Category Archives: Web Trends

Internet trends. This includes viral videos, stories, etc.

Amazon Mturk Dying?

Ever since the recent increase in pricing for requesters, its been harder for me to find decent work. And by work, I mean surveys. Ive recently discovered Mturks as a nice way to make coffee money on my downtime and I can barely break $5/day where I use to be able to pull in $15-$20 with half the effort I do now. В Lets look at the politics of Mturk and the recent drama. Continue reading Amazon Mturk Dying?

5 Reasons Why You Shouldnt Overlook Sound On YouTube

Mic check! Wait a second. This isВ YouTube. Why should I care about sound quality? After all, isnt video quality what the Tube is all about? Most people know sound quality is important but they still tend to focus more onВ HD videos. Technically, YouTube is all about video but dont overlook the importance of sound. There are plenty of reasons why you shouldnt pass on sound quality, especially if you are making or thinking about making videos. We are so spoiled byВ 1080pВ videos that sound quality is an afterthought. We dont usually place an importance on sound but there are plenty of reason why it shouldnt be overlooked. You may not know it, but audio quality can determine whether you finish watching a video or whether you click somewhere else. Im going to list 5 of them. Ill bet my money that if you visit YouTube daily, you will relate to all of these reasons. Lets get to it.


1. Clarity

This one is easy to understand. When audio is clear, you dont have to work to understand or decipher it. A good microphone will eliminate background hums and white noise. These noises are stressful and distracting. When you are watching a bad or distracting video, its easier to minimize or look away compared to muting or lowering the volume. If youve ever worked a third shift job, you will understand the significance of background noise and the effects it has on your body. Noise is louder during the day than at night. This may not seem like a big deal to those with normal schedule, but these noises can result in low-quality sleep and added stress. This is the same reason houses near highways are generally cheaper to rent/own. While you probably wont lose sleep over a YouTube video, background noise will annoy you. Keep background noise down with a good mic. No one want to hear hums and hisses. Think about this. When you are watching a YouTube video and you can barely hear the person speaking, what do you do? Most people will turn up the volume. What if background noise is present? Most people will just leave the video. Having clear, accurate audio is just as important as having clear video. Some would argue more so.


2. Alt-Tabbers

When I am on YouTube, I often have multiple tabs opened. Having multiple tabs open helps with multi-tasking. Lets sayВ I am looking for a headphone review. I would have one tab opened on YouTube and another on Google or Bing looking for written reviews. While I am listening to a video, I would read or skim through a written review. This goes for research too. I would look for information on YouTube while browsing through Wikipedia. Unfortunately, others do this too. In fact, I would bet that you have done this at one point or another. An engaging video becomes a podcast and the HD video quality becomes a nonissue. Now, you only have sound to connect to the video. Good video quality helps engage viewers and good sound quality helps engage listeners.


3. Music When Youre Doing It Right/Wrong

Everyone loves music but not everyone loves your music. If you like country and thinking about adding music to a video, dont count on your viewers having the same taste as you. A common mistake people make when they are making videos is adding over-played or annoying music. One great example is 009 Sound System Dreamscape. This song is un-officially known as the YouTube National Anthem because so many people use it for their videos. Its a bad joke that wont die like Chuck Norris and In Russia jokes. There is a time and place to add music. Dont put up skateboarding compilations using Drowning Pool Bodies. Bad music will make viewer leave in 3 seconds. Good music will have people asking Whats the name of the song? Another thing to consider when adding music is correcting the levels. Dont blast the music in the background if you want to talk. No one will hear you. If you hurt your viewers ears, you will get a big red bar of dislikes.


4. Entertainment

People are on YouTube for many reasons. To get information, to learn, to connect with others, and to be entertained. Sometimes, a good, well animated voice will be enough to get you subscribers. Even if you have a great voice, you may be shooting yourself in the foot with a crappy mic. A bad mic can make you sound monotone and boring. A good voice is something you cant really help but you can at least get a good mic to keep your voice clear and your viewer engaged. Its strange at first but you have to pretend like you are talking to real people. You cant talk like youre reading a script. Thats boring and people can instantly tell. When you have guests over, do you talk to them like a robot? No, so why would you do that in a video? Good audio quality creates a more personal experience with your viewers. This will help increase comments and activity. Maybe even more likes and favorites. People love to be entertained and poor sound quality ruins the mood.


5. Patience

The last reason why you shouldnt overlook sound quality is patience or rather, the lack-of. People are impatient. Most people will decide to watch the rest of your video after the first 5 seconds. Long pauses or spikes in sound levels test this patience. It is easy to find clues of this. Throughout YouTube, you will see top rated comments saying 3:12 to skip the boring part or You wasted 45 seconds of my life. People have busy lives. They dont want to be bothered with crap and although this is not solely a sound issue, if a viewer watches your video and has to work to hear you, youre in trouble. No one wants to increase the volume when they dont have to. No one wants to hear background noise. And no one wants to listen to head-banging music on a video review. Dont test a viewers patient. More often than not, you will lose.


So thats it. These are 5 quick reasons why you shouldnt overlook sound on YouTube, especially if you are making videos. Clarity is about reproducing your sounds accurately. Audio quality becomes most important to Alt-Tabbers who turn from viewers to listeners. Music can make or break your video. Entertaining voices can keep viewers. And finally, everyone is impatient. Probably the simplest way to improve your videos audio quality is investing in a good mic. Usually, the stock microphones that come with digital cameras suck. Most people would rather watch through a video with good sound and bad video quality than one with good video quality and bad audio quality.


Bing Rewards Gives Users A Reason To Switch From Google

Bing Rewards

Since May 10th of 2011, I officially made the switch from Google to Bing. I was using Bing as my main search engine ever since the Panda update that changed Googles search algorithm. This was an unofficial switch as I spend some time reviewing the alternative. Surprisingly, I liked using Bing. I find the home page to be more modern andВ pleasant but looks isnt everything, of course. TheВ search quality is whats important. With Google, what use to take me 1-2 pages to find what Im looking for now takes me 3+ pages. There seemed to be an increase in web spam on Google over the month before my switch. В Ive found more relevant search results with Bing during the Panda update compared to Google and Ive used it ever since. On May 10th, I made a Bing search and made Bing my official search engine after a pop-up invited me to earn credits that IВ canВ redeem for goods and gift cards.



What Is Bing Rewards?

Basically, Bing Rewards is a loyalty rewards system much like the ones you find in most department stores. Think of it as a Stop and Shop card or GameStop Rewards card. Every time you use Bing to search, they give you an opportunity to earn points. You can then redeem these points for novelty goods like Bing Gear which are generic products that have the Bing brand on it. What got me interested was not these merchandise, but the gift cards. Each gift card seems to vary in points but they generally hover a little over 3,000 credits for a $25 card. For example, the $25 Best Buy gift card can be redeemed at the cost of 3187 credits. Thats 127.48 credits per $1.





How Do I Earn?

In order for you to start earning, you must have a Hotmail account or a Windows Live account. I choose to create a new Live account for this purpose. Then you can start earning points. Its not a fast process by any means. To earn 1 point, you have to make 5 Bing searches and you can earn up to 6 points this way per day. However, each day, Bing offers you little tasks that lets you earn instant points. Usually 6 credits. These are usually very simple. I earn 6 points by making Bing my homepage. They will also give you points by promoting some of their services. For example, I earn another 6 points by clicking a link that displayed video games. These little tasks are very simple and notВ obtrusiveВ at all. Some are even interesting. I even earned points by trying out Bing places which seems to be a competition to Googles local search. Even still, it can take a long time to earn anything significant. When you sign up, they give you a bonus 200 credits which is a nice touch. Im up to 321 credits at the moment. ThatsВ equalВ to $2.51.



Is This a Scam?

I highly doubt that Microsoft will scam us with this. In the past, I had a similar experience before Bing came into existence. It was a rewards system offered by Microsoft in partnership with eBay. Basically, you can find hidden treasures when you use Windows Live to search for products and sometimes, there would be an eBay promotion of that product. In my experience, I was looking for Bosch Fatpacks which areВ power-toolВ batteries. They go for about $180 apiece at the time but the promotion offered 30-50% off. I ordered 3 Fatpacks at 50% off which was $270 discount. Yes, Microsoft honored the offer. From this experience, I have confidence that when it comes time for me to redeem my credits, they will honor it.



The Alternative?

I could always use Google but Ive used them for over a decade and made thousands of searches. Maybe more. Never once did I ever thought I would actually get something from these searches. There is a catch though. As we grew wiser, we realize nothing in life is free and these points are no exception. When you agree to this program, you allow Microsoft to retain you search history. Whatever they do with this information is up to them. We are living in a time where privacy is a big concern. When we use Google search, they retain our information anyways so if you haveВ privacy concerns, maybe this isВ a lesser of two evils. And hey, at least you can get a $25 gift card in the process.В Bings search quality is comparable to Google in myВ opinionВ and the trade-off is worth it. These two corporation both retain our private information. At least with Bing, Ill get something back eventually. Ill report back when I redeem me credits.



Why Im Holding Off On YouTubes HTML5 Video

YouTube HTML5

Ive tested HTML5 and WebM on YouTube for about a month now and it isnt perfect. HTML5 video (WebM)on YouTube looks like the future replacement for Flash but is it really a good thing? I wrote a guest post talking about this on Konnessi if you want to check that out. Not faulting them completely, it is in testing and there are a few known issues. One of these issues is full screen playback. When you try to watch videos in full screen, it only maximizes to fill the window. You can download some extensions to fix this but seeing that this is in testing, I decided to wait full them to roll out a fix. I see no point in installing an extension or fix to have it work in the future. Besides a different playback control, there really isnt anything to brag about. On a good note, video ads are(currently)В not implemented on this new format. This is a Restriction but dont worry. Google say, we are working on this! Please guys, no rush!




As far as functionality, Its pretty much the same except video annotations are not supported. Playback has been fine for a while but then things got ugly. Apparently, there seems to be some sort of memory leak or CPU issue. I would have Chromium opened to a YouTube video and all of a sudden, my computer bogs at 60% CPU usage. VideoВ frame-rateВ then drops significantly and my computer responds just as slow. Killing Chromium doesnt solve this problem. I would have to restart my machine to get it up to speed. I am not used to a slow bogging computer since I left Windows. I have tested this on multipleВ occasionsВ and concluded that it only happens with the HTML5 trial running on YouTube. Isolating the problem, I have decided to leave the trial. Googles move to push WebM seems premature. The format is buggy and every video take about 5 seconds longer to load compared to the normal Flash counterpart. I decide to be fair and try it out but as of right now, its not worth it. I have to restart my computer after watching 5 videos and wait longer to watch them. Are you on the HTML5 trial? What is your experience? If you want to try HTML5 video for yourself, click here to enter the trial.


Guest Post At Konnessi: The Google Monopoly

Konnessi Guest Post

A few weeks ago, I was surfing the web and found an interesting blog post about modern monopolies. It was late in the night and I dont usually read through editorial style posts butВ I had free time. I left a comment which got a reply from the author and to make a long story short, KonnessiВ В invited to write a guest post. I agreed. At first, I didnt know where to begin. TheyВ allowedВ me to talk about any points I wanted to discuss but I didnt want to touch too many topics to dilute my point. Instead, I decided to talk about the Google monopoly. More specifically, why we love them. I had a good time collecting my thoughts and I want to thank Konnessi for giving me the opportunity. Take a moment and check out the Konnessi site and my guest post here.