Sunday, 1 March 2009

Saving Streaming Video

For sites such as YouTube and Facebook that stream video it's possible to save a copy of the streamed video. The general technique is to clear your temporary directory, load the video in your web browser and let it play to the end. Without closing the browser copy the cached file from the temp directory to somewhere else on your file system. You may need to give the cached file a .flv extension and download the codecs required to play Flash video if you have not done so already.

Creative Spaces: Museum Social Not working?

Few people would doubt the rising power and influence of social networks such as Myspace and Facebook. Millions of people use them to communicate and express themselves. That some of the UK's greatest museums should be represented is clear. It just seems they don't know how to go about it.

The answer is not to create their own social networking website. Trying to find what you want on the Natural History Museum website should convince you that it's best to leave social networking to the experts.

But more than that it comes down to what people want. I don't want to use a hundred different accounts across a hundred different sites (even with OpenID). I'd much rather our institutions, once they have seen the need for social networking, to fit it into what I do already.

Creating a museum page on Facebook would allow me to stay up to date with what's going on. You could even create groups for different departments, or for people who have been to see a certain exhibition.

Social networking has the added advantage of breaking down barriers. I have had people contacting me about phasmids on Facebook that wouldn't have been sent to me in other setting. Quite often this results in me having scientifically useful data.

So I guess the answer is two-fold. First, embrace what people are already doing. Secondly, don't prevent your staff from referencing their employer on social networking sites (as one nameless museum has) - especially when the possibilities of them doing amazing things is so great.