My friends at the Star-Ledger have opened a $5,000 contest to create a great Facebook app for New Jersey. They’ve offered up their feeds but using them is not required; they just want a great Jersey app. If Tony Soprano ran Microsoft… (well, they do bear similarities). The judges are Barista Debbie Galant, Winegod Gary Vaynerchuk, Ledger visionary John Hassell, and none other than my son, Jake Jarvis. So what makes a great local app?
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The real reason I went to SXSW was to accompany my son and webmaster, Jake, as his aide and chauffeur. I was along for the ride. When Henry Copeland invited me to join his panel, I hesitated and then he pulled an unfair move: He told me that I should bring Jake and if I didn’t, I would be a really bad dad. Henry was right. So off to SXSW we went. Watching Jake in his element was, of course, the highlight of the weekend. People knew him from his Facebook programming. And he got to meet and hear some of his idols, the rock stars of the creation generation: Kevin Rose, Matt Mullenweg, Mark Zuckerberg, Ev Williams, Gary Vaynerchuk, Andrew Baron, Jim Louderback, and more folks from Twitter, Pownce, Digg, Revision3. And Robert Scoble, too. And they were all wonderfully gracious to us. He had fun. I was proud.
One of the highlights was Sarah Meyers’ interview with Jake for Pop17, in which she got another of her many scoops, this one about the sale of his Facebook app:
And here are father and son, resplendent in convention badges (thanks to Tony Pierce):
We ate out with my teammates from Daylife and with Lionel Menchaca from Dell; we had the good sense not to get into the line for the Google party; we saw a few premiere movies; we got t-shirts and schwag. A perfect weekend, I’d say.
My son, Jake, and I were chatting about the Facebook Platform in my home office the other night. He was sitting on the couch with his laptop; I was at my desk writing on mine. This is what passes for paternal bonding in bloggers’ homes. Little did I know what he was working on: With the ease with which I would doodle, he was coding up a Facebook ap for Last FM, which promptly got written up by Michael Arrington in TechCrunch, making a larger point that LastFM isn’t delivering aps but its users are. And last night, he coded up a Meebo Facebook ap. By the way, the LastFM ap has 2,000 users but it hasn’t been officially approved by Facebook. Wazzup?
At the same time, Jake has redesigned his Middio application, a search engine for music videos on YouTube. Do go check it out. Soon he’ll be adding a commercial element and I’ll tell you that story.
The creation generation, indeed.
Pardon the proud dad moment while I brag about my 15-year-old son, Jake‘s, new online venture: Middio.com, a search engine and player for music videos on YouTube. Jake found the quality of search there lacking, so he scraped data about the videos posted by official, legal music labels and made a search engine out of that, adding a random video feature and a top 100 list and the ability to share the video on your Facebook page. He links directly to the video’s page on YouTube and to the music lablels’ sites.
Pretty damned cool, huh?
Middio was written up with a good review — whew! — on TechCrunch and Michael Arrington didn’t even know until I told him that it came from my kin. Then it was written up on Wired. Jake politely shot down this snarky review and got an apology. Webware gets the value of it: “In other words, you’re less likely to find videos of teenagers lip syncing the song you’re looking for.”
I have a bigger point to make about this but first let me tell you about Jake’s other latest creation — continuing my proud dad moment. Jake — who truly is my webmaster and tech teacher — told me about UStream.tv, which lets any of us become Justin.TV and broadcast live via an embeddable player; I was arguing that live is the next trend to overtake online video. When I looked at UStream’s blog, I read this:
On the Shoulders of Giants
We’ve been incredibly happy with the reception we’ve gotten from the true pioneers of the blogosphere. Scoble, Pirillo, Jarvis, Pulver-that’s the kind of company we like to keep. But this is special.
I thought, all too egotistically, that that was me and that puzzled me since I’d only just heard of UStream. But following the link, I found that Jake had mashed up something else new: Knapsack.tv, which he tried and has since taken down. It promised to show you high-school life through the back of a student’s backpack. Jake hooked up a laptop with a video camera and a high-speed cellular modem and set to broadcast through the back of his backback via UStream. He did it for a few hours and it worked.
When I saw this, I was overtaken with a both parental pride and parental dread. I was amazed at what he’d built — but also scared to death that he’d get expelled from school for combining all the things that scare principals everywhere: technology, the internet, cell phones, and cameras.
Jake didn’t quite understand why I was so amazed and proud and it rather embarrassed him. That is to say, we’re a normal father-and-son.
Now here’s the bigger point: Jake doesn’t think twice about making things like this (he has made other things, including this very blog). And I think that’s an important characteristic of his generation: They take the tools available and make things, whether that’s a blog or a video or a web page or an application. The more tools there are, the more things they’ll make. There is no end to it. They don’t consume. They make.
This is the creation generation.
I’m going to tape a Cranky Geeks with John Dvorak today. This impresses my son. CNN with Howie Kurtz? 20/20? Frontline? MSNBC? CNN? Shrug. But Cranky Geeks? Now that’s the big time! (They’re daring you to send questions for me.)
: Just found out I’ll be on aforesaid Howie’s show Sunday to talk about the Hillary attack video and PrezVid and more.
: By the way, aforesaid son has a great new design and just started a new site. Pardon the proud parenting moment. Blogging is in the genes. I inherited it from him.