Ramblings of a Nutbar

You’ll probably regret this.

Happy Thanksgiving!

It was a cold November back in 1492, when the pilgrims sailed the Ocean Blue. The pilgrims were a downtrodden people, as the king of Sweden was persecuting members of their religion, the Quakers. After an agonizing 4 years, 3 months, and 2 days at sea, their lead ship (the Pinto) finally washed upon the shores of a strange land. Disembarking from their ship, the pilgrims decided to explore the strange land.

The leader of the pilgrims, George Washington, was trekking through a jungle with his two lead explorers, Lewis and Clark, when they met a strange people. These people, calling themselves “indians” had lived on the land for many years, learning it’s secrets to producing produce.

Naturally, Washington was interested in a deal with these people. After two weeks of talks, the pilgrims and the indians had a conference. The pilgrims were low on food since shortly before coming over they lost their second ship, the El Nino in a terrible storm. Feeling kind, the indians agreed to bring the food. This turned out to be in the pilgrims’ benefit, as the indians prepared a large meal with care, and the pilgrims were known for bringing two pitchers of tea and a tray of generic donuts to conferences.

At the end of the conference, the pilgrims learned all the ways of the land. For this, they were very grateful, and they asked what they could offer the indians in return. The indians already knew how to build boats, and most of the skills the pilgrims had in Sweden were of no use to them. (Who really needs to know how to make swiss cheese anyway?). With nothing to give the indians, they comprimised, and instead formed 13 colonies and forced the indians into barren plots of land. And the rest, as they say, is history.

What do you think? Not bad for a guy who always slept through history class, eh? 😀

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

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November 25, 2008 Posted by | Humor, My Random Thoughts | , , , | Leave a comment

One thing from “Live” that I enjoyed.

This is hilarious, and at the same time a perfect description of YouTube. Go figure.

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

bnessel1973 is back on YouTube

Here’s a short reprieve from my ususal bloggery (do I even HAVE a “usual”???) to share something with you guys that excites ME. (After all, it’s all about me). bnessel1973 has announced that he’s returned to YouTube from a short hiatus he took for personal reasons, and in so doing, has brought with him the characters he’s known for.

Instead of blowing cash on some of the “talent” I saw at YouTube live, they should have had Brian come out and do something. Maybe even plug the Angel Cheeks Foundation.

I’m a BIG fan of real, decent folks on YouTube, and that’s why I would encourage you to pop by Brian’s channel and thank him for coming back.

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

YouTube Live – An Abysmal Failure

But I jest.

 

I got home this evening excited to tune into the first ever live stream off YouTube. And while I was very impressed with the interface, beyond that, the event was just “blah” to me. Some stuff (like the MythBusters – the main reason I was watching) had been waaay too short. Other parts seemed to drag on forever and ever. A lot of the popular Tubers I really would have liked to see (Nalts, thewinekone, etc.) Didn’t get more than an occasional cameo on the backstage cam.

From a technical end, I think the event was absolutely amazing. If they can offer that sort of streaming to the rest of us, it will far surpass the popularity of blogTV or Stickam (though i doubt we regular folk will get that anythime soon!). While I heard some complaints on twitter about losing the feed, I never lost it on my end.

My other gripe is that the event seemed to cater to two crowds: 14 year olds, and people who last logged into YouTube in 2006. It seemed to flip back and forth between the first featured viral videos on the site and acts like Fred. It wasn’t “bad” per say, I just felt like anyone 25 and over was sort of out of place.

Bottom line. It was a neat event, but the performance itself was a little lacking.

November 23, 2008 Posted by | Social Media, YouTube | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

New Google feature: Wiki Searching

If you follow the news on search engine technologies (yeah, I know – every waking moment of your life), then you’re probably aware that in the last few months, several search engines have spotted a feature that Google was missing: User customizable searches. In July, Yahoo released their Build Your Own Search Service, and a few months prior to that a site called Wikia Search popped onto the scene, allowing everyone to easily add and rank search engine results made using Wikia.

Customize your searching on Google!Now Google is a smart company, and they realized two things: 1 – that this is a feature that could be a huge lure to these other search engines. And 2 – With their stocks tanking, they needed a new innovation.

Enter SearchWiki, today’s newest Google feature. With SearchWiki, Google has effectively opened the door for you to customize your search results. If you’re tired of seeing a certain site pop up every time you search, just delete it!

There is one important thing to keep in mind. According to the official Google Blog:

The changes you make only affect your own searches. But SearchWiki also is a great way to share your insights with other searchers. You can see how the community has collectively edited the search results by clicking on the “See all notes for this SearchWiki” link.

In other words, the comments you add to links will be visible to the whole world, but the ranking you set them to is only visible to you. So while I appreciate the thought, going to Google and adding my YouTube Channel as the number one result for “funny” and “awesome” won’t get me seen by more people, but adding comments might. So get to work!

As a side note it looks like at this moment the feature is only for Firefox and Chrome, and isn’t enabled on IE6. I’m sure it will come soon, once Google is done tweaking it on their pet browsers.

November 21, 2008 Posted by | My Random Thoughts, Tech News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

A feel-goodsey sorta post

Okay, not much to talk about today (actually, I have a couple big topics I want to talk about, but I’m also wanting to make a YouTube video abut them, so I’ve got to wait), so today I thought I would talk about a feel-goodsey video that’s been viral for some time: Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)

Those of you long-time Tubers will know that this is the second (technically the third-the second was an unsponsored “prequel”) video in this series, and the first one he published was one of the most viewed videos on YouTube when it came out in 2006. Personally, I wasn’t fond of the first two, but this third one warms the cockles of my heart. Here, just watch it:

So why do I think this video is so special? Easy. I’m a hopeless romantic. I like to imagine that somehow, some way, there’s the ability for everyone to get along, for all of us to put aside our prejudices and stereotypes, and just enjoy one another’s company. When I watch this video and see all the other dancers come out, this videos gives me a glimpse of that vision.

Here’s Matt Harding, who aside from having a sponsor is just an average guy, managing to get real people from all over the world to drop what they’re doing, and to join him in dancing badly on camera. Many of these people are the sort that you would never expect to do this, and yet, there they are, coming together. It makes you wonder what could happen if from time to time we let go and encouraged those around us to take a break and dance badly. Maybe the world would be a better place. Who knows?

November 20, 2008 Posted by | My Random Thoughts, Viralvideology, YouTube | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Gmail themes: Coming to a gmail account near you

The talk of the day is that Gmail has sneakingly started introducing themes into a select few Gmail user’s account settings tab. Apparently this new feature, discussed on the Gmail blog, will allow you to replace the functional but somewhat drab interface with one of your choosing that could be a little more colorful.

super awesome wicked cool slick themes - maybe?

super awesome wicked cool slick themes - maybe?

Now, this sounds like a neat idea, and obviously SOMEONE has spent some time on the theme image, seen to the left, which includes such amusing themes as “bubblegum”, “beach”, and my favorite “ninja”. (Who can’t use a little more Ninja in their life?)

My only concern is that in making all the pretty faces for Gmail, that this will start taking time away from the thing that makes Gmail so great: it’s powerful features.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I love customizing a service. Just check out my YouTube or Twitter Pages to see that (and subscribe while you’re at it!). I just have this small concern that in the pursuit of pretty colors, are we going to see less innovation on the software end?

 

Of course, I’m probably rambling on here, but if you haven’t noticed the blog title, that’s what I do.

November 19, 2008 Posted by | My Random Thoughts | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Another One Bites the Dust

It’s happened again, online video lovers. This morning I received an email from AOL Video informing me that they’re the latest video site to throw in the towel. Here’s an excerpt from the email that was sent to all registered users today:

Dear AOL Video Uploads User,

We’re writing to inform you that the AOL Video Uploads site is no longer accepting new video uploads and will close on Dec. 18, 2008. We hope that this does not cause you an inconvenience.

And another one bites the dust, it would seem. For those of us using TubeMogul to distribute videos, the list of valid sites seems to shrink on a daily basis. (Side note, even if you don’t “mass deploy” every video out there, Tube Mogul has some exceptional tracking and statistics info. Sign up – it’s worth it.) So why are all of these sites dying? Well, we’ve got a fresh body on the table, put on some gloves and join me for a video sharing site autopsy.

We know that Video killed the radio star, and that I shot the sheriff (but I didn’t shoot the deputy!), but what killed AOL video and possibly a number of the other corpses of video sites out there? Here are a few of my thoughts:

  • Overzealous censorship – People, especially us overweight, needy Americans, are used to expressing ourselves however we want. One of the major issues with AOL video was that where most sites have very mild censorship (think YouTube here folks) AOL video was very restrictive.
    Naughty Jim! Crap is a baaaaad word!

    Naughty Jim! Crap is a baaaaad word!

    How restrictive? Well here’s an example. About three months ago I created a video about the air cannon I built, which I fittingly dubbed the craplauncher. Using Tubemogul I uploaded the video to a dozen different sites. One site, and only one site rejected the upload: AOL Video. Want to guess why? The term “crap” is apparently offensive and unfit for AOL video. Don’t believe me? Look at the picture! Now I’m no fecal matter specialist, but I don’t find “crap” offensive. My friends at the conservative Southern Baptist church I grew up attending used the word, for crying out loud! Ultimately, people want to have freedom of expression, so they will avoid places that are highly censored.

  • Inconsistent censorship – Okay, so an amusing little video with the word “crap” in the title is unfit for AOL’s viewers, but this shining gem has been on their site for 15 months! If you posted that video on YouTube, you’d have it taken down fairly quickly (at least in comparison) and you might even get booted off the site if enough people flagged it. Here’s the deal – if you’re going to censor innocent fun and allow lascivious behavior to sit there, I don’t want to be a part of it.
  • Awful Interface. As much as we YouTube regulars complain about the 500 Internal Server Errors and quarks that pop up, the bottom line is that most of the time the site works. In contrast, most of the time AOL video didn’t work. I found myself constantly dealing with problems, like having a video upload, but it wouldn’t show up for a week, or when a video uploads, when you click on my name to see what other videos I have, it would spit out pages with stuff like “No videos” or “No such user” etc… It was just unpleasant.
  • Branding identity issues. They started out as Uncut Videos. Then they were AOL uncut. Then they were AOL videos. Imagine going to the store looking for your favorite soda (in my case Jones Soda) and discovering a soda that looks just like your old soda, comes in the same packaging, and is even made by the same folks, but has a different name. Maybe you would buy it, but if that happened a third time, I think the confusion would cause you to go to a more consistent brand, such as CocaCola or Pepsi. This is one of the reasons I am “somecallmejim” everywhere I go online. It’s branding, baby! AOL’s many faces and name changes very likely confused some would-be regulars.
  • They’re not YouTube. Let’s face it, when YouTube came out, they stirred up so much of the world that they instantly became the brand associated with online video, just like how Sheetrock is associated with drywall, Kleenex goes with facial tissue, and in much of America Coke is with carbonated soft drinks. First faces in a new market have the potential to become the household name for that market, and that’s one of the reasons YouTube is still around despite a lot of mistakes. AOL had a well-known brand, but was relatively unknown as a source of online video.

What’s my final thought? I think non-YouTube video sites can exist. One day, such a site might even surpass YouTube for popularity. But for today, let’s stitch up the body and let the next of kin know that AOL was pretty much doomed from birth. Rest in Peace, oh fair and gentle site. Rest in peace.

aolvideo21

November 18, 2008 Posted by | My Random Thoughts, Social Media, YouTube | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

One of the best trailers on YouTube


Most of the close-knit group of people that visit this blog (both of you) are subscribed to a lot of the people I am on YouTube. But in case you’re not, I wanted to share the latest trailer from WhatTheMaynard (and friends). Robert and his team always do amazing things, but this is seriously about the most impressive parody trailer ever. I can’t wait to see the final product.

November 14, 2008 Posted by | YouTube | 1 Comment

From YouTube’s Department of redundancy department

There are a lot of things YouTube does that makes me wonder. I can’t say what I wonder since this is a family friendly blog, but I wonder them anyway because YouTube seems to live to baffle the mind.

 

How many times do I need to see the time?

How many times do I need to see the time?

It looks like in the last few hours, YouTube has started adding a time indicator to the corner of video thumbnails on the watch video page. In itself, this is a brilliant feature. In fact, I was originally going to call this post “YouTube finally got it right”.

But then I went and checked out the thumbnails in bulletins, and other places where you don’t see the description, and it’s not there. It would seem, at least at this point, that the only place YouTube is using this new feature is on the “More From” and “Related Videos” columns, where there’s already a line with the video length!

To play YouTube’s advocate for a second though, it is likely that they’re going to implement this in places where there’s not a video length field at some point.

I just think it would be smarter to implement this in those places first.

UPDATE (11/13/08): It looks like YouTube realized that this was a little redundant, and it’s no longer showing up on the thumbnails. Oh well, you saw it here first!

November 13, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment