Confessions of a Live Blog Failure


After an anxious Monday and fulfilling G1-day, I took the 10:45 Greyhound back to Baltimore. Its 3:27am and I just bought two large coffees from Royal Farms… too much to do to sleep! I attempted to “Live Blog” the event but – for me any ways  – it seemed more like a Live Train Wreck.

Live and learn. I thought itd be interesting/helpful to reflect on the who/what/when/where/why of the Live Blog Failure and share some tips for making our (and your) Live Blogs a million times better in the future:

Power In Numbers
While Phandroid has grown steadily in readership and traffic, there is still only 1 person (me) running the entire site. Its one thing to have several writers/editors covering all different topics on the website, but for a Live Blog having more than one set of hands/eyes makes all the difference.

I was trying to keep up on the content with my keyboard, snap still pics with my digital camera and capture footage with my handycam. CAPTURING it all was too much for one person let alone reporting it back to the all the readers/visitors. Optimally, itd be nice to have someone on video, someone on photography and two people on content. All in good time.

If there are any Android enthusiasts out there interested in contributing to Phandroid, please contact me. I’m not just looking to accept anyone just to shoulder the load… but if someone here is truly passionate about Android and the future of mobile, by all means – lets talk!

Backup Internet Connection
Yes, T-Mobile had a WiFi on site and I was connected to it. But being at a TMO/GOOGLE press conference, I should have guessed that every single person in the building would be fighting for bandwidth. In a Live Blog environment you can’t afford to be “partially” connected.

My connection was toggling on/off the ENTIRE press conference causing me to me permanently behind. I SHOULD have USB/WiFi through Verizon or Sprint AirCard or another service that could keep me connected as a backup plan. And since this was a Googly event and not a Press Conference for Auntie Anne’s Amish Pretzels, I should have guessed that the Backup Plan would be the preferred method.

Power & Batteries
I was fine on laptop battery… but this was an area where I COULD have screwed myself. With a cruddy connection and two hands trying to do twelve things, losing power to my devices would have been catastrophic.

During the press conference I realized things weren’t going so hot but I came to a calming realization. I’m just one guy and I’m at the event I’ve waited 1 year to occur. Just for it to OCCUR. I was there… witnessing it live.

I took a step and said you know what? I have a digital camera. I have a camcorder. Lets just capture what I can and enjoy this… reporting as best I can when I have the opportunity. With a one man team there just wasn’t a way I could compete with the breaking coverage of the sites with larger staffs. If my process was more streamlined, perhaps, but doubtful.

In the end, power/batteries is what I had and what I went with. I got a lot of great video and thats why I’m not sleeping tonight. I’ll be converting the video and chopping it up and adding to YouTube. It’ll probably take me all day tomorrow but it will be fun.

Oh yeah… and while I’m doing all that, I’m sure more news news news will be flying RIGHT past me. Man… its so hard to keep up! But I can’t complain – do you remember when we didn’t have any Android news for weeks and everyone was complaining? HA! A distant memory.

Testing Your System
When I got the invitation to attend the T-Mobile Press Conference on Tuesday, September 16th I knew that I had a TON of preparing to do. Unfortunately, my time was consumed with a few urgent matters that ate up most of Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

By Saturday I was playing catch up from deep in a hole and come Tuesday morning, I still wasn’t completely comfortable with the Live Blogging process. I didn’t have much of a game plan. I did set up a Test Live Blog and played around with some of the features but a game plan is essential.

I used “Cover It Live” which I’ve seen some of the Big Boys use. It seemed okay but very, very, very, very slow. Even when testing it, there seemed to be some delays and lags that were irritating to say the least. I’ll probably test a more simple/lightweight solution next time. I don’t know… I should have done my homework on the options.

Equipment & Software
I was pretty prepared equipment-wise. I had my laptop, digital camera and camcorder ready to roll which is all I really needed. I’m really glad I brought my camcorder… I debated just using my digital camera’s video function. In the end, I took more video than I did anything else.

The thing about video is that it takes longer to edit/convert/upload. And unfortunately my “urgent” matters earlier in the week forced me to wipe my system clean. There were a few things I forgot to re-install… and my video editing software happened to be one of them.

My equipment itself as far as quality isn’t exactly top of the the line but thats not a big deal. Usually you have to lower the quality for web display anyways. Plus, equipment costs money. So unless you want to send me some awesome new toys for the holidays (they’re coming up ya know)… I also accept cash, checks and money order hehe.

But In The End…
I can’t complain. The press conference was amazing. I met some really, really cool people. The phone is better than I thought it was going to be… and yes, I love the “tail” or “chunk at the bottom” or whatever you want to call it. Its functional as heck and serves a distinct purpose. The Android Market looks incredibly promising. And… I got to experience it all Live.

My main goal was to share that experience with the readers here… and that goal WILL be fulfilled. Perhaps not as “immediate” as some other sites… but hopefully it will be well worth the wait. From the beginning I’ve offered more of a “quality over quantity” approach to my coverage. Hopefully we can grow the phandroid team and have the best of both worlds in the near future.

Thank You Everyone

Thanks to all the phandroid readers out there. I’ll be working on getting some cool video up periodically over the next 12 hours… check back throughout the day. I’ll probably keep adding/updating content until my I nod off and my head hits the keyboard. Not sure what time that’ll be but wow… 45 minutes have already passed!

Its 4:15 and time to get working!

Rob Jackson
I'm an Android and Tech lover, but first and foremost I consider myself a creative thinker and entrepreneurial spirit with a passion for ideas of all sizes. I'm a sports lover who cheers for the Orange (College), Ravens (NFL), (Orioles), and Yankees (long story). I live in Baltimore and wear it on my sleeve, with an Under Armour logo. I also love traveling... where do you want to go?

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  1. I’m laughing a little at how I imagine the sight of you juggling all those gadgets must have looked. Haha, don’t feel bad, I had 4 live sites going all at once and an RSS reader with a few dozen android subscriptions so even I felt overwhelmed!

    When all is said and done, I appreciated your insights into your experience with the device more than almost all the shaky videos I watched and banal rehashing of the speaker notes I read (man were they dry — “open this, open that, open open open, we are proud, thanks dave, thanks dave” — gimmie a break. ..I didn’t like that T-mobile guy much).

    It was one of the best articles I read about the device and I think you did a great job :)

    Keep it up :)

  2. P.S. It must be said. That roller blade thing was lame.

    Made me feel like T-mobile is out of touch.

    Who thought that was a good idea!?

  3. Your honesty is refreshing. Keep up the great work.


  4. No worries man!
    I was there with you on the live blogging, and I felt your stress through my monitor.
    It´s tough doing it all yourself, I know, I too do that.

    But at least you got to go there and see it LIVE! I Wish I could have been there.
    Keep your hopes up!
    I´m looking forward to your footage!

    Best wishes
    //Mac @ Android-Freak.Org

  5. i have been checking on the site for the past few days… refreshing again and again. yes you did a great job. it must have been pretty hard on you.

    thank you.

  6. what you feel is a need to relay as much information as possible, all at once. the reality is that any information that is read by us is news and noteworthy. keep up the good work!

  7. hahah very funny recap. your site is the best so keep up the good work and don’t forget to sleep.

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