Bill's Blog

Thursday, September 08, 2005

NerdTV Review

NerdTv Logo
As I mentioned yesterday, PBS launched NerdTV on Tuesday. NerdTV "is a new weekly online TV show from technology columnist Robert X. Cringely", author and IT Journalist. It is distributed under the Creative Common License and is available free of charge. Should this show succeed it will exist as a model to other broadcast shows.

Let me say first that I'm glad they decided to distribute using BitTorrent. Initially, the download was only available via straight download. My attempts to download failed twice before succeeding after 2 hours on a T1. Hopefully, they will continue to use BitTorrent, as that download just took 10 minutes. This is a good illustration of the power of BT as a distribution method. Though there are illegal uses for the protocol, it fills very practical, legitimate needs as well.

NerdTV is an interview show. I guess billing it as TV gives it an edge in marketing or something. For this episode, it was really just a bust shot of Andy Hertzfeld on camera. I kept expecting something to make the video feed necessary, but it never arrived. If this is what NerdTV is going to be, they should scrap the TV part and make it a PodCast. They have the audio available in several formats (MP3, OGG, and AAC) for download, as well as a transcript of the interview. Hopefully, future episodes will take advantage of the video medium and include worthwhile visual content.

The content of this episode was good. A solid interview with Andy Hertzfeld, billed as the first Macintosh programmer. They talk about his early days with Apple, some of his books, and a lot of other interesting topics. If they can keep the guests this interesting, I think NerdTV can go far. However, to succeed as TV, they'll have to make use of the TV part and include some useful video segments.

I plan on tuning into the video of the next few episodes to see if they get any better. If not, I will stick to the straight audio as long as the content is interesting.

One last suggestion - In the future, it will be a good idea, Bob, if you turn your cell phone off before you start the interview.


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