Out with the old

Two weeks each year I take the liberty of stretching the truth. I tell clients I plan on working the final weeks of August and December. Even in Europe the 3-hour work week has not been recognized as gainful employment, but somehow at Kingpin and Xprove we pull it off.

We’re traveling this weekend, and Mrs. TV Weasel has banned the laptop from the SUV – making this the last post of 2006. A look back is in order.

’06 was the year working in video became cool again, and working in web video was no longer considered a euphemism for unemployment. Thanks to YouTube for making it happen, and thanks to Google for amplifying the already deafening hype. Here’s a prediction… Google will spend tons of cash preemptively paying off copyright holders to allow their copyrighted content on YouTube, but by the end of the year it will be clear that the 9-digit offers were a complete overpayment.

iPod video didn’t take off like I had expected. Looking ahead to ’07 makes me question how much effect Apple’s proposed iTV device can have on the IPTV landscape. It will need to be at least as Windows-friendly as the iPod, so it will need its own iTunes-like application. Call it iTube. As elegant as the iTunes UI is, a key component of its success is its fairly unobtrusive DRM. From what we’ve seen in the video aisles of the iTunes store, we shouldn’t expect that from Apple’s iTV venture.

Looking ahead it will be interesting to see how the Wii fares against the PlayStation 3 – elegant UI vs. unbridled technological firepower. More interesting might be to watch how these devices are combined with other technologies. This Wii-Roomba combo is just the tip of the iceberg. Lego Mindstorm NXT hacks and the PS3 as the IPTV device for the millennium generation will begin to redefine interactive entertainment.

It wouldn’t be right to let 2006 pass by without acknowledging a few of the people who made my return to the video trenches so damn enjoyable.

  • My wife and kids. My wife had to go back to work full-time in 2004 while I finished school, and did it without complaint. They’ve given up vacations and delayed new cars so I could devote resources to Xprove and Kingpin. Their words of support and well timed visits to the office have kept me off the ledge numerous times.
  • My Xprove partners Dan Sharp and Dave Bryand – two of the smartest and most even-tempered people on the planet. Of the 6 billion people on the planet, they are probably the only two people smart enough to build Xprove and manage me.
  • Our Xprove beta testers and initial customers. They’ve stuck with us and really deserve a lot of the credit for making Xprove what it is. Somehow we’re going to find a way to thank you more formally in ’07.
  • Vincent Straggas of Flag Day Productions. While I was toiling away at Xprove this summer, he covered shoots for me, served as my DP, and gave me business when things were slow earlier in the year.
  • Jim Feeley of POV Media. His support, advice, and great conversation made many challenging days at the office more bearable.
  • The good people of Avid-L2, FCP-L, and IMUG mailing lists. They provided the witty banter of the virtual water cooler. I subscribe to over a dozen professional lists, but theses folks have become true colleagues.
  • My former colleagues at WGBH and Scient who continue to support me – some as clients, some as advisers, all as friends. Joseph Tovares, Patricia Alvarado, and Dianna Brown deserve special mention.
  • David Vos at This Old House. He continues to supply Kingpin with the most interesting and challenging projects and knows how to push us to our best work.
  • Steve Audette at Frontline. We worked together for almost a decade at WGBH, but didn’t become close until we exchanged IM handles. He’s always available for quick answer to a technical question. Who needs tech support when you know Steve?
  • My students at BU and the Maine Workshops. It’s just an act. I really love you.

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