Nobody owns podcasting like nobody owns the net

RSS + MP3 V.2

Ok before people come down hard on my title, its not an absloute statement rather a general idea. Something which came across loud and clear in Doc Searls blog

Nobody is going to own podcasting.

By that I mean nobody is going to trap it in a silo. Apple tried, first with its podcasting feature in iTunes, and again with its Podcasts app. Others have tried as well. None of them have succeeded, or will ever succeed, for the same reason nobody has ever owned the human voice, or ever will. (Other, of course, than their own.)

Because podcasting is about the human voice. It’s humans talking to humans: voices to ears and voices to voices—because listeners can talk too. They can speak back. And forward. Lots of ways.

Podcasting is one way for markets to have conversations; but the podcast market itself can’t be bought or controlled, because it’s not a market. Or an “industry.” Instead, like the Web, email and other graces of open protocols on the open Internet, podcasting is all-the-way deep.

He’s right, when Apple weighted in with iTunes I did think here we go, but even after a long time hearing those words…

Subscribe to us on iTunes, give us a rating on iTunes, etc. I’m glad the ecosystem of podcasting stayed diverse and theres some innovation and creativity in the field even after 15+ years. Of course I can easily imagine much more creativity as described before.

Of course its a great thing no one owns Podcasting as some question if podcasting can save the world. Ok super cheesy but Doc Searls did say this which I thought was quite inspiring and fascinating too..

Maybe podcasting is the best way we have to start working out our problems with race, gender, politics and bad habits of culture that make us unhappy and thwart progress of all kinds. I say that because 1) the best podcasting I know deals with these things directly and far more constructively than anything I have witnessed in other media, and 2) no bigfoot controls it.

There is something (in)credible about the human voice. Maybe in the world where we strive for more human connection; real podcasting’s open discussions are a welcomed relief from all the other crap we get fed?

The effect of the Orange Wednesday ecosystem

Cinema foyer

There is something really interesting going on in the movie industry… I can’t put my finger on it but something interesting is going on…

In America everyone is going nuts over Groupon to starting to offering movie tickets at a discount. I thought ok, so what, nothing new? We’ve had Orange Wednesday for years and thats has had a massive effect on the industry.

When I say massive I mean, Orange Wednesdays discount code has become the currency for discounts all over Wednesday. Pizza Express now have a 2 for 1 pizza Wednesday. And more locally theres quite a bit of discount on transport tickets and other restaurants for Orange Wednesday customers.

On top of this… The movie industry is coming around to this notion and have starting allowing films to be released on Wednesday. (remember the cinema week use to start Thursday with previews and Friday for the main day). For example Limitless

But the interesting part is that although the numbers through the doors are better on a Wednesday due to the discounts, the kind of people who are going are less of the serious film lovers and more of the general public (I would suggest). General public are great for sales but to be honest they tend not to be fanatical about films and therefor (I would once again suggest) are less likely to come back for another viewing or tell there friends. So overall the film industry will have to fight even harder to keep up the profits they have. They really think piracy is the problem but could it be the cinemas which are the silent killers or the last nail in there own coffins? Its a bit like Apple and Music industry with itunes.

The music industry was so hell bent on catching the music pirates and stopping computers from doing what there great at doing (copying), that Apple slipped in with pandora’s box which looked great to them all. What they didn’t know till later was that pandora’s box (or itunes as its better known), meant giving Apple a massive slice of the music industry… In the same way, the movie industry moving release dates to benefit the cinemas is not such a good move for themselves. (At least the groupon deal doesn’t include shifting the release dates, yet!)

Instead of fighting new technologies, they need to embrace it before someone else close by (like the cinema chains or a mobile phone operator) makes them irrelevant.

The irony is Orange’s cinema adverts are all about the deconstruction of films through humor and putting a mobile phone in where its not really wanted. Humor indeed but for whom?

Of course this is just my thoughts or suggestions and not the truth, you may disagree… But if you do please add a comment. I could be barking up the wrong tree but something is certainly going on…

Removing iTunes and going back to Winamp

I'm so done with iTunes. The restrictions and lack of interoperability with anything else non Apple was simply driving me nuts. The last straw for me was when I upgraded to iTunes7, Xbox media centre and iTunes 6 wouldn't talk to it any longer. I'm sorry but this is so wrong. And lets be honest, the only major difference in iTunes7 (if your not buying into their drm) is the cover art view. I couldn't give a crap about the ability to play downloaded films from the iTunes store.

Anyway, the reasons I moved to iTunes boil down to 2 things.

  • Zeroconf (bonjour) sharing
  • Advanced playlist management

Well both SongBird and Winamp support advanced playlist management. Actually the Winamp's media library has a custom query language where you can write queries well beyond the iTunes smart playlist feature. We're not quite talking SQL or Xpath but good enough for any purpose you care to throw at it. On the sharing front, Winamp just got winamp remote which I've not played with yet, but looks like you can control and stream winamp to any other winamp or browser window. This seems to work anywhere in the world
and although it doesn't use Zeroconf, sounds like a replacement for iTunes sharing.

Some other thoughts behind switching. Although AOL now own Winamp, they haven't restricted the plugins, skins etc which have been built. There are thousands of plugins which control every aspect of Winamp. The same is certainly not true of iTunes. I found myself a very nice plugin to map my global laptop multimedia keys to winamp's controls (who ever thought z to b would be a good idea, needs serious help), a bluetooth plugin which allows me to control winamp from my phone and in the lastest version of winamp
the ability to manage portable devices.

This feature alone is amazing, for example try managing a Creative Zen with iTunes. It just doesn't work because Apple wants you to buy a iPod not a Zen. My reply is, fine, then i'll stop using your software, Apple. Winamp now supports out of the box (latest version 5.3.2) The iPod, Creative devices, Playsforsure devices, USB devices and Activesync. The last two are the most exciting for myself. Now I can copy the lastest downloaded podcasts straight on to my SD card using Autofill or/and sync media with my mobile
phone. This is what I've been dying to do for a long time. Can I also point out iTunes miniplayer uses almost the same on screen real-estate as Winamp. And has more ability to connect to online services like Shoutcast and Pandora.

The point of all this is, Apple's innovation for iTunes has been mainly good for those who use the iTunes music store and a iPod device. I don't fit and will be deinstalling iTunes from all my computers from now on. Now if I can just get Winamp talking to the Xbox directly, i'll be completely set.

Oh you might have seen I mentioned Songbird. I love songbird but its not mature enough for general use. At some points while using it last week, it was using over 300meg of physical memory plus the smart playlist feature is incomplete. On the plus side the miniplayer is super slick using only the space of a toolbar (I found a winamp skin which is the same). I'll certainly keep an eye on it in the future but for now Winamp beats iTunes, Songbird and Windows Media Player.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Video ipod is official, but is this it?

Video Ipod

I'm following the coverage from Engadget, Gizmodo and believe it or not Stuffmag

The new iPod, as speculated, features video capabilities and the wider display, but it�s still a music-first device.

The device will feature a 2.5-inch display, QVGA resolution (320 x 240), and will MPEG-4 h.264 (natch), and presumably Quicktime.

The new iPod will be 30% thinner than the current 20GB iPod (making it 0.44-inches thick�say wha?), and will feature a 60GB version and editions of both in black. The 20GB should go for $299, and the 60GB for $399. They�ll be shipping next week.

I'm not sure this is the actual video ipod, more a inbetween ipod.

New news just coming in…

You'll be able to buy TV shows from the iTunes Music Store – Desperate Housewives, Lost and more shows from ABC and Disney. Five shows will be available to watch on iPod or computer: Lost, Desperate Housewives, Nightstalker, The Suite Life and some other Disney thang. $1.99 an episode.

So its over, the apple index page has been updated and world now has a Video ipod to play with, we already knew about iTunes 6 before.

Here's the complete list

  • iMac: faster, larger disk, built in iSight. Includes FrontRow (app)
  • iPod: 30GB/60GB with Video – realtime decoding of MPEG4 and H.264. 260,000 colors. Video out, perfect for the car?
  • FrontRow and PhotoBooth Apps.
  • 30GB iPod: $299 – 31% thinner than current 20GB; – 60GB iPod: $399.
  • New video iPods avail next week.
  • New TV adverts for video ipods
  • iMac: $1299 for 17″ model with 1.5GHz, $1799 for 20″ model with 2.1GHz
  • iTunes 6 to be released with video support, You will be able to buy TV shows from iTunes Music Store. $1.99 per episode. ABC on board /images/emoticons/laugh.gifesperate Housewives, Lost)
  • Front Row – comes with new iMacs. Lets you enjoy video/music/pictures from sofa. Everything still displayed on iMac screen. iPod-like remote. 6 button remote.
  • Photobooth – appears to be slide show application.
  • Music Videos. 2000 available to buy. $1.99 each.
  • Can “gift” music to other people. Peer reviews and recommendation service.
  • Videos have Digital Rights Management built in. Can play on up to 5 computers.

Ok wheres the HD laptops and Video enabled airport express? (airport express video anyone?). Engadget has the first lot of real screen shots of the new vido ipod including the black version. Also wheres the UK video store? I'm sure the BBC could have a role to play in that, its fits with our licencing and its a little more flexable than the imp right now.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Podcasts I’ve heard this week

Damm you Evil Genius, that's exactly what I was going to say on my blog…

mention three shows from IT Conversations, two I loved and one I hated. The two I loved:

One was Jason Fried of 37signals giving a talk about the lessons learned building Basecamp. I agree with a lot of the philosophy about doing things cheap, avoiding the pressures of VC money, iterating often, etc. It sounds like all the good stuff of agile development without the woowoo bits of extreme programming that make me itchy.

The other was Doc Searls who talked to Sig Solares, the guy who kept his data center in New Orleans going through the hurricane and flood. It was fascinating on a technical level and horrifying on a human one.

The one I hated was the Larry Magid interview with George Gilder. I've heard multiple podcasts with Gilder recently and he strikes me as one of those pundits that people pay attention to but I'm not exactly sure why. Even though I overlap with his opinions on many points (citizen media being a big one), I find listening to him highly annoying. Mostly, his depth of criticism seems to consist of making up goofily insulting nicknames for the things he doesn't agree with, like “fool cells.” Thank you, Deep Thought. His shallow dismissals for spurious reasons some technologies makes me nervous when I hear him high on technologies I am also high on. It makes me think that maybe I'm actually wrong, if I'm on the same side as him on that point. I heard him on the Gillmor Gang a few weeks ago and had a similar reaction to that.

I would also add that George sounded so sure of himself and ever so arrogant in the interview with Larry, and it was pretty much the same with the Gillmor Gang too. I'm off the guy and I've only heard him talk twice, maybe not the best thing to admit if I ever meet him but thats how I feel right now.

Jason from 37signals was breathtaking to hear, when I started listening I was thinking oh no not another sells type pitch. But before long I was listening hard and really taking in some of the things he was saying. Really worth the time to hear this podcast I would say.

On a related topic, I'm deeply considering building a special feed for all the recommended podcasts I hear. I was trying some new social podcasting service (cant remember the url right now) which claims to do just that but fails because it assumes all podcast feeds are attached to one person. So subscribing IT conversations really screwed things up. No I'm considering using or something else to say yes I recommend this single podcast. The idea would be that if I recommend a couple a week, it would slowly build up to a highly recommeded best of what i'm hearing type feed.
On how I do this, I've got a few thoughts. I could just setup another account and only post urls to rich media or I could add a special tag which I identify as this is a recommended podcast. I would then take either of the feeds and using xsl transform it into another podcast feed. I know I could use something like feedburner to do this, but I really want to just bookmark it and know it will end up in the other feed without any more human intervention. I was also considering doing a cross check with my audioscrobbler/ feed to get more data.
Natrually any feed I would generate, I would also process into xhtml so it can appear on the side bar of the site. Which would be more useful than just copying my recently listened to audioscrobbler list as it does currently. It would be great if Itunes actually had a easily accessable xml based api which I could get into. Then I would be tempted to use the itunes rating system to rate podcasts.
I'm sure Steve Gillmor would also find such a API useful to get feedback on IT conversation programming. I'm currently I do go to the site and vote for some stuff, but not even 20% of what I actually listen to. If the vote system was de-coupled into itunes or my RSS aggregator I would vote on everything I heard. Its a bit like the Digg problem really. To actually digg a story you have to go to the site. There's seems to be not trackback or simple restful url I can send the data too at the moment. There's certainly a gap in the market for audioscrobbler plugins to send rating data to its self, which could actually give a little more focus on the podcasting listenership figures. I'm actually sure someones thought of this too, but I guess the differences between rating systems in windows mediaplayer, itunes and whatever else makes things difficult, but not impossible.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]

Apple nano, phone and itunes5? What a disappointment

So after all the usual marketing hype, Kevin was right. Cingular will sell the iTunes shuffle Motorola phone. Theres a replacement to the ipod mini called the ipod “Nano” which has a colour screen and is very light and very thin. Oh an theres iTunes5 which syncs with outlook and has a few extra features. Yeah big deal… If your interested, Engadget had a live blog for the event, which included a ichatAV call to some stars and lots of Steve Jobs type charisma.

Comments [Comments]
Trackbacks [0]