Blip reminds me of Twitter a fair amount, although it’s not really a conversational platform like Twitter can be. Blip is touted as a DJ platform, though I must admit, for me it’s even more personal than that, I’m not that bothered about what you are listening to, if you catch my drift?
The thing is with Blip, you can search for singular songs, which once found are able to be streamed immediately, which does gives instant gratification, no doubt.
I’ve not come up with that many empty requests or “not founds” yet either, pretty impressive. The “Songs are hosted all over the internet by different servers and websites” which basically means you’ll find just about everything.
I have found that a few songs I have “Blipped” have been removed a day later or so, more than likely that the website from where it has been streamed from noticed some leaching going on and removed it, or blocked access from Blip, I guess.
Each “Blipped” song contains a “Buy Now” link which is a standard Amazon affiliate link. It’s a noble gesture to want to go off and buy a track, but I have to say many of the buy now options lead to something which is not what I am hearing. This may be due to some of my more varied musical tastes mind you.
I’ve not found a mobile portal for this yet, but then again, it is a Flash based interface which isn’t going to cut the moby world, but if they or a similar service gets the moby market sorted this could be golden golden!
I do wonder how long this service will last, unless there is some hand shaking done between vested interests, as essentially we can listen to all the music we need to with a few clicks of a button, who needs to “own” music any more anyway?
Here is me Blip embed code, by all means “friend” me up, but I’ll probably not friend you back, I’m too busy listening to my favourite songs.
So when Android, the open source mobile phone platform becomes the “normal”, you know, widely distributed, and of course I imagine it will, we will soon be carrying a cute little personalised Google spy in our pockets!
Hang on a minute, you what?
Ok think about this for a sec. Google Android is open source, it is an operating system, the thing which will make your phone work. Currently there are a variety of operating systems in use for mobile phones and depending on which provider you are signed up with will depend on how much access you have to “tweak” the that operating system.
Yes Android is open source meaning the code is available for anyone to look at, therefore anyone can develop applications for. You know, all these widgets will appear, widgets like you see in your Facebook account? Well not exactly I predict many more useful applications will be available.
Already your phone is capable of sending a signal back to HQ (where ever the HQ application is) stating “hey I am currently here at these coordinates”. Of course where this becomes particularly interesting is when your shopping habits and destinations are “learnt” by these new “lifestyle widgets”, yes folks when the crafty marketing peeps dip their toes in this, it will be game on.
Let’s say you often enjoy a morning pastry at the local Starbucks. Starbucks sign up with the application data service which sends the application server new information about offers they may have on at any point. You walk close to Starbucks and the suddenly “beep beep” you receive a text stating “Starbucks special offer half-price pastries today”.
Life Style Widgets
I’m going to go out on a limb and name these cute data mining packages Life Style Widgets. Do I mind this, will it bother me I can be profiled and offered various different products based on my geographic reference AND passed buying habits? Not at all, I’m really looking forward to the messages I’ll get when I walk passed a lap-dancing bar!
Seriously though folks it is coming, are you going to embrace that, or develop for it?
I’ve had some interest from some of you around the area of audio content in educational settings, so I felt compelled to right some words in a few blog posts. I may draw this “series” out over a few weeks or so depending on interest.
Educasting is a system, or method, of digital content distribution such as audio and/or video/pdfs etc.
The most common audio format used is the mp3, I’m sure you’ve heard of that, and this blog post is mainly focused on that format. The term educast implies that the content produced for distribution is able to be automatically downloaded and updated onto mobile devices such as mp3 players, PCs and other similar consumer electronic devices such as mobile phones. In many cases the updating of content occurs simply by plugging the playing device in to a computer.
Without a doubt the main vehicle used for transporting an educast is the internet, though as you are probably interested in your own teaching space the protocol is equally suited to be distributed over intranets and other internal networks found in educational settings which are not necessarily open to public access.
How does it work?
In order to understand the whole process of educasting from creator to listener/viewer I’ll break down the system into 6 basic steps or stages:
1. content created – the content can be recorded in a variety of ways and in a variety of locations, of which I’ll blog about in a future post.
2. content uploaded – this is a reasonably simple stage where you upload the digital file, typically an mp3, to a webserver often using the file transfer protocol (FTP). Recently we can see more and more online recorders available where you simply press record on the site itself. (no uploading needed).
3. rss feed created – a really simple syndication (rss) feed is created which has a snippet of code that indicates the uploaded content is in fact an educast.
4. rss aggregators scan subscribed feeds for new content – various software hosted on a users PC enables us to subscribe to rss feeds, the software then scans those feeds for new content.
5. new content found and downloaded to users computer – once the rss aggregator understands a new episode is present the software will download this content to the users machine.
6. content transferred to mobile playback device – often the rss aggregator will automatically load the fresh content onto the mobile player, or this is manually achieved by the user. Of course playing back right on the computer is MASSIVELY common also.
Sounds fairly simple and straightforward right? Well it is!
Certainly all of the both stages can be met within educational environments both in terms of human resources and physical resources. However, perhaps one of the issues which can be daunting when considering utilising educasts in education is the extra effort or time required to continually provide content in this exciting format and in fact make it accessible. That said, the educational benefits an educast can yield are numerous, and you as an educator must have the full support of those who manage educational policy and activities in your institution. This is a BIG deal and one I am passionate about.
Turn on tune in, and they won’t drop out
Everybody working within academia understands that students are becoming more and more technologically savvy, growing up with a mouse almost permanently attached to their right hand, game console in the other, mobile telephone scanning for Wi-Fi hot spots and sending more SMS messages per min than humanly possible.
Aside from my slight rhetoric students are now often very adept and comfortable with interactive technology and able to find what they want when they want, very much used to using technology for organising their social world and certainly their entertainment options.
Students also want, and expect in many cases, their learning environment choices to be just as dynamic and state-of-the-art, and are certainly motivated when presented with dynamic learning tools that have relatedness to their personal worlds, their social life.
Educasting is a tool which fits into this state-of-the-art category and is something which educators can embrace within their learning community to bring about serious “coolness” and “street cred”, not to mention a powerful educational delivery platform both in the hands of the educator and also the learner’s. So we have to be “cool” now as academics? Umm, well yes I think we do to an extent.
Educasting has many unique qualities
Two “biggies” I want to focus on here are:
1. time-shifted delivery (tune-in when you want)
2. use of the voice, which can convey strong emotional content.
If you follow this thought through you as an academic have the ability for your voice, your emotion, your passion to reach the students in their own surroundings at a time they choose, this is a very powerful combination indeed!
As an example, I relish getting into my car each morning with my Zune player loaded with the latest episodes of my favourite casts. The fact I might get caught in morning traffic can actually be a bonus, giving me more listening time before having to engage with the socially demanding world, it’s “my-time”.
This time slot, and of course others, is time for you as a potential content producer, an educaster, where you can directly compete with mainstream broadcasting prime time, in advertising circles this time is highly costly which companies pay handsome fees for.
I hope that helps you think about the possibilities a little? Do let me know where we should head with this, maybe you need some tools, maybe you are already educasting, maybe it’s just too much time needed?
In any case do let me know, I really do want to hear your thoughts.
UPDATE: After writing this text I thought it might be a good idea to actually use an online service to record my voice reading the words, so you can see just how easy it all comes together. So I used Utterz and then grabbed an embed code for my blog which included the player below.
Well I’ve long since passed that threshold but I’m not complaining.
I wanted to point out what seems a pretty neat service which goes by the name of BLYK. A pal of mine send me a message this morning about this service which really does look super neato.
Seems to me that if indeed you are between the age of 16 and 24 and living in UK you can sign-up, be sent a spanking new sim card for your phone on ANY network containing 217 free texts and 43 mins of free calls!
Um yes free, no strings!
Well actually I lied there are some strings, but entertaining strings it seems.
As the website states:
“Blyk goes out and finds brands that want to talk to people like you. Blyk charges them for sending you messages, and gives you money back in the form of free texts and minutes.
But Blyk doesn’t just open the door to anyone that wants to message you. Each day you’ll get up to 6 brand messages. They’ll only ever come from Blyk and brands Blyk thinks you’ll be interested in.”
Now, personally I’d find that quite an enjoyable experience of sorts, I mean it is free.
Sadly I wont be signing up (unless they would like me to), I simply cannot prove I am so young, but if you are in that demographic I’d love to have a look and invite you to guest blog about it here on my blog.