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The Media The Internet

Are Video Blogs Ready For Prime Time? 204

Markmarkmark writes "Is video blogging ready for prime-time? Can Internet talking 'blog-heads' beat the talking heads on Fox? Is the next Andy Rooney-type commentator going to be a /.er? With new technology and a little creativity, this MSNBC article today thinks so. 'The big problems have been setting up lights and a camera in my study properly, so that I don't look dead, or hung over.'" The article is about the software / hardware it takes to set up a microstudio; the author does not really explore much about the video-blogging implications -- but you can.
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Are Video Blogs Ready For Prime Time?

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  • by Kombat ( 93720 ) <kombat@kombat.org> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:07AM (#5448106) Homepage
    Come on, with all the far more provocative reality TV out there (viewers choosing a spouse for someone, 16 whiny crybabies dumped in the Amazon, a dude pretending he's a millionaire), who's gonna watch Linus recompile his kernel?

    Is it possible that this whole "blogging" craze has been the fastest flash-in-the-pan to hit the technology world yet? Dare I dream that the even the uber-geeks and posers have already come to the conclusion that "hey, you know what? I'm not really that exciting, and nobody cares what I had for breakfast today"?

    "Blogging" has graphically illustrated for me the old adage, "Just because you can, doesn't mean you shouldn't."

    • :s/shouldn't/should
    • by PyroMosh ( 287149 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:19AM (#5448143) Homepage
      Anyone else think that this article sounds like a Jon Katz [slashdot.org] article [slashdot.org] ? The way it tries to predict the future while sounding like it's got some great insight to the social signifigance of technology without actually understanding said technology? In my mind, he's a bit like the way some people describe Howard Stern or Rush Limbaugh. I can't stand him, I think he's an idiot, but I miss him! What ever happened to him?

      Of course Video Blogs aren't the wave of the future. At least not the near future. It would be high bandwidth instead of low, it wouldn't be easily searchable or easy to catalog. It's an order of magnitude harder to do with no tangible benefits except for a little bit of "cool factor".
      • We have technology available that allows you to search audio files by phonemes. That can be rolled together into dictation software and could provide a text track/file that would be searchable. This would require a bit of new software to be written. It would probably end up with an XML style document where each word or sentence is marked by data describing its time index.

        As a side note, technology like that would have incredibly beneficial implications for the television/movie world - imagine being able to index all the speech in a movie and bring up clips based on word usage. This would improve the gathering of footage for news programs and could make editing documentaries easier.
        • A, to be unnamed, corporate R&D lab where I worked was doing exactly this type of indexing. About three years ago. It was quite the rage as I understood. The patents database may be a good place to look :)
      • It would be easy to do this on any firewire equipped Mac (pretty much everything), even in OS9.

        All the tools you need come free with the OS - iMovie and umm... that's it.

        Hook up your firewire (IE1394/iLink) MiniDV camera to your Mac, click "capture" and you're away.

        You can edit, title, mess, add music and the exporting options are excellent.

        It took my humble 600MHz iBook 45 minutes to encode a 3 minute video file in Quicktime (H.263 codec, u-law sound), so something with a bit more oomph (say, a powerbook) would cut this in half or more.

        You can export to DV tape for home archive, and even encode at different rates to suit your audience. All you need is a broadband connection and a fair bit of space for hosting, plus a generous monthly bandwith allotment depending on how popular you get.

        You could put up each video with a quick html file that contains keywords and info on the content to aid in cataloging and searching.

        I agree, the content provision is difficult given the non-trivial cost of bandwidth, but I can see it happening.
        • Once again, people deciede to miss the point.

          I have a Firewire equiped PC and a DV Cam. Yeah, I can do this just as easily. I have the added step of having to launch my favorite capture program before I hit the capture button. Perhaps you can educate me, but I realy, realy don't see what makes a Mac better than a PC for graphics and dv editing. People always go on about how easy it is, but it's easy on the PC too.

          But this is all besides the point. PC OR Mac, it's not easier than HTML, and, I'm sure the idiot BLOG programs that I see everywhere make it even simpler. It takes seconds to update with text. I don't have to render a video stream. I don't have to do any editing beyond proofreading, and spellchecking. Upload is near instant. Download is too. And people can read it at their liesure. What advantage does video bring to the table? A bit of cool factor and loss of the ability to search, browse, etc. It's still easier for me to look in the index of a book than it is to look for a specific point in a DVD, even if I've seen it before. Yeah, there's technology that can catalog speach, etc. It's quite imperfect, and again, we're missing the point, even if they were 100%, what do I get out of the massive drive space, processor power, DB space, and everything else involved that makes this superior to text?

          This is like an online Rube Goldberg Machine [rube-goldberg.com]. I just don't get the point.
      • What I was thinking was don't be standing in the way when Katz rushes to jump on this bandwagon.

        As far as video blogs (and blogs in general for that matter) are concerned, it brings to mind the old saying "Fools' names, like fools' faces, are often seen in public places".

    • by squaretorus ( 459130 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:49AM (#5448225) Homepage Journal
      Blogging sucks. No blog is going to attract millions of viewers a day. But a million blogs might.

      Give me a service where I can hook up a text, picture, and video connection with my 'posse' and if I'm egocentric enough I'll take it.

      The only blogs to make it into the mainstream - i.e. attract a wider audience than their network of friends - will have a tabloid interest - nudity, offensiveness, extreme views, or some other rally call. No offence to that special breed of /.er who have 'popular' journals. But look at the content - hardly recommendations for new distros!

      Personally I don't want my 'pub rants' preserved to be thrown back at me in 20 years time when Im up for head of the city council and one of my opponents wants to raise my past life as an ecoterrorist.
      • Oh Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by avdi ( 66548 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:10AM (#5448277) Homepage
        instapundit.com (Glenn's original blog) has topped 200,000 daily visits on at least one occasion, and his readership is growing monthly. His fellow top-teir bloggers boast similar numbers. And they're just talking about boring ole' politics and such. "Millions" might still be a long way off, but I don't think it's all that farfetched.
        • Re:Oh Really? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by angle_slam ( 623817 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @09:17AM (#5448577)
          instapundit.com (Glenn's original blog) has topped 200,000 daily visits on at least one occasion, and his readership is growing monthly. His fellow top-teir bloggers boast similar numbers. And they're just talking about boring ole' politics and such.

          There is obviously a large market for political writing, which is why such blogs are so popular. You don't have to read the same columnists over and over again, as political blogs contain many new voices and links to all sorts of news stories. Instapundit.com [instapundit.com] mainly contains links to other stories. But check out all the links to other blogs on the left side of the page. You have some blogs, like USS Clueless [denbeste.nu], that present lengthy analysis of the upcoming war. In the legal world, a blog about appeallate law, How Appealling [blogspot.com] is among the most popular blogs, but there are many legal blogs (sometimes called blawgs), as you can see from the compilation on Bag & Baggage [blogspot.com]. The key to these blogs I listed above isn't necessarily the content (and none of them are "what I did today" type blogs), it is the links to other stories.

        • Wow, just what the American "news" scene needs - more punditry and even less time for reporting.
      • The only blogs to make it into the mainstream - i.e. attract a wider audience than their network of friends - will have a tabloid interest - nudity, offensiveness, extreme views, or some other rally call.

        This is largely true but I would add that just being offensive or having extreme views is insufficient. The thing about popular bloggers like Glenn Reynolds (who probably just attracted a million viewers today - the "story" on MSNBC was one of his two blogs) is that they are actually expressing informed views on topics they have some expertise on - Glenn for instance isn't just some wacko spouting off about politics, he is a law professor that teaches constitutional law spouting off about politics - and that makes a big difference. The democratization of the media obviously results in a vast increase in the amount of dreck but among that dreck there are also some gems and they will tend to rise to the top & as they do they will be refined.

        I tend think that the democratization of video will not (for the most part) be anything like "blogging" since even amateur video takes time and forethought and the appeal of blogging is for writers and amateur (and professional) thinkers & pundits to get out their thoughts quickly in an informal format. Bloggers may occasionally use video and will likely link to those that do as fodder for their blogs but very little of it would properly be called "video blogging". As an example of what I'm talking about I'm sure Glenn is thinking about "video" and "blogging" because of this little sarcastic man-on-the-street interview/documentary [brain-terminal.com] a conservative blogger did at the Peace march in NYC - it was amateurish but also pretty funny and fairly well done.
      • .plan files. (Score:2, Informative)

        by mfh ( 56 )
        The concept of blogging isn't new, by any means. It's basically the UNIX finger service adapted for mass use on the web/AIM/whatever. There were even finger-to-web CGI scripts in 1995 that accomplished this same exact thing. Hell, I even wrote one of them for my personal use.

        Remember John Carmack's (of id software fame) .plan files? Back at the height of Quake I/II/III development, I would suspect that the number of requests to his .plan files approached 100,000 a day. Many other notable people in the gaming industry had similar setups.

        I suppose it's really a catch-22, since famous/notable people generally do not share personal information on the internet. But that's exactly what it would take to generate a substantial volume of hits/reads per day.
    • I agree. In fact, I don't understand the whole blogging thing, and I've gotten pretty deep into the cyberworld.

      Anytime I read an article on blogging, I wonder why:

      A:) I've never met anyone personally who talks about them.

      and B:) I've never, in all my research and surfing time, come across one. (Other than Dave Barry's, but that was from the /. story and I didn't stay long.)

      So I think I'll just ignore them until they go away, like I did with the Y2K thing.
    • by kisrael ( 134664 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @10:02AM (#5448824) Homepage
      Is it possible that this whole "blogging" craze has been the fastest flash-in-the-pan to hit the technology world yet? Dare I dream that the even the uber-geeks and posers have already come to the conclusion that "hey, you know what? I'm not really that exciting, and nobody cares what I had for breakfast today"?

      If that's what you think Blogs are, you're reading the wrong ones. Nice strawman.

      Decent blogs are either link centric, or commentary by someone who's smart. There are a number of crappy ones, but so what.

      I think video blogs are a bad idea, because it eliminates some of the advantages of the text and static image based web; you can browse, skim, and follow links from text, and you have mroe flexibility in how you parcel out your attention (close read all at once, reading here and there while doing something else, etc)

      I think there's *some* room for this kind of format though; anyone remember the very funny daily (and now defunct) Internet show "Computer Stew"? ZD Net pulled the plug alas, but they had some funny stuff...and the got started with less than $3000 of consumer grade hardware.

      (Hmm, looks you can still see episodes [thesync.com] -- I should see if they still have their music video tribute to Notepad.exe ....

  • OK... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by James_Duncan8181 ( 588316 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:08AM (#5448113) Homepage
    ...so I'm a blogger. You're telling me that I can go from having a easy to read and search text site with quite low bandwidth costs to paying through the nose to give a video stream to everyone?

    Umm... no thanks.

    • Re:OK... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DeadSea ( 69598 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:48AM (#5448217) Homepage Journal
      So lets figure out how much video blogging will cost. Lets say that you produce a 10 minute peice a day, and that 500 people tune in each day. Lets say that you put your video in a postage sized window and it comes out to 1MB. Thats half a GB a day.

      The current rates for bandwidth at this scale are about $1/GB of transfer. You will be spending about $180 a year for bandwidth for just 500 people. By contrast, you can get a text blog out to 4000 people a day for $50 a year (easily).

      Even then your blog is going to be low production quality, low recording quality, low compression quality, and in a postage stamp sized window. I wouldn't watch your blog.

      Maybe the 500 person thing is a bit to high given that nobody will watch. But say your blog does get popular. You will be spending 35 cents for every person that views a 1 MB download every day for a year.

      My back of the envelope calculations show that video blogging is not ready for primetime.

      • "The current rates for bandwidth at this scale are about $1/GB of transfer"

        I host my site [bengarvey.com] at ipowerweb [ipowerweb.com] and their rates are $7.95/month for 30GB of traffic. That's about $0.27 per GB of data, not $1 as you claim. If your other figures are accurate, you can have 1000 daily visitors on a video blog for $96 a year.
        • ipowerweb is a great bandwidth deal. That throws off my calculations by a little bit but only so much. I also don't think that you can get a 10 minute video blog into 1 MB. Somebody else want to prove me wrong?
          • I think bandwidth costs have actually come down a little bit in the last year.

            Not to sound like a commercial, but ipowerweb's features aren't too bad either. PHP, Perl, MySQL, daily generated stats, etc.

      • With bittorrent [bitconjurer.org] or swarmcast [sourceforge.net], you don't have to send it 500 times.
    • Video blogging isn't that bad of an idea. Even if you made a short 5-minute realvideo clip each day and streamed it from your standard HTTP server [realnetworks.com], it would only take up 5-10 MB of space, ISP transfer costs aside.

      To me, the real problems with video blogging have to do with the nature of video (and not the problem of bandwidth.)

      [1] Text is random access which means that as a reader, i can scan through someone's text blog and read it as fast or as slow as i wish, and instantly skip the parts I don't want to read. Video is linear which means that in order to consume the ideas presented, you have to scan audio, text, and images in order even if you don't want to.

      [2] While it will take you ten minutes to produce a compelling text paragraph with links and some light editing before you post, It takes exponentially more time to create the equivalent video "paragraph." And adding graphics and links within a text layer of a quicktime movie is really really advanced stuff. It's not the kind of stuff I see most people doing anytime soon.

      That is why I'm a lot more excited by things like the WiFi2TV project [slashdot.org] that plugs the functionality of the internet into an existing video network. Although that also presents a number of problems. We'll have to see how that one goes.
    • Actually, no one's telling you you HAVE to switch from blogging to "vlogging" ($1 to Jeff Jarvis [buzzmachine.com]), just saying that the potential of audio and video are there if you (or any other blogger) have a use for it.

      I wonder if the same people who think vlogs have no practical uses and the text blogging is much better would have been as staunch in defending newspapers against the introduction of the television newscast?

  • by acb ( 2797 )
    Don't camgirls with LiveJournals already do something like this?
  • by lingqi ( 577227 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:08AM (#5448115) Journal
    I have trouble looking at myself in the mirror. Even thinking about people being able to see me talking in a demur tone to a webcam just makes me shudder. Through the internet is nightmarish.

    I think text blogs (not even pictures) are much better - it depends on your ability to describe things well, and it puts a comfortable anonymity for you *and* your reader. Who was it that said "After TV is in every american household, you will never see another president in a wheelchair"?

    Granted, often a picture is worth a thousand words - but I don't think video blog is worth the bandwidth / storage area. Even pictures needs to be sorted out to the last 5% of the cream before they are put on magazines, etc - video is just nasty. Slide show, maybe - video, no. (Just how many people go back and watch, minute my minute, their old family videos? exactly)

    And yes, I blog; pretty regularly too, so maybe I don't speak with authority, I have (some) experience in this
    • > Who was it that said "After TV is in every american household, you will never see another president in a wheelchair"?

      You did. Argh, now I have too.
    • I think text blogs (not even pictures) are much better - it depends on your ability to describe things well, and it puts a comfortable anonymity for you *and* your reader.

      Yeah, but what if you were reading your ex-girlfriend's blog? Don't you want to see the look in her eyes when she talks about how much she misses you and ...

      Oh, wait, this is /. Nobody misses us.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:09AM (#5448117)
    I just ate a bagle. It was pretty good.
  • I know for sure it aint my life, could it be yours? If so, why? (100 words or less :)
    • >I know for sure it aint my life, could it be yours? If so, why?

      Because I'm a depressed, philosophical transsexual on acid.*

      (*Except for the acid).
    • Let's see....i'm a 17 year old guy who goes to a magnet high school who dj's (with turntables), plays the bass clarinet, sings in a band, is a radio show host, is an avid filmmaker and 3d modeler/animator, and has a small computer building business. I recently got arrested for assualt even though it was in self defense and I was the one who called 911 (there were some good scenes in there), and had to do community service. I've also been in love with this girl for four years and we started going out over the summer and we've been going out ever since - and she's the homecoming queen, and I'm having trouble getting intimate with her. Oh, I also have 3 cars. A 1986 mercury grand marquis, a 1970 mercury marquis convertible (with the license plate NIX CAR), and a 1991 bmw 750iL (NIX V12). I plan on moving to california next year. Ah, I love my life. (sorry that was over 100 words)
  • I like the idea. What I'm thinking about is what happens when ten thousand people start blogging and a million watches their blogs?

    Can the current Internet take that kind of an onslaught?
    • Multicast protocols would help a lot with this... which means we really need IPv6. Currently most things like that are done as single point-to-point transmissions. With multicast, a 10-minute broadcast could be done every 10 minutes, and you'd just have turn it on at the beginning of those 10 minutes. To the broadcaster, it would only take the bandwidth of one person watching it every 10 minutes (by current standards). It's not the same as being able to start it whenever you want, but it's not as bad as TV where it is only broadcast once per day. The Itnernet could easily support that, even with current bandwidth limitations.

      Now whether people would watch some weird geek's video blog is another story :)

      • Yeah, but having to tune into someone else's schedule is contrary to the whole point of the internet.

        I suppose you could have a system where you could flag a Blog for caching, and it'd assemble the thing and let you know when it's done, ala TiVo. Then maybe have a daily multicast of each blog. But then you'd have to pick your blogs in advance.

        As someone who works full-time in compressed video delivery technologies, video Blogs seem like a solution in search of a problem.
  • Nerds on TV (Score:4, Funny)

    by phrantic ( 630202 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:15AM (#5448134)
    The big problems have been setting up lights and a camera in my study properly, so that I don't look dead, or hung over. But those are hardware problems, not software. The software worked perfectly right out of the box.

    His initial concern is for his appearance, doesn't sound like "news for nerds" to me....
  • Does this mean we'll get Jennicam! [jennicam.org] with sound.

    Joy!
  • People used to read. Then came television and people chose to watch the story.

    But at least we geeks had computers. They were arcane and baffling to most people. We had JCL. We had 80 column cards. We had numbers in bases 8 and 16 we dared to call "octal" and "hex". We had RCPM and BBSes and MODEMS. And we had nearly everything in text.

    Now command lines aren't needed because of GUI interfaces (which seem easier at first but are a pain to use to get anything serious done). Don't get me wrong, I love good graphics (like watching the approaching storm on weather.com), but video weblogs will be another step towards turning the internet into interactive television. Watch screen. Move mouse. Click. Watch screen.

    I'm tired. Would someone read Slashdot to me?
  • what's next? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:28AM (#5448168)
    Text nicely separates the message from the messenger. That's something that's desirable in most communications. If we didn't have it, we'd have to invent it. Leave the video to dating services, where the messenger is the message.

    Otherwise, what's next? Slashdot video postings? Shudder.

    • Leave the video to dating services, where the messenger is the message.

      In the world of punditry and commentary (which is very well represented among a certain class of bloggers), there also the messenger is the message.

      I don't read Instapundit because I want to read some text written by god-knows-who: I read because I ask myself "What does Glenn Reynolds think about this subject?"
    • How about being able to post audio clips to your blog, from your phone [audblog.com]? This is pretty cool stuff, it currently only works with blogger, but it looks like they're trying to integrate it into other bloging software.
  • Great... (Score:2, Funny)

    by BitwizeGHC ( 145393 )
    Now 2 the Ranting Gryphon [werewolves.org] can come to us in high-def, color-corrected video. Looking forward to all that bandwidth going right down the crapper.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I'd definately want to see the faces of the "F1r57 p057!!!!111 l337 dUUdz!!11" people.
  • Cameras (Score:3, Funny)

    by trialsboy ( 651481 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:38AM (#5448189)
    I feel that any kind of camera, digital camera or video camera attached to my computer i anyway is bound to end up in my naked ass being posted around the world just after I've had a shower or something!
  • Always 'on' (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Kiint ( 653016 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:39AM (#5448193)
    Somebody using a camera cell phone nearby? In the locker room perhaps? Sure you are not 'on'? Progress in micro camera gadgets and wireless technology will keep us "always on" in more ways than one. Look at this wireless pen cam [swann.com.au]. And with blogs going the way of live audio and video feeds... Instead of Big Brother we get gazillions of networked Little Brothers :)

    Ever read "The Light of Other Days" by Stephen Baxter and Arthur C. Clark?

    ob.sig: My Cool Gadgets and Technology blog [blogspot.com]

  • According to a not-a-camgirl-really-your-honour acquaintance, the only lighting she uses is an A4 sheet of paper to bounce some light up from under her face. She probably regrets telling me this, however, as I now have a recurring item in my calendar to tease her about it fortnightly.

  • by yuri ( 22724 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:46AM (#5448210)
    weblogs are short, text based, easy to skim or ignore. Video you have to sit through it. You can't compile a big list of the videos and look at them at a glance. Its a different medium from tv.

    Just because you can provide video doesn't mean its the best format for weblogs.

    Even with video phones I think you will still find more people SMS than audio call, and more people audio call than video call.
  • What utter pish! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dan B. ( 20610 ) <slashdot@bryar[ ]m.au ['.co' in gap]> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:49AM (#5448224) Homepage
    I don't care how you moderate me, that article was rubbish. At best it was an advertisment for some video editing software and the fact that computers and cameras are now cheap enough for anyone to get in to making terrible vid-clips of bits of their lives that no one else cares about.

    Yaaawn...

    We want real news!
  • by peterdaly ( 123554 ) <petedaly.ix@netcom@com> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:51AM (#5448230)
    Video blogs will never catch on for the same reason people hate voicemail after using email. While it may be a more fully featured sensory experience, a major feature is lacking; Scanning.

    When I go to a web page, I can scan down it in a fraction of the time it would take to read the text. Voicemail and Video can't match that. Video can, if you are watching it for visual content instead of audio content. While you can "zzzzip" through messages on some voice mail systems, you still don't get what you could get from scanning a text message.

    With video blogs, you would be forced to either watch for as long as it took the author(?) to record it, or miss parts. That is part of the "killer app" of email and current blogs that video blogs can't shake a stick at.

    -Pete
  • by Mantrid ( 250133 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:58AM (#5448247) Journal
    Personally I'd rather read things like blogs and news websites than watch video or listen to audio. If you want to know why just play any of a number of video games or computer games where the dialogue track sounds like it was recorded by the programmers...most people just don't have that interesting a voice!
  • by avdi ( 66548 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @07:59AM (#5448250) Homepage
    A lot of the comments I've seen so far have been to the effect of "how interesting can a geek on video be?" Probably not very, but consider the source of the article. It's worth noting that the article is by Glenn Reynolds, the most popular true blogger (as opposed to quasi-journalists like Drudge) on Earth. While he's certainly got a geek side - his "chief interest is in the intersection between advanced technologies and individual liberty", and he's been executive chairman of the National Space Society - he's a law professor, established commentator, and author. Tens of thousands of people visit his instapundit.com for his commentary on technology, culture, and politics news every day.

    This is the area where video blogs are likely to take off, for the same reason that standard weblogs shot up in popularity in the past two years. People are increasingly concerned with the state of international relations and public policy, and increasingly dissapointed in the established media's ability to keep up with events and to provide coverage that is compelling, insightful, and (perhaps most importantly), honest about it's bias. Many of these people have turned to weblogs to fill this information gap, and I think the same will be true of video blogs. I'd even venture to predict the possibility of the most popular video bloggers "going pro" - just like Reynolds when MSNBC offered him an online slot, perhaps we'll see major news networks give video bloggers space in their online, or maybe even broadcast, video feeds.
  • Repeat after me... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by richieb ( 3277 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .beihcir.> on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:10AM (#5448275) Homepage Journal
    ... Internet is not TV, Internet is not TV....

  • Regardless of whether video blogging technology is possible, how useful will it be? To answer that, I thnik the whole idea of blogs needs to be questioned.

    It might be fun to write blogs, but how many people are actually interested in them. Most blogs I see are just narcisistic capsules describing the innermost thoughts and feelings of some guy I don't know.

    The problem with blogs is they are unstructured --- if you want to make a website about goldfish, make one about goldfish with nice links and structure. Don't just keep appending news --- no-one will be interested in scanning through it all to derive some information about a particular topic.

    Video blogs make the situation worse --- searching is impossible and you'll end up with scores of media documents, once again about some average bloke's activities of the day.

    This is like those guys who strapped cameras (before they were "webcams") to their head in the mid-90s and transmitted every unexciting moment of their unexciting day as a mathematics graduate student, before people Jennycam et al realised there is only one type of "video blog" that will successfully captivate web users.
    • I see this a lot on Slashdot - "who reads blogs?". The people who ask apparently are only familiar with a few obscure blogs, and never bother to actually visit any major blogs and check their sitemeter stats. Here's a suggestion: before asking the question, check something like the Technorati Top 100 [technorati.com]. Take a look at the blogs listed there, the number of links into them, and their pageview stats (if they keep track of them). Then make up your own mind about whether anyone reads blogs. And who knows, maybe you'll find something there that actually interests you!
      • Right. Most comments here assume that blogging is mainly of the "what I ate for breakfast" category. But the author of the article [msnbc.com] is probably the most famous blogger in the world. But what does he blog about? Politics, mainly. Instapundit [instapundit.com] acts as a compilation of news stories and his comments about them.

        Is news blogging important? Ask Trent Lott. The news about his racist comments was small news on an AP wire that no major news organization covered. Instapundit covered it immediately (after being pointed to it by Josh Marshall [talkingpointsmemo.com], another blogger. IIRC, the comments were made on a Thursday. Instapundit was all over the story, calling for his ouster by Friday and Saturday, but the major news organizations didn't cover the story until Tuesday.

  • Save Ferris (Score:4, Interesting)

    by fuzzybunny ( 112938 ) on Thursday March 06, 2003 @08:19AM (#5448305) Homepage Journal

    I'm really surprised nobody has brought up Ferris Bueller so far. You know, all the scenes where he speaks to the camera?

    Frankly, I would differentiate between something like a personal web page or diary or whatever other exhibitionist crap someone wants to put up on the internet (gawd I hate the term 'blog') and the kind of infotainment we're talking about here.

    I see lots of parallels to public access TV. You could get some pretty quality, amusing and informative stuff (like someone reminding you that life moves pretty fast, so if you don't stop and look around every
    once in a while, life might just pass you by) but a large majority of random pointless drivel running about.

    Rant rant rant. And that didn't all just have a point...

  • As I think it's only a matter of time before we're all paying by the byte for bandwidth in one fashion or another, I also believe that stuff like video blogs and other low value/size ratio internet artifacts will go away as well (like banner ads and other graphics that will be aggressively filtered out once you've got to pay for each one you look at...)

    So, no, I don't think video blogs are the wave of the future...
    • Some people have started to use Andromeda [turnstyle.com] for audio blogs. For instance, Xeni at BoingBoing is doing just that with the Blogoshpere conference audio (here [archive.org] and here [boingboing.net]).

      There's no reason why you couldn't do the same with video files.

      btw, I made Andromeda and if you're interested in trying this sort of thing, please let me know...

  • As others have said, this article is at best an advertisment for said video software.

    I hope Slashdot does not go down the same route. I have recently stopped reading The Register [theregister.co.uk] after a spate of blatent "Paid Articles".
  • because that what it would be..

    boring webcams exist already.. so to be anything different from them these 'video blogs' would have to have something intresting-> be more like tv-show than just mumbling that you took a dump at wc..

  • I freaking hate andy rooney. That old bastard did nothing but bitch about useless consumer products.
    He just reminds me of Abe Simpson wandering through a store...
    "Look at these army toys! They break the first time I step on them!" [crushing army toys under slipper]

    I used to watch 60min every week. I never watch it anymore.
  • remember (Score:2, Insightful)

    by infront314 ( 598911 )

    Maybe video blogs aren't ready for prime time quite yet, but remember the words from H.M. Warner at Warner Brothers in 1927:

    Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?

  • Is the next Andy Rooney-type commentator going to be a /.er?

    Maybe the first will be Internet "rock star" Jon Katz ? He is nearly as relevant as Rooney.
  • "Slashdot effect" for the masses. You only need to have a small community, far as big as Slashdot, and do it yourself Slashdot effect for vblog sites! Just point to them in your main page and measure your own popularity counting seconds before the other site get slashdotted (hey! you can even could say something like [my-own-site-name]ted, expanding english and popularity).
  • One feature of the usual blogs, as websites in general, is that we have text and words there. However, if this became a video feed, we would have moving pictures, and most likely audio.

    Herein lies the rub. Imagine sitting at work during a break or some other time, and looking at somebodys full-media blog: "Hello my name is Ashtead and I have been eating peanutbutter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast ... "

    Sounding loud and clear over the cubicle farm.

    Besides, I tend to laugh when finding some funny web-page, and some of my colleagues already want to know why I am laughing for no apparent reason (to them anyways). Are they now having to wonder who all these other people in here are?

    There will be no more looking at and listening to these things at work anymore!

    Which could possibly be a good thing, considering ...

    • > Sounding loud and clear over the cubicle farm [...] my colleagues [...] Are now having to wonder who all these other people in here are...

      Unless you work in an Amish cubicle-farm I doubt your colleagues are as clueless as you think they are.

      Other quotes to expect from your colleagues:
      "But how does this buggy run without a horse?!"
      "How did you get those little people inside the picture tube?"

  • The /. crew had its own audio blog/show, Geeks in Space. How long has it been since there was a new installment? I think that laziness is probably the biggest obstacle preventing more production.

    On the other hand not only was it not convinient to make, but it wasn't convinient to listen to either. For me it is really hard to listen to Geeks in Space while working. I end up paying to much attention to the show. Also, you can't just run through it really fast like a blog. So it seems the format is inconvinient on both ends.

    • For a while the group who was doing it was scattered around the country so they really were not in the same place at the same time to do it.

      Right now it is just a matter of priorities (aka getting it setup).
  • If you're going to be video blogging, I would highly recommend checking out the Open Content Network [open-content.net] which provides P2P distribution of web sites.


    The Internet Archive [archive.org] currently uses it for distributing live concert recordings, so it should work great for video too.

  • less so for awkward geeks...or pretty much anyone who isn't a hot chick.
  • Why would I want to listen and watch, when I could read instead? It is quiet, nobody around me will be disturbed. I can read faster than most people talk, and it is never unclear. I can paste a part of it to someone else, or I can print it.

    What is this obsession with movie media? I have already abandon the TV news since text on the internet is easier to digest for me. I can ignore the stories that don't interest me, and I can read whatever I'm interested in.
  • To all the people that are saying it's not feasible to run a video blog because the cost of bandwidth is too much or most people don't have the necessary bandwidth available, you need to rub both of your braincells together just a little faster:

    use p2p.

    A text blog can still be maintained, and the video could be made available there, whether it's streamed or a downloadable binary. You could even provide a transcript. But produce the video and release on a p2p network or three. Out of the 60 million people on kazaa, someone's likely to be interested, right?
  • As someone already mentioned- p2p is the way to distribute stuff like this. I was thinking of actually using edonkey links on a web page that pointed to the video sequences. If at least I keep my vblogs (catcchy) shared, then people should be ablo to get them eventually.

    What I fear is that many of these vblogs would end up like one of those sequeneces off SF shows where the heroes review the last few log entries on some space station or whatever in order to understand "what happened here", except they will be far more boring...

    Final Log Entries SF version:

    "September 21st. I have been experimenting on the strange samples Dr. Weisman brought back from the crater. They seem to have some strange properties- more work is needed.

    September 23rd. I don't know how to say this, but it seems as if the samples are multiplying- not just with time, but almost as if my observing them causes them to thrive. I can't really believe the test results- nothing like this has ever been seen before.

    September 26th. The samples are speaking to me! They now form a mass approximately 4 feet high! I have been keeping my findings from the other scientists for fear of alarming them.

    September 27th. 'Bob' (my name for the sample-mass, which is now 7 feet tall) has killed Dr. Weisman. I fear I may be next as Bob is becoming difficult to reason with. His constant claim that humanity is 'a bunch of lamers who deserve death' unnerves me."

    Final Log Entries Geek version:

    'April 3rd. I had this really great idea to build a model of the Tokyo Tower out of lego. I have downloaded the specs from the net and worked out how many bricks I need. Now I am saving up to buy them.

    April 4th. I got bored of waiting until I had saved up, so I used my mom's credit card to order the bricks. I'll work out how to tell how I've borrowed the money later. Now to wait for my bricks!

    April 17th. My bricks finally arrived! Mom was a little suspicicous when she answered the door to the package guy, but I told her I had taken advantage of an offer on paperclips from the internet.

    April 28th. My Tokyo Tower is nearlly complete! I have had to ban my mom from my room so she doesn't see it. It reaches nearly to the ceiling- check it out!

    March 5th. Horror! Mom got her credit card bill and went insane! She came up to my room and stomped all over the Tokyo Tower- it was like something out of Godzilla. I have been banned from the internet so this will be my last log."

    graspee

  • Isn't a blog technically a frequently updated page mostly consisting of links and a bit of personal spin? How could you do that on video?

    That said...

    There might be something for giving some of these commentators a more vocal voice. The NOW thing in blogging is politics and social commentary. The blog format is great for it, and in fact, it pretty much changes everything. Little obsucure stories that might otherwise be glossed over, if they are important and engaging enough, are suddenly thrust into the mainstream eye. They change everything. Joshua Micah Marshell, Atrios, Brad DeLong, even Glenn Reynolds, it is rather amazing the amount of data and stories that are analyzed and released in a nicely cooked format. Not to mention that the skills of the average blogger are far and away far above those talking heads on TV, who forget what it is like being in the trenches.

    Again, that said, do not expect to see video blogs for the longest time. The father of political blogging, as far as I am concerned, Bartcop [bartcop.com] is just getting into a radio format, let alone video. As well, the closest thing currently to this is the Joey Joe Joe Show [liberalresurgent.com]. Actually, I remember this old show, "Does Humor Belong In Technology", that may have been a perfect example of an audio blog. A live shoutcast done with IRC live feed back. dhbit.ca it seems. No longer a radio show, more like a small Slash style site. That may have been the first. It was damn good too. Too bad they stopped doing shows.
  • Serious Magic's software is really amazing, but is Windows-only. It relies on DirectX and DirectShow to work, so it is unlikely it will be ported to other platforms (and they say such on their web site).

    Does anyone know of other software out there with similar features, that works on Linux or Mac OS X?

    Some of it's very cool features:

    - on-screen teleprompter
    - real-time green-screen compositing
    - cable news-style overlay text/graphics

    I haven't found anything similar out there.
  • by akb ( 39826 )
    I have a project [demandmedia.net] which I refer to as a "collaborative video blog", its a modified version of the scoop [kuro5hin.org] engine to support video. It differs from the way video blogs are talked about in the article, its intended to leverage the fact that's there's lots of great video on the web but its hard to find. So if you see some good video clips, submit [demandmedia.net] them!
  • Video isn't the best suited medium for blogging for a number of reasons: it's very hard to skip around in to find what you want, it's a bandwidth hog compared to text or even audio, many Internet-specific nuances are lost (the lack of links is the most glaring of these, although the fact that nobody can say "^_^" is an upside), and very few of us actually have engaging personae in real life. But there is a medium out there that can use all the multimedia anyone could ever want, yet keeps that old blogging style:

    Flash.

    A flash blog can alternate text, links, pictures, sound, and video as needed; flash files take up less then half the space of a video clip; one can choose only the interesting parts to look at; indexing the various entries could be a bit more intuitive then having "entry030403[1].avi", "entry030403[2].avi", etc.; editing to add or correct information is easy (as opposed to nearly impossible to do smoothly in video without having to redo large portions); bloggers do not have to be shown onscreen as often; and if one needs to have a physical presence they can animate a perfectly servicable persona. I don't know of any development specific to flash blogs, but I'm sure it wouldn't be to hard to make something.

  • the same reason most of us in this community don't bother to watch the talking heads for information in the first place...

    video takes full attention. it also requires that people be presentable and have an acceptable voice. (thus the reason tv's talking heads are significantly composed of clueless decent looking quasi-ethnic morons)

    reading a news blurb or blog entry is much quicker and less intrusive.

If I'd known computer science was going to be like this, I'd never have given up being a rock 'n' roll star. -- G. Hirst

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