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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category
22 Nov

From Glass to Spectacles: A kid’s POV

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Over the weekend I was able to secure a pair of the Snapchat’s Spectacles (formerly Epiphany Eyewear for wearable nerds with a memory) and have been putting it through its paces.

I have had a past with testing out wearable glasses before.

In testing them, I let my kid give them w spin too.

Here’s video my son captured while drawing — it’s circular video because of the unique (and pretty cool) Snapchat circular format:

For context, here’s video of my son playing while wearing Google Glass:

23 Jun

Virtual Reality is the future

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Well, I’ve not only seen it, but I have immersed myself into the future.

As I write this, I have just emerged from being inside (that’s the verb I will use) my newly acquired Oculus Rift for an hour. An entire hour.

The headset-caused wrinkles, an unfortunate side effect, are still fresh across my face.

I’ve been exploring augmented reality for more than five years, and virtual reality for two and I am in more awe now than ever before.

Yes there is hype around VR, but from what I just experienced — and have experienced before — there is a bright future ahead of us.

And if you’re in the content business — of any type — get ready for the next seismic disruption.

While I was “in” I played a VR platformer game called Lucky’s Tale, and instantly fell in love with the design and, more importantly, naturally fell into the user-interface and VR logic.

The game all around is, well, simply wonderful.

You will hear this time and time again with VR, but you have to experience it to really appreciate it.

After completing the first chapter of the game, I went back “home” (which is a gorgeously designed living room) and explored some other free experiences I had downloaded before.

I selected Dreamdeck, with is a collection of different short stories, experiences and scenes. I had done a couple before, but this time I was standing eye-to-eye with a dinosaur, was inside a fly/blood cell thingy, making faces at funhouse/tea party mirror, was in the middle of two robotic arms having a magical battle over a rubber ducky and, my favorite, observed a day in the life of a mini cartoon town (I tired to eat the plane).

Here’s the thing I want you to take note of: I used different verbs to describe the experiences. I did something, rather than watched something passively.

Lastly, I watched Oculus’ short film lost, a clear homage to Iron Giant. It was cute and who knew so much personality could come from the wagging of an iron tail.

Yeah, I’m in. I’m in deep.

Look, I am in the journalism business and if we take a step further back, I am in the (non-fiction) storytelling business. And VR is the latest tool in my arsenal aimed at informing my community by any ethical means necessary.

My excursion into the virtual world was a (much needed) break from producing VR Journalism experiences with my USC Annenberg students: Jovrnalism.

We find ourselves in post-production right now and, while tiring, we’re having a blast experimenting and defining this new style of storytelling.

VR is the future.

Well, for now. I see have my eye on the bigger prize, AR.

19 Feb

Sixteen apps for 2016

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This piece was written for SPJ’s magazine, Quill. You can read it here: http://www.spj.org/quill_issue.asp?ref=2245

One of the first workshops I gave as a new professor was to introduce journalists to a few tools and applications I found on the web that they could use when producing a multimedia story.

Six and a half years later, that small workshop has morphed into a side project that has a collection of more than 100 types of tech and tools to help journalists be more digital.

The collection can be overwhelming.

But, as journalists adapting and working in his quick-moving digital era, we need to add some of these seemingly countless tools to our journalism toolbox.

As we launch head first into 2016 and beyond, here are some tech, tools and apps every journalist should be aware of. This is just a small selection from the growing list of apps. Make sure you share your recommendations, too. (Ping me on Twitter: @webjournalist.)

NOTE: As we know, technology moves fast. By the time this piece gets published, there may be a new thingy that we need to add, or an old thingy that needs to be removed. The real goal here is to be aware of the diverse tools and be open to how we can each integrate many of them into our daily journalism.

Let’s start with the basic set of mobile apps all journalists should have on their smartphones. I am talking about the pillars of journalism: writing, photography, audio and video.

Read the list here: http://www.spj.org/quill_issue.asp?ref=2245

19 Dec

My Nieman Lab prediction: 2016 is VR’s time

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Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 6.30.11 PM

Role up your sleeves, journo industry, because you need to start preparing to lead the next disruption. When it actually hits is nearly irrelevant, because there’s no doubt it will hit.”

You can read the piece here: http://www.niemanlab.org/2015/12/the-year-virtual-reality-becomes-reality/

22 Oct

You don’t need to be the NYTimes to do VR (posted on Medium)

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I wrote this piece reacting to the news that The New York Times and Google were partnering up to do a major VR push. Got a lot of social shared and recommendations via Medium.

nytimes-vr-google-cardboard

Yay! Here comes everybody!

It’s great to see the rush of people coming to explore the emerging tech of virtual reality. Yes, it appears the overly-hyped promise that under delivered for several decades has finally become a legitimate reality.

All thanks to a former journalism student turned billionaire and this smart lady.

I’ve been exploring different forms of VR dating back to my college days when I was fascinated by Apple QuickTime VT Studio, but I am no pioneer. I have been more into Augmented Reality (I still think it is the most promising future) since I became a professor at USC Annenberg some six years ago.

But after attending a local VR conference about a year ago, I knew this was going to be huge.

So, I created a course with the aim of exploring what the hell VR experiences could be in journalism.

Read more here: https://medium.com/@webjournalist/you-don-t-need-to-be-the-nytimes-to-do-vr-be4efb00ff74

24 Aug

Hurricane Katrina and VR Journalism

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Tech has always been dorky. Long before Google Glass, nerds were looking like geeks in the name of innovation.

I’ve done my share of looking foolish, but I do it in the name of journalism.

This week marks the start of my latest innovative, hackathon style course… this year it’s Virtual Reality Journalism. (Last year it was Glass Journalism and Augmented Reality Journalism before that.)

This week also marks the 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina.

There are a lot of things to remember and reflect on, especially in regards to journalism. I remember the amazing work done by the Times-Picayune/NOLA.com, that literally saved lives.

But, perhaps because I am a dork, I mostly remember this photo:

VR is something that I’ve always kept my eye on. My experience began with Apple’s QuickTime VR Studio and I managed to work that tech (paired with ambient sound) into some multimedia coverage I did at the Seattle Times.

Those links are pretty much dead, but the Bering Sea and the Olympic Sculpture Park were two projects I did this with.

That said, the first time I saw 360-degree video in news was ten years ago when MSNBC’s special Katrina project Rising from Ruin.

I saw the video and was blown away (video no longer works… they killed it, I think, for their year anniversary).

But they kept this page… a page I looked at in awe.

Direct link: http://risingfromruin.msnbc.com/2005/11/you_write_the_c.html

It never occurred to me to reach out to the guy in the photo (Ashley Wells / @DangerWells), but I did today:

He replied:

While impromptu and we both don’t have the time, I asked him for an interview. I’ll keep you posted.

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

10 Sep

My teaching style? Nerding out (video bio)

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So, I did this cool project for USC called Connecting with USC Scholars, in which I lead a micro seminar course about Augmented Reality. They did a fantastic job producing some slick videos… seriously, go check them out.

Among the videos was one “about” me… and I kinda like it. (Is that vain?)

I managed to track down (from a secret location) and have embedded it here (don’t judge):

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.”

06 Sep

USC Annenberg Journalism Forum: Storytelling with Google Glass

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I organized and hosted a forum exploring Google Glass and Journalism/Storytelling. It was held on USC Annenberg on Aug. 27, 2013.

Below is the video of the event:

For more on my experiences with Google Glass + Journalism, go here: http://glassjournalism.tumblr.com/

π