Saturday, 31 December 2005

TiVo’s Future is in Videoblogs Not in Network Television

We’ve been a TiVo household for about a month now. Excellent service, I’m glad we got it. What we don’t have is a satellite or cable service. As I mentioned on my other blog, this omission is very challenging for TiVo.

To me, the most interesting television isn’t on television. It’s the videoblogs or video podcasts or vlogs, or video clambakes, or whatever you like to call them. After watching a handful of TiVo recommendations, I’m confident in saying anything you can do with a video camera and iMovie is on par with most over-the-air offerings.

Right now, TiVo is only recommending programs based on what it can see with the decade-old rabbit ears on the top of my non-HDTV. But it’s artificially handicapping itself. The TiVo is on my home network – so its recommendations should be based on all the video across the internet.

This means because I prefer watching video on my TV rather than my computer, I’m way behind on Minnesota Stories, RocketBoom and without an incentive to dig deeper into video.

Now, despite the TiVo being a Linux box and hooked up to my network – I can’t easily send video to it. To be clear – I don’t want to get video off it – I want to put video on it. Easily. As easily as setting up a Season Pass. This seems to be completely outside current capabilities – these are the capabilities keeping TiVo alive, out from under the thumb of television advertisers, and provide a reason to accelerate the TiVoToGo rollout.

Just as Apple has embraced podcasting as a way to sell more and bigger iPods, copies of GarageBand, and podcasting servers, TiVo could do the same and one better – put a recommendation layer on top of all this video, a la AmigoFish.

Let’s take this one step further: Each TiVo is a Linux box, with Apache running and a Firewire/USB2.0 port in the front – it provides an easy way for people publish their video to the rest of the world. Turning TiVo into a social medium and a full-fledged citizen of the Read/Write Web.

In early December, TiVo started a very slow rollout of Online Services – including podcasts. Baby steps to their survival. But, my box hasn’t been upgraded for the TiVo Online Services yet. So it remains less used that it could be.

Thursday, 29 December 2005

Blogging – Your Business’ Back Porch

Yesterday, I had a great conversation with Matt and Jon about the benefits blogging for business. Out of it Matt brought up the very attractive ‘blogging as business backporch’ metaphor. I’ll attempt to paraphrase:

Let’s say a business is a house, and the website is it’s front door – the formal method of greeting visitors – strangers or customers.

The blog then is the backporch. More informal. Probably can’t be seen from the street. Lots of voices and lots of conversations. A place where friends, customers, and colleagues all hangout together.

Yes, some people with come through the front door – and become customers – on their way to the grill. Others, the people in the know, will come around the side yard, straight to the conversation. These people might not be customers. That’s OK.

Sorry About The Conversation Happening Without Me

On a happy note, this post means the migration to WordPress 2.0 is complete.

On an apologetic note, I’d like to apologize to everyone who has left a comment that completely got lost in the overly aggressive spam filter.

Scott McGerik, Dave, and anyone asking questions about the plugins – sorry for not responding. I wasn’t ignoring you, just didn’t get the message.

Wow. I feel like I just woke up and there was a party going on in my backyard without me.

Wednesday, 28 December 2005

The PowerBook is Back


After what felt like 7-to-10 days without my laptop, I picked it up from the Roseville Apple Store this afternoon.

It was a complete zoo there; line half-way to the door, people packed in the aisles, boxes of iPod Nano cases everywhere.


Anyway, the PowerBook is all shiny and clean, speakers work, mic works, modem is recognized, SuperDrive is burning a back-up as I write this. Yeah! Almost like it’s my birthday.

Oh, Sam – if you’re curious, PowerBooks go to Texas.

Tuesday, 27 December 2005

Sam’s a Genius – National Geographic Lullabies Before Bedtime

A couple weeks after Cooper was born, Sam sent over National Geographic Around the World Lullabies. Of course, it went straight into Cooper’s playlist on the iPod.

Tonight Cooper was inconsolable. None of the usual settling down techniques were working and we were scratching our heads with what to do. Attempting to think strategically between screams is a very useful skill in times like this.

And when the going gets tough, the tough…refresh their RSS aggregator?

Well, I’m glad I did – in it, a well-timed reminder from Sam:

“…we played a National Geographic lullabies CD for him, both for his afternoon nap and at his bedtime”


I cued up the lullabies in iTunes, flipped the speakers to the radio (thanks to the Airport Express) in Cooper’s room, then ran down to rock him into it.

Update: Cooper slept through the night. Rock on.

Yes, Sam’s a genius.

Oh, and Sam on your cassette-to-MP3 problem: try connecting the cassette players output to the audio input of your iBook using a common 1/8″ jack (might need something like the Griffin iMic) and record into Audio Hijack Pro.

AHP can automatically start a new track when it hears the silence between tracks in whatever format you’d like. After that it’d just be a matter of burning the CD.

Friday, 23 December 2005

My Mom Reads This Blog

Just thought you (those of you that aren’t my mom) should know.

I don’t know about my other blogs – so you should be safe commenting there. 😉

Aside from making me think I should stop posting some of the more technical topics, I’m happy for it.

Blogging is shorthand – right. Those of you that keep up with this site know what’s on my mind when you bump into me at the bus stop and vice versa.

Mom, seriously, when you want to start blogging, gimme a ring.

The Government is Really in the Attention Business

Hitting shuffle on the ‘unlistened podcast’ playlist this evening I hit Steve Gilmor’s conversation with Doc Searls on Attention back in November and the just published On the Media on the NSA eavesdropping on Americans for the last 4 years.

Yes, in fact, I would like to see an AttentionTrust badge at (btw – why does the NSA have a Flash intro?).

Thursday, 22 December 2005 – The Good and the Annoying

Apologies for no Tuesday Triple Play this week. Perhaps a review of will make up for it.

On a tip from Steve Borsch – I started a couple Pandora stations using two of my favorite bands as starting points (Too Much Joy Station, Transplants Station).

On the plus side
I’ve got nearly a solid work day of listening behind each and all the recommendations have very much been in the same vein as the originating artist. Even some other songs from other artists in my library have popped up.

Without Pandora, I wouldn’t have found Lucky Boys Confusion. So, a win for Pandora.

I’ve been using the jrc’s Pandora Dashboard Widget – which is more convenient and persistent than a browser window for me.

I’m only rating the songs (thumbs up/thumbs down) if I feel strongly one way or another – and just letting ‘OK’ songs run unrated. Hopefully that’s a feature and not a bug.

Giving a song the thumbs down stops it from playing and automatically jumps to the next song. Nice.

On the downside
Everything about Pandora is in Flash. Everything – from handling account info, to emailing the station links, to controlling volume, and rating tracks. Annoying.

Especially annoying because a double-click is needed within the Dashboard widget to trigger anything.

I’d like an easy way to see all the songs played in a station since it’s conception and how I rated them. Bonus points for providing it as an RSS feed. I’ve only seen what I’ve rated, and I now don’t remember where I found it. Yes, I’m talking Attention.

A station’s URL should be obvious. I shouldn’t need to email it to myself to add it to a weblog post.

Thats all for now.

UPDATE 31 Dec 2005
Hearing the same song twice in the same listening session is annoying. This is the problem I’ve had with broadcast radio for years and with my iTunes/iPod pre-podcasting. Sure, I have playlists set up to play and repeat. I’m controlling that. When I’m listening to Pandora, I want to continually discover new music. If I want something repeated, I’ll hit replay it myself. Conceiveably, Pandora has access to all the music in the world. Unfortunately, after 10 days, it sounds like I’ve hit the limits of their catalog.