Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Amazing New Software Turns Any Computer into A TV Station

It's been tough keeping up with the blogs this summer because of a heavy summer teaching assignment. However, I had to get the word out on Alluvium, the amazing new software that turns any Internet-connected computer into a TV station.

Alluvium was developed by a team of students at the University of Texas at Austin. It allows anyone with any type of Internet connection, even the slow dial-up kind, to stream video to multiple computers anywhere in the world. The developers of Alluvium see all sorts of practical uses by ordinary Americans. Say you were to record your kids' softball game with your camcorder. Go ahead and stream it their grandparents' computers and the computers of all the other kids' parents. It's just like showing the game on TV. Anyone who wants to "tune in" to watch the game can do so.

Think for a minute about the applications to teaching and learning. Students could broadcast the trial run of an oral presentation to their instructor and others to get feedback before the actual presentation in class. Instructors could broadcast a review session prior to an exam. For that matter, a student with a camcorder could record classes and then broadcast them from his or her home computer. Once the word gets out about Alluvium, I'm sure others will come up with new and better ideas than the ones I've just identified.

In the course of a little over a year, Podcasting has caught on big in the world of higher ed (and among the general public). Will Alluvium be the next iPod? I'll let the rest of the story, reported in the Chronicle of Higher Education, speak for itself:

In fact, Mr. Lopez [Joseph T. Lopez, one of the project's leaders]sees the program as a tool for independent artists to disseminate their work without turning to the entertainment industry for help. "The distribution system for music and movies is broken right now, and it's going to take the RIAA and the MPAA two or three years to figure it out," says Mr. Lopez, referring to the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America. "I think our model could help change the way films are distributed."

Mr. Lopez and Mr. Wiley [Brandon Wiley, another team leader] will present their vision of a personal Internet-TV station in July, when their ACTLab TV station makes its debut on the Web. The station will have plenty of content to offer. It will broadcast more than a thousand videos, including experimental films and documentaries, created by students for the university's ACTLab, an art- and technology-based program for which both Mr. Lopez and Mr. Wiley serve as teaching assistants.

To keep their station running 24 hours a day, Mr. Lopez and Mr. Wiley are already accepting submissions from outside sources -- including, Mr. Lopez says, "animation, puppet shows, and some really unique content."

But before the station goes live (on the project's Web site), Mr. Lopez and Mr. Wiley say they still have plenty of work to do. Along with a staff of four, they have been pulling nearly sleepless nights archiving video footage and testing their software.

No one is getting paid for the work, and neither Mr. Lopez nor Mr. Wiley views the project as a business venture. But the project's shoestring budget is part of the point, according to Mr. Lopez. "We're just sitting here with machines that we had lying around, and we threw this together," he says. "Our whole idea was that it doesn't take $20,000 worth of electronics to run a TV station online."


Blogger UTSA ECO BS said...

This TV thing on the computers sounds awsome. I just got a computer and I want to do everything possible on this thing. Im going to research this Internet TV and ill get back to you.

10:29 AM  
Blogger Guillermo said...

Wow the uses and possibilities are limitless. Looking forward to seeing where this technology will lead.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Tom said...

I think this is a big step in the right direction for lowering college costs. Now if the colleges would use the Alluvium is another story. Colleges want to make a profit like any other business.

10:51 AM  
Blogger ElaineH said...

I think the Alluvium would be a helpful tool in education. It would help in review session if some classmates didn't have time to attend someone can record and send a stream of video to whoever wanted to learn what they missed. I would vote for that technology to be used at our campus.

7:40 PM  
Blogger Chris G said...

Alluvium sounds very interesting and bringing it to the college campus would make any learning almost Orwellian.Its funny how growing up were were taught that the college experience would contain ivy covered walls and professors that smoked a pipe and wore tweed.Almost Fitzgeraldesque..But hey anything to make school more convenient sounds good to me!

2:41 PM  
Blogger Laura E. Gonzalez said...

Alluvium sounds a very interesting technology for ESL students who, sometimes, need to hear twice the class to understand better.

11:28 AM  
Blogger Matt Coleman said...

It seems that we always start out with noble intentions when it comes to technology, yet in the long run, it's just more distraction. Since when was absolute convenience a desirable trait?

11:41 PM  
Blogger Collin Arnold said...

That is pretty cool sounding software - making streaming video easier. I just saw the commercial today for the streaming video cell phones; with those two technologies linked togeather, it sounds like we could be in for some pretty awesome live web-comfrencing.

9:12 PM  
Blogger Daniel said...

Alluvium seems very interesting. Thanks for the 411.

4:41 PM  
Blogger tasha said...

I think that is a great idea. It seems like the posssibilities of peoples ideas and creations sre limitless. I can't imagine how set back many of the people who are living today and grew up in the thirties and foutrieas are. We have come so far in such a short time.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Alisha T said...

I think Alluvium would be a great helpful tool to use for college. I would love to use this new technology to help us do better in school. All this new technology that's coming out just makes you wonder how everything will be in the next few years.

3:49 PM  
Blogger david burnett said...

Dr.Ayers that is a great article. I wonder if someone over in China has already thought of something like this. To my understanding they are pretty far technologically advanced and im sure that they have developed something the same if not very similar to something like this Alluvium.Technology these days is just about how much smaller can something get and contain a very big package. In this case this package is huge and the economic, educational, and philosophical advances taht will be made from this are huge. The only question is, how much is this gonna cost??

David Burnett

10:38 AM  
Blogger cano said...

I think that's a great idea. I'm on the internet a lot and to be able to view something like it's being broadcast on TV is cool. I think that this new wave might cause some conflict with the cable companies because people can broad cast their own shows.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Nikki said...

My dad has this feature on our upstairs computer. Now instead of just letting one tv watch him, two watch him. A lot of his shows come on at the same time so can easily turn back and forth between them- but when he leaves the feed on and the computer goes to sleeper mode it is creepy to walk into someone randomly talking

8:52 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth G said...

Actually, I think this is a bad idea. It won't be long before somebody decides to use this for a rather unique pornography site. And while this might solve the parking situation at some universities, it would also take away part of the discipline and dedication involved in learning.

7:28 PM  
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This blog is awesome! If you get a chance you may want to visit this medical software site, it's pretty awesome too!

9:27 AM  
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