Gaming History

Next Generation has a nice overview.

In videogames, as in life, we tend to get things right about a third of the time. There’s one decent Sonic game for every two disasters; one out of every three consoles can be considered an unqualified success; the Game Boy remake of Mother 1 + 2 was released in one out of three major territories.

With the same level of scientific accuracy, one can easily say that, out of the thirty years that videogames have acted as a consumer product, there are maybe ten really excellent milestones, spaced out by your 1984s and your 1994s years maybe we were all better off doing something out-of-doors.

It kind of makes sense, intuitively: you’ve got the new-hardware years and the innovative-software years, spaced out by years of futzing around with the new hardware introduced a few months back, or copying that amazing new game that was released last summer. We grow enthusiastic, we get bored. Just as we’re about to write off videogames forever, we get slapped in the face with a Wii, or a Sega Genesis and then the magic starts up all over again, allowing us to coast until the next checkpoint.

Linux on Mobiles has an article by David Meyer:

Trolltech’s Eirik Chambe-Eng told delegates at the Open Source Business Conference in London that Linux is set to “make a lot of headlines going forward on embedded devices and mobile phones”.

“We believe we are just now at the beginning of a revolution,” he said on Wednesday, citing what he called the “five Cs”–complexity, control, customization, cost and community–as motivating factors for manufacturers to switch to Linux.

“Linux gives manufacturers and OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) complete control,” said Chambe-Eng, who also claimed that Windows Mobile and Symbian–Linux’s two great competitors in the mobile phone market–come with “agendas attached.”

Future of RSS

TechCrunch has a discussion following a post by Newsgator CTO Greg Reinacker.

Highlights discussed include:

* recommending feeds
* niche default subscription options
* social networking/comments about feeds
* RSS everywhere – where else can it go?
* feeds and podcasts by phone
* advertising, enterprise and private label possibilities.

RSS is the foundation of almost everything Web 2.0 – isnt it? Its what makes blog readership scalable, podcasts subscribable, wiki changes watchable and so much more. If Newsgatgor can succeed in offering the kind of innovative features this roadmap alludes to, without falling into the trap of crass commercialism, Reinackers vision could be deeply influential for the future of the medium.

My Next Pen

Given all the writing (on paper) I do, this story in The New York Times caught my attention:

Recently Mr. Hultin made a small, effective change in his note-taking life: he bought a digital pen. The device looks like a slightly plump ballpoint, and works like any ballpoint. But inside this gadget are a tiny camera and an optical sensor that record the pen’s motions as he writes, and a microprocessor that digitizes the words, sketches and diagrams that the optics detect.

When he docks the pen in its cradle connected to a USB port, the handwritten notes flow in a digitized stream into his computer and are processed by software, reappearing almost immediately on his monitor in his handwriting. “All the notes I’ve written are sucked into the computer, and there they are on the screen,” he said.

His pen, called io2, is sold by Logitech of Fremont, Calif., for about $200.

Podcasting and Business

WSJ writes:

Podcasts were initially the province of amateurs, but have since been embraced by radio stations, newspaper publishers and others looking to distribute content that users can download and listen to at their leisure.

A number of large companies, including General Motors Corp. and Whirlpool Corp., have seized on the popularity of the broadcasts as part of their marketing strategies to tech-savvy consumers. The companies have little to lose podcasts can be created cheaply with little more than a microphone and a computer. Often, the hosts of corporate podcasts are public-relations staffers who are doing double duty.

It’s difficult to draw a direct correlation between podcasts and product sales, but marketing experts said the broadcasts can be useful in building brand awareness.

TECH TALK: Video on the Internet: Ramesh Jains Views (Part 2)

Ramesh Jain continues his discussion on IPTV and discusses two challenges that need to be addressed going ahead editing and searching.

Current video editing tools are difficult to use. And, the tools that are easy to use dont give enough control to author what an amateur producer might want. This is an interesting challenge to the multimedia communityand at the invitation-only Berkeley retreat at the 2003 ACM Multimedia conference, participants (about 30 leading researchers) correctly identified it as a grand challenge for multimedia. Add to authoring environment, addition of tools that will provide tagging for presentation like HTML did for text. Such tools lets call them Video Presentation Markup Language (VPML). These tools will allow any player to take a video and play it as the producer intended it to be played.

The second and equally important problem is how to find videos of interest. Search engines have trained the current generation of Internet users to search for information using easy tools like specifying keywords. How will we search for video on the Internet? Current search techniques on the Internet extend text-based techniques, but theyre still rather limited compared to what we need for accessing video. The multimedia information retrieval research community and the practicing video retrieval community are poles apart. Theyre developing more or less disjoint approaches: The research community wants to use only visual characteristics because thats where interesting research challenges are. Practicing people want to just apply text-based approaches because thats what they know. Everybody recognizes that to be successful, you must use all knowledge sources and all possible techniques for accessing video information. Unfortunately, thats where it ends most of the timejust talking about combining multiple sources to solve this puzzle and then going to your workplace and continue what youve been doing. We need people who will take this challenge seriously and start developing techniques to access video information using text processing, visual computing, audio recognition, and folksonomy.

In this post, Ramesh Jain discusses why video will replace text as the primary media on the Internet:

I always believed that video is the most dominant medium of expression that humans have developed and will replace text. Video subsumes audio, visual, and textual media and allows appropriate combination of these to express ideas and experiences. At one time, just few years ago, it was so difficult to create, store, and distribute videos that very few people could imagine that video could become a folk medium for expression. Even a few years ago it appeared that it would be long time before video could really become a popular expression media.

First internet, then availability of bandwidth, and then explosion in digital camera have resulted in a situation that some people have started calling the next bubble. Well whether bubble is there or not is the market issue, the popularity and explosion in use of video is going to stay as much as internet stays after the last bubble. Video is so powerful medium that people are going to increasingly use it. A very major advantage of video will soon emerge as a powerful unifying force across different language groups. As people dubbed popular movies, tools for adding audio tracks will propagate and popularize videos across languages.

Ramesh Jain discusses the concept of channels:

Channels on TV used to be broadcast channels in which a company decided what the users should want to see and programmed accordingly. Accordingly, we all became couch potatoes and selected a channel and watched it. When multiple channels became commonplace we started channel switching and then channel surfing (particularly to avoid commercials).

Now the term channel is starting to take a different meaning. Initially it started by video sites currently the most popular Youtube offering special interest channels to which you could subscribe. And now they are taking it further bringing in more internet culture. On the Web, you are simultaneously both producer and consumer. So in terms of channels you could be both a couch-potato as well as a channel-broadcaster. Moreover you could be remixing contents from different producers or even from different channels and producing your own branded channel.

Well it did happen to text so why not to video?

Plenty of food for thought. Moving on, we will take a closer look at the phenomenon of user-generated content.

Tomorrow: User-Generated Content

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