Some good news from the AP

A couple of good-news items from the AP crossed my desk over the weekend:

The end of still photography?

Mindy McAdams has a fascinating conversation going over at her blog about how HD video is good enough to use for print stills. A lot of us have thought for a long time that the day would come when "selection of the moment" moved from the field to the (virtual) darkroom. I have a sense from the comments that we're not quite there, but getting close. Thanks to Seth Gitner for citing this thread on the NAA's Feds-Newmedia email list. I've added Mindy's blog to my RSS aggregator.

Thinking so you don't have to

I've become a big fan of Ze Frank -- a New York vblogger whose real name is Hosea Frank. His intense, up-close, jump-cut bursts of incredulity are always funny, but since I've spent a lot of time traveling lately (Stockholm, Brussels, Kansas City, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Minneapolis, Washington) I really appreciated his rant about Delta Airlines and his riff on Minnesota, which was my home for over a decade.

Point, click, telepresence

I've been sitting poolside this Memorial Day, allegedly finishing up my Moscow presentation while keeping one eye on the kids, but in reality finding new ways to procrastinate. One way was fooling around with Skype, which I rarely actually use. Not only does Skype support free voice chats, but also free video conferencing, and I discovered today that it's offering free dialout on U.S. and Canadian phone networks through the end of the year. I can point, click, and call my wife's phone to request that she bring me a cold drink.

More on AP's Microsoft-only video service

Mark Glaser, who has moved over to PBS, has some more thoughts on the new AP Video service being unavailable outside the Microsoft world. He quotes some discussion from the online-news email list and has attracted some feedback, much of which gets at that old Microsoft. vs. Apple feud. Here's what I posted in response:

AP's new video service: Microsoft-only for now

AP's new video service has emerged from its beta test period and you can expect to start seeing it on potentially thousands of local newspaper and broadcast websites.

It's an experiment with a new business model for the AP, which is a membership organization. Typically members pay "assessments" for various levels of service. This project is different: members pay nothing and theoretically can make money by sharing in network advertising revenues.

Going after local advertisers with self-serve video

Tossed casually into a meandering media story in Sunday morning's New York Times is a reference to Spot Runner, a significant new Web-based ad service -- it's in beta -- that lets small businesses schedule local video advertising on cable/broadcast systems.