Archive for the ‘Personal Thougths’ 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

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.

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.

Hello fellow gadget-lovers, gamers, or potential employers. My name is Mike Lata and I decided to start this blog after I acquired some cool gadgets, like the iPad, as graduation gifts. It started out mainly focusing about games and apps, but it now offers more of a personal page full of my writing credentials. The site, however, still mainly deals with technology and computing. I recently received the 16GB Apple Ipad and the iPhone 4 as gifts for graduating College with a journalism Bachelors degree (minor in economics). I went to Chico State (took a semester at San Jose State as well) and now live in Cupertino, CA — where the Apple headquarters is.

I have never been a fan of Apple until recently because of my previous stereotypes of Macs. I was turned off for example by the thought of not being able to load popular games on a Mac; but now discovered a program called BootCamp that let’s you load both Windows and iOs on the Mac. This means you can get the best of both worlds – Mac OS X and Windows apps, programs, and games. Now that I have access to an iMac that has the latest Mac OS X and Windows (via the Bootcamp method), overall expectations of Apple totally changed. I became a pretty big fan, but still have use for certain Windows apps or programs.

I also heard many stereotypes about the iPad being just an oversized iPod Touch or iPhone. All these pre-judgments of course turned out to not be true in my experience due to the form factor being so much superior in my view.

What I also want to mention is I went through two different Windows laptops that got over-filled with viruses and spyware in the course of last year. I fixed one (with a clean hard drive reformat causing me to lose all of my data), but the other one is pretty much unfixable. In order to reformat that laptop, all the hardware specs woukd have to be factory defaults. I am looking into selling it for parts to tell the turth — especially since I only use my iPad for mobile computing.

Besides having access to an iPad, iPhone, iMac, and another older laptop, I also have the iMac with dual-boot Windows and Mac OS X (bootcamped). I am typing this blog and plan to type most if not all future blogs on my iPad using an app called Pages. The app is part of Apple’s iWork suite on the App Store. It is a pretty good for word processing, but laxks certain desktop features like tracking chanes. The app offers various fonts, spell checking, header and footer xustomization, and the ability to export (via various formats). It pretty much has what students and bloggers need for typing and I definitely recommend it. I also recommend the offline pages app for the Wi-Fi only iPad owners as it stores Web page data. I might go further into these apps in future blogs.

As for myself, I am a recent graduate with a bachelors in journalism and have been doing feature writing as of late for various sites. I am also getting better at video filming/editing using Apple’s Final Cut Pro. The Film creation process is another huge fascination of mine that I enjoy. I especially love historical films like ‘Kingdom of Heaven.’

Right now, I live in Cupertino — the place where the main Apple headquarters is. I am also trying to improve my Web design skills. When I update my websites, or create new ones, I will share it here. It will be interesting to see if Google’s Adsense turns profitable for me.

In regards to my history, I was born and raised in Poland and came to California at the age of 9. Most of my family is still over there and I visit every couple years. I speak Polish and English fluently and some German and Spanish. I think languages teach a lot about cultures by the way they allow people to express themselves or by looking at the tenses and formality rules. I also enjoy traveling and meeting people from all walks of life.

My older blog about the world wide web and online journalism that I wrote in my final semester of college for a course can be read here:
Technology and Journalism

I also wrote a Blogspot blog-post about student volunteers helping the homeless:
Peanut Butter and Jelly Time

I did an internship for Palo Alto Weekly and my stories can be found by searching my name.

I also wrote many good and interesting stories for the award winning Chico State newspaper ‘the Orion‘ but they are in the process of updating their archives.

As you can see I have some experience as a reporter and a journalist and it really is my passion no matter what subject or topic-at-hand I always seem to learn something new.

Do not hesitate to send me an e-mail at Virolak@yahoo.com

I also recently started a Twitter about App Store games and technology.

The Apple Ipad is a really nifty lightweight gadget. Rather than just a gadget, I can almost call it a third-hand of mine ever since receiving mine that I just I had to have. Despite what some critics say, it is much more than just a smartphone or Another iPhone. It has pretty much all the features of the iPhone plus applications specifically built for the larger screen like Pages. Certain applications need the width and height of the iPad to function well, hence why I don’t think word processing has a future on the iPhone but it does on iPad. Surprisingly, the touch-toned keyboard is very responsive and efficient – much more so than the iPhones and a Bluetooth keyboard is easy to connect. Though due to the Os setup there is no bluetooth mouse connectivity so that kind of defeats the use of the keyboards in my opinion. The whole gist of the iPad is in how well the Os is setup for touch interface-use however in the sense you can do everything from quickly moving the cursor between letters by holding down a point to getting rid of entire URL entries by clicking an x that is much easier to navigate than with the iPhone.

The thing that sets the iPad apart from the standard desktops for me is the portability of the device which includes it’s lightness and the ability to put it between your arms while walking – thus having your hands free – and the fun or slickness of it. The $40, iPad case is really a must though and makes the experience much better. Besides protecting the shell and screen, it allows the iPad to independently stand upright in front of the user like a monitor instead of having to hold it like a book.

The battery life is incredible and in my book one of it’s selling points to both iPhone-heavy users and laptop-heavy users – both probably hassled by having a power source nearby and their charger cables on hand. The iPad will pretty much go whole day without having to be charged and that includes in a night or dark lighting.

Some of the downsides – which are often blogged about and mentioned on tech websites – are the competitive software restrictive practices of apple. For instance Adobe Flash is inaccessible despite the fact many websites rely on it for content or are based off Flash. However Apple does have a point in terms of the battery drainage and processing power bottlenecks that result from many Flash applications and websites. Many apps, like Farmville, also have their own AppStore versions that can downloaded for free off iTunes, or for some small change, and run much more efficient than the official flash-web variants. ITunes is very easy to use and prices are just right in my opinion especially compared to Windows-based applications or software you have for notebooks (including netbooks).

Another downside is the integration of some apps like trying to add attachments to e-mails is difficult -although I heard there are some apps for this on iTunes – or wanting to add files off the iPad to websites through browse selections. The lack of USB ports is another shortcoming.

Despite some downsides the iPad really made web browsing fun again and took away most of the hassle away associated with portable computing. Besides the already-mentioned shortcomings of laptop-devices not having to scroll with a notebook scroller or have to carry a mouse on you, is another thing to think about in terms of comfort and portability. I even use mine standing up in Starbucks restroom lines for instance without any discomfort or heaviness of the device.

Integration of various applications needs some fine tuning but it is not bad at all with some patience and practice. For example I wrote an early version of all three of the first blogs in one long iWord document and copy and pasted parts of each – including a block of text between two others with the drag commands. I pasted these blogs, or block a of text, onto each post here on WordPress that I also downloaded from the App store free.

I have also recently added my blue tooth keyboard from my iMac to the ipad and it is a nifty little addition despite the fact I was trying to find a mouse with my right hand at the same time. It just seems as second nature and it would be a cool addition of Apple gave you the option to use it in addition to the touch interface. However I understand the limitations and that the main draw for the iPad is obviously its portability.

One thing I also want to mention is how I love the fact portrait and landscape modes offer such different experiences to users and tailor to people who want different things out of their iPads as each offers advantages and disadvantages in typing and visibility.

I suggest for anyone that does a lot of web surfing or on-the-go computing to try one out, and look what the iPad really has to offer before dismissing it as another smartphone or netbook. As I’m typing right now competitors are emerging that include the infamous Samsung Galaxy, but Apple clearly set the tone in this market and brought tablet-computing on the map as an alternative to the notebook.