Posts from December 2002

Vlogs: The state of the

NOTE: I see that Dive into Mark just gave me a link to this post on vlogs or video weblogs. The link to my showcase, below, does not work. Try these links:

Buzzmachine vlogs… Buzzmachine vlogs at Screenblast….]

Vlogs: The state of the art
: I’ve spent my holiday vacation playing with vlogs — video weblogs — to learn what this can do for work (I imagine high-school kids giving sports reports) and for pleasure (that is, this blog). The lessons come here and there and so as vacation ends, I’m pulling together the lessons and links in this post.

I also just put up two new vlogs (with scripts below, where you can also leave comments… be kind) — one about year-end media cliches and one about the fading fast-food culture. You can get to both, and my three maiden video voyages as well — at

Some of the lessons:

: Vlogs are about somebody saying something. That’s why the ability to work off a script and read off a teleprompter in Serious Magic‘s software is critical enabling technology. This isn’t just about staring at a camera and trying to think of something to say; it’s not about the live camboys and camgirls (to answer Jason Kottke); it’s about at least trying to say something. Vlogs are to cams as blogs are to web pages and forums: They are produced, edited, throught-through; they have a point.

: There are two reasons why something should be on video instead of in print: the need for (1) graphics and illustration or (2) expression and inflection. Here, too, Serious Magic helps because it allows very easy click-and-drop insertion of graphics tied to your words (rather than to a clock).

: I’m still trying to find the right voice for these things. I know that right now, they’re either embarrassing (my sacrifice for my art) or merely imitations of bad TV. But I’m starting to feel comfortable with the form. And I’ll repeat what I said when I started this: Vlogging lets us online go up against our true competitors — not news organizations and reporters but commentators, especially on TV (on Sunday morning, on Fox, on 60 Minutes). Bloggers compete with columnists; vloggers compete with pundits.

But that’s just one voice that will work. Put these tools in the hands of young people with something new to say and a new way to say it and I know we will be wowed.

: Bandwidth is the enemy, but the enemy will be vanquished. When Glenn Reynolds linked to my vlogs, the crush of simultaneous users brought my server down. I solved that, for now, by using Sony’s Screenblast. But I am confident that bandwidth will improve on the viewer’s side of the pipe and get much cheaper on the server’s side.

My links re vlogging so far:

: Introducing vlogging.

: How to vlog.

: To watch my vlogs go to my “showcase” at

: The drumbeat for Lileks TV.

Others’ links on vlogging:

: Glenn Reynolds includes multimedia blogging in his look at the year online.

: Justin Katz responds to my vlog with a vlog of his own raising questions about the ease and interactivity of the form. (My response.)

: Alex Knapp also doubts. (My response.)

: David Galbraith defends the future of vlogs and foresees armies of bloggerazzi.

: Howard Sherman says the young will be the ones to innovate here.

: Henry Copeland sees convergence in vlogging and Gawker.

: A Dutch filmmaker’s experiment in vlogging (more artsy, less scripted).

: An MIT Media Lab researcher, Aisling Kelliher, also experiments with video weblogging here.

: Macromedia folks videoed a recent conference here.

: The Shifted Librarian wants the text in RSS. Well, I’m halfway there: putting text up; RSS next.

: He hates the idea (because it ruins the off-the-cuff casualness of blogs) and so does he.

: Finally, I’m proud of this one: When I started this blog, the first snarky anti-me post online came from Follow Me Here. And now he’s snarking at vlogging. I must be onto something.

: UPDATE: I’ll try to keep this up-to-date with further links…

: Henry Copeland has a kind review of three of the vlogs.

: More kind words from Sean Kirby.

Vlog: Fast food fades: Here’s

Vlog: Fast food fades
: Here’s a vlog on the decline of fast food from a guy who was raised on the stuff; at last 6′ of my 6’4″ was built on fat, sugar, starch (and protein) from McDonald’s.

You can see the blog here:; click on the Big Mac.

The script (click on “more” for the rest):

I am a child of many parents: a child of the sixties… of TV… of the Cold War… of Sputnik… of rock ‘n’ roll… and also of fast food.

Ronald McDonald was a father figure to me. I was raised on burgers ‘n’ fries.

But now I fear that fast food — the true American cuisine — is in decline.


Vlog: Year-end media cliches: Here’s

Vlog: Year-end media cliches
: Here’s a vlog on the media’s — especially TV’s — parade of cliches that come at the end of every year.

Go to

Here’s the script (click on “more” if you can bear it):

If you want to worry about the state of news media today — if you want to fret that news is turning into a commodity — all you have to do is watch TV news or read papers at the end of a year and you will see the worst — the most predictable — media cliches replayed again and again.

Since this is the season of lists, I give you my list of year-end news cliches:


Remember the Seinfeld wheelchair episode

Remember the Seinfeld wheelchair episode when George…?
: The most entertaining story I’ve read in ages: A shoplifter in a wheelchair leads a low-speed chase from the scene of the crime in Norway.

A wheelchair-bound woman didn’t let her handicap hinder her escape after she was spotted shoplifting in a western Norwegian town Monday. She simply gave full power to her motorized wheelchair and sped off, crashing through a glass door and literally shaking off pursuers along the way.

Shocked witnesses at the Co-op grocery store in Sandnes, outside Stavanger, described the incident as a scene taken right out of a Hollywood action film….”I managed to catch up with her and grabbed onto the chair’s handles, but could only hang on for 100 meters or so,” Nes told newspaper VG. “She sharply turned the chair and we nearly crashed into a car. I fell off and couldn’t take any more.”

Three other employees continued the chase, which moved on from the parking lot to a busy city street. “She was driving like a maniac,” said Asle Hellvik. “When she headed out into the street against a red light, several cars had to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting her.”

Guess who won…

Listless: I hate New Year’s

: I hate New Year’s lists and so here are some of them:

: Fimoculous lists his best sites. I find the list uninspired; Nick Denton doesn’t.

: Karl Martino has the mondo list of lists.

: J.D. Lassica lists lists of top stories.

: I make fun of lists on a vlog.

: Andrew Sullivan goes on as long as the damned Oscars with his year-end awards. Then Mickey Kaus calls it like it is: “Does reading Andrew’s blog have to be like reading Pravda?”

: Herewith Mad Magazine’s list of the dumbest people, events, and things of 2002.

: Here’s the best list of 2002, from Textism.