they wear their computers on their bodies

Gargoyles represent the embarrassing side of the Central Intelligence Corporation. Instead of using laptops, they wear their computers on their bodies, broken up into separate modules that hang on the waist, on the back, on the headset. They serve as human surveillance devices, recording everything that happens around them. Nothing looks stupider; these getups are the modern-day equivalent of the slide-rule scabbard or the calculator pouch on the belt, marking the user as belonging to a class that is at once above and far below human society.

Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson

Re: Networked Video in 10 Years : Networked Video == Parseable Video | Not sLop

Interesting, I just got some comment spam on this post from January 2007: Networked Video in 10 Years : Networked Video == Parseable Video | Not sLop.

In the post, I describe the proceedings from a breakout group at that year’s Beyond Broadcast conference.  My conclusion was that online video needs to be more than just video online, that it needs to be parseable (indexed and hyper-linkable and so on).

Unfortunately, for the most part, online video now, is pretty much the same as it was then.  Typically it exists on a web server as a file, is embedded in a web page with a bit of textual information around it and that’s it.  Not a lot of interactivity or time based meta-data as part of it.  Certainly not parseable in the way described in the post.  No easy way to link to specific content or to associate content on the page with any particular point in time in the video.

Fortunately, while that is still mostly the case, it isn’t always the case.  The good folks at Mozilla have been working on an open source JavaScript library called Popcorn.js that allows any time based media (audio/video) to execute code, manipulate a page, display other content and so on.   They have even created a GUI interface so you don’t have to be a JavaScript programmer in order to take advantage.  Nice!

I spent last week, during ITP’s Teach Yourself JavaScript Together, getting familiar with Popcorn and then gave a workshop that showed it (as part of an overall HTML5/JavaScript media workshop).  If you are interested, here is the talk (jump in a little more than 2 minutes):

YouTube Link and the notes are here.

Mobile Payments

A few weeks ago, I was supposed to be on a panel about this two weeks ago. I got sick and couldn’t do it but I did a bunch of digging around/thinking about it.

A friend just asked me why no-one has risen through the noise. I didn’t think about that particular issue but here are some thoughts I did have:

NFC is not new – Nokia for a while – I don’t think it will make a big difference in the use of mobile payments. (Contactless payments aren’t new either, Citibank/MTA, EZ Pass and so on have been using them for a while)

Overall Issues – trust – Who do people want to put their trust in: carriers? banks? manufacturers?

Big winner likely: Amazon – will retailers trust – consumers say they are the most reputable company in the world.

Other Players:
Isis – carrirers – T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon
Google – android – probably open – Citibank and Mastercard
Apple – ios – probably will take a big cut
Apple is probably required – as much as I hate to say it – not friendly to small developers – donations

What works now: – points the way towards what will work in the future
Square – fits with what people already do – friendly to small merchants – attaches directly to phone – simple pricing
Starbucks – App linked to CC – Just scan it and the backend system will charge your CC – Control in hands of consumer

Samsung – Olympics – London 2012 big trial

Business Card Transfers
I wonder/fear it will look pretty much like how we exchange contact information now (via paper business cards).
Standards didn’t catch on – security warnings about bluetooth – same will happen with NFC??

NFC will have to be the most secure tech in the world. There is nothing more juicy for a cracker to hack something that is used to transfer money. People will react with viscerally as well. The local news channels will run piece after piece. The wikipedia page is already filled with potential exploits: eavesdropping, data modification, relay attack, lost property, …

Open for Business

Walking Productions provides software development and consulting services. Appealing projects are those that deal with online and mobile media (audio/video). Get in touch:

Android Application Development
Flash Video Players, including P2P (Adobe Stratus)
Wowza Media Server Plugin/Module Development
Flash Media Server Development
Development related to Axis IP Cameras
QuickTime/Darwin Streaming Solutions
Audio and Video Encoding/Transcoding Pipelines
iPhone Application Development
JME/J2ME Application Development
Asterisk and VoIP Application Development
Phone call to streaming applications
Voicemail to Blog/CMS
Podcasting Systems
Mobile and Microblogging Solutions
SMS Campaign Management Software
2 Screen Interactive Television Applications (Enhanced TV)
EBIF iTV Application Development
HTML 5 Video Player Development
Media Asset Management Systems
AJAX/JavaScript/DHTML Development
LAMP Application Development (Linux, MySQL, PHP)
Java Desktop Application Development
Mobile Video Capture, Sharing and Playback Applications
Live Mobile Video Streaming
Computer Vision Applications in Java and Flash
Flash Video Capture
Location Aware Mobile Applications
Video Indexing, Searching, Recommendation Engine and Presentation Systems
Network Controlled Devices
WordPress and Drupal Plugin/Module Development
Flash Lite Application Development
AIR/ActionScript 3 Application Development
WebService Integration and Development (XML-RPC, SOAP, REST)
Podcasting (Audio/Video) Solutions
MP3 Streaming Servers
MMS Gateway Solutions
Java and AJAX Chat Application Development
Interactive Whiteboard Applications

Politics and the Internet and Participatory Media

This is just too good to pass up.. On WNYC 820 AM right now, the Brian Lehrer show is doing a segment which is audience driven. A wiki is open for suggestions and discussion among the audience and essentially being used to drive the broadcast.

This is part of Lehrer’s 30 issues in 30 days comparing the presidential candidates stance on various issues. One thing that I have learned is that McCain is against Network Neutrality and Obama is for legislation that protects the spirit of the internet. (I had no idea that this was an issue between them.)

Go Obama..!

McCain says this:
“Unless there is a clear-cut, unequivocal restraint of competition, the government should stay out of it,” McCain said. “These things will sort themselves out.”

Kind of like the banking industry.. Let it sort itself out.. Great.. Ha!

Mobile, 5 Years in the future

I was just interviewed for an upcoming book and one of the questions was:
Fast forward 5 years into the future, can you paint me picture of the mobile world?

Here is what I said:
I am going to beg out of this one and instead paint a picture of my utopia.

My mobile utopia 5 years from now:

Carriers have accepted the fact that they are too large and slow to beat the current crop of DIY wireless systems that are being built. They have realized that the cost of maintaining service such as the little used voice platform is not worthwhile when all that anyone cares about is the openness and speed of their internet connection. Besides, they are sick of battling the hackers who continually figure out how to bypass their restrictions and really sick of spending their lobbying money to battle Googlezon and the like over whether or not they have to carry 3rd party data without charge.

They have finally realized and accepted their place in the world as “dumb pipes”, wireless ISPs.

They have given up on locking down phones. Nobody will sign a 2 year contract anymore for a free phone that they can’t install any of the open source software on.

On the other side of the coin, Googlezon, DIYers, hackers and hipsters are developing and deploying game changing hardware and applications at a phenomenal pace.

A prolific open source community has introduced a kit based mobile phone with every feature imaginable and battery life that puts devices from 5 years ago to shame. Tourists are carrying around monstrous looking home built teleconferencing systems with them as they gawk at the Naked Cowboy in Time Square and talk with their relatives and friends back home.

Hipsters in Bushwick no longer carry laptops and projectors to their VJ gigs but rather bring their mobile projector enabled high-speed wireless video mixing system and no longer have to be hunched over a keyboard and mouse. They simply mingle with the crowd or dance until they drop with every movement being tracked by sensors programmed to project and mix particular clips or dynamically generated visuals.

I can’t think of anyone who uses a laptop computer anymore. Everyone seems to have adopted the projected keyboard and gesture controlled interfaces that are common on mobile devices now.

Data flows pretty seamlessly and just by pointing to a contact in the sky a voice, data or text channel is opened to that person.

Wow.. Things are different now that the networks have been broken..

(Perhaps we can dream..)