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Shout out to our early adopter readers (hmm, or is that just Court & me?). I’ve been trying out the beta version of Joost, a sort of weird internet/tv hybrid (click here for a fun little explanation page). I have no idea why it’s called “Joost.” Besides being a homonym for “juiced,” it sort of reminds me of “Jukt Micronics,” the fake dot com created by Stephen Glass in the infamous New Republic article that brought down his journalistic house of cards. By the way – if you haven’t seen “Shattered Glass,” you should rent it. It’s fascinating.

Anyway. Joost promises to be part social networking, part internet tv, with actual, decent programming options and add-on capabilities. The guys behind it are the guys behind Skype and Kazaa, and, with a recent feature article in Time, the hype surrounding this thing is serious. Joost has partnered up with some heavy hitters for content – Warner Music, MTV, Viacom, Endemol – and there will probably be many more as we go along. If this thing is meant for the adhd internet crowd, Joost had better bring some serious variety.

My experience with Joost so far – It’s got a nifty interface, although it’s a little stuttery on my laptop. I can’t tell whether that’s because my computer isn’t top of the line (anymore) or my internet connection is slow or the service is just not able to push out feeds in the right quality/quantity. The whole thing is still in beta, so you have to give it slack for performance issues, etc., but I’m hoping that my experience with it will improve, as my current computing set up is probably average – above average for most people (fairly recent computer, good processing power, good memory/ram, cable broadband, windows xp), and Joost is going to need to make its product accessible to set ups like mine if it’s going to have any staying power. Not everyone upgrades their computers every year or so. Most people hang onto them until they become so obsolete that nothing runs anymore.

Content-wise, it’s an interesting spectrum. It’s a little too crap-tastic right now for me to want to watch most stuff (chains of love?!), but I’d probably tune in if it had more music videos, decent shorts, more international programming. Stuff that I can’t just order up on the TiVo easily.

To sum up: Sketchy performance – but it’s in beta, so that should get infinitely better. Questionable programming – but ditto on the beta thing. Utility – that’s the big question, right? With TiVo and YouTube and, you know, an actual life to lead, can Joost really add enough value that I’ll make time for it?

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