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David Van Brink // Thu 2008.05.22 12:17 // {broad generalities future}

Free Idea

This morning my girlfriend had to get up at 4am to catch a flight to Arkansas. After seeing her off, I dozed and had some abstract dreams, which eventually crystalized into a design meditation for a ludicrous web 2.0 product.

Ludicrous? You decide. Let me know if you get rich with it.

The general concept is an “active DVD player”, active in the sense of “active viewing”, as parents are encouraged to promote with their kids’ tv habits, this for example.

This active player will of course devolve into trash, but that’s besides the point.

The idea is that while watching a particular bit of content, you can search or skip around in it, using various annotations. Obviously, you can search on the existing subtitle stream (once it’s been OCR’d). You can contribute to the searchability by annotating any part of it. You can add notes, describe images or frames, or other remarks Naturally, this is put in a big huge shared database, categorized and rated perhaps by whuffie.

And of course you can choose to chat with others who happen to be watching the same thing at the same time. You get the idea.

Copyright issues are for now sidestepped by only supporting physical DVDs in the player; the shared annotations contain only frame-number references.

Annotations are for now keyed to particular DVD’s, since different editions and edits will have different frame affiliations. Tragic but true. Perhaps later the annotations can be regathered by image-matching or globally-unique-timecode markers. (GUTM’s will be necessary moving forward for rights-management and tithing on fragmented media; we’re certainly near the end of the age of the personal library.)

Just imagine when every frame of every movie is a potential match on Google image search! After we run for a few years, the dataset will be worth billions. Go, Team Crowd!

But isn’t this grotesque, providing yet another outlet for mindless dotery on the creative work of others? Well, yeah, sure, I guess. But I think we have to accept that our imminent “nation of artists and philosophers” is actually evidenced by the fact that Wikipedia has a longer article on Darth Vader than on Klein bottle, dobsonfly, or Charles Babbage.

oh, i dont know. what do you think?



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