Archive for the 'Videos' Category

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Minds for Sale: Jonathan Zittrain explores the rise of Cloud Labor

It’s been a LONG while since I’ve blogged, mostly because I’ve been:
a. out of it
b. at mindblowing conferences
c. swamped with short-term work (while job hunting)

While working on my paper, I chanced upon a video of Jonathan Zittrain’s talk entitled “Minds for Sale”. It’s similar to the one he presented at “Internet as Playground & Factory” which I recently attended (*yet to be blogged). You can download the video via Berkman Center’s page.

Here’s his abstract:

Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, explores the evolving world of cloud computing. Cloud computing is not just for computing anymore: you can now find as much mindshare as you can afford out in the cloud, too. A new range of projects is making the application of human brainpower as purchasable and fungible as additional server rackspace. What are some of the issues arising as armies of thinkers are recruited by the thousands and millions? A fascinating (and non-scare-mongering) view is offered of a future in which nearly any mental act can be bought and sold.

What’s so significant about this talk is that it not only encapsulates the buzz I’ve picked up from the transmedia conferences I’ve just returned from, but he recognizes a pattern which finally takes us beyond the material, and into the conceptual. I’m referring to the emergence of shared cognitive power or rather, cloud labor as he calls it.

In his hour long presentation, he discusses…
2:05 Ubiquitous Human Computing or “Minds for Sale”
2:32 The Tween Bot
4:14 Crowdsourcing “The Future of the Internet”
7:36 A tour of the Ubiquitous Human Computing pyramid
8:37 Example 1: The X-Prize
10:24 Example 2: Innocentive
12:08 Example 3: LiveOps
15:43 Example 4: SamaSource
16:16 Example 5: Amazon’s Mechanical Turk
20:13 Example 6: The ESP Game
22:47 Example 7: Human Computing for Electronic Design Automation
24:01 Example 8: Google
25:24 Why Should We be Pessimistic?
26:38 Child Labor on PBS
28:11 Laboring for a Devious Cause
29:23 US Border Webcams
30:05 Smart Drive
30:45 Internet Eyes
32:09 Identifying Protesters
33:21 A Speculative Example
35:05 Mechanical Turking your way to a Fake Reputation
39:36 Mechanical Turking your way to a Political Movement
41:20 Captchas Sweatshops
43:03 “Crowding Out”
44:41 The Future of Crowdsourcing and How to Stop It
47:14 Clickworkers of the World Unite!
50:45 Monetizing Kindness


theorycast 59 & 60 :: Michelle Thorne’s walkabout with Creative Commons Singapore

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 01
Big Trouble in Little Chinatown…

As a fan and community manager for Creative Commons Singapore, Ivan Chew took a day off to bring CC Project Manager (International) Michelle Thorne (@thornet & blog) on a tour of Singapore’s Chinatown. I tagged along to learn about recent developments and challenges for Creative Commons in the international space.

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 03

On an overcast Monday morning (12th Oct), we started the day with a relaxing Chinese tea drinking session at D’Art Tea Station on 63 Temple Street, Singapore 058608 (Tel: 62258308). Not only did store assistant Ms Cheong educate us on the intricacies of Chinese tea drinking, but we managed to use it as a springboard for critical discussion into how tea drinking seems to run counterculture to contemporary consumerism (i.e. slowing down, minimalism, tradition vs. efficiency). Watch the hour long video below to see what I mean…

theorycast.59 :: Tea-drinking with Creative Commons Singapore

Next, we met up with Chung Nian, who serves as the Legal Project Lead for CC Singapore. We discussed the intricacies of CC adoption in Singapore, and shared ideas on how we could make CC more relevant to Singaporeans.

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 10

An exciting idea was to offer localized starter kits which catered to different genres of creators. For instance, I could volunteer to produce an Educator’s CC starter kit, which might include online videos, project ideas and Powerpoints which instructors could readily use in their classes to teach students about Creative Commons.

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 14

After all the talk (and tea), it wasn’t long before we were starving. We paid a visit to People’s Park food center for lunch, then rounded it off with Bubble Tea at Koi Cafe, which lets us stipulate how much sugar we wanted in our drink. Michelle apparently loves Bubble Tea, which is pretty unusual for a caucasian from my experience.

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 17

Our last stop was the new Popular bookstore franchise called [prologue] at Orchard Ion. Over coffee, we took turns to interview one another. I like the idea of passing the video camera around… it’s reciprocal and balances control of the discussion among participants.

theorycast.60 :: Roundtable with Creative Commons Singapore

In this roundtable discussion, we each shared how we first encountered Creative Commons, how we’re involved with CC, and what CC meant to each of us.

Singapore Tour for Michelle Thorne of Creative Commons - 06

The day ended with the appearance of Michelle’s boyfriend, Peter Bihr (@thewavingcat & blog), who was himself a web strategist based in Berlin. I wish we all had more time to learn more about one another, but it was bittersweet while it lasted. I hope to encounter both Michelle and Peter sometime in the near future. Thanks Ivan Chew for making this one of the most spectacular Mondays for me ever ;)

Fun Fact: Thorne claims to be the inventor of Nutellachino, a dessert combining Nutella and cappuccino powder.

Remaindered Photos: See slideshow of extra photos from our Chinatown tour.

In Singapore, while stocks last…

Taking off from Buffalo
Leaving Buffalo on a jet plane…

It’s been two years since I last returned to Singapore.

This time I’m back for my sister’s wedding, and will be staying for the month of October. Rather than pouring out a lyrical diatribe of my arrival, I’m pouring out buckets of sweat as I write this. In short, let me just show you my journey so far…

Singapore (Oct 2009)
Click to enlarge…

And here’s a surprise Uke performance (or rather wedding rehearsal) by Lynda and Greta…

Finally, here’s my live calendar showing what I’ve got lined up for the entire month. If you think we should meet up, drop me a line here.

Direct link to the Google Calendar

Pro-Choice: Interviews with Planned Parenthood Advocates

Last Saturday, I was invited to talk about online campaign strategies at the 7th Annual Planned Parenthood Advocacy Conference in Rochester, NY.

Being an all-women event, I was given a glimpse into a world rarely witnessed by men. Curiosity took the better of me, as I interviewed everyone from student advocates to regional leaders in the planned parenthood community.

Who are these pro-choice advocates? What motivates them to work with such gusto? How do they organize themselves to take social and political action? These are but some of the questions I sought to answer.

Big thanks to Amy White and Tessa Walker for giving me the opportunity to share and learn from women who are fighting for greater rights over their own physical bodies.

Our Buffalo Tweetup @ Cabana Sam’s

Buffalo Tweetup @ Cabana Sam's - a set on Flickr

Before summer fizzed away, this month’s Buffalo Tweetup was held at Cabana Sam’s in Sunset Bay (see Google map). It’s my first time at a beach in Buffalo, even though it’s technically a lake beach. At last… sun, sand, and “sea”.

Many of us local twitterers were there, including Jim Milles (@JimMilles), Kristina Lively (@KLively), Joseph Hsu (@jhsu), Janelly (@jpineda04), Diana Truong (@ursexyfat). A few new twitter friends included Seon McDonald (@laserfox) from Trinidad, Anne (@Awalterich) who lives by the beach and Michael Rebmann (@mrebmann) who discusses politics on twitter.

If you want in on future Buffalo Tweetups, do join and follow @BuffaloTweetup.

Social Cyborg upgrades: GoPro Hero Cam + Xacti HD1010

GoPro Hero Cam's Delicious Wide Lens!GoPro Hero Cam's Delicious Wide Lens!

GoPro Hero CamGoPro Hero Cam: Driving from Triads apartment to the airport. This exciting wearable camera is actually meant for extreme sports, so I’ll try to be creative in pushing it later. They’ve got tons of mounts for it, including ones for the helmets, surfboards, suction cups for race cars and so on.

I need to fashion a mount that clips onto the front strap of my sousveillance backpack. While it does great video thanks to its bright lens, I like the automated shooting mode which lets me automatically capture five megapixel fisheye photos every 2 or 5 seconds. Though I lose sound in that mode, it’s allows me to quickly browse through a visual record of where I’ve been and who I’ve met.

Don’t forget the latest firmware update which increases recording from 2gb to 4gb per file, as well as improving exposure in bright environments (e.g. snow). If you’re wondering how this camera’s been used in extreme sports, take a look at these nut-jobs! I got the basic GoPro Wide Hero 5MP camera from Amazon for $139

Sanyo Xacti HD1010: 300fps video test with Jerry & Shasha. This is a High Definition 1080p pistol grip video camera with several unique features, including interchangeable lenses, manual controls, and of course, high-speed video capture. I’ve got a few lenses coming my way so I can try more creative shots. I got this camera from Amazon for $349.

theorycast.57 :: Social Media – Strategy Instead Of Tools @ PRSA Buffalo (Part 2)

As promised, here’s a video of the talk I gave yesterday at PRSA Buffalo/Niagara to kick off their Sunrise Seminar series.

Since it’s hard to see the slides in the video, view or download them from while watching me take fifty communication professionals on a thinking journey through the strategic uses of social media.

You can read the full background story and grab links to references from the talk in Part 1 of this blog series. Also see what others had to say via #PRSAtalk on twitter.

Meanwhile, here are some of the fine folks I got to meet yesterday…

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
PRSA’s Jennifer on the left, while the girl closest to me is Jess Manocchio. Jess has been awesome for connecting me with the local PRSA chapter.

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
Finally got to meet the amazing Rebecca Bernstein (@virtualr), mastermind behind the award-winning UB Web Team. I also got to meet Joe Brennan, Associate Vice President for University Communications at University at Buffalo. They plan to get UB more involved in the social media realm.

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
@LarryRoth is president at BrandLogic Interactive, located in Rochester. He’s a swell guy on twitter too. :)

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
Barbara Keough is Vice President of Operations at advertising agency Flynn & Friends, Inc. She’s invited me to join in one of their agency’s LOTs meetings (Learn On Thursdays).

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
Kevin Manne (@k3v2) works for Catholic Charities as a Communications and Public Relations Specialist. He’s worked on all kinds of media, from print, to billboards, to television, and now he’s venturing into the realm of social media.

Fine folks @ PRSA Buffalo
Tessa Walker and Amy White chatted with me in length about how they were involved with the Obama campaign on the social web. They do great work at the Planned Parenthood of Western New York, which they explained had helped out on the campaign. I hope to learn more about their first-hand experience in what I’d believe is the most elaborate social media empowered national campaigns ever.

As I’ve mentioned over twitter (which got decent retweets): “Being rewarded for doing what you love is the best feeling in the world”. I love giving these talks because it’s a visceral, self-actualizing process. My lingering thoughts aren’t just shared, but fashioned by those willing to listen and talk to me about what they see as well. We’re essentially making sense of our crazy world together. :)

Interview on CBC Business News: Examining eBooks

On 12th June 2009, producer @NishaPatel invited me onto CBC Business News to talk about the eBook phenomena. I think I talk a little slow for television, but oh well, that’s that.

I initially passed this opportunity to Dr. Alex @Halavais, whom I knew was in the process of digitizing his entire personal book library. He had given me great advice on the evolution of media industries from analogue to digital, specifically on how the book publishing industry is likely to mirror the course of music and movies industries into the digital domain.

Here are some questions from CBC News, as well as my responses:

1. Why are eBooks taking so long to turn mainstream?
Short answer: Aesthetic experience. Music and movies tend to be experienced same way be it analogue or digital (i.e. screens, headphones), while the experience of browsing a physical book hasn’t been replicated in the electronic form. I think we’re compensating by recognizing the new-found features of ebooks, including the ability to search within books and to carry along more books with us than physically possible.

2. Who are going to be the real losers here? Bookstores, publishers?
If we were to look at the demise of Tower Records, or the state of Blockbuster today, it’s quite certain that if ebooks were to take off, then the brick and mortar bookstores would be next to go. As much as we romanticize the loss of physical browsing, bookstores might have to adapt themselves around alternative aspects of business. I’m seeing many bookstores take the Starbucks route by turning themselves into The Third Place, which focuses the business on communal aspects of books, such as operating cafes, hosting author readings, and catering to book clubs.

3. Which device do you think will lead the ebook revolution?
I personally enjoy reading on my Amazon Kindle, as well as my iPhone. They compliment each other very well, and the convenience and comfort these devices bring to reading ebooks make them strong contenders as mainstream devices for the publishing industry.

If you’re interested to see why the Kindle and the iPhone rock for reading, check out this recent discussion I had with my fellow Kindle fans.

UPDATE: The RamblingLibrarian now offers his thoughts on ebooks as well.

Lunch with fellow Amazon Kindle users…

Over lunch at the UB Commons, Jim Milles, Kristina Lively, Joe Hsu and I chat about our Amazon Kindles.

We casually discuss our user experiences with each version of the Kindle, and make quick predictions on the future of books.

I couldn’t resist a family portrait of our entire line of Kindles…
Yay! The WHOLE Kindle Family

Watch Henry Jenkins discuss Transmedia Storytelling (video)

Henry Jenkins is the director, Comparative Media Studies Program at MIT. In this viral-info-snack he discusses the power of media in a 21 century trans-mediated world. A world where converging technologies and cultures give rise to a new media landscape.

Thanks to the ever wise Cross-Media Specialist @ChristyDena, I checked out Henry Jenkin’s short video on transmedia, which discusses the origin of media and how it’s transformed today. The video showcases much of the phenomena I’ve been illustrating in my recent presentations on the social web.

Starting with storytelling shared within tribes, it goes onto the modern day commercialization of media owned by a few powerful conglomerates, and finally today’s re-tribalized media which is reproduced and remixed by anyone handy with digital tools as well as participates in online social networks (e.g. Youtube, Facebook). Evidence of this remix culture can be seen in Youtube spoofs of major events such as the Gitmo torture and the Obama campaign.

More importantly, Jenkins discusses the emergence of transmedia, which is an affordance of such democratic media tools. In short, transmedia refers to the idea that a story can be told across various media. A popular example would be The Matrix, where the story is told across three movies, an animation series, a video game and so on. Extending further, we could also consider fan-made works as part of the transmedia experience, where we see variations (e.g. spoofs) produced and shared by fans all over the world.

In summary, today’s experiences are best served flowy. It’s not just about letting content be in the hands of fans, but enabling them to remix them in their own image. This participatory way of production isn’t simply fan-inclusive; it invites them to help us sustain our stories beyond our means.