Dennis Haarsager's rolling environmental scan for electronic media. "Somebody has to do something, and it's just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us." --Jerry Garcia "Wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then." --Bob Seger
I spent the weekend off the grid out in the north Idaho forest where I finally finished Yochai Benkler's, The Wealth of Networks, and got about two-thirds of the way through Chris Anderson's, The Long Tail. The books cover some of the same ground and I may have some comments on them later. On Wednesday, I posted an exchange between Anderson and the Wall Street Journal's Lee Gomes. Going through my feeds tonight, I found an interesting review of Anderson's book by David Jennings. Link: D J Alchemi.
Here is a linked summary of 6 posts I have made today that I hope can help you see the new rules for a Web 2.0 world.
1. Space vs Matrix - the new context as seen by Jeff Jarvis and Doc Searls and comments by me on NPR
2. The 1% rule - Why Open Source has to smash the traditional use of resources and why the culture of control is the barrier
3. eBay and the Trusted Space - the key rules
4. Google and Trusted Space - deepening the ideas
5. Starbucks - How the experience trumps product inside the Trusted Space
6. Southwest -
How the trusted space inside the organization opens up the energy and
creativity of the staff and sets the cultural competitive barrier ...
Link: Robert Paterson's Weblog. Thanks to Todd Mundt, whose Converge blog comes alphabetically before Rob's, though both have valuable places on my blogroll. Todd also exerpted some "nuggets." Good stuff. Link: Converge. --Dennis
The latest FCC status report on high-speed Internet access
(PDF) was published yesterday, covering the market as of December 31,
2005. Broadband usage, defined as at least 200kbps in one direction,
increased by 33 percent over the year-ago status check, and the number
of such access lines totaled about 50.2 million in the latest update. ...
As the advertising and television industries debate how to measure
viewers of shows watched on digital video recorders, the pioneering
maker of the recorders, TiVo,
is getting into the argument. It is starting a research division to
sell data about how its 4.4 million users watch commercials — or, more
often, skip them. ¶ The service is based on an analysis
of the second-by-second viewing patterns of a nightly sample of 20,000
TiVo users, whose recorders report back to TiVo on what was watched and
when. ¶ On average, TiVo has found that its users spend nearly
half of their television time watching programs recorded earlier. And
viewers of those recorded shows skip about 70 percent of the
commercials, said Todd Juenger, TiVo’s vice president for audience
Mark Schubin's frequent memo on digital television developments for July 26, 2006 has been posted to the OpenDTV list. Link: FreeLists. His lead story this week is TiVo starting a research division. The story quotes the New York Times, and I'll make a separate post on it. --Dennis
Yesterday, PBS announced a download to own pilot involving Google Video and Open Media Network. This won't be a full review (nor am I perhaps the best person to do that) but today I splurged and spent $1.99 x 2 to download the same 28-min. episode of NOW from each service to get a feel for the user experience. If you're a producer and would like to get your feet wet, it's a good four bucks to spend.
Both Google and OMN require a download. Google's 4.5 MB download is for its Google Video Player. Browsing and ordering, however, are done on the web. OMN's 6.5 MB download (Windows or Mac) is a client that does everything, incorporating whatever player you have on your system to match the encoding format of the program involved. I could not find an encoding rate for the proprietary Google Video (gvi) file, but its size was 273 MB. The OMN Windows Media (wmv) file was encoded at a very high rate of 2.7 mbps and came in at 552 MB. OMN is designed to (in a future release) permit syncing with TiVo and other devices. So far as I know, Google is a computer-only experience.
The purchase experience was about the same in each case -- easy.
Subjectively, the wmv file was super sharp and looked great, even blown up as far as my 21-inch monitor would support. The gvi file looked quite soft in a side-by-side comparison, something one would expect from the encoding difference, but in fact most OMN video is encoded in the 1 to 1.5 mbps range and, having seen a lot of them, those wmv files are sharper than the gvi file of about the same size. It would be interesting to learn Google's encoding rate and something about how its compression algorithm compares to wmv. Perhaps some reader can point me in the right direction. Apparently, there's a way to save gvi files as avi files, but I didn't try to figure it out. PBS could encode these files at half the rate, IMHO, and have a great user experience and halve the download time.
Google has two very user-friendly features that OMN lacks. Instead of giving you a file size like OMN, Google gives you the running time of the asset. That's easier for it to do because it controls the encoding format and, presumably, the encoding rate. OMN takes a format-and-encoding-rate-agnostic approach so it's hard to calculate. The other nice feature of Google's player is a thumbnail index. That, of course, makes it easier to browse through the program.
OMN has the edge on personalization features. Both enable you to rate program, but OMN allows you to suggest a parental control rating and comment on the program. OMN has good tagging functions that I couldn't find in Google's case.
Would be interested to hear from others who have tried both services. --Dennis
The Wall Street Journal's Lee Gomes expresses skepticism today about some of the claims made by Chris Anderson in his new best-selling book, The Long Tail (coincidentally, just delivered to my mailbox today). Anderson responds in his weblog, The Backlash, Chapter 1. --Dennis