Boston Media Makers, July 1, 2007

Boston Media Makers meetings are held the first Sunday of every month at Sweet Finnish in Jamaica Plain. Meeting notes include Len Edgerly’s video of Friday’s iPod frenzy, Christopher Penn’s demo of his new camera stabilization device, and many interesting updates. Here are my notes:

Steve Garfield has been webcasting the meetings using Ustream.tv, but today we’re using another tool, blog.tv which offers the additional capability of having participants link in their webcams and you can switch between the main stream and other streams. It has really livened up the meeing to have participants out on the net and offering their sending in their questions and comments during the meeting. An archive of the live stream is available.

On Friday, Len Edgerly (VideoPodChronicles.com) went to the Apple store at Cambridgeside Galleria at 3am to be first in line for an iPhone, at first security guards gave him a hard time for shooting video, but once the euphoria of people walking into the store took over, the security guards could not stop him from shooting this wonderful video of being first in line walking into the Apple store:


(blip URL: blip.tv/file/285290)

Len’s first reaction to the iPhone is that it is “unbelievably cool,” and he said, “I went to sleep that night hoding it in my hand, Steve Jobs is right.” He points out that some stuff does not work quite right yet and it’s not quite perfect, for example, notes do not sync, it does not shoot video, the headphone jack does not take his Bose headphones, and it will not play Flash video embedded in web pages. But he added, “if you were crazy enough to be there [on the first day of sales], none of this detracts.”

I’ve completed my one year contract at MIT and so I’m back doing freelance production work and media technology consulting. I just completed a short film, The Smile Boston Project, that will premiere at the 16th Woods Hole Film Festival on August 4th. I gave Steve an M4V file of the trailer to show on his fancy Vista laptop, but it crashed trying to play the video. In other news, I’ve been organizing three panels and a seminar that will take place at the Woods Hole Film Festival, visit the festival’s Panels & Workshops page for more information. Woods Hole is a wonderful festival with an amazing program in a beautiful setting, I encourage you to attending this year.

Reiko & Tom (TRB Designs) are media makers who’ve been producing video including GymSmarts.com gymnastics instructional videos. Their question to the group was they are working with a local nursing association to take seminars and PowerPoint presentations into the video realm for remote access.

Safa suggested looking over the video streaming comparisons on the Beanywood web site. I suggested that free video streaming (for example, Ustream.tv and blog.tv) solutions provide a cost-effective option if you’re on a tight budget, however, they come with many compromises. They may or may not neet the needs of the client, depending on their expectations in terms of image quality, frame rate, and licensing issues (most free sites are working on ways to monetize content, so there are content licensing and access issues to consider).

If enterprise class presentation capture is required, the Accordent Capture Station, as an example, might provide the right solution. It takes in video of the presenter and VGA of their presentation slides and makes an integrated video and slide presentation available. And for live streaming of an event to many viewers, the Accordent can provide a Real or Windows Media stream uplink to a CDN like Limelight Networks PowerStream, or Akamai who in turn can deliver multiple video streams anywhere from dozens to hundreds of viewers. Safa suggested that Adobe Connect offers a viable solution in this arena.

Frank Wing (Wings TV)does video production, sports videography, and has done work with George W. Bush. It’s quaint to meet a Republican once in a while in Democratic Party dominated Massachusetts.

David La Morte continues to work on his Teaching for the Future podcast, he’s looking for a better transcription solution. Christopher suggested using Dragon voice recognition, I suggested Via Voice might help. Any other ideas for David?

Mark, a media artist and teacher, is moving out of the Medieval era of OS 9 and getting an iMac with Intel processor, he said it’s like “Dorothy and Toto,” everything is in “Technicolor” now. Congratulations, Mark, and unlike Steve Garfield’s Windows Vista laptop that crashes and does strange things on a regular basis, Mark will not have to live in a virtual Apple ad, he’ll be able to get work done without hassles.

I myself ordered a MacBook Pro last week, I’m counting the days to it’s arrival. Every time it’s time to buy a new laptop, I ask myself, has Windows caught up? Should I go over to the dark side? And all it takes is a demo of Microsoft’s latest operating system to convince me not to switch. Maybe in another three years.

Kristen Crusius, a.k.a. kroosh (kroosh.tv) is a design student at New England Institute of Art who was doing new media marketing for a company that was doing fake blogging, and from her perspective a general disservice to their marketing clients, so she quite her job (good for her) and has moved on. She’s available for freelance design and would like to do audio and video production, podcast production, etc. Twitter has been very helpful, made friends, found work, etc. Social networking at it’s best.

Laura Fitton (Great Presentations Mean Business) has been thinking about the online equivalent of Beer O’Clock, making online gatherings more social, she was watching Chris Brogan and Jeff Pulver do their show, her daughter was learning to crawl, she turned the camera to her, and her husband was able to see the first 20 minutes of her crawling, she relayed to us that Chris Brogan made the comment, “that’s really persona media.”

Matt Searles (Asymmetric Biz Cult) is a media artist and continues to cover “the new asymmetric business of culture creation,” in his podcast.

Safa Sadeghpour (Beanywood) updated us on his New England Film Movement Digital Media Database and is looking for a Drupal programmer. Anyone out there interested in programming in Drupal for some equity in a start-up?

Christopher Penn (Financial Aid Podcast) demonstrated how he created a reasonable equivalent to the $300 Fig Rig using some PVC pipe he purchased from Loews, which he describes in his Stabilization Equipment for Handheld Video blog post. blog post. Here’s a movie of Christopher demonstrating the rig with his Sanyo CG65 Camera which can record 76 minutes of 640 x 480 H.264 video on a 1G storage card.


(blip URL: blip.tv/file/286956/)

Christopher also told us that the Student Loan Network is looking for a Senior Web Developer with PHP and MySQL experience to work in their Quincy location and they are offering a $10K finders fee for anyone who refers someone they hire if the programmer stays in the position for a minimum of 3 months. They would rather pay someone in the media maker community $10K than a recruiter $30K. Both the community and the employer win. The internet in general and and social networks in particular are changing the nature of business that depend primarily on inefficiencies for their profits rather than creating real value, and recruiting firms are yet another example.

Also attending the meeting were Lindsay Shah (Beanywood), Wayne (new to Boston Media Makers and looking for some help with video production for Brookline Access Television), Philip Shevitz (who’s here to keep on top of stuff), and Mike Wall (working with audio and involved in redoing the web site of the Society for Technical Communication).

After the “going around the table” portion of th meeting participants discussed Andrew Keen’s book, The Cult of the Amateur. In our discussion we raised several interesting issues in terms of the reliability of “the wisdom of the crowds,” especially in terms of Wikipedia; how are we going to find “hard-hitting journalism” in the age of citizen journalism; and the validity of the professional vs. amateur duality. During the discussion, Christopher Penn suggested the book, The Underground History of American Education by John Taylor Gatto and I suggested The Wealth of Networks by Yochai Benkler. I also think Henry Jenkins’ Convergence Culture provides an excellent and thoughtful counter-point to Keen’s argument.

It was another wonderful meeting, a delightful mix of coffee, pastries, conversation, sharing, and learning around a table. Some photos are available on Flickr.

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