Technology: May 2011 Archives

Cloud services are convenient and powerful, but the mail, video, photos, audio, and documents we upload to them and the metadata we add to what we upload are hostage to the fortunes and whims of the provider companies.

So here's another illustration of the risks of trusting your important data to "the cloud." At any time, a web company could decide to stop providing a service upon which your site depends. Or they could simply lock you out of your account.

Google Video, the hosting service that Google began prior to acquiring YouTube, stopped accepting uploads two years ago and is now in the process of shutting down entirely.

I had 54 videos on Google Video, many of them embedded on this site. This includes my coverage of the 2008 Republican National Convention, a speech by Daniel Pipes at the University of Tulsa, the Tulsa Boy Singers' 2007 tour of Britain, plus various family videos. One of the attractions of using Google Video over YouTube was the five minute time limit on YouTube at the time.

Google has made it very easy to migrate the videos to YouTube, but I also downloaded everything, and I still have the original digital files for reupping to another service. I still need to go back through my archives and update all the embed codes and links to point to the new locations.

What I'd like to do is host the video files on my own site's server. To do that I'd need a decent embeddable video player, preferably one I can host on this site as well. Any suggestions?

Sometime ago I uploaded a few original audio files to imeem, which was about the closest thing I could find to YouTube for audio -- hosting, plus a handy embeddable player. When imeem was merged into MySpace, the files vanished. Here again, what I'd prefer is to host audio on my own site, but with a full-featured player to make them easy for BatesLine readers to access.

For several years, BatesLine used NewsGator as an aggregator of the latest headlines from favorite blogs on the BatesLine blogroll. NewsGator dropped the service, and the only obvious alternative was Google Reader. I'm happy to have the service, but I miss the greater customization provided by NewsGator.

I love Flickr (although I'm way behind on uploading photos), but here's another risk of losing data in the cloud. I'm not worried about losing my photos -- they're backed up in multiple places -- but I'd hate to lose the metadata (sets, collections, descriptions, geocoding, tags), which would take a long time to recreate.

Twitter has pretty much taken the place of my old linkblog, because it's so quick and easy to retweet an interesting link. The downside is that old tweets aren't easily accessible and very old tweets aren't accessible at all. Adding to the problem: The links in the tweets are dependent on the continued existence and goodwill of the link-shortener sites, many of which are in a top-level domain controlled by the Libyan government of Moammar Gadhafi. What I need is a way to query the Twitter API to get all my tweets, to query the APIs of the link-shortener services to resolve their links to direct, long links, and to convert all that data into some form that I can import into my linkblog database.

Cloud services will continue to offer irresistible tools that make it easy to tag, connect, and organize your data, but there's something to be said for entirely self-hosted content, where the hosting provider gives you a hard drive, a web server and a pipe to the internet, and you provide and control everything else.

If you're a blogger or a web programmer and have any recommendations, I'm all ears.

UPDATE: Two good suggestions from the comments for self-hosting video:

Adam writes:

Michael, I've had good luck with It has both HTML5 and Flash players which is good for serving video to mobile users. The biggest issue in self-hosting video is bandwidth usage. You might want to double-check what kind of bandwidth limits your hosting account has and whether self-hosting the video will impact that limit.

DavidS suggests LongTail Video's JW Player. Looks like it will handle MP3 audio as well as video, and like videojs it can handle both Flash and HTML5.

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Technology category from May 2011.

Technology: December 2010 is the previous archive.

Technology: June 2011 is the next archive.

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