NewsCarsonCity.com has been steadily improving lately. When I first linked to it, the site was little more than an interminable list of videos, trailing off into oblivion. But over the last several months he’s been working on turning the site into a blog, with real permalinks and archives that make my job of linking to videos on the site (like this one about the Carson Mall) so much easier. And he’s also expanding beyond video and working on writing editorials, like this one about Doppelganger’s and downtown redevelopment incentives.
The site’s still not perfect. The videos are still in Windows Media, which can make them tricky to play on some platforms. Nearly all other online video is using Flash these days, either through YouTube or one of the other contenders, or rolling their own Flash solution. And using Flash would allow other bloggers (like me) to embed the videos directly in their sites, leading to more views and more visibility.
But the site is looking so much nicer these days. And the biggest plus is that he now has an RSS feed allowing me to actually keep up with the new videos as they come in. Good stuff.
I find the NewsCarsonCity.com to be a disappointment in that it seems to be more of a vehicle for the voice of Dave Morgan rather than a video exposition of local news. I suppose if a viewer has reading difficulties then hearing Morgan recite the news over a still picture is a bonus; otherwise, I would prefer that the items that don’t have real video would just be accompanied by text.
Hi there, my name’s Josh and I’m Dave’s new web designer. I’ve known Dave for almost two years now, through my time with the Brewery Arts Center’s public access program, and his website. A few months back, Dave came to me and said he was interested in taking me up on my offer to build him a new website presence in order to clean up the old site he’d been using back around the start of the year.
There’ve been a few snags, but all in all things have really stabilized now and I’m pretty proud of what we’ve done. Dave’s had to learn a whole new way of putting his material online, and it’s saved him a great deal of time every night compared to his old method.
As far as the video format goes, I completely understand that concern. Dave and I are both real sticklers for video quality, and I’m particularly tough on closed standards like Windows Media. Unfortunately, there are a couple of technical hurdles in the way. First and foremost, it’s very, very difficult to find a video encoder for flash that gives you the quality of video that Dave’s viewers currently get from his older Windows Media software. File sizes are far larger, and the bitrates jump up significantly. Secondly, and more importantly in the short term, Dave’s current video editing suite supports Windows Media very well. He has a new editing system waiting in the wings, but there’s a fairly steep learning curve ahead of him for that, and those things take a lot of time. What I’m hoping for in the meantime, is that once Dave transitions to a new editing package for his video, I’ll be able to find a way to reliably support H.264 streams for his material so they can be played on everything from Windows XP to an iPhone, but Windows isn’t particularly reliable for that, and accounts for 95% of his viewers.
In regards to Dave’s format, I wondered about the “read over still image” myself, until I realized what was going on there. Dave actually prepares his material for the nightly broadcast he does on Charter’s channel 18 at 6PM every night. What he does is put together all those things you see on the website, hours earlier, pops them in his broadcast point here in town, and then goes home and encodes the same segments, as aired, for the website.
I’m glad to hear people’s comments on the site, and if anyone has other things they’d like to add, please email me at web (a t) newscarsoncity. com and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. (Broke up the address for spam avoidance, there!) I’ll pass on what folks are saying to Dave, and I’m sure he’ll be as glad as I am that people are enjoying the new design.