Video of the Week: The Ninja interviews Will Ferrell and Jon Heder

One of my favorite video blogs is Ask A Ninja. If you're unfamiliar with the Ninja you've missing out on pure hilarity. The Ninja has become quite a celebrity himself over the last year and he recently interviewed Will Ferrell (of SNL [more cowbell please!] and numerous movies) and Jon Heder (most famously from Napoleon Dynamite) for the new movie Blades of Glory. This is a great combo of funny guys...in fact so much so that Ferrell and Heder had to play it down for the Ninja.

Here's the link for the feed readers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQM2VYaWzSs


Study: Women vs Men Online Video Views

I saw an interesting eMarketer.com story about how the numbers of men and women watching online video are quite different. You can check out the full article but the two graphs below were especially interesting. Also, check out this quote from the article: "This year there will be an estimated 97 million females online in the US, compared with 91 million males. A clear majority." Those are some incredible numbers (and a great reason why an Internet strategy should be important to you.)

Here are the graphs:


Guest Blogger: A Mac Guy Reviews Microsoft Vista

My friend Nathan is a serious Apple guy. He told me recently that he purchased a new Dell to do some testing on the PC experience for his website development work. The new computer came with the Microsoft Vista operating system and he said it was pretty interesting to see what Microsoft is doing. I'd heard that many Mac enthusiasts were actually quite complimentary of Vista (which is about as common as Halley's Comet if you didn't know) so being the hard core Mac fan that he is I thought it would be fun to get his take on Vista. I asked Nathan to be a guest blogger on MicroExplosion to review his experience. He came through like a champ. Here's Nathan's take on Vista:

I have been an Apple guy for several years and was intrigued with what Microsoft had up its sleeve, especially after hearing other Apple fans praise Vista. Here's what I discovered:

First Impressions

First impressions are everything. Like you may suspect, my first impression of Vista was that it feels a lot like Apple’s OS X. The “aero” interface is strikingly similar to “aqua” among other things. The interface is clean for the most part, not cluttered like previous versions of Windows. Vista even sports an Expose-esque feature allowing a user to visually shuffle through open windows. Even though most of the visuals look like they came from Apple’s labs, I must say… it is pretty slick. And slick appeals to the Apple fanatics.

Lasting Impressions
Now, Vista still has that “Windows” feel that I have never been keen to, but I have to give Microsoft credit. They have created an operating system that attempts to give the user a great experience. Sure, pump enough eye-candy into anything and it will look great with the first presentation, but Vista feels solid as well. For example, errors and alerts are handled more gracefully, and logging in literally feels like a dream. Microsoft has definitely taken a page from Apple’s book, and I must say, “Well done.” Vista will not become my primary operating system by any means, but it will not be as reluctant to use it as I have with previous versions of Windows.

Microsoft is starting to get it: experience is what yields passion for products. Experience is the key to emotional interaction with a product. Microsoft’s new Vista operating system is an effort to create an experience for the user rather than frustration. Though I believe Apple is the one indirectly teaching Microsoft the art of “the experience,” Microsoft is starting to understand. I doubt Microsoft will ever become a company respected for experience and user interface development, but at least they are attempting to develop products that acknowledge the user experience.

I will be very interested to see what Apple presents in its next operating system, Leopard, due out this spring. Steve Jobs has said it will sport several top-secret new features, and I can’t help to think that Apple kept these secret so they would not find a way into Microsoft’s Vista. But anything that Apple creates will probably be answered (or replicated) in Microsoft’s next big project. I guess flattery is the highest compliment.


Video of the Week: God Bless Americans

So what do we know about the rest of the world? Not much with this group of Americans apparently. Where's Lee Greenwood when we need him? (Note: There are two curse words in the video...they're quick, but thought you should be warned.)

Link for the feed readers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJuNgBkloFE


YouTube growth, stats and penetration

Cory at Church Communications Pro posted some great YouTube stats on his blog today that are pretty incredible. Here they are:

  • It's the fastest growing website in Internet history
  • It has an average 100 million videos streamed per day
  • 65,000 new video clips uploaded to it every day
  • It gets more than 13 million unique visitors per month
  • An average user spends 30 minutes on YouTube and most uploaders are repeat visitors themselves
  • 58% of Internet videos are watched on YouTube
  • 20% to 30% of traffic volume is from the US
  • It has a wide range of user demographics, but the largest segment of users is the 18 to 35 year-olds.
  • 30% to 40% of the content is copyrighted. There is a clear correlation between eyeballs and copyrighted content.


David Crowder webcam

Just heard this morning that you can watch the David Crowder Band record their new album, Remedy, for the next two weeks live via six webcams in the studio. Check it out here. Now this is a nice use of technology. Looks like Crowder just showed up to get started...

UPDATE: I learned today from a reliable source that the webcams will be live for the next month.


Church tech blog review: MicroExplosion

In response to Dipnoi's request for Christian tech blog reviews I've got a brief summary of one I know well...my own. There are a lot of new MicroExplosion readers now from the handful of people who started the journey with me last summer so this should be helpful for them as well.

MicroExplosion was started in June, 2006 after about nine months of discovery and research into a new iteration of the Internet called web 2.0 and/or new media. The blog was established to discuss and apply new media technologies to churches, ministries, and Christian organizations. In order to do this MicroExplosion covers emerging new media technology and web trends then explains how a church or ministry could apply it in the context of their mission and purpose. Churches, in particular, are notoriously behind the curve when it comes to the adoption and use of technology for several reasons: a lack of awareness, a lack of financial resources or a lack of people who understand and can implement technology for the good of the church. MicroExplosion is intended to help anyone who finds him or herself in one (or more) of those three areas. This blog seeks to raise awareness of new media technologies (thus addressing the lack of awareness issue), most of which require little to no money (thus addressing the lack of financial resources issue), and the technologies are built for the average user so a need for a highly technical person is less necessary than ever before (thus addressing the lack of people who can help issue). At the end of it all my hope is that people in ministry use technology to reach the world for Christ and if this blog has any role in that I've done what I set out to do.


Video of the Week: The Gift of Language

I discovered this video on the blog Media:nation Station via slice 23 on MySliceofPi.com. (Shameless plug, I know...but hey, I really did find it that way!)

This video is certainly not politically correct...but that's where the humor is.

Here's the link for the feed readers (and feed emails):


My Slice of Pi update

Last week I talked about the launch of a new project I'm part of called MySliceofPi.com. One of the things we saw quickly was that the very people we think will use MySlice weren't interested because the price was out of their range. Today we dropped the bottom out of the prices so it's accessible to many more people. The new prices are simply the value of the number, meaning a five is now $5 rather than $50. Whereas the cheapest number to buy was $10 in the previous version, the most expensive one is $9 under the new price structure. We saw an immediate jump in slices after that change today so that was all the affirmation we needed.

In case you're wondering, we did automatically refund the difference in price to anyone who purchased under the old pricing model. Also, for those of you who may be using Twitter, I think MySlice could serve as a shorthand reference (since you only get 140 characters per post) for you if you want to quickly reference something you can say "Pi" and the people would learn that you've got something for them to see on your digit. So instead of Twittering, "check out my tumble log" and providing a link I could just say, "Pi5" which is translated "go to mysliceofPi digit 5 to see my message and link."


LifeChurch.tv Launches Second Life Church

America's most innovative church is showing why they were given that title. They've had a Second Life church campus in development for a few months now and have officially launched it. No word yet on the strategy specifics within Second Life. A few things they may be considering (and these are speculation on my part) are ministry teams, Second Life missions conferences and live broadcasts of the weekend services. We'll learn more about their plans as they get up and going.

Without a doubt this move shows their willingness to go new places to reach new people. Right now it doesn't matter if they have all the reasons and strategy for the Second Life campus figured out or not. The fact of the matter is they're placing themselves on the front lines of new ministry opportunities. This is a move for both the present and the future. While LifeChurch will be reaching those currently on the fringe of culture and technology, this fringe is moving steadily closer to the mainstream. When Second Life (or some derivative of it) comes into the mainstream, only then will this move begin to be fully realized for its significance, impact, foresight and obedience. Sure, it's cool to get labeled an innovative church, but maybe the real innovation here is obedience in action.


Video of the Week: Memorable Weather Report

My friend Joe Case is the current Chief Forecaster at Nashville's Fox affiliate. He's going to be leaving his weather related duties in a few weeks to serve full time as the pastor at UpRising Church. I really think he needs to leave with a memorable final forecast and I humbly submit the video below as a point of consideration for his last weather report.

Here's the link for the feed readers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3_DypI85o3Y


Diversion: My Slice of Pi

I've been working on something with a friend for the last couple months called MySliceofPi.com. MySlice is going to be an interesting experiment in online property. Think of it as a little online billboard an owner maintains with a message and link of their choosing. We expect some people will see a monetary and/or promotional value in this to promote a product, blog, website, service, organization, etc. Others may use it as a messaging system to make a simple public statement...maybe something that makes sense to everyone or perhaps something that is really only for their friends to understand. We've come up with a bunch of ideas ("Pideas" actually) for ways people may use this.

We've already had some questions about why a digit is purchased rather than given away. The answer is twofold. First, we'd like to make some money off this. I'm personally planning to give 100% of my share to my church for at least the first 2000 digits that sell. The second reason is that if this thing takes off then the people who got in early will have something of a higher value than the people who got in later and the money is a barrier to people erroneously claiming a bunch of digits and turning this into a massive spam page. We have, however, made some digits free for the taking. All the zeros are free so check the site regularly to see when the next zero is available.

We know people have lots of ways to communicate online. We've got MySpace profiles, blogs, instant messages, YouTube, Facebook, email, photo sharing, etc. Sure, you don't need another way, but we think there will be some people who'll gravitate to the unique nature of this and get on board. If you're one of those we encourage you to grab your slice of Pi.


Web 2.0 stats - Fascinating growth in blogs, video, MySpace

I recently pulled stats for some work we're doing at White Post that cover the growth in blogs, online video, and MySpace. These are all really interesting and I'm going to let the numbers speak for themselves...for now anyway.

Worldwide Blog Growth (source: Technorati)
January 2004 – less than 2 million blogs
July 2004 – 3.5 million
January 2005 – 6 million
July 2005 – 12 million
January 2006 – 24 million
July 2006 – 50 million
October 2006 – 57 million

Worldwide Online Video Growth (source: ComScore via Reel Pop)
October 2005 – less than 25 million online video views per day
January 2006 – 125 million online video views per day
July 2006 – 700 million online video views per day

United States Online Video Viewers (sources: eMarketer; US Census Bureau via Business 2.0)
2003 – 52 million (32% of U.S. Internet users; 19% of population)
2004 – 69 million (41% of U.S. Internet users; 25% of population)
2005 – 89 million (51% of U.S. Internet users; 32% of population)
2006 – 107 million (60% of U.S. Internet users; 38% of population)
2007 projection – 123 million (67% of U.S. Internet users; 43% of population)
2008 projection – 137 million (73% of U.S. Internet users; 47% of population)

MySpace.com registered users (sources: MySpace, Blog Herald, Business Week via Joe Suh)
May 2004 – 2 million
April 2005 – 12 million
October 2005 – 33 million
January 2006 – 48 million
July 2006 – 90 million
November 2006 – 131 million
February 2007 – 160 million


Micro messages. The next big thing?

As new media is expanding rapidly and pushing for bigger and better content there's an interesting thing happening...a few new services are focused on micro messages.

Twitter, for instance, is a text only log in which you have 140 characters available per "post" and you can submit them through the Twitter interface, your instant message service, or text message. You can check out my Twitter page to see what I mean.

At the same time, a new mini blog tool has emerged called Tumblr. Tumblr is essentially stripped down blog service. There's no comments available and the tone lends itself to stream of consciousness more than anything else. It does allow images, embedded video, and a long post (if you would want to do that here) unlike Twitter. See mine here.

After playing around with both of these for a while tonight I think there's something really compelling here. My first thought was that these services will be niche successes...meaning they're not the kinds of things a non blogger or those uninitiated into the world of social networking will likely dive into. Then I realized this "niche" grew by at least 35 million blogs and well over 100 million social network registrants last year...so if I'm Twitter or Tumblr, that's a nice fat niche to tap into. Whatever the case both of these are a perfect outlet for someone who feels like they're somewhere beyond the white belt at the web 2.0 dojo. They play together nicely too. Tumblr will pull in your Twitter RSS feed for the perfect melding of the two.

I'm personally excited about this because I've felt like I needed an outlet for things that don't really fit the general topic of this blog. Also, the very nature of both of these means I can't really spend much time on it so it forces me to say what I want and move on with the day. I'm looking forward to twitting and tumbling.


Video(s) of the Week: Web 1.0 vs. Web 2.0

The first video below is from a newscast from sometime in the 90s talking about this thing called "Internet". We've come a long way since then. The second video is a great overview of web 2.0. It's interesting to see these videos together to fully appreciate the rapid change over the last decade.

Web 1.0

Web 2.0

Links for the feed readers:
Web 1.0: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1n4fDgmrF3o
Web 2.0: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gmP4nk0EOE

Clipmarks - Clip content and share

With so many tools emerging on a weekly basis it's hard for me to determine which ones are actually going to make my life easier. Every once in a while I'll see one that really makes sense and this week I had one of those discoveries. I found Clipmarks, a Firefox add-on, that lets you very quickly highlight entire articles, paragraphs, sentences, images and video to blog or send as an email. I used this a few days ago to send part of an article to some coworkers and it worked out really well. I'm a big Del.icio.us user and am always saving links there but Clipmarks seems like a better way to pass along something I see or read rather than sending people a link to a page where the content on that page may not apply entirely. For instance, I can just clip an important paragraph or two without and email it to a friend rather than sending a link to an entire article with a confusing explanation like "hey, this article is decent but you've really got to check out the 6th and 8th paragraphs...those are really interesting." Whereas Del.icio.us is really for my own reference, Clipmarks is going to be what I'll use to send articles, blog posts, pictures, etc. to other people when a simple link won't be sufficient.