Augmented Reality

2 12 2009

By the time you read this, my medium will be gone. The human mind is evolving beyond static words on actual pages. With the release of Esquire’s “Augmented Reality” issue, the bridge between print and Internet may finally be complete. The issue asks readers to hold the magazine up to their webcams for exclusive HD video content. Is that enough to sell magazines? The answer this month is yes.
But next month will we be nearly as eager to watch a new dog perform the same month-old trick? Probably not.
However, I still sought out a copy at the campus bookstore to find that the issue was sold out. A short trip to another magazine seller and I’d found a lone copy. I held it eagerly in front of my MacBook. Did I care what the content was? Not particularly, I just wanted to see it for myself. Was it worth it? While quite sleek, it didn’t offer much.

“What we’re trying to do is create something that isn’t about showing off the technology, but actually adds value to the story,” says Benjamin Palmer, a developer of the Barbarian Group’s Augmented Reality, to Esquire magazine. That claim may have missed its mark. While a beautiful show of things to come, Augmented Reality is far from useful.

The National Post offers a similar function for smart-phone users, something that filled me with a giddy sort of glee. I’d downloaded the application to my phone and snapped a photo of the alien-looking box next to the article. To this day, I haven’t managed to make it work, but I don’t feel like I’ve missed anything.
But then I began to see those boxes showing up in more places. Until man finds a way to easily charge people for visiting websites, he’ll need to rely on these sorts of gimmicks to bridge both print and Internet.
Augmented Reality may sell copies this month, but it’s got all the makings of a clunky and archaic gadget. By next month, the novelty will have worn off and we’ll find it a hassle to hold our magazines up to webcams to see a high quality video read to us from the very magazine we are holding.

What does this say about our culture? We look for any excuse to not actually read print, and what is selling issues isn’t the content of the magazine but rather the gimmick attached.
A study by the Canadian Council of Learning in 2005 shows that adult literacy rates are in decline. Another study in Florida examines how society reads the news and finds that eye-catching visual cues paired with smaller amounts of text are most appealing. Too much text, and readers avoid it altogether.

Perhaps, this is a new transformation of the English language, one that embraces artistic flair and stimulating imagery paired with more succinct language. Or perhaps, written word is simply giving way to something much more direct. This new media is to print, what music video was to music.


The Social Media Revolution

2 12 2009

If you haven’t already seen this, I highly suggest watching it.

The facts are astounding.


How to Generate Blog Traffic (Up-to-Date)

2 12 2009

Social media is changing the way journalists are having to do things. Personally, I’m a journalism student who wants to get my name out there. So I’ve started this blog and I’ve made it my mission to generate a follower-ship.

There’s a lot of these lists out there that basically focus on improving your content, knowing your reader, etc. etc. What I am trying to deal with is actively generating readership. If you have the talent, you might not have the ability to market. Be confident in what you’re writing and tell people to check you out.

A lot of other blog posts out there offer good advice. You need to remember that the quality of your writing is what is going to matter ultimately. If you want to succeed you need a quality product.

So here’s a list of tips to get your name out there…

1. Use Twitter. Add many people who might be interested in your writing. Re-Tweet and stay relatively active. Post once or twice a day, no more, no less. Make your Tweets count. Try linking to other interesting websites, and even your own blog. Even going into forums and directing people to your blog is a great way to generate a few readers.

2. Stay informed and current about your topic. Read lots, or at the very least skim. Read magazines, newspapers, other blogs. Anything that will provide you with up-to-the-minute information.

3. Start a Google Reader. If you don’t already have one, this can save you a ton of time. It allows you collect all the sources you might follow in one place, saving you the trouble of visiting many sites. Here’s a link

4. Post often but not too often. Once or twice a day is healthy. Once a week, not so much.

5. Be concise. The wordier you are, the quicker your readers will lose interest.

6. Be a journalist. Use pictures, take video, and record audio if possible. It will help you create a dynamic blog.

7. Link people to interesting sites. If you are struggling, find a forum where someone needs help with something and direct them to your blog for help. But be sure to at least attempt to solve their problem in your blog.

8. Read other blogs and comment on them. Leaving an insightful comment might gain you the readership of just that blogger, but at least that’s one more chance to impress someone.

9. Don’t spread the news too soon. Don’t direct potential readers to a one-post blog. Have a few posts ready to go before you start sending people to your blog.

10. Uncover memes, niches, and address things that you haven’t found any information on.

11. Just slap a bunch of funny (but related and original) pictures in a post. A laugh can easily earn you a few repeat readers.

12. Make your blog appealing, handle criticism, and always be on the lookout for the advantage.

Happy blogging!

Jon and Kate’s Predictable Downfall

30 11 2009

I watched the Jon and Kate Plus 8 series finale last week. It’s been a guilty pleasure of mine for as long as I can remember, but as their marriage comes to an end, I’m kind of sad.

Bad-ass Jon Gosselin

Not sad in the sense that I felt any emotional connection to the family, or that sick sadness that a train wreck was coming to an end, but rather a sadness based upon reflection.

The episode was a clip show that featured a few brief interview questions to the couple, and a lot of nice clips of the family before they fell apart. Girls everywhere have argued with me on this, but I feel bad for Jon. Especially with the news that he is already in another relationship.

Jon jumped into something he shouldn’t have a long time ago: a marriage he wasn’t ready for. There’s no way to get that time back, both Jon and Kate’s youth has been spent. While Jon tries to cope by wearing Ed Hardy and partying with younger women, the tell-tale signs of age (his baldness and paunch) are evident.

It may not be the right thing to do, but it’s what Jon thinks he needs. Kate has every right to be mad, but if it was your dad being shoved into the spotlight for a bad decision he made a long, long time ago, you might object. Jon and Kate jumped the gun together, they weren’t ready to spend a lifetime together. It’s the curse of their generation.

My parents divorced when I was 12 and my sister was 8. We grew up in a society where divorce was the norm, or at least, not that uncommon. We grew up in a country where the divorce rate hovered around 50% and it’s shaped a generation. It changes your perspective at any age that it occurs. Personally, I’m determined to marry for true love, and have devised a plan to accomplish this: it’s called “wait-til-your-thirty”. The way I see it, as long as I let myself mature fully, I’ll have less trouble in the long run.

The important thing here is: the Jon and Kate finale was neither tragic nor exciting. It’s life, and human’s are bound to make silly mistakes when we’re in love. Let’s just try to remember the good times when we can.


AVGN vs The Irate Gamer (an observation)

30 11 2009

I’ve been seeing the word meme a lot lately, and it piqued my interest. So this post is about memes.

A meme is…
Wikipedia says it’s pronounced like “cream”.
Ultimately a cultural inside joke (especially on a subcultural level).

Enter the Angry Video Game Nerd.


From all the information I’ve read tonight (and my sources have relied completely on user-created documents). The AVGN was some nerd who reviewed old NES games on Youtube, about twenty years after it could have been relevant. This kid produced enough profanity-laced (and not particularly funny) reviews of old games to put together a DVD, which he sold to his fans (or most likely, just friends and well-wishers).

Enter The Irate Gamer. Accused of plagiarizing the above nerds reviewing style. This kid appeared about two weeks after the AVG nerd.

That issue of plagiarism was tossed around until an “internet war” began between the two factions. Flaming, trolling, and all sorts of point-dexter trickery erupted and the long and overly drawn out battle ended (so I’m told) with a sheepish apology from The Irate Gamer. You can wiki these poor souls, the Angry Nerd, James D. Rolfe, and, the Irate one, Chris Bore.

It’s a pretty nerdy story, but when you break it all down and look at it. These two kids built an army of haters and came to nerdy, online blows. All that effort and agitation over a stolen bit of unfunny material.

This is exactly why you should try to disconnect from all this social media. Or at least drawing a clear line as to when enough is enough. Do you really want to waste your time fighting over who told a joke first? That’s not the big picture though. This little history-bite was witnessed by about 300 thousand people. Sides were taken and tempers flared.

Just look what we’ve become.


Eric Wareheim the hipster

30 11 2009

I have a fascination with the obscure. I would say I’m on top of internet memes, from Raptor Jesus to Tay Zonday and beyond. It’s no surprise that I stumbled upon Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show: Great Job! and fell in love.

Eric Wareheim

The show is comprised of a number of uncomfortable sketches. To the unsuspecting viewer it seems like public-access television gone horribly, horribly wrong.

A huge surprise to me, Eric Wareheim, the show’s co-founder is a hipster at heart. Even weirder, he’s directed music videos for the likes of MGMT, Depeche Mode, Ben Folds, and even Maroon 5.

The videos are amazing. I didn’t know they were by Wareheim when I saw the videos, but I had my suspicions pretty quickly. The flashing colours, weirdo cast, and intensely hallucinogenic properties.

My personal favourite is a tad explicit but I’ll link it right here:

Major Lazer “Pon De Floor” from Eric Wareheim on Vimeo.

And his newest video, also for Major Lazer,

Major Lazer “Keep it Going Louder” from Eric Wareheim on Vimeo.

There’s another video by Flying Lotus that’s a lot more explicit (if you can call it that), there’s animated coitus so don’t watch it if you’re at work.