Archives For Media

It’s unclear how many listen to President George W. Bush’s weekly radio addresses. I suppose reporters tune in, because I occasionally catch an excerpt on NPR, but I’ve never heard of anyone setting up their own podcast feed from WhiteHouse.gov for the weekly words of wisdom. Will that change when President-Elect Barak Obama takes over?

According to The Washington Post, Obama appears to be planning a weekly video address to be distributed on the White House’s own YouTube Channel. During the campaigns both political parties used online video extensively, but we’ve had no real indications until now of how much the government-based “new media” rage would continue post election. A YouTube channel certainly makes sense, but I’m hesitant to get too giddy over the fact that the weekly address will utilize a new medium.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m entirely supportive of an Obama administration that uses YouTube. But I wonder how well the administration will be able to use it. Will the weekly addresses come across as oratory or conversation? Should the President really have an ongoing conversation with the public or should he be operating at an entirely different level? Will the YouTube channel have comments enabled? Will the adminstration ever respond to comments? Will other video sites or bloggers be able to distribute or embed segments? The questions go on and on, and I certainly don’t know the answers. But those answers will determine whether the new YouTube addresses get watched by the public during the next administration, or only by reporters and historians. After all, how much does it matter if you have a YouTube channel, or a blog, or a Twitter account? It’s what you have to say and how you say it that matters.

Best BitTorrent Clients?

Dave Zatz —  September 19, 2008 — 15 Comments

Lifehacker documents their top five BitTorrent software packages:

As someone who steers (mostly) clear of P2P file sharing networks, when dabbling on the dark side I use (and recommend) the simple BitTorrent client built into the cross-platform Opera web browser download manager (pictured above) in conjunction with the Pirate Bay. What about you?

The open source XBMC project has released their ‘Atlantis” media center beta. The biggest news is cross-platform support: Linux, Mac OS X, Windows, and of course the original Xbox – which started it all. A few of the new features included in this beta release:

  • Cross platform support for Linux, Mac OS X (Leopard & Tiger), Windows and Xbox
  • New default skin “PM3.HD”, a high-definition tribute to Project Mayhem III for non-Xbox users.
  • XBMC Live – a bootable CD which gives you the opportunity to try XBMC on your computer, without modifying the hard drive. In addition, XBMC Live allows installation of XBMC, complete with an operating system, onto a USB flash memory stick for a permanent, fast booting, dedicated set-top-box style installation of XBMC. XBMC Live is designed to support Microsoft’s MCE Remote and USB receiver out-of-the-box.
  • XBMC for Mac release now has initial support for integrating iTunes and iPhoto media into XBMC

Note that this is a non-TV tuner front-end for the moment, so XBMC’s focus thus far is video, music, etc playback. XBMC offers some of the more impressive skins that I’ve seen – browse their nice collection here. XBMC is scheduled to be released from beta in October.

[Note from Dave: Interestingly, the new XBMC is the basis for Boxee - a competing package that overlays media exploration social/community features.]

Check out more of Brent’s reflections on tech, gadgets, software and media at Brent Evans Geek Tonic.

This post’s author, The Media Patriot, is a fellow consumer who enjoys music and television but condemns DRM. His pseudonym pays homage to the original participants of the Boston Tea Party.

Remember back in the Autumn of 2006 when the hotly anticipated “Venice Project” promised all that it’d do for television, what ebay and Skype did for auctions and phone calls? Well, here we are two years later and after much disappointment, Joost has released a new version of itself called…drum roll…New Joost.

New Joost is supposedly a “browser only” plugin that let’s you watch Joost content in the browser – but’s that’s a bit of a misleading statement. New Joost downloads and installs a 6MB version of Microsoft C++ Runtime Environment onto your hard drive.

As much as I would like to share my New Joost experience with all ZNF readers, I cannot since after installing the plugin, CPU usage spiked at 99% for several minutes and crashed the browser to an unrecoverable state. To add to insult to injury, after killing off the hung browser, the plugin was still running siphoning off my bandwidth to power all the other people using Joost.

The Joost blog promises an all Flash, no local anything version coming in October, but it may be a bit too late since Hulu has pretty much filled the niche market Joost hoped to dominate all those years ago.

Have you tried the New Joost? Write a quick note in the comments with your thoughts.

More Moxi Promises from Digeo

Dave Zatz —  September 18, 2008 — 6 Comments

TWICE reports that Digeo will be releasing a HD CableCARD set-top box to MSOs beginning later this month and offering a retail DVR direct to consumers in January. Though I have to say the author was quite kind in his coverage. No mention that this cable box (or a precursor) was expected in 2007 or that Digeo also had plans to launch two retail set-top boxes last year. Also no mention that the CEO stepped aside, half the staff was axed, and both (previous) retail DVRs were scrapped just a week after briefing the press at CES. So, please forgive me if I’m a little skeptical that we’ll actually be able to purchase a (new) DLNA-capable M-Card Moxi DVR in just four months. Of course, this isn’t at all unusual in our industry – SlingCatcher will be over a year late when it finally ships and Palm Foleo was killed at the zero hour. Lesson being, until products ship let’s take these announcements with a grain of salt. Speaking of which, where’s my Lenovo S10?