WhatsApp Messenger is a cross-platform mobile messaging app available for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Windows Phone and Nokia. (Photo taken from the WhatsApp website)

Messenger, Viber, WhatsApp, Kik me, maybe

The headline screamed “install me now!” It was for yet another mobile messaging application and this time, one that promised, according to TechCrunch, “A Richer, Faster Messaging App That Quickly Grabs Doodles, Videos & Images.”

The article about MessageMe got me at: “It’s light, It’s fast and it isn’t just limited to texting or photos.”

I promptly opened the website and was invited to “experience the free messenger that everyone’s talking about.”

The app was quick to install and set up. After activating my account, it immediately scoured through my social networks to look for contacts already in the system. Of my 797 phone contacts, MessageMe was able to find only one who already signed up. One out of 797, imagine that. And that person signed up, I suspect, because he wrote about the service for a tech website. After a few days of checking whether other friends would sign up and seeing none, I uninstalled the app.

Continue reading →

Disruptive innovation and journalism

The idea is broadly misunderstood, said Harvard professor Clayton Christensen. Disruptive innovation isn’t just about being new, different or radical.

Disruptive innovation is transforming “something that used to be complicated and expensive so that only the rich and people with a lot of skill had access to it and could use it” and making it “so much more affordable, simple and accessible that a whole new population of people has ready access to it.”

Christensen is the authority on disruptive innovation and wrote “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” a book that was said to have deeply influenced Steve Jobs, the epitome of a tech innovator.

Last year, Christensen, along with Nieman fellow David Skok and James Allworth collaborated on researching disruptive innovation in journalism. That paper became “Breaking News,” which you can download as an e-book.

David Skok, Clay Christensen and Nieman Foundation curator Ann Marie Lipinski during their discussion disruptive innovation and journalism. (Screen grab from NiemanLab website)

David Skok, Clay Christensen and Nieman Foundation curator Ann Marie Lipinski during their discussion disruptive innovation and journalism. (Screengrab from NiemanLab website)

Continue reading →

Cebuano student leads team behind voice-controlled photo editing app

“Change the color of the shirt,” the voice on the video said. Like magic, the shirt of the woman in the photo took on a bluish hue and, with a swipe on a slider, turned orange.

The video (embedded at the end of this post) is a demonstration of PixelTone, a prototype iPad app that allows users to edit images using voice commands and touch gestures.

The app was created by a team from the University of Michigan School of Information working with Adobe Research. That team is led by graduate student research assistant and masters student Gierad Laput, a Cebuano.

Gierad Laput during a recent presentation. The Cebuano student led a team that created an app that allows users to edit photos using a combination of voice commands and touch gestures.

Gierad Laput during a recent presentation. The Cebuano student led a team that created an app that allows users to edit photos using a combination of voice commands and touch gestures. (Photo provided by Gierad Laput)

Continue reading →