YouTube number one?

Guess again: The #1 video sharing site is Yahoo Video, followed by MySpace Videos, with YouTube in the #3 spot. That’s according to numbers from MediaMetrix published by Erick Schonfeld.

Of course, with 16.1 million monthly visitors to Yahoo’s 21.1 million, YouTube is not far behind at all — and it’s got famously fast growth.

On the other hand, Yahoo has, shall we say, a bit more mature of a business model. And has anyone else noticed slowdowns and sluggishness on YouTube? If they’re really pushing 200TB/day (or perhaps the more realistic 2.4TB/day) it would not be surprising to see that they were filling up their pipes occasionally.

YouTube number one?

Hot Recorder.

HotRecorder screenshot Recording phone interviews is relatively simple: Get an $18 mini recorder control from Radio Shack and plug one end into your phone, the other end into your tape recorder. But what if you’re doing the interview on Skype? Hot Recorder ($15) seems like a slick solution, and it works, up to a point. You install the software, start it up, and press the record button once you’re in a Skype call. HotRecorder saves calls in a proprietary audio format but a separate utility (included) lets you convert them into WAV or MP3 files. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work perfectly: In a 40-minute conversation I recorded, the two sides of the conversation were out of sync, so my questions started about 4 seconds before the other guy finished talking, and then there was 4 seconds of silence before the guy started answering. That would be OK if it were just for my notes, but for a podcast or similar uses, the recording was unpublishable. Use with caution.

Hot Recorder.

The Haiku Apprentice.

The Haiku Apprentice: Memoirs of Writing Poetry in JapanThe Haiku Apprentice, by Abigail Friedman (Stone Bridge Press, $15), is both a gentle introduction to the art of haiku and a charming travelogue. The author was a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service, serving in Japan, when she stumbled upon a haiku-writing group. The book describes how she was welcomed into the group and, through it, learned to write and to love haiku–an art that is simultaneously easy to learn, wildly popular (in Japan anyhow, and to a lesser extent elsewhere), and yet contains enough subtlety and depth to reward decades of study. This book is infused with humor and with thoughtful observations and personal reflections, making it less pretentious and more accessible than most, even when it is discussing the subtleties of Japanese word play and haiku construction. It’s an excellent, companionable guide to haiku and the culture from which it springs.

The Haiku Apprentice.

2 weeks of immersion.

Two weeks into her Spanish-language immersion kindergarten class, Clara already knows at least three songs, ten separate color words, how to say she needs to go to the bathroom, how to count to thirteen, and the days of the week. Her pronunciation, while still quirky, already has more in common with a native speaker than you’d think: For instance, she says “d” in the Spanish way, with the tongue far forward between the teeth. And she’s been teaching us the songs, and saying “Un applauso!” when we get them right — after which everybody claps, once.

It’s amazing to me how quickly her young mind is able to absorb this language. Sure, we all learn a language more quickly when we’re constantly surrounded by it — and by people who are attentively helping us to learn it. But there’s something about the speed with which a five-year-old can pick up a language that is astonishing to me.

2 weeks of immersion.