the babel machine


Thursday, January 12, 2006

wubbable wubbzy

Check out the Wubbcast, which is being touted as the world's first video podcast for pre-schoolers.

Wow! Wow! Wubbzy is a new cartoon that will premiere on Nick Jr. this September, but you and your kids can already enjoy great content online even before the first TV episode airs.

Subscribe to the Wubbcast via iTunes and keep visiting the Wubblog for updates.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 5:41 PM :: 0 Comments:

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hey mikey!

Mike Villar is our YOU Blog Addict of the Week.

Got a blog? Interested in being featured? Just e-mail

We'd also like to showcase video, audio and mobile blogs from all you young people out there, so do e-mail us if you'd like to be featured.

Who knows, you could be the next YOU Blog Addict.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 5:36 PM :: 1 Comments:

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

hey sammy! -- the youtube version

I'm really impressed with the YouTube free video hosting service and have decided to upload my Hey Sammy! music video there, apart from having it hosted on vidiLife.

As I noted in a previous post, I created this using Windows Movie Maker. Please just forgive the poor video quality since these were video clips my wife Ellen and I took using our mobile phones and my Pocket PC, so I had to convert the files from 3GP/MP4 to import them to Windows Movie Maker.

Check out Hey Sammy!

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 3:02 PM :: 0 Comments:

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asiarati beckons

Got this from Jason Banico: Check out Asiarati.

Register to beta test Asiarati and help rank the best Asian sites.

Great to hear from you, Jason. Good luck with your new venture.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 2:30 PM :: 1 Comments:

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vlog on

If you're looking for free video blog hosting services, check out

They're looking for video blog submissions. Here's the announcement posted on their site:

Share your experiences thru video blogging or simply share your video clips on the internet. If we like your submission, we will host it for FREE.

Your video submission must have the following specifications: 320x240 resolution, 15 frames per second, Windows media format mpeg4 or AVI. We encourage posters to keep it under 15 minutes. Send your posts to and attach a short narrative of what you want viewers to read when they view your videos. For comments or suggestions please post at KURO.

They've only posted a few videos so far but here's one that I found cute.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 2:19 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Tuesday, January 10, 2006

google opens video store

You know how Google has been accepting video clips from users for the past few months for its Google Video service?

Well, just as they announced at the 2006 International Consumer Electronics Show, Google is going into video-on-demand in a big way. And now it's official -- they've announced the opening of the video store at the official Google Video Blog.

This means that apart from the free content uploaded by users, you can now buy high-quality video content from content providers such as CBS, which is making episodes of its shows such as C.S.I. and Survivor: Guatemala available for purchase online.

Not only that, but Google has also launched the Google Video Player. Unfortunately, they haven't done a good job of making it easy for users to find the link to the player on their site. Some of the videos on the site can be downloaded -- either for free or for a fee. You will see a Download button if the video is available for download. One of the most popular videos available for free download is Hurricane Katrina from Hurricane Katrina
Benny Chappetta, which you can download for your PC or Mac, video iPod or Sony PlayStation Portable.

It's still too early to tell how this service will fare, but my first impression is that they rushed the launch of this online store, because some of the categories on the drop-down menu for videos available for purchase result in error messages.

The music videos that are available so far seem to follow the pricing model popularized by iTunes, which is 1.99 dollars per video. You can also buy videos of NBA games for 3.95 dollars a pop. Hmm, do you think the PBA is taking notes?

Also, I know that the strength of Google lies in giving us the ability to search for items, but right now the Google Video homepage just appears too chaotic, with different items being highlighted each time you refresh the page. Maybe they could learn a thing or two in terms of presentation from sites such as iFilm, now that they're venturing into this new territory. I know, Google doesn't want to be Yahoo!, but they have to consider the look and feel of the site now that they're dealing with multimedia.

After all, as they become more mainstream and cater to consumer tastes, it won't be enough for Google to organize the world's content, but also to present it properly.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 5:38 PM :: 1 Comments:

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keep the hits coming

Yup, Filipino vodcasting (or video podcasting, which you could also call vidcasting, Internet television, IPTV and a slew of other buzzwords; some also say this is synonymous to video blogging or vlogging) is alive and well.

Check out H.I.T. (Hot Interesting Topics), which aired its first episode on August 20, 2005 and might own the distinction of being not only the first Philippine vodcast, but also Asia's -- at least that's what Wikipedia has to say in its entry on vodcast.

H.I.T. is produced and hosted by siblings Michael, Joanna and James Hui-Villanueva, and this made-for-the-Web show takes a look at diverse topics such as tech, travel and tasty treats. It's truly a small world, after all. Joanna was our intern at a few years back and wrote stuff for YOU, the youth site I edit.

You can check out the latest episode of H.I.T. below (Episode 12, Dec. 6) via streaming video courtesy of YouTube, though sometimes the streaming video is marred by too much buffering. It's best to subscribe to the vodcast like I did via iTunes -- I chose the H.264 format for QuickTime 7. You could also get the vodcast in MP4 format for your PC or Mac, and in M4V format for downloading to the new iPod with video capability, if you have one already. I don't, hehe, so it's still just one of the objects of my technolust.

The siblings are sometimes sheepish about the ambient noise included in the vodcast, such as the sound of traffic, but I actually like it -- I think it works in this context and adds to the authenticity.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 3:41 PM :: 0 Comments:

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the end of tv as we know it?

Here's an excerpt from my INQ7 Infotech @Play column piece:

This will be the revolution that will change TV and movies as we know it. We will not only change our watching habits, shifting from the set programming of TV stations and cable companies to entertainment-on-demand, but also create original content that we will watch and share with others. Whether it’s video blogs, video podcasting or mobile films, we are seeing an explosion of multimedia content generated by ordinary people. These are the movies we create everyday -- the clips we take with our camera phones, or our videocams, or the live performances (yes, I know there are many types of performances, but let’s keep this GP, hehe) on our webcams.

The world is watching. And we’re watching the world, and letting others watch.

So will our own broadcast networks get it and embrace entertainment-on-demand? Will our cable companies finally realize that we don’t really watch all the channels they provide with our monthly subscription, and offer flexible packages where we’ll subscribe per channel, apart from their current pay-per-view offerings? How about Filipino TV programs and movies available for streaming or downloading to iPods, portable media centers, PSPs, PDAs and mobile phones?

Read the full story.

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 2:03 PM :: 0 Comments:

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when fred and barney smoked

Once upon a time, people didn't know how dangerous smoking was to their health.

Next month, on Feb. 19, I'll be celebrating two straight years of having quit smoking, cold turkey. I won't lie to you -- sometimes I still miss cigarettes. But I rarely think about them, and I'm just glad I was able to quit. Unlike in the old days, most of us are aware of just how harmful smoking is.

Here's an amusing yet disturbing video clip that's been posted on different sites which you can check out at Metacafe. Here you'll see Fred and Barney pimping Winston cigarettes. This is a Winston commercial from 1961. Winston was the show's sponsor, and as I understand it the Winston commercials and references to the cigarette company were deleted when the show was syndicated.

It's scary to think that a cartoon show for kids was used to peddle ciggies, but The Flintstones was also very popular with adults and those were different times. But how weird is it to hear Barney say it's time for a "Winston break" and Fred mouth the catchphrase: "Winston tastes good like a cigarette should"?

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 1:04 PM :: 0 Comments:

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Monday, January 09, 2006

feeling 80s

If you grew up in the 80s like I did, then you're probably familiar with the ritual of making a mix tape.

You'd listen to your favorite radio station on your cassette recorder, waiting for your favorite songs, your finger ready to press the "Record" button once one of the chosen tunes starts to play.

Of course, sometimes you'd end up cursing the DJ for not playing the complete song, or for starting to yak even before it ends. Or maybe sometimes you just weren't quick enough to press "Record," or you had to go on a bathroom break.

Yup, this was really how we did it once upon a time, back in the dark ages. With a cassette tape. Really.

If you feel like doing the digital equivalent nowadays, why not rip streaming audio while listening to your favorite Internet radio station? For your personal use, of course.

One of the best (i.e. free) ways to do it is to download the freeware Streamripper plug-in for the free Winamp media player.

Streamripper is an open source app that allows you to capture the streaming audio from the SHOUTcast Internet radio stations that you access through Winamp. Once you install Streamripper, you will automatically see the Streamripper pop-up when you listen to SHOUTcast Radio, and when you click "Start" you'll start recording the streaming audio files, which are then saved as MP3s on your hard drive.

Of course, just as in offline radio, if you catch a song in mid-stream, you won't be able to rip the whole tune. The good thing about Streamripper, however, is that it records all the songs an Internet radio station is streaming as long as you keep recording, and automatically separates them into individual MP3 files. You can also toggle the options to suit your preferences.

Since this is Internet audio, you have to accept sacrifices to audio quality, with many of the Internet radio stations I've tried so far offering a bitrate of 128 Kbps. As you might expect, I'm on an 80s trip right now, with Club Nigel for 80s alternative/New Wave; and Radio Skipper for 80s pop. For a dose of classic 60s, 70s and 80s rock, I'm also ripping tunes from Radio Free Colorado.

Streamripper isn't perfect -- sometimes you get some static at the start or end of a tune. Commercial alternatives are available, but for freeware, I'm happy with its performance so far.

Hmm, now where did I store all those old mix tapes?

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 11:37 AM :: 0 Comments:

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just take the blue pill

US-based zine, of which I'm a multimedia critic/game reviewer, has published my The Matrix: Path of Neo (Xbox) review.

Here's an excerpt:

If you're still secretly harboring notions that the Wachowski brothers are true creative geniuses and the original Matrix wasn't just a fluke, the video game The Matrix: Path of Neo should put an end to all your delusions.

This isn't to say that PoN is total crap -- though when it comes to graphics, it does look, well, excremental. Sure, the game has nifty effects and at its best does make you feel like you're in the Matrix universe. Considering that a topnotch company like Shiny Entertainment developed this and that it's been years since the last Matrix movie (so, it's not like they were rushing things, right?), the character models are disappointing, even downright ugly. And I'm playing this on the Xbox, okay, which has me wondering why sometimes it looks like a game on the original PlayStation.

Read the full story.

Check out my previous PopMatters game reviews:

The Incredible Hulk: Ultimate Destruction

Unreal Championship 2: The Liandri Conflict

Guild Wars

Posted by Joey Alarilla :: 11:17 AM :: 0 Comments:

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