Apple’s big announcement – oh yeah, and the Apple Watch

Everyone in the tech press is spending enormous numbers of electrons on the new Apple watch announced today.  Except it was really announced several months ago.  It will talk to your iPhone, it will track your activity, it will help you navigate, it will….

…run at most 18 hours before it needs to be hooked up to a charger, when it’s new, before the battery starts its slow march toward death.

And the price?  Any where from $350 for the entry-level Sport model all the way up to $10,000+ for the 18k gold Edition model.  Yes, more than $10,000 for a gold electronic device that will be obsolete in two years. (Buzz is that maybe the high-end watch is a great idea.  We’ll see.)

Apple Watches

Now I realize that I’m not anywhere near Apple’s target market for fancy/schmancy Edition watch. And I realize that I’m an incurable Apple fan boy.  But I have to admit that the Apple Watch loses me. I’m far more interested in the new Pebble Time smart watch that uses an eInk display that isn’t nearly as cool looking as the Apple display, but has the capability of running for up to a week between charges. (Only a lack of money is keeping me from pre-ordering the new Pebble.)

I’m sure Apple will sell a boatload of their watches (along with their new-and-improved laptops), but the thing that really struck me coming out of announcement was that HBO will be available without a cable subscription through the Apple TV streaming box. (Apple will reportedly have it as an exclusive for three months, then other providers will be able to sell it.)

I doubt that cable companies will ever be forced by the federal government to start selling al a carte cable channels (nor should they, in my view), but people who want to pick and choose a few select cable favorites are getting pretty close to being able to do that with streaming.  And in the long run, I think that’s going to be the big change that today brings (in part) to the media world landscape.


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Music for a Busy Day

Way too much to cover in class today to play all the music history videos I had scheduled, so here they are for your viewing and listening enjoyment.  Go from Elvis to Lennon & McCartney to Lennon and Maisy. This is a repost from March 6, 2014.

Here’s a collection of videos to take you through the early days of rock ‘n’ roll along with a few other choice bits of music.

Young Elvis Presley doing a live version of “Lawdy, Miss Clawdy” possibly from 1956.

Chuck Berry doing “Maybelline,” his adaptation of the fiddle tune “Ida Red.”

Smokey Robinson and the Miracles singing “What’s So Good About Goodbye.”

The single was from Hitsville U.S.A., which later became Motown.

The Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show, 1964.

An early video of The Who performing “The Kids Are Alright.”

Was there ever a better rock drummer than Keith Moon?

The Beatles, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

The Sugar Hill Gang doing “Rapper’s Delight.

Some old school bboying.

The opening of the Style Wars hip hop documentary

George Straight singling “What’s Going On In Your World” from 1989

and finally….

Lennon and Maisy doing their cover of Robyn’s “Call Your Girl Friend.”

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Having fun with remixes

One of my favorite days of the semester in my media literacy class is when we start talking about remix culture.  Two of the central things we do is look at Girl Talk’s album All Day and the film Girl Walk / All Day that was based on it.

To launch our discussion, we started off with the first episode of Kirby Ferguson’s documentary series Everything is a Remix

Part 1: The Song Remains the Same

We followed that up with a discussion of D.J. Danger Mouse’s remix classic The Grey Album that mashes up Jay Z.’s Black Album (with his blessing) and The Beatles’ White Album (emphatically without their publisher’s blessing).

Moving on from there, we looked at the massive mashup that is Girl Talk’s album All Day, that features more than 400 samples in the 70+ minute long album. (You can get a great look at the complexity of this remix with the moving bar graph of the samples located here.)

Finally, we closed out today by seeing a couple segments from the Kickstarter supported dance film  Girl Walk / All Day. The first clip sets up the basic plot of the film (such as it is) and the second one presents one of the best musical/dance combinations of the film.

Girl Walk // All Day: Chapter 1 from Girl Walk // All Day on Vimeo.

This is Chapter 3 – It Goes Like This

I want to say that I also learn something new every time I teach this class.  I’ve been showing the series Everything is a Remix now for several years, but it just really registered on me that remixing is obviously a part of Truth 4 – Nothing’s New: Everything that happens in the past will happen again.

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Editorializing on the Cover of the NY Post

Say what you like about the New York Post, they have done some magnificent photo illustrations over the years on their cover as editorial commentary.  I don’t often agree with the Post, but they do great covers.

Obama and “Islamic Terrorism”



I calling UN ambassadors “weasels” during debate about Iraq war















Post looks at criticism of Veep Dick Cheney after he shot friend in the face:


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Some great blogs from my students

This last week my blogging and commentary student Austin Koeller wrote a state editorial I was pretty happy with.  He argued that U.S. Senator Deb Fischer was betraying her conservative supporters in north central Nebraska by supporting construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.  Austin argued not that the pipeline itself was bad, but rather that it was wrong for a conservative senator to support the state helping a foreign oil company take land for the pipelines construction through the use of eminent domain. His editorial got shared by the progressive activist group Bold Nebraska, and the link to his posting of it has now been shared on Facebook more than 1,000 times.  That’s how you know your writing has struck a nerve.

But Austin isn’t the only student in my class doing some interesting writing.  Here are links to several recent blog posts worth your time from my class:

And finally, this isn’t from my class, but what a great editorial from the Frederick News-Post on “Kirby Delauter.

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A Rough Week For Journalism Part 2: Remembering Bob Simon

Last week was a really rough week for the journalism world.  We lost two prominent journalists to unexpected deaths, we’ve had a respected news anchor suspended for six months for misrepresenting his participation in stories, and we’ve learned that our most influential media comedian/commentator is stepping down from his show after 16 years at the desk. This is the second of a series of short posts on this topic.

Long-time 60 Minutes correspondent Bob Simon died in a car crash in New York City on Wednesday, Feb. 11, at the age of 73. He had won four Peabody Awards and 27 Emmys.

Simon was a prominent foreign correspondent who reported on the first war with Iraq, the massacre of civilians during the Bosnian War, and the formation of a symphony orchestra in the Congo. Although he was known for his pretty-boy looks, he was the real deal when it came to reporting.  He had been held captive for 40 days in Iraq during the 1991 war.

His obit from CBS News noted that he often rode motorcycles to report on stories, giving him the advantage of getting past traffic and road blocks.

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A Rough Week For Journalism: Remembering the NYT’s David Carr

UPDATED 2/17/15

This has been a really rough week for the journalism world.  We’ve lost two prominent journalists to unexpected deaths, we’ve had a respected news anchor suspended for six months for misrepresenting his participation in stories, and we’ve learned that our most influential media comedian/commentator is stepping down from his show after 16 years at the desk. I’m going to have a series of short posts today on these stories.

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Looking at some interesting Twitter feeds

In many of my classes, I require my students to use Twitter.  While I hope each of them will come up with their own list of people to follow, here are a few that make up a good starting point:

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JMC 406 Super Bowl Commercial Blogging Contest

Voting link now fixed!

I asked my students in my commentary and blogging class to create a blog post that featured 2-to-5 Super Bowl commercials with commentary.  The one that gets the most votes wins a small prize.

Read the posts, then vote for you three favorites here.  Voting is open until Monday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.

Here are links to the posts:

Remember – Vote for your favorite here:

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Blogging the Super Bowl Commercials

So on Sunday of this week there was a massive showcase for creative and entertaining commercials on NBC.  Oh, and there was also a football game.

Want to see all the commercials that you missed?  Sure you do!  Here are a few ways you can do so:

Here’s the challenge to my blogging students:

Post a blog entry by midnight tonight featuring two-to-five Super Bowl commercials in it.  Make sure you embed the ads in your blog.  You can analyze them, find a common theme, mock them, praise them, be offended by them, cry with them, laugh with them, scream at them… You get the picture.  Make the most interesting and creative blog post you can.


Starting on Wednesday, I’m going to do everything I can to help publicize your posts, and give people the opportunity to vote for their favorite one.  Each of you will also have the opportunity to vote for your favorite post (other than your own, of course).

On next Tuesday, the author of the most popular post will receive a small prize.  Plus bragging rights.

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