Communication [Part 2]

Continued from Communication [Part 1]

So now we get to the point where people have this expectation of entitlement to intrusion. This is one of the reasons why I wrote “Digital Internet Snobbery”. I was getting flak from someone because I am not available by text. This was after I SPECIFICALLY TOLD HER how she could get in touch with me, which was via email… which she can do from her phone if she can text from her phone, so I didn’t see what the problem was. Unfortunately, she had been hoping I was going to live into someone else’s style, and it ain’t that type o’ party. πŸ˜€

I missed the text revolution because I went directly to AIM. The reason I haven’t updated my ancient phone up until now is that I’m available via lots of services which are more efficient for my style of interaction. As a matter of fact, my contact information’s listed in the sidebar to this very post. If you can’t figure out from there how to contact me, I’m still currently the #3 “Bill” on google, behind Gates & Clinton.

I know too many people to be randomly available via phone. I’d never get anything done. Most of what I do requires A LOT of mental processing, as you can tell by these epic posts I keep dropping. I can’t ‘afford’ to get continually taken out of the zone to have random conversations whenever someone feels like contacting me. This is why I herd people towards email or iChat so I can get back to your message when I get back to it. This is why it was so funny to be told that I need to get with the program when it comes to texting, because I’m so far beyond texting. However… Whose problem IS that? πŸ™‚ Is that MY problem, or is that HER problem? Actually, it’s the problem of the person that loses the most if we’re out of contact, which isn’t ME, so that answers that. πŸ™‚

So we got up to text, and like I said, I missed out on the revolution because I was already on AIM (which became iChat when I ditched PCs hahaha, but that’s another story πŸ˜€ ). At this point, instant messaging services are the final frontier, because you can perfectly craft your socialization experience. You inform people via status update whether you’re online or not, and if so, whether you’re likely to respond to a message they send or not. You can inform them if you’re working or AFK (away from keyboard) or fully welcoming conversation. You can turn sound on or off so if you need to concentrate on writing another epic post, you can still receive messages that don’t break your state. You can have an icon bounce in your tray in case you get a message while you’re AFK and your iChat windows are all hidden. This way, you know to check your new messages. You can start or accept audio conversations or video conversations.

Bill using iChat video
Photo Credit: Rob Boudon

Most importantly, you can carry on several completely different conversations at a time, which you can’t do via audio on a phone. This means that if the person you’re talking to is a slow communicator, it doesn’t matter. They’re not hogging your bandwidth, and you’re talking to six other people while you’re waiting for them to send you something back. It also means that if someone’s a flooder, you can minimize their window and respond to them when you feel like reading the novel they wrote. If people are annoying, you block them so you can go about your day without being disturbed. If you want to find out what’s going on tonight, you can message people in different cliques at the same time and you get back what you get back.

However… If you depend on instant messaging services, you’re at a distinct disadvantage when you go out….

I went over to Ryan’s the other day… specifically NOT pictured here on the right…

And hadn’t bothered to put his cell number in my phone, because I didn’t imagine the party would be in the garden out back and not inside his actual apartment, haha so between that fact and the fact that I hadn’t bothered to charge my phone’s battery, I took a short in that situation, haha πŸ™‚ If I had had a modern phone, I could have emailed him or checked my own email for his number or used any number of services to attempt to bypass the physical barrier of being stuck outside a door, buzzing a buzzer that nobody could hear. πŸ™‚ The same thing happened to me going to Justin’s party…

Bill , Marissa & Justin

… but luckily, Amir had to go to the bathroom, so someone was in the apartment to hear me buzzing, haha. πŸ™‚

The point here is that obviously, communication is returning to the pocket from the computer, except in the form of text and visual information instead of voice. Google Maps, GPS, everything’s going back into people’s pockets, specifically at this point in the form of Blackberry devices and iPhones. This is why the iPhone SDK is such a big deal. You get to create something that people all over the world might buy, because you get to place it in the Apple Store, online.

The next big deal is going to be hand-held video chat, so we’ll see if Apple stops ****ing around and releases an iPhone with the camera in the proper location for people to video chat before someone beats them to the punch and Apple gets the fail whale for once! πŸ˜€

Bill Fail Whale

Do you miss potential job and socialization opportunities by not being randomly accessible or checking voicemail? Yes. Definitely. What you receive in return is increased efficiency and focus. By minimizing my distractions, I probably got this post done in 1/2 the time it would have taken otherwise.

Speaking of the dreaded, yet oft-appearing “Fail Whale”… Twitter has found a new way to not crash so often. That’s to implement Denial of Service when it comes to our @ messages. For people unfamiliar with Twitter, you can send a message to someone’s “replies” folder by using the “@” sign with their username, like “Hey @username, what’s going on tonight?”. If you use the website, like I do, instead of using a standalone client, you find out who sent public messages to your attention or mentioned you in your “replies” folder. Without that folder, all you have is the ten latest pages of Twitter posts from the 800+ people that you follow that you can search through if you feel like it and have time to waste, or you can use search sites like TweetScan and Summize, but you’d better hope THEY were able to pull the entries from Twitter themselves.

So that’s where we stand right now. We live in a world where people expect immediate attention and there are lots of ways for them to get that. Are they entitled to it? No. It’s just that “everybody’s doing it”, so you seem to them to be “odd man out” because your phone has a little alien on it that jumps rope, eats apples, skateboards and takes baths when you open the phone up. πŸ˜€ Meanwhile, the fact of the matter is that I went out for a reason… to hang out with specific people or do specific things. IF having my email on me, and my calendar, and my answering machine, and my instant messaging, and my audio software, and my internet browser, and my quicktime player, and my video compression software was important to me, I would have brought my computer and my EV-DO card with me.

The funny thing is, πŸ™‚ when I finally buy an iPhone, or whatever great all-in-one gadget someone comes out with, that’ll only increase my options for technological offense….

Psychologically, I’m not going to be any more accessible than I am today. πŸ˜€

Communication [Part 1]

I’ve been meaning to write this for a long, long, long, long, long time. Probably over a year. I touched on it a little with “Digital Internet Snobbery” and “Are You A Tech Elitist?”, but I need to go back to the beginning.

Before all this social media stuff jumped off, people had land lines and answering machines. Actually, forget the answering machines. People had land lines. If they weren’t at home… Guess what? You Couldn’t Talk To Them. Period. That’s it. No way around it. The only way around it was if they went to a pay phone and called you from the street. But basically, if you weren’t NEAR YOUR PHONE, you were completely out of contact unless you were in physical proximity to people.

Next, we got answering machines, so now, if we’re not at home, when we DO get home, we know who called us and what for. We also got Caller ID so that we could tell who called us and didn’t leave a message. Still, no contact other than when we’re in our houses where our phones and answering machines are.

Next, we got pagers, so that when we were in the street and people wanted to speak to us, they could send us their number so we could go to a pay phone and call them back. This was probably the beginning of intrusion & entitlement. This was where people started making big deals out of the fact that they paged you and you didn’t call them back. Before this time, there was no guarantee that whatever device people tried to contact you on was attached to your person. You could be at home and ignoring them, and they’d have no clue with phones and answering machines. The reason people got pagers was either because they wanted people to be able to contact them on the run OR they had to have it for business. In either case, it was assumed by people that you had this device with you and didn’t leave it at home, so the “burden” switched from the callER to the callEE as far as whose fault it was that a conversation didn’t occur when the caller wanted it to.

The typical excuses for not returning a page were a) I was in the subway and didn’t get it [since pagers wouldn’t hold the message for you and try again when you came above ground], b) my service sucks, and I didn’t get the page [when you got the page and erased it from your memory list in case the caller *COUGHyourgirlfriendCOUGH* checked it], or you got it and didn’t have change on you to call her back or none of the pay phones where you were worked [which was valid because a lot of the phones were broken in NYC for some reason, mostly people doing scams to try to get the change out of the machines]. Still… the ‘problem’ here was that the callEE had to give excuses to the callER, when the fact of the matter is that they didn’t feel like talking to you and ignored your page (or, ACTUALLY didn’t get the page. πŸ™‚ ).

Next up was cell phones. Same problem with intrusion & entitlement. The fact that you had a cell phone with an answering system meant that you were assumed to understand that the caller called soon afterwards, therefore receiving the burden of calling them back. This was especially true if they called you several times in one day. Also, the subway excuse disappeared, because cell phones will repeat sending you the alert that you have messages when you come above ground. To make matters worse, cell phones ring differently if you have them online when you get a call and when you’re not attached to the satellite system. If it rings 4 times and goes to machine instead of going directly there, it’s assumed that you saw the call and ignored it (or perhaps weren’t around your phone). Either way, it’s assumed that the phone is active and has batteries in it, so, again, the burden’s on the callEE to pick up the conversation where the caller left it.

Next was cell phones with the ability to send text messages. This completely flipped the script. Completely.

I didn’t catch on to the importance of this for a long time. I finally got it when I would try to contact my friend Masami to go out…

Masami Snow NYC

I would call her and get no response. 45 minutes later, I’d text her and get a text right back. I thought this was odd, because both the call and text go to the same device… except depending on how you SET the device, it notifies you differently about different events. Let’s say the notification for text messages had higher priority on her phone than the notification for voicemail. When I was calling her, it basically dropped into an abyss. When I sent her text messages, they went right to the top of the list and she became immediately aware of them.

A part of the reason for this was that A LOT OF PEOPLE had switched over to using text instead of voice. By the time I was in contact with Masami, she was very used to interacting with people via text from her phone. I was probably the only one leaving voice messages. πŸ™‚ I found out another reason for the changeover by watching television. These guys were sitting at a table with these chicks on some reality show and texting to each other about the chicks. Before seeing this, I hadn’t considered that people use text to communicate in stealth mode, when they can’t actually talk. If someone’s in a business meeting and you call them, it’s going to go to their machine. If you text them, they’re likely to check it and even text you back while the meeting’s still going on. So the fact that you didn’t have to LOOK LIKE you aren’t paying attention to whomever’s speaking was an important factor in people switching to text.

Another good reason to use text is the sound factor. There are a lot of places where people might be in Manhattan where you just can’t hear what’s going on… but you can READ it. This happened to me a while back when I tried to call Dave, and he couldn’t hear a thing I was saying…

The only way I caught up with him was to have a friend of mine do me the solid of texting him for me to ask him where he was hanging out. So once again, text defeats voice. Text is better when you can’t talk. Text is better when you can’t hear. Text is better when you need to look like you’re paying attention to someone you’re standing/sitting in front of.

Text is also better because it’s asynchronous. Technically, so is leaving a voice message, but you can text someone back under just about any conditions, including being in the subway, having already received your messages to your phone. You can reply to a bunch of messages and have them sent out when you get signal. You wouldn’t even be able to RECEIVE your voice messages underground in order to reply to them.

This is where I got to the point of “Digital Internet Snobbery”, which I’ll address in “Communication [Part 2]”.

Digital Internet Snobbery

I need to get a new cell phone… Except…. I *DON’T* need to get a new cell phone. πŸ˜€

I just had a conversation with someone where they were saying they couldn’t get in touch with me. I had already informed them that they needed to email me with the specifics of what they wanted if they wanted to show up on the radar AT ALL. There’s a problem here that I find very interesting. πŸ˜€

Just last night, I was hanging out with Jane Quigley and was online via wireless. She saw how many contacts virtually LIVE on my desktop, taking up the full vertical space of the screen. Most of these contacts are live….. or…. Acually, now that I think about it…. If the people at the top of the list aren’t online, they’ve redirected their messages to go to their cell phones. The reason this is important is that the person was complaining that they couldn’t get in touch with me via their cell phone, and they could get in touch with everyone else. πŸ˜€

So anyway, Jane asks me (like everyone asks me) how I do so much stuff every single day. So, right there on the spot, I started four text conversations which included link-passing and browser page opening. I also showed her how I arrange my editing windows in case I want to leave a conversation visible while I work.

So you can imagine how surprising it was to have a conversation where someone says “I can’t get in touch with you”, after I’ve already told them HOW TO GET IN TOUCH WITH ME! πŸ˜€ This is another interesting effect of my digital internet snobbery and elitism which I touched upon in “Are You a Tech Elitist?”.

At that point, IIRC (because I don’t feel like going back and reading to see exactly what I said), my point was that in moving to Facebook, I ditched everyone that didn’t move up from MySpace. I didn’t MEAN to do it, hahahaha but it happened, because Facebook has a better system of communication, notification and contact.

Once I started heavily using Facebook, not only wasn’t there a reason to use MySpace, but I actually found myself looking DOWN on people that had MySpace pages and not Facebook pages. I remember meeting someone last year that told me she was involved in video production. Without thinking, I asked “Are you on Facebook?”… Her demeanor kind of slouched…. And then she goes “I have a MySpace page.” Basically, I felt like she had told me she has a rotary telephone. I got her information anyway, but it was like Dead Man Walking because I knew I wasn’t going to be in contact with her AT ALL. Not because I didn’t want to, but because I don’t have time for fancy MySpace pages to load so I can scroll through a million moving pictures of people to try to find information I’m looking for over some starry, busy background. Also, MySpace just doesn’t enter my mind. So I would have to think “oh… MySpace exists” and then “oh… SHE has a page on MySpace” to remember her at all. Not gonna happen. πŸ˜€

I had a situation just a couple of weeks ago… Maybe time reversed itself. Maybe that’s what’s going on. πŸ˜€ Just a couple of weeks ago, I asked this chick if she was on Facebook, and she starts stammering, trying to recall what she has. So, it clearly wasn’t Facebook, so I tried to help her out. I said “Myspace?”. No. Not that….. So I’m waiting, and eventually, this chick says “oh… HOTMAIL! :D” So I’m looking for the hidden cameras, because I know that in 2008, this chick didn’t just say that Hotmail was the best she could do as far as internet connectivity. Another one bites the dust.

So now that I’ve figured it out that while I wasn’t looking, the Earth turned backwards to 1998 and is hurtling in reverse, I’m no longer surprised by the conversation I had this morning. It was so surprising that I didn’t even have any answers for her. I had already TOLD HER how she could get in touch with me. EMAIL. PERIOD. How is it that she can’t email me from her phone? How is it that she can’t text my online presence from her phone? The answer is…. That her telephone is NOT CONNECTED TO THE INTERNET other than to send text messages back and forth to other people that use the same system. So she was complaining to me that SHE’S NOT TECHNOLOGICALLY ADVANCED ENOUGH to get in touch with me, and this is supposed to be MY fault! πŸ˜€

Her suggestion was for me to have my cell phone around me so people could text me. Like I said earlier, I was so shocked by this unsophisticated, non-technological conversation I was having that I didn’t realize that people text me all the time, right to my computer. So what I’m going to do is tell her to RTFM and figure out how to access an instant messaging service from her cell phone. Problem solved. She’s going to become one of the names that sits on my screen or remain in oblivion.

Of course, by now, you’re wondering how come this person is trying to live from her cell phone to begin with. πŸ˜€ The people that I’m in contact with via phone have that set up as a backup system so that when they’re away from their computer, they can still get messages from people. This means that they HAVE a computer to begin with. This also means they know how to USE their computer. I’ve now recognized a new high (low???) in digital internet snobbery, because as much as I’ve neglected the people who still to this day socialize on MySpace… I’ve completely, and I mean COMPLETELY forgotten about the people that either don’t know how to use or totally DON’T HAVE COMPUTERS!

I know how this happened. Via the internet, you get to meet like-minded people, people you enjoy talking to, people you respect, people you do business with. There is just too much choice right at your fingertips and too many people that ARE connected to even have time to consider the people that aren’t. Something else to think about. An entirely deeper level of ghosts… NOT in the machine.

As far as the “Keep the phone by you” suggestion, forget it. If I’m editing, I have to WATCH the video and I have to LISTEN to the audio and I have to manipulate the controls. For those reasons, I am NOT going to pick up a phone and listen to what you have to say. On top of that, GOOD editing is done by feel. You have to live in the situation to absorb the meaning and you have to feel when the piece moves *YOU* so that the piece will move other people. I am NOT going to break my mood. Therefore, even though I *HAVE* a cell phone, it’s not going to ring. Even if it buzzes, it might not be on my person at all. If you leave me a message, I’m not going to check. If you send me a text on my cell phone, I’m not going to check. The only way that I can be efficient and do what I do and regulate my all-important mood is to communicate with you ASYNCHRONOUSLY.

That means, send me an email. I’ll get to it when I get to it. Send me an IM. I’ll get to it when I get to it. Send me SOMETHING that’s going to sit there until I’m “back in the world” from being inside my edit. When I’m wondering “hmm… Wonder if anyone sent me anything”, that’s your window of opportunity to receive return correspondence or conversation.

Another thing is… Time is Money. If I’m not doing what *I* want to do, that’s because someone paid me to focus on what THEY wanted me to do. So… I really don’t want to hear about “I can’t get in touch with you” when I told you how to do it. I don’t get paid to pick up my cell phone. I don’t get paid to have my cell phone on my person. I don’t get paid to receive telephone calls AT ALL! πŸ˜€

Having said that, I’m going to give this new layer of ghosts some consideration… Rather, I should say, this layer of ghosts that I’m newly aware of. How do I reach back to the people stranded in MySpace? How do I reach back to people that don’t own or know how to use computers?

I really wouldn’t know, because I’m a digital internet snob.

How To Tell He’s Cheating

It seems that here, in NYC, we can’t get away from news about “cheating”, infidelity, whatever you want to call it when guys (or gals) go outside of the limits that they agreed to with their current “significant other”.

First, we had the Governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer getting caught renting chicks. If you’re interested in that sort of thing, check out the actual affidavit on TheSmokingGun.com.

So then, when Eliot Spitzer resigns, David Paterson takes over as Governor and immediately holds HIS OWN PRESS CONFERENCE admitting extramarital affairs. That shouldn’t be a problem for him because getting laid isn’t against the law…. paying for it *IS*. Unless, of course, you’re in an area of the United States where they decided to legalize prostitution or you’re “acting” in a porno movie.

So anyway, you get the picture… Guys (and gals) are gonna do whatever they *want* to do, regardless of what they told YOU they were gonna do. Now, we’ve already gone over “How to cheat properly” for the fellaz….. So this time, we give some hints to the chicks out there that are always wondering to themselves “How do I know he’s cheating?” πŸ˜€

Well, first of all, tune in to the Maury show, if it’s still on the air. You will find an incredible assortment of imbeciles that somehow find new and innovative ways to get caught cheating.

Next, you could do the old “Find condoms amongst his belongings when he doesn’t use any with you” trick. Guys slip up on this one all the time. They forget how hard they worked and begged and pleaded and did everything their girlfriend wanted in order to get her to start taking the pill so he could stop using condoms. We’ll skip the part about how stupid this is, because if YOU can get her to not use condoms, so can everybody else. So anyway, it doesn’t occur to guys that now that they’ve succeeded they can’t play off owning boxes of condoms anymore as if they were planning to use them on their girl…. Especially when it’s a 3-pack and there’s only one left. πŸ˜€

Then there’s the old “Find women’s lingerie in your crib that you’ve never seen before AND isn’t anywhere near your size” trick. Due to the excitement of the circumstances, guys tend to be lax in taking inventory on what a chick walked in the door with and making sure she walks back out the door with the same stuff. Also, since guys don’t normally buy lingerie for their women, how are they supposed to know what’s yours and what isn’t? Meanwhile, if he did the right thing by her in your bedroom, she was too delirious to remember to put her panties on before her jeans, or that she ever owned panties in the first place. πŸ˜€ For a primer on what said lingerie might look like, Ask Frasco… she knows! πŸ˜€

The next tip would be a lack of reaction to your trying to withhold sex from him. If you get mad at him for not taking out the garbage or something and announce that you’re not going to give him any, if he says “cool” or says absolutely nothing at all, trust and believe he has contingency plans for the possibility of a shortage of sex. Same thing goes for if HE suddenly doesn’t want to have as much sex with you as he used to. Sure, he might be more stressed at work or whatever, but it’s also possible his physical attention’s focused on an L.A. face with an Oakland bootie…. Neither of which, YOU happen to own…..

Another problem for YOU is if all of a sudden your boyfriend starts improving his appearance. He’s been the same dude for ages, but NOW he wants to lose that weight….. Now he wants to buy new clothes…. Now he wants to get in shape…. Now he wants to hook his hair up…. These are primitive mating rituals, like how when a chick’s sweating you, she starts playing with her hair. It’s not likely that one day, he passed a mirror and was like “DAG! I FELL OFF!!!” and started hooking himself up. He was already in good enough shape to get you to mess with him, so it’s not that either.

It could also be a bad thing if he DOESN’T improve his appearance, hahaha… Meaning that if he’s telling you he’s going to the gym three nights a week and he’s just getting fatter and fatter, he might be eating well over at the next chick’s house and you might be hurtling towards the asteroid field of replacement.

Of course, as Client 9 found out, his cell phone / PDA is a veritable treasure trove of information. Lots of guys leave their phones unlocked, so feel free to rummage around and cross reference his onboard address book with recent and frequent incoming and outgoing calls…. Especially the ones that occurred during the wee hours of the morning….

So, basically, there are a million clues… You just have to know what you’re looking for, and in most cases, what you’re looking AT, because it’s happening right in front of your face. πŸ˜€ Numbers on papers left in pockets… Lipstick-stained shirt collars that smell like perfume you don’t own… Receipts from plane reservations with other chicks’ names on them…. Room service charges from a different state than he told you he was going “with the fellaz”…. *YAWN*… Oh… Make sure you meet his family as quickly as you can. Get in good with them so that one sunny day when you’re all hanging out sippin’ lemonade and you bring up his cousin Sheila, his family goes

“Who?”

DatingGenius

Talkin’ Loud (or just A LOT) and Sayin’ Nothin’!

2008 is going to be the year when “Live” becomes a MAJOR player as far as video on the internet. IMO, Qik is the frontrunner right now, with live mobile. The first person I was aware of running around town with a Nokia N-Series phone was Steve Garfield. Eventually, I became aware of Rupert Howe over in “Jolly Old”, filming, editing and uploading from his Nokia. At the time, it was quaint. At this point, it’s turned into a fad, and more and more people are “going live”. Not that what Steve or Rupert were doing was live video, but it was as close as you could get at the time.

Meanwhile, status update sites became all the rage. Now, whenever you want, you can broadcast to your “followers” what you’d like them to know. You can also receive information from people before it makes MSM headlines, like some bridge falling down in some town nobody’s paying attention to. As long as SOMEBODY sees it and twitters it (or pownce, jaiku…), relatively immediately, we know in New York City what’s going on in the sticks.

Unfortunately, all this new “look at me” media doesn’t come with a manual. πŸ˜€ It shouldn’t come with a manual, because that way, all the new people flooding in don’t mentally restrict themselves to the purported use of the site or app. However, for people that don’t understand how media works, they could end up broadcasting things they didn’t intend to, such as their lack of relevance and/or interesting things to say, and in the worst-case scenario… that they just don’t know what they’re talking about. There’s nothing wrong with that, but people need to be aware that they’re doing this to themselves.

This post isn’t for/about people that frivolously post text/audio/video on the internet as something to do. This is for people trying to make a name for themselves as knowledgeable people within their particular echo chamber.

There’s a difference between demonstrating that you own something and demonstrating that you truly understand what it is, how it works and how to utilize it. There’s a difference between demonstrating that you know ABOUT something and demonstrating that you’re someone knowledgeable and/or respected in that field. The more you go “Look at me!!! Here I am!!! Over here!!!”, the more opportunities you’re giving people to assess what you’re bringing to the table. If what you’re bringing is usually GARBAGE, you’re better off sparing yourself so much quantity and focusing on your quality.

Let’s say, for instance, that I told you I was going to the Yankees game, and I was going to text blog what was going on. Then, during the game, you start seeing this in my twitter stream:

It’s pretty warm today, considering it’s the Ides of March
Here we GO! The Yankees are warming up
Turns out that it didn’t rain as they predicted
The other team’s taking the field, sonnnnnn
I think I’ll buy some food
What a hit! :O
Seventh Inning Stretch!
I think that’s Stacey Dash! :O
Great game! Leaving the stadium to meet up with friends

Now… The FIRST thing that’s going to come to mind is “THAT WAS THE *WORST* ACCOUNT OF A BASEBALL GAME, EVER!” The second is going to be “Remind me not to hire that guy to blog ANYTHING”. The third is going to be “That was a tremendous waste of bandwidth”… Etc etc etc… Nothing positive. The only good things derived from something like this might be “He owns a cell phone”, “He knows how to connect twitter to his phone”, “He goes to Yankees games” and “He got to see Stacey Dash in person”.

Meanwhile, you STILL didn’t get the information. So then, let’s say you asked me directly what happened during the game, and I told you this:

The Yankees were there
The other team showed up too
People in the stands had a good time
There were some pitches and some hits
A couple of guys struck out
At the end, everyone left the stadium

Do you see how RIDICULOUS that account is? You would think that I was either avoiding talking about the game on purpose or that I really didn’t go to the game AT ALL. I didn’t tell you ONE SPECIFIC INSTANCE of anything that happened at the game. I didn’t tell you what happened TO anyone in the game, pro or con. I didn’t tell you what *I* thought about what happened during the game.

So, while I thought I was being clever and technological, all I was doing was demonstrating that either I was being purposefully evasive or I can attend and watch an event without understanding what happened right in front of my face… OR that I can understand what happened, but can’t properly articulate my thoughts. NONE. OF. THOSE. ARE. GOOD. THINGS! πŸ˜€

What you say is important. What you DON’T say is also important. WHEN you say those things counts as well. If your goal is to become a credible and respected source of information for people, you need to be RELEVANT, CURRENT, KNOWLEDGEABLE and CONSISTENT.

If you can’t do that, save your text/audio/video until you have something useful to contribute.

Twitter Has “Ruined” My Life

For those of you that don’t know what twitter is… Basically, it’s a DIY (do it yourself) chat room. You choose people that you want to “follow”, and you can see when they type something to the twitter site. People can choose to follow YOU, and they’ll see what you type to twitter. There’s no forced mutual following, so sometimes, it’s a one-sided deal. You can see what someone’s saying, but they can’t see what you’re saying… which is unfortunate for them when they ask a question that you “tweet” (somehow the verb form of twitter…… meaning each entry should be called a TWIT or the site should be called TWEETER, but anyway…) the answer to and then an hour later, you see them ask again if anyone has a solution for them. πŸ˜€

I think twitter’s more effective in areas where people are in relatively close proximity to each other or at least can get to where other twitterers (tweeters?) indicate that they are or that something’s going on. It’s extremely useful during conferences, like SXSW or PodCampNYC. Twitter works on cell phones as well as computers, so people on-the-go can still find out the latest information, ASAP. The benefit here is that instead of texting… or, could you imagine, actually CALLING several people to tell them where you’re about to have lunch, or what floor you’re hanging out on and with whom


Photo Credit: Jared Klett

… You can make one “tweet,” and everyone that’s following you receives the same information at the same time. (PS – If you don’t know what twitter looks like, you can see it on my macbook pro screen on the right side of the picture.)

So, by now, you’re saying “All I’ve heard is positives!” πŸ˜€ Yes. That’s true. πŸ™‚ I think twitter is a very positive thing, or at least it CAN be. It all depends on how you use it. If you clutter your “friends list” with people that don’t do anything, but seem to always have something to say about the NOTHING they do all day, then it’s a waste of your time and energy to read the feed. That’s not my ‘problem’… it’s exactly the opposite! :O

The first day I became aware of twitter, I ‘crawled’ through my friends’ friends lists and added people that I thought might be interesting to follow. I was doing something that day, and I don’t remember what, but I remember doing just ONE thing… πŸ™‚ So I happened to have added someone that appears to be an actress. A “tweet” comes up that she’s heading wherever to meet with whomever. I’m like “ok”….. Then, while I’m still doing the same thing, and time doesn’t really seem to have moved at all, another tweet comes up from her saying that NOW she was heading to a different location to do something else. I’m like “ok”….. So while I was sitting there, still doing the same thing… over the course of the day, she did at least SIX THINGS in six different locations! :O I noticed how interesting it is to ‘eavesdrop’ on the goings-on of someone that’s in a profession you don’t know anything about, but I ALSO noticed that I could have done a lot more with my day than what I did while she was scurrying all over the place being effective.

I chalked it up as a fluke, but the same thing happened the next day and then the next day. To make matters worse, the rest of the people I added are workaholics also! πŸ˜€ So now, all day, every day, I get to hear about where they’re going and what they’re doing and who they’re meeting with and what’s happening in Second Life and what country they’re in and which conference is starting and who’s the keynote speaker and who’s broadcasting live on the Internet right now…..

On top of what they’re ACTUALLY DOING, I have to hear about what they think is interesting on the net, who made a new video, who didn’t get paid for the unauthorized use of their photo coughlanbuicough, what’s the latest social site somebody created, how to get invites to be a beta tester, what just crashed their browser, which phone shoots the better video, who updated their blog, what’s the latest HD camera that records MP4…..

And then, while you’re trying to be more productive with your day, AND you’re checking out all these links that people sent out so the tabs on the top of your browser are increasing and getting smaller and smaller… You get to find out who’s going to lunch at such and such a place, who’s going out for drinks later, who’s flying into town for the weekend, where the Wii Sports tournament’s going to be, which bar is giving out free beer RIGHT NOW!, the sun just came out over Central Park, the party’s moving from location X to location Y….. So now, instead of having the excuse that you don’t know if anything’s happening tonight or this weekend and actually getting to USE the time that you had allotted to being more productive, which was ALSO spurred on by twitter… You’re hanging out all the time, to the wee hours of the morning, then spending the better part of the next day updating your flickr set! πŸ˜€

Oh, yeah… It also doesn’t help that people live in different time zones. :/ When you’re in the middle of your day, people are talking about “GOOD MORNING FROM HAWAII,” then when you’re done, they’re talking about going out to lunch…

As you can see, the overall effect of this twitter phenomenon is that there are NEVER enough hours in a day anymore. :/ Every second you’re not running with the pack, you’re falling behind. Unfortunately, I don’t subscribe to slackers, so it’s always build, create, innovate, move, report, link, blog, videoblog, discuss, contemplate, debate….. You just have to do as much as you can and eventually call it a day. πŸ˜€

There is one downside-downside to twitter, and that’s when it CRASHES, and suddenly, you’re “flying blind”. Twitter has two types of crashes. Type-2 is complete denial of service. πŸ˜€ Either the site doesn’t come up at all or it comes up but doesn’t let you type anything and doesn’t give you any updates from anyone else either. You just sit there looking at this screen that says “so-and-so said whatever about 3 hours ago.” Suddenly you start trying to activate the telepathy that you just KNOW you have that will allow you to discernn where people are and what they’re doing, even though none of the “tweets” are coming through at all, hahaha. I suppose it’s the same way people feel when they open the fridge and find out that someone drank the last of the Kool-Aid and didn’t fill it back up! :O You just stare at the container, IMAGINING how good that Kool-Aid would have tasted… IF it were actually IN the container. :/

The Type-1 twitter-crash is way more frequent and way more frustrating! πŸ˜€ Twitter lets you type things, but then there are random occurrences right afterwards. What you typed mght disappear into thin air, and twitter acts like you never typed anything at all. It might appear in the list of “tweets”, but then, when you refresh, it’s gone. You can type something and what appears in the list is a duplicate of something you typed hours ago, competely replacing what you actually typed. “Tweets” show up out of order and randomly appear and then disappear upon refreshes. Etc, etc, etc… Anyway… Type-1 twitter-crashes inspire denial as well as disbelief as you realize your carefully crafted post, complete with hyperlinks, has been eaten by twitter and if you didn’t select it and copy it before pressing “Update,” you have to start all over again.

You can imagine the effect these crashes have on the twitter-dependent… suddenly scurrying to use email, instant messaging and telephones to try to find out what’s going on… one.person.at.a.tiiiiiime… πŸ˜€ It’s not for the faint of heart. So beware, and be aware! πŸ˜€ Watch out for the effects of TMI (too much information). If you recognize it starting to be too much, take a bunch of people off of your “friends list” to slow down the traffic to only relevant information that’s useful to YOU… or Just.Say.No! πŸ˜€

Bill Cammack Ò€’ New York City Ò€’ Freelance Video Editor Ò€’ alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

French Constitutional Council vs. Citizen Journalism

How backwards is this?


France bans citizen journalists from reporting violence

Law could lead to imprisonment of amateur videographers and Web site operators who publish their images

By Peter Sayer, IDG News Service

March 06, 2007

The French Constitutional Council has approved a law that criminalizes the filming or broadcasting of acts of violence by people other than professional journalists. The law could lead to the imprisonment of eyewitnesses who film acts of police violence, or operators of Web sites publishing the images, one French civil liberties group warned on Tuesday.

The council chose an unfortunate anniversary to publish its decision approving the law, which came exactly 16 years after Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King were filmed by amateur videographer George Holliday in the night of March 3, 1991. The officers’ acquittal at the end on April 29, 1992 sparked riots in Los Angeles.

This is an amazing scenario. :/ According to the rest of the article, “the law targets the practice of ‘happy slapping,’ in which a violent attack is filmed by an accomplice, typically with a camera phone, for the amusement of the attacker’s friends.” In that case…… Why not target the practice of happy slapping? :/

Apparently they think that crime and bullying is dependent upon the ability to videotape said activities. People were getting attacked before videotape was created, and CERTAINLY before cell phones had the ability to record images and sound. There is going to be less effect on kids involved in happy slapping and more effect on people that just happen to be in the right place at the right time to record something that happened to someone.

Similar to the presence of police, the fact that “citizen journalists” have the ability to record something going on right here right now is a potential deterrent to crime. Making it so that anyone other than “professional journalists” might be prosecuted for taping something is making it EASIER for criminals to do what they do instead of tougher. Sometimes, it’s just AMAZING what people thing is a good idea. :/ You have to wonder if they’re thinking about their community or their own agendas.

Bill Cammack Ò€’ New York City Ò€’ Freelance Video Editor Ò€’ alum.mit.edu/www/billcammack

Best Laid Plans

One of the perils of doing a “daily” blog is that…. you have to do it. πŸ˜€

Already, on day 2, technically day 3, since I started on the last day of last year, I missed a day of my “daily” blog. That’s because A) I didn’t have anything I wanted to post in the morning, and B) I walked out of the house, supposedly for a couple of hours and never came back! πŸ˜€ The next time I was around a computer was about 2am, and I wasn’t in any condition to write anything decent (or stay awake :)) AND 2am is already the next day anyway.

So… YESTERDAY, my friend Dave was off work and wanted to hang out around lunchtime. Since we were going to be downtown, I decided that this day would be a good day to get a different camera. I’ve been shooting ReelSolid.TV and E.M.S. with a Canon miniDV camera, and it’s a real drag to set up and make sure everything’s proper… That’s fine for something like ReelSolid, because those are mostly “finished” pieces, so being able to set up and do all my zooming and manual focus etc comes way in handy so I can express myself properly. However, once I switched to the format of E.M.S. (Eight Million Stories), which is really “slice of life” snippets, what’s really important is to catch that moment that’s happening right now. That’s where a miniDV camera becomes reeeeeeally inconvenient…

a) get it from wherever I’m carrying it, like a backpack for instance
b) press and click the button to turn the camera on in camera mode
c) while I wait, take the lens cap off and try to attach it to the handle, so it doesn’t clunk around and make noise
d) keep waiting for the opening graphics, blah blah blah
e) camera is online… except I found out that it doesn’t adjust itself to the light of the situation for another 10 seconds or so. I found this out on the Harlem Race shoot where I would suddenly want to tape something, then when I looked at it on the computer, it would become lighter a few seconds after I started shooting, making the original shooting worthless to me.
f) hopefully, I already checked to make sure the focus was where I need it to be to start shooting what’s going on right now. Also, the auto-exposure needs to be proper for me to get the shot. I might possibly need to be in low-light mode if it’s dark. If the focus doesn’t work for me “out of the box”, I have to auto focus at the subject, then hit manual focus unless the subject’s constantly moving (or I am), in which case I leave it auto, but I might have been shooting an interview just before, so the focus might be manual and I have to take the time to click it to auto before starting that process.
g) somewhere in that process, I might have needed to click the release and swivel out the viewer. If I were planning to be in my own shot (without a tripod), I might need to flip the viewer also, so I can see where I am in the shot.

By the time all this happens, and probably some stuff I didn’t think of as I’m writing this “off the top”, it’s not likely that the moment is still THE SAME MOMENT that it was when I got the idea to shoot it in the first place. πŸ˜• Again, this is fine for something where you planned a pretty high ratio between how much you shoot and how long the final piece is going to be. If you don’t have the shot, you just use something else and make it work. In “slice of life” snippets, it is what it is, so you need to be recording WHILE it “is what it is”.

This is what happened to me on the very first E.M.S. video, “Beef in Chinatown”. Joey and I were on the way to the club where DJ Blazer One was spinning, and while we were rolling in slow traffic, there was a commotion going on in the street. A bunch of people were literally rolling on the ground, on the sidewalk, and every once in a while, someone would scream “He’s Got A Knife!” πŸ˜€ The funny thing was that I was still talking to Joey about what the plan was for shooting in the club, and I totally hadn’t planned for E.M.S. to start “right now”. I started going through my process I described, and by the time everything came online, people were getting back up off the floor, so it doesn’t look even 1/3rd as funny on tape as it did in person. Had I had a camera that was faster on the draw, I would have had a better representation of the situation.

So… I started researching digital still cameras that take 640×480 video @ 30fps. I googled a little bit, then I decided to search the Yahoo Videoblogging Group to see what they had to say. I saw an article by kitykity (from vlog.kitykity.com) talking about a Sony S600. She also made a video with it and posted it and I was very satisfied with her results. I knew I wanted a camera that would shoot 640×480 and 30fps. I looked for another article I had seen where Randolfe Wicker mentioned the make & model of the camera he showed us and talked about @ a recent videoblogging get-together @ Art Bar. He was very impressed with his new camera, so I thought I’d check that one out as well, the Samsung NV3.

After much googling and checking on Cnet, B&H Photo and the local electronics chain stores we have around here, I couldn’t decide between the Sony Cybershot W70 and the Samsung NV3. I could even have gone with the Sony W50, since it’s a newer model than kitykity’s S600, so that was a third consideration. I decided I’d have to take it to the street and check out the display models.

I started getting ready to go and called Dave, who was already downtown, but his phone rang through to voicemail. I finished getting ready and called Dave and his phone did the same thing. A little later, I got a call from Dave. He was in his house now, and his cell phone had run out of batteries. So much for THAT plan. πŸ˜•

So… I hit the streets solo……..