Category Archives for Blog/Vlog theory
For the last decade or so this site has been running a custom built Perl blogging engine that I wrote in the late 1990s. It’s gone through a number of revisions over the years as technology advanced through permalinking, viewer comments, RSS feeds, enclosures, videoblogging and other bits and pieces. Oddly enough for the decade it’s been around, I’ve been mostly designing and building enterprise CMS’ of varying flavours, but never bit the bullet to convert this site to something a bit more substantial. That is, until now.
I’ve been wanting to do this for about a year now, and not had the chance, but recent improvements in WordPress have excited me, so here we are, my Richard BF site is now converted to WordPress.
If you’re an RSS subscriber, then your feed URL has been automatically redirected to the new URL http://www.kashum.com/feed, and I’d suggest changing the old URL to this new one before it goes away. Permalinks are unchanged, any blog post on the old site will have the same URL on the new site.
Some miscellaneous links and pages are currently broken and I need to fix those, but the basic blog and associated functionality should all be there. I’d appreciate it if you let me know of anything that’s broken.
What is it with RSS readers these days that they only work with Google Reader? Particularly those for mobile devices such as the iPad. I get how syncing with it would be a good feature, but not at the expense of standalone feeds. It’s not like pulling feeds is technically difficult, there were hundreds probably thousands of RSS readers in the early 2000s, and they all did the heavy lifting themselves, without dependence on a third party service. And I should know, our company at the time developed a fairly popular RSS reader application for windows around 2004. It’s not rocket science, and it’s not like any of the standards have really changed at all.
I think it’s just lazy, lazy developers calling a simple API to get the data from Google Reader and then calling another couple of pretty basic platform APIs to display them in a list.
What if I don’t want to use Google Reader? What if I don’t trust Google? What if I don’t trust Google with the already incredible amount of personal data they have about me that they sell to advertisers? What if I simply don’t trust a company which makes all its money from selling me to advertisers?
I blame Google Reader for the decline in feeds and feed reading, as people not wanting to use Google are pretty much stuck without much of a choice in RSS readers.
It’s very tempting to write my own and be done with it, and one of its features will be “doesn’t support with Google Reader”.
“In economics, the marginal utility of a good or of a service is the utility of the specific use to which an agent would put a given increase in that good or service, or of the specific use that would be abandoned in response to a given decrease. In other words, marginal utility is the utility of the marginal use which, on the assumption of economic rationality, would be the least urgent use of the good or service, from the best feasible combination of actions in which its use is included. Under the mainstream assumptions, the marginal utility of a good or service is the posited quantified change in utility obtained by increasing or by decreasing use of that good or service.”
I hate resolutions, particularly new years’ ones. If I want to change something, I should have the psychological strength to do so when I want to, instead of only when the year clicks over from 2007 to 2008. Anyway, I made this resolution around new years, so I guess it’s technically a new years’ resolution.
Since we started Bonny & Clyde, I’ve pretty much stopped all my blogging, especially my videoblogging. Well, part of the reason was B&C, but I think some of it was also a concern about the effect on my consulting clients at the time, with the general language and outlook of my blog and some of the shit I’d openly blogged about from some idiots in the videoblogging space. There see, I’m still doing it. Doh!
In conjunction with Phoebe growing up, moving house again back to where I used to video heaps of stray cats, the end of B&C, and a bunch of other secret news over the next few months, I figure it’s time to begin videoblogging again.
Yeah right, we’ll see if that happens.
RSS is a platform independent protocol, for sucking content out of a web site. Give or take. I’ve written a lot about RSS and web content over the years, and in 2007 you’d think the big commercial sites would start to get it right.
Comedy Central in the U.S. is not one of them. Go to their site, I’m not linking, you know where it is.
Problem #1 – the page loads 138 items. 138! And it changes every time you load it. I managed to get it down to 98 once. 98!
Problem #2 – their featured videos start playing automatically, nice if you’re at work or goofing off in a quiet environment.
Problem #3 – look at the page source, the DOCTYPE doesn’t start until several lines in, and there are 228 HTML errors according to w3’s validator.
Problem #4 – the page gets a load error in Safari.
So say you want to subscribe to the video for one of their shows. Look around, see if you can find where to go. Give up? You have to click on the “community” tab in the menu and then the “newsletters” sub-tab. From here you can click “RSS feeds” in the left panel, and finally you get to the list of feeds. All good… or maybe not…
The first in the list is The Daily Show Videos. All I want is the URL for the feed, so I mouse over the SUBSCRIBE button and… nothing.
Problem #5 – it’s all flash, so no, you can’t find the actual RSS feed URL.
OK, so we give up, let’s just click on SUBSCRIBE and see what happens. Click…
Problem #6 – some weird flash dialog appears with the URL in an edit box, giving the impression that I can change it for them.
But luckily there’s a list of all the readers I might be using, and a custom URL for each. What? RSS is platform neutral? Why do I need to select a reader? And what if my reader isn’t in the list? I can understand selecting a feed by enclosure type, I might want Windows Media instead of QuickTime, but seriously, between readers? If it’s just a handy way to automagically subscribe in your reader, then it just adds confusion, as anyone using a reader will already know how to add a feed.
Problem #7 – it gives the impression that RSS is locked to particular readers.
And that’s just trying to get an RSS feed. You can check out the rest of the problems with the site in your own time.
When will they get it? Make it simple stupid.
For some reason currently unknown to me, I typed “videoblogging definition” into Google today, and I amusingly found that 4 of the top 10 results had a reference to my post The definition of videoblogging as a genre in the result summary.
Good authority? Or just a good understanding of how Google ranking works? Although there are only 276000 results all up, so it’s not that difficult to get a high rank for it.
It’s a big site, with a lot of resources, yet their sign up form still crashes with a single text error “the parameter is required gender” if you don’t select a gender. Well excuse me, I just thought the field without the mandatory field indicatory was probably not a mandatory field.
Whatever happened to testing? The sign up form is probably the most used non-media display page on the site, it is the key page required to be functioning correctly in order to get users signed up. Signing up of course being an important part of their business model, so they can sell them to their advertisers. You would think that they’d want to actually test this page.
Arrgh. Morons, with no clue, dominating a market which they don’t understand, in a technical domain they obviously have no particular expertise in.
But of course, it’s also personal with me an them, isn’t it.
The IFILM Network, including all content, media and materials, all IFILM software, code, design, text, images, photographs, illustrations, audio and video material, media files, artwork, graphic material, articles, databases, proprietary information, writings, spoken statements, music, video recordings, audio-visual works and recordings, slides, portraits, animated and/or motion pictures, caricatures, likenesses, vocal or other sounds, sound recordings, voices, voice reproductions, computer graphics and visual effects, as well as any accompanying documentation, packaging or other materials, tangible or intangible, and all copyrightable or otherwise legally protectible elements of the IFILM Network, including, without limitation, the selection, sequence and ‘look and feel’ and arrangement of items, and all derivative works, translations, adaptations or variations of same, regardless of the medium, broadcast medium, format or form, now known or hereinafter developed or discovered, and regardless of where produced, on location, in a studio or elsewhere, in black-and-white or in colors, alone or in conjunction with other work, characters, real or imaginary, in any part of the world, are the property of IFILM and/or its Affiliates, and their Advertisers, licensors, suppliers, service providers, promotional partners and/or sponsors (all of the foregoing, individually and/or collectively, is referred to herein as “Content”).
So basically, they own the world it would seem. Anyway, so I uploaded the video, which is already covered by a creative commons attribution non-commercial remix license, which leaves them in a bit of a dilemna doesn’t it, because their rights can’t override mine. So it’s up to them to remove my stuff when they realise they don’t own it. Meanwhile, I’m making use of their network for my own needs, and they can just go and get …
I came across an interesting blog today, vlogging allstars, output from the 2006 videoblogging course at the University of Iowa, run by Jennifer Proctor, who I’ve been a fan of for a while.
I tend to get cynical of academia fairly easily, so it’s nice being surprised every now and then by fresh thinking.
The post Toward a definition of videoblogging, is a summary of a student brainstorming session, and I’m not sure of the initial stimulus given by Jennifer, but the results are pretty exciting, considering the stale old argument about the definition of videoblogging.
Coming in fresh I’m assuming, are such gems as:
It’s necessarily personal, even when it’s fictional or poetic.
Very Verdi and Richard BFesque indeed. Here’s another one:
It’s about process and intent, not product.
Amongst the monotonous chatter of “I’m a videoblogger too!”, claimed by anyone with a web site, an RSS feed and a video editor, it makes my day when a group of new videobloggers come in fresh and identify with the domain in purely personal terms.
The post is an old one, from 10 weeks ago, and the class has subsequently wrapped up, but you can follow the links on the site to the allstars who participated.
Note for regular readers of my videoblogging posts: while I define videoblogging as a genre, and not a practice as they do, I do agree with everything else they mention.