Archive for the tech Category

What I learned this summer about the use of social media during a crisis

Posted in social media, tech on August 4, 2011 by Trip Jennings

I’m a big social media user. Facebook, Twitter, Google +, Tumblr — name a networking site and I either have it or have heard of it. Social networking sites, as we’ve discovered in recent years, do much more than keep us in touch with old friends. They can, and have, become forums for people in various situations, from protesters in Egypt to reporters covering a jury verdict in a high-profile trial. But I didn’t really understand social media’s full power until this summer, when a massive wild land fire threatened Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

People from all over New Mexico, and the United States for that matter, started tweeting and updating their Facebook status reports to share information about the fire and its fallout, including attempting to find hotel rooms and homes for total strangers — the Los Alamos residents who were evacuated from their residences. It was amazing watching the online community come together. Here’s a story I did on the social media aspect of the Las Conchas fire in New Mexico. Hope you enjoy.


Solitude & Participation, the muses of creativity

Posted in art, film, literature, music, news, philosophy, pop culture, religion, science, tech, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 2, 2011 by Trip Jennings

This is a good refresher on creativity and how to stoke it. I found myself agreeing that the seemingly contradictory combo of solitude and participation are key to stirring up creativity. I do the participation thing. Reporting. Interacting online. Reading books, magazines, newspapers, blogs. The challenge in my world is finding time for solitude. Thanks to Kelly Brewer for posting it on Facebook.

Amplify’d from

Creativity is a nebulous, murky topic that fascinates me endlessly — how does it work? What habits to creative people do that makes them so successful at creativity?

I’ve reflected on my own creative habits, but decided I’d look at the habits that others consider important to their creativity. I picked a handful of creatives, almost at random — there are so many that picking the best would be impossible, so I just picked some that I admire, who came to mind when I thought of the word “creative”.

This was going to be a list of their creative habits … but in reviewing their lists, and my own habits, I found one that stood out. And it stands out if you review the habits and quotes from great creative people in history.


Computers: Detecting heart disease and recognizing faces, they also gauge how you like a movie

Posted in film, philosophy, pop culture, science, tech, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 2, 2011 by Trip Jennings

The New York Times gives us an update on computerized video-cameras and what they’re doing across a wide swath of society.

Amplify’d from

Daniel J. McDuff, a graduate student, stood in front of a mirror at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. After 20 seconds or so, a figure — 65, the number of times his heart was beating per minute — appeared at the mirror’s bottom. Behind the two-way mirror was a Web camera, which fed images of Mr. McDuff to a computer whose software could track the blood flow in his face.

The software separates the video images into three channels — for the basic colors red, green and blue. Changes to the colors and to movements made by tiny contractions and expansions in blood vessels in the face are, of course, not apparent to the human eye, but the computer can see them.

“Your heart-rate signal is in your face,” said Ming-zher Poh, an M.I.T. graduate student. Other vital signs, including breathing rate, blood-oxygen level and blood pressure, should leave similar color and movement clues.


Student protests open window into broader discussion

Posted in art, literature, music, news, philosophy, pop culture, religion, science, tech with tags , , on December 12, 2010 by Trip Jennings

I’ve not paid close attention to the recent protests in Britain beyond reading the headlines and marveling at the shocked faces of Prince Charles and Camilla as angry students attacked their car last week. But a couple of blog posts I read today, admittedly old posts, opened a window into the situation, at least for me. It’s a small window, from a distinct angle. Historical allusions to May 1968, of course, are on display, as is the contention that students are putting to use what they are learning in class. I’m always suspicious of such grand comparisons and pronouncements that students are making the move from theory to praxis. But I found the posts worth reading, not only for the on-the-ground observations but for suggesting ways to think about the protests. this one:

UPDATE: The first URL doesn’t lead you to the essay I read, so I’m posting the address again.


Fastest Rising Google Searches in 2010

Posted in music, news, pop culture, tech with tags , , , , on December 11, 2010 by Trip Jennings

wow … 2010 is almost over.

Does WikiLeaks show us the limits of public space on Internet?

Posted in news, science, tech on December 8, 2010 by Trip Jennings

WikiLeaks and the documents it has made available to the media in recent days has set off a paroxysm of criticism and derision across the globe, inciting powerful entities — from the U.S. government to mighty corporations — to action.I’m not sure where I stand on WikiLeaks’ mission and how it plays out in the real world. My own experience has reinforced a belief that power comes with access to information. I also understand the importance of secrets, in certain circumstances. As we debate the merits or pitfalls of releasing so many secrets a parallel conversation is going on concerning WikiLeaks’ experience on the Internet, particularly vis-a-vis companies that control key gateways on the information highway. Here’s one perspective in that discussion. I’m interested to hear what others think.

Upgraded Android OS makes Trip smile

Posted in tech on December 7, 2010 by Trip Jennings

I’m not a developer, just of user, of Android OS on my Droid. So I’m not a tech savant. Even so, I’m excited by some of the upgrades ReadWriteWeb says are on Gingerbread (Android 2.3). Many seem to have a goal of making apps more efficient and less power greedy. Others are just cool in that gee-whiz, how did they think of that? The main question I have now is when does my HTC Incredible get the upgrade? (Yep, this post is written out of self interest. Maybe someone out there knows and can hip me to the schedule for upgrades.)