Tag Archives: video

Different Spokes

When Jeff Douglas from CloudSpokes contacted me last week to ask if I would be interested in being a guest on their Different Spokes show to talk about Cloud Foundry, help to review a book on node.js, and generally talk tech, I was delighted to be able to say “yes!”. I met Jeff back at Monktoberfest in October and I love the stuff the CloudSpokes team are doing around application challenges to build skills in different areas.

It turns out that these guys are spending a lot of time with Javascript lately and the brief was to review The Node Beginner Book. We did talk about it for a bit, but I probably talked too much earlier in the show because I was getting excited about all the cool stuff happening around Cloud Foundry lately 🙂

This was my first use of the Google+ Hangouts On Air feature, which allows content producers to publically stream the group chat to a YouTube account. I have to say that I was extremely impressed. We used the lower thirds feature from the Hangouts Toolbox plugin to do titles, and I’m sure there were a bunch of other handy add-on features we could have used to enhance the experience too.

It was great to be able to respond to viewer questions coming in via Twitter, and I’d like to thank my colleague Raja for his cool node app examples (don’t forget to check out nodelogger which uses the Cloud Foundry authentication features too). A shout-out to Brian McClain for bailing me out when I forgot the features of my own product, too…!

All-in-all, a really enjoyable discussion, and I’d love to take part in that show again sometime – smart guys! They’ve posted a nice recap post if you’d like to check them out.

Advertisements

YouTube – everywhere?

Yesterday, YouTube turned seven.

I’ve recently become aware of just how pervasive YouTube has become. It’s available on a range of “computer” platforms – desktops and laptops, mobile phones and tablets. I’m able to access it via AppleTV, XBox, and a Sony Bluray player. Friends who recently updated their home media setup have it on their internet-enabled TV as well as via their Virgin Tivo box on the same “system”. Alongside BBC iPlayer, it’s actually more pervasive in the UK across the various devices many of us have in our living rooms, than the broadcast DTV/satellite/cable channels themselves. It’s also noticeably more present across a very broad range of devices, than alternatives like Vimeo which are arguably better at presenting more beautiful, longer HD content on the web itself.

This is both exciting, and also potentially problematic.

For those of us who have been seeing a multichannel, multimedia future ahead for some time, it’s a validation of the success of streaming web video in breaking the monopolies of the existing broadcasters and media companies. Over time, Google has added some tremendous value to YouTube – enabling creators to rapidly upload, perform simple edits, add soundtracks, and share content all within a rich HTML browser experience. It is also easy to reach a wide range of devices simply by ticking the “make this video available to mobile” box on the video management page – Google does all the heavy lifting of transcoding, resizing, and deciding on whether Flash or HTML5 is a better delivery mechanism, etc.

However, at the same time, it’s kind of… well, clunky. In order to consume content from YouTube on any of the platforms I mentioned before, you have to visit a dedicated YouTube widget, app or channel and then navigate around content within that box (oh, and each platform has a slightly different way of presenting that content). It’s not integrated with the viewing experience – I can’t just say to my TV or viewing device, “show me videos of kittens” and have it aggregate between different sources which include YouTube. Not only that, but we all know just how variable YouTube content can be, both in terms of production quality, duration, and the antisocial nature of comments and social interactions around videos. For some of the most popular videos I’ve posted on my channel, I can’t tell you how long I spend on moderating the most unbelievably asinine comments! Oh and, when we consider the increasing use of streaming video online – be it iPlayer, YouTube, Netflix or any other source – we constantly have to consider the impact on available bandwidth. Bandwidth and connectivity are not universal, no matter how much we may wish they were.

The other side of this is the group of voices who will point to the dominance of Google and their influence over brands and advertising. All very well, but I like to remind people that for all of the amazing “free” services we enjoy (Facebook, Twitter, Google and others), we do have to pay with an acceptance of advertising, and/or sharing of some personal data of our choice – or go back to paying cable and satellite providers for their services. It’s really a simple transaction.

I guess I don’t really have a message with this blog entry, other than to share my observation of the amazingly rapid rise of the new media titan(s). If I was going to offer any further thoughts or advice, it would be the following:

  • explore online video services more – you probably have access to them in more places than you think.
  • remember that video you produce may be viewed on any device from the smaller mobile handsets, to a nice HD television – so always try to produce your content at the highest quality setting possible, and let YouTube or the other video hosts do the rest.
  • richly tag and describe your content to make it easier to find. “Video1.mov” tells me nothing.
  • learn about the parameters which control how your content is displayed. I’ve previously written about this; the content is still useful but I should probably create an update.

This omnipresence across platforms is one of the reasons why I’ve started to primarily use my YouTube channel as the canonical source for all of my video content. Previously I’d used Viddler and Vimeo and occasionally posted a clip to Facebook, but now that I am able to post longer movies, I’ve also posted the full videos of various talks that I’d only previously been able to host at Vimeo. I’m not abandoning all other sources, but a focus on one channel makes a certain amount of sense.

 

First week with VMware and Cloud Foundry

Hello, VMware.

Well – that was bracing!

I don’t expect to be posting “week notes” like this on a regular basis, but as a one-off it seems like a nice way to encapsulate just how much happened in the first week of my new role.

Tuesday

Joined VMware. Met new colleagues in London office. Started to look at the User Account and Authentication component in Cloud Foundry. Ran samples against cloudfoundry.com, modified the documentation. Issued first GitHub pull request 🙂

Wednesday

More hacking on samples. Updated the Cloud Foundry Google+ page. Agreed to present Cloud Foundry at the London Real-Time hack weekend for the RabbitMQ guys. Watched (and tweeted) the live webcast of the Cloud Foundry first birthday event in San Francisco – very exciting news! “more clouds, more community, more code“, including a broader range of partners, a new governance process around the cloudfoundry.org Open Source project, and the announcement of BOSH being released to the community, too – multi-cloud deployment, here we come!

Thursday

Trip to the VMware Frimley office for some HR stuff. First call with full Developer Relations team for event planning. Briefing with the two directors I work for. Nothing to see here, move along…

Friday

Setup new laptop (custom order from Apple so there was a small delay). Prepped for demo at London Real-Time. Started making a lot of noise on VMware Link (aka Socialcast, the social sharing/discussion platform) internally 🙂

Saturday

My first speaking gig – a Lightning Introduction to Cloud Foundry, taking Chris Richardson’s much more comprehensive Boot Camp presentation and cramming the essentials into ~15 min including a live demo, for a bunch of hackers at London Real-Time.

Oh, and it was caught on video.

[vimeo 40379801]

Four or five of the hacks ended up running on Cloud Foundry, too, which I think was rather nice 🙂 I was also interviewed on realtime and the importance of cloud at the event, but I’ve not seen that video appear just yet.

Monday

More laptop setup, HR stuff. Prep for Scala Days. Started to improve a sample app (Ruby/Sinatra) I’d used in the past by adding Twitter Bootstrap and restructuring the code.

Tuesday/Wednesday

Scala Days in London – helping to man the sponsor stand talking about Cloud Foundry, answering questions, and meeting many new colleagues from the US who were presenting on Spring, Scala, and Cloud Foundry (including an announcement that Play 2.0 framework support and standalone apps are coming to cloudfoundry.com Real Soon Now). Recorded a podcast interview with Uhuru about what a Developer Advocate does.

Summary

I’m pleased that I was able to be so productive so quickly. I’d had a little previous experience with Cloud Foundry but it’s a testament to how quick it is to learn the basics and get moving that I was able to rapidly start playing with a bunch of code. It was also exciting to be out on Github on my first day – not something I could have done in a former life… it’s nice to be working in an organisation that is innovating with Open Source at this level.

There’s much to learn, and to be honest, a couple of the key aspects of Cloud Foundry actually make it more challenging (and interesting) for me to get to grips with. It’s open, and with BOSH, can potentially target different IaaS offerings (initially vSphere and the beginnings of AWS support; a hackathon yesterday aimed at adding OpenStack to the list) – so suddenly I need to know about those. It’s a polyglot platform, which means I need to broaden my language knowledge – I’m already making a start on Ruby and node.js, to complement existing Java and PHP knowledge.

It’s also exciting to learn more about what VMware does, the layers of technology that they offer, and their vision. My previous experience has primarily been with the desktop virtualisation technology, but there’s a huge and vibrant community around the server-side virtualisation tools, and products like Socialcast, Sliderocket and Zimbra in the collaboration space too.

There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening in this space. It’s thrilling to be here. Thanks to all of my new colleagues for a warm welcome and support – looking forward to working with you!

I’m an IBMer

When I see a piece like this it reminds me why I love doing what I do. Technology can take us forward and help to improve the human condition, and I’m part of an organisation that has been helping to shape that.

As an aside, I’ve been enjoying reading Lou Gerstner’s Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance recently. Nicely written, and an eye-opening study of where the company was in the early 90s before he took over (mentioned briefly in the film).

The IBM website is going to have an ongoing series of 100 innovations updated throughout the year, too.

Here’s a longer film that is even more fascinating (remember, I’m a techie, I work for the company, and I’m an historian – nevertheless, I urge you to take a look at these videos)

Corporate blogging and “being social”

Back in November I spoke at the Coventry and Warwickshire Social Media Cafe. The organisers have now posted a short write-up of the talk, along with a video (embedded below) of a short conversation we had afterwards that summarised my experience of IBM’s approach to social tools and blogging inside and outside the firewall.