Amazon’s New mp3 Widget

// May 15th, 2008

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Making Money on the Internet… Or Not

// April 3rd, 2008

The South Park guys struck again with yet another brilliant episode last night called Canada On Strike. Drawing hilarious parallels to the recent WGA strike, the head of the World Canadian Bureau, Steven Abootman, leads the country into a long and painful strike over earning more theoretical money from the internet and the boys come through to broker a settlement so they don’t have to watch repeat episodes of Terrance & Phillip (they’re Canadian you know!). Here’s are some of my favorite scenes:

Meet The Internet Stars:

Shut Your F*%^’ing Mouth, Laughing Baby:

The Promise of Future Revenue:

BTW, major props to South Park & Comedy Central on South Park Studios (and on The Daily Show site as well). They’re damn good sites with great quality videos that meet the strong demand for their shows, which is why so many clips ended up on YouTube in the first place.

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Don’t Fuck With Jesus

// March 12th, 2008

Hulu went live today with a whole smorgasbord of content from TV shows, films, and digital content.

Here’s a taste with one of my favorite clips from the classic Coen Bros. film The Big Lebowski:

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I Got My Hulu Invite

// November 14th, 2007

I finally got my Hulu invite last night - not through work mind you - and have been messing around on the site since then.

As many bloggers & reviewers have already said, the site is actually quite impressive. The interface is clean & neat, the videos are in great quality & play quite seamlessly, and the experience is quite enjoyable overall. Contrary to what many people expected, this joint venture between NBC Universal & Fox might actually have delivered on its promise.

I’m going to catch up on some of the shows I’ve missed since moving out here to LA like Heroes and K-Ville (although there is currently only 1 episode available). I guess the only downside so far with Hulu is that entire archives of shows are not available as of yet. On the other hand, Hulu is an impressive advancement in the IPTV space

Here’s the first episode ever of Alfred Hitchcock Presents embedded below:

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SpiralFrog Is A Joke

// September 17th, 2007

The hype machine announced the launch of the delayed & much-ballyhooed free ad-supported music download service SpiralFrog today - a self-proclaimed iTunes competitor (are these guys for real?). The service offers free song & music video downloads that are preceded by 90 second commercials in MSFT’s WMA format with PlaysForSure DRM.

Beyond the major problem that no one wants to hear a 90 second commercial before every song they listen to (goodbye playlists!!!), WMA files aren’t compatible with iPods (~80% of the mp3 player market) nor Microsoft’s own Zune player! But things get even worse. There is no burning to CD available and registered users must renew their subscription every 30 days to keep downloading music & every 60 days to keep listening to files they have downloaded. So far, SpiralFrog’s catalog consists of about 800,000 songs from Universal Music Group & some independents. This service is basically rendered DOA - dead on arrival.

It’s yet another new internet service that gets the hype, but just doesn’t get it. It’s a joke. I wonder if anyone behind this stupid idea of a company actually downloads music or has a clue who their consumers are.

Maybe that’s why their initial launch was delayed for 10 months from last December, followed by the departure of its CEO Robin Kent, 5 executives & 3 board directors. Kent proclaimed last year that

Offering young consumers an easy-to-use alternative to pirated music sites will be compelling. SpiralFrog will offer those consumers a better experience and environment than they can get from any pirate site.

He must have been just saving face by trying to pretend he believed in this stupid idea before he was going to jump ship OR maybe he’s just never downloaded music before & thinks that kids haven’t either.

Would anyone actually want to use this service? We’ll soon find out, but let’s just say that the chances of me winning the Mega Millions lotto tomorrow night are looking much rosier than their chances of success.

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Public Domain Movies & Stock Video Sites

// September 3rd, 2007

Not all movies or video you download have to be purchased or illegally downloaded. There is a great wealth of content available to the public domain.

Here’s a great list of public domain movies & stock videos sites:

* EMOL’s Free Movie CatalogFree Movie List

* Public Domain Torrents

* Stage6’s Public Domain Videos

* Public Domain Comedy Video

* The National Archives (NARA) on Google Video

* Wikimedia Commons Video

* Internet Archive’s Moving Image Archive

* OpenFLV’s Public Domain Videos

* Free Public Domain Movies
Read the rest of this entry »

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Stop YouTube’s New Ads

// August 30th, 2007

YouTube unveiled its new InVideo overlay ads this week to much fanfare. Some people think the traly studies show that clickthrough rates on InVideo ads are 5 times higher than YouTube’s banner display ads. Although, of course, many of those clickthroughs are probably accidental, similar to those annoying Flash overlay ads that take over a webpage and practically force you to click through to get rid of them. The going CPM for InVideo ads is $20. The ads can be targeted by age, gender, genre, time, and location, and can be of any length.

However, some early users find the ads to be distracting from video clips & therefore mentally intrusive, as opposed to being physically intrusive. Given that YouTube videos are typically under 10 minutes long, these ads might ruin the viewer experience of quick video consumption.

Ultimately, the internet has raised people to expect everything for free. Once free becomes free courtesy of lots of annoying ads, people block out the ads from their line of sight when it comes to display or text ads, but can’t do so with video ads. They then might end up elsewhere or using tools to block these ads.

To that end, just like the pop-up blockers and ad blocker Firefox extensions like AdBlock Plus that came before it, there is now a Firefox extension called TubeStop that prevents YouTube videos from automatically playing, but also blocks InVideo ads from being displayed.

Today, it was also announced that there is a new version of Firefox that will block all ads on websites from being displayed. As we talk about projections of over $20 billion being spent in online advertising by 2011, we sometimes forget about the user experience & the users’ willingness to bear with all the ads on websites. As long as the ads aren’t compelling, users are looking for all sorts of ways to get rid of the intrusions.

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TV Links

// August 24th, 2007


Wanna watch any TV show ever?

Check out TV Links.

This UK-based site has:

compiled various links from the latest to some long forgotten TV shows, classics, films, documentaries and much more. How much does this cost you? Nothing, its all Free of charge!

It’s something the companies behind these classic TV shows should be doing, but still aren’t. You can stream & watch old episodes of The A-Team or 21 Jump Street through your web browser with a DivX video player plug-in. It’s pretty sweet.

You know what else is pretty sweet? This site called The A-Team Shrine that I just stumbled upon.

On another note, another new site I just learned about from my man Hitesh is VideoSift, which is basically a Digg for videos. Users vote on videos from video sites like YouTube, MySpace, Daily Motion, and the rest of the gang. Just like Digg, the videos that are “most sifted” rise to the top.

We’re gonna be working on something like this soon, so keep a look out!

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The Internet Is Ruining English

// August 23rd, 2007


From today’s Cynopsis:

OMG! Linguists are beginning to fret that online lingo and IM shorthand are beginning to have an adverse effect on the language of Shakespeare and Milton, according to a page one story in The Wall Street Journal. While English has always been an extremely flexible language ? absorbing words from myriad cultures and languages ? online speak presents unique challenges. A lack of agreement on correct pronunciation is one issue.

Looks like the internet is now ruining English as we know it. What’s next?

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Americans Use Their Phones For Talking

// August 23rd, 2007

According to AdAge, a new study by advertising agency Universal McCann found that Americans use their mobile phones mostly for making phone calls. More than most of the world!

No shit. Really?

The study, conducted in June, covered 10,000 internet-connected mobile-phone users in 21 countries. It found 65% of mobile-phone usage in the U.S. is made up of phone calls, one of the highest percentages in the world. Internet usage on mobile phones in the U.S. is above the global average — the average U.S. user makes 12 visits a month — but still lags behind the leading market, Japan, where users go online an average of 40 times a month, the study found.

Americans are increasingly using multimedia services on their phones, but at lower-than-average rates. The study found 52% of Americans have taken a photo on their phone vs. 80% globally, 22% have recorded a video vs. 62% globally, and 24% have downloaded a game vs. 31% globally.

The article mentions that we use more mobile devices i.e. laptops, mp3 players, digital cameras, here in the U.S.A. than abroad, where the phone is the primary mobile device people use & carry.

If you’ve ever been to Europe or Asia, you know all about how prevalent mobile phones are there & how people often use them for texting & paying for subways & all sorts of other things in addition to talking. Of course, they have smaller countries with better networks to support all that…

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