What comes next for Periscope Live Streamers & Creators?

The writing has been on the wall for years now. An app with the bare minimum of updates, content aggregation stuck on the same videos for years, and a black hole of queries to headquarters. But now we know for sure–Periscope is no more, more or less. The original live streaming solution is changing. Due to declining user numbers (brought about almost entirely by neglect), Twitter has decided to shutter the Periscope app and have users move over to Twitter Live, which is basically the same features of Periscope, but wrapped within the Twitter branding.

So what does that mean for live streamers.

First, some basics. The app will cease on March 31, 2021. New users to Periscope are already being blocked from joining the app, and the app will soon disappear from the app stores. Existing users who have Superhearts have a few months to cash them out, and the eligibility requirement to join the Superhearts program has been loosened so more people can join (but still with the same stupid geographic restriction which plagued Superhearts from the get-go). As for all the existing Periscope videos, users will be allowed to download old Periscopes in a manner TBD (to be determined) and the website version of Periscope will remain functional as an archive for the indefinite future.

The big, and yet unresolved issue, is what happens to all of a creator’s followers and subscribers? Will they auto-migrate to become Twitter followers? This would be the most elegant solution, and one that could be done by Twitter directly and simply, but I fear the idea of Twitter HQ doing this to users might scare away some of the Twitter purists. If suddenly you found yourself following the Twitter posts of say 100 people (the exact same 100 you followed on Periscope) that you didn’t specifically agree to follow, there would likely be some grumbling. It would be nice if Periscope or Twitter could push an app update that would allow you the option to click a button and instantly migrate over to Twitter, but I don’t know if this is in the works.

So what are the options for Live Streamers? Of course, you can stay with Twitter, but the community on Twitter is not quite the same as that which was on Periscope. In addition, issues such as discovery and categorization have yet to be sorted. Several of my followers already are asking “what will happen to the map” as they loved browsing around the world to find new content. It seems hard to get noticed on Twitter and once you, not exactly the friendliest of communities.

A number of users are migrating over to a new app called Happs, which offers the basics of Periscope but many other new features such as multi-casting and multi-threaded comments from different platforms. As a new app the community is still growing and they seek to add the features to live streaming that users have been begging Persicope for over the past few years. Live streaming is also an option with Facebook, Youtube and Twitch, but with the established user bases on all of these platforms, it seems hard to grow a new audience when you are 1000 places down the discovery list.

As for me, you’ll still find me broadcasting my walks and showing you around my corner of the world. I think I will start using Happs to multi-cast across many platforms in the hopes of finding a community as strong, loyal and as friendly as the one I had on Periscope.

So feel free to come find me on other platforms and I’ll try to stream on all of them.

Twitter – @penguinsix

Happs – @penguinsix

Youtube – PenguinSix

Facebook – Penguinsix

Twitch – ThePenguinSix (my original username is stuck in a blackhole over there–long story).

My thanks to the Periscope founders, developers and managers who have created this app and opened up a world of opportunities for content creators and those who wanted to see the world through someone else’s eyes. Mission accomplished.

PenguinSix’s Anise Christmas Cookie Recipe

This is a family recipe we’ve been using for decades. Every year my kids and their friends gather to make these cookies, which ends in a big sugary chaos.

1 cup of butter
2 cups of sugar
3 eggs
1.5 tsp Cream of Tartar
1.5 tsp of Baking Soda (dissolved in 1 tbl of milk)
1 tsp of Salt
1 tsp of Vanilla
1 Tsp of Anise
3.5 cups of flour (plus maybe 1+ cups during the rolling process (or more!)

Preheat to 175C/350F
1) Use softened butter in sticks. Let it sit out awhile or nuke it 20 seconds (do not melt). Mix the butter and sugar together quite well in a bowl.
2) Add and mix milk/soda, egg, Anise, and vanilla.
3) Add salt, cream of tartar, flour.
Mix the dough so it is mixed and ‘rollable’.
On a floured mat (this is where the .5 cup of flour comes into play), roll the dough, adding additional flour as needed to prevent sticking to the rolling pin. Get the dough to about 1/4 inch thick.
Cut the cookies with cookie cutters or with a knife to make the shapes you want. Re-roll unused dough until you have no more (p.s. I love to eat the dough but it is very sweet).

Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet (nonstick ok) at 400 degree for 6-8 minutes–basically until the bottoms start to turn slight brown. Do not overbake. You can underbake a bit (say 5 minutes in a very hot oven) but make sure you let cookies set a minute or two before trying to remove them from the pan (or they may break up).

Use store-bought frosting (I used Duncan Hines–worked fine) to cover them and then colored sugars to decorate. The frosting helps soften up the cookie a bit should it get a tad hard from baking.

Store in a ziploc bag to keep the freshness as they do harden quickly.

Half Batch

.5 cup of butter
1 cups of sugar
1.5 eggs / 2 eggs.
.75 tsp Cream of Tartar
.75 tsp of Baking Soda (dissolved in .5 tbl of milk)
.5 tsp of Salt .5 tsp of Vanilla
.5Tsp of Anise
1.75 cups of flour (plus maybe .5 cups during the rolling process)

Amy Coney Barrett was my rather amazing law school classmate.

At one time we both had the same grade in Constitution Law, for just a few moments.

At the University of Notre Dame Law School, each class year is divided into two sections to take the mandatory Introduction to Constitutional Law course.  My section was taught by Professor John Garvey, now the President of Catholic University, and the other section was taught by Professor William Kelley, former White House Deputy Counsel. In each class, one student is given the American Jurisprudence (“Amjur“) award for the top student. I won the award for my section and Amy Coney Barrett won the award for the other section.

Needless to say, she’s done a bit more in the field of Constitutional law since then…

Notre Dame Law School

So yes, to the people who have asked me, Amy Coney Barrett was my classmate at Notre Dame. I must admit though, we didn’t know each other that well and did not hang in the same social groups, though given the small and collegial size of Notre Dame Law, everyone ‘knew’ everyone in some regards. Our first year, due to the way they structure classes, I think we only had one class together, but as both of us continued our studies, and focused more on Constitutional law, we did share some additional classes in the First Amendment and Natural Law (taught by Oxford professor John Finnis). 

So what were my impressions of Amy Coney Barrett?

Judge Amy Coney Barrett

First, to be blunt–flat out the smartest, most academic student I have ever encountered during my career or ever heard of in any academic setting. She was simply a level above everyone else in her class, and her questions and discussions with professors revealed a deep understanding of the subject matter beyond whatever the rest of the students had ‘crammed’ into their heads a few hours before class. She wasn’t one who talked for the sake of talking, as was the case with many in law school. She was at a professorial level while still just a student. I recall one day with Professor Finnis in Natural Law where she was going back and forth with him on one point and I said to myself “maybe she should be teaching this class and I definitely shouldn’t even be here as I have no clue what they are talking about.”

Her depth of understanding was not just in the field of Constitutional law, as was made obvious with the aforementioned Amjur award. While I managed to win one, and only one, during my three years of law school and a ‘strong’ student might win a handful or so, Amy Coney Barrett basically won them all. Honestly, she must have over a dozen or two “top student” awards in a setting where you only had 30-odd classes. Her depth of knowledge and organization applied to all the classes she took.

The second observation I would make is that Amy Coney Barrett was just an all-around nice person. She was nice to me in our few interactions outside the class, chatting or a friendly hello, and she was nice to other classmates that she encountered. She wasn’t political that I could tell—there were no rampant partisanship arguments in class that often occur in controversial subject matter and I don’t think I heard of her participating in things like College Republicans or College Democrats. She was just the type of person who was pleasant to all, even those she didn’t know that well (like me). I recall after winning the Conlaw award I ran into her in the hallway. She offered congratulations and I thanked her, then asking her in sort of a sheepish way “so what are we supposed to do now that we won the award?” She suggested sending a thank you note to the professor and letting them know you appreciated their class and the award as it was the “polite thing to do”. 

At our graduation, Justice Anthony Scalia spoke to the graduates and I think this might have been one of the first times the two of them met (she later went on to clerk for Scalia, where she made quite an impression on the justices and other clerks). Since graduation we haven’t been in touch much, save for the random Facebook likes on each other’s photos now and then (although she deactivated Facebook though a few years ago). I stopped by the law school on our cross country drive a few years ago and said hello to a few former professors, but she was out of the office that day so we didn’t get a chance to catch up.

From what I’ve read, both the observations I formed in law school remain true today. She has been widely published as a professor and is a favorite amongst students who named her the top professor on three different occasions. Her personal behavior remains noteworthy, with this anecdote shared by a fellow professor (though politically opposite) who supports her nomination.

“A few years ago, a blind student matriculated as a first-year law student at Notre Dame. Upon arrival, she encountered delays in getting the technological support she needed to carry out her studies. After only a few days in Barrett’s class, the student asked her for advice. Barrett’s response was “This is no longer your problem. It is my problem.” Barrett followed up with the university administration herself, got the student what she needed, and then mentored her for three years. That student just completed her service as the first blind female Supreme Court clerk in U.S. history.” (read more from this Clerk, Laura Wold, who published her own moving reflections of Amy Coney Barrett)

That sounds like her.

Professor Garvey kind of summed up Amy Coney Barrett in a one-sentence recommendation letter he wrote to Anthony Scalia.

“Amy Coney is the best student I ever had.”

So in the end I would have to say she is eminently qualified and personable. It’s kind of neat to personally say at one time (a very very short, brief, fleeting moment) I had the same grade as a Supreme Court Justice in Constitutional Law, but it’s also sort of reassuring to know that she is the one being nominated after her decades of hard work and innate understanding of the law and Constitution.

Best of luck with the battles ahead.

How a coronavirus snuck into the bathroom.

During the SARS crisis in Hong Kong, a housing estate called Amoy Gardens suffered a disproportionately higher number of fatalities than other facilities in the city. Scientists were baffled as to how the disease was spreading, as people on different floors and eventually different units were all coming down with the SARS virus without ever being in direct contact with one another. As they sought out a variety of solutions, eventually they discovered the problem lay on the floor of the bathrooms.

Many bathrooms in Hong Kong (and even the USA) have a floor drain: a small drain embedded in the floor to allow runoff water to drain off quickly. In the old days, a person could dump and entire bucket of water of the floor and swish it down the drain, quickly soaking and washing the floor in one fell swoop. Over time though people used mops to clean and started not to soak the floors with water.

Why did this matter? Because the floor drain in the bathrooms is a standard P-trap drain that relies on a standing amount of water in the drain to prevent smells and critters coming back into the bathroom. Without a regular soaking of the floor drain, the traps dried out and the pipes were directly exposed to the building sewers (i.e. the toilet runoff). When people would close the door and turn on the fan in the bathroom, it created a negative pressure that sucked up the virus from the sewage pipes of infected neighbors (who were incontinent) and into the bathrooms of healthy residents, thus spreading SARS through the Amoy Gardens housing project.

I must confess when I first read this in an after-action review of the SARS crisis, I immediately went around filling every drain with a bucket of water. Even today the Hong Kong government’s official coronavirus prevention guide calls on flooding these drains regularly.

If you want to read more check out these sites and remember to keep your drains flooded.





The bicycle that goes 100 mph.

I hung out in a bicycle shop in Charleston and one day a guy came in with three rusting old bicycles and screamed: “make me one bike out of these three that can go 100 mph!” “Why would you need a bike that can go 100 mph?” we asked curiously, looking down at this pile of rusted metal. “Because I’m going to be towed behind a drag racer at a show next week!” The guy was slightly unhinged, but eventually, we sussed out of him that he was indeed going to be in some auto thrill show and intended to be towed behind a drag racer at crazy speeds. At least that’s what he believed (like I said, he was a bit off). He did give us $100 cash that he said he got from the promoter. “Ok,” we said, “would you like a helmet with that?” This made him pause for a few seconds before he looked up at us incredulously and said “what’s the point of a helmet if you crash at 100 mph? You’re going to be dead anyway” We worked on a bicycle for him but thankfully he never came back to pick it up. Never sure what happened to him…]]>

My family Christmas Cookie recipe

img_7702Tomorrow I have 11 kids coming over for a baking party. It will be nuts. Here is the family Christmas Cookie (Anise Cookie) recipe we’ll be using. —————– 2 sticks of butter 2 cups of sugar 3 eggs 1.5 tsp Cream of Tartar 1.5 tsp of Baking Soda (dissolved in .5 tbl of milk) 1 tsp of Salt 1 tsp of Vanilla 1 Tsp of Anise 3.5 cups of flour (plus maybe .5 cups during the rolling process) 1) Use softened butter in sticks. Let it sit out awhile or nuke it 20 seconds (do not melt). Mix the butter and sugar together quite well in a bowl. 2) Add and mix milk/soda, egg, Anise, and vanilla. 3) Add salt, cream of tartar, flour. Mix the dough so it is mixed and ‘rollable’. On a floured mat, roll the dough, adding flour as needed to prevent sticking to the rolling pin. Get the dough to about 1/4 inch Cut the cookies with cookie cutters or with a knife to make the shapes you want. Reroll unused dough until you have no more (p.s. I eat the dough but it is very sweet). Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet (nonstick ok) at 400 degree for 6-8 minutes–basically until the bottoms start to turn slight brown. Do not overbake. You can underbake a bit (say 5 minutes in a very hot oven) but make sure you let cookies set a minute or two before trying to remove them from the pan (or they may break up). Use store bought frosting (I used Duncan Hines–worked fine) to cover them and then colored sugars to decorate. Store in a ziploc bag to keep the freshness as they do harden quickly.]]>

Has Periscope just shown Twitter a way forward?

Periscope’s new functionality could spread to Twitter and reinvigorate the struggling social media giant.    img_7626 Let’s face some facts. Twitter, and thereby by extension Periscope, have a rough road ahead.  A series of high-level departures at Twitter and the more recent general overall layoff of employees makes people question what will happen to Silicon Valley’s “diamond in the rough” tech company. The attempted shopping of Twitter failed for various reasons, reportedly due to the cost and the nature of product (Disney et. al. doesn’t want anything to do with trolls and hate speech, etc). Vine, one of Twitter’s high-profile acquisitions was also shuttered this weekend, leaving millions of social media posts and users in a state of limbo. But just this week, Periscope took a step toward what could a brand new and exciting path for Twitter. Something that could rewrite the ways in which Twitter content is displayed and shared, and lead to a massive improvement in the product and strong growth with new users….should the parent company consider following this lead. One of the problems with Twitter (and social media in general) is the signal / noise ratio. Following your Twitter stream for insight into Politics or Technology or virtually anything else results in a number of messages (and considerable time) sifting through extraneous and unrelated content. It is possible to create lists of followers that tweet about specific content, such as a list of Football twitter users or technology tweeters, but even then you still have to sort through other content that is not relevant. A hashtag based search can result in 100s of duplicate messages as retweets and other posts of the same content get caught up in the more general search parameters. These consumer-based curations of relevant content are still fraught with far too many false positives. However, Periscope’s new group-based broadcasting system offers something unique and new to this dilemma:  Producer-based curations. Periscope has introduced “groups”, a method by which a social media creator can share content with a specific more granular group of followers.  A content producer can create a group of users, say “Personal Friends” or “Subscribers (should a pay-to-view system develop one day). Groups can be built around interests, such as “tourist and travel followers” or “technology fans” such that Periscopes being created can be pushed to those users who have the most interest and are most likely to appreciate the content. Periscope groups are thus showing a way forward for Twitter to escape the 140-character rut they find themselves mired in for going on the Nth year.  People have been asking for the capability to broadcast to specific groups for years, but Twitter has left Twitter lists as a “read only” functionality; you can see all the tweets from a list buy you can’t communicate directly with that group.  Periscope groups will demonstrate that you can push content to certain users on certain subjects and that there is a market for this more detailed and specific sharing of social media. This offers a tremendous future for Twitter. A way to grow their platform from beyond that a 140-character service but into something far more useful to creators and consumers. Broadcasting to groups, and conversely, the consumption of specific content from a group of users is a very exciting development in social media. Twitter should seriously consider not only following the Periscope group concept but taking it a step further to create a more flexible “following” option. You would have the ability as a consumer to follow people only for certain types of content. As a producer you would have the option of sending content to everyone or to only those users who will find it of most value (Periscope-like groups). For example, a consumer could subscribe to: @Penguinsix

Everything (or) ->Photos Only ->Videos Only (Vine) ->Live Streams (Periscopes) ->Politics ->Social Media ->Food ->Hong Kong ->Other

Conversely, a creator could send their content out to a group, such as:. Tweet from my @PenguinSix account only to:

Everyone ->Photos Only followers ->Videos Only (Vine) followers ->Live Streams (Periscopes) followers ->Politics followers ->Social Media followers ->Food followers ->Hong Kong followers ->Other followers

Twitter would thus become a multi-disciplined social media platform, where you could still get the 140 characters of wisdom from people but also get new types of social media content as it becomes popular, be it photos, video, live video, or whatever else Twitter acquires in the coming years. Greater curation tools on both the creator and consumer side would render Twitter far more valuable to users. The platform would be set to add new features as they become available, bringing more and more people back to Twitter every day (hour) for more and more types of content without getting lost in the signal / noise conundrum of drinking from the social media firehose. Twitter has recently shut down the (once) popular VINE platform that they acquired only a few years ago. Without a doubt the VINE integration with Twitter was poorly handled. Getting “Vide’d” is now a verb amongst content producers who are very wary about putting time and effort into a platform only to find it getting nixed with a corporate reshuffle of the parent company. A very scary lesson for anyone involved in Periscope at this time. A system like this could have saved Vine (and could save Periscope). The existing subscriber base could be ported over to the Twitter in a flexible following platform after integration, such that if you currently are following someone on Vine or Periscope, your Twitter would now have a separate list of people you following only for videos (Vine) or live videos (Periscope). Twitter and Periscope creators would thus have access to a much larger potential pool of viewers as the sheer number of Twitter users would be now be more engaged in the Periscope system. Whether Twitter follows Periscope’s lead in this space is a big question. Whether anyone is even looking at expanding the platform is questionable as there are probably voices who are simply saying “let’s trim around the edges, give it a fresh coat of paint and sell it on to someone else.” But it would be pretty cool if they were thinking of something like this…  ]]>