Thursday, July 26, 2007

We Have Funding

We just received £10K in foundation founding to launch vsionontv and have been short-listed for a £100K grant to run the channel for 2 years. And are putting in a £210K funding application to run training workshops. So the funding is FINALLY falling into place. What we need now is to expand the number of crew involved in the project.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Who Comes here?

Profile Visitor Map - Click to view visits

Monday, July 23, 2007

Some more intresting storys to look at...

How to escape phone contracts (am afraid in the USA but its enlightening...) Wired

Were did the publicity come from for the Miro lornch. PCF

Good story's giving insight into web2/citizen media Wired

How are the IPTV client projects doing

IPTV update

The has been as lot of movement with mainstream IPTV over the last month: UK TV channels

Some alternatives: P2P TV distribution

The are interesting moves with RSS mashups and wide net content sights: VeohTV

Doing web2 publiserty for money: Wired

How are the IPTV client projects doing

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Future QUESTIONS for visionontv

The are answers to all these question - am just looking for original thinking - comments please.

* Who are the ardencies. Originally it was for early adopters but now they have a choice of hundreds of channels….

* Who will produce the content – this is apparent that it will mostly be web2 folk, mainstream defectors and only a minority of the alternative-media. For sustainability we will have to pay (a token amount) for content – were dose the money come from.

* How to make the transition onto the TV in the living room – most early ways of doing it will be proprietary as corporations are THAT SHORT SIGHTED – can we some how manifest/champion a open way of doing it.

* How will it be funded long term? The obverse ways lead to watering down – BUT THE ARE NO alternatives to these… can we be creative in this space.

* The ISP’s will increasingly try and CLOSE the internet to non profit high bandwidth content can we live/thrive in this battle of consumers, ISP’s and corporate media mix.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Thoughts - Were we are, ideas of were we are going.

Were we are, ideas of were we are going.

What the project currently looks like is an old-fashioned web portal; we currently don’t have the codeing skills to move beyond this and don’t have to.

The idea of a portal is only a part of the project.

The key is in providing a guided view into the RSS soup, with a slick/simple interface. Metaphors which people can handle and grasp – the one we are producing is TV both old, current and future. Our key is the old as others are working on the current. And we aren’t ready to do future yet.

So the tools we have to develop are ones that allow groups to create mediated views on the video data soup. And to decentralize the hosting of this soup to reseal hosting outa centralized corporate hands.

* Were do corporations come into this? They are dim-witted partners…
* Were do activists come into this? They need to discover it?
* Who are the people who make this happen? The current web2 crew.

So we are creating something that looks and feels like old TV with a simple “one-click” to get current TV interface (MIRO). As a project lets not worry to much about future TV at the moment – this comes when we have made current TV more democratic and open…

When we have old and current TV in place, decentralized hosting, the start of a revenue model, then we should expand out of the narrow portal mode and bring in the mature innovations of the web2 world to through TV open to the future of TV.

At the hart of the future of knowledge (and video/TV is just a part of this) lies meta data – and the profiling this allows of both animate and non-animate objects. That means us and the things we own and use around us. To this end:

A open shared META DATA standard with a open database

Users get a:
Database address

Anybody can host a database.

Every database is open to every database… thus its up to the database hoster to decided how much data they hold – when a user registers with a new sight it will transfer the user data to its own database catch then feed it back to the original database…

This project will be re-creating current corporate structures – google is the key player – they will likely join our project when it becomes successful. It must be GPL to inshore that it continues to function after connecting to corporate structures. The “viral nature” of CC DATA will be key in keeping data safe from copurte closher.

What it means is that ANY website can have “full profiling”
Just by registering with the open database… and the original user ratines full rights to there data. Rather than the disastrous state of the web/media/shopping were the data is held and guarded by many mega-corporations then used to control peoples access to information and shape there lifestyles to current consumption patterns.

* how to stop data harvesting? Dose this matter?
* incription is important? How dose priversey work?
* using P2P technology? Not for the first version?

* we need a channel guide - we have this half done
* we need to go through everything and make the user experience - systemise it/make it all combatable
* we need to put all the RSS feeds through feedburner - started
* publicity - started
* funding for program content and for training – Helen is perfect for this as she whonts to do training with people who are active.
* we need a dedicated programmer group – some paid.
* we need to finish adding all the channels to the channel guide.

An open source video editing application – we have all the skills to speck this out… but will need a major grant to make it happen.

Using WP metaphor rather than old-fashioned liner editing metaphor.

* Find write up for this...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Video Activist training by Undercurrents

Undercurrents believe that anyone with access to equipment and training can effectively use video to bring about positive change in their community.

"The courses encourage people to think why they are filming in the first place"
Big issue London

Video activism workshops

Since the "camcorder explosion" of the early nineties video cameras have become more portable, easier to use and best of all, cheaper. Now campaigners can gather evidence of factories polluting our water supply, produce an empowerment video aimed at getting people motivated into action or even get their news onto the growing outlets of Television current affairs programs.

This new "Video activism" is increasing as protests involving mass numbers of people on the streets with placards are being replaced with more spontaneous and smaller actions.

If you are part of an environmental or social justice campaign and feel that video could make a difference then this training workshop can make a differences.


Picking up a video camera for the first time and gazing at the numerous buttons and dials may seem daunting at first but hundreds of people regardless of age, gender and background have learnt how to use video as an effective tool.

Video activist training tips

Workshop 1
Introduction to video activism:
Aimed at Activists with little or no experience of using video.

Enable you to Operate a video camera
Edit a basic video feature

Demonstrations and practical exercises including-
How to operate using both manual and automatic modes
Improving sound quality
Explanation of the cables and accessories
Connecting a video camera to a TV and Computer
Designing a strategy
How to interview people
How to make use of your new video skills effectively

"Environmental protesters say they are marginalised by the media. But the arrival of cheap DV video cameras is enabling them to make their own news" The Journalist (official magazine of the National Union of Journalists)

Workshop 2
Advanced video activism:

Aimed at Activists who have mastered the basic of operating a video camera and want to expand on strategy.

To enable you to:
Improve your techniques of video storytelling
Using web video outlets
Approach Television news and current affairs programs
Target your video to bring about the changes required
Work as a Bone fide video journalist
How to offer effective video support to your campaign

Demonstrations and practical exercises including-
How to improve your audio and images
Role plays on how to deal with news desks

If possible bring your own video camera, cables and adapters.
(A limited number of DV video cameras are available), and video features or footage you or your campaign have previously made for comments.

How to do publicity for visionontv

The project is currently in stealth mode, just coming outa BETA testing.

We plan to start from the bottom up then when that is running after a few weeks we start the top down publicity.

Bottom up publicity
The key thing here is to get 10-15 new people onboard who are willing to spend a hour a day righting reviews for the new web2 sights. The key websites to start with are probably digg, StumbleUpon and Technorati. For the more tacy minded Slashdot is a good place to.

You can easily start this process by using the Bookmark button on the visionontv page. Create a login for each sight – then write-down your login and password!!! Then review the main vision on tv page as a first step – then review shows you practically like/dislike (all publicity is good publicity). Make shore you put the web address in each review (as html if you can), also use the tags visionontv, undercurrents, offlinetv and the name of the show and other appropriate keywords - this is very important.

Feel free to also post reviews to blogs, news sight and anywhere you can think of as the more mentions with links and tags the more visible the project becomes.

Top down approach
We approach traditional media with storeys about the buzz in the grassroots and the transition in broadcasting that is happening now – and vision on tv’s place in this.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Funding visionontv


The current revolution in internet TV represents a historic opportunity for radical video to realize its potential as an agent for social change. To this end, Undercurrents has begun a project called VISIONonTV. This project is not mere video on the web, but IPTV, a television station which updates the twentieth century medium of television for the broadband era. It will be as to easy to use as the old box in your living room.

Internet TV is a fantastic opportunity for alternative media to get out of the activist ghetto, but without a concerted project such as VISIONonTV, oppositional television which gives a voice to the unrepresented will remain fragmented, of variable quality, and inaccessible to the majority.

Currently, and maddeningly, most social change video is only put on “youtube”, for lack of an alternative. Its poor technical quality and the inability to download makes it impossible to distribute for a non-broadband audience, for instance via cinematic screening. Also, the film is a hard-to-find radical titbit in a vast soup of random and variable content.

By contrast, VISIONonTV has a detailed plan to create, collate and curate high-quality radical and oppositional video on social justice and environmental issues in a single portal. Users will be able to download full DVD quality videos very quickly, allowing them to project them in a cinema, festival or community hall. Because the films are exclusively “creative commons”, viewers will also be able to burn them to DVD and pass them on to friends.

Through the 1990s, Undercurrents videos played a vital role in forging links between many of the previously separate movements. Peace, animal, environmental and economic campaigners displayed their similar visions of the world by watching each others' videos compiled on Undercurrents. VISIONonTV aims to do the same over the internet.

The VISIONonTV plan also includes the development and testing of the necessary open source software, and the making of this available generally to the internet community, with potentially huge knock-on benefits. The schedule and the budget of £97,000 provides for a full 2-year roll-out of the project, from July 2007 to June 2009. In Undercurrents' experience, the production side has always been the most difficult area to fund via charitable trusts, because of the overtly campaigning nature of much of the material. For this reason, we are approaching the ********.


By 2001 78% of households in the UK had a personal computer or laptop, and 64% of households had access to the internet. By 2003, 19 million adults in the UK were using the internet at home. And then came the explosion in broadband.

Fewer young people are watching television, according to a report by the

media watchdog Ofcom. Between December 2003 and December 2005, total TV

reach declined but the biggest fall was among young people – for 16-24 year-olds it fell by 2.9%. Now in 2007, young people are as likely to tune into youtube or google video as the TV.

This can be seen in the massive growth in viewers for internet tv shows in the last year. Techie show Rocketboom has 3-400,000 viewers a day, conspiracy thriller Pureownage has 2-3 million viewers per monthly episode, and radical political satire “This is the End of the World as We Know It” has 10-15,000 viewers per episode with no marketing.

What's On VISIONonTV?

Imagine a TV station which did not serve you a diet of lifestyle, reality and makeover TV, leaving you starving for occasional late-night programmes which interested you. Imagine instead a station which gave you high-quality, radical, grassroots TV from all around the world with a single mouse click, just like switching on the television.

A beta version of the station has begun (, with a number of embryonic TV channels.

Here is a selection of the content already available:

If you are concerned about Britain's declining civil liberties, tune into the “V” channel for Roddy Mansfield's incisive investigation of police surveillance “Video Cops”. And on the “Grassroots” channel watch the recent “Mass Lone Demos” (1184 separate demonstrations!) against the exclusion zone around Parliament with comedian Mark Thomas.

If you want action against climate change, watch the inspiring “Voices from the Camp for Climate Action” on “V”, and make plans to pitch your tent at this year's camp.

Or catch the trailer for “Ecovillage Pioneers” on “Coming Up”. Gain greater understanding of our own environment here in the UK by watching the “A-Z of Bushcraft”. And tune into “OfflineTV 4” to learn how to solar-power your laptop.

If you're interested in a radical viewpoint from Eastern Europe, view the “Balkan Babylon Rebels” channel to see a Roma community in Vojvodina campaigning to be supplied electricity, and the ins and outs of squatting in Serbia.

If you want to know more about the recent uprising in Oaxaca, Mexico or the latest about workers' control of their factories in Venezuela, tune into “Adelante” for all things on the Latin American revolutions.

If you're angry that yet again this September London will host Europe's largest arms fair, watch Indymedia UK's “Indefensible” to see what can be done about it.

Switch on “Broad Horizons” to hear from women video activists, from animators who got in the way of illegal fishing, and how women stopped a nuclear train.

If you want to know more about alternative media, try “What is Undercurrents?” on “V”, or watch “The Internet TV Revolution” on “OfflineTV”.

Technical development

VISIONonTV is currently using bittorrent technology to file-share videos among users free of charge, hosted at In addition, we are using two open source applications produced by the Participatory Culture Foundation. Broadcast Machine is the equivalent of station and transmitter, while Democracy Player is the digi-box and TV. Our aim is to develop DP to make it as simple as switching on the television. This is essential for subscriber take-up.

Subtitling is vital for the outreach of the project, and we will use the resources at

We will also develop an open source video editing package, free to the user.

For more detail on the technical development we need prior to launch, see Appendix 3, and go to, click the link “What is VisionOnTv?” and watch the video.

Content Provision

Prior to launch we need to increase massively the number and range of programmes on the station. We will do this in four ways:

1. Develop our working relationships with a wide range of radical video producers, e.g Camcorder Guerrillas in Glasgow, Real2Reel in London, Labornet in Seoul, Calle y Media in Caracas and AgoraTV in Buenos Aires, and a number of producers in the US, including “Ryanishungry”'s shows about eco-pioneers and grassroots direct action producers Molotov!. This means exciting them about this form of distribution, and providing training and support in encoding hi-grade video for the web.

2. Work closely with less experienced producers to enable their work to have maximum impact. There are many great stories which do not get onto mainstream TV, but often the films produced are of variable quality, excessive length, and have problems communicating and advocating to a general audience, outside the activist ghetto. Or else they are made for an audience with regional or specialised knowledge. (Very often, in our experience, a dull 50 minute documentary will make a punchy 10 minutes, and an over-long 15 minute film on a day of action will make an interesting 2 or 3 minutes.) VISIONonTV is not an open publishing project, such as indymedia. Instead the programmes are highly filtered to guarantee quality to viewers. This is an outreach project. This means re-packaging and re-editing material in collaboration with producers such as Reel News in London.

3. Continue and expand our own home-grown largely studio-based production, such as the technology series “OfflineTV”, produced by Undercurrents.

4. Web-trawling for suitable quality films, and encoding and uploading them, a very valuable service to campaigning film makers everywhere.


At the moment the project is running on the voluntary labour of three members of Undercurrents. A huge amount of work has brought VISIONonTV to the point where, if we are able to continue and intensify our work, we could launch the station in December 2007. But if voluntary labour continues to be the only resource, it will be extremely difficult for VISIONonTV to get beyond the beta stage of development, and the project will wither on the vine.

We are therefore asking for a grant of £97,000 to fund two years’ work for an ambitious but realistic plan to get radical social justice video seen by hundred of thousands, rather than hundreds.

A detailed budget (Appendix 2) is attached.

All funds will go through the Undercurrents audited accounts system, with full wage slips and receipts. So as to avoid falling foul of charities law, VISIONonTV funds may be administered through a separate trading company linked to the Undercurrents charity.

The Development Plan

See Appendix 1 for the detailed schedule. This schedule assumes that tasks not concluded by a target having been achieved are in fact ongoing. For this reason the schedule thins out over time, to keep the workload realistic. The increase in numbers of viewers by this strategy we feel is realistic, compared with the growth of other IPTV stations and series.


We have already achieved a small sponsorship from a magazine for some of the less oppositional Undercurrents shows. When viewer figures grow, the possibility of this source of finance increases.

Once we have a working model with all the software developed, training for community groups to have their TV channel (grant-funded), and for NGOs (directly funded as consultancy) becomes a major source of future funding.

This is some limited finance available from ethical advertising, inserted into the shows by the playlist.

The shows which are already successful on the net make substantial sums through merchandising.


Undercurrents was founded in 1993 and has produced 11 issues of the Undercurrents News magazine (UNN), originally distributed on VHS tape.

Throughout the 1990s, the most popular and respected outlet for video news reflecting the direct action movement was Undercurrents. Using domestic video cameras, Undercurrents trained hundreds of activists to inspire audiences by recording and circulating news from their own viewpoints. UNN was described in Time Out as “the news you don't see on the news”. The Guardian said it “shock, informs and exposes”.

Today many campaigners recall that watching an Undercurrents video was their first contact with the social change movement. UC coined the term “video activism”.

UC is a registered charity: 1050704

Paul O'Connor: (Undercurrents Producer) One of the founder members of Undercurrents in 1994. His work has been screened in the Tate Modern art gallery and broadcast on Channel 4 and BBC television.

Paul writes extensively for newspapers and books on video activism (the use of video for social change). His articles have appeared in New Internationalist, The Guardian amongst others. He has trained human rights campaigners in Romania, the Middle East, Europe, USA, Australia, Nepal and South Korea.

Paul co- founded the annual Beyond TV video activist festival in 2001. His film “Globalisation and the Media” won best documentary at the One World Canada and Tokyo Film Festivals (2003).

Hamish Campbell: (Training and Production Coordinator – in charge of web development) – with Undercurrents since 1999. Creator of the Ruffcuts distribution project, which has sold thousands of copies all over the world. Set up European Newsreel, a CD distribution project translated into 5 languages for Europe-wide dissemination. Originator of the “Min-Sin” screening project, an automated public-space installation for alternative films. An expert in innovation on the web. VISIONonTV was his idea.

Richard Hering : (Programme Editor and external liaison) An award-winning investigative journalist for British television on subjects such as illegal logging in the Amazon and nuclear tests in China. Major awards include the Rory Peck Features Award 1999 for “Death on the Silk Road” (Dispatches – Channel Four), and the Amnesty International Press Award 1998 for “Ethnic Conflict in China” (C4 News). One of the founders of the Oxford Film and Video Makers community-based workshop in 1987, still going strong today. Has produced over 60 campaigning films from direct action to films for NGOs such as Oxfam. Author of “Lights, Camera, Direct Action” (2004), a training manual for video activists.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Takeing TV Offline is key to social change

This is the first time I have seen some one who isent US useing visionontv as an offline project I like it.

YOU MUST BE CHOKING - Indymedia film night
Tuesday 10th July - 8pm onwards
OARC, upstairs at East Oxford Community Centre, Cowley Rd

An evening of climate action films featuring:

-Camp for Climate Action 2006
In the summer of 2006, the 5th hottest year ever recorded in
recent history, 600 people convinced that there is no time to
waste set up a Camp for Climate Action in the shadow of one of
the biggest C02 emitters in Europe: Drax coal-fired power
station in Yorkshire / UK...

-London Naked Bike Ride
Hundreds of fleshy cyclists take to the streets of London to
save the planet. How naked bodies brought the capital to a standstill.

-Oaxaca uprising
The ongoing uprising in Oaxaca, Mexico. A film by indymedia mexico.

-Bushcraft wild food
Andrew Price finds wild food growing in hedges, beaches and old walls.

-plus misc short films...

With cheap cakes, vegeburgers and beer.
Entry by donation - recommended donation £2 - no-one turned away.
Proceeds to Oxford Action Resource Centre: the only radical space for action,
campaigns and meeting mates in East Oxford


Owen the film addict

This is the announcement list for activism in Oxford. Events and actions will be posted on this list, which is complementary to the calendar on Don't forget to send your announcements to Oxford Indymedia as well! :-)

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Diaz School Raid Trial

A round up of the ongoing court case I am involved in in Genoa Italy from 2001

"Last but not least we have the so-called "Diaz School Trial": on the night of saturday 29th police troops stormed the Diaz School and the indymedia center/GSF offices in the Pascoli school on the opposite side of the road. The Pascoli school saw the destruction of computers, lawyers hard disk and the seizing of video and photo material which included footage of the operation happening in the other school in the meantime. The Diaz school was acting as a dormitory and the police raided the building arresting 93 persons and injuring 63 (10 very severely). Then the police planted two molotov cocktails in the school ground floor so as to justify the raid with "war weaponry" (molotov's are so defined by italian criminal law).
The officiers of the main units participating in the raid, as well as the highest officiers of the Italian Police who were present during the operation and signed the arrest warrant and seizing declaration are being charged with "injuries", "false declaration" and "libel".
The court case saw during 2005-2006 all the 93 victims of the raid witnessing in court, as well as journalists, politicians, and activists who were in the other school during the raid. People living in the neighbourhood came to explain how they lived the operation, medics and paramedics came to explain how severe injuries were, how people working in hospitals felt about the operation, and so on.
Officiers from the Carabinieri special investigation technical unit (RIS) witnessed the absence of evident resistence and stone-throwing from the window of the school (the supposed resistance was key to the police claiming the need for a strong and firm raid), and more investigating police officiers came to explain how they identified various accused police members by their telephone calls and the use of videos.
In the last year there were many outstanding hearing: Pasquale Guaglione, former police officiers leading the charges on the seaside of saturday 21st 2001 afternoon, confirmed to have found the molotov cocktails planted in the Diaz school on the seaside in the afternoon. He then gave them to his commander (General Donnini) and his chief in command (Piccolotti) refused to mention them in his relation on the days activities. Supposedly the molotov cocktail then passed from the General car (which was present on the Diaz school raid scenery) to the school, as a famous television video shows clearly.
The former Genoa Police Chief (Francesco Colucci) during his witness changed all his previous declaration, trying to frame police officers who were not accused in the court case and to easy the situation of accused ones. Unfortunately for him the former vice-chief of the police (Ansoino Andreassi) witnessed the week after and accused Colucci of "having made incorrect declarations". This resulted in Colucci being investigated for false witnessing.
Ansoino Andreassi further cleared once and for all the nature of the operation: "normally when you have serious rioting, police need to make lots of arrest to counterbalance the riots; the Diaz operation was aimed at restoring the Police image after the previous days of rioting with police apparently doing nothing". He also cleared the "institutional" command line: "the chief of the Police sent La Barbera to Genoa saturday afternoon, marking a change in strategy and my defeat; Gratteri was the operative high officiers directly depending from La Barbera".

Lastly two of the police officiers accused in the trial came to witness in court: Vincenzo Canterini and Michelangelo Fournier (respectively chief and vice-chief of the special riot units who led the raid). Canterini stated that he did not see any resistance but supposed there had been seeing and hearing what his men told him. Canterini further said to have come after the entrance of the unit and to have seen some beating but not by men of his unit. He contraddicted lots of his previous declaration.
Fournier on the contrary is known to be the officiers shouting "Stop! Stop!" during the raid when he finally sees a girl lying in a pool of blood on the first floor. He confirmed all his previous declarations and even made them stronged. He confirmed having seen beating and unjustified violence (but not from his men) and said it felt like being in a "mexican butchery". He stated in court that "it was no police operation but a violent and pointless raid".
His declarations have been reported in all major television newsreel and newspapers.

The Diaz court case has now seen the end of prosecutors witness list and will go through the defense list during the coming year. It will probably be concluded by the end of 2008."

More info

Friday, July 06, 2007

Good film from the Camcorder Guerillas

check out the film on

Health and Solidarity

Salud y Solidaridad Health and Solidarity
Scotland and the Zapatistas
Duration 21 mins English, Spanish with Subtitles PAL 4×3

Salud y Solidaridad explores how the Zapatistas in the rural Highlands of Chipas Mexico are twinned with solidarity groups in Scotland. The twinning supports the Zapatistas struggle for liberty, democracy and justice for all the indigenous people of Mexico.

Scottish Zapatista Solidarity Group support has provided materials to build a health centre and they now contribute to its running costs. The twinning has also established fair trade links between the Zapatistas in the 16 Febrero Autonomous Municipality and Scottish Solidarity groups who sell their crafts and coffee. They help support schools and craft collectives in over 40 indigenous villages.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

How to encode a film to H264 for VISIONonTV on a PC using Adobe Premiere 6.5 and VLC

Inside Adobe Premiere 6.5

Export timeline - Movie - Settings - General -

File type: change to Microsoft avi (not DV avi)

Then click next

Video - change compressor to none
Frame size - Change to 640 x 480 for 4:3 or 800 x 480 for 16:9
Pixel aspect ratio choice square pixels

Click next till you get to Special processing
Click modify - tick de-interlace (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT!!!)

You are ready to go now - you can save this configuration so you don't have to do it each time using the save button.

Be warned! This will make a very large avi file about 5x the size of the original.

Next, bring this avi file into videolan (the open source media player - download from

File - Wizard (or Ctrl W)

Check Transcode/Save to file

Click chose - browse to find your AVI file.
Next - Transcode video - pull down select H 264

Bitrate - 2048 kb/s or 1024 for long films

Transcode audio - pull down select mpeg 4 audio

Bitrate - 128 kb/s

Next - Encapsulation format - MP4

Next - Select the file to save to - Choose - browse where to save the file and give it the name you want it be known by.
N.B. Add to the name ".mp4"

Your film will now transcode as an h264 mp4 file format ready to upload.

Upload to

Download azureus vuze from

In vuze, click Publish

Publish new content

Follow the instructions

N.B. Very important: Select tags and put the tag "visionontv"

Then we will migrate your film across to visionontv.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Laws and IPTV

Read this PDF to find out why legislation matters for people2people TV very US focused but hay that's what the US is like: Network2 FCC Petition

This is a old one but probably worth a re-read about why IPTV project fail - Why do Video Platforms Fail? the comments add to the point of view.

Monday, July 02, 2007

E-mail to the mainstream - MGEITF 2007

Sent to the organizers of The Edinburgh International Television Festival

Dear Amy and Peter,

One of my colleagues Paul o’ Connor of Undercurrents spoke at the festival back in 2001 with Chris Cramer of CNN. Just as that session provoked debate about the use of domestic camcorders to provide the ‘news you don’t see on the news’, we now think It is time to re-spark a lively debate within the corporate media space.

I notice you have Joost's Janus Friis as an example of the IPTV’s challenge to traditional broadcasting. In many ways joost’s future strategy is not that of new media, just as Brightcoves wasn’t last year. The internet is based on open standards and open content – Joost has gone against this openness and chose both a closed standard as well as closed content.

To quote a recent blog post
“Both Joost and Babelgum are gated communities. Joost and Babelgum remind me of the early Internet, both platforms are to watching TV online, what Prodigy, Compuserve and AOL were to the early Internet, gated communites with no direct access to the WWW.”

Joost is likely to go the same way as these Internet dinosaurs, but not before millions of corporate dollars are invested. I think a much more grass roots view would spark off a lively and useful debate at the Edinburgh TV festival

I am one of the co-founders of Vision On Tv, a grassroots internet TV channel providing a working example of what Bit Torrent and open source can offer the future of broadcasting.

Hamish Campbell

Geeky help for visionontv

I received an e-mail replying to our video asking for geek help, here is the reply with the name removed:

> Hello,
> I watched your plea for programmers (19.5.7) and have taken a peak at
> "Help Needed ". I can't claim to be an expert but
> I did wonder a few things...
> Why tie yourselves to the Democracy player (although also in beta
> testing, ACTLab TV promises to provide a playlist
> feature)?

Basically DP is simple and deals with RSS and torrents, but not simple anufe yet... have looked at ACTLab a few times over the last few years and never been able to work out what it is which isn’t a good sign (;

> Creating a "widget to place on friendly websites" is as simple as
> providing a URL for your feed. Do you actually want an RSS Publisher
> or do you fellow sites need an RSS
> Accumulator (feed on feeds, drupal, jboss portal...)?

Its got to be simple - a bit of java code? that people can just paste into there web sights - with out any programming knowledge and it will give them a graphical update on what’s on the channel and allow them to subscribe by RSS or democracy player.

> Why not use spiders to trawl the web for great videos (using keywords
> from editors or audience)? These robots may be awkward to recruit/
> train but they're pretty cheap labour!

To complex, its got to be simple and work now with out a long bug testing period - that’s why we are using real people (: they have been bug tested and kinda work - sometimes...

> Check SourceForge out for open source video editing.

I have it is ALL hopelessly complex, thus useless for what we need - simplicity.

> A speech recognition/ translation program would be pretty handy for the
> international language subtitles.

People are developing them and will use them when they are simple anufe.

> I'm not working on commission just curious!
> Thanks for the quality programming of the other variety.

Feel free to add any good content you find to the open publishing channel at: