Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Social Video: A Wishlist

Saturday, June 28th, 2008

YouTube,, Ustream… there are a bunch of services that cater to the video enthusiast. None of them, to my knowledge, have the functionality I’m looking for.

What do I want?

Most video recorders (from traditional units to digital cameras and smart phones) tag videos to the date and time they are recorded. This is a powerful piece of information. What if I’m recording a seminar at a convention while my wife is recording my daughter playing in the yard? What if there are multiple people recording the same event from different perspectives? It would be cool to be able to see those concurrent events or perspectives side-by-side. Timestamps would allow me to do this.

Most social media sites allow you to build a cloud of contacts (friends). Why not allow me to see which of my friends are streaming right now, and view each stream, sync’d in real time? Why not allow me to go back in history and see the same information?

Event tags can allow me to find video from multiple sources taken at the same event. I don’t know of any service that would allow me to view these videos in a meaningful timeline. What more, if I’m at an event and want to see which streams are live right now, I would like to be able to do so.

Geo-tracking would be similar to event tags, but allow me to see what is going on around me. Hey, look… someone is streaming from Market Street Brewery in Nashville – it looks fun, I better get down there!

I’m sure there are other things one could do with a service that allows robust tagging, time stamping, and filtering. What would you like to see?

Wanted: Adults

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

I have been searching for a good programmer to work on certain projects with for the better part of the last six months. I’ve gone through four. All came highly recommended or seemed like good candidates based on their resumes. They all listened to what I expected of them and said they were willing to accept the jobs. They all responded that they understood when I explained that I needed a firm commitment – that if there was any reason they thought they could not complete the assignment on schedule I would rather them back off before we started. All four have screwed me – causing me to miss various deadlines.

I never thought that programmers could be prima donnas. I was wrong.

You people are costing me time, money and credibility. If you say you’re going to do something… DO IT!

Don’t give me excuses right before a deadline. I don’t want to hear them. I can’t publish an excuse. I can’t send it into a client. And I certainly can’t show it off to a potential business partner. Put up, or shut up.

Don’t tell me your computer went down. I’ve had computer issues a handful of times. I’ve had them during crunch time before deadlines. I’ve always gone out of my way to make sure I remedied the situation. In the US, if my connection goes down I go to Starbucks. Yes, it costs me money to get online, but it’s more important to do what I say I’ll do and swallow the internet fee. I’m not IN the US – I’m in Bulgaria. You know what happened when a publisher and I were having issues and my internet wasn’t cooperating? I drove two hours to another town to use the internet there. It wasn’t working there, either? I drove two more hours back in hopes that the old connection was back up. Why? Because it’s my professional duty to make sure I do everything in my power to get my work in on time, and to spec.

The biggest one: communication. Answer your email or I’m going to kill you if we ever meet in person. Tell me you’re having issues. Heck, lie to me for all I care. Don’t you dare keep ignoring me – not when you’re past a deadline and only 20% of the way to the finished product. I started working online while in a war zone and I did fine. If I can answer emails between dodging mortars and convoys, etc… Well, then you can keep in touch with a guy that wants to send you thousands of dollars.

Give me one, just one, adult and I’ll show you someone who is worth their weight in gold.

The rest of you suck.

Grand Ol Flag Blues

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

WaMu sponsored a video contest. This is my pick for #1:

Voting is still open. Feel free to view the four finalists and cast your vote. My #2 pick was the punk video, third down on the page.

Weekend Review: 08 June 2008

Sunday, June 8th, 2008

Kobold Quarterly
Our Anniversary Issue (#5) popped this week, in time for Origins. My favorite articles: Jezebal, Princess of Poison Winters by James Jacobs and V is for Vermin by Aeryn Rudel. Now I gear up for the GenCon issue – advertisers have a week left before we close the books. If you’re looking to promote your products and services to the thousands of screaming kobolds that read KQ, now’s the time to contact me.

Atomic Array
The work-up for the launch of my new podcast is going well, though I have yet to nail down the website. My mock-up is done – it’s just waiting on the codemonkey to make my vision a reality. Episode #001 should be released on 20 June.

… or stuff that I still need to put to bed.

OpenID: I need to wrap up my understanding of how to “provide” my own OpenID. I need this before I can relaunch my personal website, so if anyone can help me out…

Firefox Audio Player: I know that making one of these is possible, but haven’t found one yet. I need a tech guru to write me. Know one?

Web Radio: I know I just posted this one, but it’s going on the list until I get an answer. I need an idiot’s guide to internet radio, or a mentor.

Radio Rivendell

Saturday, June 7th, 2008

Radio Rivendell is a non-commercial, non-profiting web radio station that plays fantasy music 24×7. The station has been online since 2001, growing out of a Shoutcast experiment.

Blah blah blah, right? Well, I think it’s a cool little site. I won’t bore you with all the reasons why I like the idea of a 24×7 stream of fantasy music. If you’re into the genre, you already get it. Here are a couple other things I like about Rivendell:

Interviews: Everyone can do interviews, but the Council has integrated then into the site in a slick way, giving each group their own mini-page on the site. On the mini-pages, you can see a complete list of albums, and even a list of all the composer’s songs.

Just Played: I’m loving this page, where you can see what has recently played on Rivendell. Each song/album/artist is linked to internal pages.

Anyway, check the channel out.

Help Me Make a Moonstew Logo

Friday, June 6th, 2008

I need a logo for something called Moonstew. I have a vague idea floating in my head as to what I want, but I’m unsure if it’s even possible to execute properly. I’d do it myself, but I have no art ability at all.

The idea is two spherical objects – heavenly bodies – that are so close to each other that their profiles are overlapping. I Google’d “moon formation” and found an image that approximates what I’m going for. You can see it, to the right (and click on it to see a larger version).

I don’t think I want people to automatically connect the moon formation idea with the logo, though. I’d like the final version to be a stylistic representation of the idea. What I’m hoping for is a “glossy corporate” look that you might associate with new media companies. Something like this, in tone:

The reason I’m including this NASA 50 image is because it has the “spacey” outline look I was trying to play with in PhotoShop. Alas, my design-fu is terrible and I am too embarrassed to share my shameful results. Anyway, I’m thinking it might be possible to give the impression of two globes in close proximity (see image #1) by using the partial outlines, as is the objects were back lit. My hope is that this can be done, and then “prettied up” to look modern and corporate.

But _I_ can’t do it. Can you help me?

Friedman’s Four Ways to Spend Money

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

I was reading Mike Gorski’s Real DuPont blog this morning. The city council of my home town (DuPont, WA) is debating the merits of a skate park. Some of the discussion is silly, focusing on how people feel and whether or not kids will “like” the decision. There is very little open discussion about the economics of the decision, which as a taxpayer disturbs me. It reminded me of Milton Friedman’s matrix of spending, from his Free to Choose series. Here’s a snippet…

Paizo Publishing is Hiring

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008

Hey you! Yes, you… that’s right. Have you ever wanted to work for a gaming company? Now’s your chance. Paizo Publishing is hiring:

Customer Service Representative: Responsible for dealing with customer subscriptions, inquiries and complaints through email, postal mail, or the phone.

Warehouse Personnel: Responsible for all operations related to fulfilling orders placed through the web store.

Software Developer: Responsible for maintaining and adding features to large, complex codebase comprising e-commerce website and internal customer service and content management tools.

All of these are full-time positions in Bellevue, WA. Benefits include a fully paid medical plan; generous vacation, sick leave, and personal days; annual bonuses based upon company performance; and free Paizo products and employee discounts on everything sold on

Please see Paizo’s full Job Opportunities page for more details and for information on how to apply.


Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

MapQuest and Google Maps are cool, but I rarely use them to find hotels or places to eat. I know they offer that info, but the problem isn’t that I don’t want it. The problem is that I don’t want it… while I’m sitting in front of my laptop. I generally want info on a place to eat when I’m out on the road.

Enter Dash.

Dash Navigation crowd sources traffic information, allowing you to know when traffic is bogged down up ahead, alternative routes, etc. In Japan, they paid millions to get “smart highways.” Dash can do the same thing, with only a few customers on the net.

Since Dash is connected to the internet, it allows you to enter searches for goods and services in your area. The interesting thing is that, while I may be interested in Starbucks in a couple of narrowly defined things in my life, Dash can combine all the searches to determine some interesting facts. At Web2Expo, Dash’s Mark Williamson showed how Dash could tell Starbucks exactly where, on my highway system, they should put their next store. They can base this on all the searches of all the people on the net.

There are other services that rely on GPS and geo-sensitive content. Trackstick is one of my favorites. It’s basically a glorified thumb drive, with a built in GPS that tracks your location on a set schedule. You can then download that information, mash it together with Google Maps, and see a route map.

I’ve always wanted to do this, since I travel so much. I think it’d be cool to strap a trackstick on for a couple years and just see what the results are. I’m sure there’d be little globs of activity in and around those places I frequent most.

I wonder is Dash allows you to download / mash your routes. Hmmm…

Last, but not least, there is BrightKite, a social media application that allows you to “check in” at various locations. You can share that information with your friends, but you can also see what activity there is in your area.

Are you in a new town and want to find some new business contacts? BrightKite might be able to help. Want to share photos of your travels, snap them with your cell and they’ll be posted to the BK account in seconds.


Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Have you ever used UStream? How hard is it to set up a stream? How does streaming live video differ from recording for later release? How would you handle multiple video streams coming in at the same time? Is there an easy way to toggle between two contributing video feeds? For instance, if I wanted one camera on the audience and one on a presented, is that possible with UStream? If so, how hard is it to set up?