eBay to buy Skype

Fresh off the wires!
Probably the oddest of all the reported bidders, it’s difficult to see eBay making any links between their existing empire and their new baby, but who knows. Google would have been a more likely buyer given its recent launch of Google Talk. The app is missing that certain something that Google are famous for having, but buying the biggest VoIP company would certainly have made up for it. Another rumoured bidder was NewsCorp, but perhaps the recent buyout of IGN was enough to quench their online thirst for now.

Vidcasting

With Podcasting hitting the mainstream hard with thanks to companies like Apple, it is natural (if not a little premature) for people to begin heralding the next big step in Citizen Media; the Video podcast/blog. Some see this as being the thing that will end the short but sweet life of the podcast, but it would be moronic to assume this.
Vidcasting is upon us, not to the same scale as blogging or even podcasting, but it is here. It will be much bigger in a years time, and bigger still the year after that, but it will not destroy anything that has come before it, in fact it is likely to feed blogs and podcasts.
There are many hurdles for vidcasting to overcome before it recieves the same buzz as podcasting. It would be easy to say that vidcasting will destroy podcasts and blogs just like TV destroyed radio and print but this would not be a fair assessment.
For one, cost. Blogs are free. They only cost depending on your ISP. Podcasts may cost a small amount to a huge amount, depending. You could spend €100 and have the equipment needed to pump out a reasonable show. Vidcasting, however demands a little bit more. A low end video camera costs much more than a low end audio recorder.
Secondly there’s production quality. As it stands, podcasts have a lot to do. Some shows are messy and boring, poorly produced or just plain annoying. Imagine watching the same level of production. The shakey backdrops, the dodgy camera, the bad edits and cuts.
Thirdly, enough people would be nervous enough to speak to a potential plethora of listeners, even fewer would like to be seen at the same time. Vidcasting also removes the anonimity which the Internet has always offered and which many bloggers and casters still depend upon.
Finally there’s connections. Even broadband users would take issue with downloading big video files from slow servers on a weekly basis, especially if the show is of a respectable length. It would also mean that costs would rise for popular Vidcasters as bandwidth demands would increase and so many would be priced out of the field.

I personally would not like to Vidcast. I know there are people out there who could throw together a whopping weekly show which gives tradition broadcasts a run for their money but the fact is they will be few and far between. As it stands some of my favourite podcasts get boring and allow me to zone out; there’s not a chance in hell I could sit and watch the bastards too.

NewsCorp continues onward online march

This hasn’t gotten half the coverage that the Intermix Media buyout recieved, but in my opinion it’s just as important.
NewsCorp have aquired IGN Entertainment in their second big online purchase. That means that IGN.com, gamespy.com and rottentomatoes.com (and more) are all now under the control of the Fox News owners.
After buying Intermix, creators of myspace.com it became clear that Murdoch was not bluffing when he promised to take the Internet seriously. With rumours abound that they were eyeing up Skype very few people expected this sale to happen, just like the surprise sale of myspace.com a few months back.
This may not mean anything in the short term and may simply be a way for NewsCorp to bulk up its online department even more, but you can be sure that IGN will be just as ad-heavy as before. I will be interested to see if this has any effect on Nintendo, who have signed up Gamespy to run their upcoming online services for the DS.

Checking In

What a week to be away from a computer.
The on going crisis in America has certainly put the current US administration under the spotlight. The US media has seemingly found its teeth once more and is finally representing those who want answers. The politicians have given those in control the space they needed to get to work but they are already becoming impatient and are certainly ready to hit hard at those at fault. As I said before, this is something that can not be blamed on extremism, terrorism, religious intolerance or cultural divides. This is an out and out failure by those in charge in America.

The fact that George W. Bush is to head an investigation into these failings is another great insult sitting a top the great pile of insults that the American public has been forced to suffer for the last week.

I hope to go into more detail tomorrow. There are a lot of things to be said and there are a lot of people saying them. Some have more knowledge, some have more at stake, some have more criticisms to make but everyone has a right to question this.
Until then I will be catching up on the trials of our friend The Interdictor.

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Thanks for the spam…

Check the first two comments of my last post… you’d think that the spammers would have some sense to even try and make their comments seem genuine, but then again I guess that’s what makes them so spammy. Maybe I should remove anonymous posting again.

In other news I am due to depart for Scotland in the next few hours which means my blogging will come to a standstill (probably) until Wednsday night. If I get the chance to drop a quick message in I will, but I don’t expect to be near a computer too much.

See you in a bit.

US disaster and blogging

Media coverage of Hurricane Katrina seems to have intensified on this side of the Atlantic over the last day or so, with more and more 24 hour news outlets devoting huge portions of time to the disaster.
One interesting point that seems to be true at the moment is how the rest of the world doesn’t seem to be as bothered as they would be if it were another country. Some people would like to tell you that this is a sign of anti-American hatred in the rest of the world, but it is probably the fact that no one thinks America needs our support as much as other places. People just don’t seem to think that American’s could ever be in desperate need, at least not as much as Eastern Europeans, African or Asian people would be. One personal example was how the BBC referred to the temporary residents of the Superdome stadium as refugees, a term that probably hasn’t been applied to a United States resident in some time. They are though, they’ve lost their homes and belongings and now they are seeking refuge.
One site worth a mention is The Interdictor, a personal blog that has transformed into a blow by blow account of the chaos in New Orleans (do beware of his Army-Man comments though, it gets a bit tired after a while). It’s pretty interesting, as well as disturbing, to read from day 1. The writer goes from optimistic and cocky to downtrodden and depressed, especially at the amount of looting and lawlessness that seems to be going on. If his account is to be believed the media, here at least, are keeping very quiet about the level of anarchy in the city .
This is where social media like blogging truly comes into its own. It’s not quite the Baghdad Blog, but it’s a vital tool in understanding the situation on the floor without actually being there. Word of a breakdown in police services is possibly the most worrying thing of all.

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