Archive for the ‘Rants & Raves’ Category

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If you are an iDevice developer or a PR representative for any company making apps (whether gaming or any other type of app it doesn’t matter) I am now offering my services to write press releases for your upcoming app or just-released app.

The rates will depend on the type of press release I am writing (length) and whether the developer will provide all the information we will put together into a nice format. If we have to do additional research and interviews (say of a CEO) I will charge more. The prices are negotiable, so feel free to e-mail me and inquire.

If you e-mail me, I can send you some samples of ones I’ve written. I mostly followed the prmac.com format. Here are recent samples of what I’ve written for a contact:

IntelliVocab 1.5 Released to Improve English Vocabulary Interactively

IntelliVocab for Business Announced

iCan ABC Announced

References:

Lana Parker
PR Manager
lana760@gmail.com
Twitter: @VelvetMobile

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[Update] This is a recent rewrite of the April update. I no longer work for AppAdvice and Tablets.com has been turned into an eCommerce site. So below is the current update:

Lately, I have also been learning and expanding my skill base into graphical design (with Photoshop and ArtStudio so far) and video editing (Final Cut). I am willing to take freelance clients in these endeavors as well as writing. I am a journalist first and foremost with a BA degree, so that is where my specialty still lies. I have experience covering events, adding my own multimedia, and now even graphical design and video editing to the mix. I hope a big publication or blog notices me one of these days as journalists need too.

One of the things that got me interested in digital art is my nature is that of an artist. I also think writing is both informing the reader and it is an art all onto itself. The advantage of being able to use Photoshop or digital image-editing well for Web writing, is you can spice up blogs and blog postings with good use of imagery.

I am now looking to expand to higher-paid writing jobs and take on freelance assignments in graphic design, press release-writing and video editing.

Thank you, Mike

And guess what? It’s coming Friday, the 11th. Apple’s next tablet iteration was unveiled yesterday at an Apple news event in the same downtown area and timeframe as the Game Development Conference (GDC 2011)– that was and still is underway.

What is kind of ironic, is that at GDC 2011 many iPhone and iPad developers were trying to showoff their upcoming apps. Yet Apple swayed many bloggers and journalists from that conference and into their own news event — with Steve Jobs speaking.

Here is a piece I posted for tablets.com — Where I’ve been writing as of late — about how Apple really tried to crash Nintendo’s GDC announcement and timed their own event to run concurrent to Nintendo’s.

Nintendo also took some jabs at Apple (although not directly), according to various sources present at Nintendo’s keynote, where Nintendo President Iwata made a speech.

Iwata basically claimed that Nintendo games are superior and Tablet and smartphone games are too cheap and ruining gaming. Here is what he said according to Jim Dalrymple from Loopinsight:

“Iwata said he considers Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft to be the only ones making high-value gaming products.”

So he thinks Microsoft makes quality products? I wonder if he says the same thing when it comes to their operating systems.

This just shows how scared Nintendo is right now and threatened it the compny executives must feel by Apple and Google. Someone should ask Iwata when a game with the scope of Aralon, or an Elder Scrolls type of experience hits the Nintendo handheld.

Here is my coverage of the iPad 2 and what it will offer for Tablets.com:

iPad 2 Revealed by Jobs Himself

Enough with iPad 2 Specs, How Bout Some Software News

This was my story for Appmodo that had a different spin with all the info presented in one post concentrating on specs, features:
iPad 2 Specs Unveiled from Apple Event

Although impressive technically and in regards to the added cameras, I will probably hold off on the upgrade until the iPad 3 and here is the reason why.

A Photoshopped image I made using ‘Art Studio HD’ for one of the Tablets.com posts:

I recently came across two interesting concepts while searching for apps on my iPad. Games that fall into a new category of gaming that mixes with other forms of media. In a sense gaming, music and books coming together to tell a visual story. I am specifically referring to games that combine story books or interactive novels with visual representations called game books — as well as games that combine visual gameplay with voice-based audio interaction.

One example of an audio-type game is Papa Sangre. The game plays without any visual graphics of any sorts and has you engage in a mystery of sorts dealing with the Mexican Day of the Dead tradition. Here is the app description from the official website:

Papa Sangre is a video game with no video. It’s a first-person thriller, done entirely in audio by an award-winning team of game designers, musicians, sound designers and developers. We’ve created an entire world using the first ever real-time 3D audio engine implemented on a handheld device. Which was BLOODY HARD.

It is interesting how certain developers are using all of the features of the iPad or iPhone like voice recognition with the microphone. This is an example of thinking outside the box. This concept reminds me of another game released a few months back by Square-Enix called Voice Fantasy. The game featured a light-hearted RPG storyline that was played with voice commands. The characters would be generated based on voice as well. I found it an interesting, albeit a bit shallow, concept that Square-Enix could run with in future titles if done right.

Another interesting concept I’ve ran into lately on the App Store gaming scene are interactive novel-games or books that have graphics, visual representations, and even quests with non-linear gameplay elements thrown in. Think of these apps as a mix between a book and an RPG-adventure game.

A recent example of such an app to get recognition and that is hailed as pretty much the cream of the crop (by TouchArcade at least) is the recent Fabled Lands HD, that is exclusive to the iPad on the App Store and features RPG elements in a book format.

According to Ellisthion from Dice of Doom, the app is ” a completely open game that has been compared to an MMO in book form, with no linear storyline and the ability to roam around the world as you see fit.”

With all these gread ideas being put together to add immersion to games, I think there is a lot to go in gaming before innovation ceases and the medium fails to advance. We are just scratching the surface here with ideas like voice recognition and sensory imagery being integrated into gameplay decisions. We will have greater roles in games rather than just watching a storyline unfold. Same thing holds true for digital novels and eBooks. As society moves away from print we will need something to compensate for the lack of that paper feeling reading is associated with and all the benefits a real book offers over a digital copy. Interaction is one way to keep our attention.

I think the future of gaming is headed in the virtual reality direction but the first step being sensory in origin — not necessarily with helmets or big visual devices putting our eyes in a different dimension. There is more than visual cues to an experience. The App Store, in particular, just continues to amaze me though with apps constantly pushing the boundaries.

Recently, a company called VS Technologies is suing Twitter because a patent was breached called “Method and system for creating an interactive virtual community of famous people”. The U.S. patent, also known as no. 6,408,309 deals specifically with Twitter allowing users and celebrities to interact online.

This is obviously true but technically can’t any social networking website, even blogs, allow for such interaction? What makes Twitter different than someone requesting a Facebook friend request from Lady Gaga or Ashton Kutcher?

Twitter has been known for various scandals or rumors breaking out, and it is public information though. Meaning we can access easily the tweets of pretty much anyone using the system unlike Facebook. But everyone that tweets and uses Twitter knows this and does it on their own account, yes even celebrities love to chitchat and engage with their fans.

Twitter does not really allow for long conversations anyway. It is defined by brevity. E-mails and even online social outlets or games like World of Warcraft or Second Life (more of a system of virtual communities like the patent tries to define) allows for longer and more in-depth conversation. So why concentrate on just Twitter? It is really odd that a company would do this.

Here is what the patent defines and the lawsuit is based on:

“As it pertains to this lawsuit, very generally speaking, the ’309 Patent discloses methods and systems for creating interactive, virtual communities of people in various fields of endeavor wherein each community member has an interactive, personal profile containing information about that member.”

Maybe instead of suing, VS Technologies should team up or learn something from Twitter. Often simplicity is the best method in integrating communities as Twitter showed. Twitter doesn’t try to be a complicated service or even a Facebook replacement. It is based on communication and sharing information in brief segments — not necessairly on a specific celebrity-based interaction.

I would suggest VS Technologies an acquisition but I doubt they could afford one, especially since Google is already on that path. Google realizes the communication possibilities of Twitter, and interactive environments like it. Google also understands Twitter’s potential created in integrating it with the rest of the Web thus streamlining the search process for stories or feeds for example. I am talking about apps, for instance, like iPad’s Flipboard that allows users to have a magazine-like navigation of tweets that often contains links to full articles and can be viewed directly from the app.

Twitter allows you to get feeds from a list of people or companies represented by someone using the service — in an organized fashion and without having to navigate the entire website of that said company. With Flipboard, you can look at main headlines and images of subjects that you are interested in and through Twitter feeds as well. The integration of social services with online Web content like news stories is getting more streamlines.

Basically the point I am getting at is that Twitter isn’t just an outlet of communication or gossip like some websites portray it. However it has it’s limitations as well — notably the brevity of the tweets you can post. I think it is silly to sue the company just because it allows celebrities and users to interact based on some patent. Any website or service online could technically allow this if the celebrities sign up and share their contact information. Speaking of Twitter, am I the only one who constantly has to find out the real spelling of the social network? I always think that the title is ‘Tweeter,’ due to users sending ‘tweets,’ and not as ‘Twitter.’

[Techcrunch]

Today while I was trying to enter Flipboard, which I have in the seventh screen on my iPad user interface, I’ve ran into some weird trouble. At first I just thought a part of my touch screen is damaged on the lower left where Flipboard is located but soon came to realize the whole screen doesn’t respond to touch on that particular window. The weird thing though is every other screen and icon works fine.

I am trying to figure out what the problem is and whether it is just a glitch or a bug — or something more pernamnet that I have to deal with. I am thinking that an iPad system reboot will fix the issue though. However, all my apps are still easily accessible, including Flipboard, I just have to type them in via the search screen.

Here is the video of me trying to access that screen’s icons and not being able to while going to the next screen and opening an app with ease.

Maybe someone can chime in and give me a tip on how to make icons on all the screens touch-sensitive again?

Update: I fixed the problem by switching off and back on the mute slider button. However, I still wonder what caused the problem.

It appears that News Corporation and Apple are really trying to make The Daily a total success and delayed the publication to figure out how to make it most successful.

Magazines not long ago saw a drop in readership on the iPad and the news must have been discouraging to Apple. This is the reason for the delay I think as Apple wants to make The Daily as successful as any print newspaper has been and possibly revolutionaize news. Rupert Murdoch probably wants the same thing to happen as does Steve Jobbs.

Apple might see the future of newspapers not on newsstands but on electronic devices such as the iPads and other tablets. Can this be the true savior of the journalism industry and “print” media? Could we, as journalists, be working from our homes and actually making big bucks while reporting, writing, and taking images-videos of news and features?

Yes, many of us are already doing this, but I mean with nice profits added on and the professions shifting this way from newsrooms. I think a journalism degree and good writing should account for something. Combined with being Web savvy, being able to edit videos, blog and add Images — we should be compensated for our work — even though we love it and would do it anyway.

I myself hope to write for some big publications or at least be compensated for my writing and would love to see online magazines and newspapers, even ones exclusive to tablets, a huge success.

Publishing eBooks on the App Store, writing for online media outlets and newspapers as well as blogging are perfect examples of citizen journalism, new media and traditional good reporting converging. Now with the iPad and the tablet revolution, lets hope the success and reinvention of journalism will finally happen. Despite common perception, I think it’s a great time to get into the field.

According to Engadget, the iPad 2 might have a new and faster processor and a retina-like display with double the current pixel density. It might also sport an SD card slot.

I think the rumors sound wonderful if true but a bit farfetched. That is if the iPad successor, rumored to be coming out and unveiled within months, is to remain at current price points.

The SD card slot rumors sound plausable and really necessary in my opinion. I believe flash memory is too expensive to match what netbooks have as storage with movable hard drives so slots like SD is where Apple needs to expand until the prices and technology advances.

Dual cameras are also rumored to be included and I think there is a very likely chance of this happening. No reason not to put that in as the current iPhone 4 has dual cameras. Facetime or some sort of Skype conference calling would rock on an iPad.

I also think that the iPad will have more accurate or higher-def pixel density than the current model, but it really begs the question of how much higher res the display will be.

One thing that is absolutely necessary in my book is for the second iPad to have more ram and be geared from the get go for multitasking. 512 mb is the very least but I would like to see a gig in there. The ram is also more expensive and not the standard ram sticks we see in computers or netbooks however but I believe Apple can pull it off.

[Engadget]

I found a great little piece with a long two-part audio segment relating to citizen journalism and Web-based journalism:
Journalism? Are you crazy?

The message is clear; anyone who has anything to say can be heard and do reporting these days. We do not need gatekeepers anymore.

My experience with print media has been less than stellar. I did some internships and do have some experience in this field, but there are numerous reasons for my criticism. One is that many editors seem to think they are gods, or that they can alter and change your writing to suit their personal style. This got me really angry because the writing was so altered that it didn’t even sound like it was coming from me at times. It was also altered, or edited, in areas not having to do with copy errors or AP style errors at all — simply preference by the editors. A lot of the editors still around in print are also not willing to embrace social media, the Web, and citizen journalism. Some of these papers also rely entirely on interns (who do not get paid) for actual journalism work, while they sit in their chairs and rule as if they were kings. They also do not value the things that younger readers in the midsts of Web 2.0 value: social media, interaction and news that reaches them.

I can go on and on about my dislike for traditional journalism in the newspaper sphere of things. Shocking headlines for example and ruining someone’s reputation to get your name as a journalist out; or quoting one side of the story without the other. These are all central California themes we see from these small town-newspapers who want to do things the easy way rather than put actual work into every story they cover. There is a reason many crime suspects, and their families, refuse to answer reporters’ questions anymore.

This is also a reason I have been focusing on freelancing and technology reporting. I find that having such a niche is indispensable in today’s world with more newspapers and print media falling. I enjoy news and breaking events as well; but do not want some old guy sitting in a sofa telling me what to do or how to put the shock value at the audience — at the expense of someone else. What needs to happen is for online outlets to be able to gain revenue through more means than Google Adsense and for Web news to become more profitable.

There is a lot to like about traditional journalism; especially the professionalism and standard taught to students that prove quality over teh interwebz speak. However, this doesn’t have anything to do with print media necessarily because real journalists can work remotely or freelance as well.

Well, since I want to make this post fit in with the theme of this particular blog, where does the iPad fit in with Citizen or New Journalism? The iPad is light, portable, has apps from Youtube to Twitter to WordPress itself. The battery lasts all day.

When the camera comes in with the next generation of the iPad and the flash-memory improvements arise, we can really talk citizen journalism on the go (literally all day anywhere you are at the time you could be participating in citizen journalism).

Citizen journalism to me means using Web tools like Twitter, Youtube, WordPress, and your journalism degree and background of good writing — to create unique content and on-the-go with the iPad is the perfect way to do it. I think this is where the future revolution of journalism will go. Not just writing but being able to create new content for the masses in general (video, audio, writing, etc.).

Hello to anyone who reads this blog. I haven’t added any recent reviews or updates in a while but have been pretty busy. I’ve been writing for AppModo (as well as subsidiaries of iPadModo and MacModo) right now and here is my profile with a list of stories I’ve written in the past week or so:
AppModo, iPadModo, and MacModo.

Apparently, the Evac HD review wasn’t posted on TheAppera but I’m going to leave it here. It must not have been the type of game James found his readers would enjoy and it’s a shame as it is great. I am also putting off working for NoDpad off for a while due to AppModo policies of not writing for competing sites. It is worth it for me though as AppModo is a great site with all kinds of tech topics to talk about — not just games. There is also possibilities pay and advancements hopefully so I can do what I love as a profession. I am also looking for various other part(maybe full)-time jobs that relate to the Web, tech or writing in some way or form.