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Blogs - What are they good for?

Absolutely nothing!
Say it again!

Okay that's not fair.
The recent events are making me seriously look at what I (and all the other netheads) are doing.
I recently posted to a local Greensboro board about my thoughts on the state of the blogosphere.
I'll mirror part of that text here -
As a netizen and newborn blogger/vlogger, I'm wondering can any of this help anybody. Initially I helped him set up his site as an experiment. We were trying to see if we could find an alternative way to tell real human stories and bypass the barriers presented by traditional media. Little burps of gas and lava from the mountain and a nightmare of technical problems just trying to carry on the most rudimentary forms of electronic communication were all we achieved on the first try. Now this. Destruction on a massive scale. Thousands dead and/or dying. Whole villages leveled. Roads and tracks buckled and folded like ribbons. And Chad is going back into the heart of that. Between his straight day job of reporting for VOA and NPR he's going to try to put a human face and voice to what only appears as a body count and a 30 second news blurb. Can he do it? I hope so. But I have my doubts. The place was chaotic before a 6.2 quake. I imagine it hasn't improved any. So what does any of this have to do with us? Katrina wasn't that far away from Greensboro. Did netizens make a difference there? And what happens the next time a hurricane chews its way through NC? What brave soul will be on the front lines, blogging their experiences and the experiences of the people around them? And will that bring the National Guard in any faster? Are we all just a bunch of dreamy, head in the infocloud, early adopter dreamers? Well, what do you think?

And then there's the problem with tyrants and theocrats...
But that's another post.

Indonesian Earthquake

I just did a quick emergency post over at the Mount Merapi blog for my friend Chad.
There was a 6.2 earthquake in the area of Yogyakarta and thousands are dead and injured. Chad wasn't in the area at the time, but he is on his way back to report on the disaster.
I guess there are a bunch of people who feel like me this morning. Relieved because our friend/colleague/son/brother is safe, sickened because of the massive loss of life and unimaginable suffering, and freaked out knowing he's going back into this area to report. I was chatting with him while he was preparing to go, and my stomach was in knots. I can't even imagine what he must be feeling. In the end I realize the only thing I can do is help him get all sides of the story out, and hopefully that will make some kind of difference. And I know that if there's one person who can bring back something human and true, it's Chad.


online video services

I love me some youtube. Lord knows I do.
Let's break down the debate going on in my head.
Content aside, the interface for uploading is dirt simple and fast.
Straight forward interface and audience numbers seem to be huge and growing by the second.
But their design is way too clunky and old school.
And the quality is so so.

On the other hand there is
Nice clean design. Lots of groovy options for CC licensing, and better creative control of my content.
It posts immediately in the format that I uploaded. QT produces a QT popup and WMV produces a WMV popup. A popup! Have I mentioned how much I hate popups? And what if the average viewer is having OS issues with the alternate OS media format. Flash may not give me the best quality, but it seems to be a play anywhere kind of solution. And it takes forever to post a flash version. I may be way out of touch on this one, but I'd much rather take the hit in quality and reach a larger audience than get in the middle of some media player format war.
I know I'm missing quite a few points, but these are the ones that immediately jump out at me.

What do you guys think?
Anybody have any thoughts?


video poem


The academic creative drought has ended.

The irony that I can be a film student and not have any time for my own creative expressions isn't lost on me.

Messing around with Resolume and Premiere.

Music/glitch sounds via ML Oslo EP @ under a Creative Commons license.



Over at the Mount Merapi Blog, there's a great new post that ties in volcanism, meta -reporting, magic, and golf. That's what I'm talking about. The volcano is big scary news, but in the end it's just God's giant science fair project. It's the human stories that make this interesting and important. Listening to my friend navigate his way through a conversation with village women making food for refugees. Reading about the challenges and frustrations to transmit a relatively minute amount of information to the rest of the world. The lull when the mountain stops producing scary news, and reporters have to scramble to find an angle. No reign of lava and ash? Go find that golf course that's just a few miles from the volcano and find out what the owners were thinking.

(image via the Merapi Golf website)


Chad vs. The Volcano

I just did a guest post on Chad's blog about this new experiment and what it means for indy media.
Is it just pie in the sky net dreams?
Can anybody make a difference?
There's a lot of things in the world that could use some fixing right now (Shrub, I know you're listening...)
Can we take back the media?
Can we fix our broken political machine?
Educate our children (and adults)?
Take care of the poor and sick?
Keep our planet from becoming a barren wasteland?
Keep religious wackos from blowing us up (don't point Shrub, I'm talking to you too)
Tech alone won't do it.
I've come to the conclusion that the last great barrier that we have to conquer is our territorial primate brains. We're like these freaked out chimps, wandering around screeching into cell phones and beating on keyboards. Technology has completely passed us by. We really haven't changed in 200,000 years. We can just fling our feces farther and with greater accuracy.
We need to figure out why we do what we do, and how we can change or short circuit our monkey brains.
Time to evolve.


So if it's such a great idea...

...why don't you do it yourself?
I will.
I'll put up a Paypal donate button on the sidebar.
As an independent multimedian, I would love to make some sort of living from this.
Cable modem, laptop, software, cameras, mini dv tapes all start to add up after a while. If I could just cover those expenses, this experiment would be worth it.
This is a no no/low pressure request.
If you like what you see, and you can afford it, please drop a few bucks in. If not, no problem. The only thing I ask is that you leave a comment or pass on a link to someone else.
To my family and friends, you can still look me in the eye. This isn't a guilt trip. But if holidays/birthdays/graduation rolls around and you are stumped for a gift idea, a donation would fill that need.
I'm also open to barter. If you have a project you need help with and it fits my skill set (video production, photography/photo manipulation, NLE, animation, writing...) drop me a line at with barter in the subject line.

Dark Miracle and the Black Hole

Doing research for Chad's net journalism project, I drew inspiration from Joshua Ellis' project Dark Miracle. I first came across Joshua's story via boingboing. Joshua uses Paypal and micropatronage to fund his work. Amazing story, and an important step in the future of newmedia. Check out his site and this video. And if you can afford it, drop in a few bucks. A little bit here and there can make all the difference.


Volcano blogging

My friend Chad, who is a freelance reporter living in Jakarta, Indonesia is in Jogjarkarta, about ten miles from Mount Merapi, reporting on it's impending eruption. He has set up a blog, and is making his first foray into Net journalism. He's in the process of setting up a Paypal tip jar to help with his expenses. Stop by, and if you can, help him out.
Also, check out Trish Anderton's personal blog about life in Jakarta. An amazing writer and reporter.

There's a new update on the Chad's volcano blog.
I'm trying to help him get a Paypal button set up so he can take donations for his work.
Until then, stop by and leave some comments and encouragement.


Roll out the red carpet

This semester I was volunteer teaching film to the kids at the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Greensboro. Amazing experience. I hope the kids learned as much from me as I learned from them.
We will have a showing of the kid's works at the Carousel Theatre in Greensboro, at 7 PM this evening, with part of the ticket sales going back to the club. Stop by and enjoy the show.

I want to take this opportunity to thank Eric Patrick and Ndesanjo Macha for all of their help, support and guidance.
I'd also like to thank the other teachers. Dara, Amber, Ryan and Aaron, you guys did an awesome job. Dara's link has a much better account of the experience (she also has a great blog - check it out).



Old School Thursday

Break out the Pumas and the cardboard.
Newcleus is about to rock your world.