This week, close to 200 exhibitors showed off their goods and
services at the Streaming Media show in San Jose, Calif. Attendance
was high. The aisles were populated with people to bump into, like the
shopping day after Thanksgiving.

This streaming show was clearly focused. It was largely populated by
businesses that truly focused on streaming media. There were plenty of
businesses there I had never heard of. If you have attended Internet
shows you know what that means. Yep, on every aisle I ran into some
startup company employee (startup Internet employee translated means
golden handcuffed option holder) hinting at me to watch for their soon
to be announced IPO.

It has been clear for some time now that the Internet industry, while
it is expanding, is also fragmenting. Most of the Internet shows that I
have attended now claim a specific niche. However, the exhibitors are
usually scattered in focus, selling everything from Internet slinkies to
your very own Internet satellite transponder (that’s a channel).

As you may know from one of my previous articles, I strongly believe that every website will, someday, have streaming
content upon it. In Internet days “someday” can be translated to “next
week.” The absence of streaming audio or video on your website will be
like having a gray background text page without images.

Every trade show I attend, I attempt to extract messages from the
ether trapped in the huge high ceiling concrete room. It’s often hard to
focus while you’re gasping for fresh air, your feet hurt and your wallet
is getting thin fast. Thank goodness, this show was more focused and of
reasonable walking-shoe size.

The break down of streaming exhibitor messages, as I saw it, was as

  • We make server software that lets you stream audio using our
    special format.

  • We’re smarter than the last guy; with us you can stream audio and
    video with our server software.

  • We make super fast hardware that enables you to use the server
    software of those that allow you to stream.

  • We make software that lets you convert your audio into many
    different formats of streaming audio.

  • We’re smarter than the last guy; with us you can convert your
    audio and video to streaming formats.

  • We make big disk drive arrays to store the same audio or video in
    the many different streaming formats you need today, because everyone
    has a different player that requires a specific format.

  • We bought enough places on the Internet so that we can sell you a
    streaming service that has a 50/50 chance of actually delivering your
    streaming media to end users, with just a little garble.

  • We have content you can buy to stream on your Internet streaming
    broadcast station. Everything from music, B&W Shirley Temple movies to
    old science fiction films.

  • We created these streaming TV channels. That is if you have an
    infrastructure fast enough to carry or fat streaming channels.
    Unfortunately, from the content I saw that message can be translated
    into “We’re a streaming cable channel that can’t get space on existing
    cable systems. But watch for our IPO anyways.”

There was this tiny message that had little meaning — it went
something like this: “We make this software, you mail us your video then
edit it with a friend somewhere else on the planet using this tiny
little video window on your desktop.” I am not sure but my guess is that
there’s a Ph.D. with a grant or something behind this one, because you
can’t really edit video in a tiny two inch window. I’m not watching for
this IPO.

Then there was the echoing message all over the exhibit hall that
went something like this: “We’re Microsoft, we’re Microsoft, we’re
Microsoft. We’re big, we can afford to give this streaming stuff away
to one day dominate this new industry segment. All you have to do is buy
something, anything else from us.”

One continued message at the show was the exact same message I heard
years ago when images started appearing on Web pages. That message was:
“As soon as people have faster modems these pictures that download will
become popular.” In the new streaming segment of the Internet industry
the same message rings with a slightly different technology slant. It
goes something like this: “As soon as everyone has a cable modem or DSL
(Digital Subscriber Line circuit) this streaming content will really
become popular.”

Let’s take our crystal ball out of our magic box and make an
investment decision for the future. I love to do this after extracting
messages from trade shows. I see that: “As soon as everyone has fiber
to the home those cable companies and phone companies will all become
fiber companies. Fiber companies that transport every packet imaginable,
streaming or not. For longer term investments buy infrastructure, a
value that lasts longer. Short term you may buy software but remember it
changes fast, goes away quick, never makes it past beta or becomes the
property of Microsoft’s.”

How soon do you expect to add streaming media to your business or
personal website? What would you stream? Why would you stream it? Do
you think the giant’s big steps to dominate will succeed? Drop me an e-mail.

Last week I discussed what comes after the dot in our online world. The response wasn’t the
usual; I attribute this to page organization tests being made in attempt
to speed up the WND site. You may have noticed the ads in our new
for-profit state; however, there is much more than “just” ads. WND has
more information and more writers today than ever before. WND is growing
fast. We even had to spin off most of the commentary to an entirely
new page to handle the growth.

Some of the dot comments were as follows:

Jim L @

There are new TLD’s under proposal with names like “.web,” “.link”
and “.news.”

Network Solutions has reacted to this by removing the free access to
all the registration information that they used to provide. Now, the
only info you can get information from InterNIC for free is the
nameserver details, which is just enough to make DNS work.

B.E. responds

Hi Jim, Thanks for the response. TLDs like “.web,” “.news” and
“.shop” have been proposed now for more than two years. For now the most
interesting TLDs available are limited to .TV for TV, but there’s no
registrar around for that, or .MU for Music at

Greg W @

The dot com postfix on URLs will disappear over time. It must
because as currently administered it forces difficulties upon the user
and name interactions. Name space issues are fundamental to many of the
architectural issues that are at the root of electronic publishing

The future holds a movement into domains other than dot com. For
example, the domain “” is owned and its intended use is to set up
various kinds of sites that link to other sites and data of interest.

Any name can be used appropriately in this way, as you well know.
For example, why not set up a site at “Design.IT” for a company
specializing in some sort of Information Technology Design work. That
it is in the Italian domain is irrelevant.

So, yes I think that dot com will be replaced. Rather, I know it
will be replaced because my organization is already considering the
utility of using domains other than dot com. I am the Senior Systems
Architect for electronic publishing at the Bureau of National Affairs,
Inc., a staid old publisher of the print era. We either move to the new
era or die and that’s what news guys, like me, are there for. Ignore
the current monstrosity of a website at, it will be replaced in
the not too distant future.

B.E responds

Hi Greg, Thanks for the insightful response and information on
forward thinking dot matters where you work. Hope you don’t mind that I
left that in.

David @

It’s like a Corporation.INC or Corporation.LTD, there will be a deep
rooted and highly advertised “.com” Internet identity, and it won’t go

The questions for this week are:

How soon do you expect to add streaming media to your business or
personal website? What would you stream? Why would you stream it? Do
you think the giant’s big steps to dominate will succeed? Looking forward to hearing from

Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.