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Beyond Glamour

January 9th, 2006

Dinner was great… but who’s going to
do the dishes?

Beyond Glamour – Part One:

It’s the unglamorous, but necessary,
details that make the world go ’round.

In the Internet video world, there are few
things less glamorous than discussions about
file formats.

Some unglamorous questions I’ve been entertaining
on recently…

1. Is Flash Video *really* the ultimate answer
to the question of how to deliver Internet video
to the desktop?

If it is, then why is it that so many seriously
video-invested media companies fail to feature
it, let alone even offer it as a video format option?

What do you think?

2. And what about folks with dial up connections?

Are they forever banned from the Internet video
party? If so, there sure are a lot of them outside
the gates. 

3. If there’s no single Internet video standard,
then how do we handle the messy problem of
presenting the right file format to the right
person at the right time?

Yahoo has a handy if not terribly hip-looking
answer called Media Helper which:

1. Shows users what they’ve got on their
PCs (players and bandwidth),
2. Lets them choose what format they want
to receive audio and video in (and download
new players if they want to), and
3. Remembers their preferences and
delivers the right file type every time
they visit.   

Media Helper pops up automatically the
first time you ask for a Yahoo!-supplied
video clip.   

One way to experience it, if you haven’t already,
is to go to http://weather.yahoo.com/ and click
on one of the weather videos on the lower left
hand side of the page.

Note that these weather bulletins are Yahoo
content (licensed from Accu-Weather) that come
straight from Yahoo’s servers which is why they
can deliver the right video. This trick won’t work
for our videos.      

If we’re going to serve video to our visitors, we
can probably all use a tool like Media Helper.

Nothing kills the video viewing mood like
asking people to wrestle, unaided, with
compatibility problems. And compatibility
problems exist. Bandwidth ones too. 

If you know anyone who sells at Media Helper-like
tool that I can install on my server, let me know. 

It can’t be rocket science to make one. Could
be good business for someone to create one.


Beyond Glamour – Part Two

Steve Jobs gives great presentations.

No doubt.

Maybe the best presentations of any CEO on

Maybe the best presentations of any CEO ever.

How does he do it?


"The team and I spent hundreds of hours preparing
for a segment that lasted about five minutes."

Just 100 hours has 6,000 minutes in it so we’re
talking about a 1,000 to 1 preparation-to-presentation

That one formula may sum up the *real* secret of show biz.

The unglamorous – but highly instructive – behind-the-scenes
details of what makes Steve, Steve (on stage at least):




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  1. January 18th, 2007 at 06:05 | #1

    Hi Ken,
    These are issues which I wrestled with over the last few months.
    I spent ages trying to work out which technology would be the winner.
    But then the realisation dawned – as per one of your other blogs – that i did not need to know – i just needed to work with people that could deliver a high quality internet video solution 99.9% of the time.
    The quality of the video needed to be right. It needed to be easy and quick to load and also work from my wi-fi connection.
    The dial-up issue is an interesting one – you can only do so much with low bandwidth. I did go to someone who has a ski chalet the other day to demo http://www.chaletvideo.com and they were on dial-up. It did work in the end but took a little while to sort out. It’s a shock when you go back to dial-up!!
    The Yahoo idea sounds great – when I loaded the weather map it just played straight away – but then maybe I have everything that’s needed to run every video under the sun.
    I did notice that the quality ( clarity ) of the weather video was pretty poor though.

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