Category Archives: New Media

Custom Apps



The smartphone’s in many consumer hands today are as powerful as the desktop computers we were using five years ago. They may be as powerful from a hardware standpoint, yet the smaller interface demands different methods of interaction. The smaller interface also places different demands on the software that runs on it.

Smartphone software apps typically need to be smaller and very narrowly focused in order to be maximally useful. Smartphones have turned out to be convergence devices, with the functionality of traditional desktop and laptop computers concentrated into a handheld phone.

The best smartphone apps tend to be apps that present a finely honed slice of functionality.

Many podcasters are coming up with their own smartphone apps. One I recently installed is called “Survive!” for Android. It is an Android app for “The Survival Podcast” available at http://www.thesurvivalpodcast.com, hosted by Jack Spirko. It’s a great example of simple, functional design that places the web presence of The Survival Podcast in a neat little Android app package.

“Survive!” has a simple home screen that simply lists Survival Podcast Episodes, Videos (YouTube), Twitter, a link to the main website, and recent website forum posts. The single configuration option decides whether or not to download new Survival Podcast episodes automatically or not.

The inclusion of both Twitter and recent forum posts is a great way for the community that Survival Podcast host Jack Spirko has built up around the podcast and it’s website to keep up to date with the latest posts. Additionally the app includes instant access to all of the latest audio and video media.

“Survive!” is an excellent example of a well-crafted smartphone app that presents all of the main podcast and web-based elements in a simple, extremely easy-to-use package. “Survive!” can be found in the Android Marketplace by searching the term “survival podcast.”


ProMed Network Programs Available on Roku



Las Vegas, NV (PRWEB) July 29, 2010

ProMed Network shows are now available and easily accessible on the over-the-top box Roku, helping consumers and health care professionals find the latest and most comprehensive medical information directly on their televisions.

ProMed is a digital media destination on which medical and health programming producers share their shows with other medical professionals, students in the health care fields and members of the public interested in health-related programming. With Roku, ProMed enables health and wellness audiences to broaden their consumption options and content owners and publishers to reach a large and growing audience of digital media consumers.

“The members of the ProMed Network are very excited to expand our reach to the Roku platform,” said Jamie Davis, ProMed general manager. “We believe the future of web programming is in the living rooms and family entertainment areas of our viewers. ProMed plans to be there to share our knowledge with the world.”

ProMed was launched with 11 programs nearly two years ago and has expanded to 30 programs. Several other shows are expected to be added throughout the next few months. Topics include nursing, emergency medicine, primary care, pediatrics, psychology, neurology and disease and disaster awareness. Each show listed in the community is either produced by a medical professional or has been determined to represent peer reviewed or medically relevant information.

“Our producers are among the most popular shows in their categories in directories such as iTunes and we often have nine or 10 shows in the top 20 medical programs listed,” Davis said. “Clearly our listeners and viewers continue to come back for more. The programs on the network really do represent the best of the best.”

ProMed, powered by the RawVoice Generator platform, joins the Tech Podcasts Network and Blubrry podcast communities in providing content creators the ability to be seen and heard on television. The digital media communities are properties of RawVoice, a base for media sharing, discovery, publishing, hosting, measurement and monetization for a vast group of content creators and networks.

RawVoice delivers mass content through multiple platforms; the RawVoice media statistics system offers unsurpassed insights into user consumption: tracking audiences, listener-base demographics and geographical data with worldwide mapping – all delivered via web-based interfaces, custom reports and daily e-mail summaries.

Contact Davis at press@promednetwork.com.

About RawVoice Inc.:
RawVoice offers new media producers an easy, efficient means to get media online and measure audience behavior. The RawVoice Generator is a configurable, customizable, user-friendly media platform that combines the power of podcasting and new media with social networking. The RawVoice Generator lets you push content to portable and home media devices, such as iPhones, Roku and Boxee. RawVoice’s Integrated New Media Statistics analyzes downloadable and streaming media. It’s easy to use, powerful and flexible.

Brands:
RawVoice Generator, RawVoice Media Statistics, PowerPress Podcast Plugin, TechPodcasts.com, Blubrry.com, TravelCastNetwork.com, ProMedNetwork.com, Podcasternews.com


Waxing Nostalgic



The year was 2005. The month was November. The setting was the Ontario Convention Center in Ontario, California. The event was the first podcast media expo. The phenomenon of podcasting, brought to life by Adam Curry and Dave Winer, was a bit over a year old. At least a couple of thousand podcasters as well as many podcast listeners showed up from around the world to meet each other face to face for the fist time.

Looking back in my own mind and the minds of many others who attended, it was as if there was a special magic that happened at Ontario. This first event brought a bunch of strangers together, yet it had the happy feel of a family reunion. Soon enough it would be over and time for us all to go our separate ways.

The Ontario Convention Center turned out to work especially well for in-person social networking for people who were heavily involved in this brand new form of social media. It was very easy to identify other attendees because of the convention badges. Most people were staying in the nearby hotels, particularly at the Marriot across the street from the Ontario Convention Center. People ended up milling back and forth between the convention center and the Marriot. Many people ended up meeting each other and striking up conversations at random as they accidentally met each other while walking around or just hanging out.

I was always up front about the reason I attended these podcast expos. I was there to meet people and hang out with podcaster friends. I did not sign up for or pay money to attend any of the expo’s sessions. I was there to socialize. I don’t believe I was the only podcaster who thought this way. From a social standpoint, the podcast expos held in Ontario were a tremendous success. Sadly, from an expo-promoting business standpoint, perhaps they weren’t so successful.

There would be a total of three of these expos held at the Ontario Convention Center before the gathering was moved to the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada starting in 2008. The 2008 expo ended up being sort of lost in the middle of a mega-building probably most well known for housing the annual (and gargantuan) Consumer Electronics Show every January.

With literally thousands of Las Vegas tourists, combined with other conventions going on at the same time, meeting and socializing with the reduced number of podcasters that did make the effort to show up in Las Vegas in 2008 and later in 2009 became difficult. Gone were the happy accidental meetings. Pretty much gone was the accidental social networking aspect that had happened every year at the convention center in Ontario.

Those three magical expos at the Ontario Convention Center will never be repeated. Many of those early podcasters have moved on to other interests, as well as many of the early podcast listeners that also made a point of showing up. The social aspect of podcasting has seemed to wane a bit as larger commercial and educational organizations expanded into the space.

Podcasting is alive and well in 2010, and is taking its place in this new and continually evolving world of Internet-distributed digital media production and distribution. There are more podcasts available for download than ever before. Priorities change, and people move on.

Those first three podcast expos at Ontario, California were exceptional social networking events where many exceptional friendships were formed.


History Is About To Repeat



I remember it well. Back around October of 2004, I first heard the word “podcast” used on The David Lawrence Show via my XM Satellite Radio. It sounded interesting, and I wrote it down on my driver logbook cover with the idea of looking it up later. I heard David mention it again once or twice over the next few weeks. Finally, in early December of 2004 I finally got around to looking it up. I found Adam Curry’s podcast, realized what it was, and knew that I felt compelled to not only listen to podcasts but get involved as a podcaster myself. This was exactly what I’d been looking for for many years – a wide variety of content that I could choose, download, and control the playback/consumption of on MY terms.

Podcasting took previously-existing elements and applied them with a new twist. MP3 files had already existed for a number of years. Virtually every computer already came with a sound card and had the basic ability to both play back and record audio. Portable MP3 players had been around for a while. Apart from Adam Curry’s and Dave Winer’s contribution of the podcasting concept and making it work, the one key element that suddenly made podcasting viable and actually inevitable was the fact that Internet bandwidth got good enough to make it practical.

Practical is an important key.

We have now passed another important milestone in terms of mobile bandwidth. Mobile bandwidth, while not yet perfect, has improved dramatically in both terms of data delivery and coverage. About three or more years ago I had experimented with streaming audio via my smartphone while driving my truck, and quickly determined that it wasn’t viable. I couldn’t listen long at all before I would lose the stream. No problem, I had plenty of podcasts to listen to.

I’ve been hearing a lot of people talk about Pandora.Com lately, so last week I finally tried the Pandora Android app out on my new Sprint HTC Evo. To my surprise, it worked amazingly well – even in Arizona and the western third of New Mexico along Interstate 40 where Sprint still has 1XRT service. The streaming music sounded great, and the few times it did briefly drop out in a couple of mountainous areas, it automatically reconnected and reestablished the playback stream.

(By the way, a side note – I was surprised to learn that Verizon has NO data card coverage around the Kingman, Arizona area – my Verizon aircard would NOT connect in the Kingman area.)

Streaming radio via the Internet in a moving vehicle is now practical. Smartphones have also reached critical mass to the point where they are really beginning to move into the mainstream. Even though streaming Internet audio has been around for quite a few years at this point, I believe the automotive market for streaming audio is about to open up in a massive way.

Up until this point most people have felt that streaming Internet radio had plateaued or was only going to grow slowly. I believe that improved cell networks along with smartphone proliferation will create a new market for streaming audio services. The automobile has been the traditional stronghold of terrestrial and now satellite radio services. An old kid that’s been around a while suddenly has a big and growing shot at a new lease-on life.

I believe opportunities exist for streaming Internet radio stations that deliver highly specialized content. For us geeks, imagine a 24/7 tech-centric streaming station. The sky really is the limit. The cost of running a streaming station can be very low, so therefore it becomes possible and practical to narrowcast to relatively small audiences.


New Media v. Old Media



How social media points the way forward for journalism. It’s a real example of how traditional media are becoming social media-aware and are using Facebook, Twitter and their ilk to get the news stories out faster and with more information.

However, what really registered with me is at the very end of the article.

There is a word of caution that goes with trusting what we read on this great “word of mouth” network.  Recent rumour mill stories on Facebook on the private lives of footballers ended up in the press and were proven to be totally wrong. So while this new technology can speed up the newsgathering process, journalists will need to make sure they do what they have always done – double check the facts.

I have real concerns about the loss of the old news media.  Obviously there’s no single cause but the rise of new media, the Internet “no cost” expectation and the “now” culture are all taking the toll.    But what will be the cost to our society when we no longer have professional journalists?

What will happen to investigative journalism?  What will happen when hysterical but unfounded rumours sweep across the social networks?  How will politicians be held to account when there is no-one to report on their mistakes?  How much more easy will it be to cover stuff up?

I can’t think of a single other instance where it’s become acceptable for amateurs to take over the role of professionals.  Would you want an amateur doctor to treat you?  An amateur engineer to design a bridge?  An amateur firefighter to attend an emergency?  No, I want these people to study for years to become competent at what they do.  Why should journalism be any different?  Just because you can string a sentence together, doesn’t make you a journalist.

Now, you may think that it’s a bit rich coming from a blogger for a major new media site but to tie this back to the original news story, I think it genuinely points the way ahead.  We have to get away from old media v. new media, it has to be co-opetition not competition, symbiotic not parasitic, and we have to find a way to reward news organisations and professional journalists to keep doing what they’re doing.

I don’t have all the answers, but I do know is that it will be social disaster if we lose professional journalists because we were too cheap to buy a newspaper.