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demoFone, a WebCasting app for S60 and UIQ3…

I recently became aware of an application called demoFone, which is a webcasting application for S60 and UIQ3 devices.

I personally own a nokia N95 8GB and try out all the new apps!  This is akin to qik on the (share your sreen with all) level.

If you are at all familiar with webcasting, you know the benifit of being able to share your screen with people, ‘specially when you’re trying to get a point across without flying around the world to point to “that” icon on the desk, or email that “massive” raw photo you just took.

With WebCasting you can have virtual meetings around the world and share the contents of your desktop, images, video, documents, etc.

After just a few minutes of testing the demoFone application, I was more than sold!  I’m always trying to explain myself over the phone with some luck, but run into problems when it comes to the photo I just took or the document I have local to my device, etc. but don’t really want to email it out (just yet) or I’d rather walk someone through the use of an application on my device.

With demofone I was able to do just that… and with video capabilities as well.  It does not have audio (yet), but with more users and the likelyhood of it’s popularity, I quickly see this application becoming a winner with many who just need to get their point across without mailing or texting  back and forth like crazy! AND, like many older webCasting services, you can just make the phone call (on another device) or on the same device (assuming you have some sort of semi-detached headset so you can see what you’re doing on the device) and talk at the same time.  It’s that easy.  I’d of course use wi-fi for display, as it will be much quicker, but if you need to, your mobile providers data connection will work too, slowly, but it works.  :)

demoFone, you g/uy/al/s have a great product here!

Below is a short video I took with qik of the application in use on my device.

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skyfire’s Awesome Mobile Browser!

November 20th, 2008 | Category: AT&T,ATT,GPRS,live stream,N95,N95-4 8GB NAM,Nokia,qik,TWIT

Up ’till now, I’ve added hacks, and workarounds, and multiple different browsers and software programs to all the different mobile devices I’ve owned, just to make it do things like, get a decent browsing experience (close to a full on computer), listen to audio (any), watch video and most important of all in todays “NOW” environment, do this all live!

Nokia came with a decent browser, capable of many things, but not enough, enter Opera…

I was hoping Opera’s browser would improve upon the lack of things Nokia’s browser was not capable of doing, (live audio/video, better browsing through “more like PC pages”), etc., sadly, no.

Opera would display pages a tad nicer, but that was about it.

What I REALLY wanted was the ability to watch streaming video LIVE! Not, download the video from YouTube or similar sites and watch it… but stream live while the situation unfolds.

Many devices say they stream, but in reality they were simply downloading a “file” to then watch (the buffer might have been the closest thing to an actual “stream”).

Today, I ran into a newer browser called, SkyFire.

SkyFire is currently available for S60 devices (N Series and E Series Nokia mobiles) and Windows Mobile.

I must say, I was more than shocked, as SkyFire did not advertise it’s ability to stream live content, it simply touted it as a browser more like your PCs browser. That alone intrigued me. After all, I had tried several other claiming similar things to no real avail.

This is exactly what I wanted! I was amazed! The first site I tested (simply due to the fact that I wanted a streaming experience) was my favorite live a/v guy, Leo Laporte at twitlive.tv Here is the footage I took while testing it.

 



Then I moved on to my mobile video streaming site Qik.com and sure enough, they both streamed the live content right as it came out of my mouth. It was odd looking at my delayed qik video being streamed up, and then back down to skyFire’s browser on my N95 (over AT&T’s sluggish 3G network), (it was kinda of like watching what I stream from my phone on my full on computer) but hey, it worked, worked well and I am VERY happy!

The browser does not stop there, complete with standard back, forward, enter URL, bookmark, fit to screen, and zoom -+ options, but, I’ll still most likely use my default Nokia browser for quick and dirty things as it’s not really feasible to view a web page built for a monitor resolution of 1024×768 or higher on a 320×240 screen (despite zooming, just too much scrolling at normal size). But when I need a more full on computer like experience, you can bet, I’ll be turning to my newest browser, SkyFire!

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qik.com vs stickam

Well, I’ve done a reasonable amount of testing with the newly release mobile stickam application.

Here’s how I feel about it:
It’s ok. There, done. ;)

No, really, the app is nice, BUT… qik still has it over stickam.

Reasons: Qik records your video/stream and you can link to the archived footage, download it in 3GP or FLV formats, auto or manual post it to YouTube and a multitude of other Social Networks (video/audio/or text). Qik also has a bit better quality going on for it!
I’ve been using qik since it’s release pretty much… and the developers have also been easy to talk with, and obtain special releases to test, that eventually get out into the wild. :)
Qik also has the application available for more than the Nokia N95.

What does Stickam have, that qik does not? Well, from my testing, only two things… stickam shows you the number of viewers (qik could easily impliment) and stickam allows you to change your cameras orientation (when using the back (higher quality) cam). I do like both those features, but, not enough to do a total switch.

Winner: Qik, I love being able to read real time chats and converse with users on the other end (knowing how many people ware watching is not helpful if you can’t really chat). And the quality is great! In addition to all the other awesome networking features qik offers (like posting and downloading what you’ve done). :)

Qik, keep it up… and stickam, if you want to “compete” with the likes of qik, you’ve got a long road ahead. I’ll keep using stickam for my lappys and desktops, but while I’m mobile, it’s qik baby! :)

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beta tested qik software version 0.08.72

Thanks to the awesome developers at qik.com, I was able to get a beta version of the most recent qik software for my Nokia N95 8GB 0.08.72!  Let me tell you, it was well worth it!

I’ve used their software since the original version, and it’s been great… except for a few little quirks/desires.

I recently road the Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic, 2008 again this year (my 8th time, thank you.  :)  Anyway, I had a few problems with the first version(s) of qik’s software in that, the back light (screen) would always stay lit, making it a major suck on the battery life, and, the inability to run in the background (use other apps while recording).

Enter “request” of the qik developers, of course what I wanted the features for (the 204 mile bike ride)… and they added both giving me the newest beta version to test out on this ride!  I probably don’t have to tell you, just those two features alone, made a HUGE difference functionality and longevity!  Not only did I get a massive increase in stream life (due to the light shutting off automatically), but I was also able to record with the camera in the background saving me from accidentally stopping it with bangs against the handle bars!

Having the camera in the background (using “stay in background”) was a life saver for a few reasons.  I could utilize other apps while I was recording, making it nice to grab information and relay it as you record, say, you’re doing an interview, and you need to Google info, or shoot a plurk or tweet, pick up a phone call, etc. etc.  With this newest version of Qik 0.08.72 you can do just that and not have to stop the recording or be limited to the 10 second time out if you leave the screen.  (picking up a phone call may stop the stream anyhow on a cell network, (unless your streaming on wi-fi))

Additionally, if you’ve left the qik screen, while it’s recording in the background, those annoying accidental depressions of a button that might stop your stream (like in my case of constant banging against handle bars), don’t happen.  Yeah!!  :)

The second feature, is a no-brainer.  (auto light off or “Economy mode”). We all know when the light/screen is active on any portable device, it sucks the juice from your battery VERY quickly.  Well, by simply allowing the back light to shut off while recording, basically doubled my recording time.  That was awesome!  OK, so I wasn’t able to get the entire 204 miles streamed, but hey, how many want to watch someone ride 204 miles?  Even the Tour de France takes breaks and has some commercial interruptions.  Saves on some motion sickness. ;)

One cool thing about qik (in a situation like this) is it’s live (it’s not yesterday).  While riding the STP this year, I saw some individuals riding in front of a pickup with a lady and her heavy high quality, (slowing the ride) camera.  Although great that they can give you that 2 mile an hour quality video, I think it’s over, it’s done, I’ve streamed it for you while it happened using QIK.com’s service.  You can watch it as it happens or well, later.  :)

If you’re curious about the ride I’ve been referring to (the STP), see this post.  I’ve included some screen shots of the new version’s “options menu”.  Great work Qik Team!

Now for audio and (PIP) Picture in Picture for other incoming qikers, full on Video phone, here we come!  :) And AT&T (at this time), a better cell network so I can use 640×480 more frequently.  :)

On a site/api functionality level, it would be great if we could post “updates” like “I’m streaming live right now…” to an email address.  I love that qik auto posts to twitter, but I’d like to do the same with other SNs.  Many SNs have an email we can send to.  If we could set up email addresses to notify when we are live, that would seal a MAJOR gap in the notification process.  No?  :)


Click the image to see a better res view:

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iphone 3G, pleeease.

July 11th, 2008 | Category: Apple,AT&T,ATT,GPS,HSDPA,iPhone,live stream,qik,voip,Wi-fi

This is silly, just silly.

I have to agree with Leo Laporte (of twitlive.tv) and many related to the industry when It’s said that you may be wasting your money if you let “At this time” screw you into a contract for a partially functional (based on definition) device!

Leo’s been online (live) since the first Apple store opened in New Zeland, on Friday July 11th, 2008 convering the launch of the 3G iPhone! And, although I don’t have his following, I have been re-streaming Leo’s audio for those that can’t view it, but want to stay connected via audio only. (my live stream on the right menu). This has been nice for those who only have their mobiles or capable of a .pls stream.

Just as a plug for me and Leo, (as it’s my site)… I re-stream Leo whenever he’s online, for those interested in a mobile version at a lower bit rate for ease of cellular streaming.

But…, the title of the post is really, “iPhone 3G, pleeease.”

So far this is what we’ve learned about the new iPhone 3G.

1. It’s got GPS (but it seems to act more like triangulation) the kind that google maps uses for mobile devices. Hmm, not turn by turn… seems that’s what GPS is mainly used for.
2. It has 3G (thus the title). However, as it’s been repeated, 3G is really (At this time) only available in Major Metro cities (and not even all of them). In fact, there is more wi-fi coverage across the globe than 3G, so you decide which you’d rather use and (NOT) pay for?
3. Apps, Shmaps. Software is cool, but many other devices that have many other cooler and “completely functional” hardware have been open for development for a long time!

These seem to be the 3 most noted changes in the launch of this new device (and the apps don’t really count) since the software version 2.0 enables new apps on the old iPhone, and if you can install Google Maps on the old iPhone, then your “triangulated” GPS has been available since it was installed. Sooo… it seems 3G is the only enhancment. No?

Personally, I’d not get screwed into a contract, and rather have the immediate option to buy the device and plug my own/old sim to work. Sadly, Apple descided that was not a good idea (for who knows what reason)?

In addition to all this, with all the activation problems, (servers down, etc.) Apple and or AT&T “At this time” are sending people out of the stores with an inactive device. This may just lead to some never activating it “under contract”. Rumor has it, it only took approx 3 1/2 hours to unlock it yesterday (Via someone in New Zeland). This of course won’t take long to get into the wild for everyone to use, and thusly, if you have a device that is unactivated (opposed to activated forcefully in the store)… you may just be able to unlock it and pop in your existing sim.

Hmm, I’d love to know the numbers on that one.

If you don’t need the cellular, just get an iPod touch, install a VOIP client and use wi-fi for phone calls. :) Hey, at least your coverage would be greater with Wi-fi. ;)

One positive thing I can say, even though the new iPhone STILL does not have video recording (built in) (as I understand it), a company called qik.com will allow you to do just that, and live at the same time. So, if you’re one of the secondary “early adopters” of the newest iPhone, don’t fret completely, it has one improvement. (oh wait, the old iPhone can do qik too). DANG!

Thoughts, if Apple and At This Time are going to go into a shady @$$ deal like the last and this one, things really need to work, immediately! No? Or, was it your intention to have many unactivated devices in the wild?

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My Seattle to Portland Bicycle Live Stream (Live STP)

OK, so this weekend is the STP  (Seattle to Portland Bicycle Classic) for those unfamiliar with the acronym (it’s not the Stone Temple Pilots).  ;)  The ride  is July 12-13 being a 1 or 2 day ride (we will ride 2).  This will be my 8th ride and this is my goal:

I plan to stream AS MUCH of the 2 day event that I can via my Nokia N95 8GB while riding.  I will be with some friends, so there will be a bit of banter, I’m sure (it’ll help keep it more interesting).  No music for safety (unless you want to mash up your own after each clip).

Here is the list of items I will use to archive this (a live stream) as long as I can.

Device: Nokia N95-4 8GB NAM
Software: Qik, Live Audio Video Streaming from a mobile Phone
Batteries: 1 1200 mAh and 1 1600 mAh
Standard wall charger for overnight battery refuels at the Centralia half-way point.
Green Recharging: HYmini Solar and Wind powered charger
Protective waterproof casing and a Gorilla Pod for stability

Here’s the trick… I will most likely be unable to stream every waking moment for a few reasons:
1.  this is being done via AT&T’s cell network.  So, we are dependent on their coverage which is obviously not everywhere.  :(
2.  even though I have portable recharging while I ride, streaming takes up so much juice, I can’t recharge as fast as I can use it.  :(  (however I will do a full recharge at the Centralia half-way point for finish line coverage.)

So, with those things in mind, feel free to keep this page open to watch as we go live.  If you never see the video come back, you may have to refresh, but qik (the service I’m using to do this) is pretty good at reloading when live.  Or, you can go to the direct page at http://qik.com/thecolor

If you ask me, this capability is amazing!  It changes the way we “do media”.  Qik’s software and capabilities bring everything to us, NOW, and I’m totally stoked to do this!

By going to the qik page you can use the Live Chat feature, but please be aware I may not be able to see the stream, nor will I be looking at it allot for safety reasons.  I will glance every now and then to be sure it’s still streaming, etc.  but if you say something and I see it, I’ll speak up.  :)

Each of these streams are archived once complete and are available on qik as downloads and Youtube (under “thecolor“).  So, you can either refer others to the qik.com/thecolor page for the live coverage + and or, just refer them to the specific recorded link/downloads if you want to show a previously recorded stream.

Wish us luck on a fun and sunny ride and that we get as much coverage of it as possible.  :)

Here is one riders page to wish him luck as well.  :)
Terry:  http://www.myspace.com/tmanbikeridnfool

P.S. if you want an auto notification of when it goes live (given those moments it drops for bad coverage, or otherwise)… you can follow me on twitter (user “thecolor“) and auto posts are made as soon as I go live.  :)

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#PodCampSeattle was GREAT!

Since I could not be at all the sessions for PodCampSeattle, I decided to set up camp in one room and broadcast it via uStream and qik, which in turn re-streams to mogulus, youtube, and many other services.

Feel free to view any of the additional footage on http://qik.com/thecolor or http://youtube.com/thecolor in addition to the ustream video below.  I’ll try and post more about the camp later.. soooo tired.  And, for some reason, a blog about it seems sooo “history” since it’s been done, recorded, streamed and just been out there for all to have seen and see again… know what I mean?  :)  Definately something I’d recommend attending next they are in your neck of the woods.

P.S. ustream, by the dot com, I keep screwin’ that up. Yes, yes… sorry all for my faux pas, it’s not ustream.com it’s ustream.tv

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Many no longer care about privacy…

Why are so many still complaining about privacy? Do we really have it anymore? Have we ever? (subjectivity and life…)

lightpole, locr, 3Dtracking, locationTagger, and brightKite… are just a few free small software programs for those of us that love being tracked (marked) on our mobile devices, by everyone we know AND don’t know in todays ever growing online social networking society, and there are plenty more out there.

How many people know where you are, even if you have no clue WHO they are?

What about the ever popular GPS devices so many now have in their car (built in by the manufacture or portable) to help them find that restaurant or prevent from being late! I’ve also started seeing a few more (nothing new) Public Service Announcements regarding young individuals not really thinking about what they post online (as if this is different from talking to a stranger ;) like we did before computers) but another easy, near softwareless manner of giving away who you are, your location, etc. Granted you need a network connection at least (without sneakers). Can you actually stop using these things and still be an efficient (un-shunned) active member of current society?

Consider this, even though you can prevent remote individuals from marking you at any specific moment with these applications turned off, just try and ask someone who relies on it or loves it to “turn it off and find a place by human interaction or looking at a fold out paper map”… they’ll probably flip and think of so many ways they can’t do it without their precious toy (or how it’s SOOOO much easier with it). :(

Keep in mind, even if you periodically play (not just leave the marking app on for every drop of juice your devices’ battery will give you), you still make a virtual trail of every spot you’ve been and very easily where you live, work, play, etc. by simply using a tracking or marking application as intended (including but not limited to: online shared photos, (my blog), instant or short messages, email, etc…) This, in itself is like “talking to a stranger”.. you’ve told someone (unknowingly or not) multiple times where you’ve been, that becomes a little stalkerish, no?

In the past (and still present for some)… Being tracked by anyone, including “BigBrother” has been a horrible fear. My sister is one of those that believe the devil will be on your door step if you embed an RFID chip “the mark of the beast (a digital 666)” in your body. What would a priest do if they found an RFID chip under your skin (on your head?) Hmmm, seems a bit like a digital version of “The Omen” better, be careful.

I now have an RFID in my Passport, in my office door’s key card, possibly my license, and who knows what other things I have that have not been “obviously” brought to my attention (products on shelves. etc.)

Honestly, I think being a cyborg is a pretty cool idea, and technically feel that with all my gadgets, (aside from them not being embedded) are darn near installed in me, as much as I can’t seem to live without them! You know… the naked feeling if you leave “it” behind?

Still, few seem to think (sit and really try to understand) the act of “chilling“, the added stress, a life speed limit (how fast you have to (or can) go now that you have this “whatever” to help you along. Or, where the data goes, and where it’s stored when they pop online and actually utilize these services to find a local store or destination or just tell your buddy (net or real) where you are, will be, have been, a photo you just took, your last random thought, etc.

Read that last paragraph really fast, or, copy it to a text to speech reader and speed it up, go on, you can do it, it’s ok to use technology to help you out, we do it every day (now)… but at what cost?… after all, nothings free.

Society as a large group (not a whole) has obviously accepted (and continue to accept) these devices (technology) for the benefits they provide, (and as many things in the past) have managed to squeeze their way into our lives (or should I say, slip and sneak), causing us to let go of the feelings originally associated with the fear, panic and privacy concerns we might have initially felt. Is this not a survival instinct “fear”? Are you numb(ing)?

So, what about the “privacy” or “analog” or “human interaction” of it all? Have those words (their definitions) become as ancient as the paper map we held or drew with ink or carried to show our neighbor or hid to protect a private treasure? Do those of us that utilize such services like maps online, digital services or mobile destination location devices care any longer who’s watching where we are going, where we have been, our related “friends” or social contacts… and the permanent date/time stamp made on the ever growing and less expensive storage databases available today?

Keep this somewhere in the forefront though… what happens if the energy disappears?… the energy that makes it all work? for now, we’re not 100% powered by everlasting sources.

I realize this kind of story might cause some thoughts of panic in those that are far on the side of fear, but for the rest, (like my Analog blog) who are even the slightest bit techie and or way overboard (like me)… perhaps, just perhaps, take a moment, and give some thought to, “where is the traditional art of communication, formality, and human interaction (with people, paint, texture, analog, survival, overall “skills” going) where is it going with you or has it left you? If you can’t answer that question or even take a moment to ponder it, just turn on your marking software, we’ll figure it out just by watching you. ;)

This is just a part of my brains thought process. Sometimes random, possibly deep. Not meant to freak anyone out, or belittle or set aside, just social 1’s and 0’s that came from analog atoms in my head. This is one measure to get it out, help me contemplate it further. Do what you will with it, just don’t yell at me, I need to decompress.

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I’ve been Qiking like crazy…

I need to do a video comparison of the recordings my Nokia N95-4 8GB NAM does on it’s own (stored locally) and those that Qik.com allows me to stream at its highest quality.  I tell you, if the qualities are anywhere near the same, Qik will be most likely replace my local video storage all except for those moments I just can’t stream.  :)  I recently recorded my bike ride utilizing numerous functions of my phone to get a real good test of things.

I received my wind powered (solar backed up) charger and mounted it to my bike.  Once that was on, I turned on my devices GPS (using free.3dtracking.net) to record my ride, I turned on the music so I’d be have something to pedal too and utilized the front camera of my device to stream via Qik’s mobile audio/video streaming service!

I tell you, this just rocked!  Not only did I start off with less than a full battery, but, I road for an hour (recorded for 59.30 minutes) and used all those things the entire time.  Once I stopped, and unplugged my device from the wind powered charger I still had 4 bars.  The wind powered charger did exactly what it said it would, and streaming on the lower end of Qik’s service was great.  Using all those things without a charge station of some sort would really put the drain on your battery and it would be dead in less than an hour (I’ve tested this just by recording using qik.com (not playing music or using GPS, just recording on qik).)

I was most likely on AT&T’s 3G (HSDPA) service the whole time, and never saw a (delay indication).  Granted I was not always looking, I’ve managed to drive with it and have no delay indicator.

I streamed up to qik, recorded the entire time, (the screen stays lit while recording with qik) and as we all know, screen activity reall drains a battery.  I was constantly pulling a gps signal from a min of 9 sats, and uploading my position every 30 seconds to track using free.3dtracking.net and playing the music.

All in all, I’m very impressed with all the features mentioned above.  The Nokia N95-4 8GB NAM rocks, Qik.com rocks, free.3dtracking.net rocks, and so does thinkgeek.com’s solar and wind powered charger!

How will I ever make this “analog thing” work?  :(

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Additional Qik Testing…

Ok, in testing Qik further today, I managed to get an entire 120:30 minutes recorded!!! On an odd note, Qik only represents it as an 18:09 min file, although the entire recording seems to be there. :) Now that is freakin’ awesome! I just dinked around, sat down and watched a movie and checked it when the movie was done!

I tell ya, (despite that it’s not high-def, hey the camera is not), it beats not having that kind of storage on many devices, espically if you want to record everything, and walks all over Comvu PocketCaster’s 100mb of storage. All you really have to worry about with Qik’s service (as far as I can tell at this point) is a net connection for the broadcast/recording and juice (battery). I had to plug my N95 in, but since I was connected to my wi-fi, I was fine for connectivity!

I recently purchased a solar and wind powered charger from thingeek.com to mount to my bike and or other portable situations and will be recording some riding as weather permits. :)

I’m guessing that Qik will handle as well (if not better) than Comvu’s PocketCaster with 3G (HSDPA) in streaming content, but we will see how well it holds up to that type of connection while traveling on a bicycle at 20+ mph for 16+ miles. Cell hand-offs can be a pain, even for calls, so it will be a great test to see a transmission in movement. Obviously I won’t be able to blog on it while riding (except for the concentrated grunts and oofs) and it would be better blogged about after I view the recorded stream, but feel free to comment if you are watching it live when I do it, I do believe that will show up in the view comments.

I’m not sure what days will be nice enough to ride here in Seattle soon (as I don’t have a weather proof holder for my bike yet)… but I’ve ordered a case that will allow me to mount the phone to the bike along with the chargers. Once I receive those, I’ll blog that I will test or that I have tested and you can check it out then… (it should be soon as they are all in the mail)!

Lastly (for tonight)… I use a free live GPS tracking service called “3DTracking“… I plan to use that at the same time as I like to record my rides and my fiancee likes to watch me ride up to her work or see where I am on a long ride! :) For Qik, I am requesting such a service be built in conjunction with the next software build! It would rock if I could not only record massive life experiences, but where they took place as well without having to write it all down later… exif baby, exif! People could not only see the live experience but view exactly where it is on the map at the same time (again, always live!)

Thanks for the GREAT software, I promise to keep testing it like crazy!!

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