Archive for June, 2010

Should news organizations focus on ‘crowdbuilding’?

June 30th, 2010

I came across this video via Nieman Lab and it’s quite interesting for those of you interested in crowd sourcing.

The discussion takes places at a plenary session at the recent Future of News and Civic Media Conference at MIT. The speakers are: Gabriella Coleman, an NYU professor who studies online collaboration; and Karim Lakhani, a Harvard Business School professor who studies distributed innovation systems. The discussion is moderated by Chris Csikszentmihályi, director of the MIT Center for Future Civic Media.

If you are interested at all in crowdsourcing, this notion of crowdbuilding should also tickle your interest. What would the possibilities be if news organizations embraced crowdbuilding?

Apple sells 1.7 million iPhone 4 units in 3 days, sets record

June 28th, 2010
Apple announced this morning that the company has sold 1.7 million iPhone 4 units since its launch June 24. Apple’s sales milestone surpassed analyst expectations and set a record for the company’s opening weekend for a product.

Apple began taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4 on June 15, but the phone officially hit stores in the US, UK, France, Germany over the weekend. “This is the most successful product launch in Apple’s history,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in a news release. “Even so, we apologize to those customers who were turned away because we did not have enough supply.”

In 2009, Apple sold 1 million iPhone 3GS units in the opening weekend. Analysts at Piper Jaffray forecast Apple would sell 1 million smartphones in the first three days of availability, a milestone that was almost doubled.

“This is closer to two million so it’s above our expectations,” Hudson Square Research analyst Daniel Ernst told Reuters. “No single smartphone model has been this successful.” The iPhone 4 boasts HD recording capabilities, video chat, multi-taking functions, front and rear cameras and a longer battery life. The phone has also been physically redesigned.

Despite strong sales numbers, Apple has received some criticism over what some customers are calling poor reception. Reports indicate a user’s hand can block the antenna placed in the lower part of the device which cause bad reception. In an email response, Apple has told customers to “just avoid holding it in that way.” See Digital Journal’s full coverage and video on reception issues for more info.

Some speculation has surfaced suggesting Apple will launch an update for its new iOS4 operating system to fix the bug.

The iPhone 4 retails for $199 (US) for the 16GB model and $299 (US) for the 32GB mode. The device will go on sale in 18 other countries by the end of July — Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Apple facing growing criticism over poor iPhone 4 reception

June 25th, 2010

It’s been one of the most anticipated product launches in the cellphone world: The Apple iPhone 4 went on sale in a number of countries yesterday. However, despite strong sales, Apple is now facing a barrage of criticism about serious reception problems.

The Apple iPhone 4 went on sale in the United States, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom June 24. Boasting a number of new features and upgrades over previous versions, Apple has seen strong sales.

According to reports, a survey of iPhone customers shows a total of 77 percent of sales are upgrades. That means nearly two-thirds of all iPhone 4 owners are previous iPhone owners.

“Apple has in three years built brand loyalty in the phone market that compels users to upgrade to the latest version and wait in line for one to six hours to pick up their iPhone,” said Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster in a report to clients issued early Friday. Munster believes Apple will sell between 1 million to 1.5 million iPhones in the first three days alone.

Despite strong sales, however, reports and videos demonstrating iPhone reception problems are flooding the Web. Many iPhone 4 users are reporting reception problems when they cover the outer bezel that wraps the phone. More specifically, when one’s hand bridges the left and bottom antennas, reception drops.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs touted the unique antenna design at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference this year, saying it was “brilliant.” Real-world use, however, suggests the iPhone 4 may not be as revolutionary as once promised.

In the face of mounting criticism, Apple issued an official statement to tech blog Engadget, indicating the phone works fine and the problem stems from the way users are holding it. Apple said:

Gripping any phone will result in some attenuation of its antenna performance, with certain places being worse than others depending on the placement of the antennas. This is a fact of life for every wireless phone,” Jobs wrote. “If you ever experience this on your iPhone 4, avoid gripping it in the lower left corner in a way that covers both sides of the black strip in the metal band, or simply use one of many available cases.”

In addition to the official statement, tech blog Ars Technica also emailed Apple to get a response. “On a lark,” the company CC’ed Steve Jobs who actually replied. Jobs’ response was simply, “Just avoid holding it in this way.”

Jobs also elaborated to Tuaw reader Rory Sinclair who questioned the shoddy performance and said there aren’t normally limitations on how to hold a phone. “Sure there are — every phone has these areas of sensitivity, depending on the location of the antenna,” Jobs replied. “Some phones even ship with labels warning customers to not cover certain areas with their hands.”

ArsTechnica notes a blog written by an antenna engineer with Antennasys Inc, who said placement of antennas in cellphones is often dictated by FCC and carrier testing requirements and Apple’s design is not unusual.

However, another iPhone 4 user says Apple Support is blaming the reception issues on “a missing protective coating on some of the parts.”

As part of the influx of coverage on this issue, tech and Web blog Mashable notes Apple sells a $29 rubber bumper that acts as a barrier between your hand and the antenna which is reportedly a fix for reception woes. As a parting note, Mashable blogger Barb Dybwad asks:

“The existence of said bumper essentially begs the question, though — does it indicate that Apple already knew about the potential reception issues with the phone? And if so, should users really have to shell out $29 to restore the reception that’s knocked out by holding the phone in an arguably natural way?”

Stay hungry, stay foolish

June 23rd, 2010

Apple’s Steve Jobs has always been someone I found fascinating. As a PC nerd growing up, I always found a strange admiration for the guy who created a Mac.

Jobs is an interesting character. He’s brilliant, funny, very well spoken and a strong leader. One only has to look at the long list of very successful businesses under his belt to recognize he is not an ordinary person.

But that is the business world. Today, I stumbled upon a video of Jobs speaking at Standford University during the university’s 114th Commencement. While the video is now dated (it was shot June 12, 2005), it showed me a side of Jobs I have never seen, and one that is quite personal and revealing.

During his speech, Jobs talks about the most important and defining moments of his life and how they shaped him into the person he is today. The video is 15 minutes long, and when I started watching I thought to myself There is no way I am going to sit through 15 minutes of a graduation speech. But as I continued to watch, I couldn’t pull myself away.

As Jobs often does with his speeches, he transitions seamlessly between thoughts and points and leaves you wanting more.

Without saying too much more, I feel the urge to share this video here because the words are inspirational, intriguing and offer an important reminder for all of us: Live life to its fullest. Stay hungry, stay foolish.

YouTube announces ‘News Feed’ showcasing top citizen journalism

June 15th, 2010
To tap into the growing market of Web-savvy news junkies, YouTube has announced its testing a new feature called News Feed. The feature incorporates news videos from both citizen journalists and professional news outlets.

YouTube may be famous for quirky videos, but with 24 hours of video footage uploaded every minute to the site, there is also a lot of news being reported.

Working with the the Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, YouTube announced it is creating a News Feed designed to help Web-goers find breaking news videos. In total, three journalism-school students and grads from Berkeley are working at YouTube for the summer on the project, the school announced.

In addition to finding and organizing video, YouTube will be working with media organizations to expand their presence online.

YouTube’s News Feed will focus on breaking news, highlighting the most recent videos, as well as videos that showcase impressive visuals and video content from citizen journalists. The News Feed can be found on YouTube’s CitizenTube where the company has collected and showcased news videos in the past.

CitizenTube showcases a lot of citizen journalism work, including not-so-friendly encounters with politicians, international protests and gorillas attempting escape from a zoo.

A few examples include one roving reporter who got a South Carolina congressman running for governor to admit his campaign commercial incorrectly states he is retired from the US Army (watch the video); a video of a bomb going off in a crowded rally in Nairobi, Kenya (watch it here); and activists who took to the streets of Tehran to mark the one-year anniversary of the Iranian election (the video is here).

Politicians will also find it important to remember everyone with a camera is a potential reporter, as the video below clearly demonstrates. In it, U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge, D-NC, aggressively grabs a student who approached him on a sidewalk to ask about his support for the Obama administration. He later apologized.


If you’re a citizen journliasts or freelancer, you can Tweet YouTube @citizentube to let them know you uploaded a video that may be of interest.