Airtime, schmairtime

John
John Gushue
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With web video, timing is not everything

I've had a few conversations and read plenty of comments over the last couple of weeks about the fuss that the Fox talk show "Red Eye" generated, as the panelists mocked the Canadian military and its work in Afghanistan.

You probably heard about the jokes they made of the manicures, pedicures and yoga classes they assume Canadian soldiers will enjoy when their mission ends in 2011.

Surf's up - I've had a few conversations and read plenty of comments over the last couple of weeks about the fuss that the Fox talk show "Red Eye" generated, as the panelists mocked the Canadian military and its work in Afghanistan.

You probably heard about the jokes they made of the manicures, pedicures and yoga classes they assume Canadian soldiers will enjoy when their mission ends in 2011.

The uproar was enormous, at least for a couple of days. One of the common threads, though, came down to this: why were people so upset about a show that aired in the middle of the night?

I've got an answer for that: no one saw it in the middle of the night. Instead, if they didn't see it in news reports, they saw it in the intimate setting of a screen a few inches away from them.

The "Red Eye" segment was a viral video, defined. Soon after it was posted to YouTube, for instance, the link was e-mailed, Twittered, blogged and otherwise scattered far and wide.

"Red Eye" segment

tinyurl.com/cs36re

This link will take you to the segment as posted by one user under the headline "How to lose friends and alienate countries," which was provocative enough to show up in several news stories.

My point: it's becoming less and less relevant what time a show was designed to air. Instead, we watch what we want, when we want, and more often, how we want. I've been using a PVR (personal video recorder) for seven years or so; I don't think I could go back to the days of watching TV in real time.

What's missing is that I'm still kind of tethered to my TV. I watch the stuff I record there, but, like anyone, I watch many clips on my computer and, increasingly, on my IPod. There are devices that can marry the two, but I'm not inclined to invest that much money and time. Plus, I remain hopeful that the content producers and distributors will knock the barriers to make video that much more portable.

We crave the concept of "real time" when we're online. Just look at how Twitter has exploded, or remember why instant messaging has long had such appeal with kids. But with video, the accent is on convenience. I doubt many people saw those "Red Eye" jokers when the segment aired live.

Later, in the clear light of day, it sure didn't look all that funny.

Elsewhere this week:

Moon Phases Calendar

www.moonconnection.com/moon_phases_calendar.phtml

Calendars come in all shapes and sizes. Here's one with a very specific set of shapes: the changes in the moon, day by day. Wondering when the next full moon (or crescent, or new) will occur? Wonder no more.

Typeflash

typeflash.com

My favourite diversion ... at least for this week. Type a word or phrase on your keyboard, and see how it's presented in a variety of unusual ways: stars, geometrical shapes, even pills (as in pharmaceuticals). There's even a tribute font to the distinctive style of Wired magazine.

BCC please

bccplease.com/

Does a co-worker or loved one feel obliged to copy you and many (many, many) other people on jokes, videos, obviously Photoshopped hoax pics and probably bogus scam warnings - all while copying dozens of e-mail addresses at the top? Perhaps you might want to refer them here, a site that tries hard not to hurt their feelings, while making a case for the BCC (blind carbon copy) treatment.

Are You Gonna Eat That?

ugonnaeatthat.com/

I had dinner with Andree Lau recently - not to mention a bunch of other colleagues, who all write for cbcnews.ca. This is Andree's personal blog, consisting of her notes and photos of what she's eaten and where, and not necessarily in Calgary, where she now lives. It is, like her, a hoot.

John Gushue is a news writer for CBCNews.ca in St. John's. E-mail: surf@thetelegram.com. Read past Surf's Up columns and daily updates at his blog: johngushue.typepad.com.

Organizations: Wired magazine

Geographic location: Afghanistan, Calgary, St. John's

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