Often people post long apologies on their blogs for their long absence, explaining how their cat infected them with some version of feline AIDS or some such other, and it always comes across as pandering and whiny.
Well not me. No sir. I’ve been busy, and I told myself at the outset that TCL will just have to wait. It’s not that I don’t love ranting about evil politicians or posting misty photos of a blah Toronto winter (anyone else noticed it’s been totally wimpy this year?), but as I’ve explained in earlier posts, I’m also a Flash developer and I’ve been creating a product that I really think will help to shake things up a bit (plus that day job thing).
It’s a live, social (peer to peer) broadcasting technology (not a social network!), called SocialCastr, and you can get more information here: http://www.SocialCastr.com/
Some people have reported trouble with seeing a blank front page, but since all it really has is a Google Docs presentation, you can go ahead and view that here: https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=d48tf93_8hfnctdgb
There’s also a blog that goes with the site: http://www.SocialCastr.com/blog/
And the downloads / installers are available here: http://www.SocialCastr.com/download.html
I realized that I kinda failed in my description of the software when my parents assumed you could use it to have a live, two-way chat like Skype. In fact, you can (both people run Broadcastr and Receivr at the same time) , but right now that conversation would be broadcast to the world which is really what SocialCastr is about: broadcasting content (audio and video are just the start), to the world.
But I happen to think it’s a bit more elegant than anything out there right now. For starters, you don’t broadcast through any central server as you would with any other video service. In the past this would’ve been prohibitive since anyone broadcasting would need a massively fast and powerful connection to the internet in order to broadcast to as few as 100 people — each one would need their own individual copy of the video/audio stream.
SocialCastr overcomes this by using peer to peer stream sharing; the broadcaster only sends audio / video streams to a few peers and they share with others. In this way, a simple broadcast from one person can be viewed by almost unlimited numbers of people worldwide, and at a fraction of the cost of most other technologies. I happen to think this has larger implications for business too — renting out Content Delivery Networks, high-bandwidth pipes, and servers are all costs that have made getting into video semi-professional broadcasting impossible for anyone without a wad of cash. Until now, that is.
I’ve been warning people that before version 1.0 it’s still a beta (i.e. test, unstable, etc.) product and there’s still work to be done to make the software more useful. However, even at this early stage it incorporates some features you won’t find anywhere else. So if you’re a citizen journalist, vlogger, podcaster, lecturer, teacher, trainer, or may otherwise find the software useful, I encourage you to drop by and try it out. More importantly, send me your feedback and feature requests!
My commitment to keep producing a free version of the software isn’t exclusively a product of generosity, it has very real and tangible business reasons behind it. That doesn’t mean there won’t be paid or “freemium” versions too, but the fully free option will always be available.
Thanks for hanging in there while I get this baby of the ground. Updates on TCL will probably still be slow, and I ain’t making any promises; I know better by now. But SocialCastr is really a proudly Toronto-based project so I see no reason why I can’t blog about it here, do you? Cuz I kind of already have ;)