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June 2009

Qik and Pocket Media

e90skineQIK REPORTS 20,000 views of pocket media video clips that I've uploaded to and in the 18 months and 100 comments that have elapsed since I download Qik onto my Nokia E90, I've learned some things about making pocket media that will be shared on our BSc in Creative Multimedia at Tipperary Institute. Many of these tips come from people who have made their living writing, recording, producing and syndicating rich media for their careers. Along with Mike Kiely, I'm writing the core elements of my Qik experience into a curriculum guide that will serve as the foundation of Business Video Fundamentals, a short course we'll run for anyone interested in spending a weekend in South Tipperary. I used to be a guy who was happy with the written word, until I watched how engrossed our 18-month-old daughter got while watching short 90-second clips of herself, her extended family and her environment. I can tell that she wants to make Qik clips too and I'm getting a pint-sized classroom set up with a throwaway cameraphone that she can  use when making clips from her buggy.

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Nokia E71 Exchange Services

E71 Exchange SettingsONE OF OUR UPGRADE options is the Nokia E71 and we may get one if we believe we can hook it into a tightly-controlled Exchange email account. With Nokia's Mail for Exchange software, the E71 becomes a true push email experience. You need to download free business software to get the official Mail For Exchange support page by Nokia. I think there will be issues with Microsoft Server ActiveSync because the network administrator must have granted access to the IP block used to access the server from our home. It will probably mean the IT admin should revise some of the settings under IIS > YOURSERVER >WEB SITES > Default Web Site >Microsoft-Server-ActiveSync. The Microsoft Technet site also has some very detailed advice. Although the upgrade plans in our lives normally allow us to slip into the best new technology, the E71 is priced below the €100 mark. Its E72 brother has some features we'd like, including a 5-megapixel camera with an LED flash, easy geotagging, real Bluetooth 2.0, memory expandable to 16 GB via a MicroSD slot, and a standard headphone jack.

Sunday Observations

Sunday ObservationsSUNDAY OBSERVATIONS, starting with Bruno (at left) [0], the Firefly [1], big black projects in the UK [2], cyber-terrorism that demands readiness [3], Chris Anderson's thoughts on everything being free [4], and the demise of Kodachrome. [5] The grimacing sound from the two-year-old was the word "Mia" which is a command to "show me my Flickr photostream" and you might enjoy that better than the two-minute Qik video that I shot today. It's probably faster to simply read my Twitterstream and absorb the gist of this Qik clip because the little girl in the background is kinda tedious. Show notes are below the break.

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Sunday Business News

Sunday Business NewsFT WEEKEND and the Sunday Business Post provide me with several hours of business news worth reading and on many weekend, those two newspapers are better than the Sunday business radio shows on national airwaves in Ireland. That's because many of those broadcasts feature people advocating a position, not informing public judgment. I enjoyed the Undercover Economist's view of weather forecasts [1] and the photo essay book review of Shop Class as Soulcraft [2], both topics covered in the FT Weekender Magazine. I lead off a 6-minute Qik video clip with these short items and cover a range of tech and business things as I page through those mainstream newspapers. I wish Donncha O Caoimh was writing some of the product reviews of digital cameras that the Irish newspapers print because his blog and photosets rock. (He's also on Twitter.) I'm determined to create a "corrections" category on my blogs because the newspapers inform me about the incorrect assessments I've made. I'm not wrong about wanting to visit Chicago again [3], this time with my Maxroam SIM installed.

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Leadership 4 Growth and Walking Rodeo

Rodeo DriveENTERPRISE IRELAND runs a Leadership 4 Growth programme that puts chief executives into California for a series of seminars. After chatting with a few of the privileged attendees, I learned that on weekends, it's possible to journey south for a walkabout of Rodeo Drive (at left, location of one of our favourite corner coffee shops) and to catch a wave along the southern California coastline. The 12-month leadership programme is delivered by the Stanford Graduate School of Business and that guarantees participants face time with some top-class technology, software, life sciences and medical services companies. The annual programme, run by Enterprise Ireland in partnership with the Irish Software Association, Irish BioIndustry Association and Irish Medical Devices Association covers a range of sectors such as engineering and is spawning another node for the construction industry. That programme will run in partnership with Duke Corporate Education in North Carolina (located approximately 3950 miles east of the photo). Stanford has some excellent coaching sessions for company executivies and the programme gives invaluable access to senior staff in an era of belt-tightening and market challenges.


Wireless SCART at Home

Wireless SCART ServiceAFTER ONE DAY of using the €66 wireless SCART transmission system (at left) that I got at Back to the Future in Dublin, I'm happy to report that it's working through walls and through floors.The salesman in the shop told me that he had sold 10 of the little numbers before I bought mine and no one had returned with a complaint. It's early days in my use of the wireless VID-TANS150KN system but I've discovered the 2.4 GHz signal does detect some FM interference from an item in my home (probably my wifi router). The small 7.5V power blocks that run the transmitter (on my DVD player) and the receiver (on my TV) get warm to the touch, suggesting a need to put them into separate switchable mains sockets. The owner's manual says the wireless SCART adapter can wok up to 80m in open areas and 30m through walls and ceilings. I'm going to try to power a TV set sitting on the third floor from a my Nokia E90 outside in my car. At the moment, I haven't used the unit's IR remote control feature, nor have I used the transmitter on my 5-in-1 SCART set-up. My first impression is that the wireless transmission system is the easiest thing I've ever used to fill my 32" television screen with information. Its ease of use makes me more likely to buy into Digital Living Network Alliance items, such as the SonyEricsson Walkman W995 mobile phone. We're already addicted to Bluetooth connectivity with the A2DP profile (streaming music over the air through the house) and that phone is DLNA-certified Wi-Fi (b & g) chip on-board. This means I will have at least two ways of connecting the W995 to my television for music. I'm now keen to see if I can line-out its video playback across my newly-christened wireless SCART network.

Back from the Future is at 77 Aungier Street, Dublin 2, Ireland. +3531 475 7177
König Electronic has some excellent items that deserve to be on my wishlist.


Death of My Teen Years

RIP MJ FFMI THINK I CLOSED the pages on my teenaged years with the news of the deaths of Farrah Fawcett-Majors and Michael Jackson. I grew up and went to college with both of these personalities holding iconic status in the popular culture around me. My first 10,000 miles as a car owner were powered with a lot of Michael Jackson's discography. MJ's creativity and showmanship were more than stage entertainment because they influenced the early years of my daughters. Both of my pre-school daughters were scared by the Thriller video, one piece of music that I carry as a permanent part of my pocket media collection. Farrah Fawcett formed part of a TV Room playlist during my college days. Even though everyone in the room knew how every episode of Charlie's Angels unfolded, we still sat and ate our cold pizza during the reruns. Those mindless television moments often capped exceptionally strenuous weeks of academic and physical activity in a formative environment that led to me earning pilot's wings and continuing to more than 3500 hours in the front of 19 different aircraft. On some of the most demanding missions, tracks from Michael Jackson's music played in my headset while I wrestled a big plane behind a tanker aircraft and downloaded yet-another load of fuel on missions crossing the Atlantic Ocean. I still have some of those high altitude mixtapes and MJ's music fills a sizeable portion of them. RIP Michael Jackson. RIP Farrah Fawcett.


Why Get an iPhone

i and eAFTER WATCHING MY nearly-two-year-old push on my mobile phone screen to control video playback, I decided that it might be worth my while to convert my double diamond upgrade status into a low cost iPhone. I think I'm into the sales queue with less than €100 to spend and look what I get for the littlest fingers in the house:

  • A big screen. Mia will see her favourite video collection on the biggest portable screen in the house.
  • A complex messaging system. It's certainly more than two taps in the same place to send a blank text message so that means Mia won't damage the monthly account by playing touchscreen.
  • A thick screen frame. Unlike the thin form factor on the SonyEricsson Walkman phone that Mia chewed through, the iPhone's screen is a little thicker and more resistant to those with an impulse to chew.
  • Voice Control for tracks. Mia recognises voices of her extended family. We've made some of those clips into MP3 files. It should be a matter of teaching the Voice Control to respond to her call-outs, renaming clips as required. This could be a fun experiment.

The adventure continues.

Sent mail2blog using Nokia E90 O2 Typepad service in Leon of Exchequer Street, Dublin 2.


Long Tail of Blogging is Dying

FACEBOOK, TWITTER and have replaced blogging as the primary watering holes for the online citizenry of Ireland. Several leading Irish bloggers have throttled back to link lists--something better suited to social bookmarking services like Delicious. The number and depth of their blog posts have fallen too. I can see this in Google Reader and when using FreeNews on my Nokia E90. Anecdotally, those same Irish bloggers have migrated over to Twitter where they have notched up more than 15,000 tweets. The New York Times has noticed this too in an article "Blogs Falling in an Empty Forest". The NYT believes "95% of blogs have been essentially abandoned." Things are easier in Facebook, the place where I get more comments for the blog posts that dribble in from Typepad to Facebook. And hundreds of people now interact with me every day on Twitter by reading my tweets, retweeting them or following my links. I can see this effect in Feedly's Karma Report. I'll still keep blogging, knowing that its heyday has slipped past, replaced by short messaging and passerby comments on Facebook walls.

Charles Arthur -- "Blogging's Long Tail Is Dying Off" in the Technology Guardian, 25 June 2009.
Sent mail2blog using my Nokia E90 and free wifi in Havana Tapas Bar, Dubin 2, Ireland.

Seeking Irish Stories and Poems for Publication

Blackstuff SkineSEVERAL OF MY 44R audience have clever stories to tell and they might discover Blue Mountain Press in Boulder, Colorado, will pay for the story. The international publishing company wants inspirational stories and wisdom relating to Ireland or the Irish culture to be published in an anthology. These can be non-fiction essays, stories, or poems that in some way capture the Irish (or Irish-American) heritage, region, or lifestyle.

Stories and essays should be between 100 and 600 words long. The editors want to include a pithy saying at the end, which sums up the inspirational message, such as, "You'll never plough a field by turning it over in your mind." You can make up some of these things by following Darragh Doyle on Twitter.

If your story or poem is selected to appear in the anthology, you will receive a one-time payment of $50 for anthology rights upon publication. If this interests you, you have five days to submit your writings by e-mail (not attachment) to "Irish" in the subject line.

Sent mail2blog using Nokia E90 O2 Typepad service from the Kildare Market.