Video Comments, a WordPress Plugin

Video Comments, a WordPress Plugin is now available. You’ll see it here on the site on the videos that I’ve been posting from vloggercon (i also updated the uncle leron movies as well). This allows you to leave time-coded comments on videos. Check it out, and if you do any kind of video (or even audio-only) blogging/podcasting, download the plugin and give it a try.

Beyond Broadcast

So I’m heading to Boston tomorrow morning for the Beyond Broadcast conference. I’m excited because I’m presenting the project I’ve been working on as a student researcher at ITP this past semester — a socially networked MythTV remote. I’m looking forward to meeting Wendy Seltzer, who will be talking about MythTV, specifically as it relates to the Broadcast Flag, and other issues

I’ll be demoing the MythRemote on the PepperPad, as well as the newest prototype which I’ll be showing on my laptop. The gist of the project is a remote control for your PVR with networked video commenting and chatting that is time-coded and tied to a particular program. One possible application is the idea of collaborative annotations, creating a wikipedia style commentary for a particular show. Sort of like pop-up video created by and for the viewer…

Anyway, I’ll probably be posting some more here about panels & discussions that interest me from the conference…

Apple offers Dual Boot solution

This really surprised me:

Apple® today introduced Boot Camp, public beta software that enables Intel-based Macs to run Windows XP. Available as a download beginning today, Boot Camp allows users with a Microsoft Windows XP installation disc to install Windows XP on an Intel-based Mac®, and once installation is complete, users can restart their computer to run either Mac OS® X or Windows XP. Boot Camp will be a feature in “Leopard,” Apple’s next major release of Mac OS X, that will be previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference in August.

If there were ever a reason to switch, here it is…

Apple’s Latest…

…intern. Yup. I’m going to intern with Apple in Cupertino this summer, working with the .Mac web team. If you know me, you know how excited I am. I haven’t mentioned it here on the blog for fear of jinxing it, but now that it’s official (well, just about official. They still have to do a background check on me. Hmmm, will that traffic violation come back to haunt me? Hope not!), I thought I’d write a little bit about the experience of interviewing for the position.

Continue reading

Unmentioned iTunes 5 Features..

Couple of new features I hadn’t noticed in today’s release of iTunes 5.

iTunes Song Info

Two options — “Skip when shuffling” and “Remember Playback Position” are new, I believe. The remmber playback position was something that was usually reserved for audiobooks, but then with the Podcast features of v4.9 itunes would do just that to .MP3 podcasts; now you can apply it to any track.

Also notice the Lyrics tab–that’s new isn’t it? I’ll have to pop open 4.9 to be sure…I wonder if they’re going to start including lyrics in purchases from the Music Store

ITP: Day One.

So Tuesday was my first day of Graduate School. My first class was Intro to Computational Media, taught by Dan O’Sullivan. I’m very excited about this class — generically, the basic concepts of programming are taught, mainly using [Processing 1.0]( Processing seems like a cool language — I’d played around with some of the examples on its website a while back. It’s sort of Java-lite; the developers have stripped down Java’s overly complex syntax to a useful minimum and made a simple environment for programming.

From the site:
>Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and sound. It is used by students, artists, designers, architects, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is developed by artists and designers as an alternative to commercial software tools in the same domain.

There’s a lot of visual applications as this seems to be the initial audience (check out the [examples](, but it can be used for other things as well. And what’s cool is that the final output is Java; by the end of the semester the basic Processing syntax is peeled away to reveal its Java underpinnings, and more advanced functions can be implemented this way.

Even more important than the language and the concepts of programming, the class is about figuring out what kind of stuff you want to do with it. That’s the hard and fun part — for all the cool projects and ideas I’ve had over the years, I find myself on this first day feeling absolutely devoid of any creative spark. Which is okay — I’m sure it will come, but it’s a weird and ironic feeling now that I’m in this super creative environment.

My second class was *Applications*, which is taught by Red Burns, the department chair and founder of the program. It’s a seminar class where she invites a guest lecturer each week to present on ITP-related projects in the real world. Our first speaker was Heather Greer, an ITP alum (class of ’94 (!)) who has gone on to work as a photographer, cinematographer, filmmaker, relief-worker, installation artist, and it seems like twelve other things. Her work focuses on the connections we make with people as our reason to survive. I’ll try and find some links to her work and post them here, but suffice it to say she was an inspiring first guest as to the possibilities and opportunities that can arise from ITP’s multidisciplinary, collaborative approach.

Applications is also the only class that all incoming students take together, so it was a great opportunity to see everyone’s face and get to know some of the people I’ll be working with. We are divided into groups of five to present a response to the previous week’s speaker, so I met and enjoyed hanging out with the folks in my group. After class several of us went to Cedar Tavern for a drink, and it was amazing to sit and talk with people who were so engaged about *creative* uses of technology. With a few exceptions, I’m accustomed to people’s eyes glazing over when I start to talk about cool tech projects I’ve been seeing or thinking about — this was probably the first time I’d sat in a group of six or seven people who were all totally engaged in the discussion. Very cool.

So here’s my attempt at staying up-to-date on the blog with my ITP adventures. I have a feeling my time is going to soon vanish and blogging will once again take a back seat, but I’ll do my best to keep it fresh.

Cell Phone Viruses

I was visiting Ryan at Second on Second (the bar he tends, located at, let’s see if you can figure it out… yup, 2nd street and 2nd Ave) when I got an alert on my cell phone:

Nokia 7610 wants to send you a message. Accept?

I gladly accepted, being surprised and a bit excited that someone had a Series 60 phone (series 60 is the interface of Nokia’s smartphones, like my Nokia 6620), and had the wherewithal to send a Bluetooth message.

Almost immediately the same alert popped up again, and again and again as I pressed no, I would not accept.

I looked in my inbox and found the file that was being sent to me — CABIR.SIS — a Symbian installation file (Symbian is the actual operating system that Series60 and other ‘smartphones’ run on) had been delivered several times.

I knew well enough not to open it. First of all, I had heard of the Cabir virus spreading around Europe, one of a handful that infect symbian phones, but even if I hadn’t, I don’t think I would have opened a random installation file someone had sent me. Don’t open attachments from people you don’t know. It’s like a mantra, and it’s just as true with cellphones as PCs.

This particular virus is relatively harmless — once installed, it attempts to transmit itself to any nearby Bluetooth device; once that device is infected, the same thing happens. Pretty soon, everyone is infected. The biggest downside is a drain on battery life and performance as your phone gets overloaded trying to send messages and files via the Bluetooth radio.

I turned my phone off and rebooted in offline mode (hit the power switch, then UP on the d-pad 3 times to select offline mode), which disables bluetooth. This prevented me from getting any further unsolicited messages. Next, I went to the Notes application and wrote a short memo:

 Your phone is infected with a virus.  Believe it or not!

but sadly, by the time I tried to send it back out the the phantom Nokia 7610, it was no longer in range (or it’s battery had just died, which is not unlikely).

I love my smartphone. I love being able to install custom applications, the modularity and expandability make my mobile computing life much more satisfying. But if viruses are already this commonplace — especially among non-savvy users, i.e., people NOT like me –, we’re in for a long haul when it comes to acceptance and growth of the mobile phone as the everyman’s computing platform.

Bloglines / Safari Bookmarklet hack

After reading this at o’reilly radar (isn’t that [Gary Burghoff’s]( character on mash?)

> Combining nostalgia for the oh-so-1994 http:// with a cool tip by pal Duncan for using the otherwise barely-functional RSS reader in the Safari browser, I now routinely type feed:// (or feed: for short) where the http:// should be (e.g. and jump straight to a nice Table of Contents for any site sporting an auto-discoverable RSS or Atom feed.

I use [bloglines]( for my rss reading , and use the bloglines bookmarklet to subscribe to feeds — it does a good job, usually, but I noticed that it doesn’t always autodetect a page that I know has a feed. In addition, Safari 2.0’s rss view is nice, but the bloglines bookmarklet doesn’t like the “feed://” url protocol.

So I tweaked the bloglines bookmarklet to change ‘feed’ to ‘http’, works like a champ:

safari-bloglines-it < drag it to your bookmarks bar source: `javascript:location.href=''+(location.href.replace('feed:','http:'))` EDIT: Changed "feed" to "feed:" and "http" to "http:" just in case a url also contains the word feed in addition to the protocol handler.