Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Well, it is Christmas Eve and I have not posted anything for a while. I hope everyone has very happy holidays. This is my absolute favorite time of year. I love the lights, the music, the family gatherings and church events. I hope that no matter what your religious and political beliefs are this is a joyous and peaceful time for you and yours.

On a light note, I highly recommend Orson Scott Card's short story Homeless in Hell. It is a little festive, a little thought provoking and a little fun. Card is one of my favorite authors and you can read this story for free on his website. It is not a typical Christmas story, but I enjoy it.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

What will replace the laptop?

What will replace the laptop? Good question. I am rather excited about the idea of wearable computers. It will be interesting to see how things turn out. Maybe we will be telling our kids when we got our first laptop and they will not believe us (You must be as old as dinosaurs dad!). MSNBC has an interesting column on the subject by Michael Rogers. He points out some of the new technologies that are being developed to make our handheld devices and cell phones more powerful. The most interesting project:

NASA is currently working on a technology called “subvocal speech recognition” in which electrodes taped to your neck recognize the signals your brain sends to your larynx. It turns out that those signals are sent even when you’re just thinking of words. The NASA researchers have conducted Web searches on a computer merely by thinking, but not saying aloud, the commands and search terms. Several laboratories are working on this technology but it’s still very delicate and—as its origin suggests — probably a bit too close to rocket science for near-term practical purposes.
That is awesome, even if it is still a long way away. I don't think I will miss desktops much. I already do almost everything on my laptop.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Check out my link blog

Scoble keeps writing about his amazing link blog and how wonderful Google Reader is so I decided to make the jump too. I was not very happy with the RSS reader I was using, so it seemed like a good time to do it. It is great. It is nice to have the reader online so I can access it from any computer, which I could not do with my old one. I also have a page that you can access to see what I am reading and sharing. You can even sign up for an RSS feed for the articles I recommend. I will try not to share too many things and I will still post about the ones I think are the most important.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Friedman for president!

I have been reading Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat. It is a little long, but I am really enjoying it. The premise of the book is that technology has flattened the world and brought people and industry closer together. My favorite quote so far comes from an aside as Friedman talks about how other countries are more advanced than the US is in terms of wireless technology.

The more I thought about this, the more I wanted to run for president on a one-issue ticket: "I promise, if elected, that within four years America will have as good cell phone coverage as Ghana, and in eight years as good as Japan – provided that the Japanese sign a standstill agreement and won't innovate for eight years so we can catch up." My campaign bumper sticker will be very simple: "Can you hear me now?" (Page 188)
I love it. I will vote for him if he can really do it. Certainly there are more important issues that our country faces, but we should not be proud of the fact that we are lacking in technology that we originally helped develop.

Friedman does point out some of the good reasons why we are behind.
New players (other countries) are often stepping onto the playing field legacy free, meaning that many of them were so far behind they can leap right into the new technologies without having to worry about all the sunken costs of old systems. It means that they can move very fast to adopt new, state-of-the-art technologies, which is why there are already more cell phones in China today than there are people in the United States. Many Chinese just skipped over the landline phase. To put it another way, many Chinese went from no phones to cell phones in the space of a decade. (Page 215)
Interesting, I can understand that these other countries can implement new technology without losing the investments in the old technology they are replacing, but I still think that we are missing out here in the US. I say Friedman for president!

Elder Brandon's Pictures

My little brother, Brandon, is on a mission for our church in the Philippines, Capoocan Leyte to be exact. He emailed us this morning with the news that they had a major bagio, or typhoon, this weekend. It sounds like there was quite a bit of damage in the area, but he said no one was injured.

Anyway, for my JMC163 multimedia project, I made a slide show of the pictures he has sent home over the last five months. He is having a great time, and some of the pictures are really cool. It is always interesting to hear about a different country and what life is like there. Here is the movie, I hope you enjoy it. It is my first movie, let me know what you think and how I can make it better.

Thanks again to Olin Fields for the music and Spencer Fields for the web space.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

SJSU Blog Community

Andrew Venegas has made a bold jump and decided to give other people posting privileges to his blog, The Soapbox Prophet. His goal is to make an online community for SJSU bloggers. He also has a great drop down menu with links to other SJSU blogs. It is definitely a step in the right direction. I will be posting there occasionally, but I will keep posting here as my major online outlet. If you are interested in participating, let Andrew know.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The future of media? 2014 EPIC

This video is a little old (by Internet standards only, it is from May 2006), but my friend Keith just sent it to me and I had to post about it.

It is awesome - as in it fills one with awe. It is fiction, I think, but certainly could be possible. However, I am more optimistic for the fate of journalism. I think that there will always be a place for professional journalists. Even this look at a possible future includes people who get paid for their online editing. The traditional news organizations still need to wake up and make some changes, but they are starting to come around.

The scary part of the video is that in their future all of the news is shallow.

At its best, edited for the savviest of readers, EPIC is a summary of the world, deeper, broader, more nuanced than anything every available before. But at its worst, and for too many, EPIC is merely a collection of trivia, much of it untrue, all of it narrow, shallow, and sensational. But EPIC is what we wanted, it is what we choose, and its commercial success preempted any discussions of media and democracy or journalistic ethics.
There certainly is, in my opinion, too much celebrity news and gossip around today, but that is what people want and pay for. I am not sure if there is much we can do to change that other than to train our children to focus on important social and moral issues and encourage them to get involved and be part of the world around them. (Here is a transcript of part of the movie.)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Techies take on newspapers and newspapers take on blogs

Sarrah Phuong pointed out an interesting article from USA Today on what techies would do if they owned a newspaper. Of course, they would make it all digital, and they would allow users to interact with the news more.

"The media brands that will be successful will open their content to the masses and participate heavily with everyone else, including their competitors," Hot or Not's Hong says. "I would do everything I could do to embrace the new world rather than fight tooth and nail to protect my old business models."

Local newspapers would want to assimilate and link to local bloggers and get readers to network with each other through topic areas — like fans of the local minor league baseball team or musicians involved in the local scene. Add Digg-style ratings so readers can rate stories and move them to the front page. "Make it personal — you can see that now with The New York Times," Miller says. The Times and some other newspaper sites have a feature that lets people rearrange the website to their liking.

The digital generation "wants to customize everything — what news they receive, how they receive it," says author Don Tapscott, whose books include Growing Up Digital. "They increasingly want to not only read the news but write and produce the news. Media companies need to think of themselves as community builders, not just content providers."

As for going aggressively local, Jones says, newspapers need to do way more. In his newspaper, he says, "There would be local emphasis on restaurants, classes, events, things to do, including pictures and videos. Think YouTube, but with a local orientation, of every school soccer game, art festival, church picnic or black-tie affair."
That is what we need. Quality news that is easy to access, organize and comment on. Plus a way that users can create their own content to share with others. Is that too much to ask?

Ryan Sholin pointed out an article from the American Journalism Review on how professional newspapers are turning to blogs and some of the questions and concerns that blogs raise.
Newspapers' current passion for blogging is fueling a vigorous, industry-wide debate about everything from staffing to sourcing, standards to liability. There's an inevitable clash of values between a newspaper, which has a journalistic reputation and brand name to protect, and a swiftly changing medium that has grown in power and prestige precisely because it has flouted many of journalism's traditional rules.
There are a lot of concerns that need to be addressed, and maybe some papers have gone overboard (a bowling blog is okay, but from a newspaper?), but blogging is here to stay and journalists need to learn how to use them effectively.

Technorati tags:

A Blogging Community

I have been thinking a lot about JMC163, blogging, a new club, and Daniel Sato's online community. I think that we definitely do need more of an community feeling here at SJSU both online and in the regular sense. The Spartan Daily could certainly do better in this area, but there are other ways to make it happen as well. I found Sean Gilpin's post really interesting:

I have been looking for community information on the web about SJSU. I mean that I am looking for information about SJSU from students. I would like to hear what other students find interesting about our campus. Of course I could just spend more time talking to the people who are all around me. I guess that’s what most people do because I haven’t been successful in finding that sort of thing online.

There are several blogs by SJSU students that I have found, but they are mostly from Journalism students. I don’t like reading blog entries from journalism students because they tend to cover “the news”, which I can get by reading the newspaper. I am really more interested in something I can’t get from the newspaper. Basically I’d like to hear from students in an unfiltered format what they like or dislike about our campus.
There are a lot of bloggers here, we just are not all aware of each other. Many of them are journalism students, but not all. I think we all can try better to write about what is happening on and around campus. We also need to link to each other, make comments on each other's blogs and do everything we can to build a community from the ground up.

I know of two classes that are very active in blogging. One is JMC163 and the other is Lilly Buchwitz's MCOM 72 class. Both classes have students blogging and linking to each other, but there has not been much interaction between the two. So I thought I would start. Lilly asked her students to post about the proposed changes to JMC163 and many of them did. A few mentioned that they hope to take the class next semester. Here are the students that I saw that talked about JMC163:
Andrea Nutopia
Billy Passerino
Chris Bausinger
Cindy Diep
Megan Rocko
Nicole Lieurance
Rossa Dono
Sandra Santos
Tomoyo Ohashi

That may or may not be all of them; they are very good, insightful and honest views.

As I looked at the many blogs from the MCOM 72 students, I was impressed with the diversity of the class. Some students are journalism majors, others are advertising or PR majors. Many of them have recently moved here from other parts of the country or even from other nations. It was interesting to me to look through all of the blogs from the class. There are many different subjects and opinions from the group. I hope that they all continue to blog once the class is over next week. They are definitely a group of voices that we need. Keep on blogging!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Let's organize!

Some people are concerned that our writing about the need for change at SJSU reflects poorly on the school. I disagree. I think that San Jose State is a fantastic school. The fact that students and staff are able to voice their concerns and make suggestions is proof of the quality. We all learn from each other. The point of attending a university is to broaden your horizons, see things from different perspectives and learn that it is okay to be wrong and change your mind some times. The best way for a good school to get better is to listen to the people that are around: students, faculty, alumni and community members. I am proud to go to SJSU and hope that I can help make the school better for those who will come here in the future.

As we have discussed some of the things that we students need to learn, it was suggested that we organize so that students who are interested in technology have a place to gather and work together. There are some pros and cons to organizing and being officially recognized by the University, but I think that it would be good in this case for us to have an official group. We do not have to do anything fancy, but we can get together occasionally, maybe have some food, invite guest speakers and the like. We would like feedback from students and others associated with SJSU to see what you think we should do. The more input we get as we begin the process the more successful we will be. I am going to go to the Student Life and Leadership office to get the forms we need so that we can discuss it more in the JMC163 final next Tuesday. Please let us know if you are interest in participating, even if you do not want to be an official member but would like to come to an event every once in a while. You can leave a comment here or email me.

Our first task is going to be defining what exactly the group will focus on. We could be focused on all new media, or we could just be journalists interested in technology or something completely different. I would like to see lots of collaboration and hopefully involve people from all over the university, not just the journalism school. Hopefully it will not all be geeks or engineers or anything else. A diverse group with different interests will make the club more interesting and successful.

You say you want a revolution...

Andrew Venegas posted a Student Manifesto on his blog yesterday. I absolutely agree with his thoughts on the future of journalism at San Jose State University. As he says, JMC 163 has been a huge success in its inaugural semester as a class on new media. If we as journalism students want to survive as journalists in the future, we need to learn these skills. SJSU needs to save the class and expand its curriculum to include more on new media. His proposed solution is a great idea:

I propose a complete overhaul of the journalism curriculum at SJSU, starting with the development of New Media as a concentration. Print and Broadcast are fast becoming niche markets as consumers more often than not are reading hard print and watching the TV AFTER already seeing or reading it online. The Long Tail is gaining a larger viewer and readership than traditional media.

It is true that we need specific tools, but we also need theory and core journalistic values. A core GE specifically for journalists must be established, which should include an introduction to Dreamweaver, InDesign, and Photoshop, as well as stressing objectivity, fairness and truth-seeking.

After completion of this GE, journalism students should be able to concentrate in Print, Broadcast, or New Media.

In this new concentration, students could then delve into the concepts and software that make Web 2.0 technologies, podcasting, and vodcasting work.
The only thing I am not sure about is using the labels of print, broadcast and new media at all. I think that any journalism degree needs to include aspects of all three. I want to learn the basics of writing for broadcast, for example. But I am a print major so that is not offered in any of my classes and I do not want to go back and take classes over again (but in a different focus) just to learn these things. A good new media journalist will need to know how to write, design, edit, take photos and broadcast, just as a print journalist needs to know how to write, edit and some basic design. That does not mean that we need to know everything, but we need to go over the fundamentals.

Those who are going to survive the difficult transition our industry is going through are those that can produce quality content in any medium, or even better, in every medium. We are seeing more and more integration and cooperation of text, graphics, photos, video and the like. A good news report now is not just a written summary; it is good text, with good photos, video and audio. The media need to complement each other and work together. We need to learn how to use all of them and how to integrate them all into our work.

Steve Sloan says that we are going through a revolution.
I do not see blood on the streets, what kind of revolution is this? It is a revolution about conversation. It is about the power of ordinary citizens as well as new media journalists to be able to go to their virtual windows to the world and (using their blogs, podcasts, video blogs and other forms of new media) to be able to shout out, "I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore!" In the fictional 1976 movie Network, Howard Beale from his TV pulpit was able to inspire folks to go to their windows and yell that out. Each individual's voice carried maybe a few houses. It was only Beale's voice that was able to reach across the nation, only Beale had the network. Now we all have a network, it is called the Internet. That is the revolution.
He is right. The world is changing, and we are in a unique position to make our thoughts heard. What we say makes a difference. As we call on the University to update its program and rethink new media in journalism, we enable future generations to be better prepared to produce quality content and survive in a changing industry. Good journalists are a powerful force in the world. Let's make sure that SJSU continues to produce only the very best.

Media news

Three articles today I found interesting:

The New York Times has an article on how web advertising has taken off in Brittan. There are many factors that have made online advertising more successful there, but the one I found most interesting is the difference in attitude:

Some analysts say British advertisers may simply be quicker to embrace new marketing ideas than American companies. “I’d like to think there’s a cultural factor in the U.K., where we’ve been a bit more experimental on some of these things,” said Rob Noss, European chief executive of MindShare Interaction, a new media division of Group M’s MindShare unit.
I always thought that Americans were always on the cutting edge, okay, not really, I knew that we are behind on a lot of things. We seem to start a trend and then other countries pass us up. What's up with that?

Newsweek tech columnist Steven Levy wrote about how the Internet is changing the way we act in public.
There used to be a safer middle ground between an inviolate privacy sanctuary and a no-holds-barred public space, a zone of local accountability and global anonymity, where a gaffe, a humiliation or even a serious lapse in judgment could occur without making waves from San Diego to Sydney. No more—all it takes is one digital rubbernecker who quietly captures the event with a cell-phone camera and posts it to a Web site. From there the aberrant behavior is subject to a social-networking mob of looky-loos who unfailingly unearth and promulgate the most chatter-worthy clips.
We have to be careful what we say and what we do in public, but we cannot live in fear.

Finally, Melinda Liu has a column about the new rules China just announced for journalists that will be in the country for the Olympics. The rules are a huge shift in a country that has been tightening up its control of the media in the last year. Last Friday's announcement is a huge step in the right direction, but the question is, will it last?
The new rules are slated to expire on Oct. 17, 2008, a month after the end of the 13th Paralympic Games. Foreign Ministry officials have declined to speculate whether the new regulations will be extended. Yet reverting back to antiquated rules hammered out in 1990 would be an egregiously retrograde step. If the new regulations are implemented successfully through the end of the Olympic season, the Chinese government may find it impossible to put the toothpaste back into the tube.
We can always hope.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Chron 2.0: How the Chronicle is trying to save itself

The cover article of this week's SF Weekly is by one of my journalism professors, Michael Stoll. It is a great inside look at the San Francisco Chronicle and how it is trying to save itself.

Recently, though, editors have begun to think that the Web could be a lifeboat for their creative talent until the seas calm. They are gambling that somehow they can morph the Chronicle from a publishing company into an information company. Yet while the popularity of their own Web sites is growing fast, it could be a decade or more before the sites pay the bills for quality journalism — if they ever do.
All newspapers are trying to save themselves right now. What is most interesting about the Chron is its celebrity editor. Since Phil Bronstein has taken the helm, the paper has been almost constantly redesigning the front page to attract readers. The Chron figures that they need to do whatever they can to attract readers while leaving the breaking news and major headlines to the website. They might just be right, but it is hard to say what the future will be like.