Monday, August 17, 2009

Where did Charlie Rose go? (Appears to be victim of Google Video's demise)

I love the Charlie Rose Show.  It is a fantastic forum for reasoned discussion and it covers a broad set of topics to stay fresh and topical.  There are few places where you can find these types of (usually) non-trivial conversations with this depth and level of thoughtfulness.  He is a master of building rapport virtually immediately without almost any guest.  Tavis is very good as well, but his show suffers from being only half as long as the CRS.

I really only have three complaints against the show:
1) Charlie is friends with a lot of the powerful guests he has on the show, and sometimes is too soft on those guests (especially Wall St. executives such as Mr. Dimon at JP Morgan).  Although he is still better than most popular journalists, being tougher would yield responses and ultimately create a better show.

2) Charlie says the word "exactly" too much in response to a guest's response as if he needs to show he is smart enough to have had the same insightful thought as his guest.  I am probably splitting hairs here, but I had to say it because it happens so often.

3) The show is not available as a podcast (neither video nor audio).  

It was not until I moved to Spain that I began my regular appointment with the CRS.  I used to see it every once in a while while I lived in LA, but being on late at night and with a young kid at home, I did not stay current with the show.  Once I noticed that the show was available via Google Video, I realized that I could hack together my own podcast of the CRS.  In fact, Google Video was the video platform that the official website,, used to power its online video.

At first it was easy because Google made the MP4 download available via the rss feed on its site.  Then the rss feed changed at Google Video, eliminating the MP4 from the standard enclosure, and someone uploading the videos for CRS stopped making the MP4 download available.  So, I decided to use Yahoo! Pipes to make my own personalized feed to view the videos.

Everything was good, and I was receiving my daily dose of the CRS until the end of July.  That appears to be when Google Video stopped accepting new videos.  Google had announced previously in January that Google Video would be closed to new video in the near future and others had reported this.  At first, I noticed that I was not receiving any new episodes in my podcast feed.  Then, I went to the official site and I saw that there were no video clips available for the most recent episodes.

Contacting the "contact us" folks for the show via the web, they told me that they are migrating their streaming servers and that video would be back online "soon".  It was only after I contacted them, a small text notice was added to the site indicating that "Videos are temporarily unavailable...".  

It has been now 2 1/2 weeks since the last updated Charlie Rose video has been made available.  It seems that they were not prepared to handle the switch away from Google Video as their service provider.  

I do not know what kind of advanced notice about the actual shutoff date Google made to its main video suppliers, but with the public notice made back in January, the folks at CRS should have migrated away to another platform well before and avoided this situation.

I sure hope they figure it out soon and go ahead and add proper podcasting support (video and audio).  It is public television so they should not rely only on paid services (they have a paid audio version via  Furthermore, they are looking to syndicate via Bloomberg TV so this should be seen as another way to spread the CRS brand, influence and public service.  Tavis Smiley serves as a pretty good example for syndicating out his content in many useful ways. Charlie could learn a lot by following Tavis' example.

Hopefully he'll be back online soon and those of us without easy access to PBS channels can go back to getting our CRS fix.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yahoo! Mail New Home UI

Yahoo! Mail has a new UI for its homepage.  Trying to be more social.

Posted via email from Spanish Gringo Posterous