Shoot. Facebook Messenger?

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

Facebook Messenger app for iPhone

Another social media app?

While Google and Facebook trade blows in their social media slugfest, it’s clear who’ll win this fight.

Us.

Sure, it’s easy to get bogged down with all the social media offerings. We don’t have time to regularly use Facebook, Twitter and Google+, right?

Maybe not.

But we continue to text ’til our thumbs give out. And no one, anywhere, is chirping about how they don’t have time for texting.

Enter Facebook.

The ability to use Facebook’s messaging feature from our phones is nothing new. But the Facebook Messenger app feels like a souped-up SMS vehicle that allows you to include pictures and geotag messages.

The real power in this app, it appears, comes in how it connects us to contacts inside and outside the Facebook world. Start typing a name in the “To:” field, and you’re able to select from your Facebook friends and the contacts on your phone. It’s an exclusive club and a wide-open party at the same time.

Facebook Messenger app for iPhone

Now, about those geotags.

If you click into the location pin, guess what displays…

Of course. It’s a Google map.

That’s just one of the many interesting twists we’re sure to see as these social media giants keep trying to one-up one another.

The land grab is firmly focused on mobile at the moment. The introduction of the G+ app for iPhone put that service directly into plenty of palms, despite user complaints. You can bet Facebook has no intention of falling behind on the app front.

PC World is reporting that a video-chat component appears to be the on the horizon for the Facebook Messenger app. I’m wondering if this pushes Google to hurry its Hangout feature to phones.

I love it. We win as consumers when these companies compete like this. This story ends one of two ways: we either overwhelmingly support the better product, and it wins out; or the two continue to clash and crank out ever-evolving products that meet our changing needs.

Not everyone is a fan of Facebook’s latest offering, though. One writer even offers five reasons why you don’t need it.

If you’ve downloaded and tried the app, I’m interested to hear what you think. Comments?

Happy Halloween!

October 31, 2010 Leave a comment

Another year of trick-or-treating is in the books.

“Little” used his Luke Skywalker costume as an excuse to keep his crazy long hair. “Middle” couldn’t decide what he wanted to be, then opted at the last-minute to recycle his older brother’s Jack Sparrow costume from a few years ago. “Big” has officially reached I-don’t-dress-up age, but came along to help with the little guys.

It’s weird to watch these guys and try to remember how I felt, how I acted at their ages, when it came to Halloween. I can certainly recall being fired up about each year’s new costume.

I love being able to slow down, soak in these little pieces of childhood, and even relive a little bit of my own with them (like little Mr. Skywalker).

So, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to carry on a time-honored Halloween tradition.

That’s right. I’m going to eat half their candy while they’re asleep, before they get a chance to assess the loot tomorrow.

That’s the way we’ve always done it

October 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Yes, I’m about to go on another time kick.

Do you ever see something cool and wish you had time to do something like it?

I remember feeling that way a few years ago when I saw this video, which was made by students at Conception Seminary College in Conception, Mo.

At the time, I was working on a totally different kind of video project for the Benedictine Monks of Conception Abbey (yes, it’s all at the same place). While doing something like the “Move Along” video wouldn’t have been appropriate for the monks’ project, it did help me start looking at different ways to do things.

If you’ve followed me at all, you know I’m not a fan of “that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

But going off the deep end in the creativity pool doesn’t always equal ideal innovation. Some things need changed, some don’t. And change should come with purpose.

What are you doing in your job, or in your life, to better the process?

Categories: Blogtober

Netflix has changed my view of TV

October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

For nine dollars a month, I expected a huge drop-off from cable.

I was wrong.

Now, Netflix isn’t going to be the solution for everyone, but it’s been pretty close to perfect for my family’s viewing habits.

My kids have enjoyed watching their favorite Disney and Nick programming in chunks, whenever they want. It’s also been fun to introduce them to some of my childhood favorites like Fraggle Rock and The Littles.

For the adults of the house, Netflix has given us the opportunity to watch past seasons of popular shows that we’ve missed, or even series that are long gone. Arrested Development, Weeds and The Dresden Files are a few that we may have never watched, if not for Netflix, not to mention a wave of documentaries and Frontline-type offerings.

Crazy thing is, I initially justified the Netflix expense by comparing it strictly to what we spent on movie rentals. Two new movie rentals would cost the same or more than the nine-dollar monthly fee. So, if we rented just one movie a month, we would be ahead, or at least even.

I went in measuring Netflix as a movie-rental service, gauging the streaming offerings as a bonus. Our usage has been the opposite. Sure, we get 2-4 disc rentals per month, and watch movies via the streaming service. But, for the most part, we watch 30 and 60-minute programs.

Netflix has its cons, to be sure, but the service seems to have just about everything nailed. The lack of live sports–for me, anyway–keeps it from being a complete offering. However, the company continues to grow its catalog and its stock price.

Even with my current broken TV situation, Netflix still rules the roost in this house. We can watch it on the non-HD television via Nintendo Wii. Thanks to the iPhone/iPod app, we can also watch it on handheld devices. Then, there’s always the option of watching Netflix on the computer.

Now, if I could just carve out the time to go back and watch all of Lost all over again.

Categories: Blogtober, TV Tags: , , , ,

I don’t love lamp

October 28, 2010 3 comments

The saga of our broken TV continues.

I’ve Googled everything. Maybe it’s the lamp, perhaps it’s the power supply, or it could be the ballast.

A local tech told us he suspected the lamp. So, I ordered this thing.

That didn’t fix it. So, until I order a new ballast and/or power supply–assuming one or both of those things fix it–we’re still living with our temporary TV arrangement.

Anyone else out there had problems with a Samsung DLP? I’d love to find a fix that doesn’t involve spending a TV’s worth on parts and labor.

Categories: Blogtober, TV Tags: , , ,

Find the time

October 27, 2010 3 comments

Think about how much time we spend telling others–or ourselves–what little time we have.

“There’s not enough time in the day.”

“Time is running out.”

“Time is money.”

How about this one?

“There is time for everything.”

That one came from Thomas Edison, a guy who found time to innovate.

The other day, I complimented one of our former reporters on finally adopting Twitter for work.

This same reporter, despite being something like a decade younger than me, once claimed to be “old-school” when I criticized her for not tweeting from the scene of a story. She didn’t have time. She had to get video. Old-school, indeed.

My field isn’t the only one requiring rapid induction into the “new school.” It’s changing everywhere. And the amount of available time is the same.

Edison was right. We have to prioritize and be good time-managers. We already know this, yet so many resist when it comes to technology and their jobs.

Heck, my young, old-school reporter is even tweeting now. Imagine the following she’d have in her new, bigger market if she had taken the time to develop those skills way back when.

Categories: Blogtober, news, Social Media, TV

Halloween house hunting

October 26, 2010 Leave a comment

My family and I have been searching for some Griswolds of the graveyard. You know, people who go all-out with their Halloween decorations.

If we spend enough time looking for other homes with over-the-top spooky setups, my wife and kids wouldn’t have time to go overboard on ours. Well, that was my plan, anyway. Instead, they’re inspired.

Check out these two houses:

Cool, huh?

How about this? They’re actually across the street from one another. Tough to one-up the dead décor in that neighborhood.

Categories: Blogtober, Kids Tags: , ,