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Archive for the ‘Mobile/Cell Phone’ Category
07 Oct

My ONA14 Talk: Wearable Tech, Augmented Reality and Journalism

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Watch my entire #ONA14 on Wearables + AR + Journalism here: http://ona14.journalists.org/sessions/wearables-ar/

ONA14-wearables-ar-talk

My slides are here: http://bit.ly/ona14-wearables-ar-journalism

07 Apr

My ISOJ talk: Life After Television + Mobile is Dead

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I was honored to be asked by Rosental Alves to chair/moderate a talk with some amazing panelists (Rahul Chopra, senior vice president video at News Corp; Daniel Eilemberg, senior vice president, chief digital officer at Fusion; Rebecca Howard, general manager video, The New York Times; Riyaad Minty, project lead of AJ+ at Al Jazeera; Katharine Zaleski, managing editor at NowThis News), under the topic of Life After Television, a book written by George Gilder.

After Alves explained his vision in planning the panel around the book, I went to the library and checked out both the hardcover and book on (cassette) tape.

For my intro talk, I wanted to summarize and try to explain Gilder’s book and, inspired by its predictions (and the 80s), I decided to add my own grand prediction.

Here are the slides, in animated GIF form, with some text to explain my thoughts.

NOTE: Gilder is known to have said some controversial things about women, people of color and more. While I vehemently disagree with his statements, let’s focus on the book, which was quite impressive.

// Slide 01
The book, which was published in 1990, has many innovative ideas… the first being that it contained advertising for FedEx every five or six pages.

isoj-mobileisdead-slide01

 

// Slide 02
The short book had a collection of fantastic lines that I wanted to quote. Here is a small a collection. What is impressive is that he essentially describes today’s major players of the Web. He was, however, a bit off with the type of quality, educational and informative content he hoped would be created.

isoj-mobileisdead-slide02

 

// Slide 03
Perhaps it was the timing of Harold Ramis’ death, perhaps it is that I am overly influenced by the 80s, but the book reminded me of the infamous scene in Ghostbusters where Egon (Ramis) declares “print is dead.” (But it appears that print outlived Egon. How nerds react to that joke.)

I took Gilder’s book as an Egon-esque declaration television is dead. So, I was inspired to make a bold – and clearly early – declaration too.

isoj-mobileisdead-slide03

 

// Slide 04
Mobile is dead!!! And by that, I really mean, mobile phones… the devices we carry in our purses or back pockets. Wearables – which have been around since the 80s thanks to the work by Steven Mann – have finally begun to mature. It’s not about white guys wearing glass… or brown guys, despite the coverage.

The future is… STOP! It’s not the device.

isoj-mobileisdead-slide04

 

// Slide 05
If you believe that content is still king, then it’s not about the device. It’s about the content that we optimize on that device. (Please don’t say the ‘medium is the message,’ because I believe that is wrong.)

isoj-mobileisdead-slide05

 

// Slide 06
So, if it’s not mobile… and it’s content… what the hell am I talking about? One type of technology that I do believe will play a role in the (not-so-distant) future is augmented reality.

This tech we’ve seen in Sci-Fi is real. Re+public labs have used it to augment art/murals in public spaces, with this example in Austin during SXSW. (Learn more here: http://www.republiclab.com/projects)

And my students and I have produced AR Storytelling + Journalism, by augmenting the downtown Los Angeles Public Library. (Learn more here: http://arjournalism.tumblr.com and watch the video)

isoj-mobileisdead-slide06

 

We live in the future. So, journalism better adapt.

P.S. I’m trolling here… kinda. I do believe mobile PHONES will die sooner than we think and replaced by what’s next, like wearables. It’s inevitable. This “declaration” was made in line with the hyperbole from Gilder and “Egon.”

24 May

My Google Glass app ideas for different news orgs



Google Glass is clearly in its early stages, but it is emerging as a platform that merits our attention as news and information distributors.

The NYTimes has an app, but I think it really falls short of understanding and using this new platform.

Inspired by Thomas Baekdal‘s Google Glass for news post, here are my Glass app ideas for other news orgs… to help spark ideas and conversation.

These app ideas are practical and based on reality… not hypothetical futuristic dream apps.

// LATimes (or any regional/local news org)
Offer the Glass user an app card with trending/editor selected keywords/topics. The Los Angeles Times already does the keyword selection with their sub-navigation called “trending now.” Today’s (5/23) included: L.A. Mayor’s race, U.S. drones, Boy Scouts, London Attack, Helen Mirren, Lebron James.

Via Glass, the user could say, “Okay LATimes, tell me about [TOPIC]” and it will load the headline and nutgraph… it will of course offer a longer version of the story, perhaps in audio form.

Newspapers and print media also have an opportunity with Glass to embed and launch multimedia elements like videos or photo galleries from their print pages. ​That QR code may finally have value!

 

// NPR
This one, for now, is the most traditional app to do. The app is a card that plays, when a user opts in, the latest Hourly News Summary that is traditionally read on the air.

These apps are fairly simple tapping into the existing technology and framework. These do not are not “futuristic” apps. Naturally, if we tap into the GPS, we can create an app that brings you the latest news from “around you.”

 

// @BreakingNews (or other breaking news Twitter accounts)
The obvious option for this essential Twitter account is just to notify the Glass user with every breaking news tweet… but that can be overwhelming.

I’d suggest creating an app where the tweets that get the most retweets at a faster rate get a category of “important,” and those items notify the Glass user. Think of the classic breaking news interruption.

 

// Circa news app
This new news platform is actually a great fit for Glass. They have broken down a story into bullet points, and they add points to the story as it develops. It knows what you’ve read about the story when you return.

What they should offer is a list of headlines, and, as you do know, you can follow the story for updates. Their app would notify you when a story has been updated. Since the information is a bullet point, it wouldn’t be overwhelming.

 

// Newsbound
This visual-storytelling platform presents information like a PowerPoint presentation, but it’s compelling. What’s also powerful about this format is that these slides add up to tell a long form piece.

Yes, long form storytelling for Glass.

 

// SoundGecko
If a visual version of long form doesn’t work, check out SoundGecko, which converts text — any text — into audio.

Yes, at this stage it’s like Siri trying to read you a story, but when you are on the go and you actually want to consume a long form piece, this new technology may be good enough.

 

Well, since I am pitching Glass app ideas, here are some more “future” and obvious ones:

  • Eventually be apps that are ​GPS aware to give information/news feeds.
  • Based on video’s audio as a timeline, tie bonus material content to the broadcast news story. (This already happens with DVDs/movies and will eventually become available to us.)
  • In terms of TV production, have Glass replace the TV new anchor’s Teletrompter and ear piece.

Two extremely obvious and simple ones:

  • ​Live stream a press conference, but audio quality is not ideal. You can at least do a live POV shot of a scene.
  • Using Glass as your second screen as you watch a live event either on TV on in person… like we do with tweets via hashtag.

I hope news organizations take advantage of this new type of platform and I look forward to what we will produce.

Personally, as a Google Glass Explorer (which gives me the “privilege” to buy and experiment with Glass early), I can’t wait to try these things out to see what works and what doesn’t.

13 May

Google Glass in context

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I want you to take a moment and recognize something: Google Glass looks as technologically cutting-edge as the first Motorola Razr did in 2004.

This incredibly thin phone, which was a leap from its predecessor Motorola StarTAC, was fashionable and functional, making it the best-selling clamshell phone in the world to date and causing a dent into Nokia’s indestructible brick phones.

Everyone had to have one and no one could believe how small it was.

For some tech context, in 2004 Google was still a private company.

iTunes was finally was made compatible with Windows machines, which made the iPod have its largest year since its launch in 2001.

AOL was still known as America Online.

The New York Times, and many other sites, looked like this: http://web.archive.org/web/20040306074613/http://www.nytimes.com/

We thought we knew tech. I thought we were in the future because I could text a question to GOOGLE and get an answer back.

(For more context, know that Facebook in 2011 was as big as the entire Internet was in 2004.)

Now, I want you to realize that Google Glass is at an earlier stage than that. Much earlier.

Think Zack Morris phone.

Think back when mobile phones were just for yuppies.

Who would ever want to carry a phone around with them?

Only those elitist businesses people who can afford that ridiculous technology… like Gordon Gekko

Check out this report on cellphones and yuppies:



Anyway you look at it, Glass is in its early stages. And it will soon look so outdated. It’ll look like the first iPod.

Embarrassingly dated.

Zack_Morris_Glass

(Don’t get me started on the short-lived pagers.)

30 Mar

How to upload a custom video to Vine, like the 6-second ‘The Wolverine’ trailer

Vine app logoUPDATE 06.10.2013: I can confirm the trick still works: http://blog.webjournalist.org/2013/06/10/intro-to-ninja-gaiden-via-vine/.

I tweeted this a few days back and thought I should add it here too.

On Monday a 6-second preview of The Wolverine was posted on Vine:

Clearly, this wasn’t made through the Vine app… which got me thinking, how could I post my own edited content onto Vine too?

Less than six seconds later I found the answer on YouTube:

I created this URL linking to the video: http://bit.ly/vineupload

After stumbling a little — the video isn’t perfect — I was able to create my own 6-second trailer:

Before we get into the steps, let me tell you where I got my video:

Then I proceeded to follow the steps outlined in the video, but I am adding more details from my experiences.

Here are the steps, thanks to the video and my own experience doing it:

Step 1: Download and install iExplorer. While you can buy the software, the demo works as well. What this software does is allow you to see the files on your iOS devices, which includes the files created and saved by your apps. It’s pretty cool, especially because you don’t have to jailbreak your phone.

Step 2: Connect your iOS device to your computer via your USB connector. For some reason, the first time it took a few minutes for iExplorer to recognize my iPhone (4S) was connected to my computer. (It was a few days ago, so I don’t remember exactly what I did outside of changing the USB port and restarting the program a few times. I think I might have even restarted my machine too. I noticed that I had to have the phone unlocked as well. Hopefully it just detects for you.) UPDATE: It immediately detects my phone every time I launch now.

Step 3: Like the video shows, you want to navigate to your list of apps, going to Vine and then Vine’s ‘tmp’ directory. This is where all your Vine videos appear after recording, as an MP4. It also generates a thumbnail based on the video too.

Step 4: Drag-and-drop your already edited 6-second video into this tmp directory. Call the file some you’ll remember… obviously.

Step 5: Launch Vine and start recording the Vine video. DO NOT reach the time limit of the Vine. For me, I stop recording one the green check mark appears. What you record doesn’t matter because it will be overwritten by your edited file.

Step 6: Immediately refresh the tmp directory. I go up one level, refresh ‘tmp’ and go back into in and I immediately see the new temp Vine… (something called temp_record_1370842632.980168.mp4). Like the video shows, copy the new file’s name, then rename it to something different (like by adding an “x” at the end of it). Then, go to your manually edited file and rename it the new file name. Vine continues to process the temporary video and *poof* it makes the swap on the app, including generating a thumbnail. UPDATE: I don’t know if this matters, but when I published it, I only published it to Vine… not my social media platforms.

Step 7: Go back to the Vine app and click on the green checkbox. Your manually edited video should appear. Add your meta information and publish. (To test if it worked, click on the three-dots-icon in the lower right hand corner, select ‘share this post,’ then tweet it out or select ‘embed’ to email yourself the URL.)

So what’s cool about this?

Imagine content creators using this method to promo their content. An edited video Tweet that is a teaser to your produced Web video. Try it out!

Here’s an easy link to this post: http://bit.ly/uploadtovine

P.S. I uploaded the entire RickRoll video to Vine and it got published… but the app killed it. The video was 13.4MBs and 3:33 minutes, so quite large and much longer than 6 seconds. I uploaded a 30-second version, which was 2.7 MBs and that also didn’t work. I tried again with a 10-second clip, which was 914kb, and it worked:

15 Jul

iPhone trick: How to listen to YouTube videos while multitasking or locked screen

UPDATE: With YouTube no longer being part of iOS’ core, this trick no longer works in iOS 6.

I accidentally found this trick earlier today and I thought it was worth sharing… I’m not sure if it’s common knowledge. (NOTE: I do see there are some older posts about this, but it was new to me and maybe you.)

Basically, with this trick, you can continue listening to a YouTube video via your iOS device even though you “quit” the app, are in another app or have shut off or locked your screen.

Here’s a how-to video:

Step-by-step instructions:
1. Launch the YouTube App and play a song.

2. Quit the app by click on the home button.

3. Lock your phone.

4. Double click on your home button.

5. Press play and enjoy the music!

Bonus tips:
– Also, make sure you do Step 2 by clicking the home button. That want, when you unlock your phone, you can jump into any other app and multitask while jamming.

– You can create a playlist via YouTube… but, in some tests, it didn’t automatically go to the next song. You have to skip to next song before current song stops.

This is the poor man’s Spotify… Hope you find it useful.

08 Dec

The GoPano Micro could be awesome, but still has a bit to go

GoPano MicroI just got a new tech toy in the mail that I think could be pretty effective in journalism.

“Could” is the key word.

The GoPano Micro (around $80) allows your iPhone to record and upload 360 videos that lets users to zoom in/out and scroll while watching the video. (I didn’t know this, but they have adapters and software made for better-than-iPhone cameras.)

It’s pretty easy to install and start recording. First, you snap on an iPhone cover and pop in the periscope-looking lens. Then you install the app and creating an account. That’s it… you are ready to go.

You can record, view and share your 360 videos through your phone. The videos are even embeddable.

It’s all pretty simple.

Except for one significant issue… the image focus is not good. It’s bad.

Here are two tests I did:
USC Heritage Hall

My USC office

The @GoPano Twitter account did respond to my request for times on how to improve the focus by providing me with these links:

  • http://support.gopano.com/customer/portal/topics/98224-gopano-micro/articles
  • http://blog.gopano.com/2011/10/20/where_have_my_pixels_gone/
  • http://support.gopano.com/customer/portal/articles/221550-how-to-manually-calibrate-the-gopano-micro
  • They didn’t really improve anything, but I appreciate their responsiveness.

    I think software/app tweaks could really improve this device. Perhaps allow touch focusing as the video is recording… that way we can really control what gets in focus, rather then everything slightly blurry.

    If the quality of the image improves, I can easily see this in a variety news situations and events. Can you imagine how awesome this would be in the middle of a riot?

    Outside of the obvious need to improve the image, the next cool feature would be to live stream the 360 video.

    There is no doubt that the technology is coming… I just wish it got here with my GoPano Micro.

    07 May

    Real-Time Reporting, the next level of journalism

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    I don’t know if this post will make sense, but let’s just call this a rough draft of a rant… or prediction… or I don’t know what. I just wanted to put some thoughts down, no matter how raw, because we’re on the verge of some significant changes.

    I was asked recently by the Online News Association to lead a session on Social Network Reporting (SNR). That’s when we as journalists harness the power of Social Media throughout our process – looking for sources, crowd sourcing, distributing content, engaging with our community, etc.

    I’ve done several presentations for classes and a couple of workshops, but the request was to be more “advanced” … not SNR101, but the next level.

    The thing is SNR is actually very simple and built on basic concepts. After you understand the power and value of Social Media, learn the lingo and play with the tools, there isn’t much else to learn. Just make it part of your journalism routine.

    In other words, there’s not really an “advanced” to SNR except maybe experimenting with the latest tools and apps.

    But the idea got me thinking… While SNR is an incredibly valuable tool, one that is still being under utilized… it’s really still just a tool… and it’s a tool inside a toolbox that I am labeling Real-Time Reporting (RTR).

    For me, that is the “advanced” level. That’s the next logical step for us.

    The Real-Time Web is a concept that has solidified because of Social Media. What are you doing now? What do you think now? And this applies to us in journalism because it’s the same behavior as breaking news.

    Social Media is key. But there are other aspects to explore in this real-time reality.

    As journalists, RTR takes the latest from technology (hardware, software and infrastructure) and mashes it up with our core journalistic values (news judgment, ethics, law, spelling/grammar, etc.).

    It’s journalism without a safety net… it’s hyperlocal AND global journalism… it’s working under the deadline of now, in 15 minutes and 15 minutes ago… it’s MacGyvering technology to do journalism by any means necessary.

    Let me give you an example.

    Let’s say there is a breaking news story. Let’s imagine that there is a shooting at a local mall. We hear the news breaking on the police scanner.

    Typically, the Metro/Assignment desk immediately dispatches a reporter or crew to go to the scene. Meanwhile, someone calls the authorities to get the latest information on the record.

    Eventually the reporter arrives at the scene and begins to hunt for witnesses and sources. As they get information, they file it or call it in… well, they should. Or, if they are broadcast, they do a live report when they have gathered enough information.

    With SNR, in addition to calling the authorities for official information, someone is also searching Twitter, Flickr, and other social media looking for people at the scene… looking for potential sources. They should also be asking for any tips and contacts through their social networks… and ask the community to spread the call for help.

    When the reporter eventually makes the scene, they should announce their arrival, location and availability on their own social networks… this allows potential sources to reach out.

    The news organization should make sure to take the time to thank those in the community who helped with the coverage. It should also promote the pieces, which essentially distributes the work.

    In addition to the real-time of social media, there are new tools we should employ when appropriate… which takes this to RTR.

    A reporter can be sending out images or live video (UStream, Qik, Twitcasting, etc.) from their cell phones. A photographer or reporter could be automatically uploading images from their camera using technology like the Eye-Fi.

    If they had a laptop, camera and stronger Internet access, they could do a more complex live shot that includes participation from the audience… a live chat from the scene.

    I can’t wait for the day when a low-end camcorder is going to have an external mic jack for better audio and the ability to upload immediately… we’re almost there. Kodak’s Zi8 and the Eye-Fi would be powerful together… but they currently don’t work together.

    People chuckle when I pitched this, but I foresee the day when a device becomes THE reporter’s super notebook. A laptop is too heavy, Internet connections are unpredictable and it needs a power source. Meanwhile, a smart phone is too small, horrible to type on and needs to be recharged often.

    In the meantime, technology is giving us patchwork solutions. The MiFi from Verizon and Sprint gives you broadband anywhere. There are external batteries that keep your iPhone and laptops charged for longer periods of time. You can buy accessories to like an external keyboard for you phone or an app to sync your iPhone camera to your cameraless iPad.

    But it is only a matter of time when text, photos, audio and video are available in an appropriate sized device that easily takes journalists to the next level… real-time reporting.

    And when this technology arrives, it will really begin to separate those who can produce quality journalism on deadline from those who can’t. It will test our core values. There are a lot of challenges when you go live… lots of opportunities to fail… to get wrong. So we need to be at the top of our game to build and maintain our credibility.

    Professional journalists – with or without formal training – will emerge as they are no longer worried about technology they routinely use. We’re not going to be wow’ed or scared by the latest device. We’ll just embrace it and return the focus on the content… because it’s always been about the content.

    I don’t know if this made any sense… or if this future scares you… or if you are as excited about it as I am… but I believe this is where we are headed.

    Journalism continues to evolve… are you ready for the next level?

    29 Apr

    Daily Show’s Jon Stewart tells Appholes to “chill out”

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    Jon Stewart had a GREAT segment ranting against Apple and the Gizmodo raid. He’s not pissed about the journalism angle, like I am, but more what side of the sledgehammer Apple is on now.

    He’s an Apple fanboy, but he had to call the company out.

    The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
    Appholes
    www.thedailyshow.com
    Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

    Full episode here: http://www.thedailyshow.com/full-episodes/wed-april-28-2010-ken-blackwell
    (NOTE: I know these rotate, but I couldn’t help but notice I got the Verizon Droid ad and later an AT&T ad preload before the clip.)

    28 Apr

    Blogger’s Journalist’s house gets raided, why aren’t we more angry?

    Gizmodo's Tale of Apple's Next iPhone
    Image by Gizmodo

    Let’s gets this out of the way. There are a lot of unknowns here and probably lots of potential shady things yet to come out. This story, no doubt, has legs… and lots of them.

    But, I have to say, I’m starting to feel really disappointed in the lack of outrage journalists are having to the Gizmodo raid. Maybe I’ve completely missed it, but we should be up in arms here!

    And by “we,” I don’t just mean Webby nerds, tech geeks or digital dorks. By “we,” I mean journalists in every newsroom cross platform, across the country.

    Where is the statement by the Society of Professional Journalists? The American Society of News Editors? The Online News Association, for heaven’s sake!?!?

    If you missed it, Gizmodo posted a recap from their point of view, but here’s my understanding: (Note: You could easily do a search-and-replace here and change “lost” or “found” to “stolen” … or can you? Too soon to say.)

    Act I: A new, prototype Apple iPhone was “lost” at a bar in the Bay Area. When this news first broke, many of us thought it was a crafty Apple P.R. stunt rather than a bonehead mistake. Turned out it was the latter and the bonehead employee was later named.

    Act II: The “finder” of the phone allegedly attempted to contact Apple to make it aware of the misplaced device… but in the end, Gizmodo paid an estimated $5000 to get their hands on the “found” iPhone.

    Act III: After Gizmodo posted a video and photos showcasing the “found” iPhone, it received a memo from Apple asking for their missing property back. The device was “bricked,” or remotely deactivated and made useless, presumably by Apple.

    Act IV: Police raided the home of the blogger/reporter who posted the Gizmodo item. They actually knocked down his door while the blogger was not home and seized several pieces of equipment, which included laptops, iPad and more. The police have halted their investigation, once someone pointed about that the blogger is more than likely covered by the federal and state shield law.

    Act V: ??? Who knows, but I can’t wait to find out.

    Again, let’s get certain things out of the way here.

    Yes, Gizmodo practiced checkbook journalism to purchase the iPhone. This is not a practice many of us do, condone or can even afford. But, sorry y’all, this type of journalism exists and is more common than we’d like to think. (One word: Paparazzi.)

    Second, no matter the quality of it, Gizmodo is actively doing journalism. It’s not part of a legacy masthed, but one that was built by covering tech news — and it does so fairly well.

    Third, you and I don’t know the details yet of how that phone was truly acquired. Hell, if Gizmodo was smart, they probably didn’t ask. But the device was acquired… someone leaked it… someone lost it… someone stole it… but the “it” was, and still is, big news. (Did you know Nokia has a missing device? I’m guessing not. Why? Because it ain’t an iPhone.)

    Lastly, a journalist’s house was raided by authorities in connection to the device that he openly admitted and publicized he had. Don’t you think that was a little over the top?

    So, I am asking myself, why aren’t we more pissed here? Where is our journalistic outrage? Where is the angry mob with pitchforks defending the first amendment right?

    Would we be more outraged if instead of the phone it was some classified government document? Or if instead of a corporation like Apple contacting the authorities, it was the government?

    Y’all, this is one of the biggest stories in modern journalism and we need to be on top of this… we need to get angry… we need to pick up our pitchforks pens and craft, at the very least, a statement that says this is not okay!

    I love Apple too, but I love journalism more.

    π