Author Archive | David Spark

Parrot’s new Wi-Fi Picture Frame and Wireless Speakers

(This post is part of the Traveling Geeks tech tour of Paris. David Spark (@dspark) is the founder of Spark Media Solutions and a tech journalist that blogs at Spark Minute and can be heard and seen regularly on ABC Radio and on John C. Dvorak’s “Cranky Geeks.”)

At a visit at phone-accessory and gadget maker Parrot in Paris, I interviewed Parrot’s CEO, Henri Seydoux, about a couple of new products: Grande Specchio, a wi-fi picture frame that just came out a few weeks ago, and some giant wireless speakers.

Grande Specchio has a few fun features such as retrieving geo-tagged photos from Picasa and the ability to send photos to the frame. In the video demo Seydoux tries to send a picture of me to the frame. He didn’t succeed at the moment. For a pricey 500 Euros ($750 US) you would hope it would be a little easier. But to give him a break, it wasn’t a prepared demo, and he wasn’t already connected to a network at the time.

As for the wireless speakers they’re only wireless in the transmission of music, not power. I haven’t seen a good solution to wireless power without lots of batteries. My feeling is if you have to drag a power cable, then the “wireless” aspect really isn’t that attractive because you’re still physically tethered. At 1200 Euros ($1800 US) it’s definitely only for audiophiles.


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Dick Tracy Watch from LG/Orange

(This post is part of the Traveling Geeks tech tour of Paris. David Spark (@dspark) is the founder of Spark Media Solutions and a tech journalist that blogs at Spark Minute and can be heard and seen regularly on ABC Radio and on John C. Dvorak’s “Cranky Geeks.”)

At the end of the first day of the Traveling Geeks tour in Paris, we went to the demonstration labs of Orange, the European telco company. They showed us what they’re offering in the areas of IPTV and 3D TV. Completely unrelated, I saw a quick demo of a very cool Internet watch by LG that can do video conferencing. Cool phone, but you now need to find the second person who has that watch just so you can have a video chat. Same problem I have with my Nokia N82. It has video conferencing and I’ve never used it. I haven’t found a second person who has the phone. Check out the video. BTW, the quality is much better, but I shot it with a Flip video camera and it doesn’t have macro focus so that’s why it’s a little blurry.


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Pearltrees: Bookmarking Program for Organization Lovers

(This review is part of the Traveling Geeks tech tour of Paris. David Spark (@dspark) is the founder of Spark Media Solutions and a tech journalist that blogs at Spark Minute and can be heard and seen regularly on ABC Radio and on John C. Dvorak’s “Cranky Geeks.”)

For the first stop for the Traveling Geeks trip to Paris, we stopped by the offices of Pearltrees, a Web bookmarking, organizing, and organizing tool. Sitting inside their offices I could have been sitting at any Web 2.0 company in Silicon Valley. Very open work atmosphere. Brightly fluorescent lit rooms with everyone worked around big conference tables.

I had met with Patrice Lamonthe, Pearltrees’ CEO, back in San Francisco. Now I was his guest in his office. When I first received a demo, I immediately started making comparisons to Delicious, a bookmarking program that I use heavily. I use Delicious because it allows me to quickly bookmark and tag sites that I see that I know one day I’m going to need and use. What I like most about Delicious is the speed of bookmarking, tagging, and organizing. I can quickly “file” something away without going through the arduous task of filing.

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Making Money from Podcasting: Wizzard Media

(This interview is part of David Spark’s (@dspark) series “Making Money from Podcasting” (read summary “9 Successful Techniques for Making Money from Podcasting”) where he interviews podcasters who are actually generating revenue from their podcasts. There are many techniques, and here’s one person’s tale of how he’s making money from podcasting.)

Got audience? We’ll get you sponsors. Or, get sponsors on your own and we’ll insert the ads.

Rob Walch is the VP of podcaster relations at Wizzard Media, the former host of Podcast 411, a podcast that interviews other podcasters (he interviewed me when I hosted Sprint’s podcast), and the host of an even more popular podcast, Today in iPhone.

Walch has a long history and knowledge in podcasting. When I came up with the idea for the “Making Money from Podcasting” series, Walch was the first person I called. I talked to him about all the different business models and asked for suggestions of people to interview.

Interview (Time: 13:29)

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Making Money from Podcasting: Screencasts Online

(This interview is part of David Spark’s (@dspark) series “Making Money from Podcasting” (read summary “9 Successful Techniques for Making Money from Podcasting”) where he interviews podcasters who are actually generating revenue from their podcasts. There are many techniques, and here’s one person’s tale of how he’s making money from podcasting.)

Don McAllister, host of ScreenCastsOnline

Don McAllister, host of ScreenCastsOnline

Give away every other episode. Make them pay for the rest.

Don McAllister is the host of ScreenCastsOnline, a weekly video podcast of how-to tutorials of some Mac software. Each 25-30 minute episode is a screen recording of his monitor as he narrates his way through the software. The goal of each episode is to help Mac users get the most out of the latest and greatest software.

ScreenCastsOnlineMcAllister has built a business model for ScreenCastsOnline where he gives away every other episode for free. If you’d like to get all the episodes (four a month instead of two), then you have to become a subscriber. Subscribers also get high def versions of the shows (higher res icons! Yay!) plus chapters within individual shows. To become a subscriber costs $57 for a six month subscription, which gives you access to McAllister’s back catalog of more than 200 shows. After the initial six months, continuing your subscription costs $25 for the next six months.

Interview (Time: 11:04)

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McAllister’s been doing his show for four years now, and like most podcasters who are now making money, the show started out purely as a hobby and for free. He created a fan base and during those early days his viewers sent emails asking how they could contribute to the show. Heeding their call, McAllister set up a donation page. Funds from donations started working out ok, but it wasn’t enough. He wanted to move into a paid subscription model, but he didn’t think he could sustain it. So before he jumped to subscriptions, he approached some software vendors and offered to demo their software for a fee. Essentially he turned a few of his episodes into an infomercial screencast. He still produces paid-for screencasts, but not nearly as often. When McAllister does do those shows, he always discloses that they’ve been sponsored, and he makes those shows available for free.

McAllister soon had enough money and fans to launch his paid subscription business model. It’s been going so well that three years ago he made ScreenCastsOnline his sole source of income. He estimates 10 to 15 percent of his total free subscribers have become paid subscribers. Not only does he make money from subscriptions, but he’s built up his brand as well and is often offered paid speaking opportunities.

McAllister’s paid subscription model works and is repeatable as proven by another podcaster, Israel Hyman, who has successfully copied McAllister’s subscription model three times. Read and listen to my interview with Israel Hyman, host of Izzy Video, as he tells his tale of meeting McAllister and learning his tricks of the trade.

McAllister attests his success as being unique in the world of podcasting. There aren’t many other people doing what he’s doing. When I asked about Lynda.com which offers a huge library of screencast tutorials, McAllister notes that those programs are usually focused on pro applications and they’re much longer form, four to five hours long if not more.

Listen to my interview with McAllister as he provides advice to others that wish to follow his lead on how to make money from podcasting.

More episodes of “Making Money from Podcasting”

  • Never Not Funny (Technique: “Partial show for free – full show paid”)
  • Personal Life Media (Technique: “Build your own media network of programming and sell advertising against it”)
  • Pregtastic (Technique: “Get your own sponsors”)
  • Elsie’s Yoga Class (Technique: “Sell an iPhone application along with your podcast”)
  • Mac OS Ken (Technique: “Give away five shows for free, make them pay for the sixth”)
  • Alaska HDTV (Technique: “Get your own sponsors”)
  • Duct Tape Marketing (Technique: “Build your brand to sell your services”)
  • Izzy Video (Technique: “Give away every other episode. Make them pay for the rest.”)
  • Slate Gabfests (Technique: “Integrating sponsorship with the show’s editorial”)
  • Wizzard Media (Technique: “Got audience? We’ll get you sponsors. Or, get sponsors on your own and we’ll insert the ads” PLUS “Sell an iPhone application along with your podcast”)
  • Premiumcast.com (Technique: “Build an audience and sell premium podcasts”)
  • Manager Tools (Technique: “Build your brand to sell your services”)
  • ESPN (“Build your own media network of programming and sell advertising against it”)
  • Mevio (Technique: “Motivate your audience”)

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Mac OS Ken: Making Money from Podcasting

(This interview is part of David Spark’s (@dspark) series “Making Money from Podcasting” (read summary “9 Successful Techniques for Making Money from Podcasting”) where he interviews podcasters who are actually generating revenue from their podcasts. There are many techniques, and here’s one person’s tale of how he’s making money from podcasting.)

Ken Ray, host of Mac OS Ken

Give away five shows for free, make them pay for the sixth

Ken Ray is a former colleague and now host of Mac OS Ken, a daily news podcast all about Apple and Macs. For a few years Ray had been hosting the show for free and built up a substantial audience. People started emailing and asking if there was a way they could financially support his show. Could they donate to it, they asked. Ray was not comfortable putting up a begware button on his site, but he did want to figure out a way he could generate income from the show. He just didn’t want to do anything that made him feel uncomfortable.

Interview (Time: 15:48)

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Secrets of Managing your Flip Video Collection

[David Spark (@dspark) is a veteran tech journalist and the founder of Spark Media Solutions, a storytelling production company that specializes in live event production. He also blogs and does a daily radio report for Green 960 and 910 KNEW in San Francisco at Spark Minute.]

Flip MinoIf you use a Flip video camera like I do, (here’s a photo of my Mino HD with a design of my company logo on it) you probably also have quite a collection of videos that are being managed with their video management software. If you have the old Flip Video software, you should upgrade to the new FlipShare software for free. It does much better management of your videos and it’s considerably faster.

But when I installed the FlipShare program it moved all my videos! The “My Flip Video Library” is still there and all the folders I created in the Flip Video program are there as well, but all the videos are gone. All that’s left in each folder is a video that says, “The videos which were previously located in this folder have been imported into the NEW FlipShare software. To view or edit your videos, open the new software.”

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How to Produce Great Web Video in a Whole Lot Less Time

[David Spark (@dspark) is a veteran tech journalist and the founder of Spark Media Solutions, a storytelling production company that specializes in live event production. He also blogs and does a daily radio report for Green 960 in San Francisco at Spark Minute.]

speedvideoTen years ago when I worked at ZDTV (later to become TechTV) I made all the mistakes a first time producer can make in video production. I shot too much video. I didn’t set up a shoot schedule. I didn’t have an outline of what I wanted. And I ended up reshooting projects because I didn’t plan correctly.

Video production can be insanely time-consuming. Some of that is just a result of rookie mistakes made early on, but many production processes are simply unavoidable. Even though everyone has adopted non-linear video editing, watching video must be done linearly. A good producer can reduce time considerably if they plan better and learn how to more efficiently work their equipment. But even when you cut out all the fat, you still end up with the realization that  video production is slow.

About four years ago, at CES in Las Vegas, I started to see a new crop of software and devices specifically targeted at reducing the time it takes to produce a video. No single product or technology has shown itself to be the panacea for speedy video production, but when you use these tools and tricks in aggregate they can save you an enormous amount of time. Here are some suggestions that everyone can use. These tips are not just for professionals, but anyone looking to cut down the time it takes to produce video. I know I’ve left a lot out, so I look forward to you adding some of your own recommendations in the comments.

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