May 31, 2008

PluggedIn - Tried and Denied

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There was a new music video channel launched not too long ago called PluggedIn. They use the same Media Player as ABC, FOX, Discovery from Move Networks. This is so far my favorite online video player, aside from Hulu. However, I tried to view the site in IE7 which loaded, but pretty much didn't do anything else. So... I tried viewing it in my Opera browser (the latest version) and the video says:
We're sorry, but only the following browsers are supported on your operating system at this time:

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.5 or later
Mozilla Firefox 1.5 or later

Please check back later for support for other browsers.


So I was unable to check the site out. I don't have Firefox installed on this computer at this time. I was rather happy with the IE7 and Opera combo. I guess I will install Firefox eventually, but wtf.

So anyway, it does look like a pretty cool site, if you can check it out without any problems please let us all know what you think, leave a comment.

May 28, 2008

Bloggin-ads.com Contest - 2 Macbook Airs and $1k cash!

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I was strolling through the blogosphere just now and bumped into a contest post at bloggin-ads.com. Bloggin-ads does blog reviews for many bloggers all around the bloggin world. This is a really innovative contest because they have put up such expensive prizes. Yes, there are many sites out there giving away cool stuff, but half of them can't even afford a Macbook Air for themselves, much less give one away.... much less give TWO away! So I was intrigued. I wanted in on this contest. I want a Macbook Air.

So take my advice... join the contest, or just read some kickass blog reviews.

May 27, 2008

Beta testing of TheWB.com and their Internet TV solution

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So, as I was wandering through the InterWeb, I was checking out some network TV sites to share with my readers (that would be you). I came across TheWB.com and to my surprise they are way behind the other networks, at least in the Internet TV world. That is OK, why? Because I believe that since they have had time to reflect on themselves and come up with something really cool. At least I hope they do. I mean, they should, what with all the time it has taken. And they want ME... and YOU to beta test.

Being a beta tester means I will be able to watch full episodes of All Of Us, Blue Water High, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dangerous, Friends, Gilmore Girls, One Tree Hill, Smallville, The OC and Veronica Mars.

So I signed up, yes I decided I would be part of their beta testing team and report my findings here. Let all my loyal readers know how the whole TV watching experience on TheWB.com turns out. It will give me something new to watch and something new and cool to write about. I recieved an email when I signed up and I figured for starters I would share what it said.

We can't thank you enough for your interest and support of
TheWB.com and we're psyched that you'd like to join
our beta test group.

Your info has been received by our account managers and once
your account is approved, you'll receive an email from us
confirming your application. This may take up to a week. Please
know that we haven't forgotten about you, we just have a lot of
names to sift through. The response has been a little
overwhelming!

Thanks again for applying to our test group. The WB is back.

Best,

Brent & The WB Team


Now I am not sure if they base this testing on any certain criteria. I did mention that I had a blog about Internet TV, hoping that will help convince them some. Who knows, maybe they just want regular folks, not someone that works in the industry. Also, I am not sure if any of the personal info determines eligibility. If you would like to apply and give it a shot, goto TheWB.com. They will get you taken care of.

Come on back and leave a comment telling us all how it goes.

May 26, 2008

Spike Lee announces the winners of Babelgum Online Film Festival

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It actually took me several days to post this, sorry. The reason behind the delay is simply that my Babelgum Player will not launch. It just sits there in "initializing" mode. I will post the winners below with their trailers embedded, but if you want to watch the whole films then you must download Babelgum Player here first. Good luck getting it to work.

So Spike Lee was the leader of the panel and made the final decisions on who won. I respect the opinion of Spike Lee, he has had some rather controversial eye opening films that had won many awards as well.

Here is what was posted on the Babelgum Blog.

Last night, chairman of the jury Spike Lee announced the winners of the first Babelgum Online Film Festival at a gala ceremony in Cannes, and presented them with their well-deserved prizes. Click here to see the list of winning films.

After the exciting awards ceremony, the filmmakers (and jurors!) celebrated into the small hours at chic nightspot Le Baoli. The winners of the audience contest - Jennifer Shorr and Jimmy Philémond-Montout - were also there to join in the celebrations.

Congratulations to all the winners! Interviews with each of them and footage from the ceremony will be coming very soon on Babelgum so watch this space.


And now the winners, their trailers, and a little info.

Andrea Lodovichetti
Category: Looking For Genius
Experimental Centre of Cinematography (2004-2006). He has been assistant director of Paolo Sorrentino since 2005. He has been awarded several prizes at national and international competitions.

SOTTO IL MIO GIARDINO (UNDER MY GARDEN) (Italy)
Marco, a 10-year old boy with a passion for insects, is convinced that his neighbour has killed his wife and has buried her under his garden, the evidence being a large ant-nest he has been carefully examining for a while. He decides to carry out some investigations but only reveals his thoughts to his little friend, Sara.

Credits:
Director and Writer - Andrea Lodovichetti
Writers - Luca Caprara, Roberto Santini
Actors - Stefano Bottone, Alessandra Pellegrino, Max Amato, Katia Nani, Dino Spinella, Kasia Zurakowska, Gisella Spinelli
Producer - Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia
Babelgum

Rémy Schaepman
Category: Animation
I was born in 1986 in the south of France, and I am currently studying animation art in Gobelins, l'Ecole de l'Image, in Paris.

QUIDAM DÉGOMME (A SHEEP ON A ROOF) (France)
A man is confronted with the change of his day-to-day existence following the landing of a sheep on the roof of the house opposite. A surreal sequence of events unfolds, set to a foot-tapping soundtrack. The grey Paris metro takes on a whole new lease of life… but how does our main character react?

Credits:
Director and Writer - Rémy Schaepman
Producer - Georges Nawrocki
Other - Daniel Capeille
Babelgum

De Bemels Antonin
Category: Music
Antonin is a video and audio artist from Brussels, Belgium. His main areas of interest are movement and the human body, and the dynamic relationship between sounds and images.

MOUTHFACE (Belgium)
And what if you had three mouths instead of one? MOUTHFACE is a music video from Michael Fakesch (Funkstorung). Music = weird funky electronica. Video = web-cam style freaky self-portrait.

Credits:
Director and actor - Antonin De Bemels
Other - Michael Fakesch
Babelgum

Brian Deane
Category: Social/Environment
Brian is a young Writer/Director from Cork in Ireland. Without Words is his first film and deals with a topic thats very important to him. He is a recent graduate from the Huston School of Film and ...

WITHOUT WORDS (Ireland)
We live in a world where technology has given us the tools to communicate but not the ability. Without Words is a very personal film about two close friends who have to pay a very high price for our failure, as a society, to connect.

Credits:
Director - Brian Deane
Writers - Brian Deane, Aine Young
Producer - Evelyn O’Reilly
Actors - Larry McGowran, Robert Kelly
Other - Katie Looney
Publisher - John Huston School of Film and Digital Media
Babelgum

Patrick Curd
Category: Short Film
Writer/Director Richard Recco on set of Officer Down. Richard Recco has been a professional semi- figurative abstract painter since the age of 22. He graduated from the New York Film Academy ...

OFFICER DOWN (USA)
For non-believers, this is a compelling story about a bad cop turned good. For believers, it’s about faith working miracles. Whatever their religious leanings, this film scored so highly with Babelgum audiences that you could hardly see it for all the positive posts popping up on the screen.

Credits:
Director - Richard Recco
Producer - Patrick Curd
Babelgum

Emmanuel Exitu
Category: Documentary
Emmanuel Exitu was born in Italy, in Bologna. He moved to Rome where he worked as a screen writer. He also worked as a cinematographer for the Teatro di Documenti founded by Luciano Damiani, Luca Ronconi and Giuseppe Sinopoli.

GREATER – DEFEATING AIDS (Italy)
This is billed as a non-documentary and watching the way it pulls together various stories about a group of Ugandan women who are HIV positive, we soon realise that we’re seeing life there in a way we might not in the mainstream. Inspiring characters who are full of a zest for life tell us their stories, show us their dances and it feels by the end as though the filmmaker has been the vehicle by which we enter this particular world, rather than the person telling us how to perceive it.

Credits:
Filmmaker, Writer and Producer - Emmanuel Exitu

[TRAILER NOT AVAILABLE]

Ambroise Becchio
Category: Spot Advertising
I was born in January 1981 in the suburbs of Paris (Saint Maurice), France. My father is half Italian and my mom was a Russian refugee. I am bilingual French-Russian. My love for the cinema and staging came when I was a young boy, I was amazed by Chaplin's movies and tried making people laugh by imitating him.

THE POCKET CROSSBORDER (France)
An ad for the quick and easy and probably quite fun way of crossing a border – be a human cannonball. But don’t try this at home or on a border you can legitimately get across because helmet and armour are not included, ok? This film rocketed in the Babelgum audience’s views.

Credits:
Director, Writer and Producer - Ambroise Becchio
Actor - Nicolas Russeil
Other - Linda Brisson, Laurent Gilli, Charlotte Graillat
Babelgum

Again, I am not sure why my Babelgum Player is whacked out, but if you have any suggestions on getting it to work again, please leave a comment. THANKS!

May 25, 2008

Testing Silverlight 2 beta - Microsoft Silverlight Showcase

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I have decided that with all the hype lately about Silverlight, that I would try it out again. The last time I tried Silverlight, I was on a Vista eqipped machine. I started having problems watching the Move Networks player on ABC.com. I uninstalled Silverlight thinking that is what was causing my problem. Apparently not, I guess the Move Networks video player wasn't Vista ready at the time. I was also very confused about what the Silverlight software was supposed to do.

Now Microsoft is in their beta stage for Silverlight 2. The newer version has many more features, mainly for developers to integrate more functionality into their Silverlight projects. In fact, today I thought I would install the beta Silverlight 2. I checked out the Silverlight Showcase, a rather large collection of games, video sites and photo slideshows that use the new technology. I really do like what Microsoft is trying to do with their new software, but I am still unsure if Silverlight does much more than Adobe Flash. From the outside it seems a little unique, but I bet it's whats under the hood that counts.

If you would like to check out Silverlight 1, the stable release, click here. Or Silverlight 2 beta, then click here. Or if you are a web developer looking for the tools and information to make use of Silverlight, then click here.

Then afterwards come check out the showcase filled with Silverlight projects.

May 21, 2008

Hulu gains some high profile partners as they grow

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Hulu.com has partnered up with some big names. They are being featured on some top priority websites as well as taking on more TV networks which means more great TV shows for us internet viewers. In addition to the web side of things, they have also picked up some larger advertisers. It looks like folks are really snuggling up to the idea of the hulu concept. As technology gets better, hulu will only get better... so it only makes sense that these companies jump in now while the water is still calm.

Hulu videos will now be distributed on entertainment and social network sites TV.com, TVGuide.com, BuddyTV.com, Flixster.com, MyYearbook.com, Break.com and Zap2it.com, said Hulu Chief Executive Jason Kilar at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit.


Read the FULL article at Reuters

Move Networks - Moving on up?

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Move networks pairs up with Microsoft to enhance their already popular streaming technology with Silverlight, Microsofts new competitor for Adobe's (formerly Macromedia) Flash Player. The new software is said to improve the magnificent quality we already experience. Move Networks is the technology behind popular web TV sites "full episode" players such as ABC, CW, FOX and The Discovery Channel.

I love the technology behind Move Networks streaming player. There is no buffering, the video plays almost instantaniously. The sound is excellent, and yes, it supports my love for surround sound. The best part about the streaming is that the quality is dependent on your download speed. If you are watching a TV program via the Move Media plugin while downloading in the background, the player adjusts the picture quality accordingly with the spike in bandwidth, as the downloads relieve some of that bandwidth, the player quality gets better. So if you watch your internet TV programs without anything stealing the bandwidth, you should experience high quality video.

What this really means, is that if you have a slower broadband connection you should still be able to view the videos, just at a lesser quality than that of the faster connections. All this without having to wait for a buffer or for half (or even all) of the video to finish downloading before you are able to watch. Nothing worse than waiting for a show to download just to find out you already seen it or that it is just really lame.

May 20, 2008

Entrecard releases NEW features for bloggers - WIN 75,000 EC!

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Entrecard.com - Yesterday I bounced on over to entrecard to see how my EC advertising campaigns were going, when I noticed a message. A message for me? No. It seems that the virtual business card we have all grown to love has added some pretty exciting features, a step-by-step official entrecard e-book and a contest worth 75,000 EC credits. They got my attention, I am so excited I think I might wet myself. I can't wait to take advantage of some of the new features, like the ability to add multiple blogs. I mean I do have a few more blog ideas that have yet to be unleashed. I just hate having to login to several accounts, hell I have trouble thinking of so many passwords. Another new feature is a front page aggrigation system that posts your blogs most recent posts, driving even more traffic to your blogs. Campaign tabs that help you sort through all the awesome entrecard users sites. A top droppers feed so you can keep track of your entrecard fanclub and even give props to the folks who drop daily. The top droppers stats are in the form of an RSS feed, so with the right widgets or plug-ins you can post them in your sidebar or write a post about it. The oppurtunities are endless.

The e-book was put together rather well. It is pretty informative and should get a newbie up and running in no time. Teaches you the tricks of the trade, and opens up brand new oppurtunities you may have overlooked. Entrecard really put themselves out there to help you get the most out of their service. I did notice one problem with the e-book though. On like page 9 or so there is a section that talks about "multiple blogs" saying:



If you have multiple blogs that you would like to add Entrecard to, you are certainly allowed to do so. However, you must register a separate account for each blog. We are working hard on a feature that will let you merge all your accounts into one, but until the feature is complete you must open separate accounts.

Disregard that, as it was written before the new "linked blogs" feature was finished. That is the feature that allows you to switch between any of your blogs in entrecard with just a click, saving you time while dropping cards for your other blogs. Since they released the news about the e-book and the Multiple Blogging feature at the same time, there is going to be a clash or two. I read the e-book from beginning to end as soon as it finished downloading, and I plan on using some of the tips I recieved while I do my dropping today.

Download the official Entrecard e-book here.

And finally!!! The Contest!!! 75,000 EC!!!
That is right, entrecard.com is giving away a grand total of 75,000 EC And all you have to do is try out their multiple blogging system by adding another blog to your account today!

So Sign up or log in now and check out the new features.

Good Luck and Happy Dropping!

May 19, 2008

Mania TV - What's New? We will see.

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Mania TV - I just happened upon a website that offers some interesting Comedy channels, a few full length episodes and even some LIVE programming. The LIVE programming is certainly different than what I am used to seeing while surfing the InterWeb for TV shows to watch and download.

At first glance Mania TV looked like another tube site or a membership based business model. However I was able to watch a full episode of the Dave Navarro talk show, Spread TV. The player is Adobe Flash based so there was no downloading of any special media players or plug-ins. The Video was great at small screen with minimal buffering, but the full screen mode was a bit pixelated, which is fairly normal with most flash players used for full episodes. If you sit back a few feet from your computer this will be tolerable. The audio was not surround sound compatible. There was minimal selections to view, many clips and trailers or "minisodes", but overall I enjoyed watching.

I even took the extra step to register. I do like comedy and there was some interesting titles I want to check out later. Plus I want to stay informed in case they expand their selection. I do recommend the site since there is no mandatory registration before viewing. Signup was free and easy.

Here is a sample minisode I thought I would share.

Comedy RoadTrip: EP 2: Competitive Edge


Powered by maniaTV.com

May 17, 2008

Joost - Download and watch HUNDREDS of popular TV shows

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Joost.com - Back when I initially signed up and started watching Internet TV on Joost, It was in beta and invite only. I managed to get my invite from an industry friend not even knowing what I was getting myself into. I must say I was VERY pleased. Even back then they had quite a selection of internet shows to choose from. Many of these shows were old reruns of the popular TV programs I used to watch as a kid. I didn't mind catching up on the old times so I found myself watching and watching until I ran out of interest. However, upon clicking around the software and viewing some of the many channels and categories they offered, I found myself watching plenty of comedy shorts from some popular independent websites and online only networks. I also liked watching the plentiful documentaries varying from everything about animals to other cultures and events throughout the world.

Since then - They have grew very nicely. They have TONS more content to choose from, including several motion picture channels, many newer shows from popular Television Networks. They have added many new independent web studios as well, and even more documentaries. Overall, Joost is very well my favorite of the downloadable Internet TV streaming players. The commercials are short and unobtrusive, hell some channels have little or no commercials at all. Now that adds to an already satisfying viewing pleasure.

More recently - Joost has fixed several bugs and brought itself out of beta mode. The newer version is much more stable, and adds a bunch more functionality. It is community driven so it has features to chat with other folks that happen to be watching the same shows as yourself. I don't take full advantage of this feature as it takes away from the actual viewing, but I am easily distracted. They have added so much content and new channels that it is easy to get lost watching stuff you never thought you would catch yourself watching. But that is the fun of it all.

In closing - I would like to add that the Graphical User Interface for the Joost software is very well designed and easy on the eyes. It is much quicker and easier to navigate as opposed to the VeOh TV and BabelGum apps. More on them later.

If you are a Joost watcher, leave a comment and let us know your experiences with the software.

May 16, 2008

Hulu - Free Full Length Motion Pictures

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Hulu.com - Hulu is an online TV broadcaster that is ran by 36 year old CEO Jason Kilar. Kilar worked for several years as senior VP at amazon.com while helping launch amazons DVD division.

What sets them apart from others? - The best thing about Hulu is the variety and quantity of content. The full length films are great to watch and without being too pushy with commercial advertising. The fact that there is no software needed to be downloaded and installed makes them stand out from the crowd. Many full seasons and full episodes from many of the older shows we all loved and lost. As a matter of fact, you can set up a queue to add any video clips and episodes you choose to watch in whatever order you choose. You can just lie in bed and let a couple movies play back to back and throw a few SNL clips in between for an interlude. Many possibilities, Great site.

You can view the shows in full screen or even "dim the lights" while it plays within the web window. This is a feature that places a transparent tint to the site surrounding the players viewing window, minimizing any distractions you may have from the bright background.

If you have a blog or a social profile on the web, you can share the shows you like with friends. The player provides an embed code during each show that you can paste anywhere you want, you can really spruce up your Myspace or Facebook profiles. However, they do remove episodes from time to time. Mostly just for adding newer shows. If you embed a show that is later removed, the player will display a few small sample pics and link to hulu to watch other episodes or movies from the series. Allowing you to change the code at any time.

Useability - The website itself is pretty easy to navigate. You choose between TV or Movies which then gives its suggestions based on categories labeled Most Popular, Newest, and Featured. There is a bar across the top of the page allowing you to chose by Studio, Alphebetical, or Collections as well. They used to have a Genre button but it seems to have been removed. Once you choose your list, say Alphebetical... You then see rows upon rows of great titles. Even a little icon to mark the Full episodes and Full length films, making it easier to avoid small clips and trailers and get to the good stuff.

Audio/Video Quality - The downfall is in the sound department. The audio embedded in the flash player does not have surround sound capabilities, so the movies can only be played from 2 speakers. Most computers these days are equipped with 5.1, 6.1 and even 7.1 surround sound. Many folks only use their 2 stereo speakers that came with their machines anyway, but someone with the full surround would get the full effect with a surround sound track.

The video is pretty crisp and the framerate is rather quick. I run a 5 Mbps cable connection and a 256 Mb Graphics card so it should. I have watched it on 3 Mbps with great results as well. I can assume that it would play well with only a 1Mbps connection but probably not something slower.

Overall Experience - I really enjoy Hulu.com. My family and I will watch TV with dinner many nights. Some days it can be a movie or sometimes just an episode of The A-Team. Or at night I will watch Charlies Angels or The Simpsons. It is nice not having to install anything except maybe the latest Flash Player browser plug-in. I would recommend this site to anyone who likes watching television online.

Kick back and enjoy the movie "Dude, where's my car".

May 14, 2008

Test

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Setting up color formats...