Archive for June, 2012

Saving Rev3 – Going Beta and Beyond (Day 43)

Monday, June 25th, 2012

So we’ve come a long way. All of the archived shows have their episodes up, and some of them have episodes up that weren’t produced by Revision3. This is a pretty big point in the project, so breathe the fresh air while you can. A few shows still need show notes (Did I mention that we have almost all the show notes as well?) but things are coming along nicely, though a bit slower.

On top of archiving the archived shows, we have also taken care of some of the shows on hiatus. Moonlit and myself have also begun working on Revision3 Beta shows. Some of the Beta shows are missing episodes, and other have them scattered all over different services, but we are slowly gathering and compiling them. All of the shows were originally hosted on Viddler, and using some URL generation, it is fairly easy to make download links from the videos. However, some of these generated links end up dead which means the streams have to be downloaded manually. It’s a time consuming task downloading and checking, but definitely doable.

As for currently produced shows, the best thing to do might be to upload episodes in year chunks. Either way, it is probably a good idea to start downloading these shows now, just in case the worst is to happen.

That said, I’m currently dividing my archiving a bit to a few more projects, but saving Revision3 is still on the list.

We’ve almost finished getting the shows most have forgotten about, but we will still fight to get the others before they can be forgotten.

Invitation Only – A Look at Online Betas

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Online betas have always been a weird concept to me. Everyone gets hung up on the fact that they’re trying out the cool new thing, but few really think about exactly what they’ve got themselves involved with in the grand scheme of things.

I’ve been a member of a few online betas. Traditionally, those ones where you get invited by others who get invited by others, who- you get the idea. Initially, I can recall some of the bigger ones such as the Google Projects like Gmail, Google Voice, Google Wave, Google Plus, and Google Music (re-branded as Google Play). Other oldies like Pownce and Joost also stand out. In the last year, I’ve got into a few more such as Bottlenose, Spotify, Turntable.fm, Canv.as, and Letterboxd. So, let’s talk a bit about them.

Beta sites have both a cool factor, and a historic one. You have to admit, it can be awesome to be part of a new up and coming internet haven. You get in before all of your friends, you hand out invites as soon as you get them, and feel like a part of the action when really you’re just cementing the site. Some of these services actually turn out to be pretty cool. For example Pownce, comparable to Twitter (or more a Twitter on steroids), was a neat concept wherein you and your friends could share messages, files, and events online. Google services, specifically Wave with its far-out concept, have always been focused at changing the way you interact online. Joost was interesting in that it was one of the first services to use P2P technology to stream videos, doing so fairly well.

Joost’s use of P2PTV Technology

So we have these works of technology thrown up for a handful (relatively) of people to see, and share with others in a semi-exclusive fashion. These sites can often be gimmicky, but there are also some great unique ideas here. Often, they don’t take off. For every successful project like Gmail, I can think of  a half dozen that lasted a few years and disappeared to the point where you’d be lucky enough to find someone who remembers any of them. If in five years I bring up how I was an early invitee to Google Wave, someone will probably accuse me of making the name “Google Wave” up. This frightens me a bit.

Here is where the historic perspective comes in. There were all these interesting concepts out there that just up and folded for one reason or another. One reason sites run betas is to use you as a guinea pig. Don’t feel violated or anything, many bigger sites do the exact same thing and you’ve probably never even realized. You navigate from page to page and little metrics start being generated on some back end interface that report how long you stay on a page, what links you click, etc. ”Beta” isn’t always a marketing word or tied to getting advanced access to a site. Yes, it can be both of those things, but it importantly represents the fact that you are in a testing ground and are undergoing the experimental procedures. A lot of people will offer feedback or outright complain about the service they are testing, and the company can either adapt or die. When they die, they’re gone. Most of these online niches are up for a few years, with the hype and buzz of their exclusivity, and end up vanishing overnight before ever hitting their full potential.

We can use this as a learning experience. I find some of the betas I’ve participated in recently are services I enjoy. Turntable.fm allows a bunch of people to come together in a virtual room and play music for each-other, taking the complexities out of online DJing and adding a rich social aspect. You can’t get the same feel from an Icecast server no matter how hard you try.  Bottlenose tracks all of your social networking updates, generating statistics and even a “newspaper” from them. Letterboxd brings back the long lost Netflix friends feature in full force, so you can keep track of what your friends are watching and just how much they like it. What’s a better way to get mass movie recommendations?

My Bottlenose “Sonar”

These services are fun, and I hope they stick around. Even if they don’t, they become bricks in this strange failed beta wall and are akin to those little toy fads most of us were suckered into as children. Some of the older concepts for these sites still pop up again here and there. Joost’s P2P streaming might have been a little advanced for 2007, but now there are dozens of P2P video streaming sites and applications that you can download and use.  Of all the ideas for this websites, some are just duds from the start, but others are simply ahead of their time.

Don’t be surprised if your friend messages you at 2 in the morning with an invite to a site that feels an awful lot like one you were part of six years ago.

Though the sites may die, their ideas don’t. They’re just in the process of being recycled.

Saving Rev3 – Getting Descriptive (Day 30)

Monday, June 11th, 2012

Shorter update today, let’s just cover the main points.

For starters, Moonlit and myself did an article for The New Tech about archiving. It’s a cool read if you have the time, and I’ll eventually put it up here.

In the past week, Moonlit found a fantastic way of downloading episode descriptions en masse with a cool tool called Outwit Hub. This automates the whole task of getting descriptions. After these are pulled, I check them and add show descriptions before uploading to archive.org. I’ve done a handful of shows so far, and more are on their way to being completed. I also have started downloading the last two shows on the archive list, which are more of a pain to do but at least I’m getting them done.

As I said earlier, my next phase will be archiving Reivision3 Beta shows. To do this, I’m going to need a mass Viddler download tool to avoid going insane. Just something that will pull all the videos from a profile. If anyone has any ideas, send me a tweet, come chat, or leave a comment.

 

Revision3 Beta Logo

Others will probably want to go right to archiving shows currently being produced. I’m still trying to figure out the best way to do this. For now it’s probably a good idea to download first, and ask questions later.

As always, I’ll keep you updated and feel free to stop by if you want to help out or have any ideas!

See you soon.

A Care Package from Shinmaryuu

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

Shinmaryuu is one of my oldest internet friends. The concept of “internet friends” was weird for me to wrap my head around at first, but is almost second nature to me now. I met Shinmaryuu online in 2006. It’s scary to think about that when you cut right down to it. Most of the people I talk to every day are those who I’ve met in the last two years, but internet ties are strong for some reason. There’s always a connection. There is always some web presence that you can hunt for if you master your search engines and old stomping grounds. There’s a beauty to that kind of interaction, but always the fear that it might one day be supplanted with an email from a long lost address bouncing back to your account

Shinmaryuu and myself were both regulars of the Hak.5 community and quickly became friends. We shared a general love of technology, in one form or another, as well as independent media. Back when I was just figuring out what an internet television show was, Shinmaryuu was deep into the scene and even developing his own audio/video content under the banner Random Acts of Anarchy (The video episode of which I still have).

Over the years, we’ve always had each others’  backs. Shinmaryuu contributed an article to the first issue of the Analog.5 ezine I cobbled together (painfully) in 2006. When Stage6 went under and The IPTV Archive went down with it, Shinmaryuu offered a helping hand and even gave the idea of hosting videos on blip.tv where they are to this day. He featured my video show Obsoleet on his Library of Geekdom website, and even ended up contributing a show segment to it (in episode four to be precise). We may not talk as much these days as we used to, but we still go back and forth through twitter and some other channels of communication here and there, talking of the good old days and what’s on the horizon. In all, we’re very similar. We are both content creators, but focused on community and creativity instead of the draw of money and power. You can track Shinmaryuu’s efforts from sXe 13 to Torn Red Sweatpants to Wicked 13 Productions, and in all those years he is still standing for producing the best content that he can. You can’t say the same for most people.

With my newest project on saving Revision3, Shinmaryuu and I have been chatting casually on a few topics, and a few days ago I inquired about some of the content he had collected in the past. I was sure that most of the stuff he initially saved had long since been lost to the troubles of unresponsive hard drives and disc rot, but I was pleasantly proven wrong. We got to talking, and he was kind enough to send me over a little care package of indie content spanning years and dating back to before I was putting bits in proverbial buckets.

What am I going to do with all these lovely discs? Archive them of course, and share them with everyone. Share them with you. All in good time, and all in proper form with disc images and cover/insert scans. Anarchivism.org will feature the Shinmaryuu Collection (working name, haha ) provided the discs are all out of print to the point that you can’t get your hands on them anymore (though I’ll link back to all the content creators I can find). The discs in general are not only beautiful in their physical nature, but by what they represent. Every hand cut booklet and labeled disc reflect the hard work of content creators before. They were here, and now their work has been shared with me.

The Package

So to Shinmaryuu, I offer the deepest thank you. Some things I thought I would never see have fallen gracefully into my lap, and I couldn’t be happier.

These days, Shinmaryuu is still going on strong. You can check out his website, Wicked 13 Productions, or head right to his youtube profile to see all the great videos he is putting out. Check out his content and leave him a comment, or send over a friendly shout on Twitter.

Tell him Fami sent ya.

Saving Rev3 – Light at the End of One Tunnel (Day 25)

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012

Well, things are going pretty smoothly now. If you look at the page, most of the content is up. That is, most of the shows that have been put in the Revision3 “archive” have been downloaded, sorted, inspected, and re-uploaded to archive.org.

It’s taken a long time.

This is day 25 of me downloading and uploading. All day. Every day.

What have I learned? Revision3 cannot take care of their content. I’ll give them a little credit. I have a list here of notes from when I started this project two years ago. It’s a short list of little issues I encountered, some of which have been fixed. This sort of surprised me. For example, there was originally a missing episode of popSiren. Missing as in not in the episode list, but it’s back now. I can’t say the same for most shows that are now in the archive. I’d say that about half the shows I’ve downloaded have one problem or another whether it be missing content, mislabeled episodes, or some other issue that you couldn’t even wrap your head around.

All the issues I stated in the last articles, they just get worse. It would be a waste of article to address them all, so if you’re really curious just click the link to the wiki page above and look through the notes section of the table. There are a few that I may have fixed and not mentioned, but most of the issues are there in readable little sentence fragments.

So where do we go from here?

I’m currently trying to scrape together the last few shows. After this, there will be a *complete* mirror of all the Revision3 archived content. I use that world complete to mean everything they offer. There are shows with holes, and I note them. I’ve also investigated some of them and found that there is true mislabeling, but some I can’t tell for sure. After I get all of this sorted through some detective work, I have to go into descriptions. This will take hours in itself (some help would be nice) so that all the content has episode descriptions. I didn’t do this initially because I wanted to make sure I had all the content. You can scrape episode descriptions from other places if things go bad, but you usually can’t find two dozen shows when they just disappear overnight.

let’s cause this descriptions bit Phase II.

Phase III will be getting other content. Yes, we got the archived shows, but Revision3 still produces content daily. This needs to be grabbed too, but questions come up. How do you archive a show that still makes video? Local copies until it dies? Upload it yearly? I’m not sure yet and am open to ideas. We must also go into Revision3 Beta, the website for which is now gone. This is where I will be focusing many of my efforts to try to snag what I can before the internet forgets it completely. Lastly, I want to expand to shows that Revision3 produced in part, but not fully. For example, I have complete runs of The Game Show and Epic Fu, both of which now appear dead. There are more shows like this, and more still going on that need to be monitored carefully. We don’t want anything disappearing into the aether.

 

Again, I ask for your help.

We need people. We need people for a variety of tasks large and small. What can you do to help? Download episodes. Gather descriptions. Come talk to us. Give us ideas and help us think in ways we haven’t yet. More than anything, spread the word. You might have no interest in any of this, but if you think the project holds any merit, donate a re-tweet. If you have a podcast or blog, interview me. If just one of your hundreds of internet followers is a fan, that’s one more person who might want to help be a part of this massive (and often crazy) project.

This is only the beginning. We’re going to need a bigger boat.