Yesterday, I learned that a volunteer had set up an event on DFA Link for the Lamont Campaign. Already, 46 people have signed up for the event. It is a great idea and I’m very glad the event will happen. However, as the technologist for the Lamont campaign, I wish that it had been set up on Lamont website. As a person who has recently started playing with Facebook, I thought, maybe it would be good to set up the event there as well. How about on the Democrat Party’s PartyBuilder, or on more general calendars like Google Calendar or Yahoo!’s Upcoming.org?
The plethora of options reflect, what I think is a need as more people put more events online, some set of Events Central tools. One tool that would be really nice would be something like is something like Pingoat. With Pingoat, you can ping a large number of blog tracking services to let them know that your blog has been updated. There is a checklist of sites that can be pinged. It would be great if a similar tool could be built for setting events. Fill out the necessary information, check which sites should get a listing of the event, and off you go. For that matter, if I were a major campaign vendor, I would consider adding options to my event system so when I add an event to the system, I could also add it to public systems like Upcoming, Facebook, or Google Calendars.
Another thing that would be nice would be better sharing of events between systems. Some events systems, like Blue State Digital’s which powers the Lamont campaign and the Democratic Party, and Upcoming.org, allow you to subscribe to events as RSS feeds. Other’s like Google and Drupal support iCal. Some allow export, some allow import, some allow both. Currently, I’m subscribing to several different calendar feeds via Bloglines. It would be great to see more systems support both iCal and RSS both for incoming and outgoing.
These are the easy parts. Where it gets more complicated is how you deal with RSVPs. Besides trying to get people to events, campaigns use event tools to build mailing lists. As noted above, the people who signed up the DFALink event are added to DFA’s mailing list, but not to the Lamont mailing list. It would be great if a secure and authenticated protocol could be established so that if a person signs up for a DFALink event, they could optionally let their information be shared with other events RSVP (and mailing lists systems). This of course is a Holy Grail that I doubt we’ll see anytime soon, but some of the other tools could easily be built.
Anything else interesting going on?
Recently I was asked about the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to put video content online. I really like sending videos from cellphones that can record video. Unfortunately, Cingular has proven unreliable and the video I tried to submit this morning still hasn't made it. However, you can look at a video I sent from Kim's cellphone here (BlipTV) and here (Clipshack).
I also wanted to kick around recording straight from a webcam to a video sharing service. Here is what Hipcast posted to my blog.
(Note: I have a 7 day free trial. It will be interesting to see what happens to the video after 7 days if I decide not to spend the $10/month. My guess is the video will disappear.
This is my first test of the Hipcast Video Blog Recorder. I hope to be posting this as a test to several blogs that I use.
Hipcast is nice. I posted this to several test blogs:
Livejournal, Wordpress and Blogspot.
So, if I want a nice way to record from a webcam and post it to many different formats of blogs, Hipcast is a good way to go. However, at $10/month, it seems pretty high priced.
This is a webcam video recorded on Clipshack.
I tried the same thing with Clipshack. Clipshack's interface seemed a little easier to use. However, it didn't give me the ability to automaticly post to various blogs. I needed to cut and past some HTML to get this to work.
Another nice aspects of using Clipshack is that it is free.
I will continue kick around these tools and figure out the best tools to use for different purposes. Any feedback about different programs or services would be appreciated.
(originally posted at Greater Democracy)
On January 6th, 1941, Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivered his famous Four Freedoms speech to congress. These freedoms are: freedom of speech and expression, freedom of every person to worship God in his [or her] own way, freedom from want and freedom from fear. Norman Rockwell produced a series of paintings representing these freedoms, and to me, it makes up an important view of America.
I’ve been thinking a lot about these freedoms recently. Yes, I wish to be free from the fear of a terrorist flying a plane into a building where I work, but there are other fears that seem a little more immediate right now. I want to be free from the fear of losing health insurance, or seeing the economy tank so badly that I lose my nest egg.
I want to be free from the fear that someone will come into my daughter’s school and start shooting. I want to be free from the fear that my child could become a victim of exploitation simply by expressing an idealistic love of our country and becoming a page in Congress. I want to know that our leaders will do everything in their power to prevent any future exploitation by holding perpetrators responsible.
Unfortunately, the current administration and congress in Washington is doing little to assuage my fears. They are doing little to make me believe that perpetrators of exploitation against the most vulnerable in our society will be held accountable and brought to justice.
In the most recent congressional scandal, the Republican leadership seems more interested in protecting their own, than in protecting the youth of America. The recent military tribunal legislation appears to be more of the same focusing on protecting members of the administration in the event that their procedures violate war crimes acts than in coming up with procedures that will bring swift justice in a way that restores America’s moral leadership.
So, perhaps there is a fifth fear, the fear that our most vulnerable will be exploited and the exploiters will not be held accountable. It’s a pretty real fear right now.
Generally speaking, most people on the list seemed pretty unimpressed. The feeling was that the device hasn’t found its niche. The thread evolved into a very interesting discussion about reading habits, the way people use different media, and the implications for journalism.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the different topics, and hope to have a few different takes on this over the coming days. Right now, I want to contrast the eBook to a few other gadgets out on the market or soon to be on the market.
First, it is worth noting that Sony put information about their eBook in the “MP3 and Portable Electronics” category. In the specifications, they say that it supports the MP3 audio format.
This made me think of another MP3 player that also supposed to start shipping in November, the much heralded Microsoft Zune The Zune will cost $250, and unlike the PRS 500 reader, will support color and have WiFi as well as an FM transmitter. It will be a much more collaborative device.
Robin Miller posted about the Nokia 770. It is currently shipping and costs $360. They list it with their phones, although they call it a ‘Internet Tablet’ and the only telephony you can do with it seems to be using the “Voice over the Internet Protocol (VoIP)”. It has Wifi and Bluetooth. When you are not near a WiFi hotspot, they suggest using 3G services on a phone connected with Bluetooth.
What is particularly interesting about the Nokia 770 is that it runs Linux. As such, it has the potential for a vibrant community to develop new types of tools changing the way people can connect.
Later, I hope to write a little bit more about what some of these new connectivity tools could look like.