I like it when software-writers pay attention to the little things.
- When changing credit card details in my Basecamp account, the system noticed that I also had a Highrise account and offered to update that at the same time. Thank you, 37signals.
- When I installed the new version of OmniFocus, it pre-selected the option to delete the installer files once it was completed. Thank you.
- When Miro TV updated itself to a new version, it re-started and continued playing the last video I watched from where we left off.
If I listed “Moments of Software Unjoy”, it’d go for pages…
On Thursday an email told me that I’m a beta tester for ABC Playback, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Internet TV trial. So here we go…
I’ll gloss over the geeky stuff because the massively-brained Simon Rumble has already done a technical reconnaissance. Just three key points there from me:
- It uses a Flash front end over XML program listings. Simon reckons it’ll be easy to hack up a Linux version for those who can’t use the official Windows and Mac interface. Or who want to avoid the pointless animations. Or who’d rather an easier-to-read high-contrast interface than trendy translucency.
- A 30-minute program is compressed to a mere 130MB, which seems a reasonable compromise between quality and bandwidth — at least for infotainment — given the ABC’s need to serve regional audiences out on the Information Super-goat-track.
- Did we really need to spend taxpayers’ money putting a clock in the top right of the screen? Computers already have clocks.
Technically it works just fine… but that’s not the real issue…
Disappointingly, ABC Playback seems more like the last gasp of old-style broadcast TV than a prelude to something new and wonderful.
Continue reading “ABC Playback: so this is the future of television…? Nope!”
While the music and movie companies rail against BitTorrent, Norwegian broadcaster NRK recently used the torrent’s capabilities to distribute a HD TV program to 80,000 people for just $350 total in storage and bandwidth.
[P]roject manager Eirik Solheim… estimated that the bandwidth bill would have been roughly $8000 had NRK chosen a more traditional delivery method…
All the HD video files were stored and delivered using Amazon’s S3 data service, which has optional bittorrent capabilities. NRK syndicated the .torrent episodes over an RSS feed, which allowed the program to work something like a podcast.
NRK recommends that people use Miro to subscribe: it’s the easiest way for folks to use BitTorrent and it fits their public-interest mission. The estimate that a high percentage of their downloaders (50% or more) are using Miro.
[…] Technically, the cost to the producer for distributing to a handful of viewers, say 300, is basically the same as doing so for 1,000,000 people. This is because after a point, distribution is handled by the viewers themselves; as the number of viewers rises, the work that NRK does stays constant.
I think I should be playing with Miro more…