Desert Rocks Music Festival in Moab

Last Sunday and Monday I headed down to Moab, Utah for the Desert Rocks Music Festival.  It was really an amazing experience.  Some friends invited my girlfriend and I to join them to see a band – Kan’nal – out of Boulder, Colorado.

We all piled into their Winnebago on Sunday afternoon, and we took the 4+ hour drive down to Moab.  The event was out in the desert about 13 miles south of Moab at Area BFE.  It was a beautiful site, and the weather was great … not too warm.  We arrived as one of the concerts had just finished, so we broke out the BBQ and got dinner going.  As the sun set (which was incredible) we got our act together and wandered down to watch the Fire Dancers, and then head over to the main stage to see Kan’nal.  I was impressed … they rocked!

For those who missed the concert, in June you can go and see Kan’nal at the Salt Lake City Arts Festival.  I’m going to make sure to be there … it was an amazing performance.

Monday was the typical return trip … we got some sleep, hung out a bit, and then joined the masses of traffic returning to the Salt Lake City area.  It took a while, but was well worth the trip.  I’m thinking of going next year … and maybe even contributing to the Desert Rocks event with an outdoor light show … we’ll see!

New …

Ok … after another few weeks of work, we just threw out a new version of our NuMe website!  Go and check it out … what is fun is that it is actually gaining some real momentum.  Our videoWrapplet is now finding itself onto webpages all over the planet … it’s fun to see many of the places it’s showing up!

Our biggest hit is the Smashing Pumpkins MySpace page, where they are using it to show off their latest videos.  We’re now on numerous other MySpace pages (like this one from the UK … I love the video he posted called “Spiders on Drugs”), also blogs, and even more sites in South America and Europe.  It’s fun to see the Google Analytics, and to also see some of the uses of the videoWrapplet … a conspiracy web site, a Japanese tech/audio site, Argentinian TV sites and cooking videos and Tech sites, a German Club site, and too many others to link to.  Well … you can always check them out on the NuMe site.  We now have a videoWrapplet detail page that shows all of the top playlists, and the recently updated playlists.

One facinating thing that I caught yesterday, was that we had a user Jim from Mexico grab our videoWrapplet and load it up with videos.  The first videos are Smashing Pumpkins videos, leading me to believe that he found it through their site.  He then added several other videos from other artists.  The best part is that he then went to YouTube and signed up so that he could upload his own home-made videos and put them into the playlist!  So our videoWrapplet actually caused someone to create a YouTube account … just so that they could use our videoWrapplet.  Many people would argue that proves we ought to be hosting the videos … but what I like to see is that the value they perceive in our videoWrapplet caused them to leap the hurdle and create a YouTube account!

Anyhow … I’m having fun with this, and am about to release a new version … with some small tweaks.  But I also have a fully skinnable version in testing, and it also supports transparent backgrounds.  We’re also adding a full set of preferences.  I’m also thinking that it will be easy to open up the skinning to anyone with some pretty basic skills …  🙂

Stay tuned … the video experiments continue …

Touch Interface of the Future

You have to watch the video to really see how impressive this is.  I’ve added the video to my Inevitable videoWrapplet playlist … it’s the presentation that Jeff Han gave at the TED conference of his ‘multi-touch interface’.  This is the stuff of Minority Report … but being demonstrated as reality.  Read the article … check out the video … this is an impressive product.

I keep thinking that I want this on my laptop, or Tablet PC!

TED: Jeff Han, A Year Later. Catapulted to geek stardom literally overnight at this high tech confab in 2006, inventor of mind-blowing touchscreen technology gives Wired News a glimpse into life as an entrepreneur and his new company, Perceptive Pixel. Kim Zetter reports from Monterey. [Wired News: Top Stories]

Another release of our videoWrapplet

I’ve been working on my videoWrapplet some more, and just added a few new features, and fixed some bugs.  I’m really restructuring the internals of the code to prepare for some of the bigger features … more flexible playlists, and preferences.

With the new version the videos will automatically advance to the next video if they can (the Flex video player events are pretty hosed!), and I’ve also added a video info button next to each title to see, and copy, the URL of the video.  All of this to make it easier to put videos into your playlist.  And yes … I’m working on a way to do a one-click add of a video into your playlist … stay tuned!

Also … Scott has been jamming on the home page of NuMe to show the users who are getting the top plays, and who have recently updated their playlist!

Privacy … still just a case of obfuscation …

Once again we are reminded that “privacy” is simply a case of obfuscation.  We have “privacy” only because it is too difficult to sense certain things.  We have the “privacy of our own homes” only becuase others can not see what goes on “behind closed doors.”

This article is demonstrating that even that level of privacy is slowly eroding.  With the newest version of this product, different military and police agencies can actually “see” through walls.  Now obviously this is something that will be very costly as a product … but with the rapid evolution of technology, how long until you or I will be able to purchase a device like this?  10 years?  5 years?  3 years?  It is inevitable that we will have our own personal versions of this before too long …

Company with a camera that sees through walls gets $14 million. Blog: Camero, a company out of Israel that has developed a camera that can “see” things through solid walls, has raised $14 million,… [CNET]

The mediaFORGE videoWrapplet …

For the last six months I’ve been working with mediaFORGE here in Salt Lake City, Utah as CTO. It’s been a fun place to work as we have been combining some interesting back-end technologies for doing viral marketing analytics. As we began to work with Internet Videos, we started to think about some new ways to embed more than just one video within a portion of web page real estate.

As we were developing some other solutions for our customers, I worked with one of my developers to create a basic video player that we call our videoWrapplet. This little Flash application can be embedded in almost any web page, and provides a simple way to maintain a playlist of videos, and embed them into your home page, blog, Myspace page, or other website. What is fun is that you can create your account through this widget, and then login, edit your playlist, and get the HTML codes to embed in your page through the widget also. You can add any .flv flash video into your playlist, and so we support videos from a wide range of sites – YouTube, Google, Myspace, etc. You can also resize the player to be any size you want down to 200 pixels wide, and up to a full page width.

We also created a web site called cinemaFORGE where you can check out the videoWrapplet, and also where we aggregate some of the analytics about what videos people are playing in the videoWrapplet. We’re about to add some analytics on the popular playlists also.

To get your videoWrapplet for your page simply click the “login” button on the videoWrapplet to the right, and then click the “Create an Account” button … you’ll pick a username, password, and provide an e-mail address and that’s it!  Once you confirm the e-mail address you can then login through the Wrapplet and begin to populate the playlist with your own videos.  While logged in you can click the “Put this on your page…” bar and it will open revealing the codes to embed in your page.

I figure that some folks will think of some cool things they can do with this, and I was hoping to see someone use this to embed their vidcasts into their blog page. I’m about to do exactly that. If you check it out, and think of some cool ideas that you would like to see, then please visit our forums … they are linked to by the graphic at the bottom of the player. We have a lot of ideas on where we want to take this … I want to hear some of your ideas!

Video vs. Audio … an iPod feature that I want!

This weekend I spent some time with some friends that are into podcast and vidcasting.  As we discussed the huge explosion in Internet video content, I started to think about some of the implications.  I actually think that the growth of video content is about to drive even more audio content.

My reasoning is that video is simply more difficult to consume than audio!  I can listen to audio almost anywhere, anytime.  I can listen while driving, working, skiing, etc.  Video on the other hand is a much more demanding sensory experience.  It requires that I commit far more attention to it, and I can’t do it when driving, skiing … well … any time that I have to be present to things that might kill me.  🙂

As I thought more about this, I realized that two things might emerge.  The first will be more attention being paid to the audio tracks being done for video content.  This will involve careful production of videos that can be listened to … audio only.  The second thing will be new generations of multimedia players – like the iPod – that allow you to turn off the video when “listening only” to a video.  So when I go skiing, I can listen to a video without burning up my batteries displaying content that I’m not even watching!

My request to Apple … please give me an option to turn off the video display on my iPod when I want to … so that I can listen when I can’t watch!

WuFoo … nice AJAX

I’m sitting here playing with WuFoo … what a nice AJAX tool.  I was reading this great article on AJAX Prototyping,
and it linked to WuFoo.  It’s a pretty amazing example of where
applications within the browser are going.  What I started to
think of – and maybe they are already doing this – is how I can
download the final form that I create and host it on my own server?

Croquet SDK Beta v1.0 Released!

Wow … I have been too heads down on projects lately … I missed the
release of the new Croquet SDK Beta!  I’m downloading it as I
write this … and will begin to write more about what I find.

For those who are not familiar with Croquet, it is a full blown 3d
virtual world platform being developed by an amazing team.  It is
cross-platform for Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms and is able to be
networked for multiple users to interact.  If you go to the web
site, check out the FAQ, and the Screenshots … they are really worth
seeing so that you can get an idea of what is possible.

What I am currently most interested in is the state of the networking
components.  These were rough when I played with Croquet last, but
to me hold the real network effect value of the platform.  This is
where I am able to “hyperlink” between spaces, and into other
spaces.  Consider that this is the equivilent of hyperlinking
between web pages in the Web … but that I am moving from space to
space in a 3d universe where much of that universe does not exist
initially on my machine.  Oh yeah … it’s all Open Source!

I’ll blog more about my experiences … I’m also starting to learn more
about Second Life and will be comparing and contrasting my experiences.

Croquet SDK 1.0 Beta released!

The Croquet Software Developers’ Kit 1.0 Beta has been released. This
represents the first complete public release of the core Croquet technology.
Croquet is a new open source software platform for creating deeply collaborative
multi-user online applications. It features a network architecture that supports
communication, collaboration, resource sharing, and synchronous computation
among multiple users. Using Croquet, software developers can create powerful and
highly collaborative multi-user 2D and 3D applications and simulations.

Eye Tracking Research

This post on Slashdot brings up some interesting perspectives … I mostly like the eye tracking
research that is referenced.  It’s fun to see what we are *really*
doing when watching a video.  I know that I work to catch myself
when I get distracted, etc. but this research shows what the eye is
drawn to.

I don’t agree that video blogs will suck … but I do believe that
video podcasting is a very different animal.  I’m finding that for
audio, I really like the 15 to 30 minute podcasts.  For video, I
haven’t really found something that works for me.  I could see
where I might subscribe to a “movie feed” to get stuff onto my PC at
home for later watching.  From my early conversations with some
students it seems that video podcasts (on campus lectures, etc.) are
used mostly for their audio content, however when something interesting
is said the student will then rewind and look at the video.

The biggest issue that I see is *where* I view video podcasts.  I
can listen a lot more places than I can watch.  For me, driving is
the place where I listen to most of my downloaded content.

Why Video Blogs Will Suck. [Slashdot]