Armen Chakmakjian

Archive for February, 2009|Monthly archive page

Video: IM, blogging, microblogging, and posting…

In technology on February 27, 2009 at 2:13 pm

All social media from the early days of BBS and Unix News Groups and the rudimentary email (some of us remember cutting our teeth on VAX/VMS mail and VMS Notesfiles) all have a similar purpose to the oo wow things people are doing now on the web.  Basically the VMS Phone utility was not dissimilar to IM or even twitter if you used it in a certain way (like call 8 people at the same time and just let it rip).   Given the change in technology, the format and use has not changed in 30 years.  We’ve just added color and backgrounds.   In truth I kinda miss the old virus’s that you could get on VMS mail that would turn all your fonts upside down or make your screen look like it was melting in line drawing characters.

That being said the true new thing is video.  Yes people have been doing YouTube for a while, but now only with ubiquitous cable or fios is it really practical to post videos or even stream in IM.  Last week, my wife and I talked each night via our two mac laptops…I was in Mountain View, CA and she was in our home 3000 miles away in Mass.  We didn’t use the phone (except to make initial contact…a holdover from the last century).

The nuance that has occured is that video is now being used (including YouTube) to do what the blogging and microblogging sites have been doing.  You can post the equivalent of tweets on 12secondtv or start a thread of conversation on seesmic and of course YouTube allows you to do both to some extent.

This is an interesting application of the technology because now you not only don’t have to do the equivalent of IM (1-n immediate communication) in video, you can leave your thought and your image in time and other people can comment.  The business application of this is huge.    Combining these three technologies (video contact, video posting, video comment threading) essentially makes the Jetsons for real.

In the late 1800’s 3 inventors created the prototypes for the technology we are using today.  Alexander Graham Bell invented the audio immediate point to point communication over a wire and Thomas Edison created the recording spindle, and George Eastman the simple and cheap way to take pictures and share them.   Pictures became videos, the recording spindle became audio recording and the phone was the first IM.

Combining those three proto-technologies,  you now have personal video instant messaging and posting and commenting.  No the computer was not the breakthrough…the computer was a technology on which the previous ideas got accelerated.  the computer is the equivalent to moving from tubes to transistors to semiconductors.  They in of themselves don’t do anything without an application.   I remember the light pen on the 3270 terminals on the IBM/360’s…then you have a mouse and now touch screen monitors or pads.  Same application on a new technology:  Pointing.

On my desk at work I have an IP phone.  it has a set of features that seem cool at first and somehow anachronistic.  I barely use it…only when it is an absolute necessity to call someone who I have not already contacted 6 different ways across the internet, OR to patch into a meeting call…which could easily be done on the other box on my desk that is showing me the slides.

The business applications of this are huge.  The other phone technology that will morph along with this is voicemail.  Once a person has a cheap way to capture those messages in video from their mother that doesn’t require them to become a computer nerd, we have arrived.   I’d hate to see what the automated voicemail spam from marketers will morph into though…I can imagine having insurance companies/mortgage companies hitting me with spam on my video cell phone…ugh…

So I’ve babbled on long enough.  And if you noticed, I typed this all in…I really should have made a video blog of this and put it on youtube, but I wasn’t brave enough to try and talk without a script from inside of Panera bread.  Maybe I will when I clean up the script a bit.   Then I think I will have moved myself into that world.

Reflections on the path…

In Random on February 21, 2009 at 4:12 am

So, I just spent a most of a week in Mountain View.  I was sent here a member of a cadre of leaders-in-development at Intuit.  I had an awesome time.  It was a week of soul-searching, learning, collaborating and networking.   I couldn’t go into everything I learned, but I can get into some of the essential stuff with which I walked away:

  1. Simplify your message
  2. Passion for learning is palpable and infectious
  3. My Troy Brown speech works great even though I have to keep apologizing to San Diego Charger fans (he is awesome, sorry)
  4. We have some phenomenal business and corporate leads here at Intuit.
  5. I have to stop being so hard on myself…but at the same time, I have to execute much better.
  6. You have to accept and even thrive on ambiguity  the farther removed you are from the line work
  7. Energy is vital to motivation (and I have to accept that I actually come off energetic)

There are probably more.  I’ll have to think about it.  But I am sitting here reflecting and my VPN token seems to have defecated the sleeping arrangements so I can’t thank all the people that I grew with this week until I’m somehow able to overcome this “opportunity”.

The major dilemma is: can I keep the vital few things that I know I have to fix in the short term at the front of my priority list when the day to day responsibilties fill my attention.

Looking forward to my return.

A couple of new posts on the QuickBase Blog

In Random on February 2, 2009 at 6:46 pm

Just wanted to point people to some new stuff on the QuickBase Blog. One of our team members did a poster session at New England Database Day

I also did a post on a little feature in my Quick and Dirty series that showed how to add color to a cell in a report.

Ethnic Mashups…A Mariachi Band Plays Armenian Traditional Dance Music…

In Music on February 1, 2009 at 4:49 am

I like ethnic mashups.   Chinese guys who speak Armenian,   Dr. Suess’ Grinch who stole Xmas in Latin, Umberto Eco poking fun at Jorge Luis Borges in “The Name of the Rose” by making the blind head of the Library.   Here’s a new one.   A Mariachi Band from America playing in Armenia, playing a typical line dancing Armenian song in the Mariachi style.  

The funny thing about this one is that to some people, the combination of Mariachi and Armenian sounds like the 1960’s-1970’s Turkish Pop songs that my mother listened to when I was young when the singer warbles his voice in a certain way.