Monday, 17 December 2007

Conspicuous Charitable Giving

On a day when BlogCatalog sent me an email asking me to Unite and YouTube was full of Nerdfighters and their Power Project for Awesome, I made a video questioning our seeming need to get recognition for our charitable deeds.

Jesus said this: When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do—blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. (Matthew 6:2-4)

I'd rather have God's reward for any good I do than a short-lived stint as acharity celebrity!

Friday, 14 December 2007

Bubbles or froth?

An interesting post from Inside Online Video drew my attention to one of YouTube's lastest tinkerings. They've been playing with a few things over the last couple of days. I don't like the new 'my account' page. It adds another click to finding your video comments. As this is something I do regularly I'm already noticing just how much a simple navigation change can annoy me!

But this post is about the bubbles! Yes, YouTube have launched some strange - read gimmicky - navigation that's supposed to make finding linked videos easier. I messaged Peri Urban about this. I liked his thoughts on it, so here they are.

Peri also has a music channel on YouTube and a blog.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007


I read all the Doctor Dolittle books as a child; I watched none of the Eddie Murphy movies as an adult! I can't tell you if it appeared in the films, but the books had a great animal called a Pushmepullyou. If I remeber right it was like an antelope with a head at both ends.

Today I was caught in a discussion about the comparitive merits of post physical mailings to a supporter base or using digital distribution. Someone commented that the problem with the digital domain is people have to come and get it - actually navigate over to your website. What about RSS? Obviously, this arguement is flawed, but perhaps only in regard to early adopters.

But then I'm not so sure.

I like design and I loved gettig things that can gather dust on my bookshelf. I can glance over my shoulder and see a postcard from Wembley Stadium, that ping-pong paddle from Mini, the Manhatten Portage label from my bag: the list goes on. However, unless you break into my house you'll never see these things. Digital advertising doesn't disappear once it's be posted though a cyber letter-box. It still exists for more to find and theres a good chance that some who received it will remix it and serve it up to a fresh audience.

Pushing or pulling,it is, of course, the quality of the content that matters most.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Nalts gives us stupid video moments

This from Nalts. It's’s Top 10 Stupidest Moments of Online Video in 2007. Nalts is currently one of my favourite all-rounders on YouTube: comedy, community and the occasional serious video. He's better than Renetto because he posts more frequently; he is, perhaps, slightly more sane!

So why post his list?

My question is how do you score? How many of these 10 come as news to you, how many did you watch unfold. 10/10 would possibly make you a viral video genius - like Nalts himself!

I make a less-than-impressive 7/10.

1. Chris Crocker becomes a viral sensation after this weeping video defending Britney Spears.

2. gives up, and embarrasses itself while trying to hype its own auction (with a paltry 2,000 visitors per day) on eBay.

3. Sneeeer: Techcrunch publishes “The Secret Strategies Behind Many Viral Videos,” which leads to a dramatic backlash among online-video enthusiasts, bloggers and the video community.

4. Oprah makes her debut on YouTube by taking over the homepage with online-video clichés (dog on skateboard, cats doing tricks), then creating a YouTube channel that looks more like a network PR site.

5. JewTube launches in the summer, and Google later challenges the name (based on copyright infringement of YouTube). Lesson: Niche sites are smart. But build your own brand.

6. The Daily Reel dies after morphing from “Entertainment Weekly for online video” to a video podcast series to a video-hosting site to a video-enthusiast community site to a site thats’ now frozen in time like some parts of New Orleans years after Katrina.

7. ZeFrank killed his popular online-video show in March, just as his fame was developing.

8. The New York Times calls YouTube “celebrities” hot property.

9. Experts project that television advertising budgets will pour online.

10.Viacom demands YouTube remove all of its content and tries to build an “old media consortium” to compete with YouTube (Viacom, News Corp and NBC ).

And what about Renetto? Well, today he posted this video about the YouTube Partner Program - in a bra!

Monday, 10 December 2007

Be a partner...oh, sorry wrong country!

Big news and bad news.

YouTube announces they are "expanding the YouTube Partner Program."

Great, I've generated over a million video views in just over a year. Oh, but there's a snag.

Only "anyone living in the United States or Canada can apply to become a partner at"

Wouldn't you know it. Penalised for being English!

While they add an aside "(We're looking forward to rolling out the program to additional international markets soon.) " this definately falls into the 'vague news' catagory for readers this side of the pond.

But, just to prove I'm not bitter - and for the benifit of my American readers - here's their video announcement.

(Nice to see a bit of vintage Esther in there, but pity about the typography!)

So let's see what happens from here.

Will this tranish the prestige of the existing partners, diluting what little quality is left in the most viewed lists - or is it the start of a user-generated renaissance?

Friday, 7 December 2007

You gotta hand it too them

I was shopping today. Big mall, seasonal stock stacked high and a Friday rush. But all the hustle and bustle couldn't stop me noticing just how dialled Apple have got the next generation of physical retail. This become all the more obvious when you see the painfully try-hard attempts of certain competitors to reproduce that cooler-than-cool shopping environment.

I'll single out Virgin*, because they're a company always on the look for the limelight. It's widely accepted the Apple is sexy; sexy in a clean, cool kinda way. White works. Virgin Media try to go sexy with their red and black branding and end up with a look that's a very different sexy. Hot and dirty - and I don't mean either as a complimest. Caustraphobic.

They may be failing but at least they are trying to be this millenium. Woolworths remains firmly rooted in the 70s!

*Virgin's homepage points me to Superbrands, who've named Virgin Atlantic as their 10th coolest brand of 2007. They still lose to Apple and the iPod!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Keeping in the picture

You hit December and suddenly everyone starts making predictions about next year. A few honest ones ponder on what they got wrong in last years predictions! Two days ago I told my brother that online video would become firmly 16:9 in 2008. Yesterday everyone starts talking about the advent on HD video online.

What do we make of this? Online video is here to stay and with the spend of advances in the technology it'll not be long before buying a DVD becomes as obsolete as buying an audio cassette would seem today.

This can only be a good thing. As we enter the holiday season consider how much waste you are producing through unnecessary packaging. Actually don't - it's depresssing! But high-quality online video will remove the need to have unwatched box-sets gathering dust on your shelves.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Get your FREE GIFT from YOUTUBE!

The Good Book tells us it is better to give than to receive and this holiday season YouTube will help us do just that. My attention was draw today to the new 'Send this as a Video Holiday Card' button that's appeared to the right of YouTube videos. It lets your send friends videos of your choice wrapped in a festive skin.

It's not a cool as watching videos on a new iPod, but it is free!

I recommend sending your friends Christmelicious!

Tuesday, 4 December 2007

Blowing bubbles

Everyone, it seems, in the tech-blog world is posting on this today. My choices were to ignore the trend or go with it. As 'it' was essentially a sideways glance at bandwagon jumping and things getting inflated out of all proportion I have to jump in.

Quite why this video made Robert Scoble snort Diet Coke through his nose I don't know. Yes, it's amusing but...well, you decide for yourself!

Monday, 3 December 2007

Annoyed by money-grabbing Old Media

I spent the weekend in Sarajevo. My laptop stayed at home and there's no 3G network over there, hence the silence on TheGutenbergEffect. Strolling down Maršala Tita, one of the main shopping streets, I saw a sign saying 'Journalism Development Group' with 'New York University' written in their purple underneath.

It's no secret I love New York so that's what grabbed my attention. But then I remembered back in the early nineties I read an article in The Times that openned my eyes to how wonderful writing could be. Why it was this article I don't know, why was it not Shakespeare or Keats or Pepys? It just wasn't. It was Bernard Levin and an article titled: Satan laughs at Yugoslavia.

I have the cutting buried somewhere so on arriving home I went to dig it out. Then I paused and thought in this day and age it's more appropriate to google it. Nothing. To be fair I'd forgotten it was Levin who wrote it. I knew it was The Times and I knew the headline. So I searched thier online archive. Success. But success at a price, an unexpectedly, annoyingly, inexplicably high price.

Ten quid for access to ten archived articles! Maybe that's not a lot but in Bosnia ten quid bought a nice dinner for my wife and I. I wasn't about to spend that on access to one article I want, one I know is hiding somewhere in our attic. So for now I'll revisit the articl in my memory, until I find the time to mount a physical search.

As for The Times and their unexceptably awkward archive system. Perhaps it's time to write a letter to the editor!