My Blog on FileMobile

•March 25, 2007 • 11 Comments

On March 15th, Greg Prince came as a guest speaker to our Multimedia Pioneering class at Sheridan College. He spoke to us about Filemobile, an easy to use media-sharing tool.

Greg Prince started by telling us a bit of his background: he had worked in TV & Production; he had worked as well as a web producer, at CBC News using publishing tools… and in other interesting places where he got lots of experience. Then he decided to start with his partner the Filemobile project.

Filemobile (FM) is a media management and social media platform, providing services and tools to enable social media (video/photo/audio/text) and networking. The company has about 10 employees that are responsible for different areas such as looking at incoming software, development, Quality & Assurance, Testing, etc., and at the moment Greg Prince has an Operations position.

He discussed and showed us the different features that we can find on the Filemobile site and all the great things users can do such as:

Shoot video, pictures and audio on mobile phones and send to the specific online account or blog.

Manage photos and post them to blogs.

Upload almost any video format and convert to flash video for storage, sharing or blogging. Users can also record and upload video which makes it easy to post to vlogs.

Organize MP3s and audio files, and podcast them as well. Users are then able to download them too.


We spent some time discussing the different tools, especially MediaStudio. MediaStudio is the heart of FileMobile where users can manage and produce their media content. Here users can search, sort, view, edit and record their content.

An interesting acronym used (and learned 😉 ) is: UGC , which stands for User Generated Content.

Another interesting term is: “moblog”, which refers to the capability to upload files from the cell phone (mobile) to a blog and post them directly!
A most precise definition form Wikipedia:

Moblog is a blend of the words mobile and weblog. A mobile weblog, or Moblog, consists of content posted to the Internet from a mobile or portable device, such as a cellular phone or PDA. Moblogs generally involve technology which allows publishing from a mobile device.”

 

Greg Prince also explained to us some of the projects Filemobile is working on…
Their clients are leveraging Filemobile services to integrate social media and networking into their interactive strategy and to drive a new dimension of relationships with customers, viewers and fans. For example, Much Music… As far as I understood, there have already been concert events where people with mobiles are able to upload the pictures just taken with their cell phone, and these are live-shown in a big screen…


Something that called my attention was to recognize that there is not too much original content out there… in general people and communities use shared websites or rip already created videos… The main files in use are jpegs (lots in travel category) or videos (mostly about babies).
Hmm… Maybe that’s why our Professor insists on us creating and coming up with new things to post and show the world 😉

I personally think that it’s great that companies like Filemobile and its team care and think about the users… they try to improve the tools to help and make it easier for all users no matter what background they have with technology.

As Greg Prince mentioned, they create great features and functions into their tools, and they put a lot of time and energy into making it easy to use. “Filemobile was born out of a love of media in all its forms and a frustration with managing it”.

 

Other links:

ShoZu is a free service for your phone that makes it incredibly easy to send and receive photos, videos and music while you’re on the move.
Login with cell phone -> txt message -> link to download most recent application to your phone!

http://www.muchmusic.com/tv/mod/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moblog

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My Blog on “Flash Lite in the Mobile World”

•February 10, 2007 • Leave a Comment

Today we had a very good guest Speaker in our Multimedia Pioneering class: James Eberhardt. James is the Director of Technology in marblemedia and has been developing media for 10 years… He gave us a very interesting presentation on mobiles and the most popular mobile technologies.

The current mobile landscape

1) SMS and MMS

The most widely used mobile application is text-messaging. SMS stands for Short Message Service and is text only (not formatted)… MMS stands for Multimedia Message Service and it adds images, videos and audio. Charges apply to each message. One very impressive example of how widely text messaging is being used is American Idol, where 64 million people voted using this method knowing that they’re charged for it!

I personally use text messaging as a way to communicate and pass along information…. In general, SMS is a great technology, but it has its limitations.

 

 

2) WML, HTML and CSS

WML stands for Wireless Markup Language and is based on XML. WML is a content format for devices that implement the WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) specification, such as mobile phones, and preceded the use of other markup languages now used with WAP, such as XHTML and even standard HTML.

WMLScript is the scripting language used in WML pages (it’s similar to JavaScript)… In general, we can say that it’s easy for web developers to migrate to this technology.

One of the issues with WML is that it is very limited and the designs and graphics are restricted…

 

 

3) Java Applications

Java is the first widely used mobile technology and it’s widely distributed across cell phones. We find it mostly in games (where the market is “casual gamers”) and it is flexible since it doesn’t require a web browser. However, it requires the developers to have deeper knowledge on Java, therefore making the development more costly, with longer timelines and another disadvantage is that it is required to build multiple java applications for each for each target device. Nevertheless, it is a good distribution model to make $$.

 

 

4) GPS (Global Positioning System)

GPS is currently the only fully-functional satellite navigation system. More than two dozen GPS satellites are in medium Earth orbit, transmitting signals allowing GPS receivers to determine the receiver’s location, speed and direction.

GPS is one of the more exciting technologies that some cell phones can do. It is possible to link GPS to a Java application on a user’s GPS enabled device (such as a cell phone or a PDA).

Some examples of very interesting applications using GPS are the virtual audio tour of an historical landmark (such as Fort York in downtown Toronto), and Google Maps which are used to display the current location without having to type it.

As “stand-alone”, GPS are expensive devices… but the cool thing is that they’re available right away and there is no need of purchasing a service as well.

Another interesting discussion that came up during this GPS topic was how GPS can become very big for marketing purposes! Particular stores could take advantage of the technology and when a person walks in front of the store, the “possible potential client” would get an ad for a sale or discount! How more controlling could it get!??

 

 

5) Flash Lite

James explained to us what Flash Lite is and a little bit of its history…. In general, Flash Lite is a scaled down version of the Flash Player and is designed to run on devices with slow processors and limited memory.

A more formal definition (by Wikipedia): Adobe Flash Lite is a lightweight version of Adobe Flash Player optimized for mobile phones and other devices.

 

Flash Lite 1.1 supports Flash 4 ActionScript. It introduced HTTP access (a main difference with Flash Lite 1.0).

Flash Lite 2.0 was introduced in January 2006. It is based on Flash Player 7 and supports Flash 7’s more powerful ActionScript 2.0. It includes the concept of shared object (cookies), XML Processing support and it has more system capabilities information…

Both versions also support the W3C Standard SVG Tiny. The advantage over SVG is the ability to add audio and interactive elements without the use of other technologies such as Javascript. Among the disadvantages it can be mentioned that Flash Lite applications are not capable of communicating with Bluetooth, infrared, or the camera on a phone.

Flash Lite 2.1 can be installed “OTA” (Over-The-Air) on supported phones on the Verizon network, and it’s freely available for other supported phones (such as Nokia S60 3rd edition phones).

The devices… phones and much more!
In general, we can build Flash Mobile content for….

cell phones

mp3 players

PSPs (http://www.yourpsp.com)

PDAs

The Jaguar car has an interface for the dashboard control

The Chumby

Opera Webbrowser

(More info on Opera: Opera is a cross-platform web browser and Internet suite which handles common internet-related tasks including visiting web sites, sending and receiving e-mail messages, managing contacts, chatting online and displaying Widgets. Opera’s lightweight mobile web browser Opera Mini and most current versions of its desktop application are offered free of charge.)

 

 

Flash Mobile Marketplace

Different players…. There is no support for Flash Player 8 on mobile devices yet!

The iPhone is coming!! Steve Job’s quote affirming that we would be able to surf YouTube on the iPhone was discussed…. However, YouTube uses Flash… hmmm

 

As a conclusion, Flash is a great technology getting more and more popular and successful in mobile devices…. many flash designers are already working on website for desktops, so it makes it easier to use and create new interfaces… Oh! And something to keep in mind when showing off the features and great technology on our cell phones is the bandwidth costs: Flash content downloads are VERY expensive! (just using Google Maps for a couple of minutes can be very costly!)

Links:

http://www.appleinsider.com/article.php?id=1959

http://www.w3schools.com/wap/wml_reference.asp

www.thisisdanielcook.com

www.deafplanet.com

http://burnttoastopera.com/

My Blog on Web 2.0 Applications…

•February 2, 2007 • 1 Comment

On January 25th, 2007, we had a very interesting speaker in our Multimedia Pioneering class: Wayne MacPhail, who spoke to us about Web 2.0.

As a general common definition, Web 2.0 refers to a perceived or proposed second generation of Internet services—such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies—that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users.

(…interesting term just there….“folksonomies” … Just as an FYI: A folksonomy is an Internet-based information retrieval methodology consisting of collaboratively generated, open-ended labels that categorize content such as Web pages, online photographs, and Web links. A folksonomy is most notably contrasted from a taxonomy in that the authors of the labeling system are often the main users (and sometimes originators) of the content to which the labels are applied. The labels are commonly known as tags and the labeling process is called tagging.)

During Wayne’s presentation, we learned that Web 2.0 applications have different advantages such as:

encourage community & collaboration

encourage shared content creation

clean clear interface

support tagging & social bookmarkings

easy: move data & applications from Desktop to Web

One of the disadvantages mentioned is limited functionality…

Web 1.0 was discussed as well as a static, 1-way broadcast, transitional medium from previous generations.

 

In social framework:

1) Tags

2) Social Bookmarking

3) RSS Feeds

 

1) The TAG is a very important element these days 😉 It allows the creation of key words to use the organizational power of community for good.

2) Social bookmarking is a web based service to share Internet bookmarks.

Social bookmarking sites are a popular way to store, classify, share and search links through the practice of folksonomy techniques on the Internet. Other than web page bookmarks, services specialized to a specific subject or format – feeds, books, videos, music, shopping items, map locations, wineries, etc. – can be found.

3) RSS Feeds (Really Simple Syndication)

RSS is a family of web feed formats used to publish frequently updated digital content, such as blogs, news feeds or podcasts.

Users of RSS content use programs called feed ‘readers’ or ‘aggregators’: the user ‘subscribes’ to a feed by supplying to their reader a link to the feed; the reader can then check the user’s subscribed feeds to see if any of those feeds have new content since the last time it checked, and if so, retrieve that content and present it to the user.

Programs known as feed readers or aggregators can check a list of feeds on behalf of a user and display any updated articles that they find. It is common to find web feeds on major websites and many smaller ones.

 

APPLICATIONS

Flickr is one example of a Web 2.0 application. It is a photo sharing website and an online community platform. A social medium, where the community can share and see:

Your photos

Your contacts photos

Everybody else’s photos

 

Other examples of Web 2.0 Applications are:

YouTube (use of tags, categories)

Myspace

Vox (blogs tool)

Twitter: (a snapshot all over the world about what people are doing)

Toronto STAR (has options to TAG & save, report typo or corrections…)

– Podcasting applications…

Second Life : “Your World. Your imagination.” (… a very interesting and capturing 3D world…)

But, how do u communicate in a Web 2.0 world?

– Engage in conversation

– Share & create

– Listen & speak

Something very interesting that Wayne said during the presentation is the fact that nowadays “content is the currency!!”

 

As conclusion, it is fascinating to see how society interacts in this era of technology, and to see how people are engaged in synchronous lives! People actions show the need and will to share their lives with the rest of the community…

 

LINKS

Folksonomy on Technorati

Digital Web Magazine

PodHoster

Toronto Star

My Blog on GESTURETEK…

•November 9, 2006 • 1 Comment

My Interactive Multimedia class had the great opportunity to visit GestureTek’s showroom in Toronto!

GestureTek is the world leader in gesture-based technology.
http://gesturetek.com/

“Our patented VGC (Video Gesture Control Technology™) has allowed users to be immersed into computer-generated environments and landscapes without the use of joysticks, headgear, keyboards or mice. Users don’t have to wear, hold or touch anything. With over 1600 installations worldwide and clients such as Hasbro, Sony, CNN & NASA, GestureTek continues to be an innovator in VGC Technology.”

The whole experience was amazing! Mr. Vincent John Vincent (President and Founder) was welcoming, professional, clear and open to answer all the questions our group had…

We got to learn a bit more about the company’s history and how it all started. We got to interact with their latest projects and have fun discovering all the effects from the very cool interactive floor and glass screens. We also got to “play” and control with our gestures as “Minority Report” movie style! It was really fun to be able to interact with all the images and elements projected…

GestureTek’s initial product is the “GestureXtreme”, a system that immerses the users live, full body video image on the screen surrounded by computer animation virtual worlds that they could both navigate and manipulate with body gestures. It was a completely new experience for us! We enjoyed the “green room” and be able to see ourselves on the monitor “flying” and playing different games and instruments!

As conclusion, we had a great time and got to learn and immerse ourselves in such a fun and interesting field: “interactivity by gesture control technology”!

 

 

Before I say “until next time” 😉 I also wanted to share with you some important definitions and some of my findings on the topic:

GESTURE RECOGNITION:

Interface with computers using gestures of the human body, typically hand movements. In gesture recognition technology, a camera reads the movements of the human body and communicates the data to a computer that uses the gestures as input to control devices or applications. For example, a person clapping his hands together in front of a camera can produce the sound of cymbals being crashed together when the gesture is fed through a computer.

One way gesture recognition is being used is to help the physically impaired to interact with computers, such as interpreting sign language. The technology also has the potential to change the way users interact with computers by eliminating input devices such as joysticks, mice and keyboards and allowing the unencumbered body to give signals to the computer through gestures such as finger pointing.

Unlike haptic interfaces, gesture recognition does not require the user to wear any special equipment or attach any devices to the body. The gestures of the body are read by a camera instead of sensors attached to a device such as a data glove.In addition to hand and body movement, gesture recognition technology also can be used to read facial and speech expressions (i.e., lip reading), and eye movements.

More...

Related links

An interesting article written by Vincent John Vincent:
“Let’s get physical: Gesture technology engages consumers”

 

 

Minority Report computing is here!
“Straight out of the movie, Minority Report, comes a real interface-free, hands-manipulated computer interface that will blow your mouse and keyboard away. Using one or two hands (or just fingers), the video demonstrates how you can organize, manipulate and shape data in a computer. If you get nostalgic for the old ways, you can call up a keyboard from within the interface.”

 

 

New Minority Report Like Touch-screen…
“Monitor development is a field that is given little thought, due to the simple role a monitor plays as part of the computer. Its job is to display the information that is provided from the computer, yet the objective of a monitor is beginning to increase quickly, from the basics of displaying data, to displaying in high quality, to taking little space, and to finally, being an extremely interactive piece of equipment that provides a completely new experience to its users.”

 

 

The iGesture replaces clicking with gesturing

 

 

McObserver

 

 

Gesture Glove NOT Science Fiction
“The movie was actually based on work that we were performing at MIT. So it wasn’t really science fiction … Now, it’s science fact.”

Technology from Minority Report in Real Life

Blog on today’s visit to VDI: “Visualization Design Institute”

•October 26, 2006 • 2 Comments

Visualization Design Institute (VDI) is an applied research unit of Sheridan College, and today we had the opportunity to visit their department, as well as the Interactive Visualization Environment Lab.

http://www.visualization.ca/vdi/index.html

Song Ho Ahn (Visualization Developer) and Ian Howatson (Web Developer) very kindly explained and shared with us some of the research projects they have worked on and that VDI has created involving Learning Technology, Collaborative Environments, Engineering Simulation and Visualization, Medical Simulation and Visualization, Software Development and New Media Design…

 

Here I will describe and explain some of the interesting points from the visit:

The first project they showed us is involved with Learning Technology and is called:

“The Justice Knowledge Network” (JKN)
www.justiceknowledge.com
With this project, VDI created an innovative e-learning (online) for the law enforcement community where they support the knowledge needs of law and security personnel in a unique and highly secure virtual collaborative environment.

It was cool to see the different sections of the application, and to listen about how they used Flash and XML to build it.

Please find below some explanations about the specific sections we saw:

1) “Skids”

There are 4 skids (Overlapping Skid, Gap Skid, Offset Skid and Yaw Mark).
Each one has 4 components:

     2 movies animated in flash

     1 interactive calculator (Formula)

1 simulation

*They mentioned how they had to draw approx. 50 different lines in order to obtain the required effects in the selections!

2) “Crime Scene Protection” (CSP)

In this application they had a Quiz and used a flash swf inside another flash file.

3) Game: “Crime Scene Memory Test”

These were XML driven questions and images, an interactive game testing your memory.

4) “Suspect Apprehension Pursuits”

There are still some parts in testing for this application. Used by the police trying to catch people running in cars. It allows anyone to create the test/exam at the end.

*using C++ as well

 

 

We also had the opportunity to discuss and see some demos for other projects, such as:

“Maya Mentor”
www.alias.com
A tutorial and educational assistance software for Maya, the 3D modeling software package from Alias. We saw the short video clip (trailer) created for it by 8 animators who worked hard and dedicated a lot of time on it! 😉

GTAA Driving Simulation” (Greater Toronto Airports Authority)
www.gtaa.com
An interactive drive through simulation of the planned parking garage at Pearson Airport. You have 2 minutes to park your car! In our tryout demo, we got a message at the end stating that we were on time for our flight!
🙂

“The Brachial Plexus Learning module” for McMaster University
www.visualization.ca/demos/plexus/
An interactive application for anatomical studies.
It was very cool to see and experiment with the skeleton and the different layers (anatomy). The user can make the skeleton move, rotate, zoom-in and zoom-out, etc while learning about the biology/anatomy topics!

*To create this application they used Flash and Viewpoint Media Player (which is a browser plug-in able to display interactive 3D models, Macromedia Flash animations and interfaces).

And last but not least 😉 we saw…

“The 3D Frog Anatomy”
This is a web based online application for 3D frog anatomy visualization. It demonstrates the capability of web applications for highly complex 3D scene.

*Interesting info:
The 3D anatomy data of frog was segmented and generated from total 136 slices of 2D images using Visualization Toolkit (VTK).
The number of polygons of 3D frog data is about 161,000 polygons in total. 

After visiting and viewing VDI’s working environment, we got to see the room where they have all the motion capture system.

After that we headed to the Interactive Visualization Environment Lab, a very interesting and comfortable room built approx. 6 years ago where we watched an interactive movie that they played for us.

Viewers can interact and control certain actions at respective times of the movie using a tablet computer and its “special” pen.

One interesting question that was raised was:

…would it be possible to navigate and control/interact with the movie using our cellphones??
A/ Not yet 😉

Overall, it was a very interesting experience that opened more doors to our knowledge on areas that are interesting and motivating to explore!

Blog on BIG Interactivity…

•October 5, 2006 • 4 Comments

Doing some research on BIG Interactivity in our Multimedia Pioneering class, I came across some very interesting sites!

Here I’m sharing my findings:

Floor interaction
http://www.sensitivefloor.com
An interactive video floor projection which reacts to the way people walk on it.

“The Sensitive Floor system utilizes a ceiling mounted projector which displays a variety of pre-programmed visual effects when a moving presence is detected within the field of projection. Installations may be temporary or permanent, and applications include retail, entertainment, and exhibition environments, or anywhere that interactive art, information, or advertising may be featured.”

LIGHTSPACE
http://www.lightspacecorp.com/
Lightspace® Corporation merges cutting edge products with the excitement of software driven entertainment to create a revolutionary, interactive and engaging way for people of all ages to play, dance, design, get fit and above all, have fun.

Design

Dance

Play

“Our unique, interactive entertainment and display technology converts passive attendees into active participants by fusing light, sound and physical movement to create a highly appealing and adaptable experience. Put simply, we get people moving by encouraging activity that is irresistibly fun, dynamic and completely adaptive to the environment. With more than seven-in-ten Americans saying that they should be getting more exercise than they are now according to a 2006 Pew Research study, Lightspace® transforms everyday surfaces into engaging, entertaining and interactive exercise, display, gaming and learning surfaces that are capable of stimulating and responding to human touch.”

BUBBLES
http://hosting.zkm.de/wmuench/bubbles

The multi-user installation ‘bubbles’ enables participants to interact with the real-time simulation of floating bubbles. By entering the light beam of the data projector, the participant casts a shadow onto the projection screen. The screen area is captured by a video input system and each bubble is able to independently recognize both the shadows‘ touch and its direction.

“Defined as autonomous objects, the bubbles‘ behavior and their response to any user-interaction follows a set of simulated physical laws. Both the overall state of the complex system and the shadows‘ interaction with the bubbles create nonlinear musical structures, that are generated in real-time utilizing a midi interface and midi synthesizer.”

CREATIVE COLLISION
Artistic “wall-targeting”

Painting digital pictures by throwing rubber pebbles against an inflatable equipped with suitable sensors. The shape and size of the pictures depend on the intensity and the way in which you throw the pebble. The same operation can be repeated several times, using different colors, enabling you to create your own graphic.

Not-So-White Walls – Interactive wallpaper

If you want to dim the lights, turn the radio volume up and down, or switch on the TV, all you do is touch some of the “sensitive” parts of the wall lightly. This is what the first interactive wallpaper prototype does. Other models enable you to view low-resolution images and texts or use the walls of your home as barometers that change colour according to the level of humidity in the atmosphere.

Other related links…

Exploring the Space in Movement based interaction
This very interesting paper presents the concept of Mixed Interaction Spaces as a room for movement based interaction…

Tracking Multiple Laser Pointers for Large Screen Interaction

Innovative Interactive Projects:

Biowall

Activwall

Messa di Voce

Waterfall


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