mobile

Let the Vojo workshops begin!

On Friday, Becky Hurwitz, Paolo Rogerio, and I had the opportunity to conduct mobile media-making workshops with two community based organizations (CBOs) that form part of Boston's large and vibrant Brazilian community. The first workshop was with staff from the Brazilian Immigrant Center (here's their new Vojo group), and the second was with about 20 members of the Vida Verde Co-Op (here's the Vida Verde Vojo group). It was an exciting moment, since these were the first real workshops to use the VoJo hosted mobile blogging platform in a community setting. This post provides a little bit of background about VoJo, then reflects on the two workshops and the lessons learned.

tl;dr: vojo.co is live! F2F workshops rock. People <3 mobile blogging via voice calls and MMS. Group creation and customization works nicely; new users are easily able to post and create accounts directly from phones. But: we need printed how-to materials; in big f2f workshops, we need to demo each feature before switching to hands-on; changing your username is still fairly difficult; calling in stories needs simpler UX; we have to make SMS broadcast to groups work.

Developing Aago

Here's a quick summary of our progress on Aago, a mobile app for youth media creation and sharing. We are excited to start the fall term with new team members and engaged community partners!

VoIP Drupal Kicks Off at Drupalcon

Last week I wrote about another project that's come to a boil at the Center for Future Civic Media: VoIP Drupal.

Here is a brief video of Leo Burd lecturing at DrupalCon 2011 on the release of Voip Drupal, a plugin that allow full interaction between Drupal CMS and phones.



VoIP Drupal is a project of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media, with key contributions from Civic Actions.

Junkyard Jumbotron

Rick Borovoy just released the Junkyard Jumbotron project, which allows laptops or phones in close proximity to be ganged together to form a large display.

The Junkyard Jumbotron requires no special software; it is simply a web page that receives real-time updates from our server, allowing scrolling, zooming, and soon video. Like all software at the Center, it is free and open.

Rick developed the project as part of a larger suite of tools that he calls the Brown Bag Toolkit, all oriented around making technology work better with face-to-face interactions, like meetings, canvasing, or chance encounters.

Huge thanks to Paula Aguilera for making the video.

The Future of News for College Journalism: A Few Questions

Recently over at Populous we've been grappling with a few huge questions--none of them are new but they have interesting facets when put in the context of a college (or community) newspaper:

1) What is the exact relationship between user generated content and news gathered by a newsroom?

In larger-scale newspapers, there are comments, large maps and photo uploads. We, at the Daily Bruin, where we'll be testing our software, have a readership that can interact with the content on a local level (notwithstanding the epic amounts of sports fans and alums/parents visiting the site from around the country and globe) so rather than a spread out community, our readers generally live next to each other in dorms and congregate in large auditoriums and stadiums--what does this mean for the way they will develop online content and read hyperlocal news?

2) What are new revenue models for news or old ones that can be reconfigured online?

Twitter is blowing up, getting hacked in awesome ways

Wired posted this article about the many expanding uses of Twitter...including many examples of inanimate objects (lights, washing machines, computers) and living organisms (plants) triggering an auto-twitter to a recipient:

Thanks to its open-ended design and a thriving user community, Twitter is fast outgrowing its roots as a simple, easy-to-use messaging service. Enterprising hackers are creating apps for sharing music and videos, to help you quit smoking and lose weight -- spontaneously extending the text-based service into one of the web's most fertile (and least likely) application platforms.

Hardware hackers have set up household appliances to send status alerts over Twitter, like a washing machine that tweets when the spin cycle is through, or a home security system that tweets whenever it senses movement inside the house. Others have incorporated Twitter into their DIY home automation systems. Forgot to turn off the lights? Send a tweet to flip the switch by remote control.