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citizen reporting January 30, 2009

Posted by François in cameraphones, creolization.

I (and 5,941 compadres) became a US citizen yesterday. The experience was very moving – especially the thought of 5,942 international lives converging onto the Los Angeles convention center at that precise moment. But that’s another story.

I moblogged some of it live.

At one point, the judge declares the convention hall to be a U.S. District Court so the oath ceremony can proceed, and asks the crowd to turn off all cell phones and pagers. I initially complied (thus missed recording the oath…) but then realized he didn’t say anything about cameras or recorders, so turned it back on in off-line mode to record the pledge of allegiance and national anthem.

One conclusion: it’s really hard to do live reporting with a cell phone… switching it from camera to recorder to MMS, while paying attention to our handlers’ instructions and trying not to hold up the line. Gave me lots to think about as we work with EE579 students to design a handset-based multi-media editor/preprocessor.

Your pointers to well-designed phone-based applications will be appreciated. Also, if you have developped usage practices to reliably capture and send media in the rush of the moment, we’d love to hear about them.

(This work is part of the vozmob project, in which we are inventing ways to tell stories using cheap pre-paid cellphones and MMS.)