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Live streaming video from the Nokia E71

Recently, while on holiday in Penzance, I saw some spectacular waves breaking on and over the sea defences. It was so amazing, I wanted friends and family to see it as well. I’ve had Qik installed on my phone for a while, going largely unused, so I thought that I’d load it up and give it a try.

Qik allows the E71 (and other S60 phones like the N95) to stream video direct to the web, where people can view it via an embeddable Flash player:

I had a good 3G signal on my E71, so I muted the sound in Qik’s settings (so that we could talk without the world hearing me say “wow!” repeatedly) and set it to “normal” quality (which is less than 320×240), then hit the “stream” button, and away it went, beaming live video to the world.

Qik’s interface on the phone is very simple. It tells you how long you have been streaming for, and what the delay will be for people watching via the web. Sometimes there is a delay (perhaps due to network congestion), but I found that it didn’t take long for the network to catch up, and the streaming video to be more or less instantaneous.

So how do people know that you’re broadcasting live video? When I opened my Qik account (which is free, by the way), I linked my Qik account to my Twitter account. Whenever I broadcast a video, a tweet is sent from my account to all my followers with a link to the live feed. In turn, my Twitter account is linked to my Facebook account, so people on Facebook can see too.

If people want to, they can chat to you while watching. Qik allows viewers to use a text chat window next to the Flash viewer (if you’re watching on Qik’s website) to interact with other viewers. All chats are displayed in the viewfinder on your phone, superimposed over the lower half (not on the streamed video itself, or the archived video). You can then answer questions (with your voice, of course), for example.

When you have finished streaming, the URL for the live stream remains the same, but links to an archive of the stream, which can be watched at any time.

There are other solutions out there for the E71 (I’m aware of Stickam and Kyte.tv) but since I’ve been so impressed with Qik, I’m not sure I’ll try them!

Link: My videos on Qik

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Test post from Flock

This is just a test post from Flock‘s blog editor. I haven’t tried it for the best part of a year, and now it’s reached a full version 1.0, thought I’d give it another test drive.

It looks like it supports tagging. Very smart.

(edit after posting – they’re not internal WordPress tags, but Technorati tags…)

Tags: , ,

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RIP Netscape Navigator

AOL have announced the end of support for the Netscape web browser.

Netscape 2 was the first web browser that I ever used, on a PC running Windows 3.11. Good memories, but things have moved on a long way since then.

I’m now split between using Safari 3 as my main browser, and Firefox for the things that don’t work quite so well in Safari (hello, WordPress WYSIWYG editor…), and quite frankly, apart from a dash of nostalgia now and again, won’t look back for long…

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Blogging habits, Twitter and aggregators

I haven’t been posting much to this blog, or to Past Thinking lately. There’s been no reason for this except perhaps that I’ve just got out of the habit of blogging. I don’t want to force myself to post things to my blog, but I think I’ll try and remember to post little snippets of information rather than save up long posts.

Of course, Twitter seems to get in the way of blogging. Those little quick things you want to say to the world and your friends can often be easily expressed in just 140 characters. If you read this and you know me this is a link to my Twitter stream.

Since I participate in a lot of websites, I thought that I would try and create an aggregated window into my online life (as well as experimenting with aggregators full stop). Those of you curious about what I’m up to (or, erm, stalkers) you can toddle over to http://life.goskar.com/ where most of my activities that have RSS feeds have been brought together (does this class as a tumblelog?).

http://life.goskar.com/ runs WordPress (of course!), and the excellent FeedWordPress plugin. A cron job checks all of the feeds each hour and pulls them into the WP database.

I’ve put the ageing WordPressDash widget on my Mac’s dashboard in the hope that this will remind me to blog more often. I do this regularly, but you never know, it might just work…

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Moving and internet access

I’ve been a bit slow on the old blogging front lately, due mainly to the fact that I’ve been without an internet connection at home for a month now. Tehmina and I have moved house, and Demon Internet still don’t seem able to cope particularly well with moves. They cut us off 3 weeks before we moved, despite promising that they wouldn’t (“We’ll put a note on your account to disconnect you a few days before you move” ).

When the phone line was connected at our new house, I had to re-order from them (and enter into yet another 12 month contract), only to be informed that there was a “foreign product” that BT Wholesale couldn’t identify to them, which would stop us from having our new connection. This is exactly the same scenario from the last time we moved. The “foreign product” was our ‘old’ Demon account, which they needed to remove themselves (the whole process seems rather arcane), then initiate a new account on the line. It’s probably because we have kept our old number and are on the same exchange. So I had to explain this to Demon all over again.

*sigh*

It looks like they’ve taken my explanation on board, and it looks like we’ll be connected next week, gods willing. Moving your BT phone line couldn’t be easier. They even send you an SMS when your new line is activated. When will moving with broadband be sorted out here in the UK?

On the positive front, at least it means that there are fewer distractions, and we’re getting more of the unpacking done!

On the blogging front, however, it does make it more difficult to update a blog when you can’t get online, so I’m sneaking this post on from work 😉

I’ve just added the “Share This” WordPress plugin (spotted on Mashable), just in case anyone finds something interesting on here, and wants to share it on some of the more popular social bookmarking sites. Snazzy.

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Spiders and eBay


My curiosity got the better of me today when I opened my Netvibes homepage to see the Digg headline of “HUGE Spider Hides Behind Clock (pics)“. I followed the link, and sure enough, there’s a story of a huge huntsman spider hiding behind a clock, with just four hairy legs poking out from around the edge. Then the brave photographer removes the clock and photographs what’s underneath. Even if you do like spiders, this one’s sure to challenge.

The thing that made me laugh (aside from some of the comments on Digg!) is how sometimes contextual text ads from Google don’t actually understand the context:

eBay ad

I’m wondering what the Google ads on this post are going to show up..

[Update]
After posting – I checked – and this helpful ad is displayed proudly at the top of my post:

Spiders and eBay 2

..what’s worrying is why anyone would want to auction a chicken eating spider on eBay, let alone buy one..!

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Pimp My Mobility Scooter


Pimp My Mobility Scooter

Whilst in Tisbury, a small village west of Salisbury, I spotted what has to be the most futuristic/luxury/pimped mobility scooter I’ve ever seen. I want know if it has air conditioning and a sound system tucked away in there somewhere!

Does anyone know what make it is?!

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Fighting Spam

I’ve just found out about spam.la – a website set up by Dreamhost that allows you to use a temporary “@spam.la” email address for anything you like.

So next time you want to download some trial software, or need to submit a valid email address for something, and don’t fancy having a sweepstake about how long it is before your email address is sold to spammers, try it out.

But do bear in mind that all emails sent to any spam.la address are publicly viewable on the front page of the website. You can choose any address you like, e.g. foobar@spam.la, and then use the website to filter them for you.

Handy.

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Google is Expecting!


I’ve just heard that Google have a “bun in the oven” and expect to add ‘PowerPoint’ presentation functionality to Google Docs and Spreadsheets later this summer.

Google have acquired Tonic Systems‘ java based technology to do this and are currently working on integrating it with the rest of the ‘Google Office’ (although they don’t seem to want to call it that) suite.

It seems as if Google really are going at it hammer and tongs to provide a complete suite of online tools to organise information.

Are Google becoming Orwell’s Big Brother, perhaps, or are they really enlightened? Time will tell.

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Cider


If you’re one of the many people who don’t like cider since that incident with a 2 litre bottle of Diamond White when you were 17, I implore you to think again!

ukcider has recently launched a new blog, perfect for finding out about new ones to try. Head over and give it a read.

If you live near Salisbury in the UK, you live near one of the best places to buy real cider – Abbey Stores – where you can buy it bottled, or draught in 2 or 4 pint containers to take away.
[tags]cider, ukcider, apples[/tags]