Let The Battle Begin: Twitter’s Periscope Takes On Meerkat

on Thursday, Mar. 26th

Will the news ever be the same again?

Will the news ever be the same again?

A month into the buzz cycle on the hot mobile streaming video app Meerkat a new challenger has appeared. Periscope, which was acquired by Twitter earlier this year has almost everything Meerkat is not: possessed of a beautiful UI, capable of being replayed, and on a much tighter feedback loop.

What neither of these apps are is ready for prime time, at least from a news perspective.

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WEVR Wants To Fast Track Virtual Reality Content With $1M In Grants

on Friday, Mar. 20th

It seems like it was just a two months ago that we were talking about an interesting grant program from a Venice, CA start-up designed to bring independent cinema voices into the virtual reality world.

It seems like it was just a two months ago that we were talking about an interesting grant program from a Venice, CA start-up designed to bring independent cinema voices into the virtual reality world.

Oh, wait. It was just two months ago. Only back then the company in question was WeMo Labs… cut to two moons later and WeMo has rebranded itself as WEVR and has now put a call out for project proposals while putting at stake (raises pinky) One Million Dollars.

This isn’t a shake-up of the previous grant offer: the deal with Seed & Spark is still in place, but the rebranding into WEVR appears to have brought a sharp new focus to the Silicon Beach company.

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The World Wide Web of Playwrights: Polish Theatre Month in L.A.

on Friday, Mar. 20th

We focus a lot here at Turnstyle on how digital technology changes the film industry, and how virtual reality is disrupting the entertainment industry as a whole.* Every so often we like to remind ourselves that the Internet has an impact on the traditional channels of culture that go beyond what’s hot in the headlines.

We focus a lot here at Turnstyle on how digital technology changes the film industry, and how virtual reality is disrupting the entertainment industry as a whole.* Every so often we like to remind ourselves that the Internet has an impact on the traditional channels of culture that go beyond what’s hot in the headlines.

A good example of that is what’s happening this weekend as part of Polish Theatre Month in L.A..

The tradition of international cultural exchange between playhouses is a long one. Translating works and bringing them out of their native countries is a vital part of the theater world. What the immediacy of the ‘net provides is the opportunity for that cultural dialog to happen in real time, and in the dramatic language of the theatre.

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Preview performance of Miwa Matreyek's THIS WORLD MADE ITSELF / 2013 (from LAX Kickstarter)

Preview performance of Miwa Matreyek's THIS WORLD MADE ITSELF / 2013 (from LAX Kickstarter)

Latte Fund: Kickstarting LA’s Contemporary Performance Festival

on Wednesday, Mar. 18th

It’s been a while since we’ve done a “latte fund” round.

It’s been a while since we’ve done a “latte fund” round. As in, I think it’s been a year since I used that term, which is my way of saying that what I’m about to talk about is worth backing to the tune of at least the price of a latte. Which in Los Angeles is about $5 with tax and tip.

The price of an LA latte is extra apt for this campaign, which is for the Live Arts Exchange, aka LAX, an experimental performance festival which runs each year in the City of Angels. For the past two years LAX has been a co-production of Los Angeles Performance Practice and the Bootleg Theater, and it’s featured a cross section of music, theatre, animation, dance and multimedia mash-ups of these and more which become their own thing.

In short: it’s LA’s one-stop shop for uncovering what the edge of live performed art is all about these days. Last year’s festival featured some of the most challenging work I’ve seen in a long while—and yes, I mean the good kind of challenging.

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Meerkat & YikYak: The Internet Here & Now

on Wednesday, Mar. 11th

If you’ve gone around the sun enough times here on the Internet you can remember the days when you’d hear about the next new hotness while you were still figuring out how to use the app du jour.

If you’ve gone around the sun enough times here on the Internet you can remember the days when you’d hear about the next new hotness while you were still figuring out how to use the app du jour.

I had a similar experience this week while I was fooling around with Meerkat this week. That app is so hot right now. The idea of an app dedicated to live video streaming directly onto Twitter seems to be one whose time has come. Wireless networks are robust enough to handle the video bandwidth and phones have the battery life to sustain streaming for long enough that playing around doesn’t mean you’re going to be phone-less within minutes.

Just because you can stream live video from a phone doesn’t mean that it’s all that interesting to do so, however. I’ve tuned into a few streams that were super banal and I’m guilty of setting up one or two of them myself.

Where it gets interesting, however, is the integration with Twitter. (Which might be a liability for Meerkat in the long run, but let’s hold that thought for a moment.) Everything that happens in Meerkat happens on Twitter. Start a stream and the link goes out over your feed. Make a comment on someone’s stream and it shows up as an @reply in their mentions and on your feed. Ephemeral as it is—you can try and save your own stream to your camera roll, but that works only part of the time—it is an expressly public forum.

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The Watch Was The Least Interesting Thing Apple Talked About Today

on Monday, Mar. 9th

If you went by Twitter alone you’d think that the most interesting thing about the Apple Watch announcement was that a gold watch costs $10,000.

If you went by Twitter alone you’d think that the most interesting thing about the Apple Watch announcement was that a gold watch costs $10,000.

This is what Twitter is best at: missing the forrest for the shiniest tree.

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(PRNewsFoto/HTC)

(PRNewsFoto/HTC)

Virtual Reality: The Too Many Cooks Edition

on Tuesday, Mar. 3rd

If this isn’t the year that virtual reality hardware makes it into the consumer market it won’t be for a lack of options.

If this isn’t the year that virtual reality hardware makes it into the consumer market it won’t be for a lack of options. In fact if there’s anything that’s becoming obvious in the days before the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco is that there just might be too many cooks in the virtual kitchen.

First let’s take a quick look at all the players in the space:

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Is There Any Way To Put The Trolls Back In The Bottle?

on Friday, Feb. 6th

Earlier this week I started to finally feel a tiny spark of hope that the reign of troll terror on these here Internets would be over in the not-too-distant.

Earlier this week I started to finally feel a tiny spark of hope that the reign of troll terror on these here Internets would be over in the not-too-distant. Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter, straight up admitted that the social media service had a serious problem with harassment and that it was costing them in terms of public perception and users. Ahead of an earnings call, no less.

Costolo took personal responsibility for the situation, and while a plan for how to shut down troll was’t unveiled he made it clear that the cost of being a serial abuser should be higher than the cost of being the abused. We’ll reserve judgement on the approach to balancing the scales until for when it is revealed.

That good vibe pretty much evaporated today after reading the latest swatting story over at Ars Technica. It’s a little tale about a Twitch streamer with a modest following having the SWAT team sent to his house.

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VR Cinema Making All Kinds Of Waves At Sundance

on Tuesday, Jan. 27th

At every Sundance Film Festival publicists and the press jockey to declare that year’s “It Girl.” This year the “It” is an “it”: virtual reality has come home to Sundance and is eating up headlines usually reserved for quirky comedies and groundbreaking docs.

At every Sundance Film Festival publicists and the press jockey to declare that year’s “It Girl.” This year the “It” is an “it”: virtual reality has come home to Sundance and is eating up headlines usually reserved for quirky comedies and groundbreaking docs.

To be fair: this year’s film crop sounds pretty good as well. It feels like this was a bad year to not make the pilgrimage to Utah. Especially if one wanted to see VR cinema history get made.

The big headline grabber was yesterday’s announcement by Oculus VR’s of their own Story Studio, which will produce five VR films this year. The pioneering company showed off its first efforts and some of the reviews are fairly ecstatic.

Just as exciting for those of us with an indie mindset is what Seed & Spark and WeMo unleashed today: a diversity-minded grant program that aims to bring filmmakers into the VR cinema field while it is still in its infancy.

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Your Face Is The Future of Computing

on Wednesday, Jan. 21st

One thing has become very clear in the last year, and it was drawn into even sharper focus today: the future of computing is going to take place right on our faces.

One thing has become very clear in the last year, and it was drawn into even sharper focus today: the future of computing is going to take place right on our faces.

Whether it is in the form of virtual reality (e.g. Oculus Rift, Sony’s Project Morpheus) or augmented reality (e.g. Google’s Glass) the vision of the future that has tech companies stumbling over themselves to capture the public’s imagination relies on the idea that we’ll all be wearing stuff on our faces.

The latest entrant into the Face Race: Microsoft, which showed off their Windows Holographic platform featuring the Windows HoloLens headset at its big Windows 10 event today.

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Gumroad Rentals H

Rent Video Straight From Social Media Via Gumroad

The people who brought the “Buy Now” button to Twitter are going all-in on film distribution.

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Siegel's NOME meditation machine.

Hacking Consciousness: Silicon Valley’s Next Frontier

Is there something that lies beyond the quantified self movement?

Detail from the cover of Snow Crash.'

Bright, Bold Future: Magic Leap Has Hired The Godfather of The Metaverse

There’s a rapturous term thrown around by VR enthusiasts: “The Metaverse.” It is a term that comes from the seminal Neal Stephenson science fiction novel Snow Crash, where it described a kind of embodied virtual reality.

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In the looming battle of AR and VR the prize is your mind.

Let’s talk about augmented reality versus virtual reality shall we?

Corey McCall with the video game controller that measures the level of excitement in the player. Linda A. Cicero / Stanford News Service

These Game Controllers Will (One Day) Read Your Mind

A version of this story airs on NPR/WBUR’s Here & Now.

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