Category Archives: Media

Video Call Recording and Capture (Skype)

I’ve never been a huge Skype fan, although it seems I’ve had an account forever. More than anything, I just don’t like accepting random calls from folks. Of course, I realize that I could limit my contact list and privacy options – but that’s next to impossible for me, as I know a lot of people and am always online (in some form or another). Plus, I envision using Skype to further enable communication for future programs – but not yet.

If you try to call me on Skype and I’m not expecting your call, I’ll likely never pick up. Moreover, you can watch me ignore your call. It’s not that I’m a cold-hearted communicator – it’s just that I’d never get anything done if I spent all day long having conversations that led nowhere, or got tied into discussions that could have been handled in text chat or email instead.

In other words: the “neat” factor of talking with someone with VoIP software is long gone. Not since I first played with Netscape’s CoolTalk (1996?) have I ever been giddy with voice communications over the Internet. It’s only become easier to do, but the power has also become more fragmented.

This is what’s interesting to me. Recording an answer to a question:

I thought Pamela was the end-all / be-all of recording Skype calls. Then receiving another answer to my recommendation:

Here’s Bwana’s take:

Now, if you upload your own suggestion(s) in video form – to any video network of your choosing – I’ll update this post to include your embed code. Any takers?

Live Behind the Scenes video in Leo Laporte's TV Lab

Digg This

It’s the moment you’ve all been waiting for (well, maybe not ALL of you, but most certainly a few dozen of you). Ponzi and I are returning to Vancouver tomorrow morning to tape a couple more episodes with Leo on his hit television program, the Lab with Leo Laporte. The shows will be recorded live-to-tape somewhere between 8am and 2pm (Pacific) tomorrow – Tuesday.

Now, I’ll be taking a MacBook (!) with me, attempting to stream our journey north, south, and just about everywhere in between. The fun begins at 4AM (Pacific) and likely lasts throughout the day. So, spread the word, my TechTV faithful – I’m going to take you on a behind-the-scenes tour of what’s happening with Leo (of course, he’ll likely be busy throughout the day, but at least we’ll be able to meet the folks who make all that television magic possible).

My suggestion: watch what’s happening on our own live community page. Now, if you’d rather load my live video stream in a separate browser window altogether – that can be arranged (here). Some people have gone as far as to create widgets for some gadget platforms! If you’d like to join us in chat without loading the Java IRC applet, we’re on in #Chris (all the time, not just for the next day).

Join me (through my Sprint UpStage EVDO connection – or through the studio’s WiFi). We gotta get the word out about this sooner rather than later – so Digg this link so that people know what’s happening. It’s my true goal that when we demonstrate ustream live on Leo’s TV show, we’ll have hundreds of viewers participating in the chat room and watching the video stream live!

Before too long, I’m hoping to do Q&As throughout my regular days, record those video answers, then immediately upload them to my various accounts (UndoTV, blip.TV, YouTube, etc.). Tried to start that this weekend, but the live upload feature of YouTube doesn’t work very well – and video re-encoding issues are keeping us from moving too far with the idea.

Join us throughout the day – and stick around for a while. 😉

Podcasts on TVs and Tablet PCs – MP3s

The first MP3 was recorded by Ponzi with Jeff Ubois of – you can listen to it now. With all of this video being recorded, where is it being stored? Great questions.

The second MP3 was taken from a phone call between HP and ourselves, specifically in relation to our experiences with the borrowed HP tx1000 Entertainment Notebook PC. You can hear us talking to the team, providing constructive feedback for their future.

The third MP3… hasn’t yet been recorded. 🙂

R.E.M. Debuts Song on YouTube

I was a late-blooming R.E.M. fan (attatching myself to their style not long after Yankovic parodied “Stand”). Now, I can’t imagine my life with out ’em. I blasted Ethan Kaplan a quick IM to suggest a few things they could do with their YouTube account, and he told me that R.E.M. just debuted a song there a few days ago. How cool is that? No, I mean… the song is great, as you would come to expect – but the bigger story is that it debuted outside of traditional media boundaries. Weird Al did the same thing a few months ago (albeit, on a different video network – an “exclusive” that was quickly circumvented).


It’s funny and sad at the same time. With all of these lawsuits and DRM schemes and levies flying around… it’s like they think “control” actually exists. My suggestion? Stop fighting the current and figure out how to ride it – and if you need help, all you have to do is ask. If you can’t figure out a business model in this new world – you won’t be here for very long. Until then, I remain white and nerdy

SXSW News and Reviews

There are millions of people in Austin, Texas this week for South by Southwest (the festival to end all festivals). Ponzi and I went last year, but “too much work” kept us at home this time around. I’ve been keeping track of updates through my feed reader, but I was hoping to hear directly from those of you in attendance. Here’s your chance to share your SXSW review:

  • Pick up your phone
  • Call 206-274-7984
  • Leave a voicemail (speak clearly)

Make sure you add your name and URL, so we know who you are and what you do. That’s all. It’s my hope to share your thoughts with other would-be-SXSW attendees. What are we missing? Why should we go next year? Is it all about the parties? Did you lead a discussion? Have you attended a panel? Who have you met for the first time?

BitTorrent for Windows Media Center is Coming!

There’s no code to look at right now, but I’m surprised this news hasn’t been picked up anywhere (that I can see)? The author says that there’s currently no download available, but it’s still an amazing application to look forward to – especially if it beats Ted. Here’s some of the features the dev is planning, per the Aufero blog:

  • Aufero uses about fifty sources for its information gathering, a lot of it is irrelevant but over time it gathers more relevant information about present and future. For instance it definitely is worth scheduling the download of “Magnum P.I. ‘trailer'” (scheduled for release sometime in ’07) already today.
  • Notification of relevant events through mail when you are not in front of your TV.
  • Automatic download of videos on your Wish List as Torrents becomes available (give it some hours to monitor activity after something is released)
  • Aufero is written completely from scratch with the sole purpose of being a Vista Media Center application.
  • Seemlessly play non-WMV (eg. XviD etc) on XBox360 using Aufero’s media library (requires TVersity)

Dude. This sounds awesome. Right now, my scheduled torrenting is somewhat of a kludge. I really should get my ol’ Media Center set up again, eh? Maybe I’ll try that beta of Windows Home Server and see if that works well enough…

Windows Vista TV Commercials


I’m sorry. I’m watching Comedy Central right now, with Windows Vista (apparently) sponsoring the hour of standup (even though Scrubs was scheduled to air). Instead of the regular din of commercials, the network is running nonsensical clips of some “old guy” teasing people to – where you’re pointed to an even more confusing teaser link ( The “old guy” keeps talking about making life “clutter free” but I’ve never, ever, in my entire life felt more confused about what a commercial was trying to communicate to me. I understand the unspoken meaning behind “that not-so-fresh feeling” a woman has, but I’ll be damned if I can make heads or tails of this Windows Vista campaign.

Dude. Seriously. No. This isn’t happening. Don’t take these links as validation – I’m merely baffled at what a horrible waste of resources this was. Microsoft: you had a TREMENDOUS opportunity to blow people away with what you put in Windows Vista. Instead, you send them to Web sites that don’t make any sense (though sports an RSS feed that will likely die in a month).

My god, even the “PC” in Apple’s Get a Mac commercials does a better job at representing what your product does.

Wow. Seriously. Wow.

On YouTube Ratings

Hi, I’m a journalist doing a story on YouTube ratings, and I need some people for the story. How did your video get on Featured Videos? What’s the trick (catchy title, provocative first frame, etc…) Why is it important (or not) to get on Featured Videos? How did it make you feel? What’s more important to you, Top Rated, Most Viewed, Most Discussed and Featured Videos why? Have you been on Featured Videos before, and has it led to bigger and better things? Please write back asap. I need to write the story by next Thursday. Thanks!

1. I have no idea how it happened.

2. I have ideas as to why it happened.

People love watching people doing stupid things, whether or not they care to admit it. I’m not a stupid person, but I love doing stupid things that aren’t likely going to put me in harm’s way – but have a humorous element, nonetheless. Well, at least *I* think I’m funny. Sometimes. Maybe.

The safety video had been online for quite some time before it was discovered – so I’d imagine the editor found it through serindipity, and s/he pushed it to the front page. I didn’t do anything particularly amazing, so I didn’t really expect to be noticed past my first 30,000 (pre-frontpage) views.

The trick? Who knows. Do something interesting. Do something different. More than anything else? Be real.

I didn’t “feel” anything, though – I’ve been on the Internet since 1992. I’ve accomplished achievements that overshadow this honor. A front page feature on YouTube did not make me any money, it didn’t get me a deal in Hollywood, and it certainly did not “complete me.” I’m impressed that it happened, but I’m also keeping things in perspective.

Everybody wants their fifteen minutes of fame – but I’d hope they’d care to make their mark in other ways. I’ve got about thirteen minutes of fame left now – and I plan on spending it wisely. Nobody from YouTube told me that it was going to happen, nobody reached out to me in an editorial capacity, and my farty-pants ego hasn’t expanded or contracted since the video was featured.

I think most users, not to mention videos, on YouTube are… insipid. Myself included. And who cares? 🙂 Really, who cares about my life – or what I do? It’s a serious question!

What’s most important to me is meeting new people who genuinely care about what I stand for and what I do. Most online “friends” aren’t. But even a front-page feature on YouTube didn’t win me any new friendships. At least, not real friendships. I don’t have real friends anymore – because they all got tired of my mime meme.

Top Rated, Most Viewed, Most Discussed and Featured Videos – take away the ratings, and all you are is a depressed narcissist. Validation should not come through awards and recogntion, but in bringing ideas to fruition. Ideas like… what would happen if you made fun of dumbass airline safety instructions that nobody listens to in the first place? My hope was that United would start using my adaptation in lieu of their original. Didn’t happen.

Life goes on.

Zune: Good and Bad

The Zune good:

  • Wireless capabilities
  • Content subscription
  • Easy media sharing
  • Plays MP4 & AAC formats
  • Microsoft-backed product
  • Forces Apple to do better
  • A unified experience

The Zune bad:

  • No podcast management
  • Another closed system
  • Completely new ecosystem
  • Not cross-platform
  • Smaller capacity than iPod 5.5G
  • New software to install
  • Yet another device to manage
  • Just launched, few accessories
  • Likely won’t dent iPod market share
  • Questionable battery life
  • Not clearly better than the iPod

The Zune needs:

  • Wireless downloading on-demand
  • Built-in DVD ripping
  • OS X port of management tool
  • Support for RSS, enclosures
  • Mini-games support (like Clix, iPod)
  • New firmware, software features every 6mos