Do I remember operation Red Swoosh?

For the last decade I've been toiling away in Australia on my own software; P2P, a music app, and insane operating system development, unbeknowing that I actually had any employable skill. I just developed this software because, well, "I thought it would be useful" was how I justified it, but really I develop software because I love doing so. That one better explains all those late-night-dev-sessions.

At the end of my Honours year and just before I enrolled in my PhD, I found out my Honours year project had been accepted into a software development conference held in the U.S.A. My university was kind enough to fly me pretty much literally halfway around the world to let me give my talk there. It was a great thrill to me, to finally visit the place where TV comes from and to discover that everyone really does talk with those cool 'TV accents'.

During the conference I met a fellow named David, who tells me that my software was in some ways similar to the software at this slighty-odd named company "Red Swoosh", and that they're looking for someone like me. After more discussion and a trial project that I work on back in Australia (me now also enrolled in my PhD at this point), and suddenly I find I have a dream job waiting for me in San Francisco. After a little while I make the decision to drop my PhD and fly on over. This of course is via a month stopover in Thailand, where instead of writing P2P software in my room and Uni as I had been doing, I'm was now writing it from the beaches of Thailand. And now, in Silicon Valley. I had gone from my home Separation Creek Valley ( set in a town of 7 people ), to Silicon Valley.

So looking back, I had come from my life of developing software for the fun of it from my room, to Red Swoosh. I think the ninja most aptly described my whole experience when he said those famous words:

"I was just training in a pit of Siamese lions, and a severed arm flew in and hit me in the head. 'You have been called up for operation Red Swoosh'."

Tom, code dude.

UPDATE: This post has been translated into pirate.

Getting Swoosh EVERYWHERE you want to be

To solve the bandwidth problem, Swoosh needs to be everywhere. . . I've included below a post that I made to the webforum a couple weeks ago. . . .


Today, Red Swoosh offers great features, cool Javascript API, sweet p2p performance and bandwidth efficiencies, but we're only as good as the number of your users that have our client. Now granted, we have a pretty light, friendly and easy installation, and each of your users only has to go through installation once and voila!, but wouldn't it be nice if Swoosh were everywhere and all of your users could instantly pull from peers the moment you swooshed your links?

One of the best things that Swoosh could do for the development community would be for us to find a way to get Red Swoosh on every desktop PC on the planet.

If the Red Swoosh client is everywhere, then websites and application developers never have to worry whether Swoosh is installed, . . . and never have to worry about how to get each of their users installed. It would be AWESOME, getting instant bandwidth savings across all of your users on day 1, and instant utilization of all of our other tools by all of your users from the start.

So the hundred-million-dollar question:

How do we get Swoosh *everywhere*?

- Product feature enhancements -- make Swoosh cool and desirable by users of media apps on the Net. Users could get interesting features like faster delivery to ALL content swooshed or not, or a cool plug-in to their favorite Podcatching application
- bundle with Firefox or iTunes (doesn't that take lots of money?)
- bundle with other apps (podcatchers, cool niche applications)
- new business models -- Example: website gets free distribution on RS premium product for life for all users that they distribute the client to

What are your guys' ideas?

--chief swoosher

Podcasters Unite!

For some time, we at Swoosh have been ruminating on the best approach for Swoosh to roll out podcasting features.

Ultimately, podcasters shouldn’t have to pay for bandwidth. And ideally they also shouldn’t have to think too hard about not paying for it.

But the execution of that dream for podcasters wasn’t clear. Should we have podcasters swoosh their enclosures? Should there be a Swooshed RSS feed and a non-Swooshed feed so that users can pick between the two? How do we get users installed? After a user clicks on a link, how do we determine whether they have the swooshed client?. . . there were a million questions . . .and none of the answers seemed to be too compelling

Users just want to get their content. If they get a podcatching application, all the whizbang p2p stuff should come standard. . . just be polite, respectful to the user and give the user control (See our thoughts on Swoosh’s Software Bill of Rights).

Podcasters just want to be podcasters. They want to make compelling content and get it to as many people as possible over the Net. Being a podcaster also means you may not have the dollahs for hefty bandwidth bills. . . this is where P2P comes in. But no podcaster wants to slow the user down with a client install before their users click to watch/listen to their creative works.

Then there are the podcatcher apps. These guys are the technical wizards that build applications so a consumer can aggregate all their content under one roof. They come up with breakthrough user interfaces and are the glue that brings listeners and creators together. All these guys are duking it out trying to convince podcasters to put up their own specialized RSS feed format link that automatically subscribes the user. They need podcasters to put up their links and push users to pick up their clients, but the podcatcher dudes are only just beginning to really cater to the podcaster’s needs (as opposed to the consumers' needs).

So, long story short. . . I think we’ve finally figured out where Red Swoosh fits in the Podcasting Ecosystem.

Here’s the idea:

1) Red Swoosh provides a podcatcher accelerator, essentially an .exe or .dll that podcatchers bundle with their application.
- It can be turned on and off by the user, and has all the transparency and controls of the standalone swoosh client.
- Here is the how-to with all the trimmings for how to “Swoosh your application”

2) Podcasters promote the podcatcher links that ease their bandwidth bills.
- If Swoosh is bundled in all podcatchers, the average podcaster who doesn’t have a huge budget to distribute his video/audio will no longer have to worry about bandwidth bills.
- Before Swoosh is everywhere though, the podcatchers who bundle Swoosh will certainly be favored by and better promoted by the podcasters. For every user with a Swoosh powered podcatcher, the podcaster can breathe a sigh of relief.
- Furthermore, the podcaster won’t need to get users to install anything new or separate because the Swoosh plug-in will already be in the users’ podcatcher. That means listeners/viewers can get at the content immediately without any hoops.

3) More More More and Can you say HiDef??!! When podcasters don’t have to worry about bandwidth anymore, then podcasters can deliver the goods their users really want. . . hi-res, hi-def, high quality, longer clips, more clips, more random stuff (like the vlogger/podcaster equivalent of trackbacks and blog rolls). .. I’m sure fellow Swoosher Mr. Scoble will be happy about that. . .:)

Who’s going to be the first podcatcher to “Swoosh their app?”

Paramagnus, one of our Swoosh developer discussion list members??

We certainly like the guys over at

Heck, why not iTunes? Mr. Jobs, I’ve got an open door policy if you’d like all podcasters to be able to do their thing without ever having to think about bandwidth again. . .

It’s easy to include swoosh’s small .dll/.exe into your podcatcher. Here’s the quick bundling How-to again.

Here’s a link to our developers discussion list and check out our our Podcasting wishlist

Let’s get to it people, we have the power to FREE all vloggers/bloggers/podcasters from the shackles of bandwidth costs.

Get the Microsoft Office Professional 2007 Beta

So it appears Microsoft is having some trouble paying the bandwidth bills for their MS Office 2007 Beta 2 download.

Starting Wednesday, August 2nd they will be charging $1.50 to those who wish to download and test Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2. It appears that the demand for MS's Office Beta was much larger than the MS budget for bandwidth had anticipated and they've had to resort to charging their beta users for the download.

We at swoosh, with infinite generosity, offer up this FREE swooshed link to Office 2007 Beta2 to rid Microsoft of delivery costs while accelerating the download to users. Moral of the story: If delivering your large files and video is generating bandwidth bills that burn large holes in your pockets (even pockets the size of Microsoft's!!), try Swooshing your links for free, fast and fun content delivery.

Get MS Office 2007 Beta 2 here by clicking this (very long) swooshed link:

Or, download using our handy-dandy MicroDLM here:

Happy Swooshing

PS: You'll need to get your own license key from Microsoft to install.

PPS: For more info on swooshing your links please visit:

Invitation to the Swoosh 2.0 Beta Program

If you had created an account in the Swoosh network, this morning you would have found this handsome email (or as near as Wordpress can render it) in your inbox. Travis complained it was a bit too “marketing” and not enough “dev”, which I think is funny given that I’m the dev guy and he’s as close as we have to marketing. Sure, maybe I went overboard with the bold, and I even have a few exclamation points in there (which Travis knows I rail upon), but I think it turned out nice.

It’s time to unveil Red Swoosh 2.0, and you’re invited to take part in the limited beta program for our entirely new, completely rewritten client software. That’s right - not only have we completely redesigned our website with a new style and enhanced developer features - we’ve secretly gone back to the drawing board and rebuilt our core product to be smaller, faster, and better than before. What does this mean to you? A better technology platform for Swooshing your site today, and a stronger architecture for rapid iteration in the coming months. Among countless minor improvements, it includes:

Faster installation . Faster downloads . Lower CPU usage . Lower memory usage
Tighter security . New JSAPI functions . New control panel

And of course it’s 100% backwards compatible with the previous client and will be rolled out via seamless auto-upgrade with zero downtime. All existing swooshed links and websites will continue to function as before. In preparation for this release we invite you to check it out and give us some real-world testing on its many new features, including:

  • A smaller, faster installer - reduced from over 600KB to a mere 72KB
  • Substantial download acceleration for long-tail (narrowly-deployed) content
  • Store client-side data using redswooshSetAttribute - it’s like cookies for Swoosh content
  • Enable and disable predeliveries from your own website using rs_enablepredeliveries
  • Automatic protection for your users by securing redswooshInitialize to your domain
  • Snappier response-times, and overall performance improvements across the board

In addition, we’re particularly eager to hear what you think about our brand new control panel:

It appears alongside the rest of your control panels (Sound, Network Connections, etc), and gives the user total knowledge and control over the client’s activity, including the ability to stop and start the client, pause and resume downloads, disable predeliveries from a website, or even remove a website altogether. This is just one step we are taking to uphold the commitments we make in our Bill of Rights, giving the user total knowledge, transparency, and control over the client at all times.

Ready to get started? Just reply to this message (or email [email protected]) with a quick intro, and we’ll hook you up with all the details. Otherwise, feel free to follow the discussion in the Swoosh forum, or just wait for the auto-upgrade to see for yourself what all the hoopla is about.

We’ve got tons of great stuff cooking over here at Red Swoosh, and between the new website and client release, you’re just seeing the start of it. We’ve got grand ambitions and bold plans in store, but at the end of the day we know that we’re only as good as you make us, and thus we’ll do everything in our power to make your website great.

So come on over to the forum and post your thoughts, questions, and off-topic rants. I think you’ll be shocked how responsive we’ll be to your questions, and how open we are to your concerns. Now is the time to be the first to take advantage of the next big wave of P2P web integration, and we’re here to help you do it right and in style.

Thanks for your time, and drop us a reply so I can get you started today!

- David and the rest of Team Swoosh

BR trumps PR

What is BR you ask?  BR is the informal, cooler, no-spin, no b/s alternative of PR (public relations):  

With our latest launch we scrapped all plans for PR.  We want to be seen for what we are by people who understand what we do.  Fewer compromises in just being ourselves.  So why not leave it to the blogosphere? We’re trying to reach the web development community and what better way than to go to fellow bloggers and let them decide? Now this isn’t the traditional way of doing business and not traditional at all when it comes to launching a product, so why BR over PR?  There are many reasons.  Here are a few: 

Niche News:
How many geeked-out web developers turn to the marketplace section of the Wall Street Journal?  How many savvy web marketing gurus get their cutting edge web technology news from the LA Times?  Ummm. . . Bueler, . .. . Bueler. . . nobody raising their hand??  In fact, the online generation gets their news from niche, expert sources, brought together by massive aggregators. The web devs that matter don’t get the latest from Forbes, the wall street journal, or the Baltimore Sun.  They get their news from other webdevs who share their experiences and their insights with their peers. . .folks like ,  maybe with pointers from digg or  The audiences in aggregate are far bigger than traditional media, and the news at each site far more relevant.

Linking Ecosystem:
Newspapers don’t link to stories outside of their “media amusement park”.  They want to bring you in and then keep you there and read all the other “amusements” they have in today’s edition.  Newspapers would rather you not even know what your alternative news sources are, let alone point to them.  Online versions of newspapers will rarely link to other sites, let alone other news stories on the same topic.  Not so in the blogging world.  It’s all about linking to others to give props to those you respect, and to be open about your detractors because on the net — unlike in paper — you can’t hide from them.  In practical terms, I heard from a number of bloggers “that’s pretty cool. . . I’ll point to ya’”  Don’t think for a second you would ever hear that from a mainstream journalist.  If it’s compelling, the blogosphere takes over from there.  That one “point to ya” turns into dozens of blogs with hundreds of links talking about the story and pointing to your site.  Story filters and aggregators like Digg, StumbleUpon, Delicious, and others were by far the biggest referrers to our new site during our launch.  The blogging ecosystem multiplied the effect of our news many times over and far outpaced any amount of traffic we would have gotten if we did the PR path.

Bloggers Get It:
Bloggers love what they do, have an expertise at what they write about (at least the good ones do), and they work for themselves.  In a meritocracy, good ideas float to the top and the bad sink to obscurity.  The blogosphere is built on this tenet.  Far too often journalists lack the passion or expertise that’s necessary to find the good stuff.  A good story speaks for itself, and I’m glad I didn’t have to explain what “Swooshing your links” is to USA Today (they wouldn’t point readers back to Red Swoosh anyways).

A few quick anecdotes from our experience of BR vs. PR:
- Bloggers are passionate about the Internet, Newspapers fear the Internet
- Journalists work for the Man, Bloggers work for themselves. - Newspapers follow the casino model (once you get in, it’s hard to get out), Bloggers build around the flea-market model (let the best content win).
- Bloggers see the world as an ecosystem, Big Media see it as a zero-sum game.
- Bloggers write about what they care about, journalists often just have to write on what they’re told

And to finish up, a little shout-out to some of the folks we found pointing to us, who themselves have quite interesting things going on: Must check this out.  A Firefox plug-in that shows people the latest cool stuff on the web.  I didn’t know about them, but they came out huge for Swoosh during the launch. TechCrunch is the leading blog on web 2.0 period (whether you like the web 2.0 moniker or not).  Michael Arrington at Techcrunch cuts to the chase and is what I would call a “lead bull” in the blogosphere — people follow.  We all know, mmm yummy. . .  All the cool sites out on the net with the most-creamiest of designs.  When creating this site, I had to turn to my friends’ sites as guides for design, what works and what doesn’t. . .I’m going to use these guys for expert guidance the next time around  This is for all the CSS’ers in the house, with a special thanks to our Polish CSS masters at for making it all look so shiny.      


Big day at Swoosh

we came, we launched, we didn’t sleep,

Our new site is where the old one used to be:

Let me know what you guys think.  We’re still getting feedback and tweaking as we go.  We made a strategic decision to go with BR vs. PR, and wow the payoff was huge.  I couldn’t list here all of the blogs that gave the Swoosh some love, but here’s a smattering of a few interesting ones:

Robert Scoble with a vision for vlogging at Scobleizer

Arrington with the full scoop at TechCrunch  

Matt Marshall with the finance tip at SiliconBeat

We were rockstars on Digg for the day making it to the TOP of the home page. Digg is a top 100 site that gets more traffic than the NYTimes -  400+ diggs today!

It’s a wild west world out there in the blogosphere. Everybody comes out of the woodwork and it’s on the record.

Now it’s back to the work of getting web developers to Swoosh those links

 - chief swoosher

Red Swoosh Refresh

For most of you, Red Swoosh is new to you.  It’s a fresh thing of Web 2.0 brilliance.  Cool, disruptive technology but practical, and easy to use.  Our mission: to rid the world’s webmasters of bloated bandwidth bills. . . man that’s web2.0-dotcom -p2p-diggnatious. . . 

. . . okay, that was a bit much.  But we are good stuff, . . .no? 

What most of you don’t know is that Red Swoosh has been here for years.  

Yes, long before Bittorrent was a sparkle in Bram’s eye, we got going on the company in the final days of 2000 and launched our first Swooshed website, in 2001.  

Well, we were a bit early to market. . . . ummm, about 4 years, and we kept a tight ship as we waited for the big wave of digital distribution to hit.  We kept things tight and pulled in customers where we could, ultimately doing great work for mostly really large websites paying 1000’s of dollars per month. 

We even got our first major investment from Mark Cuban last year, and signed dozens of customers since. 

But really, things still weren’t lighting up the way we think they could have or should have.  We were so Web 1.0.  We had “brochure-ware” that we put up on the site, and you could sign up for a newsletter.  Then we would call you. . . old skool stylez, the equivalent of the  rotary telephone for the Internet-set. 

Well, we knew that had to change.  More and more folks were calling us for services, but most of them didn’t have the money to even register into our normal pricing schemes, and we certainly didn’t have product or the customer support infrastructure to support them. 

So we went to Thailand to Offshore Ourselves for 6 weeks in May and June, and we’ve come back with a vengeance.

  • Self-service portal  
  • Swoosh Developer community site 
  • Javascript API and cool P2P widgets

And can you say FREE content delivery for everyone. . .?

Here’s a teaser screenshot of the home page:


We’ve got lots coming up over the next few days. . . even a little sumptin’ sumptin’ from the top martial arts Vlogger on the planet. . .stay tuned. 

Right this way folks, the mysterious mind of the user awaits.

As an engineer I am not always on the same wavelength as the end user. What I feel is interesting and innovative might induce reluctance, panic, or hunger in the user. Our jobs depend on catering to these puzzling beings, whose rationale we may never understand. Fortunately, we can observe them in their natural habitat and adjust accordingly. Altering the users’ environment and seeing how they react helps us to create a better environment for them. This does not tell us ‘why’ they like this more than that, but I doubt the users themselves can answer that question.

The investigation into the users’ collective mind began with the release of our new installation page, or ‘the bar’ as we like to call it. For those of you who are not familiar with Red Swoosh, our installation page is where users are sent if they click on a swooshed link but do not have the Red Swoosh client installed. Man, that bar looks good (left). And, it kept the referring customer’s page in a frame below it preserving context for the user. It was going to send installation figures through the roof. On the contrary, after its release, we noticed that installation rates dropped significantly. Was the bar broken? No, for reasons we could only guess at, the users did not like it as much as our old full page installation screen.

Our model changed. Rather than trying to give the users what we thought they wanted we decided to give them what they actually preferred. Randomly sending a subset of the potential swoosh users to various installation pages gave us invaluable information. How much better is a full page installation screen than a frame based one at converting users? Does the inclusion of a referring customer’s logo matter?

Over three iterations we removed poorly performing installation pages and replaced them with variations of the ones with high conversion rates. Here are a couple of fun facts we have discovered.

  1. Quickly whipped up variations of the full page installation screen convert at 10%-15%, where as the variations of the bar did not exceed 5%.
  2. Including the referring customer’s logo, making the installation page look really nice, changing the wording, hardly affect the conversion rates.

Our Darwinian approach to installation page selection is only in its infancy, but the results are already noticeable. Hopefully we can reach an understanding of the users to clearly convey the good will of Swoosh, and even conquer their habit of clicking ‘back’ or closing the installation page.


Sneak Peak: Vista MicroDLM

Want to download Vista, but don't want to suffer from broken links 3GB into the download? Try the following MicroDLM:

Click the install button, run the installer, and it'll detect that you've done so. Once installed, it'll show you download progress right on the page, like iTunes in a box. Just a sneak peak at the magic we've got working for us under the hood; expect more fun soon. -quinthar