Asynchronous Video Threading

I spent the day on Seesmic yesterday and had a 90-post conversation involving several of the members. I’ll say first of all that Seesmic has made TONS of improvements since Andrew Lipson gave me an invite 3 months ago. They’re always making improvements to their site, so this post may very well be outdated relatively soon. πŸ™‚

If you don’t know what Seesmic is, it’s basically like having a conversation with people on a bunch of stickies. In a way, it’s like Twitter, except it’s video and audio instead of text. You get to record a video which goes into the “public” timeline, and other people can watch it just about as soon as you post it. People who see your video can record their own video and make it a reply to your video if they so choose.

They relatively recently implemented threading as a one-dimensional, reverse chronological timeline. This was way better than no threading AT ALL πŸ˜€ but having held a several-hour-long conversation on it that was about actual intellectual concepts, not “what to name a dog” or “who’s going on a date tonight”, I got to experience the downsides of asynchronous video threading in Seesmic’s current format.

The reason I make a point of it being asynchronous is that it’s not a real-time conversation. It’s more like twitter or an email group than it is like Yahoo Live where several people speak to each other simultaneously, or even chat rooms, where everyone’s there at the same time and can jump in with their opinions if they feel like it.

Liz Burr made some excellent points that I hadn’t paid attention to as I was absorbing so many other things during a full day’s use of the app. Someone had made the point that because you record your own video and decide when to stop it, you get to say what you want in its entirety without being interrupted. Liz mentioned that since it’s asynchronous, you can be turned OFF at ANY point, or not listened to at all, as your screen name and icon are attached to your video in the thread. This means you have more of a chance of not.being.heard.at.all. if someone decides that what you have to say isn’t worth listening to based on your behaviors and what you had to say in previous videos. I “knew” this, but I hadn’t processed it until she mentioned it to me. I was already employing that behavior, for example, after listening to a post from someone that I determined was garbage, I would skip anything with their face on it after that.

At this point, I should mention how Seesmic is set up for people to become aware of people’s posts. It’s important to understand this to understand why one-dimensional threading is NOT optimal for an application like this. There’s a “public” timeline that catches everyone’s videos. This is world-wide, but you can set it to only pick up posts in your language. That’s still A LOT of people, and it’s not even open to the public yet. Your next option is a “friends” timeline. You get to choose to “follow” people, and only their videos will show up in this timeline. This is another way you can elect to bypass people whom you’ve determined have nothing valid or intelligent to say… don’t “follow” them. They’ll still show up if you’re looking at a thread that they’ve contributed videos to, but then you resort to visual parsing and skip them as usual.

These abilities to select people to follow and people to “allow to speak” by clicking on their videos and watching them all the way to the end absolutely alters each person’s perception of a thread they arrive to. Seesmic member Otir read a perfect analogy of the situation, telling the story of a bunch of blind people whom were all offered different sections of an elephant to feel and then to give their opinion of what an elephant is like. Each of them had their own perception of “an elephant”, and that perception colored what they had to say about elephants.

First of all, if you’re following certain people, their posts come up in your “friends” timeline. If you click on the member’s icon, you go straight to their opinion. That’s a good thing. However, you’re jumping in in the middle of the thread. You can click “conversation” and see the entire list of posts in that thread. This is where your personal bias comes into play. If you don’t have any respect for the people earlier in the timeline, you might skip their videos entirely, bypassing much of the context of the situation. If there are a whole lot of videos before the person you’re following, you might not be inclined to watch an hour’s worth of posts before you enjoy what you really came here to see… thus, bypassing much of the context of the situation. If you’ve determined that the person you’re following is more credible than others in the thread, you may be inclined to reply along the lines of that personal bias. This is where we get the blind people approaching the elephant from different sides and angles.

Another “problem” with this layout is that what you’re looking at is NOT actually linear other than chronologically. The posts are laid out by the TIME that they were posted to the site, but they are not differentiated by the TANGENT of the thread that that particular post followed. This leads to a circular, “telephone game” situation, because people show up to a thread hours after it started, read something a “friend” of theirs posted, which was dealt with hours ago, and respond to that person’s post without watching all of the surrounding material.

My thread was 90 posts long. Even if each person took only one minute to say what they had to say (and I’ve seen videos that were 5 minutes long, so if there’s a time limit on individual videos, it’s NOT shorter than that), that means that to absorb the entire thread, you’d have to sit there as long as a feature film. People aren’t going to wait that long to reply. As a matter of fact, people started showing up and making NEW threads asking for someone to summarize my thread because they didn’t want to go back and read it all. This is another way that posts get “lost in the sauce”. People show up and want to be involved, but don’t want to put in the work to go back and experience each post.

Another reason it becomes circular is let’s say you have three tangents in a thread. As the original thread participants scramble “left and right” (since it’s all appearing as a one-dimensional timeline) to deal with tangents, 20 posts down the line, someone reads something from a tangent that was already resolved, hits “reply” and now, your 21st post is actually a response to your 5th post. :/ Then, THEIR “friends” see what THEY posted and continue the previously resolved tangent, causing the original thread participants to scramble over there and put out THAT fire… AGAIN. :/ Meanwhile, the thread splinters more and more and is misinterpreted more and more but LOOKS like a single, chronologically-ordered discussion. The snowball rolls further downhill when someone shows up to post #60, which is really only three posts removed from post #5 and doesn’t want to read the rest of the material, so they assume that all 60 posts have been along the same tangent.

Like I said, this only comes into play if you’re trying to have an intelligent conversation. If you’re just socializing via video, you don’t need to worry about tangents and following thoughts and concepts. You just throw up a “me too” post and you’re good… you feel like you’re a part of the conversation, whether people are “following” you or not.

Jan McLaughlin mentioned an addition that I think would work very well in these situations… the ability for the originator to moderate their thread. I suppose the ability to assign mods would be useful as well. A couple of days ago, I left a 32-post thread of mine for a few hours and when I returned, it was around 60. Thinking that there was much interesting material to sift through, I clicked on it, only to realize that two people had started online dating in my thread. :/ Instead of taking their chances in the “public” timeline, the best way to try to get each other’s attention was to click “reply” so that it would show up in their “replies” folder (an alternative timeline to “public” or “friends”. The unfortunate side-effect of this was that as they kept “reply”ing to each other, their posts were being added to my thread.

It would be lovely to have a way to separate irrelevant posts from your thread. It would be lovely to be able to remove videos posted to your thread by people that just showed up to act dumb. Not *delete* them, just remove them from YOUR thread so that new people arriving after the fact wouldn’t bail on your 70-post thread because there are 30 posts worth of online dating inside it that’s completely indistinguishable from on-point conversation in a one-dimensional reverse chronological timeline.

Seesmic’s making tons of improvements, so I’m sure features are coming down the line that will facilitate intelligent conversation, such as GROUPS. The ability to have a discussion only amongst the people that *you* choose would be a major development. There’s no need to block others from reading it. Just stop them from diluting the content and making the originators waste time running around putting out fires. Like I said, they’ve progressed in leaps and bounds in the three months that I’ve been on the service.

Personally, I’m a fan of synchronous interaction, whether we’re talking live video or text chat. Even IRL, I enjoy holding arguments against 5 people at a time. πŸ˜€ The upside of asynchronous conversation is that you only have to make your point ONCE, and everyone hears it and we can all move forward and explore greater depths of the conversation. The downside is that you have to actually BE THERE at the time it’s happening to be a part of it. If you show up hours later, all you can do is watch the archive, if there is one.

The upside of asynchronous conversation is that you can join in on work breaks, when you get out of class, whenever it’s convenient for you, you can add something to an ongoing discussion. The downside is that depending on how much time has elapsed between the beginning of the conversation and your arrival, you might not be willing to put in the work to absorb the entirety of the conversation anyway.

Bill Cammack Ò€’ Cammack Media Group, LLC

It’s The End of The World as We Know It! :(

Fellaz: It’s All Over! :O

The Game as we know it is about to be turned on its ear! It’s all over. Get ready for the big Going-Out-Of-Business sale. What’s on sale, you ask?

YOU! You’re going out of business! πŸ˜€

Systematically, male leverage in the dating game has been eroding, or perhaps has been purposely erodED.

Back in the day, it was easy to pull chicks, because they couldn’t do anything on their own. I mean, they were always intelligent enough to, they just weren’t allowed to.

According to the Women’s Rights Movement in the U.S.
Timeline of Key Events in the A…
, before August 26, 1920, women didn’t even have the right to vote. There was a bunch of other stuff women were dissuaded from, like having jobs, having their own money, owning land, starting a business…. Add that to the brainwashing girls receive to this very day when they receive baby dolls and toy ovens for Christmas to prepare them for their role as child-bearer, child-raiser, cook, maid, etc and it was a veritable buyer’s market. Oh… don’t forget the Scarlet Letter treatment women still receive to this day if they express themselves sexually and ‘get around’ in the same way that guys do. So… Basically, what you had was a bunch of chicks, sitting around with nothing to do, no money, probably no cars (? horses and buggies? hahaha) hoping that their lives would eventually *BEGIN* when some guy wanted to marry them.

Meanwhile, The Fellaz were living large because they were completely unrestricted in getting money, houses, land, voting, playing the field, etc. All you had to do was be better than the next man who comes a-knocking on a lady’s door as a suitor, and you were guaranteed to bag the chick. Of course, people like Fonzie had multiple chicks, either in parallel or serial, but that’s a different topic. πŸ˜€

So anyway, in the 1920s, women got the vote. No big deal. However, around the 1940s, World War II kicked off, and all The Fellaz were sent to fight (read: die). In order to maintain American industry, there was no choice except to replace the guys with the chicks that had previously been sitting around at home. *THIS* was a big deal, πŸ˜€ because all of a sudden, “Sistahs were doin’ it for them-SELVES!!!”… Ya HEARD? πŸ˜€ Now, there’s no more sitting at home waiting for you to show up with your money and car, because she has HER money and HER car! :O No waiting for you to take her to Paris or Disney World, because she’s going to go if she wants to, AND hang out with her co-working female friends to boot! hahaha ROAD-TRIIIIP!!! πŸ˜€

Guys’ leverage down the drain.

Fortunately, not all chicks took advantage of this opportunity to be prosperous. There were still a bunch of lazy chicks left over that wanted to get by on their looks and become “kept women”. There was also the mainstream media who recognized the problem of women doing EXACTLY what they wanted, when they wanted, and did their damnedest to keep images of how women are ‘supposed’ to act all over the newspapers, film reels and televisions.

At some point in the 1960s, “Women’s Lib” popped up to combat myriad injustices towards American females. This movement has done a lot of good for women, however, some chicks got completely carried away with it! πŸ˜€

In 1968, Valerie Solanas wrote the SCUM Manifesto. I was lucky enough to have been handed a copy of this SCUM Manifesto by a good friend while we were in High School, and found it to be a rather interesting read. Quoting from the wikipedia entry:

“Sex is not part of a relationship: on the contrary, it is a solitary experience, non-creative, a gross waste of time. The female can easily — far more easily than she may think — condition away her sex drive, leaving her completely cool and cerebral and free to pursue truly worthy relationships and activities; but the male, who seems to dig women sexually and who seeks out constantly to arouse them, stimulates the highly sexed female to frenzies of lust, throwing her into a sex bag from which few women ever escape.”

[Side Note: Now you see how it’s come to the point in 2008 when bookstore technique is a perfectly valid gameplan. Act like you’ve evolved as she has instead of “digging her sexually” and “constantly trying to arouse her”, and you’re “In like Flynn”! :D]
So, SCUM Manifesto advocated taking guys out of the loop, entirely. This brings us to February, 2008 and this article discussing British scientists trying to figure out how to turn women’s bone marrow into sperm. :O

What this means is that the last stronghold of The Fellaz is going down the tubes, and *YOU* are about to be OUT. OF. BUSINESS! πŸ˜€

Once they figure this out, women will not need you for AN-NY*THING*! πŸ˜€

Nothing.

This is partially what the movie “Fight Club” was about. Women do not need you to provide:

companionship = girlfriends
protection = cops
money = her job
shelter = her house
food = the grocery store
sex = HΓ€agen-Dazs

The only thing she needs *YOU* for is your MIT-graduate genes, complete with orangeish-brown complexion and naturally curly hair, and if they figure out how to extract that from the bone marrow of some chick that has those same features…

It’s A Wrap! πŸ™

DatingGenius

Purely Looks

Reader Derek writes:

I noticed that if a pretty blonde lady says anything – anything at all – like “asdfgHJKL;”, she’s gonna get tons of replies, all in a “Wow, you are ingenious ’cause you wrote that!”

And the closer to blonde you get, the more responses you get. I’ll put money down on fact that a girl “wiith blonde hair on facing left” would get more responses than the SAME GIRL “facing left with black hair.”

I know everyone has their fans and stuff, but why does beauty get you attention like that?

Actually, it depends where you are and what you have in abundance around you.

I live in New York, so we have A LOT of naturally dark-haired women and a lot that like to dye their dark hair red. Because of that, blonde is actually a commodity. Not the blonde chicks with the brunette eyebrows, hahahahaha. Not the blonde chicks with the 3″ black roots down the middle of their domes! πŸ˜€ … ACTUAL blonde chicks.

OTOH, I have cousins that live in a different part of the USA. I went to visit them and was totally amazed with the blonde chicks they had in that area… Meanwhile, I noticed that my cousins barely looked at them AT ALL! πŸ˜€ When I inquired as to what was up, I found out that their particular area was TEEMING with blonde chicks, so what was fascinating to THEM was BRUNETTES! :O

I was like “Man… you can’t throw a ROCK in NYC without hitting several brunettes before it hits the ground!”… See, so it all depends on what you’re used to, and what you have available to you.

Similarly, I grew up around chicks with BODIES. Other guys grew up liking chicks with flat asses ‘n stuff like that. So I can look at a chick and think she has the physique of a teenage boy, and the guy standing next to me is thinking “Man! Check out how nice that chick’s ass is! :O” Eventually I got used to this, and I realize that it really is “Different Strokes for Different Folks”. πŸ˜€

As far as internet culture in particular, I’d say that you’re right, that blonde chicks get more props than brunettes. There are probably a bunch of societal reasons for this including the objectification or perhaps bimbo-fication of blonde chicks ever since television and film started being shown in color instead of black and white. From Marilyn Monroe to Anna Nicole Smith, blondes have been portrayed as the “perfect” combination of sexiness and stupidity. Easy / Quick to give it up. Fun to be with. Not smart enough to make problems. Simple-minded enough to be low maintenance. Who could ask for more? πŸ˜€

Meanwhile, brunettes are often portrayed as troublemakers, thinking too much, don’t like to follow orders, not particularly sexy… This is one of the reasons why chicks dye their hair blonde, to be more attractive to guys that have gone for this “hair color indicates something” bullshit. They get tired of their blonde girlfriends getting all the raps, so they WISELY start hooking themselves up to be more attractive and get more attention.

DatingGenius

Are You A Tech Elitist?

Are *you* a Tech Elitist? If so, how’s that workin’ for ya?

As it’s now Christmas, and we think of The Grinch sitting high on the hill, looking down on all the little people of the village with contempt… Let’s consider our own positions in our respective fields and how we’ve chosen social media sites & groups as well as whom we’ve chosen to affiliate ourselves with.

There was much change during 2007. More ways to communicate. More social sites to join. More video hosts with their own little gimmicks that made them slightly different from the rest. New video editing software. New storage solutions. New live streaming options….

As new opportunities arose, there was a lot of bandwagon-jumping. Sometimes it stuck, sometimes it didn’t. When Twitter was initially unreliable, OFTEN, eventually, Jaiku came along, and there was a mass exodus. The backup plan for when Twitter would go down was for people to immediately start posting on Jaiku until the problem was resolved. Eventually, Twitter became stable, and I didn’t hear a peep about Jaiku for months until they got bought by Google. All of a sudden, here come the Jaiku friend requests.

Even within Twitter, there was bandwagon-jumping. Apps were created so you didn’t have to use the twitter web page with your browser. Some people stuck with them. Some people bailed back to the web site when they realized how many twitter posts the apps weren’t picking up. Eventually, people found found satisfaction in how they received twitter posts. At some point during ’07, Pownce became a player as well.

There was much debate about which status update application was better between the three of them. I ended up sticking with Twitter, and once every so often, I copy/paste redundant posts to Pownce & Jaiku for people that primarily (if not exclusively) use those sites. I’m also biased towards Twitter because I have 341 contacts there vs. 117 on Pownce and 50 on Jaiku, many of which are redundant for the reason I stated earlier. So, for the sake of this post, I’ll say I made the ‘elitist’ decision that Twitter was better for my purposes and essentially neglect the other two services.

On the social site front, I used to have a regular MySpace presence. I had somewhere around 500 “friends” that were rather randomly acquired. What I mean by that is that I had probably 100 contacts that I knew from some other site or forum or that I actually knew IRL and then another 400 or so people/companies that sent me a friends request and then essentially never talked to me “again”. πŸ˜€ … “Again” has to be in quotes, because they never TALKED to me the first time. All they did was click a button that sent me a friends request, and I accepted it. I enjoyed interacting with my actual friends on MySpace, but the vast majority of it I found to be utterly worthless. MySpace is fantastic if you’re a musician or an artist, but I didn’t make many new relationships on MySpace that were worth anything.

Eventually, Facebook stepped its game up, and I migrated to “the better site”. Similar to my Twitter bias for status updates, my MySpace dealings dwindled to ZERO. In fact, if someone didn’t have a facebook account, I wouldn’t even bother to look them up on MySpace. πŸ™‚ “Everybody who was anybody” was on Facebook, so there wasn’t any need to ‘waste’ time on other mass social sites. Recently, someone mentioned MySpace to me, and I inadvertently laughed and said something like “You *still* use your MySpace account?” She replied that she interacts with the people that she knows because of business on Facebook, but her IRL friends are all still on MySpace. I hadn’t thought about it before, but as I sit here on my Facebook hill with contempt… I’m now wondering how many of my ACTUAL friends are still down in the MySpace village, having never made the jump to “the better site”.

The reason Facebook is better for me is that I deal with social media every day of the week. Now that I’m thinking about it, for the average joe, MySpace is more than enough, and there’s no reason for them to look for better connectivity to more REAL people. So now I have to consider whether it’s more beneficial to me to move some of my Facebook-time back to MySpace instead of concentrating solely on the site that’s clearly superior for my purposes.

Next, you have video hosts. I use blip.tv because the options and functionalities serve my purposes as I maintain my own video blogs using WordPress, Show-In-A-Box and vPiP. Meanwhile, other people talk into their webcams and post videos to YouTube. I’ve posted a few videos to YouTube for test purposes, but I wasn’t impressed with the video compression quality at the time, I wasn’t impressed with the Terms of Service and I *CERTAINLY* wasn’t impressed with the dimwitted remarks people love to leave in the comments sections.

For those reasons and others, I’ve left YouTube just about completely alone… However, you can’t argue with the numbers of views that people get, assuming they get “featured”. YouTube has become the go-to for people looking for any kind of video under the sun, so just by having your video there, you have more of a chance of it going viral than if you oh-so-elitely plan, film, edit, compress, upload, post, tag and advertise your own videos like I do. πŸ™‚

The question, again, is “How’s that workin’ for ya?”. Fortunately, another 2007 development is TubeMogul which enables you to upload a video once and have it distributed to multiple video sharing sites. TubeMogul also tracks statistics for you across several sites. So now, there’s less incentive to keep “all your eggs in one basket”.

I’m sure we can look forward to lots more fantastic developments in 2008. πŸ™‚ Personally, I’ll be paying more attention than I was this year as far as whether I’d like to consolidate or expand in the areas of status updates, social sites and video hosting sites. I didn’t even get to talk about live streaming options, like how I think Operator11 is infinitely better than BlogTV….. except Operator11 went completely offline for more than a week, so people like Jonny Goldstein had to retreat to other live streaming sites to keep their shows going. Of course, there’s no way to add a BlogTV archive to your Operator11 show archive, so c’est la vie. :/

Anyway… I think it’s in all of our best interests to pay attention not only to which new app or site has cool features or the elite people flocking to it, but also to whether we’re trading away communications with our core viewers, friends, contacts and followers. Just like The Grinch found out… it’s lonely at the top.

Bill Cammack Ò€’ Cammack Media Group, LLC

Justin Johnson’s “Holiday Sweater” Song

Title: “The Holiday Sweater Song”
Directed/Written/Edited by Justin Johnson
Music: Steve Nelson
Vocals: Patty DeArteaga & Justin Johnson
Lyrics: Justin Johnson and Steve Nelson
Vimeo Permalink: [link]
YouTube Permalink: [link]


The Holiday Sweater Song from justin on Vimeo.

What says HOLIDAY COMFORT AND FUN more than a festive sweater, adorned with all manner of snowmen, snow women, dogs, snowflakes, and more. Let’s celebrate the beauty of holiday sweaters with some music combined with video!

HUGE thanks to all the people who submitted their videos for this, couldn’t have made it without all your support.

STARRING:
Jodi’s Kids

Alan and Wife

George and Nintern

Erik, Jared, and Lee

Giancarlo Florentini & Jon Grimm
http://wiseguypictures.net/

Amanda Ferri and Alex
http://bustedtees.com/

Shawn Pearlman

Ramon “The Iron Dove”

Steve Garfield
http://www.stevegarfield.com/

Josh Leo
http://joshleo.com/

Veronica Belmont
http://www.veronicabelmont.com/

Hayden Black
http://goodnightburbank.com/

Tim and Rachel
http://nextnewnetworks.com/

Streeter and Amir
http://collegehumor.com/

Michelle and Felicia
http://youtube.com/

Andrea Feczko
http://fastlanedaily.com/

Dave Seger
http://www.a-okfilms.com/

Dan Meth
http://methminute39.com/

Marissa Nystrom
http://celebzaredum.tumblr.com/

Erik Beck
http://indymogul.com/

Bill Cammack
http://reelsolid.tv/

Gary the Puppet

Nick and Richard
http://gawker.com/

Nick Douglas
http://valleywag.com/

Blame Society Productions
http://www.splu.net/

Erik X Raj
http://njfilmcore.com/

Kyle Fasanella
http://vilekyle.com/

The Thread Heads
http://threadbanger.com/

Halcyon
http://www.cockybastard.com/

ART BY
Ben Ross

MUSIC BY
Steve Nelson

LYRICS BY
Justin Johnson and Steve Nelson

DIRECTED / WRITTEN / EDITED BY
Justin Johnson

Bill Cammack to Team SCRIGGITY!

Effective immediately, Bill Cammack joins Drew Olanoff as a member of “Team SCRIGGITY“. πŸ˜€

When I first got involved in videoblogging, a little over a year ago, I used to troll blip.tv‘s recent uploads to get ideas about shows that I thought were good. One of those shows was Jonny Goldstein’s “Reinventing Television” (reinventingtv.phovi.com). I got involved, immediately. => Text chat from Reinventing Television Episode 2 (October 12, 2006).

ReinventingTV061116d

Another show that I thought was cool, interesting and innovative was scriggity (scriggity.com). Eventually, I met and hung out with Drew @ several NYC events, including Videoblogger Meetups, Network2 get-togethers and PodCampNYC.

Meanwhile, I was gearing up to do my own show… I mean, I *HAVE* my own “show” already, but it’s more like a feed of stuff that I do day in and day out. It’s not a actual show, but rather an indication of what it’s like to be me on any given day. So… I was gearing up to do an actual show and started filming episodes of “The Lab”.

What I found out, and outlined in my notes about the project… was that while I enjoy MAKING shows, I don’t enjoy the rest of the process. The “paperwork”, as I call it of all the stuff that has to be done PAST production and post.

Interestingly enough, Drew decided that he doesn’t want to edit. πŸ˜€ We chatted this morning, and I’ve joined “Team SCRIGGITY”, and we’re looking forward to big things. πŸ˜€ I always enjoy doing projects with friends, and I’ve been a fan of Drew’s concepts for a long time now. Thanks to Drew for the nod, and…

it’s ON!!! and it happens to be POPPIN’!!! πŸ˜€


billcammack

Cruxy Presents Suzanne Vega (Virtually)

Tomorrow night, (Friday, July 13th, 7pm EST) Cruxy will host a one-of-a-kind event as Suzanne Vega returns to her avatar form for a special virtual listening party in Second Life. Vega will be celebrating the upcoming release of her new album BEAUTY & CRIME, out July 17 on Blue Note. I caught up with Jon Oakes to get the inside story. πŸ™‚

What is Cruxy?

Cruxy is a media platform that allows any digital content creator (mostly emerging filmmakers and musicians) to promote and sell their works. Here’s a simple example: You’ve shot a short film. You put it in Mp4 format and upload it to Cruxy. We create all of the thumbnails, previews and promotional widgets for you. You set a price of $1 for others to buy a download of the film. We handle taking the money from the buyers and delivering cash to you (less a small fee that we charge).

Here’s a real world example of Cruxy in action. Some folks in the Midwest have a company called ShortTrackWorld. They go (in their cool van) to lots of small car races all over the Midwest where regular folks race their super modified race cars aroundÒ€¦ you guessed it, short tracks. ShortTrackWorld films the car races and then uses a satellite link to upload the videos from the event to their Cruxy page. They sell the videos of the race event to the drivers and fans and the videos are available just hours after the race. It’s pretty cool in action. You can check out the ShortTrackWorld page on Cruxy here: www.cruxy.com/stw

Recently we’ve been more focused on helping creators get their work into virtual world environments like Second Life. We see that as the next phase and our main focus moving forward.

What is the status of Cruxy as a startup, and who is team?

We are two full timers with a coterie of supporters, contractors, advisors and well-wishers. We are financed by our personal savings accounts, some paying engagements, anxiety and sweat.

Nathan Freitas and myself, Jon Oakes, have been working together for over eight years through three different (successful!) startups. We have built a ton of different technology, products, and solutions for people ranging from the government, to major corporations, and other technology businesses, but are most excited now to be applying our skills and inspiration towards creating new economic and marketing models for creative people, as well as the entertainment industry. Through Cruxy.com, we get to work with true indie talent and give them access to our entire platform. Working with a major artist and label such as Blue Note allows us to customize aspects of our platform, and create unique solutions, which also happen to help pay the bills. Its a good setup, and allows us to see the radical changes that are happening in this business from multiple standpoints.

What’s some of the interesting technology behind Cruxy.com?

As a startup, we need to be smart about how we spend our money so we use Amazon’s S3 and EC2 services for all of our server and data delivery needs. We pay on a variable basis (we did not have to go plunk down $25k for a bunch of servers and commit to a high monthly data service fee). This is really “on demand” computing and it allows us to scale in a pay that is precisely correlated ith our traffic and demandÒ€¦ rather than investing everything in infrastructure and hoping to fill up the pipe.

We’ve built a pretty robust system for syndicating media content. We built our syndication system to use the XSPF format which gives us unlimited dynamic playlisting capabilities.

We’ve also built a “virtual world widget” which allows people to distribute their music to their avatar in Second Life. They can then stream their music into their land or venue in Second Life so others can experience their music in a totally new and social way. Rather than just have a bunch of people anonymously visit a web page and listen to your stuff, with the virtual world widgets, you can hang out in your virtual environment in Second Life while a group of people check out and discuss your work.

Besides Second Life, are there other places where creators can syndicate their media?

Cruxy supports a variety of technologies that allow any media upload to our system to be republished and indexed by almost any standards-based service on the web. We’ve got flash widgets, RSS feeds, XSPF feeds, and even some microformats support. We also recently announced our deep integration with FaceBook so creators can get their work out to their FaceBook network more easily. We expect to launch this feature in August.

Looking towards the future, we see the growth of gaming and virtual worlds as online social environments to be a huge opportunity for creative artists to gain exposure and income. We fully intend to extend the Cruxy platform into these types of spaces and economic models.

What’s the story behind tomorrow’s Second Life event with Suzanne Vega?

We have built a virtual lower east side “Ludlow Street” circa 1990 environment to promote Suzanne Vega’s new album “Beauty and Crime”, which is full of songs about various aspects of New York. Suzanne will join us (in avatar form) for a live interview and take questions from her fans. Avatars who attend will also be able to watch video of some of her recent live performances and sample her new album.

Each attendee to the event will receive a Virtual World Widget that allows them to host their own listening parties and share the music with friends in their own land or club within Second Life.

What makes this event with Suzanne Vega different from her first appearance in Second Life?

We used the new Second Life voice beta software for this event. We also built the lower east side environment where avatars can come to hang out, drive taxi cabs, talk on pay phones and spray paint on walls long after the event. This event is about more than just the event… it’s about the environment where people can come whenever they want and sample the album while experiencing the New York that so inspires the album. We’ve got graffiti by Zephyr, the prolific graffiti artist of that era and guitars by Robbie Dingo, the renowwnded Second Life designer, at a LES guitar shop.

One other thing to note is that the MTV virtual lower east side is designed for the 18 to 25 crowd that might not remember New York pre-Guiliani. We wanted to recreate more of the grunge aesthetic that we so enjoyed in our 20’s in NYC.

How big is the market for what you are doing? Breakdancers and indie musicians don’t really make much money, right?

What everyone is realizing is that there is a growing appetite for independently created media content.

Cruxy is also one of those UGC filter sites. The higher end of the UGC market puts their stuff in Cruxy. We don’t get much of the teenage car surfing or flatulence type stuff (nothing against it as aÒ€¦ socialÒ€¦ expression, but it’s not what Cruxy is about)

Thanks Jon. Good luck with Cruxy and Suzanne Vega’s event tomorrow! πŸ˜€


“Graf art building on Virtual Ludlow Street New York”
Photo Credit: Nathan Freitas

Jonathan Oakes founded and managed his first start-up, a systems integration consultancy, at 24 years old. In 1998 Oakes co-founded ThinAirApps, where he served as CEO and Chairman leading the company to a successful acquisition by Palm Inc. in 2001. Oakes spent over two years at Palm, as Senior Director managing corporate and product strategy. Oakes earned a BA in American Studies from Skidmore College and an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Over the last ten years, Nathan Freitas’ career has spanned the academic, corporate, and non-profit worlds, solving difficult problems through the thoughtful application of technology. His work has been built into Palm handhelds, on display at JavaONE and SIGGRAPH, included in Wikipedia, and covered in media ranging from Boing Boing and Slashdot, to the New York Times and Howard Rheingold’s book “Smart Mobs”. He also plays a mean double bass.

Bill Cammack Ò€’ New York City Ò€’ Freelance Video Editor Ò€’ alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

Interview with Eric Rochow of Gardenfork.tv

This week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Eric Rochow, the creator and producer of Gardenfork.tv, his “internet show” or “videoblog”.

What is Gardenfork?

Gardenfork is an internet video show – iTunes video podcast about cooking, gardening, and other stuff. Other stuff can include car repair, or how to drop tree with a chainsaw. Its very eclectic; for example I’ve been doing a series of shows on BBQ, stopping at places whenever I can and interviewing BBQ experts, but then I’m also working on a show about how to repair cracks in your basement walls.

You can watch the show on our website: http://gardenfork.tv or subcribe to it through our page on iTunes.

Why do you do your show?

I’ve always been one of those people who wants to tell people about a neat thing I’ve learned, an interesting fact, a cool gizmo I just read about. This stuff swirls in my head and I’m just driven to want to share what I’ve discovered. Gardenfork is a great outlet for this desire to share information that our viewers, for some reason, like to watch.

And, its just a total blast to do. The viewer feedback is just amazing, and almost instant. Once we post a new episode, we start getting viewers emailing us with comments. The connection I have with the viewers is something you can’t buy.

Here’s a review on viewer posted on the gardenfork page on iTunes:

“Eric Rochow is not a self-promoting, self-congratulatory, larger-than-life celebrity chef. He’s the average guy doing an exceptionally good job putting together a podcast that entertains, informs, and encourages.

From the homey feel of his kitchen to the cutaways to watch the dog chew up a stick or yawn to the occasional multiple retakes as he flubs his lines, you can’t help but to love the show. Eric doesn’t pretend to be anything he isn’t and that is a breath of fresh air in today’s world of highly processed entertainment”

I think what appeals to people is that while I can talk in ‘Web 2.0 speak’ with the best of them, I can also talk about the benefits of a big block Chevy, ( FYI: that’s a specific type of engine produced by GM with dual quad carbs ) or how to keep flea beetles off your lettuce.

“Down to earth” is a phrase I’ve heard a lot when people describe the show. Its me doing a project, and that project may or may not come out they way I intended. I leave in the mistakes, because we’re all human, we make mistakes every day.

How did you get started doing Gardenfork?

I’ve worked in creative fields all my life: video, film, photography, design; and I had pitched several cooking-gardening shows to the lifestyle cable channels. The show ideas were always well received, but because no well known personality was attached to the shows, they weren’t picked up.

Last year I was on the web and ran across a video blog, crashtestkitchen, and the lightbulb went off in my head – I could produce and distribute my own cooking-gardening show – and I didn’t need the cable networks to do it.

Then we had our friends over for dinner one night, and I handed my friend Bill my video camera and said, “We’re shooting a cooking show tonight”. I made puttanesca, which is a favorite of mine, we had fun doing it, and that energy came through on the video. I had forgotten to turn on all the lights in the kitchen, so the video is pretty dark, so I called that episode “Puttanesca In The Dark with Bill”

How do you choose what to videoblog about?

Basically, whatever I’m doing on the weekend, I try to make a show about it. Last weekend I made Rhubarb Jam and tried my hand at canning, so we shot that. It was great. Sometimes I plan ahead, sometimes its just whatever project needs doing that weekend. Now we get viewer mail asking for shows on specific topics, like building a grape arbor, so I’ll do that as well.

I have to replace the clutch in my truck soon, so that will be the subject of a two part show. You can’t show how to change out a clutch in 8 minutes.

What’s your background? How do you know how to do all this stuff? πŸ™‚

My parents are born and bred New Yorkers, my grandfather was a buliding super in the Bronx, but I grew up mainly in Wisconsin. We did a lot of hiking, fishing, hunting. When something broke, we didn’t call the repairman, we figured out how to fix it.

When I was 14, my father bought my brother and I a 1949 Ford Pickup. It was in pieces. We learned about cars by putting one back together. At the same time I started gardening, and when I moved back to NY, I started cooking.

I now divide my time between Northwest Connecticut and New York City, both of which are fertile ground for many episodes of gardenfork.

Is producing Gardenfork.tv paying your bills?

Not yet, but in the future that is a very real possibility. More and more advertisers are moving to the web, and gardenfork viewers are a niche audience that certain advertisers very much want to connect with. The advertising wont be obtrusive, it will be along the lines of how PBS thanks its sponsors, with short pre-roll and post-roll clips.

In the very near future, your TV and your computer will be one appliance, its the ‘convergence’ everyone has been talking about, its finally happening. Gardenfork is part of this convergence of traditional TV and the Web. I wear the “media disruptor” label proudly.

Gardenfork has also helped me in business, as my multimedia company, choplogic, is now helping corporations create their own internal and external video blogs, text blogs, and community sites. My wife calls me “Husband 2.0”

Going forward, we are also in pre-production on a new internet video show, Real World Green http://realworldgreen.com, which is about practical things you can do to lower your impact on the earth. The goal is to appeal to viewers who may not relate to the current crop of ‘green’ programming that’s out there, our emphasis is on practical; less talk, more about things you can do.

Thanks Eric, and good luck with Gardenfork / RealWorldGreen! πŸ˜€

Bill Cammack Ò€’ New York City Ò€’ Freelance Video Editor Ò€’ alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

MasamiBillShow 005 – Yellow Pages / Chap-Et

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MasamiBillShow 005 – Yellow Pages / Chap-Et
Ghetto Night requirements:

Less than $4 paid for 80oz of beer
Window doesn’t work, so use the Yellow Pages to keep it open
Chap-Et instead of Chap-Stick
Laughter, Pictures and Video! πŸ˜€

MasamiBillShow

MasamiBillShow 004 – Country Club

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MasamiBillShow 004 – Country Club
Masami models the 40oz, while Masako & Letitia take more pictures!

You want some
I’m taking you…
Oh no, I don’t like this one. I like this one better
Bill… Bill… Hey
Hey
Now I got this camera from my brother…
What have we here?
Country Club… 1.59… Check this out
They are crazy, those two, I’m teling you… check this out
America’s premium malt liquor. It’s the premium. Representing East Harlem, Spanish Harlem, whatever you call it
hahahahahahaha
What’s going on over here?
Taking pictures
Oh, taking pictures
She’s always doing that, yes, look…
I look like what? It’s like I look like 12 years old or something
Yeah
[gasp]
…NO! hahaha… Not 12 years, but like 19 or 20, come on! πŸ˜€

MasamiBillShow