Vista beta testers mad about forced startup sound

Folks testing Microsoft Windows Vista have been emailing me today complaining that in Vista the startup sound that goes off everytime the OS starts up will be forced.

Today in Windows XP you can turn off the startup sound, but from what the beta testers have been told that startup sound will be forced to stay on.

I’ll call Steve Ball tomorrow (he runs the audio team) to find out if he can clarify this. Translation: I have not gotten Microsoft’s side of the story on this one. Will let you know when I hear from them.

New DivX video portal rocks, but will you download it?

I love the new DivX Stage 6 video portal (er, YouTube competitor). The video quality ABSOLUTELY ROCKS compared to other video portals I’ve seen.

One problem? You need to download the plug-in and install it. It worked well on my browsers, but some people might have trouble and it takes a few minutes to wait for your first video.

So, will you rather go to YouTube, which runs on Flash which you probably already have installed, or will you go to Stage6, which has bigger and higher quality videos, but requires a few minutes of setup?

I’m going to DivX, but quality is important for me.

Here’s a session on video blogging from the Sundance Film Festival that I’m watching right now. Widescreen. Sharp. Nice audio.

The other thing to look at is how much processor time these things take. My processor on my Lenovo X41 Tablet PC is running at about 65% while playing that video.

Thanks to Katie Fehrenbacher on Om Malik’s new supersite for linking me to this.

Slashdot Founder on Geek Entertainment TV

One thing we’re learning about is just how bad the experience is on video.

Seems like we have a few choices.

1) Compress the hell out of the video so it downloads and plays well on almost every connection.
2) Leave it nice and sharp, but that keeps people who aren’t right near one of our datacenters or Akamai (they mirror our stuff so you can get it fast) from getting it.

Even on a fast connection it’s a frustrating experience. But, that’s why connecting video with RSS makes sense, so your aggregator will download the video and it’ll sit on your hard drive after it’s finished downloading.

Anyway, fun video with Geek Entertainment TV who went to Linux World last week and got this interview with Cmdr Taco, founder of Slashdot. Hey, is that Craig Newmark, founder of Craig’s List in the background? Why yes it is!

Hmmm, speaking of which, I gotta try RedSwoosh. Here’s a link to the same video, but on RedSwoosh. It’ll be interesting to see how that can help with these issues. RedSwoosh is a peer-to-peer piece of software that you load on your machine. A lot like BitTorrent.

If that works, maybe we can put up some really high res versions of our videos. But dealing with HDTV quality is gonna be tough through IP-based networks. I’m encoding the video with Thomas Hawk and it’s massive, even at a non-HD resolution.

Test from cell

Here is a test blog from my cell phone.

Edit: I was just playing around with some software that I can’t talk about yet. Unfortunately I don’t have a cell phone with a keyboard, so it makes this a lot less fun than it otherwise would be, but it’ll let me blog from places where I might not have my computer.

Just a test, this has only been a test, please move onto the next post. Thank you very much! This concludes this test of the cell phone broadcasting network. :-)

Feedless bloggers frustrate

It’s very interesting watching someone use an RSS Aggregator for the first time. Maryam finally got interested in it after hearing me talk for the past three years about how much more productive it is to read people’s blogs in a news aggregator.

She just frustrated me asking “how come I can’t find a feed on Anita Rowland’s blog?” I answered back “if your feed reader was decent it should just tell you that there’s a feed there.”

But, personally, I hate blogs that don’t have an orange icon to explain they have a feed. Here are the two icons you should have on your page if you have a feed (choose one — I like the “old-school” XML icon, but that’s just me — the trick is to have at least ONE of these on your page so that visually your readers will know instantly that you have an RSS or Atom feed to subscribe to): 28 by 28 pixel feed icon [XML] 

The BBC goes with an “RSS” orange icon, which is OK with me, since it’s still simple to figure out. I LOVE how they handle the icon (far better than how I do it on my blog). They put a “What is RSS?” link next to the icon. I should do that here.

Anyway, Maryam finally whined enough to get me to pull up Anita’s blog in both IE and Firefox, looking for a freaking feed. NewsGator and Attensa can’t find one. I can’t find one.

Blogs without RSS feeds piss me off. But now I remember why I don’t read Anita anymore even though everytime I’m at her blog I like what she writes about.

Non-English bloggers have another problem: they might have a feed but their feed might break RSS News Aggregators. For instance, this Persian blogger’s feed breaks Apple’s Safari, which is how Maryam is trying to subscribe to various feeds.

If you don’t make your RSS feed easy to find and use, you’re losing readers.

Oh, and please do subscribe to my feed.