Category Archives: Social Media

Counting down to AMT School

Time has been flying by at an alarming rate and not in a good way. I have lots of day job stuff to get done and a short time to do it all. Motivation is sorely lacking on the mundane tasks that just need to get done. I really need to get boots on the ground to get it all done.

I haven’t had a lot to post about airplane project wise, but I have been working on my welding and composite skills for day job projects. With everything going on, the workshop has become a bit of a mess and needs another good cleaning. I only have 20 more days to get it all done because AMT school starts in three weeks.

Aside from wrestling with the lack of motivation I have been working through some technology issues for the home network. We changed ISP’s from Comcast to AT&T just shy of two weeks ago. HUGE mistake. I don’t really like ether one but in the battle of the lesser evils, Comcast wins this round.

We DSL for many years. Our line was one of the first ones in our area nearly 15 years ago, back then it was awesome. Over time service became cludgy and outages more and more frequent. We tried to go with a higher level of service but they couldn’t get good service out to us because of our distance from the switching station. Enter Comcast about 5 years ago. The service is much faster but Comcast filters some traffic for load balancing every now and then and they prioritize traffic flows in ways that don’t benefit me (selfish I know).

Since it had been some time since we switched to broadband and technology has improved over the years, Pac Bell, our original DSL provider became SBC, then AT&T, we thought the equipment in the field might have improved a bit. No such luck. Our connection was almost as slow as dial-up! Okay, that might be an exaggeration but it did take 15 minutes to load a 5 minute video and Netflix was constantly stopping and restarting, a problem we did not have with Comcast.

Saturday night I called Comcast to see what it would take to get back on line with them. I still had all of the equipment so after a 15 minute phone call we were back on line with them and our internal network was completely switched over. I was very pleased with the results of the call. With everything switched over and running back up to speed I called, well tried to call, AT&T to cancel service.

After navigating there Byzantine help system I managed to find an article on how to cancel service. The 800 number has two notes; call during business hours (Monday through Friday 8-5 Central) and In order to route your call quickly please say “cancel service” when prompted. NOT.

The first call (yes, first call) took me through there again Byzantine phone-cyborg who routed me to the wrong department who then routed me through another phone-cyborg loop which eventually put me on hold for several minutes before hanging up on me. The second call routed me better, I think the system is trained to recognize certain phrases including expletives. Once with the right department I was put on hold for 53 minutes before an agent answered the phone.

By this time I was at the point I really wanted to bite someones head off. Seeing as it isn’t the agents fault, and with the system that busy, it’s likely that most of there other callers were pissed off and they didn’t need my help in getting into a bad mood, I played it cool. The agent was very pleasant and took care of the task at hand quickly. At least the last five minutes of the ordeal was not bad. Unless AT&T runs fiber right up to my modem for free, they wont see my business again any time soon.

On the good news side of things and having a bit to do with aviation, I redid the header graphics for the site, go ahead scroll back to the top of the page if you need to but it’s just a little house cleaning. I did make some changes to the social network links. I removed the Foursquare link, mainly because I don’t think I will be using it that much longer. I added a new graphic and link to Google+. If your scratching your head saying “What’s Google+?” take a look here.

I am hoping to do more with G+ in the future. There are some great tools for group sharing and communications. If you are interested in G+ but need an invitation please let me know and I will be happy to invite you. So far I find it very promising and I am looking forward to seeing what they have in store before it is released into the wild.

Until next time, blue skies and tailwinds,
~FlyBoyJon

Digital Media Revolution: Disparate Infrastructure Is The Enemy

I was scanning my Twitter feed and came across this tweet from @AllenChou;

“40% of broadband households watch full-length TV shows over Internet yet TV/Film Distribs not making $”

So I checked out the article Allen linked to. In part it says…

DIGITAL: Study shows industry needs to find better business model By Susanne Ault — Video Business, 11/11/2009

“NOV. 11 | DIGITAL: U.S. broadband households watching TV shows and movies online has doubled over 2008, according to a Parks Associates study.

More than 25 million U.S. households regularly watch full-length TV shows online, and more than 20 million watch movies. Parks singled out free, ad-supported online video-on-demand site Hulu.com as driving people to watch such programming on the Web…”

DigitalDelemaWhile this article focuses on distributor’s need to modify their business model to better monetize internet distribution, it brings something more to the table in my eyes.

At a time when media content is produced for many distribution mediums, the question has been how to distribute across platforms. The solution is not more, it is less. The aging infrastructure in America has become a collection of disparate distribution platforms; broadcast television and radio, cable, satellite, internet, and telephone. All of them use different protocols and systems, but they don’t have to.

In the last decade some of the large communications conglomerates have made some headway in providing multiple services over their primary medium. The problem is that all of them are continuing to provide services to the end user on the same disparate and aging infrastructure they started with. Making it even more interesting, all of them use the same data between distribution points, the disparity is in the head-end to user segment.

The answers to monetizing media exists in a wide range of solutions via the internet, pay-per-view, subscription, and more. The best way to get to greater profit margins is to kill off the antiquated mediums and eliminate the expenses in using them. IP based distribution of broadcast television, radio, cable, satellite, and telephone is available via the internet. What needs to happen is a standardization of infrastructure. The user end is simple: provide an Ethernet connection and all of the services are available with little or no changes on the consumer’s end. By choosing a unified and standardized infrastructure media producers/distributors can focus on making the media available and increasing margins.

A simple example is HBO or Showtime. They don’t need cable TV or satellite providers to get their media to market. A simple login to a subscription-based service can grant access to all the media. The advantage to the consumer is lower prices and the ability to select exactly what media they want access to. No intermediate contract obligations to keep the consumer tied to “licensed channels” on a carrier and the benefits of time shifted media; see what you want, when you want it. Media producers have significant advantages, too. The inherent demographic and statistical data, active and accurate viewership data. Quantifiable data for advertisers.

Another example is broadcast media. If a TV station stopped broadcasting its outbound only signal and focused its resources on providing free WiFi for an area, distributed its media via the internet, its programing made available world wide, it would be a greater value to its viewers and its advertisers. It would also reduce its own operating costs and free up the radio frequency spectrum.

Main stream media and large media producers hold the key. It is up to them to make things happen. It requires them to change the way they look at their content, it requires thinking in an Open Source mindset. The larger the number of potential viewers the better. Things like DRM don’t help protect your media, it makes the media less accessible. Likewise proprietary viewers or binding to specific players make your media less accessible, and thereby less attractive to consumers. I purchased the movie UP with the “Digital Copy” disk from Disney. I don’t have an iPod or iPhone, I have a BlackBerry. Because the iTunes/Windows Media Player is only options for viewing the DRM’d movie, it is completely useless to me. So why would I buy a DVD with this “bonus?”

There is nothing wrong with charging for your content and the public recognizes that. If HBO stopped selling its programing to cable and satellite and distributed consumer direct via internet only the content they produce would reach more viewers and provide them with more feedback and data from their viewers with no intermediaries. How would they fare financially? With the die-hard fans of many HBO programs, I think they would exceed current margins in 2 years or less and recoup any costs of the change in business model in less than 5 years.

These kinds of changes would also create new distribution channels for independent media producers. Without the constraints of programing time slots and the possibility of infinite catalogs, channels could purchase or license indi productions directly. It even provides the opportunity to list the property and pay content producers on a residual basis. The possibilities are endless.

Overall, a high quality broadband internet connection should be freely available to everyone, a network of regulated free WiFi and hard line solutions, provided by a consortium of fed, state, and local governments, service providers, media providers, and businesses. Contributors to the national WiFi network get a tax break for being a part of the infrastructure. It’s green, it reduces consumer cost, it reduces provider cost, and it enhances viable infrastructure while removing old disparate technologies. It really is a win win for everyone, but it starts with content providers and infrastructure.

If a cell phone can connect, you should be able to get it all.

Life of the FlyBoy

BlackBerry Curve 8330, The CrackBerryTime has flown by the last couple of weeks. This is going to be a catch up post rather than a topical one, though several things are related.

First off, the Thrill The World event I am working on with Grave Mistake has been going strong. We have had two Dance Workshops so far and had around 20 people at each. The group has 58 people registered so far making it likely that we will be over 100 for the event. It is still very possible to hit 250, which is my ‘goal’ for the event. I have managed to get two short videos produced and I am putting together more media for the project now. As you can see this project has kept me hopping by itself.

And of course, if you are in the Silicon Valley and want to learn Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ dance come out to one of the free workshops. 😉 *Shameless plug, cause I’m a producer*

Other things in the chute include getting a visit from an old producing partner two weeks ago. He expressed an interest in me working on a couple of projects with him. I am interested, but was very up front about my expectations from him. I think that might have soured the deal as he was supposed to send some information to me to use in developing a preproduction/development budget and I haven’t heard back from him. In truth, I wasn’t holding my breath.

On the good side of producing, I was encouraged by his interest in me working on a couple of films, and decided to drag out a story I have been developing for a few years. I finally have two and a half acts laid out, and a screen play well under way. This is most definitely a labor of love, so the time laps is not all that frustrating. I also think that my returning to the original plan (I wrote about this lat time in Writing for Screen) was a good move.

There are of course the requisite ‘subsistence’ projects that I do to keep afloat during long development stretches as well.

I know I have mentioned social media interests and projects that I have been implementing in previous posts and now one of the tools I have been waiting for has arrived… yes, I am now a member of the CrackBerry (read as BlackBerry) set. I considered both the BlackBerry and the iPhone and opted for the one more oriented to business applications and durability. I am hard on cell phones and have been wanting to do more with mobile media so it was a natural choice. The QWERTY keypad is a godsend for mobile data. I am still getting used to having a really useful phone, but it is fun getting there. With a little work I will be posting more media here and on my twitter feed.

Now it’s time to take The Boy for a hair cut before he starts High School. 😉