Archive for the 'HowTo' Category

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Mapjack.com wearable street-view rig found…

Mapjacker finally captured...

I recently discovered the high-quality street view experience of Mapjack.com, and learned that their virtual experience extended beyond the roads, and onto narrow alleys as well as even indoors.

That beats Google Street View which has so far been limited to vehicle-mounted panorama cameras as seen here.

Having heard that Mapjack’s street-view rig was wearable, I was determined to find pictures of their setup. After a bit of flickr diving, I hit the jackpot…

On the left is a photograph of whom I believe to be the “mapjacker” (hat tip warzauwynn). You see him complete with his wearable computer setup, overhead panoramic camera, video monocle, and a Playstation controller at his waist. Recently the military mentioned that game controllers make for ergonomic input devices. Here’s a closer image of the “mapjacker” captured by davidyuweb.

The capture even shows the junction he was at, so I went on Mapjack to find the actual panorama captured by him. Aside from a time difference between both images, I believe what you see on the right is exactly what was being captured by him that day.

As expected, Mapjack experienced the same ethical and privacy issues as Google. Just check out the images they had to remove from their trip in sin city Pattaya, Thailand.

If they ever need more cyborgs to capture the lay of the land, I’d gladly help! Definitely wish I could build one.

Twitter + Augmented Reality + Facial Recognition = Nineteen Eighty-Four?

Squidder's facetweet

While @briancaldwell of Squidder thinks that their latest creation reeks of “Big Brother / 1984” overtones, I beg to differ… it looks incredibly useful (and fun)!
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BarcampBuffalo: Lifehacker.com’s Kevin Purdy on “How to write smarter & faster for the web” (Texter)

Nice to see Senior Editor of Lifehacker.com, Kevin Purdy, make a trip back to Buffalo to join in our first ever Barcamp Buffalo.

Kevin tells us how he transitioned from a newspaper journalist to a Lifehacker editor. Waking up 5am every morning, I overheard that he reads about 1,000 feeds a day. As part of his transition to the online realm, he shows us the way he writes smarter and faster for the web by using Texter.

Watch carefully… Texter’s ability to correct your “fuck you boss” statement is god-sent! [skip frame to 03:30]

You can download texter here.

Update: This video is now featured on Lifehacker.com!

Online Video Sharing for UB Educators


This is a 30min narrated version of the workshop

This morning at UB’s Teaching & Learning Center (TLC), I gave a 2 hour workshop introducing faculty and staff to online video sharing resources offered officially by various UB tech services, as well as unofficially by online video services such as Youtube and Viddler.

Here’s the workshop description:
Video is a visceral media for sharing knowledge and experience. While it can be exciting to produce and share videos with your class and fellow researchers, the process tends to be more time consuming compared to other media.

This introductory workshop takes you through the techniques of video sharing for UB instructors. Various forms of video formats and delivery systems will be discussed. Learn about shooting, editing and video output and sharing, be it on the web, in a presentation or on a DVD.

UPDATE: Joe Hsu pointed out a truly comprehensive article entitled “6 Things To Know About Video For The Web” by Viget Labs. Here’s Part 1 and Part 2.

HyperConnected Beings // From Social Web to Networked Consciousness

Presentation Mindmap: Networked Consciousness
HyperConnected Beings (Slides)

As a guest lecturer at @panomatic‘s Designed Play visual studies class yesterday, I thought aloud of how we are increasingly inter-connected with one another. Although in varying degrees, there are some like me who are inclined to explore the extremities of self-awareness.

Perhaps not now, but little choice later…
Note that I take the perspective of being hyper-connected as a choice at this point, though I believe that it will be unavoidable in the near future. As my friend MrBig already noted, even when he tries to have online presence through pseudonymity, the dilemma comes where his friends connect back to him, verifying real-life information about himself (e.g. Facebook).

Since information shared online by others around and about you would likely be beyond your control, having some form of online presence that’s verifiable by people you know, would act as a findable official reference from which you can control. Even if you aren’t interested in promoting yourself online, having presence acts as a defense mechanism for your namesake / reputation.

To contrast the diversity modes of online presence, I talked about my personal experiences in attempting to share and store consciousness via two routes:

1. Taking the High Road – VIDEO
+ High Cognitive Bandwidth; hard to multi-task / browse
+ Visceral, im-mediate reality
+ Technological accessibility: smaller sensors, cheaper storage
+ Mobile live video streaming (e.g. Ustream.tv, Qik, etc)
+ Searchable video via thumbnails, keyframe tagging, face detection

2. Taking the Low Road – TEXT
+ Low Cognitive Bandwidth: easy to multi-task / browse
+ Imaginary, requires prior experience
+ Scalable Complexity: twitter (low) to blog posting (high)
+ Democratic participation: twitter, SMS/txting cellphones
+ Highly searchable; naturally mashable / remixable

Points discussed in class during presentation:

Finally, the means of communication often creates avenues for serendipitous encounters, which could explain why we are attracted to use social devices such as twitter.

ASIDE: I’m keeping track of related information at http://theory.wikispaces.com/Social+Cyborg

UPDATE: I’ve share the presentation on Slideshare.net

Interviewing some folks you might know in San Francisco…

macworld2009agenda

This week’s going to be exciting, not just for Macworld Expo 2009, but also for the folks who’ve made time off their busy schedules to chat with me while I’m in San Francisco.

Steve Mann: the early cyborg – Monday @ 2.30pm
To kick off the week, I had the opportunity to video chat with Steve Mann, the “world’s first cyborg”. I’ll shared how it went in an earlier post, but I’ll probably write follow-up post once I have more time to edit down the full video of the interview.

Daynah & Emily Chang – Tuesday @ 12noon
On Tuesday noon at Macworld, I’ll be meeting someone I call the “human connector”, Daynah. I’ve discovered that she really active on the social web and has quickly grown to know and be known by various online microcelebrities. Hopefully I’ll also get to meet Emily Chang, a well-recognized web designer / strategist who’s best known web site is eHub, which tracks new Web 2.0 services as they emerge.

Bhaskar Roy, Qik.com founder – Tuesday @ 5pm
Late afternoon, I’ll take a train down to Redwood City, where I’ll meet with Qik.com founder, Bhaskar Roy (@broy). This is a particularly exciting startup for me to watch. I’ll chat with Bhaskar on how videos shared from mobilephones amplifies the way we make memories and socialize. I’ve also heard that there are Singaporeans working there, maybe I’ll get to meet them.

Tara Hunt, The Whuffie Factor – Wednesday @ 3pm
Tara Hunt has graciously agreed to walk me through their co-working space, called Citizen Space. As mentioned on their web site, “[t]he idea of Citizen Space is to take the best elements of a coffee shop (social, energetic, creative) and the best elements of a workspace (productive, functional) and combine them to give indie workers the chance to have their own, affordable space.” This would naturally brings us into The Third Space (Ray Oldenburg, 1989), which talks of community building and hints at the importance of social capital. Being the subject of her upcoming book, The Whuffie Factor, Tara explains that “money isn’t the capital of choice in online communities, it is Whuffie – social capital – and how to raise it”. I’ll chat with her about social currency and how we could possibly gauge it.

Dave Cohn, Spot.Us founder – Thursday @ 3pm
I met Dave in January last year, where we talked about pro-am journalism (Assignment Zero) and whether blogging/Digg-ing/retweeting were considered forms of journalism. Now Dave has launched an ingenious community funded news reporting service in the form of Spot.Us in San Francisco. In many ways, he’s really making things happen in the bleakest of times for the news print industry. I’ll be visiting his home and finding out more about Spot.Us, as well as how this model of grassroots-powered journalism could be employed in other cities as well as countries.

MingYeow, Mr. Tweet co-founder – Friday @ 9am
As a product of their discovery recommendation engine, Mr. Tweet aims to help users build meaningful relationships on Twitter by looking through their network and tweets. The service then 1) show key followers & influencers users should follow, 2) recommends enthusiastic twitter-ers relevant to users. I’ll chat with our Singaporean friend MingYeow to learn more about what’s involved in developing Mr. Tweet and how quality supercedes quantity in today’s socially networked environment.

Let me know if you have questions or suggestions for any of these interviews. Depending on my multi-tasking ability, I might try to live stream video via Qik. Just watch for my tweets.

How to make Kevin’s Sweet Potato Casserole


Kevin’s Sweet Potato Casserole from brainopera on Vimeo

As the holidays swing around, instead of buying junk, why not make something for your loved ones?

What’s that? You don’t even know where the kitchen is?

Don’t fret! You’re in good company, thanks to a complete culinary noob such as myself. If Kevin can do it, there’s an 80% probability that so can you.

Baking Sweet Potato Casserole - 1

Here’s the low-down on my variation of the popular Sweet Potato Casserole:
5 sweet potatoes, sliced
1/4 cup reduced fat margarine
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons 1/2 cup of orange juice
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 (10.5 ounce) package miniature marshmallows
and 1 bag of glazed pecans
1 bottle of tabasco

Baking Sweet Potato Casserole (After)Baking Sweet Potato Casserole - 5

Follow my pseudo cooking show video above, and in no time, you’ll be entertaining guests with something sweet and savory!

How I use Tweetdeck (for hardcore twitter users)

How I use TweetDeck

If you’re a hardcore twitter user, what tricks do you have up your sleeve?
For me I trick out Tweetdeck as seen above.
Flickr your screenshots and tag them tweetdeck!

Panorama: Top Floor of NSC @ UB [processed using Hugin]

Panorama: Top floor of Natural Science Complex

Panorama: Top floor of Natural Science Complex

Click images to enlarge…

In my earlier post, I showed you how you could capture and process panoramas automatically on your iPhone.

Elia Diodati reminds me that for the rest of us without iPhones or wish for higher quality panoramas, try using the open-source panorama stitcher, Hugin. Works on Mac, Windows, and Linux.

Above is a panorama I created from the fifth floor of the Natural Science Complex in UB North Campus, back in early October. Shots were taken using my iPhone, then automatically stitched together using Hugin on my Mac.

As you can see, unlike the horizontal “Panorama” for iPhone, Hugin allows for more complex shots, where it merged photos taken both vertically and horizontally.

“Leveling Up” Students with Class Blogs: Engineering Active Learning through Game Mechanics

COM125 Award Winners

Back in Spring 2007, when my colleague Derek Lackaff and I conducted the “COM125: Intro to the Internet” class simultaneously in Singapore and Buffalo, New York, we decided to do something completely different…

We ran a social learning experiment of the “funnest” proportion (watch video).

Given the positive feedback from students on both sides, we’ve finally taken the time to publish our story in the Fall 2008 edition of the UBlearns Update newsletter [PDF / 500kb]

UBearns Update Newsletter (Fall 2008)

This particular issue has a social media + pedagogy theme to it, as it also features Jenn Austin’s Transforming Learning: The Power of Blogs, Journals & Wikis – Web 2.0; a great article filled with rubrics and tips on how to incorporate these social media tools into your classroom.

Our article was originally meant for journal submission, but we adapted it for the Blackboard user audience, in time for the launch of Blogs (Journal LX) and Wikis (Teams LX) inside UBlearns. If you’re looking at the actual newsletter, our article is listed under a less threatening title of “Incorporating Blogs and Wikis Into Teaching”. You can read the full article after the jump…

Continue reading ‘“Leveling Up” Students with Class Blogs: Engineering Active Learning through Game Mechanics’