Well - first it was O'Reilly's PR firm thinking they owned the rights to "Web 2.0". Now, Apple thinks they own the rights to the term "podcast". Is there a special school for lawyers and PR staff, where they learn to be brain dead morons?
Based on this, and the last few weeks, I'm guessing that the residents of Red Sox Nation are desperately awaiting the end of this season, so that they can get on to next one. Since the 5 game sweep in August, it's been all downhill for the Sox - they may not even end up in second place in the AL East at this rate.
Meanwhile, the biggest worry for the Yankees is Mariano Rivera - will he be 100 percent for the playoffs? I'm looking forward to the post season - the Yankees may not win it all (anything can happen in a short series) - but they look like the team to beat right now. It's conceivable that we could have a 2000 recap - another subway series. Now that would be cool.
Dave Winer's difficulties with his iPod illustrate one thing: even for the technically literate, the blocks on fair use can be a royal pain. Now, I've had numerous people tell me that you can manage music/podcasts (etc) from multiple (I think it's up to five) machines if:
- You have the iPod formatted for Windows instead of for Mac (otherwise, your Windows machine will see it as read-only)
- You change from auto-synch to manual
I haven't tried that though, since it didn't seem obvious. What I did is buy XPlay, a nice little application that lets me manage the iPod from my laptop (which doesn't have my music library - the disk is too small and too filled). When I travel, I grab podcasts from BottomFeeder, and then use XPlay to move them over to the iPod. No fuss, no muss - I'd recommend XPlay to anyone. It's less than $30 too!
Technorati Tags: iPod
OOPSLA 2006, which will be held in historic Portland, Oregon (USA), the birthplace of OOPSLA 20 years ago. OOPSLA is the premier gathering of professionals from industry and academia--practitioners, researchers, students, educators, managers, and more--all sharing their experiences with today's object technologies and its offshoots.
OOPSLA includes so many different things that you can't take them all in. It's wise to plan your week. Your registration fee gets you access to demos, workshops, panel discussions, invited speakers, birds-of-a-feather sessions, lightning talks, posters, and practitioner reports.
You can also check out DesignFest®, the Dynamic Languages Symposium, Essays, Research Papers, the Most Influential Papers Awards, the Doctoral Symposium, and the Student Research Competition. In addition, the Onward! track is “the place to reveal the revolutionary, air the provocative, and expose the subversive.”
Alan Knight, Vassili Bykov, Travis Griggs, Andreas Hiltner and Suzanne Fortman will be representing Cincom Smalltalk at the conference this year. If you’re concerned that with such a full agenda you might not have a chance to meet with a Cincom representative and you want to schedule a chat, contact Suzanne Fortman.
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
I managed to get in 18 today with my buddy Brian before the rains came. It was an enjoyable round, even if we did stink up the course. The good news is this: I'm finally showing enough patience with my driver to hit it semi-reliably. If I could manage to get out regularly...
Jeff Jarvis, noting that two podcasters are hanging up their mike's, comments on the difficulties:
Step back from the keyboard before you start writing that made-up trend story. I sense that people ( Winer aside ) don’t flame out on blogs the way they might on podcasts and I think the reason for that is that podscasts are both more of a production and more of a performance. It’s harder. That’s also why fewer will start podcasts -- and why I haven’t. It’s easier to blather through a keyboard than a microphone.
It is more difficult. I've only done 4, and I can tell you - they take far more time and effort than posting. First, there's the actual time to have the interview (or conversation, etc). That's the easy part. Then comes the hard part - production work. It's at this point that you start to understand why radio stations (and TV, and movies) have sound people. Doing noise reduction, mixing, and lag correction isn't an insurmountable task, but it's not trivial, either.
Not everyone has the time to spend on it. Blogging takes very little time - with audio, you have to set aside an hour or three before you can get the results posted.
Now that I have a slightly better handle on the audio tools I use, Ive gone back and cleaned up the first two podcasts I did - with Rowan Bunning and Georg Heeg. The ambient noise is less of a problem in the Rowan interview now, so it should be easier on the ears. I also added in the same intro/exit music that Michael and I have been using for Industry Misinterpretations.
An added benefit - the mp3 files are much smaller :)
Time for that weekly look at the logs. First up: BottomFeeder downloads. They went up a bit, to 264 a day - I released version 4.3, so that's no surprise:
Next up - the HTML page accesses. Traffic rose last week - it looks like the podcasts and screencasts were a good idea :)
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
And finally, syndication traffic - which also rose last week:
|Tool||Percentage of Accesses|
|Net News Wire||6.7%|
|Google Feed Fetcher||2.3%|
|RSS 2 Email||1%|
I'd guess that IE 7 is picking up more use - the stats for that browser are rising in the RSS feeds.
Engadget found another flaming Thinkpad - today's lesson: don't get smug about the laptop you have, lest you find that it can go all bonfire on you too :/
It appears that the exploding IBM ThinkPad that we spotted last week at LAX may not have been a fluke after all. Telsa Gwynne, wife of famed Linux kernel programmer Alan Cox, describes on her website how her husband's ThinkPad battery suddenly exploded last night (see the photo on the next page), after which "a couple of fires started where the (presumably) boiling battery landed," with one of the fragments taking out a nearby LCD monitor.
I know these are rare, and I know it's highly unlikely to happen to me. Still, that picture is sobering...
Scoble reports that HP has offloaded Dunn - and says that it's not enough:
Patricia Dunn is gone from HP. PodTech was at the press conference and Catherine is working right now on getting up the audio from the press conference as well as a story about what she learned at the press conference although the story is already well out as you can see from Google News about HP. OK, that’s a start. Now it’s time to clean out the rest of the board. And fire the ethics officer who just wrote to his colleagues that he wished he didn’t ask about the legality of the situation -- ethics officers need to learn that they BETTER stay on the right line of the law AND of our privacy. And, Mark Hurd too. He’s seriously tainted in this whole thing. He needs to go too.
I have to say I agree with him. The smell reaches beyond her, and I don't think they should get away with one sacrificial lamb...
Technorati Tags: HP
Michael and I just wrapped up episode 2 - I'm in post production now. I have a few other things on my plate (It's Friday night, for gosh sakes :) ), so I may not have this out until tomorrow morning. It's about 40 minutes long this time too.
Serge Stinckwich has announced a Smalltalk gathering in Paris this November:
The french Smalltalk community organize a new SmalltalkParty for Nov 25th 2006 in Paris. More info (in french) available here :
The program is not yet ready, but we would like to organize a small XP Dojo this year. Several demos are already planned : Plopp, MathMorphs and UbquiTalk.
By the way, Paris is not that far away from Belgium or Luxemburg ;-)
Dr. Serge Stinckwich
Université de Caen>CNRS UMR 6072>GREYC>MAD
Smalltalkers do: [:it | All with: Class, (And love: it)]
Technorati Tags: smalltalk
Sony has recognized that the $600 price tag is way too high, but I think this price cut (before it's even shipping) is a sign of two things: reality, and desperation. Here's the important bit from the story:
Sony will cut the domestic price of its basic PlayStation 3 model to 47,600 yen, or about $410, from an originally planned 59,800 yen, or $515. That puts the PlayStation 3 in the same range as the combined basic Xbox 360 and HD DVD player in Japan, where the duo will sell for 49,600 yen, or $427.
We knew Sony was going to be losing money on each console shipped at $600 - possibly as much as $400 (and that was just based on manufacturing costs - never mind what channel costs are larding on). This slaps an additional $200 loss onto each console sold. The bottom line - they are going to be bleeding like a hemophiliac when the PS3 ships. Mind you, this is a limited desperation move - the prices are (thus far) unchanged in the US. I wonder how long that differentiation will last.
Yes, MS is bleeding on each XBox 360 sale, but a lot less - and note that Nintendo will be making money on each console. I can't even begin to understand the business model where you plan to lose money hand over fist for years, with no hope of breaking even on the horizon.
The Toronto Smalltalk User Group is meeting on October 5th, and is starting a more regular meeting schedule:
The next meeting of the Toronto Smalltalk User Group will be Thursday, Oct. 5 at 6:30. We're switching from ad-hoc presentation meetings to monthly workshops on the first Thursday of each month. Wireless internet and power will be available for laptops, and we have an LCD projector for presentations.
A number of us are working on interesting work and open source Smalltalk projects, so there will be plenty to talk about. No RSVP required... just show up!
The Toronto group is a great bunch - pay them a visit, won't you?
In today's screencast, I explore classes and inheritance. Navigate to the flash movie here.
James McGovern gets up on a soapbox for the most absurd of reasons today - he's upset with a goodie bag:
In today's society, you would figure that folks would be a little smarter. Ignoring the environmental aspect of their stupidity, the gum wasn't even kosher. Ever heard of a place called the Middle East? You should whenever serving any food product ensure that it meets the standards of today's diverse IT population. Everything you consider should be Kosher at a mininum and vegetarian out of respect for those from India.
Oh, please. If you start worrying about every possible sub-population that might have problems with your package you'll go nuts. I fly a fair amount, and you know what's on most sandwiches I get? Ham. As it happens, I dislike ham - always have. I just throw the ham away. I don't pitch a fit, I don't get excited about the groups that might be upset about the choice - I just don't eat it.
Keith Fieldhouse at O'Reilly wants you to discover the power and influence of Smalltalk.
Just when I thought DRM couldn't get stupider, Microsoft goes and proves me wrong. With no market share in the portable player/music store space, they've figured out their response: screw the customers. From the license:
Windows Media Player 11 does not permit you to back up your media usage rights (previously known as licenses). However, depending upon where your protected files came from, you might be able to restore your rights over the Internet.
That's right kids, getting a new laptop? You might conceivably get your own music back, maybe:
If you encounter an error message that indicates you are missing play, burn, or sync rights for a file and you had these rights previously, you might be able to resolve the problem by restoring your media usage rights. You have several options to do so:
It goes on from there with an explanation of how far you have to bend over in order to have MS deign to give you access to your own stuff. You know, the DRM on Apple's stuff is annoying, but they do make it possible to get around it. The insanity on display here is just mind boggling.
The Inquirer is often a questionable source, but I'm with them on this piece.
Hmm - it seems that YouTube thinks they have a value of $1.5B. Never mind the cash bleed, never mind the gaping copyright issues. Never mind the complete lack of a business plan - all that traffic just must be worth something.
I have a hot tip for these guys: people love free services that don't poke ads at them. In order to generate revenue, you're going to have to either start charging, or start poking ads. You'll also have to (somehow) get out from under the copyright issues. Whether people will like the site after those things come into play is an interesting question - I think the Napster example might be very cogent here.
This HP story just keeps getting worse. The latest? Hurd doesn't have clean hands, either:
Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Officer Mark Hurd knew of plans for a disinformation campaign designed to find the source of leaks from boardroom discussions, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
The report implicates Hurd more deeply in the scandal than was previously believed. The HP CEO and President is set to replace Patricia Dunn as chairman of the company's board of directors in January. Dunn said she would step down September 12 as the result of an internal investigation into practices used to find the source of news leaks about matters discussed by the board.
This just gets worse, and worse, and worse. The PR stench is going to linger like a cloud of rotten eggs...
This news about voting machines in my state calls to mind so many IT projects. On the one hand, the governor has recognized that the touchscreens are a problem:
A week after the primary election was plagued by human error and technical glitches, Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) called yesterday for the state to scrap its $106 million electronic voting apparatus and revert to a paper ballot system for the November election.
"When in doubt, go paper, go low-tech," he said.
On the other hand, the legislature is in the classic IT management "We spent all this money!" mode:
"We paid millions. These are state-of-the-art machines," said Miller, who called Ehrlich's announcement a political ploy to energize his Republican supporters.
Sigh. Politics, IT - there's very little difference. After enough money gets spent, no one is willing to admit just how bad things are. Better to just go along, and pretend it's all fine.
You have to love the irony - Patricia Dunn just got inducted into the Bay area business hall of fame. Her comments were kind of pathetic: she hoped that the Pope would continue to generate controversy in order to remove the spotlight from her.
Sheesh, if she had any sense of decency at all, she would have declined the award. If the Bay area Council had any, they would have pulled it.
This LiveJournal post explains again why benchmarks aren't always what they are cracked up to be. This guy looked at the Programming Languages Shootout site, and concluded that Smalltalk was very slow:
But not impossible. For example, compare C (as compiled with gcc) vs. Smalltalk GST (gnu Smalltalk). On the binary tree test, C is 28 times faster and uses 47 times less memory.
Hmm. VW Smalltalk (or any other modern implementation) while still slower, would have been much closer. Why? GST is interpreted, and in memory terms, uses a primitive GC. So what we have is an apples vs. oranges comparison. Clicking over to the VW comparison, it's about what I'd expect: 2.4 times slower. For that matter, GST was 10 times slower (not 28 - at least for the Gentoo side tests I looked at).
You should also note this disclaimer about code size, from the site:
Code Lines is even more misleading for Smalltalk than for other languages - we show Smalltalk source code in a verbose chunk file format used to archive or transfer source code between Smalltalk images.
Yep - no one ever reads Smalltalk in chunk format...
CNet reports that HP's board is meeting again, and will hold a press conference after the market closes on Friday:
Hewlett-Packard's board of directors is meeting Wednesday amid widening controversy over the tactics used in a probe into media leaks, CNET News.com has learned.
An HP representative declined to comment on the agenda for the board meeting or say when in the day it was scheduled to take place.
HP also plans to hold a press conference Friday afternoon, after the stock market's 1 p.m. PDT closing. An HP spokesman confirmed the event, but would not comment further.
On a Friday, after the bell rings. Gee, it's almost as if they want to bury the story, or something. Eventually, they'll do what needs to be done, and boot Patricia Dunn. In the meantime, they just keep fueling the smell storm.
Technorati Tags: stupidity
Well - this is encouraging. WiFi in the air might not be dead:
Panasonic has set about securing agreements covering a minimum of 500 aircraft in the next 60 days. That schedule is being driven by the need to be ready to serve ex-Connexion airlines within a tolerable time after the discontinuation of that service by the end of the year. “We can’t drag our launch decision on until, say, February,” Bruner said. “There will inevitably be a dark period between the end of Connexion and the start of our service, and we want to keep that as short as possible. We already have 150 aircraft committed and feel confident we’ll make the 500. But if we’re falling badly short in 60 days’ time we will not go.”
Getting that up-front commitment sounds smart to me - it means that they have an actual plan with revenue attached. I hope this works out, because I'd love to have a network option next time I make a long haul flight.
In today's Smalltalk Daily, I go through some more aspects of Smalltalk syntax. I've also learned more about the tools I use to create screencasts - this one is smaller (800x600), so it ought to fit on the screen better. You can navigate here for the flash presentation.
Don Park explains how bad the rot has gotten:
I am not into ragging on and on about a topic. When something creeps me out, I deal with it and move on. Short of turning myself into an activist, I am going to just exercise my rights as a consumer/investor: refusing to buy. So I am just going to strike HP off my shopping list and not invest in HP stock regardless of how cheap it looks until the word 'HP' no longer disgusts me.
At some point, HP is going to need to acknowledge reality and do a clean sweep of everyone who was involved in the pretexting mess.
Update: Every time I think the HP story can't get worse, it drills deeper into the muck. Witness this:
Hewlett-Packard conducted feasibility studies on planting spies in news bureaus of two major publications as part of an investigation of leaks from its board, an individual briefed on the company’s review of the operation said yesterday.
The studies, referred to in a Feb. 2 draft report for a briefing of senior management, are said to have included the possibility of placing investigators acting as clerical employees or cleaning crews in the San Francisco offices of CNET and The Wall Street Journal.
I'm not sure what's going on here - makes me wonder whether Dunn is living out some fantasy about being a secret agent. Did she read too many "Spy vs. Spy" episodes in Mad Magazine as a child?
I believe that the case of the Belgian newspaper against Google News (they didn't like Google listing their stories) is what we call a pyrrhic victory:
Take a look at this search. It returns zero results, just this message:
In response to a legal request submitted to Google, we have removed 1237 result(s) from this page. If you wish, you may read more about the request at ChillingEffects.org.
That’s right: those Belgian newspapers wanted Google to pay for the privilege of sending them readers, so Google is going to take their greed and use it to cut off their legs. Want to bet those papers lose tens of percentages of their traffic? All statistics say yes, and I’ll bet the Hitwise blog is working up a real pretty chart to prove it.
That's going to leave a mark. The funny thing is, Google is complying with the letter of the order that came down. If the newspaper in question was looking for invisibility, they certainly won. Otherwise - not so much.
Technorati Tags: news
Wow - Yahoo is doing something interesting: selling a major artist's album online in mp3 format:
"We're trying to be realistic," said Ken Bunt, senior VP of marketing at Hollywood Records. "Jesse's single is already online and we haven't put it out. Piracy happens regardless of what we do. So we're going to see how Jesse's album goes (as an MP3) and then decide on others going forward."
This should be interesting to watch. It's my contention that DRM doesn't prevent piracy - it just makes life difficult for the rest of us. Will sales figures back that up, or will this be too small a test?
Technorati Tags: DRM
"I don't have a silly iPod. I like to go buy the whole artist's work. If I'm going to watch My Name is Earl [in reference to the fact that the show's star, Jason Lee, was sitting next to him], I'm not going to just go and watch one program, I'm going to watch the DVD of the first series, and I'm going to watch the whole thing together."
There are two things to day about that:
- You can play entire albums from an iPod. Just yesterday, I listened to a full Sheryl Crow album that way
- Sometimes, most of the songs on an LP just don't appeal to me - are you saying that I have to sit through the stuff I dislike?
Methinks that Elton should look at an mp3 player before he talks smack about them. Now, perhaps he could comment on the whole DRM lock-in issue...
The 4.2 release of BottomFeeder had a number of irritating bugs that I've fixed since July - including a fairly severe bug in the code that identified old/new items. It turns out that if an item had expired out of your cache, but had been seen before, I had a boolean test backwards. Yes, this means I should have tests :)
In any event, you can grab the new release from the download page. If you have BottomFeeder installed, you can update this way:
- download baseapp-Windows.zip, or baseapp-win98.zip, or baseapp-nonWindows.zip (depending on your platform)
- Delete any .pcl files in BottomFeeder/app. Also delete BottomFeeder/plugins/Blog-Tools.pcl
- Extract the contents over your current install
- Restart BottomFeeder
This is a stark example of DRM under the DMCA giving customers a raw deal. Buying DRMed media means you're locked into the limited array of devices that vendors say you can use. You have to rebuy your preexisting DRMed media collection if you want to use it on the Zune. And you'll have to do that over and over again whenever a new, incompatible device with innovative features blows existing players out of the water. Access to MP3s and non-DRMed formats creates the only bridge between these isolated islands of limited devices.
So this is a twofer: if you have been buying music from an MS partner, Microsoft just screwed you over. Likewise, if you made the mistake of being an MS partner, you now wonder what that splitting pain your backside is.
This has got to be one of the most bone-headed PR mis-moves I recall a company making purposely. It's one thing to be accidentally stupid - this is willful stupidity.
Not just stupidity, either - people who have "plays for sure" music are sitting in a legally suspect situation. If you use software to bypass the old DRM, you're going to run afoul of the DMCA. Will you be prosecuted or sued? I'm not sure I'd want to take the no side of that bet, given the way the RIAA has been operating over the last few years.
This all comes down to customer experience, one sour experience can lead us away, to other companies or other options. A little honesty and expectation setting can go along way, in the case of my missing bag, it would have made all the difference in the world. Such a sour experience means I will evaluate alternatives in the future.
That's the summary to a good post about lost luggage and the tales the airline company told while the luggage was busy not being found. I've had similar problems with airlines and factual information, with two sets of circumstances:
- Lost bags
- Delayed flights
The latter circumstance comes up far more often, and the amount of pure dissembling that airline reps are willing to spread amazes me. If you don't know anything, just tell me that. I'd rather hear that you have no idea, than be told "just another 30 minutes" every hour or so. Is there a PR moron working for most airlines who thinks that we would rather have authoritative sounding BS than non-authoritative sounding honesty?
I've put together another daily Smalltalk screencast. This one is a little different, and I think I'll be doing them this way most of the time. I used Wink to capture a set of screenshots, and then added audio for them. The entire thing is available as a flash movie, and is pretty small - just over 4 MB. Continuing from yesterday, I cover some basic Smalltalk syntax.
If you live in LA, and are interested in learning Smalltalk, then this news is for you:
I wanted to let you know that there is a beginning Squeak Smalltalk class starting Wednesday the 20th from 1-3 pm at my place in Bloomington (Fontana). Several adults who want to learn Squeak will be attending.
Ben Cooper plans on seeking VC money and forming a small start-up company to do reconstruction of the Smalltalk byte-code to marry with the new generation hardware he is in the final stages of bringing to market. He wants to "blow-out" the image and make it into an internet-aware class/image system. He has identified 5 products that can be monetized to everyone's advantage and that VCs would be interested in backing.
P.S. Ben is particularly interested in finding individuals who have gone deep into the Squeak VM and know Slang and also are good at the primitives.
If any of you are interested in any part of this message please email privately.
CENTER FOR INNOVATION
(NORTH OF RIVERSIDE)
18211 Hawthorne Ave.,
Bloomington, CA 92316
Donna Charles Schrokosch
Founder / Chair
Hawthorne Center for Innovation
For contact information, join the Yahooo Mailing List
It remains to be seen whether I manage to keep this up daily, but here's my intention: push up a brief Smalltalk screencast daily for awhile, introducing both VW and OST. The first one (VW) is here.
The idea behind this is simple: you've downloaded CST non-commercial, have started it up, and are thinking: "now what?"
I thought the HP spying story was bad before, but CNet's latest report makes it even worse: apparently, the people Dunn hired tried to plant spyware on CNet's reporter's computers:
Those briefed on the company's review of the operation say detectives tried to plant software on at least one journalist's computer that would enable messages to be traced, and also followed directors and possibly a journalist in an attempt to identify a leaker on the board.
It's not enough that Dunn stepped down from Chairman, but stayed on the board. There ought to be real consequences for that.
James McGovern asks:
I wonder if James Robertson would care to comment on why StrongTalk is the best version of Smalltalk available and is of higher quality than Ruby on Rails?
Well, first off, Cincom Smalltalk is the best version of Smalltalk to get started with. StrongTalk is an unfinished prototype, not a product you could actually use to build deployable software. There are ideas in Strongtalk that might well be worth integrating into Cincom Smalltalk, but that's about it.
As to Rails - I haven't worked with it, so I can't comment on it specifically. People I respect like it, so I'm not going to go negative. However, I will say this: Cincom Smalltalk has a far, far better set of development tools available for it than Ruby does, including tools that enable Enterprise integration - MQS, a full WS* stack, COM integration (on Windows), a .NET connection (again, on Windows), and CORBA (cross platform).
But hey - don't take my word for it. Grab the latest non-commercial product, and try it for yourself. I'm planning a series of "getting started" screencasts, which should make the "I've got it downloaded, now what?" questions easier to answer.
Scoble wonders why there's no interest in the new Acrobat 8:
Then I went to Google Blog Search and Technorati and did searches for other bloggers who are covering the new Acrobat announcements. Nothing. Even CNET’s News.com has nothing up about it. You would think that at least someone would post the ceremonial “that sucks” kind of commentary. But, no, just silence. It’s like everyone is reading about the HP scandal and forgot that other stuff could happen.
Interesting. But if some new video service or a new Web 2.0 company or service were announced right now (even from my own company) it’d get covered all over the place.
Well, it's probably because people already know what Acrobat is, so a new version of it simply isn't that interesting (in the "breaking news" sense). As a Product Manager, I know very well how hard it is to get anyone excited about the next version of a product that's been around for years.
Oh, and about that video - a screencast would have been far, far more useful there - sure, have the intro with the Adobe PM, but then flip to a screencast. I'd rather see the product than watch camera zooming.
I'm still playing around on the low end here, but I went down to Best Buy and bought myself an inexpensive Plantronics headset microphone/headphone combo. That ought to prevent the echo we had in our Saturday effort, and I've tested out the audio quality on my end - it was tons better.
Technorati Tags: audio
I've been mulling the video blog debate that cropped up on techmeme this weekend. On the one hand, we have Brad Templeton saying "Please don't vlog". I like some of his points - it does take more time and attention to consume video (compared to text and audio). Podcasts can be listened to in the car or while exercising (i.e., during otherwise "dead time" when your eyes are busy). Video blogs require most of your attention though, and unless it's a screencast - i.e., something that's walking me through something I want to learn - I find little value add.
On the other hand, Scoble makes a few good points on the "picture is worth a 1000 words" side of the equation:
Here’s a test. Give me one minute of video or 10,000 words to explain to me what Halo 3 does. The video will beat the text every single time, even if you have a Pulitzer-prize winning author write the words.
That's true, but: most of the video blogs I've seen don't add any value in that direction over pure audio. Even many of Scoble's vlogs for channel 9, when he was at MS: more than once, I wanted him to put the damn camera down and have the tech person he was talking to switch over to screencast format (so that I could actually follow what what being demonstrated).
I have to say that there's kind of a continuum of technical skills required here - for text, you need to be able to convey your ideas clearly. You don't need a lot of graphical skills; even if your pages are horrible HTML, as long as your color choices aren't illegible, you can make your point. Audio podcasts are another step up, as I'm just learning now. The tools aren't that hard to use, but unless you have a studio handy, you need to be prepared to spend an hour or two (more when you first get started) cleaning up the audio, adding music, hacking out awkward pauses... it's a lot more work than editing text. If you save in mp3 format, you can figure on about 1 MB per minute, so the time to upload isn't too bad, and the storage requirements aren't onerous.
Then there's video. Sure, anyone can take video now (my daughter's $129 Samsung camera takes decent video, especially considering that price tag). However, the space requirements are much larger than with audio, and the editing process takes longer - I've not done it, but my daughter has been creating movies of girl scout events for her troop, and it takes eons to render stuff on the Mac mini. Sure, it would take a lot less time if I bought a new Mac pro, or an up to date PC - but with what I've got lying around, it takes a lot of time.
Then there's uploading and storage - suddenly things jump from 10's of MB to hundreds. Yes, disk space is cheap, but try doing a few - and see how well the purchasing department buys your argument as to why you need a storage farm :)
At the end of the day, I don't think most of the vlogs I've seen would lose much by being pure audio. For technically oriented stuff, a screencast is probably more useful than full video. Where does that leave me? It leaves me thinking that you should really consider your content and audience before you decide to whip out the digicam.