Technology analysis of the latest gadgets, consoles, and computer architectures.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Microsoft Surface - One "Big Ass Table"

Microsoft Surface - One "Big Ass Table"

Browsing a Library Catalogue and Looking at Photos in an Entirely New Way

I wouldn't mind browsing a library catalogue and looking at pictures taken throughout the world this way, ultimately using multitouch technology.

TED Talks 2007 - Blaise Aguera y Arcas

Internet-based Video Application for the Mainstream

Yeah, the cellular carrier switch never happened, and I'm still use that crappy Kyocera 7135. And my mediapc is not my old PC and instead uses an AM2 platform in a SFF case (for those of you interested in the components used for this mediapc, stay tuned). However, those aren't the reasons I put together a new Tech Ramble blog post. I was actually sitting here in the Philippines on an extended business trip thinking more and more about how I hate cable TV and love internet-based distribution of traditional video content on-demand, and how Joost really does have the potential to become the next mainstream on-demand video application to replace traditional TV if the content distributors allow it to, and it really got me ready to rant...

I have been using Joost on and off for at least 6 months now; the user interface has improved drastically and the platform has allowed for a great deal of independent artists and content distributors to create channels that allow people to easily gain access to their content from a central location. The embedding of commercials between program segments also works very well, and provides for an interactive experience with the advertising companies as well.

Joost would actually be the ideal platform to allow the content distributor or artist to choose how many ads are required for their shows to allow for a variability to be applied based on viewership and costs associated to the content, etc. One program may require no or minimal ads while another would require 6-10 minutes of ads for a 20 minute program, as in traditional TV programs. I believe this would essentially ease in more traditional content distributors to give Joost a chance and provide their content for a centralized, internet-based remote-controlled user experience.

What I don't like seeing is the industry moving to their own distribution methods using either their own hosted websites or alternative sites to host multi-network content online, and here's why. I own a Macbook Pro, and prior to my upgrade to Leopard (stay tuned for more), the latest version of Joost supported my Macbook Pro remote (yay!). That meant that once I started the application, I was able to sit back and use the remote to browse the menus and select programs to watch, all hosted off of the internet.

This is how I expect future TV to work. I don't want to be required to use a mouse and keyboard to point my browser to a different website and use a less-mature flash-based html video application to watch my favorite shows (sorry,,,,,, etc, etc). Viacom started to take the right step when Joost was first introduced by allowing some of their content to appear on the service (noteably missing The Daily Show and South Park), but lately the content is unplayable on Joost. I know that Joost has been actively trying to negotiate terms with all content distributors, and that's where this article comes in.

If Joost developers and management are reading this, please consider adding more flexibility in ad time based on what the content providers want, provide more flexibility on the types of ads shown to make this transition easier and quicker for traditional TV providers (including the option to upload ads, if revenue sharing can be managed), and allow for a monthly subscription model per channel for a reasonable cost (to bring in more cable content).

Traditional TV content providers, please don't slow down internet-based TV. It is the future of content distribution, and although adding any content online is a great first step, not using a well-designed video application like Joost and *gasp* Youtube prevents users from enjoying the experience of watching TV shows online with the same couch-potato-emphasis that traditional TV (and Tivo-like devices) provide. As someone in This Week in Tech (either episode 121 or 122) pointed out, when people think of using a computer they think of leaning, and people don't want to lean to watch TV; they want to sit or lay back and watch TV. Lets avoid mouse and keyboard usage for watching TV as much as possible, for the sake of watching TV on a computer, as I do here all the time.

More on my mediapc and Leopard later...