Monthly Archive for April, 2006

Nonsense of the Day: Chinese Mountain Song Music Video

Despite their weird body gestures, they are not convulsing from brain damage, but actually singing and dancing as part of a karaoke video produced in China. From what I’ve determined so far, they are legally sane and have gone on to produce a series of these mind-numbing music videos. Watch carefully as each of them perform acts of logic-defying moves. If that weren’t enough, if you thought the guy’s singing wasn’t bad enough, listen a few more second in for the ear-piercing screech from the lady on the left.

DarkLancer, a YouTube user, explains what they are “singing” about:
The first part essentially talks about a married guy fancying for a girl, and the girl somehow seduces the guy while warning him that his wife may discover the affair. The guy indicates that he is not afraid. The second part of thi pretty long song goes on to talk about sex. In any case, their entire series of music videos seems to be talking about sex.

If anyone has more information on this trio, please contact me so I can sign them on for a movie deal. Ah, it’s times like these that I love being Chinese. Thanks a lot Nelson for such quality links!

Video demo of affordable face tracking technology

Phillip Torrone of MAKE magazine shows us a video demo of Logitech QuickCam Orbit MP’s face tracking technology. As you can see it’s really fun! But beyond that, it could mean more interesting personal media production possibilities (e.g. videocasting). What used to be affordable only by television news networks, is now a reality for the rest of us.

When I first saw Logitech’s QuickCam Orbit MP web camera last year, it looked to me like a sturdy camera for those of us who were really into video conferencing or even videocasting. I experimented with Logitech’s face tracking technology in which the camera would zoom in to automatically center where your face was on screen. Little did I know that the QuickCam Orbit MP did more than that… it added interactivity and image overlays similar to that of the EyeToy PS2 videogame or ToySight for the Mac.

For videocasters, this is awesome…

Since Phil revealed that the files used for the model/avatars are .LVA (avatars) and .LVF for the face accessories, you could download more or even create your own! I could possibly make cartoons or machinimas easily, buy/sell virtual tie & suit outfits for videocasters to “wear”, the list goes on. Since we are seeing Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPG) getting more mainstream now, we are beginning to see our dual existence (online/real-life) slowly becoming one.

Applications such as these serve to merge the two even more… heck I could have my World of Warcraft character turned into my web cam avatar! I see this idea not only entertaining, but of having serious implications in defining our identity today.

Behind the scenes at Valleyschwag…

valleyschwag packing

Amy Muller was literally knee-deep in burlap and cotton, yet she was nice enough to share with us how Valleyschwag got the first packages out to us. For nosey people like me, here’s a behind the scenes peek at the packing process…

UPDATE: My Valleyschwag photo appeared on BoingBoing (thanks to LaughingSquid.com)!

Post-it note tagging meme spreads to TILW2.0

Emerging Tech Librarian Ken Fujiuchi has been producing an interesting series of workshops entitled “Teaching Information Literacy with Web 2.0″ or TILW2.0 for short. Not too far off my Web 2.0 Workshop series, Ken also talks about incorporating Web 2.0 technology into education and has been rethinking how he teaches his Library Instruction courses. It seems that he’s been focused on developing “Information Literacy” over “Library Use”, which makes sense to me since it might appeal to the layman more for practicality beyond the library setting, and into the holistic world view.

His latest venture was at the EDUCAUSE 2006 conference, where he presented a poster session using his TILW2.0 workshop series. Lots of pretty slides illustrating information literacy through various representations on freely accessible Web 2.0 services, including the visual thesaurus, blogpulse, newsmap, buzztracker, music-map. A complimentary activity he had his participants perform mimicked my post-it note party trick, which involved people “real-world tagging” their environment using post-it notes.

Definitely check out his post for a photo slideshow of how his party went down.

Ed Tech Grant Showcase 2006 @ ETC

Ed Tech Grants 2006 @ UB
Click to see full flickr photo album…

The annual Educational Technology Grants awards deserving tech-related educational projects by faculty at the University at Buffalo (SUNY). Facilitated by the Educational Technology Center where I work, I naturally got to see some some of the best ideas presented. This was an opportunity to explore a wide array of resources and technologies available to faculty who are new to instructional technology or who want to incorporate additional technology in their teaching.

The festivities kicked off at 3pm where ETC Director, Carole Ann Fabian, welcomed everyone and introduced the program for the day. We quickly moved onto faculty presentations at the conference room, while informal networking occurred by the individual stands in the open computing area. All this happened over delicious hors d’oeuvres and beverages, to which I managed to gobble up a few.

While all the presentations were well researched, the one presentation which stood out for me was one by Marc Bohlen (Media Study) & Omar Khan (Architecture) on their “Machine vision for responsive architecture” project. They designed, developed and are said to be soon deploying a distributed camera-based sensing technology for responsive architectural environments. This project investigates which types of data processing work well with types of architectural settinew experiences. One line which Marc Bohlen won me over with was on “being cheap”. Cheap has the virtue of being accessible to students (or anyone in fact). Using cheap devices makes things simpler to understand and utilize, and I believe is also less proprietary in nature.

If you’re interested to know more, visit etc.buffalo.edu or download detailedproject descriptions to get an idea of what was presented today.

Valleyschwag arrives… I’m very impressed!


See every item in high resolution (complete with descriptions) in my ValleySchwag flickr photo set

Remember ValleySchwag?
I signed up back in March and just today, I received their first care package!

My ValleySchwag came in the office mail today. As I ripped open the package to reveal a burlap wrapping, curious colleagues started gathering around me asking questions. Once I took off the parcel string, I slowly unfolded the burlap to reveal a letter and a white paper wrapping. There’s a letter from the ValleySchwag crew that’s two pages long. The first page has an interesting note on ValleySchwag’s April theme being about Birds, Squids and Citrus shapes. Page two is the ValleySchwagList, which details everything in the grab bag. Some of the stuff are obviously meant for women, which means I get to share them with chicks I dig.

Opening up the paper wrap reveals a bunch of goodies in a plastic bag, and two t-shirts underneath… One’s from SongBird while the other was from Instructables. Literally everything to give you Web 2.0 mojo… pin buttons to dress your bag, stickers to pimp your MacBook, and other miscellaneous stuff for good measure. The ValleySchwag burlap cloth was too good to toss away, so I’ll be using it to rob a bank. :P

On the whole, a ValleySchwag subscription of $14.95 might seem like a lot, but the t-shirts alone are so worth it. In fact, it’s way better than travelling all the way to a Web 2.0 conference, only to get stuff you don’t want… like an over-sized t-shirt that doesn’t fit you. Yes, ValleySchwag actually gave me my size (small), which is pretty amazing! This is all marketing of course, but it’s all marketing we want to be affiliated with. Can’t wait for next month’s surprise!

UPDATE: It seems that everyone gets something different in their ValleySchwags…

Today’s Links: Mmmmm… Nintendo DS lite pretty!

nintendo ds lite

Parallels Beta5 RAWKS // Skype Universal DOA

Parallels RAWKS // Skype Universal DOA

Parallels Workstation, the first virtualization solution for Intel Macs, released their fifth beta today which includes a lot of nifty new features:
– USB support (not everything works yet)
– Shared folders between Mac/Windows
– Support for dynamic screen resolutions
– Added “transition cube” animation (think Virtue Desktops!)

On the flipside, Skype released a Universal Binary version of their popular Voice over IP app, only to take it back. Besides me, no one has managed to get it to run and if you look on their download page, it now lists the previous version. Hopefully they’ll get their act together soon.

theorycast.10 :: Interview with Noah Bonnett of 88Slide

theorycast 10 :: Interview with Noah Bonnett of 88slidetheorycast itunes artwork

Download Interview with Noah Bonnett of 88Slide.com (iPod chaptered .m4a/18.9MB/24min)
Listen to alternative audio formats or Subscribe to theorycast in iTunes.

On theorycast, I talk to Web 2.0 trendsetters about their services/products, their inspirations, what they hope to achieve and where they see everything going. My goal is to look for “disruptiveness” in our immediate media space.

For today’s episode, I interview Noah Bonnett, executive producer of 88Slide.com. 88Slide is a daily 1min trivia videocast that’s making waves in the podcasting world. What’s interesting is that Noah came from the traditional broadcast industry, where he started as an assistant to the Senior Vice President of Non-Scripted Programming at Sony Pictures Television. He then went on to produce many game and reality formats for network, cable, and syndication. Why the shift from a comfy broadcasting career to independent videocasting?

In this theorycast, you’ll hear the following chapters:
1. Start
2. Introductions
3. What is 88Slide?
4. Why broadcast to videocasting?
5. How much $ per videocast episode?
6. Authenticity = Interestingness
7. Broadcast vs. Personal Media (see Bridge Ratings Audience Erosion Study 2005)
8. Why the name 88Slide?
9. How did you grow viewership?
10. Noah’s “thank you” speech
11. Keep it Simple. Keep it Short.

If you’re interested, you can subcribe to 88Slide via iTunes or visit their behind-the-scenes blog at http://www.88slide.com/blog

Send Me A MessageDo you love or hate what you hear? Do leave me a comment. If you have something interesting to share and would like to be heard in the next theorycast, feel free to leave voice message by hitting the ODEO button on the left. If I’m really interested, I’ll interview you via iChat, Skype or telephone.

UPDATE: I’ve been trying to figure out why iTunes doesn’t show this podcast episode and I’ve tracked it down to how the Internet Archive, Feedburner and iTunes work together in dealing with Apple’s .m4a iPod format. Everything is OK, except that under MIME, .m4a often appears as a text file rather an audio file. If you’re using all three services like me, absolutely read this Internet Archive forum post on troubleshooting .m4a podcasts. You can find your “Resync” option by logging into your Feedburner Dashboard, then hittng on Troubleshootize.

Timbuk2 Commute + MacBook Pro = Snug Fit!

Timbuk2 Commute + MacBook Pro

Thinking of buying the Timbuk2 Commute but worried your new MacBook Pro won’t fit?

Rest assured, it does… snugly. As you can see, Apple’s newest laptop goes in along with tons of my other accessories, including my Sony M1 hybrid camera, Sony PSP, Firelite hard drive, Targus Podium, power adapters, lots of cables and extra batteries.

See the entire flickr photo set