Thursday, November 30, 2006

Well, that about sums it up...

Let no one ever say he didn't say it like he saw it. Go Steve.
[The following is a repost from Steve Sloan on his website, SJSU Tech on a mission, on 11.29.2006]

Editorial: The evil of opacity

What we would like to do, may not be what we can do (and maybe that is okay)
That is just a fact of life. We learn as kids, "if wishes were horses then beggars would ride." Sometimes it is easy to just keep our wants and needs to ourselves. But, when it comes to what we want and need as a university, I think openness is better than being closed. I think we need to be more open about what we need, we should put it out there, rather than use the lack of resources as an excuse.

There is also the matter of allocation of the resources we do have. If folks are engaged in the thought process I think they are more likely to help us. I think we need to openly talk about where we see our school going and our vision of the future. I think we need to be free to do this as individuals as well as an institution. I think we need to have open conversations in a way that engages our colleagues, our partners and also our customers, the students. I believe our customers deserve more respect. I think our other customers, the public, deserves to engaged, after all, they pay our salaries. They are taxed to pay our salaries.

SJSU is a public state funded university. I see it as being paradoxical that we public servants are performing our public services spending the taxpayers hard earned money and yet we see it as the right thing to do to be opaque. New media is all about transparency and conversation. But, from what I see, that seems counter to a university culture of closed doors, politics, secrecy and overall opacity.

To me that opacity is not right, it is evil, and maybe that is why I seem to be so good at getting in trouble when I state my opinion. I may be wrong often and readily admit when I am wrong. There are worse things than being wrong. I think if you are open about your intentions and you are wrong and someone points that out you have an opportunity to change for the better. But, I think if you exist in a world of shadows and you are wrong that is worse; because then your mistakes remain hidden they never have an opportunity to be amended. I would rather risk being openly wrong than have to be secretly right knowing my ideas will never see the light of the day.

I love my school and I think we should express our ideas and opinions, consider those of others and speak out about our feelings and embrace the collective intelligence of all those great folks who care about us enough to engage in a conversation constructively. That is why I love blogging and all the other forms of new media. It is based on the Internet and the two basic concepts of the Internet: the Internet routes around obstacles and enables communication to all nodes from all nodes. How does the Internet do this? It does that because on the Internet all nodes are equal. On the Internet all nodes are free to communicate.

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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Scoble Writes on JMC163

Robert did this piece today on Steve Sloan's announcement that the University may dismantle what is now JMC163. He wrote:


You can learn InDesign from a book. You can’t have a small group interaction with speakers like Steve Sergeant, host of Wildebeat, David Weinberger, author of Cluetrain Manifesto, Aaron Uhrmacher, Second Life expert, Phil Wolff, SkypeJournal author, or students talking about their own podcasts. I spoke to the class as well. Notice how all those link to podcasts of the actual class sessions!

It’s a shame, because San Jose State University needs more innovative classes like these, not fewer.

Amen. The post has gotten quite a few comments from people that visit his site, most of them supportive of the current class.

I said it once and I'll say it again, the University needs to revamp its curriculum and consider making New Media a concentration unto itself. What's happening now is essentially like having all Nursing and Biology students in the same major because it might increase costs to the school to have both.

That's a backward way of thinking; new programs that entice students to use specialty skills to broaden markets and generate revenue (or God help us, further free-speech) are a DRAW TO THE UNIVER$ITY.
But like Ryan Sholin commented yesterday, " won't happen until they [the University] completely revamp[s] the curriculum. And good luck on that one."


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Phil Wolff Skyped JMC 163 Last Night

The blogger from Skype Journal wasn't the only one stopping by to say hi; Fred Mertz, a freelance photographer working for the Chronicle of Higher Education, also stopped by and took pictures for an upcoming piece on JMC163.

Wolff talked a little bit about the Skype story at SJSU that took place earlier this year. He dissected it, sharing why he believed the story took off the way that it did. What were the points he talked about?
1.There were local advocates with a vested interest in keeping Skype on campus.
2.The blogosphere picked up the story and turned it viral.
3.The traditional media picked it up as well.
4.It already had all of the elements of a good story: power struggle, work being affected, and a school environment.


I'll keep you posted on the Higher Ed piece when it comes out. It will most likely also be talking about the Skype piece a bit. The ironic part about this whole thing is that the very class that has attracted so much attention for the great job that it has done may be dismantled by next semester.

Steve Sloan posted a disturbing piece on his personal blog Tuesday:

There is a plan to turn 163 partly into a software teaching class and teach InDesign, Photoshop, other applications and maybe half a semester’s worth of “new media.” This will be a real change in what has become known as, “the podcasting class.”

I have nothing against the Adobe Creative Suite applications, I use them and have taught them. But, I do not see this as being consistent with what we are doing in this class. This semester 163 has concentrated on the Internet and emerging forms of journalism. Maybe I am wrong.

We have a meetup on Thursday November 30 at 7pm in downtown San Jose at Tony Soprano’s Pizzeria. You are invited to come or comment. I would love to get input from folks on this subject. I know our accreditation limits the amount of units we can do new stuff with. But, I see this class as being critical.

I'm not thrilled by this development at all. As has been mentioned by several students in JMC163 and professionals outside the class, classes on Photoshop, InDesign, Dreamweaver, and other apps can been taken very easily for a few hundred bucks over a weekend. The understanding of WHY new media is taking off and WHERE it is going is much more pertenant to our future careers.

If the University really wants students to learn those programs, then they should consider making New Media a concentration like Print and Broadcast are. Removing such vital content will only act as a disservice to students.

And maybe it's just my journalism background speaking, but I think journalists SHOULD be more interested in the WHY than the HOW, because the HOW is always conditional upon the WHY.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Bloggers are Journalists, Courts Rule

Kyle Hansen brought an interesting article to my attention today. Last Friday a Canadian judge said that a blogger IS a journalist. To quote Keanu Reeves, "Woah!"

Obviously, this has no immediate bearing on American journalists, but it does signal a clear shift from the traditional international perception that a journalist is part of an organized, structured business or organization to an independent, theoretical creation. Ergo, the citizen journalist is gaining credibility.

Not only does this immediately shift the focus from high revenue large market based news-gathering to low budget, niche-market-high-impact reporting from individuals, but it also CREATES A NEED for greater individual participation in politics and their communities.


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Monday, November 27, 2006

New Perspective Emerges from Iraq, Online

It's been online in iTune's since October 18th, though it's been online since May 31st outside of an RSS format. The show has a slightly different perspective from the ones you hear on the Nightly News, and quite apart from most of the vlogosphere.

Freedom Journal Iraq, produced by the Pentagon Channel, is a horse of a different color. Their bias is clear, yet oddly refreshing.

It shows American officers and enlisted serving in Iraq, affected daily by IED's and suicide bombers. It shows some of their triumphs, and well as their defeats, through a set of uniquely American military eyes.

As a journalism major, the show is in striking contrast to Alive in Baghdad, another phenomenal vlog shot by independent citizen journalists in Iraq.

Oddly enough, it is the bias that I find appealing, as the growing trend of vlogging further the marketplace of ideas about which Mills wrote.

Politics not your thing? There's always my favorite comedy newcast, Fox News Flash. Today they talked about a Colombian marathon where officers run with their dogs to raise money for fallen officers. Don't get me wrong, it's a good cause and all - but a Colombian dog marathon?

Must have been a slow news day. Wait a minute - aren't there a couple wars going on?

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Zune Got Served

[Warning: this post is somewhat technical and highly geeky. Continue reading at your own risk.]

Everyone by now has read the Chicago Sun-Times article slamming Zune. I second what Cali Lewis said today on GeekBrief Tv, "I'm not a Microsoft hater; I'm longing for the release of Windows Vista."

I use Windows XP myself, I have an XBox360, and I admit that I got more than a little excited when someone teased me with the idea that Microsoft was working with Mozilla on an open-source OS.

There's no truth to that rumor, as far as I know, FYI. Shucks!

That said, I'm not going to buy a Zune, nor do I want to. It's just too restrictive with all the copyright stuff built into it. There is, however, something Microsoft recently released that is worth some praise. And in light of all their latest slams, I've decided to talk about it.

Internet Explorer 7.

Now, the Firefox nut in me wanted to discard this browser immediately, but IE7 really does have some kick butt features that even Firefox could benefit from including.

For instance, the built-in RSS aggregator in IE7 is more well placed than Firefox's in 2.0, and IE7's zoom feature and "tab lists" give the user easy interface and accessibility not possible without add-ons in Firefox.

In my book, Firefox did their own browser a discredit by including the "aging tab" feature in version 2.0 . It just wasn't necessary and frankly, the "colorful tabs" add-on in 1.5 was much better anyways.

The developments Microsoft made/allowed with Google are also pretty awesome, especially the Google toolbar feature that allows you to Sync all your Google Bookmarks across browsers.
"Yes," some of you will say, "but Firefox has that add-ons too."

This is true, but the button built into the toolbar is far more efficient that the add-on for Firefox that puts it next to the Help button. The Firefox version uses too much RAM, something in short supply if you keep a million tabs open, like I do.

Overall, IE7 is faster than Firefox, and arguably just as safe with its new Phishing-filter and pop-up blocker.

The drawbacks of IE7 are apparent though, most blatantly, by the lack of add-ons on the Microsoft website. Whole sections are bare. I forget who wrote it, but it's true that Firefox has become popular for the same reason as Honda Civics. They are infinitely customizable to the individual.

So while Firefox may still be my top browser of choice, Microsoft is still doing an amazing job on some of their products, with great promise of improving. They just need a little more Web 2.0 luv to get up to par.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

And...I'm alive!

I made it past Thanksgiving; I hope everyone else was as lucky.

On a side note: thanks to Steve Sloan and everybody else who has been blogging about their safety concerns around Clark Hall.

Steve posted this picture on the 25th; apparently administration listened to people's concerns and acted appropriately. As Steve wrote, "That is a win for everybody!"

Speaking of Steve, JMC 163 is coming to a close soon. For those of you not attending SJSU, it's a new media class (one of the very, very few) that explores both the theory and applications that allow new media to flourish. The class drew much attention from all over the world earlier this year when SJSU banned Skype's use on campus.

This media attention gave students like myself the opportunity to experience google bombs, Web 2.0 realities, and bureaucracy, firsthand.

It's also brought many a powerful speaker to the class, including famous authors like David Weinberger, famous bloggers like Phil Wolff from Skype Journal, and famous vloggers like Ryan Hodson from Node 101 (and everywhere else). And that's just to name a few!

It's great to see that some teachers and administration officials are realizing that these are the leaders of tomorrow's technological boom - the forerunners of a new media industry.

I seriously hope for the future of both SJSU and the economy that the University encourages such classes next semester and for years come, as it is a priceless asset. Steve already said it best, so I'm going to steal from him now and go out on top:

Most importantly our students have gained valuable skills and more. They have gained insight into the global "new media" conversation (often called "Web 2.0") that is going on and how the media landscape is changing and why things will never go back to being the same as they were in the past.

That is what we did with this "blank slate" and I think our students will be better equipped to deal with the real world of emerging "new media" journalism because of it. We did this all without having even a printer in the classroom because frankly, we did not need one. We did not need paper. The class was all out there for the world to see on the student blogs and the world listened. That is the coolest part, the world listened.

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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Lazy will Inherit the Earth? Sweet!

[Disclosure: I use a remote control to search the music folder on my desktop because the labor of using a keyboard is too great while lying in bed on Monday mornings. I still have a mini fridge in my room because, sometimes, the kitchen is just too damned far away. I never pay my taxes before the last minute, and my google/ig has more tabs on it than Technorati has links - I demand the world come to me. Yes, yes... I'm lazy.]

That said, here's a little up and coming gem I found through Techcrunch. It's called Remote Control Mail; a company that opens, scans, and emails your physical mail to you. Niffty idea; for about $50 (activation fee and then 6 months of service) you can check your mail from anywhere. They'll even get rid of your junk mail for you. It's one of those interim services until the post office goes under from lack of use.

Here's another nugget I found today: ZeFrank - genius. Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

Hey, on a sidenote - anyone catch that response from Irina of Geek Entertainment TV the other day... cool stuff. I digg her show. Check it out over here.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Stem Cells Cause Cancer?!

As some of you may know, my mom died of lung cancer in August of last year. And no, she never smoked. Anyways, as any of you that have been touched by cancer know, after dealing with it on a daily basis, you tend to become more excited when hearing about new treatments and breakthroughs.

Here's a little something I found on Digg today - an article proposing that cancer may, in fact, be caused by stem cells. If true, it suggests a radical new approach to the way chemotherapy and radiation are used. Crazy cool stuff...

By the way, if you want to help fight cancer without lifting a finger or spending money, (perfect for college students, hehe) you might consider donating your idle CPU power. Every bit helps.

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Good Night San Jose, Hello World

I've just wrapped up doing tech work for San Jose State's production of Good Night Desdemona, Good Morning Juliet - phew! Glad that one's finally over; time to get back to blogging at full speed.

Speaking of new media, here's some new content that's really superb (daresay I "leet"?) that deserves some link-luv.

If you're looking to check out some new vlogs that are really impressive, Inside Africa TV is phenomenal. The current show on Kenya, at 19 minutes, gives a little bit closer look at the peripheral country than the traditional media ever does.

Loosely related: a belated kudos to Alive in Baghdad for busting it out big time at the Vloggies. I'm a big supporter of what they're doing.

Check out yesterday's powerful episode about the mother who's son was "martyred", and you'll instantly appreciate the quality of stories that they're telling. It's something you don't get on Fox or CNN very much.

Lastly, I know Rocketboom does international pieces every once in awhile (which is amazing and inspiring given the size of their budget and size), but the one today from Kenya was exremely well done and powerful. Check that out here.

Well, like I said, I'm back in full swing. Look for more posts and lots more content coming soon. A little preview: I've been doing a lot of work with video, and I'll probably (finally) have a video podcast up shortly after Thanksgiving. Stay tuned.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

What Windows Movie Maker IS good for...

Here's a little something I HAD to do for one of my classes this week. What else are you supposed to do with old college pictures and way too much time?

P.S. Some (namely the puking pictures) were staged. Go new media.

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Just Killin' Brain Cells

There is a beauty to the internet that I just can't put my finger on...

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Better Late than Never

Image taken from Wikipedia article: Intellipedia
In case you didn't catch this article from Reuters a few days ago, the US government has created its own version of Wikipedia, nicknamed, "Intellipedia":

...its own secretive version of Wikipedia, saying the popular online encyclopedia format known for its openness is key to the future of American espionage.

The office of U.S. intelligence czar John Negroponte announced Intellipedia, which allows intelligence analysts and other officials to collaboratively add and edit content on the government's classified Intelink Web much like its more famous namesake on the World Wide Web.

First off, that is pretty cool. Secondly, it's a little frightening to think that our government has been about four years behind the technology curve on this one. I wonder if it's using Google and RSS yet?

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Journalist's Last Moments of Life on YouTube

(image taken from Wikipedia article: Bradley Roland Will
I hesitated posting the link to this video, but am now doing it because I believe it stands as a tribute to the very risky, but altogether extremely important job that journalists do on a daily basis. I believe it also serves as a reminder that the freedom of the press, as any other American freedom, should not be taken lightly.

The video that American journalist Bradley Roland Will took just before being shot was broadcast on YouTube on Oct. 29th. He was shot and killed on Oct. 27th, during the teachers' strike in Oaxaca, Mexico. Global Voices Online did a piece about the shooting on Oct. 31:

While filming skirmishes between paramilitaries and protestors in Santa Lucia on Friday afternoon, Brad was shot in the abdomen and neck, and died from his injuries, prompting the CPJ to call on the government to investigate Will’s death.

The video depicts the last sixteen and a half minutes of the young journalist's life. The video itself is historically important, as Will was technically a citizen journalist, and because the entirety of the video probably would never be seen in the traditional media. It is only because of the internet and an open society, that this video is available.

(Warning: as stated on Global Voices, the last minute is hard to watch, knowing the outcome.)
The English version of the video can be found here.

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This is a great advertising idea - start a wiki to build community around your product or show.

Genius. Of course, the wiki is new and there aren't many pages up yet, but I'm guessing that one will change too. Rocketboom has one of the largest followings of any vlog out there.

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Viacom Seeks Deal with YouTube

ArsTechnica released an article today saying that much of the content that was recently taken down from YouTube because of copyright infringement of Viacom, has been reposted.

Apparently, Viacom is possibly seeking some sort of revenue sharing venture with YouTube.

Viacom told multiple media outlets yesterday in a statement that it was interested in finding a workable business model for making clips available on the Internet, so one can only assume that some sort of revenue-sharing deal is in the works like those that YouTube signed with several music labels. Last week's takedown notices may have represented legitimate concern about giving away too much content at once, or they might have been a bargaining device designed to show YouTube exactly how upset its users would be if all Comedy Central content was pulled.
I personally think that it was a bargaining device as well. Anyone with two brain$ at Viacom knows the value of the buzz that is generated about The Daily Show and Colbert Report online.

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Bono TED video released

This year's TED conference had a myriad of speakers, all of whom have changed the world in one way or another. Bono is no different, having helped start the ONE campaign globally. Check out his video here; you won't be disappointed.

I really can't say enough about this campaign. I am personally a part of it, and highly recommend you look into it more closely yourself.

If you want to help with the ONE campaign yourself (even if you don't have money or much time to give), you can always vote for politicians with poverty high on their political agendas. Elections are on November 7th.

Also, share your link-love with ONE... a lot of famous bloggers have done it, and it creates a web of interconnectivity that gets things done. If you're reading this, you are probably an influencer - YOU'VE GOT A VOICE.

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Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Nightly News with Jon Stewart?

Here's a great article from ArsTechnica. Apparently, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart DOES have the same meat as the nightly news.

The researchers looked at coverage of the 2004 Democratic and Republican national conventions and the first presidential debate of the fall campaign, all of which were covered by the mainstream broadcast news outlets and The Daily Show. Individual broadcasts of the nightly news and corresponding episodes of The Daily Show were analyzed by the researchers, who found that the "average amounts of video and audio substance in the broadcast network news stories" were no different from The Daily Show. Perhaps more telling, The Daily Show delivered longer stories on the topic.
I don't know if I should laugh or cry... probably both if you ask Jon Stewart.

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