Video streaming through a Nokia cellphone, Qik.com and a FlexClip…

Using FlexClip as a cameraphone tripod
Made myself a cameraphone mount using a simple FlexClip…

I’m not sure what to make of the Nokia E51 I received from WOM World Nokia three weeks ago, so I’ve been using it as much as I can (kiasu?).

Being a heavy Internet user, I don’t care so much about talking on the cellphone as much as its ability to connect to the net. In fact, I use more data service than voice, and my thousands of AT&T rollover minutes will attest to that. Heck, if only VoIP services were embraced by mobile phone companies, I’d get the f@#k off paying for a voice plan. As such, to navigate informational spaces, my mobile phone has to have a decent color screen, a proper keyboard and high-speed mobile data connection.

It’s with no surprise that the very first post I made on this blog was about my love for the Danger Sidekick. The built-in keyboard was the best I’ve used on a mobile device, and the applications did everything I wanted, including emailing multiple flickr photos at once.

I upgraded to every iteration of the Sidekick, until the Apple iPhone appeared. While the iPhone can be jailbroken for installing all kinds of neat apps, I still miss the speed of typing I could achieve on a real tactile keyboard afforded by my Sidekick. Overriding this weakness was that fact that it was both an iPod and an Internet device.

Using FlexClip as a cameraphone tripod Then came the Nokia E51, which frankly speaking I’d never imagine buying for myself since it negates everything I want in a cellphone… everything except for HSDPA (high speed data connection), decent camera and ability to run Symbian apps, which include Qik.com’s live video streaming service. You can watch all my recorded clips there.

Being a videoblogger, this combination of Qik video streaming (software) and Nokia mobile phone (hardware) has allowed me an incredible new sense of freedom to shoot anytime, anywhere and yet interact with viewers in a way that I can receive real-time responses much like I did when I was lifecasting.

This freedom as a videoblogger came in a few ways…

  • Weight
    All my lifecasting gear was reduced to the few grams of the Nokia cellphone. Compare this to when I was once lugging around a backpack filled with wearable cameras, a portable computer, spare batteries, and so on.
  • Complexity
    Of running around tending to all my equipment and managing real-time responses you’d get as a lifecaster. Now everything just works through the cellphone, like a simple heads-up display (HUD) for merging physical and virtual interactions
  • Adaptability
    Where I once had to factor in so many issues before streaming video (e.g. testing connection, passing security), being so much smaller and easier meant that I could video stream in more places than before since the cellphone is more innocuous (the Nokia E51 is quite thin!).

While I do wish for Qik’s video streaming service to appear on the iPhone, the Nokia E51 does have a good form factor for getting videos shot with less hassle. It’s light and right for the connected business user, but for me, I’d say the only Nokia I’d get is the N95, which is really more like a computer and has been used by mobile journalists at Reuter. As a final note, I must say that the user experience on most brands of cell phones is still light years away from that of Apple’s iPhone. Danger’s Sidekick phone made the experience work well, by being as minimal as possible (no B.S.).

As technology like these starts to get more ubiquitous, our daily experiences gets more fluidly shared online, like a data cache for organic experiences. Controlling privacy becomes one issue, but the benefit of which is perhaps the ability for us to datamine for meaning, by seeing and re-experiencing ourselves as vividly and completely as possible.

On a related note
Since we’re beginning to use our camera phones for live video streaming, we need something quick and simple for mounting our phones in diverse environments. As seen in the photos above, I used the FlexClip as a substitute for a tripod, originally design to hold paper documents next to your computer screen. This worked perfectly for me when I did a live Qik video stream from Cheektowaga Central High School during my Wikipedia talk yesterday.

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