Google+ Hangout Technical Insights and Ideas to Reshape Newsrooms

Friday, 29 July, 2011


KOMU G-Plus Hangouts - pix 00a - Sarah Hill and Nina Moini

It has been my pleasure to attend a number of KOMU anchor Sarah Hill‘s interesting Google+ newsroom Hangouts since July 19, 2011. In this article, I will try to share some of my technical observations and insights. (note: For my general and business insights, you can read my previous article.)

Using G+ Hangout as a control room of 9 Electronic News Gathering (ENG) team


1) News anchor running G+ Hangout connecting to maximum of nine Electronic News Gathering (ENG) teams in the field.

2) Each of the nine reporters will have a notebook computer connecting to the internet via a 3G/4G data stick. And each reporter has a handheld SD/HD camera hooking up to the notebook as its camera. (note: SD or HD probably doesn’t matter here because the data will be compressed and you are transporting over 3G/4G network anyway.) (Aug 11 update: Currently, G+ Hangout doesn’t support external video cameras. I have reflect this request to G+ engineers.)

3) Any “newsroom” can probably set this up easily.

In fact, any team of volunteer citizen journalists may even be able create such a reporting setup with less trouble. All it takes is each individual citizen journalist to have a notebook computer, a fast 3G/4G data stick, and a camera. And these citizen journalists can work together depending on needs and events, etc.

4) Feed the G+ Hangout video stream out to the wider world using tools like Livestream for mass distribution.

5) Use cases: Will be quite cool to report on elections, street festivals, concerts, and live events.

Non-ideal use cases: Any major crisis, earthquakes, etc where the mobile 3G/4G networks are expected be extremely congested and overloaded. In these rare cases, old school dedicated microwave or satellite transmission will likely provide more stable transmission than overloaded mobile data networks.

KOMU Sarah Hill G-Plus Hangouts - pix 07 - Norway https link

Fixing the insecurity of G+ Hangout

At the moment, Google+ Hangouts is known to be insecure, in the sense that each hangout participant has the clear text “…” link (see the top of the above photo) and can copy and then share with Read the rest of this entry »

“Waiting for Superman” and “Race to Nowhere”: Watch them!

Sunday, 20 February, 2011

I wish I have more time to review/write about “Waiting for Superman” and “Race to Nowhere“, two documentaries about the many problems in US public and private education. While I don’t agree with everything said in both films, I am sure Canadians can learn and apply a few of the lessons in Canada.

I urge you to watch one or both films and make up your own mind.

Waiting for Superman Trailer

Race to Nowhere Trailer

P.S. For the record, I did some preliminary research/reading in Dec 2010 and started capturing some links but just never found the time (and inspiration) to write up something. Anyway, the following are some of the links I collected. Note: I don’t necessary agree with some of the views expressed in them.

– Calgary Waldorf School – Calgary Board of Education board meeting minutes Read the rest of this entry »

Gabby Giffords and the tragedy in Tucson

Sunday, 9 January, 2011

Jan 10th, 2011 Update: MSNBC and CBC interviews of Daniel Hernandez, a Giffords intern who had basic nursing training and his heroic actions at the scene have been credited in saving Giffords and other victims’ lives. Henry Champ (retired CBC foreign correspondent), “Time to listen to the sheriff and pack up the vitriol“.

Here is a video clip from CNN. [HT My Latino Voice]


I am very saddened of the tragedy happened yesterday in Tucson, Arizona. The attack on Rep. Gabby Giffords and the bystanders was sickening. My thought goes to Rep. Gabby Giffords, her families & loved ones and to the people who were killed or hurt yesterday and their families and loved ones. (From NYT, “Among those killed were John M. Roll, 63, the chief judge for the United States District Court for Arizona, and Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, who was the director of community outreach for Ms. Giffords. The others who died were identified as Christina Green, 9; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Schneck, 79.“)

Watching the news yesterday and the ongoing updates today made me feel sad state of American politics and democracy. And also made me reflect on the rhetorics that have infected Canadian politics in recent years.


From ABC: ‘This Week’ Transcript: Tragedy in Tucson

An older but insightful MSNBC video “Rep. Gabby Giffords after her office was trashed” [via Roger Ebert]

For example, we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is, that the way that she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action,” Giffords had said in an interview with MSNBC. [text copied from CBC]

NPR Radio, “Giffords: A Centrist, A Fighter, A Public Servant

Guardian UK, “Gabrielle Giffords remains in critical condition after Arizona shooting

Race to Nowhere

Thursday, 9 December, 2010

Race to Nowhere Trailer.

If Americans need any warnings of what a blind pursue of “grades” can lead to, they just need to pay attention to what has happened to Hong Kong and its educational-industrial complex.

The following are some November 2010 photos of advertisements on buses, outside of buildings, and inside buses, etc selling tutorial services for students to get better grades. There are enough money involved that some of these companies hire TV/movie stars for their advertising campaigns.




Note: The term “educational-industrial complex” is created to remind us of US President Eisenhower’s “military–industrial complex“.


For the record, an article about “Race to Nowhere” in New York Times.

Parents Embrace Documentary on Pressures of School
By TRIP GABRIEL December 8, 2010

It isn’t often that a third of a movie audience sticks around to discuss its message, but that is the effect of “Race to Nowhere,” a look at the downside of childhoods spent on résumé-building.

“How do you help your children balance when the whole education system is pushing, pushing, pushing, and you want your kids to be successful?” Alethea Lewis, a mother of two, asked a roomful of concerned parents who had just seen the film, a documentary, last week in Bronxville, N.Y., at a screening co-sponsored by the private Chapel School.

With no advertising and little news media attention, “Race to Nowhere” has become a must-see movie in communities where the kindergarten-to-Harvard steeplechase is most competitive.

Read the rest of this entry »

69 Days

Monday, 10 May, 2010

My blog friend Mike Dillon started his cross United States bike ride in Feb 2010. And on Day 69, he was home to see his families and loved ones. Here are a few additional thoughts about his trip and the numbers.

Quoting Mike [emphasis added],

When I decided to make this journey and began speaking about it with friends and family, I encountered what a former manager used to refer to as “The Wall of No”. Almost everyone had an objection or reason why I shouldn’t do it: “What if you get robbed?”, “What if you have an accident?”, “Are you in shape to do this?”, “You might get lost.”, “Your bike could break.”, ” Shouldn’t you go with someone else just to be safe?” is just a sampling of what I encountered.

None of these things occurred or came close to happening. Instead, almost every encounter was positive. From Lori, the waitress I met in Jacksonville to Erwin, a fellow traveler from Holland and the dozens of others that I never wrote about, people were overwhelming friendly, supportive and helpful.

In life, there are many things that can seem impossible, “just too difficult”, or take too much work to accomplish. But I bet if you want it bad enough, many of these seemingly “impossible” tasks are actually achievable and are within our reach.

I am really happy for Mike in finishing his bike ride and back home safely with his loved ones. At the same time, I am thinking what should be my own “cross-country bike ride”? May be it is time to get into action to put a few of my projects in action. Will see.

Google’s new approach to China

Monday, 22 March, 2010

Google Mainland China service availability - Mar 21, 2010

After weeks of waiting since, decision (part 1) decision (part 2) and China’s Foreign Ministry & White House responses
More Google China photos
US diplomatic note re Google China
Sergey Brin on Google’s China decision @ TED
Today, we finally have Google’s new approach to China.

So earlier today we stopped censoring our search services—Google Search, Google News, and Google Images—on Users visiting are now being redirected to, where we are offering uncensored search in simplified Chinese, specifically designed for users in mainland China and delivered via our servers in Hong Kong.

[…] Figuring out how to make good on our promise to stop censoring search on has been hard. We want as many people in the world as possible to have access to our services, including users in mainland China, yet the Chinese government has been crystal clear throughout our discussions that self-censorship is a non-negotiable legal requirement. We believe this new approach of providing uncensored search in simplified Chinese from is a sensible solution to the challenges we’ve faced—it’s entirely legal and will meaningfully increase access to information for people in China. We very much hope that the Chinese government respects our decision, though we are well aware that it could at any time block access to our services. We will therefore be carefully monitoring access issues, and have created this new web page, which we will update regularly each day, so that everyone can see which Google services are available in China.

PBS Digital Nation – Watch it

Wednesday, 3 February, 2010

PBS Digital Nation (full 90 mins program online) – Watch it, think about what you see, and consider of what all these mean to your understanding of the new world, I am.

Ongoing notes as I watch the show (work-in-progess):

  1. Awareness of potential problems identified by scientifically reputable researches are the first steps toward deeper understanding of the problems and how may we “solve” them.
  2. In Korea, the big problem of people seemingly addicted to gaming. (I need more time to think about the full implications first.)
  3. Learn from the Korean experiences and the problems their youth are facing. “Causalities of the digital revolution”.
  4. The video games in the “Army Experience Centre“.

Bilski v. Kappos: Supreme Court Oral Arguments

Tuesday, 10 November, 2009

For those who like to see what the U.S. Supreme Court Justices are thinking and asking about the important patent law case of Bilski v. Kappos, check out the oral arguments transcript posted at Patently O.


Nov 15, 2009 Update: Here is an insightful comment from Patent Baristas on the Bilski case where Stephen listed some of the questions a few of the Supreme Court Justices asked at the oral argument.

Best Answer re: Hitler, Obama, and Dinning Room Table

Wednesday, 19 August, 2009

It is sad to see Americans “debate” health care in these kind of manner.

%d bloggers like this: