Justin.tv Continues to Reinvent Itself

Fast Company just published this great piece on the evolutionary path of Justin.tv.

The TL;DR version: In 2007, Justin.tv began simply with Justin Kan lifecasting himself from his startup’s dorm style living quarters in the Y-scraper. It didn’t take long for Justin’s audience to start directing the show. The founders were able to get the cost to deliver one hour of video down to half a penny, so Justin.tv pivoted to an open, ad-supported live streaming platform. Traffic grew immensely, aided by some users illegally simulcasting blacked out pro sports events from around the world. A boxing promoter and UFC went on the attack, while Michael Seibel, Justin.tv’s CEO, had to answer to Congress. Overall traffic declined as video game streaming traffic increased. Taking this cue, TwitchTV was spun off to create a streaming platform built exclusively for video gamers to broadcast game competitions. With the rise of mobile apps, Socialcam soon became another successful spin-off. Socialcam is a mobile video sharing app that leverages Justin.tv’s infrastructure, now with 44 million users. Not to be outdone, Justin had to go and found yet another startup. Exec is a service that helps match users with personal assistants to get specific tasks done.

Here’s a Geek Entertainment TV episode we did in 2007 when Irina and I visited Justin.tv at the Y-scraper in their early messier lifecasting days.

Interviewed for the Sound Design Live Podcast

I was interviewed recently by Nathan Lively for the Sound Design Live podcast. We cover the state of live streaming, what it takes to get started, remote wireless live streaming and how to communicate with potential clients about streaming. Detailed show notes are over on Nathan’s post. Here’s a link to the SF Bay Area Webcasters and Live Video Streamers Meetup group I mention.

Eddie.com Endorses VoteforEddie.com for Congress

We don’t normally endorse candidates here at Eddie.com, but it’s time to make an exception. There’s this guy in Florida, his name used to be Eddie Gonzalez, until last January when he had it legally changed to VoteforEddie.com. Yes, that’s right, when voters in the 25th US Congressional District in Florida go into the voting booth on November 6th, they will see VoteforEddie.com listed on the ballot. As an Eddie.com that’s been on the Internets since 1996, we know our people.

VoteforEddie’s going up against five-term Republican U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Miami who ran unopposed in the last election and has raised over $600,000 in this election. VoteforEddie has raised about $2,400. VoteforEddie is running as an independent, mainly on the platform of ending American’s oil dependency and lower taxes. What’s not to like about that? After seeing his slick campaign video, we knew we had to throw our hat in the VoteforEddie.com ring.

The Internet says no to SOPA and PIPA

Yesterday, a large portion of the Internet rose up against two horrible bills making their way through Congress. These bills, SOPA in the House and Protect IP Act or PIPA in the Senate, would fundamentally change the nature of the Internet in misguided attempts at stamping out copyright infringement. Many websites voluntarily went dark for the day to show the public what things could well look like if these bills become law. Wikipedia, Craig’s List, Google, the Internet Archive, Reddit, Tumblr all participated, educating users and encouraging them to contact their congress people. Physical protests happened in San Francisco and New York where many lolcat fans, entrepreneurs, reddit users and first time activists turned out to lodge their opposition.

I grabbed my Z1U and ran down to City Hall here in San Francisco to catch up with the happenings. Several notable Internet people showed and spoke out about SOPA/PIPA including Craig Newmark, Caterina Fake, Ron Conway, MC Hammer, Brewster Kahle, and Elizabeth Stark. I recorded some of the soapbox action and grabbed some interviews asking two questions.

The first question, What is the worst part of SOPA and PIPA to you?

The second question, How will SOPA and PIPA affect your organization?

Interviewees: Jonathan Nelson, Sam Stoller, Caterina Fake, Tantek Çelik, Adina Levine, Seth Schoen, Rick Prelinger, Jen O’Neal, Jessica, Anders Nelson and Kim Dowd.

Dead Drop in Former NSA Spy Station

While in Berlin, I had met up with @tbx for a dead drop install. Documented in photos and this video.

Dead Drop Installed at Abandoned U.S. Spy Station in Berlin from ekai on Vimeo.

MakerBot TV Launches!

I’m proud to announce the birth of MakerBot.TV, a new online web video series that I co-produced covering all things awesome in the world of MakerBot.

I spent most of July and August working out of MakerBot’s Brooklyn Headquarters (the BotCave) to concept, staff and launch this new series. Working with long-time pal Bre Pettis, MakerBot’s cofounder, CEO and former video superstar himself, we set to work on coming up with a new 12 to 14 episode weekly series that would appeal to current MakerBot owners and non-owners alike.

The show has to be entertaining, informative, tell great stories and appeal to a wide audience. The first thing we did was set about finding the perfect person to bring in full-time as MakerBot’s Video Superstar. This was not an easy search as the role demanded not just a great on-screen presence, but someone who can think creatively, quickly, knows online video production, is a great editor and isn’t freaked out by deadlines. After almost a month of searching, we hired Annelise Jeske.

MakerBot.TV just launched, the new weekly online video series I co-produced about all things MakerBot.

Annelise is perfect for the role. She’s got a cool sense about things, is very creative, driven, and didn’t freak out when I threw Final Cut X at her and said “you’ll be using this.” Once Annelise was on board, she and I set to work to concept out the various segments, branding, music and story ideas.

MakerBot’s 3D printers aren’t just a product, they’re a lifestyle. While still arguably in the early adopter and hobbyist days, these robots are part of an ecosystem that is exploding with creative use and potential. To own a MakerBot Thing-o-Matic isn’t to just own a machine that makes replacement parts for your home. It’s about being part of something much bigger. It’s about being part of a fast growing segment of humans who are using shared ideas, designs, software and hardware to build upon the greatness of others. Call it the DIY movement, the maker movement, whatever. It’s about solving problems, learning, creating and ultimately sharing knowledge with others like you.

MakerBot has spawned a growing community of people who share their 3D designs on an open website called Thingiverse. If you design a bicycle mobile phone mount or coat hook, you can share those designs on Thingiverse and others will build upon them to improve or make variants of them. This is exciting stuff, because that means as a new MakerBot owner, you have access to thousands of products that you can print out at any time. There’s new models posted all the time, so we’re doing a regular segment called Thingiverse Roundup that focuses on cool stuff found here.

MakerBot TV launches!

Annelise has experience doing stop motion animation, so we quickly decided that the opening sequence and segment IDs should be animated using printed models and letters. We saw Tony Buser‘s Bob the Bobblehead robot appear in the office one day and knew we needed to incorporate him into the show.

As a result of Bre’s appearance on the Colbert Report, MakerBot has been scanning the heads of friendly hackers, thinkers, writers, artists and musicians with a high resolution 3D scanner. These scans can be printed out to render a perfect plastic bust thus giving us our Notables segment.

There’s so much more to come. I’m really happy with our debut episode, which features much head scanning when the organizers and artists from the AfroPunk Festival stopped by MakerBot’s workshop. Angelo Moore from the band Fishbone and Reggie Watts are two of the artists who are featured. An excellent model of Yoda and a multi-piece Sword of Omens are featured in the Thingiverse Roundup segments. Future episodes will focus on interesting creators, artists and events in the ever expanding universe of affordable 3D printing.

My role was primarily getting MakerBot TV off the ground. It’s in Annelise’s very capable hands now. The show has tremendous momentum, support from the whole MakerBot staff and a universe of stories that have yet to be told. I’m proud of what we’ve produced and very excited at what’s to come. Please tune in, subscribe and tell your friends. It’s going to be an awesome ride!

Hiring MakerBot Online Video Superstar

I’m spending the next 6 weeks in Brooklyn helping to launch a new video series for MakerBot Industries, makers of your friendly, low cost, desktop 3d printer. We’re looking to a hire a kick ass Online Video Superstar to be the face of this new series and to ultimately take over the daily production aspects of the show. If your passionate about robots, video production and DIY culture, this might just be your dream job. Please apply as we’re looking to hire for this position immediately.

Flying High Above the Black Rock Desert

I was out with some friends camping in the Black Rock Desert in Nevada over the Fourth of July weekend. Since the area is large, flat, desolate and mostly dry, my pal Paul was able to fly out a plane and join us. I mounted a Contour HD video camera to the landing gear of the plane to produce this fun little video.

Video Discovery Now More Fun

I’ve had the pleasure of beta testing a couple new video services that launched this week. Both make Internet video discovery, viewing, collecting and sharing a lot more fun.

Showyou: Watch videos from your friends

Today, Showyou hits the app store for iPhone and iPad. Showyou is an app that helps you discover videos that your friends and followers on social networks are sharing. That in itself isn’t anything new, the magic is the user experience. On an iPad, you can easily just kick back and glide across a matrix of nothing but videos from your social networks, currently Twitter, Facebook and Vodpod. When you’ve watched a video you like, you can share it with other Showyou users or comment on it within Showyou or on Twitter and Facebook where you may have first found it. There’s also a send “thanks” button, which is sort of similar to “liking” a video by notifying the originator that they’re awesome.

The creators of Showyou is Remixation, the same fine people behind Vodpod, the video collection & sharing service that up until now, was all web and widget based (see mine to the right of this post). One other really cool thing about Showyou is that if you have an Apple TV, you can send the videos that you find straight to your TV over AirPlay. This essentially turns your iPhone/iPad into a very pleasing remote control (who the hell needs 90 buttons anyway?)

On Monday, VHX launched their public beta. VHX is also a video discovery, viewing, collecting and sharing service but fundamentally different in a few ways from Showyou. VHX is all about the lean-back uninterrupted experience in your web browser (for now). As soon as you log into VHX, a video starts playing. So does the next one and the next one and so on. VHX creates a full-screen, TV like experience in your browser from videos shared by you and your friends. You can add videos to your VHX queue with bookmarklets. You see something you like while trolling the net, simply share it or save it for later viewing. Right now, only YouTube and Vimeo videos are supported, but expect that to change as VHX evolves through their beta. VHX comes from the creative minds of Jamie Wilkinson, formerly of Know Your Meme and Rocketboom and Casey Pugh, formerly of Vimeo and Boxee.

Bladerunner in Your Browser

The latest lob in the browser war happened yesterday with Mozilla releasing Firefox 4. It’s a big speed improvement, has a streamlined slick new interace and doesn’t seem nearly as bloated as previous versions. Best thing of all, it’s full of HTML5 goodness that makes it easy to develop rich, interactive sites.

The coolest demo I’ve seen in Firefox 4 by far is Flight of the Navigator, which quite literally looks like Bladerunner rendered in 3D in your browser in real-time. Yes, real hardware accelerated 3D rendering with simple HTML code. It’s like VRML but without the plugins and 1000x the processing power. Cool things to look out for in this demo are photos pulled in from Flickr, tweets pulled into scrolling text bars and YouTube videos mapped to virtual TV screens. Like I said, Bladerunner! It just needs more androids.

Flight Of The Navigator

Flight Of The Navigator

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