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TWC9: The First Look at the New Channel 9!

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On a very special episode of This Week on Channel 9, Dan is joined by Duncan Mackenzie to do a live demo of the new Channel 9 Web site (codenamed: Revolution 9).

We've also published a screenshot tour of Revolution 9 here.

You'll see demos of:
  • The new Home page
  • The new Shows/Series page
  • Improved discoverability via the Browse feature
  • Improvements to the default Channel 9 player
  • Improvements to the Coffeehouse
  • The new profile page
Picks of the week!
  • Duncan's favorite feature: The new show/series page
  • Dan's favorite feature: The ability to add URL based timecodes. This timecode: "#time=15m22s" would jump to start the video 15 minutes and 22 seconds from the beginning

Follow the Discussion

  • Bent Rasmussenexoteric stuck in a loop, for a while

    I love the new script formatting! Site looks great folks.

  • Herbie SmithDr Herbie Horses for courses

    BUT IT'S  NOT ORANGE!

  • Bent Rasmussenexoteric stuck in a loop, for a while

    Dah! Wink

     

    Really looking forward to seeing Azure in action on Channel 9. Smiley

  • BasBas It finds lightbulbs.

    The timecode thing and the continue playing where you left off thing are ideal. Same with copying from the code blocks. Also happy about the quoting. The reply stuff could've worked but the way it happened was just too unwieldy and annoying. What about the "go to the last unread reply" feature, by the way? Is that still in?

     

    Not sure how good the anonymous commenting is. Spam is a huge problem here already and this is only going to make it easier.

     

    I'm glad you focused on performance and infrastructure as well. Forums that don't work are frustrating, but when it's slow or entirely offline, that's just infuriating. And that happened way too often. Can't wait to see how it runs on Azure.

     

    Looking good so far, guys.

  • ZippyVZippyV Fired Up

    7:17 Why is my avatar missing?

     

    For the V5 users: click here

  • ZippyVZippyV Fired Up

    No Smooth Streaming? V5 sucks.

  • Dan FernandezDan

     

    When we tested it, it was clear that while smooth streaming is great for live content, it's not something you want when someone is on a whiteboard or in Visual Studio showing a code sample given that it's non-deterministic on how/when it's going to be blurry. As a result, we realized it would be a bad thing to switch to smooth streaming as the default for all videos. That being said, any live content we do on Channel 9 would more than likely be via smooth streaming (at least until the next better way to do it comes out).

     

     

  • Joshua RossJoshRoss Niner since 2004

    There is a lot of goodness in this upcoming release. I've been looking forwards towards some implementation of timecodes for sometime. As an added bonus, it seems that the way (test / staging / production) infrastructure is in place, should allow for a rapid development rate.

     

    -Josh

  • HarlequinHarlequin http:/​/​twitter.​com/True​Harlequin

    Nice. But here's some feedback Smiley

     

    - In the "Post in this series" he was talking about, even Duncan got confused as to which video/post was previous and which one was next. Need to make this clear in the UI.

    - No paging. This is nice, but how does huge threads like that "Worlds Hardest Riddle" hold up when it loads all posts?

    - "Comments on this post" had a little box if you're not logged in asking if you have a C9 account you can log in. You need to also emphasize there that you can use your Windows Live account. Yes, users would probably see that when they click "Sign In" on the sign in page, but you need to tell users there. You might lose people signing up because they might not want to start another account.

  • Mike SampsonSampy And I come back to you now - at the turn of the tide

    Only comments have no paging. Forum threads still page.

     

    I'll talk about this more in Monday's video but the forums are completely separate from the comments on an entry.

  • Joshua RossJoshRoss Niner since 2004

    The show brought up another uncertainty.  Memcached or AppFabric?

     

    -Josh

  • Mike SampsonSampy And I come back to you now - at the turn of the tide

    memcached. I'll talk on Monday about how I do elastic scaling of the cache nodes. It's pretty well known stuff but it integrates well with Azure.

    But the cache model is fully abstracted from the rest of the code. In fact, in dev it uses the ASP.Net cache and swaps to memcached in production. If we ever wanted to change to AppFabric, it wouldn't be very hard.

  • Love the changes! Keep up the good work C9 Team.

  • Clint RutkasClint I'm a "developer"

    awesome job dev team!

  • Joshua RossJoshRoss Niner since 2004

    I wasn't familier with the elastic scaling of cache. However, this blog post seemed helpful in explaining it. You must have done some slick work to get the memcached nodes to scale dynamically.  I am looking forwards to your presentation!

     

    -Josh

  • Regarding timecodes, it'd be cool to also be able to specify an ending time code so you could link to a certain segment of a video (cooler still to specify a segment list, but I digress). This would be similar to feature WMP had up to v.11 where you could mark in/out a segment of online media, then share that segment (great for linking to the demo section(s) of a keynote for instance) . This C9 style would be better actually (at least for single videos) as WMP used a .asx file for the segment list vs. being able to specify it inline in a URL.

  • please make the video player resize correctly if you do Ctrl+/Ctrl- on the page while the video is playing.

    or, maybe , add a 'full page' button (in addition to 'full-screen').

  • Clint RutkasClint I'm a "developer"

    Interesting idea.  That can be implemented pretty easily however, I think it would require a "Watch the rest" screen as well.

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change

    Really nice to see this come together. Great work dev team!! Also, thanks for your patience, Nishant. I know it was at times trying to herd the cats and the C9 team is rather opinionated and in some cases sentimental. Just like all Niners.

     

    Well done. Looking forward to the public release!!

     

    C

  • Did you think about accessibility and screen readers? In the current Channel9 if you use a screen reader it is not easy to find where the next reply in a post starts or to go from one post in a forum to the next. On most sites to make easier to jump from reply to the next in a thread, they make the title of each reply into a heading and thus one can easily jump to it. This is what they do on Google search results page too. Each search result title is an HTML heading in the markup, even though it might not appear as such to the eye. But to a screen reader user, it makes all the difference as you can easily jump from HTML heading to to heading and thus easily go from one search result to the next, from one forum post to the next, from one reply within a post to the next, etc. But on Channel9 headings are today not implemented for this reason, are they going to be in place for the new release. It is easy, just put headings and style them if you want do not look as large as they would appear by default if it would change the sites appearance.

  • Erik PorterHuman​Compiler Now with more apps

    Great job guys!  Great to see this happening!  Smiley

  • Vesuviusvesuvius Count Orlock

    I like it, I think it really is a step forward, providing a better experience for users than the current site. The proof of the pie is in the eating though.

  • 1) I love the overall redesign!


    2) Yep. N4cer hit my request on the head before I got the chance to post it. End timecodes are very desireable and a list of segments (basically a playlist within the video) is extremely desireable when answering someone's question by pointing them to various parts of the video.

    I'm curious whether C9 will ever just automatically turn plain text timecodes in the comments into links that skip the player to the appropriate time as YouTube does, without reloading the page.

    Clint is dead on about needing a 'Watch the rest' screen, but I think that you could make it very explicit via the progress bar which parts of the video you were watching out of the whole.


    3) I'm really hating that the tabs on the show pages (and presumably elsewhere) are all different URLs that snap the browser to the top of the page again. It's incredibly jarring and a step back from the AJAX conveniences of the current version of the site.


    4) I would love to see subtitles applied to all of C9's videos. A transcript available to the side or below the viewer where each line carries its own timecode when clicked (as seen on TED) would be really tight as it would allow you to search through the text of an entire video and snap directly to that quote or even allow people to translate to their native language and snap to the correct part. How we are living in the 21st century and still don't find this to be readily available and commonplace, I don't know. (If it were up to me, I'd have letter-specific timecodes, rather than for a whole phrase at a time, and be able to visualise the text based on the temporal spacing and emphasis from the video, but maybe this is asking a bit much just now. I'd love to see Microsoft Research get involved in fitting a transcript to a video, though.)


    5) I would love to see what MSR's Interactive Visual Media Group could do to enhance C9 videos, especially with the new CC licensing making everything clearly reusable. For me, research is the most interesting part of Microsoft and I would love to see what they could pull off with C9's own videos where the camera is moving around someone's office or zooming in and out of a whiteboard or panning back and forth between two people in conversation.

    It would amazing to have these sorts of things be automatically unfolded into something more like a panorama which the video floats inside of, or if the camera actually changes position, rather than only orientation and zoom, something closer to a synth. I'd also be keen to see videos that were shot in the same room be registered together to see how things change over time.

    Being able to align and fuse the clearest, highest resolution, or best exposed parts of all of the frames of the contents of the whiteboard at any given time and correctly keep up with erasing and new drawing to extract the whiteboard, perspective-corrected, into something more like a PowerPoint slideshow would be pretty awesome.

    Back on the transcript idea, imagine videos that are conversations where both people are onscreen when they are talking and automatically using face detection to dynamically crop out a video avatar of their face to display next to the parts of the transcript where they are speaking.

     

    On videos where multiple cameras were used for coverage, imagine the different video feeds being registered against each other like photos in a Photosynth currently are. Now imagine having access to all the video feeds and while the default behaviour is to move from one to the next as seen in the originally published video (with the exception that now when a cut is made, you actually see the first feed quickly float away as you cut to the close up feed, a la Photosynth), but retaining the ability to choose your own favorite camera angle and stay there, much like some of the sports viewers that we've seen built with Silverlight.

     

    I'd also love to see some work done with synthing the audio feeds from all the different mics on set or on location to create a 3 dimensional acoustic map. This would be pretty amazing to actually hear the audio morph around you when you move from one video feed to the next. Also, if someone's mic is acting up, you could see if another mic is picking up what they're saying any better for yourself, extending the "pick your favorite feed" idea.

     

     

    Anyway... I could go on and on. I know that some of the C9 team may not look so favorably on my MSR tangents here as the spirit of C9 is that it is honest and largely uncut - not glossed over or touched up or fiddled with, but I hope that most of what I outline above respects the integrity of the videos and only would serve to enhance them. I've been wondering for a long time whether the MSR folks use any C9 footage to experiment with and I would love to see C9 give them a practical outlet for application of their ideas.

  • 1.

    More numbers, or a editable number on the page number... (First.2.3 ... 40.. 80.. 99..Last).

    For most recent, don't use numbers but dates... (Latest, Today, Friday, Thirsday, ... 4th, ... June... First) could even have calendar selector tool...

    For alphabetical, use letter rangers (0-F, G- T, R-Z)

     

    2.

    If I'm too eager to play a video and the page hasn't completely loaded dose it still send you a wmv?  If it dose this it should be clear and not have a play logo on the video but a download icon.

     

    3.

    Thirdly dose the home page still auto refresh when watching a video, and reset your position? This is very annoying.

     

    4.

    Not auto loading the entire video when first playing,  I may want to see the first 2min of the video.  I don't want the full 100mb to download if I don't end up watching it.

     

    5.

    Client side silverlight cashing, if i load up the video on the home page, but then click on the video's page, does all the cashed video still have to re-download?

     

     

  • Clint RutkasClint I'm a "developer"

    #2 is fixed

     

    #3 don't think i've ever had the home page auto refresh on me.  I can verify with Duncan and crew on Monday.

    update:  just happened to me, weird.  I can verify what / why on monday.

     

    #4 the issue here is how everyone wants to watch the videos.  This is one of the issues with the smooth streaming tests was people wanted it to buffer (a lot of people actually).  The build of SSME I was using couldn't do that.  SSME can do the the buffer download but I'm not sure if it is programmatically accessable for how much of a buffer can.

     

    What is your primary concern here?

     

    #5 Not sure if it is possible due to Silverlight's sandboxing.  Can flash do this even?

  • Clint RutkasClint I'm a "developer"

    Your MSR tagent is awesome, MSR has a lot of outlets for their technology they develop, typically you don't realize it however.  The stuff they are developing is years out.  I remember seeing at Maker Faire 2007 (may have been 2006) a device that did some really neat 3D depth finding stuff that would create a virtual terrian based on what it saw.  Fast foward a few years and now we have Kinect Smiley

  • Clint RutkasClint I'm a "developer"

    for end time code, I think to make it useful would be when people embed it.  I don't think it is very useful in just a pure URL format.

     

    That means we'd have to do a much more complex "Embed code" screen along with build in a "Continue watching?" screen. 

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change

    Or, you do what we did 3 years ago with Clipster Smiley

     

    Auto generate an asx file in memory from the URL, which contains source file path, start and end times. WMP then plays the clip (an asx is just a WMP xml "configuration" file that contains elements that point to some supported media file type like WMV or WMA and sets various playback properties). The asx could be stored for future use (that's exactly what was done for Clipster - you hit an asx file). At least that's how I recall implementing it.

     

    Of course, nothing is stopping anybody from creating their own C9 Media Playback Service. Pass in the the media URL, plus start-end, plus other supported properties, generate an asx, return a link. Bing.

     

    C

  • In reply to:

    >> "5. Client side silverlight cashing, if i load up the video on the home page, but then click on the video's page, does all the cashed video still have to re-download?"

    and

    >> "#5 Not sure if it is possible due to Silverlight's sandboxing.  Can flash do this even?"

     

    Couldn't Silverlight's Application Storage solve this in a way similar to the Worldwide Telescope webclient and other Silverlight media players? I know that it would introduce a one-time "Will you allow Channel9 to store files on your hard drive so that it doesn't have to download them twice when you change pages? You don't have to, but it will save you some downloading time as you use the site." type dialogue (with better wording, of course), but for users like da2ce7 to whom bandwidth matters a great deal, reading one dialogue one time and clicking 'Yes' once is a lot less painful than having the site re-download the same content over and over. Efficiency is the keyword here. If you still don't want to blitz first-time users with this dialogue, then tucking it away on a C9 Preferences page could work, so long as it gets a good announcement so that people know it's there.

     

    @da2ce7, what are your browser cache sizes currently set to? If Channel9 is currently using HTTP to transfer the media, it seems like your browser wouldn't load the same file twice, unless it doesn't have enough space to store the entire file in its cache. Am I wrong?

  • @Charles, pretty cool! It took me a second to figure out where I should be looking to find any info on Clipster, but finally found it. Here's the link for anyone else whose memory didn't extend back that far.

     

    Strange to see the old C9 interface from those days again. I could hardly remember what came before the current design, though I remember happily noticing when it changed. You've come a long way.

     

     

     

    @Clint, sure it's more appropriate for embeds, but there are still some sites out there that don't like to allow people to embed videos, so being able to link to the article with a specific selection queued up seems ideal to me. For that matter, you could even allow the different playlists that have been created for each video to be listed, with the Niner who authored the selection(s), a brief description of what the purpose of the selection illustrates, what pages on the internet are linking to the playlist, etc. available.

     

    If you made the playlists a Wiki-type model where all Niners could modify the playlists that others had made and save their own version (leaving the original intact), then you could simply mark the derivative playlist as such and credit both the original Niner and the Niner who provided the modifications. In terms of a splash screen, you could just display simple message like, "You are about to watch a selection of the full video. To watch the full video, click here.".

     

     

    Back to the interactive transcript, imagine being able to create a clip list just by holding down [Ctrl] and highlighting a few paragraphs. I'm telling you, this has just got to happen. In fact, it's going to happen, it's only a question of how behind the times (or not) Microsoft will be when they decide to get on board. Get Jesse Liberty on this as it seems tangential to his interests to begin with. The Project Tuva folks wouldn't be bad to talk to either. In fact, if the links to the things mentioned in the video are bound to the transcript of those products or people being mentioned (as if each transcript were a Wikipedia entry), then you could simply compile the list of links from the transcript for the video description. It would be interesting to have multiple links available for particular items, as well, like a well known programmer or a programming language. That is to say, Niners might want to see the person's Wikipedia page, personal website, or other places on C9 where they have been mentioned on the forums or interviewed for a video entry.

     

    I meant to mention earlier that it would be great to do a Wiki-style approach to transcripts as well, so that Niners can contribute corrections to the speech recognition automatically-generated transcripts. If spammers are messing with the transcripts, it should be simple to roll back to a previous version, a la Wikipedia. If each Niner gets to help contribute a transcript of his or her favorite video(s), then your transcript database should grow up rather quickly, at least for videos which are important to the most people. Still, if you'd like someone who could do this for you full time or part time... I'm interested. Smiley Let me know.

     

     

    A little more combining of the interactive transcript idea and the clips idea... I know that some people like to play the video in WMP to be able to play it at, say 1.4x the normal speed to get through things quicker while still being able to understand what's being said. Smiley Now imagine if someone has come along and simply folded all of the "um"s, "ah"s, loading times, and other dead air so that only the essential conversation flow is left (with appropriate pauses after sentences retained, etc. so it still sounds natural). That way C9 is still giving it to people raw and unedited, but the efficiency guys can have it their way if one of their ranks is kind enough to take the time to make his peers happy with a playlist with nothing but pure thought flow.

     

    Ideally, I wish that I had options to where I could get it to play back where it isn't necessarily simply cutting out certain chunks of the video, but actually kicking up to 4x speed for the folded up time segments and then slowing back down to standard speed (or whatever speed I was playing at) for the parts that are left to play intact. Think of this as being similar to Billy Chen's work with video directions where all the frames are retained and played back, but on the tedious parts (in his case the straight ahead and in our case the dead air) is essentially fast forwarded through with nice easing transitions on the playback speed back into the parts that we need to pay attention to. Combine such a playlist with the 1.4 playback speed folks and you'd have some happy campers in the efficiency camp.

  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change

    Adam Kinney designed and implemented the clipping UI and built the Clipster clips page. I did the back-end work, as I described. This was back in the day when I was a developer and content producer for 9. With WP7 on the horizon, I will be writing code soon enough. Look forward to debugging again. Who knows, maybe it will light the spark for engineering that's been pretty much in pilot light mode for the last few years. I'm anxious to get coding again.

     

     Just to be clear and ensure history is accurate (Adam and I built Clipster in a day or so)... I am not nor have I ever been a web designer. Smiley

     

    C

     

    PS: Unfortunately, Clipster, like Clippy Smiley , wasn't really adopted/used and sometimes the user experience was less than intuitive, so we understandably removed it from V4. I think being able to link directly to a specific part of a conversation/demo in V5 is just as useful as dynamically making clips from media files. This will really help those of us who make long videos help you get to the stuff you care about: e.g., "click here to watch Erik Meijer rant about functional purity" Smiley

  • It's looking great guys!  Can't wait for the rollout.

     

  • Andrew Richardswindev Andrew Richards

    Great demo... surprised you did it using Firefox though. Scared

  • Duncan MackenzieDuncanma "yeah that's awful close, but that's not why I'm so hard done by"

    It was probably a slightly odd decision from a Microsoft guy, but

     

    1. I use all browsers, part of being a web dev
    2. I couldn't figure out how to make the address bar go away in IE8 without going full screen

     

    #2 was the last minute issue that made me switch, but overall I make no attempt to use IE more than any other browser on my machine.

  • By the way, I wish there were a simple way to communicate that I like a particular post. I'm not so keen on a way to express, "I hate this comment", - only "I totally agree" or "This is one of the best points" or "I have this question too".

     

    There are plenty of times when I'm reading comments on a video where I'd just like to give a thumbs up or star or plus to someone's comment as they've said it perfectly, rather than having to post that I agree and not really adding anything to the conversation. If someone else already said it best, just let me vote up or favorite their comment.

  • when is new channel 9 due also when is new hotmail due. I am planning to migrate all my other emails to hotmail once it has https enabled for the entire session.

  • anyone else notice that they were using firefox Wink

     

    hehe

  • Clint RutkasClint I'm a "developer"

    see duncan's comment a few comments back.

  • I use Chrome, I cannot find any cache storage options... However I have 8gb of ram on this PC so there isn't any good reason why it shouldn't be still sitting in ram (other than each 32bit process can only have 2gb addressed... but hey, we ain't talking about that much video here... until channel9 goes 1080p HD)   Smiley

     

    In Australia we have fast internet (24mb/s) but very limited or costly downloads.  It is quite a pain to download 100mb in 10sec and find that I don't want to watch the entire episode. 

  • Jocuri cu PrinteseJocuri cu Printese

    it's the best film

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