Tuesday, February 23, 2016

There to here and maybe back

Your modern electronic mobile device can take good pictures and good videos.  The video, with its soundtrack, is a pretty good substitute for actually being there.  But I was looking for a live tv experience, where what the viewer is seeing and hearing is at the  same time as what someone on the scene is seeing and hearing.  The first popular and widespread product I heard about that accomplishes that situation is Microsoft's Skype.  The basic idea of Skype and Google Hangout is a phone call but with video.

It can be surprising, given how often we use audio, how easy it is to run into situations where a video call is unwelcome.  You can call but I am not dressed, I don't have my makeup on, my desk/house/hair is a mess and I don't want you to see it.  I haven't tried for you to have audio only so you can't see me but I have video and can see you.

Our learning in retirement group has considered taping our presentations but we find that many of our guest presenters don't want to be taped.  We also find that our members say they enjoy assembling for a talk and probably wouldn't watch a tape, whether it was available online or not.  I heard about Twitter's Periscope and the app Meerkat.  They allow streaming, continuous immediate sight and sound.  My idea was that our members could possibly tune in from home or while on vacation.  If sessions were taped, tape viewers could not ask questions or make comments but with live streaming, they could.  I looked up Periscope and Meerkat in the Apple app store and was surprised to find a large number of apps that allow transmission and reception of video and audio.  I saw Ustream and Livestream, among others.

I found quite a few apps that allow a recipient to get continuous music.  I wanted to try my own practice broadcasting.  I have only a few possibilities.  I remember that one of the first video sites on the internet was a coffee pot in a breakroom.  The idea was you could connect to the site and see if there was enough coffee to have a cup.  I tried broadcasting our birdfeeder.  There are many live interesting birds and animals on the internet but our feeder was very hard to see out in the yard and few birds came. I ran the broadcast for 20 minutes and 3 people signed on during that time.  It was a very inferior show and each stayed connected for only about 15 seconds.

I don't think NBC has anything to worry about from me.

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