Add the new RSS feed here:

Posted to my_life by Drew on December 22, 2007 5:38 PM | comments (1)

+ Hollywood Writers on Strike

The major studio writers are on strike starting today. They are interested in obtaining royalties or monetary compensation for their work that airs online. I think the studios are moving slow and can not agree on how money will be made in the future are have been unwilling to commit. Most of these people have contracts with terms well into the future that were defined a long time ago and thus have terms that make no mention of use online.

Many major TV shows, including The Daily Show, may need to revert to reruns today because they depend on writers for up-to-the-minute scripts.

This is really a major shakeup for the industry. Many people expect this to go unresolved for months.

I have not heard any talk within any of my online video circles (that's the old way of saying social networks and email) and yet I would assume that there is a lot of experience and foresight that alot of people have which could be useful to add to the conversation in helping to resolve the conflict.

News about the strike.


Be sure and subscribe to my NEW RSS FEED:

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on November 5, 2007 9:03 AM | comments (0)

+ New Blog

Im Moving this blog over to:

www.dembot.com will stay the same, its just that it will start to point over there.


New Feed:


As you can see, instead of posting every month, I'll now be posting more like 10 or 15 times per day.

Posted to world by Drew on November 4, 2007 2:19 PM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom Enters Year 4

What an incredibly interesting time this is. Rocketboom is entering into it's 4th year today. I'm reminded of my favorite spacecraft, the Hubble. Nobody really knows what we will see with it, but we have a direction and we are going strong. The spirit is exploration and the foundation is our own human limits and the freedom to do so. That's the main theme that gets me excited everyday.

The best things that came out of our 3rd year:

(1) Not "building another network". We've seen alot of the popular content startups turn into networks of shows and I continue to be critical of them for operating like old record labels. There is a better way to grow a brand of content for the long term. I can't believe how much money some of them have burnt through.

(2) Got the back-end shop together - payroll/workman's comp, bookkeeping, advertising, legal (Amanda Congdon no longer has any interest in the business - I continue to wish her well and hope that she fares well in the future),  accounting - an auditor could walk in right now and ask for everything down to the receipt for the last 3 years and we would smile and hand them everything. And yet we are still cost efficient.

(3) Rocketboom has also been working with CAA and we are very happy about the alliance.

The greatest asset we have at Rocketboom is our exceptionally creative and dedicated team. All together we continue to create a positive impact (I hope), we have kept costs really low which exhibits the message and the dream of our platform, we have maintained a strong independent nature with an international flair and we have big dreams for the future.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on October 26, 2007 11:46 AM | comments (3)

+ Pa rum pum pum pum
Posted to art by Drew on October 23, 2007 4:17 PM | comments (4)

+ Apple Web Apps

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on October 12, 2007 1:49 PM | comments (0)

+ Branching Out with Blip

Today is a benchmark day for us at Rocketboom as we release the merits of a great new effort with blip.tv. Together we've integrated our systems to demonstrate a flexible model for distribution, sponsorship and advertising.

At Rocketboom, earlier this year, we designed a sponsorship model so far culminating in a week-long sponsorship by Real Player and a rev-share deal with YouTube.

I personally love our sponsorship model and consider it to be hardly invasive (you can expect to see more of these from us throughout 2008). It's also a great system because we burn the sponsorship message into our master file and thus distribute it across all platforms. Not just one flash file, but all of our files, everywhere (e.g. the sponsorship message travels through our own site, iTunes, Facebook, YouTube, TiVo, etc.).

Now blip takes us further with the additional ability to serve interactive, post-roll ads and collapsable overlays in flash AND Quicktime files. After talking with Apple, we believe this is the first time anyone has used Quicktime to serve overlay ads. Our daily publishing method now incorporates this dynamic serving in perfect sync with our hard burning.

Blip brokered the sponsorship (many more to come) and has integrated their run-of-site framework into our site for extra coverage between sponsor runs. This gives us the ultimate flexibility to manage multiple sales of various types at the same time.

The blip folks are some of the brightest and smartest people in this space so its been a real pleasure to finally come together. Thanks especially to Mike and Dina for maintaining such strong passion and good will. On our side, I want to give a big thanks to the Rocketboom team, especially Mark Mathewson and Jamie Wilkinson whose persistence saw this project through.

Check out Mike's post here.

To see in action, visit Rocketboom.

Want to get involved? Contact us!

Posted to online video by Drew on September 24, 2007 7:47 AM | comments (10)

+ Understanding Video Counts

Have you ever wondered how the various video sites determine a view count?

TubeMogul conducted a study of the various video hosting sites by uploading videos, monitoring the conditions and recording the counts.

Site Full View <1/2 View >1/2 View Refresh Embed
AOL Uncut Count Count Count Count Count
Dailymotion Count Count Count No Count No Count
Google Count No Count Count No Count No Count
Metacafe One/IP addr. One/IP addr. One/IP addr. One/IP addr. One/IP addr.
Myspace Count No Count Count Count Count
Revver Count Count Count Count Count
Yahoo! Video One/IP addr. No Count No Count One/IP addr. No Count
YouTube Count No Count No Count No Count One/IP addr.

As you can see, YouTube only ads one count per i.p. address, per fully watched video. No partial views get counted. When a video is embedded, it only gets counted once per i.p. no matter how many times the video is viewed. Yahoo Video and Metacafe are even more stringent.

Compare this to Revver which gives a count to a full view, a 1/2 view, less than 1/2 a view, refreshes and embeds. Big difference. Why would Revver be so slack on a count? The only reason I can think of is hyperbole.

Posted to online video by Drew on September 23, 2007 5:16 PM | comments (4)

+ TubeMogul

Several weeks ago we started to use TubeMogul and have been really impressed. It's now a part of our daily workflow.

Each morning we upload our 3ivx 270x480 Quicktime file to Tube Moguel, enter 3 fields of metadata (title, descriptions, tags), select a category and then TubeMogul quickly uploads the video to 9 different sites all within a few minutes:

YouTube, Brightcove, Blip, Dailymotion, Revver, Google Video, Metacafe, Myspace and Yahoo.

We have never distributed through any of these sites before mostly because we just haven't had the time to go around uploading all day on top of the 9 different files we serve ourselves.

TubeMogul has been really fast. They also keep track of stats across all the sites so it's very easy to keep tabs on how things are going.

Posted to online video by Drew on 4:14 PM | comments (1)

+ FireAnt Sells to Odeo

Josh Kinberg, founder and creator of FireAnt is one person who has always been on the about page of Rocketboom. We met at school and connected over building the first blog at Parsons School of Design and always discussed online patterns and activity throughout the 2004 elections.

In particular we talked alot about the development of Rocketboom and Ant.

During that time, Josh found out about Adam Curry who was working on the same kinds of problems with audio. I remember when Josh first told me about this, we snickered in kinda of a nostalgic way, the same way you would if you just found out that Martha Quinn was building robots and programing micro-controllers.

When Josh, Kenyatta and I were building out the backend and strategy for Rocketboom, especially from August through October, 2004, Josh had come up with an elegant proof of concept for an aggregator that focused on pulling video files with an Apple Script. Nothing that Curry and Winer had missed but nonetheless, they along with almost everyone else were tunnel visioned on audio (and pdf files!?).

Perhaps one reason for the disconnect occurred because of the difference in application. Podcasters were ultimately enamored with transferring mp3 files to the shiny shiny (i.e. the ipod) automatically.

With Rocketboom however, there was no shiny shiny (i.e. the video ipod) at the time but we saw the aggregator as the killer app for bandwidth limits and thick compression settings on the delivery of large video files. Pretty files sent to computers over night while people sleep to be available in full local playback glory, scrollable, jumpable, and without delay when ready for viewing was where it would be at.

In October 2004 knowing that video enclosures would catch on very soon, when Rocketboom did launch, I made sure we had them working for the few people who used Josh's player. I also of course noticed that there was no way to offer multiple file types in the enclosure fields and decided the only solution would be to offer multiple feeds (we launched with several).

Right around that time, Podcasting was starting to gain momentum and I always noticed how almost no one else was talking about using RSS for video. It was kinda like the Twilight Zone actually in that regard. Even through most of 2005, while podcasting was totally exploding, very few people took interest in the use of RSS with video enclosures. Perhaps it was because the news angle was mostly generated from a radio show fanatic slash tech geek-angle and the disruption they were casing to the radio industry.

There were two main public brain trusts through 2005 that existed separately on the web where on-the-pulse information about development in the nascent industry made its way in: [1] the podcasting group on Yahoo vs. [2] the Videoblogging group on Yahoo.

As for #1, my bafflement with podcasters and music fans who still deal with mp3 crap compression remains. A great beauty of the audio aggregator is that you can deliver very high quality audio files (not a problem to offer the mp3 versions too for the losers), but whatever, people used to take playback quality much more seriously in the good 'ol days of wax and lasers.

As for #2, the excitement fueled by foresight into the implications behind a world shift in media, would soon drove user testing, adoption and good will to Ant (later served with a no-no letter on the name, btw), so FireAnt, with "the" surrounding directory of videobloggers was where the first party started.

Perhaps we will never know but I feel very strongly that Josh's development of the initial player gave Apple their best look at what I always hoped they would acquire, but instead, built themselves. In a single moment in October of 2005 with the release of the video iPod and video podcasting in iTunes, Apple opened up the concept of video online to the masses (er, you know what I mean) and essentially took a great deal of FireAnt's steam. Coincidentally, the prior release of Apple's audio podcasting client in iTunes stole the same kind of steam from Odeo so it makes since that these two companies would come together for a return match. The space may be ready for more alternatives.

Apple's strategy for growth was and continues to remain stealth and secretive, closed and proprietary. They probably get away with it because their products are so good. But Apple's aggregating features have never been as good as FireAnt's which strated off as open sourse and remained open on the frontend.

I consider Josh to be a major pioneer in the space for being one of the first, if not the first to create a video specific aggregator, going on to win the support of the videoblogging community, growing a business from an early 2.0-like application, sustaining the onslaught of a changing industry, managing a difficult set of personalities, dealing with alot of legal nonsense and then orchestrating a very delicate acquisition. Way to go Josh. Cant wait to see what's next!

Many others have written about this story too.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on September 15, 2007 3:45 AM | comments (0)

+ Retracing Steps

An extremely moving memorial. Also consider the tecnique and use of medium:

Retracing my steps
By Jeff Jarvis on 911

I took out my camera today and quickly retraced and recorded my steps on 9/11 six years ago. (A longer version of the story is here, recorded in audio shortly after 9/11.)

Posted to art by Drew on September 12, 2007 4:13 PM | comments (0)

+ JoCo Live

Joanne is hosting a new live streaming show called Hollywood Now. Tonight she is interviewing some of the cast from Heroes, one of the most popular TV shows out there.

For her debut on Monday, Joanne interviewed R&B artist, JoJo and over 5000 people were watching live. I have not heard of another case where this many people were on all at once. Surely there must be some?

I was in one room that had a full 500 people in it and the chat was insane. As soon as I typed in the word "Hi everybody" it scrolled off the page before I could even read it.

There was an incredible moment where JoJo was singing a chorus "Yea, Yeah, Yeah" and then sang: "Everybody sing with me, Yeah, Yeah, Yea.. . ."

Everyone was entering in "yeah yeah yeah" in the chat - it was a hyper crazy collaborative experience that actually worked. Thousand of yeah's scrolling to the live music. Pretty cool.

First time? You should give yourself a good 15 or 20 minutes to get the PalTalk player installed and find the room. Not an easy task, but well worth it in this case.

Next week she'll be interviewing cast from Entourage.
Tonight and every Wednesday at 8pm ET - Link.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on 1:33 PM | comments (3)

+ China Online

"Chinese military hackers have prepared a detailed plan to disable America’s aircraft battle carrier fleet with a devastating cyber attack, according to a Pentagon report obtained by The Times." - Link.

I like to keep checking back on 'China's effect on the internet' and 'internet's effect on China'. Both of these terms in Google have nothing but posts from me and David Weinberger.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on September 9, 2007 5:54 PM | comments (2)

+ YouTube Jumping

Google has implemented their jumping feature into YouTube videos and it's really nice. As you know, with most flash videos, you can't scroll ahead until the video completely loads out beyond the point you want. With a YouTube video, now you can jump ahead and the video will start to load out from the new point foward, wasting no more time or energy loading any of the prior sections of the video.

Above, you can see I clicked the scoller to the middle of the video. It then began to play from the new point and started to load out ahead (and then behind next).

This is a very elegant feature that saves bandwidth and gives the audience way more flexibility for consuming information quickly.

Posted to online video by Drew on September 8, 2007 12:48 AM | comments (5)

+ Video News Sites

It seem as though Om Malik's NewTeeVee weblog has emerged as one of the top authorites on online video news. It seems to be in a league of its own right now and there are surprisingly few other blogs that cover this kind of information. The staff of writers are just conservative enough, very insightful and in the know. Their coverage of MSM as well as independent media is comprehensive. News, reviews. I've met a few of the writers and think they are all very nice too.

Tilzy.tv is another new site which seems to be pretty good too (creative, insightful and on the pulse). LostRemote is another one - speaks more to people who have been in the media business for a long time and need some online nudging.

Posted to online video by Drew on 12:11 AM | comments (2)

+ Priority Web Traffic OK'd

Net Neutrality takes a serious blow.

"The Justice Department on Thursday said Internet service providers should be allowed to charge a fee for priority Web traffic."

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on September 6, 2007 8:13 PM | comments (0)

+ Social Graph

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on August 19, 2007 1:37 AM | comments (0)

+ Barcamp Block

I'm off to San Francisco and then 37° 26' 34 N, 122° 9' 40 W and surrounding blocks for Barcamp Block.

Everytime I see the Golden Gate Bridge I wonder how Joseph Strauss convinced everyone that it could be done. It would of been interesting to see how he got everyone to sign off on the idea.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on August 16, 2007 11:56 AM | comments (0)

+ Stewart/Cobert Subpoenaed by YouTube

Regarding the suit against YouTube brought on by Viacom (MTV, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, etc.), Larry Neumeister from the Associated Press writes: "YouTube didn't say exactly what it intended to gain from questioning the Comedy Central comedians. Colbert hosts "The Colbert Report," a spin-off of "The Daily Show," which is hosted by Stewart."

It seems clear to me that YouTube would like the court to hear Stewart and Colbert's perception of the harm vs. gain argument. It's hard to imagine that the widespread distribution of the Daily Show on YouTube could harm or take away from the show's value compared to the massive PR gain that drives traffic back to their program along with elevating their cultural relevance.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on 1:24 AM | comments (0)

+ Email War Medal

Posted to my_life by Drew on August 15, 2007 11:06 PM | comments (3)

+ NYC Videoblogging Meetup Tonight

NYC Videoblogging Meetup tonight at 6pm at the Rocketboom studio. Any and all are invited to come meet with local area videoblogging enthusiasts.

For the first hour, everyone will take 2min to introduce themselves and their project(s) and then we will discuss three of these projects in-depth altogether as a group. For the second hour, we can just hang out and chat.

Posted to new york city by Drew on August 14, 2007 10:33 AM | comments (1)

+ Rocketboom No Longer Using Pligg

Pligg is for sale. Though I mentioned before that we adopted Pligg on Rocketboom, we actually wound up adapting some of Pligg for Moveable Type, and forked off the rest.

Jamie got almost everything we needed so far into just a couple of pages.

I actually just started participating in Digg myself. Im slowly ramping up but I feel a major swing coming on. I think YouTube and Digg are my top two favorite websites on the internet right now.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on August 13, 2007 12:53 AM | comments (0)

+ Why do Video Networks Fail? One Reason: The Content

**UPDATE: Scoble not leaving Podtech (I edited to remove the misunderstanding out of the post).

I read an article where CEO John Furrier states an additional $2 million had been invested in the company in the middle of July which he expected to last only "a few months". Wow. What are they doing over there?

I don't know any of the details as to why the company is not making it except for the one I could always see myself and I believe it's the most important part of a network: quality of content.

The network has about 20 shows they list on their website. Have you heard of any of them? Aside from The Scoble Show, quick, name another show. . . Yea, I always have a hard time with that question too. I'd rather see the new networks making it but they are mostly missing that important role of creating compelling content that will resonate with enough people to sustain and grow.

Podtech is clearly a tech company. Pod. Tech. From what I can tell, they never had anyone in their company that was a professional and experienced video content producer. And not just someone but someone with good taste who can understand how the content will fit in with everything else that is out there.

First adopters are techies and the new networks have the DNA of Silicon Valley all over them. Where is Hollywood in this thinking? Content is business mostly driven by professional content creators, not the technology industry. The problem is biconditional. The traditional studio are not listening to the technologists very well on how to support the flow of their good content. There needs to be more of a collaboration.

When we take a moment to step out of the 2.0 bubble and have a look around, its easy to see that the power of the moving image is not going to burst. Online video, personal publishing, content - this type of stuff is not about today's shiny new gadgets and Ajax. When the iPhone becomes an archaic collectors item and Facebook and YouTube are only known by the old and stodgy, people will be still be creating content that will strike a chord in a big way and there will always be a big market for it.

I'd rather see the new networks making it but they are mostly missing that really important role of being able to identify compelling content that will strike a chord in enough people to sustain and grow.

** update 8/12: Allen Stern has some good suggestions. I also want to be clear that I believe all the content on Podtech is valuable - the greatest value is not about popularity and monitatiztion. As always, its truely sad how money hampers us.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on August 11, 2007 7:52 AM | comments (18)

+ Album Cover or Wizard of Oz Still?

Posted to outer space by Drew on August 7, 2007 10:22 PM | comments (2)

+ On MSNBC and Apple iTunes

The relatives filled up the 'ol email box today because they saw me on MSNBC Nightly News last night. The story was about email bankruptcy. You can watch it here (doesn't seem to work on Apple browsers). What's my advise on how to deal with email overload? "Eh, not sure yet."

Thanks to Apple for featuring Rocketboom on the front page of iTunes this week!! Ive been a quintessential Apple fan forever but for good reason, they have the best interface, best design and push innovation like nobody's business. Ive yet to review my iphone though to give you some idea, I finally stopped carrying my blackberry last week ('been using gmail and flipping the board sidewise for speedy thumb typing). A+++ I remember well when the idea was but a dream.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on 3:06 PM | comments (1)

+ Twitter Infestation

Today I received the following in my email box:

Yep, Twitter blog spam. These kinds of sucker fish latch on to the RSS feeds of others and then repost the same exact information, but with surrounding contextual banner ads. They set up each website once and then it all happens automatically. Whoever sets the site up can just check their bank account each month to see how many click-thrus they got. The more blogs they can set up, the more they can automatically make.

I figured this stuff out because there are some spammers that regurgitate Rocketboom feeds too, though I have always reported them to Technorati and Google Blogs (currently there is just one or two).

The Techcrunch article Rocketboom was cited in got regurgitated by over 40 different spam blogs (BTW, thanks to Paul L. for pointing out a comment from Michael Arrington clarifying that "Interesting" just meant "Interesting to him").

You can imagine Techcrunch is happy to have 40 blogs per article link to them just to start with, let alone all of the other blogs that link to them that are actually intentional. Thus the auto-blogs have an easy time existing and perpetuating because they increase the link status of the fish they are feeding on.

One of my favorite blogs in the world, Gizmodo, probably has the most spam blogs attached to it that I have ever seen. Here is a headline from yesterday that has 70 links (over 50 spam links) with the same exact headline, "Jet-Man Is So Cool It Hurts".

What should be done about this? Anything?

**update: Rex Hammock calls these kinds of blogs "splogs" (in a comment on Heather Green's Business Week column). Splog is actually short for "Spam Blog", I'm just leaning. It seems that they are in fact often created by the bloggers themselves for link authority. I guess when applied to Twitter it would be Spit Splogs.

It would make an interesting study to see how the ranking of Technorati might change without all the fakes.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on August 6, 2007 8:58 PM | comments (5)

+ Room for More Shows

This week Rocketboom got shot down pretty bad by Michael Arrington while being compared to a new entry in the online videoblogging world, Webb Alert. The headline reads "A lot Like Rocketboom Except it's Interesting". This is the second headline this week announcing a Rocketboom killer. From a new series called Radar: "Webshow pilot takes on RocketBoom (and destroys it)."

I see these kinds of headlines almost every week. I always hold my breath when I read them and get all mentally unsettled each time as I gear up to watch. It's flattering to receive the comparisons yet also a bummer - even though its just a personal, subjective opinion, I've been in a funk all weekend on the Techcrunch article just knowing that they think Rocketboom is not interesting.

A lot of people have left comments to Rocketboom's defense and many people posted about it to their own weblogs. Michael's post received more comments than most of his other posts I think and the next day he posted again along with a defense for liking the show.

The sentiment that we all feel each time a new Rocketboom killer comes along (probably Michael's feelings as well), is damn, it's been almost three years now since Rocketboom came around and despite the explosion in personal media, we still dont have much out there that has struck a major chord. Our options for valuable, entertaining and independent information in a daily is really limited.

In the meantime, I dont think we need to pit Rocketboom against other shows like football teams, there is plenty of room for anyone who can put the pieces together. The harshness of the effect can be positive as it certainly helps to keep us trying as hard as we can - complacency is death - though there are positive ways of supporting growth.

While important comparisons to other popular shows like Geek Brief and CommandN (classics) can be made, the hope for Webb Alerts, which really does make it a compelling and fresh entry, is the adoption of a regimented, daily, regular schedule. That's smart. Very few independent productions have been able to commit to a full time, regularly scheduled show and by doing so, the show enters into a wide open market with a lot of demand.

It will be important for this show to not follow in the path of a prior Rocketboom killer, Yahoo 9, which in my opinion is still weak for feeling fake on the "fake-to-real" feeling scale. With everything else in place, as long as Webb Alerts can develop it's own personality with the writing and a personable presentation, it should become really popular in no time at all.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on August 5, 2007 6:42 PM | comments (8)


Yep, in case you didn't know, BBC now stands for WTF?

"With today's launch of the iPlayer, the BBC Trust has failed in its most basic of duties and handed over to Microsoft sole control of the on-line distribution of BBC programming. From today, you will need to own a Microsoft operating system to view BBC programming on the web. This is akin to saying you must own a Sony TV set to watch BBC TV. And you must accept the Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) that the iPlayer imposes. You simply cannot be allowed to be in control of your computer according to the BBC." - Link (via)

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on July 28, 2007 10:15 AM | comments (2)

+ Balance of Power

The more that social networks pick up steam, the less influence blogging is receiving. Personal publishing is really exploding right now, indirectly, by people simply revealing their lives as content. Blogging is a much smaller piece of the pie. The web is better able to categorize everyones day-to-day ideas, in all forms of media, and thus these ideas have become more organized and useful for all.

Specifically, the dynamics of this influence coming from Facebook, Flickr and Linked-in-like communities is not very apparent. The overall influence or authority is for the most part, hidden. Maybe that's a good thing for now, while it lasts.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on July 23, 2007 7:19 PM | comments (0)

+ Alexa in the News

Cmdr Taco, tears apart Alexa, and leaves the Slashdot community to weigh in. It's not looking good for Alexa [in case you haven't noticed, I have had a few words to say about Alexa myself].

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on 6:57 PM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom on the iPhone

Today we release our first application significant more so as a sign of whats to come from within our group:

If you have an iPhone, just navigate to this link:

Here is a demo of what it should look like(video flip not in demo):

Considering we have never even tested it on an iPhone, we still have some work to do this weekend Im sure just to get v0.1 up to par.

This application is outstanding for us not because it's designed as yet another standalone Rocketboom player, but due to our primary intent to make it available as a player that anyone can easily customize for their own show.

There have been lots of things I've built for Rocketboom over the years, but Ive never had the resources to do anything with them or take them to the next level. I always wanted to for even more ideas come up than I could ever take action on.

Enter our superstar programmer Jamie Wilkinson who has been a saving grace the last few months. When we decided to take on this particular project about 3 days ago, Jamie put it together almost overnight. This weekend we'll test and spiffy up the player (still dedicated for Rocketboom) and next week, once we have a grip on the iphone standards, we hope to release the custom functionality so anyone can use it for their own show, or their own favorite shows.

I've always been really transparent about everything because I still dont believe in competition for the show, Rocketboom, but this is for a new business (along with RB and other shows in development) so the plan is to keep our other ideas under wraps until they are up. Nevertheless, we plan to work mostly within a GPL when spinning things off.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on June 29, 2007 9:24 PM | comments (1)

+ Paying Bloggers to Write

Shouldn’t Microsoft and Federated Media at least understand why shilling is wrong for a lot of bloggers and stop trying to sell dishonesty?

Michael at Techcrunch said he doesn’t care about what he wrote for Microsoft even though he signed his name to it. Yet he signed his name for me - someone who admires and looks up to his opinions. That is why Microsoft had him do it - so I would believe in Microsoft indirectly.

This whole chain of events - Microsoft paying bloggers to write for them for this reason, Federated Media promoting the idea to their clients knowing best what the implications would be and the clients agreeing to do it - shows a major sign of laziness or a desperate need for banner ad money.

** I always assumed these ads were quotes bought from prior articles or blog posts written by the blogger, without being payed to write them **

Apparently, people who value journalistic integrity and transparecy of information are willing to write messages they don't believe in just for money, in the very same way they write on their blogs, about the same stuff, to the same people who read them, in the same space and in the same place.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on June 23, 2007 3:47 PM | comments (0)

+ Eyetag IPTV Benchmarking Study

From the German conference I keynoted last week, The Brain Behind on Web-TV and IPTV, a very noteworthy article from Eyetag ( Nikolaus Reinelt and Bertram Gugel):

"Increasingly, a separation between Internet TV as “Over-the-top” distribution and telco IPTV as a new “institutionalized” means of distribution, becomes difficult to make."

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on June 13, 2007 9:30 PM | comments (0)

+ ROFL Live in NYC

Im pretty excited about this. It's called ROFL. It's kinda like a live, non-screen based version of screen-based internet media. In competition form. At a really cool venue:

Info below from the ROFL website:

Friday June 22
11:30 PM
Joe's Pub (this is a major theater near Astor)

Featuring web art, presentations and
"teh funney" from

Josh Fruhlinger
of Comics Curmudgeon and Wonkette

Cintra Wilson
of Salon and Dregublog

Joe Garden
of The Onion
(the voice of Jim Anchower and Jackie Harvey),
Vote Joe Garden! and Monkeywire

Michelle Collins
of You Can't Make It Up and
VH1's Best Week Ever

Andrew Baron
, creator and producer of Rocketboom

Marisa Olson
, artist / editor / curator of Rhizome.org

Stu VanAirsdale
of The Reeler

Charles Broskoski
of Supercentral

ROFL is the very best of the internet, lovingly hand-picked by eight of America’s most-respected blogger types for maximum freshness and optimum awesomeness.

ROFL is high art, low humor, YouTube video, Myspace weirdness, flash animation, web memes, conceptual puzzles, original film and non-sequiturs galore.

ROFL is a gong show for the new millennium.

ROFL puts the “hyper” in hypertext, the “interest” in internets, the “blow” in weblog… or possibly the “glob”.

ROFL is twelve bucks to get out of the house and meet people who are even more web-obsessed than you are!

Hosted by the ever-pithy Slovin and Allen (Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, Saturday Night Live) and featuring live improvisation from avant-garde oddball Reggie Watts, ROFL promises to be the finest internet variety show you’ve ever drunkenly laughed yourself sick to.

SEE! Eight bloggers enter with their finest internet finds and online creations... but only 1.0 will exit with the kind of digital hipster cred that can't be bought by PayPal!

SCREAM! Your applause will mercilessly separate digital wheat from the GIGO chaff as the eight blogger bracket is winnowed down to the ultimate dorko-el-dorko match.

COVET! As the winner makes off with a kingly $150 grand prize!

MOCK! As the losers run home PWND and sobbing.

OGLE IN DISBELIEF At the astonishing lineup of writers, producers, programmers and curators we've assembled from the fields of journalism, business, comedy, art and television. It's multidisciplineat-o!

REMEMBER! There’s only room on the ROFLcopter for a few… so get your tickets early.

Presented with The Onion and Paper Thin Walls

Additional production provided by John Seroff of The Tofu Hut, Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City and Jon Williams of Wizard Is Hungry

More information on licorice can be found on the internet.

OMG, so WTF is ROFL?

Posted to new york city by Drew on 8:28 PM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom Sponsorship Launch

Tomorrow on Monday we will be launching a new sponsorship model on Rocketboom!

Just over a year ago, we ran out money for Rocketboom. We were not mature enough to consider investments and so I decided Rocketboom had to go forward with an E-bay auction. The plan had materialized months prior but I never wanted to take the risk. I certainly was into the excitement, but what if no one bid? What if the bid was too low? What if our reserve was too high? The immediacy of a check in the bank was an important part of the decision too.

I'll never forget the fear of failure that buit up to 5 seconds before the auction ended a loser, followed by a final refresh click with just 2 seconds to go that suddenly showed a $40,000 winner. To this day, I had never publicized that $40,000 was actually our reserve, helping to set the high market value.

When people went on to write about the sale, they broke it down to a CPM comparison, though most people didn't take into account that the $40,000 for a week of advertising on Rocketboom included not only airing the commercials, but also creating 5 of them! Also, managing an account like this while working to appease the advertiser is a very difficult feat in and of itself.

A few months later, Rocketboom went through a bit of internal turmoil that required me to set all of the business aside for awhile to devote %100 of my energies on just the production. While we would go on to bring in a total of $210k from creative advertising for the year, the amount of energy and conviction we had to put into each piece ultimately put us further behind.

To our suprise, during the process, we learned that companies weren't really interested in us having complete conviction in them anyway.  Ultimately, they really were big fans of Rocketboom and they wanted us (and our audience) to know that.  *They* had the conviction in *us*.

So that's why we took that original model and flipped it. Our relationship to the sponsor now starts off with a sign of gratitude for their support.

In return, we have a great, critical audience that a sponsor can leverage to provide feedback and insight into their situation. While the system may not be right for many other environments, I think it will be extremely effective on Rocketboom. The entire program was designed to match Rocketboom as it already is.

I'm extremely proud to kick off this Monday with YouTube as our first sponsor. Regarding the broad topic of "video online", in my personal opinion, there is not a single other group in the world that has done more to democratize the moving image. We finally got a Rocketboom YouTube account up and running as well. It's amazing to think we have made it this far without any flash distributions. YouTube will make Rocketboom much easier to share, obviously.

For more details, you can visit http://www.rocketboom.com/sponsorship

Next, look forward to more content offerings from Rocketboom soon. Extra special thanks to Kenyatta, Joanne and Ellie, the hard-core team that makes RB happen!

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on June 3, 2007 7:48 PM | comments (19)

+ The Death of Alexa's Toolbar

What do each of these graphs have in common? It appears that they all show a decline in people who use the Alexa Toolbar.






I still have never met an Alexa toolbar user. Do you know of one?

Rocketboom was static for awhile and has been on a steady upward incline all year. Why is Alexa showing a sharp downward trend?

I just spent about an hour searching the net on Alexa and all I could find were stories of people telling others to instal the toolbar so they could increase their own ranking. I did find that Vista considers Alexa malware and there is no planned support for Firefox or Safari.

Technorati is based on actual links:

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on May 31, 2007 1:38 AM | comments (2)

+ Wallstrip

Congrats to Wallstrip for selling to CBS for a reported $5million. This evaluation is great news for Rocketbooom and others in our field. The gap between established media and new media is turning more and more into media.

I've been feeling concerned about our burn rate to late but it looks like Rocketboom spends just a fraction of what Wallstrip spends.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on May 22, 2007 1:18 PM | comments (1)

+ Not Just a Name

Your order confirmation:
07/02/2007 - 07/02/2010 Domain renewal: rocketboom.com $28.35

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on May 15, 2007 10:59 PM | comments (0)

+ RB in WSJ

Rocketboom received some nice coverage in the Wall Street Journal today. Since the subject is about startup tips for show running, my top of the list note is to suggest a daily, short-form show. Most shows come out once a week, once a month or sporadically. The value to having a daily update may be the most often missed opportunity yet.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on May 14, 2007 9:05 PM | comments (1)

+ Why do Video Platforms Fail?

In online video, there is big interest in the entry point, the place where people go to discover and watch video and ultimately where payment is made, one way or another, for the watching. For some incredible reason that I can not fathom, an extraordinarily large number of people believe they can create the entry point in which the rest of the world will come to discover video. The competition is fierce and the success rate over the years has been a series of clockwork dead on arrivals.

This entry point offline used to be TV-Guide for TV content along with local newspapers for Movie listings, both "dead sources", so to speak. In music, a company called Sound Warehouse once dominated America as the entry point for musical recording sales, physically, and now it's completely gone.

Meanwhile, musicians only needed a cheap and clear signal-to-noise ratio to record sound with while the audience only needed dial-up to d/l the music with, to bring on the democratization of the music industry regardless of the pre-established industry's control.

The traditional TV/Movie/Film studios have not been as afraid of the internet recently, having had the opportunity to stand by and watch their music industry colleagues break down. Easily anticipating awhile back what has now become cheap and clear imaging to record and edit the world with, a new audience has now materialized only needing to click once to see anything by anyone.

Still yet, the pre-established studios have been reliant on 3rd parties (i.e. Silicon Valley) to solve their technological deficiencies, or they continue to not listen at all, and have rolled-out tripping.

Does anyone remember a site called Open Media Network? It used to be the biggest thing to hit the internet the day before it released but it took me 20 minutes to remember the name and find it just now. Mark Andreessen (orig. leader of Netscape) was on the board and they signed on PBS.

What about Current.tv? They are still here but they decided to go up stream for some reason, as if to provide friction for the rest industry moving online. Many people like myself were jaw dropped to consider the impact the same amount of money and action could have made globally with a strategy that was predominantly based on internet audiences.

What about MTV's big online effort? No one on a Mac could get in. And so what's next? The $25 Million in private equity Roo partner? MTV has been doing short-form content for a LONG time, but hasn't been doing so hot transitioning onto the internet.

What happened to Akimbo's $27Million?

What about AT&T Homezone's all-in-one wonder box? Apparently a fresh new $1.6Billion has been alloted to push subscribers. Golly.

A current press release states that Brightcove ($59Million injection this year), once THE most promising player in the world (before it was released) "recently added an update to the Brightcove Platform that included several new features and a number of great enhancements to our services". Jeremy Allaire first created Cold Fusion which is a very different kind of venture.

Ever hear of Innertube, CBS.com's effort? According to today's Wall Street Journal "CBS's new chief Internet strategist now jokes that the Web address for Innertube should be CBS.com/nobodycomeshere".

Now CBS (and thus now Wallstrip) will divert their brand energies to someone else's brand to give it a whirl, Joost: "Joost gets a $45Million extra.

Posts that contain Joost per day for the last 30 days.
Technorati Chart

Maybe today's most likely contender will spark, I can't say I will be surprised to see that there is something which makes this one THE one, but at the very least, the risk for Joost, I think, is totally beside itself and it's hard to imagine, just based on history, that this is going to work.

Why are these always going wrong or why are they not going better?


1. Insubstantial library of content
2. Poor bit rates
3. Lack of innovation (clone platform)
4. No share in content ownership rights
5. No exclusivity of content distribution
6. Lack of spark/spirit for a centralized community
7. Need for users to d/l proprietary software
8. Awkward interface design
9. Overly excessive emphasis on rights protection
10. Lack of technological foresight & audience expectations

Most noteworthy, I have always suggested that an individual show may thrive best when allowed to live and breathe in its own home, on it's own website, best suited for it's own special case. A video player is one brand, a network is another and each individual show is itself a brand. If the show is unique and special, it will find its own identity and own distinct audience in it's own authentic location.

There is still certainly PLENTY of room for new, quality video content, the kind of entertaining content that Hollywood has traditionally been masters of so the competition is low in the creative studio department, the audiences are growing, business model options are progressing at least - there certainly are plenty of distribution partner options - it seems to be a wonderful time to create video that people respond to online.

As for the audiences, they like to get it in different ways at all kinds of different places. No matter where the big party is, or where the authentic home base may be, hopefully the content can make it's way easily into the growing number of scenes on the growing number of screens.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on 12:24 AM | comments (9)

+ 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0

Issue #1: The hexadecimal sequence, 09-f9-11-02-9d-74-e3-5b-d8-41-56-c5-63-56-88-c0, which unlocks DVDs, has been leaked onto the internet. By the time of this posting, there are 20,700 results found in Google. Whose problem is it? Ultimately the problem belongs to the company that created a copy-protection scheme with this kind of vulnerability.

Issue #2: Is it illegal to post this number? Though the number posted to Digg became the most popular post in the site's history, the Digg owners decided to take the post down because they were told it was illegal. I find it really hard to imagine that posting a number like this can be illegal. This is not a personal medical record or information obtained with an NDA, this is a single password, a private industry secret that they let out of the bag.

Issue #3: Did Digg take the post down because of tight advertising relationships with the businesses that would suffer from the posting, including their own?

Whatever the answers may be, I have a great deal of admiration for the Digg team for managing a closed site in such an open way. I can only imagine they are put in these kinds of quandaries on a daily basis, trying to keep to a democratic mission while maintaining personal control.

I would suggest that Digg has a social responsibility to their own mission to end all advertising on the site. They should just get rid of all of it and move to a PBS style model if they are ready to take the next step towards boosting the integrity of their information system. This is not a rejection of advertising in general for the world, just for this kind of site. Of course they should really do whatever they want because it's theirs, an impotant reality check for eveyone that believes in community. It will be interesting to see how they continue to deal with the daily dilemmas.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on May 2, 2007 1:24 AM | comments (1)

+ The Rookie Card

In case you missed the news yesterday, I decided against moving forward with Jeff Pulver on Abbey Corps. A lot of people have been pressing me to give them some information as to why. I have decided not to get in to it here publicly on my blog, but I do wish Jeff best of luck with his future endeavors.

I would like to take a moment to make an important point on something that I have learned this year about business. The other day I was at a conference and someone who is tied in with the venture capital world was ragging on Mark Zuckerberg for not taking the billion dollar offer for Facebook. This person stood up and beat down Mark and the mission of Facebook in a very "disrespectful" way. I saw it more as a fallacious rant of trivial diversion but I say disrespectful because this is the word that many of the speakers and VCs used throughout the rest of the conference when referring back to the incident.

This person just couldn't understand why anyone without a strange psychological problem could turn down a billion dollars for a company like Facebook. This was really the low-point of the day for me because it illuminated the concern that I've always had with regards to companies that become bigger and more powerful than the humans behind them. Isn't this why our environment is being destroyed? Is it not because the economic power of companies like Exxon fight for selfish, sustaining interests that ultimately supersede the concern of the many?

People need to realize that there are other people who create business and activity on a large scale for other kinds of concerns - like life, for instance; Not everything is for sale or about money.


Just before I had the idea for Rocketboom, I was in a state of nearly permeant sadness - a somewhat catatonic state of depression. Combined with existential doom, I had somewhat consciously given up on my artistic dreams. I was facing the reality that there were not enough people interested in my music to ever make a living from it. I had settled for teaching which I enjoyed but something I would of rather done when I was older and wiser. I was fulfilled with the activity I did, but the lack of affirmation from the rest of the word was missing for me.

Now, I feel so lucky to have created an activity that I am even more fulfilled by, in part due to the affirmation from so many others. Everyday is a grand new adventure for me now and my dreams and aspirations could easily take me through the rest of my life, ten times over without ever getting old or stale. There are so many places to go from here, my foundation, I just cant ever imagine being without it. Im not here to leverage Rocketboom for my own career, Im not doing this because I want to make money or make money for someone else. Im here doing this because its compelling to me, it makes me feel good, I get self-fulfillment from it, others respond positively to it, and because I have a desire to use the voice for positive change. Not only is my affinity for Rocketboom important to me, its important to the future well being of my life and sense of value and self-worth. Rocketboom lifted me out of the absurd and in a way, however sad this may sound to you, has saved my life.

Another way of trying to understand this is through the thinking of an art collector or a football card collector. I sold all my football cards once I got older and needed the money and because I didn't care about them anymore. But there was one card I kept: My Fran Tarkington rookie year card. I had traded for the card with one of my best friends growing up, Wes Berggren, who killed himself by drugs at a very early age. Not only was the card from Wes the prize possession of my collection in street value, it continues to hold the utmost sentimental value, a kind of a value that is very different than money itself. I just could never sell the card for any amount of money for this reason alone.

Posted to future by Drew on April 28, 2007 5:28 PM | comments (9)

+ Media 3

Thanks to Shelly Palmer for having me on his podcast. We talk about Rocketboom and distribution platforms.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on 4:36 PM | comments (0)

+ Podcast Hotel

If you are in San Francisco this week for Web 2.0, check out Podcast Hotel.

I'll be keynoting on Friday with what I consider to be my best ever, most developed ideas on the future of our medium. I always get a great deal of privileged information from so many different partners and industry peeps, I've been thinking a lot about what people are up to and how it all fits together.

Justin from Justin.tv, Josh Wolf and a lot of others will be giving presentations too. 'Looking forward to it!

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on April 16, 2007 12:16 PM | comments (1)

+ Webby Awards 2007

Congrats to our sister-site, Jetset for a Webby's nomination in the Music/Variety category!

I'm quite flattered that Rocketboom received honorable mentions in THREE categories!

1. Best Use of video or Moving Image

2. News/Documentray/Public Service

3. Blog - Cultural/Personal

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on April 11, 2007 10:04 AM | comments (0)


As expected, a pick-up in high quality online content is being desired with the release of the Apple-TV.

It used to be that we got calls all the time about new distribution platforms for our files and now they have for the most part turned to HD calls. Aggregators serving HD content are popping up left and right. RB is currently distributed on at least four companies that I know of.

Our primary distribution point, Move Digital, has seen a 10-fold increase over the last couple of weeks. We were serving around 400-500 files per day there and its just jumped up to 3000-4000 per day.

Related: David Pogue lifts up TiVo in context of it's i-boxing.

What's next with all this new hardware? Why set-top box software apps, of course.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on April 7, 2007 5:27 PM | comments (0)

+ podcamp NYC

If you are in NYC this weekend (April 6-7), consider checking out Podcamp, a free podcasting-oriented conference. It's like a cross between a conference and an unconference. As of April 2nd, around 1000 people have signed up and over 100 people will be speaking. It's at the New Yorker Hotel. Fridays night is a social gathering, Saturday is all the talks (including Rocketboom yea). If you see me around there come say hi.

Posted to new york city by Drew on April 2, 2007 1:02 AM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom will Remain Free

Even after prior posts, more posts are rolling in.

The title of the Market Watch article was apparently misleading.

Rocketboom will always remain free and easily available to obtain. That's our #1 foundational principle of being and I don't ever foresee needing to change that.

This is not an issue that is determined by money, it's just the way it is and you can take that for granted.

Also, we have had plenty of chances to completely smear advertising all over our videos and websites all day long every day so thats not the issue either. I can imagine how post-roll ads could work, we have done this in the past. We're holding out for the best way for the long run.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on March 26, 2007 7:40 AM | comments (3)

+ A Very Common Procedure

a very common procedure

I'm so proud of my sister Courtney for a successful run of her off-Broadway play, A Very Common Procedure.

Most people don't realize that Broadway shows are mostly musicals and off-Broadway plays are often the end of many playwrights' aspirations.

It's such a major accomplishment, I'm trying to think of some way to take credit for this. . .I've got nothin, I'm just an innocent but lucky gene holder.

Posted to art by Drew on March 23, 2007 10:34 PM | comments (0)

+ Veered Wind

I have been really disappointed lately with the state of videoblogging. Without delving into the details, I'll try and just state the obvious. I don't have all the answers, I just notice that something is starting to go wrong.

1. One thing that makes the business of videoblogging problematic is the contrasting paradigms of business at play. The notion of "blogging" suggests that the medium may be informed by blogging practices and yet the application of video opens up the medium to traditional TV and Film business methods.

I'm only putting forth a hypothesis here formed more from a birds eye view and a feeling, but it seems to me that most bloggers who are leaders in the blogging world would consider their weblogs to be loss leaders where the activity of blogging does not bring in enough revenue to sustain their site's effort but does lead to other related activites that generate revenue. And where in many cases the activity is so close in nature to the weblog, and is so desirable by the blogger anyway, a beneficial and fulfilling lifestyle can be obtained.

On the other hand, there is the TV and Film industry which seems to be built on a completely different set of business practices, different motivations and morality and of course where the potential for fortune, power and fame attract the most intense types of personal human interests, leading to a completely different kind of culture with different principles and policies.

So what's going wrong here is the collision of these two worlds. It happens in blogging, sure, but it's common place right now in videoblogging and I believe this is ultimately where we will start to notice a separation between "videoblogging" and "tv".

As of now, we have not seen the influx of major talent from the established media industry adopting the experiences, technologies or practices realised in videoblogging over the last couple of years. This is the area where we have recieved a lot of consulting interest lately. Our intent is to help bring these two worlds together, for as I say, it not really working out so well right now.

2. Journalism is at play as one faction in all media. Sometimes (video)blogging and journalism are closely tied, for the most part, consequently; It just so happens that there is a lot of unintentional cross over. The main glue that keeps the affinity between blogging and journalism, it seems, is a sense of integrity that can be felt and shared by both. There is a desire to find "the trurth" and to be objective while continuing to remind one another that objectivity is futile.

Many bloggers aspire to journalistic standards and yet they also feel comfortable with blogging standards and seem to have a good sense of how these two worlds look when put together. A lot of work has already been done in this area. Yet when bloggers say they are not subject to the rules of journalism, something I have said before, it doesn't mean that we don't continue to share many of the same qualities as journalists anyway, such as a sense of integrity and a willingness to value our work and our social contibutions higher than money, for instance. These are human qualities that influence our work. These are the types of qualities that I believe will illuminate a major fork in the road for what type of videoblogger one is, if they choose to identify with videoblogging, or what kind of person they are, regardless of what they call themselves.

Now we have major networks doing it, and I think they are doing it wrong, and actually causing a disservice to journalism and blogging in some cases. For instance, a network often has a news division and then has other programing that is non-news (like sitcoms, and other entertaiment content, family, etc). You can imagine that there are different styles, methods and reasons for a network to implement vidoebloggging and right now there seems to be some confusion about how to do that. It reminds me of one of my favorite albums by the Volent Femmes, The Blind Leading the Naked. "Anything goes blogging" is not the right kind of blogging style to suppliment for a trustworthy news division, but just might work for the family type of division within a network. Similarly, there are a lot of new lessons the established news industry and other family divisons can learn from videoblogging when the two work together to inform one another.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on 9:20 PM | comments (6)

+ More Attention Required

Warning the below is not true:

"Rocketboom fans may have to pay to see Joanne Colan, now that show co-creator Andrew Baron has told Marketwatch that advertising isn’t working out as he would like. No decision has been made, but Baron said advertisers “are just not happy to do small deals” like Rocketboom has been doing."

Its not true at all. Rocketboom will remain freely available. The point I was making is that we are not happy with advertising right now. The advertisers are not being very flexible and down-to-earth and we are just not happy with the idea of mass advertising on Rocketboom. Its not ruled out, it just feels wrong so far.

I think pre-roll/mid roll commercials on content like ours is a terrible mistake, product placement will not work for us (LonleyGirl can get away with product placement because the whole show is full of myth and psychological mayhem already), groups like Federated Media while helpful to talk to, haven't addressed video advertising just right yet, and so we have been exploring other ways to do more than just merely sustain, without advertising, or taking hold of people with venerable mental states.

Some kind of sponsorship model, more along the lines of NPR or PBS might be best for content that exists for the sake of content itself.

The real success story lay in obtaining finantial support from the active and participatory audience - I continue to refer back to a build upon/turbo version of Jason Kottke's mico donation experiement.

I think there is a difference between a reader of a link blog and an audience member/fan of a daily show, and it's that loyal audience/fan mentality, one which I seem to express myself for others as well, that could inspire progressive support of the show.

A combination of audience support and museum-like sponsorship support could work together to keep centain kinds of content free.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on 12:03 PM | comments (13)

+ Counting Joanne

Out of 24,400,000 Joanne's on Google, Joanne Colan is #3 and the #2 most popular human Joanne.

Posted to by Drew on March 4, 2007 10:07 AM | comments (3)

+ Wreck and Salvage Ebay Ad

Today I watched a super creative and interesting video on a new site, Wreck and Salvage, decided to bid on their ebay auction for Rocketboom, and won!

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on 1:21 AM | comments (1)

+ mail

Dear world, it's been another long stretch of not being able to respond to 85% of the emails I wanted to, probably missing over 35% that I needed to and potentially losing room for 10% gain by answering emails I didn't want or need to.

Today was a wonderful day for Abbey, I wish I could say more, but thanks world.

Now I just need a way to manage email.

Posted to my_life by Drew on March 2, 2007 5:42 PM | comments (0)

+ LonelyGirl15 Film Debut

Congrats to Jessica Rose (aka Lonelygirl15) for her role in the upcoming film, I Know Who Killed Me with Lindsay Lohan.

Posted to film by Drew on February 22, 2007 11:50 AM | comments (0)

+ SXSWi 2007

It's getting close to my favorite conference in my favorite place to be during my favorite time of the year, SXSW Interactive. Joanne and I will be in Austin from Friday-Tuesday.

Panel Name: Production Companies 2.0: Taking Online Video to the Next Level
Date: Saturday, March 10 
Time: 5:00pm-6:00pm

With the advent of videoblogging, independent producers are exploring boundaries and using technology to create professional content in their living rooms. In this panel we'll explore the ins and outs of forming a new media production company, the technology/content marriage, building online communities, the aesthetics of video on the web, the trials and tribulations of working with a limited staff and budget, and the challenge of ultimately becoming profitable.

Moderated by Zadi Diaz: Smashface

Doug Sarine: Ask A Ninja/ BeatBox Giant Productions
David Prager: Revision3
Ryanne Hodson: Ryanne Is Hungry/Podtech
Andrew Baron: Rocketboom/Abbey Corps.

This year Rocketboom is teaming up with 30boxes (which our company uses daily) and Satisfaction to host an official SXSW party on Saturday night, just post the Frog Design party. The theme is 8 Bit!

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on February 10, 2007 2:45 AM | comments (3)

+ New Base Station

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on 1:21 AM | comments (0)

+ Bill Gates teams up with Steve Jobs on Humanity

This is probably not exactly how they would characterize their relationship but I think its true consequently. Im not sure if there are two other individuals in the world who I admire more for their contributions to human progress and to finally see both of them live, one day right after another, marks for me the end of the concert.

Before my little twighlight of the idols, I often spoke about the first rock concert I ever went to and often considered my answer for the best I'd ever seen. When I used to go, we would hold up lighters in the air to show we were there. Now we hold up cameras and phones.

Apple and Microsoft have led the personal computing world with the two most pervasive operating systems on the planet and so here we are again, Mac vs. PC. Or rather, for a more healthy perspective, Mac and PC.

Perhaps the most profound point about Apple that Jobs unfortunately had to make himself, was their ability to innovate. As he mentioned, a company is usually lucky if it is able to bring one revolutionary product to market in it's life-span. Apple has brought at least two and stands a big chance with it's iPhone and underemphasized Apple TV player.

Apple did not invent the mouse but they brought it to market and everyone has followed in their footsteps. Apple did not bring file-sharing or the mp3 player to market but along with iTunes, they lead with listeners and the music industry over the iPod. The record industry may still have a hold on Apple with some respects to their own technological and financial activity, though arguably, Apple is now controlling online market prices.

Microsoft, by contrast, is not really known as the company of innovation, but seems to be better at taking the innovation that has been proven in the market to the mass market. Bill Gates laid out a road map that involved a strategy almost entirely devoted to the pervasive spread of their products.

To use the Zune example again, you can see how with little to no innovation Microsoft can bring a clone product to the market with features that have already been proven to sell. Even after being panned, it appears to now be a competitive seller (today at #17 on Amazon).

I used to pride myself in being ambidextrous with both Mac OS and Windows, but over the last two years, I wound up entirely on Macs due to Rocketboom. Since XP has not changed much, I haven't really missed much, but I became pretty rusty I noticed. Just a couple of weeks ago I received the much talked about Ferrari Laptop from Edelman, it's one of the most amazing gifts ever considering how bad ass the computer is. I decided to give it away on Rocketboom but first, I'm going to take a month or so to become an expert at Vista. I want to stay fresh with what the rest of the world is about to go through.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on 1:07 AM | comments (1)

+ Ins and Outs

There is a new article in the LA-Times this weekend on the tired issue of Amanda leaving Rocketboom. The article was scheduled to run in 2006 and I appreciate Rushfield's attempt to assess the situation. It's still not quite what I was hoping for but . . . I left all of this behind. I said it was over then and the commitment stands. By now, I wish Amanda well and hope she is happy.

In other news of my past, I sat down with my accountant last week (I'm trying to get used to the fact that I actually have an accountant!), and for the entire period of 2006, I managed to bring in $247,412 via Rocketboom. $210k of that was in advertising and licensing and the rest was mostly from consulting and merchandising. I realize its unusual to report this kind of information and I may not have the luxury of doing so in the future (and may not even want to myself) but I'm hoping to emphasize the point while I can - a point that I have often tried to make - which is that you can do this. Considering that I had almost no business experience when I started (yet just enough to know I would need to bring on a business partner), most of the incoming potential was never even realized and fell into the pending issue folders due to the lack of having the resources or know-how to accommodate all of it, the production became unstable half way through the year and then went into the dreaded mode of "sustaining" for many months (where over 6 months elapsed just keeping afloat with no innovation which is where I am today - Joanne and I are only now about to roll out what is essentially an RB 3.0) and then finishing off the year with the absolute best possible scenario with regards to Abbey, all-in-all, its carpe diem folks.

The ballpark is still wide open. If you have tasteful content that people respond to and half a business mind, you should be fairing at least this well.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on January 20, 2007 10:52 AM | comments (5)

+ From Vegas to San Fran

Im off to San Francisco now for my first ever Mac Expo. On Tuesday, Shelly Palmer and I are giving a conference speech and I have no plans for Tuesday night. I'd love to meet up with any bloggers, just email me if you are in town and would like to hang out. I'm looking for a meetup locale. Note to Steve Jobs: Feel free to call me on my direct line in case you are not too busy these days.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on January 8, 2007 5:44 PM | comments (1)

+ The Digital Decade

Through what looked like a buyers frenzy on the NYSE floor I walked right past the crowd, flashed my VIP ticket, accepted a free Sam Adams from an attendant and now Im waiting for Bill Gates to take the stage here in Las Vegas.

It seems like a terrorist would do way more damage hitting the CES expo than any G8 meeting. The international brain power in this room is effecting me without even thinking about it.

I was invited by Edelman and Microsoft to attend. They paid for the plane, hotel, ticket, etc. There must be some mistake because they put me in a super-suite at the Venetian Hotel where I could probably fit about about 35 people.

Posted to by Drew on 12:05 AM | comments (3)

+ John Edwards YouTube Video #1 Most Viewed Channel

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on December 29, 2006 12:53 PM | comments (5)

+ John Edwards to Run for President (Announcement on YouTube)

Today Joanne, Chuck and I are out in New Orleans for a Rocketboom exclusive.

We just filmed John Edwards' first announcement that he is running for president.

It's actually an announcement of an announcement, so to speak.

I then uploaded the video to YouTube and there ya have it folks, the rest is history.


We also got an interview with him which I will post early in the morning on Rocketboom, well before the rest of the press will meet him for his formal press announcement:

(BTW, it may look like a photo op, but Edwards has been working out here all day and has been providing major support since last year when Katrina hit).

Joanne and I are heading back to NYC and Chuck will follow Edwards around the US till Friday to shoot footage which we'll edit for the official John Edwards website.

Posted to world by Drew on December 27, 2006 9:29 PM | comments (8)

+ Abbey - The Studio

Ive spent quite some time investigating Podshow and Podtech. I've watched both of them form and grow. I've met the people behind the businesses and I've asked a lot of questions.

In my investigations, I have spent the most time getting to know content creators. I've met and pal'd around with a lot of them over the last few years and most of my best friends "have a show".

I've shared in discussions about their visions and dreams for their shows and I have heard and shared in a lot of frustration, concern and uncertainty.

The typical scenario is much like a band who "signs" onto a label for all their business and production support.

So whats wrong with these new networks? Nothing is wrong with them! They seem to be working. I'm very thankful they exist because my friends have jobs doing what they love to do and the audiences are happy.

It's just that these networks appear to be more focused on ad sales than generating content.

This is not very exciting to me. I don't want an ad sales business. Why try to enter into a market with another one of the same thing? Think Zune - there was nothing that the Zune had to offer consumers that they couldn't already get.

If I did want an ad network, I would prefer one like Federated Media. FM stands to make a percentage of the ad sales but only needs to spend on generating ad sales.

The typical new network stands to make a percentage of ad sales but must spend on a whole lot more to provide adequate support, such as bandwidth, design, production, talent management (drama), IT, PR, legal, to name but a few.

All of this added expense requires a lot more share in the ad sales and show equity for the network to make it.

It then becomes natural for the network to provide weak support in areas beyond the ad sales.

This leaves many content creators stuck in a box and disgruntled.

Abbey Corps is about enabling content creators by building community.

When the emphasis is shifted towards supporting great quality content and the options for monetizing that content remain open to outside partnerships and community support (as well as our own in-house options), the health of the organization and thus the quality of the content can continue to grow in the most natural direction.

As with Rocketboom, there is no need for Abbey to compete against anyone. When there are so many good support services like YouTube, Revver, GoogleVideo, Blip.tv, Podtech, Dotsub, TiVo, iTunes, Akimbo, Federated Media, Datagram, MoveDigital - it's silly to isolate yourself. One show may work great on YouTube and another one may not work there at all. One show might enjoy a wikia wiki and another might have it's own.

There is no one answer and there is no umbrella that has it all.

Thus Abbey is not intended to be a brand network for shows, it's a creative studio for people.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on December 25, 2006 4:36 AM | comments (15)

+ Delivering News

Joe Lewis at WebProNews picks Joanne as a top Web 2.0 personality.

"When it comes to researching topics and reporting breaking news in the Web 2.0 world, one has to be careful to avoid falling into the trap of monotony. Sometimes, the news isn't all that exciting, but it's often the people associated with the story that makes all the difference."

"[Joanne] is sharp as a tack, charming, and has a delivery style that you simply can't teach; it's just a gift. " - More.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on December 23, 2006 9:54 PM | comments (0)

+ Abbey Corps

One thing that I kind of like about Rocketboom is that I have never
done any press releases. I also dont have an email list; Until now, I've always
just fielded the incoming. I'm not against that kind of outreach, it's just
interesting that there has never been any.

Well all of that is about to change.

I'm going to post some news on my blog! :)

I'll post it in pieces over the next several days. I'm calling it
blog post suspense.

And so, since Rocketboom began, the biggest most important step of my
independent career has been made.

Clue #1
Jeff Pulver and I have co-founded a new studio network.

And so begins Abbey Corps.

My next clue will reveal which other shows are a part of the studio
and then I will go on to explain why I believe it's a much better business than
Podshow or Podtech.

Onward and Upward.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on December 22, 2006 6:33 AM | comments (15)

+ Windows Vista: A Present

At first I thought it was one the 200 daily spam mails, the subject of this one read "Windows Vista: A Present".

After glancing the body, I noticed the word Rocketboom and looking a little closer, the email said "I wanted to give you a heads up that Microsoft has sent you a laptop with Windows Vista for your use, no strings attached.. . .The laptop was sent to Rocketboom’s mailing address."

When I noticed the "no strings attached" part, I knew something was up. The email was sent from Edelman, and then a followup email confirmed that the laptop had already been sent. That is, in fact it is true, they really did just send us a laptop.

When I mentioned this to Joanne she said "Shall we start dissing other companies too and see if they respond with freebees?"

Quite the olive branch, thanks guys. I'll post again when the computer arrives.

Posted to outer space by Drew on 3:03 AM | comments (1)

+ Favorite Music Video of 2006

Bigger than Eat It, White and Nerdy has been played over 20 million times online and is Weird Al Yankovic's #1 top selling single of his career.

As one of the most downloaded videos on the internet, with a peak in popularity over the last couple of months, it might be worth it to take a deep look into the character of this video. There you can see the core root of internet culture today. The white and nerdy guy embodies the quintessential identity of the largest faction of the English speaking audience demographic online.

Even if you consider yourself a far cry from being this guy, can you relate?

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on 2:13 AM | comments (1)

+ Freedom Ensues

No need to get into the details, but worth mentioning that today I am the 100% owner of Rocketboom.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on 2:08 AM | comments (10)

+ Case Camp: The End

Well, I feel as though it's a mess around here this weekend for sure. I just put my chain saw away and had a look around at all the damage.

I feel like I just lived through an epic war film.

This all started a long, long time ago.

When Amanda Congdon quit and went public with major attacks on my character, that was the hand I was dealt and most who know me know I didn't have the experience to deal with it.

And then I never really got to say my side of the story.

It's okay to say what you need to say, get it out and move on, but that didn't happen originally.

So this weekend, I finally set out to get it all out and off my chest and I did.

Over the last several months, I feel as though Amanda has misrepresented herself and has continued to speak out with personal attacks and so I became more and more effected by my own silence. Even today she is still making claims about "how I am" that are just meant to hurt me, in my opinion.

Most people probably don't know the details of what I have been going through, and they probably also feel as though it's still muddy and silly.

But I feel as though this weekend I have finally shown my side of the story. It's only one side, yes, but its mine and its been missing all this time.

That is, I feel as though I adequately showed that she (a) gave up and left, (b) took the projects with her, (c) has not been forthright about all of this information, and yes, (d) it is my position that she forfeited her share when she quit (which is why she said she was fired).

There is more to come and more to resolve but I have said all I need to say publicly on this topic.

All in all, this has been the most difficult year ever, and its also by far been the best.

For the first time in my life, Im really proud of what I have accomplished.

Im ready more than ever to take on 2007 and I expect it to be the best, most progressive year of my life.

Posted to my_life by Drew on December 17, 2006 3:13 PM | comments (8)

+ Blog-Tag

"Turns out there is a game of Blog-Tag going around the blogosphere in which bloggers are sharing five things about themselves that relatively few people know, and then tagging five other bloggers to be "it."

Thanks for tagging me Jeff!

Five Things about Drew that relatively few people know:

1. One of my greatest inspirations while growing up was the classical English romantic poets. I found a different source of inspiration for the same conclusions and thus edited the words in their poems to reflect a more inclusive view of the universe.

2. When I was in Austin during Y2K, I was watching TV in hiding for fear of Bin Laden attacks on New Years crowds. At 11pm, I watched and listened as Bill Clinton ushered in the millennium on the East coast. It was the most inspiring speech I have ever heard. And I survived.

3. Before I had the idea for Rocketboom, I was most excited about traveling around the world to setup wi-max towers in 2nd and 3rd world countries.

4. I am often critical, but rarely blame anyone.

5. Only the five people I tagged below know #5.

Your it:

Josh Kinberg, Narendra Rocherolle, Veronica Belmont, Gilles Klein, Drew Domkus


Posted to internet_culture by Drew on December 16, 2006 9:56 PM | comments (0)

+ The Audience that Builds Bridges

Yesterday we mentioned Dotsub for the first time on Rocketboom and the audience took it upon themselves (like they do with wikis) to translate Rocketboom into 7 languages. A closed caption version for the hearing impaired, French, German, Slovak, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Croatian. I'm in heaven, this is one of the most exciting features I have ever implemented on Rocketboom.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on December 15, 2006 12:50 PM | comments (0)

+ ABC: Final Feedback

Consider this post fueled by whatever you will - I find it very important and worthwhile. I'm going to set aside all of the technical problems everyone has already mentioned with the video distribution and the ABC platform - the fact that there are no RSS feeds, the video scrolls have been turned off, one is forced to view long, irrelevant pre-roll ads that outlast many people's curiosity and especially the closed platform with no mobile or local potential.

In other-words, the only difference between this video platform and one from say, 1997, is that for this one, the video does play.

I'm going to suggest that the greatest problem with this project however has to do with the severely expensive resources that are being used for a product that can be much more valuable for a mere fraction of the effort and costs.

My question is, how much money did it take to do this?

Also, if all of the effort only goes into a once-a-week show, how effective and interested are the people behind the show to take so much time and money to do so little?

For instance, we know they are probably paying Amanda Congdon a professional salary. They are also paying two senior level producers for this. Then there is at least one editor, a camera person (unless one of the producers is a camera person), lighting tech, audio guy, all with premium 'ABC' salaries. I am just speculating, perhaps I have missed some.

In addition to that, the entity ABC needs to make revenue (beside the people), yet they also have at least one rep that works with Congdon besides the producers and other production staff. Surely they have someone who works on the website if not a section of a team. Amanda's agent needs a professional share. Amanda's manager needs some. They obviously have a very aggressive PR team too (which they will definitely need to drive people to the show). Lets not forget the advertisers! They are the ones supporting this and because so many people need to get paid such high salaries, the advertisers need to get paid most of the real-estate of the website. In turn, ABC must pay to advertise to drive people to these advertisements. In many ways, this scenario is typical of one where the advertisers are way more important than the show itself. The show is just a tool for ad sales, after all.

The point I want to make is this: There are probably WAY too many people needed to pull off this one 5 minute production exclusively for a small low-bitrate flash file on one website.

This kind of spending can have it's place. A company like ABC could perhaps use their expensive resources to produce content that needs expensive resources. Was there special access gained? Was there need for expensive equipment? Travel expenses? 3 producers?

No, there was no sign of any need for any of the above that I could see.

While people often assume I am anti-established media, I have always believed and said the best way to get through these times is to work together closely and thats what I have always done.

Meeting Joanne and bringing her experienced talents and resources into Rocketboom has been the best thing that ever happened to Rocketboom since it began.

In ABC's case though, they are not working with any new conventions or gaining any "new media property" or collaboration and simultaneously, they are putting themselves at odds with everyone participating (see first paragraph above) especially by spending even more money on leeching:

This could also warrant more spending via a legal buffer in the budget due to the false advertising claims about the show being "daily" <-I tease of course. . . but paying to intercept people searching for Rocketboom?. . . perhaps the greatest expense of all could be the loss of brand value and respect from playing the fake taxi driver who preys on visitors that don't speak the language.

I'm feeling a bit disillusioned.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on 2:29 AM | comments (12)

+ For the Record

Some of the legal documents between me and Amanda Congdon are circulating and I have received several calls from the press on the "Amanda story" or "Amanda Gate" as I have heard it said in one email.

A writer from the LA Times, Richard Rushfield, who was referred by Gina Piccalo, is currently investigating the information and mentioned I could say as much here so let's just wait and see his take instead of hearing it from me.

I will say this: yes, it is in fact my position that the Amanda Across America, ABC News and HBO projects are all Rocketboom projects that were usurped out of Rocketboom by Amanda when she quit.

And when I say usurped, I don't just mean a little bit. I spent months working on these projects and relationships. I spent a great deal of legal fees on contracts, etc. - we are talking deep, deep development.

Cory Bergman is asking people what they think of her new project and others will no doubt be pitching in with commentary. Well I have an opinion too and I am going to be candid. This is a subject that is important to me and my field.

After seeing what she has done with Amanda Across America (no spirit or production value) and now ABC News which is a carbon copy of what I hired her to do for Rocketboom, I give her an F for creativity and originality and a D- for effort. Seeing her take a "turn to camera 2", just as we do in today's episode of Rocketboom is just embarrassing.

So besides all this, which only just scratches the surface, there is a great deal of news that I will leave up to Richard to report on regarding the progress that Rocketboom has made, some pretty damn big news that no one yet knows!

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on December 13, 2006 3:23 AM | comments (0)

+ Mr. Kim


Best wishes to the family of the brave and smart James Kim who passed away after setting out into the cold solo from their stranded vehicle.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on December 6, 2006 4:07 PM | comments (1)

+ Four Eyed Monsters

Susan and Arin from Four Eyed Monsters are in NYC all week. It's likely you have heard about them through their online film making activity.

They are very aggressive at self-promotion and I found it kina of annoying at first but in retrospect, I think they are forging a very promising path for future independent film makers. Their methods on promotion and distribution are definitely worth studying closely.


From the most recent press release:

Wednesday, December 6, 2006, following the 7:25pm screening.
Cinema Village, 22 East 12th Street, New York, NY

New tools are being used to make films. It started with cheap access to high-quality digital video, and now the Internet is getting into the mix, not just as a way to share video but as a way to create it. The ability to have someone “subscribe” to your videos gives filmmakers a new story telling tool. The fact that you don’t really need to shoot any footage at all and can just use the material that is online and that more and more every individual walking around has a portable camera that can be utilized as a filmmaking tool. See some examples of things we consider “filmmaking 2.0″ and contribute to the defining of what these new tools are and what the word 'collaboration' means in an interactive conversation about the current shift in filmmaking.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 10:37 AM | comments (0)

+ Evan Young on TiVo

Video: Streaming Media West 2006: Keynote by Evan Young, Director of Broadband Services

Evan is the mastermind behind TiVo's online integration. Not only am I indebted to him for having Rocketboom as the first content to hit the home via their online services, I think he is one of the nicest guys I have ever done business with. I am very optimistic for TiVo's future as far as his vision for seamlessly merging i.p. and broadcast content.

2 million TiVo boxes out there are broadband enabled and over 500,000 of these boxes are now plugged in.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on December 5, 2006 10:41 PM | comments (0)

+ Spam Digg

I wonder what the deal is with this. Diggnation, one of my favorites, has about 50 citings a day but about 48-50 of these citings each day appear to be spam blogs:

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on December 2, 2006 2:03 PM | comments (0)

+ Sun Microsystems Launches Mashup

From the press release: "Sun Microsystems, creator of the open source Solaris OS, announced the launch of The Big Mashup, a unique online experience examining how the world of entertainment and news gathering is rapidly changing as the network blurs the line between audience and entertainer, viewer and newscaster, fan and producer.

Chris Melissinos, Sun Microsystems' chief technology officer for Web 2.0 and a self-proclaimed video game addict, hosts the documentary video showcasing entertainment and media thought leaders such as Andrew Baron, founder, and Joanne Colan, host of Rocketboom; Gillian Caldwell, executive director of WITNESS; Joel Hyatt, Current TV's CEO and co-founder; Douglas Rushkoff, writer and lecturer on technology, pop culture and media; Paul D. Miller/DJ Spooky, artist, writer, musician and producer; and Martin Stiksel, Last.fm's CCO. These industry pundits will give their perception of how the network has changed for businesses and the way entertainers perform. "


Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on November 30, 2006 10:36 AM | comments (0)

+ Generation 01

I was in a meeting yesterday and a guy was telling me about his insight into MYSQL.

His parents were programers and he said he had it in his blood.

I stopped to consider this for a moment - it was the first time I heard someone say that.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on November 29, 2006 1:18 PM | comments (1)

+ What Mark Cuban is Missing About HDTV & What We are Missing from Mark Cuban

Robert Scoble on HDTV: "Hey, I know he’s a billionaire. Owns the Dallas Mavericks. And invested in an HD movie company. I can still teach him something. Today he said that it’ll be a long time before your PC will connect to an HDTV because your PC doesn’t have the right connections. I say that’s poppycock."

I think Scoble is totally right on. Poppycock.

It's already out-of-the box. With fiber optics now avail in Long Island and expected to be in Manhattan next year along with the iTV from Apple in January, I'd say 2007 will see some sparks at least. Xbox HD anyone?

RSS media enclosures are ideal for this kind of transition. Rocketboom is recorded in 1080i and distributed in 720p. It looks beautiful. Better than local network news on the same TV. The demand for this file type is on the rise. We already have four points of iHD distribution.

Meanwhile, I was rooting for Dan Rather's come back, but his reports are only available via subscription TV and I'm usually busy at 7pm on Tuesdays. The network would probably do better if you could watch online too.

What's happening here is that Dan Rather has become a tool; now all of that work he puts into stories is stifled because the greater cause is driving traffic to Cuban's obscure business. Not that this is wrong, it's just sad because Dan Rather of all people should not be caged up like this.

It reminds me of Michael Eisner's show which debuted and crashed this year on NBC with an audience of only 95,000 (less than Rocketboom). The show probably would have made it if it were distributed online as well.

Posted to future by Drew on November 28, 2006 9:53 PM | comments (0)

+ Chit Chat

Just got this internal list of all the conferences I spoke at this year. 'Going to Paris this weekend for France24 and the Apple Expo in Jan. Whew!

16th Annual Conference on Computers, Finance, and Privacy, Washington, DC, Speaker
American Forum, American University, Washington DC, Speaker
Apple Educational Campus Austin, TX, Speaker
Art and Commerce- Retreat, New York, NY, Speaker
Bar Camp, New York, New York, Discussion Leader
Case Camp, Toronto, CA, Speaker
Columbia University, New York, NY, Speaker
Communications in PR, New York, NY, Keynote Speaker
Congressional Internet Caucus: State of the Net Conference, Washington, DC,Speaker
CUNY Journalism Class, New York City
Digimart, Montreal, CA, Speaker
HBO, New York, NY, Speaker
Intel “Luz Camera Enter”, Mexico City, Mexico, Speaker (2005,2006)
iSummit Conference, Toronto, CA, Speaker
Mesh, Tononto, CA, Spkeaer
Museum of Moving Image, Brooklyn, New York, Speaker
Nation Association of Broadcasters, Dallas, TX, Speaker
New York Video 2.0 Group, New York, New York, Speaker
NYU Class, New York, NY, Speaker
NYU Journalism, New York, NY, Speaker
Podcamp, Boston, MA and Pittsburg, PA, Speaker
Podcamp, Pittsburg, PA, Speaker
Podcast and New Media Expo, Ontario, CA, Keynote
Producers Guild of America, New York, NY, Speaker
Professional Futures Discussion, Washington DC, Speaker
Streaming Media West, San Jose, CA, Speaker
SXSW (South by Southwest), Austin, TX, Speaker (2005, 2006)
Video On the Net Conference, Boston, MA, Speaker
Vloggercon, SanFrancisco, CA, Speaker (2005,2006)
Womens Animators Group, New York, NY, Speaker

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on 4:44 PM | comments (0)

+ What YouTube's Got That Others Do Not

About 6 or 7 years ago, everyday when I was at work, I would goto CNN.com for my news. I went to the home page at least six times a day and I didn't really go anywhere else.

Now I go there only on the rarest of occasions, maybe a couple of times per month.

I have so many places to go to get personalized, relevant and diverse news along with so much smart commentary, I can count on "being alerted" if something really big is happening. I don't need any supplement from CNN.

During a national or worldwide breaking news story, however, I tend to forget about my niche sources for a moment and go right to CNN. That's where I expect helicopters, vans, satellite equipment and ground crews to be there to bring it to me live, first.

One wouldn't go to Rocketboom to find out about the London Bombings for example on that day. The expectation might be that we have commentary or that we find some video or perspective after the fact but if you wanted to really see what was going on, you would likely turn right to a major news network like CNN.

On the other hand, lets say for example the time is now, after the fact. If you wanted to see some video on the London Bombings today, CNN would not be the likely destination.

YouTube is the most likely destination.

Or, say, you noticed a weblog post about Kramer from Seinfeld who was recorded and shown to be racist. If you wanted to see this, just knowing that a video existed, where would you go first? Not to CNN.

The destination is YouTube.

If it's out there, it's most likely on YouTube - It's the first place I go to SEARCH.

YouTube fills the role of that place to get prerecorded video in the same way CNN fills the role of live news.

Currently, no other site comes close to enough critical mass needed to serve the value of this entry point.

The TV guide of the future is no longer TVGuide. iTunes, Tivo, Network2 and Blip are all examples of entry points that are more progressive and important. They are places to discover and find what you are looking for.

The value to these sites is not in the ownership of content. None of the above mentioned sites own any content. They compete for ownership of the entry point.

Google knows the value of this entry point really well, proven again by their acquisition of YouTube.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on November 23, 2006 10:54 AM | comments (1)

+ What's the Story?

Last night I was at HBO here in NYC on a Center for Communications panel geared towards journalists.

Several of the audience members asked about the difference between traditional broadcast journalism and Rocketboom.

First of all, I do not consider myself to be a journalist though I do on occasion commit acts of journalism. I have never studied journalism and everything I know about Rocketboom with regards to journalism mostly comes from other journalists.

I gather a journalist is someone who studies or is naturally inclined to think a lot about the same kinds of issues, committed and impassioned about reporting interesting stories. Someone with a method who puts the story above their own importance.

Even if you are not a journalist, it's likely you have told at least a few great stories and care as much.

Either way, one thing that has not changed with technology or time is the story itself.

The distribution and propagation of a story is much easier now, there are a lot more accidental acts of journalism and more people are participating yet a well-done, relevant and honest story is ultimately what I think people respond to the most.

Posted to Academic by Rocketboom on 1:01 AM | comments (1)

+ The Semantic Audience


Just in time for an example to illustrate the thinking of web 3.0 (I know I'm not supposed to talk about that right now), I'm on to a way a web audience can be explained demographically through now-established, boot strapped systems. It's a lot like chaos theory where the only way you can describe any one particular part is by understanding how that part is connected and interwoven with every other part of a whole. Or, if you don't throw-up from reading this whole post then you are awesome.

While I started off thinking this statistics stuff was easy, I now truely believe it's a total freak show and it's very difficult to get a sense of how a site is doing from just the stats or any other one indicator alone. Yet with a variety of predefined indicators from the newfound layers of 2.0-like underpinnings, you can really paint a valuable demographic painting of an audience make-up. Especially compared to traditional TV stats.


With Rocketboom, the video distribution comes from our own servers, also from reports from 3rd party partner servers, redistribution estimates from non partner distributions, unaccounted for redistributions and long term accumulation of archives at each of these distribution points. This is further complicated by rss pings that lead to d/l's and rss pings that do not lead to d/l's, attempts to watch videos and complete downloads and complete views versus audience members, audience reach and actual daily audience visits, downloads and views. It's an amazing complex web of gazpacho.

First, internal indicators.

When I first tweaked my moveable type weblog template to host one post per page, essentially I wound up with a video blog that has one video per page. If someone comes to the home page, that's an attempt to load a video, if they go to an archive page, that is an attempt as well. Besides the archive page, and the about page, I have always considered my site's page views to represent a rough estimate of how many views Rocketboom videos were getting. Then there is the number of incomplete page views which adds to the amount of attempts and people but not full video views.

One of the many reasons why Rocketboom created a spark initially was due to being a first adopter of Dave Winer's RSS enclosure spec. Many people, including those that hated Rocketboom, would watch it because it was about all they could get in video form with their aggregators. Over time, this audience became very substantial and when Apple released its iTunes pod-casting directory, the amount of daily RSS subscribers from iTunes and other aggregators has continued to challenge the traffic that appears via our website viewers, even now that more content choices are available and our audience wants to watch.

In other-words, setting aside all of the page views which equate with downloads, attempts and website traffic, there is this other large factor of activity. So much so that page views for a website like Rocketboom only tell some of the story. For instance, when iTunes pings our XML sheet which is considered in our stats config to be a file, not a page, it may or may not lead to a pull of a video file. If it does, it otherwise goes unseen to the outside world. Furthermore, all of this RSS traffic is not detected by most 3rd party indicators like Alexa and Google Trends.

And this is only just the beginning. Should I count the traffic to the wiki on Wikia's site as a relevant support for the show? What about my personal blog here at dembot? If I posted this post at a url that was rocketboom.com/dembot/ you would be reading it over on rocketboom to stack up page points. So all of the cross promotion from other sites like Apollo Pony, Abbey.la, rocketboom.org, rocketboom.wikia.com, humanwire.org is important to me in the long run, but not exactly apparent when comparing, oh, say, Ze Frank's site who has everything he does under zefrank.com.

Nonetheless, setting aside all of the other sites, with regards to just rocketboom.com, the page views this year have ranged from 8,499,610 complete page views at the website for the entire month of March to 6.3 million for the month of July and around 5 to 6 million per month for most of the rest of the months this year. That does not equate with completed video downloads, but it's close. The incompletes, or attempts, is of course much greater. And again, this does not include video downloaded through aggregators like itunes, democracy, etc, the biggest traffic we have. And it does not include off site partner redistributions, etc.

So that we know. We also know that what I assumed all along was 4 GB servers on a load balance round robin switcher was originally 4 100mb servers in round and is now 2gb servers in round with a switch for heavy load days to all 4GB. 78,000 per day on average was appearing during a lower point according to the two servers. At peak times in our history, over twice as many. These are files just to the website and do not count redistributions, etc.

The other two GB servers turn on when there is overload, but so far I have not been able to verify the extra numbers and can not include that in my estimates then. Even still, its unlikely to add enough to match up.

This does not match up with the page requests and still yet, beyond the pages, there are also the direct video downloads that happen through xml and bypass the page count which also seems unaccounted for. So recently I went out to round-up more off site redistributions and partner and non-partner distributions with other aggregators that redistribute from one master file on their own servers and found quite a few. To give you one interesting understanding of how many aggregators and weird browsers are out there, last month, in addition to Democracy, iTunes, Firefox and Internet Explorer, there were 7,844 different kinds of browsers that hit the website.

Then there are the off-site distributions including everything from TiVo to Nokia to Movedigital to Rocketboom.jp to TvTonic, so on and so forth, most all of which are not publicly verifiable and dependent on 3rd party reporting.

On average, for the month of October, and including Sat and Sun, even though we did not release new episodes on those days, we served over 207,000 complete videos per day on average that I can account for. This number which has been twice as large during peak times/days, and most of which is concentrated over 5 days as opposed to 7 days, still seems to be missing a substantial amount up against the website numbers.

When it comes to advertising with post-roll videos on Rocketboom, advertisers want to know how many complete downloads there were. If we had preroll, then page attempts and incompletes would mean something but it takes a complete d/l to open up a conversation that an ad was possibly watched.

In the past, I always felt as though I was underselling due to unaccounted for redistributions. Now that I have everything together in its most accurate form and have squeezed out everything I could find, in underselling, Im going to go with 1 million complete video downloads per week. I consider this to be a drastic undersell and also drastically reduced from what was earlier reported.


Everything I have mentioned so far is dependent on information that I am collecting personally compared to what we can learn from other on and off-site indicators.

This is a long story but lets cut right to indicators like the wiki and the comments which would also fall into the category of engagement.

Rocketboom has a fluctuating # of comments from day to day. I think our all time high is 400 comments but sometimes we will have 15 comments on one day and 80 comments the next. I decided to go out and have a look at other websites that use comments to see how Rocketboom compares.

I first though of Daily Kos because they are a political site which by nature generates more commentary and I think of Kos as having lots of comments. A quick scroll of the site last week showed approx. an equal amount of commenting activity, while this week most posts on Daily Kos have twice the number of comments as Rocketboom. Many blogs and websites have many more comments per post than we do (especially You-Tube videos), yet most blogs do not have as many comments. Thus there is a sign of engagement to add to the demographics pie.

With regards to the story links that refer to the sources of the information discussed on Rocketboom, there is an indicator in how much traffic we send away compared to other sites.

The other day Robert Scoble had a popular post which was well linked-to. Since we also linked to that post, I asked him how the links back to his site looked from Rocketboom. He wrote:

"Here’s my referrer page. The day before it showed about 500 from Rocketboom and 750 from the BBC/Tech page."

While clearly Rocketboom is just T-ball compared to the BBC in size, there is something to be said for the level of engagement ratio per audience member in this comparison.

Other such recent public indicators of engagement for us include stories about audience participation in our ebay auctions, our t-shirt design submissions and topical feedback.


Lets have a look now at the 'ol Alexa graphs. I have learned a few things about Alexa and find them to be absolutely the worst indicator. But they are popular and it can be used to provide a couple of insights if we spend some time to filter out all of the noise that Alexa doesn't.

One thing I just learned is that Alexa measures rankings based on people who have an alexa toolbar installed in their IE browser on a PC. The toolbar sends a note to Alexa for every site that is visited to collect data. Then Alexa takes that information and decides how popular your website is up against the rest.

Considering that it must use the MSIE (Microsoft Internet Explorer) browser almost exclusively, this is not necessarily useful for websites that are say, anti-IE or for sites with a heavy Firefox audience. As for Rocketboom, this month for instance, here is the breakdown of audience browser use:

As you can see above, the orange MSIE browser is just a small part of the variable. On many other websites, MISE might be way ahead as the biggest browser.

Note also that the top two browsers, Democracy and iTunes, can't even be traced by Alexa because it all happens without a browser.

So Alexa is lame because it's not much of indicator in terms of how high or low Rocketboom stands in reach compared to other sites (i.e. our audience is not as likely to instal a toolbar) and it's not a good indicator of what kind of site traffic we are getting to our own site.

If one day we went out an encouraged our audience to go and instal an Alexa toolbar, it would likely raise our status because a proportionately higher amount of our audience would be clicking on the site. I heard that Ze Frank has said as much to his audience so again, its not a good indicator unless you are him.

In some ways, Alexa can be a good indicator of our own progress compared to ourselves you would think; no matter how many people are using the tool bar and clicking on Rocketboom to influence the results, those same people click more or less compared to each other. So if the amount goes up, that's at least a possible indication that there really is upward movement and thus a possible representation of the rest of the activity that would cause traffic to fluctuate.

In the below graph we see the history on Alexa for Rocketboom by itself:

As noted, you can see that this year has seen some serious variables. The months for July and August are still mind boggling to me.

There are also some MAJOR flaws in trying to assume what is going here, however. Notice above that just after our biggest-ever spike in July, and by the end of August, it "appears" as though we continued to experience a downward trend. The same downward trend appears for the whole first quarter too. Yet compare Rocketboom to some other popular weblogs:

In the case above there are downward trends that appear to sweep all sites just the same. Thus, to a relatively major degree, it appears this is not an indication that we are doing poorly against ourselves, per se. It's more that the people who use Alexa toolbars have become distracted because it's happening to all of us at the same time. Is this an internet-wide use trend? I can't help but wonder if this is an indication that people are abandoning the Alexa toolbar this year. Perhaps fewer people are clicking because fewer people are using it. Below is a close-up of a downward trend from Jan to October, almost all year for all the sites:

In another useful instance of a same-site comparison, taken in context with itself, take the Alexa data for TRM, our first advertiser as seen below:


We know that the big TRM spike was during the time they advertised on Rocketboom. With a typical peak-out point of 5 million on their own, advertising on Rocketboom brought them up to over 25 million. That's over a 500% increase in reach, compared to itself over a short enough time to assume less outside noise.

Without having to rely on Alexa, we can look to many other indicators to gauge audience levels and reach.


Technorati is an important indicator for me because I consider Rocketboom to be a blog that is informed by blogging. Unlike Alexa which is only used by strange people, Technorati is simply an aggregator of information across 60 million weblogs. When a link is linked to, a point is added. Today Rocketboom is at #75 out of 60-million which means that more bloggers are linking to rocketboom than most other blogs.

For the last 90 days, there have been between about 20 and 60 regular posts per day that use the word "rocketboom":

Check out that spike on Novermber 14 & 15, weee! It's a triple pile-up with news about the TiVo, Zune and. . .some other stuff.

This is obviously a major indicator: We know something about bloggers as a demographic: they are information junkies. They are snarky. They are opinionated. You know who you are. And so again, for an advertiser or sponsor, or just for my own self awareness, there is a story here about the audience that has already been told, without need to ask. In so many ways, we have a nice reach into these 60 million smarty pants. And futhermore, each of these people have all kinds of data on their blogs about themselves, so much so, it can be overkill on the information. It's like, hey dude, I didnt need to know all THAT! Advertisers on the other hand just love to soak in this kind of data. It's intersting to me because I just like to know about my audience, it's fascinating. It's also where I get most of my feedback, along with comments on the site and emails.

In addition to Technorati, even more bloggers and their data can be found when looking into feedster, sphere, icerocket, and blogpulse.



Rocketboom is a unique word that no one else uses except to refer to our site. Thus, in the various search engines, there is a number that is returned and that number, compared to others, is an indicator. Today the number in Google is at over 3,000,000 results. That may mean nothing to you, but compared to, oh, say, "Ze Frank" who has 670,000 today, it means something as an indicator for how we match up here. This same method can be applied to any search engine too to get an overall score and different terms can be compared to paint different pictures.

Why is this indicator important? I have noticed recently that on any regular day, we get a huge amount of traffic to the website from Google for instance. It's a great place for discovery. Due to having a high link value, it's thus more likely that we will appear as a result.


More useful is Google Trends. Whenever someone uses Google to look for something, Google gives a count to that search term and gives a count to that location. Thus, we can use the site to compare how often people search rocketboom, compared to oh, lets say, ze frank why don't we, since he brought it up. In other-words, what are people looking for more?

As you can see from the top half of the chart, more people have been searching for 'rocketboom' then they have been searching for 'ze frank'. But Ze is on the rise! Look out he is hot! From the bottom half of the chart, you can find that Rocketboom has more main stream media news mentions.

Now lets have a look in terms of origin:

It appears as though Rocketboom has Ze licked in Pleasenton, California, the "weathiest middle-sized city in the US". I'm not saying he has a more ghetto audience or anything.

(**update: Tim asked Ze about his popularity in Dutch to which he replied, "I think that its because 'ze' is the word for 'the.' its not my site…"

The international aspect is neat. Video online clearly out reaches any TV broadcast in potential and the visual element helps to break down language barriers.

"Google News is a computer-generated news site that aggregates headlines from more than 4,500 English-language news sources worldwide". Thus, we can use it as an indicator to see how much our site is being talked about in more of a main stream, journalistic reach.

What is the count and what is being said?

A few have already emerged and can provide a story into the audience as well.

iTunes top 100 chart or featured? This chart is not an indication of how many subscribers you have. This indicates how many new people subscribed that day.

Network2 top 10 chart?
Small survey of people now but growing.

These sites tell us something about our demographic because we already know about the demographics of these sites. People on Myspace for instance are walking databanks for public info like favorite music, location, age, interests. All kinds of profiles. Aside from that, Myspace has its own character of people in general.

How many Myspace friends do YOU have?
Well what about Facebook?
Flickr views?


How many people have bookmarked your show/site on delicious? This site has a character to it and can tell us something by the demographics of the audience that uses it. If you really wanted to get deep, you could cross reference all of the other links that are popular with the people who have bookmarked your site to find out about their most popular interests.

Digg and Slahdot are like flashmob communities and both are different, as seen by the comments. Slashdot has an audience that contributes a great deal to the brain trust of the issue at hand, whereas Digg comments are more just snarky jokes and personal opinions. So again, if you wind up linked-to by these communities, you can paint a picture about what happened with the incoming audience based on the pictures that have already been painted off site.


So what is the point? The data is out there and you can find it easily. You can say a great deal about the audience and how you stack up against the rest; Who is out there and what they are saying; Where they are and from whence they came. And yet I still have no idea how many.

Who will take the afternoon to aggregate a set of API's to check a URL up against these kinds of indicators and then assign values and perhaps an overall value in return?

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on November 16, 2006 11:49 AM | comments (13)

+ Zune Incompatible with Windows Vista

I know, I couldn't believe it either but apparently it's true. On another note, I am working through the day to finish an uber post on Rocketboom demographics. Its the most thorough to date.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on November 15, 2006 10:59 AM | comments (1)

+ Zune

I just sent this letter to Microsoft. It was a very difficult thing to do:

Sunday November 11, 2006

Hey Paul, we are going to back out of the Zune.net promo that is supposed to launch [deleted date].

I have been losing sleep over it and decided this is just not going to be right for Rocketboom. While I expect this will be a big traffic loss for us, at heart, I really love Apple and will stick by them in this competition. I also remembered from last year that Microsoft was the first company to really make me feel as though I was being taken advantage of personally.

We are not in this to side with a player. In fact, I hope that people who do enjoy the Zune will enjoy watching Rocketboom on their Zune players. This can happen however without the need to cross promote each other.

Also, with regards to the logo agreement, just by having the Zune logo on our page would mean we would not be able to make disparaging comments about Microsoft and that's just not a reasonable restriction for Rocketboom.

Best of luck,

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on November 12, 2006 11:47 AM | comments (39)

+ Inadvertent How-To Tutorial

Posted to Games by Drew on November 1, 2006 8:38 PM | comments (0)

+ Ze Errors

After some discrepancy, Ze Frank has laid into me because he doesn't believe how he could only have a fraction of the audience size of Rocketboom.

I was pretty surprised because we have had some friendly emails recently and he has asked me about my stats but apparently didn't believe me. I have even offered to have him come by and have a look but he would rather just assume I must be wrong I guess.

It turns out Ze receives about 30,000 downloads per day compared to Rocketboom which receives well over 300,000 per day.

As a result of Ze's outspoken concerns, I got a call today from Marshall Kirkpatrick from Techcrunch who wanted to go over all of my stats. He was pretty skeptical at first but I gave him logins for the various servers and spent an hour on the phone going over everything.

He confirmed my numbers. This is not a first, and you don't need to take it from him.

I have always been open about this and Rocketboom is in a very, very different position than Ze Frank.

Ze has been doing online video for a very long time, but he uses 1.0 means of distributing his show (e.g. no links out of his site, no off-site distributions or redistribution partners) and he only started to identify with "videoblogging" once videoblogging defined him. In otherwords, Ze is brilliantly interactive with his not-safe-for-work-or-school audience, but has not done much, relitively speaking, in pioneering the space that we are both defined by now and he has not been much of a contributor to lifting up others in terms of sharing his ideas for how to make all of this work.

I always thought he should do a short-form daily show and told him as much a year before he finally did. During the year that he didn't, he missed quite a bit.

Overtime, Rocketboom has become very pervasive internationally, especially as a reference point to which other things are often compared and tried.

Just looking at my stats today, I noticed we have over 15,000 phone distributions of each episode alone. That's half Ze's total daily audience on the phone. Lets not get into TiVo which accounts for more than the other half, our daily Japanese version, TVTonic type aggregators, home made aggregators, my goodness, my rant -> .mov files, .wmv, full_.wmv .3gp, .3gpp, .mp4, .mpg _hd.mov just for each episode to accommodate everyone.

While this sounds spread out, in short, statistics can be known very easily and clearly - there is no mixup or problem with understanding video stats:

The core of the matter is not hits or page views or uniques or subscribers or Alexa #'s it's how many completed videos were served. The video carries the ad. So that is what the advertiser wants to know, that is the ultimate value number and that is what Mr. Frank stated he was most concerned about: ad revenue potential. For any website that uses Apache and keeps a log file (i.e. the majority of the websites on the internet), this is a no brainer to see. Again, its simply a video file and fIles are easily counted.

I'm with Brogan, this is no time to compete.

I'd say don't worry about it so much, just do your thing; if you have a creative voice like Ze does, 30,000 is a huge amount of people to be watching daily, more will come in due time.

***update: Even Alexa is in on the game and posted a graph on their front page. Dear frenzy, Ze Frank has a big website with a lot of stuff going on and has been doing it for years. He said he gets 30,000 views of his show. How many page views does he get? A lot more which is likely fueling his Alexa status. Rocketboom delivers more videos than page views. Look now at how our Alexa stats have gone up today. It's just an indication of ONE KIND of audience out of the many kinds of audiences out there. Google trends is another story too. Boingboing has 3-million people per day reading, it's all relative.

***update2: Heather Green orchestrated another run of the stats along with Rob from Podcast411 and we now have what I would call the most accurate count yet. For the first two weeks of October on average 211,000 d/l per day. There are still more off site distributions but's not worth discussing. Marshall Kirkpatrick just posted as well.

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on October 24, 2006 6:39 PM | comments (10)

+ A day in the Life

I had to ask: He and his friend (with the bike) tried it out on a whim and enjoyed it so they came back to put in an hour the next day. No website, no future plans.

Posted to new york city by Drew on October 19, 2006 11:46 AM | comments (0)

+ Digimart Part II

The conference kicked off with John Perry Barlow [video] who is one of the lyricists for the Grateful Dead. I have actually been to two Grateful Dead concerts in California when I was at USC for a year. For those people unfamiliar with what Dead concerts were like, I can definitely say that it was like being in another country.

One of the outstanding features of the subculture revolved around cassette tapes. At the time, recording was expensive and complex but many people managed to get good enough copies of the concerts and then pass them around. This lead to people having collections of every live concert the Dead ever did. People would also of course make mixed tapes and share tapes with songs performed "better" or differently than others, etc. I remember seeing some collections of tapes in the hundreds, each with carefully hand drawn psychedelic play lists and personalized graphic art fold-outs.

Later, upon one of my first impressions of visiting archive.org, I remember thinking it was interesting that all of the Grateful Dead music was there and available for free.

As it turns out, allowing the fans to make and share tapes (they discouraged selling the tapes but allowed them to record shows and pass around free copies) and allowing the music to exist on Archive.org, has not hurt them.

Case in point: The Dead allowed all of their fans to share their music for free yet became one of the most popular and profitable touring bands ever. As for album sales and licensing? Barlow said this year he received his largest royalty check ever.

Otherwise, with regards to New Media, he has amazing foresight.

Cory Doctorow went on to give a presentation on copyrights which was great to hear. Unlike the panel I was on which didn't really get in depth with anything, he spoke in great depth about copyrights. I say great depth - for 45 minutes, he really covered a lot of the history and thinking behind the entire notion of copyrights in such a literary way that it was truly jam packed. It reminded me a bit of a live poetry jam session where there is a real sense of rhythm and flow to the narrative. Adding a visual element to the presentation would be stellar. I could imagine 100s of slides to what he was saying.

I also got to hang with a guy who I can truly say is a great bud, Jeff from Tikibar. Everything that comes out of the guys mouth is an amazingly creative scene. It was also great to meet Joanah and many others with really great work I'm familiar with.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on 10:43 AM | comments (0)

+ Flyby

Im sitting at Digimart in Montreal. My panel this morning was moderated by Cory Doctorow. It was calm and nice and a little boring. The panel was called "Democratization of Media" which, in my opinion, is a bit of an old story now.

This Wednesday will be Rocketboom's 500th episode and next week it will be two years going. When I had the idea for Rocketboom 2.5 years ago, the "Democratization of Media" was more exciting.

What is next beyond the slow pervasive adoption of so many of the awesome implications?

Space Travel!

In the meantime, I see people are still interested in talking about video online. Recent talks in last 4 weeks:

Digimart, Montreal - panel
Communications 2.0, New York City - keynote
American U.: From Mainstream to Myspace, Washington D.C. - panel
Podcast & New Media Expo, Los Angeles - keynote
Picnic '06, Amsterdam - panel
National Association of Broadcasters, Dallas - panel
Von, Boston - lecture
Podcamp, Boston - Discussion

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on October 16, 2006 4:22 PM | comments (0)

+ Schubert's 8th Symphony (un)finished

I first became exposed to this work during a month spent in the snow of Shelter Island one December. It was a time entirely of orchestral music, creating & for the first time, really listening. There was a library of over 200 orchestral CDs and this one stuck WAY out.

This is the greatest work I have ever heard in my life:

Franz Schubert: Symphonie h-moll "Unvollendete"

I: Allegro moderato

II: Andante con moto

Posted to art by Rocketboom on October 15, 2006 1:00 PM | comments (0)

+ Podcast and Portable Media Expo

Thanks again to Tim for having me a keynote yesterday at the Podcast and Portable Media Expo. This was definitely the event of the year for me in terms of meeting so many of the faces that have played a large part in the progressive history of the medium. Also, it was awesome to see and meet so many people that were using the medium effectively for the sake of providing super niche content.

It's this aspect of niche content that is so important - now we can finally have media that is personalized and much better suited to our individual tastes and desires.

With regards to my presentation, I feel as though I tried to tackle too many subjects all at once. As a result, the talk was not as effective as it could have been. It would have been much better if I had honed in on just a couple of topics.

I mentioned at the end of the presentation that I would post up some additional information, so here ya go, this is really what I wanted to spend more time discussing:

Justification for high advertising cpm online

3 effects of media: entertainment, information, belonging

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on October 1, 2006 12:49 PM | comments (4)

+ Picnic '06

w00t! I'm in Amsterdam speaking at Cross Media Week.

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on September 26, 2006 7:24 AM | comments (0)

+ The Beast

Posted to Games by Drew on September 23, 2006 11:55 AM | comments (0)

+ Dig'n Reblog'n

Posted to art by Rocketboom on September 22, 2006 7:28 PM | comments (0)

+ Technorati Top 100 Invaded by Videobloggers

Out of 54.2 million weblogs tracked by Technorati, videoblogging representation in the top 100 chart has gone from zero to four in the last two months. . .and it's climbing.

In so many ways, Technorati is an indication of the source of chatter. For better and for worse, it's referred to as "authority". At least it's fair to say the top weblogs on the list are generating the most incoming links by other bloggers, an indication of being the source, or inspiration, for the most talked about information.

After a long steady build, hovering right at 100 in June, Rocketboom has remained in the top 100 in Technorati for the last three months.

Since then, Rocketboom, Ze Frank, Ask a Ninja and Hot Air have all entered into the top 100 and all of us are climbing upwards at swift paces.

Michelle Malkin has leveraged the audience from her weblog positioned in Technorati at #12. Scoble will soon do the same, likely in record time. Several more of the the top bloggers are using video within their current sites as a supplement, including Make.

This is a very big indication that the reach for consistent, entertaining, informative, independent, short-form video is on the rise. [*note, mainstream media projects are no where to be seen on or near this chart].

Now consider that Ask A Ninja is YouTube popular as well, and iTunes popular, which obviously extends the reach a great deal beyond the blogosphere (or whatever you call it these days).

The message is quite clear with regards to "reach" of information, when presented in visual form.

If popularity < visual, is visual > authority? Perhaps unwittingly. People seem to be responding to the video format. This could be offsetting tried-and-true authority based on factors related to the effectiveness of the media itself. An indication that "authority" is even more confused with "popularity", or "delight".

In any case, it was the tried-and-true bloggers with established authority that allowed for the rise of the new, even creating it themselves.

Surprisingly, bloggers now appear to be the late adopters in lifting up and partaking in this medium. The biggest spike was the introduction of the video ipod and TiVo over i.p. almost a year ago:

Now is still your wonderful window of opportunity to take this up if you so desire. The field is just as wide open as ever.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on September 16, 2006 3:00 PM | comments (1)

+ a del.icio.us day

Happy birthday del.icio.us, 3 years old today. del.icio.us was probably one of the first websites I remember using that really stuck out for me as something unique and different, a new way of looking at organization and community effort. del.icio.us inspired a great deal more than it gets credit for; 2.0 at it's quintessential roots.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on September 15, 2006 6:53 PM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom Affirmed by Hero

Thanks to Steve Jobs and Apple for the exclusive podcasting check-in at yesterday's special event. Please excuse me now while I go and gloat.

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on September 13, 2006 6:54 AM | comments (0)

+ LonelyGirl15

Hmmm... This sounds suspicious.

Posted to outer space by Drew on September 10, 2006 11:53 AM | comments (2)

+ Podcamp on Your Own Will


Watching this explode over the last couple of weeks has been really exciting. I'll be there Friday night thru Sunday morning.

Drew: Yea, I dont really go out to bars much.
Drew: I like conferences.

Posted to Academic by Drew on September 7, 2006 11:25 PM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom Back on Track

Thank you world! I hoped Rocketboom would come back - I could always see the light at the end of the tunnel but I could not see the transition. This was the most difficult and uncertain time of my life and now exactly two months later, I am so happy to say, by my own standards, RB is Back in Black.

A few outstanding points:

Out of 53.1 million blogs being tracked by Technorati, Rocketboom is in the top 100 (#72 at the time of this post).

According to Alexa, Rocketboom is now a 5 star site currently ranked at #5842 out of all sites [a little low on msm press mentions, see below].

According to feedback, we have radically increased our female audience.

The word 'rocketboom' has 4,380,000 links in Google.

Out of 528,000,000 links in Google for 'andrew' I'm #7!! WTF!!!???

And below is the main indicator that I'm the most excited about, internal stats for video files.

KEY: Ignore the green, its all over the place for all kinds of reasons.

Setting aside numbers (around 300,000 - 350,000 video d/l a day), I'm mostly interested here in the before and after.

Amanda quit on July 4th and then released an untruthful, unbelievable story that obviously accounts for the main spike. Note to self: refrain from further commentary.

Should I have refrained though? If I could have done things differently, I would have changed one major thing: At one point, Scoble and Furrier suggested that I hold a formal press conference to explain everything that happened, while also releasing the news with Joanne, just before we relaunched. At the time, the idea sounded awkward to me - like the press would all just come over if I called them? where? to my apartment? I have never even sent a press release before (in the last 2 years, Rocketboom has never reached out like this beyond a couple of emails). We've only just dealt with incoming. I wish I would have had a press conference. That might of saved me a lot of strife because not only did Amanda quit, she tried very hard to destroy me and Rocketboom in the process of her departure (another indicator that the storm I made it through was no easy task and why I should have explained everything at the time - the stuff that lawyers are working on now).

Nevertheless, even without changing the past, I have arrived at a sense of security as reflected in the graph above:

By the end of July, all of the news had died. Through the last part of July, the entire month of August and through even today, Rocketboom has only been mentioned in the main stream media once.

When looking at the blue bar for August then, compared to the blue bar for June, I can see that with no press we have just barely surpassed where we left off in the height of our press (RB had just recently been featured with full page stories in Rolling Stone Mag, Wired Mag, Business 2.0 Mag and we were turing down press calls daily, for instance).

Thus, unlike all of the MSM press which was fueling our audience I'm seeing that now, on the flip side, it is really the audience that is fueling Rocketboom entirely, just by watching and coming back again. AWESOME! THANK YOU!!! And thanks especially to all of you who came out of the woodworks to show your support and help me through this, I needed it big time, I had no idea what to do.

This past month we have also undergone major organization, we have a hard-core financial team member, we have added two more full timers, we have a studio in Chelsea (more on all this soon!) and I'm finally standing here having just taken a breath saying woh, we made it. And now we have a long way to go.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on September 5, 2006 7:24 AM | comments (0)

+ Online Connection not on Display

Chartreuse has a good post for videobloggers on things to keep in mind as you try to crossover into the mainstream media.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on September 3, 2006 12:53 PM | comments (0)

+ Media Giraffe

I just found a study I took part in that I somehow never saw, Media Giraffe. It was a great honor to be selected:

According to their site: "In the media context, a giraffe is taking financial or professional risk to advance participatory democracy and community. The giraffe is an independent voice, although he or she may be part of a large, established media organization. Their commitment to "giraffe" ideals is longstanding and is making a difference. In some way, their efforts appear financially sustainable, through profit, collaboration or grants."

And so here is probably the most compact, indepth mp3 interview on me and Rocketboom you'll ever fall asleep to:

AUDIO:Founder Andrew Baron discusses Rocketboom as journalism, its business future and mission in Media Giraffe interview by Bill Densmore | LINKS: FULL STORY / GIRAFFE PROFILE

In 2004, Andrew Baron was an obscure presidential campaigner for Democrat John Edwards, working on Internet streaming video campaign spots when he began to notice a change in how users were reacting. Instead of complaining about dropped connections, stop-and-start pictures and slow downloads, they started commenting on what Edwards was saying. Baron realized -- he says now he thinks he was a little ahead of the market -- that Internet broadband adoption in the United States was finally making full-motion video a viable medium for conveying political -- and other messages.

Why not, thought Baron, start a daily, three-minute, edgy, capsule summary of undiscovered news and insight that would be streamed over the Internet? After the 2004 campaign, Rocketboom was born and a year or so later it claims over 300,000 unique daily users. The Rocketboom story has been told in several other accounts, but here is Baron's account in his own words, in an MP3 audio interview April 9, 2006 with The Media Giraffe Project which focuses on his motivation and prospects for sustainability.
The 37-minute interview is broken into two downloadable segments:
In the first, about 14 minutes, Baron talks about his evolution from Bates College undergraduate to technology worker with IBM and other firms in Texas, to the fusing of interests in technology, theater and art in Brookyn, to Democratic political worker and Rocketboom. . . as "journalism"(or not) and how the creative process functions as would a musical band:

Play rocketboom-andrew-baron-05-09-06-news.mp3

In the second, about 23 minutes, Baron talks about the Rocketboom business opportunity and plummeting bandwith costs, the five revenue legs of advertising, sponsorship, subscription, merchandising and licensing; how mainstream media companies, shocked by changes in the music industry, are moving fast on Internet video; about who owns Rocketboom and why they don't need a business visionary to grow it; the decision to refuse venture-capital money, and details of how advertising is working:

Play rocketboom-andrew-baron-05-09-06-business.mp3

Posted to my_life by Drew on 3:56 AM | comments (0)

+ Google Video Elegance

Google Video has a couple of killer-app features that allow you to link or jump ahead to any point in a video, regardless of what has been loaded into cache already.

With other progressive flash videos (all others?) like YouTube for instance, a video may begin playing right away from zero seconds but you must wait for the progressive download to exceed the point you want to jump ahead to.

With Google Video, you can jump ahead to any point at any time and the video will auto-play from the new point, continuing on with a progressive load forward.

Note in the screen-capture above, I placed the playhead at 2:07 seconds and the video began to load from there.

Not only is this an exceptional interface feature, this is a clever and efficient use of bandwidth.

Furthermore, Google Video is set up so that you can actually link to any second in the video.

Here is the normal link to the example Rocketboom video:


Here is the link to the same video, with the playhead starting at 2 min and 7 seconds:


Thus, you can always add on a #XmYs where X=number of minutes and Y=number of seconds to the end of any Google Video link.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on August 26, 2006 10:32 PM | comments (0)

+ 2008 Season Opens

I met with Nicco Mele yesterday, one of the major masterminds behind the online efforts for Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign. As you can see from the picture, he was a little distracted. I consider this picture to be empirical evidence that activity for the election of 2008 is starting to get heated.

I was very involved myself online in the last election and I hope to play a big part in this election as well. I've always been a Democrat but at the same time, I would say I'm relatively a-political. Last term, when George Bush announced he would run again, however, I knew enough was enough and I dropped everything and decided to devote my entire life to help prevent his re-election. Sigh.

This time I'm not going to be doing ANY fighting. I am just going to help with enabling the technology and social structures that we all need to see what's really going on; the politicians need to be able to take the media into their own hands so we can discover their ideals and come to know more about who they really are, off-guard and on.

When I met John Edwards for the first time over helping to set up his videoblog (what seems like a long time ago as he was the first major politician to embrace the medium), I remember this glorious moment where we placed the camera in his hands, had him turn the camera back on himself and then said ok now go for it!

He told me that during the last election, the only time politicians were able to really take hold of the media was during the debates because that was the only time they would get two solid minutes to state their ideas clearly, uninterrupted.

I was shocked - SHOCKED! - two minutes is absurd; how can you justify such large ideas in two minutes? This explains why they dont answer the questions during the debate but instead use the airtime to say what they need to.

Edwards then illuminated the fact that the news media on TV picks their angles on what points to focus on, edit everything up based on their angle, and then usually cut to a commercial or another story well before two minutes elapses.

Even though the candidates all used video in the last election, the audience for video wasn't really building until the end. (*as a side note, when I created a video/DVD website for Edwards in March of 2004, I got the idea for Rocketboom one night).

If you are one of the few who reads Dembot, at least you know as well as I do that there is a pretty major audience out there right now for video and the mainstream rush is definitely on. YouTube alone is serving over 100 million videos per day.

With regards to empowering politics, not only will we get to read it from the horses mouth, and hear it, in many cases we are going to be able to click to see the whole thing. That is major empowerment for everyone. The democratization of media will play a big part in democratizing politics.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on August 25, 2006 9:17 AM | comments (2)

+ Transponder

It's been a fine evening of progress on. . . .drum roll please. . . my upcoming circuits video site/class, transponder.net. Before I had the idea for Rocketboom one of my daily activities was teaching high school robotics and undergraduate and graduate physical computing.

Having developed the curriculum in each case, I quickly learned that people of different ages can pick up the basics of circuitry very, very quickly when the parts are learned in the right order.

Once the parts are understood both conceptually and practically, the room for creativity is enormous.

The resource is being served via a wiki and will be introduced with six, five-minute videos along with a dozen shorter videos on individual part groups.

As I continue on to create a weekly project hack, it's my hope (though not my expectation) that other people who are interested will help contribute to improving the resource by adding their own experience and information.

The site is designed to create a visual entry point into the world of physical computing. Computers are simple machines - a series of switches really - and with just a little bit of logic and visual thinking, for next to nothing in cost, you can create your own little computers to do the very specific tasks that you want them to do.

Below: A selection of some of my sensors to map out the world. [more info]

Below: From my common integrated circuit pile: Pretty simple, inside the chips it's just more circuits, made up of the same kinds of common parts (transistors, resistors, switches, etc.). It's just that these little guys don't require the side of a building for a surface mount. [more info]

Below: A resistor is not always a potentiometer which is not always a trimmer though a trimmer is always a potentiometer which is always a resistor. This problem will not be discussed further.

Posted to physical computing by Drew on August 17, 2006 2:08 AM | comments (0)

+ 10,000 Statistically Grammar-Average Fake Band Names

Someone was giving me a hard time for my website naming convention trend (e.g. rocketboom, apollo pony, motion abbey, julia set, century plant). Its been going on for years. It may be my affinity towards this primary source of inspiration: Ten Thousand Statistically Grammar-Average Fake Band Names:

"Instead of thinking up a few, I made a quick script to part-of-speech tag the original list of 6,500 artist names that we were considering. This left us with a set of common band name grammars (popular ones were NNP NNP and NNP #.) We then fed terms from our already collected music text set ('Klepmit') through the grammars again (at the natural probabilities) to make some believable names."

Like, Gambit Alder and Saint Arroyo.

The way I like to use the site, however, is to scroll the names, usually keying in on one of the multiple word names (not both words) and then adding the word that I like to a list. Then, as I continue to scroll around, I'll look for another word that might pair well with the other word I already found. This often leads to a thesaurus where the naming possibilities suddenly really take off.

Posted to Games by Drew on August 16, 2006 9:28 AM | comments (3)

+ Stop Saying Viral!

What a terrible word, viral. I have always felt this. Every single day, I get an e-mail from someone who does 'viral video' or wants help creating a 'viral campaign'. If any word has a negative connotation to social human interaction, it's the word virus. A virus, Latin for poison, is a particle that infects biological organisms (like humans for instance). In all likelihood, one day, someone will unleash a human-made virus and kill everyone. Then we won't have any words at all.

In the meantime, one great replacement is the word 'meme'. This is the word I prefer to describe the phenomenon of content or ideas that really strike a chord in people. The word 'meme' was first introduced in 1976 by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins in his book The Selfish Gene. The word refers to 'a replicator of cultural information' that one mind transmits in some form to another.

I first learned about the word in a collaboration at Parsons in 2002 with Eyebeam's Joana Peretti. Jonah became famous accidentally for his e-mail correspondence with Nike over their custom stitch offer (after Nike's refusal to stitch the words 'slave labor' into his shoes, Joana passed the funny emails on to a few friends who then forwarded it on, eventually reaching millions of people).

Memes propagate amazingly well through the digital world obviously because of the speed, reach and lack of resistance in place to carry them. We seem to be in a phase of community/bridge building with the web in general where memes are even more kinetic.

Online memetics is a fun study but the best usually come about naturally. . It's an easy discussion because the qualities behind the most far reaching memes tend to be easily understood. In the same vain, when people say a good liberal arts education contributes to a well rounded perspective on the world, I often say an understanding of online memetics contributes to a well rounded perspective on contemporary social consciousness. As clever representations of strong social sentiments it's often difficult to suppress the desire to share.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on August 15, 2006 5:05 PM | comments (2)

+ Oh Email

I still haven't figured out email yet. The spam is overwhelming but the main problem is my inability to answer all of the email that I want to.

If anyone sent me any email on July 1st or later, for instance, I probably haven't answered it yet. I spend hours every day writing emails but I still cant seem to get there. I lose sleep over my friends that are fading into the background, the missed business opportunities, all of the press I have ignored. Its amazing how entirely dependent my life is on email too.

I decided to post out-loud that I would be taking all weekend to dig myself out from under this mess so if you haven't heard from me in a few weeks, brb.

Posted to my_life by Drew on August 9, 2006 9:02 AM | comments (0)

+ WikiMania

I'm at the Wikimania conference at Harvard today. Jimbo Wales just announced that Wikipedia is to be included as the first major application for the $100 laptop.

I recently put a wiki up on Rocketboom and it is starting to take off. We use it for FAQ, the audience is using it to keep track of episode info, we are trying out examples of backdrops on another article, it's really amazing how applicable it is.

It's mostly amazing how it just goes on its own.

Wikiversity and Wikiwyg were also announced today, great progress.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on August 4, 2006 9:31 AM | comments (0)

+ A Web of Daves

+ Tuesday night I met with David Moore of Participatory Culture. You have probably heard about their player Democracy. They just rolled out version .9 which means you know what, they are very, very close to full force. Two of the most notable points about Democracy that I like which distinguishes them from other video aggregators are a) their open source mission: to provide open tools for others to build and create with, and b) their use of p2p distribution. Software Artists.

+ Wednesday I met with Dave Winer. Every time I speak with him, he talks about things that will make sense to people 3 or 4 years later. The very biggest ideas simply put. The Developer Philosopher.

+ Thursday eve, I met up for a drink with David-Michel Davies (appropriate double Dave usage for the finale) who I originally met this year in Austin at SXSW. Probably one of the nicest people to ever walk out of the web and into the real world, he didn't even say anything after I forgot to bring the Webby tapes (i.e. we covered the Webby Awards this year and have a lot of b-roll he may want to use for documenting). Internet Anthropologist.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on 1:29 AM | comments (0)

+ T Dot

I was back in Toronto this past weekend. After never being in Canada once my whole life, this year I have already been 4 times now.

CommandN is one of my all-time favorite shows and Amber's approach is really inspiring to me. I have some notes to add soon on scripted vs unscripted content. CommandN and Rocketboom tend to skirt the opposite extremes (relatively speaking). While weblog postings appear to be the opposite of polished, most blog posts are edited and revised to some degree before posting. Usually, my favorite blog posts are very well thought through.

How to get the best of both worlds? That's a path I've been exploring a lot recently.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on August 2, 2006 8:59 AM | comments (0)

+ NYC Video Enthusiasts

Last night I spoke a The NY Video 2.0 Group:

Posted to new york city by Drew on July 27, 2006 6:58 PM | comments (0)

+ Academic Expounding

Thanks to Shawn Van Every for inviting me to speak at his NYU ITP class this past Wed., Producing Participatory Media.

The ITP department is the competitor to Parsons Design and Technology Department where I am from. Students tend to rival each other. As far as I know, ITP doesn't have a blog which means Parsons is much better, of course. I created Julia Set a few years ago with Josh Kinberg but the template has since been changed. I see my post of two months ago is still there on top, I better update it before ITP comes along and puts up a blog or something.

Posted to Academic by Drew on 5:22 PM | comments (0)

+ Earthlink on Rocketboom

"The ISP's head of corporate communications explains why sponsoring Rocketboom and the Podshow, as well as blogging, are important to the company's future."

"One size does not fit all. The expectations of customers, including investors and partners, are changing as fast as the technology itself-- but not for everyone. While my parents use the phone, and my peers use email, my friends' nieces and nephews swear by IM, Facebook and MySpace. A successful social media strategy requires an understanding of one's customers and carefully balancing the use of new and traditional information channels."

Article. Earthling Blog.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on July 25, 2006 8:19 AM | comments (1)

+ Top 10 Rocketboom Business Notions

I started with very little business know-how and virtually no helpful experience. I had no intention of ever running the business. I always knew I needed help even looking for help. In retrospect, aside from crediting a liberal arts education, many years of blogging more than anything else prepared me for what I have accomplished with the Rocketboom business so far. The following concepts are the ones I always talk about outloud around the studio or at conferences - the basic principles which got Rocketboom this far. This may seem pedestrian to some, but for others, I think it's a good start:

10 things I have leaned about entrepreneurial business in 2.0 land while trying not to do business:

1. Always work with people who are better than you. You can only do a few things really well. One of them should be understanding your weaknesses and looking for the best possible help to fill the gaps. Seek help to manage MOST of everything else it takes to run a successful business.

2. Treat everyone with the highest regards and pay the people who work for you greater than their value. While most people do not want to be leaders, most people want to feel good about themselves and be fulfilled. If people are paid better than normal, have good benefits and get a lot of appraisal and bonuses, they will be happier in life and in return will likely be more productive too. The smallest gestures, even for a poor company such as adding a bit more onto a pay check (giving surprise bonuses), paying for a cab - paying for lunch, all go a really long way. The greatest implementation of value for people is to have positions that allow for infinite growth. Nobody that works for you should ever have a fixed ceiling of opportunity. Consider cutting back on material expenses and pay more for people. Aspire for everyone to have a greater life-style. No matter how important your business is, this is life we are talking about and it's short. While being caught up with speed towards the future, remember others who live for the day.

3. Do everything right and fair. Make sure that you are always honorable, especially with yourself. Live up to your oral agreements. When it comes to operating your business, make sure and set it up correctly - pay every cent of tax that you legally owe. As long as you take the extra effort to do things right, you will eliminate a huge amount of stress. Even knowing yourself that you are keeping everything in order will make you feel better about yourself on a day-to-day basis. The people that work for you will also take you more seriously and also feel better themselves.

4. Learn to love consequence and happenstance. Things will happen all the time that will throw off your plans. Turn the stress around and into a challenge. Use the opportunity to think of new opportunities. Perhaps there are many new paths to take that you would like even more. Consequence is the stuff that artists dream of; It's what creates new technologies and drives innovation.

5. Be transparent. This is almost cliche now, though this is why it is important and should not be missed: Without disregard for being humble, the more you reveal, the more people will understand where you are coming from. It's not about blurting out some statement suddenly. It takes time to show yourself, who you really are. This motto applies to most aspects of life and business. The idea behind transparency is much more of a human personality trait. It's for you yourself and the people that you care about; It's for the audience that want to know when they ask; It gets to be that you no longer even think of this idea, it just becomes a part of your life-style. When you are fair, transparency will occur naturally because you will be proud and secure to reveal your true thinking.

6. Create a comfortable environment. A girl friend once told me about a miserable phase she went though. She and one of her girl friends were living in a basement with no windows and there were dogs, lots of mildew, low ceilings, old carpet and low lighting. It sounded dreary to say the least. She wasn't aware of the concept of space enough to understand that it was drastically effecting her mood. When she moved into a more comfortable apartment that was full of light and had higher ceilings, she regained her spirit. Having a great work environment is just the same. Websites are like spaces too. When you create your space online, consider making it equally as comfortable.

7. Listen to your audience, friends and advisors. The more you can get feedback and audience participation, the more you will understand the positive and negative effects of your efforts. The more you understand the effects you are having, the more you can understand what to do in the future. If you trust yourself to filter the ideas and information that others give you, be quiet and listen more often. Allow the audience/journalist/experts in your field to describe your activity for you.

8. Have spirit!

9. Time is of the essence. Paul Virilio is a french philosopher with a profound sense of dromology. It starts with the age-old model of speed that can be applied to everything in life. In a war, for instance, the side that obtains the information first about where the other side is will have the advantage; The investor who knows the news first will have the stock advantage. The technologist who creates the first this-or-that will have that advantage to begin with. Speed=Potential. If you have something new, take action before it becomes old.

10. Stay in control by giving control away. The more you give up control to others, the happier everyone will be. Not only will the people who work for you be happier, it will allow you more time to focus on the things you do best. With regards to the control of your business as a whole, dont be shy in keeping the end-all control. If you start the band and it's your vision and you believe in yourself to assure it's longevity in case things go wrong, make sure you maintain at least 51% when giving any control away.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on 12:15 AM | comments (3)

+ Interesting Web Dynamic

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on July 15, 2006 3:11 PM | comments (0)

+ Frequently Asked Questions

With regards to 'what happened' with Amanda, I'll say these few things in defense to all of this and then I'm ready to put this behind me.

A few days after her departure, I spoke at Eli SInger's Case Camp to a small crowd about it and while I was still in a pretty big state of shock, apparently people found this to be worthwhile. After seeing it myself, I sent the link to a few of my close friends who were wondering what was going on: see video links at end of Joey's post.

In retrospect, the thing I wanted to point out is that Amanda spoke about "transparency" in her video which was really absent from her script, along with the biggest stab of all - highlighted in bold no less - tagging me as "old media". You only need to glance down this one weblog page to know she was not being true. Every fine detail about the way I have steered Rocketboom from beginning until now is quintessentially a new media inspired activity.

Over the course of the last two weeks, through formal mediations with everyone from her family and everyone else at Rocketboom, all-together in person, over email and phone calls - with days of production at rest, Amanda finally revealed that 1) she had no desire to work on any creative production anymore with me - whatsoever, 2) she had been unhappy working with me ever since we began almost 2 years ago (she never even told me this before now) and, 3) as confirmed to everyone - and reconfirmed when asked - that she would no longer want to collaborate with me in the future ever again.

Then, because she was unwilling to try and work something out - even a transition plan if not an exit plan, she left. In the middle of negotiations, where in every single moment I only ever considered a plan that would also protect Amanda's interests, I awoke to an email that she sent to everyone at Rocketboom including everyone in the field; It was a link to a video she published on her own site explaining that she had been pushed out. Pushed out!?? WTF!?? She went on to say Fired. Fired!? Where did she get that? Did a PR person tell her to say that? Has anyone asked her how it came to be that she was fired? When and how did I fire her? I dont have an answer because there is none.

I had never even imagined Rocketboom without Amanda before these last two weeks and I always treated her like an equal creative and business partner, not as an employee. While I invested everything, she was paid a good salary (better than any other videoblogger out there I'm pretty sure) - formyself, I took a note.

The history of everything that happened is there in webpages, online videos, podcasts, dozens of conferences and lectures, email, contractual documents, 3rd person accounts and a lot of b-roll. Whatever the case is, it's not a case for Sherlock Holmes and its not a case for the media, Amanda. It's a case for a professional mediator or a case for the courts.

And whatever that case may be, it will be. I'm not going to get emotionally tied up in this. Whatever is fair determined by precedence and reason is what I would want the outcome of our broken partnership to be. Until then, and afterwards, I'm going to continue on my path through the great wild west - I have always had a direction that is consequently, as of the last few days, more secure now than ever-before.


Posted to rocketboom by Drew on 2:38 PM | comments (0)

+ CaseCamp

Setting aside all of the drama of Rocketboom going down right now, there are a few facts I wanted to set straight because nearly every writer on the face of the internet seems to not know. It's because I haven't said clearly so its no big deal, but its just simply starting to annoy me.

Fact: Out of all the scripts in the history of Rocketboom Amanda has edited nearly every single one, but over 95% of the scripts on Rocketboom have been written by me.

Fact: Over 95% of the directed episodes in the history of Rocketboom were directed by me.

Fact: I created/incorporated and directed/developed many of the reoccurring conventions of the show such as the clicker, the head turns, the paper throws, the chair spins, etc.

Fact: I have edited well over 50% of all of the episodes.

Fact: I have Produced every single episode.

Fact: I have Published every single episode.

Fact: I have found/picked over 90% of all of the stories that we have ever used.

So what?! Obviously it hasn't been important enough to me to speak up to the world before (although there is a large amount of people who have always known this). I only say this now because I have seen literally 100s of major news stories and blog posts over the last few days that all inferred the contrary. This doesn't devalue the spirit and everything else that Amanda brought to the show. It takes a lot to do everything that has been going on.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on July 10, 2006 6:55 AM | comments (8)

+ Lauren

[+] I've never been closer to anyone.

Posted to my_life by Rocketboom on June 27, 2006 8:12 AM | comments (0)

+ A Head for Higher Ground

From The Lost Remote:

I always liked Dan Rather and feel as though he made one mistake that pales in comparison to all the worth he brought the world over the years. I'd like to see him drop CBS and his PR agents to create an online video news site.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on June 16, 2006 10:08 AM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom Sponsorship

At least a couple of people have been wondering about the Rocketboom ad scenario.

Here is an update for those who do not watch regularly or for those who are new:

We recently put up a sponsorship page which gives a rundown of our current rates.

Since we first auctioned a week of ad space to TRM, we sold another week almost identical in nature to Earthlink. Recently, we completed another sale at our currently published premium rate (double in size). This third account is currently in production and will be released soon.

We have 5 more contracts in development with terms and about 15 optimistic bites that I haven not had time to initiate a response on.

Because we also create the content ourselves for the advertisers, it takes some time to complete. In order to fully understand the advertisers objective and also get them to be happy about it - and the various bureaucratic levels of media buyers, legal, branding, etc. - it's taking a few weeks or even a month or more to complete, after what can be a month of negotiating to close a contract before any of the production can even begin.

This has allowed us to expand into creating a system for handling the flow of this new work. Mario had been managing the creative, we now have two editors, a full-time office manager, Amanda's brother Andrew is interning all summer and we are looking for an ad sales person to manage all of this stuff.

Had we taken venture capital, I think we could of developed this much faster, but we are doing okay skipping that part and the two of us remain in complete control of our company. Perhaps in a few more months, after a few more sales, we will start to roll and eventually have ads running on all days.

Or maybe in the future we will decide to take a hit and not run ads some days because we could afford to.

Or maybe some brilliant as sales company already established will come woo us into an enticing collaboration and we wont need to worry about the business of ad sales (when I say "we", I mean me and Amanda specifically as we would rather continue to stick to producing).

While it certainly is fun to say "Lookout Rupert!" that massive, elitist, single-handed, conglomerate media power is on the decline and the possibilities for media startups like Rocketboom are very positive.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on June 12, 2006 11:54 AM | comments (0)

+ Vloggercon 2006

Wow, I always really liked TWIT - I still really do like them alot - but I was really, really surprised to hear how they completely dismissed videoblogging [42.5min in]. I was also kinda surprised that they seemed to mostly be out of the loop on what videoblogging is. I cant tell if they were just pretending to not know in order to dismiss it more melodramatically, or if they really didn't know.

Anyway, very un-supportive of a pretty large movement, even though the movement is still in its infancy. The way they dissect the word even reminds me of the early - and still yet prevalent - reaction to the word 'blog' which sounds just as alien-like.

While some people continue to balk now at the value personal publishing has to offer, they are missing the entire point by dismissing what is already so valuable inconsequently: a boon for the human zest.

In the future many experts will emerge regularly who will use videoblogging methods effectively and audiences will emerge for seeking personalized forms of entertainment and information.

Vloggercon is this weekend and it is not going to be SXSW, it wont be iSummit nor will it be a bar-camp or anything else you have seen before. No expectations. It will simply include a gathering of people who are interested (some like myself EXTREMELY excited by the potential in videoblogging) and just want to talk about it.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on June 6, 2006 8:47 AM | comments (1)

+ Rock, Paper, Scissors, Sponge, Alien, Nuke?

(poster via umop ala boingboing)

Posted to Games by Drew on June 1, 2006 8:23 PM | comments (0)

+ False Market Report

In-the-trenches blogger compiles spirited notes from conference on syndication.

Reporter for Market Watch (at home?) erroneously 'scoops' from blogger.

Reader from The Boston Globe Business carries on with the report.

Further propogated by Investor's News Daily's Breaking News.

Until Then!

A chat with Michael Meiser.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on May 19, 2006 11:52 AM | comments (2)

+ Beyond Broadcast

I'm writing from the Harvard Law School at the Beyond Broadcast conference in Boston. Cool stuff!

Posted to world by Rocketboom on May 13, 2006 12:56 PM | comments (0)

+ Star Trek Cribs - Director's Cut

Posted to fine by Rocketboom on May 11, 2006 11:49 PM | comments (1)

+ Leveled Playground

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on May 9, 2006 7:54 AM | comments (3)

+ Zombo Com

Welcome to Zombo.com, but don't ask me what it means!

Posted to nothing by Rocketboom on May 8, 2006 11:53 PM | comments (0)

+ My Own Weather Pixie

The WeatherPixie

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on May 6, 2006 1:41 PM | comments (0)

+ Lets P2P

Here are some notes on p2p to accompany this post by Dave Winer on the next steps towards pushing bittorrent adoption.

Perhaps p2p would work best for most kinds of group transferring on the internet, and right now, the best examples out there to help show off the value/worth - the obvious spokesperson - is the regular personal publisher of media files, or, podcasters and videoblogs. These kinds of new media people have reoccurring audiences that come and download the media all at the same time, literally; whenever there is an RSS update, within minutes, computers begin to automatically retrieve the media files and appear all at once.

With Rocketboom for example, as with any blog pretty much, the moment we release a video each morning, we get a big spike because everyone is automatically jumping in on the downloads:

So once we have everyone who uses RSS using p2p too, they will enjoy the best d/l experience because they will be there with the most seeds; it will be the fastest and most efficient time. While you may know this already, and I certainly have been talking out loud about it for about 2 years, it makes a very big, very outstanding difference when we are talking about 40 terabytes a month. For us, stuck with the burden of a major bandwidth bill, costing more money theoretically to burst at 9am per gig then at 10pm per gig even, if everyone used p2p we would instead have this:

It may look messy, but this p2p/rss situation would mean that the audience would take care of the spike themselves while being more efficient for themselves. This obviously cuts off strife for us.

So, here are a few obstacles right now to add to the table.

How/Where do content creators like myself host torrents? It's still a real bitch to install on the server. I have had some luck before with blogtorrent last year but it was too much of a resource hog and crashed regularly. It needs to be developed still.

We use Prodigem, and have everything automated perfectly. I never do a single thing to publish the torrent each day. Once I hit post on our Moveable Type entry, MT updates our xml bittorrent page. A script that resides on my .edu server checks every hour and then pulls the new video onto prodigem's server with an API, then Prodigem seeds it and in turn updates our public torrent xml feed. Whew!! There are many pieces to that chain. Point being, its not easy at all for people to publish torrents on their own. You can sign up for an account at Prodigem and its great, but its not home. There is no other blog plugin, API, etc that I know of without coding up some soup on your own server.

Because it seems the industry never gets excited until the dollar signs go off and then actually appear, there is a big side to the economy of p2p which is making the ding-dings go off in my brain prematurely; this is better than buying 31 cents stamps and selling them for 32 cents:

Rocketboom is amazing because it does not cost much to make. As our business scales up, aside from salary/support staff, our entire business model must mostly account for the bandwidth; as we grow, our costs grow. With p2p in the business model, of course, the more people that subscribe, or rather, the more people we must work to take care of, the more we get a business model that works like this:

Am I correct in calling the topic at this level "peer-to-peer" instead of Bittorent Inc.? Though open source, the name brand and a protocol are by the inspired Bram Cohen, copyright 2001-2006. All rights reserved. BitTorrent, the BitTorrent Logo, and Torrent are trademarks of Bram's. Microsoft is using something not called bittorrent I believe. There is metacast, swarmcast, and many other brands or varieties.


Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on April 26, 2006 7:57 AM | comments (2)

+ Sex, Drugs and Videoblogging

A very big article on The Rocketboom Band and videoblogging is on the shelves in the current Rolling Stone magazine. I was sad that I didn't really care at first, this is really big I think now. I am happy and obviously glad to post about it, though perhaps I resent Rolling Stone for it's symbolic position with the mainstream music industry which has traditionally been very unfair (the industry, not Rolling Stone in particular). Anyway, thanks Rolling Stone, I guess I'm pretty excited. It is a great article for videoblogging and should reach a lot of creative, potentially very capable people who might like to jump in on the medium.

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on April 22, 2006 10:56 PM | comments (3)

+ (An) Understanding (of) the Media Landscape

When I was at Columbia a couple of weeks ago on a journalism panel, I met Maria D'vari who just e-mailed me a report by Growing Audience which mentions (on page 3) Rocketboom in the context of portraying a fictional character in a new digital world (how's that for a prepositional run?)

Understanding the Media Landscape, for the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Newspaper Association of America :

• The number of prime-time network TV watchers has
declined 30 percent in the past 10 years.

• Cable market penetration in 2005 hit a 13-year low of 64.8
percent, with viewers migrating to other video sources
such as satellite television services (20.2 percent)

• When 18-34 year olds were asked about their top media
choices, 46 percent said the Internet and 35 percent said TV

• Even older Americans are changing: 61 percent of those
55 and older say they use the Internet more this year than
last and about 44 percent said they watch TV and read
newspapers less

• Viewership for the three nightly network newscasts
declined 45 percent from 1980 to 2004

• Local early evening news lost 16 percent of their audi-
ence share from 1997 to 2003, while local late news lost
18 percent during that period

• 80 percent of online adults used the Internet for news
in the past 7 days and about 26 percent said that use
reduces their use of traditional news sources

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 7:04 PM | comments (1)

+ RB Server Upgrade

We are undertaking a massive server upgrade on Datagram this weekend. We are keeping a couple of 100mbs servers and adding 2 gigabit servers with an anticipation of 40 to 50 terrabytes for the month of May. This could not be possible without Datagram giving us such a great deal (thanks Alex!). Bandwidth has really dropped in price over the last year and we are luckly to be connected to such a large pipe.

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on 3:18 PM | comments (0)

+ On the Horizon

Yesterday Amanda and I had the pleasure of hanging out with Dave Winer. I have been meeting a lot of amazing people and almost everyone has given so much, but I cant remember being struck so hard so many times in one day with drastic yet reasonable new perspectives to consider.

Over the course of recording Amanda's excellent interview, lunch and a walk in the park, here are a few of the remarkably major ideas now swirling around in my head:

The Ad Sea
Advertising. In for a BIG change. Could advertising erase itself as part of adjusting to the information age? As people continue to gain more information they seem to become more critical. Soon, advertising may not work at all. Instead of seeing a misplaced advertisement (i.e. undercover information about one thing invading an intended subject matter with another), the object for sale behind the advertisement need only exist by-itself or in a forum with other like kinds of information. Imagine for example that there is a catalog you requested to get in the mail from a store that you like to buy things from. The catalog is not an ad at this point, it's desired information. Question: What are the most popular RSS feeds on Yahoo? Shopping feeds. Perhaps the more that people will refuse invasion, the more they will explore and seek out the information that they want delivered.

The Aspen Tree
This is about something I suspect Dave was considering deeply but he never outright said to what degree. Its certainly a feeling I am having. He brought it up and we both agreed its very big and it is a must. Its an intended component for the OPML project but what he didn't say - what I'm going to go out on a limb to predict - is that post blogging, post RSS, post Podcasting, post OPML, the biggest ship which is about to set sail with Winer (and me already onboard), inevitably destined for global change is all about one word, and it's not plastics: Bittorrent; The Kleenex brand of an entirely redistributed internet. RSS+Bittorent is already late in coming but this is just a detail. Denying a peer-to-peer distributed internet in general, especially where individual computers are free to transfer data at maximum speeds in both directions (upload and download) would essentially be lobbying to keep a square wheel from turning round. That is, why cause one guy to carry all the load while everyone else consumes and then stagnates lethargically? No good reason. Peer-to-peer would be exponentially, perhaps even chaotically more efficient as a way for the internet to work. More like an aspen than a pine.

The Will O the Wisp
I'm really doing it up with the poetic subtitles, eh? Blogging can be a lot of different kinds of things and it can be one of those things in your life that eventually you feel like you must leave behind in order to move on to the next thing I suppose, but then again, I'm thinking blogging for some people might be more like brushing your teeth each day, something that is just a part of caring about life, something that you dont ever move on from as a good thing; Dave has been threatening to quit bogging. I'm thinking maybe it would be more natural to keep it, Dave!

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on April 19, 2006 12:05 AM | comments (1)

+ The End of Time

"Currently with the instantaneous broadcasting revolution, we are seeing the beginnings of a 'generalized arrival' whereby everything arrives without having to leave…A general arrival that explains the unheard-of innovation today of the static vehicle, a vehicle not only audiovisual but also tactile and interactive (radioactive, optoactive, interactive)." - Paul Virilio, Open Sky (via)

Posted to nothing by Rocketboom on April 18, 2006 9:39 PM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom Nominated for 2 Webby Awards!

Ok this is absolutely the biggest thing that has ever happened to me. Rocketboom was nominated for the Webby Awards in two categories! This is like the Oscars for the Web! I have never even imagined that something like this would happen to us. . .

1. Nomination for Cultural/Personal
2. Nomination for Best Use of Video or Moving Image

In the Cultural/Personal category we are in the company of two of my all time favorite sites on the whole internet: Boing Boing and we-make-money-not-art. Boing Boing IS my all-time favorite site and all around the biggest inspiration to me for everything that Rocketboom is. One of my biggest interests is interface design and we-make-money-not-art is my favorite daily index for the crossroads at art and technology.

Rocketboom's nominations are not just because of anything Amanda and I have done. Absolutely all nine of our current correspondents around the world have been quintessential to our definition and every single one is there because they took the initiative to do this entirely themselves, showing up with their own style without any need for guidance or direction - they each set their own directions. They also bring the crucial and refreshing citizen journalistic integrity to Rocketboom. They bring diversity in culture and the spirit of the real world onto the internet.

Rocketboom Correspondents:

Los Angeles, CA. USA

Zadi Diaz
Los Angeles, CA. USA

Steve Garfield
Boston, MA. USA

Chuck Olsen
Minneapolis, MN. USA

Stefan M. Seydel/sms ;-)
Lake Constance, Switzerland/Germany/Austria

Graham Walker
Prague, Czech Republic

Tyson Root
Houston, TX. USA

Milt Lee
Rapid City, SD. USA

Ruud Elmendorp
Nairobi, Kenya

There are also countless others who have been giving us the greatest support, I won't bore you with a speech right now, but thanks everyone - we now have two editors who have been working since December and covering ALL of the editing since February, Kevin Chapados and Sherng-Lee Huang, Mario has been developing the creative for our ads, Tim Shey is coming on board as a business partner and has been working full-time on ad sales, Ellie is working as a full-time office manager (now we just need an office), Kenyatta has continued to help us manage some server issues, Josh Kinberg has always been around from the start lending a hand, my dad was always throwing money at us while we were trying to stay afloat, Amanda's mom invested in our first T-shirt order, it's just crazy, the list goes on!

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on April 13, 2006 10:43 AM | comments (2)

+ Museum of the Moving Image

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on April 5, 2006 4:57 PM | comments (0)

+ Vamos Mexico

"Andrew Baron y Amanda Congdon de Rocketboom van a llegar a México el próximo jueves, para asistir a la entrega de premios del Primer Concurso Intel de Video Blogs." - Verborragia

Babel Fish Translation:
"Andrew Baron and Amanda Congdon de Rocketboom is going to arrive at Mexico the next Thursday, to attend the delivery of prizes of the First Aid Intel de Video Blogs." - Verborragia

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on 9:21 AM | comments (0)

+ Columbia Journalism Discussion

WHERE: Lecture Hall, Columbia University School of Journalism, 116th & Broadway, New York, N.Y.

WHEN: Wednesday, April 5, 12-2pm

WHAT: Professional Futures Discussion: What's in Store for Your Online Journalism Career? A roundtable -- with audience participation -- of potential online journalism pathways for veterans and newbies.

* Jen Chung, editor and co-founder of New York City blog www.gothamist.com

* Amy Gahran, participatory media expert and editor of Poynter's E-Media Tidbits group blog

* Michael Vizard, senior VP and editorial director of the Enterprise Group at Ziff Davis Media

* Moderator Adam Glenn, former ABCNews.com senior producer and co-founder of citizen journalism venture I, Reporter

* Andrew Baron, Rocketboom

Posted to new york city by Rocketboom on April 3, 2006 8:47 PM | comments (0)


I finally made it to Canada for the first time ever. Growing up in the Cold War, I always knew Canada as the place I would be if I ever got drafted but I never was and now I'm too old to fight anyway. I went to iSummet in Toronto and it was the nicest conference I have ever been to - great space, the technical setup and food were awesome, and especially the organization and the people in attendance. Here is a kinda-run-down:

First I can't let another moment go by without saying that the best time I had, as hoped and expected, was hanging out with the commandN gang. Even though I only had one beer, after being around Amber and Mike at The Berkeley Church (a church where rock-music and open bars are okay), and then driving around the streets in circles, I felt like I had about 6 beers and maybe had even been dosed or something.

After recuperating for the next day, the panel I was on, Sex, Lies and Podcasts went really well I thought; several people told me they were inspired to get out there and do some really intriguing things. The panel was moderated by Eli SInger of Cundari, who allowed it to really flow, and included Steve Pratt, a superstar podcast director who is making the Canadian indi-music scene very popular (every single person at the conference knew of his production on CBC Radio3), Brian McKechnie, also from commandN and also really great - Brian was saying, and I agree, that building up a big audience with free content (which is a great thing to do!) but then throwing up a gate one day to say pay or no play, is kinda lame, and maybe not the best way - and Nikhil Hasija to round out the panel for his involvement in advertising solutions for podcasters.

Overall, after being on the final closing panel as well, attending two full days of other great conversations, panels and about three parties, the main thing I gathered, besides the notion that Amber and Mike are really crazy, is that the professional and up-and-coming broadcast industry and media arts of Canada is relatively isolated in Canada, but there is a major momentum to transcend the weird historical territorial boundaries in place; now couldn't be a better time to take hold of a global media influence. Because they have such a strong media hub already, it seems like they are already a step ahead. commandN and CBC Radio3 in particular seem to be leading the entire country in the progressive exportation or their culture.

With companies like Flickr, a big creative game industry, and a lot of media arts and even fine arts, Toronto is being called the third coast (after NYC and L.A.). It reminds me of Austin calling themselves the third coast for a destructive late 90's boom because the nice standard of living and the city's conscious effort to draw in the film and tech industries by providing unheard of tax incentives and treats led to the industry creating itself. Toronto is really flying now and maybe it is large enough to support this kind of growth.

The one thing everyone in the audience knew was that this is the time for shifting media to i.p. distribution, but the one question everyone had was 'HOW'. How?

Think of the internet not as a bunch of swirly code and statistical equations or a field for anonymous mayhem only, it's really a live world out there full of rules and ways of being too, I like to call it internet culture. If you move to a new country, with a culture you are unfamiliar with, it's not going to do you much good to stay at home. You may want to get out there into the environment and walk around to discover things about how the systems work, what kinds of things the people like and don't like. It's like a new wild west with rhymes and reasons. Whatever it is, it might become more clear if you spend some time out (t)here to understand it for yourself.

MESH is next. . .

Posted to world by Rocketboom on 10:21 AM | comments (2)

+ G4 Laptop Logo Mod

It was the first hour I had for a break in many months. So what did I do? Touch base with family and friends? Go on a date? Stroll in the park? Eh, no. I modified my G4 12-inch laptop logo: Tutorial.

Posted to art by Rocketboom on March 28, 2006 1:31 AM | comments (1)

+ Star Wars World Tour

by ishkur

Posted to outer space by Rocketboom on March 27, 2006 9:59 AM | comments (0)

+ Furie

Work by Matt Furie:

Posted to
art by Rocketboom on March 25, 2006 9:16 PM | comments (0)

+ House Lights

I remember quite clearly the day Rocketboom had 700 regular audience members (December, 2004). 700 was a very big number for me - it still is - because it represents one of the largest, accessible playhouses in Austin that I was involved with. In any number of theaters, usually with less than 300 seats, I would easily spend an entire year of my life working on a production that would be a success to sell out even one or two nights for an entire 6 or 8 day run. In so many ways, there is no comparison between a play and an episode of Rocketboom and in another way, with Rocketboom, we now have well over 350,000 people per show. I have watched that same, consistent, never-falling number grow from 700 to the daily 300,000 that it has recently bounded to now. The additional 50,000+ is made of reports from the TiVo audience, other distribution channels off-site and a new Japanese audience that is already popular on iTunes Japan.

We seemingly know the contemporary potential of a reoccurring domestic TV-show (according to obscure stats, 20-million?), but what we don't know is the potential of a reoccurring, internet on-demand, international show. While U.S. TV-shows that are moving online continue to restrict their availability and distribution (iTunes for instance will not allow someone in Mexico or Japan to buy a song or video from the U.S.), people may still find, if only by default, Rocketboom is available.

In order of appearance for Tue, Mar 21 2006 at 12:53 AM to Wed, Mar 22 2006 at 12:48 AM (1.00 day):

.net (Networks)
[unresolved numerical addresses]
.com (Commercial)
.au (Australia)
.jp (Japan)
.edu (USA Higher Education)
.ca (Canada)
.nl (Netherlands)
.de (Germany)
.uk (United Kingdom)
.ch (Switzerland)
.dk (Denmark)
.it (Italy)
.fr (France)
.be (Belgium)
.lt (Lithuania)
.org (Non Profit Making Organisations)
.mx (Mexico)
.gov (USA Government)
.ar (Argentina)
.mil (USA Military)
.in (India)
.br (Brazil)
.se (Sweden)
.arpa (Arpanet)
.fi (Finland)
.at (Austria)
.cz (Czech Republic)
.nz (New Zealand)
.es (Spain)
.il (Israel)
.pl (Poland)
.us (United States)
.sg (Singapore)
.no (Norway)
.pt (Portugal)
.tw (Taiwan)
.tr (Turkey)
.co (Colombia)
.sk (Slovakia)
.cl (Chile)
.gr (Greece)
.pe (Peru)
.hu (Hungary)
.ma (Morocco)
[unknown domain]
.my (Malaysia)
.ee (Estonia)
.si (Slovenia)
.ie (Ireland)
.bg (Bulgaria)
.ru (Russia)
.do (Dominican Republic)
.th (Thailand)
.is (Iceland)
.info (Informational)
.ro (Romania)
.uy (Uruguay)
.hk (Hong Kong)
.biz (Businesses)
.fj (Fiji)
.yu (Former Yugoslavia)
.kh (Cambodia)
.mv (Maldives)
.cy (Cyprus)
.sa (Saudi Arabia)
.cc (Cocos (Keeling) Islands)
[domain not given]
.vn (Vietnam)
.qa (Qatar)
.tt (Trinidad and Tobago)
.cn (China)
.gt (Guatemala)
.id (Indonesia)
.ci (Ivory Coast)
.np (Nepal)
.hr (Croatia)
.coop (Co-operatives)
.kr (South Korea)
.ad (Andorra)
.nu (Niue)
.tv (Tuvalu)
.lb (Lebanon)
.ph (Philippines)
.pk (Pakistan)
.ve (Venezuela)
.cr (Costa Rica)
.lv (Latvia)
.za (South Africa)
.int (International Treaty Organisations)
.jo (Jordan)
.pf (French Polynesia)
.lu (Luxembourg)
.an (Netherlands Antilles)
.eg (Egypt)
.to (Tonga)
.ua (Ukraine)
.tc (Turks and Caicos Islands)
.ae (United Arab Emirates)
.mc (Monaco)
.ni (Nicaragua)
.ag (Antigua and Barbuda)

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on March 22, 2006 9:42 AM | comments (1)

+ The TRM, Earthlink & Rocketboom Expedition

Interacting with everyone from TRM, MediaVest and Earthlink has been a great experience, I feel like we are all astronauts floating around in space trying to figure out what do. It's kinda like building an International Space Station for a meeting of the minds with people from all over.

The blogging of the videoblogging commercials (we need a new word for 'commercial') is being conducted by Dave Coustan at Earthling so if you would like to keep up with the latest on the first space station inhabitants of the TRM, Earthlink & Rocketboom Expedition, that may be your best bet, Houston.

Posted to outer space by Rocketboom on March 3, 2006 9:36 PM | comments (0)

+ RB @ TVTonic

Posted to new york city by Rocketboom on March 2, 2006 9:03 PM | comments (1)

+ The Need to Know

or, public tracking of a group interest:

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on February 17, 2006 6:19 PM | comments (0)

+ Pay-per vs. Free Ads

From Podcasting News:

"Are Apple's $1.99 Video Downloads Doomed? February 16, 2006 : Rocketboom may be on to something. According to a recent report, consumers prefer commercial-sponsored on-demand video content to paying $1.99 for programs without commercials by a greater than three-to-one margin.

"Video downloads for $1.99 will have limited appeal. Consumers will grow tired of having their credit cards charged $1.99 every time they download a rerun of CSI," said Craig Leddy, an analyst with the Points North Group research firm.

When asked if they missed their favorite TV show and could watch it online or order it through cable or satellite, 62% of survey respondents said they would prefer getting it for free with commercials, versus 17% who chose paying $1.99 without commercials. 21% are undecided.

In the demographic of consumers aged 18-34, 68% chose free, ad-supported versus 26% favoring pay, and only 5% undecided. . ."

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on 9:56 AM | comments (2)

+ Rocketboom.jp Image (self-)Leak

Coming soon to a .jp near you:

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on February 13, 2006 1:00 PM | comments (0)

+ Central Park or Grand Central Station?

Answer: Central Park - 79th St. and 5th Ave. entrance, today, 2/12 circa 3pm

Posted to new york city by Drew on February 12, 2006 7:16 PM | comments (2)


Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on February 3, 2006 5:27 PM | comments (0)

+ RB on CSI

Here is another view of what it looked like when Amanda showed up on CSI last night from 2 of our servers:

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on 2:10 PM | comments (3)

+ Congressional Internet Caucus

Next Wed, Feb 8th I will be in Washington on a panel for the Congressional Internet Caucus. It's the State of the Net Conference and I'm taking it very seriously. I may even wear a tie.

From what I'm hearing, policy makers in D.C. are uninformed about the importance and implications of multimedia online. They are mostly talking about the deals being made between large companies like Apple and Disney, and AOL and TV networks and would likely tend towards creating future policy that treats the online video space just like they treat the nationally-centric traditional broadcast medium. This could have severe consequences in general potentially limiting possibilities for video to flow online - limiting citizen journalism, suppressing up-and-coming content creators - let alone plugging-up the general and progressive flow of world culture, introducing expense, regulations, censorship, isolationism, permits and all kinds of other painful and slow processes that might stump human progress from this incredibly powerful visual medium.

So I will attempt to highlight many of the major implications that online video can have on politics, business, citizen journalism, entertainment, copyrights and the integration of other cultures (they can think of it as "natural democratization") while trying to illuminate some of the most important benefits to keeping it moving easily without interference. Without much time, I plan to give an introduction and leave resources behind.

It would be great to get some feedback/links to important articles you think are relevant and why.

Posted to world by Rocketboom on February 2, 2006 11:27 PM | comments (1)

+ Anachronistic Photoshopping

Photoshop contest via boing boing

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on January 28, 2006 10:47 PM | comments (0)

+ That's right, you're not from Texas

I'm home with mom in Big D, little A, double L, A S. I love my mom. She wears a ten gallon heart.

**update: I'm back!

Posted to my_life by Rocketboom on January 23, 2006 11:29 PM | comments (1)

+ Is the Web the New Hollywood?

Why, yes, it looks like it is. Heather Green, one of my all-time favorite writers on the subject and a very, very, extremely-bright person (hi Heather!) has written another great piece on the (new) gang:


A must-read for anyone questioning the growing value of the gateless, great wild west of online video.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 11:23 PM | comments (1)

+ Unanticipated Formalities

Out of 25.8million blogs being tracked on Technorati, Rocketboom has somehow made it up to the top 150 now. We've been sitting at that number for a few weeks. I was already quite surprised in October we had climbed into the top 400, but this is just ridiculous.

This is even more crazy: type the name "amanda" into Google and there is Amanda, at #10. I'll be completely floored if she ever passes Amanda.org, the Advanced Maryland Automatic Network Disk Archiver.

A few other interesting stats, while I'm at it: When we began, the word "rocketboom" only had a few hits and Google would ask, "Did you mean rocketbook?". Today it seems there is no question and the word "rocketboom" has 756,000 results. (Oh well, in Google news there is still some question).

Also, Rocketboom, I found out from a comment left to our site, is the first search return for the word "vlog" on Google and is in the news every day.

A couple of consequences that really suck a) I can no longer follow/see every link (there just isn't enough time) and b) e-mails are so heavy I can't keep up anymore - it's the worst feeling to not be able to respond - pending issues continue to build up, I really have lost it and I'm kinda in a perpetual state of panic over e-mail right now.

One of the best consequences is that we get so many e-mails with story suggestions and great ideas, we can easily stay up to beat, just from audience participation.

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on January 20, 2006 10:35 PM | comments (5)

+ Ghost Busters in a GIF

- a bit of music to spice it up. GIF by b3tapix.

Posted to art by Rocketboom on January 17, 2006 6:49 PM | comments (0)


For the BEST,conference I have ever been to in my life, from my home town in beautiful Austin, TX, thanks to Hugh Forrest for having Rocketboom on the videoblogging panel at SXSW Interactive, Tuesday March 14th from 11:30am - 12:30pm. This is going to be great. I'm feeling another dance flash 'a boilin as well. This is a must see conference, one that is really fun while also very informative.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 11:27 AM | comments (1)

+ On Vacation (kinda)

I'm trying to have a my first vacation in almost two years this week but that's a bust. Nevertheless, I'm having the best time in Aspen on the first ever, Rocketboom retreat with Amanda, Chuck, Steve, Milt and their respective others. Next time hopefully the entire gang will be able to make it. Tomorrow I'll be at Snowmass bombing blue runs and jumping spread eagle with every intention of avoiding large-scale yard sales. Snowmass - Wed 5:45a: 41 - 59" base; 7 degrees F, top elevation: 12,510ft. [map].

Posted to my_life by Rocketboom on January 11, 2006 10:13 AM | comments (1)

+ AT&T Lo-Fi Logo

I haven't thought too much about the new AT&T logo, but after seeing it online so much lately, I finally figured out what went terribly wrong: It looks bad scaled down.

As you can see, the subtle, dark blue lines that swirl against the lighter blue swirl, creates the effect that the entire logo is pixilated and very lo-res.

The problem could be fixed if there was a greater contrast between the two blue colors. Unfortunately for AT&T, this is likely going to create a terrible lo-fi look-and-feel for many other people too, even when not conscious of it. A company like AT&T should have a very sharp, crisp and fine logo, not a crappy, pixilated, 1996 looking one.

Posted to world by Rocketboom on January 9, 2006 6:35 PM | comments (0)

+ My Apple Macworld Prediction

I predict, with about %0.006 certainty, that Apple is going to release the most powerful laptop the company has ever had. I assume it will have the new Intel quad and a 20" screen. It will be so expensive, I'll need to wait until it's old and worthless before I can afford it.

I don't think they are ready to sell OSX for PCs, but I'll bet they will stop stopping hackers from running it, and perhaps have it on the shelf later this year in time for Vista.

Making a prediction one day before the mystery is revealed is much like not sleeping on a big decision. In this case though, I have nothing to lose because this is not my area of expertise. It's just fun to play.

Posted to nothing by Rocketboom on 3:50 PM | comments (1)

+ Verdi Strikes Again, and Again

I got tired of seeing this everyday so I moved the post over here.

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on January 8, 2006 2:44 AM | comments (16)


Just got into Las Vegas (not my kinda town, but fun for a couple of days). Anyone else out there should consider the CES un-conference.

Thanks to Intel for putting us up in MGM, pretty snazzy!! And thanks to TiVo for the conference tickets, we are really stylin this year!

Posted to world by Rocketboom on January 6, 2006 4:54 PM | comments (0)

+ Top Searches in China for 2005

From: China Daily:

Top 10 keyword searches on Baidu.com in 2005:

1. MP3
2. "Super Girl" (Chao Ji Nu Sheng), the televised singing competition similar to "American Idol" was widely watched across the country
3. "Fairy Tale," a pop song by a Malaysian singer
4. QQ, the most popular online chatting software
5. Li Yuchun, the winner of "Super Girl"
6. "Dae Jang Geum" or "Jewel in the Palace," a South Korean TV series
7. "The Myth," a movie starring Jackie Chan
8. "San Jiang," an educational program for members of the Chinese Communist Party
9. "Kill the God," an Internet novel
10. O2jam or Jing Yuetuan, an online music game.

Top news searches:

1. Shenzhou VI
2. Bird flu
3. Ba Jin, a legendary author who died in October
4. Liu Xiang, the Shanghai native who won a gold medal in the 110m hurdles at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on December 26, 2005 11:08 PM | comments (0)

+ TiVo I.P to T.V, No Need to Go Back

I am not at all surprised to hear several people mention that they think it is strange that Rocketboom is not available to be copied off of their TiVo boxes. We are against DRM and would likely desire to opt-out of any other form of distribution blocks.

The current TiVo box hardware does not support the transfer of content from video downloaded over I.P. into the Tivo-To-Go service. This is not an intentional restriction, it's a physical one. While this is currently the case, I have heard that there may be new boxes in the future that will be able to support the transfer.

Luckily, it's not that big of a deal because we already have available video on the web and our iTunes feed is optimized to work with iTunes and the video iPod, including a very specifically formatted set of metadata, etc.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on December 24, 2005 10:21 PM | comments (1)

+ Santa on the Rise

Santa is enjoying a steady gain in Technorati mentions this time of year.

Posted to outer space by Rocketboom on December 23, 2005 3:17 AM | comments (2)

+ Seeing in Two Lives Video

Posted to new york city by Rocketboom on 1:45 AM | comments (0)

+ The Unbundled Awakening

Terry Heaton was one of the first people that I encountered in the online video space when Rocketboom first began. In addition to always offering pure encouragement, I remember one of the first things he ever said to me: it was his job to try and educate the major media companies about what is ahead with content over IP. News in a Postmodern World, 2006: The Unbundled Awakening, is a must read for anyone interested in an overview of the 2005/2006 arena.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on December 22, 2005 2:08 PM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom is Live on TiVo!!

Rocketboom is now officially launched on TiVo boxes! The first file has propagated and we have been getting comments from regular subscribers that it looks good.

There are a lot of people at TiVo who have worked really, really hard to bring this to fruition and I can't help but say thank you, this is going to be the beginning of something really, really big I believe.

TiVo automatically picks up a hi-res mpeg2 in an RSS enclosure and then redistributes our content to homes over I.P. A TiVo subscriber who signs up for Rocketboom can now interact with our content in exactly the same way that they interact with other content on TiVo, making the experience virtually seamless.

In other-words, TiVo has perfectly married and managed the traditional and contemporary distribution channels into a single back-end such that the means of distribution has actually become irrelevant.

One step closer to the ubiquitous screen.

Want to get it all? The best of the old and a slice of the new? TiVo it and let the games begin!


Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on December 20, 2005 1:09 AM | comments (0)

+ Medios digitales en México?

Today we are off to Mexico City to meet with Intel and Televisa:

Andrés Bianciotto | 13 - 12 - 2005 00:52:

Llamado a los medios digitales, ezines, blogs, colectivos y demás prensa electrónica mexicana. Intel presentará el Primer Concurso Intel de Video Blogs en México.

La cita es mañana miércoles 14 de diciembre a las 8:30 a.m. en el salón Great Room B del Hotel W ubicado en Campos Elíseos No. 252, Polanco.

Nos visitan Amanda Congdon y Andrew Baron, los "culpables" de Rocketboom.com, el vlog más comentado en USA. Vamos a charlar del proyecto, tendremos sesiones de preguntas y respuestas, y seguro alguien dará un discurso más esperanzado que divertido.

Si alguien tiene intenciones de ir (no sean flojos y resuciten temprano una vez!), que me deje una nota para ir calculando espacios y catering!

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on December 13, 2005 3:01 AM | comments (2)

+ Digg is in the House

Or should I say, IN THE HOUSE!!!!!!!!

Top referrers to Rocketboom.com from Saturday, Dec 03 2005 at 12:46 AM to Sun, Dec 04 2005 at 12:45 AM (1.00 days):

(not including hot-links direct to video or torrents):

8181 - http://digg.com/
7238 - http://www.digg.com/
693 - http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/
651 - http://www.dslreports.com/
602 - http://www.boingboing.net/
579 - http://del.icio.us/
417 - http://boingboing.net/

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on December 4, 2005 1:07 PM | comments (0)

+ Swift Vulpes

The thing I really like about Firefox, besides being regularly updated (IE has not had an upgrade in years), is that it is gaining momentum with over 10% market share (that means IE has less than 90% because Safari, Opera, etc have percentages too) and, in this case, it is healthier to have competition as competition will drive innovation: Microsoft has been completely complacent because there has been no competition. So over 80% of everyone in the world has a browser that was built on a technology of the last millennium.

If Firefox can keep growing in use rates, it will be worthwhile for both companies to work hard and keep up with the times (i.e. (<-no pun intended) people will enjoy much better browsers no matter which one they use).

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on December 3, 2005 2:17 AM | comments (0)

+ Wikipediagate

The Wikepedia entry for podcasting (which does not consider video: "Podcasting basically means downloading audio, commonly MP3 or Ogg Vorbis files.") may soon spawn a new entry with reference to Adam Curry.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 1:04 AM | comments (1)

+ Ad Scare

Someone just sent us an e-mail responding to a "sexy hostess" ad. I was kinda freaked out by that because we dont have any ads. It turns out she misread someone's ad for a "Video Blog Hostess". After a couple of e-mail back-n-forths with her, I was able to get the actual ad in Toronto on Craig's List:

Video Blog Hostess
Reply to: job-114585549@craigslist.org
Date: 2005-11-29, 6:20PM EST

We are launching a new Video Blog (like - www.rocketboom.com) and we are looking for a hostess for our show. You don't have to be an Amanda clone - but we are looking for someone who is funny, articulate and sexy as our hostess. Someone who will appeal to a male (18-35) skewing audience.

We will provide details about the content later. It is newsy - no nudity involved.

Compensation is $60 per show and each show is about 5 minutes long and will take about an hour to shoot. We will be shooting 3 shows a week to start and then as it takes off increasing to 5.

Please send in a headshot or photograph if you don't have any headshots. If you have a link to video on the web that's cool we'd like to see that too.

• Job location is Web
• Compensation: $60 per show - one hour per show - 3 shows per week
• Telecommuting is ok.
• This is a part-time job.
• no -- Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
• no -- Please, no phone calls about this job!
• yes -- Reposting this message elsewhere is OK.

What!? Only $60? No content detail?

Posted to nothing by Rocketboom on December 1, 2005 12:22 PM | comments (0)

+ I Heart Multiple RSS Feeds

Dave Winer thinks it's all messed up that we have 15 RSS feeds and so now others think that too. I'm pretty sure we were one of the first sites to actively need and use multiple 2.0 enclosure feeds over a year ago and now that we have so many, I respectfully disagree that it's messed up; this method of having multiple RSS feeds is working just fine - it may actually work better than having all of the media data in one feed. Distribution platforms are extending RSS to automate getting content from their clients into their various systems, for example, and each require a different data set, naturally. Why leave it up to regular aggregators or the audience to figure out how to configure an extremely complex set of variables that will always be changing and evolving and specifically different for different content sources?

Yahoo produced their own update earlier this year, Media RSS, with allowance for multiple enclosures. Everyone I know seems to accept it, only when asked. No one I know seems to otherwise acknowledge it. And while I can incorporate it as as our 16th additional feed, at this point, I dont really foresee an industry standard there so what's the point of complicating things further unless I am required to have it in order to deal with Yahoo?

Apple added their own specs which are required to deal with Apple. As far as I can determine, the specs have been approved (it doesn't break anything else) yet the complaints have been more likely do to psychological "pollution", especially in terms of the aesthetic branding that surrounds the other transparent business (i.e. now all these playing xml pages have links to Apple and Apple's outstanding presence in the code). Some publishers considered the move by Apple to be rude because they felt it technically "messed" with their feed (<-singular).

Thus, Apple's implementation of iTunes specific requirements led to a perfect example of a need for a separate feed. Most people, however, simply added the Apple specs to their pre-existing feed. Being in the habit already, it made sense to me to simply create a new feed which was "designed" specifically for the iTunes user experience.

It was fair for Apple to create their own standard because they needed a specific layout with a more refined data-set to fit the design of iTunes (because Apple pays attention to design). Great, I want people who use iTunes to experience Rocketboom in a way that works well in iTunes too. As a publisher, I know how iTunes looks so I can put a different image up, a different description, a catered set of metadata in an order that better suits certain features regarding user experience on only their platform, etc. Extend this to the PSP, telephone enclosures and personal preferences with players and aggregators or even home spun PHP, it makes sense to keep it clean and organized as separate feeds.

Furthermore, it's easier to migrate or upgrade the people of one feed without effecting everyone else.

Also, we need separate feeds any way: we have private feeds that we use to distribute higher quality files to other platforms; tonight I'm taking a break here from working on a password protected subscription torrent feed with an option for HD h264 or wmv, for instance.

With multiple feeds, I feel like we may have more control over offering a simpler, more personalized experience for our audience because we know what we have, how it should be organized, how it looks, how people are using it and how to cut out all the extra packets that they are not using.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 2:27 AM | comments (2)

+ Streaming Media from Streaming Media West

Kinda boring for most people I assume, though here is a clip I just found of the whole lecture at the Streaming Media West conference I spoke at in San Jose last week. If the link does not work, open your windows media player and select: file>open url> http://www.tvworldwide.com/showclip.cfm?id=6387&clip=2

This was geared towards the particular audience's interests. One unforeseen and delightful thing about Rocketboom is the amount of interests it crosses into: videoblogging, personal media, citizen journalism, fair use methods, creative commons, weblogs, monetary models, advertising potential, academics, political empowerment, new formats for content creation, international correspondence, low cost gear, and in the case of this conference, it was new distribution platforms.

Posted to my_life by Rocketboom on November 24, 2005 10:36 PM | comments (0)

+ Tinariwen and Jose Gonzales

In July, for a Rocketboom episode, we stumbled on Tinariwen - I bought their CD at Virgin yesterday and I haven't stopped listening yet, with the exception of listening to the other CD I bought Jose Gonzales, Vaneer.

Posted to world by Rocketboom on November 21, 2005 2:46 AM | comments (0)

+ Democratization of the moving image synopsis (in case you didn't know)

When mp3.com rolled out and the Rio player was released, the entire medium, audio, became democratized over night. Prior, wealth, experience and greatness was worthless up against the elite "industry" control over promotion and distribution.

Before, musicians made $1mil+ or they were in debt - there was almost no in-between. Now, musicians can afford to create, promote and distribute their work on any level, bypassing any or all of the traditional, closed gate roads.

Now is the that time for the moving image. The tools? Cheap. Distribution? Instantaneous. Promotion? Free on a global level and especially? This year, the audience is finally here.

But there is a big difference between audio and video, in terms of this democratization: People have always had access to sound, even when poor and unfortunate. Peasants had musical instruments. Voices have had words. The audio medium has been building on itself creatively for millennia. Creativity in music can build with imagination alone - just sing.

Yet with the very recent medium of the moving image, only the elite few have actually created. Prior to now, there was no access to the tools.

Suddenly, as if overnight, more people are creating with the moving image. Suddenly, because there is room for everything, there is more to be seen. This is the real boon. And because so few have created before, there has been little innovation in applied use and format. The most powerful medium in the world for so many causes and reasons, the moving image moves hearts, ends wars, and transcends human time. It's effective escape. Its an equally shared experience. It's a revealing form of communication. And no one has been doing it until now. And what has been done has not been seen.

Posted to world by Rocketboom on November 19, 2005 12:37 PM | comments (1)

+ LIVE from the NYPL

THE BATTLE OVER BOOKS Authors & Publishers Take on the Google Print Library Project
Thursday, November 17, 2005 at 7:00 PM Celeste Bartos Forum


Thanks Robert for the ticket!!!!!!

Last December, Google launched its Print Library Project to scan books from the collections of several major libraries: Harvard, Michigan, Stanford, Oxford, and the New York Public Library.

Google explained: "Our ultimate goal is to work with publishers and libraries to create a comprehensive, searchable, virtual card catalog of all books in all languages that helps users discover new books and publishers find new readers."

Sounds like a win-win-win-win for readers, authors, publishers, and libraries alike, right? But as we have seen with other media migrating to the Internet, such a project raises a number of questions about intellectual property rights, fair use, piracy, access, ownership, distribution, compensation, and control. This fall, the Authors Guild and the Association of American Publishers filed lawsuits against Google, citing massive copyright infringement.

LIVE from the NYPL and WIRED Magazine present a provocative discussion about the competing interests and issues raised by the Google Print Library Project, and whether a universal digital repository of our collective knowledge is in our future.

Allan Adler is Vice President for Legal Governmental Affairs at the Association of American Publishers (AAP), the national trade organization which represents the US book and journal publishing industries.

Chris Anderson is the WIRED Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief and is the author of the forthcoming book on his “Long Tail” theory. WIRED is the recipient of the 2005 National Magazine Award for General Excellence and Anderson was recently named Advertising Age’s Editor of the Year.

David Drummond is Google’s Vice President, Corporate Development and works with Google’s management team to evaluate and drive new strategic business opportunities, including strategic alliances and mergers and acquisitions. He also serves as Google’s general counsel.

David Ferriero is the Andrew W. Mellon Director and Chief Executive of the Research Libraries at the New York Public Library and is charged with moving the four world-renowned Research Libraries into the 21st Century.

Paul LeClerc has been President and Chief Executive Officer of The New York Public Library for the past twelve years. He also serves as a trustee of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Book Foundation, and the American Academy of Rome. President Clinton named him to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Lawrence Lessig is a professor at Stanford Law School, the Founder and Chairman of Creative Commons, and the author of Code, The Future of Ideas, and Free Culture: The Nature and Future of Creativity.

Nick Taylor is a best-selling author, the President of the Authors Guild, and an advocate of copyright and fair contracts. In addition, he is a director of the Authors Guild Foundation and a member of the literary organization PEN.

Posted to world by Rocketboom on November 17, 2005 7:16 PM | comments (5)

+ Streaming Media West

I'll be in San Francisco/San Jose for the Streaming Media West Conference on Tuesday. Thanks to Peggy for the last-minute invite.

Anyone who is in San Fran that would like to meet up for a geek dinner just e-mail me or show up. Tuesday ay 7pm. Where? Not sure, any suggestions? I'll update this post when it is settled.

UPDATE #2: It looks like I wont even make it back from San Jose until around 9:30pm :(

So! Lets me at Schlomo's bar on Montgomery at 9:30 if you can make it!


Session Details

Date: Tues. Nov. 15th, 2005

Time: 10:00 a.m. - 11:00 p.m.

Session: B101

Session Title: Mobile Media, Portable Media & Personal Broadcasting

Session Description:

Moderator: Peggy Miles, President, InterVox Communications,

I'll be sitting in for Peggy.

Panelist: Stephen Smyth, VP, Media, Reuters
Panelist: Benjamin Feinman, Director, Product Management, MobiTV,

Geek Diner Meetup in SF:

Afterwards we will head to Shlomo's bar on Montgomery St. Between Market and Mission. It's called. . .whats it called Schlomo? We should be there maybe by 9pm.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on November 14, 2005 11:02 AM | comments (1)

+ On Tags

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on November 13, 2005 6:20 PM | comments (0)

+ What is the purpose of Bill O'Rilley for Fox News?

Setting aside an organization or a non-human entity, I have little criticism for individual people (setting aside George Bush of course). But I have to say, there is guy named Bill O'Rilley on Fox News who keeps popping up in my aggregator. I just can't believe things have gotten this bad. I like to poke fun at Fox and everybody makes mistakes with news, but this is downright bizarre. It's like news for cult-underground-extremists, yet it must be popular if he is a Fox News veteran. It is definitely not news though, that's for sure - I don't think I am challenging any definitions of news when I say that.

Sorry Bill, normally I would not blame you for being who you are - it's probably a problem with all kinds of factors out of your own control - a tragedy you had when you were younger I assume led you to be like this - but I can't help but think, because your intentions are wicked by design, that you should stop. Please Bill, just stop being so outspoken to so many people because it is hurtful for everyone on so many levels. Step down and hand in your resignation.

Based on this one man, I'm convinced that Fox News as a whole has no integrity whatsoever, just as everyone has been saying. I can't believe it's this blatant. As I have said before, I dont have a TV so this is a surprise to me. I have seen his face around on the internet a lot this year and I just can't take it anymore without saying something about it. Fox should remove the "News" part of their logo whenever he is on. Its a "show" like "The Simpsons". This guy belongs in a live circus, not a news room.

Posted to world by Rocketboom on 2:45 PM | comments (4)

+ Incendental Online Audio Rights (via video)

Here is a video that Google is hosting and also displaying which has copyrighted music:

I'm almost certain that by today's legal precedence, Google is breaking the law in hosting this video. Since it was linked to by Waxy, it's getting blasted with hits right now probably.

This sets a great precedence for others to do the same thing. I think that's a good thing because this case is not harmful. The audio quality is poor, the video was made for human intent not commercial intent, and if anything it helps remind us of washed up music that may have no other promotion right now.

Sometimes it can be harmful but I just don't see ANY harm whatsoever in this case. Why let five record companies with a bad record determine the entire use parameters for all of the audio in the world? Sometimes change is inevitable and just happens because it must.

This is a contemporary fair use case at its finest. Hopefully Google has the footing and wherewithal (and desire) to help redefine the parameters.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 1:00 PM | comments (1)

+ What is Television?

I've been editing this weblog publicly it seems. I write something, publish it, then come back later and change it without making any mention of what I've changed or what has been updated or deleted. It's not normal I know, I only do it here. If I decide to make a change after 2-days of it being up, I'll let you know. That hasn't happened yet. Otherwise, let's just say posts are allowed to evolve over a 48-hr period.

Anyway, I was just posting about TV being defined by content that is "made for tv" which excludes a lot of other content, like movies, videoblogs, audio, photographs, citizen journalism, personal media, etc. Thus the word "TV" is so loaded, it doesnt feel good to use.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 12:35 PM | comments (1)


From Chris Anderson:

Box Office: down by 7% this year (tickets per capita have fallen every year since 2001). 
Newspapers: circulation, which peaked in 1987, is declining faster than ever and is down another 2.6% so far this year. 
Music: Sales are down another 5.7% this year; although digital downloads (still just 6% of the business) are climbing nicely. 
Radio: down 4% this year alone, continuing a multi-decade decline.
Books: down by 7% in 2004 (but see comments  below for discussion)

DVDs: sales growth is slowing dramatically, from 29% last year to single digits this year.
TV: Total viewership is still rising, but as channels proliferate and the audience fragments the rating of the average show continues to decline.
Magazines: Ad revenues are up a bit although the number of ad pages is flat (they're charging more per page). Circulation is also flat, while newsstand sales are at an all-time low. 
Videogames: it's the final few months of the current generation of consoles, which tends to the trough of the buying cycle. Sales were down 20% in Sept, but will probably pick up by Christmas with the launch of the Xbox 360.

Internet advertising:
+Banners: Up 10% this year
+Keywords: Google revenues up 96%

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on November 9, 2005 1:32 AM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom Blocks Australia?

Not sure what I have just cut-off but I just don't have the resources to track it down right now. An AUS I.P. has been sucking down 33% of our bandwidth costs over the last two weeks. Compared to the next largest IP from the US which is only 3%, something is up.

This is what I just blocked from image and video downloads:

I also notice the suspect is using something called Microsoft BITS, which I have never heard of:
Background Intelligent Transfer Service Version 1.5 (Client Component). Yikes, sounds scarry.

Not sure if this effects Australia in general, or just the one intruding connection:

inetnum: -
netname: TPG-AU
descr: TPG Internet Pty Ltd.
country: AU
admin-c: TH178-AP
tech-c: TH178-AP
remarks: Australian Internet Service Provider (ISP)
remarks: http://www.tpg.com.au
mnt-by: APNIC-HM
mnt-lower: MAINT-AU-TPGCOM
changed: ***********@tpg.com.au 20040817
changed: **********@apnic.net 20040817
changed: **********@apnic.net 20041221
source: APNIC

role: TPG Hostmaster
address: TPG Internet Pty Ltd.
address: (Part of the Total Peripherals Group)
address: 65 Waterloo Road
address: North Ryde NSW 2113
country: AU
phone: +61 2 9850 0800
fax-no: +61 2 9850 0817
e-mail: **********@tpg.com.au
trouble: -+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
trouble: Send all spam and abuse reports to *****@tpg.com.au or
trouble: via our web interface at the link provided below:
trouble: http://www.tpg.com.au/about/enquiry.php?type=Report%20Spamming
trouble: .
trouble: Please include detailed information such as full message
trouble: headers and times in UTC
trouble: --
trouble: Send all network related issues such as routing to
trouble: *******@tpg.com.au
trouble: -+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-++-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
admin-c: TPG3-AP
tech-c: TPG2-AP
tech-c: TA56-AP
tech-c: EL55-AP
nic-hdl: TH178-AP
remarks: Australian Internet Service Provider (ISP)
remarks: http://www.tpg.com.au
notify: **********@tpg.com.au
changed: **********@tpg.com.au 20040819
changed: **********@tpg.com.au 20041106
source: APNIC

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on November 8, 2005 12:34 PM | comments (0)

+ Where in the world is Matt Lauer's Videoblog?

Great content that has the media hype behind it, but unfortunately none of the technology. Enter: The Matt Lauer MSN Video Blog "works with Microsoft© Internet Explorer 6, Microsoft© Media Player 10, and Macromedia Flash 7. To download these free software applications, click the links below and follow the on-screen instructions."

No website, no comments, no permalinks, no portable play options, no RSS and no to a bunch of other stuff too. Sad for Matt; he only got set up with the old half and none of the new.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on November 7, 2005 2:37 PM | comments (0)

+ 2005 Hurricane Season Animation

NASA released an interesting time-lapse animation of the 2005 hurricane season which I found a few minutes ago in my aggrigator. I took the the original silent, 81meg .mpg-1 file, added music and reduced it down to a 32.5meg .mov file:

Posted to world by Rocketboom on November 6, 2005 8:48 PM | comments (0)

+ little while

"little while is a video blog. it is a repository for short, non-fiction moments."

I just saw this site today and I was compelled to post about it, I'll do this more often. As a whole (looking at all of the posts together), the subject matters are unique and the short lengths are just right. Each video post is entertaining, thought provoking and artistically appealing, I think. A nice little gem.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 2:45 PM | comments (0)

+ Personal Identity via del.icio.us

A whole year of being in the act of working on Rocketboom, and not really having a lot of time to consider a lot of the effect (because it's always on to the next), I rely on reading other people's words and hearing what they have to say in order to understand more about what we are doing. Not sure if that's sad or not but whatever.

On del.icio.us, a daily stop for several reasons, I was able to extract some interesting information about Rocketboom, from looking at a url search for http://www.rocketboom.com/vlog/

Here, for instance, is a breakdown of the tags in order of popularity that people have used to "define" Rocketboom:

common tags:
video 142
vlog 139
blog 106
news 95
videoblog 75
blogs 49
vlogs 44
media 31
humor 22
daily 21
podcast 19
tv 16
technology 15
funny 15
podcasting 14
rocketboom 13
fun 13
cool 13
vblog 13
culture 12
tech 11
internet 10
nyc 10
web 8
videocast 8
rss 7

The "news" tag is surprisingly high.

Data is also presented by "related items". Here are the top related sites, based on association with the other url's bookmarked by the same people who also bookmarked Rocketboom:

» http://www.ourmedia.org/
» http://slashdot.org/
» http://www.vimeo.com/
» http://www.antisnottv.net/
» http://www.apollopony.net/
» http://boingboing.net/
» http://www.youtube.com/
» http://www.engadget.com/
» http://participatoryculture.org/download.php

Looking into these kinds of stats on del.icio.us is kind of like visiting a psychologist only this is more of a "public opinion" viewpoint from people who have the same kinds of problems as me.

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on October 30, 2005 11:51 AM | comments (0)

+ Apple Video iPod Demo

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on October 12, 2005 11:22 PM | comments (0)

+ Blinkx Update

This post IS about Blinkx. Is Blinkx already off to a deceptive start? Is it a scam business? Could the company be appealing for support from citizen media while posing? According to this recent post by J.D. Lasica (Thanks, Kent!), it appears as though Blinkx is not very forthcoming about it's background, seeing as how it may be a front for the megamogulempire, Autonomy Corporation.

This is reminiscent of my experience with Open Media Network (BTW, does anyone use OMN these days?). OMN used Rocketboom on the day it launched, co-branding itself with us and displaying us on their front page as if we were partners, when in fact we had never heard of them before.

Because OMN disguised itself as a non-profit, it was able to use Rocketboom content freely without a license. However, it's pretty clear that OMN is just a front for a commercial P2P service called Kontiki.

BTW, I just checked again, and now it looks as though over the last few days, Blinkx has taken the extra step of including our work within their system anyway, without our permission. They are currently hot-linking and/or illegally displaying our videos on their commercial site. It looks like they have made a copy of our videos and now host them for full playback on the own server because (1) we have not received a single inbound link to Rocketboom from Blinkx (unless its disguised by an ip address when it sucks our videos and I haven't seen the report yet) and (2) because the quality of the video is so horrible it seems like they would only re-compress our videos to save themselves bandwidth. I wonder what's going on.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on October 8, 2005 12:31 PM | comments (0)

+ Technorati 337

This is just crazy. I thought it was a bug or something, but it seems to be accurate, at least relative to the Technorati rank system. Apparently, out of 18.9 million sites tracked, Rocketboom is now ranked at #337. Gulp. . .

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on October 7, 2005 5:53 PM | comments (1)

+ Imagine

George Bush mash-ups are a dime a dozen. Every once in awhile a really great one will surface. Here we hear George Bush singing Imagine, by John Lennon (with backup support by the Beatles in this version). Great effort! (Thanks, Nicolas!)

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 3:01 PM | comments (0)

+ Literary Journalism

This post is not about:

Blinkx is a search company that creates text from audio files. By turning the audio into metadata that is searchable, it can be a powerful way to locate relevant points within audio and video files.

Something weird is going on though. First, I saw an article which makes it seem as though Blinkx has a deal with Rocketboom, which is not true:

Here is the relevant text from Investor's Business Daily article:

Thus far, most of the video clips available online are amateur videos and content uploaded by hobbyists. Blinkx, though, already has deals to feature content from small sites like Rocketboom.com, which posts video blogs."

Ok, granted, a logician would infer that its not necessarily the case that Rocketboom has a deal with Blinkx, but this is just misleading. I continue to assume that any normal human being would assume that Blinkx has a deal with Rocketboom. Not true. No one from Blinkx has ever contacted us and the first time I heard about them was just this weekend from another reporter who called me about my opinion on the company.

This is where it gets really weird. The second reporter. He was from The Media Post. We spoke on the phone for about 30min. I told him I would be glad to talk with him but if he was going to quote me over the phone, I would just want him to send me his writing for clarification, just to make sure he got it right. He claimed that he would not be able to do this because major journals just don't do that. No reason really, just because.

Well, he didn't get it right at all. In fact, instead of paraphrasing, this journalist made up quotes. This is just massively wrong. He seems like a nice guy and is interested, but clearly there is a devastating negligence on the part of his organization to not inform their journalists of something so obvious. Not being a journalist myself, I take certain things for granted and necessarily true anyway:

Rule: Do not ever "create" a version of a story and then quote someone else as having said what you made-up.

Pretty obvious, eh? Lets have a look at how horrible this is and what a problem it can be for the parties involved: Here is a paragraph from The Media Post article:

Andrew Michael Baron, creator of the popular Rocketboom video blog, said that although his first rule is never to deter distribution, he has several misgivings about the project--including the loss of control that comes with distribution. "I'm confused and worried about losing control over how our stuff is experienced--and whether we'll get attribution," said Baron.

First of all lets get right to the "quote". This was not a quote. The author designed the sentence himself with his own words. I never used the words "confused and worried" for anything. There is nothing about Rocketboom or our realtionships with others that has me confused and worried. And I would never refer to our work as "stuff". I never said anything about attribution. WTF??? This isn't just a bit wrong, this is pure literary fiction. Is the mob running the Media Post?

Writing your own quotes for someone is just a ridiculous thing to do. It gets worse. Here is the next paragraph from the article:

Then there's the advertising issue. Baron, who said he plans to scrutinize blinkx's terms of agreement before he does anything, is not entirely opposed to ad support, but having some veto power is a priority. "That falls into our contamination department," he said. "We don't want to just be co-opted for some big company who'll run some 15-second ad for Schick razors before our video. I mean, big brands are fine--Nike has some great ads--but we want some control over what runs with our stuff."

In this part, where he makes up my quotes, he did get one word right, contamination. But lets look at what is so unfair about this. Within the quotes, he made up the following sentence from scratch:

"We don't want to just be co-opted for some big company who'll run some 15-second ad for Schick razors before our video. I mean, big brands are fine--Nike has some great ads--but we want some control over what runs with our stuff."

First of all, I never used the word Schick or mentioned anything about razors. I did say that we did not want to be co-opted by main stream media, but that was a point from much later in the conversation in reference to our creating additional content, so he must have tried to splice some things together in order to create this quote. Note how he also created a conversational feel to the quote by including such idioms as "I mean," and "our stuff" (there is that word "stuff" again).

Here is the next time he brings up Rocketboom:

Baron, who said Rocketboom.com draws about 60,000 unique visitors per day, added that he was having meetings with large "mainstream media" companies that have expressed interest in Rocketboom, as well as developing similar projects from scratch.

But what does that have to do with Blinkx? Is this supposed to give validation to the quotes that he created for me? At least it wasn't in quotes itself.

Here is the next created "quote":

"One show we want do is take a news anchor from behind the desk--which is the standard setup for Rocketboom--and send them out into the city to cover sports events," said Baron, "but not regular sports--alternative sports like dumpster diving competitions, and, like, pillow fighting in bars."

"And like. . .", said the half-baked videoblogger as if he were from the Valley, as he held his blackberry just barely touching his soft cheek [insert one bar of Schubert's 8th then cut to sunset over Malibu]. Once again, what does this have to do with Blinkx? If the point is to validate the authority of my made-up "quotes", how does this do that? I just don't get why this information is important to the article. But we cant blame journalists for this age old problem. Let's look more at the "quote":

"One show we want do is take a news anchor from behind the desk--which is the standard setup for Rocketboom--and send them out into the city to cover sports events".

The idea is right here, but again, this is not my word choice or my paraphrasing choice, but the author has gone through some detail to arrange the quote with dashes in order to provide the run-on commentary which may have been needed in order to convince the audience that he actually did speak to me?

I'm just at a loss for words, having had them replaced by this.

Today, I explained in an e-mail that this is wrong and he ought to record a phone conversation if he needs to use quotes but his defense included lack of time and resources. When I asked about removing or editing the article, of course they can't do that. I dont know why they can't fix or remove any electronic copies. When we screw up, we fix it. Why continue to perpetuate false information? This particular information makes me look like a misinformed dope who speaks with non sequiturs, while it makes Blinkx look uncool because some chump is scrutinizing.

If the media company was smart, they would just delete the article and move on.

In any case, if anyone is interested, all I know about Blinkx so far is what the reporters have published: I have a deal with Blinkx and I'm skeptical they will take control of me.

Other than that, in my own words, these are my conclusions:

(1) Indexing audio (and thus the audio of video) and turning that metadata into searchable text by time frame is fantastic! This will be a feature that all search engines will employ one day, I assume. Great for Blinkx if they are leading this industry into the main stream because I believe its extremely important.

(2) According to the journalist, Blinkx is set to introduce this technology with their own proprietary version of video over IP delivery. This is what I wonder about. Why combine these two things? It's like putting a radio together with your toaster. Since there are SO MANY TV over IP solutions right now (none that are leading), why bank a great technology on a potentially sucky distribution scheme? Even if its a great distribution system, it may only be great for one kind of thing. Searching audio is great for more kinds of things. I would like to see a quality radio that I could use without a toaster.

To learn more about Blinkx, the new search technology, see:

Media Post Literary Journal


Posted to world by Rocketboom on October 3, 2005 3:42 PM | comments (1)

+ Rocketboom gets OPML Feed

Thanks to Niall Kennedy, I was able to see how to create an OPML index within Moveable Type. Here is my turbo, enhanced version (extra data's usefulness undetermined, but attempted none-the-less): http://www.rocketboom.com/vlog/index.opml

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on October 1, 2005 6:49 PM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom in The Guardian UK

By Jeff Jarvis. Free version of article. I have never met anyone who understands more of what's in store for big media on the internet.

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on September 30, 2005 6:08 PM | comments (0)

+ This Week's Lone Opus

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on 5:46 PM | comments (0)

+ My Niece Eliza Melaine Baron Singer

Posted to my_life by Drew on 5:10 PM | comments (1)

+ Big Day

1. Amanda was robbed at gunpoint.
2. Today I add "Uncle" to my resume as I anxiously await on my sister to bring the new arrival.
3. Rita is boiling in the gulf coast and expected to be the largest hurricane on record to ever hit Texas.

I'm feeling a bit helpless but I'm on stand-by.

Posted to my_life by Drew on September 22, 2005 12:10 PM | comments (2)

+ Ten Minute Shutter Speed: Katrina Coverage Online

While emotions certainly took a hold of me in a rather unexpected way, just about everyone seen in the Katrina disaster, including most of the officials in charge of recovery as well as the media freaked out pretty bad. There was an amazing, grounding sign of reason which came forth on Rocketboom, which not only brought me personally back down to calm, but also seemingly crossed an interesting boundary that I don't recall being very possible on TV:

It was the work of Tyson Root. Ty is a freelance photographer/videographer that works on stories for CBS, typically covering local news in Houston, Texas. Ty spends a great deal of time shooting from a helicopter where he mounts his betacams on the outside and controls them with a joystick from the inside. It seems to me as though he has a dream job because all of the footage that he shoots, including the footage he goes out to shoot for CBS stories, is owned by him personally.

So Ty, who comes off as a little bit cynical of the traditional broadcast medium, is also very enthusiastic about alternative forms of distribution. In what I see as a complete bridge, Ty sent Rocketboom the most amazing footage of the Katrina Disaster from his fly over New Orleans on August 30th, 2005.

Since the Rocketboom format is around 3-4 minutes long, the plan was for me to find 3 minutes to edit together out of the ten minutes that he picked out of his beta tapes. Once I downloaded the file and started watching it, I became captivated for the entire 10 minutes and wasn't really thinking about editing yet. Then I watched it again and again and again, never even getting as far as starting to think about the editing. I was simply just amazed by the entire combination of visual imagery and the audio communications between the crew members and the cost guard.

The first and last thought I had with regard to editing was to just play the whole ten minute piece, straight-up, unedited. I imagined some people would be unhappy about the large file size so I decided to make smaller file sizes available. And once I saw the regular 320x240, I thought, this sucks, this needs to be bigger. 640x480 was what I had so I put that up too.

I didn't realize it at the time, but a couple of days later it dawned on me that this priceless footage would not be able to exist like this on TV. Ten minutes, unedited footage with no cutaways and no commercial breaks? You just can't really afford to do that on the traditional broadcast medium. The only time I can remember maybe seeing something like a single open shutter for ten minutes long on TV was the outbreak of the U.S's first offensive attack on Iraq, Desert Storm. I clearly remember seeing very long shots from hotel rooms where journalists were stationed and prepared for the strikes. Other than that, Kenyatta pointed out that nobody cut away from O.J Simpson when he was in that White Bronco creeping up the 101.

Yet online, in what will become an everyday phenomenon, where there is no competition for time and little cost for availability, you not only had the 10 minute Katrina footage, for instance, you still do. Just click:

Large 640x480 .mov | Med 320x240 .mov | Small 240x180 .wmv | Original Post. You may copy and redistribute this footage, even commercially, with attribution. See license here.

Posted to internet_culture by Drew on September 19, 2005 3:01 AM | comments (1)

+ Technorati Top 1000

+ I'll probably jinx it, but as of last week, Rocketboom broke the 1000th place threshold on Technorati. Out of the 17.4 million weblogs that Technorati tracks, Rocketboom is currently somewhere around the 1000th most referred-to weblog, based on incoming links. This chart represents my favorite view of the links they track.

+ Rocketboom is in the Feedster top 500, at #275.

+ We got a mention in the Washington Post today (I'm so pleased to see 'vlog' pronounced '/VEE-log/', my favorite way to say it).

Posted to rocketboom by Drew on 2:32 AM | comments (0)

+ Rubik's Cube Code

I've been feeling the urge coming on for several months to buy a Rubik's Cube. Not sure if thats what I really want to do right now or not. Wrongway's cube solve allows you to key in your current cube configuration and then calculates and provides instructions on what action to take to solve it.

Posted to nothing by Rocketboom on September 10, 2005 6:23 PM | comments (0)

+ Bill Gates Interview

Scoble snagged Bill Gates for a mini-dv interview. Great work!!!

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on September 8, 2005 6:29 PM | comments (0)

+ 8000 Hurricane Victims Arrive in Austin

My friend Ellen in Austin just sent out this e-mail:

downtown austin now has about 8,000 new members (welcome :)

The refugees are here the refugees are here!!!!

welcome to a new america

hugs everyone

And then I got this from her:

they are at toni burger (sp?), palmer, and right downtown at the convention center.

they are mostly black folk, walking around with a few small bags of stuff, and have bright pink wrist-bands. for now they seem to be relaxed, but displaced...i can not imagine what they have been through, our government really fucking deserted them, i can not believe it.

there are a lot of volunteers and folks giving so much to them.....i really hope we rise above this

Posted to world by Rocketboom on September 5, 2005 12:13 AM | comments (0)

+ Bush Keeps Red Cross out of New Orleans?

From the Red Cross webiste:

"Acess to New Orleans is controlled by the National Guard and local authorities and while we are in constant contact with them, we simply cannot enter New Orleans against their orders.

The state Homeland Security Department had requested--and continues to request--that the American Red Cross not come back into New Orleans following the hurricane. Our presence would keep people from evacuating and encourage others to come into the city.

The Red Cross has been meeting the needs of thousands of New Orleans residents in some 90 shelters throughout the state of Louisiana and elsewhere since before landfall. All told, the Red Cross is today operating 149 shelters for almost 93,000 residents.

The Red Cross shares the nation’s anguish over the worsening situation inside the city. We will continue to work under the direction of the military, state and local authorities and to focus all our efforts on our lifesaving mission of feeding and sheltering.

Posted to world by Rocketboom on September 4, 2005 1:23 PM | comments (0)

+ MTV: No MAC's Allowed, EVER

Welcome to the brand new MTV Overdrive broadband content portal!

MTV is waiting on Microsoft to develop a DRM app for Apple OS (i.e. never).

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on September 3, 2005 8:36 PM | comments (3)

+ Opal OPML

I'm having some fun with an OPML weblog, a neat consequence of Dave Winer's recent activity. Anyone can d/l the editor and use this blogging feature for free! Very cool! I like the unusual locality integration of my local archives (or lack there of) with the host server.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on August 28, 2005 3:42 PM | comments (0)

+ Antisnottv

Congrats to the FireANT gang, their PC RSS multimedia aggregator is indisputably the best app around right now for videoblogs. Anyone disagree? I see no altercation in sight.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 3:34 PM | comments (0)

+ Scoble Goes to Google

Or, A good guy in a bad place.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on August 27, 2005 10:04 PM | comments (0)

+ China Suppresses 芙蓉姐姐

"BEIJING (Reuters) - For months, China has been debating what to make of its latest Internet-born star, a young woman known nationwide as Furong Jiejie, aka Sister Furong.

She is seen as a pioneer pushing the boundaries of traditional media controls but in the process has become a target of government censors in the tightly controlled country."
Fuller Story.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 8:53 PM | comments (0)

+ Best Article on Rocketboom, EVER!

by Heather Green

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on August 26, 2005 8:30 PM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom on TV

E-mailed to me from Kenyatta who writes: "ITVT is THE newsletter for all things interactive television". Here is a snipit of the interview with Josh from Akimbo, the TV over IP set-top box:

[itvt]: How well is Rocketboom doing?

Goldman: I think it's currently our second or third most popular content provider out of our 140 or so channels, and it's close to reaching the top. Lately, TCM and iFilm have been numbers one and two on our service. What's amazing about Rocketboom is that it's sticking, too: it isn't just people trying it once and deciding it's not for them, it's generating daily downloads. People are watching it every day.

[itvt]: Why do you think it has done so well?

Goldman: The only conclusion I can draw is that people are looking for new and offbeat types of entertainment, not just entertainment from the big brands. This is the same phenomenon that has resulted in blogs and in podcasts. Rocketboom doesn't really have much brand recognition, unless you're really into videoblogs, but when you see it on your TV, when you can lean back and watch it, I think that levels the playing field. I think people maybe see it as a "twenty-something" version of the Daily Show or something. It's very well done and usually makes you either laugh or think, sometimes both.

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on August 23, 2005 7:05 PM | comments (1)

+ CBS National News Covers Rocketboom

Thanks to CBS for the great story on Rocketboom! (Thanks Chuck, for putting up the must-have quicktime version).

Posted to my_life by Rocketboom on August 21, 2005 11:17 PM | comments (0)

+ Fooey

I guess it takes a year to figure out all the conferences you want to go to because I keep hearing about all the conferences I want to go to after its too late to go. This time it's foo camp and bar camp I'm missing out on.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on August 17, 2005 10:11 AM | comments (2)

+ Current TV Calls Itself a Revolution

I've noticed no one has pulled the 'Al Gore invented TV' joke in the news yet so I assume it must be too obvious to be funny.

Rushkoff (via) articulated well exactly what I have been thinking all along: missed opportunity. When I was asked if I wanted to be introduced to Joel Hyatt, I said sure, but I didn't really see why. Who was I to call him up and be critical (I actually did send him an e-mail after all just to say hi anyway but of course never heard back). I knew they were doing something very different by going onto cable, or whatever you call it these days - controlled, regulated, regional-access TV - and TV watchers are mostly apathetic.

At Parsons I spent a semester exploring online delivery methods for educational content on TV set top boxes and we found that the most drastic difference between the human's interaction with a TV set and a computer monitor is involvement level: The TV viewer is completely passive and static while the computer user can hardly sit still without interacting kinetically.

While we are in a time of transition where these two platforms are meshing together and screens are as common as clocks, the main problem with Current is that their limited, time-demanding audience may be too comfortable with TV by nature to do anything other than stare at it.

Laura Ling, an online host for the station seems sharp (that's one positive point to one layer at least), though I haven't seen the rest (I still don't have a TV).

At this point, the best thing they could do to scale back the criticism is to change the about page (i.e. stop trying to explain themselves as being so great (i.e. just do their own thing and let others describe it)).

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on August 6, 2005 11:13 PM | comments (0)

+ NASA Self Portrait

From NASA: "Astronaut Steve Robinson turns the camera on himself during his historic repair job "underneath" Discovery on August 3. The Shuttle's heat shield, where Robinson removed a pair of protruding gap fillers, is reflected in his visor."

Posted to outer space by Rocketboom on 6:50 PM | comments (0)

+ Rocketboom Internationale

Analyzed one day of requests for Rocketboom.com from Mon, Jul 18 2005 at 12:50 AM to Tue, Jul 19 2005 at 2:14 AM (1.06 days).

#reqs %bytes domain
87865 39.59% .net (Networks)
52067 26.60% .com (Commercial)
35390 14.02% [unresolved numerical addresses]
7618 6.26% .edu (USA Higher Education)
1504 3.25% .jp (Japan)
2972 1.40% .gov (USA Government)
1979 0.92% .uk (United Kingdom)
2120 0.90% .org (Non Profit Making Organisations)
2035 0.87% .ca (Canada)
2791 0.72% .au (Australia)
2156 0.70% .it (Italy)
1558 0.68% .nl (Netherlands)
950 0.57% .de (Germany)
1492 0.57% .us (United States)
1374 0.42% .mil (USA Military)
779 0.34% .mx (Mexico)
467 0.29% .ch (Switzerland)
864 0.25% .se (Sweden)
256 0.23% .dk (Denmark)
42 0.21% .tw (Taiwan)
490 0.16% .fr (France)
603 0.13% .pt (Portugal)
159 0.13% .sg (Singapore)
170 0.11% .nz (New Zealand)
617 0.09% .fi (Finland)
69 0.07% .no (Norway)
87 0.07% .be (Belgium)
332 0.07% .il (Israel)
15 0.04% .ma (Morocco)
61 0.04% .br (Brazil)
221 0.03% .at (Austria)
123 0.03% .arpa (Arpanet)
211 0.03% .ar (Argentina)
21 0.02% .cz (Czech Republic)
23 0.02% .int (International Treaty Organisations)
16 0.02% .vn (Vietnam)
55 0.01% .cr (Costa Rica)
44 0.01% .nu (Niue)
15 0.01% .hu (Hungary)
13 0.01% .my (Malaysia)
10 0.01% .hk (Hong Kong)
16 0.01% .co (Colombia)
38 0.01% .ie (Ireland)
58 0.01% [domain not given]
7 0.01% .ru (Russia)
7 0.01% .info (Informational)
7 0.01% .coop (Co-operatives)
37 0.01% .cl (Chile)
53 [unknown domain]
26 .gr (Greece)
31 .pl (Poland)
45 .za (South Africa)
19 .si (Slovenia)
1 .in (India)
16 .tr (Turkey)
16 .ee (Estonia)
6 .sa (Saudi Arabia)
7 .is (Iceland)
1 .uy (Uruguay)
1 .ba (Bosnia-Herzegovina)
1 .sk (Slovakia)
1 .ro (Romania)
12 .es (Spain)
1 .sc (Seychelles)
1 .th (Thailand)

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on July 20, 2005 7:27 AM | comments (0)

+ Scrollable and Jumpable

In terms of viewing experience, I have undergone a major metamorphosis as a result of viewing video content in files. I believe in the near future everyone will be like this:

Every day, as I go through all of the random downloaded videos in my folder, I click through each file to browse, in a grab-bag kind of way.

This is very much like channel surfing on the TV. Click, click, click.

However, when browsing local content in RAM, the ability to scroll and jump around the video, without latency, allows one to essentially consume the entire work in a variety of ways, in a fraction of the time.

For an example, consider your typical 5 o'clock news broadcast on a TV. In order to get the full 20min of news, you have to watch for 30 minutes. At that point, you may feel sorry for yourself for having wasted 30 full minutes to obtain about 1.5 minutes of interesting information.

A downloaded, scrollable and jumpable file of the same content, allows you to (a) quickly scan the entire file in a matter of a few seconds; to see visually what may be of note, (b) the ability to watch a topic of interest while also micro-jumping around within that topic, (c) stop to frame advance an interesting chain of events, and (d) skip past all the subjectively boring stuff.

For instance, when I click on a new video file, instead of waiting for a commercial or waiting to see what will happen next, I can go right ahead and scroll at variable rates to essentially see the entire lot quickly. In most cases, its not a mystery novel that I'm spoiling.

This will have major effects on the ways in which people will consume content and so the ways in which content will be designed.

In terms of advertising, the fact that the audience is not forced to watch an ad and the fact that they can scroll and skip over it, may be more beneficial for the advertisers in the long run. For instance, if an advertiser on TV is dependent on the alien coach potato to either stick around for the commercial break without wondering what is going about on other channels, or coincidentally land on their commercial while channel surfing, the advertiser on TV does not have a great reach, compared to the available audience on TV.

If ads are attached to each file that you download to you computer, as you click through each random video, and as you scroll through the entire thing, in each case, even for those videos that you decide not to investigate further, you will likely see the advertisement, even if it comes at the end. This may effectively assume more eyes onto the ad as everyone scrolls all of their content.

As a result of my transformation, I can no longer imagine how excruciatingly painful it must be for people who watch all of their video on TV and my oh my, what a waste of time.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on July 15, 2005 11:15 PM | comments (3)

+ Subway Terrorism Precaution

In light of the London bombings, I've been thinking it might be safest to ride in the front cars of subway trains. In addition to being at the head of the tunnel for an easy escape, more importantly, a terrorist may seek the middle of the train for the most destruction, especially when passing another train. Perhaps being in front would blow the front car the furthest away from the rest of the damage.

Posted to my_life by Rocketboom on July 12, 2005 3:12 PM | comments (1)

+ Rocketboom Time Report

Things are starting to get really interesting with Rocketboom. I feel like we are near a tipping point. The potential is there and Monday represents kind of a new era for us in terms of our perspective.

Nobody likes long posts so be forewarned! This is a major report. I wish I could do even more.

I. Rocketboom Traffic History
II. A realistic assessment of Rocketboom's current market value and why that value is greater than many national TV broadcast shows.
III. How Rocketboom is going to get way better in quality, really fast, without more money.
IV. How Rocketboom honors, respects and remains legal with international copyright laws.
V. The success and value of non invasive advertising for niche audiences.
VI. Internet Culture - Talkin 'bout our generations <-people with all kinds of age ranges and interests are intertwining with all kinds of international perspectives.
VII. Humanwire - How this is working out so well in development and what it will be like to suddenly have a free news database of quality citizen journalistic stories, in motion video form, coming in from all over the world.
VIII. Dromology - Time is of the essence and why consequence and speed are the most assured assets you can have.

Coming soon to a theater near you!

Part I:
I. Rocketboom Traffic History

164 shows so far, 5 days a week without fail since the end of October, 2004.

Today I created a long-term statistical report. This is only the last two thirds of our existence. We began daily at the end of October 2004, though these stats reflect a period beginning at the end of January 2005.

Click Here for Long Term Stats Page.

a) The most flawed account is the bandwidth transferred. Most of the time Rocketboom has been alive, I have been piggybacking off my forever-free Parsons New School Server space. Once Rocketboom hit the mainstream media for the first time with this AP article , I decided it was no longer fair to Parsons to use my account in this way. Also some people falsely perceived that Rocketboom was a student project because the videos loaded from the a.parsons.edu URL. However, this being the case, the statistics in parentheses indicate accurately that Rocketboom is now transferring about 50gigs a day.

b) To me, the most important stat is not the hits, and not the bandwidth but the page views. Aside from the about pages and the archive page which I can see that very, very few people actually hit, every page has a video. So to me, not quite 1 page view equals an intent to watch a video. In the last 5 months we have had just about 2 million page requests. Currently, we are serving approx. 200,000 pages/videos per week.

c) I have said before that bittorrent often accounts for 75% percent of our traffic. This may have just been a phase that only lasted a few weeks around the time I noticed it. Nevertheless, I still have not gotten around to getting our torrents back in action - its been over a month since we have had them running. So the most recent stats in parentheses do not account for bittorrent traffic at all. Any bittorrented Rocketboom videos were copied and re-seeded elsewhere though I dont have those numbers. I heard Bram Cohen, the creator of Bittorrent say in March that snapshots of internet traffic now reveal over 50% bittorrent traffic, way up since the last report that said 30%.

Not reflected in our Long term report:

c) Our daily subscriber base who use video players and podcast apps like FireANT to retrieve videos via RSS enclosures through XML, or, if you will, our hardcore daily subscriber base, has begun to mushroom and has surpassed our daily website visits growing from around 10% only two months ago to now over 50%. With IPodderX for instance, we seem to be getting around 500-800 new subscribers every day. This is because they decided to put the Rocketboom xml feed as a stock feed in their player download so that when people d/l a new copy of iPodderX, they are also subscribing to Rocketboom consequently. In time I will be able to tell what percentage keep the feed and how many more probably delete it. What is interesting about this is that more and more people are downloading these players; FireANT also includes Rocketboom in the stock feed. This is just an amazing fortune for us because they are really booming on their own.

d) One of the most flattering major increases in traffic that can't be found in Technorati or Google too easily is the increase of individuals who are just starting to videoblog for the first time and including Rocketboom in their side links. While this sometimes only brings 0 or 1 hits, or often does appear in Technorati with a zero link authority, it's the most fulfilling of all I think that someone feels strongly enough about their likeness for us that they put us up as permalink on their site. This is the way the world works, I know, it's just that I think its probably the most valuable in terms of my feelings that people really like what we are doing (even more than a committed daily subscriber). It would be too embarrassing to not stop and draw attention to the fact that I have a few sidelines here, mostly by people that I don't even know or have hardly even met if at all, but defiantly, I feel that rain, sleet hail or snow, I find a great value in their perspective and can trust that that they will always be sincere. It's essentially an awesome responsibility.

e) We have an unusually large international audience. The numbers span so many countries regularly and it's not just a few here and there, but serious bulk in unexpected places.

e) Because we allow our content to be redistributed by other non commercial entities, and also allow Rocketboom to be used in particular instances of commercial use, there are many other venues that receive Rocketboom daily that are not reflected in this report. For instance, however many people have Akimbo have access to Rocketboom, like its a TV station on demand [I really like Akimbo by the way, more on this later]. There are also sites like Open Media Network that just take Rocketboom for nothing but surely reach people we would never reach and several cell-phone distributors who have the go-ahead to distribute Rocketboom on to European, Asian and Indian markets that we would never otherwise reach either - people that don't blog and ones you cant really find in Google. There is also the matter of people seeding bittorrents. From time to time I hear that we are popular in Singapore, but I really cant see any sign of it. Except for one thing:

f) I don't know why I never mentioned this publicly or anything, I just didn't want people to think I was boasting I guess, and also it was kind of a strange time, but from all of the accounts I heard about Tsunami videos, I'm certain we served just as many tsunami videos as anyone. Prior to, and so unreflected in this report, only because its an interesting story, this is why:

On a Sunday when I was writing the script and looking for news stories for the following Monday, I witnessed the tsunami go down online via the main stream media like cnn.com in particular. So I knew the issue was so intense that there would be nothing else to say on Monday and so I spent all day looking for images and video and personal accounts - anything that I could find to "show". This was something I had never done to this degree because I had never really had an impetus. But looking around for footage and pictures was what I would do for any event, big or small on a daily basis for Rocketboom so it started as just another day.

Anyway, I couldn't find any videos on the day of, but I found two sites in Singapore that had about three people total who had posted a whole load of photos. So I believe I created perhaps the first tsunami video online that was a montage of the images with intense background music. While we did not have as much of a reach with our content at the time, we gained very high search return results for "tsunami video" apparently.

There was another major factor that led to the endurance of tsunami traffic: When Waxy and others like myself had accumulated the videos the next day, the same that also became really popular, I decided to turn them all into quicktime videos because there were none. As a result I was the only one serving the Quicktime files for several days and so probably all of those original batch videos that are out there that are quicktime, are generations from me (not to say that makes me special or anything, just pointing it out because i think its interesting), coincidentally. A few sites took these files and re-seeded them in bittorrent sites and then they quickly surpassed our search authority as it stacked against the time, I reckon. I assume Robin Good has an interesting tale to tell because we received a huge amount of traffic from his massive roundup as just one example.

[**aside: Of course I could not pay for the bandwidth and had the videos on the Parsons.edu server space. I brought the graduate multimedia sever down to a grinding halt (the same server that everyone uses to experiment with all kinds of wacky and powerful stuff). We couldn't even get the server to deliver a 5k gif file until I renamed the videos and brought them back on slowly over days.

[**to the other aside: I watched as iFilm, the massively obnoxious and ad invasive leech site, learned a thing or two during this time as well about search return results. Of course with their link authority, they became the mainstream site to watch the tsunami videos as the only known option to a lot of people to start with. I remember later, on the day before the Superbowl this year, iFilm had posted all of the superbowl commercials, including all of the text and even video and image placeholders for ALL of the commercials in order to get them up first and to receive the best search results. So if you went to iFilm that night before the game, you could click on a bunch of superbowl commercials, which of course never loaded. But all of the advertisements surrounding the commercials were there and they were already making big bucks before they even copied the broadcasts and then posted the videos. Thats crummy of them and you can predict their behavior to be like this in the future too I suppose. I have noticed that over the last few months the obnoxiousness had gone way down, but its still pretty out-of-control for my tastes]

In conclusion, esp. taking an overview since October, I am gathering that despite certain spikes and MSM here and there, we have been doubling at a rate of approx. every 1.5 months (as reflected by the bar graphs in the long-term stats page).

PART II [**updated: 10:30am, 07/09/2005]
II. A realistic assessment of Rocketboom's current market value and why that value is greater than many national TV broadcast shows

This one has stumped me since I made the claim and I'm going to back off because my understanding of what I'm doing is growing though my understanding of how national TV broadcasts work is nearly zilch. I have not even lived in a home with a TV once since 1990.

Pardon me for not doing more research. I'm getting a real kick out continuing to not watch TV because everyone that seems to watch it is like an alien to me from another planet. It makes me feel like an astronaut without having to go through all of the rigorous training. Now it seems so relevant to what I'm doing, but is that an excuse to start watching it?

Without knowing how TV operates and without knowing detailed numbers of viewer-ships and without even knowing how much money goes in and out in net, I can still safely draw the following comparison:

If a TV show has a small audience of 30,000 viewers for one show (I hear this is a bottom-of-the-barrel number but that some shows on TV, beyond cable access, do have these kinds of numbers), then right now, that show may sell a 15 second advertisement at the end of the show for $1000 (sounds cheap to me, but someone who seemed to know what he was talking about said it was this low for the bottom-end shows). [If you have numbers, PLEASE SHARE!]

In that case, as a direct parallel, as Rocketboom now has an audience of 30,000+ each day, then our ad space at the end of each clip could be considered to be valued, by the same benchmarks, at the same amount, $1000.

This is, of course, a good starting place, but an advertisement on Rocketboom is substantially more valuable:

The TV ad plays once, at a certain time (e.g. 7:29:30 - 7:29:45 p.m. on 12/02/2005) to an exclusive domestic subscriber network while a Rocketboom ad is available anytime to a non-inclusive international network.

The Rocketboom ad goes on to live with a major life span in a range from many more people to, so far, often 5 times the amount or, a value of $5,000 at least, based on the benchmark value example.

The TV ad is also not available for "reference" in the future. The Rocketboom ad is searchable consequently and inconsequently.

The TV AD demands another interface to take action (e.g. calling on phone, going to store) in order to be effective while Rocketboom ads provide direct links to advertisers' websites.

TV ads do not have an apparent feedback mechanism.

Rocketboom ads are talked about in comments with other viewers.

The list goes on and on, esp in terms of vague psychological concepts, the kinds the advertising industry just loves apparently.

So the value of the Rocketboom ad, with all of this, is worth WAY more then the TV ad. Lets just be calm and say twice as much. In the case scenario above, if the benchmark number for a good episode is $5000, then a "reasonable assessment" of the value of Rocketboom is somewhere between $2000 and $10,000 a day/episode.

At an inexpensive $50 cost per episode (including bandwidth, printer ink, light bulb and subway fare), that leaves a lot left over for salary and growth seed. With additional shows/videoblogs that share resources it is a lucrative model, I believe. Hence the idea of an international "network".

Most importantly, the advertising is enjoyed by the audience, typically, because the ad comes only at the end, it's non invasive, non repetitive, and filtered for supreme quality with relevance.

III. How Rocketboom is going to get way better in quality, really fast, without more money

The main problem with Rocketboom in particular is that we must create something compelling from nothing everyday. We tend to wait until the evening to gather the script and shoot in order to remain fresh the following day. This means the only time for dealing with screw ups is in the middle of the night. Therefore, when 9am comes along, we usually have to grin and bear it with what we have and hit publish. I wish I could spend two weeks on each episode, and then put it down for two weeks and then revisit it for a few more days.

So in order to fix this, we are doing now what we have been unable to successfully do in the past: have back ups on the shelf. We have made a commitment to end each week with two back-ups on the shelf for the future, just in case, with the hopes of accumulation. Also the correspondents, who create their own work, often save the day now. We still have more and more work to do in this area, but the more quality backups we can obtain, the more liberally we can use them when the production at hand is worse.

IV. How Rocketboom honors, respects and remains legal with international copyright laws

When Socrates said "One thing only I know, and that is that I know nothing", he was probably talking about copyright law. All I know about copyright law is that it a wide-open field right now and previous cases may have no outcome on future cases with all of the different angles that can be taken in terms of placing responsibility and assessing damages, etc. Also, every country is different.

Nevertheless, it is our policy and the policy that we promote to universally abide by the content creator's wishes. No matter what others do or think, I believe, so far, that if the true author of a creative work wants us to refrain from using their work, or stop using their work, then we should and will respect those wishes. I draw no distinction between my friend's personal blog and a mainstream media network. If you created the content, you can tell me not to use it.

There is nothing about Rocketboom that is dependent on other people's work. It certainly is convenient and helpful to us and our audience (and the author of the content) when we do use others' work in the ways that we do, with permission and under fair use guidelines, etc., though, even in those cases when a fair use scenario seems legal, and the content creator wants us to not use their work, we will respect those wishes, and simply cease and desist.

So far in the history of Rocketboom, we have never once been asked to take down any content from our site.

V. The success and value of non invasive advertising for niche audiences

Listen to this audio folloup to my talk at the SXSWi 2005.

IV. Internet Culture - Talkin 'bout our generations <-people with all kinds of age ranges and interests are intertwining with all kinds of international perspectives

This is kind of the basis for the book. I should probably leave that to the later date. In short, what I believe may be happening now is this: Most people still do not have access to the moving image. At most, they have a few options from the most popular, fiscally determined, nationally-centric broadcasts. Otherwise, and thus their world perspectives are derived from hearsay via dense levels of interpreted abstractions. The small child in a small town in America, may soon be able to see first hand, unedited, the reality behind the lifestyles, activities, believes, and cultural rituals of others from all over the world. Not just media geared towards their targeted culturally specific age groups. You would think this would be available somewhere but really its extremely difficult to gain access to international video, especially, quality off-stream content. Hold on world, this new access will likely boost the rate of worldwide understanding; I wish we could all do more to get along. Ahem.

VII. Humanwire - How this is working out so well in development and what it will be like to suddenly have a free news database of quality citizen journalistic stories, in motion video form, coming in from all over the world

Stay tuned for another post soon about this build, boiling up in the background another two more weeks. . .

VIII. Dromology - Time is of the essence and why consequence and speed are the most assured assets you can have

Ever since I read Speed and Politics by Paul Virilio, everything made since for how to make things happen. This is the age-old model of technology that can be applied to everything in life. In a war, the side with the information first about where the other side is or isn't, will have the advantage. The person who first knows the news will have the stock advantage. The person who creates the first this or that will have that advantage to begin with. I hear you only live once. Why sleep off a third of that? In terms of directing with consequence, it's simply filtering happenstance. Sound esoteric? Check out Virilio, it's not.

Posted to rocketboom by Rocketboom on June 25, 2005 3:10 PM | comments (6)

+ Rocketboom Radio Widget

I've been playing around with the idea of a P2P RSS feed. When I say P2P, I mean true P2P, just you and me, not anyone else or a 3rd party player. As a first step, I just figured out how to hack an Apple OSX Tiger widget and made this one for a rocketboom radio stream:


When you click on the widget, it will stream the audio of the latest
Rocketboom episode. Just playing around (I hacked the rabbitradio widget). The next step is video though so far I have only been able to get the video to launch outside of the dashboard.

Posted to my_life by Rocketboom on June 18, 2005 3:13 AM | comments (0)

+ Audio and Video Interviews

I've been getting some pretty good feedback about this mp3 interview by Phillip Torrone for Make. I thought I was overly monotone and boring sounding, but some people endured it all the way thorough, apparently.

On wed I was on the Brian Lehrer show which can be seen with real player. It wasn't very technical - it was geared more towards a regular TV audience. They picked out a few clips from Rocketboom, John Edwards and also Zadi. I can't believe they chose to play the arnold schwarzenegger smoking pot clip. Right on guys!

Posted to nothing by Rocketboom on June 17, 2005 4:55 PM | comments (0)

+ When Will China Crack from Pervasive Computing?

It's not a question of how, why or where, but when.

Censorship, control and suppression is easy when people do not have access to information.

When they DO have access, conflicts and questions arise; religious and philosophical wars are born out of the human desire for a change, obviously.

Relatively speaking, the rate of change and the increase of information availability and the overall meshing of the world's cultures is becoming shared at such a fast pace. Data will come in all shapes and sizes from all directions to all kinds of devices. When will China evolve out of it's isolation from information? Through technology itself, what kind of revolution will this bring? A civil war? A world war? A smooth transition?

Technology has brought us to this intersection today all at once out of nowhere in no time at all. Two major worlds of people collide in such a short time span over a scientific revolution and yet, only one mention on the very stage in which this play will be told?


From David Weinberger's post, a Google search in English:

June, 2005: "china's effect on the internet" = 0 search return results in Google.

Also, June, 2005: "internet's effect on china" = 1 search return result in Google: "The ease of online communication and the vulnerability of government websites to hackers have raised concerns about the Internet's effect on China's political stability. This concern has been augmented by a widespread belief in China that foreign encryption products used in China include "back doors" that make China's online communications networks permeable to outsiders."


+Population of the US:
Estimate: July, 2005 - 296,371,589

+Population of China:
Estimate: July, 2005 - 1,306,313,812

+China overtakes the US in DSL lines

+From the BBC: China's tight rein on online growth , March 2005:
"The first international internet data from China started travelling across the net in 1994, yet now the country has more than 100m net users. That puts its second only to the US with its 185m web users. But China looks set to pass that within a few years - especially when you consider that China's net users represent barely 8% of its population."

+Help or Ho? Money leads the Heart?
Microsoft supports censorship by removing "freedom" and "democracy" from software sold to China.

As the sun swept across the Earth on January 1, 2000 while people all over the world awaited their destiny in the hands of 2 digital bits, here I am now again wondering how this could be.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on June 15, 2005 2:10 PM | comments (1)

+ 59 Bloggers in America

On the recent issue with a guy named John Hart who was doing a film called 59bloggers. While most people are discussing the issues around the word "blogumentary" (e.g. who owns it, who has rights to it, trademarks, etc), and while others are concerned about the actual offensive language of who said what, I still see the issue as being more about awareness.

What seemed wrong to me was that (1) Hart neglected to research "Blogumentary" once he became aware of it, (2) Hart didn't seem to have a respect for his subject matter by the way he responded to Chuck, and (3) Hart seemingly misled people into believing that others had confirmed to be filmed when apparently some had not.

There was also talk of a lynch-mob behind Chuck. As far as I know, there were only three weblog posts that appeared with less than 50 comments total on the entire subject up until Hart backed out. So what seemed like a mob was somewhere in the vicinity of 3 or 4 people. A mob is what spins off of every hyperlink, everyday on Boing Boing posts.

I think that any film maker who manages to gain access to some of the brightest and most influential people within a field should have a concern for the subject matter. If there is no concern, irresponsible decisions may be made during the creative process that impose all kinds of risks to everyone involved.

Creatively speaking, if you have anything to add to the overall vision of a film, it will be your familiarity with the subject matter. This will allow you to put the pieces together in a more insightful way.

Because John Hart was so uninformed and yet willing to piss all over the very precious matter of the subject at hand, it would never be a successful film by my definition of success.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on June 11, 2005 6:37 PM | comments (2)

+ The Human Wire

Today I sent out a call for citizen journalists to be included in an upcoming site that will be an off-shoot of Rocketboom: www.humanwire.org.

The Human Wire will be a lot like the AP wire, for essentially rolling an updated link-set of news stories from around the world, only this news will be told by citizen journalists in video form.

This happened as a result of so many e-mails that we received from people wanting to be Rocketboom correspondents. Because Rocketboom is just 3min a day without a format, where anything goes, it seemed like a great idea to create another place where stories could be posted indiscriminately, filtered only for base journalistic standards.

The Human Wire will simply be an **updated** aggregate of links to citizen journalistic media.

We are looking at a two week launch date, starting off very, very small just to see what happens.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on 2:06 AM | comments (1)

+ Wi-Fi Salon

Today Amanda and I interviewed Marshall Brown at the launch party for the new Wi-Fi Salon Battery Park hot-spot.

The wireless network which is up and running as of today is a whoppin' 46 mbps, the equivalent of about 30 T-1s. Thats 30x's the bandwidth of a typical public hotspot thus allowing for major video conferencing and public events. Some guys from Sony's LoactionFree TV were there and loving the fast TV over IP stream.

Brown is building a network of 18 Wi-Fi Hot Spots in 9 parks and 4 boroughs around New York City.

We also met and interviewed Andrew Rasiej a public advocate for New York City. I was extremely impressed and look forward to keeping up with and supporting his endeavors. I'll add an update when the interview is published.

Posted to new york city by Rocketboom on 12:06 AM | comments (0)

+ John Edwards Videoblog

John Edwards' videoblog is up and running and he is really into it.

For over two months, as he traveled around the country to help bring awareness to poverty, he had a video camera and would talk into the camera to create little 1-2minute bursts explaining where he was and what was going on.

While the clips were neat, they were unsubstantial because there was really no message being delivered and there was no format that was surfacing from these experiments.

So then it just struck me in flash that a question/answer forum would be ideal because it would substantiate a format and provide a stage for a visual conversation with his audience online.

With the help of many, many others, we got the videoblog up and running and he is really into it. In fact he just called me on the phone to thank me. That was a first for sure, my gosh.

Posted to internet_culture by Rocketboom on June 8, 2005 1:47 AM | comments (0)