Arnt Gulbrandsen
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2013-09-06

Comoyo shuts down

Not interesting to very many people. But I was a contractor there, so I care, and I like to watch films, so I care.

There are two sides to this. One is internal: Comoyo was a research and development organization. That's supposed to remain so, although merged into the corporate structure instead of distinct. I don't want to go into that aspect here.

The other is public. Comoyo had a Netflix-like service for Norway and a few other countries called Comoyo View. Management (which I largely trust) says the main reason to shut that down is that the cost of purchasing content rights has increased by too much. The content owners are using their current power to squeeze prices too high and set customer-unfriendly terms. And that I think is deplorable.

Here in Germany, where I live, the dominant streaming service is called Maxdome. It's become better since last time I looked. It now has 50,000 titles and good device support, so I'm guessing that in two or three years, Maxdome will have enough market power to write this letter: Dear Disney (or whoever): In light of the current decrease in the market price of streaming video contents, we wish to renegotiate the prices in our contract. And we want to be allowed to stream at higher bitrates. Since most customers are families with more than four devices we want you to drop the device count limit, too, and lift the ban on Apple Airplay. We await your quick and positive reply. Best regards, Maxdome.

I'll be happy to get rid of the low maximum bitrate and the stupid device restrictions. I'll be less happy to have powerful gatekeepers: I like independent film and want indie film makers to be paid better than Spotify pays indie musicians. And I want to watch Norwegian stuff, which I don't expect the German gatekeepers to allow.

Update: While tidying my desk, I came across a bug from just before the open beta release. This is how the View service would refer to one of the developers, Bjørn Remseth:

I can't find an easy way to revert the fix. I wish could, it's mostly harmless and View would end its life with a smile.

2012-09-13

Video conferences are really about audio

I use Movi and Videxio a great deal for work. They're good. Says rmz: it's the first video conferencing system whose primary function isn't to suck.

The biggest problem with Movi is that it can be difficult to understand what people are saying, particularly when they're far away from the microphone(s). Most people seem to use headphones, but sometimes when we're hacking we keep the connection up for hours. Wearing headphones for hours is not for me.

So I thought, how about getting some good speakers and seeing if that helps with comprehension? And it does. I have to keep the volume low to avoid feedback problems, but I hear and understand even when the volume button is just a shade above zero.

A clear productivity benefit. Maybe one day I can stop flying so much.

The ones I got are called Genelec 6010A. Genelec is a Finnish manufacturer of studio monitors and suchlike. When I plugged the 6010As into my minimac's headphone output the result was foggy and muddy, but when I use USB and a Nuforce Icon μDAC-2 their sound quality is more than good enough for video conferences.