Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Friday Watch: Technology Gets In the Way...I Want A 1-Click World

Posted by Tom Foremski - June 7, 2007

I want to focus on content and not technology and yet I have been off-line for days because of hardware failures. And trying to learn the new worlds of "many-media"--how different types of media are prepared, produced, and then distributed.

These have been frustrating weeks but I am reassured with a vision of the future. We are almost at that cusp in history when technology will matter less. It'll be what we do that will matter more than how we do things. And then I'll be able to focus on content instead of technology.

A 1-click future

Right now, I am suffering the multiple agonies of dealing with resuscitating two notebooks, a failed external backup drive, and setting up up a completely new notebook--plus learning video and audio editing for Podtech.net related projects.

One of these days very soon, these types of things will be all one-click problems because we'll have pushed so much of our lives into the cloud where such problems are cheaply outsourced.

Standards get wrapped

Much of my week has been spent with either trying to revive my old hardware or getting to grips with new hardware such as Sony hi-defintion video camcorders. The puzzle is that Sony and Panasonic have adopted a high definition video compression format that has no editing support from the major video editing software vendors.

Are Sony and Panasonic so bad at evangelism that they couldn't get support for their video format from dozens of software companies a year before launch? It's been six months since the launch and there is only a trickle of low-end video editing software coming out. Corel's ULead DVD MovieFactory is one of the first to offer some limited support for AVCHD.

Lost in Video Translation

Because of my Podtech.net deal to produce a Silicon Valley Watcher show I've gotten to shoot lots of video but translating and publishing the video content takes hours of computer processing time, and that's without the editing time.

I would like a magic button that automatically takes the video from the camcorder and loads it into my editing software and then when I'm finished, in the time to make one-click it publishes my video interviews all over YouTube, PodTech, AppleTV, iPhone and wherever else. That's a fantasy because right now, just getting the video content out of the camera and into a format for the editing software takes about 7 to 8 hours per hour of footage. And then exporting it into different publishing formats can take another 3 to 4 hours per hour of footage. That's way too much time lost.

Why can't we have inexpensive video co-processors specifically designed to zip through such tasks? A general purpose microprocessor is good at many tasks but not as good as a specialized processor at specific tasks. We already have DSP chip technologies and powerful graphics co-processors that process many similar tasks within PCs. It would be good to get some video co-processors, too. I should thing there must be some on the way...

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