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if I can dream (big)

Yay! The folks at Mashable covered If I Can Dream again today. Pretty sweet since we’re so close to launch. (It’s set to premiere on March 2 on Hulu and See the latest teaser video below. 

For those that haven’t gotten the low-down yet, If I Can Dream is a live, made-for-web TV experiment — that will use Hulu as the “Television Network”, will be broadast live 24/7 at, and follow the lives of five young people – a musician, an actor, two actresses and a model – as they leave their hometowns and live together high up in Hollywood Hills – and go on their journey to stardom as their journey is documented across the Internet via Twitter, MySpace Hulu, etc.

Full disclosure this little labor of love is the baby of my little nerd tank POKE.

some great comments from mashable below

The show — with new episodes released every week — will take a reality-esque look at the lives of five aspiring artists who are trying to make it in Hollywood. A sneak peek of the episode can be seen below.

What’s especially interesting about If I Can Dream is not just the fact that it sprung from Hulu (a website) and Simon Fuller (of traditional TV fame), but that the content and format seem much more broadcast-like than typical web/TV shows.

Essentially the series has all the ingredients of a network television show, but an entirely different and experimental distribution model. It appears as if the basic premise being tested is whether or not the web as a platform can syndicate and distribute highly produced content and churn out a hit show without broadcast as a medium. Although we’ve seen web TV shows make their marks in the entertainment industry — The Guild comes to mind — we’ve yet to see this exact formula tested online. So the real question is: Can this formula pump out a hit show on the same level as a hit TV show?

Good question Jennifer. I confidently say from everyone back at POKE, we sure hope so. In a world where Hulu and Boxee are about to explode…it seems like a great wager to make. Wouldn’t you say? 

Readers, what say you?



boxee in the man cave!

I got a bit tired of my Apple TV last year and decided to hack the Boxee Beta onto it (among other things). The promise of a Boxee set-top box was amazing. I had played with the app on my computer for some time, and it worked fairly well when I installed it on my laptop. I figured the jump to Apple TV would be just as good an experience. Nope. Well, maybe that’s too harsh. It worked pretty well at first. But over time it became sluggish, unresponsive, and would crash more than actually do what it was supposed to. Par for the course for Beta stuff, I suppose.

All in all, though it was a great conversation piece in the home, and really demonstrated for me how close we really are to completely transitioning from clips on your ‘puter to clips wherever you want them. Then YESTERDAY I got fed up enough with it crashing, etc I decided to reset my Apple TV and updated it to the latest Apple firmware. I gotta say - I love it all over again. It’s not quite Boxee, but I seriously love my Apple TV. Good news!

better news

Holy shit balls, look at this little gift from our friends at Boxee. A clever, handsome, useful piece of hardware that promises to work just like the Boxee app (and then some).

Getting the awesome web-to-TV software, set up in your living room used to be a headache if not disfunctional. Not anymore thanks to the Boxee Box (around $200; Q1 2010). This angled wonder lets you consume all the free movies, TV shows and music from the internet, all from your couch — and hooks it up to your system with just a single HDMI cable. Like the standard Boxee software, it also sucks in your own videos, music and photos, playing just about any media format that still resides on your broken down laptop. I’m in. Santa, you listening?



High-Definition, redefined.

This made me feel like I was in Kindergarten all over again. It’s simply incredible how a familiar sight, sound, or even smell can throw you back to a place you haven’t been for 30 years.

The infamous original PBS logo (circa October 1971 - June 1984) could be one of the scariest logo/bumpers in the history of television. This was one of the major symbols of my childhood. I remember its startlingly primitive animation and frightening moog synthesizer tones slightly unnerving me whenever I saw it. I can recall wanting to “hang on” and force myslef to last all of 5-10 seconds longer because something great like 3-2-1 Contact / “The Bloodhound Gang” or “The Great Space Coaster” was just around the corner. Even now I still have a visceral reaction to it. Those sounds stimulate brain cells that have been dormant for many years. Amazing.

(For those of you guys who ran to the closet whenever this logo came on as a child, please watch at your own risk.) Enjoi. :D



did you know?

The latest Did You Know video will blow your mind with interesting facts and figures about the social web and how it’s changed your world.  Here’s a uber-post of all of them, starting with the latest (version 4). (Also, see below for some screen grabs if you don’t have the time to watch).

Version 3:

According to Digital Inspiration, This video is part of the popular “Did You Know” series that originally started out as a PowerPoint presentation [Shift Happens} and, once people caught on, the presentation was converted into a video by xplane. You can watch all the previous versions of the “Did You Know” series here or download source presentations and high-res videos from the Shift Happens wiki.

Version 2:

And finally, Version 1:

Screen grabs:

internet facts

youtube facts

online advertising

shrinking mobile devices



rhonda forever 3d drawing awesomeness

The hands on the screen belong to James Paterson. He is using “Rhonda”, a 3D drawing tool developed by Amit Pitaru circa 2003.

The first half of the video shows James doing a drawing start to finish. In the second part James is cycling through various previous drawings, created between 2004 and 2005. For the last several years Rhonda has been shown in galleries, museums, festivals and conferences. We are excited to finally release this video online (about time!).

Freakin’ awesome.  Sign up for the beta here.




go 360.

360° video isn’t new, necessarily (there are a lot of programmers who have done created similar executions). But this is the first time I’ve really seen making video like this get so accessible, so quickly.

Meet Yellowbird. BTW, their URL is “” (which is awesome in it’s own right).

By using a Google Streetview-like camera, a system with six lenses, not as a photo but as a video camera, an all-encompassing picture is captured. From the point where the images were recorded, the viewer can look in any direction, let his eyes wander through the crowd, or stare at the ground or the air, which makes viewing a video an experience without boundaries.

Oh, and as soon you figure out how to strap your 6 iPhones together with Duct Tape, you’ll even be able to embed and share all your 360 videos with your nerdy, jealous friends.

You’re welcome. :)




watch this YouTube video without Flash

this one is for the markup nerds

The image below might look like a regular YouTube video player but the interesting part is that the YouTube video clip will play just fine even if you disable (or completely remove) the Flash Player from your browser.

How? The next major release of HTML, dubbed HTML 5, will include several new tags for embedding <audio> , and <video> as well as several other graphical types of content in web pages. These new tags will let you play video files in the browser without the Shockwave Flash plugin. Yay!

Currently, your browser needs a plugin to play embedded multimedia content. For instance, you need to install Adobe Flash Player for watching videos on YouTube while the QuickTime player is required for viewing movie trailers that are available on the Apple website.

Visit to see the HTML 5 video tag in action.

Note: You need either Firefox 3.5, Google Chrome or Safari 4 to view this video. If you attempt to go with an older browser, it won’t be able to understand the content that’s wrapped inside the <video> tag. You’ll most likely get some kind of error message upon arrival. That said, HTML 5 still looks very interesting and exciting.




shhh! i'm watching a video for fuck's sake

quick! drag this button into your toolbar:


Meet Quietube: Online video without the distractions. This little app lets you watch web videos without the comments and crap, just by dragging the button above into your browser’s bookmarks toolbar. Once you have it up there, head over to YouTube, Viddler, or Vimeo, and find your favorite clip. Once the clip starts loading - just his your new bookmark button “Quietube” in your toolbar and view in peace.


OH! and you can then make short URLs too, to send the quietube version of the video to your friends (instead of the one on YouTube that is full of bullshit, and totally mean comments.) They hurt. They really do. :)

Here’s an example.
Here’s a quick tutorial.

Huge props to STML @ Apt for this one.



when good technology gets into bad hands (muahhahah)

Have you seen Flightography? It is the work of James Mann from Elk Grove, CA. He uses his twenty years of R/C Piloting skills to shoot awesome aerial photographs of towns, landscape, farms, etc. Oh, and also to bomb the shit out of his neighborhood.

I just added this video of an R/C airplane pilot bombing his neighborhood to

Apparently the Flightography crew have developed something that has all sorts of deliciously malicious applications, a radio controlled plane water bomb rig. Imagine the possibilities, while not endless, there are plenty of cool things that could be done with one of these.

[via UberReview]



questions about authenticity, honesty and technology

This post assumes you’ve either heard of or seen the presidential campaign phenomenon The McCain / Obama Dance Off

Oh, you haven’t? Well take a moment now my freng:

I received this video from my pal Charles Gallant with the following note attached:

I’m sure you’ve seen this… but in case you haven’t…

*Link to above video omitted*

Imagine this technology 5-10 years down the road, where spoofing a person’s identity like this is as easy as making a blog. Imagine a much more subtle use of this, where one could simply make a video of someone saying something that they didn’t. In a few years, people won’t be able to tell the difference between raw footage and spoofs like this.

The content is changing, and the medium itself (video) is changing. At the end of the day, video is a really important truth for us. If something is captured on video tape (surveillance, news, etc.), it’s proof. It even holds up legally!

That truth is breaking down. How will information + credibility be evaluated in the future? The publishing site that hosts / displays the video?

Will people just stop believing the videos they see (like I do now with photos)?

Deep thoughts - and with good reason. Just where is technology and *everyone’s* ability to edit and manipulate video, images, etc. going to take us? Can you imagine a world where government legislation forces those who use content editing software such as After Effects or Photoshop to apply for a license? I can.

Here’s a list of World Economic Forum Blogger with similar concerns. What say you?



watch the breeders music video the way you want

Check out this neat music video for The Breeders song “Walk it Off”. Click the numbers and you can change your POV of the action as the video is playing. Everything hits “in time” with your clicks. Super cool and some really rick thinking I might add. Just another notch for the music scene and the constant marketing innovation we’re seeing come out of it.

We all know online video won’t exist solely in the “flat” format we consume it in today and little advancements like this show the depth of the medium waiting to be unleashed.



fabrication, fashion, and futurecraft: the new "sweat"

Hokay soh, I’m not much of a fan of virtual worlds though I’ve dabbled here and there. You prolly already know this. But  recently discovered Stephanie Rothenberg’s latest project doublehappinessjeans, a Second Life sweatshop that produces designer denim by the underpaid labor of virtual avatars; producing the goods in both physical and digital form. Wait.  What?  Yeah.  Watch:

Unfuckingbeliveably mindblowing opportunities for discussion around Personal Fabrication (the ideas that one day manufacturing of complex products will be conducted digitally, through digital fabrication machines, while only bits (design information) would be transferred around the world.) Basically designs would still be centrally distributed while manufacturing will become clean and compact enough to happen anywhere. Doublehappinessjeans suggests that the sweatshop endures regardless of the sophistication of design or manufacturing.  Through the virtual world, low-cost labor continues to be exploited, whether to design or fabricate real or virtual goods, either through ‘gold farming‘ or simply because design itself creates interesting / easy / creative opportunities for the “workers” to produce monetizeable stuff. I need to stop thinking about this before I explode.  Incedentially, tweet my business partner @neonarcade for more on gold farming.  He’s well more versed in its ins and outs than I.  Rock on.

From the site:

Invisible Threads is a mixed reality performance installation created by Eyebeam artists Jeff Crouse and Stephanie Rothenberg. The project explores the growing intersection between labor, emerging virtual economies and real life commodities through the creation of a designer jeans sweatshop in the metaverse Second Life. Simulating a real life manufacturing facility that includes hiring Second Life “workers” to produce real world jeans sold for profit, the project provides an insider’s view into current modes of global, telematic production.



google olympics

I’ve never really been much of an “Olympics buff” and I suppose if I were to pick a game I’m most into it would probably be the Winter Games. So I was just as surprised as you are when I really got into the Beijing games this year. The much awaited Beijing Olympics 2008 have started, and funny enough, I had a trip to Mexico planned  right in the heart of the games. I was a bit worried about how I was going to stay on top of the Beijing Olympics action.  

Well, between  and a slew of awesome stuff by Google, I’ve genuinely aggregated enough Summer games content to keep my fix. Here is a collection of Google’s updated maps, gadgets, videos, sites, searches, 3D images and some Google powered Chinese sites that are purely dedicated to serve Olympics.

Google has designed a seris of web pages for the Summer Games. Among them, the home page for China has a bit more pizazz than our US home page, but both offer a stream of updated Olympics news, links to associated articles and video. The updated interactive US page offers a collection of Olympics related Google apps in the form of gadgets, maps, news, one box search and videos.
I’ve embedded one of the apps below.  Click the tab to expand the map.

Google has updated its maps for Beijing Olympics. If you cant make it to Beijing than track it through Google maps by exploring 3D stadiums, tracking medal counts and watching live sport results. They have also recently released a new Mobile search tool that allows its users to enjoy sports results at the top of every search results. On typing sports name or medals in your search query by heading to from your mobile, it will return all the details with respect to Olympics. In true Olympic fashion, the tool is multi-lingual (36 languages in over 60 countries) and covers almost all the different events.

Rock on.  I’m off to the beach to score an Olympic-sized Mojito. 



hulu verdict: old media stuck in a digital world.

huluTM_355.jpgHulu is has no respect for the viewer.  It’s NBC’s last-ditch effort to hold on to their old business model.  It is a big, “old media” idea stuck in a digital world. It’s not a RICH concept and ultimately, it will fail.  I can hear the manical boardroom laughter now:  “Give away the content for free (just like your boob-tube); force viewers to watch commercials; maintain our existing advertising revenue channels; keep paying our jack ass old timer VP’s salaries; screw Apple and retain control.”



So NBC told Apple to f- off.  Fair enough.  Where were they when the last round of over-priced, content controlled BS burnt up entering the atmosphere? If I remember correctly even Sony had a plan were you were basically “renting” the download for $3.50. At a certain point the audio stopped working unless you paid more.  Yeesh. Hulu doesn’t feel much better. NOTHING is distributable. It’s a flash movie with no embed tags and no real sharing mechanism. Remember the DRM issues of music/video past? This feels like the same mistake all over again!  Why, why, why?!

This all probably sounded super duper while everyone pontificated safely from NBC’s leather couches (I’ve seen em, they’re nice!) when they sat around and plotted the sans-Apple way forward. But you know what? It won’t work. There’s no room for a rogue game in town. We’ve got shit to watch - and no time to worry about where we now can or can’t watch it. Is NBC going to come out with their own hand held video player too!?  Hey, perhaps they can get into telephony! Yay! Ok, I’ll stop. But you get my point.

Haven’t we learned anything?  Just like the iTunes Store, the only way online video distribution is going to succeed is if you can get every TV show / Movie from one source, that has no DRM platform (or at least a common one) and not have to worry if it’ll play on your computer, ipod, tv, whateverthefuck.  People want to watch their media on the device they choose and aren’t going to be “beholden” to one network just for a certain kind of content.  They’re not going to pay for the same content multiple times to have the ability to use it in multiple devices. They’re just not. They’ve been teased by the spoils of iTunes, limewire, the WEB in general and they’re not turning back just because NBC says so.  Fuck, haven’t they heard of Bit Torrent?

The best part, gang? Their tagline. “Watch your favorites. Anytime. Anywhere.” Seriously? Do they even know what that means? Jaysus, my Panasonic DVD player works better on my commute than Hulu. Sigh.

Fakesteve takes this one home for me:

So, fair enough. Bring on the big media cluster fuck. Roll out all the different systems that don’t work together. Bring on all the different kinds of software, none of which will work as well as iTunes. Bring on a zillion different user interfaces, a zillion accounts you need to set up, a zillion new usernames and passwords and a list of which services can work on which devices in which format. Right. When you’re good and tired of that, we’ll be here waiting for you.

Well said. 

Verdict on Hulu:  I give it 6 months before they realize no one is coming back for repeat visits and 12 months before they announce it as a failed experiment.  Will Apple take ‘em back?  I wouldn’t.  But then again, I’m a just terrible person.  :)





make internet TV



I’m not sure where your politics stand on the case of whether or not video should be free online but one thing’s for sure: if the folks at Miro get their way video will become even more democratic than it is now.

and why shouldn’t it?

you downloaded joost. it was fun - for a whopping 10 min. now it just sits on your hard drive with all the other stuff you tried for a a millisecond. why? i think its because (as cool as joost is) it still FEELS like your old TV. And TV, for the most part, just isn’t (as intriguing) as the stuff the citizen videographer puts forward.

And Miro is betting the farm on it.

Lip Dub - Flagpole Sitta by Harvey Danger from vimeo widget on Vimeo.

If you hit the link above my new favorite music video you saw that it lands on a back-door Miro site that teaches you how to create and post your own content. Still not sure? Head to the “I’m Overwhelmed?” section for an even more pedantic (but helpful!) approach to getting started.

i see it this way

There’s lots of places to consume video content - but there is still no channel-minded platform that relates this new world of video consumption to the model we are all used to. (An important and missing link in my mind.) Joost has made the attempt - but where’s the fabric? Where’s the citizen videographer? There’s an opportunity to build a new, open mass medium of online television. Unlike traditional TV, everyone in this new medium will have a voice. And this new world of agnostic content needs an infrastructure. Miro is aiming to make creating and watching video online “as easy as watching TV”. Cheers to that.

Miro is a cross compatible, open-source Internet TV application that combines a media player and library, content guide, video search engine, as well as podcast and BitTorrent clients. Described by some as the “firefox of content applications”, it is specifically designed to give video creators and viewers more freedom. And it is built to work with “as many video hosting sites and video search engines as possible.” Miro allows the user to choose the end-publishing scenario that is best for them but also allows the browser access to every and all video search engines, even organizing content between the different networks.