Obama makes sense

Saturday, December 6, 2008 at 17:31 | Posted in Politics, USA, youtube | Leave a comment
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When Barack Obama made his first weekly Tube address for a few weeks ago I complained that it was “somewhat thin of substance”. That can not be said about today’s address. The president-elect actually makes sense.

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Obama’s weekly Tube address

Sunday, November 16, 2008 at 3:56 | Posted in Politics, USA, youtube | 2 Comments
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President-elect Barack Obama has for the first time released his so called weekly address as a YoutTube video and intends to do the same every week. That seems to be the most important news you can say about this week’s address. Other than looking and sounding very presidential, the address was somewhat thin of substance.

On the other hand, Obama is not president yet which puts a limit to how much news he can deliver. I expect that to change once he is sworn in.

Bullocks – no Star Trek for you

Saturday, October 11, 2008 at 18:10 | Posted in entertainment, Media, youtube | Leave a comment

YouTube an CBS have reached an agreement on legitimate streaming of CBS content:

CBS wasn’t ready to share its ad revenue with Hulu in March, but the network is alright splitting those dollars with YouTube. Today, CBS began streaming content on Google’ video site. For now the network is showing a random smattering of shows that include “MacGyver,” “Star Trek,” the original “Beverly Hills 90210,” and current episodes of “The Young and the Restless.” Season premieres of Showtime’s “Dexter” and “Californication” will also be available.

While the content does not sound like my pint of beer, it is positive per se that the network is taking steps in a more sensible direction in terms of making their content available in the web. As it turns out, though, I need not bother anyway:

No cookie for me. Did not want one in the first place so I do not mind. I suppose anybody hereabouts who want to watch this sort of shows can continue to do so without any revenue floating to CBS and YouTube. It is technically illegal but I do not think they mind.

YouTube and privacy

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 at 16:53 | Posted in Legal, privacy, youtube | Leave a comment

Viacom, MTV and other litigants give up their demand to get access to all YouTube users’ viewing history, IP’s and user names included. I for one would have been more than annoyed if such details about my usage had been handed over. Not that I have anything to be afraid of copyrightwise or otherwise. I just do not like the idea of somebody peeking over my shoulder. My user name makes me identifiable in the real life as my account includes a number of clips where I appear with my own face and voice. I strongly dislike the idea that somebody could connect my viewing history to my real person.

In an earlier post YouTube explained why they keep IP records in the first place:

Why do we keep this information in the first place? It helps us personalize the YouTube experience, getting you closer to the videos you most want to watch. We have many features on the site that help users discover and share compelling content, and we’re improving the video experience through recommendations, related videos, and personalized directories that help you find meaningful videos.

Well, thanks but no thanks! I am quite happy to “personalize” my YouTube experience all by myself. I have no problem using the search function to find the contents that I am interested in. So if that is the only reason for keeping IP records, I am not convinced.

Supermarket domino

Wednesday, March 19, 2008 at 21:52 | Posted in Finland, funny, video, youtube | 1 Comment
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The owner of a supermarket outside Helsinki agreed when his son and son-in-law asked if they could organize a huge domino of the store products during Christmas holidays and film it. The stunt eventually ended up in YouTube and that is when the trouble started. Although the authors say that no products were harmed, the local customers were furious: thou shalt not play with food.

The dealer says he is sorry and nothing like this will ever happen again in his store. Pity, because it is a funny clip.

Controversial Georgia clips

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 at 14:23 | Posted in Election, Politics, video, youtube | Leave a comment
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Georgia is going to have a heavily contested presidential election on 5th January 2008. It may or may not be a fair election but chances are nil that the result would be universally recognized, whoever is going to win.

Just to add up the confusion, these two videos were added in YouTube by a user who joined the site just yesterday. The clips, allegedly recorded with a hidden camera, appear to disclose a plot of coup immediately after the election on 6th January.

I do not know what to think. Is there a real chance of a coup? Or is this just another provocation?

via Marko Mihkelson

A Windsorian channel

Sunday, December 23, 2007 at 17:17 | Posted in great britain, youtube | Leave a comment

YouTube has set up a special channel for the christmas message of Mrs. Elisabeth Windsor. The channel has footage of milestone events connected to the life and times of the Windsor family. Below is the first televised christmas message by Mrs Windsor.

Mrs Windsor works for the British government with special promotional duties. She recently became the oldest person ever to have held that symbolic position as a civil servant. I can not stop wondering that the British government have not set up old age pension for this branch of their civil service.

Apparently, some persuasion was needed before Mrs. Windsor understood and accepted the concept of YouTube. Her lacking education was yesterday criticized by David Starkey in a Guardian interview.

Footage of Saudi Arabia

Thursday, September 27, 2007 at 1:47 | Posted in saudi arabia, video, youtube | 1 Comment
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Asharq Alawsat writes (via Chawed Rosin) that two members of Saudi Arabia’s religious police, officially known as “Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice”, were verbally assaulted and sprayed with pepper gas by two “inappropriately-dressed females” at a market place in the Eastern province Dr. Mohamed bin Marshood al-Marshood:

According to Dr. Al-Marshood, the two commission members approached the girls in order to “politely” advise and guide them regarding their inappropriate clothing.

Consequently, the two girls started verbally abusing the commission members, which then lead to one of the girls pepper-spraying them in the face as the other girl filmed the incident on her mobile phone, while continuing to hurl insults at them.

I was browsing in YouTube to find some adequate video footage but I was not very surprised that I found none of this incident. The girls would obviously either not have had a chance to post it or they were too scared to post it.

Instead I stumbled into an interesting trailer of a documentary: Saudi Arabia – under the veil

Sweeping the floor

Tuesday, September 4, 2007 at 8:23 | Posted in Election, funny, Politics, video, youtube | 3 Comments

The democratic CNN YouTube presidential debate took place in July and the republican debate is scheduled for November. I do not believe that any of those two debates can match this one: President Bartlet sweeping the floor with Gov. Ritchie.

Criminal record for YouTube libel

Friday, August 24, 2007 at 20:47 | Posted in crime, Finland, Legal, youtube | Leave a comment

As I noted for a while ago, a 15 year old school kid in eastern Finland was charged for libel after his teacher refused to accept his apology and insisted on criminal charges be brought up against the kid. The boy had posted a video in YouTube featuring the teacher singing at a school party. The video was entitled “Karaoke at the mental hospital” whereby the teacher’s name appeared with insinuation that the performer was a mental patient.

A court in Nurmes has now found the teenager guilty of libel. He was sentenced to a fine of 90 €. He is additionally to pay a damage compensation of 800 € to the teacher and pay 2000 € of legal expenses.

So the kid is to pay 2890 € of which the 90 € fine is critical for his future. The court could have opted to find him guilty and impose the compensations be paid but leave him unpunished. Apparently the court did not think that repent, an apology, a public trial and compensations of 2800 € were a punishment enough. They chose to add up the 90 € fine just to make sure that the kid gets a criminal record.

via Janne Saarikko

Update (5th September): Helsingin Sanomat writes that the boy’s lawyer has filed an appeal on the court verdict. He is asking the higher court to reject the criminal verdict and overturn the damage compensation of 800 €. As a secondary motion, the lawyer is asking that his client, if found guilty, be left without a punishment.

YouTube/CNN debate is on

Monday, August 13, 2007 at 6:58 | Posted in Election, Politics, USA, video, youtube | 1 Comment

The Washington Post writes that the Republican CNN/YouTube debate is on. It is going to be on 28th November 2007. YouTube users can post their 30 second video questions up to 27th November.

It is not clear yet whether the Iowa straw poll winner Mitt Romney is going to attend. As I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Gov Romney does not seem to feel that answering questions by a snowman is at level for the presidency. This prompted Billiam The Snowman to post this video response:

So it looks like the debate is on, with or without Mitt Romney. I do not care if he is going to be there or not. I would not be sorry to see him quit the campaign, to be honest.

Moral boosting PR

Wednesday, August 8, 2007 at 20:52 | Posted in entertainment, funny, internet, video, youtube | Leave a comment
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I recently wrote about cultural differences between British and German armed forces in context of video footage of off duty recreation of soldiers on a mission in the wide World. I was wondering if the German Bundeswehr are just lacking any sense of humor or if they have a completely different understanding of transparency. The British Army also seems to be better in understanding that not only does this sort of footage in the web boost the moral of the troops, it also serves as free PR for the military.

The British Army may be supportive of these recreational activities, either openly or unofficially, but the US Navy seems to have a full hearted policy of not only encouraging but also providing resources for the activities. Just imagine what the cost must have been for producing this VAW-116 Hawkeye Squadron version of Hey Ya on board USS Abraham Lincoln:

I would say that the money and effort is well spent. More than 600.000 views at YouTube and over 3500 users bookmarking the clip within 11 months would be honoring for any commercial project produced at a considerably higher cost. As I read in Stoi Bär Blog, the clip has even been run in US TV.

Blog-abfertigung has more footage produced by US Navy units.

Culture of transparency

Tuesday, August 7, 2007 at 0:43 | Posted in Germany, great britain, internet, transparency, video, youtube | 6 Comments
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A month ago I uploaded to YouTube a funny video featuring German soldiers in Uzbekistan having some off duty fun. I wanted to contribute to the popular footage being accessible in the Internet after receiving information that the German Bundeswehr were anxious to get it down from the web and had apparently succeeded in persuading everybody who had uploaded it before me to take it down.

Shortly after uploading the video I received some anonymous correspondence. The first letter had a somewhat harsh tone. I was outright threatened with legal action with implications to criminal charges.

As soon as the language of those messages was changed from German to English, the tone also shifted to more appealing and conciliatory. The person writing to me implyed to be one of the persons appearing on the video and said it would be “helpful” to get it down. When I promised anonymity in exchange of information on the Bundeswehr activity in the matter I was promptly told that the army had not approached them to get it down.

Had I been convinced that there were real soldiers out there getting in trouble because of the video, I would have been likely to take it down. Since I had information from several sources that the Bundeswehr were indeed making an effort to get the footage out of the web and only one anonymous source saying the opposite I felt I needed some sort of confirmation to do anything. I pointed out that any information passed to me would be priviliged under confidentiality of sources of a journalist.

The correspondence promptly stopped as soon as I wrote back a message saying this. For all I know the person writing to me may have been somebody from the Bundeswehr staff trying to fool me into complying so I decided to leave things as they are. I have not heard anything about it in more that three weeks other than occasional comments added in YouTube, all of which are positive.

In contrast to the German military officials, the British Army seems to be very supportive of their service men’s off duty activities of this sort. This home coming video posted by British soldiers in Iraq is a proof of it: the end titles even appreciate that the local commander was encouraging the project.

I do not know if there is a difference between the British and German senses of humor or in the culture of transparency. Maybe the German forces just feel embarrassed to recognize that soldiers have an off duty life. What I do know, however, is that there is no way to actually pull back something which has been spread allover the Internet.

Edit: There is more to the topic in RA-Blog and StoiBär Blog.

For the people, by the people

Monday, July 30, 2007 at 0:09 | Posted in Election, internet, Media, Politics, USA, web 2.0., youtube | 1 Comment

The CNN YouTube Democratic presidential debate does not seem to turn the republican candidates on. So far only John McCain and Ron Paul have confirmed their participation in a similar Republican debate in September, the Washington Post writes. Best describing the attitude is the response of the presidential wannabe Mitt Romney:

In an interview Wednesday with the Manchester (N.H.) Union Leader, Romney said he’s not a fan of the CNN/YouTube format. Referring to the video of a snowman asking the Democratic candidates about global warming, Romney quipped, “I think the presidency ought to be held at a higher level than having to answer questions from a snowman.”

Like it or not, governor, the format is there to stay. With all due respect for the presidency, an increasing portion of the voters are going to be on line, using web 2.0 tools and thereby creating their own contents. If you want the job you had better respond on the level of the people out there. After all, the government is supposed to be for the people, by the people, not vice versa.

CNN YouTube presidential debate

Tuesday, July 24, 2007 at 19:22 | Posted in Election, internet, Media, Politics, USA, web 2.0., youtube | 2 Comments

The Washington Post is running a summary of the CNN YouTube presidential debate last night in Charleston. That sentence just about sums it up: reading a summary at the web site of a major newspaper is web 1.0 while watching the questions and answers at YouTube site is web 2.0. Not to mention the option of posting a video comment of your own.

The very concept of the debate was web 2.0 at its best. The questions to candidates were chosen among video posts by YouTube users. I briefly considered posting one myself but dropped it as I am pretty sure that an overseas non US citizen’s question would not have passed the selection. I sometimes half seriously say that the election of the US president should not be trusted to American citizens alone as whoever is occupying the presidency has a lot of power over the life of everybody on this Earth.

So I watched most of those questions and answers and found it to be better political entertainment than traditional electoral debates. The word “entertainment” should be underlined here because as a voter I look at the candidates’ record rather than their verbal capabilities on screen, be it TV or computer.

My absolute favorite among the questions was the one about minimum wages: Would you agree to be paid the minimum wage? Most of the answers sounded less than credible, though.

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