Who Needs TV?

I have been noticing how little broadcast cable television I consume now that I have 3 streaming services and YouTube.  To be exact my two little girls barely consume that much television either.  My youngest consumes a horrendous amount of Netflix and Hulu (that reminds me I need to check my bandwidth cap this month), while my oldest is addicted to YouTube, not to mention the tons of free content available online from Disney and Cartoon Network.  My own personnel video consumption habits have changed tremendously.  I pay for Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix, purchase content weekly from Amazon Instant Video and Bit Torrent from time to time.  I have hacked both my Roku boxes and look a tremendous amounts of YouTube content daily.  The last time I look at cable television was the season finale of Mad Men (2 months ago).  My wife seems to be the only holdout when it comes to broadcast TV and that is mostly DVR content.  I would gladly dump Direct TV and put that money toward faster business class internet with no monthly cap and would still save money.  That is not to say I am considering this option anytime soon, my wife would have my head and I still like my occasional sporting events.  But it does beg the question, who still needs TV?

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On the Verge

With the (physics) world breathlessly awaiting the announcement of the possible discovery of the Higgs Boson, the so called God-particle, it’s a good time to put the scope and impact of this discovery into context.

If we are on the Verge of a the scientific discovery of our time then allow me to play the cynic.  Never has so much money been spent to find something so small, or has it?   That said the most transformative scientific efforts of our time have always had enormous costs:

The Apollo Program (in 2005 Dollars) – $170 billion
The Manhattan Project (in 2005 Dollars) – $24.4 Billion
The Large Hadron Collider  ~ $9 Billion
The Human Genome Project ~ $3.3 Billion

It remains to be seen what ultimate effect this discovery of the Higgs Boson will have on history, scientific progress or society at large, but in terms of cost it is in some good company.  All of the remaining projects above have proved transformative and I suspect the Higgs discovery, and the off shoot of research that will follow, will rank right up there.  This is a triumph of man’s reason over curiosity.  Exponential change is upon us and lets hope that history, scientific progress and society benefit.

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Gensis for the Theory of Everything

Been watching and reading a lot about the great physicist and theoreticians of the past 100 years.  There are some great documentaries (here, here, here) on YouTube that are a fascinating history of  how physics moved from Newton to Einsteins’ general relativity, on to quantum physics then String theory.

Albert Einstein hated Quantum theory and set out until his last breath to disprove it. As the father of general relativity, he saw quantum mechanics as kooky and a affront to god. In his attempt to discredit it he gave unexpected birth to String Theory, the leading candidate for the “theory of everything”. String Theory is the emerging branch of science that attempts to combine quantum mechanics, Einstein’s general relativity theory as well as other less known forces of nature. If he were alive today, he would loath it. Einstein wanted to find a equation that eloquently described the mind of god, a predictable, non-probabilistic universe. Ironic because in his attempt to destroy and discredit quantum realm,  he gave inadvertent birth to this highly usual theory of everything.  You learn something new every day.

Below (in order) are the YouTube videos the help me scope this observation.

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The YouTube I Want

I’ve been consuming the hell out of YouTube video lately and I have to say coupled with Netflix and Amazon, I hardly ever look at “regular” TV. With the purchase of my new Roku, the performance of YouTube video has much improved and it’s a more enjoyable experience all around. I use my iPad (while on the couch) to queue up content in my playlists then view it from the comfort of my couch (beer in hand). I did that all day yesterday. But you know what I want more than anything? More Netflix/Amazon-like control over how I consume and resume video. The downside of YouTube video viewing is that once a video starts you have to finish. If you need to resume where you left off you either have to pause it and walk away hoping you kids or spouse come by and take command of TV,  or note where you were and fast forward back to point you last left off. If YouTube wants to compete with the likes of Netflix or Amazon it needs to adopt this paradigm for all of its content – from cat videos to long-form documentaries and feature films.

Lastly, with all this original and live content coming online how about some virtual DVR capability for YouTube accounts? The whole point and success of YouTube is the fact that it casts off the shackles of “appointment viewing”.  These two feature alone would make YouTube my #2 content destination (Amazon is my #1). And while you’re at it Google, make an official YouTube Channel for Roku! What the F$*K is taking so long? At the very least open some API’s for third parties to build the things I’ve described here. Then you might just become my #1.

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Hangouts Live! Test Post

So I gave the Google+ Hangouts Live a try today. This latest update to Hangouts is really exciting and has to potential to become one in the many “a Gutenberg moment for broadcasting” that democratizes the visual expressions of ideas. When I start Podcasting again, this will definitely be a key part of what I use to do so.

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