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Gore Should Stick to Inventing Computer Networks: Current is a Drip

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Danny
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There has been a lot of hype about former Vice President Al Gore’s revolutionary television network – Current_. In late July, Current_ went live after being anticipated since early April.

The network is said to be like no other TV network around; it’s not news, it’s not fiction, and it’s "not boring." Using short video segments of 1-5 minutes, current_ aims to keep a tech savvy audience interested and informed.

Shows are ‘Drippy’
But is it all that its cracked up to be? The answer is yes, and no. I tuned into current on DirectTV (channel 366) to see it for my own eye. Although I was initially impressed, I grew bored quickly.

Current_ makes me feel funny, not in a “Japanese seizure-bot way, more of a “confused and lost feeling. The short video segments I watched were interesting, but rather pointless and unimportant. Here’s a thought:

I watched a short film about an African-American model who shaved her head for a distinct look. She, with the help of her photographer, scored a gig posing for a Nike ad. Then the segment was over. Am I interested? Yes – it enlightened me. But do I care? Not really.

On the other hand, I like the idea of non-fiction television programs being broken down into small segments, and I think it could either make or break the new network. The advantage, of course, is the benefit of never watching the same bad segment for too long. Negatively, it can be hard for producers to make strong programs in such a short time frame.

Google Goes Current
Google’s deal with Current_ was extremely innovative, and I can see it spreading to other television stations with time if it pans out well. Every half hour, a geeky-looking figure jumps on the screen lecturing about the most clicked on news stories. Using feed from Google’s Zeitgeist, the network aims to have popular updated news in a short, edible
format.

On the contrary, a news ticker would probably be just as effective, as 10 second news briefs are somewhat annoying. I won’t be turning to Current_ for my news.

Cool Studio, Bad Anchors
Narrating the network is a small team of attractive but phony hosts. Placed in a state of the art looking studio modeled after the Chemosphere in Hollywood. The studio looks cool, but I can’t stand the anchors which remind me of aspiring Ryan Seacrests’ – which frankly scares me.

One aspect of the network that I do give Kudos to, is the idea of allowing average users to send in video. Current_ says it will pay up to a thousand dollars per video segment for video uploaded on its website, and it’s asking average users to send in their footage.

Maybe I didn’t give Current_ enough time – or maybe it simply needs work. All new networks need some time to iron out the kinks. Hopefully for Mr. Gore, this will work as well as his last technology venture did.

Interested?
Check out Current_ for yourself. Here are the current carriers of Current_:

DirecTV (Nationwide) 366

Time Warner Digital (New York City) 103 (Los Angeles) 116 (Honolulu) 108

Comcast (S.F. Bay Area, Chicago, Dallas, Seattle, Portland, D.C., Denver, Miami, Sacramento, Salt Lake City, Aspen, Fresno, Jacksonville, South Bend, Spokane) 125 (Atlanta) 287 (Cleveland, St. Paul, Pittsburgh, Grand Rapids, Lansing) 107 (Los Angeles) 255

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Danny
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223 posts since May 2004
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Correction: Current does not run Google News updates every 30 minutes, rather Google updates, which range from top searches to most clicked on news items.

In addition, featured uploaded video segments are available here.

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