Friday, December 14, 2007

Web video advertisements

like most people in the world today, I am an avid user and huge fan of the Internet. Rarely does a day go by with out some sort of interaction with the web, e-mail or a quick IM or two. On a regular day YouTube and videos from news outlets take up lots of time as well. An that, friends, is why I'm here today. The average news clip on CNN, AP videos, FOX etc. is about one minute long. The average advertisement attached to the beginning of that video is 30 seconds.
Now, as a (sometimes) blogger, I know how important it is to get revenue from digital content. If everyone turned their TVs off forever half of the web would go dark because the major content providers still get their money from TV advertising. I understand that there has to be a bit of a trade-off if I want to watch content online, not pay for it and do it legally. The problem that I have with web adverts enters when I'm spending half as much time viewing them as I a spend looking at the content.
This is simply another example of what the greater majority of content producers know about the Internet. They constantly try to assign properties to the Internet that should be reserved for TV. Thirty-second ads? As Brian Fellows would say: "That's Crazy!" Thirty seconds is half of an eternity on the web. It works fine for TV, because the medium is rife with opportunities to catch sandwich makers, and bathroom breakers before or after their journey. Ever wonder why there are two of the same ads during the same break? People get up, move around and eventually come back to the sofa. The internet isn't much like that. Unless someone is downloading an entire episode or waiting for a slow connection the content is instantly available. it appears, is consumed, and the watcher moves on. An entire, TV quality, 30 second embedded video file simultaneously reduces the chances that an individual will view the content behind the AD, and devalues that same content.
TV advertisers have slowly began to realize this with the traditional medium. Fifteen second and less spots are showing up more frequently. Some spots are broken up into several shorter mystery commercials that are aired throughout the program. When all the parts have aired, they equal one long interesting bit of advertising. That, ladies and Gentlemen, is where video web ads need to go. Five or six 10 second spots spread around the web like pieces of a geocache puzzle. Advertisers will want to throw in a hint or puzzle piece in each segment that directs you to their website, (and they will) but the novelty is that there will be something to look for. If, for example, Honda's website says that there is a series of 10 second ads out on the web with a transforming civic battling space Nazis--I'd try to find it. The deal is sweetened for content producer and advertiser alike as I wander from site to site doing and watching the things I normally do, but hoping to catch a glance of Civic-bot shooting lasers at a giant swastika-shaped space station. I'd watch it. . . wouldn't you?

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Thinking about technology

this is a test post, but I wanted to add that I gained a bit of
insight just a minute ago.
It concerns how Tim Lee of has a really great insight
into the tech world. He analyzes the current state of cat and mouse
with the AACS standard and the people who make software that
circumvents its "protections".
I've had to deal with this myself: I have three Sony components in my
house, and they simply won't work together through HDMI cables. It's a set that any dork would buy at Fry's, and yet, it doesn't work correctly hooked up in any manner that a consumer would try to do so.
Anyway, his post looks at the DRM that these Satans have thrust upon
us -- and the industry that has sprung up to protect us and free us from
their evil. Like CCS was destroyed, so has AACS been. Apple's DRM on
iTunes is easily circumvented, as well as Microsoft's. Also, I don't
think there is a person with even a passing interest in the news who
doesn't know about the iPhone tug-of-war.
What his statements boil down to is this: the "Industry" through its incompetence, ignorance, and disdain for the consumer, has created an entire new industry that closely parallels the
technological advances made by the "Industry" itself. Simply, if the
RIAA, MPAA, and their lackeys had not created DRM, there would be
fewer people looking for, and finding, easy ways to pirate their DVDs.
The proof is in the pudding. I know Baby Boomers who would have been
happy to Netflix their movies while picking up their favorites at Wal-
Mart. But once a media scandal erupted, clarifying the ease of
bypassing the FBI warning, the previews, the splash of the 14
different production companies involved and the more and more
ubiquitous warnings that exercising our stinking rights is "theft",
they decided that spending 30 minutes to rip a movie borrowed from a
friend or taking it off the internet is easier, cheaper, and a better
value than being forced to watch and listen to shit they didn't pay for.
The "Industry" did this to themselves by being stodgy old farts with
no vision an no willingness to change. As I've always said. . .
"Tradition breeds ignorance".

Friday, November 30, 2007

iPhone 2.0 for new Year's? What about Christmas?

Verizon has recently announced that they are going to open their network to almost any hardware or software. Frankly, I too am excited. I imagine that this is exactly what 'The Steve' had in mind. I figure he imagined that once the iPhone was out the rest of the industry would have released all of the wannabe hardware, and then, almost simultaneously, all of the carriers would realize that the hardware is worthless without an open network, and the ability to do true mobile computing. My supposition is that he thought it would take more than a year, and less than two, and by the time that the iPhone's marriage with AT&T had been annulled, the G3 (or better) technology would be perfectly robust, and energy efficient enough to be included with the 2.0, and the software would be stable, with plenty of offerings from 3rd party devs, and hobbyists. That time line has obviously been fast forwarded.
I really don't believe that Verizon knows what they are getting into here. I have no doubt that their initial contracts under this system will have to be micromanaged by new customers looking to bring their own devices with Skype installed. I simply cannot believe this Devil's deal is as even handed and philanthropic as it seems. That brings me to the topic of this post. . .
Some one at AT&T heard that announcement and hit the panic button. I could go either way on weather or not both Apple and AT&T agreed to announce an AT&T native 3G iPhone. Regardless, it has happened. now the question is when. It's almost a guarantee that if it's true, we'll here about it from Apple in January. That's all well and good. New iPhone announcement in January, New iPhone by Summer, final announcement at WWDC. Between now and then the Apple Nerds are going to expect something from Steve-A-Clause. If the past trend of almost-exciting December announcements is to continue, then I expect that I know what it will be this year.
Computers, Laptops, Monitors, OS X. All have been refreshed to the extent that the market is generally settling into a confident Holiday season. So what is the new thing? I think that the new thing is going to be the most impressive thing Apple has ever released. It's going to shake the Apple crowd to its very core. Long time fans of Apple are going to feel betrayed and elated at the same time. This is it, ladies and gentlemen. Hold your breath. Sit down.
-- Apple is going to release a two-button mouse --
I can hear the collective gasps from the fan boys and girls everywhere. "It will never happen they'll say." I think it will I say. Think about it. The one button mouse concept is so old, so wrong for a modern operating system, that even Apple itself realized that it was losing the mouse hardware battle and was forced to release the 'two-button' Mighty Mouse. The response from the community was generally underwhelming. It was innovative, and looked pretty slick. I know a few people who use one exclusively. Most of my OS X wielding friends, however, use either a Logitech, or even (GASP!) a Microsoft mouse with their MACs. Why is that?
For some time OS X has supported right-click context menus, and third party software has almost always done so. The Mighty Mouse is too quirky, and too unreliable for as much right clicking that needs to be done on basic tasks. Using Leopard without right clicking is an exercise in frustration. There are so many things that need to be right-clicked, that it doesn't make sense to force users to adapt to the Mighty Mouse to accomplish such tasks. So why is this so important? Why would a two button mouse cause such an uproar in the Apple community?
Steve Job's idea behind the reinvention of the Apple was to make it easy, simple, quick. A few decades ago that meant point and click. as the OS evolved, Apple was forced to add right-click emulation with a click and hold. Click and hold on something for a second, and Pop! a context menu would pop up. The software respects the right-click, but the hardware has ignored it. It's generally believed that this is because of Steve's influence and idea that a two-button mouse represents a more complicated user experience. Even the new technology in the MACBooks support a hardware right-click. The house that Steve built, it seems, has a few open windows.
The time is ripe for a new mouse, and the precedence has been set. Boot Camp, context menus, the loss of the 'Open Apple', Mighty Mouse, multi-touch. All of these things point to a larger acceptance of mainstream ideas from within Cupertino. Yes, I believe that these things all point to the final brick in the wall that was erected by Steve finally being pushed out. And that would make this one of the most important announcements Apple has ever made.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Faking normailty

Welcome to the first post of Faking Normality (!)
Faking Normality. . . Wading through the news and commentary of a day's politics and technology, finding out the lies and half-truths, pointing them out to the readers and listeners. Decrying the extremism of politicians and technology conglomerates. Pointing out the facade of those who pretend that they're 'one of us', 'looking out for us', or 'doing it for the children'.

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Faking Normality. The one place we don't do it. All is not well. The world is not coming to an end. Don't fake normality, achieve it.