Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Will online media become a monthly subscription?

Posted by GNC at 8:43 AM on November 3, 2009

1003605_13011789 2-250rdRumors are circling that Apple is proposing an online TV media subscription model.  For just $30/month you could possibly have access to the archive of syndicated shows and the new shows as they come.  Later in the day I read of a favorite tutorial site, which shall remain nameless until I do a proper review, was bumping its fees to about $15/month.  Many of my favorite podcasts have donation links on their site for $2/month or so.  Please understand, I am a believer in paying for labor.  I am just beginning to wonder when this evolving online monthly subscription model will break.

Some people believe a service like Apple’s would get rid of the need for Cable or Dish and save some money. I don’t see that.  The streaming system is not ready for the high-def load and most people will keep the Cable and Dish for their instant viewing.  For those that jump into the online media, how many monthly payments do you want to sign up for?  I just can’t keep signing up for more monthly payments.  The inflation on monthly tech and media services is getting pretty high.

Cable and Dish consolidated traditional media into a monthly package.  What about online media?  It will forever and always be a mix of traditional and common man media.  How many packages can I pick up?  One traditional media package, ten small media packages, one cell phone media package. . .  A revolution in content delivery is underway and will continue to occur, I just wonder where and on what there will be a price tag.

Investment Time at Geek News Central

Posted by geeknews at 7:13 PM on November 1, 2009

govideo09Over the past 18 months as you know I have been investing time and dollars and working through the challenges of putting out a decent video product. Up to this point it has largely been an experiment to see what works, and what doesn’t. I am geographically challenged here in Hawaii in that when I record my shows a large percentage of my audience is sleeping, thus live video has had its limitations.

While on travel last month, I decided to start posting the full video recording of the show to Blip.Tv and YouTube when I am recording in Hawaii. I will be doing this for the foreseeable future. With the capitol investment in the Tricaster last year, it has allowed me a lot of flexibility in streaming and post processing.  While the time investment to do this is significant I feel over the long haul I will be better prepared for the shifting dynamics on how the world will be consuming content.

With that commitment I have decided to put some significant capitol expenditures to bring the video quality in line with the audio portion of the show. This will start with professional lighting and significant work to the studio to make it more camera friendly. Ultimately if my office/studio is simply not adaptable enough I am prepared to convert a portion of a 30×30 garage space I have to a new studio. The general contractor I had in yesterday laid out my options and we will be weighing the need to move forward on that.

Being I am a one man show, there is only so much I can do when I am live.  Now that my son and daughter are getting older they are going to be taking a more active role with the video production which will let me focus on the content, plus they will get some serious production experience which if this pans out will lead to something bigger as they decide what they are going to do in life.

The Audio portion of the show will remain the main primary focus as is it pays the bills, so don’t worry that is a successful formula that is not about to be touched. The video portion of the show will be an ongoing work in progress, and while the content of the video portion of the show will remain the same, we may experiment with removing certain elements from the video version that are in the Audio. The reasons are quite obvious, to date there are no one man video tech shows without outside interaction that have reached significant audience numbers that put 75 minutes of content on the net twice a week.

While I have an idea for a segmented show, the resources and time to produce that are not there yet. At some point I may tap the resources here in Hawaii and bring in some help.  But until then it will be a work in progress. As I improve the lighting and work on the video format I am sure you will provide me the feedback I need to make it work.

Todd..

AP Tell Sites to Pay Up or Else!

Posted by geeknews at 12:16 PM on October 9, 2009

In a Speech in Beijing, Tom Curley of The Associated Press and News Corp.’s Rupert Murdoch said it is time for search engines and others to pay up. I have an idea why don’t the search engines remove all referenced to the Associated Press and their associated affiliates from their search results.

I’m serious just delete them and all historical links in their indexes. Drop all references to them in all parts of their websites. Then sit back for six months and see how they fare on their own. They cry of loosing traffic, well guess what they made their own bed and now they have to deal with it. They have failed to keep their business model fresh just like the music industry has. I have no sympathy for them whatsoever. [Google]

There are New Media Companies!

Posted by geeknews at 12:22 AM on September 21, 2009

An article by Joshua Auerbach over at GIGAOM titled “New Media Demands a New Kind of Media Company” obviously attracted my attention. Even before the page loaded my brain was saying, I wonder what of new media company is he going to suggest. As you know I think I run a pretty special “New Kind of Media Company” as I was reading the article one specific sentence jumped out at me.

What caught my attentions was this:

“Content producers still seek privileged access to distribution”

This is so true, I am always hearing new media creators complaining that they are finding it very hard to break out, and that they need advice on how to get Apple to feature them on iTunes, (good luck with that as they never have featured my show either) or that they are looking for avenues to get their shows distributed wider. While the number of online venues are growing today, it is nearly impossible to break out on some of those major sites.

There is hope though, the key is teaming up with other media creators that are creating similar content. Affiliation with similar shows help the collective grow together. Sadly to many shows today want to go it alone, they think they don’t need to partner up with other shows.

Over the past five years I have learned one very important lesson, teaming up and providing a central location for similar content reaps vast rewards and is one of the reasons my team at RawVoice continue to partner up with topic leaders and develop and launch vertical sites that allow media creators to affiliate with similar shows and have access to world class tools that help them grow audience share and gain attention and exclusive distribution many seek.

While the article over at GIGAOM talks about the media conglomerates of the world the new media masterminds that I work with, feel that we are being that “New Kind of Media Company”.

MagicJack: Helping our family talk for cheap!

Posted by GNC at 2:13 PM on June 17, 2009

About 16 months ago I was visiting family and the TV was left on an infomercial for some reason.  An infomercial about free the internet telephone MagicJack was airing.  They would walk into a business and give them a USB MagicJack for free and ask them to try it. Of course all of the reviews were great.  I turned the channel.  Just another commercial.

And then my sister who works abroad in India called me.  She told me that she was calling from India on a MagicJack with a US phone number.  For free.  We had done everything in talking with her in India.  Skype, calling cards, you name it.  Skype was shaky due to low magicjackbandwidth.  Normal phone lines often had a delay of two seconds.  That led to some humorous attempts at communication.  Our normal fallback was Yahoo messenger.  And then this MagicJack.  The call was crisper than the phone but with only a millisecond of delay.  The land-line phone would drop the call one out of every 4 or 5.  MagicJack has dropped maybe twice in thirty calls.  And the price?  $47 for the USB device and one year of long distance.  Wow.  Currently you can upgrade to 5 years for $60.  So I signed up for the free trial.  I am getting ready to work abroad myself so having a US number anywhere in the world would be great, and the ability for friends and business clients to call a US number would be invaluable.

Pros:

  1. Sleek packaging with simple plug-n-play install.  I did have to unplug and re-plug it in one time before it installed properly.  The initial registration and number selection was very easy.
  2. Initial calls from the US to the US were very clear and the people could not tell I was on a web phone. One of the ten calls seemed to have a slight delay and scratch to it.  I should note that I was using a slow DSL connection of less than 756kb down and 512kb up.
  3. Call forwarding works great (Spoiler/Con: Must login to web interface to set the forwarding number. These options would be better placed in the desktop client).
  4. Option to purchase international calling credits. Would allow you to forward to a foreign number cell phone.
  5. Allows me to use any phone. I currently have a $15 cordless phone plugged in and it works great.  Simply plugged the standard phone cord into the usb jack and into the phone.  That simple.  Can use either the phone or computer interface to make the call.
  6. Two voicemail options. Normal voicemail that picks up if the computer is unplugged or you do not answer (no ability to set the number of rings before pickup).  The second voicemail and message option picks up if you are on another call.
  7. Email voicemail works well. Today I received two emails with an attached .wav file.  They stated the phone number who left the message, and how long the message was.  Worked flawlessly.

Cons:

  1. Computer must be on for the phone to ring.
  2. Phone interface on the computer has ads and could use an interface lift.
  3. Contacts feature on the phone does not import from Outlook or Address Book that I can see.
  4. Very limited website interface.  Poorly documented support section.
  5. Poor reviews of their customer service seem to be plentiful.
  6. Read complaints of dropped calls and or calls that do not ring through. Not enough people know of my number to have tested this.

Conclusion:

For me this appears to be a viable and very cheap option.  I have some reservation about the longevity and future development of the product.  Hopefully it moves beyond a shopping network and pitchman item.  For now it is going to keep me within my cell phone calling plan and help me transition to global traveling.  And I am so excited about the possibilities once Google Voice is out for public use!  I missed getting in on that by one day when Grand Central was purchased by Google.  Until then I am going to be a MagicJack user.

Help Wanted iTunes Application Developer

Posted by geeknews at 10:51 PM on June 2, 2009

help2Seeking an experienced iTunes Application developer, for upcoming project. Developer must have excellent English skills and have a portfolio of previous iTunes applications that where largely developed independently. Must be able to follow a programing spec sheet and implement design elements provided. Developer must be willing to sign NDA and also agree to not re-sell code or re-purpose the code for another client in the same business space.

If you are interested contact Todd Cochrane @ geeknews@gmail.com

Nettica DNS Service is under a DDOS

Posted by geeknews at 1:49 PM on May 3, 2009

We are working like crazy to figure out what is going on but our DNS provider Nettica.com is down this afternoon and it looks to be a big issue. I am not sure how long Geek News Central will continue to resolve but we are working on getting a new DNS service setup.

Update: Their website finally came up and they announced that they are under a denial of service attack.

Ustream.TV Blows it in their Latest Updates!

Posted by geeknews at 11:55 PM on April 24, 2009

Ustream.TV in an attempt to improve the interface for listeners and those of use using the service have caused a large number of content creators to cry out in protest of some of the changes.

During my Live event last night, all of the listeners where complaining about the new chat interface. In fact I could not participate in chat at all last night as the chat auto scroll was broken. Plus as part of the change I can no longer chat from the Broadcast Console it forces me to a separate web-page. This is problematic as I have 20+ tabs open on every show making it impossible to follow the chat.

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The biggest issue I have with the changes is that when I am not streaming it is impossible for someone to watch my previous show from my video page here at Geek News Central. In order for people to watch an archived show they get driven back to the Ustream.TV website versus being able to watch here at Geek News Central. Plus the videos they are presented are the oldest versions. Which is really stupid.

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One of the worst things is that visitors to my site no longer can quickly watch my previous episode which will result in lower revenues for both me and ustream as they cannot show any more ads to my viewers.

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Another big issue is that Ustream is now promoting other shows that I do not approve of in my player window, whether I am live of off line on Geek News Central. This is a big issue why would I want to promote shows that I do not endorse!

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On the Ustream site on my once personalized show page they are promoting other shows as well, which is frustrating, because as I visited over 20 shows that Ustream.TV was promoting on my show page and non of those show pages were promoting my show in reverse. This is BAD BAD BAD BAD as these shows get free advertisements on my show page and I don’t get any return love.

Are Geeks coming to my site going to want to watch some an Owl Cam? How in the hell can that be a recommended show? 

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It is obvious that they are working very hard to keep people contained within the Ustream.TV website but they have effectively destroyed my ability to build my live show on my own website. Because the player on my dedicated video page does nothing but drive people away from my site and onto Ustream.TV website.

 

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Time Warner Cable in battle to protect their Monopoly!

Posted by geeknews at 11:13 AM on April 22, 2009

The stakes could not be in higher now in North Carolina where communities are sick and tired of being sick and tired of paying ridiculous prices for Internet, TV Programming and Telephone services are in a battle to save a local broadband services from being shut down by Time Warner.

Several towns have formed private companies in North Carolina to roll out their own service packages. Not at all surprisingly they are offering some amazing data, television, and telephone services that Time Warner is not happy about.

Wilson, North Carolina asked Time Warner Cable for more bandwidth a lower prices. TWC was unwilling to do so, Wilson, NC invested 28 million dollars to roll there own.

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A comparison of services from various providers. The local service, Greenlight, both provides the most affordable bundle option for its speed, and offers an unmatched 100 Mbps option. The success has cable providers trying to outlaw the service. (Source: IndyWeek)

What is ironic here is that every time I have examined a city or town doing this it is a big win for the residents. Even more amazing if you look at the chart. They offer a 100mps symmetrical connection for $300.00 a month.

Almost makes you want to pack up and move your business to the Wilson, NC area.

Here is the kicker Time Warner has used its lobbyist and strong arm tactics to get a bill introduced in the North Carolina legislature that would actually outlaw what the city of Wilson did.

There is a huge battle going in in this state and if you don’t think it could happen in yours you are sadly mistaken. If you are a resident of North Carolina you better pick up the phone today and support Save North Carolina Broadband

TWC No Caps – No Super-Fast Broadband

Posted by geeknews at 12:34 AM on April 22, 2009

2009-cryIt appears that Time Warner is re-thinking it’s deployment of faster broadband offerings because consumers complained about the caps!

Ladies and Gentleman I am constraining myself from saying what I really want to say to Time Warner, because I am trying to keep this post in the G rating category.

So not only does it appear that Time Warner Cable was going to try and ram bandwidth caps down customers throats, they are now going to go and threaten it’s customers by saying no caps, no speed increases. I am telling you this is a great way to make your customers really love you.

Check out this statement”

“This week, TWC chief operating officer Landel Hobbs said at a conference in California that his company’s strategy will be to deploy DOCSIS 3.0 “surgically” in markets where it is most needed, but not in markets where the company is not finding support for its tiered broadband services.”

2009-dunceWell I have news for the folks at Time Warner Cable, you all are not going to be rolling out very much DOCSIS 3.0 anywhere in the country, because people are not going to stand for these bandwidth capping games.

The true problem goes back to our local public utility commissions. The high majority of us have no choices as TWC doesn’t have true competition. We don’t have it here in Hawaii, and the poor folks who were going to be the guinea pigs in 4 market areas were in areas that were to get BW Cap Trials did not either.