Ben Waggoner

Waggoner, Ben. Compression for Great Digital Video: Power Tips, Techniques, and Common Sense. DV Expert Series. San Francisco: CMP Books, 2002.

This list of titles is turning into a hall of fame really. Like Matthew Peterson and QuickTime, it isn’t that what Ben Waggoner doesn’t know about compression isn’t worth knowing, it simply doesn’t exist. If you really do want to understand what’s involved in more detail than you’ll ever want (unless you’re an engineer) about compression this is where you go. It is the sort of standard text that everyone who works in video and audio online should read simply to develop the literacy in what compression is. Why? I guess in the same way that if you drive racing cars you aren’t the mechanic, but to get the best out of your car you have to be able to talk mechanically to your mechanics. Same deal here. Understanding something about what happens in them there codecs helps you appreciate what you can and can’t do, why, and simply how to compress more successfully.

Interactive Quicktime

Peterson, Matthew. Interactive Quicktime: Authoring Wired Media. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufman Publishing, 2004.

What Matthew Peterson doesn’t know about scripting QuickTime isn’t worth knowing. Not only this but this is one of the best written ‘technical’ books I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. The CD contains all of the examples described through the book, and includes demo versions of the necessary software to make everything that is included. What is particularly impressive are the questions that end each chapter. These aren’t to test what’s been read but raise new questions and problems in an engaging, engaged and informing way. This is part of Apple’s QuickTime Developer Series, and with their QuickTime for the Web title these form the two fundamental books for those wanting to work interactive QuickTime.

QuickTime for the Web

n.a. Quicktime for the Web: For Windows and Macintosh. Third Edition ed. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2004.

This is the bible for QuickTime, a part of the Apple QuickTime Developer Series and pretty much lays out all that QuickTime does. This is the book that, if you’re serious in wanting to work with QuickTime, you’d read cover to cover.

this is not vogging

I’ve commented on these discussions before, but this is one I’d missed (it is from 2002), Tom Tomorrow (gottaluvit) notes that the last thing we need are more talking heads aka video blogging. Yep. Videoblogging should be and will be about blogging with video. Blogs are not talking heads. They’re people writing rich, informed and engaged things. There are thousands of blogs that don’t do this, which is hardly a criticism of the genre (read a bad book lately, lousy news article, how much TV do you really enjoy?) but is an observation about what happens when communication is distributed. That’s fine too.

But videoblogging will be about the things that blogs are about, so the vogs will be rich, informed, engaged, intelligent, have something to say or do, and will push and redefine what video is. In the same way that blogs make visible what lots of us hypertext people have been advocating and saying all along. The network makes a difference. Authorship and readership approach towards a zero degree.

And yes, it is harder to do in video than in trad. blogging, but the technology is already there we just don’t yet have the tools to let us do it because no one can think of a reason to do it. That’s just lack of vision and sloth.

blog events

While trying to tidy out my old email (those things I promised to reply to but didn’t) I came across this gem from Jane Love, from June 2002:

but blogs strike me as a particularly rich instance of the generative potential of a technology running up against an instrumentalist vision of it: that’s what this whole “blog debate” is about, i think. the people who think that blogs are “no big deal,” who view them in terms of their immediate, noncontextual operability, can’t understand those who allow blogs to recondition their sense of what’s possible in online writing practices. for these people, blogging isn’t simply a technology, it’s an *event.* maybe that’s what i’m trying to get at in my argument: a sense of the eventfulness of any given technological instance. alain badiou would call this the ethical imperative in the technological situtation, i think (i’ve just started reading badiou), and i think it’s the most difficult and demanding aspect of realizing the role of technology in education. and elsewhere.

The Event is the blog. Its vectors flows and passages. Or just read Michael Joyce’s essay in Ilana Snyder’s recent anthology :-)

when is a vog a vog?

Ah, this is rapidly becoming a bit of a chestnut isn’t it? Having a relook at today things are moving apace. What with moblogging courtesy of G3 spectrum, and the example of blogging, more and more people are moving towards video blogs. This is, of course, hardly surprising, but like many of the blogs out there they don’t amount to a lot. Harsh, yeah, I know. I’m all for empowering people, but plonking video onto a blog front end is not yet the revolution. It is plonking video on a webpage. Why?

  • good blogs are well crafted writing
  • good blogs are written by good writers or by people with good things to write about and say
  • blogs isn’t just writing plonked into a blog
  • blogs have an architecture, technical protocols that are the result of social mores (and social constraints that are the result of technical protocols)
  • blog writing is crafted writing

Vogging is the same. A vog ought to be:

  • well crafted video
  • video that is well cut/lit/composed/narrated or about something worth viewing
  • vogs are just video plonked into a blog
  • vogs have an architecture (derived from blogs but also specific to video online)
  • vogs are crafted video

places like confuses publication with making. Any good blogger knows that words don’t come cheap. Neither should video.

Social Software

Stumbleupon is a site that David told me about. It seems to be a URL bookmark aggregator and repository, you use it to ‘

Internet Art

Thames and Hudson have published a small book on internet art, this page is the list of all the artworks in the book. A useful resource.

A friend of mine has just launched his ecommerce site, Bad taste knows no bounds.


Bad day down on the farm. Beautiful sunny crisp day, time to read, write, prepare for next week. But, um, my installation of mysql (which of course is crucial to everyone’s blogs) is appearing grumpy. It is still running, and apparently doing what it ought to do, but the root account in mysql seems to be, well deaf. I’ve eventually found how to reset the root password for mysql (here and here are the best two explanations) which I’ve done, but I simply cannot log in to mysql using phpMyAdmin even though the config file ought to let me. Spent 4 hours today on this. One of those moments when I realise I’m an academic, not a sys admin.

Creative Computing adopted

The program I teach within here at RMIT has just formally adopted the manifesto for creative computing as a pedagogical docume

Snow From the Train

Another vog, another one of the European holiday series (and yes, I am trying to get them out a week at a time and yes, I do want to finish them!). This is called Danish Snow and is material I shot out of the train window as Anna and I travelled from Copenhagen to Amsterdam. In the south of Denmark we travelled through a wonderful snow storm, all the fields carpeted, rabbits hopping away from the train across the snow, trees with their white umbrellas. I love the snow, I think it is mysteriously magical the way a landscape is transfigured, silenced, and relit by snow. The novelty and beauty is something I never tire of (though I live in a country where snow is a long drive away so I guess if I lived somewhere where snow was a regular event my views may be different).

This vog is like the previous Brussels Park vog (explanation here) where I have two child movies loading next to each other and mousing into one controls the playback speed of the other. As in the previous vog the effect is to speed up playback. Clicking in one videopane restores the original speed of the other, and also lets you toggle through a series of textual annotations. One of the things I’m interested in with the textual annotations is perhaps using this to provide a specific date stamp for the work. There is still the usual date and time stamp within the blog post itself, but another timestamp that appears within the work. I did toy with making this a text track and clickable so it operated as a permalink, but wasn’t happy with the outcome, though this is something I expect I’ll be returning to shortly.

Increasingly I’m realising that my work is very much about time, duration, the quotidian and the effect come affect of duration in indexical media. The specific indexicality that I’m interested in is time based, so it is important in vogging, at least in my vogging, that work records worlds that are verisimilitudionous (is that a word or have I just spelt it wrong), a condition that I think is actually key to blogging (he adds). So my vogs seem to be less concerned with complex interactivity, or even that mutlimedia broadband media rich experience, than time poems.

Hence this work is about movement, place, memory, the exotic, and embedded variable durations.