13,000 Songs from Sony and Nothing to Listen to…

“Sony this morning uncrated the latest member of the iPod killer conga-line, a 20-gigabyte device that the company claims can store up to 13,000 songs” according to GMSV. Did you get that – 13,000 songs!

I don’t think I’ve even heard 13,000 unique songs in my lifetime and I’m a singer! But let’s say Sony packages this thing with 13,000 unique versions of Louie, Louie done by every mediocre garage band in North America (and probably available on garageband.com). How much time would we spend listening to singers with bad voices?

What MinutePitch and ExecProducer Can Do For You

Well, since my mention yesterday I got flooded with questions about my work with . So speaking as the CTO, here’s my take on my tech. First, think Internet TV for biz communications.

Essentially, MinutePitch is a business service from Valux where you take raw video clips of pitches, special offers, commercials from a digital camera, send them in email and in a few minutes you have your own commercial pitches running with effects, logo, credits viewable on the Internet, and instant invites sent to your targetted customers to watch. No tools. No hassles. Just the finished video.

Shrek II blows away TerraServer

Wow. It’s official. Shrek II took a whopping 20 Terabytes of storage to create according to Benny Evangelista of the SF Chronicle, using “…a 3,000-processor render farm of Hewlett-Packard servers and more than 300 HP workstations equipped with dual Pentium 4 processors running on Linux”. This beats Microsoft’s Jim Gray’s TerraServer project for sheer hard cold processor power and complexity.

Of course, Jim is just storing and transmitting images – not rendering them. Professional production is always done in raw video format until final, which means huge files, and animation add complexity as sheets of detail are overlayed and removed in the course of frame-by-frame creation. As Shrek himself says “Ogres are like onions…Ogres have layers.” So it is with modern animation techniques.

What’s ExecProducer? Let me tell you…

Well, the CEO of ExecProducer, who I know pretty well, got back from the Art of the Start Forum run by Garage Technology Ventures. Art of the Start, for those techies reading this who don’t know anything about the biz side, is the place where executives and VCs like Guy Kawasaki and Steve Jurvetson hobnob and chat about valuations and what’s hot in startups.

Along with pitching the business venture for fun (did you know that people really talk of “pitching” and “fun” in the same sentence), he also got motivated to get me to pitch my side – the technology and what it means to people. “But I’ve got a woman’s networking engagement this afternoon” I cried. “Just use MinutePitch and shoot a few videos that answer some of the VC questions.” OK – I did. Took me about a half-hour end-to-end (yes, protocols matter). So I can still be on-time for my appointment.

So go to Lynne’s MinutePitch page and take a few minutes to find out along with the VCs what the CTO of ExecProducer says about “Staying Connected”, “Your Perfect Picture Show” and “It’s About Relationships” (QT6/mp4). After all, maybe you ought to be in pictures too.

How Google Took the Work Out of Selling Advertising

James Fallows of the NYTimes wrote today that “Google’s great technical strength – the “sun in its solar system,” as Mr. [Gary] Stein put it – is the way it automatically grasps the themes and emphases of each Web page”. And how did Google put this idea to work. According to Jim, “…thanks to automated ad sales, small publishers have a more viable hope of creating a business, and keeping independent voices, than they did even a year ago.” In other words, AdSense allows a connection between specialized web pages and vendors that suit in an entirely automated manner, instead of handling manual placement for each ad.

But just as automated placement of ads in a rich media environment can and should be automated, so goes the creation, production, and deployment of rich media ads. But this process is currently as hands-on intensive as ad placement before AdSense – and that isn’t smart.

On the Road Again with Microsoft Research

Microsoft Research had its annual “Roadshow” event to demo all their new ideas. After the usual introduction in the traditional Klingon style (how big they are, how many battles they’ve won and enemies they’ve killed, and so on), Jim Gray said a few words about “TerraServer”.

TerraServer deals with the issue of large datasets. It is a 20 Terabyte data source (of USGS images) handling 10 million hits per day as a web service. On the insides, it uses commodity X86 servers (surprise – and everyone in 1989 said “port to Alpha, not the X86”, but AlphaBSD didn’t sound as good as 386BSD). Jim’s also looking at astronomical images, which are also pretty big.

But where do I see the big growth? Easy, right in your own digital camera folder.

Reporting from the Green Zone

Well, my friend and Berkeley physics alum Rick Bentley is off to Iraq to consult on some infrastructure repair and fund his security startup Connexed. He’s taking a digital camera and laptop (he’s got Internet connectivity), to do a little reporting from the Green Zone that I’m going to produce. Oh, and he’s growing a beard.

Bon Voyage Rick! Send me an email when you get there, and a few test clips (plus description) to see how much work it will take to send few clips as attachments (make sure they arrive OK). I’ll put them in myself and set things up. If there’s an issue with automation, we’ll just work through me and I’ll send them through. Hey, not bad – you get the personal attention of the CTO!

Keep your head down. And keep growing that beard.

That’s a lot of video and stills

From an article entitled Dotcoms a hot domain in the SF Chronicle today:
“One of the standouts was Sunnyvale’s Sandisk, the world’s largest maker of flash-memory cards, which are used in digital cameras. During the past year, its revenue doubled to nearly $1.1 billion, and its market value nearly quadrupled.”

That’s a lot of video clips and stills. This is the revenue driver for new PCs and disk drives that’s been picking up in the consumer sector. Gotta put those pics and vids somewhere, right? Or has anyone thought about this yet?

What’s in the Future for Digital TV?

Attended the panel discussion hosted by the Swiss Science & Techn. Office, Wallonia Initiative, last night in San Francisco at their office downtown. On the panel were: Thomas Gieselmann, General Partner, BV Capital; Christina Ku, Consumer Electronics Group, Intel Corp.; Bob O’Donnell,
Research Analyst, IDC; Bernard Rappaz, Editor in Chief
Multimedia at Swiss-French TV; and Moderator Bruno Giussani, Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University.

One of the most intriguing questions was that the Europeans completely believed that broadcast TV as we know it is dead – no growth, no future. It’s all Internet and cellular.

Something to think about.

California Connects GenYs with Digital Media

We’ve got some great news for students in California who want to incorporate digital media into their studies,
I just heard from Jeff Newman, who kindly reviewed my ACE2004 paper on massive video production and how it can be used to build multimedia community projects.

Jeff says: “As to the impact of such technology, California has recently enacted the Digital Arts Studio Partnership Demonstration Program Act, to make recommendations on a model curriculum and state standards for digital media arts provided to youths aged 13 to 18 years.”

“The inclusion of streaming video would enhance the effectiveness of this statewide effort. It would require the council to convene a meeting of specified entities to review and recommended by consortia associated with each partnership.”

It’s great to see California schools and government taking the lead on such a critical new technology that totally connects with the GenY’s. Thank you, Jeff.