29 Jan

Grafitti + Twitter = Tweefiti

As part of a new Birmingham arts project, this weekend that will see one of the city’s grafitti artists spraypaint inspirational messages send in on Twitter.

The theme is “life feels better”, and Aerosol Arabic will be outside Bullring shopping centre on Saturday and Sunday creating a unique piece of art from tweets sent into the @lifefeelsbetter account, which will also appear on a Twitterfall.

It’s a nice idea, and a nice push for Twitter. However, do enough people use Twitter yet? We all know Facebook is the behemoth of the social networking world (350 million users and counting), but have enough people adopted its more minimalist rival? It’s big news in the media/tech world, but every one else? A lot of my friends join Twitter, then leave again saying “I don’t understand it” or the classic “it’s not as much fun as Facebook”.

It’s a great idea, however, and it will be interesting to see the response it gets

The Bullring Arts Project launched on 25th January 2010 and Brummies are being encouraged to send in their pictures, artwork, writing or music to http://www.lifefeelsbetter.co.uk

[mappress]

27 Jan

It seems we can’t have it all … hand held video recorders

I am in a dilemma.

Sony Ericsson SatioI am the owner of a perfectly good (despite the reports) Sony Ericsson Satio mobile phone. The 12 megapixel camera (and other gadgetry) means the picture quality of video recording great for still interviews. The only downside, is the audio.

  1. the internal mic is terrible. It is useless for interviews, and makes the subject sound like they are down a mine
  2. the handsfree kit mic records excellent quality sound, but it gradually falls out of sync with the video.

Option 1 is, well, not really an option. 2 is “get-roundable”, if I have got 2 hours to spend muting the video, adding the audio as a sound file on a separate track in something like Movie Maker, and then edging it back in sync every minute or so. So much for a fast turnaround.

I have considered using the phone for the video (because it is so good) and getting a good digital audio recorder, then sticking the two together elements, but again, not incredibly practical.

So, begrudgingly, I am going to have to fork out for a handheld mini video recorder.

Thanks to a great blog post by @Podnosh (here) it seems to be between the Flip Ultra, Flip Mino, the Kodak Zi8 and the Zoom Q3.

I quickly ruled out the Flip MinoHD s it seemed all glitz and not much punch (and doesn’t take AA batteries). I spend my life battling against power. There are never plugs when you need them and to rely on main power (especially at festivals, where I will be using the recorder) would be foolish.

The Flip UltraHD, on the other hand, seems more practical on the battery-front but no external mic, something that is useful in noisier environments.

For better sound, the Zoom Q3 is an option – these guys know what they’re doing with sound, BUT there is still no external mic option – and I’m worried that at a distance, the audio will be lost

The Kodak Zi8 DOES have a plug in mic option but it is not compatible with Windows Movie Maker and needs some faffing around so it can be edited. I don’t really deal well with faff. This is putting me off. However the Zi8 does come with some useful features, including a imagine stabilization, face recognition, good quality video and stills so maybe I can forgo a smooth set up fora good finish.

Or maybe phone, Kodak AND laptop will end up out of the window. Tune in to Twitter later to find out …

26 Jan

A Good Girls Guide to … co-working UPDATED

Open office (or co-working) is hot news nowadays. The press has been full of it this week, with magazines (Company) and radio (4) running features about this very 21st century way of getting stuff done.

So how does it work? Well, either by membership or a one off entry fee, you gain access to an open plan environment, normally with wi-fi and hot and cold running drinks where you can plug in, log in and work. It has become a refuge for home workers desperate to get away from Jeremy Kyle and the washing up.

In theory it’s a great idea: away from the distractions of home life, you can focus and increase productivity. If you want to chat, the people around you are vibrant, trendy media or programmer types who want to share their ideas and collaborate on some wonderful magical project that will cure cancer or make Twitter fail-whale proof.

In reality, its a bit like being in a library. However, at least in a library you know the rules as they have been drummed into you since an early age. No talking, no mobile phones, no eating and generally don’t be a pain to everyone else or face the wrath of the chief librarian.

In a co-working space, do these rules apply?

If your phone rings, do you answer it? Should it be on silent?

Should you have a spontaneous little creative chat with your co-workers if everyone else is sitting there in silence?

Are they all wishing you would just SIT STILL and stop fidgeting?

If you work in an office you KNOW the person sitting next to you. You may not like them but at least you know their name. In a co-working space you are sitting next to a total stranger. So when you go to the toilet, should you take your bag with you? Or is that seen as a lack of trust? You wouldn’t take your laptop, but what about your mobile phone?

And that nice person that you exchanged a few pleasantries with an hour ago: do you offer them a drink when you get yourself one?

It’s a minefield. But at least it’s better than Jeremy Kyle.

MORE ON CO-WORKING

http://www.moseleyexchange.com/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coworking

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE51G49R20090217

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Recently I began renting a desk at the Substrakt offices. ┬áIt’s a great location based at Fazeley Studios in Digbeth in Birmingham and is 50% populated by this very cool creative communications company and 50% by other people, like myself, who just need somewhere to go.

It’s early days and I need to decide if it’s value for money, but for now it’s proving to be incredibly good for me. Without my stuff to distract me I am getting a LOT done. I also feel obliged to actually get up and go into the office as I am paying for it. It’s nice to have people around, and you never know, I may get some work out of it.

Who knows?

18 Jan

#BodiesRevealed The Beginnings of Life

THE EXHIBITION

The Bodies Revealed exhibition is currently running at the Custard Factory in Birmingham. It focuses on how the body works, major illnesses and development. Hashbrum headed along to get the full guided tour from Medical Director Dr Roy Glover

The Beginnings of Life

Stillborn and Neonatal Deaths Charity

18 Jan

#BodiesRevealed: the lungs

THE EXHIBITION

The Bodies Revealed exhibition has been running at the Custard Factory in Birmingham. It focuses on how the body works, major illnesses and development. I headed along to get the full guided tour from Medical Director Dr Roy Glover

Lungs and Smoking

Smokefree – quit smoking

Cancer Research UK

British Lung Foundation

All content (c) Caroline Beavon 2020