Way back in mid-December 2011, I wrote Behind the Developer’s Curtain, a look behind the scenes at XBMC development, on my personal blog, Hey Facebook. I then casually linked that post to XBMC’s Facebook page, more as an experiment than anything else. I was curious how interested people were in XBMC stories.
That night, I got 350 views on my blog. That’s about 247 better than the average. The next day I posted another story which garnered 850 views. With each new post, the total number of views increased. Finally, on January 11th, I posted a column on Ubuntu TV and got 2,557 views. Over the next few weeks, I posted a few more stories about XBMC, but a nagging voice in the back of my head said it wasn’t really appropriate to keep directing people to a personal blog for XBMC stories (plus, at least one person in the grand world of the internets said out loud that I was displaying impropriety, and we all know that we should always take everything said online at face value). So my XBMC stories mostly dried up.
Since then, we’ve released the final of XBMC Eden. We’ve begun a new program in which we go through a monthly development cycle that promises to both speed up development and make the entire process more stable from the get-go. We’ve looked at FLIRC, went to LinuxTag, and finally got an iOS remote control to match our already available Android remote control.*
*I could link to all that, but seriously, just visit the xbmc.org blog and forum. Almost all of it is there.
That’s a lot of news! And that only touches on the really BIG events. Raspberry Pi was released. The new retina iPad was jailbroken… seriously, I could be here a long time listing events that all play on XBMC. And, because the main blog has become more of a place for official and semi-official announcements, it’s been awkward relaying all this news to the casual and hardcore XBMC user. To some extent, I thought it might be worthwhile to mention all these things on the main blog, but it’s remarkably difficult to selectively choose the appropriate news for that blog, knowing that there’s a certain reticence against over-sharing and annoying our users.
I was so irked by this communication malfunction that I decided something had to be done. And from this decision was born xbmc us. The idea behind this site is fairly simple. I believe that users want to hear all this news, along with opinions of people on the front lines of the cordcutting express. And so I’m putting this site together under my own authoritarian editorial rule with the singular goal of allowing all of us to talk XBMC, cordcutting, why I probably need the new Retina Display Macbook Pro, which ridiculous features make for the best home theater room, etc., etc.
Your job is simple. Visit the site. Read what you like. Don’t read what you don’t like. If you do read what you don’t like (possibly by accident or because you love becoming enraged), submit a scathing comment. If you have found something interesting online, send me a tip on Twitter at @natedrives. If you want to submit a story, also drop me a note on a Twitter, and we’ll see if we can’t make something happen. If twitter doesn’t work for you, natethomas AT xbmc DOT org remains a valid email address, and you are welcome to send me anything you like there. I have absolutely no money to pay writers, but you will be welcome to link to your own site, if you have one, and you will generally have free range to tell your story as you see fit.
In particular, I don’t have access to a lot of the really cool hardware out there, so if you wanted to write a review of using XBMC on the new Retina iPad, I would absolutely LOVE to post it here. Likewise, reviews of using XBMC on the specific boxes like the Apple TV (either 2nd gen jailbroken or 1st gen running Crystalbuntu), the PulseBox (which I’ve been curious about for a while now), or the Zotac Zbox ID41 Plus Linux (with XBMC pre-installed) would be most welcome. And I’d be doubly excited to post video reviews you record for Youtube.*
*Note: You automatically lose 10 awesome points every time you are caught saying “Xbox Media Center” in a Youtube video made about XBMC that is filmed after 2008.
Finally, some of you may notice the advertising on a couple places on the site. Since this site is not directly affiliated with the nonprofit XBMC Foundation, advertising is theoretically on the table.*
*Pretty much since the day I became a forum moderator with XBMC, it’s been a goal of mine to someday find a way to get our developers paid. I don’t really expect xbmc us to ever make enough money to even pay for the server, but on the off-chance that this site does become profitable, I plan on sending a minimum of 25% (and ideally more) of whatever the site makes back to the Foundation. If I can work it out, I’d like to actually donate a minority stake in the site to the Foundation, so profit distributions are fully guaranteed. Of course, that’s all a pipe-dream for now. But if pageviews and such actually do pick up on this site, you all will be the first to know** about income, donations, and anything else.
**Actually, you’ll be the fourth to know. The first to know will probably be my server. The second to know will be me. Third will be whichever people happen to be standing nearby as I scream in delight. THEN you guys.***
***Possibly I’d also tell various family members, like my mom. Hi, Mom!
For now, when stories of interest pop up, here will be the primary place to find them. For official announcements and bigger stories, XBMC.org will remain the go-to place. For forum talk, XBMC’s official forum remains the best place. And for all you social media folk out there, I fully intend on continuing to keep Facebook/Twitter/Google+ up and running.
If you have any thoughts on this endeavor, feel free to let me know in the comments!