Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pre-order Daniel Suarez' Daemon sequel Freedom™

I was concerned there for a while, when I didn't find a single bleep from Daniel Suarez online after his Google talk - hopefully no-one decided him too dangerous and silenced him, right?

Anyway, I have written a whole bunch of things about Suarez' revolutionary book "Daemon". Someone asked me what to read after being riveted to that book, and sure enough once a paradigm has been changed once, it doesn't change again with the sequel, but Freedom™ is looking promising anyhow. Maybe, just maybe it will do to privacy what Daemon did to IT security, I especially like the tagline "Everything is under control - everything".

If you haven't already heard the story of how Daemon went from self-published to Barnes & Nobles, read about it. Essentially Daniel is still kicking it and recently sent me an email about my wish to pre-order FreedomTM (seems he is still treating me well...). You can also pre-order it before the release on January 7, 2010. Before ordering, don't miss reading the preview chapter Suarez recently published on his homepage.

Finally, don't take my word for it, but check out what people are saying online about Daniel Suarez' books. (Update: I tried to do both twingly and twitter search widgets here, but the javascript just won't work, could someone tell me what's wrong with blogspot?)

Do check out my other posts about Daemon, and also see the awesome collection of bookmarks I have gathered.

PS. Don't buy anything by Dan Brown. Preferably also don't read it, but seriously don't buy it. He is evil™.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nerdy T-shirts

Silly stuff found online, maybe something for the Young Scientists, I saw these and these tshirts.

Actually, since long I've wanted stuff from here, here or here, and there's just too much nice material gadgets in the world to afford or to even keep it all. So I don't really want to buy any of it. But I can giggle at them.

See also other nerdy stuff or about I have written.

Friday, November 6, 2009

First snow picture feed pipe

Because first snow fell today, and in honor of my friends over at MoYuMe, I was compelled to build a small Yahoo! Pipe continuously listing the pictures people show on twitter of their local first snow, all over the northern hemisphere! You can check it out here.

The point of making a Yahoo! Pipe (yeah, I know it would have been cooler with the other type of snow pipe) is usually to get an RSS feed. This you can plug into Google Reader, or as I've understood is popular among non-nerds, bloglovin'! The address for the first snow feed to copy and paste into your RSS reader is this.

The pipe looks like this, it is free for anyone to clone and then edit, and I would love if you let me know if you do something useful with it! I used some tricks to get it to work, if encouraged enough maybe I can dissect it in the blog sometime. In general I'm not super-happy about Yahoo! Pipes, it has stability problems and is a bit inflexible, but it's fun to play with. Also Amazon S3 seems to dislike me hotlinking the pictures like I do, so your mileage may vary. Enjoy!

You can also of course see yourself all the messages, not only pictures, of people loving the first snow on twitter, or read my other posts about microblogging, yahoo pipes, or other nerdy things.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Five ways to make your own live web tv!

Back at the turn of the century things were so messy - some friends were playing around with Icecast and similar contraptions to do streaming live web radio but someone was always lagging in the streaming, there was never enough upstream bandwidth to host any large audiences (read: three is a crowd already) and since it was tricky to announce a show hosts were speaking to empty halls most of the time anyway. Oh, and usually the shows were not usually (certainly not automatically) archived and hosted for perusal by late-comers.

Probably it was in late 2005, I even recall the setting when I saw the first article about Youtube and thought it seemed like a stupid idea, how could they ever attempt to house, and even less broadcast all that video?! Video, even the shortest clip you had tried to play around with, VCD's, MPEG4's and DVD-R, storage of it all and crap, it was just impossible to imagine to do it for a large crowd - over the web?! Hah.

Seriously, I was so wrong. The culture and technology surrounding "Web 2.0" of the last couple years has changed all of these factors. Chris Anderson's principle of "rapidly diminishing marginal costs" enabled Youtube, there is always a service there to host and process your data as well as willingly expose it to other sites, the same sites in which you broadcast your message to rapidly gather your friends as an audience as well as to spread the word when you have just found something great looking for an audience. Somehow... it just happened, and for those who don't touch twitter, facebook, google reader, etc., it must be very hard to grasp. But it has changed things, for sure.

Today, a large part of the radio or TV I enjoy is provided as podcasts or other live streaming online. Sometimes I measure widespread acceptance of technologies by how much my family are spontaneously using it - and judging from the appreciation when I send them a bambuser link to some debate they are interested in, or they go online for the replay of the show they missed, the gap between common mass media (sw. "gammelmedia") and user-generated content is closing. You can have a pretty successful radio or TV show nowadays without ever touching an ether wave except whatever is necessary for transmitting the IP protocol. My friend Björn Falkevik is using Bambuser (it is a common mistake to identify him with this Swedish/Finnish web startup) to prove this with their excellent reoccurring show "Sweet Sunday Web Crunch", and indeed it has become so easy, and so good, the sky and your imagination is the limit for what you can achieve with web video! Not with such high ambitions, but just to prove how easy it was to do it, I recorded a small clip:

The cool thing distinguishing Bambuser from Youtube is that it is live. When it's live, and you have an event with a reasonable audience, it opens up for the opportunity of a backchannel - a chat or similar way for the audience to comment and participate in the content. This can create extremely interesting dynamics - certainly one reason for why CNN chose to broadcast the Obama inauguration in collaboration with facebook.

Doing live streaming video well is a bit tricky to do well, but there are several options available for you to play around with, here are some:
Using slightly different methods but the same principles, Christian Rudolf of shows that with a whiteboard and a videocamera you can baffle the world:

Regardless if you choose to bite the bullet and contribute something of your own or stand in the audience, I think you will agree with me that this is exciting opportunities indeed.

Since quite some time I have been experimenting with transcoding and ripping online content (all with the justification of your liberty to enjoy content in the format you choose… and that post really ought to be updated) and recently I have been doing some transcoding actually using the Videolan VLM server for work. It's really cool! But it's also tricky - we're doing flash video to the web browser (to be played by a flash based video player like flowplayer) but VLC supports only HTTP pseudo-streaming it seems, and we're dreading moving to Red5 or similar for proper RTMP streaming. Not to mention if we want to start replaying and managing archived streams… Phew, seems I always end up at the bleeding edge of technologies!

( PS. Yes, five ways :-) )