Google Reader

Google Reader allows me to connect to a variety of online sources, news & personal sites. In my view it has a lot in common with twitter in that I can in essence ‘follow’ sites through RSS feed. Although some sites I visited did not have RSS feed applications, most did and I was to able click and follow right away. I like the immediacy of the news, as I’m following sources like BBC and CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) online.

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Tracking oldies on the net

Quotes/Anecdotes/Sources – Interview carers at Friends of the Elderly charity to assess the level of aged using the Internet: how many over 65 have accessed the Friends of the Elderly site? Do carers assist the elderly with going online?

Stats/Expert Analysis for UK(2010) and Wales (2006) relative to elderlies use of the Internet and Technology

Stats/Expert Analysis for US (2000) elderly and the net

Senior dating sites

AARP

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Madagascar – carnet de voyage

This short film by Bastien Dubois is fantastic, as it combines several types of animation and really feels like a scrapbook journey through the country. The story gets lost halfway through, but the imagery is so stunning that it takes over the piece. Initially, a character goes on a journey (whether autobiographical or otherwise, I’m not sure) to participate in a ‘turning the dead’ ceremony, but when he arrives some of the graves have already been unearthed. The protagonist’s bus trip as well as the people, the food, drinks (like toka gasy, an alcoholic favorite) and the music are cool to watch as the story jumps from one area to another, flowing seemlessly across the screen. Madagascar, carnet de voyage is nominated in the animated shorts category at this year’s Oscars, and I think it definetely has a shot at winning a statuette.

Today’s thought: if Madagascar looks this good on film, imagine what it looks like in real life!

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AOL absorbs HuffPo: merger tweeted

Late Sunday, AOL announced a merger with online news source Huffington Post. The media coalition has HuffPo president, Arianna Huffington, heading a new media division that will oversee Huffingtion and AOL content. AOL acquired the news blog for a whopping $315 million, the most ever paid for a blog, Arianna announced the merger just 6 hours ago on twitter, but the buzz is already growing.

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The Oscars via video diary

Oscar season is upon us once again! The nominations came out a few weeks ago and the Academy’s choices are obvious, for the most part; with Black Swan and King’s Speech dominating the competition. Last year’s Oscars, saw changes to the traditional format of the event, most notably the inclusion of more films in the best picture category – in an effort to increase TV viewership. This change, however, seems misguided because having 10 nominees means the ceremony itself is actually longer (with all the interludes throughout the event introducing each film) and considerably more rushed.

Anne Hathaway and James Franco host this year’s Oscars, an interesting choice as neither actor leaps to mind when thinking ‘Oscar host’. Although whenever I think of Oscar host my mind wanders back to the good old days of Billy Crystal…I’m not sure France or Hathaway can pull off a Crystal-esque Oscars, but the hosting has declined in quality over the past few years, so we’ll just have to wait and see what the duo have in store.

My (concise) Oscar predictions:

Black Swan – Best Picture

Colin Firth – Best Actor

Darren Aronofksy – Best Director (Black Swan)

Natalie Portman – Best Actress

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What is Jezebel?

Jezebel is a magazine style Gawker blog that dicusses everything from fashion, celebrity gossip, news and TV all with a distinct feminist flair. Jezebel has a team of writers/editors running the blog, as well as contributors and commenters from other sites, like Gawker.tv.  The site is a veritable mecca of gossipy info, and content is constantly being updated –  yesterday alone, Jezebel put up 25 new posts.

While some of the site’s posts are short, fluff pieces, like this gem on Kim Kardashian and Snooki, others are more hard-hitting, like Irin Carmon’s Narcotrafficking Beauty Queens; a look at the association between Latin American beauty pageant winners and drug cartels. The site is predominantly geared towards women, with a lot of tmaterial reflecting women’s issues and points of interest. Currently, the site’s top stories can be found in the header, with additional reporting available on the home page and in specific categories reflecting a predominantly female audience; Sex, Fashion, and Celebrity.

The site feels like a basic femme-geared blog, with a classic layout that’s more functional than fashionable. That being said, the site is easy to navigate and the content is up to date including relevant links, photos and embedded videos. It certainly differs from its traditional paper counterparts, in that it’s consistently updated and users have access to story archives, articles are shorter (mostly) and the audience can comment on the pieces. Jezebel also has a lot in common with traditional magazines because of its glossy feel and content.

The best of Jezebel is the Saturday and Sunday Night Socials, these posts help wrap up the day (or the week) with a sigh, a few comments and little comedy. I think the ‘Socials’ are a great idea and give the site a more personal feel.

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Duckrabbit @ Carters Steam Fair

Duckrabbit is a multimedia journalism site that features a number of different stories on contemporary subjects, news stories, historical pieces, art and a lot more!

The piece entitled Fairground Attraction , is a great work of multimedia journalism that explores photography, audio narrative, soundscaping and history.

Prior to visiting Duckrabbit I had never heard of Carters Steam Fair, the travelling amusement park with old time rides and rock & roll, but this piece gave a real sense of being there through the interviews and photos (the only things missing were the fair ground smells and sickly stomach after too many rides).

Anna Carter, one of the founders of Carters is the primary focus of this piece. She tells the story of the Fair’s creation solely through audio as beautiful and fun photos of the grounds, grounds workers and patrons flash by. Her story is fascinating as she and her husband stumbled upon some abandoned amusement park equipment one afternoon and subsequently decided to build a new life around it. The photographs capture the old time , unique feel of the park, as the rides are all refurbished, classic amusement fair ventures; dodgems, games, swing rides and of course the steam powered ‘gallopers’.

The soundscaping is very well done and helps set the tone. Along with Anna Carter’s interview there are sound bites from patrons and workers at the fair that supplement the experience. The great ones are from kids asking parents for “another ride” and the worker who expresses his fascination with “steam power”. The music can be a bit overpowering at times, but also helps set the story. I would describe this piece of multimedia journalism as a glimpse into amusement park history complete with (almost) all the trimmings.

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