Archive

Archive for the ‘Tools & Technology’ Category
27 Feb

A 360/VR audio tour of Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park

Comments off

This 360/VR audio tour was made with Story Spheres and audio I produced for the launch of the sculpture park in 2007. I recorded then Art Critic Sheila Farr about individual art pieces, as well as the lead designers for the park.

Get the immersive experience via your phone (and Google Cardboard) by going to this URL: https://www.storyspheres.com/scene/3BFb9RY6

You can see the old (kinda broken) project here: http://o.seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/sculpturepark/

19 Feb

Sixteen apps for 2016

Comments off

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

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:

03 Jan

E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops ‘read’ by SoundGecko

Comments off

This is perhaps the most meta thing I’ve ever done. I uploaded The Machine Stops, the powerful 1909 essay by E.M. Forster, to SoundGecko, a Web service that converts any text into an MP3, Siri reading.

NOTE: I first read this essay on my iPad and did not miss the irony. So, bonus points of you are listening to this ‘audio reading’ on your mobile device.

18 Nov

My latest G+ Hangout experiment: Watch it with me

Comments off

So, ever since G+ Hangouts came out, I’ve written and talked about different ways of using it… some of my projects include Learn Code for Journalism and the short-lived (but I hope returning) Talk Journalism with Me vodcast.

When this tech first came out I also pitched the idea of a Google+ Clip Club. It has nothing to do with journalism, but everything to do with watching TV and movies together socially.

So, that’s my new experiment.

I, and whomever wants to join me, will be watching The Net, a beautifully horrible movie about technology, the Internet and how it can destroy lives.

The movie’s tagline: Her driver’s license. Her credit cards. Her bank accounts. Her identity. DELETED.

Anyway, I’m going to watch the movie and screenshare my desktop via a G+ Hangout… enabling the ‘on air’ feature.

No clue if this will work, or if it will be completely awkward… but I have a few extra hours on my hands, so let’s see how this goes.

NOTE: This movie is so bad I’m not sure I’ll watch it all the way through… BUT the opening sequences that invoke technologies from 1995 are well worth it!

Here’s the trailer:



If I can, I’ll post the G+ Hangout here, or embed it even. But, I’ll be using Talk Journalism with Me page: http://gplus.to/talkjournalism

15 Nov

Experimenting with Mozilla’s Popcorn Maker

Comments off

I’ve been keeping an eye on the Mozilla Popcorn project and just tested out their Popcorn Maker app… it is incredibly easy and really cool. Here is my experiment using my Ignite talk on Horizontal Loyalty as a test.

01 Nov

Testing out Rebel Mouse’s embed page

Comments off

So, this is a test of Rebel Mouse‘s embedding feature. It’s in beta.

I’m still testing out this service, but basically it’s a reader for all your social media… and with this new embed feature, you can have your social media appear as a front page on nearly any type of CMS/site. Here is my test only using my Twitter feed. (My Facebook is more personal and all about my kid. Instagram is also mainly about my kid, but it is currently public.”

08 Sep

My work featured in CJR – twice!

Comments off

Columbia Journalism Review logoI’m really proud to share that two of my projects were featured in the Columbia Journalism Review – in both print and online.

While you can read the article online, I strongly recommend you check out the latest issue of the print magazine, which focuses on The Future of Media (this minute, at least).

In it you’ll find a two-page spread about my Tech & Tools project, where a Mad Men version of myself showcases some of my favorite apps. Below is a screenshot of an early proof, but go get the magazine!

Coincidentally, a few days later, CJR also decided to write a piece for its site exploring Twitter chats: Building a community 140 characters at a time.

While others are mentioned, #wjchat was prominently featured. For those that may not know, Twitter chats are virtual meetups held around a hashtag to discuss a topic. #wjchat is on Web Journalism and is a chat I created with four others in February 2012.

It’s crazy to think that this weekly miracle has been happening for two-and-a-half years!

18 Aug

Comparing presidential candidates’ fake Twitter follower accounts

Comments off

There have been a couple stories recently about using fake Twitter followers as a way to show influence in politics.

Thanks to the Status People, there is a way to check to see how many alleged fake followers you or other Twitter users have: http://fakers.statuspeople.com

It’s not perfect, but it’s something.

It takes a “sample of your follower data. Up to 500 records depending on how ‘popular’ you are and assess them against a number of simple spam criteria.”

They also say that this tool is accurate for 10,000 followers or less. “If you’re very ‘popular’ the tool will still provide good insight but may better reflect your current follower activity rather than your whole follower base.”

You can read more about the Faker Followers tool here: http://fakers.statuspeople.com/Fakers/FindOutMore/

With those caveats in mind, here are screenshots of the presidential and vice-presidential candidates:

Presidential candidates:

Out of Obama‘s 18,653,463 followers, 7,088,316 are identified as fake accounts following. Out of the 868,277 that follow Romney, 173,655 are considered fake, by the site.

On the flip side, that’s 4,849,900 “good” accounts following Obama and 425,456 following Romney. We’ve leave out the inactive ones.

 

Vice-presidential candidates:

That’s 22,491 fake accounts among the 112,455 following Biden and 52,916 fake ones among the 203,523 accounts following Ryan.

The “good” accounts are 42,733 for Biden and 77,339 for Ryan.

Truthfully, there are no real conclusions to make here… just some numbers/stats to look over.

NOTE: I took the “test” and am proud to say that only 3 percent of my followers are fake.

18 Jun

An update on my Learn Code project

Comments off

I wrote a quick post offering updates and information I’ve learned since launching the Learn Code for Journalism project.

This the experiment project that mashes up Codecademy’s Code Year with Google+ Hangouts, enabling journalists to learn programming socially.

Read it here: http://learncodefor.journalismwith.me/2012/06/18/what-i-have-learned-from-launching-the-learn-code-for-journalismproject/

π