Wednesday, 22 September 2010

'The end of an era': Developments at Zaplive and how they impact us.

Since the launch of the new website earlier this month we've received lots of feedback from you, our viewers, pointing out what you liked, did not like and where there were problems with it. Thank you for that, please keep sending us your praise, gripes, joys and irritations, all are invaluable in making sure the current problems with it will be resolved as soon as possible.

One recurring criticism was that we rolled out the new site before it was ready. This is obviously a fair, and correct at that, point to make as some features (e.g. archiving) were not ready yet, while some others (most notably the chat) did not work as they should. Until today we could not really respond properly to this question as the main reason for launching the site when we did, could not yet be made public.

Now that Zaplive has publicly announced it yesterday, we can also share this information with you.

Unfortunately Zaplive will stop operating in its current form by the end of this month and this means that from that date onwards we can no longer use their player and the site they were hosting for us. Originally this was to happen already last month, which is why we did roll out our incomplete site when we did, knowing it was incomplete and would probably have some bugs in it. Not doing so, would have risked being caught without a site at all!

Since Zaplive shared this news with us, we've been working hard on first finding a new partner and then on building a new player and site together with them. If the past months have shown us anything, it's that it is no easy task to rebuild all the features Zaplive had built into their player and website, whether it be the registration and chat, or the player, archiving and hotspots. And, while it may seem strange to say so at this time, it has made us even more appreciative of all the hard work that was done at Zaplive to develop and maintain these.

Christian, Markus, and everyone else at Zaplive: Thank you for your efforts during the last couple of years!

But, back now to the new site, the current situation, and what this all means.

As it stands, all WildEarth and producer broadcasts on Zaplive will stop on September 28th, so that the only way to watch our streams will be on the website, on J.TV, or through an embedded player on the content producers' sites.

Also from that date, the archives will unfortunately not be accessible anymore in their current form. The recording will go on, but seekpointing and viewing them will not be possible for a while. We are working hard on a new system, one that needs to be built from scratch, but at this time can not yet tell you exactly when it will be ready. As a subproject we are therefore working on making the game drives accessible for 'time-shifted' watching. I.e. record them in their entirety, so they can be watched later when someone missed them.

very important point about the archives is that all existing archives as well as the seekpoints that were created for them will be kept, and included in the new system. So all the effort spent on capturing and seek pointing will not be wasted!

Then the two main areas we, and you, have found to be a problem with the new site; the chat rooms and its general behaviour with regard to e.g. resizing windows, navigation, etc. Within WildEarth Interactive (the name of the new partnership between WildEarth Media and PixelProject) we are working full speed on resolving both of these.

It turns out that the chat engine we chose does not cope well with a high number of chatters, which is obviously a problem..., and that the capturing and archiving of the chat history slows the whole chat, and sometimes even the whole PC, down to a crawl. We have looked under the hood of the chat and have tuned the current engine as best as we could for now. While this should improve the situation somewhat, WE clearly
"need more power, cap'ain" and are currently working on replacing it with a much more powerful engine, more capable of handling the load and are doing all we can to have this upgrade in place before Zaplive stops broadcasting.

To fix and improve a number of smaller issues on the new site, we are changing the set-up from 100% Flash to a 'regular' html site, with Flash objects on it. This will provide the best of both worlds: The powerful capabilities of Flash with all the familiarity of an html site.

I hope this update, while not providing all the answers, does shed some light on why things happened as and when they did and about what lies ahead. Please feel free to send any questions and remarks to .

-- Peter


goldengma said...

Thank you for the update Peter. The news that Zap will no longer be available certainly answers some of the questions and frustrations. Good luck with the whole chat, archives thing! And great work thus far! You must be working overtime!
Nancy Klassen

Karen Anne said...

Any help for those of us who can't get a non-Facebook registration to work? Does that work for anyone? I've emailed the webmaster but gotten no answer.

Gkynis said...

Thanks for the update Peter. While we find this frustrating, we have really been spoilt by Zap and sincerely appreciate all your efforts to give us the quality of the broadcasts We have come to enjoy. I think that as long as you keep everybody updated, they will understand and stand by you guys until you get it right!
Thanks again for all the hard work.
(Glynis Bowie)

Sally said...

Peter, thanks so much for this information... I can't imagine how much work it is for you at WE! Whatever WE end up with I will always be a loyal and appreciative viewer!

Theresa Williams (poutygorilla) said...

Thank you for the information & all the hard work. I appreciate everything WildEarth is doing. Everything true & wonderful requires hard work & patience. I will wait happily and benefit from your labor.

Lee Criswell said...

Thanks for this explanation Peter! It's nice to know why things happened as they did - though it would have been even NICER if zaplive had allowed you to announce things earlier so you would not have been deluged with complaints about the new site. I for one am very thankful that we aren't losing the archives and will eventually get them back so we can search for earlier sightings of Karula, Wonky, etc.

saqalain said...

I just wanna thank all for the broadcasts, it's amazing at sunrise, thanks once gain and keep it up =)

Julie said...

Thank you all so much for all your efforts to keep the Hornby Nest active! It has become an important part of my day, and I really appreciate your hard work! Thanks so much for keeping us informed of your progress and problems!

Doris C said...

The end of an era so sorry it ended, but you have to move on to the future Good Luck WE to the team to you Peter, Will, and all the crew presenters, and keep going you will get there in the end with your hard work.
Doris Charles

Rebecca said...

Thank you Peter. I came to WildEarth.TV because of Lily and Hope but have branched out to include ALL the other cams as one of the most enjoyable sites on the Internet that I visit daily. We stand behind you 100%

Valerie said...

Thank you so much for the update, Peter, It is much less frustrating when there is some communication about the status of things - especially during transition times. All the work you and your team do is highly appreciated and, unfortunately, little understood. When things work well, you hear little. When they don't - you hear way too much, I am sure.
Valerie in Canada