Loose notes from SXSW 2008 panel on geolocation. Focus was on geo-gaming but other geo-topics also involved.

Great to see Jeremy Irish on the panel – Jeremy is the mastermind behind – the most sophisticated and original database-backed web site I know of – despite it being built in ASP (forgive us, Lord). Jeremy opened the session by showing the placard for the original geocache, and the OCB (Original Can of Beans) (food is no longer allowed in geocaches; ammunition and drugs are also barred).
Continue reading “Geolocation”

Twitter: I Succumb

A year ago at SXSW2007, I made a conscious decision not to do the Twitter thing. Can’t take another distraction/interruption, no matter how fun it sounds. This year I succumbed and decided to go for it. Couldn’t get shacker (thanks to always being about a year late to any given party), so I’m waxwing (a backup login I’ve left underutilized for long enough).

There’s something perniciously sticky about Twitter… what is it? Hard to stop looking. Like blogging without the pressure to write anything truly substantial. Blogging mashed up with IM. Feels like it should be its own internet protocol or something — a new form of communication altogether. People using Twitter at SXSW as part notepad on panels, part, “Where y’at?” Still finding my way with it.

Follow me. I’ll follow you.

Chauncey Bailey Project

Birdhouse Hosting welcomes the Chauncey Bailey Project, investigating the death of, and continuing the work of, journalist Chauncey Bailey, who was recently murdered in the course of his reporting:

Bailey, the editor of the weekly Oakland Post, was murdered on Aug. 2 while reporting on a story regarding the suspicious activities of the Your Black Muslim Bakery. In an unusual collaboration, more than two dozen reporters, photographers and editors from print, broadcast and electronic media, and journalism students are launching the Chauncey Bailey Project – an investigative unit that will continue and expand on the reporting Bailey was pursuing when he was gunned down. Devaughndre Broussard, 19, a handyman for Your Black Muslim Bakery, has confessed to the crime, according to police, but many questions about the possible motive for the killing have yet to be answered.

Music: Robyn Hitchcock :: Shimmering Distant Love

New Media Webcasts

Another week of interesting webcasts coming up at the J-School, mostly focused on questions surrounding the evolution of newsrooms – the integration and embrace of new and alien techniques and technology in the news gathering process.

The talks represent the public component of another digital media training workshop sponsored by the J-School and the Knight Foundation. We’ve greatly ramped up the number of workshops held each year – this topic is becoming critical to struggling newsrooms around the world.

Tune in live, or check back for archived versions.

Music: Wilco :: At Least That’s What You Said

Land That Time Forgot

Redwoods-2 One of the J-School’s multimedia student teams is putting together a package on geocaching, and Miles and I got to take them out to Redwood Regional Park last weekend. Didn’t go as well as planned – the dense redwoods made getting a signal lock almost impossible for much of the day. But we did manage to find two caches.

At the bottom of the valley, the ferns and moss and fungus grow thick, and the ancient trees rise up impossibly to the sky, gorgeous.

The highlight of the trip, as usual, totally unanticipated: Came across a patch of low weeds about 30 feet long absolutely dripping with ladybugs — tens of thousands of them, clinging from every tiny branch, several bugs thick in places. You could hear them dropping to the forest floor as they lost their grip on each other; they sounded like quiet popcorn. We scooped them up in our hands and let them crawl over our skin. Many inevitably found their way into our shirtsleeves and pant legs, into our hair and ears. It was magical, and we lingered with them for a long time. So this is where bugs are born.

Didn’t take my camera, but the journalists did share a handful of shots with me and said I could post them on Flickr.

Music: Loop Guru :: Stone River Reckoning

Knight Digital Media Center, New J-School Webmaster

Posted a while ago that I was going through some transitions at work, and that we were looking for a web developer. Here’s what’s going on, in a nutshell:

The J-School runs an aggressive program of multimedia training for journalists — both for students and for working journalists. We do semester-long classes in multimedia storytelling using Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Final Cut Pro, Sound Track Pro, and a range of cameras and audio equipment. Students working in teams produce multimedia feature stories by the end of the semester — most of them excellent. We also do a compressed, one-week version of that class for working journalists who come from all over the country for training, as part of a program funded by the Knight Foundation. The program has been so successful that we’ve had trouble keeping up with its expansion.

On Monday, the Knight Foundation awarded a large grant to the J-School to build the program out into new directions and begin a new channel in internet technology training for editors and managers. And while they were at it, we also became responsible for training 600 NPR journalists in multimedia skills over the next couple of years.

On September 17, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation unveiled a $6.7 million initiative to assist news organizations facing the daunting transition to the digital world (press release). Two Knight grants – $2.8 million to the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and $2.4 million to USC’s Annenberg School for Communications – were awarded to fund the expansion of the Knight Digital Media Center‘s training program for mid-career journalists. National Public Radio was awarded a two-year grant for $1.5 million to work with the Knight Digital Media Center to fund the training of roughly 600 staff members, including executives, reporters, producers and editors.

The program is accompanied by a web site containing dozens of tutorials on multimedia production software and techniques (this is the Django-based site I mentioned a few months ago). That site is slated for a huge build-out, with tons more tutorials, social networking additions, and other goodies to come, as well as a redesign that’s just getting underway now.

The short version is that I was asked to transition from my current job as webmaster for the J-School and all of its satellite sites to working nearly full-time for the Knight multimedia site. Over the summer, my office was expanded and revamped, and I’m now sharing the space with a growing group of staffers and directors of the Knight program overall.

So that’s the summary version – all very exciting :) The rub now is in finding the right person to take my previous/current job as webmaster/manager of the J-School sites. It’s an interesting mix: PHP/HTML/CSS development of custom applications and utilities, building and maintaining content management systems for student publications (mostly with WordPress, but we use other systems as well), working closely with faculty, staff and students on special projects, training, helping out in classrooms, administering an OS X Server (which I hope to move to a cPanel system before long, but that’s another story), etc. etc. It’s a jack-of-all-things-web sort of position, and we’re still looking for the just-right person. UC benefits are great, the physical environment is great, there’s access to lots of intellectual stimulation (if you can find the time, which I never can), lots of good food nearby, and a ton of variety (but look out – all that variety may kill you).

The position is still open and we’d love to hear from qualified devs who also have strong communication skills and don’t mind spreading themselves thin. If you’re burned out on the private sector and feel ready to burn yourself out on the very different – but still amazing in its own way – academic life, give it some serious thought. If not you, please pass this on to anyone you think might be a good fit!

I can’t start my new job in earnest until the role is filled — help me out here :)

P.S.: We’re an all-Mac shop — servers too — so Mac/*nix geeks are especially encouraged.

Music: Devendra Banhart :: Owl Eyes

Spring New Media Lecture Series (May 2007)

Another big week of multimedia training for mid-career journalists coming up at the J-School, with a heaping handful of great speakers discussing the intersection of “new media” and journalism. These talks are open to the public, and will be webcast live (and archived).

Featured speakers are Tom Mallory, Chuck Scott, Alexa Capeloto, Nicole Vargas of the San Diego Tribune; Seth Gitner and Lindsey Nair of; Brian Storm of; Richard Koci Hernandez of the San Jose Murcury News; Rob Curley of Washingtonpost, Newsweek Interactive, and Colin Crawford of IDG Communications.

Rob Curley’s talks are always dynamite. I’ve decided QuickTime 7 has been out long enough that it’s safe to switch to the h.264 codec. Upgrade your QuickTime if necessary, and look for a nice bump in quality this time around.

Music: Amy Winehouse :: Rehab