Tuesday, July 29, 2008

12seconds.tv Makes Its Fun Debut

I just got my invitation to join 12econds.tv prior to taking a few days off with the family in Aptos and Santa Cruz. 12seconds is a new video messaging service that's currently in private alpha and like Twitter (which limits your messages to 140 characters) 12seconds limits your video messages to 12 seconds each. TechCrunch calls it "the real video Twitter" and offered 500 invites. Cordiva also offered 500 invites courtesy of ReadWriteWeb and you can read more on their about page or on this Stage Two Consulting blog post.

It's also similar to Seesmic and Phreadz (the UK Seesmic competitor that launched with threaded conversations) in that you are using video to share your thoughts and status and follow friends within a social network. It just so happens that 12seconds is based in Santa Cruz where I'm currently enjoying a few days vacation with my family. Founded by David Beach and Sol Lipman as a side project they are a small company of nerds and funded by burritos. 12 seconds works with mobile phones too and the time limit is real as the 12 second timer counts you down for every message.

My 1st 12 seconds Message on 12seconds.tv
"12seconds is the best place online for video status updates. It's a super easy way to share what you're doing with your friends and family using short video clips. You can use your web cam or mobile phone. Show your friends where you are, share your thoughts, or tell them how you're doing. We are building a video status platform that will help you keep up to date with your friends 12 seconds at a time." - About 12seconds
To join the fun, send an email to: info@12seconds.tv

Thursday, July 24, 2008

ooVoo Says "Let's Caucus" My ooVoo Day With... Political Edition Launches July 28

Following the success of the "My ooVoo Day With..." event earlier this year "which brought together 25 technology bloggers and their communities for dynamic sessions focusing on social media and the changing face of communications", ooVoo the multi-party video conversation platform is launching another event next week called, "My ooVoo Day With... Political edition." If you read this blog regularly you may know that I'm a big fan of ooVoo and I'm pleased to announce this event.

The video below is ooVoo's CEO, Phillipe Schwartz, and Director of Marketing Communications, Philip Robertson, introducing My ooVoo Day... Political Edition.

"My ooVoo Day Political is an eight day online video conferencing event (starting July 28, 2008) joining leading political bloggers covering the entire spectrum of belief and persuasion with their communities, fans and friends - enabled by ooVoo, the leader in face-to-face multi-person video chat." - Video description - My ooVoo Day Political - Let's Caucus!
Greg Verdino from Crayon says this about the event:
"Whether you're a political junkie or not, it's difficult to deny that the 2008 Presidential Election will be one for the history books. OK -- I suppose all presidential races make their way into the history books, but Obama vs McCain will be one of the hottest races that we've seen in a long time.
Tapping into the political zeitgeist, and springboarding off the success our first My ooVoo Day program, we're proud to announce My ooVoo Day With... Political Edition. (Y'all know that ooVoo is a crayon client, but in the interest of full disclosure I figured I'd mention it anyway.)
Beginning next week -- and running through early August -- ooVoo will enable a series of multi-person video chats, hosted by 25 or so political pundits, bloggers and online commentators..." (more....)
Jane Quigley gives more details of the event in this Facebook note:
"My ooVoo Day Event starting July, 28th - it's the Political Edition!

My ooVoo Day Political is an eight day online video conferencing event joining leading political bloggers covering the entire spectrum of belief and persuasion with their communities, fans and friends. All inclusive, all viewpoints welcome and respected!

So come to the My ooVoo Day Political's FB page (http://www.new.facebook.com/pages/My-ooVoo-Day-Political/21257538542) and sign-up for the event!

This is really a historic election year and the online community is becoming more and more important and focused on the issues, both national and local. Be a part of My ooVoo Day Political and be a part of those important conversations!"
Bloggers from all over the political spectrum from liberals to conservatives will be hosting sessions and you can see the full list of who's participating here. I've already signed up for several sessions and if you want to talk politics go sign up for your 6-person video chat, download ooVoo and let's caucus!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Qik is Ready for Prime Time: Public Beta Opens, Let the Revolution Begin

Today Qik, the popular mobile streaming solution, officially entered public beta. Now anyone with a data plan and the right type supported cell phone can sign up and join the fun. Go to http://qik.com/sign_up to get more information on the supported handsets.

On the Qik blog, Co-founder Bhaskar Roy says,
"Can't express how excited we are to be have reached this stage where Qik is now transitioning from an Invitation-only Alpha to Public Beta with additional features, integrations and additional handset support. Even though we are announcing public beta today, July 21 2008, from today till end f July we'll be trickling in various features. All I can say is "see what happens" these remaining days of July :)"
Many blogs covered the news today and shared the similar stories which are covered on the Qik blog such as the new Key Features (Groups, Events, New Player, Reduced Latency, Playback on phones using resident RSS reader, Sign up on Mobile Device), New Distribution Partners (Facebook, MySpace, Orkut or develop you own integration using oEmbed and Media RSS "(a) CoverItLive: the live blogging service now has live video blogging with Qik. Details here. (b) iPoki: A location based service now shows location of Qiks and Qikkers. Details here.")

MG Siegler has a post Qik launches public beta. New phones, new carriers and new features abound that includes a chat he had with Bhaskar Roy and director of marketing, Jackie Danicki, to go over some of the new features. Andy Plesser of Beet.TV talked with Bhaskar Roy in this video about the uses of Qik prior to the today's public beta announcement. Andy also recommends "For an in depth user experience, check out this account by CNET's Daniel Terdiman."

Contrary to Robert Scoble's post last month on TechCrunch, Why Kyte.tv will kill Qik and Flixwagon in cell phone video space, it appears that Qik is alive and well and thriving in an integrated online video ecosystem.

I've been having a lot of fun with Qik the last week using a Nokia N95 that is on loan from WOM/ World Nokia and I recorded this short Qik video to accompany this post.

Currently there are over 76,000 Qik videos on the site from an estimated user base of a several thousand according to Reel SEO Video Marketing with high profile users like Scoble and US Congressman Jon Culberson to everyday people from all over the world like you and me. So go sign up and see what happens.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Live Mobile Broadcasting with Kyte, Qik and Flixwagon

It's the middle of the summer and the heat is on. The live mobile broadcasting solutions, Kyte, Qik and Flixwagon, got some press in the tech blogs with two stories the last two days.

Beet.TV Associate Producer Kelsey Blodget, posted a new story "Kyte Blows in a Different Direction Than Qik, Flixwagon" that includes an interview with Kyte CEO Daniel Graf, who says that Kyte is really not in competition with with Qik and Flixwagon and has broader focus.
" Kyte is focused on a different market, partnering with entertainment companies including the four major record labels (Universal, Sony, EMI and Warner), MTV Europe and KROQ. It also will support any type of video content, whether online, mobile, live or recorded, while Qik and Flixwagon are primarily concerned with the live cell phone streaming of individual users. Kyte also lets users embed branded, automatically updating players on their websites and allows fans watching a channel on different sites to chat." - Kelsey Blodget, Beet.TV

I've covered Kyte before on this blog and listed the related links below. In particular, there's another interview with Daniel Graf on how Kyte is different from Seesmic, Qik and Flixwagon.

In a related story on TechCrunch Jason Kincaid posted, "Mobile Livecasting Faces Off: Qik vs Kyte vs Flixwagon" that compares the quality of three main mobile streaming platforms. They recruited Sarah Austin of Pop17.com to be the on-camera test subject for the quality tests and recorded a similar clip using each solution. The tests were more subjective than technical and didn't seem to have a set benchmark. Ratings issued on the video, audio and the player and Kyte edged out Qik on video and audio quality only with Flixwagon coming in third. Check out Jason's review to see all the videos.

There were some great comments on the post which listed other live mobile broadcasting applications and some pointing out that the test didn't delve into the technical specifics like this one from Ben:
"Technical comment regarding the comparison, that I think is somewhat wrong(!!!): You could clearly see the video shot on the Flixwagon video shot is much closer to the subject than Qik and Kyte. The surrounding are mostly white and compress better hence video quality of the picture will be better in this framing with all services. Another point not mentioned, I do know that both Qik and Flixwagon have quality settings - and I believe Qik goes up to 640×480 - what were the setting in each broadcast? how “live” was the broadcast? ignoring this is simply rating the default selection of each provider…"

Another comment from N95 was:
"nice comparison, but too simple, i’m afraid. i’m missing a more real-live set of tests using 3G using an adequate “no-delay” / medium resolution setting, which is more likely to be the normal setting for live-streaming, when someone is out and about. also i’m missing the technical details for each test, like resolution, bandwith used, delay, framerate, etc."
Livecast (formerly known as ComView) was also considered but they couldn't get the video to embed so it wasn't included. It supports Windows Mobile 5/6 and Symbian S60 phones, incorporates GPS and does have syndication capabilities for blog, YouTube and Twitter. It sounds like it should be great but formmy experience it actually performed poorly most likely not be a contender.

Regarding players Jason concluded that:
"Preference in the embeddable players will largely come down to a matter of taste. Qik’s player has the best styling, but it lacks the embedded chat features that are found on Kyte (Qik has a chat button in the player, but it doesn’t seem to do anything). Again, FlixWagon falls short in this area - it’s overly simplistic player is neither stylish nor feature-rich."

There are a number of other services available but none of them have had the amount of exposure and user adoption this past year as Kyte, Qik and Flixwagon. I'm currently testing all of these live mobile broadcasting platforms using a trial Nokia N95 compliments of WOM World/Nokia and so far Qik is my favorite. I plan to spend more time with mobile Kyte, Qik and Flixwagon during the next few weeks and publish my finding here on this blog.

Related posts from this blog on Live Mobile Streaming:
A few from other blogs:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Mashable: How to Live Stream Your Life: 20+ Tools and Resources

Mashable writer Sean P. Aune published a new list of video lifestreaming applications in a post titled, How to Live Stream Your Life: 20+ Tools and Resources. He identifies the 20+ popular video platforms used for lifestreaming and live broadcasting into three categories: mobile single platform, webcam, multi-platform streaming and others. I've used a number of these tools and services and have found that many of them have similar features and options for syndication.

Sean writes, "Video lifestreaming has become more and more popular with the increasing availability of mobile video recording technology and the decreasing price of webcams. So why not try it out?"

The following is written by
Sean P. Aune for Mashable and originally published on July 15, 2008 as: How to Live Stream Your Life: 20+ Tools and Resources

Mobile single platform
  • CometNow.com - Allows you to stream using your Windows Mobile device to other cell phones or to computers by going to your streaming page. Works with Windows Mobile devices.
  • Flixwagon.com - Allows you to stream video live from your phone, save it for later and even alert Twitter to who you are recording. Works with Symbian based phones.
  • LiveCastr.com - Works with any 3G enabled phone and requires no download to work. Stream can be embedded into social network pages and all videos are automatically archived.
  • Vox.com - The Vox blogging community also allows you to upload video directly from your N Series Nokia phone to your account. The service is Symbian based.
Multi-streaming platform
  • Justin.tv - Made famous for the fact that the founder, Justin, streamed his life 24/7 when the site started up, and was followed by iJustine spending six months streaming her life. The service can be used with webcams and mobile devices.
  • Kyte.com -Kyte can be used from webcams or mobile devices, and allows you to brand your channel as well as monetize it.
  • Livecast.com - Formerly Comvu, Livecast lets you broadcast your life from a wide-range of mobile phones from carriers all over the world, as well as using your own computer.
  • Mogulus.com - A video streaming service that focuses on desktop services, but does have a complicated looking workaround for mobile streaming.
  • Qik.com - Qik is available on multiple mobile platforms, including the iPhone, with more planned to come. Stream live from your phone to their site, allowing you to broadcast from anywhere.
  • Shozu.com - Shozu enables several models of mobile phones to upload and tag photos you take to over 30 social networks including Facebook, YouTube, Blogger and more with just a couple of clicks.
  • BlogTV.com - Allows you to broadcast live or pre-recorded shows, embed them on your blog, download favorite shows, and more.
  • Live.Yahoo.com - Yahoo’s live streaming service that sends messages to Twitter, embeds selected videos on MySpace, and offers an API for those who need it.
  • NowLive.com - Features personal channels as well as a heavy focus on scheduled shows and live coverage from events like movie premiers.
  • Seero.com - Mixes video streaming with geo-tagging to show you where the feed is coming from as well as factoids from that location.
  • Seesmic.com - Referred to as “the Twitter of video”, Seesmic is a micro blogging video service for use with webcams.
  • UStream.tv - Popular with people wishing to do personal webcam shows as it also provides an embeddable chat room you can put into your own site.
  • Yaika.com - A European streaming service that makes your streaming page look like a blog
  • EarthCam.com - More of a repository of old school webcams. People also use the service for shows.
  • HelloWorld.com - HelloWorld charges for their streaming service, but offers a lot of other services like private video IMs and more.
  • Icecast.org - Allows you to set up your own live streaming system, but is for more advanced users.
  • RantTV - Scheduled live streaming shows with a heavy focus on music.
  • ShoutCast.com - Allows you to set up a video stream just like you do with audio over the ShoutCast system.
  • Stickam.com - Focuses a bit more on a scheduled show format than other services, but

Monday, July 14, 2008

How Do You ooVoo? Getting to Know The People Behind ooVoo

Last week, following my video conversation with ooVoo CEO Phillipe Schwartz, I met with several others who work behind the scenes at ooVoo as part of their How Do You ooVoo? event. I learned more about their marketing efforts, upcoming events and product enhancements. I'd like to thank them all for their time to meet with me (Marty, Greg, Phillip and Lisa) and I look forward to more ongoing conversations.

My video conversations last week started with Chief Operating Officer Marty Walker on the business side of ooVoo. Marty joined ooVoo a few years ago from the Iams pet food brand for Procter & Gamble where he was vice president & general manager. Iams marketing strategy was was more "word of mouth" and they didn't spend millons of dollars on focus groups which he said is similar to ooVoo's current efforts. They started working with Joe Jaffee and his team at Crayon, who include Scott Monty, Greg Verdino and Deb Wiseman, on outreach and connection with social media influencers. The successful My ooVoo Day With... event is a product of that relationship.

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Later in the video chat we were joined by Mansur from Saudi Arabia. It proved to be a challenge though to communicate with him since Mansur was 60% deaf and couldn't see us but we could see him. We both appeared as icons on his screen and he was only able to text chat with us. After a few minutes of attempting to troubleshoot the issue he signed off saying, "I love oovoo."

The next day I met with Greg Sobiech and Philip Robertson. Greg is responsible for marketing programs to attract and retain customers and Phillip is Director of Marketing Communications. We had a great discussion which included the upcoming My ooVoo Day With: Political Edition that's planned for late July. That event will be represented by 23 bloggers from all over the political spectrum (liberals, conservatives, Democrats, Republicans, Independents) talking about politics. Stay tuned for more information.

I asked if was possible to do an "ooVoocast" where a multi-party ooVoo chat could be broadcast to many and be interactive through chat. Phillip said yes it was by using SplitCam to broadcast your desktop to uStream.TV or any other broadcast solution. Tom Herman, Vice President of Product Development, has a detailed post on the ooVoo blog that describes how to Stream ooVoo Live.

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My last ooVoo conversation of the week was with Lisa Abourezk Vice President of Marketing. We talked about what ooVoo is doing to get their message out how ooVoo is "an enabler of conversation." She said words really don't describe that "wow moment" of a multi-party ooVoo call and I have to agree, it really is a cool experience. (I recommend headphones though to avoid the echo.)

As part of their outreach efforts ooVoo is sponsoring 20 PodCamp 'scholarships' to college students interested in attending the PodCamp Boston 3 unConference scheduled July 18-20. Details are on the ooVoo blog. ooVoo also enables conversation by "ooVooing in" remote presenters at conferences like the annual BlogHer Conference in San Francisco which is actually scheduled this weekend as well. ooVoo also donated $20,000 to the US Air Force in a similar outreach as Cisco has done with their Telepresence suite.

Lisa emphasized that ooVoo's value is far beyond what you see. The more you use it the more valuable you find it. I plan to use ooVoo more often and I'm looking forward to the new features. In an upcoming ooVoo update it will include Java applet 1.7 version which will let you send a url to a friend who doesn't have the ooVoo client but does have a web cam to join the video chat through a web browser interface.

Thanks again to all my new friends at ooVoo for your time and conversation. I look forward to another ooVoo with you again soon.

UPDATE: From the ooVoo blog Phillip Robertson wrote this about PodCamp 3:

"While I'm at PodCamp, I'll also be joining crayon's Greg Verdino, SHIFT Communications' Doug Haslam and Morpheus Media's Adam Broitman in a session about "Smart Social Media Marketing." We'll chat about how ooVoo has been using social media channels to promote and implement programs like My ooVoo Day With... and the forthcoming My ooVoo Day: Political Edition, and to engage directly with both influencers and customers on a day-to-day basis in addition to social media and marketing with Greg, Doug and Adam – they are the experts and worth coming to listen to. I hope to meet some of you at PodCamp - so be sure to join us for our session. We'll be in the HIM Room from 11:15am to noon on Saturday, July 19. You can get all of the event details at the PodCamp Boston site."

Saturday, July 12, 2008

iPhone 3G - Will it Blend?

This one was too good to pass up. Cringe or enjoy...

From: Blendtec
Added: July 11, 2008 (More info)
Tom use his new iPhone 3G to stay organized. Watch what happens when he tries to blend his old iPhone.

Friday, July 11, 2008

iPhone Mania Sweeps the Globe

The tech geeks are out in full force blogging, Twittering, singing songs, having online discussions, live streaming, camping out overnight waiting in line and doing everything they can to pass the time until the release of the new iPhone 3G.

It's not just the device that will be released in a few short hours in the US but all the new applications from the App Store like the Facebook application that people are loving.

I've been tuning into Leo Laporte's 24 hour iPhone live stream and thinking about how I can get one of these babies in my hands. I want one but I'll have to wait for now. So in the immortal words of Mike Myers' character Wayne,"You will be mine, oh yes, you will be mine..."

In the meantime, here's Duncan Riley unboxing a white 3G iPhone.

iPhone 3G unboxing from Duncan Riley on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

How Do You ooVoo? My Video Chat with ooVoo CEO Philippe Schwartz

It's not everyday that I get the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation with the CEO of an online video platform, but I did just that the other day. I spoke with Philippe Schwartz, Chief Executive Officer of ooVoo, who hosted the first of a series of video chat sessions featuring ooVoo employees called "How Do You ooVoo?" It's a chance for the ooVoo community to talk with the people behind the scenes to share how they feel about the product and how they use it. I've already signed up for several sessions and you can join as well by going to the How Do You ooVoo? link.

ooVoo is a free multi-party videoconferencing application that's very similar in form and function to Skype. The main difference between the two is that ooVoo allows you to have up to a 6-way video chat with a paid account and 3-person video chats for free. ooVoo recently moved to a paid plan following their promotional period.

Several months ago ooVoo hosted a series of My ooVoo Day With... video chat sessions which gave fans an opportunity to speak directly with some of their favorites bloggers that included Chris Brogan, Erin Kotecki Vest, Marshall Kirkpatrick, John Wall, Robin Good, iJustine and many more. It was a promotion event headed up by the people at Crayon to get the word out and also raise money for the Frozen Pea Fund in the name of 22 charities. I participated in 3 of the 161 video chat sessions that took place over 12 days. There's a great commemorative video of the event here.
In my video conversation with Philippe Schwartz, he said that he was moved by the"My ooVoo Day With..." event and had waited a few years to create a conversation with the ooVoo community. Also participating in the video call was Robert Muffoletto, an educator and coordinator of New Media & Global Education at Appalachian State University who joined from Holland. Roberto coordinates an international online masters program and shared some interesting stories on how his students are using ooVoo. We spoke about a range of topics from ooVoo's product roadmap, their vision, community feedback and upcoming ooVoo events. Philippe recorded the session which lasted over an hour and posted it here.

Philippe said the PC version of ooVoo has about 9 months of development on the Mac OS version and that's why it has more features. But the new Mac OS version will be available July 28th and will incorporate video recording and telephony. He also said ooVoo was developed as a consumer product and not a business product and that they have focused on superior video and audio quality for multi-party calls. The quality of the video and audio is one of best I've experienced on the variety of two-way video chat solutions that I've used. Philippe said that's achieved by their proprietary algorithm. He added that new ooVoo offerings will feature moderated calls, scheduled events through an ooVoo portal he calls "ooVoo in a box", notifications through IM, more integration with social applications like Facebook and MySpace and the release of API's for web and widget development.

Regarding more "My ooVoo Day With..." events, Philippe said they are about to launch a new event at the end of this month focusing on the elections called, My ooVoo Day With, Political Edition and more of the regular "My ooVoo Day With..." events will follow later in the year.

Why not give it a try?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

VizThink Webinar: Creating Powerful Presentations with Nancy Duarte

How many of you out there create presentations for yourself or others? Can I see a show of hands? If you're not raising your hand then please stay tuned for the next blog post. Or if I've peaked your interest please read on.

A reoccurring theme in this blog is the "Death by Powerpoint" syndrome and the challenges that are faced in meeting rooms all over the world. How do we create an engaging presentations to get our messages across? The easy way out is to open Powerpoint and start typing using the basic black and white template. But that method doesn't take into account any design elements, visual theory or storytelling, you're only writing the presentation. It's a one dimensional approach that ultimately bores your audience. There's been so many humorous videos like the one from the other day that illustrate the pain that audiences must endure sitting through poorly crafted presentations.

But there's hope in the form of design experts who share their tips, tricks and best practices on creating better presentations. This is a recording of a recent webinar hosted by VizThink featuring, Nancy Duarte, principal of Duarte Design the firm that was created Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth presentation, who discusses how to create powerful presentations. If you don't have much time to watch it from the start I suggest you jump sections #4 and #5.

Creating Powerful Presentations

Hint: Use the Full Screen Button to see this video in greater detail.

They used GoToMeeting as their webinar platform which is now cross platform on Mac and PC. Robin Good just posted a review of the new version here. There's also some helpful information in teh comments about how they captured and deployed the webinar recording.

Suggested reading:
Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery
By Garr Reynolds

Read an excerpt Make Presentations That People Will Remember

Nancy Duarte recommended this slideshow by jbrenman:
Shift Happens

Related blog posts:

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Uncle Nalts on the Three Golden Rules of Online Video Creation

In this recent blog post, viral video genius Nalts shares his advise on the three golden rules for online video creators. He points out that the three biggest mistakes people are:
1. Emphasizing quality over cost.
2. Believing good content will get seen.
3. Caring about what the audience thinks
He says that the common counterpoints to those mistakes...
1. Higher production value generally means the content is better
2. The social aspect of the web means good stuff rises and bad stuff dies
3. The most savvy creators listens to audiences and predicts them, thus creating content that’s more popular.
... are actually wrong and if you live by them you'll go broke and be unsatisfied with your work. So here's his 3 Golden Rules:

Golden Rule #1: At all costs, manage costs

There still isn't a safe monetization model for online video and as Nalts points out, "This is actually good news for amateurs like me, because we’ll sustain while better creators come and go.." He is able to keep his costs down being a "one man band" who can write, act, shoot, edit, publish and promote his own own work. He gets it done "on the cheap" by calling in favors, bribing people to be in his videos and keeping equipment costs to a minimum.

Golden Rule #2: Good Content is Not Popular.
For this rule, Nalts says, "
Good isn’t popular, and popular isn’t good... you’re responsible for getting your videos seen if you want your videos to be seen." Don't hard sell yourself but make sure you target your videos to specific niche markets. Think about how your video could cross over to another genre to expand your audience beyond your current reach. Make an effort to find that relevant audience. If your video is about food, travel or any other topic you should send it to the food, travel and any other topic bloggers.

Golden Rule #3: Screw The Audience.
I love this one because it goes against the traditional mindset that you should focus on what the audience wants to see. It's really hard to do too, because we feed on audience interaction but as Nalts explains, "
almost no online-video creator is at risk of losing touch with their audience — the medium consumes them. Rather, most popular creators lose their steam because they focus on feeding the audience instead of instinct. What began as a fun outlet becomes an obligation." He says that "caring less" about what the audience thinks is "the remedy for artistic sustainability" and try not to let the critics get you down. Keep your creative edge by not focusing so much on the feedback but what is fun for you and that will shine through your work.

That now concludes today's sermon.

Three Golden Rules of Online-Video Creation was originally published by Nalts on Will Video For Food on June 27, 2008

For more on Nalts, watch his videos here: