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Jan
26
2005
0 comments
Something to keep an eye on:

The basic background is that Al Gore formed INdTV, and shortly thereafter purchased a satellite-distributed cable news network. The purpose of INdTV's new channel is to focus on the Generations X & Y with entertainment, politics, and political entertainment.

The company, however, is not very media friendly; they don't like to talk about their work. Information is rare, and their website is woefully empty. There is a Googletrail out there, though: here's some snippets.

There's blogs of people who interview for jobs, spoke with company reps, or otherwise have contact:

So, if I were to summarize, I'd say this: INdTV started with the concept of average people producing all the content for their channel. They sent out a 'request for submissions', veiled as 'application for employment'. 2000+ videographers sent in their works, but only 50 were necessary. Everyone else was declined, but the window for future work was left open.

Now, I'd say that there's potential in the concept; VH1 has almost entirely moved to a "get people to talk about real-life stuff on camera" format, and they get positive ratings, and The Daily Show is, essentially, a show about commenting on the stuff that goes on around you. By aiming for politically-interesting content, INdTV's proposing a news channel without news content. What credibility do the submitters have? If they're everyday untrained Joes, not much...but INdTV is hoping they'll be watchable, or -- gasp -- entertaining. The programming list they've released has little to do with informing, and more to do with entertaining; much like The Daily Show, which has become the primary source for world news for people in INdTV's demographic.

Now, we tie in the hunger for bloggers that internet readers have. The number of often-read bloggers is quite small -- but they've got strong audiences. They build their credibility on their own personality, not unlike most talk radio heroes.

If INdTV plays their cards right, they'll recruit a number of producers who can draw viewers, provide something entertaining (and advertiser-pleasing), and fill the hours of broadcast. There's plenty of reasons they could succeed: the culture of their target audience both fuels and thrives on the idea of small voices getting loud with the help of an audience. However, if they're not treating their talent right, if they're not looking in the right places for their talent, and if they're not trying to promote their content producers as lone voices, it's not going to work. Sad to say, looking at the suits they've hired and their histories, it's probably not going to happen.

Jan
25
2005
0 comments
We have your collectibles! Um, not quite literally -- but what we started out as an eBay/Antique Sales blog has developed into a blog-and-store-in-one! As you may have heard (and can read about on WHYC), eBay is increasing it's fees across the board, causing much headache for peoples like us whose income relies on eBay sales.

I'd developed a small 'store' package for my inlaws, which I twisted and turned into something that'll work for our own sites in many different ways. Watch for the same software to turn up in other Equilibri-Yum projects.

So, applying a bit of synergy and serindipity, now we have an online store without paying eBay fees. The items really didn't get very many hits in the eBay Stores, and much of that was caused by our own marketing. That makes me wonder how anyone could profit paying a flat-monthly-plus-per-item when only 4 or 5 people per month view each product. But, now that we have a Googlable store, a Frooglable store, and one we can permanently link to without the page expiring, we should do better.

Jan
24
2005
0 comments
I'm going to try and write something that doesn't come back to bite me in the ass -- these guys like to interview internet gods (I was on their old sister show Internet Tonight) and they may lift their noses at us if they read this....

D and I often take a work-break around 11 or midnight, and in the past week we've caught a show called "The Screen Savers" on G4TechTV a coupla times. Nothing else was on worth watching, and I seemed to remember that The Screen Savers was a respectible tech TV show. In the olden days, it was an icon of technical television, right? I'd heard that the old crew was fired recently, but with such an iconic show, they wouldn't dare screw up what they had, right?

Well, the new The Screen Savers...um......(something nice...something nice)...has room for improvement. Here's a list of the things we'd like to suggest to the cast:

  • SLOW THE FARK DOWN. Enunciate your words, finish your words, give consonants 'snap' as you talk. The sounds that emit from your mouths are a constant stream of unintelligble babbling.
  • DON'T BE SO NERVOUS. In watching your hands as you fondle gadgets, stand in front of the camera, and gesture at the screens, you're very shaky. Your fingers twitch, your wrists are stiff and uncomfortable, and it may be the root of your hostourettes. Have fun for God's sakes -- just because your bosses fired everyone that made your show popular without half a thought, you've got nothing to worr...um....forget that last part.
  • STOP INTERRUPTING. For God's sakes, don't interrupt each other. When all three of you (Kevin, Sarah, Chi-Lan) are talking at the same time, I just want to yell, "shut up SHUT UP SHUT EVERYONE STOP TALKING SHUT UPPAAAAHHH!." Especially when it's guests, or someone who did a feature outside of the building. They're on the show to be heard. Hear what they've brought into the studio. Don't walk on their words just to empty the blither that's flowing from your nervous brain.
  • HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY. When you review games, movies, websites, etc., come up with an "I think this" summary idea before you start talking. Much of what I see on Screen Savers is akin to the people in college who went into oral book reports with nothing prepared. "The name of the book that I read was Treasure Island. It's about these pirates. Pirates with patches over their eyes...and...shiny gold teeth... and green birds on their shoulders..."
  • WHENEVER YOU FEEL LIKE MAKING NOISE TO FILL SILENCE, JUST LEAVE SILENCE. Stop saying, "um" and "like." If you'd pause once in a while, you'd probably stop interrupting others, you'd slow down, and you'd compose your thoughts.
I came up with a drinking game for the new The Screen Savers. Take a shot when:
  • Someone says 'like' as punctuation.
  • Someone says, "um."
  • Someone says "awesome."
  • Someone says a neocool phrase outside of context; ex: "needs more cowbell," "burninate."
  • Someone drops unnecessary technical terms or abbreviation; for instance, saying "pee-to-pee" for "peer to peer"; saying "jif" for "gif", when "graphic file" would be sufficient; using "em peg" interchangeably for "video file" regardless of the video file format.
  • Someone interrupts another person
  • Take two when someone interrupts a guest.
So, you see -- It's not really that hard. This is stuff they teach in most acting classes. Actually, since you're on live TV, a couple improv classes might do you all some good. Unless you want us all to get really, really drunk...which might be part of your objective. Anyway, if you want to look back, ten years from now, and be proud to watch lost episodes of The Screen Savers, try and be more professional. Slow down, relax, pause when necessary, and know what you are going to say.

Jan
22
2005
0 comments
Note the box below this comment? Well, it better be there -- this is 50% test,50% feature announcement. In the tradition of other bloggers (kottke.org, Obscure Store for example), I've added a little "miscellaneous link" section. New links will be at the very top, and when I update they become part of the blog history like everything else.


Jan
19
2005
1 comment
Early one morning, I empty the dishwasher. We only have four bowls left.

The Girls are summoned, front and center.

"We're missing bowls. There's only four bowls here, and there should be seven."

Allie interjects, "Destiny broke one -- that's six!"

"No," I correct, avoiding being dragged off topic, "there used to be eight, one broke, that leaves seven supposed to be in the kitchen."

D has the answer: "You ladies aren't supposed to be eating upstairs. Tomorrow you will both tear your rooms and closets apart until all the dishes come downstairs."

Both of the Ladies insist there's no dishes upstairs. The never take food upstairs -- how could there possibly be dishes up there? It's absurd, they insist, because there's no possibility of any dishes...

Three hours later, two bowls arrive -- one from our regular set of dishes, but also one of the 'odd' ones from pre-marriage. Also two spoons. "That's all!" they yell. "There are no more dishes or eating utensils upstairs! It's completely impossible!"

They're not off the hook, we warn. If the bowls aren't found, D and I will be the ones cleaning, and when that happened last summer nobody was happy. Least happy was the garbage-man, who had to lift 8 extra packed-full garbage bags from the curb.

"That's all!," Ladies yell, "You must have the dishes in the basement, or they have to be down here, or something -- but there's no dishes upstairs!"

Then another bowl appears, no spoon.

Then a fork appears.

"That's IT!," the grounded Girls insist, tired of spending TVless time in their rooms. "There's no possible way any more dishes are upstairs!" Destiny has a solution: "The last bowl has to be in the toybox you took to the basement." (the one taken down there last spring). We shake our heads.

We remind them that each time they insist dishes are not upstairs, more dishes appear. The process started three days ago; tonight, the children will yield to the cleaning powers of D and Derek. They will not be pleased.


Jan
17
2005
0 comments
This has to be one of the coolest thing I've seen in a while. Months ago, a client asked me to review the viability of a TCP/IP based security camera system. "Too expensive," I said, "but really cool anyway."

It seems there's lots of people who've bought similar internet-connected security cameras, and they're all on the internet...but some of the less security-minded sites link to their cameras without passwords.

Some friendly people at hackaday.com figured out how to run a Google search to find these happy cameras -- running all day long, controls sitting idle, waiting for someone to view them. Go see the world, one camera at a time. There's also a number of other ways to find the 'cams, too.


Jan
12
2005
0 comments
What have we got here -- a new incarnation of 11111001111?

As a matter of fact, this is a new site redesign.

My L33T PHP skills are improving; this script is significantly shorter, simpler, and was written lots faster than the version I had before.

Ultimately, the reason for the redesign is that I found the cool image of unsafe business practices in a box of print blocks and I had to use it somewhere. 11111001111 seemed the most logical place. Plus I was annoyed that the former 'sidebar' items weren't getting updated due to my lack of time. Everything's condensed into one list now, and I promise, promise to be a good blogger and update more often. Promise!


Jan
11
2005
2 comments
So, I've neglected Voices from the Thriftshop for, like, years now (which seems like forever on the internet scale), but I'm still searching through recordings for interesting snippets.

A lot of the tapes are just music -- everyone used to tape off the radio, right? Go back to reel-to-reels, I've got stacks of pure music.

A little science for you: When you record tape, the record heads are making two little lines on the tape itself, right behind what's called an 'erase head.' The erase head is what makes sure nothing is on the tape already, otherwise they'd just mix and overlap...with interesting results if the audio was recorded on the other side (the tape would be moving backwards, essentially). Some recorders are designed to record only one direction, and mono ones put their audio tracks in different places from stereo tracks.

Why do I bring this up? In the olden days, there were mono recorders, and stereo recorders, and some tape was good quality, others sucked, and the same went for recorders as well. This particular tape I'm listening to seems to have been passed around between recorders, and bad ones at that -- things didn't get erased, tape direction is all wonky, and some guy recorded over a tape of him trying to train his bird to talk with sounds of him trying to get his dog to 'sing'. Combined with the 1968 Top 40 overlapped on Side B, this tape has a new musical form all it's own. I call this tune: Cacophony Mix.



Jan
7
2005
1 comment
Under new management...again?

A few months back, my wifey and I incorporated - we're now Equilibri-Yum Inc.

You know what this means?

A NEW WEBSITE!

What does this mean for everything else? Well, if you're up on your Derek history, I registered blacksunn.net for personal use, and it evolved into my business domain. Since my personal stuff is on blacksunn.net, I registered APATHY industries to move commercial things to it's own place. It didn't really change much, because shortly thereafter I gained a new business relationship that took up a lot of time...and eventually I married her :)

Now -- it's all gone to hell. The business stuff, I mean; I've all but given up on doing tech work and/or taking on clients because of the pain involved (more on that another time) -- so there goes my business. Happily, though, most of my time is taken up developing sites in-house, reaping the profits from my creations directly. Still, there's not much use for black sunn enterprises or APATHY industries anymore.

They won't go away, though -- the business servers are all named in the apathyindustries.com domain, my household & personal servers/networks are all in the blacksunn.net domain, but I haven't officially done business as either in quite a while.

The new business relies on the phrase, "content is king." That line was bantered around as the Holy Grail Of The Web years back, then it became cliched and considered hackish to quote...we believe, however, that it is the key to internet profits, regardless if it's a cliche or not. The sites we're developing are heavily content/writer driven, extending both online and off. Our profits come from subscriptions, advertisers, and product sales, all based on content produced by writers hired by the business. This means I've been creating large content-driven databases for the purpose of organizing text for customers, and automated publishing & scheduling systems for "hands-off" updates. Complicated stuff, but it's coming together.

Welcome to the new future of business around here - Equilibri-Yum Inc. has taken over.



Jan
4
2005
1 comment
I feel the need to make this a "happy new year!" post, even though it's a loose connection, but...happy new year, all.

Back in 1995, ten years ago, was the first time I was on the web. I'm not talking about the internet, mind you -- I'd been on the internet for around 3 years prior, but the WWW didn't exist at that time. Heck, I'd had an operating Linux system for a couple years before I ever tried opening a web browser.

In '95, AOL bought GNN and beta-tested a more internet-friendly service, rather than adding internet to AOL. I was one of those beta-testers.

disclaimer: I only used AOL because of the free 30-days, and then I got free GNN for beta testing...I wasn't a AOL lover.

So, I got set up, got online, and tried out all the Winsock-enabled fanciness that came with it. I'd used Windows-based newsreaders & email before, but this webbrowser - it's the new technology of the future! I opened it up, surveyed the unfamiliar window...but realized I had nowhere to go.

I suppose, if I thought harder, I could have come up with a WWW site on a server I was familiar with, but I'd seen one in an ad someplace...so I typed it in the address bar and hit return.

The site I remembered was ZIMA.COM. pictures - and text - looking like something out of a word processor? It was new - but what could it do?

As you can see from the WayBack copy above, there wasn't much to do. I probably closed the browser, and returned to alt.gothic, Gophering random servers, or dialing up the BBSes. That's what happens to new technology...you don't always recognize it the first time you see it, but there may be something more to what you've got. Little did anyone know that a simple markup language & a small browser would revolutionize communications as we know it. I didn't; thankfully, I caught up and it shapes what I'm doing for a living today.





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