I’m Not a Fan of Pummelvision [and Other Useless Single Purpose Apps]

Some time back – right before the clock turned over for the new year – a service called Pummelvision started making the rounds. It didn’t get very far, but a few high profile folks used it. Essentially what it did was take videos from your Facebook albums, compile them into a rapid-fire slideshow, put some funky music behind it, and automatically upload it to YouTube. Like the early-adopter lemming that I am, I tried out the service. A few of my Facebook friends openly mocked me for allowing a junky looking video hit my timeline, I took the beating, and went on with my life. Today, though, I caught a brief review of the service from The Next Web, who dubbed the service “beautiful.” I couldn’t disagree more. I reshared the post on Google Buzz, which I tagged to also go to Twitter. My exact review was: These things suck… There were entrants years ago at SxSW that were much better than this. My Extended (Bad) Review Pummelvision certainly doesn’t deserve the accolades it has been getting from early adopters or the few reviewers who’ve given it the time of day. There are dozens of services out there for creating a video slideshow of your images on a myriad of services. I’ll talk about one of my favorites (one that I discovered at SxSW ‘09) a little later called Animoto, but I know I’ve seen a handful designed to work with Flickr’s API, and the slideshow maker built into Picasa is truly top-notch. Pummlvision doesn’t allow any customization of your slideshow, no selection of background music, and doesn’t even...

Isn’t There Some Oil Spill Or Something? [Calacanis-gate]

Remember that time Scoble got his account jacked up by Facebook? Do you remember what was going on in Kenya at the time? All I’m saying is that there are probably much more important things for us to all give a shit about at the...

SxSWi Day One Wrap-Up: In Which I Meet Leo Laporte

As is my custom, I try to put together a wrap up video for each day I’m here at SxSWi. Today was an interesting day, since I spent so much of it in the studio (and the time I spent at the convention center, most things appeared to still be under construction). I had a great time speaking to a good lineup of guests on the live stream (available over at SiliconANGLE during the days of the festival), but of course spring break for Silicon Valley geeks is nothing if not about the parties.  I spent a large portion of the evening with Paul Terry Walhus of Texas Coworking (along with my cohost on the stream, Michael Sean Wright) just surveying the party landscape. We did the usual stuff, picking up crowd shots to use as B-Roll for our videos and a few interviews here and there. At one point I got swept up into the Robert Scoble aura, and Michael and I wound up on a bus with Tony Hsieh (founder of Zappos) and Frank (from @comcastcares fame). Then something strange happened. I had a fanboy moment. I’m not particularly easily phased by these sorts of things. I’m realistic about the bubble in which I work.  When I go out into the meatspace world, no one knows who John Furrier, Robert Scoble, Mike Arrington or Pete Cashmore are (and certainly not me). I’m the furthest thing from ego-inflated over what I do for a living, in reality. But I had a chance to meet Leo Laporte and shake his hand.  This is a big moment for me, even...

Robert Scoble Feels Bad that Twitter’s Lists Make Chris Brogan Feel Bad [I Think That’s Right]

Chris Brogan wrote Friday, I think it was, about how Twitter’s Lists are a way of resurrecting the “A-List,” and while they’re cool and useful have an exclusionary effect on people. I just took a look into creating my first ever Twitter list. I’m listed on over 1500 at this writing, so I figured I’d give it a go. Immediately, I realized what I’m not going to like about them: they will exclude people. Sure, on the one hand, they’re a great way to group people and information together. For instance, I might make a list for news feeds. I might make a list about travel, like hotels and airlines. But the minute you move into the people department, things get sketchy quick. In talking with friends about it on Twitter, people immediately started DM-ing me, telling me that they felt left out or even LESS important because they weren’t on any lists. Lists are exclusionary by nature. They’re static. There’s a lot of reasons why they might not be all that pleasant for people. Robert Scoble, who has pretty much turned into Twitter’s biggest evangelist again since the rollout of lists, immediately hit back at Brogan. Here, look at my list of programmers. It excludes me. That makes me feel bad, according to Chris Brogan. Except, well, I’m NOT a programmer so why should I be on a list of programmers? Sorry Chris, but life isn’t fair. Steve Gillmor tells me all the time I’m not in control of how people view me. That’s why I don’t feel bad about lists I’m not on. I CAN control my...

I Am Not an Earthling

Political neophytes Dave Winer and Robert Scoble have been once again inflicting their beliefs upon the public.  This is not particularly new stuff from them.  Ever since the primary campaigns, Dave and Robert have been showing the world why they should stick to pontificating on technology rather than politics.   Dave Winer’s post was entitled “I Am Not a Liberal,” and revolved around the mistaken concept that ‘Obama is a conservative, and so is Dave.’ Robert Scoble, never one to pass up an opportunity to alienate anyone with an ounce of conservatism, takes the “concept a step further” and proudly declares that he is “Not an American.” Judging by the responses in their comment section, both Dave and Robert have already alienated everyone from his audience who could have a different opinion than him. If you read both of the blog posts and don’t understand what’s wrong with what they said, then this post isn’t for you. Go read a couple of books on political ideology, maybe a history book or two, and come back and perhaps we can talk. For the rest of you that barely made it through Dave’s post and then halfway through Robert’s post and were either laughing or crying from stream of pseudo-facts and straight up ignorant beliefs and statements, you know what I mean. Need more insight as to what I mean?  Robert’s post is sentence fragment after sentence fragment, each followed by the refrain “I am not an American.”  Most of what he says are straw men arguements.  No one has alleged that marrying a Muslim woman doesn’t make you American. I...

This is an intervention, Robert…

Robert Scoble has been hanging out with Mike Arrington a lot lately, or so it would seem. Ever since he was announced as a “TechCrunch Expert” back in mid-August, he’s been channeling the fervor and unqualified attacks we generally only see come from Mike after he’s been on a three week blogging bender with no sleep. And don’t get me wrong – we all know Mike Arrington is a jerk. It’s part of the persona he uses to sell Techcrunch with. He likes to get angry and block folks with little provocation. Likewise, it’s no secret he’s had a hate-on for Mashable for a long time. He maintains a Deadpool. I’ve even, on occasion, expressed empathy to exactly how he got to be so bitter and cutthroat. The truth is that I’ve had a lot of folks come at me with the unprovoked accusation that Robert lobbed at Mashable just two weeks after he joined the TC Expert panel: “I think it’s funny to read this from a site that regularly just reprints press releases from companies without really using the stuff they are writing about.” Of course, Robert, like everyone else that’s said that to us, has at least two things in common: 1) They can’t prove that statement.2) They eventually admit or it becomes obvious that they got that idea from Mike. It’s an easy enough thing to prove, particularly if you’re a blogger. Everyone gets the same press releases in their email. Simply run a search based on text from the press releases. If we’re in the habit of doing that, it shouldn’t take long to...

Fav.or.it Really Bothers Me

I’ve actually never spent a whole lot of time on Fav.or.it. Whenever Louis Gray made a big deal of them a while back, I covered the back and forth and the finer points either side had to make, but I was in a place where I was all full up on early adopting and didn’t have a chance to try out the site in great depth, only to look over the feature list and get an idea on how they worked. In my coverage, though, I implored Robert Scoble and Adam Ostrow to explain the allure to me: I’m really asking this question to people like Adam and Scoble, both of whom have used the system and seemed to like it (as well as any of the folks in our readership that have grabbed any of our freely available invite codes). If you are seeing something that Louis and I are missing, please explain it to me. Robert and Louis had some follow-up comments via Twitter, but they didn’t exactly explain why I should go ga-ga over things. Fast-forward to today. I’m working on a project relating to my new take/eureka. As a part of that, I’m looking for legal, quality sources of technology news that I can pay to syndicate to a website as a way to provide context to editorial and other types of content on the site (without going out and hiring a news staff). It isn’t a cheap proposition, but working at Mashable, I know what a hassle it can be to headhunt quality writing talent for news stories, when normally everyone you hire for...

The Current Podcast Renaissance

Friday evening, my fellow Mashable writer Steven Hodson sat in on a sort of round-table podcast with Profy writer Cyndy Aleo-Carreira, Inquisitr‘s (and occasional Mashable contributor) Duncan Riley, and Cyndy’s husband (sorry, didn’t catch his name!). It’s apparently destined to become a weekly thing, and another instance of members of the alleged “rat pack” spidering out into all parts of the blogosphere. I like to think this trend all began with the ‘rat pack’ podcast “Elite Tech News,” the weekly foray into tech as decided by the L33t Reddit Filter. The podcast is unofficially part of the Mashable family of podcasts (but in no way owned by Mashable, and is not a Mashable property – in fact, we really don’t even think of it as a property). The management never explicitly sanctioned it, but somehow I got away with throwing it online into the site’s mix (I think I asked someone at some point, but no one can remember who okayed it – not even me). Four members of the rat pack panel are in some way affiliated with the Mashable, and Sean P. Aune and Adam Ostrow have been past guest panelists (as have Allen Stern and Robert Scoble), hence the unofficial Mashable affiliation. Still, VentureBeat‘s MG Seigler, The Blog Herald‘s Jason Kaneshiro and ReadWriteWeb‘s Frederic Lardinois have all been members of the l33t tech squad since the beginning. The idea for a podcast grew organically as the group came together, but as one of the people who suggested it (you knew it had to be me, right?), I can say that I was inspired by Leo Laporte’s...

Robert Scoble is Wrong – Short Form Video Rocks

The upload process took a lot longer than I expected (I need to encode to a slightly smaller format, apparently), but I managed to eek out an under-produced response to Robert Scoble’s assertion that short-form inherently doesn’t lend itself to high engagement (and is thus less prone to monetization). We’ll test that theory. As I said, leave your comments (video or otherwise) here on the post, and we’ll see if you’re engaged in this conversation or not. /rizzn PS: With regards to this type of stuff as a series – this isn’t the ultimate final product of how I want my series to look (or even the typical subject matter). Talking about video all day with all of you fine folks made me want to jump in and do something, though. This is the general idea in terms of how I want it to looked. Imagine this video post with intros, outros, a bit of music and some dressing up with captions and such, and you get my general...

Who Here Uses Kyte?

I’ve been tasked to look into Kyte over at Mashable in connection with one of our side projects. I used the product a long time ago, and I’m sure the service has changed radically since then. The last time I used it, it would crash my browser half the time, and the other half, it wouldn’t really play anything resembling video. None the less, it sounded like an interesting concept at the time. At this moment, though, I’m only nominally familiar with the product line over there. I’ll likely be taking a close look at it during some point during the week, but I know a number of my readers have used it extensively (I’m looking at you Robert Scoble). As I haven’t gotten comments working using my FriendFeed engine yet, go ahead and head over to FriendFeed or Twitter or my email and respond with your thoughts on the topic. Specifically: What is Kyte good for? What does it excel at? Where does it suck? Is it in the UStream space, the Utterz space, or some as of yet undefined space? Thanks for all the response (how’s that for...

Excuse the Dust

My site (rizzn.com, for those of you viewing this somewhere else), is undergoing some major changes. Robert Scoble, a few days ago, was talking about his diminished influence via his blog somewhere (probably FriendFeed). That got me to thinking of the value of my personal domain simply displaying only my blog content and a list of headlines of what I write at Mashable. My personal influence is distributed all over the place. Digg, Reddit, Twitter, YouTube, Mashable, Google Reader, and FriendFeed, in no particular order. I suppose I could throw up a bunch of widgets here on the site and be done with it, but what I’d rather have is an integrated experience. What I’m trying to create here at Rizzn.com, essentially, is a showcase for what I do everywhere. FriendFeed’s API is going to be a central piece to all of this, since it’s where I think the conversation is moving to for my circle of friends, but also because it aggregates everything I do elsewhere. You’ll see my FriendFeed, er, feed, along with what I say on these various items very prominently listed on the front page. Within the next few days, you’ll also see FriendFeed become the way I power my comments system. Goodbye Disqus (not that I didn’t like you, I just like FriendFeed better!), and definitely goodbye Blogger comments. And yes, I’ll be making this available as a service or product or something soon. Stay tuned...