Friday, February 29, 2008

InnoVenture 2008 Announces DigitalChalk as Presenter

I am excited to report that we have been selected to present our product, DigitalChalk, at InnoVenture 2008. "InnoVenture is an annual conference of innovators and entrepreneurs building personal relationships to enhance products sold to existing customers, improve the productivity of existing processes, or create new markets." We will presenting at 11:20am on March 25th at the Carolina First Center in Greenville, SC. We will also be at a booth and would love to meet you if you are attending. Feel free to drop me a message and let me know if you will be there.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Amazon Web Services

One of the best things that we have done at DigitalChalk is to make use of Amazon Web Services. Take a look at this story that was posted today by Amazon about DigitalChalks use of their web services. Using Amazon's services has helped us in many ways. Not only has it provided a very cost effective method for delivering to our customers, but it has also given us a known, reliable backbone that we can depend upon. Knowing that we are running on the same infrastructure that Amazon is running on gives me great confidence in our reliability and uptime. The services have proven to be easy to use with a very active forum and user community. So much so, that I tell everyone that I know about the technologies we are using that Amazon provides. Right now, Amazon provides server virtualization through EC2, file, data storage and backup through S3 and a messaging service through SQS which help keep DigitalChalk running around the clock. I would highly encourage you to sign up and start playing around with the services for yourself. Amazon is taking Software as a Service to a new level providing these services to anyone that wants to use them. If you have any questions at all about how you can use them as well or need help, send me a note. I would be happy to talk about how it has helped us and how it can help you or even help you get started.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Our Move to Flash

The latest release of DigitalChalk includes many new features. Some of the most important focus on our media player. Accomplishing our technical goals and delivering to you exactly what you have been asking for has been a ton of fun for us. We started on RealPlayer over a year ago now because it was able to handle many different formats and provided support of the SMIL standard for media. The problems soon outweighed the advantages. RealPlayer caused a barrier to entry for our customers because they had to download and install software into their browser. I spoke with RealPlayer because it really did provide exactly what we wanted in a solution that did not corrupt the video stream. They were unwilling to help or change the way that they deliver, so we moved on... I am glad that we did! We have now released our own Flash end to end solution which has been very exciting. The new DigitalChalk Flash Player and DigitalChalk Streaming Server has been a blessing. Our customers can use DigitalChalk without going through a cumbersome install process because 98.8% of internet users already have it installed, and those that don't have it barely notice as it installs for them in most cases. Being forced to write our own Streaming Server technology has been a blessing as well. The ideas coming just from the team and exercise in doing that have been too numerous to count. Users can now upload a video or audio file of almost any format to DigitalChalk and it will be converted to Flash and pushed out to their students. We can dynamically scale to meet demand, do two way communication instead of just push and prepare for some really cool features we are working on right now. One of those features is being able to stream closed captioning of the video and audio files to the students if they choose to see them. The doors have been flung open with this move to Flash and we want to know what you want to see next? What technologies or features would you like to see us incorporate into the flash player or into the learning experience? Who knows, it could open up whole new ways of learning!