include Odeo, Podshow, Dabble. However, none of them are gaining traction like Flickr did, and I think I now understand why. A picture is something you can appreciate at web speed. Go to a page with a photo on it, and it loads slightly slower than a page without a picture. Hit the Back button, leave a comment, link to it, whatever you want to do, it’s all over quickly and that fits the pace of the web. However, podcasts and videos don’t work like that. It takes a long time to “consume” one of those media objects. So why did YouTube catch on? Simple — free storage. 

Carl Weisbrod: “I’m an old Goldwater/Eisenhower conservative.” 

Andrew Baron of Rocketboom turns down what could be big flow, for a principle. I asked for clarification if the logo agreement really meant that they couldn’t criticize Microsoft. If this is true, that logo is going to be poison for any blog or pub that displays it. (Postscript: Got the confirmation.) 

Speaking of Microsoft, apparently you can buy a Zune already at BestBuy. I’d buy one myself, just to know what it is, but only if it works with a Mac. I don’t want to use their store, I’ve got my own software for managing podcasts, which is largely what I’d use it for. 

On the Sunday morning news shows, massive change in attitude from the Dems. But they say they won’t touch money for the war. The superficial reason for this is they don’t want to give fuel to future opponents saying they didn’t support the troops. However, we know that most of the money goes to the defense industry, not troops; and both parties are funded by the industry. So, is this as far as change goes? 

Examine the examiners 

If a reporter wants to plant a foot in the future and burn some bridges with the past, a simple project would be to build a network model for who gets quoted by which reporters at which publications.

This is fairly conspicuous in Markoff’s reporting in the Times. Does he ever write an article, on any subject, that doesn’t quote Danny Hillis? Maybe there was some justification for allocating him so much ink when he was a tech exec at Disney, but what has he done recently to give authority to his opinion? (And what was the value of the technology he left behind, didn’t Disney buy Pixar because their technology was so far behind?)

Incestuousness is a big part of the way BigPubs do business, it leads to ridiculous pieces like today’s Web 3.0 piece. How did that pass through the editorial process at the Times? Seems like blatant manipulation, and the industry is so tired of this hype, it has zero chance of success (we hope). It’s as obvious that Markoff considers himself a player and not a mere reporter as Judith Miller did (on admittedly a much larger scale) as we were getting ready to invade Iraq.

This is the kind of reporting we won’t miss, and the sooner it’s documented the sooner we can move on.

Postscript: The “Web 3.0” article is on the front page of today’s Times.

Scoble: “I’ve done more than 50 interviews in the past three months and collected hundreds of business cards and I’ve never heard anyone talking about Web 3.0.”

15 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Rusty Hodge on November 12, 2006 at 12:00 pm

    YouTube caught on not just because of the free storage, but the easy access to that content that was stored and notable the easy of embedding that content into other pages. While some video sharing services would discourage embedding or “in-lining” content, YouTube encouraged it, and got tons of free promotion that way.


  2. FYI, apparently Danny Hillis is behind Sun’s intriguing and in-the-news “datacenter in a box.”


  3. BBC found that if it takes more than 4 seconds to download a page we all leave.

    How long does it take to download a 15 minute podcast or a 15 minute video blog? More than 4 seconds. After two or three minutes I give up.

    YouTube succeeds because most of what they have is small enough to wait for.


  4. Posted by Paul on November 12, 2006 at 4:12 pm

    Video and audio content cannot be consumed in the immediate way words and pictures can, and that will always be their shortfall, and why words and pictures will always haver their place, if not the majority of mind share (I say this, but look how TV took over Americans’ minds–I suppose with widespread cheap mega-bandwidth, video consumption could rival words and pictures). However, I made a comment on Scoble’s blog the other day, because of this very issue (I would like to see more of his video content in his blog). I don’t have the time in the middle of my day to ‘check out’ for a video, but can take a couple minutes to read an article between tasks, calls, etc., anytime to read an article or blog entry. However, Generations X, Y and Z may prefer the video (over the radio star?).


  5. Posted by William Grosso on November 12, 2006 at 4:44 pm

    Not free storage. Free bandwidth.


  6. Posted by Philip Miseldine on November 12, 2006 at 5:08 pm

    Interesting topic, though I think maybe YouTube gained so much traction from viewers because of Macromedia’s/Aodbe’s technology that allowed for pretty much instantaneous playback of videos. They kept them small, low-rez and auto-loading to give you action in that 4 second time window. Also, YouTube had/has an awful lot of MSM streaming from it’s servers which is great to consume; a podcast / video blog isn’t so enticing than a South Park episode 🙂

    Maybe the real challenge is that with a photo, it’s easy to produce the content: click, plug in, upload. It’s solved. It’s also easier to produce an interesting photo…not to belittle the David Bailey’s of this world, but a photo is immediate and interesting. A podcast needs a lot more time, dedication, technology and of course, nerve to produce to any type of high standard. It’s one thing to type, or shoot a photo, it’s another thing to become a radio DJ 🙂 And the truth is, most people, including me, would suck as a DJ.


  7. Podcasts are things people listen to in the background (like Radio), and often they do so on devices that provide no back-channel for interactivity. Both Flickr & YouTube are the users primary focus when they are “consuming” the content hosted on them, which creates opportunities for further interaction beyond simply choosing to view another item.


  8. I’m an old Goldwater/Eisenhower Conservative. I’m sure you know, Dave, that Goldwater became very angry at the direction the Bush (41) NeoConservatives were moving and would have gone ballistic had he lived to see the mess Bush (43) made of the political system and the country in general. Your commentary was right-on. I vote for more on the same topic. We’re not out of the woods yet and your voice is needed.


  9. Re: ‘social media networks’ – it’s all media – not *just* images – or text. It about distribution, organisation, ‘connections’ and filters. With *just* OPML and RSS you can achieve this for any media you like. In fact, (we know) it doesn;t ave to even be media. It could be the human body, an engine, your family, software api documentation. It makes no difference about the ‘type’ of enclosure an item might contain.

    *tester* – i finally got my OPML editor and management system (you saw a concept demo last year) fully working over the weekend. Now it;s time to pretty it up 😉

    I am also finding that the experience of building the Second Life blogging community (for it is becoming just that) at has been amazing. Building a blogging tool for a virtual world, testing it, shipping it, supporting and developing it – and making money in the process – is an experience any coder/builder with a passion for scripting could do. I reccommend it.

    I recently made it possible for a single bloghud post (with a photo) to get posted to, your own blog (WP, Blogger etc) AND flickr in ONE go. All with their own rss feeds to boot!

    When an incredible moment that was, when it worked. But the *experience* of doing that, and feeding and organising ‘stuff’ using opml will really show what ‘opml plus rss to the power of users’ can do! 🙂

    thanks Dave.


  10. *tester* should have said *teaser* – sorry bout that


  11. YouTune also got huge attraction due to freely trancoding all incoming video to the Flash Video format – FLV. Thus making the uploaded media playable on nearly 90% of all desktops, with the appropriate Flash player installed.

    I just wrote an app that does a very similair thing, to convert movies and audio from my archos (now with ‘headcam’), my mobile phones, and some screencapturing apps – after uploading or emailing them. 😉

    I hope to be able to openly test and demo this lot pretty soon – after I make it look less like a geeky test app 😉

    Also, we might need to find somewhere to host it all and pay for bandwidth etc etc ;P – Hmm Libsyn just got bought – maybe … hmm… ;P


  12. YouTune!? LOL. Tube!


  13. “If a reporter wants to plant a foot in the future and burn some bridges with the past, a simple project would be to build a network model for who gets quoted by which reporters at which publications.”

    Dave, you don’t think bloggers are every bit as bad about quoting the same group of bloggers over and over?


  14. You are dead right about Flickr becoming popular because it does not consume time. I think YouTube has succeeded for precisely the same reason. It has been associated with really short clips which last for a couple of minutes and are pretty much guaranteed to entertain you. On top of the entertainment value, you add simplicity and we have a winner. Unlike Youtube, Odeo depends on long duration of user attention, which has become its prime reason for downfall. Podcasts unlike music cannot be consumed while multitaking, as they provide a plethora of information.


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