Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Day 17

Lots of busy work today. Micah was trying to whip together a quick website that could do HD video streaming. As a result, I spent a lot of time fishing for HD videos we could use as well as getting converters to get the video format we needed. Blasted watermarks... Useable free converters are a rare commodity. Also, who knew there were so many versions and formats for .mp4 files alone? Its kinda ridiculous.

Streaming videos was another topic we looked into. As it turns out, real streaming is actually fairly rare. YouTube by default doesn't actual, at least for all the videos I looked at, use streaming. True streaming is where the video data is only on your computer for as long as it needs to be. Typically there is a slight buffer, so the video is loaded for just a few seconds before the portion which you are watching, but after you watch it - it is gone. It doesn't save the video on your computer, nor does it keep downloading if you stop watching. It only downloads as much as is needed to create a reasonable buffer.
Most sites will simple download the video onto your computer and play it from your computer's memory rather than from a live feed. What is often mistook for streaming is when the video is downloaded, but starts playing before it is complete. This is what most websites seem to do, and as a result the file is actually on the computer...
Now that I think about it... in a way that seems to be breaking copyright laws in some manner. A sight like Pandora, which 'streams' songs like a radio, is actually creating copy after copy of those songs on the client's computer. Since the files are already on your computer, the distribution has already been achieved. In most cases the client never knows this, and the file is deleted once they close the browser or perhaps when the cache is cleared; however, it is actually quite easy to capture those files. All you have to do is find the source of the file (which the browser tells you by the way...) and then redirect the download to say... your desktop.
This isn't so easy with real streaming. I don't know of anyway, yet, to capture and save a live stream. I am sure it is possible, but it certainly seems like it is less of a copyright violation. You would actually have to be making a copy of the data that is otherwise free flowing through the web and your computer.

So how about that iPad? I know a lot of people are saying its no big deal - it doesn't really have anything new - it's just a bigger iPhone. I suggest you think twice.
Consider the difference between a little car and a bigger car. They are really just the same thing. They basically have all the same parts, nothing exceptionally different... its just that one is bigger. Consider that the purpose and goal of each car is to get the driver from point A to point B. The size difference, however, is no small matter. giggle giggle. There are a vast number of things you can do with a big car that you couldn't dream of doing with a small one, such as: hauling a trailer, driving many passengers, carrying lots of luggage or boxes, and a lot more. Naturally a small car can do things the bigger car can't do as well, but the point is that the fact that they are drastically different in size makes a huge difference!

The iPad will have thousands of new possibilities and enormous potential because of its greater size. It will live in a whole new niche of its own. At first, I see this device being extremely desirable for most common house wives/husbands who use computers for just a few key things. They like to have access to a computer in their kitchen, or study that they can use to write papers, surf the web, write emails, watch movies or videos, collect (but certainly not listen to) music, and so forth. These are the exact things which the iPad will offer. Not only will it provide those things, it provides them in better ways, and for less of a dent in the piggy bank.
Soon after these house wives/husbands become addicted to the iPad, bringing it everywhere in the house that they go and almost making it a 5th limb, their spouses will begin to really want one too.

The next, and fairly obvious, niche the iPad will fill is the student's backpack. It's easy to picture a classroom of students using iPads to take notes in class, read their text books, work on their homework, check and set their schedule, and even take quizzes or tests on secure networks. How could anyone brush off the iPad as no big deal when it could completely revolutionize the way students interact with their classes. Backpacks could transform from - heavy burdens filled with books, calculators, pencils, and other various materials - to a lightweight carrier for a single 1.5lb electric device and maybe a few utensils.

These are just two, out of many, clear niches that no other product has yet been able to fill, and that the iPad will slide into gloriously.

This is just the beginning.
If you don't think this product will succeed, sell all your apple stock and make it cheaper for me to buy it all up.

On a side note... I have to agree that its kinda crappy it doesn't have multitasking. I sure hope they include this in later versions because its pretty stupid to not be able to write a paper while listening to Pandora.

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