Citizen Broadcasting At Last, with

So I am fumbling around with the newest toy from the Advanced Products crew, I instantly get how neat it is; you just plug in your camera, bring up a Web site, and you're done. One of our developers works remotely from Oregon, so we're chatting live in no time, checking in with other Yahoos worldwide, and generally poking around.

But then: I tune back in to the list of popular stations after lunch, and suddenly I'm watching what looks like a live feed from a basketball game. I ask, and no: it's an Obama rally. Rob Glaser, CEO of Real Networks, has his laptop hooked to his phone, which is in turn hooked to an EVDO network inside the Key Arena in Seattle, and is broadcasting video to anybody who wants it. Rob doesn't have his audio working (lots of instant-messenger dings, spooky feedback, but no voice) so somebody else in the chat suggests a local radio station's live feed ... and seconds later, I have audio.

And then: it turns out that since my audio is broadcasting, it's powering everybody else who is listening to me, and we don't have to all go clobber the radio station's streaming server. Just like that, I'm supplying sound to everyone else. Purely by accident, I'm participating, not just watching.

Throughout the rally, people pop in and out, get the instructions (tune to kentbrew, turn up his volume, turn down yours) and have sound. There's lots of backchat about what Obama is saying and politics in general; one of the guys points his camera out his window at his McCain for President sign, in fact. Tweets are being twittered throughout; by the end, we have 57 people in chat and 167 watching anonymously.

Best of all, after the rally's over, the jackass from the radio station jumps on and starts blathering about what an empty suit Barack is--and I have the sublime pleasure of cutting him off, to the loud cheers of the crowd.

This is easily the coolest thing I've seen (or done) on the Internet in years. It's going to be huge; see my Flickr set for screenshots. Check out the API, which launched on, concurrently with the project, as these things should. And look for me online; I'll be at htp://, when there's time.

Kent Brewster