Miro Internet TV Blog - Archive for May, 2008

YouTomb Blows Up!

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

YouTomb is a project that I helped start, along with some friends at MIT Free Culture. It recently exploded on many of the major tech blogs (TechCrunch, Gizmodo, CNet, Wired.com, among others).

The project began after YouTube announced their automatic flagging system, for sniffing out potentially infringing content.

An automated scanning system cannot possibly differentiate between fair use and copyright violation with 100% accuracy (humans can’t either, but that’s a different story). As a result, it’s unavoidable that some totally legitimate, possibly interesting, videos are disappearing from the web entirely. YouTomb’s purpose is to shed light on some of the material that is taken down.

Currently, YouTomb has a compact range of features, but we’ll be steadily adding new ones to make it a more effective tool for highlighting copywrongs.

The Product Launch of the Year

Monday, May 19th, 2008

The most important product launch of the year is just a few weeks away. It’s a web browser called Firefox– ever heard of it?

The first release candidate for Firefox 3 came out this weekend. The final version is expected to ship next month and it’s a remarkable leap forward. Web browsers are the interface that connects us to the most profound technology of our time, the internet. As browsers change, so does the world. I’ve been using the nightly builds of Firefox 3 for the past several months and it’s easily the best browsing experience I’ve ever had. In addition to being the world’s fastest browser, Firefox has a number of big brilliant improvements and dozens of refinements that make every function feel smoother and easier.

Even with smaller market share than Internet Explorer, Firefox is already the most influential web browser and has almost singlehandedly saved us from an internet experience controlled by Microsoft (sounds implausible? look at what’s happened in South Korea). Instead of that fate, even Internet Explorer is now competing to implement open standards. Firefox fights a huge uphill battle against a pre-installed browser on a near-monopoly operating system. Firefox’s current 20-something percent market share is already an amazing achievement and with Firefox 3 it’s going to get a whole lot bigger.

PCF as an organization and I as an individual have lots of relationships with Mozilla: we’ve contributed code, they’ve donated to us, I’ve done paid and unpaid consulting, they’ve given staff time, promotional support, and lots of love. If either of us were typical companies, that would be a disclaimer, but instead it’s a proud partnership between two non-profit projects that are working alongside each other to make global communication more free and open than ever. We couldn’t be more proud to work with the Firefox team and it’s an extra special thrill to have built a feature that’s part of Firefox 3 (more on that soon).

The vast majority of people in the press, in business, in government, and even in public interest groups don’t have any idea how powerful open source software can be; it just doesn’t fit into their current frameworks of how the world operates. When Firefox 3 takes off like a rocket, a lot of folks will realize that new models of organization and economics are now possible that were never possible before.

Vidoop and Polvi donate to Miro

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

Alex Polvi, friend of Miro and a community marketer for Mozilla, has won a Vidoop contest called How do you identify? with a very cute video (see below). Vidoop is a company that takes a cool approach to internet logins, with an OpenID service that gives you one universal login and an option for image grid based identification (take a look). Alex is donating his $1000 prize to Miro and Vidoop is matching that. Thanks so much guys!

Here’s Alex’s winning video (with a shout-out to Miro):

We have tons of free time and we’re looking for the mouse.

Tuesday, May 13th, 2008

An excellent speech by Clay Shirky about participation with culture: Gin, Television, and Social Surplus. He begins with the point that the amount of effort that goes into Wikipedia is tiny compared to the surplus of free time people have.

“So how big is that surplus? So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project–every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in–that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought. I worked this out with Martin Wattenberg at IBM; it’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it’s the right order of magnitude, about 100 million hours of thought.”

“And television watching? Two hundred billion hours, in the U.S. alone, every year. Put another way, now that we have a unit, that’s 2,000 Wikipedia projects a year spent watching television. Or put still another way, in the U.S., we spend 100 million hours every weekend, just watching the ads. This is a pretty big surplus. People asking, “Where do they find the time?” when they’re looking at things like Wikipedia don’t understand how tiny that entire project is, as a carve-out of this asset that’s finally being dragged into what Tim calls an architecture of participation.”

“I was having dinner with a group of friends about a month ago, and one of them was talking about sitting with his four-year-old daughter watching a DVD. And in the middle of the movie, apropos nothing, she jumps up off the couch and runs around behind the screen. That seems like a cute moment. Maybe she’s going back there to see if Dora is really back there or whatever. But that wasn’t what she was doing. She started rooting around in the cables. And her dad said, “What you doing?” And she stuck her head out from behind the screen and said, “Looking for the mouse.”

“Here’s something four-year-olds know: A screen that ships without a mouse ships broken. Here’s something four-year-olds know: Media that’s targeted at you but doesn’t include you may not be worth sitting still for.”

Looking for something?