Friday, August 29, 2008

Video discussion on the DNC and those who are fit to lead

Below is a Seesmic based video discussion. To move within the discussion, click one of the pictures that appear in the main video screen and you'll move to that video.

What do you think about the DNC?Just curious to see what you all think about this years democratic convention as well as Obama winning the ticket!

This is an ongoing video discussion on the Seesmic website that's been going on since yesterday afternoon. Thought you guys would enjoy it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: New Political Theory!

OK so I know I've not been posting a lot these days. I promise I'll be back next week! Until then, I hope you enjoy the other crap I'm sending! This week, I'm busy enjoying the Democratic National Convention and getting really excited and pumped up about the upcoming Republican Convention. -- Anthony

major political theory -- exclusive.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Can Seesmic change the world?

Until a few days ago, I'd never used the video based discussion site called Seesmic. I'd signed up for an account and posted the almost obligatory 'Hello World' video, but I didn't really understand what all the fuss was about. In fact, my very first 'real' video was asking that very question: 'What is all the excitement about Seesmic'?

Now, two-and-a-half days later, I understand.
Seesmic could change the world.

If you've never used Seesmic, you're probably a lot like I was: not really sure what it was or how it might be useful to anyone but the most narcissistic among us. Of course, I felt the same way about Twitter 1,454 updates ago and now I'm totally addicted. But once you sign up for a Seesmic account and post a few videos, the utility - and the potential - of the site start to become evident.

Seesmic allows anyone with a camera, be it a web cam, full-fledged video camera, or a still image camera with a video mode, to record, and publish personal video. But it goes further than that. It also allows others to post video replies to your video and engage in a video based conversation.

Is the usefulness and potential starting to become clearer now? I thought so.

Imagine someone in the current Georgia hotzone posting video of the conflict directly to thousands of others and others openly discussing and reacting to that video in near real time. Imagine the potential uses for NGO's and companies, and individual activists who can immediately engage in a face to face, large scale, uncensored, conversation with a global audience.

No news agencies filtering the video.
No governments deciding what is appropriate to show to the public.]
Only pure and uncensored footage ready for you to consume and discuss.

I believe sites like Seesmic are going to usher in a new era for social activists, aide workers, and other non-profits and NGO's that need to expose truth quickly and without any fuss. We're on the verge of a tipping point with these technologies where they're just about available to everyone. We're almost there. Just a few more steps.

Then, oppressors and abusers of the world, look out.
There's isn't going to be anywhere on earth where you're safe hiding.
As the X-Files likes to say: "The truth is out there".
Looks like we're ready and able to start exposing it.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Why I love Rep. John Culberson

Rep. John Culberson is bringing government to the masses. Not only is he one of the leaders in a charge to force an energy vote in the House, but he's also heading the fight to open the darkest corners of government up to the people it serves through his posts on Qik and Twitter.

Here is a brief sample of the kinds of things you can find on Rep. Culberson's Qik channel and I strongly encourage you to visit the channel and see what he's talking about. It's always interesting, and always citizen centric.

Thank you Rep. Culberson for the work you're doing for America.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Our silly obsession with online privacy

I was reading Slashdot today when I came across this posting by someone who had suddenly realized that they'd handed way too much data to Google and were now worried about the privacy implications of doing so. Their concern, while probably valid, was one of total victimization.

'Google has taken over my life', the post said and then went on to detail how, over the years, he'd slowly moved all of his computing into the cloud by using Google services. First, it was email, then it was calendaring, then documents, and now, evil Google ruled his life and owned his data.

Statements like that really piss me off and here's why: Google didn't 'take over' this guys life any more than Microsoft has 'taken over' your computer with Windows. We all make concessions based on convenience and we always have choices. This user had, for convenience, chosen to hand over more and more of his data to a company that, at some point, could place his privacy at risk. Google didn't force him to do that. Google didn't send armed bands of Ajax driven data ninjas to his house to force him to hand over his data so they could increase dominance.

He did so because it was convenient.
He did so of his own free will.

But it's always easier to whine about an evil corporation than take any sort of personal responsibility for one's own actions. Besides, the whole 'corporations are evil' thing is really hot right now so why not go with it?

I've never really understood our obsession with our 'right to privacy' anyway. I mean, who cares if your data is handed over to government or law enforcement? Who cares if some analyst at the NSA learns about your embarrassing spanking fetish or that you like to run around your house naked while beating yourself with a small whip?

What difference will it make?

These are not people who you will ever meet and even if they shared every single shred of your online data with their friends and got a good laugh, it probably wouldn't effect your life at all because these are people who aren't in any way connected to your life.

Yes, I hear the cries out there: 'But Anthony, what if they get my social security number, credit card number, or other personal information'?

They already have it.

'But what if the data they have prevents me from getting a job or some other important thing in my life'?

Shouldn't have put it online.

I think what surprises me the most is the seeming belief that some government analysts have been hired just to sit around all day and read random email, view random photos, and the like. That isn't how it works. With over 50 billion email messages crossing the globe every single day (not to mention IM's, photos, tweets, etc), it should be obvious to anyone with half a brain that this isn't the way things operate. They function in the world of keyword searches, expression matches, and the like. Sure, if you make a statement like 'I'm going to kill the president' in a short story you write, it might trip some sort of trigger and get that story read, But the analyst is smart enough to quickly see it's a work of fiction and move on.

And, has any damage been done to you just by the fact that someone read something private? Some random stranger into who's office you could walk in tomorrow and they wouldn't even know it was you?

Of course not. And that is why this current obsession with online privacy from government surveillance is downright silly. The old adage stands true: if you have nothing to hide there is nothing to worry about.

Lastly, everyone who is paranoid about online privacy should consider this: even without being piped to some government agency, every single thing you do online is recorded and traceable to you for at least a little while. Every website you visit, every IM you send, every email you exchange is traceable to you and usually stored somewhere.

Privacy on the Internet? It doesn't exist.
And, if you think you have it, it's probably an illusion.

Or a delusion.
Get over it.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Looks like Twitter has caused quite a furor with the Fueror

Anyone who uses Twitter knows how frustrating it can be to be faced with the need to talk about your lunch with millions of strangers only to be met with the Fail Whale telling you the site is down.
Who knows, maybe the real reason Hitler killed himself was because he couldn't deal with another message from the Whale.

Hmm...I'm contacting a historian.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Confessions of an addict...

Hello everyone.
My name is Anthony and I'm a Blackberry addict.

This is my story.

My addiction started, like so many others do, with just a little taste. Before then, I was much like you might be today: judgemental and elitist; laughing at those poor schmucks with their faces forever buried in a silly device. Oh yes, I thought I was above those mindless, street roaming, thumbpounders I saw in traffic, in coffee shops, on transit buses and trains. I enjoyed text messaging. But it didn't - and would never - rule my life.

I, after all, didn't have an addictive personality.

Then my old Motorola RAZR broke and I had to find another phone fast. I went on eBay and found a phone that I loved the look of and seemed to be big enough to fit comfortably in my hands. I was excited because of the great price for what looked like a well kept, though older, mobile phone. I was about to hit the 'buy now' button when I saw the logo near the earpiece:


While I loved the phones look, I was hesitant to buy one of these little devices because I didn't want to be lumped with the millions of other geeks who tap away at their phone during lunches, meetings,

Yes, sex.
Don't laugh. I know someone who's done it.

But the price was so good, I couldn't pass it up so I purchased the device and happily waited for it to come to me. When it did, I felt like a giddy schoolboy as I carefully opened the box and scanned my new purchase. As I picked up the phone from the box I swear I felt a shiver go through my body and then my eyes once again fell onto that logo, which, I have to admit, was eye catchingly simple.


I went a whole week without buying Blackberry Internet Services (BIS) from T-Mobile. I think, somewhere, deep inside, I knew that, once I did, it would all be over for me. It would be a sick point of no return and I could never again breath the air of freedom. But I gave in. How could I not? Email, text messaging, web surfing, attachments, everything I could ever need to work -- ahh yes, I'll use it to work -- was right there on my phone.! I began to make excuses that, with BIS and my phone, I wouldn't have to carry around my laptop as much since I could do a lot of work from the phone itself.

That's how it always starts, isn't it?
Making excuses for your habit.
Justifying it to make yourself feel better.

It wasn't long before I bought a memory card for it, started snapping remarkably good pictures, and found myself often skipping the PC totally in lieu of doing things totally on my device. It also wasn't long before the hunger set it. You know the hunger I'm talking about. The hunger for something better. Something, sleeker, Something newer. But still, something Blackberry. So I called T-Mobile and confessed my need to a very helpful salesman who was willing to give me exactly what I wanted. He knew I needed it. And he knew I'd stop at nothing to get my fix.

Enter the Blackberry Curve.

Before I received my Curve, I never thought you could truly love a phone. I'd never thought I could feel lost when it wasn't with me. I never thought...

Hang on...
Incoming text message...

...I never thought I could become so dependent on a device that can fit in my pocket. But I have. Now, I really have stopped carrying my laptop around as much and, when I do, I usually tether it to my Blackberry to get Internet access. My device has, as it has for many Blackberry addicts, become the centerpiece of my professional life.

I suppose there's good reason for this addiction developing. Smartphones make your life easier by allowing you to offload many of your most grueling tasks to a device that is more than happy to take them on. Now, I never have to forget an appointment, meeting, or miss an email. And I can connect with clients, friends and family in the medium in which they communicate be it IM, text, email, or voice.

All-in-all, I think I'm the exception to the rule. My addiction hasn't harmed my life. It's enhanced it. It's allowed me to pack more into my day and get things done more effectively. It's an addiction I think I'll likely not try to overcome. I'm not sure if I could even if I wanted to. In an odd twist, my addiction - the thing that is supposed to enslave me - has actually freed me. And I'm not complaining one bit.

Now, if I can only do something about these sore thumbs I have...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

EyeJot: It just keeps getting better

Those of you who already use the popular EyeJot video voicemail service probably know how absolutely cool it is. Those of you who don't: you have no idea what you're missing! For as little as free, EyeJot allows anyone to compose email messages that include video, audio, and even file attachments, and send them to anyone in the world via email. It also allows you to post a "video answering machine" on your website and allow anyone with a webcam and mic to leave you video voicemail of their own without having to ever sign up for an EyeJot account.

I have to admit, when I started using this service about a year ago, my first thought was 'this company might have a problem surviving'. But that was only because I wasn't seeing the big picture. I wasn't considering the enormous utility of sending a video instead of a regular email, I wasn't considering how cool it would be for a grandma in New York to exchange video messages with her grandkids in California who she otherwise wouldn't see but once a year, or a soldier in Iraq being able to keep in close touch with his or her family back home though a system that is no harder to use than email.

But I think the system has now moved past the novelty family fringe userbase and is now poised for being used as a pretty serious business tool.

Imagine, for a moment, you're a busy manager needing to communicate something to your team that's spread out across the country. Maybe you're sending them the new PowerPoint sales presentation but need to explain some things or maybe it's something dead simple but you're finding it hard to communicate it effectively in text form.

Enter EyeJot.

Just log into your EyeJot inbox just as you would your regular email. Click compose, select your recipients, attach your PowerPoint (or whatever other documents or files you need to send), record your video, and click send.

Instantly, your recipients will get an email in which your intentions are crystal clear and everything they need to utilize the information in your message is attached in a neat, centralized way.

All in the time it took you to record the video.
All with absolutely no more headache than sending an email.

If you're thinking EyeJot is something special, you're right. Sure, there are other video voicemail services out there. But you'll find all of them lacking after you've spent five minutes using EyeJot. And, because they're a small company headed up by a true visionary (CEO David Geller) they are 100% customer centered. Send them something and you always get a personal response (usually an EyeJot). This service just doesn't do canned messages. It's all hands on and up close.

Maybe I sound like I'm gushing about EyeJot. To a degree, I suppose I am. But this is a service I believe has an unbelievable potential to really change the world of communication. It's the perfect meshing of the two worlds of email and video. In a time when more and more people are complaining about how impersonal communication has become, EyeJot swoops in brings everyone face to face.

Oh, and just for good measure, you don't even have to visit your EyeJot inbox to view your video messages. The company provides all of your messages as a convenient RSS feed which means you can view your messages on iTunes (or sync them to your iPod), or in any RSS reader - including Google Reader. You can even download your messages in a variety of formats so you can store them right on your computer for future reference.

If you've not already tried the service, you probably don't understand why I'm still, after a year of using it, so excited about it. Let me encourage you to hit the site now (it's free) and sign up for an account. Give the service a spin and I guarantee that you'll be as consumed with the service as I am.

So, do you think video voicemail has potential? Send me an email, post a comment, or send me an EyeJot and let me know!