Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Where was I when all this happened? vlogs?

There I was, quietly doing my job, when in comes this email from a co-worker. Always the bearer of some informational tidbit, I will put down whatever I am doing to read the links he sends.

As is normal, there were several article links on blogging and such. However, one in particular caught my eye. It had to do with a thing called a vlog. Reading into the article, I learned that a vlog is a Video bLOG. There was also a link over to where this bald guy (AKA Karl Miller) is talking on just about everything from armpits to the next band that will make him wealthy beyond his… oh never mind about that.

The bald guy is from a company called Serious Magic. They make the software that makes it easy for anyone (maybe even me) to create vlogs. Not just any webcam’ed, fuzzy image and crappy sound vlog. Oh no! We are talking about near broadcast quality stuff here. Granted his is a solution looking for a problem to solve with the vlog approach, but wait there’s more. Serious Magic makes incredible (if his pitch is to be believed) software for creating vlog, training videos, news items, video journals and the like. And it does it with extreme ease and professional look. This does not come cheap (at least not for my wallet). But I just can’t say enough about the capabilities that are available for the basic “home” producer.

The products are Visual Communicator, Ultra, DV Rack and Vlog-it. I don’t usually go off the deep end on software, but you must see this to believe it.

BTW, in my job I was recently tasked to put together a self-serve video production station. Given a pre-purchased set of parts and scrounging of other stuff, we ended up with a pretty good video station. But still lacked the ease of use for the customer to come in, sit down and just do a video. We have talked about scripts and the like to get this going. Well, Serious Magic has bypassed all that and provided an easy to use production environment including a teleprompter. Did I already say this… it could not be easier or look more professional (unless you went to a professional studio).

Okay, enough said about that. The real reason for this early morning babble is the following vlog I found by Jeff Jarvis. He talks about the power that anyone can have to do video “journalism”. He is using the Serious Magic setup, but doesn’t really go into detail or promote it. Good thing, right? Rather he talks about the evolution of journalism and what news agencies, etc. can do to take advantage of this new found source of information and “reporting”. Not everyone cares for Jeff Jarvis, but if on nothing else, he is right on target with this “journalism to the people” concept.

I know this will sound corny. It did long ago in high school, when I told someone that one of my goals was to help get information to everyone whenever they wanted it. The response was “right, and cure world hunger while you are at it”. Currently, I have not made much progress on the world hunger front, but I am making small steps in the information delivery. {Not counting my blog of course. That’s not information, just babble}. I feel that this video log capability is the next big step towards the information to (and perhaps by) everyone.

I don’t know if I will produce a vlog. In reality, I believe I am a bit camera shy. Although in the recent past I have had a live cam for broadcasting my fuzzy image to thousands of unsuspecting co-workers and produced just as fuzzy videos that were presentations converted to a talking head and presentation sourced in web form. All-in-all, I really don’t like doing that, but I do love a challenge and what more of a challenge then to try something that you aren't comfortable with and probably do it pretty darn lame and then expose that to hundreds, possibly dozens of others. Sounds like I didn't get enough punishment as a child or something.

Well now, off to do some online cruising for cheap prices on this software. I will let you know what, how much and where I find anything worth blabbing about...


Sunday, March 27, 2005

cell phone geekiness moment

As surprising as this may seem, it is not 2 AM and I am actually writing.

Yesterday, I sent several hours cruising through various web sites after reading an article on what's up with cell phones in Japan. The article came from Molly Wood who writes this time for the CNET AnchorDesk. The article was entitled Dispatch from the road: the future holds flip phones. Hopefully, the article is still available at this location. Google the title, if not.

Anyway, the story detailed (briefly) the kinds of things she saw while looking for trends in cell phones, at the center of the cell phone universe, Japan .

The biggest impression it left with me was the politeness of the cell users. She said she never heard a cell ring in a public place nor did she see people actually talking on cells where it would annoy people. You will read in the article that the folks in Japan apparently know what the "silent" mode is on their cells and, get this, they know how to use it!!!! OMG, that would be a revolutionary idea here in the U.S.

Also implied by the article was that it was kind of a status symbol to not be talking on your phone but rather be messaging. Completely 180 degrees from the U.S. market, where we must be talking in the most inappropriate locations in an effort to show how important we must be. It was at this point, I realized why so many people from other countries dislike us. We proclaim our higher than you status via rudeness. There's a study to be funded by a government grant!

Well back to the hours of surfin'. In this same article it talked about, and I quote,
Everyone--and I mean everyone, from the girliest schoolgirl to the grimmest businessman--attaches some sort of cute, dangling charm to the corner of his or her phone.

This is what got me going on a surfin' crusade. I needed to find out what the attraction was for everyone to have these little danglies hanging for their phones. In addition, I wanted to find out why I had not seen this here in the U.S.

Bottom-line: the reason everyone has them on their phone is because (this is of course from my perspective) in one fell swoop these danglies make the owner both an individual and part of a group. And they are just too darn cute. Everything from dragons made from beads to Feng Shui symbols; from Hello Kitty to Mickey Mouse; from train station lunch boxes to your favorite vegetable. Yes, pretty much anything you can think of has been resin reproduced, beaded or braided and is hanging from someone's cell phone lanyard hole. (You U.S. readers, yes, the little pass-thru hole in the side of your phone actually has a use!)

Now, one of the greatest locations for picking up this cuteness is It is of course located in Japan. There are some locations in the U.S. but none compare to the completeness of a fad as this site. Enjoy the hours of browsing through aisles and aisles of, what else can it be called but, cuteness!

Yes, we both brought items from Yes, we both went overboard. But you know what? With all the sameness of -

everyone having a cell phone,
everyone talking at this most inappropriate time,
everyone allowing their phone to ring where silence would be the better course,
everyone's ringtone blasting out the latest hip-hop, country, classical or oldies music,

wouldn't it be a wonderment to look over at this abnoxious American and see...

a Hello Kitty dangle hanging there?

Yes, it might even channel some of the anger to a sweet little awwwww. Just for a moment mind you. But even the biggest revolutions start with the smallest of moments.

So if you hear someone being annoying with their cell, be sure to check for the dangle and cut them some slack. They are trying to start a revolution, but aren't quite there yet!


Friday, March 18, 2005

Another early morning

This parody of a Sam Cooke song is entitled, "Another early morning".
For those to don't know the tune, here is a sample

Another early morning and I sit here writin,
I have some thoughts cause I just woke up.
How I wish I had not had that coffee,
I'm just writin this blog.

I woke in bed a time ago,
I ain't shut my eyes since then.
If I could close em I could rest em,
but as yet I haven't shut em,
That's why I'm in the fix I'm in, ohhh...

Another early morning and I sit here writin,
I have some thoughts cause I just woke up.
How I wish I had not had that coffee,
I'm just writin my blog.

Another fella told me,
he had a weblog that looked so fine.
Instead of bein my deliverance,
it had a strange assemblance
To a blog from Gertrude Stein, ohhhh...

Another early morning and I sit here writin,
I have some thoughts cause I just woke up.
How I wish I had not had that coffee,
I'm just writin more blog.

Its hard on a fella
when he don't have his head laid down
If I don't find me some sheep
To help me get some sleep
I'm gonna keep a writin this log.

Another early morning and I sit here writin,
I have some thoughts cause I just woke up.
How I wish I had not had that coffee,
I'm just writin a blog, ohhh, I'm just writin my blog.

Friday, March 04, 2005

another wakeful night

So, if you were wondering, like so many other “blogs”, yes this one is all about me. No politically charged issues. No controversial discussions. No porn, sex or drugs.
If that is what you stopped by for, no need to read further. I am actually surprised you got this far.

This is but a journal of what I am doing; what might be happening in my life; and the thoughts in my head.
Since each of us is connected to the whole, it can never truly be “all” about me.
But given the envelope that I occupy, it does feel like an appropriate place to focus.
Once again another early morning finds me here before the screen and keyboard.
As is usual, I have hundreds of thoughts scurrying about. They play their various sports -

The ADD dash.
The distraction decathlon.
The “was that a chicken” high jump.
So many sports, so little time.

I find myself thinking about change again.
This time it will be a change in job.
Not sure where that will lead.

With my boss taking a new job, I don’t believe I want to “lie down on the tracks” (as my partner puts it) for my current job.

Where I work it some times feels like everyone is “out for a pass”. Unfortunately, no one appears to have the ball to make the toss.

We all look pretty darn good, running our patterns. But as an observer you really need to know some context to makes sense of the actions.

If an alien (from another planet, rather then merely another country) were to look upon all of us dutifully dashing about, ready for our pass, it might say…

What the hell are they doing?
They all seem to be working very hard at something.
They look to be very passionate about their effort.
But, where are they going?
What is the point to this activity?
Are they just trying to get in shape?

{"chicken jump", see sports above}

Not sure if everyone gets to experience this, but I hope so.
There are times when you come across people and they just happen to be the person you work for or work for you that:

- are a joy to be around, they generate and share their energy
- give you freedom, while watching your back
- take the impossible and from what seems to be nowhere, make it happen
- can be trusted
- give you their honest, un-tethered opinions, thoughts, advice
- listen

I have been lucky enough to come across a few bosses, several peers, a couple friends and one partner who fit this bill.

It always felt like when I went out for a pass, the ball arrived at the exact moment, with the correct angle and velocity.
Or when I sent the pass flying, they were at the exact spot and ready to embrace the ball and run with it.
One doesn’t always know how to express the great feelings that accompany the interaction with these individuals.
When their presence no longer influences your envelope, there appear to be a lot more “out for a pass” patterns then normal.
This of course (not normally a given with an ADD dash) leads back to changing jobs.

I consider myself an agent of change.
I love to seek out difficult problems and apply unexpected solutions.
So far, I have been able to learn whatever I needed to accomplish this.

For now, I will scan the horizon to see the next new land, once located, will set out on yet another new adventure.

And hopefully enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed this recent set of people, places and challenges.

And of course I will report back here, because as everyone knows it IS all about me!