Thursday, March 30, 2006

Set up shop where the traffic is...

I was meeting with a film producer about doing some video podcasts for his new movie. I was speaking to him about developing a web presence, and the first thing he did was show me his website.

I think part of the challenge for Jeff and I, as we meet with people who are less familiar with the new ways that people are consuming content online, is getting them to understand that your web presence is not where you "live" on the web, but where your audience runs into you on the web, and how your fans can share you and decorate their home with you.

If I make a movie, I'm going to spend 30% of my P&A budget online. If I sink that money into my site, I'm basically sticking a post in the ground and hoping the traffic will come to me. Then I spend the rest of my money advertising in places where there's already traffic.

Instead, I should be creating innovative content, and syndicating it where the traffic already flows. I should be partnering with sites that are in the business of generating traffic, providing them with good, exclusive content in exchange for access to their audience.

What we're doing is essentially advertising for a film in a way that adds value for the user (their not just watching commercials, they're getting entertained while they learn about my movie) and adds value for the website hosting my content. All that add's up (sorry) to a fan base that's more invested in my film.

Any questions, see Nacho Libre, who's video podcasts of Jack Black goofing off are number one on iTunes. And if you go to their site (one click from iTunes, where the traffic already is and the content is being provided), you can add the episode to your mySpace page - also in one click.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Feeds and Blogs

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This is an interesting post from Fred Wilson at A VC. Among other things, he supposes that in a year or two, feeds and blogs will start looking more alike.

I think the merging will be rss feeds and emails. Fundamentally, they are both means of one way communication, while blogs are an interactive interface.

My NetNewsWire already looks very much like my Mac Mail interface. And there's functional difference on MySpace, between sending/receiving messages and sending/receiving bulletins.

Not only do I think the interfaces will merge, but I can see the technologies merging somewhat, with RSS making your email workflow even more seamless than it already is.

By the way, I know I link to A VC a lot. That's because Fred has a really good blog.


Organic barbed wire on 51st St
Originally uploaded by adamelend.
Just returned from a really excellent night at the movies for a documentary filmmaker like myself.

It began with a haunting short by Bill Morrison called "Light is Calling." Morrison makes experimental films from the decomposing negatives of old silent films, and I've been wanting to see some of his work for a while. "Light" was striking in it's beauty and all-consuming in its feeling of loss.

The faces of long dead actors and actresses break through the patterns of rich brown corrosion and fade away, as if back into the ocean. The stars slip away, even as the silver halide that had preserved them decomposes beneath them.

Then came "Jane" - a 44 year old documentary chronicling Jane Fonda's broadway debut. Produced by Drew Associates, the creators of modern cinema verite, the film is a surprisingly honest and intimate portrait of a young, slightly delusional starlet who desperately wants to impress her father, who doesn't even send flowers (her brother, Peter Fonda does, however). The film is simply incredible, the best of what documentary can do with any subject.

The filmmakers, Hope Ryden and D.A. Pennebaker attended the screening and their q & a was one of the best I've ever attended. Here's some of what they said:

1. After filming, Fonda was so used to having Hope and D.A. with her that she asked them to keep filming for her next project (they declined).

2. Hope originally considered documenting Liza Minelli, and Liza was game, but her agent nixed it, telling the filmmakers that "she doesn't look good from all angles."

3. Pennebaker shot the film using cameras he made himself, as there were no battery operated cameras that held more than 3 minutes of film on the market.

4. At one point in the film, a woman enters Fonda's dressing room with a newspaper under her arm. The headline reads, "U.S. Missile Crisis". The film was shot during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The filmmakers heard that the crisis had ended one day when Pennebaker's 12 year old daughter barged into Fonda's dressing room saying, "Khrushchev is a coward."

5. The biggest problem Hope had in terms of getting access to the theater was Actor's Equity. The union insisted that she pay all the actors if she filmed. She finally had to screen the other Drew Associates movies for them, so they understood what a documentary was.

6. On the road, the show was struggling so badly that they were rewriting it on the train between cities. At one point, they asked Pennebaker and Ryden to rewrite the first act.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Freemium Content

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Sunset on Skillman
Originally uploaded by adamelend.
Fred Wilson at A VC has a good post exploring the ramifications of what he calls the "freemium" business model for content.

Freemium is where you receive some functionality for free, and pay for premium service (how flickr is set up, for example). His conclusion is basically that freemium works great for service, but is not effective for content:

If your business is entirely about content, then you must offer your content for free and support it with advertising. You can offer the same content in more convenient forms as a paid service (email and RSS alerts, packaged without ads, archives, etc) but I believe you must make the content free or you will not maximize the audience and the value of the online medium.

I bolded what I think is his most interesting point - that the premium for content is in the delivery. How you receive it, search it, mash it up, pass it along - all or some of this functionality can be premium.

Monday, March 27, 2006's nice mash up tool

Sign on the ground, 43rd. Ave.
Originally uploaded by adamelend.
This is an interesting new tool from

The video mixer allows users to create personalized, viral video clips using transitions between scenes, graphics and background music, writes Business 2.0. Also, by typing in a UPC code from any Skittles product, users can unlock new effects.

When you forward your mashup, your friends watch a skittles commercial before they see your masterpiece. I like the viral element, integration of monetization, and MOST IMPORTANTLY the took is really cool, functional and easy to use.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Future of Podcasting

Lamp Post
Originally uploaded by adamelend.
Another interesting take in the ongoing conversation about how to monetize podcasts from Steve Mays.

He writes:

"Here's what I think will happen. A few really savvy businesses or organizations will find someone that really understands podcasting and trust them enough to produce a good one for them. They might hire this person or "sponsor" an existing podcast. Over time, the podcast will develop a following. But we're talking hundreds of listeners (maybe thousands if it's REALLY good)...not hundreds of thousands or millions. How much trouble and/or expense will a company go to in oder to reach this relatively small, albeit targeted, audience?

Another possible scenerio is what I think of as the "homegrown podcast." Some guy that works at Lowe's, for example, starts doing a weekly home improvement podcast. He's pretty good at it and gets a little following. He plays it for the boss who likes what he hears and agrees to pick up the costs and buy some better recording equipment. In return for a couple of brief --non-intrusive-- mentions about this week's specials. In the Hollywood version of this story, Lowe's corporate jumps on the bandwagon."

I tend to disagree on the scale. My evidence is only anecdotal, but what isn't in this market?

First off, the number of people listening to podcasts for the first time is growing. I can't remember where I read it, so don't trust my numbers, check for yourself, but I believe that in 2005 5 million people downloaded a podcast, with that number expected to climb to 15 million in '06. If the market is growing, the opportunity to monetize is growing.

Secondly, people like listening to podcasts for the same reason they like reading blogs, NOT for the same reason they like listening to the radio. It's the personal, interactive, insider feel that makes some podcasts work. For others, it's the chance to stay current with short versions of their favorite radio show - a sampling of Penn Jillette's show or NPR's Marketplace.

And when people discover them, they work to listen to them. My sister, who has an iPod, started listening to podcasts, and soon her boyfriend, who doesn't have an mp3 player, was downloading podcasts and burning them onto cds to listen in the car.

Steve makes some great points, but I still like this breakdown for a realistic assesment of both what the prospects for monetization are, and what makes a podcast successful.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

I Love it When Someone Gets It

Today was a good day.

My partner Jeff showed me a new video podcast for Jack Black's latest effort, Nacho Libre.

Side note here - what a crappy, ethno-clueless piece of garbage this film looks like...

Anyway, what made me smile is that they are doing a video podcast of original content that supports the film, AND that they are distributing it in a way takes their audience into account.

The pods or "confessionals" depict Jack Black wandering around set, stirring up trouble, speaking directly to the camera. Behind the scenes stuff. They have a low-fi aesthetic, but they are definitely produced.

You can find them on iTunes, or (and this is what I love) you can watch them on the website and add them to your mySpace page with one click. I haven't checked, but I'm sure they're up on YouTube too.

The producers are telling us that their audience is on mySpace. They're focusing the distribution on web elements and communities that matter to their audience. They're also giving ownership of the content to their audience. Put it on your website and let others discover it.

SO, we've got original content that supports content from other media, we've got distribution that takes into account the audience and makes it easy for them to use it the way they want to, AND we've got the idea of strategic micro-chunking- putting the content in places where the right audience is likely to discover it "along the way" as they traverse the web.

Definitely made me smile, considering my company is currently producing a campaign like this for a new PBS series, and we're meeting with film producers, trying to convince them that this is the right way to grow their relationship with their audience. Thanks for the solid example, Jack.

Enron and Web 2.0

No Postman on Greenpoint
Originally uploaded by adamelend.
I've been delinquent in my blogging as of late in part because I have been extremely busy with several BrightRED projects, and in part because I have been absolutely absorbed by the book Conspiracy of Fools. Kurt Eichenwald's account of the rise and fall of Enron is captivating, and I've been wearing out my iPod listening to it.

Enron's success was built on the cult. Their ability to dazzle analysts and auditors with accounting backflips made them look invincible, despite sometimes questionable business practices. Eventually, Enron became a company that manufactured accounting backflips, producing no real profits. Of course, the illusion wasn't sustainable, and it all came crashing down.

A technology business without a business model is not a business. Even if it ran raise tons of investment cash. That's the lesson of Enron. It's a lesson that web 2.0 companies should pay heed to.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

We need more wifi

Pizza on 47th Ave.
Originally uploaded by adamelend.
Uggh, I have been traveling around a lot in the past week and have totally neglected my blog.

I spent last weekend in Miami with my film, and this past weekend in Tampa watching my very talented sister perform as Belle in a stage musical production of Beauty and the Beast.

I'll share with you one traveling story...

I departed for home from Tampa International Airport at 9:35am on Sunday. TIA is a really nice airport, consistently ranked in the top 5 for the U.S., so I wasn't surprised when I got to the security checkpoint and found it organized and efficient, with stanchions and TSA employees on hand to direct the passengers.

I noted that they even had 40 inch flat screens set up on poles throughout the cue, playing a flash animation on a loop that takes you step-by-step through the whole process - from laptop removal to shoelace re-tying. "How 'cutting edge'," I thought.

The animation was replaced by a bright blue screen, and the seal Department of Homeland Security immerged from it. A set of graphics appeared next to the seal, and my eyes widened as I read:

Protecting America,
Preserving our fredoms,
We secure the Homeland.

I mean, wow. I wanted to snap a picture, but I was afraid to.

NOTE: If you are at all distrubed by the display of this political propoganda slogan on giant televisions just before they slap on the latex gloves and start probing your Fourth Amendment rights, PLEASE set you mind at ease... they immediately repeated the entire flash animation and the slogans in Spanish.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Don't Drink your own Kool-aid

Chartreuse riffed earlier today on advertising- that if he were to start a shoe line, it would be all blogging and virals and web 2.0, and he "woudn't buy one ad."

That's right, he would rely on the influence of the blogosphere to spread his shoes to the masses, employing the same strategy that propelled Howard Dean to the Whitehouse in 2004.

In 2004 political news was dominated by bloggers.

The blogosphere wrote the story, read the story, became the story.

But the blogosphere was wrong. The blogosphere wasn't the story. It wasn't the voice of the silent majority. It was just the blogosphere.

And it still is. No matter how much potential we see in the new media and web 2.0 technologies, we should learn from the past.

We're good at finding great ideas, but what we like is not the future of media.

It's what the other 95% of the public likes that takes "great idea, but how does it make money" to Google.

We can't control that, we're not representative of that, and we're not in a particularly good position to predict it.

But we are in a position to blog about it.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Don't give in to the 2.0 Agit-prop

44th St. and Skillman
Originally uploaded by adamelend.
OK, so now vertical video content is called "slivercast" according to the NYT, and mentioned by Hugh at Gaping Void.

Interesting article BUT...

Both Roo and Narrowstep players worked not at all for me. If your video is loading for more than 5-10 seconds before it starts playing, you've lost half your audience, and these took forever. I'm sure their experiencing high traffic because of the article, but they're in business to play videos. The videos have to play. And they have to look good - no stuttering.

And, I can't help thinking that this broadband channel concept is a tired old media relic that is being forced on the new media. Broadband video needs to be dynamic, integrated. Not a static, pop up destination. The niche element is cool, but the rest is kind of tired. I'm more interested in the Brightcove model, which focuses on syndication, and offers a distribution vehicle that can be integrated incredibly easily into your existing web content. Why do I want when I can put sailing content on or another existing online sailing community? The niche I get, the destination I don't.

However, this quote is something I agree with completely, and a direction I really do see video content going - video programming served up to you contextually and behaviorally, just like ads:

While advertising on small video sites has been sporadic so far, many companies, including Roo and NarrowStep, say they see an opportunity to match video commercials to specialized audiences, as Google does with Internet searches and Web pages.

Photo blogging

G train
Originally uploaded by adamelend.
I've started to take digital snapshots as I travel around Queens and NYC in general. I'm going to start incorporating them into my blog, sort of in the spirit of Hugh's excellent cartoons on Gaping Void.

Like everything else in the blogosphere, it's an experiment, so we'll see how it goes. I've been wanting to take more pictures for a while, and since I'm finally doing so, I might as well share them...

Right now I'm posting with Flickr.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Lazy Weekend

I took the weekend off from blogging because Jeff and I were down at the Miami Film Festival screening our film Fighting For Life in the Death-Belt.

This was a great festival experience - our film was screened with the doc After Innocence in a special "Big Picture" section on the death penalty. That meant a great panel discussion afterwards, and a nice crowd.

I'm constantly amazed at how many films are distributed only at these festivals, how many festivals there are, and how even in the smallest towns the festivals can pack the house.

There is a market to be exploited in the spirit of the longtail - already, Netflix has been successful in offering more documentaries than any other rental business ever, which has envigorated the doc dvd market. Perhaps the Cafe Press model of trinket distribution can be applied to this market. A store or rental house with dvd's of what's hot on the festival circuit... just a thought... maybe someone's already doing it?

viral distribution

Fred over at A VC makes a great point about online distribution in discussion NBC's brand new SNL videos

You can't put the video on your own page, like you can with YouTube. That is key, and I mean key. People want to turn their MySpace pages, their blogs, and whatever else into their own TV station. And that's critical to viral distribution.

We can call it viral distribution, or we can just call it online distribution. This is part of what I'm talking about when I say that your content should be found "along the way" in your viewer's web browsing experience.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

iTunes Monthly plan

iTunes just announced the first alternatve to its .99/1.99:

iTunes is launching the service in partnership with Viacom's Comedy Central Network, which is rolling out 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart' and 'The Colbert Report' on the service. Fans will be able to buy the next month's series of 16 new episodes via Multi-Pass for $9.99, or to pay $1.99 per episode.

While Apple is taking great pains to say this is not a subscription because you can keep the downloads after you cancel (I still have some issues of Time here at home, even though I cancelled my subscription) it is significant that they came up with a new strategy for shows like The Daily Show, which produces 16 new episodes per month. In the past, they have offered whole season pricing, but the new multipass has a substantially lower price per episode.

I wonder if this is bringing Apple closer to variable pricing, or just a strategy to accomodate daily shows (Oprah and Springer will be next...)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

US aborts South Dakota

Forgive the title, just a fantasty. Here's one more example of just how ridiculous the logic behind this SD abortion ban really is. This is a state senator explaining why, in his opinion, an abortion ban that provides no exception for rape or incest can still help rape victims. Watch and cry...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Trickster takes on South Dakota

Great post from Trickster on South Dakota's new abortion ban.

There are more cows than people in South Dakota but, unfortunately, more people than cows in the S.D. legislature.

Here's a taste:

South Dakota's action banning all abortion except in cases that threaten the life of the mother is the exact legal equivalent. Whether you agree with Roe or not, it remains the law of the land and there is no doctrine that says states can opt out of federal laws that don't suit them--just as there is no doctrine that says that presidents can.

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Academy Afterthoughts

Upon a couple days reflection, I have to say that the Meryl Streep/Lily Tomlin introduction for Robert Altman's Lifetime Acheivement award was an acheivement in of itself. Really amazing.

A real contrast to the worthless speech that George Clooney made reminding the academy that they were responsible for freeing the slaves, beating the Nazi's and every other human rights acheivement of the past 200 years ...oh, except celebrating the uncloseting of the gay cowboy community.

George Clooney getting the Oscar
Courtesy Yahoo! Movies

Conflicting Reports

Television industry news service Cynopsis is reporting this morning that "The potentially bad news is the result of a recent survey by RBC Capital Markets which asked 1000 people if they'd be interested in watching TV clips on their cell phones. 75% said no."

Last month I posted about an article that seems to contradict this:

A trial in Oxford, conducted by O2, has found that nearly 80% of people would subscribe to a mobile TV service. A similar trial from BT has shown that people would pay up to £8 a month for such a service.

According to their results, 36% of people used the service mainly at home, compared to 23% at work or university and 28% while on the move.

So why the apparent contradiction? I'll give you three reasons:

1. The Oxford study (which is, by the way, backed up by another study) was done in a market where there has been public awareness of broadband for more than ten years, and where video on cell phones doesn't seem quite so far off.

2. The Oxford study polled people who actually had the chance to take one home and try it - BIG difference.

3. It's the content, stupid. The Oxford study concerned service where you could watch whole television shows on your cell phone. Who do you know who would be interested in watching television clips at all? Much less on their cell phones.

I love HBO, but I'm going to pay to see the crap they put on other channels as advertisements? I don't think so.

Shows original to cell phones, or entire television programs on cell phones, have generally gotten a much better response.

Monday, March 06, 2006

More Monopolistics

Remember I posted about Apple's monopolistic behavior?

Well it seems that the Justice Department is launching an investigation of the music industry for wholesale price fixing.

The US Department of Justice is investigating allegations of price fixing by top music labels on their charges for digital downloading.

The inquiry mirrors an ongoing probe by New York attorney general Eliot Spitzer into what the industry charges firms such as Apple to sell music online.

Labels have been at loggerheads with Apple over what it charges for tracks sold through its iTunes online service."

I'm unclear whether the accusation is of colluding with Apple and others, or conspiring against Apple and others. Either way, it'll be interesting - and, as usual, Elliot Spitzer is two years ahead of the game. Spitzer in '06!

Developing the Model

Last week I posted a comment on AVC's blog about Lloyd Braun's announcement that Yahoo Media will be scaling back their original programming plans.

Here's what Fred said - what I was responding to:

Lloyd's challenge, and the challenge of anyone coming from the traditional content world, is to forget what they learned about original programming. That's not where its at on the Internet.

The challenge is all about how to take the work of the masses and assemble it into compelling content. The company that figures that out will do very well.

and here's part of my response:

I think there's a place for high quality produced video that's made FOR the web and mobile distribution. As David mentioned, Rocketboom is a great example of this. At this point, the show is working and attracting an audience. The format couldn't work on traditional broadcast outlets, but it works perfectly online and on your iPod. But I don't see a lot of other original programming out there that approaches both form and content from a truly web-centric perspective.

Well after writing that, I got an email from Noah Bonnet, asking me to check out his show 88 SLIDE.

88SLIDE show graphic

88SLIDE is a daily one minute info-challenge format (read: game show), distributed via the Internet at, and through iTunes as a video podcast. Cell phone users can also download the 3GP formatted series at

I did check it out, and I really liked it. I'm going to have to add it to Rocketboom on my short list of shows that take a smart approach to form and content that caters to the broadband and portable viewer. These shows have some important elements in common, from which a good model (not the model, a model) for online television properties begins to emerge.

More on that later - until then, check out 88SLIDE. It's a good show.

Friday, March 03, 2006

If it smells like a monopoly...

A couple of weeks ago, I had a nice debate with my cousin about whether or not iTunes was a monopoly. She works for Microsoft, and was arguing that all the complaints about Microsoft's mopolistic behavior could be applied to Apple's forcing the music industry to sell their songs for $0.99. I took the other side, and said that Apple has a right to sell their music for whatever they want to, and if the music industry want's to take their business elsewhere, they're free to.

It was odd because I'm usually on the other side of that sort of debate, and anyway I suspect we're both right. I think my defense of Apple was less about me being a big Apple fan (and I am) and more about being so sick of the whiny stone aged record industry. $0.99 is a fair price to pay for a song that's all DRM'ed to hell. Period.

That said... it get's harder to defend Apple, when they insist on ACTING like a monopoly... and doing it to my face, no less.

Exhibit A:

I have a client for whom I'm producing a series of high profile video podcasts. These pods will be released in conjunction with the national broadcast of my client's show. I want to develop a relationship with the iTunes music store. I need to coordinate marketing, timing of the launch, etc. I've emailed, I've called, and they never call back.

Look, I know I'm not ABC here, but this is a high profile product. It's a national show... the podcasts are narrated by Brad Pitt. I am ramping up a big campaign to get that relationship solidified next week. Usually, I would just say, "forget it, these guys don't know how to do business." But I won't be saying that... why? 'Cause they're the only game in town. And they know it, so they make it really, really hard for me. Stupid.

Exhibit B:

Playing around with RSS, I launched a vid cast called The Daily Voogle, which gives you one good google video a day so you can watch it online or download it onto your iPod. The idea is that Google Video sucks, Google Video search sucks, so now you don't have to go wading through videos of tweens lip synching to Cold Play in order to get your entertaining viral vids.

So I go to put the feed on the iTunes music store, (I tested it by adding it manually to my iTunes, and it worked great) and boom. "There is a problem with your feed, please correct it and try again." So I do everything I can thing of, change around my RSS feed, change the wording of my title and description to avoid any content concerns, but I keep getting the same message. Finally I email the iTunes fairy and tell them my dilemma. They send me a form response, telling me to check the technical specs (duh... I already did this) and the content guidelines. I email the guy right back and tell him that I have scoured the tech specs and that I don't think content is the problem, because my error message told me to resubmit. He writes me back the following response:

Dear Adam,

Thank you for contacting the iTunes Music Store.

The error you received when submitting your podcast may not be due to a technical problem with your feed, but rather a content issue with the podcast's title or description..

Unfortunately, I cannot provide any further details about this issue, and respectfully ask that you refer to the technical specifications for more information regarding acceptable content:


The iTunes Music Store team

Nice. Really nice. I then tried fireant, encountered the same problem and, in about 10 minutes, got an email from a tech drawing my attention to a small error in my RSS feed, which was the source of the problem. They were courteous and helpful... you don't say.

Look, I know that iTunes has exponentially more customer demand than FireAnt, but they don't have to be unapologetically unhelpful and snide. It's just not good business. But I guess that's Apple. That's life as a monopoly.

Origami mistake

Whoops. I was wrong about Origami. Here's what CNET is reporting:
Microsoft updated the Web site for its secretive Origami Project on Thursday, offering a more elaborate tease, but also confirming key details about the Windows-based mini tablet.

'I am everywhere you are, but never in the way,' reads the cryptic text of the site, with pictures showing a mountain peak and a subway. 'Who am I?...Find out 3.9.06.'

However, right-clicking outside the flash animation of the main Web page and viewing the source code provides this: 'Origami Project: the Mobile PC running Windows XP.'

Here's a screenshot:

screen shot of the source code

So I was wrong. At least I didn't blow my wannabe Apple marketing plan by leaving a description of my secret product in the source code.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


I thought I'd throw my unfounded hat into the Origami speculation ring.

Disclosure: my cousin works for Microsoft, which means absolutely nothing as it pertains to my status as an origami insider.

While most have pretty much concluded that Origami is a portable device or operating system, what I take from today's totally unhelpful video release is that Origami is some sort of portable hotspot technology. My scientific analysis comes mostly from the fact that it looks like a wireless network (especially on top of that mountain!).

an Origami image from ABC News
(this image from ABC Disney... er... Apple, whoever)

Besides, if it was some kind of portable device or operating system, hell you can take a laptop all the places that they take origami in that video, so why market it that way??

We shall see. As the well trained Apple groupee that I am, this marketing ploy will work on me and I'll be checking back on March 9th for the big reveal.


Great, DEAD ON post on Chartreuse today. That's it - I'm adding this blog to my blogroll...

Here's a taste:

How many people do you think it takes to produce The Abram Report on MSNBC?

It was watched in (on avg.) 215,000 homes per day last week.

Rocketboom was watched (on avg) in 200,000 homes per day last week.

Just like the music business, television has become economically unfeasable at it’s present size.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Waiting to be delicious

6 months ago I registered for a delicious account.

1 week ago I finally figured out that the site, which is usually described as an online bookmarking environment (why the hell would I want my bookmarks online??) is actually a personal database of sites and information online - taggable and customizable. Ah! Much more useful.

I'm always discovering things on the web that I want to save, but don't need to bookmark. So I do one of three things: 1) I start a topic folder in my bookmark viewer, and add the site as a bookmark - NOT elegant or searchable 2) I add the site to a lame sticky note on my desktop (kind of like my book list) - NOT elegant, searchable only with "find", or 3) I forget about it. gives me a way to store up that information that is both elegant and searchable. And with the firefox pack, I can tag and visit my database as easily as I can hit the back button. This is critical, because I won't use a feature like this if it isn't easy. I can also see sites that other people tagged with the same keywords I did, so it's thoroughly social and interactive.

So, for a week, I've been busily building my database. But even though I have had a very busy research week, I have not once found myself in a situation where I could actually use my database. Not once - googling is just easier.

So I get it, I'm using it, and the jury's still out for me.

Video is not music

I just read in the BBC's feed that "US movie fans are being offered the chance to download Oscar-nominated short films from iTunes."

So great, I rushed right to the iTunes music store to check out the academy award shorts. iTunes is so cool, right? BAM - I got there and they're $1.99 a pop. I want to watch these things once... you know, just to check them out. I don't want to add them to my music library and get years of enjoyment out of them.

That's one of the many reasons that the advertising model will inevitably win out.