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Visual.ly Launched Today…

Posted by scottstead on Jul 13, 2011 in Reviews, Tech

…and all I got was this stupid avatar.

All joking aside, I think Visual.ly has a lot of potential. If you know me – you know I love data visualizations. I’m always interested in seeing the visual notes of my pals Jonny Goldstein and Austin Kleon and, of course, the wicked visualizations of design guru JESS3. The first, and currently only available “lab” available is a Twitter Visualizer. This lab polls your Twitter data and creates a visualization of your ‘personality’ on Twitter, ratios of follower to followers, etc. Note: it may take a bit to populate if you have a lot of tweets, followers, etc so be patient. See my results below.

I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how you’ll be able to port data into various ‘labs’ and what other API’s they’ll be interacting with. Two tentative thumbs up for visual.ly, but be warned – my expectations are high going forward.

 
1

CollabraCam: Multi-Camera Real-Time Switching in the iPhone

Posted by scottstead on Apr 15, 2011 in Reviews, Tech, Vlog

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter you may have noticed that I have developed quite the iPhone photo obsession with apps like Camera+ and TrueHDR. You may have also noticed a series of apps I’ve been using to ‘pretty-up’ my photos, including: Color Splash, Percolator, DXP, PS Express, Diptic, Picture Effect Magic, and especially Instagram. It’s folks like Doctor Popular and his daily Appsperiments that have been pushing me to seek out new ways to make my photos better and generally more interesting.

A week or so ago I was taking a new app for a spin, trying to pin down some price drops on photo apps (yes, an app searching apps) when I came across an app called CollabraCam on sale for $4.99 (now on sale for $2.99). I’ve go to say that at first glance I was a doubter. I couldn’t believe that the technology was all there and that it would look as clean as it did on their website. But, with some searching I quickly found some demos that made it apparent that this app was for real. Here’s the breakdown.

What does it do?

From the CollabraCam Website: Wirelessly connect with up to four iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad camera operators over local Wi-Fi. Monitor the live-streaming cameras and choose the best shots to edit your video in real-time. Select a camera to put on standby to prepare for the next shot. Silently direct your camera operators to pan a shot, dolly in for a close-up and more.

Video clips are recorded to the cameras and are transferred, compiled and saved to the director in the background as you go. When you end the production and save your session, the final clips are transferred from the cameras to you in a matter of minutes.

The rough cut of your movie can be viewed in the app and exported to your Camera Roll in three sizes. Video clips can also be exported to your Camera Roll to edit in a video-editing app or saved via File Sharing in iTunes to edit on your computer. With minimal time and effort, you can assemble and trim clips and add transitions and music to complete your movie’s final cut.

What do I need to do this? ?

The director software is suggested to be ran on an iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, or iPod Touch 4G. The iPad can function as the director station (which after seeing some videos looks like the way to go, if not just for the screen real estate) with pixel doubling (essentially the images on the screen are stretched to accommodate the larger screen). Update from Kyle at CollabraCam: “We are submitting an update today or tomorrow to make the app universal and include a dedicated iPad interface, no more pixel doubling!”

The camera software will run on the iPhone 3GS but is recommended to be run on series 4 devices (all iPhone 4 or iPod Touch 4G devices). I have yet to test the 3GS as a camera, but I was told by support that you may have to set the software to “camera”. Then close and relaunch the app to get it working properly on the 3GS.

You MUST have a wifi connection to use the software. It WILL NOT work over a cellular network. CollabraCam should only be used on a local high-speed Wi-Fi network (G or N) on the same wireless router or hub. You can create an ad hoc network on a laptop to use as the wireless broadcast network between the cameras. You do not need an internet connection on the wireless router or an ad hoc network created to use CollabraCam.

It is highly recommended to perform a hard reset before starting a session to ensure that nothing is running in the background. These extra cycles in the background are what cause the black flash frames between cuts. Here’s what the developers (Apptopus, Inc.) had to say,

There are lots of factors which can have an effect on performance, but
the biggest is processing overhead and memory. It is wise to flush
your memory and kill all background apps before a session. It is also
wise to put your device in airplane mode and turn Wi-Fi back on so a
phone call or text won’t disrupt the production.

I of course after reading this went to find exactly how to kill background processes and came across this handy article from TUAW.

Force Quitting
To force an application to quit, Apple recommends that you bring the app you want to quit to the foreground. Then press and hold the sleep/wake button for several seconds, until the Slide to Power Off control appears. Release the sleep/wake button and hold down the Home button for another 7-10 seconds. Your screen will flash briefly and you will return to the main iOS 4 Springboard home page with its icons. This method works for all operating systems from iPhone OS 3 forward, and is the preferred method listed in the iOS 4 documentation.

Removing the Application from the Recents List
There’s actually a much simpler approach for quitting apps, and that’s to use your recent app list. Double-click the home button to display the recently accessed applications. Press and hold any of the icons shown, then navigate to the application you want to quit and tap the red circled minus button. This sends a signal to the application in question that allows it to quit. The application will be re-added to the recents list the next time you launch it.

Why should I spend $4.99 $2.99 on this?

Do you shoot a lot of video with your iPhone? Are you an independent media producer or journalist with a small budget? Have you ever done a multi-camera shoot with an iPhone? Have you ever done a multi-camera shot on consumer, prosumer or professional video camera and wish that you could have knocked it out with an iPhone (especially when it’s content for the web). Are you tired of spending hours editing after shooting a piece or an interview? Do you go to events with friends that also have iPhones and think it would be nifty to do a multi-camera shoot of a keynote, an interview in the hallway, a concert – anything that has multiple angles that would be nifty to capture? If you answered yes to any or all of these – for the price of a happy hour Pabst Blue Ribbon you too can have some seriously cutting edge technology built in to your iPhone.

Update from Kyle at CollabraCam: The $4.99 price was to celebrate our first local TV coverage, we dropped the price further to celebrate our Webby Nomination. The price will go back to the original $9.99 after the Webby People’s Voice voting is done.

How do I benefit from using this app?

How much is your time worth? How awesome would it be to turn around a three camera shoot in just as long as it takes to shoot it? THAT is how you benefit from using this application. Imagine teams of three to four people roaming a presidential inauguration, a national political convention, a protest, a rally, a conference or some other large event where turning around a piece before anyone else would be really keen. You could beat the guys with the big cameras and the little cameras – anyone that’s heading back to base to edit their piece together and slap tops and tails on it (yes you can even knock out your video credits very easily with CollabraCam).

Not only is it cutting edge in its ability to live cut up to four cameras together into a single stream eliminating the need for a video switcher, but it has two other features that I think are very cool. It tallies the cameras as either being on standby or live. Also – the director can send common camera commands to the camera operators from the director’s interface.

What did I learn from testing Collabracam?

Things I learned today:

  1. When you’re done with a recording – keep the software open on all the cameras. I by habit closed my phone when we finished recording which closed the program and killed the download. Now I know!
  2. Bonjour was turned off/blocked on our in house wireless so we had to make a mac a hotspot by sharing out the wireless connection on a laptop. Done.
  3. It was apparent that we weren’t switching between cameras. Read the instructions! Maybe in future revisions after you hit record and the recording starts – the RECORD button could change its label to “TAKE”. It took us two or three recordings to figure out why we weren’t cutting between cameras. Doh! Again – I can’t iterate enough the importance of reading manuals. UPDATE from Kyle at CollabraCam: We are currently using the standard iOS toolbar which does not allow for different states of the buttons (the glow when tapped is automatically added, and a button can only be white to achieve the glow). In the future we may create a custom toolbar which can do that.
  4. The image quality was pretty d*** good. I was impressed. Unfortunately we didn’t get to finish with live cutting to compare the black frames between takes with the 3G and the 4G, etc. – but will do/know more soon.
  5. Reconnecting to the director after ending a session, etc. we had to quit all cameras and kill the app out completely from all devices to get it re-detect the cameras. It seemed like the cameras seemed to think a session was still open – because when we killed the Director app – the cameras – despite looking as though they were waiting connection – displayed the message ‘the director has disconnected do you want to continue’. This is an early version of the app and I’m sure this will only improve with time.

Final Notes

All in all – I love this app. I am going to recommend that everyone I know buy this app so we can shoot awesome collaborative multi-camera videos with zero editing time and instantly publish to my video blog, YouTube, etc. Kyle Hilla, a member of the developers info team has been super helpful throughout our testing and answered all of our questions with utmost transparency and road maps of the future of the software. Here’s a mini list of 3 major things he state they are working on that I think are flaw fixing and generally pretty sweet pluses.

  1. Select the audio source so it’s not just audio follow video
  2. Enabling 720p video
  3. Making it capable of streaming to the web – every indie journos dream

At $2.99 it’s absolutely a steal – so buy now. Furthermore – if you love mobile video as much as I do, show these guys some love and go vote for them in the Webby Awards! They’re up for the “Best Use of Mobile Video” award and I really think this is the next step for iPhone video.

Second opinions? Other reviews?

@Ruperthowe’s Review
@Rosenblumtv’s Review
Mac World Review
Greasy Guide
Great YouTube Test of CollabraCam

 
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What’cha What’cha Want: Video Accessories

Posted by scottstead on Oct 5, 2009 in Blogging, Gadgets, Mobile, Reviews

Today I watched Steve Garfield over on his Facebook/Ustream “Get Seen” page. Steve as usual was in front of camera, talking about cameras, playing back video on cameras, with him on camera, talking about accessories for cameras. Steve’s a standout multimedia guru. Steve demo’d some cameras and talked about some of his favorite accessories, all the while beta-testing his new setup on Facebook using Ustream (ok, now I just sound redundant). Folks chatted live from Ustream, as well as Facebook and Steve interacted even well after the show, dishing out model numbers and asking for feedback about the show. This was great for me because I’ve been considering setting up something similar for DocumentaryClub.org to livestream interviews with filmmakers. Great to see it in action. I liked the ‘brandability’ of the Facebook option as well as the number of people on Facebook to potentially pull into a broadcast. There are however a couple of things I’d like to point out about the setup that I think could be improved upon.

  1. UStream Chat and Facebook Chat were completely separate. I had no idea what they were saying. They had no idea what I was saying, and as a moderator of the chat – if you’re already dealing with the live broadcasting aspect of the show it’s tough to juggle the stream and two chat rooms at once. Somehow combining the two would be el primo!
  2. Facebook Chat was cool, within and of itself, however, it generates a bunch of orphaned message blasts in your feed that have no context. If Steve says, “Hi Scott”, and I say, “Great show Steve,” noone has ANY idea what we’re talking about. Having a link attached to the Facebook message in your public stream would be helpful to those reading the message, and to the broadcaster by driving more folks to the show to see what the heck we’re talking about.
    Facebook Message With Steve
  3. The UStream Chat is not archived and attached to the video (the Facebook chat does keep the last 10 messages or so, so that’s a plus). Steve for instance told me the make/model of the Audio Technica mic (which I of course jotted down and will be sharing with you shortly) via the Ustream Chat. If anyone watching the archived later wanted to know for themselves – the chat is not attached and archived and therefore that part of the dialogue is lost.

All in all it was a pretty positive experience, minus the chat tweaks that need to happen to make it an all-inclusive, fully-functional experience. I’m sure Steve is already putting together his lists of wants and must-haves for the next one. Great job Steve! Furthermore, what I got out of this was a nice little list of things I want to make my broadcasting a little bit easier, my audio a little bit more audible, my arms a little bit longer. Here are some of the devices that Steve recommended. For the full video of Steve’s reviews and recommendations click on over to his UStream channel for the skinny.

LET THE WANTING BEGIN…

att_iphone

When you’ve got a camera that doesn’t have a wide angle lens, and you have arms like a T-Rex, this X-Shot monopod is the thing for you. With it’s 180 degree rotating head you can shoot yourself from angles not before possible, or get that camera up over that fence to catch that glimpse of Area 51 that your lack-of-stature previously just did not allow. It extends to 37″, has a lanyard for the drop-prone (like myself), is only nine inches long when closed for easy/compact storage, and most importantly you don’t have to ask someone else to take your picture on vacations – this avoiding that awkward “hrmm will this guy/girl snap my picture for posterity and then run?” moment.

Brando Iphone Mic

Next up our list of must-wants is the Brando Mini Capsule Microphone as demo’d with the iPhone in Steve’s video today. You can order it here. It’s pretty cool looking and very small (which screams loseable to me) – but again audio is paramount to making good videos. It’s plug and play out of the box so no configuring is required, however, two points that Steve made today is that when recording you have to have wifi because it creates interference and thus renders the mic unusable. This is a HUGE downside for me because currently if I want to stream I have to have the iPhone on Wi-Fi. It looks like this device is record-then-upload only. One other thing to note is that to playback the audio immediately after recording, you need to disconnect the mic since its interrupting the speakers because it thinks a headset is plugged in. With these caveats aside, for something so small to make a leap in audio quality (it is directional) – it’s worth it. Did I mention it’s only $10? Woah!

Sticking with notable audio improvements, Steve demo’d the Audio Technica ATR-3350, small and inexpensive lavalier mic with a mini 3.5mm input that fits right into your phone’s headset jack. It’s omni-directional, so it’s ideal for a walk and talk narration with your iPhone or other portable camera. It comes with the lavalier tie-clip, a foam wind-screen, and a battery. Not sure what the battery life is like – but it’s one of those things you have to remember to shut off or you’re going to be shopping for these mini-watch-style batteries a lot (buy them in bulk). Steve also pointed out that with two of these (again, they’re dirt cheap dialing in around $25) you can produce an interview with no problem with the addition of a simple “y-adapter” that marries two mono signals into a stereo input.

Y Adapter

Steve also pointed out that with two of the ATR-3350 lav microphones (again, they’re dirt cheap dialing in around $25) you can produce an interview with no problem with the addition of a simple “y-adapter” that marries two mono signals into a stereo input. This is a simple, cheap adapter that can be bought for around $5. Get it at B&H here.

Nokia DT-22

Last, but definitely not least, is the Nokia DT-22 Tripod. This is a sleek, small tripod that you can throw in your pocket, whip out, set up on the table in front of you and grab that interview at a moment’s notice adding stability to your shot and giving your self the ability to do something else with your hands. The legs are adjustable with rubberized tips for extra grip on those slippery metallic surfaces – so if you can find one – grab one! Why? As far as I can tell they are discontinued! Oh-noes! But worry not! I found two somewhat suitable alternatives.

Versipod

First up is the Sunpak 620 Versipod. It comes in three different colors and rings in at a whopping $9. I have not used one, but it doesn’t look as solid as the Nokia model it’s replacing, but at $9 you can afford to hate it.

Gorilla Mobile

My favorite alternative to the DT-22, by far is the GorillaMobile iPhone device stand. Why? Because it’s cool looking, it’s a phone case, the legs are removable, and it’s functional. I’ve seen it straddling the back of a chair, wrapped around bicycle handle bars (simple Googl’ing will yield tons of photos of these) and if you’ve ever owned ANY Gorilla tripods you’re already familiar with the product’s flexibility. Add this to my want, want, want list and consider it ordered as soon as I’m done writing this post.

Well, that wraps this review of Steve’s first show and everything that he reviewed there in. Now if only I can get someone to review my review of Steve’s reviews maybe we’ll start getting review feedback. Wocka, wocka, wocka. Cheers!

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The Diary of a Reluctant AT&T Customer: How I Came To Love the iPhone 3Gs

Posted by scottstead on Sep 19, 2009 in Reviews, Tech
att_iphone

I’d been putting it off from the get-go. I knew I wanted an iPhone but I had run screaming from AT&T/Cingular years ago. Billing was confusing, customer service was shoddy, roaming charges would pop up causing exorbitant bills in places where no roaming charges should’ve been applicable; but, hey, that was the early 2k’s. It’s 2009, right? Time to let bygone phone carriers be bygones and jump on board…

…and it’s not like I had much of a choice. I had been following blogs, forums, news sites – the works – in hopes that another phone would emerge that has piqued my attention as much as the iPhone, but to no avail. Android is interesting. Samsung OMNIA, HTC, interesting. To me, they seemed unproven without the application base that the iPhone has; sure, it’s a matter of time. It was a matter of time until the iPhone was available on Verizon as well, my carrier of choice – especially in Washington, DC where they are the only carrier that has repeaters in the metro stations and tunnels.

After hearing countless accounts of dropped calls, shoddy reception, and full-on outages at major events (inauguration in DC, SXSW, etc.) I was leaning, leaning, leaning away from AT&T. On a bi-weekly basis I would build my plan, throw an iPhone in my virtual shopping cart and stare at it for 15-20 minutes, and then subsequently close the tab. “Not today. I can wait. Have patience.” And then…I bit the bullet.

New iPhone

I was excited. I had been rocking the employer provided Blackberry for three, count them, three years. Don’t get me wrong I like the Blackberry. I like, no love, Verizon. But it was time. My social media connectivity needs, creative and curious nature, tech-geek-video-ness all demanded the iPhone. This begins a series of posts regarding my iPhone experience.

nodata

DAY 1 I received the iPhone just 2 days after ordering it. Sweet! I’ve got it – now let’s get rockin’ and rollin’ with this thing. Oooh shiny! Wait for it…wait for it…NO DATA. So, of course, I go the route of geekery and Google the issue. I find a solution that only requires getting the iPhone on a wireless connection and visiting the site www.unlockit.co.nz. I make it sound instantaneous and simple, but frankly, it took me about 3 hours to come to this conclusion. But, nonetheless, it worked. I was data-fied, downloading apps, and on my way to…

High Data Charges

Day 3 I receive a text message from AT&T indicating that my data charges are through the roof. This is peculiar to me, because I, of course, have HAD to sign up for a data plan since I purchased an iPhone. A 20 minute phone call with AT&T got this sorted out pretty quickly. It turns out that they DID NOT somehow sign me up for a data plan and I was being charged per MB. The woman on the other end was very helpful, got me sorted out, put notes on file regarding the situation and sorted it out. Nuff’ said… In hindsight I should’ve called AT&T when my phone would not connect to their data network. I essentially circumvented the system and turned it on myself with the APN hack – but in the long run didn’t do myself any favors – lesson learned.

Picture 11

Day 4 – Present I’ve only run into one bug since I’ve started using the 3GS. It involves some kind of corruption in the phone database which displays the wrong icons for various applications (see image). There was no definitive fix for this in version 3.0.1 – but since I’ve recently installed 3.1 – it appears to have fixed itself.

All in all – I want to say that my experience has been a positive one. A few dropped calls here and there but nothing off-the-charts. Has the iPhone added to my productivity? Not sure. Has it increased my connectivity one-hundred fold? Yes. Can it turn into a time-suck? Definitely. There are applications that have taken up hours of my time – albeit a game, or a sketch app – the iPhone can be a lot of fun. In the next edition of the iPhone diaries I’m going to write up some post-age on my favorite applications – but I’ll give you a short one off of screen caps of all of the apps that have currently made the cut on my iPhone.

Page 1 Every Day, Easy Access Apps
IMG_0172

Page 2 Location Sensitive/Smart Applications
IMG_0173

Page 3 Information Overload: News, Sports, Stocks and Weather
IMG_0174

Page 4 Geekery, Web Apps
IMG_0175

Page 5 Music, Games, Art
IMG_0176

Page 6 Scratch Pad: Will they make the cut?
IMG_0177

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A Review: Taste of the Wild, Rocky Mountain Feline Formula

Posted by scottstead on Nov 11, 2008 in Pets, Reviews

taste of the rockies

If you recall, a while back Jonny’s Partay put on a series of contests during one of which our runners up all received a sample of “Taste of the Wild” pet food. After the fact, Andre Blackman contacted me and asked if I wouldn’t mind sampling the food on my own “Rockford Milhausen” aka “Rocky” and do a write up on my findings. While I am often reluctant to switch up my pets food a brief search on the company and their products made me want to give a try.

To be completely honest, up until that point I knew nothing about pet food, cat food, pet digestion, etc. After reading various reviews I was ready to dig in and let my cat dig in on some new grub. Why did I want to try another cat food? What were the facts I came across? Pet diets are very important obviously. Some things to consider are feline obesity, feline diabetes, and balances in the amount of amino acids, carbohydrates, etc. are all important things to consider when feeding your pet. An excerpt directly from http://www.catinfo.org

Diabetes is one of the most common feline endocrine diseases and, in the vast majority of cases, is directly linked to a high carbohydrate diet of dry food.

These mass amounts of carbohydrates often come in the form of corn filler added to the food. Reflecting back on our Documentary Club viewing of King Corn – this stuff goes into everything; it’s not healthy for us – and it’s sure not healthy for our pets. Taste of the Wild is a grain free formula. Directly from their site…

A grain-free formula for all life stages with peas and sweet potatoes provides highly digestible energy for your active cat. Made with real roasted venison and smoked salmon, this formula offers a taste sensation like no other. For today’s healthy cat, this formula is supplemented with fruits and vegetables, providing natural antioxidants to support a healthy immune system and overall good health.

This is all well and good, because “grain filler=bad”. Furthermore, I wanted to dig into the ingredients on the bag and see how it measured up against some of the guidelines I found for “healthy cat food” out there. So obviously, “no corn, no soy, no by-products” is the first obvious thing. Excellent! “Roasted Venison and Smoke Salmon”, “All life stages”, and “42% Crude Protein” all rang a bell for me. Cats are “obligate carnivores” which means that cats are built to get their proteins strictly from meats and a lot of dry pet foods, while having a high protein percentage on the bag, get most of those proteins from carbohydrate sources such as soy, etc. The high protein percentage, knowledge that there are no by products, corn, or soy and the AAFCO statement…

“Taste of the Wild Rocky Mountain Feline Formula is formulated to meet the nutritional levels established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) Cat Food Nutrient Profiles for all life stages.”

all tell me that this food is most likely going to be great for my pets digestion and over all health.

As far as dry foods go Taste of the Wild is ok by me. But ahh, what about the cat? I tested it on Rocky as snacks for a while and he liked it, he liked it a lot. I actually have a video I’ll append later where he literally dives head first into a large ziplock bag filled with the stuff. It didn’t make him sick and he didn’t appear to have any allergic reactions. This is another important point to touch on when trying new foods out on your pets. Animals have a lot of allergic reactions to various proteins and carbohydrates and you should always pay close attention to itching, scratching, diet, bowel movements, etc when changing out your pets food (whether dog, cat, whatever). Pending his body not rejecting the change – he enjoyed these thoroughly as a treat – and once I gave him a few bowl’s full he dug right in. After taking this data and reviewing it against other foods I’d fed him in the past I’m much happier with Taste of the Wild than some of the larger brands that pull a lot of their protein content from carbs. Nobody wants a fat cat, a diabetic cat, or a cat with kidney/bowell problems. I want my little guy to live forever – or at least as long as humanly (felinely?) possible.

The only downside to Taste of the Wild is that it is manufactured by a company called Diamond pet Foods which was largely responsible for pet food recalls last year. Taste of the Wild however was not on that list of recalls probably largely due to that the contaminate came from Rice Protein which is not an ingredient in the food. If I had time to do more research I’d be interested to see what pesticides the vegetables found in Taste of the Wild are treated with (since the bag does not indicate that it is organic, I’ll assume they are treated with some type of pesticide). All in all – these things pending I’ll give Taste of the Wild 4 out of 5 stars. Only holding back due to the manufacturer, lack of information on vegetable pesticides, and the ingredient “natural flavor” which can be construed as a number of things. Thank you Andre and thank you taste of the wild – I’m a much better dad/pet owner now. Taste of the Wild, pending further research, may very well end up in my shopping cart next time I go shopping for my little guy – at the very least it’s a huge improvement over what I’m feeding him now!

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2

Chi.mp: Content Hub and Identity Management Platform

Posted by scottstead on Aug 10, 2008 in Reviews, Tech

chimpAt the height of the .me domain craze my pal Jason Drake pointed out this new site called Chi.mp that purported to take the content hub model that Friend Feed and so many other social media content aggregators are doing to the next level. Chi.mp stands for Content Hub and Identity Management Platform; “identity management” are the key words here. I hit up Myles Weissleder (@mylerdude on Twitter) and within moments I was Chi.mp’in. Much like Friend Feed it imports your feeds from various sites as well as contacts; currently in Alpha they’ve roped in Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr. It was all a simple enough process – and they’ve got some controls built in about what exactly gets imported. So far so good.


scott.mp

The identity management portion of the site is not up and rolling yet – but I’m very keen on the idea. Essentially you are able to tag your content and your contacts so that you can point folks to (in my case) scott.mp but ensure that your professional contacts (i.e. your boss) only see “professional content”, your friends and family are able to gawk at your less-professional content and moments, and still have a private section that only those you trust with your deepest darkest online secrets can view. Features are being added on a daily basis (I just noticed new contact management options today). Chi.mp will eventually include search tools, the ability to manage, merge, import, export, and publish one’s contacts, content and information with privacy controls that stretch across all interconnected platforms.

THE FACTS: You pick your domain name. Your domain name can be used as your login anywhere that OpenID is accepted and used; no more forgetting your password. One location to showcase all of your info. Chi.mp appears (according to their front page) to be planning access to Facebook, Myspace, Flickr, Twitter, Yahoo, Skype, Blogger, WordPress, Google, Last.fm, Delicious, Friendfeed, Bebo, and Muxtape to name a few. Tagging will limit who sees what content.

Will this change the way we manage our online identities? You bet it will. They put it best on the front page of the site, “We wouldn’t own a cellphone that would only allow us to call people on the same network, we should demand the same freedom with our identity on the web.” The ability to get data in and out these walled gardens like Facebook and Myspace is something that’s been done. Giving you control over that content using a common protocol and a common set of rules from the comfort of your own personalized domain name, however, has not. I’m really looking forward to the September full on launch when we can all register our .mp domains and say, “Now let’s see what this baby can do.” Don’t worry. I’ll keep you in the loop.

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