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May 2009
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July 2009

N95 can be a web cam - Hurrah!

MOBIOLA- turns your N95 in to webcam Live mobile streaming is magnificent. I use Qik when roaming and chatting and grabbing the mood of an event. A Qik player is embedded in this blog. There are times when the hand-held roving video is a bit of a hand full...well both hands full.

For audience engagement web cam streaming leaves my hands free to respond to messages in the live chat (see my blog post about when Pilot Theatre live streamed "The Child") So it has always seemed a logical step to some how use my N95 to perform both roles.

Why take two cameras? PCM creative in action has always been about how social media technology can be harnessed for the arts and creative businesses. When I am traveling around I don't what to cart masses of camera kit with me. Light and liberated...have media will travel that's my philosophy. From a touring perspective the N95 or equivalent smart phone with a notebook mini laptop seems a perfect production documentary set up to get a flavour of a stage production on tour from a behind the scenes perspective.

But I digress...How did I turn my N95 in to a web cam?

After much searching and many conversations with promises of the future talents of the N97 I discovered Mobiola. It has two parts the bit you run on your PC and the bit you run on your mobile. Before you go any further I have to point out that this is not a free application it costs $19.99 + VAT and if you buy before the nifty 7day 20% off promotional code runs out it costs a bit less! See if your mobile is supported

Ok... you will need:

  • Mobiola installed on your PC
  • Mobiola installed on your N95 (or compatible smart phone)
  • Your phone's software installed on your PC or Laptop
  • Your USB connection cable to connect mobile to PC (you can connect via wi-fi or bluetooth also)

The first time I fired up the application on my PC I was informed I had the Nokia ConnAPI.DLL missing. Please don't run away at this point! I'm not that technical either. I collected the DLL from, unzipped it, copied the .dll file and pasted it in to the windows/system32 folder on my hard drive. I also discovered that the activation code when you purchase a license is for one PC only so its important to deside which machine you will be connecting the webcam to. I'm using my full sized laptop.

Once I had that sorted and the webcam application running on my PC I

  • connected my N95 via USB
  • selected "PC suite" when prompted on my mobile
  • navigated to the "WebCam 3" application
  • selected the USB option on the PC applications dashboard
  • selected Options - Connect - USB on my N95
  • opened the lens cover on my phone
  • shrieked with joy as the cameras feed was displayed on the PC

I've had it working with Bambuser, Tokbox and Ustream. It uses the Mic on my Laptop so I'm going to look in to getting a better quality plug in one. I'm going to field test my set up at the East Midlands Amb:IT:ion roadshow on June 19th. I hope to have blogged again before that but I will report back.

If you have a go please leave me a comment saying how it went.

Keeping a balance - Geek Chart - social media pie!

Geek_Chart With so many social media tools, services and sites on the web how do you make sure you get a balanced distribution of content for your time and money?

Being so busy with social media clients recently its ironic that my social media activity has been lacking. Not in quantity as I am a prolific Tweeter which cross posts my updates to several other web services, notably Facebook. My social media activity has lacked focus and depth.

Twitter is a fabulous service for letting the world and your network know what you are up to, what you are discovering as life drags you along. Twitter is up datable from my mobile so its quick and easy.

I tag articles, websites, tools and services I discover during my working day using Delicious and these online bookmarks, kept in check on all my PC's by Xmarks means I can effortlessly maintain my online and offline bookmarks (as an added bonus it means they are all backed up) and using the nifty Delicious widget I can filter selected tagged content in to the various online networks I act as custodian for, at the moment predominantly Amb:IT:ion and it's multiple UK regional digital opportunities networks I am building and igniting.

So... Geek Chart. What I think is great about this embeddable widget is it's a way to show where you share online and most importantly how that activity is distributed. Geek Charts show the last 30 days of your activity on the sites you enter usernames for.

PCM-geek-chart-01-06-09Seeing mine on May 1st 2009 (left) I realised I need to even out my activity.

The active embedded PCM Geek Chart should be in column on the right. If not see it on the Geek Chart site. It tracks Twitter (the turquoise) Delicious (the pale blue) a blog (the orange) Flickr (the pink) StumbleUpon (in green) and also at the time of writing this post - YouTube, Digg and Last.FM.

It is a visual gauge to show your followers, readers and friends where you are most active on line but it is also an excellent indicator to help measure your personal effectiveness and to focus attention on areas of your activity that are weakest and hopefully prompt you to ask your self if your communication is effective and assess how to redress any imbalance.

Quite frankly for me it highlighted how poor my blogging has been, coming in at 6% of my activity. Targets are a good thing and by blogging more I hope to alleviate my blogger's guilt and produce the more focused and considered content the medium of blogging facilitates.  

So see for your self have I addressed the imbalance?

If you set up a Geek Chart or already have your very own Geek Chart please post a link to yours here in the comments. How has it made you think about your online activity and has it promoted you keep a different balance?