Congrats to Nexstar and Media General

Getting FCC approval is as easy as one, two …three hundred and twenty nine.

Exactly 329 days crawled by between the time that the Nexstar Broadcasting Group asked the FCC for the right to acquire Media General and the day it gained approval. While that sounds like a long time, the FCC does let folks know up front that getting approval for a big deal can take awhile. The FCC makes this point by putting a timeline on its website showing that an approval can take up to a whopping …180 days.

Not that anybody was counting. Right?

Are you kidding? Everybody was counting. At least, moment of transparency here, everybody at latakoo was counting the days. I have personally checked that FCC website on a daily basis for weeks. We are big fans of Nexstar. Like latakoo, Nexstar is based in Texas. It has a large number of Texas stations, and most importantly, it took a bet on latakoo more than five years ago in our corporate infancy.

latakoo CEO Paul Adrian, Nexstar SVP Operations Blake Russell, former latakoo CTO Ben Werdmuller at NAB 2014

Nexstar was the first station group to fully deploy latakoo throughout its system. We’ve both grown tremendously since that time. And, the Nexstar story is compelling on its own: a man with a vision who took lots of chances and methodically built a giant media enterprise. Congratulations to Perry Sook.

The combined Nexstar Media Group will become one of America’s leading station groups by every measure. While the economic news announced on Wednesday pleases investors, there’s something else that delights us. The FCC decision cited the expanded sharing of news product between the stations as a primary ‘public interest benefit’ to the merger. Media General has a Washington DC news bureau, and all of the current Nexstar stations will get access to that news bureau’s content post deal. The combined company also makes it economically feasible to establish statewide legislative bureaus in New York, Tennessee and Texas. Statewide news bureaus could potentially follow in four other states.

Can anyone think of a time in history when there was a greater need for solid local reporting on state and national legislative issues? We’re proud of Nexstar and want to do all we can to help it in this mission. We share this mission by providing tools that make it quicker and easier for news organizations to collect and share their video.

We’re also a big fan of Media General. Some of our favorite customers include Media General operations in places like Austin, Texas, where KXAN-TV was another one of our earliest adopters, and that incredibly important news bureau in DC.

Congrats to our friends at Media General and Nexstar. You are two great companies about to become stronger as a single entity. Millions of Americans will benefit from your merger. At latakoo, we are sure looking forward to working with the Nexstar Media Group.

 

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Happy “CAN DO” 2017, Y’all!

Parents can have favorites.

And this year, my favorite gift for our ten-year-old daughter was a replica of the paperweight that Lady Bird Johnson kept on her desk at the White House.  It says “CAN DO” on the front, and on the back is a Chinese idiom: “When someone acquires the discipline of learning, then doing the work comes easily.”

This isn’t a political statement.

President Lyndon Johnson insisted on surrounding himself with “CAN DO” people. If there’s one lesson we hope our daughter learns in life – it’s that she “CAN DO.”

That’s also our attitude at latakoo, and we know it is the attitude of our many customers in news and production. Perhaps that’s why we get along so well. The obstacles matter not. Attitude and commitment make the difference.

From Austin, Texas, Happy New Year to all our “CAN DO” friends! We can’t wait to see what all of you will do in 2017.

Paul Adrian
CEO

New Year’s Eve Fireworks Show over Lady Bird Lake

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Download the latest latakoo Flight Mobile App

This gallery contains 3 photos.

A New Mobile Experience from latakoo Flight After months of development and testing, latakoo delivers the best version yet of Flight for the iPhone.  Inside the new latakoo Flight for iPhone, you will find a whole new set of useful … Continue reading

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Don’t be a Donkey and Other tips for NAB

latakoo is heading to Vegas, baby!

latakoo is heading to NAB.

By Mark Mensh

I avoid industry conferences. They are largely a waste of time and money with lots of sales pitches and very little real information. The one exception to this is NAB. Compared to every other industry conference I’ve attended, it’s shockingly productive for both attendees and vendors. Instead of attempting to understand this anomaly, I’d like to offer a handful of tips for those of you attending to get the most out of it.

Calendar: This is the most important thing. Prior to the show, you should make it a point to reach your most important vendors or customers and get on their schedule. Have an agenda for the meeting and be sure the right people on both sides are available.

Pro Tip: With so many people arriving from time zones around the world, it is an inescapable probability that somebody’s calendar will be messed up and your 9am meeting on Tuesday will be a noon meeting on their calendar. To mitigate the amount this happens, be sure and include with all of your communications actual text that states the time. For example: Discussion on project status in Avid Booth at 10AM Las Vegas Time on Wednesday. We’re using Calendly for scheduling appointments this year. We’ll let you know how it goes.

Pro Tip #2: The last day of the show is usually slow. For attendees, it’s a great time to visit otherwise busy booths and get the vendor’s undivided attention.

Clothing: I have strong opinions on this but will restrict myself to only one item: shoes. It’s the most important item in your wardrobe. If you’re in a booth, you’re standing for 9 or 10 hours/day. If you’re not, then you’re walking miles on hard floors and standing for much of that. Chairs and tables are expenses for vendors and there are never enough. This is not the time to try out a new pair of shoes.

Pro Tip: If you’ve got an old pair of proven walkers, then shine them up and pack them. Our CEO, Paul Adrian always wears his cowboy boots, but they’re not new. It’s the Texan in him and he says boots are made for walking. Me, I’ll stick to the old brown shoes. 

Lucky and the boots

The latakoo schnauzer, Lucky, keeping watch over Paul’s boots.

Food: There is a never-ending supply of excellent food in Vegas, but it’s not your job to eat all of it. NAB is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself. If you know you’ve got a big vendor dinner at night at a terrific restaurant, go easy on lunch.

Pro Tip: It’s easy at a good show to run out of time for lunch. As a vendor, I can tell you that I’m not going to miss talking to a customer for an exhibition hall hamburger. Pack a snack for the exhibitor hall that will give you enough energy so you can skip lunch if you have to.

Water: This is simple. Always keep water handy. It’s astonishing how easy it is to get dehydrated at the show. Remember, you’re in the desert. Yeah. Vegas, baby.

Pro Tip for Vendors: If you keep a cooler or fridge filled with bottled water, your customers will thank you. It’s thoughtful, useful and makes your booth a welcome respite from the rigors of the floor.

Networking: Behind all the announcements, press releases, seminars, keynotes and new product rollouts are people. Year in and year out, the success of your efforts at NAB rely on what happens with the people you meet. Here are some basics to make the most of that:

  • Business cards. Bring plenty. Give one to everyone you meet.
  • Take notes. You may have 7 or 8 meaningful conversations in a day filled with technology minutiae and you will not remember it. We use several note taking apps. Here’s a list of some of the better notes apps. Going old school ain’t bad either: pen and paper still works in a jam.
  • Be genuine. Treat everyone with equal respect. Staring at someone’s nametag to determine if they’re important enough to talk to makes you a…

Don't be a donkey

…not a donkey. 

Don’t be a…

Don't be a donkey

…again, not a donkey.

  • Be considerate of other people’s time. If you have a 30-minute meeting, you may go for 31 minutes, but not 40. Everyone’s busy. Get the information you need and if there’s follow up to be done, do it after the show.
  • Make introductions. This is a chance to meet and thank the engineer who made your product work or the product manager who expedited the feature your CTO requested.

Pro Tip: Always consider what you can do for the person you’re meeting; not just what they can do for you. Even if it doesn’t profit you, offer to be of help. This is in the “just do good at every opportunity” category, but I can assure you that it comes back to you in the best ways.

“If you don’t want to be there, then don’t go. Cynicism is a turn off and enthusiasm is contagious.” — Laura Lyster-Mensh

Pro Tip #2: This one comes from my bride who’s attended even more conferences than me. If you don’t want to be there, then don’t go. People can tell. Cynicism is a turn off and enthusiasm is contagious.

Finally, we need to address a persistent local myth you’ll undoubtedly hear at NAB 2016. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” If you’re heading to NAB with this refrain in your head, then be advised: “Nothing stays in Vegas.” And yes, strange things happen. Cameras work in Las Vegas, phones work in Las Vegas and tongues wag in Las Vegas. Ad to that the fact that you’re surrounded by people who work with you, buy from you or sell to you. If you’re planning to get into mischief during your week at NAB, then don’t be surprised if that legacy haunts you for the next ten years. Or, to quote my wife “Honey, what happens in Vegas, better not happen in Vegas.” Not sure if this is the same as “You know why!”

Pro Tip: Take a book. I’m currently reading three: “Unfinished Business: the Life and Times of Danny Gatton,” by Ralph Heibutzki, “Influence” by Robert Cialdini, “Stranger in a Strange Land” by Robert Heinlein (re-reading this one). Paul is reading “All the Light We Cannot See,” by Anthony Doerr and “Gathering Prey,” by John Sandford.

(Mark Mensh is latakoo’s Vice President of Sales. He’s attended NAB seven times in the last ten years. He would love to meet you at NAB. He and Paul Adrian will be in Avid’s booth SU902. Please reach out to Mark or Paul if you would like to connect.)

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Managing Big Groups Made Simple

We know managing a big account in any system can be real time killer. We’re changing that by building better administration tools into latakoo. Group-based permissions make latakoo administration for large accounts almost as simple as the latakoo Flight app. Just drag, drop and go.

The latakoo team took a major step on July 21, 2015, by beginning the transition to a new administration system. Hopefully, the main thing you noticed was that some of the colors changed slightly on the latakoo website.  While the new admin code impacts almost every facet of the website, the goal of this initial roll out was to get it up and running on the Live site without causing any negative impact.

It is possible that you may see some funkiness with the system  as we complete the transition. Please let us know if you spot anything that impacts your normal latakoo functions by sending us an email at support@latakoo.com.

This new administration system fundamentally changes the way latakoo permits users to access content. Previously, latakoo granted individual access permissions to each content network in the system.  This works fine for small groups, but some latakoo customers granted access permissions to more than a thousand users for just one network. That is difficult to manage.

The new admin system no longer predominately grants network access to one user at a time. Instead, it will grant people membership to an organizational group, and it is the organizational groups that will get access permissions to the networks.  This way adding a person to an organizational group will instantly give them access to every content network that grants the organization access.  Deleting a user from that organizational group will immediately and simultaneously remove the individual’s access from every one of those networks.

Manage

The new admin tool is specifically designed to make it easier to manage your latakoo account regardless of the size of your organization.  From one user sharing video with clients to thousands of users in a corporation who need to share content with each other, latakoo’s new admin system will simplify the managing of your account.

There are many more details coming regarding this system upgrade and what it means for you, which we will share with you over the next few days.  Most importantly, the latakoo team will work with each of our customer organizations during this transition to the new system to get your admin system setup perfectly to support your workflow. You will be hearing from us soon. If you want to get started immediately, feel free to give us a nudge.

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latakoo Flight 5.1.1 release

We’re pleased to announce the immediate release of the latest version of our Flight application for Windows and Mac computers. Click here to download.

Because this release contains a large number of fixes and workflow improvements, we recommend that you upgrade as soon as possible, from all previous versions. Downloads, uploads on poor Internet connections, handling of filenames with non-Latin character sets, and audio synching are all significantly improved. Windows users will see improved transcoding to DV 25 and DV 50 formats. Finally, we fixed an issue with uploading certain kinds of XDCAM MXF files.

We’ve also added the ability to transcode between resolutions. That means that if you’ve uploaded an HD video clip, but need it in an SD format, you can download it straight from the website. We’ll handle the formatting for you, so you can get editing faster.

Click here to download the latest version.

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Teaming Up: latakoo and University of Texas

It’s nice to get a mention in The Sparefoot Blog. And, congratulations to Sparefoot on the “best places to work” status. The Austin based startup is making noise in a lot of ways these days. Sparefoot is the HomeAway for storage units and they just made it on a list of best places to work – a list that specifically considered only young companies.

The Sparefoot Blog recently took a look at how the University of Texas is rooting for young entrepreneurs and new technology, including latakoo.

In 2010, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) opened their New Venture Incubator to sponsor research and development in their labs, expand incubation activities that build regional commercialization, and partner with growing businesses. Dozens of startups are part of this system, including latakoo. As one of these companies currently in the New Venture Incubator, latakoo has received investment from the UT System Horizon Fund to aid in the development of the company. This investment is aiding further development of data compression and encryption technology for use in video applications that latakoo is known for, and continues to fund development in faculty labs.

Despite a slowing economy, UT and UTSA continue to keep their research spending strong and show no sign of slowing down. This means more and more of the products and services we will see in the future will be the result of these collaborations and investments in companies like ours.

You can read the article in its entirety here and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter here!

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latakoo’s Video Stitching Simplifies Transfer From Video Capture Cards

latakoo is pleased to release our patent pending process that enables video files created from P2 and SD cards and other recording media to be transferred over the Internet and stitched together in the cloud according to time code.  Latakoo app 4.3.1, now available after login on the latakoo site, contains a number of improvements and bug fixes. Please make sure to upgrade your latakoo app now. 

Video stitching
Video stitching, video grouping, or the concatenation of related files usually happens on a timeline in an editing suite. From the SD card or the P2 card, most people are forced to move the files into an editing program, stitch portions together, export a new file, then transfer that file over the Internet. latakoo now gives video professionals the ability to drag, drop, and send fast with one-click compression. On the receiving end, latakoo can deliver the original files and stitched files.

How Stitching Works: 
When two or more videos are added to the latakoo app, a toggle switch appears that shows Grouping OFF.  In order to group the videos together as a single file on the server, the user would toggle the switch to “Grouping On.”

  • Grouping can be achieved with related or unrelated files.
  • Related files will have the option to stitch based on time code.
  • No Enhanced Upload available with grouping at this time.
  • For grouping, the selection drop downs for Networks and Bitrates for each video will always match anytime a change is made to any video in the queue.

Other Improvements & Additions:

  • XDCAM 50 HD / MXF (OP1a) transcode with timecode
  • DVCPro 50 SD / MXF (OP1a) transcode with timecode
  • Updated Proxy link on dialogue box to more prominent blue to resemble an active link.
  • Added Software Terms of Service agreement to installer.

Bug Fixes:

  • Fixed the naming convention for download/transcode.  Download /transcode will now name the file to Filename_koo_timestamp.ext to prevent the file from being overwritten by the app if the video with the same name and extension are downloaded twice.
  • Improved handling of loss of Internet connection during file uploads for both Standard and Enhanced uploads.
  • Fixed DVCProHD transcode for source videos with variable frame-rates.
  • Fixed MXF audio mapping for videos with non-standard video / audio sequencing.
  • Corrected aspect ratio for certain MXF transcodes that would show incorrectly as 4:3 even though the video was 16:9.

 

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latakoo app release 4.2: now we’re flying

I’m incredibly proud of the work the whole team has put into latakoo app 4.2, and in particular Joe Pelayo, who has led its development. This is a big step towards fulfilling our mission of making large file transfers as fast and easy as possible.

In addition to the fast video transfers that we’ve always provided, here’s what latakoo subscribers can expect to see in the latest version:

Added timecode copy support. The app will now maintain the source video timecode track and transfer to the final encoded MP4 video file.

You can now send your videos without compression. The app will now allow the user to select No Compression which will bypass the video encoding. The original video file will be uploaded, with its existing codec and container format (and file size). The unaltered video will be available for download from the latakoo website.

The app will upload to the default network if the user does not select a network. The app will also display the name of the default network selection in the drop down even if no networks are selected. As a fail-safe, the app will upload to the first assigned network if no default network is assigned in the user’s account. No more rogue uploads to users’ private spaces instead of their company hot folders.

On top of that, there are countless other improvements to video encoding, transfer and upload speed. The new latakoo app is available now.

Not yet a latakoo subscriber but need to send video fast? Check out our plans.

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Punching above your weight

I wrote about the experience of working for latakoo over on Quora:

The engineers reading this will know there’s a lot involved in that description. (Did I mention our app comes for Windows, Mac, iPhone and iPad?) And believe me, from obtuse enterprise firewalls to hilarious video codec / wrapper interactions, we encountered it all. At latakoo, any one of us is often debugging TCP round-trip times with satellite modems in Afghanistan and designing HTML5 video player wrappers in the same afternoon.

It works. Just today, a journalist told us: “I’m going to name my first child latakoo”. Hey, we’ll take it. In fact, we get a ton of compliments, and we’ve been able to be useful in hurricanes, political conventions, sporting events, conferences … you name it. If someone calls us and asks us for help, we’re usually up for the challenge.

You can read the whole post over here. If you like it, don’t forget to upvote! Don’t forget, you can always follow us on Twitter here.

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