This week I watched the live Boston Marathon coverage from the minute I got home until late into the night. I felt tingly and even teared up at one point as I watched the footage. It was when I saw a camera guy stationed at the finish line catch the blast. This footage was embedded on the Winnipeg Free Press site and was decked with Boston Globe branding at each end of the video.
This camera guy ran to the barricades decked with flags of the world and caught glimpses of people with limbs savagely blown off laying in the street. His reaction was confused devastation. It made this situation so real and human and plunked me right down in the middle of the attack.
Oddly, it was something I hadn’t felt in a long time. That’s an awful thing to say, but I truly am desensitized to school shootings and terrorism attacks in the middle east, though I never could watch the Magnotta video nor did I try.
I came into this program wanting to do journalism, particularly broadcast journalism. As a kid, I always imagined writing for the Free Press or throwing back to Barbara Lee Edwards on CKY 5, and I was encouraged far back in school by English teachers to pursue CreComm even though I was a hard student to teach. CreComm was exactly what I needed.
Then I got into the program and the talk that dominated most of this school year was journalism is a dying craft. We saw the Free Press layoff a lot of young talent and opinions turned kind of dark for a while.
Then it felt like a whole lot of scrambling went on to After that, there was the perception among my peers that there wasn’t any money in journalism anymore and the program was scrambling to bring in seasoned journalists to convince us otherwise control some of the bad PR floating around among students.
As a result, only 13 students have decided to major in Journalism next year, but I’m not one of them. It’s starting to feel like a mistake. Fortunately, I picked Media Production, which is something that does truly interest me, and we do get to spend our full Thursdays putting together a news cast either on or off camera.
So, we’re out of RRC for the summer after this week and I’m forging ahead with Media Production, but I’ve rediscovered my passion for journalism and can’t wait to start learning broadcast journalism class and the inside out of television and radio. I discovered this semester that I actually love writing and reading radio news.
Have a great summer, everyone. I’ll check in periodically and will keep updating my Facebook and Twitter accounts. Andy Mac out.
Have you heard of this new computer that’s the size of a deck of cards? If you haven’t heard of the Raspberry Pi, the higher-end model sells for $35 (lower end sells for $25) and is comparable in power and performance to a modern smartphone. These days, that’s fairly powerful. The Pis run slightly modified versions of Linux (off of a SD card) and there’s work being done to make sure Android is compatible. It’s capable of HD video and digital sound thanks to an HDMI port. If you have an older TV, there’s also a RCA video port and a headphone jack. They’re so energy efficient you can run them off of four AA batteries.
The Raspberry Pi was originally developed for kids to learn programming at home and at school, where parents and administrators may be wary to teach what is becoming a fundamental skill due to fear of damaging expensive computers. The hacker enthusiast crowd snatched up most of the initial 10,000 units from the first production run in a mere few hours.
If you’re not already a bit excited by the sound of this device, consider that low-cost, powerful computing is where we’re headed as a society. This changes everything. Now, developing nations will have access to computing resources. They’ll be coming online in the near future as well. People will be able to hack together all sorts of creative solutions such as arcade cabinet revivals, space cams with weather balloons, or a robotic video camera using a Roomba. It’s a brief introduction to Web 3.0, also known as “The Internet of Things”, which will see many items come online, everything from your TV, your fridge, and your toaster, to your car, your lighting, and maybe even your toilet.
I have two on order and am going to be using them to automate showtimes and show announcements at my drive-in movie nights. This will control music playback, intermission times, show starts, the projector’s power and settings, and status announcements via walkie-talkies. They should be delivered this week, just in time to head off for summer break and have a whole bunch of free time to hack away on them.
This post is going to be a shameless plug about my website thrusong.com, which will help people compose professional quality songs either independently or with their friends, fans, bandmates, and more. You can also market your songs made with the site or elsewhere.
The idea originally came out of secluded country living. I was painfully learning how to play the piano on my own and making notes along the way of things that would’ve just made it easier. I also started to venture into songwriting and realized that their were things I couldn’t do on my own, like drums or a real, rocking guitar, and thus the idea was born.
I will be pitching a guerrilla campaign (on Monday as my IPP) to bring thrusong to market. I encourage you to sign up to try it out at thrusong.com and tell your friends. Any one who signs up will be eligible for early access when the site soft launches this summer and some great prizes, which you’ll hear about in due time.
Winter just won’t end. This should be obvious to you if you’ve left your house or even looked out a window lately. Personally, I dislike winter. A lot. I actually dislike spring a lot too, though: It’s still cold a lot of days, it’s slushy, wet, and dirty, and it costs a lot of money to keep the car clean and filled with washer fluid, not to mention you have to clean your house thanks to the wonderful ‘spring cleaning’ movement which I don’t get.
A lot of these things have conspired against me to make sure we push the Dacotah Drive-In’s opening night, which was scheduled for five days from now, back several weeks. We can’t get on the lot and when it finally melts, we’ll be sinking into the mud for the first bit, so it looks like we might be stuck with a May opener. We could potentially lose up to two movie nights this season.
Looking on the bright side, literally, Louis and I are going to start building a marquee for the theatre to replace the dinky sign we used to have. We’re taking two pieces of styrofoam insulation board, carving out the logo on each and creating backlit channel letters with rope light. We’ll also be piercing holes all around the border to fill with mini Christmas lights that have a chase sequence effect. Finding these lights this time of year is becoming a problem. I’ll do a follow up post to show the process (normally I design these creations, like the projector box, and Louis builds them because I have awfully unsteady hands). I’m hoping to get started on this right away. We might even re-build the projection box using the styrofoam board this summer.
Hopefully the snow melts right away so we can get the dancing hot dog back on screen and kick off what is going to be an awesome season. We’ve got lots in store, so stay tuned!
CreComm has a kind of traditional assignment, as we’re told, in the travel ad and article, though I understand it used to involve a component with the small town’s newspaper. That’s a whole different discussion, though a sign of the times overall due to social medias such as this blog.
Through the summers (and some holidays such as Christmas and Easter through the winter) I grew up in Kenora. My grandparents had a cottage on Lake of The Woods with about an acre near Redden’s and Longbow Lake on Storm Bay Road. Kenora seemed like a place I could re-discover, and in a lot of ways, I did. When my grandma died, it became too much to care for, and so he sold it.
That Tuesday morning, after a brief detour to pick up Logan’s camera and some McBreakfast, Dan, Eden, Jon, Amanda and headed out on the TransCanada East in Dan’s minivan. Unfortunately, the Ontario border information centre was closed for the season, so we stopped at a new tourism centre on the outskirts of Kenora. Here Eden and I bought some city-branded merch.
We parked at Zellers after learning the city was originally called Rat Portage and had a hockey team named the Thistles (or as we seem to pronounce, the thif-sles), then split up to explore the city. We got our angle and interviews at the chip truck (article forthcoming), then visited the Daily Miner and News where we met editor Lloyd Mack and got some historical articles on the chip truck and the robber who blew himself up on Main Street 40 years ago this May.
After that, we drove out on the lake. No big deal. No, it was just an ice road to Coney Island. We also tried to drive up a hill in the minivan, but she didn’t have enough juice and we ended up rolling down the hill backwards back onto the lake.
Starting to feel worn down, we decided to grab a beer. We walked on in and sat down in a corner of the Lake of The Woods Hotel. Little did we know, you had to be a regular to drink there. We were pretty much asked to leave by the bar mistress, but she did tell us there was pool upstairs. For some reason, we went upstairs, and the higher we climbed, the smaller and narrower the stairs became. It was very Alice in Wonderland. My gut was telling me to get out of that building, so we fled to the spot that was formerly Haps for a few brewskis.
All in all, it was a real blast from the past for me. I totally saw Kenora in a different light and hope to spend at least another summer in the future in that city and lake.
Exciting news over here. Louis and I are planning to paint the main floor of our house. We’ve started patching the cracks and holes in our walls with a small plaster bucket we got on sale. It’s a house that was built in the early 1950s in the newer part of River Heights, between Corydon and Grant. It’s still shifting and settling, so we have quite a few minor imperfections to fix up, and more are always popping up. For instance, last fall there was a two week period where I could not pull the bedroom door into the door frame.
We’re going to paint the bedroom, living room, dining room (essentially a small wedge of space between the kitchen, living room, and basement stairs), and bathroom.
More to come!
For my IPP, I’m pitching a promotional campaign for a website I’m going to launch this summer called thrusong.com. What is it? It’s a social songwriting website that produces professional sounding hit songs and it’s a major project nearing completion. I’ve built servers to handle the audio processing, I’ve finely tuned the performance of my servers. I’ve built a storage tier with terabytes (roughly 10 right now) ready to handle the generated audio.
Part of my campaign, pending the approval of the proposal, will involve a hefty online advertising campaign with Google AdWords and Facebook ads. Luckily today in advertising class, where we’ve also learnt essentials such as ‘How Oprah Got Rich’, we’re looking at how to use AdWords. I’ve dabbled with it a bit, spending a big chunk of money for a client on AdWords which was moderately successful, plus I’ve tried it myself, though more in Facebook Ads. I also put AdSense on my old thrusong website and made about $5 in two years. As a result, the new thrusong doesn’t have advertising on it and will instead promote the organic content created with it.
So, here are a few AdWord ads I could potentially run for thrusong next fall as the site expands to wider audiences:
Climb the charts today
Band together with thrusong
Compose hit songs with friends
Write a song, become #1
thrusong is social songwriting
Produce hit quality songs for FREE
Get back to your groove
Rock out to fresh, new music
thrusong is curated for you
Band together. Jam apart.
Compose socially with thrusong
Produce hit songs with friends
Learn to write songs
thrusong powers social songwriting
Generate your hit tracks for free
thrusong has streaming pages, like YouTube videos, but it also generates the songs, so I’ve written the ads to reflect this and appeal to different audiences.You may also notice the ?c=# at the end of each URL. This would let me track which ads are getting a reaction from people seeing the ads so that I could tailor my targeting a little bit better.
I could probably target these ads to keywords or phrases such as music, band(s), songwriting, compose, streaming, charts (“music charts”), “music lessons”, “band jams”.
These ads are likely to run next fall once we return to school, so you may see them popping up on Facebook and Google, though the ads I’m sure will be much better by then.
Any favourites? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to enter your e-mail at thrusong.com to get on the invite list!