Friday, December 28, 2007

Thanks to Dave Winer, my TV has a New Channel

My TV has a new channel this morning, thanks to Dave Winer, the Associated Press, and a bunch of my friends on Flickr. The channel shows photos—from the news and the lives of my friends. (In case you're wondering, that's a news photo above. Not from the lives of my friends. Back off NSA.)

As timing would have it, the debut of this channel today is dominated by distressing images from Pakistan related to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. (but without the inane gibbering of the cable news anchors.)

After a teasy weekend of buzz building, Dave Winer released the beta FlickerFan, a neat new product that will download photo albums from friends on Flickr and/or the news photo feed from the Associated Press—or any other RSS photo feed.

First round is Mac only and pre-wired to work with the Mac OS Screen Saver. There's huge potential beyond that, which, no doubt, will keep Dave and other clever coders busily digging for a while.

I like the promise of FlickrFan. It's built on a solid, stable code base and web standards, that Dave has been refining all century. I'm having fun with it. I wish Dave much success with it.

That said.

FlickrFan had one of the most bizarre intros I've ever seen--Robert Scoble webcast the first authorized demo from his Qik channel (is that pronounced kick or quick?) from his magic telephone—you heard me. His telephone. Amazing audio quality. Pretty darn good video quality. Another miracle of modern technology.

Gathering an audience with breathless hyperbole on his blog that promised a TV revolution, Robert launched into what seemed like an unplanned, unrehearsed demo. FlickrFan was not well served by being munged in with a bit of AppleTV, Media Center, and Xbox bashing, countered by the promotion of Mac Mini, browsers on TV. All of that is what politicians call "off message." It does nothing but provoke an audience to take issue with you.

Making things worse, the Qik channel had a come one, come all, anonymous chat widget that unleashed the evil wise-cracking gremlins lurking in many visitors. The chat got ugly fast.

You'd think Scoble would have absorbed the basics of how to do a good demo by now.Show the product... what it does... why you'd want it. Above all... plan and rehearse. What will you show? What will you do? What will you say? In what order? It can be loose. It can be off the cuff and conversational. But it can't be chaotically random.

The way Scoble pitched it, the price of admission was--trash your Xbox, put your Apple TV on eBay, buy a Mac mini etc. All for a free download that shows photos. Hmm.

At one point Dave called in to offer some live demo coaching. He didn't seem happy.

For what it's worth, I haven't trashed my AppleTV. I'm synching it with a folder on my G5 where FlickrFan is running. I set it up in about 8 minutes. I'll be sending Dave lots of feedback.

Mickeleh's Take: FlickrFan is a simple free download (for now), easy to install. It adds a bit of a good and a nice to my life. I'm a FlickrFan Fan

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mike mcgrath said...

Last night was demo hell for Dave and Robert as far as I can tell:

Michael Markman said...

Robert attempted the superhuman: camera operator, sound-guy, webmaster, chat room host, demo god.

Doomed from the outset. Not having a solid and rehearsed path through the software, double-doomed.

Harrison said...

Hey Michael, I've been trying to find what the rss feed is for the AP photos. I have a PC and I'd like to check it out. I don't know if you can see what it is in Flickr Fan, but if you can, I'd appreciate you posting it! Thanks!

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Anonymous said...

Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after going through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m certainly happy I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!