OK! I talked me into it!

Well, I took the plunge.  I made the leap.  I threw all common sense to the wind and got a smart phone.  A SMART PHONE!  It makes me feel smart just to say the name – Droid Eris.  “Why yes, I have the Droid Eris.”  

But, will it make me smarter?  Will I work and live smarter?  It’s only A PHONE!  

I don’t need a smart phone.  In renewing our cell phone contract, I could have gotten a new, simple, easy to use cell phone.  But then, I don’t need an electric garage door opener either.  But it is sure nice to have when it’s pouring rain or the temperature is 20 below!  

So I talked myself into it.  Really, once I heard my arguments for getting one, I was convinced.  With more and more ways to watch video either on the internet or on mobile devices, I need to understand video delivery technology.  I need to understand what the buzz is all about.  After all, Tweedee Productions is in the video content production business.  I better know how all this stuff works.  

Mac Chorlton, our business development guy, has had a Blackberry for a couple of years now.  He understood the potential right away.  I remember the day he got it – he was all excited.  He explained how quickly and easily he could show someone one of our videos at a networking or sales event.  Image that you’re at a cocktail party and someone asks you what your company does.  You get that “why, I’m glad you asked me” smile on your face as you whip out your smart phone and play for them a short video that explains your product or service in three minutes or less.  Brilliant!  Instant emotional connection. 

Now, if I could only figure out what this button does…  

Gregg Schieve trying to figure out his new smart phone.

TiVo wants to be the Google of TV

I’ve talked about this before: the way we watch TV is changing.  I watch some TV shows live (LOST), and I watch some online after they’ve aired (Glee).  I watch other TV shows after they’re no longer on air – either on DVD (Six Feet Under) or streaming through Netflix (Dexter).  Now Netflix allows customers to watch streaming videos through their Wii console, which is much more convenient than hooking up your computer to your TV.  I don’t have a DVR, but I know a lot of people who do and use them to record shows and watch them when it fits into their schedule.

A few weeks ago, as I was driving to work, I heard a story on NPR about TiVo.  You know TiVo.  In fact, if you have a DVR, you might say you TiVo’d something, even if your DVR is not a TiVo.  Well, it turns out that Tivo wants to streamline all of our TV-watching options:

Joe Miller, TiVo’s senior vice president for retail sales and marketing, touts the new box as the “Google of television.” .

Take a popular show like House. Right now, you can watch it live on Fox, record it on your DVR, stream it on your computer or even download it from a service like iTunes. It’s possible to do all this from home if you have the tech savvy, money and patience — plus a bunch of wires and remote controls.

Miller says the new box, dubbed the TiVo Premiere, can do all of that: “Your TiVo would find you House that’s on broadcast, House that’s in syndication, all of the past seasons that might be on Amazon or another service.”

Also, the TiVo Premiere, which starts at $299 plus service charges, will find any House episode that’s on YouTube and let you listen to the soundtrack through a music service. And, Miller says, it will play on your TV with one box, one set of wires and one remote.

It will be interesting to see if TiVo Premiere becomes the phenomenon that the company is hoping for.  And although I like the idea of using just one device to watch online videos and TV, I don’t think I’ll be getting a TiVo Premiere.

(If you’ve read my previous post, In a Flash, you might be interested in reading Steve Jobs’ open letter regarding Adobe Flash.  I don’t know if Adobe has responded, but if it does, I will link to their response here.)

In a Flash

Last summer, my husband and I got iPhones.  I was a bit reluctant to enter the smartphone realm, but I’ve been surprised at how handy it is to have internet access pretty much wherever I am.  For example, one evening I left Tweedee with a FedEx package that needed to be shipped that night.  I drove past our usual drop box without a thought.  About halfway home, I realized I still had the package.  I pulled over, got out my iPhone, looked up FedEx drop box locations, and found an alternate box near my house so I didn’t have to back track.  Without an iPhone, I would’ve had to drive back to our usual box.  Is that the end of the world?  No.  But I was happy to have saved myself some time.

My biggest frustration with the iPhone is that it doesn’t support Flash.  That means that any site with Flash video or graphics doesn’t load correctly on the phone.  When I go to a Flash-based site, I get a little blue cube with a question mark on it where any Flash element is.

Now, with Apple set to release the iPad, the issue of Apple products (iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad) being Flash compatible has been in the news.  But Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, is refusing to make these products Flash friendly, calling Flash a “CPU hog,” among other things.  If you Google Steve Jobs Adobe Flash, you’ll get quite a list of blogs and news sources with information and opinions about Jobs’ refusal to play nice with Flash.

So what does this mean for the users of the internet?  Not much.  Any change in coding probably won’t affect the end-user much.  But it does mean that businesses and their web designers and coders will have to think about smartphone compatibility as they build their sites.  It also means that, if a company has video on their site, they’ll have to decide if they want that video encoded to Flash or if they want to go with something else.  As a video production company, we at Tweedee are very interested in how this will play out, and we’ve already begun taking steps to make our StreamPilot site more smartphone friendly.

Blogging away!

Using SEO Video to increase traffic to your website

For years, many companies have been using simple keywords as their main Search Engine Optimization (SEO) technique to increase website traffic and their rankings in search engine results.  But there’s been a lot of talk lately about how Google and other search engines are increasing their use of blended media types (articles, pictures, video, & other content) to provide more relevant search results.  The importance of video in those search engine algorithms is helping many websites that have video content increase their traffic and wind up on the first page of those search results.  In fact, according to a recent study by Forrester Research, the use of SEO Video makes you 53 times more likely to end up with a “Page One” ranking on Google.

Right now, it’s hard to separate yourself from the pack, because many competing businesses are all using the exact same keywords within traditional SEO.  But adding SEO Video to your website helps set you apart from your competitors and increases your likelihood of being ranked above them in search results.  Posting non-SEO video to your website, or to YouTube, or to a YouTube embedded player on your site is good start, but it won’t necessarily increase the search engine rank results for your website.  In fact, that strategy may actually just create search engine results for YouTube and ultimately send people directly to YouTube instead of your website.

But posting SEO Video to your website is the best scenario of all… Using keywords and key phrases in your video’s file name, the captions, etc. as well as incorporating other traditional SEO techniques along with your video is the best strategy to bring people directly to your website and generate additional traffic.

Also, USAToday.com small business columnist Steven Strauss recently wrote an article citing “research indicates that if you have video on your homepage, up to 80% of your visitors will click that first.”

That’s right:  If it’s an option, 80% of your visitors will be drawn directly to the video on your website as the first thing they want to click on.  So if you plan to add video to your website in 2010, you want to make sure that 80% of your visitors are seeing a high quality, professionally produced video that accurately portrays the message of your business, organization, etc.  Of course, that’s one of the most important things to remember as you develop your ideas for incorporating video into your website.

Mac Chorlton

when something old is new again

it’s the time of year when the world starts anew…. and many of us look back at what we’ve done.   new year – it either gives a a sense of

sandy kowal - looking forward to.... something.

“better things to come” or “oh, no, not more of the same.” me, i tend to be melancholy. introspective.      each year its different for me.   this year i worry. what usually worries me is the sense of dread over things i can’t control…. like the economy, war, is God really listening to me? i do realize that worrying about stuff i can’t really control is probably not the best way to spend my time…  but i guess that’s what makes me who i am…   human a small business owner.

Don’t get me wrong i do feel blessed… by my relationships (yes, honey, i mean you), my fantastic job and the many gifts in my life.    life IS good.

i stumbled across this website last year… it’s like heaven for old discarded photos from a million years ago. when i get mucked in my melancholy madness i like to go look at these oldies but goodies. i like to look into the eyes of the proud parents with a newly hatched baby or the fancy ladies with fashionable hats or the fresh faced lovers on a date. they make me smile. they make my heart swell with hope. they make me look forward to better things coming in the new year… knowing that whenever i need to i can look back at this website, when something old is new again.   happy new year.

TV Online on TV

Amy's looking for something good to watch

I don’t know about you, but I find myself watching more and more TV on my computer.  As I’ve mentioned in a previous blog, I’m a big fan of Glee.  However, I am usually not home when it airs.  And even if I were, I couldn’t watch it because we don’t get FOX.  (We don’t have cable or satellite TV, and FOX’s over-the-air signal doesn’t get to us, for some reason.)  In order to get my Glee fix, I have to watch it online.

Last week, CSI did a trilogy that started on CSI: Miami, continued on CSI: NY, and concluded on CSI.  I was intrigued and wanted to check it out.  But I knew I wasn’t going to be home to see all of them.  So what did I do?  I watched them online.

My husband also wanted to watch these shows, and watching them on one of our laptops is far from ideal.  Fortunately, we are able to connect a laptop to our television, allowing us to watch the online episodes on our TV.  It’s not a perfect situation, but it beats watching them on a 15″ laptop screen.

And in the past year, online video quality has improved.  Last week, YouTube announced that it would have videos in full HD 1080p.  A lot of the networks already post their shows in HD.

On my way home last night, I heard a story on NPR about watching TV on your computer on your TV.  They talked about how easy it is to hook up your computer to your television, and they also talked about some products that can be a permanent addition to your entertainment system.  It was good timing, because I knew I’d be watching the final installment of the CSI trilogy later in the evening.

But it also got me thinking about the increasing importance of the quality of online videos.  As more and more people watch videos online and as more and more people watch those online videos on their televisions, the videos need to look good.  That starts with the format used in the shooting of the video and ends with how the video is encoded for the web.  That sounds very technical, I know, and it can be easily overwhelming.  When clients come to Tweedee Productions, we start by asking them what the video is going to be used for, how it’s going to be used, and where it’s going to be viewed, and with that information, we can make sure the finished product will look great, no matter where it’s viewed.

what have you done for me lately?

sandy flies

sandy flying high - you are the wind beneath her wings.

today i felt the power of social networking. i needed my team – and they came through. let me start at the beginning…

it’s my turn to blog this week. usually i have some clever idea (at least in my mind) or some concept i’d like to share. this week – nadda. empty. zip. everything i thought of was boring. uninspired. gray. in fact, as it turns out, my only good idea was calling on my Facebook and Twitter friends for ideas.

here are a few of their suggestions from tweets:

gchadwick@tweedeemedia write about how u did that intro video to your website. That video is awesome, I love it!!!

abcfloan@tweedeemedia NPR Music Question Of The Day: Have The Past Decade’s Changes In Technology Made The Music Better? http://su.pr/48ffYY

mlange221 how about using social media correctly. Why advertising speak doesn’t work on FB.

my Facebook friends gave me some spark:

Tracy Ann Mangold How a simple change of view can help you to see things from a totally different perspective. This can be physically changing your view or simply looking at things in a completely abstract or different way than you would normally. That would tie in perfect with what Tweedee does for clients.

Peter Kleppin how about how many feet of cable it takes to connect an editing computer… or the number of formats that have to be deliverables in today’s crazy digitized world…
Dan Montenegro Boy did you guys not understand the task at hand! This is what she really wants.
Tweedee,
Who’s your friend when things get rough?
Tweedee,…
Can’t do a little cause he can’t do enough.
Once upon a summertime
Just a dream from yesterday
Greg and his magic golden flute
Heard a boat from off the bay
“Come and play with me Gregg
Come and play with me.
And I will take you on a trip
Far across the sea.”
(this songs goes on and on, so i edited it down to this – but you get the idea…… sorry, dan – but i LOVE it)

from my friends and followers i got some really great ideas (you’ll be seeing some more of them detailed in future blogs). my creative team grew from the 6 of us in the office to the hundreds i can touch with just a few key strokes and clicks online. social networking is an easy and effective way to be inspired, reconnect with colleagues, increase your resources…  so, my friends, what have you done for me lately? a lot. thanks for being here for me.