Monday, February 15, 2010

Making me a safe(r) driver with tech.

[OK, before you think my composition skills have reverted to my freshman year, read the entire paragraph, OK?]

It is one of my favorite apps now. I needed some way to send simple e-mail messages and texts when I am on the road from Atlanta to Athens. It is far too dangerous to type. I have come to [too] close to reader [rear] end collisions too many times. I need to talk and have my spoken words converted to text. It is called speech recognition. It has existed in several inferior forms for years. But now dragon dictation [Dragon Dictation --] has created an iPhone app that does speech to text. And it does it very well. So all I do is start decaf [the app], press the record button and talk.
After I am gone [done], I still have to do a couple of things with that [the] keyboard to send out that [the] text. That is really more apples [Apple’s] fall [fault] than dragons [Dragon’s]. I promise that I pull over to the side of the road to do those things. Okay, I do the e-mail link [emailing] at the mini [many] stop lights on 316. So are you wondering if it really works?
I spoke this pairing draft [paragraph]. I didn't type it. Dragon converted it. I have left in all the areas [errors] too. Cool, hey? Oh yes. It is free to [too].

[And, yeah, it is ironic that Dragon missed the word “error” isn’t it?]

This DBB (Tu, 2/16) Mark Emery, INgage Neworks

Relationships. It is all about relationships. Businesses. Governments. Academic institutions. They all understand that most important intellectual capital they own is the relationships they share. INgage Networks ( -- formerly Neighborhood America) has software solutions that help organizations strengthen those all-important relationships. INgage Networks is a leading provider of enterprise social software solutions to businesses and government agencies. At our next Digital Brown Bag (Tu, 2/16, 2P, Room 116, Visual Arts), INgage’s Mark Emery will tell us what they do, how they do it, and why what they do is important. Join us!

NMI Information Sessions – Wed (2/17) & Thursday (2/18) 6:30P

The New Media Institute is dedicated to helping students become technowledgeable (yeah, I made that word up – cool, eh?). The NMI offers the New Media Interdisciplinary Certificate ( Students studying in any area and getting their degree in any field can receive the Certificate by taking 17 hours of course credit. Now, I wish I could tell you that everyone who wants to get the Certificate can – but we can’t accommodate everyone. There just aren’t enough spaces in our classes. But if you want to learn more about the Certificate, come to one of the Certificate Information Sessions this week. We are holding them on Wednesday (2/17) and Thursday (2/18) evening at 6:30p in the Drewry Reading Room on the second floor of Journalism. To reserve a space, complete this online form at
If you have any questions, email me at

Rock It Out! Allison Weiss and the Orkids (Wed., 2/17, 9P)

If you haven’t heard Allison Weiss (NMI Certificate Student, 2009) you are missing out! Grady Ambassadors will host “Rock it Out!, a concert benefiting Girls’ Rock” featuring Allison Weiss and the Orkids on Wednesday, Feb. 17, from 9:30 p.m. to midnight.
This concert will raise money for Girls’ Rock, an organization whose mission is to build female youth empowerment through music education and creation during a week of summer camp.
Rock it Out! highlights Athens’ bands and encourages support for young women to pursue music and find their inner strength. This is the community’s opportunity to experience a high-energy concert while contributing to an important cause.
The show will be held at the 40 Watt located on 285 W. Washington Street, Athens, Ga., 30601. Doors open a 9 p.m., and the show starts at 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 in advance and $7 day of the show. Starting Feb. 1, tickets will be on sale in The University of Georgia’s Journalism Building room 207 from 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Haiti 90999– Giving credit where credit is due.

I typed “Haiti” and sent the text to 90999. Someone in Port au Prince with a pile of ten dollar bills must be watching his cell for my text so he can hand out the money to the hurting and hungry. What? That’s not the way it works? Naw. Normally, when I charge something to my phone bill, the cell phone carriers wait until they collect the money from me before they hand it over to the company I bought something from. That means that if my carrier processes my Haiti donation regularly, I would have to wait until my phone bill arrived in the mail, then write a check to the carrier, drop the check in the mail, have the postal service deliver it. And only after the cell phone company cashed my check would they send the money to the Red Cross. That billing cycle can take between 30 and 60 days – if there are no glitches and some of us use electronic payment. That is way, way too slow to help the people who are suffering.

But with this crisis, the cell phone carriers have abandoned business as usual. Now I am no real fan of cell phone companies – hey, who really is. But in this situation they have stepped up to the plate to expedite our donations to speed help to Haiti. In essence, they are going to float us all a loan help people survive. Instead of waiting for us to pay our bills, the major cell phone companies are sending the money immediately to the Red Cross. Through last week Verizon has transferred over $7.82M. AT&T has pledged to advance payment of the more than $10M that its customers have texted. And Sprint has agreed to advance 80% of the more than $3.1M its customers have given via mobile.

Sure, reading my cell phone bill is still like trying to decipher the Dead Sea Scrolls. But I am starting to feel like there really might be a heart behind that fine print.

2. This DBB (Tu, 2/9, 2P) – Mike Greenwell, Danya Internationa

This semester, the majority of the student projects in the NMI are investigating how personal media (mobile, social media, and gaming) can contribute to public good. Specifically, we want to explore how these new technology tools can be used to help people live healthier lives. Our guest for the next Digital Brown Bag (Tu, 2/9, 2P, Visual Arts Room 116) is Mike Greenwell, Vice-President for Health Marketing and Communications at Danya International ( Danya is global leader in health and education technology-enabled solutions. They have been involved in a range of innovative projects that use technology to make the world a better place. On Tuesday, Mike will share with us what he believes can and should be done with technology. Join us!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

iPad the Future of Print? The plague of TMI.

Getting old bites because you realize what you want isn’t really what you need.I have been reading all the headlines that suggest Apple’s new iPad might be the savior of print media. And here is where my wants collide.

I want newspapers (in whatever form possible) to survive. True journalism is too important to society to fall victim to economic downturns. And yet, almost every week brings greater doubt that the course newspapers have charted through precarious financial straits will lead to anything other than more newsprint wreckage on the shoals of digital change. It feels like the next chapter for newspapers will be chapter 11.

And I want Apple’s new iPad ( It’s an ultra-thin (less than half an inch thick) incredibly light (around 1.5 pounds) high resolution (9.7-inch LED backlit 1024x768) powerful (16 Gbytes of flash memory with a 1 GHz CPU) computer-esque device. With multi-touch, GPS, and an accelerometer it is a lot more like an iPhone than even the tablets we have seen in the past. Plus, it has a fairly reasonable entry price point of $499. So, heck yeah, I want it!

But are my wants compatible? Will the device I crave save the news source I desire? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. And the real problem is TMI.

My youngest son taught me that acronym when I tried to explain the birds and bees when he was eight years old. Moving beyond the ambiguous analogies of animals and insects to the more graphic components of reproduction (including a drawing that was marginally anatomically correct) sent him running from the room crying “TMI. TMI!” My oldest son (who had survived the “talk” a few years before) translated – Too Much Information.

In the case of the iPad, it is really TMFI – Too Much Free Information. The problem with newspapers today isn’t so much the medium we read it on, it is the economic expectations we have formed around each medium. Bottom line, we expect an online newspaper to be free. With precious few exceptions, all we need to receive gratis high quality information that is incredibly expensive to produce is a browser and a URL. We don’t need to pay at all. And it was telling that in his slick introduction of the device last week, Steve Jobs deliberately took us to the “New York Times” on his iPad – and he never entered his credit card info. The underlying message was “Buy the $499 device and get the news for free!”

So I want it, but the iPad really won’t save newspapers. It is just a new type of computer that we will use to navigate to free online newspapers. And that won’t help newspapers.

As much as I hate to admit it, the Kindle is what the newspaper industry needs. With limited technical capabilities, the Amazon Kindle isn’t nearly as sexy as the iPad. The Kindle doesn’t have color, video, or web browsing capability. I don’t want the Kindle as much as I want the iPad. But it has one feature the iPad lacks, a toll booth for news content. On my Kindle DX, there is only one way for me to see the “New York Times” -- I have to buy it. With the Kindle and all of the other e-readers, there is an understood expectation that to get content (whether books, magazines, or newspapers) you have to pay. Sure, Amazon takes a big cut of the $0.75 I fork over for my single edition, but at least some of the money is going back to the organization producing the news. Long term, that subscription revenue stream is essential to the long-term survival of newspapers. [Read item below for more info on e-reader research at Grady.]

So yes, I want my iPad – and I am going to get one. But my selfish behavior might come back to haunt me. Without big changes in how (or even whether) we pay for news, there will be less “good” news to read on the iPad.

This DBB (Tu, 2/2, 2P) – Digital Media at Turner

Turner is our digital media home town hero. It is a media monster that is harnessing brand new ways to bring you new types of content on whatever device you want to see it on. At our next Digital Brown Bag (Tuesday, 2/2, 2P, Room 116 Visual Arts) Phil Sharpe (Senior VP for Digital Media Competitiveness & Strategy) and Michael Adamson (VP for Sports New Products and Services) will be our guests. They have wild new ideas about how media is going to change in the next few years.Come hear what they have to say.

Kindle needs to change to reach young readers – Grady Research.

Researchers in the Grady College have been looking at whether e-readers like the Kindle could help newspapers attract young readers. Bottom line, e-readers feel like old media young people. They want color and video – sounds like the iPad, eh? You can read more at