“Skip Intro” Means Netflix Is Getting Ahead Of Some YouTubers With Show Flow

Yesterday I hopped on the mic for a podcast about show flow, which described show flow and detailed some examples of YouTubers struggling with it.  It’s also the reason why show flow is now a category on this blog.  🙂

Today I encountered the CNN Money article about the new Skip Intro button that Netflix is rolling out for binge watchers.  If you’re playing catchup with a TV or Netflix series you can now skip the “what some would call redundant” show openers.  🙂

It’s fun being right.  🙂

Television is a natural go-to for inspiration on how to make YouTube uploads for many of us multimedia types who goof around with it, but today we find TV in a rather defensive position compared to the classic shows most of us might have grown up with.  Even around the beginning of the “Flash Video Revolution” when YouTube finally found a way to make hosting video online into something other than a site killer via bandwidth costs we found TV shows adapting to the changing demands for show flow in the time slots.

Oddly enough, though I’ve been exorcising childhood demons so to speak via making fun of soap operas through allegorical spoofs like World Of The Nerd Couple, it’s actually the daytime soaps with their decades-long runs that illustrate the progression in approaches to television to reflect show flow the most.  Take As The World Turns for example, one of the shows that my sitters when I was little always had on when I got home from school (the more common one being Guiding Light in the 3:00 PM timeslot).  Not a lot of opener changes, but enough over the show’s 50+ year run to showcase quite a bit of things that TV has seen happen over the years that have forced changes to production material.

The rise of Web 2.0 video in the 2000s was just another nail in classic TV’s coffin.  It’s important to remember when watching this or other classic TV shows that VCRs weren’t a thing until the 80s, so big long intros helped you not miss when your show was coming on if you had to run into the living room or something or your clock wasn’t set right or you were running late.  Once on-demand options started to appear though, the big long show intro started to become something that wasn’t really needed anymore, except if one was trying to be traditional and hold on to the way things used to be.

As The World Turns reacted to this the most.  Note the last entry in the final years before the show was cancelled.  Just *POOF* the spinning globe and the show starts, since the people following the daytime drama scene probably already knew who all the actors were.  The declining revenue from daytime drama probably contributed to this as well, but I can’t really explain such a radical drop in complexity in the show intro without at least thinking of YouTube.

Likewise with credits at the end of these shows.  Prior to HDTV if you wanted to roll credits they had to be big and take quite a bit of time, but when HD became a thing not only could the credits shrink but they could be off to the side and not even take up the whole screen anymore, as we see today.

Just for fun, here’s that YouTube channel’s Guiding Light opening compilation video.  More revisions to watch, but I couldn’t mention this stuff without showing this as well.  You see more details fleshed out as the changing TV landscape prompted revisions of the production material, including some times where they got too close to fashion and fads and the intro became dated rather quickly, like when the show went Disco.  😀

For today’s YouTubers, show flow matters more than ever before.  Classic TV’s style might be a good thing to have fun with every so often, but it should be a phase that comes and goes.  Much has changed since the 80s and 90s, and even the 2000s with the rise of mobile devices and people “watching TV” on smartphones as they walk around cities or wait for buses/trains/etc.  Not since the introduction of the VCR has this landscape been this radically altered.

New landscape or not – it’s still workable for content creators today.  🙂


YouTuber Spotlight – Hak5

Technically “Hak5Darren,” but we can get past silly technicalities when talking about the longest running tech show that I’ve been interested in on YouTube – ever.  🙂  Hak5 is a hacker/security/modder/tinkerer show that in no small way has influenced The Wacky World Of MultimediaJay and its more offbeat approach to things.  Plus their distinct lack of drama and insistence on keeping ownership of certain rights when joining networks has contributed to the show’s longevity in a day and age when even web shows can be cancelled on a whim like it’s still TV (TekZilla -> TekThing anyone?).

Two freebies for those wondering about this show’s influence on me.  The raster clips for time lapses in my videos hail back to the early days of Hak5 when they still called it “Hak Point 5” and “Jay’s Geekhouse” was at least partially inspired by the old “Hak 5 House.”  🙂

Channel Overview:

Hak5 was first introduced to me as a hacker show which doesn’t do the show justice.  It’s more along the lines of tinkering with things.  Part of that of course is hacking and network security, but I’ve also seen my fair share of mods, voiding warranties, snooping around “under the hood” of certain devices, and even iconic pet named tech thingies like the WiFi Pineapple.  🙂  Calling it a hacker show clouds what the show’s about and gets people thinking Hackers Vs. Security Admins at Defcon or something.  😛  Needless to say, as one of my favorite shows of all time on YouTube with a ton of longevity to boot, it’s definitely worth watching. 🙂

What First Got Me Watchin’:

Hak5 is basically the last remaining show that I still watch from the IPTV Introduction I watched on TechAnvil’s long gone channel back when he was doing Tech Vlogs in 2006.  (The exception being TWiT, which was audio at the time as Leo had returned to his radio roots).  Yes, we’re talking about vintage YouTube here from when I was first getting started 10 years ago, a.k.a. back in the day.  🙂  Nowadays the video is a who’s-who of shows that aren’t around anymore – except Hak5 of course.  🙂

The show being described as “hack scene” kind of veered me away for a bit due to my more multimedia presentation focus, but ultimately my curiosity got the better of me…  🙂

Fun stuff.  I was thinking I’d be looking at a Linux command prompt for an hour, but in my younger and dumber days (emphasis on the dumber) the idea of “hacking” meaning modding something was… a tad of something I hadn’t considered.  :o)

I actually sent the USB Hacksaw to the security admins at my 925 at the time and they were like, “Whoa hadn’t thought of that.”  Been paranoid about USB Autorun ever since.  🙂

By season 3, Hak5 was a show I wanted to binge watch.  Screw Netflix.  😛

I made plans to binge-watch from the beginning, and….  I’m still making plans all these years later.  😛  Duhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh lol.  :o)

I still watch the show, but just not in the way I wanted to back in the day…  🙂

The Hak5 Channel Today:

Besides still being around, Hak5 has become an umbrella of sorts.  Today they’re hacking things in 2 seconds apparently…  🙂

For things that just can’t wait until the next Hak5 show, they have ThreatWire, the first of their other shows I found out about.  🙂

TekThing is under their umbrella too these days.  Makes me wonder if the Hak5 folks are out to rival the TWiT network…  🙂  So long as what happened with Revision 3 doesn’t happen with these groups anytime soon.

This entry has been a long time in coming, but here’s to wishing all the best for Hak5 for decades to come.  🙂  They also have handled team changes exceptionally well too, so I’d say they even serve as a great example of how to develop a show like this in the first place.  🙂

Let’s close with a recent experiment of theirs with 360 degree video.  Cool stuff for the up-and-coming VR technology out there.  🙂

Trust Your Technolust indeed.  🙂

Regarding The Passing Of Aaron Swartz

As a testament of how much my job has been running me into the ground over the past several months, my recent appearance on Out Of Continues Episode 59, as much of a technical mess as it was, was where I found out about what happened to Aaron Swartz, a very passionate technologist and outspoken advocate for internet and information freedom who took his own life earlier this month.  I never really ran in too many of his types of circles techwise, but the minute I found out about his ties to RSS, that was something to tip my hat about.  RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, was one of those things that revolutionized the Internet by allowing for so many things that have made the Internet into a successful form of mainstream entertainment, such as podcasting, vidcasting, blogging, etc., to work.

For those who aren’t all that geeky, what RSS does (and this blog has an RSS feed) is allow you to use an RSS reader to subscribe to stuff, which flips the traditional model of the World Wide Web in reverse and makes things much easier.  In the early days of the web, you had to know what you wanted and know where to look to find the information you were looking for, usually accompanied with a ton of long page loads because things were via dialup back then.  🙂  I vividly remember those bad old days of trying to look online for stuff on my high school library’s clunky old computer with its 28.8k modem (not even 56k lol) that kept cutting me off with no message whatsoever so suddenly my Netscape Navigator web browser would just stop working (yeah – that long ago lol) and I’d think the Internet had broke.  😀

Search engines such as Google helped change that a bit but you still had to know what to search for, so the process still began with you, plus you had to know how to Google really well to get decent results.  RSS on the other hand finished that switch by allowing people to subscribe to stuff online and then have the option of having stuff delivered to them instead of having to go look for it every single time, so with news for example if I really liked XYZ News reports I could subscribe to their RSS and see the stories every time I opened my RSS reader instead of having to constantly go to their website and see if there were any new stories.

This alone gives me reason to tip my hat to the late Mr. Swartz, but his defense of internet and information freedom only multiply that several times over.  He was a big defender of things like Net Neutrality, opponent of things like SOPA and PIPA with their “chew the meat spit the bones” style of combining internet-crushing regulation with noble-sounding ideas like protecting US trade secrets.  So what happened to him?  Here’s Hak.5’s report on it.

What we had here was grey area on both sides.  Was what Aaron did with JSTOR right?  Was what the government did in response the right thing to do?   Depends on who you are in both cases.  One thing that I hope everyone can agree on though is that there is a war on to crush the freedom of information even in this so-called “Information Age.”  Our schools are infected with these philosophies and worldviews today that discourage critical thinking and thinking for oneself and even the concept of objective information, rights/wrongs, etc., instead focusing far too much on people’s subjective internal feelings and expression, until of course someone breaks a law and gets arrested, at which point their own feelings on whether certain “wrong stuff” is right goes completely out the window.  😛  We have legions of people, including politicians and other people who can vote on things, who don’t think for themself and can’t even debate a simple point.  Meanwhile also in society today are legions of lobbyists, other politicians, people with money, etc., who seek to take advantage of the aforementioned folks who don’t think for themselves or can’t articulate a point in civil debate to twist things in their favor.  …and in the middle of this?  Information – and its freedom – constantly in the crossfire.

I mentioned on Out Of Continues that if the state of internet and information freedom contributed to Swartz’s suicide I can see why.  Broadband, after a decade of progress going from dialup to broadband and limited to unlimited access is now under siege from power-hungry and money-hungry interests all over the place who want to limit what information can be seen online while squeezing every last penny out of people’s already near-empty pockets.  It’s almost like these people want this decade to undo the last decade or two and bring us back to the bad old days.  Will anyone stop them?  Depends on how many people out there know what’s really going on versus the bobbleheads who don’t think for themselves who get fleeced and patronized by the people causing all of these problems.  In any event though, with how things are today, if Swartz was in any way further depressed by this sort of stuff it’s rather easy to see why.

The only hope that any geek can have right now is that this man’s death won’t be in vain, and that the discussion of the old saying, “Information longs to be free” will fire up even more following these events.  =(

Ye Olde Internet Follies… :-P

Zaranyzerak has recently showcased a great example of the exact sort of YouTube video that I would NEVER make.  😛

This is of course one of the pitfalls of Stickam and all this easy internet video stuff these days.  Now combine this with Google’s research into image searching where someone could upload a photo of this guy, search, and find this video, including an HR recruiter at a company running an extensive background check for a good-paying job he was applying for…  😛

I’ve noticed lately that many of the most dramatic YouTubers out there when they mention their day jobs usually have really crappy jobs like working in retail or something.  Some of that I imagine is because of the bad economy, but the rest is more of a chicken/egg situation where it’s a complete toss-up which came first – the easily-searchable internet drama or the lousy job.  Meanwhile, on the other end of the spectrum, the well-paid managers and corporate folks I’ve worked with barely even maintain a LinkedIn page, much less any type of “real social media” like YouTube or Facebook.

Some Zaranyzerak fans on YouTube have actually subscribed to me because I’ve been to his Friday night Stickam chats in years past.  Some people may even get the impression that we’re similar types of people, but we’re not.  There are numerous issues where we very much go in completely different directions – whether or not Blu-Ray will ever take over the world being one of them, and this being another.  😛

Ah Nice. The Trailer For The Angry Video Game Nerd Movie Is Out. :-)

So this cinematic beast is what James Rolfe has been working on all this time.  So far – impressive.  It totally fits the Nerd theme, and incorporates a lot of his own personal nods to certain cinematic styles he’s mentioned that he likes over the years like 80s style movies and horror movies with cheesy special effects.  Plus, for anyone thinking the Nerd’s gone stale the past few episodes since coming back from shooting this movie, I think this trailer explains why if this little monster is where he’s been focusing his attention.  🙂

He’s certainly come a long way from this little vlog thing back in 2010 that first broke the news that he was looking at making a feature film.

Personally, I’m glad James has found so much success and fame, even if it’s only “silly Internet fame”, from the AVGN series.  Even if this movie turns out to be the Nerd’s magnum opus and he’s secretly hiding plans to hang up the controller and retire the character shortly after this movie goes to disc formats, I’d say bravo to the guy for doing so well with such a simple idea over the past several years.

As far as the movie goes, he mentioned a DVD release, but heck with that if the trailer’s in hi-def.  He should totally do a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack release for it.  I know with how much he was able to raise for this movie just from fan donations that a two-disc combo release should certainly be on the table in terms of post-theater distribution.  🙂

The Last Remnants Of TechTV Are Outta Here

Ahhh TechTV, the now-ancient predecessor to today’s G4 network and many of Revision3’s shows, which brought us the monolith of geek culture via some form of mainstream video entertainment, is finally just about wiped out.

I remember the hour-long versions of The Screen Savers and Extended Play which morphed into today’s X-Play while The Screen Savers eventually became Attack Of The Show, and most of TechTV’s top talent eventually moved over to Revision3 or YouTube.  Now, it finally looks like it’s over for even those two shows, so the last remnants of that golden age of geek TV are history.

Quite frankly, I’m not too bummed out.  I really think if TechTV and now these remnant shows hadn’t been ended they would’ve been killed by new competition anyway.  I mean, for geeks like myself who care more about cable internet than cable TV with what broadband can do these days, why mess with traditional TV at all when all this IPTV geek show stuff is on demand online and can be either RSSed or directly-viewed on YouTube or sites like Revision3?

Yet even still, with these changes and G4’s eventual rebranding underway, how much of this old tech vlog that got me into these online geek shows back when I was first getting into YouTube back in 2006 is still relevant?  Any of it?  Times have definitely changed. : -)

Oh well.  Let’s have one last round of the classic Screen Savers theme song just for old times’ sake. : -)

Yeah. NBC Has Utterly Wrecked The Olympics.

Despite watching the Olympics being a bit of a family tradition in my family, I think this long-running tradition is going to end with me, no thanks to the very kind of corporate nonsense that makes me sorry to live in America.

So as it turns out, NBC’s paywall of the Olympics turned out to be similar to a Hulu paywall.  After X amount of days all the TV-viewers-only events unlock (in this case 2), but even when you can use NBC’s YouTube apparatus on their NBCOlympics page to watch “full event replays” what you get is a stuttery mess that reminds me of a really bad Fraps video.  Gee.  Is this women’s beach volleyball I’m watching?  Or a poorly running video game with really good graphics?  😛  Yeah.  Not good.

It’s not like YouTube screwed this up either.  YouTube’s running just fine.  Poke around on YouTube and you’ll find countless videos that run silky smooth as far as frames per second goes, but if you want to see the USA vs. USA women’s v-ball final or Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte making waves in the pool, enjoy constant stuttering even when the video’s properly buffered.

So you may think to yourself, “Well maybe my browser just can’t handle the busy NBCOlympics site.  I can just click the ‘Watch On YouTube’ button right?”  Nope.  Locked out.  NBC has it rigged where the YouTube button just takes you to their YouTube channel which has none of the videos except pre-Olympic promos like the US swimming team doing “Call Me Maybe.”  😛  Any way you slice or dice it, using the Internet as your VCR to see the games is just going to make for a miserable experience.

“So were things better in 2008?” you may ask as you poke around looking to compare London 2012 to Beijing 2008, but oops.  If you’re looking for encore replays of events, NBC still has the video for Beijing up, but it’s completely paywalled.  Years and years later, forget about watching anything there if you don’t have a Pay TV subscription.  Of course, YouTube wasn’t involved back then so we’ll have to see if the London 2012 games follow that same path and get completely locked up sometime after this year.  But hey, you can always get the crappy highlights DVD off of Amazon or something.  😛

Want to know what the biggest insult in all of this is?  64 other countries out there can use the IOC’s YouTube channel to watch the Olympics online, live, for free.  Meanwhile, over here in the “land of the free” if you don’t feel like getting fleeced by a Pay TV company in our increasingly less competitive Telecom industry or if you’re like me and watch far too little TV to justify the cost, forget it.  Enjoy your subpar leftovers.  Indeed, stale 3 day old meatloaf or something might be preferable to this.  😛

This has been the first Summer Olympics since the infamous “Comcastrophe” merger and it definitely shows.  Want to see the future of broadband strangulation in America?  Just look at the consumer disgust about how NBC has handled London 2012.  Then again, this is America, where our Olympic athletes in their quest to train hard to hopefully be the best in the world at something often end up dirt poor, and even if they manage to pull it off, win a paltry stipend that the IRS then tries to tax.  Meanwhile while our athletes are being treated like crap runaway media giants are busily sucking every last penny out of people’s pockets in the worst economy since the Great Depression.

Indeed, it only gets worse from here.