The day I met…well, saw Muhammad Ali in person.

University of Notre Dame is the Bengal Bouts, a boxing match where “strong bodies fight, that weak bodies may be nourished.” Money raised from this boxing tournament, a sport organized at Notre Dame by the legendary Knute Rockne, is sent to help feed people at a mission in Bangladesh. While I was a student in law school one of my fellow classmates was boxing, and we went to cheer him on to victory in his bouts at what was the first (and only) boxing event I ever attended. Little did I know when I went to my first boxing tournament that later that week I would come across “The Greatest”. Muhammad Ali actually lived very near to the campus of Notre Dame in nearby Berrien Springs Michigan. Some of my friends at the Bengal Bouts said he occasionally would come by to watch the Notre Dame students boxing, and there were others in South Bend who reported seeing him from time to time. We were sitting around the library (as is the case in law school) when a friend came in and said “we just saw Muhammad Ali at the Barnes and Noble.” In little need of a distraction to pull us out of our books, we hopped in a car and drove over the bookstore to see if it was true. Sure enough it was. Once we arrived we were shocked by a line out the door. Apparently he was there to release a new book, and many people had come to see him in person. We made our way in the side (we told the staff we were going to buy something else) and we made our way back to where he was holding court. My first impression was “this guy is huge”. On paper he is 6’3″ (198cm) but he seemed even bigger, especially with the build of an ex-boxer. He was surrounded by handlers, but there was an orderly line of people coming in to see his book and to meet him. Fellow college students were there in a group, gathering around him to get their pictures taken. Families, some in their Sunday best, had come as well and circled around for a photo that I’m certain still hangs on their wall.  And then there was this one guy who looked really out of place. . . A skinny white guy, replete with a scraggly beard and baseball cap and wearing blue jeans with a flannel shirt was patiently waiting in line behind the giggling college kids and expectant families. He wasn’t holding a book nor was he carrying a camera, and in another time people would look at him and think ‘this is the kind of guy that joins the Klan’. When the man’s turn came up, I could see some of Ali’s handlers tense a bit.  The man walked up, held out his hand, and said a few words to Ali, who grabbed his hand with both of his and shook it back. Ali smiled, the man smiled and started to walk away. Ali was a bit surprised and motioned to him as if to say “don’t you want a picture?”  The man just said “No, I just wanted to shake your hand. I’ll remember it”. It was a pretty interesting moment for me as well. I was but a child during the Rumble in the Jungle and the Thriller in Manila, but I remember the time and the stories about him dealing with Vietnam, racism and his religious views. He was definitely capable of crossing over many different racial and religious lines to make an impact on many different people. My one run-in with him just reminded me of that fact.   Rest in Peace, Muhammad Ali. ali]]>

Periscope Feature Wish List from @PenguinSix

Periscope. It is easily in the hundreds, as I have been making videos since the first day of the public release and now have over 31,000 followers. In using an app this thoroughly, I’ve come across a few features that would really enhance the experience from a broadcaster’s perspective. So without too much ado, here is my wish list for new features for Persicope: Time and Temperature. It seems so easy, possibly a throw back to the 1970s when every bank had a blinking time and temperature sign, but probably the most asked question I receive is “What is the Time” and “How it the weather?” A new update for the iOS app has added time to the map, but personally I’d prefer it on the main video, perhaps as a 10 second overlay every so many minutes.  Just a little time and temp ‘bug’ that pops up on screen or in the chat to save me having to be a weatherman and a clock every few minutes. Chat response presets I spend an inordinate amount of time re-answering the same questions day after day. “What do you do?” “How old are you?” “Why did you move there” etc. It’s gotten to the point that even some of my regular viewers can answer the questions should I not notice them. What would be really helpful would be five buttons on the side of my screen or appearing through a ‘long touch’ that would pump into the chat preset answers or statements from me to my community. If I could save short amount of text as a  preset answer I could just click ‘1-2-3-4-5’ and focus more on being alive and less on repeating myself. Pause the Phone Facebook Live has a new feature that Persicope needs. The ability to put a broadcast on ‘pause’ when someone calls in on the phone. It is absolutely frustrating when you have a good Periscope underway only to have a phone call come in and disrupt or disconnect the stream. A pause, perhaps with a little “telephone icon” appearing on the screen would be a wonderful addition. Scroll back of comments When comments are fast and furious, or when a broadcaster is walking down the street, it’s incredibly easy to ‘miss’ a comment as it has faded or passed from view before you had a chance to react. The ability to scroll back even only 5-10 seconds would be a welcome addition, as a broadcaster could go back and see a comment even after it has faded from the screen. A swish down over the chat to pull up the last few comments in a conversation would be quite helpful.   Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 10.08.11 AM Enhanced following options At present to follow someone on Periscope you’ve got to slide the screen to the left (1), tap the profile (2) and then hit the follow button (3). This three step process was designed to prevent accidental follows, but has had the effect of making new subscriptions difficult and even confusing to new users. Broadcasters have to explain several times through a broadcast how to become a follower. “If you would like to follow, please slide left (or up for Android), tap my profile, and then click the follow button”. Periscope should consider going back to the old solution, where following was a bit easier. But if not then the other solution is already present in Periscope’s system. An automatic “follow this broadcaster” message appears in the chat (far too early) when you start watching a new Periscope, but if it was able to appear and reappear on a periodic basis throughout the chat new followers could more easily subscribe to broadcasters they wish to follow. A user setting to enable the ‘follow me’ message to appear every 1-5-10 minutes would be easy to implement and would eliminate the need for broadcasters to “beg” for followers every so often IMG_1236   Analytics As Periscope grows into the professional world, the demand for detailed analytics will rise. How many users is great, but when are they watching, when are they turning off, how did they find my scope are all questions most other social media sites can offer their content creators. From a regular broadcaster perspective, some interesting additions would be something like “how many new people in the last five minutes”. I frequently do a broadcast that will hover around 100 people, but what surprises me is that very few of the 100 people at the end are the same 100 people that were there at the beginning.  People come in and out, thus requiring you to re-answer some simple questions, but you often don’t how many are new and how many are the ones who have stuck with you from the start.  Some sort of system where you could tell how many new watchers you have in a scope would be quite helpful. High Quality Upload I’m spoiled by 4k. Well not even 4k, but by 1080p at 60fps. The image quality of today’s phones is getting better and better, but due to the nature of live streaming of an HD signal is probably a monstrous bandwidth hog. Speak of hogs, here is a great example, I came across a breaking news story of a wild pig running amok through Central Hong Kong. The footage from my chase was used by the Guardian and the BBC, but unfortunately, the quality of the video was somewhat subpar vs. what I could have recorded in 1080p. [iframe src=”https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/world/video/2016/jan/15/hong-kong-riot-police-capture-wild-boar-video” width=”560″ height=”315″ ] If there is the option for a high quality video upload after the broadcast had ended, this would be a great addition for Persicope to roll out, especially if Periscope migrates toward longer playback and storage of previous scopes. Note I’m not talking about a delayed update like we used to have with the app, but an upload of a full 1080p version of the Periscope (though I suspect this might prove a tremendous technical difficulty with one version of the video being saved at 1080p and another being streamed at a lower bit rate, all on the fly at the same time). Overlays Overlays have become part of the standard television and even Youtube broadcasting environment. The ability to display and rend graphics on the screen while broadcasting is now available in even the simplest free broadcast tools. Adding some functionality to have an overlay of an image or even a ticker would be something some broadcasters, especially the professional ones, would find quite helpful. after-effects-lower-third-templates-19 Edited Titles “See my lunch of noodles in Hong Kong” is an interesting title, but after starting a broadcast and getting a good crowd I generally don’t like to hang up on them as I leave the restaurant and go run my next errand. In fact broadcasts over 5 minutes rarely stay on the same topic as the original title. A Periscope starting on a mountain path could easily end up on a city sidewalk. A conversation about movies could change to politics. New users see a title and come expecting a noodle lunch or a conversation about movies and quickly get annoyed when they discovered the “missed that” part earlier. Giving the user the ability to keep his existing community and conversation ongoing without having to endure new users coming in expecting something else would improve the overall experience. And that’s enough for now….  ]]>

Where to find the INVADER art in Hong Kong – 2015 Edition

The French street artist INVADER has come to Hong Kong several times, but this last month he came ‘officially’ as part of an organized show at the PMQ gallery. There his works hung on well lit walls with tour guides and a gift shop, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t busy again on the streets of the city.IMG_2840IMG_2860 IMG_2815IMG_2825 INVADER launched a new wave of art on the city streets, and my kids took an immediate liking to finding every single one of them. The other day we did a city hike through the streets of Sheung Wan and managed to locate about 7 of the 20 or so new works with several more now on the agenda for our next hike. As if that wasn’t enough, the kids are now trying to recreate as many Invader works as possible, along with a few original designs of their own. Arsenal man was a big favorite, and the boys are already asking how I can attach it to the wall. Thankfully they don’t know what grout yet, so we’ll make do with something a little less permanent. [caption id="attachment_4677" align="alignright" width="2448"]IMG_2864 Arsenal Man in tiles.[/caption] I created a Google Doc with a location list of all INVADER work in Hong Kong that is still visible, but haven’t gotten around to finishing the map just yet.  Feel free to take a look and follow the invasion around the city.]]>

How to record a Periscope video with comments.

Periscope is a new app that is creating quite a bit of buzz and a great amount of content from users all over the world. Everything from views of Paris to views of a refrigerator in Turkey is fair game for the content creators around the world, but this content has a very short lifespan. 24 hours after any broadcast the videos are destroyed. You have the option of saving the video on your camera, but it doesn’t save the comments which leads to a video of you answering questions that the viewers did not see, creating a confusing commentary track. But with a simple free program already installed on your Mac, you can capture and record your Periscope videos with comments. All you need to do this is to plug your phone into your computer and follow these simple instructions. Step 1: Open Quicktime Player. Step 2: (If a file window opens, click ‘done’ first). Go up to FILE -> New Movie Recording Step 3: A new movie window opens. Click on the prompt next to the record button to get an option of input sources. You should see your iPhone listed both under Video and Audio.  Make sure those are selected. You should know this is working when you see your phone’s screen on your computer. Step 4: Open up the Periscope App on your phone and go into your profile to find your more recent broadcasts. Select the video you want and start playing. Step 5: Click the record button on Quicktime on your Mac and start making a screen capture of your movie as it is playing on your phone. Step 6: Finish and save and do with it what you will. Screen Shot 2015-05-25 at 2.16.51 PM NOTE: I don’t know if this works on older model devices–I’ve only used it on an iPhone 6 but it should work on an iPhone 5 as well.]]>

World Cup Countries by Population

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in millions
USA 318.2
Brazil 202
Nigeria 173.6
Russia 146
Japan 127
Mexico 119.7
Germany 80.7
Iran 77.5
France 65.9
Italy 60.9
England 53
Korea 50
Colombia 47.7
Spain 46.9
Argentina 42.6
Algeria 38.7
Ghana 27
Australia 23.5
Ivory Coast 23.2
Cameroon 20.5
Chile 17.6
Holland 16.7
Ecuador 15.7
Belgium 11.1
Greece 10.8
Portugal 10.4
Honduras 8.5
Switzerland 8.1
Hong Kong 7.2
Costa Rica 4.66
Croatia 4.2
Bosnia-Herzegovina 3.79
Uruguay 3.2
    Would be interesting to do a list of countries by number of soccer pitches. I think HK would be at the bottom of that one, probably even behind Vatican City and Monaco. The US Census did an interesting graphic on the World Cup and population. Let me see if I can get that in here too. wc]]>

USA World Cup Tiebreaker Scenarios in Group G

Wow, things can get quite complicated in the World Cup in just a matter of seconds. With the USA losing a win in the last seconds, the scenarios for tiebreakers in the next round are quite complex. Using this guide of World Cup Tie Breakers, I’ve tried to summarize the potential scenarios for each team. This is a work in progress so if I got it wrong expect an edit or update. Germany is into the next round if: Germany Wins, or Germany draws, or Portugal and Ghana draw, or Germany loses and Ghana wins, with the change in goal difference being +6 to Ghana (i.e. Ghana wins by 3 & Germany loses by 3, etc), or Germany loses and Portugal wins, with the change in goal difference being +9 to Portugal (i.e. Portugal wins by 5 & Germany loses by 4, etc, or Germany loses, and Portugal or Ghana do not win by enough to overtake Germany on goal difference AND on total goals scored. Germany loses and Portugal wins and all other tiebreakers are equal, Germany would progress on the fact they already beat Portugal. Germany loses and Ghana wins and all other tiebreakers are equal, then they would flip a coin.

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USA is into the next round if: USA Wins, or USA draws, or Portugal and Ghana draw, or USA loses and Ghana wins, with the change in goal difference being +3 to Ghana (i.e. Ghana wins by 2 & USA loses by 1, etc), or USA loses and Portugal wins, with the change in goal difference being +6 to Portugal (i.e. Portugal wins by 5 & USA loses by 1, etc, or USA loses, and Portugal or Ghana do not win by enough to overtake the USA on goal difference AND total goals scored. USA loses and Ghana wins and all other tiebreakers are equal, the USA would progress on the fact they already beat Ghana. USA loses and Portugal wins and all other tiebreakers are equal, then they would flip a coin. Ghana is into the next round if: Ghana wins and Germany loses,  with the change in goal difference being +6 to Ghana (i.e. Ghana wins by 3 & Germany loses by 3, etc), or Ghana wins and the USA loses, with the change in goal difference being +3 to Ghana (i.e. Ghana wins by 2 & USA loses by 1, etc, or Ghana wins and the USA or Germany loses, with the change in total goals scored enough to overtake the losing USA or Germany on total goals scored. Ghana wins and Germany loses and the tiebreakers even out and Ghana wins a coin toss. Overplay_WorldCup_Promo Portugal is into the next round if: Portugal wins and Germany loses,  with the change in goal difference being +9 to Portugal (i.e. Portugal wins by 5 & Germany loses by 4, etc), or Portugal wins and the USA loses, with the change in goal difference being +6 to Portugal (i.e. Portugal wins by 2 & USA loses by 1, etc, or Portugal wins and the USA or Germany loses, with the change in total goals scored enough to overtake the losing USA or Germany on total goals scored. Portugal wins and the USA loses and the tiebreakers even out and Portugal wins a coin toss.  ]]>