Airtime Launch Demo Nightmares – due to Flash

Airtime was launched on Tuesday by the founders of Napster – Sean Parker and Shawn Fanning. This Chatroulette-inspired random video chat service seems to have piqued the curiosity of even Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg. The event was filled with celebrities, but with so much fanfare, 2 years of work, and $40M of investment, the actual Airtime video demo was a disaster. The video calls failed so badly that comedian and star of show “Community”, Joel McHale, asked who needs to be fired.

Airtime chose Flash for their video calling service. For folks with Flash experience, their call failures was not surprising.

Device dependence
Flash video requires some form of acceleration from your graphics card, hence, the experience varies for everyone. Let’s not forget that many mobile devices are unable to render Flash, such as the iPad, iPhone and PDAs.

Reliability & Security
Do you really want someone to be listening in to your conversations online and watching how you behave? Well, the thing about Flash video is that it has to go through a server, which exposes the content of the entire conversation to the service provider. In fact, Airplay “captures screen images during conversations and relies on a team of moderators located overseas to keep tabs on any inappropriate exchanges.”

Read our VSee vs. Flash article here .

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VSee’s Organizational Structure (Humor)

This was my unartistic take on VSee’s “corporate” structure (I don’t think we’re big enough to be corporate) after seeing Manu Cornet‘s hilarious comic Organizational Charts, picturing the organizational structures of major companies like Facebook and Google. Guess which one is Milton :)

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A New Mantra Of Boredom

“Boredom is necessary for creativity” –Genevieve Bell, Intel Fellow

At this year’s Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) conference, one of the talks I really enjoyed was Intel Fellow Genevieve Bell’s keynote speech on the importance of boredom.  Boredom as a popular concept only came into being when the Industrial Revolution made the luxury of free time possible for the middle and lower classes (that’s everyone who needs to work for a living).  Before then people were probably too busy working just to survive.  Today we generally think of boredom as a bad thing because it suggests monotony, wasting time, lacking fulfillment or meaningful challenges, or a reduction of the value of our lives.  It goes against American efficiency, can-do, optimism, and it’s Puritan work ethic.  It implies that one is lazy, unpopular, lacking in drive, or worst of all Continue reading

Skype and Facebook

It could happen.

There are rumors (according to Bloomberg) that the two have been chatting about it.  Skype users can already call and SMS Facebook friends, making video the next logical next step.

Personally, this feels like a natural extension of Skype’s current incarnation as a consumer video calling tool.  I assume it would take a lot less overhauling than their stated plans to work with Citrix’s GoToMeeting to make a complete collaboration suite.  Even if I’m wrong about that, I feel the audience fit is better.

Thoughts?

Helping Haiti on Facebook: Linkin Park, the UN Foundation and VSee

On Tuesday, Feb 22nd, VSee enabled “Haiti Today, Haiti Tomorrow”—A Facebook Town Hall, featuring Linkin Park and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and the CEO of the UN Foundation.

They were talking about the ongoing relief efforts in Haiti and how you can support the UN and its partners in helping Haiti rebuild and transform.  They talked from LA, San Francisco, and DC via VSee to their moderator, Randi Zuckerberg, Director of Market Development at Facebook.  Viewers sent questions in real time and participated in the discussion.

We did it by hosting the VSee meeting on an additional computer which funneled all the feeds into one.  This feed was then streamed through Ustream to the UN Foundation’s Facebook page.

The Facebook Town Hall for Haiti provided a unique opportunity to keep a broad public audience engaged in support for Haiti after last year’s earthquake.  The involvement of Linkin Park with its tremendous fan base (20 million Facebook fans) helped connect new parts of the Facebook community with the UN, the UN Foundation, and USAID.  The online impact was matched by a clear message:  people around the world want to connect with Haiti and help partners make a positive difference.  Tens of thousands of attendees watched live and asked questions as representatives from the United Nations, members of Linkin Park, the USAID,  and the UN Foundation’s very own Kathy Calvin spoke about the latest developments in Haiti and ways for individuals to continue helping the Haitian people one year after the devastating earthquake.  In addition the Town Hall was featured in more than 80 news articles, and has garnered coverage in such outlets as Look to the Stars, MTV.com, The Los Angeles Times and The Huffington Post.

Thank you everyone who attended.  To keep abreast of more events as they come up, please go to our Facebook page!

Here’s Milton with Linkin Park at the Facebook offices…