Local Report 2012 | Creative Time Reports

The piece that I helped Robert Whitman create is up on Creative Time.  

We had 90 or so callers send in video and make phone calls via a custom iPhone app, Android app and regular phone number over the course of an hour.

Check it out: http://creativetimereports.org/2012/10/18/local-report/

Obscura Cam now in the Android market!

I am happy to report that the app I have been working on in collaboration with Witness and the Guardian Project is now available in the Android Market.

The app, Obscura Cam is the outcome of the first phase of our
Secure Smart Cam
project to create smart phone camera software which allows for greater privacy and security in the capturing and sharing of media.

Of course, it is all open source

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, …

The Secure Smart Camera App for Human Rights Video : Video For Change :: A WITNESS blog

Bryan at WITNESS put up a blog post concerning the app that I am working on along with other Guardian folks.

The Secure Smart Camera App for Human Rights Video : Video For Change :: A WITNESS blog.

It’s worth a look if you are interested in the intersection of human rights, mobile technology and citizen media. It’s an open source Android project too!

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: vanevery@walking-productions.com

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

Mobile Art && Code

I am here at CMU in Pittsburgh at a conference called Mobile Art && Code. Great talks, great workshops, glad I came.

I am doing a workshop called Interactive Telephony for New Media Arts, here is the full set of notes.

One thing that I did for the workshop is a put together an Asterisk driven webservice in PHP for getting at live phone call data. If you have been working projects that get information from asterisk or use phone calls to control other applications, it might be worth checking out.

PHP AGI Script:

#!/usr/bin/php -q

$agi = new AGI();

$return = $agi->wait_for_digit(10000);
while ($return['result'] > 0)
        $ascii = chr($return['result']);
        file_put_contents("/var/www/html/webservice/data.txt",time() . "," . $agi->request["agi_uniqueid"] . "," . $agi->request["agi_callerid"] . "," . $ascii . "\n",FILE_APPEND);
        $return = $agi->wait_for_digit(100000);

PHP Web Service Script:

	// The client will send a timestamp if it want's new stuff from the timestamp
	$timestamp = 0;
	if (isset($_GET['ts']))
		$timestamp = $_GET['ts'];

	$data = file_get_contents("data.txt");
	$dataarray = explode("\n",$data);
	if ($timestamp > 0)
		// Send everything from the timestamp forward
		for ($i = sizeof($dataarray) - 10; $i < sizeof($dataarray); $i++)
			$currentline = explode(",",$dataarray[$i]);
			if (sizeof($currentline) > 0)
				if ($currentline[0] > $timestamp)
		// Just send the last one
		if (sizeof($dataarray) > 1)

Processing Example

I should note that this was built very quickly and therefore somewhat buggy. I don’t think the Processing example is thread safe and the PHP should really be using a database.. Also, the Processing example is a riff off of something Dan Shiffman put together for getting Asterisk and Processing to talk through a Java server.

Nielson Says: Americans Watching More TV Than Ever; Web and Mobile Video Up too

While I expect Nielson to say that, what I didn’t expect was that they would show mobile viewing on par with internet viewing. That is certainly suspect and looking a bit more closely at their charts it makes more sense.

The top chart indicates that people watch as much on their mobile phones as they do on their computers. The second chart puts this in context, the number of internet users watching video is 131,102,000 and the number watching mobile video 13,419,000, 1/10th of the number. Taken across all of those users, the average monthly video viewing time on the internet is only 3 hours while the mobile user are up to around 3 1/2 hours.

This seems pretty out of whack but then again, the top/first 10% internet viewers are probably watching 10 times that amount (I know I am with NetFlix, Hulu, BitTorrent, YouTube and the like), it seems out of whack because you are only seeing the power users on the mobile phone accessing video while you are seeing broad viewership on the internet.

Consider it this way:

Internet: 131,102,000 users x 3 hours = 393,306,000 (almost 400 million hours)
Mobile: 13,419,000 users x 3.5 hours = 46,966,500 (approximately 47 million hours)
(mobile stills seems a bit over reported but taking into account the numbers they are talking about, it seems more likely)

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..)

ComVu – Mobile Broadcasting

Wow.. Steve Garfield just pointed me to: ComVu – Mobile Broadcasting . Live streaming from my mobile phone.

This is something I have been looking for and/or contemplating developing for quite some time.

What is especially nice is that they don’t seem to be doing anything funky with QuickTime so I can embed myself live anywhere and it should work any time that I am live: MobVCasting: Double Wow..