Saturday, July 29, 2006

While I'm at it...

Here's the opening salvo of the RSS proposal I referred to in my last post:

Why Syndicate?

In the traditional media universe, your reach was limited by space: access to distribution channels (television stations, newspapers, etc) is finite and expensive. In the web media universe, the access barriers no longer exist. Yet they have been replaced by an even more daunting foe: noise. Forget 200 channels on your television set, think about the millions of sites, blogs, articles, interest groups, forums – all competing for your user’s attention.

To thrive in the marketplace of noise, your content needs to be portable. You need a presence not just on your site, but everywhere your target audience is spending time on the web. You need to create monetization opportunities that aren’t dependent on users visiting your site.

Syndication makes that possible. It unlocks your content and allow your users to consume, organize and share it any way they want. It brings your content to the user where they already are. It provides your advertisers with a better way to reach your most loyal users.

With syndication, you build an instant web presence. Without it, your content is a static object in a dynamic space.

Why your subscribers might not love you so much

I've had my head buried in RSS feeds for the past two days because I've been developing a proposal to create an RSS strategy for one of our clients. So excuse me of this is a little arcane for my small, but high calibur audience:

I've often heard it said that RSS subscribers are your most loyal readers. Not only is this something I've heard from bloggers, but it's an assertion that is almost taken as a given in current RSS marketing analysis.

On it's face, it seems logical - a magazine subscriber is almost always a more loyal reader than someone who just picks the magazine up at the newsstand. Also, there's an element of ownership that comes with subscribing to content.

But I question this assumption when it comes to RSS, mostly because it's not how I operate.

If I want to check out your blog, I subscribe and keep you in my feed reader for about a week. If I like what you have to say, I keep you in there. And if your headlines and descriptions make me want to hear more from you, I click on the link and visit your site.

So the sites I visit are actually the ones I am most loyal to.

I've blogged before about how I'm not a browser - one of the reasons I love RSS. But I think there's a logical argument to be made that RSS is actually a better way to test out a blog regardless of how you like to consume your content.

Reading a post is not the best way to understand the value of a blog. You can't pick up a blog and flip through it. he blogger's style, perspective, posting frequency, originality and variety of subject matter are part of what that blog is, and the only way to get a sense of those things is to sample the blog over a period of time.

As feed metrics evolve, we need to be pretty vigilant about making sure that the assumptions made on paper jive with what we're seeing in the real world - it works out better for all of us in the long run. I don't think my anecdotal evidence or the logic behind it disproves anything. It just means I question that assumption, and wil continue to question it until legitimate evidence convinces me otherwise.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Why the Colbert Report is winning hearts and minds...

Saw this yesterday on the tube. I laughed so hard I cramped.

This is not your momma's land deal...

...but she still knows best.

A great quote from today's NY Post about NYC's offer to buy the West Side rail yards for $500 million, and to use the profits from the development to build a two billion dollar extension for the 7 train:

Asked about critics who said the sale price was too low, Kalikow responded, 'My mother always told me that if someone offers you $2 billion, the least you can do is have them over for coffee and cake.

Words to live by.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

YouTube has a shut off valve...

YouTube isn't dead. Not close... But it does have a shut-off valve.

Jeff mentioned this in his post about Amanda, but I want to draw it out a little...

$12 million for bandwidth? A joke. Come on. It's supply and demand. That's like saying mySpace is doomed because it uses too many servers.

Bandwidth is artificially scarce in this country. It won't be if demand exceeds supply.

Boring content? 100 million streams a day says you're wrong.

Look at television. Shows that are good but get no ratings get cancelled. Shows you think are stupid but get good ratings go on forever.

Bad press? Poor resolution? You're wasting our time.

Okay, now here comes the "but"...

Anyone who thinks the whole copyright thing is not a big deal is wrong.

Forget the press, it's about the litigation.

Right now, YouTube is arguing fair use, and that's fine. But when they start selling ads based on the content, that argument is out the window for them period.

And that means that huge multi-national corporations with millions of dollars dumped into tv and movie franchises will sit and wait.

And when they're ready, they'll say, "I want to buy Youtube for $200 million dollars."

And YouTube will say, "no, we want a billion."

And the media mogul will say, "okay, never mind." and slap the biggest lawsuit you've seen in your life on their asses.

And then YouTube will go away and the Multi National will start their own YouTube...

A shut-off valve. Anytime they want.

That's why Youtube isn't worth a billion dollars. And won't ever be worth more than the big content owners feel like paying for it.

Unless they find a solution to the copyright problem... a tech solution or a legal solution.

If they can do that, the rest is gravvvy.

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Monday, July 24, 2006

Holy crap, it works! (Maybe...)

This is spreading like wildfar around the blogosphere, so let's hope it's not all hype...

but Jeff Jarvis says that AdAge will report tomorrow spectacular results for advertisers from the tests ABC did with streaming their shows online with a single advertiser.

Apparently the research showed an 87% recall rate, as compared to an average 24% recall rate on TV.

With a single sponsor, I should hope you'd remember who they were. Still, good buzz is good buzz.

On Integrity...

Noah Brier's got an interesting post today about the economics and ethics of accepting money to talk about products.

He's got some good points, but I pulled out the following quote because it's dead on and he says it very well:

Journalistic integrity is bullshit. Now that's not to say that journalists don't have individual integrity, but if you ask me it takes a lot more integrity to stand up and admit to your bias than pretend you don't have one. Reporting both sides of a story when the other side is all but non-existent isn't fair and accurate, on the contrary, the situation you're creating is one where two unequal sides are given equal attention.

Excellent. Well said.

On Integrity...

Noah Brier's got an interesting post today about the economics and ethics of accepting money to talk about products.

He's got some good points, but I pulled out the following quote because it's dead on and he says it very well:

Journalistic integrity is bullshit. Now that's not to say that journalists don't have individual integrity, but if you ask me it takes a lot more integrity to stand up and admit to your bias than pretend you don't have one. Reporting both sides of a story when the other side is all but non-existent isn't fair and accurate, on the contrary, the situation you're creating is one where two unequal sides are given equal attention.

Excellent. Well said.

Writers Strike... Back

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I was in L.A. during the short Writers' strike in 2001. The television writers were striking because they wanted higher residuals from cable and Fox.

The Studios responded to the strike, and to the threatened SAG walkout, with a whole new kind of show... "Don't need writers, don't need actors, we can still make money."

You guessed it. Reality shows. The scabs of the television industry. And America LOVED it!

Well, I guess everything comes full circle, at least when it comes to getting paid. Here's what Cynopsis is reporting this morning:

The majority of writers on America's Next Top Model went out on strike Friday, just 8 weeks before the scheduled premiere on the CW. The reality show writers have signed to be represented by the WGA West writer's union, and plan to stay out on strike until the show signs a guild contract, recognizing the union's basic benefits and protections for its members. The CW network said they fully expect the issues to be resolved and the show to premiere on time. While numerous writers have signed up for representation by the WGA, the guild has yet to successfully get any signed guild contracts.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Fred gets some digg love and some SFGATE love too

My favorite vc blogger Fred just popped up on my digg rss feed:

digg - Catch-2k6: Bubble2.0 or not?

The story is actually an SFGate posting that basically just restates Fred's post yesterday.

I liked it then, and I dug it today.

Friday, July 21, 2006


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This is a long time in coming, and I think it will be a huge success. I still buy cd's, and so do most of my friends, because of lame DRM's. This would eliminate the only barrier to an all digital system for me.

Besides, Fred over at A VC's got to be smiling!

Yahoo sells Jessica Simpson single sans DRM | CNET

Yahoo announced Wednesday that it is selling Jessica Simpson's latest single in MP3 format--in other words, with none of the usual copyright protection coding.

Because the song, a party-pop track called 'A Public Affair,' has no digital rights management (DRM) protection coded into it, it will be compatible with just about every type of digital music player, from the iPod to the iRiver, as well as with film- and music-editing programs that may not have been able to read DRM-encoded files.

The F*cking Short Version

From the Entertainment Newswires:

Hot off the presses:

Has become the internet version of Schwab's Drugstore? The defunct WB comedy pilot Nobody's Watching showed up on about a month ago, and has now been "discovered" by NBC. The network is expected to announce today that it has ordered six scripts and will create a series of viral videos to promote the show, says Variety. The videos could be seen on the internet as early as this fall. The pilot stars Paul Campbell and Tarran Killam as two fans of sitcom TV who end up in a reality show. The project is from NBC Universal TV Studio.

Discovery Communications has added a new component to its Discovery News service: daily video webcasts featuring breaking news on topics that pertain to Discovery's programming, such as the story about the discovery of a baby triceratops skull fossil in Montana. The news service will offer viewers quick informative stories about science, nature, health, travel, environmental issues and current affairs. Links to the webcasts can be found at or directly at the Discovery News site at

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Trying something cool...

Using YouTube for syndication:

It's High Time

My partner Jeff Marks is back to blogging, and came out full throttle yesterday with a ton of good information.

Check out High Marks.

Mac Attack With Guns Blazing

My completely uneducated opinion has been that Apple's profitability and (eventually) their revenue will explode because of the new intel chip, and the bootcamp software that allows pc users to buy a cool mac and still run their windows software seamlessly.

It's all anecdotal evidence, but I've read the blogs of scores of dedicated pc users who hungrily snapped up a MacBook Pro as soon as they became available. Smays and A VC, just to name two who are on my blogroll.

Well, so far so good. This is from CNET

Apple Computer's third-quarter revenue fell a little short of expectations, but profitability was far higher than expected and Mac sales increased at a healthy clip.

Interesting to me in this is that Apple compensated for the downturn from stagnating iPod sales with computer sales.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gawker and Yahoo will syndicate no more...

This is old news - I saved it as a draft until I had time to get to it. Gawker and Yahoo are ending their syndication deal: "We're letting our content partnership with Yahoo lapse. The bald truth is that the deal, which we announced in November, garnered way more attention than we expected, but less traffic. "

For those of us who are very interested in how syndication works online, this is significant. To me, the underlying syndication model has always been:

a) I provide you really interesting content,
b) you provide me space on your site and access to your users' eyeballs
c) my great content keeps your users happy and brings you more users,
d) the eyeballs you're giving me access to allow me to sell embedded advertising, increase my brand, or do what ever else I'm trying to do with my content. And money balances it all out (if access to your traffic is more than my content warrants, I pay you... and if my hot content is more valuable than your real estate, you pay me.)

This model will work well for video, and audio too. After all, audio and video has been syndicated successfully offline forever. But I think that text is more a medium to be bought and sold with links than with syndication. Not because it can't be syndicated (look at the AP!), but because the return just isn't good enough for either party. This deal gone dead is more evidence to support that assertion.

It's also further evidence of a real problem for the big boys like Yahoo! and MSN! (I think MSN is planning on adding a ! this fall, as part of MS's Zune strategy). The internet is getting narrower and nichier, and they're as b r o a d as they can be. MSN can't have a Rocketboom style news show even though it would fit in great with their style because as soon as they put a face up there, no matter what the face looks like, it's narrowing their brand and alienating their customers. This puts these big branded bohemoths at a disadvantage when competing with a company like Amazon or Google, aggregators that are focused on facilitating the niche.

This is What's Happening in My Neighborhood Today...

Con Edison Distributes Ice to Residents in Queens:

NEW YORK – While Con Edison crews work to restore electrical power to residents in Queens affected by power interruptions, the company is distributing ice to customers.

Bags of ice are being distributed at 41-15 46th Street in Sunnyside and dry ice will be distributed at 4:30 p.m. at Ditmars and Steinway in Astoria.

My apartment is one of the few places in the neighborhood that still has power - my office is NOT. and it's SUMMER in NEW YORK. DAMNNNNNN.

Viral marketing? Try Avian Flu...

The New York Times is reporting that CBS has a grade A plan for Marketing their Fall line-up:

The network plans to announce today that it will place laser imprints of its trademark eye insignia, as well as logos for some of its shows, on eggs — 35 million of them in September and October. CBS’s copywriters are referring to the medium as “egg-vertising,” hinting at the wordplay they have in store. Some of their planned slogans: “CSI” (“Crack the Case on CBS”); “The Amazing Race” (“Scramble to Win on CBS”); and “Shark” (“Hard-Boiled Drama.”). Variations on the ad for its Monday night lineup of comedy shows include “Shelling Out Laughs,” “Funny Side Up” and “Leave the Yolks to Us.

If CBS is going this far, it shouldn't be hard to convince our clients to do something daring with a viral video campaign.

You know what they say... you gotta break some eggs to make a cake... errrh... which came first... okay I'll stop.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Rocketboom deconstructed...

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Find more of Loren at

Major Paypal Security Flaw

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I've been offblog for a lot of the weekend due to Blogger maintenance and a project I had due this morning.

What better way to make a re-enterance than to bitch about something:

Yesterday my wife was using my laptop to shop on eBay. She opened firefox and logged into eBay with her account. After she found what she wanted (buy now!) she went to pay, and decided to use her paypal account. So, quite logically, she selected "Pay with Paypal". She didn't have to log in to paypal, and the transaction went through no problem.

A few minutes later, I got an email receipt from my company's Paypal account for the purchase. My wife Ciara has no access to this account - she's not a user on the account, she doesn't know the password.

It's been at least four days since I logged into my paypal account. Last time I used it, I must not have logged out, and simply shut the window. Here are my issues with what happened:

1) the fact that my paypal account did not logout automatically when I shut the window, or more appropriately, after 15-20 minutes of non-use, is completely unacceptable. That's a bank account. There is no excuse for paypal not to follow what have become standard practices in the online banking industry. Imagine if I had logged in at a library computer!

2) Logout issues aside, the last time I logged into my account was to manage it, not to make a purchase. The fact that I could make a purchase from a third party vendor without entering my password info is ridiculous. I realize that eBay is not technically a third party vendor, but since they don't cross reference the eBay account and the Paypal account, they might as well be.

3) My wife was able to complete the transaction without ever being made aware that she was using my account. She didn't want to buy her pens with my money, in fact she had no idea. There's got to be more transparency in the process.

I appreciate that eBay is trying to make paying with your paypal account easy and convenient. This is not convenient - it's identity theft waiting to happen. How about making the eBay and paypal log in simultaneous? How about allowing you to add paypal accounts to your ebay account like credit cards? That would be convenient.

Take care of my money!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Blogging Times » Two cops filed for criticizing superiors via blog

Found this on the Blogging Times

Two cops filed for criticizing superiors via blog:

Two Newark, New Jersey, police officers have been fired for anonymously criticizing their superiors on a popular local Internet blog. The officers, Darious Smith and Yessenia Montalvo, were told to turn in their badges after posting the comments on Newark Speaks, a widely read by local public employees.

A lawyer hired by the police union says the actions against them violate their constitutional right to free speech. “I don’t believe that public employees lose their First Amendment rights as citizens, particularly when the speech pertains to matters of public concern,” attorney Rubin Sinins said.

Unfortunately, this term the Supreme Court ruled that gov't employees don't have the right to criticize their bosses when they OK'd the firing of a Los Angeles Assistant District Attorney after he criticized their use of a faulty search warrant in a prosecution.

Yeah, if your employee is so disgusted with your unfair treatment of a defendant that he stands up to you - just fire him. It's cool with the S.C.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Vive Zidane!

Vive Zidane!

Fresh take on the Boom

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Jeff Jarvis has a fresh take on the Rocketboom saga (yes it is possible to have a fresh take on a tired story).

It's in a guest post from a vet TV producer. Here's a taste:

Here’s what I do know — based on a lovely lunch that Amanda, Andrew, Jeff and I shared last December: Andrew had the idea for Rocketboom. He placed an ad on Craig’s List for an actress. Amanda (among others) answered. He hired Amanda.

Note to Andrew: have you ever DATED an actress? My god… at any point, did you ever think that you were going to get someone who wasn’t totally self-absorbed? That’s what they DO! That’s why we pay them the big money!!! But we don’t tell them they have some control over our business!

And Rocketboom 2.0 is definitely worth checking out. My take - this is an excellent opportunity to see if a little more television vet polish ruins Rocketboom's authenticity or takes it to the next level. From the perspective of a web content producer, that's what I'll be watching with interest.

Pay no attention to the man in the...

This caught my eye on Digg today -

Apparently the FBI is pushing for a backdoor feature on all new routers that will allow law enforcement to enter your network anytime they want without a warrant.

Bad for us, of course. As Kobe learned in Colorado, you don't go in the backdoor without permission.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

I'm not saying he did it, but...

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If you were Ken Lay. And you decided to take that poison pill...

... you held out long enough to find out that you weren't going to be found innocent

... you didn't hold out too long because you kicked it before you were sentenced, meaning that your entire conviction is thrown out and you died with a clean record

... you gave a nice shout out to your banks because your estate is worth 9.5 million and you owe 9.5 million

... you stuck it to the gum'ment one more time because they would have collected your assets before your creditors, but now that your conviction is thrown out, they have to get in line behind your creditors (meaning they'll get nothing)

... you flipped one last bird to your investors and employees because all those civil suits get a piece of your estate after the creditors, and 100% of 0 is still 0.

... you got the last laugh on Skilling because now the restitution payments that you would have split with him all come out of his swiss bank account

... and you did your woman right because she gets a ten million dollar life insurance payout that the creditors and the prosecution and the civil litigants can't touch because it doesn't go through your estate.

I'm not saying he did it but... ooooh that worked out sweet for the Lay Posse.

Starbucks Radio and Beyond (echo, echo, echo)

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Steve Mays compares Starbucks to a radio station:

As I listened it occurred to me that Starbuck's was sort of like a radio station. A radio station that sells music. And coffee. And a nice place to enjoy both. All nicely wrapped in the Starbuck's brand.

I'd add that they're also a film company, as they have started financing movies and selling them the same way they sell cd's. "Ahleeyah and the Bee" is the first test run, and a very successful one. They're marketing the film in Starbucks, selling the soundtrack and will be soon selling the dvd.

Steve also points out that they have an xm satellite radio station.

Other than Oprah, Starbucks is the best example out there of extending a popular brand into an entertainment machine.

And it's a brick and mortar example of how I believe networks will emerge on the internet.

Just like Starbucks, highly trafficked, well branded websites, like, and for example, have a built in niche audience, built in distribution infrastructure, and built in cross marketing opportunities.

By contrast, sites like and Yahoo! are so broadly diversified that they have to worry about narrowing their brand with programming.

Amazon's already trying this niche strategy with the Bill Mahr driven Fishbowl (which, by the way, will never be a success unless they start marketing it. It's practically buried!). It's shows like this, directed to a niche and placed where that niche is already spending time on the internet, that will be the first broadband programming to achieve success.

Monday, July 10, 2006

The Internet Owns TV (or why it should)

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Interesting Article in the NYT last week about the emerging interaction btw mainstream television and its internet fans.

Here's an excerpt referring to a recent exchange btw the exec producer of "Rescue Me" and the fans on Television Without Pity:

That type of controversy might have been easier for writers and producers like Mr. Tolan to ignore in the past. Internet fans — and occasional writer interaction with them — have existed since the birth of the Internet, although until recently they were mostly confined to science-fiction or cult series, like 'Star Trek' and 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.'

But in the age of widespread broadband access, iTunes video and video sites like, television viewers are migrating en masse to the Internet, looking not only to watch their favorite shows online but also for ways to discuss and engage with those shows.

As a result, the blogs, communities like and message boards devoted to television shows are becoming more popular — and mainstream — forums for viewer discussion and feedback. And the people behind the shows have taken note. 'As fractured as the media market has become, the Internet has become a great means of rising above the noise,' said James Duff, the creator and executive producer of 'The Closer' on TNT.

Television property owners need to be thinking about entertainment that leverages these fans - podcasts, video diaries, message boards - all that's great, but we need to have a strategy to deliver actual entertainment through this medium.

Lost does a good job of that, 24 has done some, but the real opportunity right now is with reality programming. I think this particular genre is reaching a oversaturation point, b/c it's so much cheaper to produce than other television programming.

But if you can intermix what's on tv with what's online in a way that allows internet viewers a more complete and insider view of what's going on, you could really have something interesting and attractive to viewers. The reality programming, at least the doc style stuff, promises to reveal what's behind the curtain in a given person's life - be they a celebrity, bounty hunter or a custom motorcycle designer. With good internet programming, the same show can reveal what's behind the curtain in making a reality program, giving audiences a bigger stake in the action and much more content to consume.

Just a thought.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

RSS 2. Ohhhhh

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Ok, so there's a few things I wanted to say about RSS that didn't quite make it into the last post on the subject.

Yes, I see true promise in RSS is cross platform syndication and as a background technology.

But I also see promise for it as an end user technology. Why? Because I use it. It makes my life better on the internet. And though I like to pretend I'm a geek sometimes, I'm not one. If this technology didn't have the potential for mass adoption, I probably wouldn't be using it.

Here's how RSS makes my life better:

I like to get my news from lots of different places. The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian, Alternet, etc. etc. etc.

Before RSS, I had all these bookmarked on my browser. Do you know how often I went through and checked them? Never. Never, never, never. I read the paper.

That's how I got my news. If there was a story I was interested, THEN I used my bookmarks to go browsing.

I know there are tons of you out there (not really tons of you out there because there aren't tons of you reading my blog)... But humor me... Tons of you out there who browse every morning for your news. I know because I read your blogs. I know because my partner Jeff does it.

But I don't do that. I can't stand it. I hate browsing. And then I just feel guilty for not browsing because everyone else is browsing.

And I know there are more people out there like me. I know there are plenty of people who want to be worldy and informed and beating other people in their office to the story... But they wind up just reading Yahoo! News because it's their homepage.

That's why RSS is so great... it's everything you love about email... In a browser.

An email newsletter - it's just like a feed, right? Wrong. An email newsletter comes to me whenever the sender wants to send it, just like a feed. BUT... Then it sits in my inbox until I DO something with it.

I probably got 50 email newsletters today... And it's a Saturday. Each one I have to read it, delete it, move it to a folder, do something with it.

In an era when some people send out an auto response that says, "if I haven't responded to your email in a week, I've deleted it. Please resend." We don't need more things in our in boxes.

But with RSS, I don't get anything in my inbox. I don't have a stored message. I just have an indication that there's something new, and a headline. If I like the headline, I can click on it, and read a little more, or go straight to the site. If I don't like the headline, or don't read it for a few days because I'm busy, it just goes away. It's ephemeral. Just like browsing.
That's what I like about RSS. I get notified when there's something new, I don't have to get junk in my inbox. It's neat, clean, and user-centric.

And it passes the "makes my life better" test.

How true it is

"The barrier to entry in Internet media is low, the barrier to success is high."

-Nick Denton in the NYT.

Blooming Ideas

Yesterday, we interviewed Steve Bloom for the Chris Fabricant Show. Steve is the editor-at-large for High Times Magazine. He's got a blog called Blooming Ideas that he started in April and is his main occupation now, besides writing for the magazine.

Between great stories about how the High Times team got celebrities to appear on the cover (They had to kick a whole-baked Snoop Dogg off the couch 5 hours after his photo shoot, and he showed up the next day looking for more weed), he had some pretty interesting thoughts on new media and rss.

Also, he's got a battle royale going right now with the Black Crowes about giving comp tickets to music press.

Interesting guy who is agressively embracing the blog medium. Check him out.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Political Wiki

Jimbo Wales, founder of wikipedia and all around crazy internet character, has started up a new wiki, and I think it's a brilliant idea.

Campaigns Wikia
is devoted to hot button political issues, with the stated goal of making politics more about substance than style.

What I like about this tool has nothing to do with Gay Marriage or the War on Terror, as active as those topics will surely be on the site. It's not about giving political bloggers a hang out (shudder at the thought!) The real promise is in changing the dynamics of local politics.

Local politics affects our lives WAYYYY more than who the president is or which guy promises enough favors to raise enough cash to be our congressperson. Yet we know nothing about the races or the issues. It's these races where we're most likely to vote for names we recognize, or down party lines.

Politicos like it that way, and so they make sure that the issues are presented as dull, dense and boring to keep us lazy and snoozing while special interests - mostly developers - call the shots.

Campaign Wiki promises to break down issues like sprawl, urban density, water and land use into chewable bites that we want to digest. It also offers a dynamic tool to shine a light on the pitiful way our politicians are bought and sold.

At one point when I was living in Tampa, four of the seven county commissioners were owned by one guy - Ralph Hughes, who owned a concrete business (big suprise, these 4 were as pro-development as you can get... keep pouring that concrete). When I say owned, I mean that Ralph, his wife, his kids, his lawyer, his registered agent, etc, etc, had contributed the maximum to each of their campaigns.

That's terrible for our democracy and pretty crappy for our lives, too. I'm looking forward to seeing what Jimbo's new tool does about it.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

That Magic Ratio

The untimely death of Rocketboom presents a perfect opportunity to bring up something else that should die...

It's actually something that Rocketboom killed a few months ago...

And it's perhaps the most "old media" thing you can think of.

And there's NO functional reason that we stick with it.

But all of us do...

It's 1.33:1 a.k.a. 320x240 a.k.a. the sorriest aspect ration ever invented.

Why? Because it's stagnant and claustrophobic. It takes the passion and beauty out of a frame.

But most importantly it's not what we see with our eyes.

Editing works in film and video because it mimics what our eyes do... if you glance to your left, and then look at something different on your right, your eyelids will shut in between, creating a cut.

Wider aspect ratios like 16x9 (HD), 1.81:1 (regular film), 2:1 (widescreen), etc do a better job of imitating our eyes, and that means we respond better to what's presented on screen.

In broadband video, our only limitations are the limits of our cameras... and since we're mostly downrezzing (producing finished online videos that are at a lower resolution than we're shooting them at), that's really not a limitation either.

For starters, we should begin using 16x9 as a default. It's just soooo much prettier.

So why do Apple's new iPod designs show absolutely no hint of a better ratio?

Rocketboom, nah

Char's got a great post that gets to the right point quickly about Rocketboom's sudden disintegration.