Tag Archives: mobile journalism

Five useful apps for your Blackberry

18 Mar

Blackberry smartphones may be the phone of choice for many journalists, largely due to their emailing functionality, but they fail to garner much recognition for the mobile app capabilities. The iphone, on the other hand, is renowned for the ease with which users can download and use applications.

Blackberry models can be more clunky (think the popular Bold and Curve models) and most lack the touch-screen capabilities of the iPhone (barring the less popular, but growing, Torch and Storm models) so many feel the iPhone lends itself to app use more

Blackberry Curve

readily.

But the Blackberry App World is a treasure trove, where many of the apps are free.

Here, we look at 5 apps that Blackberry-wielding journalists shouldn’t do without.

(1)    Vlingo

The app is a voice recognition programme that ‘turns your voice into actions’. You can send messages, open applications, search the web and update your Twitter and Facebook status using the app, but its greatest feature doesn’t use voice recognition at all.

Using the programme’s SafeReader software, you can choose to have your emails or text messages read out loud by your Blackberry. As journalists we obviously rely on the Blackberry email service but in certain circumstances reading them is either a nuisance or unsafe. While driving, for example, the function can be particularly useful. Or, if bashing out a word article 1000 in your office due in two hours time, you can still keep an ear to your communications without needing to be distracted by a screen. Continue reading

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A beginners attempt at capturing video footage: Flip camera

5 Dec

What you are about to see will hardly blow you away with its quality or technique, but what it does show you is the ease with which anybody (not just a journalist) can now gather video footage on the move.

 

 

To gather my video footage I chose to use a Flip camera; a light-weight camera that is no bigger than a mobile phone. The appeal of the camera is its simplicity: one button to begin capturing footage and to end, and a easy-to-use menu for reviewing captured footage.

The camera records on to an internal hard drive and files can then be uploaded to a computer via the camera’s attached USB stick.

I then used Windows Movie Maker to edit the footage. There can be an issue with file conversion to suit this programme, which my more technologically advanced friend helped me with.  Some useful advice can be found here.

The file conversion was fairly straight forward and once completed I dragged the files into the timeline at the bottom of the programme, using their simplistic editing tools, such as cross-fading and adding an intro (albeit a very plastic one). I then uploaded the video to Flickr.

Obviously the quality isn’t amazing, nor my shoddy camera work, but what the Flip offers you is the chance to capture video footage quickly and with ease. Coupled with the simplicity of Windows Movie Maker, the process is (dare I say it) fool proof.

Give it go. I don’t think mine looks too bad for a second attempt.

Some further tips on using Flip cameras can be found here.