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
Jessica Clark has written a great overview of new public media initiatives with this title for Mark Glaser's MediaShift blog. Important tutorial for pubcasting execs; well worth your time. Link: PBS.org. --Dennis
Jerry Pournelle’s lengthy but always interesting “Chaos Manor” column in Byte was must reading for me when that magazine existed. So it’s been fun to see him as a guest on a couple of Leo LaPorte’s recent recent This Week in Tech videos, which I usually watch via Roku on laundry nights.
On the show I watched tonight, Pournelle repeated his “Iron Law of Bureaucracy,” which may be relevant to those of us in public broadcasting as we consider the challenges of maintaining a mission during changing patterns of media usage and the necessity to consider collaborations and mergers. Here’s how he stated it on the program:
Any organization has two kinds of people: those that are dedicated to what the organization is dedicated to and the other dedicated to the organization itself. The second always gets in control.
The Chaos Manor column continues online. I hope I’m that sharp at 77. --Dennis
first iteration of online video was about silly pet tricks on YouTube,
the next wave will be about professionally produced full-length content
such as TV shows, movies and live sports,” said Paul Verna, eMarketer
senior analyst. “This shift will be propelled by a combination of
technology integration, demographics and a growing comfort level with
the idea of watching video hosted on Websites.”
Neil Hughes at AppleInsider is reporting on a patent application by Apple for a device that would add HD Radio to future. Gigaware already makes such a device for the iPhone that's pretty cool for the current state of HD Radio (I own one), but it looks like the Apple patent would permit extending HD Radio's capabilities significantly. Joe Aimonetti at CNet has more.
I've been arguing since late 2006 (though not with a great deal of frequency or success) that the real power of HD Radio isn't its audio fidelity or even iTunes tagging or multi-channel capabilities, but rather its ability to morph into a seamless hybrid broadcast/IP radio. That has the power to disrupt. Recent developments with RadioDNS and now this one from Apple give me hope that someone smarter than I will figure this out.
Update 22 June 2010: Sean Ross makes my point in a different way in, If HD Radio WERE On the iPhone. Link: The Infinite Dial. --Dennis
It's nice to see that CPB is still investing in PBCore, the public media metadata standard. Today, it announced a 2.0 development project. The press release:
The Corporation for Public Broadcasting today announced the launch of the PBCore 2.0 Development Project. ¶ The PBCore 2.0 Development Project will expand the existing PBCore metadata standard to increase the ability, on one hand, of content producers and distributors using digital media to classify and describe public media content (audio and video) and, on the other, of audiences to find public media content on a variety of digital media and mobile platforms. ¶ The PBCore 2.0 Development Project will also work to enhance the PBCore standard to ensure that it will be able to satisfy the demands of multiplatform digital content as well as an evolving World Wide Web. Since PBCore’s development in 2005, it has become not only one of the most widely-used metadata standards in the world, but also the basis of other metadata standards. At the same time, in the last five years, the number of digital media applications that would benefit from PBCore has grown significantly. An updated PBCore will benefit not only public broadcasters, but all users of metadata standards based on PBCore. ¶ PBCore 2.0 will be managed by WGBH, AudioVisual Preservation Solutions and Digital Dawn. For more information on the PBCore 2.0 Development Project, please go to www.pbcore.org.
The concept of a coming "digital dark age" has been around since the early years of the web, originally covering the possibility that content would become orphaned due to advances in file and storage formats. Andrei Codrescu updated the concept in an NPR commentary earlier this month. And, although he doesn't use the term, John C. Dvorak singles out search engine optimization as contributing to the death of the internet. He writes:
... The problem with the technique
is that it ruins the search experience for users and also requires the
search engine folks to constantly work on countermeasures to minimize
the impact of SEO techniques. SEO techniques then adapt to the changes,
and then begins round two, then three, etc. ...
When talking about Joost, people tend to focus on its
P2P infrastructure, its media center-like interface and its content deals. Now those are all valid points, but the real
key to Joost’s success may be something else: A metadata framework that might
just revolutionize the way we watch television. ...
... So what can these metadata frameworks be used for? Timestamped comments and
tags are certainly one interesting possibility. Combine this with FOAF-like
social networking structures, and you got yourself a whole new way to explore TV
programming. ¶ Imagine a personalized TV channel that only serves you shows your friends are
literally talking about. Or think about the way this could transform programming
itself. What if the Lost folks didn’t do their next
Alternative Reality Game on the web, but in Joost itself, allowing you to
collaborate with your friends and collect clues while watching the show? ...
Now there's a title that will scare away most readers.
I've been thinking about folksonomies this week, occasioned by a post that Bruno Giussani made in his LunchOverIP blog about Gartner's "Hype Cycle" report. That report ranked folksonomies as a low benefit emerging technology.
He didn't report on why and I can't access the report, but that then was followed by a conversation this afternoon at work (broadcasting organization) with a smart colleague who was arguing that the tagging (i.e., folksonomy) and search capability built into the media-over-IP service we've begun to use in the past year will not be sufficient to enable users to find our content and that of our partners without implementation of metadata on our part and some form of professionally-designed taxonomy. Not just how do they find stuff, but also, how do they find our stuff?
Then, on the other hand, this evening I ran across a post, Folksonomy as Symbol, on the Berkman blog by Becca Tabasky that quotes a short pro-folksonomy essay (he calls them "bottoms-up taxonomies") by David Weinberger. He writes:
... If a folksonomy is a symbol, what is it a symbol of? ¶ First, folksonomies stick it to The Man... ¶ We don't need no stinkin' experts to organize ideas and information! There is, of course, inefficiency built into expert-based taxonomies because they have to choose one way of ordering, and that one way is necessarily infested with personal, class, and cultural biases. As Clay Shirky says, "Metadata is worldview." But beyond the inefficiency, simply having someone else have the authority to say 'It shall be filed thus' is a statement of political authority. Even when the experts do a good job—as they usually do, because they're experts—it is still an implicit statement that someone else's way of thinking is better than yours. ...
... Folksonomies also embrace excess. Publishing and broadcasting by their nature require us to trim the fat from our world. That's how those systems survive ...
Excellent essay, but then my colleague also made some excellent points. For us professional media types, nothing defines the divide between the way we've done business throughout my 37-year career (and before) and the way we'll likely be doing business for the next 37 years than the admissibility of user organization of media content. This is core value territory. Are we to have self-organization for "small craft" content (videos of cats swinging on fans) and expert organization for "big craft" content? Or is there a role for both?
We broadcasters need to understand that all curation doesn't need to be done on the ground on a program-by-program basis. That's an artifact of the scarcity paradigm that's constrained us for decades. Like most humans, we're good at making necessities into virtues. But in an abundance paradigm, not only doesn't curation need to happen at the program level, it doesn't need to be done only by us. It's not hard to envision curation at the five- or ten thousand-foot level -- which might be a working definition of taxonomies -- existing simultaneously and productively with user curation at ground level.
I spoke on Open Media Network this past week telephonically to the Southern University Research Association/Video Development Initiative (ViDe) 2006 conference in Atlanta and in person to a forum in Washington, DC sponsored by the New America Foundation. My slides for both presentations are now available online on the ViDe and NAF web sites. Although they're not posted yet, the SURA/ViDe slides for the presentations of my colleagues Gerry Field about the PBCore metadata initiative and Ed Caleca about the PBS public television Next Generation Interconnection System should be available on the ViDe site soon (I produced the session, so thanks to both for their contributions!). It may be that both the ViDe and NAF sessions will be available as a video stream or download. If so, I'll update this post.
Between the SURA/ViDe presentation on Wednesday and the NAF presentation on Thursday, OMN decided to make the 1.0 release of the OMN client slip five or six weeks to around the first of June, so the SURA/ViDe date is incorrect. --Dennis