After the demise of Google Reader, I’m sad to say goodbye to Google Notifier. I enjoyed getting pop up messages whenever I received email. Going forward, that’ll only happen when I have Chrome running. Which is a disappointment, because there’s times when I only want the app I’m working on to be open. I’m fine with the idea that Google wanted to drop support for the app. I’m just surprised that they completely disabled it, when it ought to be functional indefinitely as an IMAP client, showing new message badges like the native mail app on the iPhone.
In an article about Getty Images retreating from prosecuting blogs for copyright is this gem of writing from BusinessWeek, “By copying one of its images and using it on your blog, you’re entering a random drawing where the prize is a terrifying letter offering a tutorial in copyright litigation.”
Nonetheless, Getty Images recently received its own copyright litigation tutorial for grabbing images from Twitter.
Here’s the text of an email Amazon sent to a third party seller on my behalf:
"Customer is calling because the tracking information for this package shows it as already delivered, but was not received yet, then we need to have an update or that you send a replacement order the faster you can"
When I read that a group of journalism students from the Midwest were headed to the Winter Olympics, I was excited for them and perhaps a little jealous. Years ago, I had taken off a semester from school to volunteer at the Summer Olympics. I saw that even if someone wasn’t fully accredited as a photojournalist, they could still capture a fair amount of scenes from the games, especially if they attended events that weren’t sold out or that were spread out spaces with numerous viewing angles.
Since my time as a volunteer, digital technology has continued to get better, smaller and cheaper. It’s now possible to broadcast decent quality live video from any major smart phone. Similarly, the open source community has unleashed an arsenal of free tools to create professional quality information graphics and data visualizations.
With all those tools and traditional professional -level AV kit at their disposal, I was eager to see what the students wound find and create when given a blank slate. They had flown over two dozen students to Sochi yet posted only about two articles per day on their blog site.
Most of the students seemed contempt to report on the first thing they saw. They noted that security checkpoints for Sochi are comparable to any ordinary airport. They inventoried the main gift shop. And admired Volkswagen’s pop up showroom. They interviewed their cab driver. And the guy making their shawarma. In addition publishing to a 9-photo slide show of food-on-a-plate.
Better editing could have salvaged these pieces. It would have been fun to see a slide show of the tackiest and most expensive items from the gift shop, like the $800 suitcase and $100 bed sheets they listed. They should have asked the fans which foods resonated with them.
The shawarma guy could have been awarded points for style and difficulty. He even could have been timed against one of his coworkers. Satire, farce and haikus would have been fine for a story or two. It was 60 years ago that Art Buchwald celebrated the accomplishment of man at running the six minute Louvre.
The students did do a few serious interviews with athletes at various press conferences but posted them with photos of medallists behind microphones. In those cases, it would have been fun to have illustrated them with impressionism. Perhaps a tasteful pencil sketch or watercolor of the athlete in action. Or failing that, a Lego reenactment like those popularized by The Guardian during the London games.
The student’s social media presence also needed more inspiration and coordination. They tweeted that they had contributed graphics to the Chicago Tribune, but they did not include a link to them. Or repost them on their blog. Later, I found two of the graphics hiding on their Facebook page. Other tweets seemed to be unfocused, including retweets of group photos from the US Olympic Team and a few attempts at live tweeting that lacked context.
Despite its ups and downs, I hope the students did learn from their experience. If the University continues its program, it might devote more faculty members to coach them along. The students yearned for better news judgement and editing.
While it’s seemingly glamorous to travel around the world to the Olympics at your own expense, a photo editor once gave me a nugget of advice during a portfolio critique of my own Olympic photos. The best access to athletes will always be found in one’s back yard. In any secondary school athletic field.
Just a reminder to everyone, WhatsApp in its current, add-free incarnation would not approach anywhere near the $16-19 valuation given by Facebook. Valuations are traditionally based on things like future profits.
There are dozens of messaging apps out there. This one happens to be far and away the most widely used, including by 47 of the top 100 people in my address book. In essence, Facebook is giving up on organic growth (at least for mobile messaging) and deciding to purchase users instead.
Another loser, if not a perennial one, are the mobile providers that made WhatsApp attractive by charging $20 for texting plans on top of $30 a month for data plans. Had AT&T kept its 200 messages for $5 plan (or its 1000 for $10 one) that it offered around the time that WhatsApp was founded, perhaps the market wouldn’t have craved one dollar app alternatives instead. This also includes the foreign providers that charged large fees for sending text messages, including one dollar a piece for ones including a photo, plus similar fees for cross-border delivery.