WordPress for iPhone/iPad v2.6 Released

Attention Apple-gadget-owning WordPress users! Have you been using the WordPress iOS app for iPhone and iPad? Or maybe you tried it a while back and thought it wasn’t for you? Either way, the new release — v2.6 — will knock your socks off. Why? A bunch of reasons:

  • Video. Record, upload, attach, and play videos within the app. Yay for being able to catch your friends’ and co-workers’ most embarrassing shenanigans creative moments with iPhone video and publish them immediately for all the world to see on your WordPress site.
  • A total rewrite of the way local drafts are handled, to prevent the unintentional loss of your pending posts.
  • Autosave/post revisions. Bam! One of the “oh, thank goodness” features of the web app makes it into the iOS version.
  • Easier setup. Faster and easier process for adding your sites to the app.
  • Media Library. We’re gradually getting closer to the media management you’re used to in the web app.

There are also numerous bugfixes and performance enhancements in this release, so if you haven’t been using the app lately, you should consider giving it another try. I’m personally pretty excited to start using the iPhone version more often now that there are all these fixes and new features. Especially the video upload. You know, for those creative moments that make life fun. :)

You can read the full 2.6 release post on the WordPress for iOS blog, and can download v2.6 from iTunes/the app store. Happy mobile blogging!

* * *

Not an iPhone user? We’ve still got your on-the-go back! Check out the WordPress apps for Android, Blackberry, and Nokia (beta). They’re all 100% GPL, of course, and we’re always looking for contributors to the development projects, so check the blogs if you have mobile dev skills and want to get involved.

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Soon Branded Video Content Will Just Be Called Video Content

In my post yesterday entitled “The Future of Online Video, From Someone Who Should Know,” we took a look at a post by Google’s Director of Product Management Shishir Mehrotra that laid out four ways that online video is currently evolving right before our eyes.  One of those evolutions was the surge in creative video [...]

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YouTube CEO & Co-Founder Stepping Down

Five years after co-founding YouTube, long-time CEO Chad Hurley is stepping down from that position, according to TechCrunch. In fact, he’s reportedly been transitioning away from the chief executive role for the last two years, ceding most day-to-day business decisions to Google VP of Product Management Salar Kamangar.

That Hurley, who founded the online video site with Steve Chen and Jawed Karim in early 2005, would be moving on is not totally unexpected. After all, he hasn’t been a public figurehead for YouTube for quite some time. The bigger surprise is probably that Hurley has held on so long after making a bundle from Google’s $1.65 billion acquisition of the online video site in 2006.

Co-founder Steve Chen left his role as CTO of YouTube in late 2008, but remained with Google; apparently Hurley transitioned away from his duties at around the same time.

YouTube is now being led primarily by Kalamangar, who is famously known as Google Employee No. 9. He has been tasked with helping to move YouTube from a very large and popular unprofitable business to one that can use its size and scale to make some serious dough.

Google is shy about sharing too many details on YouTube’s financials, though the site is reportedly serving up more than 2 billion videos a day, and monetizing about 2 billion of those video plays per week. While that means about one in seven videos viewed actually has an ad attached, it’s unclear how long it will be before the site actually starts turning a profit for Google.

Some analysts expected that YouTube could become profitable this year with nearly $1 billion in revenues. Although Google execs have spent the last several earning calls bragging about how the site is monetizing well — and has been for some time — they’ve yet to say that YouTube has actually turned a profit.

The day YouTube actually does start making a profit will be a huge one for the web video industry; despite massive amounts of money being poured into the segment, it has had very few huge success stories to date. A profitable YouTube would not just be a validation for Google and it’s $1.65 billion investment, but for the industry as a whole.

To learn more about what YouTube is up to now, come see Director of Product Management Hunter Walk at NewTeeVee Live on Nov. 10 in San Francisco.

Photo courtesy of Robert Scoble.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: (subscription required)

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YouTube Won’t Fix Google TV’s Content Problems

Updated. There’s been an interesting development in the recent Google TV saga, in which the search giant has shifted responsibility for the new TV operating system into its YouTube division, according to a report the SF Chronicle. By doing so, Google hopes its online video site can help Google TV with a lesson in striking content deals. But if that’s the case, it will probably be disappointed.

The whole issue revolves around the lack of premium content available through Google TV and a number of high-profile content companies that have blocked their content from being available on TVs, Blu-ray players and set-top boxes powered by the Google OS. Broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and NBC have all declined to let their web content be played back through the integrated web browser built into Google TV devices built by Sony and Logitech.

The broadcasters were unhappy with the prospect that viewers would be able to watch their web offerings in lieu of live broadcast content on the biggest screen in the home. Since those companies rely on high-value broadcast advertising, as well as increasingly high retransmission fees from cable operators, the idea of giving viewers access to web programming that they can’t monetize as well was a bit of a turn-off. The whole affair has caused a bit of a stir, especially since it takes away from Google’s initial pitch for the TV OS, which was to enable viewers to mix and match web and TV content on the big screen.

But Google TV is primarily a technology platform, and the folks there don’t necessarily have a ton of experience in media matters. As a result, Google is reportedly shifting responsibility for the fledgling TV division into YouTube, which actually has some experience striking content deals with broadcasters like CBS.

The problem is that YouTube itself has had a hard time bringing real high-value, prime-time content onto the site. Most partnerships thus far have included short-form clips of new shows or full-length episodes of older programming. It hasn’t really proven that it can negotiate to add new hit shows or the kind of stuff you’d find on Hulu or broadcast sites.

YouTube is trying to change that, having recently added a pair of execs — Robert Kyncl, former vice president for content acquisition at Netflix, and Dean Gilbert, former vice president of product management for Google TV — to bolster the amount of premium content on the site. But in the short term, it’s difficult to see broadcasters getting on board, unless Google can somehow write a check that makes up for the billions of dollars in broadcast advertising and retrans fees that are at stake if web video competes directly with broadcast programming on Google TV.

We’ve reached out for comment from Google, but haven’t gotten confirmation or more information from YouTube or Google TV representatives about the reported move just yet — but it’s early here on the West Coast. We will update if we hear back.

Update: Google has issued the following statement, denying the key assertion of the SF Chronicle story, that Google has reorged the division to move Google TV within YouTube:

Google TV has been closely aligned with YouTube for years. Although we did reorganize a division within YouTube a month ago, that was based on streamlining our operations so we could make faster decisions and align team goals with the company’s overall business objectives. Just like any rapidly growing organization, it is important for YouTube to evolve and grow to ensure further success in the future. The recently created YouTube Content Organization is run by VP of Content Partnerships Dean Gilbert.

While YouTube says there’s no actual story there, we stand by our initial take on the idea of YouTube leading Google TV content negotiations, which is: Google TV and YouTube will have a hard time convincing broadcasters to unblock their content without writing some very large checks.

To hear what Google TV product lead Rishi Chandra has to say about bringing broadcast content to Google TV, come see him speak at NewTeeVee Live on November 10 in San Francisco.

Related content on GigaOM Pro:

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Skype Debuts Its Half, Now It’s Facebook’s Turn to Integrate

We were excited last month to find out about the integration of Skype and Facebook. This morning, the feature is going live for all to see with the release of Skype 5.0.

The latest version comes with some cleaned up design features, built-in Facebook integration and the group video chat we’ve watched develop in the beta releases. For Skype, it’s improvement all around and all we can say now is that the ball is surely in Facebook’s court.

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Group Video Chat Goes Live

We got a quick tour of Skype 5.0 and the first thing Rick Osterloh, head of consumer product management, showed off was the group video chat feature. Allowing up to 10 people at once, the chat takes advantage of Skype’s high-quality audio and video. It offers some nifty features, like “dynamic view”, which highlights the person speaking by enlarging their video feed and shrinking everyone else. While group voice and text chat will be available for free, Skype plans on charging for group video chat in the near future.

A Clean-Cut Interface

The next big feature was the new “Skype Home”, which features a cleaned-up contacts list, recent contacts, and the Facebook integration.

skype-50-home.JPG

As Osterloh called it, it’s a “nice central place for users to go.” The contacts list now shows users’ avatars next to their names and the recent contacts list shows just that, along with recent Skype transactions.

Here Comes Facebook

Now for the Facebook integration – it’s basically your Facebook feed pulled directly into Skype. You can "like" things and post comments, but anything beyond that – like viewing profiles, photos or events – opens separately in your browser.

skype-50-fb-integration-screenshot.JPG

Viewing your Facebook feed in Skype offers another advantage – for friends who include their phone number in their Facebook profile, you will see two buttons. One lets you call either their Skype number or their home/mobile phone, while the other allows you to send an SMS. If they have a Skype account linked to their Facebook account, a “+” will appear, letting you add them as a Skype contact.

Even better than the Facebook feed – because we really don’t see ourselves browsing Facebook in Skype – is the importing of your Facebook Phonebook. Suddenly, everyone you know on Facebook that lists a phone number will be easily contactable via Skype.

The Ball’s In Facebook’s Court

We were really hoping to see Skype integration on the Facebook website. Osterloh told us that they don’t have anything to announce there today, but we’re hoping to see the vice-versa integration in the near future.

So does this embody the endless potential we wrote about last month? Not really, but it’s a decent first step. What we’re really hoping to see from this partnership are Skype buttons on Facebook that launch Skype calls and SMS capabilities. Even more, we would love to see a Skype integration in the iPhone and Android apps. Imagine using Skype’s background capabilities for ever-present chat and free, quick Skype-to-Skype phone calls connected directly to your Facebook account. What about quick connections from Facebook to businesses as a part of its fledgling Places product?

While the Facebook integration in Skype is nice, it’s the other way around that we’re really excited to see…so what do you say, Facebook? Will we see on-site voice and video calling? SMS integration?

It would be pretty neat, is all we’re saying…

The latest version of Skype is now available for download.

Discuss

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Microsoft issues Windows Phone 7 to manufacturers

Microsoft released its forthcoming Windows Phone 7 operating system to its manufacturers, a benchmark described by Windows Phone Engineering corporate vice president Terry Myerson as “the biggest milestone for our internal team.” According to Myerson, WP7 represents the most tested mobile platform in Microsoft history–almost 10,000 devices ran automated tests each day, with over half a million hours of active self-hosting use, more than 3.5 million hours of stress test passes and 8.5 million house of fully automated test passes. “We’ve had thousands of independent software vendors and early adopters testing our software and giving us great feedback,” Myerson notes. “We are ready.” Microsoft is slated to release the final version of its Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools on Sept. 16, enabling developers to recompile their WP7 applications and games prior to the early October relaunch of the Windows Phone Marketplace storefront.

Microsoft will spend about $400 million to promote the launch of Windows Phone 7 according to Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg, adding his forecast doesn’t include the millions the software giant has already committed to pay its handset manufacturer partners to offset non-recurring engineering costs. Goldberg derives his estimate based on conversations with Microsoft brass during a recent visit to the company’s Redmond, Wash. headquarters, with execs anticipating that overall spending will reach billions of dollars once its operator and manufacturer partners’ marketing spending is factored into the equation. TechCrunch adds that according to another source, Microsoft will invest more than a billion on WP7′s launch, half of promotion and half on other development costs.  ”This is make-or-break for them. They need to do whatever it takes to stay in the game,” Goldberg says. “It’s still wide open. They don’t have to take share from Android or Apple, so long as they can attract enough consumers switching from feature phones.”

In July, Microsoft confirmed reports it is offering financial incentives to developers to stir interest in new WP7 applications, with senior director of mobile services and developer product management Todd Brix telling Bloomberg the company is providing everything from free tools and trial handsets to software development funding, even offering revenue guarantees in the event apps fail to sell as expected. Brix declined to state how much Microsoft will spend to woo developers to WP7, but said it is a larger sum than the company invested in previous compensation programs. “We are investing a lot to attract developers big and small to Windows Phone 7 to let them understand what the opportunity is and provide as many resources as we can to help them be successful on our platform,” Brix said. “We’re open for business and we want to work with them.”

For more on the Windows Phone 7 RTM:
- read this Windows Phone Blog entry

Related articles:
Analyst: Microsoft will spend $400 million to market Windows Phone 7
Microsoft paying developers to build apps for Windows Phone 7
Microsoft adds new web experiences to Windows Phone 7     
Windows Phone Marketplace adds private beta distribution
Microsoft
cuts Windows Phone Marketplace app submission fees

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Analyst: Microsoft will spend $400M to market Windows Phone 7

Microsoft will spend about $400 million to promote the launch of its forthcoming Windows Phone 7 operating according to Deutsche Bank analyst Jonathan Goldberg, adding his forecast doesn’t include the millions the software giant has already committed to pay its handset manufacturer partners to offset non-recurring engineering costs. Goldberg derives his estimate based on conversations with Microsoft brass during a recent visit to the company’s Redmond, Wash. headquarters, with execs anticipating that overall spending will reach billions of dollars once its operator and manufacturer partners’ marketing spending is factored into the equation. TechCrunch adds that according to another source, Microsoft will invest more than a billion on WP7′s launch, half of promotion and half on other development costs.  

“This is make-or-break for them. They need to do whatever it takes to stay in the game,” Goldberg says. “It’s still wide open. They don’t have to take share from Android or Apple, so long as they can attract enough consumers switching from feature phones.”

Microsoft will release the final version of its Windows Phone 7 Developer Tools on Sept. 16, enabling developers to recompile their WP7 applications and games prior to the early October relaunch of the Windows Phone Marketplace storefront. Last month Microsoft confirmed reports it is offering financial incentives to developers to stir interest in new WP7 applications, with senior director of mobile services and developer product management Todd Brix telling Bloomberg the company is providing everything from free tools and trial handsets to software development funding, even offering revenue guarantees in the event apps fail to sell as expected.

Brix declined to state how much Microsoft will spend to woo developers to WP7, but said it is a larger sum than the company invested in previous compensation programs. “We are investing a lot to attract developers big and small to Windows Phone 7 to let them understand what the opportunity is and provide as many resources as we can to help them be successful on our platform,” Brix said. “We’re open for business and we want to work with them.”

For more on Microsoft’s WP7 marketing efforts:
- read this TechCrunch article

Related articles:
Microsoft paying developers to build apps for Windows Phone 7
Microsoft adds new web experiences to Windows Phone 7  
Windows Phone Marketplace adds private beta distribution
Microsoft
cuts Windows Phone Marketplace app submission fees

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Sorenson Media rolls out Squeeze upgrade

Sorenson Media has released an upgrade to its popular video encoding software, Sorenson Squeeze. The 6.5 release is free to current owners of Squeeze 6 and gives users the ability to decode the AVCHD format, which is a common format in HD video cameras at the prosumer and high-end consumer market; it also allows users to publish directly to Amazon web services. Squeeze 6.5 also includes three new filters: enhanced de-interlacing, image rotation and optimized color conversion.

The de-interlacing filter works automatically to increase encoding quality and speed. Image rotation improves video capture capability in mobile devices by converting portrait orientation to landscape, while encoding speed is further increased through optimized color conversion in Sorenson Squeeze 6.5.

“This set of user benefits is continued evidence of our commitment to delivering the tools and services that our customers need,” said Randon Morford, director of product management for Sorenson Media.

For more:
– see this release

Related articles:
Sorenson Media launches video delivery network
Sorenson launches OVP it says is enterprise ready
Sorenson Media says Q2 saw 40%-plus Y-o-Y revenue bump

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