MARTHA ROTTER HAS DETAILS for applications developers in Ireland & Northern Ireland who want to earn prizes (i.e., sweet cash, Xboxes, and swag). If you want the inside story, you should follow Martha. Don't be shy about asking for gear you need.
WITHIN A FEW WEEKS, my creative multimedia teaching workload at Tipperary Institute will spin up to its normal pace and I'm trying to manage my interaction with the flow by porting as much of it as possible onto a handheld device. The first step involves creating a mobile learning scratch space. I'd like students to access the learning materials on their mobile devices with the minimum specifications being (1) a browser, (2) MP3 player and (3) Bluetooth connectivity on the device. We meet for 12 weeks. I want to beam audio revision notes to the classrrom via Bluetooth. I want to offer an RSS feed that prefaces each class with working notes and follows every class with lecture notes. I may use InsideView.ie as the main hub of activity since the information flow should not bother the long-standing readers of my blog. The photo at left shows one of the views of the project management module. The N86 handset is looking at a working Google Document (bit.ly/tipp-pm) that will be revised during the academic term to show what's up next.
THE SUNDAY TIMES MAGAZINE has an interesting feature story about the American artist Spencer Tunick, the guy who "cajoles ordinary folk around the world to get their kit off," according to Katie Glass. The glossy feature shows nude participants, some in rainbow colours, next to photos of themselves fully clothed. Words from "ordinary people" like "joyful," "liberating" and "free" appear in the story. After hearing several Irish friends talk about participating in this art-making venture, I think Tunick's work takes performance art to a new level. I've made a short video that includes the Sunday Times story along with several other items appearing in the Sunday Business Post, Irish Times and Nationalist newspapers. As paywalls start closing down free access to these news sources, home editors like myself may discover a new audience. However, nothing replaces the power and reach of national mainstream journalists.
AFTER SPOTTING A FACEBOOK comment about my three-year-old daughter on the newsfeed of a friend of an extended friend, I realised I have to stop sharing snaps of my toddler. It's something that Mitch Joel or Krishna De would have advised me to consider years ago and something that John Collins might also prefer as a best practise. I think it's delightful to share stories about how children get to grips with technology at the earliest ages. But I don't think I have the right to expose a pre-school child to possible media attention. At least once a month, I know that one of my images gets used in a publication. I'm sure three or four images belonging to me are nicked and mashed up for someone else's benefit. I don't mind as much if it's merely a photo of a thing but when it's a face or a family moment, I start to feel my Amish side. So I'm dialing down the settings on Mia's online presence, slowly removing her from public albums. I can trust Flickr and Six Apart to keep her locked down for "family" viewing only. And when she's well into her teenage years, I'll let her decide what she wants to open up to share. In the meantime, I'm concentrating on US versions of DVDs for Christmas greetings. And I'm also producing a few paper-based photo albums for special collections.
I SPENT A GLORIOUS EVENING mingling with people who appreciate good food and with people who produce great foodstuff. And by the end of the evening, I realised I was complicit in the decline of locally-produced good food. So I'm fixing some things, starting with the way my creative multimedia students in Tipperary Institute interpret what's on their plates. In Ireland, we have to better integrate technology into the promotion of the food sector.
HAVING AN MP3 tag editor is an important prerequisite if you plan to manage an audio library containing more than 1000 files. This should be the kind of personal library maintained by every student in the creative multimedia degree programme at Tipperary Institute. MP3 tagging helps me manage cassette tracks, vinyl samples, iTunes libraries, Sony Media collections, and Ovi Music downloads. MP3 Tag from Florian Heidenreich helps me properly tag MP3 files so that my iPod, X10 and Nokia N86 can simply group and sort files logically and that means I can find the music I need for my mood faster than toggling through Last.fm for the right track. If you've tried different music players, you know that tagging music within iTunes or with Windows Media player does not tag the audio tracks themselves. So when you rebuild your music library with another program, you lose all your track information. That's one reason why I use a MP3tag, a program that makes music management extremely intelligent.
I HAVE UNPACKED AND sampled generous portions from a paper bag of swag (a "goodie bag" in other words) that caused me to think about what we could do in my Tipperary Institute classrooms to boost Tipperary as an iconic food brand. But first, I should disclose that I got a week's supply of lovely ingredients to fill my belly and because those things are so delectable, they have completely biased my perspective. I know think #tippfood is some of the best on the planet. Disclosing that I repeatedly sample the local cuisine, I know readers will take on board my compromised viewpoint.
I SPENT THE BEST PART of Wednesday evening along Lough Derg at Brocka on the Water, a lovely country home with sumptuous meals. You can get a flavour for the place by listening to my TippFood Audioboo or by looking at a Qik clip I shot while walking around the patio area. There's a joy in knowing that everything on your fork might have arrived in the kitchen with just two feet carrying the crate. In Brocka on the Water, most of the herbs come from just around the corner from the kitchen or up a pebbled path where a 20m tunnel of polyethylene surrounds a naturally productive plot of composted soil. The tunnel is a hand-fashioned glasshouse, minus the glass. It's remarkable on its own and critically important in achieving the signature taste of the chef's creations in the dining room of Brocka on the Water.
I'M USING WIKITUDE World Browser to see virtual billboards, geotagged images and the locations of people on Twitter while looking through my phone perched on my car's dashboard. Wikitude puts Augmented Reality (AR) into my car. It overlays digital directions and aggregated location data on live video shot through my car's windows. It works best when pointed ahead but there's no reason a passenger wouldn't get accurate info by turning the cameraphone sideways and reading the AR world from there. I haven't tried driving by looking through the 4.3" viewfinder on the X10. I may wait until I can buy Wikitude Drive next month. It sells for $9 in the Android Market.
I SUSPECT MAILBOX sync and Google Latitude services cause my Androidphones to contact O2-Ireland through the data tethering APN even though the handsets are told to restrict their operations to the "internet" APN on O2-Ireland. In the screenshot at left (click it to make it bigger), a series of recurring 82 cent charges leads me to believe that Google Latitude is talking to the cloud through whatever means possible--I'm trying to verify that. It could be that Android handsets are designed to use a open.internet as their means of updating their location on Latitude. Or perhaps Google advertisements get pushed down into free applications in 1 MB chunks and I pay for those ads as they arrive. This bothers me because I am leaking data usage and I get billed for it. I have not contracted for this kind of service. Moreover, I cannot stop the service through adjusting any setting on the phone. Nor can O2 restrict the phone from using tethering services--even though I am not contracted for those services. I am not alone in this regard. I've started calling O2's Help Desk on a daily basis to have my 82 cent charges revoked until they can verify what kind of application is running up these irritating charges. It's costing me a pint a day when I use my SonyEricsson Xperia X10 for a whole work day. Last month, I ran up EUR 57 in unwanted charges (a fee O2 has refunded to me). I want my phone to respect my directions. When I turn on my radio, I can select FM or AM or MW and the radio delivers that frequency. I wonder why O2 cannot deliver its over-the-air signal with the same degree of integrity as a simple kitchen radio. Consumers don't like rogue processes. Unwelcome data tethering has to be controlled at the network level, just like unwelcome data roaming.
Note: I am running both a SonyEricsson Xperia X10 and a SE X10 Mini along with a Nokia N86 and Nokia E90 as part of my normal weekly routine. These 82 cent charges are part of a recent development.
24 Aug Update: My OTA usage with X10 includes Wikitude Latitude, Google Maps, Listen, SE Sync, Gmail. I used the Nokia N86 data services for Gravity and Latitude. I wasn't charged for the 82 cent billing that appeared on my account.
25 Aug Update: O2-Ireland blocked the open.internet APN from use by my primary phone number and my Xperia X10 failed to connect to over-the-air data services. Its APN is internet.