Time for a Refresh at mobilejones.com

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I’ve been toying with ways to restructure the site to accommodate video and other new elements on mobilejones.com. It’s become clear that the site needs a refresh with a design better suited to curating and wider diversity of media types.

Watch for a new design along with a new approach and focus for mobilejones going live soon. Thanks for sticking around to those who have, and look forward to getting your feedback on the changes. Until then….

Time for a Refresh at mobilejones.com

Published by:

I’ve been toying with ways to restructure the site to accommodate video and other new elements on mobilejones.com. It’s become clear that the site needs a refresh with a design better suited to curating and wider diversity of media types.

Watch for a new design along with a new approach and focus for mobilejones going live soon. Thanks for sticking around to those who have, and look forward to getting your feedback on the changes. Until then….

India loves to talk on mobile phones

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The Economic Times reports that Indian talk-time on mobile phones has reached a high of 461 minutes per month per subscriber. Indians are the most talkative nationality in the Asia-Pacific region out chatting the largest mobile market, China with 450 million subscribers, by 150 to 240 minutes.

The world’s four largest mobile markets are China, US, India and Russia. When it comes to usage, India with 166 million subscribers is second only to the US where the average American spends 838 minutes per month talking on their mobile phones. Russia with the fourth largest subscriber base logged a mere 88 minutes per month. China falls in the middle with China Mobile reporting usage of 303 mintues per month and China Unicom at 220 mintues.

Some of the variance in talk-time is easily explained by the assoicated tariffs. For example, voice charges in India average $.02 per minute with about $.01 per SMS making it one of the world’s cheapest mobile markets. India, also, adheres to the calling party pays and free inbound SMS schemes familiar to Europeans. Callers and receivers both pay in the US, but subscribers purchase flat rate buckets of minutes on both postpaid and prepaid plans many of which, now, include unlimited SMS. Contrast these subscriber friendlier plans with Russia where voice calls average $.20 per minute within a city and $.27 per minute from, say, Moscow to St. Petersburg. Also, both inbound and outbound calls are charged. Clearly, price matters.

India’s low tariff market is also a low penetration market. Although, growth rates are soring with 68% subscriber increase from March of 2006 to March 2007 according to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) in Delhi. And with the India mobile market forecasted to triple in the next four years, heavy weights like Vodafone are betting big on talkative Indians.

Carnival of the Mobilists #122

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The Carnival of Mobilists (CoM) makes it’s stop this week at Xelluar Identity. Xen does a great job of collecting a robust group of posts into topic areas including mobile advertising, payments, the future, content and applications, handsets and just fun.

Check out the CoM this week for the best resource on media about mobile in the blogosphere. Also, check with the schedule to find the lastest host locations of the carnival. Great job, Xen! And see you at next week’s show.

Covering Polls and Obama HQ in North Carolina

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Tomorrow is the Democratic Primary in North Carolina. I plan to visit the Obama HQ in Wilmington in the morning along with a polling location or two, and then on to Raleigh Obama HQ and polls. Watch for live coverage here.

If you have questions you’d like addressed by campaign staff or voters leave a comment here. Or participate live by watching at http://www.qik.com/mojo/ and using the chat feature while I’m broadcasting.

Covering Polls and Obama HQ in North Carolina

Published by:

Tomorrow is the Democratic Primary in North Carolina. I plan to visit the Obama HQ in Wilmington in the morning along with a polling location or two, and then on to Raleigh Obama HQ and polls. Watch for live coverage here.

If you have questions you’d like addressed by campaign staff or voters leave a comment here. Or participate live by watching at http://www.qik.com/mojo/ and using the chat feature while I’m broadcasting.

Covering Polls and Obama HQ in North Carolina

Published by:

Tomorrow is the Democratic Primary in North Carolina. I plan to visit the Obama HQ in Wilmington in the morning along with a polling location or two, and then on to Raleigh Obama HQ and polls. Watch for live coverage here.

If you have questions you’d like addressed by campaign staff or voters leave a comment here. Or participate live by watching at http://www.qik.com/mojo/ and using the chat feature while I’m broadcasting.

Covering Polls and Obama HQ in North Carolina

Published by:

Tomorrow is the Democratic Primary in North Carolina. I plan to visit the Obama HQ in Wilmington in the morning along with a polling location or two, and then on to Raleigh Obama HQ and polls. Watch for live coverage here.

If you have questions you’d like addressed by campaign staff or voters leave a comment here. Or participate live by watching at http://www.qik.com/mojo/ and using the chat feature while I’m broadcasting.

Improving Audio in Nokia N95 Videos – External Microphone

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Following my experience at CTIA Wireless 2008 with streaming video from a Nokia N95, I’ve sought a solution to adding an external microphone. The N95 has an input that is designed for making phone calls and adding a headset for this same purpose. It includes noise-cancelling automatic gain adjustment to make phone calls using the phone’s built-in microphone appropriately loud or soft depending upon the speaker’s voice level. The noise-canceling properties of automatic gain adjustment built into the N95’s microphone improves audio quality for phone calls by separating the speaker from the background noise which is problematic when that background noise is, in fact – not noise – but an interview subject.

Mark Squires of Nokia’s Social Media group tried to arrange a discussion for me with someone from the company’s accessories group, but I was scheduled too heavily with interviews to meet him inside the convention center. I shared with Ray Haddow who manages Blogger Outreach with the Social Media Communications group the solution developed for Reuters and their MoJo reporter’s kit, and asked if other adapters might be available.

 

Both Mark and Ray transformed the discussions and information from our emails into internal discussions about how Nokia might provide a solution. Afterall, the N95 as a “multimedia computer” is enjoying a symbiotic demand relationship with mobile video streaming services. All social media is creating a strata of use cases: from those who create V.I.T.A.L (video, images, text, audio & links) media for a few freinds, to those eager to add video to their toolbox for personal brand and even those who are using the N95 to report for MSM publications and networks like Shelby Highsmith for MTV Choose or Lose.

MTV’s Choose or Lose production is one example of how the combination of the N95’s 5MB video camera, and mobile streaming video services like Qik are being used to report in near-real-time on the events of the 2008 Presidential Election. Michael Scogin talked about the production and MTV’s citizen journalists during my interview with him at CTIA.

After CTIA, I connected with Michael Fortson of Qik via Twitter. We talked by phone and Twitter about the problem and need for a solution as so many of these high value on-the-spot videos were devalued by the unacceptable lack of audible audio. You can degrade the quality of the image and still have a compelling video, if the audio is excellent. The reverse is not true.

Michael pointed me to Jim Long, self-described new media guy trapped in an old media body. Jim uses an N95 to record images and videos from his vantage point of literally behind the camera. He is an NBC cameraman assigned to Washington, DC. Jim found this experiment by Steve Garfield using the N95 bundled external microphone.

 

And next he sent along a link to this experiment by Bloggerman. I received a pointer to this video from a few people.

 

And then others who have a stake in finding a solution to improving the quality of real time video through better audio also joined the conversation taking place openly on Twitter. Kartin Verclas from MobileActive and Shelby Highsmith one MTV’s citizen journalists. We all discussed the service offerings for live mobile video, the shortfall of the N95’s audio and potential solutions.

Shelby Highsmith recommended using a BT headset as a microphone, and made a video to demonstrate how the BT headset would function in a high noise environment like technology conferences, bars or restaurants. Meanwhile, I made a trip to Radio Shack and purchased two adapters for the experiment suggested by Bloggerman using the TV cable. Bloggerman stated the red cable plug must be used as it delivered the audio from among the three RCA plug set color coded red, white and yellow. But that didn’t work.

The results from my attempt to connect the N95 TV cable set to a female-to-female RCA to RCA adapter, the second adapter a male-t0-female RCA to mini 8″ connector and finally plugging in the mini 8″ microphone cable allows the use of an external mic with the N95 proved successful after, in his own experiment Shelby Highsmith chronicled in images and video the right combo. He discovered that the yellow cable connector was the correct connector, rather than the red one recommended by Bloggerman.

Important Note about the microphone you choose: it must either be a battery-powered condenser microphone or a dynamic microphone. Dynamic mics don’t require a power source, whereas condensers do and the Nokia input port does not supply power to the microphone. If a condenser is used it must be battery-powered.

I’ve tested this solution with a battery-powered Edirol C15 condenser mic and the results are promising. The real test is in the field with an interview subject. My field tests will begin next week featuring some live streaming from the polls in North Carolina’s Democratic Primary Election. Tune in to http://www.qik.com/mojo or watch my Twitter stream at http://www.twitter.com/mojosd for notification of when I’m live.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this discussion and the many experiments to narrow down the possibilities. I hope everyone who is creating mobile video streams using the N95 will find this solution helpful and we all can continue to move the production quality forward.

Improving Audio in Nokia N95 Videos – External Microphone

Published by:

Following my experience at CTIA Wireless 2008 with streaming video from a Nokia N95, I’ve sought a solution to adding an external microphone. The N95 has an input that is designed for making phone calls and adding a headset for this same purpose. It includes noise-cancelling automatic gain adjustment to make phone calls using the phone’s built-in microphone appropriately loud or soft depending upon the speaker’s voice level. The noise-canceling properties of automatic gain adjustment built into the N95’s microphone improves audio quality for phone calls by separating the speaker from the background noise which is problematic when that background noise is, in fact – not noise – but an interview subject.

Mark Squires of Nokia’s Social Media group tried to arrange a discussion for me with someone from the company’s accessories group, but I was scheduled too heavily with interviews to meet him inside the convention center. I shared with Ray Haddow who manages Blogger Outreach with the Social Media Communications group the solution developed for Reuters and their MoJo reporter’s kit, and asked if other adapters might be available.

 

Both Mark and Ray transformed the discussions and information from our emails into internal discussions about how Nokia might provide a solution. Afterall, the N95 as a “multimedia computer” is enjoying a symbiotic demand relationship with mobile video streaming services. All social media is creating a strata of use cases: from those who create V.I.T.A.L (video, images, text, audio & links) media for a few freinds, to those eager to add video to their toolbox for personal brand and even those who are using the N95 to report for MSM publications and networks like Shelby Highsmith for MTV Choose or Lose.

MTV’s Choose or Lose production is one example of how the combination of the N95’s 5MB video camera, and mobile streaming video services like Qik are being used to report in near-real-time on the events of the 2008 Presidential Election. Michael Scogin talked about the production and MTV’s citizen journalists during my interview with him at CTIA.

After CTIA, I connected with Michael Fortson of Qik via Twitter. We talked by phone and Twitter about the problem and need for a solution as so many of these high value on-the-spot videos were devalued by the unacceptable lack of audible audio. You can degrade the quality of the image and still have a compelling video, if the audio is excellent. The reverse is not true.

Michael pointed me to Jim Long, self-described new media guy trapped in an old media body. Jim uses an N95 to record images and videos from his vantage point of literally behind the camera. He is an NBC cameraman assigned to Washington, DC. Jim found this experiment by Steve Garfield using the N95 bundled external microphone.

 

And next he sent along a link to this experiment by Bloggerman. I received a pointer to this video from a few people.

 

And then others who have a stake in finding a solution to improving the quality of real time video through better audio also joined the conversation taking place openly on Twitter. Kartin Verclas from MobileActive and Shelby Highsmith one MTV’s citizen journalists. We all discussed the service offerings for live mobile video, the shortfall of the N95’s audio and potential solutions.

Shelby Highsmith recommended using a BT headset as a microphone, and made a video to demonstrate how the BT headset would function in a high noise environment like technology conferences, bars or restaurants. Meanwhile, I made a trip to Radio Shack and purchased two adapters for the experiment suggested by Bloggerman using the TV cable. Bloggerman stated the red cable plug must be used as it delivered the audio from among the three RCA plug set color coded red, white and yellow. But that didn’t work.

The results from my attempt to connect the N95 TV cable set to a female-to-female RCA to RCA adapter, the second adapter a male-t0-female RCA to mini 8″ connector and finally plugging in the mini 8″ microphone cable allows the use of an external mic with the N95 proved successful after, in his own experiment Shelby Highsmith chronicled in images and video the right combo. He discovered that the yellow cable connector was the correct connector, rather than the red one recommended by Bloggerman.

Important Note about the microphone you choose: it must either be a battery-powered condenser microphone or a dynamic microphone. Dynamic mics don’t require a power source, whereas condensers do and the Nokia input port does not supply power to the microphone. If a condenser is used it must be battery-powered.

I’ve tested this solution with a battery-powered Edirol C15 condenser mic and the results are promising. The real test is in the field with an interview subject. My field tests will begin next week featuring some live streaming from the polls in North Carolina’s Democratic Primary Election. Tune in to http://www.qik.com/mojo or watch my Twitter stream at http://www.twitter.com/mojosd for notification of when I’m live.

Thanks to everyone who participated in this discussion and the many experiments to narrow down the possibilities. I hope everyone who is creating mobile video streams using the N95 will find this solution helpful and we all can continue to move the production quality forward.

N95 External Microphone Solution