Today wasn’t very productive for me. Sometimes it’s tough being an idea guy.

My mind has been racing with a thousand ideas, things that I’ve had planned for a while, projects I want to do, but simply don’t have time to do them. In the near future, here, when PoddedMeat and OblongBox start bringing in the revenue, I’ll have the capital to afford some programmers and get them done. In the mean time, I hope the ideas don’t evaporate from my head (and I maintain the self-discipline to get what needs to be done accomplished).

Here’s my thought process today.

I read an article last night that suggest to properly promote video works, you need to post it to all the two bit video sites, not just YouTube and GoogleVideo. So today I worked up a comprehensive list of all the video sites I could muster and downloaded all the upload clients, and have been steadily trafficking scads of video up to these various sites (if you notice my video blog, you’ll see I’ve also been looking around a bit at their content as well).

One that I found that was particularly interesting was one called MetaCafe. It has an interesting concept for it’s download client. Most of these sites, their download client is simply for uploading video – MetaCafe’s client re-introduces the ‘veg factor’ into on-demand video, something that I think has been sorely lacking.

One of the elements I wanted to put into the show we did on podcasting clients was the weaknesses I saw in all the podcatching clients (which is the same weakness I see in all PVR systems as well, incidentally) – and that is they remove the veg-factor from TV viewing.

Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love on-demand, and I love podcasting and vodcasting. The problem is that if you think to your own TV viewing habits, they very likely don’t match up to the world of on-demand yet. Unless you’re actually sitting down to watch something specific, you’ve likely just got the TV on in the background, or you’ve got the news on that you’re halfway paying attention to, or you’ve got some music video station playing. Something like that.

YouTube and GoogleVideo’s content is primarily comprised of background noise style videos. Music Videos, idiots jumping off buildings while on fire, mentos in coke bottles, kittens falling asleep, stuff like this. Unless you’re just killing time, you’ve probably not got the time like I do every day to sit and surf the site and hit play every 25 seconds. You’re likely using the on-demand videos to spice up your MySpace page or to occasionally watch something someone sent you in an email.

Back to MetaCafe. They have an auto-download function. Basically, you flag the types of multimedia you like to watch, and it’ll automatically download it for you. Then you turn on “TV Mode” and it’ll play it continuous mix style, deleting old watched content. It’s like streaming TV, but more like clickerless stream of consciousness TV.

This reminds me of two things, specifically. The first thing that comes to mind is a little known (anymore) application called PointCast. Back in the late 90’s, screensavers were the bomb, and whenever you got tired of your flying toasters, you could download PointCast, which would every night dial up your internet connection, and download news of all types. Then the next day, it would display headlines and pictures and all kinds of good stuff on your screen when you weren’t doing anything. It failed, of course, because they relied too heavily on people looking at ads, when presumably the application only turned on whenever you weren’t at your computer.

The other thing MetaCafe reminds me of is that one very short scene in the Matrix where Neo is sitting at his home computer, and he runs a search on “the matrix” and “morpheus” and all these newspaper articles and text and photo feeds scroll past his screen at superfast speed. The Hollywood version of Google News, I suspect.

Thing is, I think that’s cool. I’ve always wanted that application. It’s a relatively simple thing to write. The chatter and technology both exist out there. RSS provides us with any kind of content we need, combined with the wires or Technorati, or podcast and vodcast feeds.

I envision a piece of software that you can run on a home entertainment PC like device that will stay connected to the internet, and whenever you’re not watching stuff on TV or whatever, it’ll start up, and display headlines, news images, blog headlines, and random vodcast and YouTube style videos. While it’s primarily text and images on the screen, it’ll play mellow chillout music of your genre choice (like the Weather Channel does inbetween forecasts, while it’s doing your local thing).

Come on, you know that’s a damn cool idea.

I almost don’t care if someone steals it, as long as it gets done, and I get a free copy.

I’ve also got a few more ideas on re-introducing the veg-factor back into on-demand programming, but I’ll get into that a little later. I think I’ve hit my limit at the moment for time I can devote to waxing philosophical on stuff that I don’t have time to do today.


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