Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Skype for the iPhone

Skype has arrived for the iPhone. Initially, when hearing about this, I imagined scenes from “The Jetsons,” where video conferencing becomes the norm. Unfortunately, it is not so. The current Skype app lets you talk via Skype to Skype calls on the 3G network for free, or make calls to land lines or cell phones at a discounted rate. However, the video feature is not yet available.

Although, once it does become available, there might be some problems with the older generation iPhones. For instance, the camera is on the back of the phone, but the screen is on the front, so you would only be able to see/chat by flipping your phone around every minute. I’m holding out for the June iPhone release, hoping for a camera on the same side as the screen on the iPhone and hope Skype updates their app.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Is Boxee right?

Boxee is gearing up to piss off television networks. Boxee is free software that allows users to watch Internet content on their televisions. The reason this is upsetting to television networks, is because there are free services like “Hulu” or iTunes-which isn’t free, but is very cheap to download an episode. The networks are concerned that people are going to stop watching real time TV, even more than they already are tuning out with Tivo and DVR devices. This will further diminish the ad dollars, and then the networks won’t be able to fund the shows.

So let’s talk about the ethics of all of this. Is this wrong? I don’t think so. Boxee is free now. My guess is that at some point when it becomes a necessity-it will probably start charging for its services. Also, all that this is doing is helping the inevitable switch to digital programming move faster. I think that television networks instead need to figure out how to monetize online content.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The good, the bad and the ugly of social media.

Here are a couple of examples of good social media, social media gone bad-and ugly social media efforts.....

The good: Rachel Harris and her website: http://www.iwanttogotonotredame.com/
As a result of her social media tactic, inspired by Barack Obama’s utilization of web technology during his campaign, Harris has already been featured on various news outlets: Detroit Free Press, Muskegon Chronicle, USA Today, WZZM 13 News Channel, NBC2 Fort Myers, FL affiliate. Hopefully, Harris’ social media campaign will help her get the $46,000 a year that she needs for tuition.

The site and effort is ingenious, however Harris should continue to expand her efforts onto twitter, a facebook page and maybe an online blog/diary tracking her efforts throughout school. Harris should also rethink her major to PR/Communications instead of pre-med.

The bad: Mistrials as a result of iphones.

More and more jurors are looking to outside sources for information. With the popularity of iphones and blackberry’s, jurors only need to reach to their pocket to do their own independent research. Although jurors might think that looking up traffic routes, or other information on their own to inform themselves and develop their own ideas is a good idea-it in fact is hindering the judicial process. Not only is it illegal, but also it is resulting in mistrials.

The ugly: The new Facebook. I know. Facebook is trying to be more like twitter-but I personally think it’s ugly and now the home and the friend pages are sort of redundant.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Privacy and cameras-is there privacy anymore?

Imagine that you are talking to somebody. As any good conversationalist, you know to make eye contact. Now, what if that eye you were trying to connect with was actually recording every move you made and every word you said?

With everyone worried about privacy these days, from identity theft, to Facebook owning your own personal profile, privacy is on the mind. And rightfully so. Technology is moving faster than the speed of light-which is great, but also brings some ethical concerns.

One example of privacy and technology clashing, is the creation of the eye camera. No, not the iCamera, the e-y-e camera.

A guy (Rob Spence), with one eye who had been using a prosthetic for most of his life, is now going to experiment with some new technology by making a prosthetic eye that also digitally records with a camera.

To me, it’s brilliant. And Rob wants to use this technology for good: to make a documentary about the rising privacy concerns of surveillance cameras.

I think it’s cool. You could use the eye camera to get more realistic point of view stories, or spy stories. Suddenly the cell phone that 007 used that turned into a stun gun seems lame.

Either way, the eye camera is fascinating to me, and I can’t wait to see what other body parts we can turn into digital recording devices!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Why isn't Oprah on Facebook?

Here is an article that is all about brands that embrace social media, quietly.  PBS is listed as starting social media because of the engaging and educational programming like "This Old House".  HGTV, Oprah and ESPN round out the rest of the list.

Oddly enough, some of these influencers are more quiet than others.  It's odd to me that Oprah is not on Facebook.  There are several fake Oprah or Harpo facebook pages, but nothing dedicated to the official, original influencer herself.  Furthermore, a preliminary Twitter search produced only an "O" home magazine tweet.  O home magazine can maybe live on online, since the hard copy is now defunct.  

Myth Busters on Discovery Channel, was not on this list, but is an influencer in my eyes.  The show could not go on without viewer input and participation.  In terms of engaging, conversational and educational criteria, it seems that Myth Busters has (like PBS) been using social media way before it was even called social media.  And although the show is popular (it's on broadcast TV!), Myth Busters is not on Facebook (officially) or on Twitter-two of social media's largest networks.

Why aren't the real social media influencers or inventors like Oprah and Myth Busters on the two biggest social media networks?  It seems like they have nothing to lose, and can only gain influence and popularity. 

Just a curious observation.