Better know a blogger: Jason Perlow (video)

Better know a blogger: Jason Perlow (video)

Summary: ZDNet's Jason Perlow is the first to sit under the hot lights of Skype in our Better Know a Blogger series. Think you know Jason? Think again.

TOPICS: Browser

The world of blogging is a fascinating one, because it straddles the world of the individual and the world of the professional. In the past, if you wanted to write and be read beyond your closest friends and family, you had to pass through gatekeepers: editors, publishers, and marketing types.

But today, if you want to read and be read, all you need is a free WordPress account, or even just post to Facebook or Twitter. On the other hand, journalism and professional trade writing has been changing as well. Most of us who wrote for print are now writing online. When we wrote for print, we were often called "journalists". Today, because we write online, we're called "bloggers".

Blog posts by the 15-year-old kid sharing her angst about the boy who won't call her back and the 55-year-old technology commentator sharing his angst about the Apple rep who won't email him back are surprisingly similar.

But beyond angst, whining, and random opinion is the world of the successful, professional blogger.

Successful, professional bloggers (like those of us who write for ZDNet) are different, because we write to make at least part of our living, we're incredibly fortunate because we make real money at it, and we have a tougher job, because doing this is actually a job. We have professional standards to meet, team coordination required, and self-control to practice. In return, we have a broad reach and a magnified voice.

But what does it take to be a professional blogger?

How do we each approach this very ill-defined task? How do we manage our time? What tools do we use? How do we deal with conflicts? How do we improve our chances of further success? How did we get here to begin with?

These are the questions I've set out to answer in my new Better Know a Blogger series. My goal is to regularly interview ZDNet's bloggers (along with a few other folks you might find interesting) and help you get to know these people at a level you've never been able to before.

You regularly read our work output, but who are we? Where do we work? What do we care about? Why do we do it? In this series, you'll find out.

My long-time friend and colleague Jason Perlow, of ZDNet's Tech Broiler was the first to sit under the hot lights of Skype for an in-depth interview. Here's what he had to say:

I've decided that rather than choosing the next blogger in the series myself, it'd be fun if the person I've just featured chooses the next blogger to be featured. Jason has chosen. Stay tuned and you'll learn who it will be.

Topic: Browser


David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer at CBS Interactive, is an author, U.S. policy advisor, and computer scientist. He is featured in the History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets and is a member of the National Press Club.

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  • How about better know a troll?

    While the project is commendable, I'd like to see interviews with some of our resident trolls such as Loverock, Linux Geek, Itguy, DTS etc. It would be fascinating to actually see and hear the person who put up some of the more inflammatory and intriguing posts and get some idea as to what drives them.

    Perhaps trolls is too harsh a word for Loverock and DTS (perfect for the others I mentioned), but getting to know the posters would be great.
    • Yeah. Bring on the trolls

      LOL! Exactly what I was thinking! Would be fascinating. They could even have a live debate! Bring on Loverock!
  • As far as an inaugural event goes, technically speaking, this was OK!

    Thank you, David and Jason. I enjoyed listening to your insights into the various topics covered. (More on that in a follow-up comment thread.)

    But for now, after watching the Oscars on both my HDTV and iPad, and then watching your linked You Tube video this evening, I can't help but channel my inner Spielberg and express a few thoughts, observations and possible suggestions for future Gewirtz Masterpiece Theater productions.

    After watching the technology on display, I was reminded of my Amiga Video Toaster associations of the early 1990s. (Although I never owned a Video Toaster System - I used Scala and a seperate genlock and associated hardware for my home video projects), I was extremely familiar with NewTek's video breakthrough system. Those Toaster systems were used at all my Chrysler facilities for in-house video productions and I had the good fortune to learn, first hand, the Toaster software and hardware capabilities from the technicians at those facilities and also by published Amiga Tech author, Sheldon Leemon back in 90's at "Slipped Disk" in Madison Hts, MI. (Ah, those WERE the days!) But I digress.

    I can't help but recall thru nostalgic clouded memories observations that would suggest video technology really hasn't progress - all that much - since the early 1990's. Certainly the "green screen", CGI and Transition effects of a Toaster System easily equaled and probably surpassed what David was able to show in his short video clip.

    Given that, what David was able to produce was efficiently created and uploaded to You Tube in a minimum amount of time. Furthermore, because current Skype technology allows video conferencing, an important "live feed" segment enhanced this video presentation.

    However, Skype has an inherent drawback due to internet band width considerations. Everyone sees this effect -- dropped frames from the video capture. The audio segment is fine, the Skype video quality is fair to poor. That Skype video quality is contrasted against David's HD quality studio video segments.

    Here's a suggestion for future considerations. While conducting the Skype video chat with the remote "guest blogger", simultaneously video the guest blogger with an inexpensive HD camcorder. The remote camcorder could be positioned for maximum lighting and recording effectiveness.

    After the video conference has ended, if the remote guest could then upload or transmit the camcorder video file back to David for post-op insertion into his video project, both David and his guest host could be viewed in HD resolution. IMO, viewing Jason in low res, skipped frame video while viewing David in HD was a bit disconcerting.

    Also, if time permitted, David would then be able to insert additional video clips that coincided with certain topics the guest blogger touched upon during the Skype video interview.

    Again .. if time permitted.

    Understand that both a Video Toaster System and David's in house studio system were both designed to facilitate a "one man band" type of video content creation. Both systems perform well in that role.

    Congratulations to David for successfully choosing his current technology allowing and creating a rather remarkable "flag waving" video production.
    • Valid thoughts

      @Kenosha, those are very valid thoughts, but they differ with my personal goals for this project, and for the Skype studio as a whole. While I want the best possible production values, what I'm doing is looking for the best possible trade-off scenario between quality and time.

      For example, I'm doing live post-production (which means, for example, that a few of the production errors you saw, in particular the image of me behind Jason, can't be removed in "post" -- because there is no post).

      Video normally takes an extraordinary amount of time, time that I can't justify. The Better Know a Blogger series is a good example. If I can do these in a few hours each, I can take the time to do them. But I couldn't afford to devote a day or two to each one. It's just not practical.

      So, while I want to include any improved production method I can find (and I keep trying to find fixes for the switching issue, for example), my big goal is to reduce the time, not add further time for post. Right now, each of these takes a minimum of three hours, including filming. I want to get that down to about 2 hours, including coordinating with the guest, filming, uploading, and presenting.

      It'll be interesting to see how this progresses. Stay tuned.
      David Gewirtz
  • Better know a blogger: Jason Perlow (video)

    I'd tend to disagree with your definitions of a journalist and a blogger, but otherwise your skype studio is pretty cool. Being on this site for a while I tend to know the personalities of the bloggers.
    Loverock Davidson-
  • The question was what will consumer level technology look like in 2020?

    I believe that was a question posed by you to Jason. Personally, when it comes to technology, predicting future trends eight years in advance is impossible.

    But, defined in the terms of consumer technology i.e. affordable mainstream consumer tech, I would be inclined to predict this. Google TV, Apple TV, Windows TV will have voice and motion awareness capability priced to eliminate traditional desk top PCs. I believe that fully. Our beloved iMacs, PC Alienware game rigs and Linux desktop workstations will simply cease to be relevant.

    I'll explain. By 2020, I would expect HDTV to go to the next step in resolution. (I believe I read that the resolution of HDTVs will be 4 times greater than what it is today.)

    Given that resolution, viewing document text at a distance will not be a problem on a 60 inch or greater home HDTV screen.

    Now, combine processor capability, mainframe and server farm facility improvements over eight years with similar improvements to natural voice input pioneered by Siri, Google Voice and MS voice recognition technologies and something very similar to Hollywood future tech visions (Minority Report) will take place in the family rooms of most US consumers. (Great Britain citizens, unfortunately, will take at least eight more years to catch up with the rest of the civilized world due to their nation's poor electronic infrastructure. VERY BIG GRIN.)

    Yep, in eight years, I expect to treat my 60 inch or larger super HDTV screen as a huge interactive computer desktop monitor. It will respond to my voice requests for Internet content viewing and also respond to hand motions that will rearrange that data to any portion of the screen I choose.

    Of course, by 2020, all personal consumer data will be synched to every electronic device a consumer wishes to purchase and use. And, BTW, all mobile devices will at least have the power capability of today's high end desktop workstations. Think about that for a second!

    Speaking about that, here is my best prediction on future smartphone tech. A person's smartphone would be able to interface seamlessly with ANY HDTV screen and use that as a large desktop monitor. Think AirPlay on steroids.

    It will be a brave new world but I would be able to live without my dual monitor desktop system I currently use now.