First impressions of #Periscope

Have you already used #Periscope on your mobile devices? Yes? Me not, this time I am a complete newbie to a popular app and technology. Of course I have heard of this new application for Android and iPhone, and I have been aware of it to be something about filming and watching videos. But I never felt like to use or to study it. Even though it seems to be made by Twitter Inc., and I love Twitter!

Then, couple of days ago, the @britishmuseum announced an event on Periscope. The historian Dan Snow (@thehistoryguy) did a Periscope show for the British Museum in London, allowing people from all over the world to have some exclusive insight into one of their amazing special exhibitions: “Defining Beauty“. This has been a fantastic opportunity for me to finally have a look at Periscope. By the way, the exhibition itself is awesome as well. So many marvellous statues – you really have to visit it if you are about to be in London until 5th July.

So, what is Periscope?

It seems that every user is able to broadcast some kind of “TV show” through this simple app. Activate your phone camera and allow people from anywhere in the world to watch the same things you look at. Film yourself while walking or dancing or chatting or browsing a historic exhibition and let them see it. At the same time, the viewers are able to participate, to communicate with you and each other by sending chat messages. So all in all it is Twitter with broadcasting, just like, but this time not with games, but with real life. And mobile. Quite an awesome idea!

Though I like the general idea, I still see some problems. Bandwidth, for example. I myself have quite some trouble to stream to Twitch with a cable connection. How to make proper videos without Wi-Fi, but with mobile network? And would that not cost a lot? At least in Germany we do not have any flat rates, and a volume of 500MB internet traffic must be depleted quite soon. Another problem is more of a software thing – the whole app seems to be programmed for portrait mode. You are neither able to switch the mode for watching the videos, for recording them nor for chatting. Of course Dan Snow did use the landscape mode to show the amazing rooms of the BM-exhibition, and people might be able to turn their heads or their phones to watch the image properly. But chatting is only in portrait mode. Kinda strange, but not a big problem. Periscope might be able to allow landscape chatting as well somewhere in the future. I hope they do so.

What about you – have you already used Periscope? What are your experiences? What have you been watching? Even though I really love the idea behind the app, at the end this is just another step in multimedia development. These days it becomes more and more easy to create pictures, videos, songs for all people, not just those who have been educated or trained for these tasks. Maybe the quality will suffer from that development? Or is it some positive “democratic” change, that all people are able to use computers to make their dreams come true? What do you think about it? Just tell me, here, below these lines. You will see some commentary area. Use it. Now! 😉

Review: the app@night hackathon at LMU

Two days ago I wrote about the app@night hackathon at LMU Munich which I was about to participate in. There was no chance for me to write something in the meantime, so let me briefly sum up and discuss the last two and a half days.

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app@night – hackathon at LMU Munich

This weekend will be full of work for me – work here being coding, hacking, learning about new technology. Why that? Because this weekend there will be a hackathon at my university, the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, called “app@night“. As I have never participated in any hackathon before, I am not really qualified to explain what that might be. As far as I understood, hackathons are coding events, most times lasting for one day or one week at its best, aiming to learn about coding, to work with other people and to find out about new technology, new frameworks, new programming languages (here the link to the English wikipedia entry). Our specific hackathon will last for the whole weekend and includes several programmes concerning mobile development, especially Google Glass, Android smartwatches or iOS, to mention just some of them. There has been no restriction to students of computer science, so I guess there will be people with quite heterogene background. I am really excited about our task, our group (at least I already know 2 out of 5) and, of course, the outcome. We will be working with Google Glass, and I am really, really excited to put my hands on one of these devices! 🙂

WhatsApp – have you seen my message?

First things first: I don’t use WhatsApp. I’ve used it a long time ago, before they had decided to take money from their users. Even though it was just some cents, I was and I am not willing to pay for a company which is not willing to speak with its customers, to inform them about future technical plans or recent problems, especially concerning data security. And after being bought by facebook, WhatsApp got even less interesting to me. But that are personal feelings and decisions and not universal. But of course I do use some instant messaging systems, especially Google’s Hangouts.

Continue reading WhatsApp – have you seen my message?