How YouTube really works

The YouTube tubes
This site breaks down the engine that powers YouTube, the site responsible for effectively shortening the work day down to about three hours and driving most IT managers barmy. No doubt they’ll be interested in how it works – or perhaps not. It’s basically a whole lot of everything – Apache bits and pieces, servers galore, algorithms and other brick-a-brac. Personally, this is the tech stuff I find boring, but then I’m paid to be a writer, not a tech guy, which is kind of a shame, really (do you know what journalists make these days???).

When I first happened upon this site (thank you, Digg), I was hoping to discover something more exciting, or possibly even nefarious. Like YouTube is run by hooking up electrodes to puppies and siphoning out their joy and cuteness. I mean, how else do you explain the number of videos devoted to animals chasing toilet paper around the living room?

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Save the environment – with madness!
Criminally overlooked magazine and Web site Popular Science features a quick and dirty way to save the environment. Actually, it’s five quick and dirty ways, each more bizarre, impractical and wonderfully creative than the last. My favourites are reseeding the diminishing polar caps with saltwater hosepipes and growing massive trees in warehouses. Hard to imagine which of these would be the most expensive or the most disastrous, but anything’s worth a shot. If you told me in 1995, millions of people would line up to see a movie about Al Gore giving a powerpoint presentation, I’d have given you a first class ticket to the loonie bin. But clearly anything’s possible.

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Recording industry, stick ’em up
The copyright war of the 2000s reminds me somewhat of the drug war of the 1980s, only with fewer bloody coups and less Nancy Reagan. They were both equally ineffective, though, judging by your average Columbian drug lord’s wallet and your average teenager’s hard drive – both are embarrassingly fat with ill-gotten riches. To prove a point, the Telegraph has published a story detailing the unabated growth of the illegal downloading music business.

The article quotes the following expert:

“Russell Hart, chief executive of Entertainment Media Research, described this phenomenon as ‘the democratisation of the music industry. . . . Social networks are fundamentally changing the way we discover, purchase and use music. . . . The dynamics of democratisation, word of mouth recommendation and instant purchase challenge the established order and offer huge opportunities to forward-thinking businesses.’”

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