Tag: Google

Jason finally learns how to make GIFs

Jason finally learns how to make GIFs

Look at that, folks from yesterday’s post.

This is what we in the business call “good continuity.”

For those of you who don’t care to dive into the rabbit hole: Hello!

Welcome to me talking about today’s Society of Professional Journalists — Cal State Fullerton chapter meeting.

I’ve been our branch Secretary for a year now, but last semester the meetings conflicted with my three-hour Visual Communications class.

So this semester I’ve been better about going. Even if that means commuting for just that, like today.

Doing so has offered me the chance to live tweet a guest presentation by Washington Post editor Gene Park:

Then it took me on a tour of the CBS2/KCAL9 Broadcast Center.

Today, the train of interesting things continued as we hosted USC Digital Journalism Professor Amara Aguilar.

IMG_2433
Here she is (right) with our chapter president, Harrison Faigen (left).

The funny thing is, I’ve attended one of her presentations.

Last year at the ACP Convention in Long Beach, I learned about Google reporting tools like the Cardboard VR camera from Aguilar. Wrote all about it here.

Today she went over a couple of different tools that are useful for journalists to create a better social media presence on platforms like Twitter and Instagram.

The presentation started with a few general tips, despite the idea that most content is tailored to the platform.

Primarily that social media content is best if it “awe” a viewer, provides them “laughter and amusement,” or instills some sense of “empathy” and “surprise.”

Then I jotted down this quote about how social media should be used to connect with people:

“When you’re looking at your device late at night before bed, people want to see personal content,” Aguilar said.

Personal stuff is particularly effective when it’s visual, so she spent her time teaching us about two apps anyone can access on their mobile devices.

First, the graphic design portion of the Adobe Creative Cloud: Adobe Spark Post.

If you’ve spent a lot of time on social media or digital news sites like Now This, you’ve likely seen the kinds of images with text overlays that Spark Post is good for.

Because CSUF students have free use of the Adobe Creative Cloud, we were able to practice creating our own.

For the purposes of goofing around, I reused this image from my post-Us Twitter freak-out:

And reimagined it as this baseless Peanut’s fan graphic:

Nice, huh?

I think that resource is pretty neat, but mostly because it’s good for cropping images to dimensions used by specific social media sites.

The piece above being perfect for Instagram, apparently.

Dunno about that… I’ll let you know if I get more than just four likes on the post I made using it.

What I can see as being more useful to me in the long-run was her introduction to the GIPHY CAM app.

See, I’m a man who likes a good GIF — and I pronounce it both ways, so don’t bother asking.

I’ve always been interested in making my own, but never enough to seek out good ways to do so.

When I’m on my phone, this app seems like a pretty decent approach.

For instance, check out this practice GIF I made attempting to create a looping image:

Isn’t it amazing how I’m not only chubby, pimpled, clearly sleep-deprived and unshaven, but also that I couldn’t get the camera to sit perfectly still even when I had it propped up on a table?

I love that about myself.

Probably not the most successful first GIF attempt, but now that I know about this app I can get more practice.

Perhaps one day I’ll be skilled enough to make silly comic book GIFs in a big news story like this UFC girl piece from Medium Aguilar showed us.

Funny enough, this SPJ meeting was held in Professor Frank Russell‘s Comm 201 class. There was an issue booking the Titan Student Union.

Almost three years ago I first started my Twitter account in 201 because he required it. I’ve come to both thank him because it taught me a lot about social media, but also resent him after spending hours mindlessly scrolling.

Now that I’m about to graduate, it looks like I’m still learning new things about social media with him.

Isn’t it amazing how things come full circle?

Succumb to the rabbit lore

Succumb to the rabbit lore

The fact that we’re seeing our third Spring banner gave me an existential crisis.

I felt like the banner with Sharena and Alfonse just appeared, but it was 13 Paralogues ago.

Not sure what happened over the last year, but I don’t think I’m down for this whole passage of time thing. It’s starting to scare me.

Even if cute bunny characters kind of make up for it.


PallaEldest Bun-Bun

  • Pegasus Carrot (Might = 12, Range = 2)
    • Effective against armored foes. If unit has weapon-triangle advantage, neutralizes status effects and disables skills that prevent follow-up attacks during combat. After combat, if unit attacked, inflicts Defense and Resistance -7 on target and foes within two spaces through their next actions.
  • Draconic Aura (Cooldown = 3)
    • Boosts damage by 30 percent of unit’s Attack.
  • Swift Sparrow (A Skill)
    • If unit initiates combat, grants Attack and Speed +4 during combat.
  • Disarm Trap (B Skill)
    • When attacking in Aether Raids, if unit ends movement on a space with a Bolt or Heavy Trap, cancels trap’s effect.
  • Hone Fliers (C Skill)
    • At start of turn, grants Attack and Speed +6 to adjacent flying allies for one turn.

MarisaCrimson Rabbit

  • Flashing Carrot (Might = 14, Range =1)
    • At start of combat, if foe’s Health = 100 percent, grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +2 during combat.
  • Reposition (Range = 1)
    • Target ally moves to opposite side of unit.
  • Speed/Defense Link (B Skill)
    • If a movement Assist skill is used by or targets unit, grants Speed and Defense +6 to both involved units for one turn.
  • Flier Guidance (C Skill)
    • Flying allies within two spaces can move to a space adjacent to unit.

BrunoMasked Hare

  • Ovoid Staff (Might = 12, Range = 2)
    • At start of turn, restores 7 Health to unit and adjacent allies.
  • Martyr (Range = 1)
    • Restores Health = damage dealt to unit +50 percent of Attack (minimum of 7). Restores Health to unit = half of damage dealt.
  • Miracle (Cooldown = 5)
    • If unit’s Health > 1 and foe would reduce unit’s Health to 0, unit survives with 1 HP.
  • Attack/Defense Push (A Skill)
    • At start of combat, if unit’s Health = 100 percent, grants Attack and Defense +5, but if unit attacked, deals one damage to unit after combat.
  • Dazzling Staff (B Skill)
    • Foe cannot counterattack.

VeronicaSpring Princess

  • Veðrfölnir’s Egg (Might = 14, Range = 2)
    • Grants Speed +3. At start of combat, if unit’s Health ≥ 75 percent, grants Attack, Speed, Defense and Resistance +4 during combat.
  • Glimmer (Cooldown = 2)
    • Boosts damage dealt by 50 percent.
  • Green Duel Flying (A Skill)
    • Grants Health +5. If unit is 5-star and level 40 and unit’s stats total less than 170, treats unit’s stats as 170 in modes like Arena.
  • Chill Resistance (B Skill)
    • At start of turn, inflicts Resistance -7 on foe with the highest Resistance through its next action.

Talk about a bizarre blend of characters.

Bruno and Veronica make sense in the footsteps of Alfonse and Sharena (even if the Paralogue story confuses everything). However, this being Bruno’s first and Veronica’s second non-canonical appearances as units is pretty weird.

They also have forgettable skills. Bruno is a healer with healing attacks, and Veronica is just a better Spring Camilla.

Two years worth of power creep, yo.

Palla is probably the most solid unit. She’s a flying red dagger that’s built to kill strong armored bois like Surtr, and with her Whitewing sister Catria appearing last year we have a cool progression to Est in 2020.

Cool all around.

Marisa is the real surprise. Because I love the game I can’t complain with more Sacred Stones representation (even if I wish we had new characters), but she doesn’t seem to mesh well with the others. Despite having an amazing character bio.

Plus her skills are very basic.

Yet being lukewarm on my opinions toward Marisa means she’s prime material to get unexpectedly summoned in my first round:

 

The fact that most of her quotes are about watching rabbits as research is incredible. Really makes up for everything.

Marisa was special from being a Sacred Stones rep, but the only other character I’m interested in is Palla. Don’t know if she’s worth pulling for alone, so I might save my orbs.


Paralogue 32: Regal Rabbits

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Now, let’s get into the real meat of this banner: That sweet Rabbit Lore.

Like I teased earlier, this Paralogue does some bizarre things with the status quo of holiday units.

Right off the bat we have our world’s Loki trying to convince Veronica to go to the festival:

 

She does so using Bruno’s appearance as leverage, but this just raises a bunch of questions.

Usually special units are from alternate universes to explain how two of the same characters exist in one place.

But Spring Bruno and Veronica are just our versions masquerading. Technically we are getting our world’s Bruno and Veronica, just dressed as alternates.

Yet there’s also a Spring Loki while we have regular Loki — but the Spring version is still ours according to the Paralogue.

In other words: It’s all a fucking existential mess.

Except none of that matters because the whole reason they’re there is to see whether Loki is lying to them:

 

Bet you didn’t remember that storyline is still going on while the Order of Heroes fights death herself.

The Order never appears here. Which is a nice change of pace as we saw with the 2019 Valentine’s Day banner.

The whole Paralogue centers around the Embla family. Palla and Marisa have a totally disconnected mission that feels like they’re conducting goofy business as usual while two canaiving people sneak around.

By the end we find out what that treasure is, and it’s arguably the most interesting thing about this:

 

I certainly didn’t see Taguels being referenced. Especially so soon after Panne got added into our ranks through a Grand Hero Battle.

While I started to question the relation of rabbit people to a festival where people dress like rabbits, Intelligent Systems doesn’t give any answers. They simply tease a continued treasure hunt with Loki telling Bruno and Veronica where they can find the answers.

Even if we have no idea how Taguels are supposed to help with their blood curse.

Guess It’ll all come together eventually, but at this point we’ll just have to table the discussion and get back to our non-Playboy Bunny lives.


Speaking of real life, did you all hear that Google is planning to launch a console for streaming video games?

Because I think it’s a very interesting concept that I’ll have no interest in buying. I prefer cartridge/digital download games that don’t rely on constant internet access, personally.

I just figured that would be a better segue out of this post to show that I pay attention.

That said, let me know what you think about these Spring units! And let me know how you feel about the endless march of time.

Because… Yeah, that still hurts.

Jason’s got a Brand New Toy

Jason’s got a Brand New Toy

When I first sat down with Gladeo’s founder Michelle to talk about my responsibilities as the managing editor for the Gladeo League, one of the things we discussed was some of the problems I’ve had during our biweekly Google Hangout meetings.

See my laptop is super old and doesn’t hold itself together very well when I attempt to video conference with people. My cell phone is a good alternative, but it can be awkward to keep it in place and deal with the slightly more wonky frame of view.

So I’ve had a bit of a long history of making it three-quarters of the way through a meeting before everything drops out and I lose it.

Obviously we don’t want that happening if I’m leading the meetings myself, so Michelle very generously offered that I take a computer that had been bought for Gladeo to help with things like video editing.

If it weren’t clear enough by the fact that I’m writing this post right now, I picked up that computer today.

img_0903

I’m not a huge computer technical nerd or anything so I can’t say whether or not I’ve got something phenomenal in terms of hardware on my hands, but that’s really not what I’m focused on anyway.

I’m just really grateful to have the opportunity to hold on to this in the first place. It feels like the kind of job perk for my new position which shows some trust.

Plus, it comes with certain other perks:

img_0904

Hell yeah bubble wrap.

Who needs fancy schmancy technical doodads when you can poppity pop some bubs?

It occurs to me how silly it is that I’m even vaguely excited enough about the bubble wrap to mention it here when I have an actual for real new computer on my hands… But I guess I just have silly priorities.

Because currently I have no idea what I’m going to do with this computer.

Not only is it my first desktop PC, but it’s also kind of gigantic for my room. So I might have to move some stuff around to give it the proper space it’ll need.

Thus, while I spend the next few days probably figuring out what to do with the computer, I have bubble wrap!

All’s well that ends well.



P.S. — I know I mentioned it over the last few days so I wanted to give y’all some closure. I got 100 percent on that Psychology quiz today that I was worried about.

Just goes to show you that I’m literally my own worst enemy when it comes to stressing about things.

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day One

My ACP Midwinter 2018 Convention Experiences – Day One

Today has been one of those days.

See,  the 2018 Associated Collegiate Press National Midwinter Convention started today, and as anyone who follows me on social media knows I’ve been trying to more actively post about it than I usually would.

But my day started well before the Convention did, so let me just run that down real fast before I get into the meat of this.

On top of the many things I’ve been juggling lately, one of the most attention grabbing activities has been putting together some College of Communications scholarship applications.

The applications have been sort of a long, involved process that I won’t bother going too deep into. It basically boils down to having some questions to answer, printing out my school records for all four of the scholarships I applied for (talk about a waste of paper there), selecting a couple of my articles for the Daily Titan and getting a letter of recommendation from Bonnie, our advisor.

Today was actually the deadline for applications, and that fact caused me undue amounts of stress when my late night media history class left me unable to drop the materials off yesterday because the office was closed.

For context, what that means is that this morning I had to drive ~45 minutes to Fullerton from Redondo Beach to make sure I could turn everything in before coming to the Conference this afternoon. Long Beach is actually closer to Redondo than Fullerton, so I basically drove a large crescent around Southern California.

 

Fun stuff.

But that’s all ancient history at this point. I made it where I needed to go on time in all accounts! I just felt like throwing that all out here because everything was a real headache while I went through it.

So with my complaining out of the way, let’s talk about this Journalism Convention.



img_7524

I went to New York a couple of years ago to represent the Daily Titan, and though I did not get the opportunity to go again this year I have had the pleasure of a much shorter trip over to Long Beach for the ACP Convention.

I don’t get over to Long Beach too often, but it is a lovely town. I kind of wish I had a little more time to just wander the city proper, but the sessions I attended kept me rather busy.

Registration came first, and I got all the cool swag that comes along with that:

img_7526

Nothing like another Convention name tag to add to my collection.

Once I was registered, then I got to go through the sessions I picked out.


Google News Tools

img_7528
My first stop of the night was the longest, as it was a 3 hour hands-on introduction to various reporting tools that can be accessed through Google via their News Lab.

To be completely honest about it, I believe I’ve actually seen the talk before. There was something very similar not too long ago at CSUF at least, so I didn’t necessarily learn a lot that I wasn’t already aware of.

But that’s not to say I didn’t learn anything at all.

The presenter, Amara Aguilar from the University of Southern California and the Society of Professional Journalists (and apparently a CSUF alum who still works with the university), introduced a number of tools.

These tools included:

The last one was particularly cool because she also brought along some Google Cardboard VR headsets to try out while pitching the Cardboard Camera App software. Honestly, it’s something I can see myself potentially using.

img_7531

The only serious downside to this whole presentation was… Well…

The internet was really bad.

img_7529

As I’m sure you can imagine, it’s hard to give a hands-on presentation of online reporting tools when everyone at the session cannot get online to use them.

Luckily, all things ended on a high note when I won the small raffle at the end and got a Starbucks gift card.


The Opening Keynote: Covering San Bernardino

img_7534
The opening keynote of this convention was particularly interesting to me.

Back when I first started working for the Daily Titan, my very first front page dominant article tied into the shooting in San Bernardino in late 2015. I wrote about how police on campus were stepping up their training following the shooting, and it got linked to the more important revelation that a former CSUF student was one of the shooters.

I still have a copy of that story hanging up on the wall in my room.

So, when I found out that the keynote’s panel was going to be four LA Times reporters who covered the shooting and received a Pulitzer Prize for their work, I was very interested.

I wasn’t the only one.

img_7535

I was also joined by our current Opinion editor Briggetta at this part of the afternoon, which was nice because she was the only other Fullerton representative I saw all day.

Also because she’s cool. Go follow her stuff.

But putting that aside, I think the only unfortunate thing about this keynote in its execution was the fact that… To put it bluntly, I didn’t get anything especially novel out of the panel.

Now don’t take that the wrong way, they were a fascinating panel to listen to, and I genuinely enjoyed everything they had to say. Apparently, they updated their day one story 22 separate times and were pointed to by the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department as the main source of news on the subject.

There was also some good general advice, like keeping food, phone chargers, clothing and road maps in one’s car in case they ever have to go out and cover something. Or keeping things like masks and tools to charge tech through one’s car in case of a natural disaster.

But part of what they wound up emphasizing was the fact that shootings like San Bernardino aren’t exactly a rare thing anymore. As a result of that, advice when it comes to covering horrible tragedies unfortunately isn’t all that hard to come by.

One thing that Sarah Parvini said in particular that stood out on the subject was this: “I hate the fact that this has to be done, but I love getting to be the one that does it.”


South American Newspaper Design

My 4:30 p.m. session with Cal State Long Beach professor Danny Paskins was a nice change of pace after the downer that was the San Bernardino panel.

As a Rio de Janeiro native, Dr. Paskins brought his bias (with open admission) to showing us the fact that newspapers in South America are way more creative and fun with their front page designs than North American papers like the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal that focus on fitting as much text as possible up front.

To do so, he showed us examples of papers from Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, Peru and more with various other countries in the region that had qualities he valued.

These are just a few examples of the pieces he showed us that I was able to screen shot.

His pointers boiled down to this. In South America, newspapers use more:

  • Cut-out pictures
  • Colors
  • Overlapping images
  • Sports coverage

All in typically fun, creative ways.

He pointed out specifically that “if nobody has tried something before, don’t let that be what stops you” because if something doesn’t go over well, there’s always a paper the next day to wipe the slate clean.

The pointers he gave were so nice and interesting actually that I’m planning on bringing a bunch of the specifics back to our Layout and Photo editors as possible things we can try out on the Titan.

I had a nice conversation with the professor after his talk where I expressed exactly that, and he was very happy to hear it. We exchanged business cards and I’m planning on hitting him up if we actually wind up doing some of those things.


Writing Tips from an LA Times Editor

img_7543

So this session actually didn’t go quite as planned.

It was supposed to be a talk on “Covering the New Activism” by a representative from the Iowa State Daily. But apparently he couldn’t make it out.

Instead, Assistant National Editor Steve Padilla of the LA Times came out and gave us writing tips.

Not to sound inherently rude about it… But I think that turn of events was for the best. The talk we got felt way more fun and interesting than anything we would have gotten otherwise.

He took 30 years of experience at the LA Times and distilled it down into three major writing tips:

  • Read all of your work out loud
    • He even recommended composing stories out loud, that way they sound better.
  • End your sentences with a bang
    • With only a few exceptions, he recommended putting the best details at the end of a sentence. However, the ‘best details’ can vary depending on the context. Ending a sentence with a time detail, a place detail or a strange detail can each have different effects on the overall tone.
  • Always pay attention to verbs
    • A large part of his writing technique philosophy is focused on making impactful verbs showcase a sentence. Overall one of the most useful tips in the bunch, and he spent a lot of time on it.

Steve also emphasized another philosophy he follows rather closely: “If you know what you want to say, you’ll figure out how to say it.”

In other words, let your meaning create your words, not the other way around.

After that portion of the talk he went on to give us a bunch of tips about how to write better anecdotal ledes, how to use quotes more efficiently and how to end stories well.

Then, to end things off, he gave us three challenges:

  1. End a feature story not with a quote, but with your own words.
  2. Get a writing buddy to share stories and teach one another interesting stuff.
  3. Become a careful reader who can discern WHY something is good or bad, not just that it is good or bad.

This was the one talk I attended where everyone who came stayed afterwards just to talk to the presenter. He was just that fun and charismatic the entire time.

Seriously, I just loved this guy. He was awesome to listen to and I got some one-on-one time with him to just chat afterwards. Totally the kind of networking these conventions are meant for.


The Afterparty

As soon as Steve’s talk was over (and it was over about a half hour to an hour later than scheduled because everyone was talking with him), we all emerged to find food waiting.

Though there wasn’t a lot, what was available was much more delicious than it had any right to be for a small college journalism convention reception. Pasta with chicken and spinach, mac and cheese with caramelized onion strands and coconut-fried shrimp.

Plus, there was a truly terrific surprise:

img_7547

I got to it kind of late, but Homer Simpson would be proud of this donut wall.

Even if I’m awkwardly over on the side taking a picture of it. Hi there Jason.

Fun fact, as a side note, I ran into Steve again at the dessert table and we wound up chatting even more. I just couldn’t get away from the guy, because later it turned out he was parked right behind me in the garage. Not that I’m complaining or anything, I just thought it was funny.

During this reception period, I also took the opportunity to take a look at all of the other school papers laid out.

img_7546

It’s a bit of a tradition at the Daily Titan for us to collect up other school papers so we can look over what they do right and what they do wrong. In our opinions of course.

Once I gathered everything up, however, it was time to head home.

img_7549

I ended the night where I began. But more than anything else, the experiences of the day just made me more excited for the next two.

Tomorrow, at 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., we’ll be receiving critiques for our newspaper and website designs.

Then on Saturday I’ll be on a panel alongside a couple of other Daily Titan staffers to talk about our Milo Yiannopoulos coverage last semester.

I’ll probably put out a late night update for my next two days of journalism-ing as well, so look forward to that!