The Many Uses Of Qik

March 23, 2008

Qik Logo An interesting article from Los Angeles Times Interactive details the many uses of Qik, the new media startup that allows you to lifestream in real-time from your Nokia cellphone. Video streams live to the Qik website where it is saved for re-broadcast and even enable real-time chat as you’re taping.

While a tool that can undoubtedly be used for fun and games, Qik has several more practical uses according to the article. Hardcore user Jason Calacanis, founder of Mahalo, a human-powered search engine, finds quick a useful addition to his other online social networking activities. “My whole existence online is one big focus group,” said Calacanis, allowing him the insight and connections into his target market that he requires to build a product that people will try.

Besides its obvious business uses, Qik has been used for more compassionate reasons as well. One woman, whose paternal grandmother was in her death throes, was able to broadcast her grandmother via Qik so that her father, located thousands of miles away was able to see her and ultimately get to her bedside the day before she died.

Of course Qik has not-so-great implications as well. Like Calacanis notes, “The worst moment in almost everybody’s life is going to be captured on film”. But then again, we all know how few of us actually learn from our mistakes. History tends to repeat itself over and over again. But with a self-imposed big bro watching over us as technology turns life into one big lifestream, and with big bro’s vision saved on the web, maybe we’ll finally be able to learn from our mistakes by having the ability to review them. Maybe.

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The Newsroom Of The 21st CenturyEarlier this week, The State Of The News Media report was released by the Project For Excellence In Journalism was released shedding a dark light on the future of the newspaper industry. Not as dark as originally predicted however.

Yes, the physical newspaper is in much worse shape than even a year ago, but while experts predicted the democratization of information would mean audiences would fragment into new sources of news info such as blogs and social networks, online news sites such as my morning reading The New York Times Online are actually receiving more traffic than the legacy media and blogs are receiving much less traffic than originally predicted. Also important is the fact that the most popular blogs are written and produced by writers that are anything but “amateur”. Often, the most popular blogs are filled with content written by professional writers with backgrounds in traditional journalism.

 

I haven’t had a chance to read the fairly lengthy report myself yet, but JD Lasica over at MediaShift Idea Lab has, and has pulled some interesting points from the Major Trends section:

  • news is moving from a product to a service-the user wants to know how it can empower him
  • a news story is no longer ever finished…stories must always involve incremental updates even in the form of a short email to the reader…it seems this may be taken straight from the blogosphere as most of us bloggers provide incremental updates as a way to develop an internal linking structure for search engines
  • news is no longer one person telling a story to another…yes it still involves the storytelling aspect, but it extends in to the storyteller providing the reader the tools necessary to interact with and interpret the story in a way that is useful to him
  • news organizations and websites are no longer final destinations… they must be a portal into further discussion about any particular story… this is probably why NYT Online provides ways to share stories by submitting them to social networks and info aggregation services and even links to the most popular blog stories of the day
  • “each piece of content competes on its own with all other information on that topic linked to by blogs, “digged” by user news sites, sent in e-mails, or appearing in searches. As much as half of every Web page, designers advise, should be devoted to helping people find what they want on the rest of the site or the Web”

I’ll definitely be looking through the report over the weekend and will undoubtedly have more to share with you.

TED BigVizIf you head over to the TED blog, they have a link to a 200 page PDF of sketches and idea maps from all the TED 2008 presenters. Drawn by artists David Sibbet & Kevin Richards, the PDF interprets the presentations in such a way that illustrates new connections not easily seen when just listening to the speakers.

According to Autodesk, the PDF is a compilation of:

700 spontaneous sketches of the presenters’ ideas using Autodesk Sketchbook Pro software running on Wacom Cintiq tablets and rendered on a Perceptive Pixel multi-touch display. These tools illustrate the power of interactive visualization to present the big picture to foster insight and communicate ideas visually, central principles of design innovation“.

It makes for an interesting visual exploration.

The monetization of online video is a huge topic of conversation in the blogosphere as the preferred communication medium within the intertubes is video rather than text.  What happens when you post a video on the web that registers 3 million hits in two months?  You would think that would translate into big bucks.  But the bandwidth required to transmit all of those video views can get pricey.  How pricey?  Well, rumor has it that Nick Denton received a $118, 000 bill from broadband provider Panther for the Tom Cruise Scientology video that has registered 3 million hits on his Gawker blog.  He apparently talked it down to $10, 000, but the point is that maybe monetization shouldn’t be the problem to be solved in the world of online video.  Maybe, before online video is a business model with high profit potential, we need to get the cost of data transmission down.  Food for thought.

According to this morning’s New York Times, the United States is lagging pretty badly when it comes to broadband penetration. Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, France, Belgium and even Britain now have levels of broadband penetration greater than both the United States and Japan. The European Commission says that the European Union added 19 million broadband lines in 2007, which works out to about 50, 000 households per day! If the commission succeeds in diminishing the influence of the state-run telecommunications monopolies in some Eastern European countries, we will likely see the US fall even further behind as it would result in nearly half of EU countries at least on par with the US in broadband usage.

It’ll be interesting to see what effect this will ultimately have on the dynamic of the world economy. If the US lags too far behind in broadband usage, the new media economy could be centralized on another continent altogether, and be the first time the US didn’t dominate a particular industry since the Industrial Revolution.

Another cool visual depiction of historical info. A animated mockumentary of the presence of evil in Western Civilization since Ancient Greece.

Via Information Aesthetics

Information visualization is a fascinating branch of new media that deals with graphical representations of data that allows for interpretations that wouldn’t otherwise be seen. Growing in popularity, I expect I’ll experiment with this in the coming months. Check out this video interpretation, called Food Fight, of all the American-centric wars since World War I as played out by food stuffs. Yes, that’s right, food stuffs. Just in case your knowledge of military history isn’t too great (I fall into this category), here’s a cheat sheet that’ll show you what food stuffs represent what country.


Food Fight is written by Stefan Nadelman of Tourist Pictures.