Autumn Gem

Autumn Gem Preview for the iPad

Over on the Autumn Gem web site, I noted that our Autumn Gem Preview iPad application is now available on the iTunes App Store.

Download Autumn Gem Preview from the App Store

Using selected video clips, archival materials, and interactive features, Autumn Gem Preview introduces you to this fascinating figure through an extensive trailer of the film.

On the home screen are three Chinese characters: Woman, Sword and Country. Tapping on each character will take you to a different section of Qiu Jin’s life.

Learn about the oppressive conditions imposed upon women during Qiu Jin’s time and her struggle to break free of them. Follow her path from childhood as a privileged daughter of an official’s family, to a young woman forced into the traditional roles of marriage and motherhood, to her rejection of those roles and her transformation into a radical women’s rights advocate.

See how she became involved in a rebellious plot to overthrow the last dynasty in China. Use your fingers to control Qiu Jin as she trains in martial arts to prepare herself for battle.

Tap to buy the Autumn Gem DVD and learn more about Qiu Jin on the official Autumn Gem web site.

Autumn Gem Preview provides a unique experience that introduces you to the compelling story of modern China’s first feminist.

Apple, Journal, Technology

Autumn Gem for the iPad Wins at iPadDevCamp!

Autumn Gem for the iPad

Our Autumn Gem application for the iPad won the Future of Publishing Award at iPadDevCamp! We developed this application to show the potential marriage between film and iPad. Going beyond a normal movie, we bring the story of Modern China’s first feminist, Qiu Jin, to life with interactive elements, historical information and movie clips from our film.

Unfortunately, we only heard about the award after the event was over. The judges created several new awards categories during the judging process, and they accidentally forgot to mention our application! No worries, we’re happy that our app was recognized by the selection committee!

The free iPad which is part of the award will be going to Ivan and Dominic from XBureau, who assisted us in developing the application; we couldn’t have done it without them! It was a completely random encounter that caused us to meet. On Friday night, I was standing in line waiting to talk to Chris Allen, one of the organizers of iPadDevCamp. I was holding my 5D Mark II, which was mounted onto my Zacuto Tactical Shooter. Ivan noticed my rig and asked me some questions about it. During our conversation, I told him about the film and my app idea; later on in the evening, he came up to me with Dominic and said they were interested in working on the app. Two days of furious coding, Photoshop, Final Cut, and After Effects later, here we are with a now award-winning app!


Personal Reflections on the iPad

The Apple faithful since 1980

For the religious, this past weekend was Easter. For the Apple faithful, it was iPad launch weekend. Since I attended the iPad Announcement Event, I had the opportunity to use the device before the general public; so, buying it was not a problem, finding a place from which to buy it was! Currently, Rae and I are on the other side of the United States screening our documentary film Autumn Gem! Knowing that I would be in Boston, I skipped the initial pre-order rush and scheduled my iPad to arrive in the second batch of shipments on 4/12. As with any big Apple release, however, I found myself restless on Friday night. The apartment in which we were staying was only 2 blocks away from the Apple Store in Cambridge. What reason was there not to go there in the morning or camp out with the rest of the Apple faithful? The weather here in Massachusetts and Boston has been fantastic over the past few days, unlike the wet and cold conditions seen back in the Bay Area.

So, this was how I found myself waking up at 4:00am to walk over to the store. I soon realized that things play out differently at this Apple Store than my local ones. For starters, the doors to the mall were locked, and there was no one else waiting to get in! Contrast this with the Palo Alto and Valley Fair locations, where people were lining up the day before to be the first to get their iPads.

So, I went back to the apartment, did some work and slept for an hour until 7:30 am. Despite there being a little over an hour to the launch, there were only a handful of people in both the reserved and non-reserved iPad lines! I figured most people arrived at the store to get in line at 7:00am. I guess the shortage was due to several factors: (1) the ability to pre-order and have the product shipped to your house, (2) the fact that the hype was not as big as the original iPhone. Furthermore, the iPad is a device you have to see and feel to understand, it’s not something like a cellphone which everyone has. Back in 2007, it was easy to understand why the iPhone was so much better than the crappy phones we were all carrying at the time. While the iPhone was an easy sell, the iPad for many people posed more questions than answers.

I was in and out of the Apple Store in 40 minutes by the time the doors opened at 8:55am. Everyone in line got their own Apple Specialist to assist them with the purchase. I ended up buying the case and the VGA adapter for two reasons: (1) I needed some case protection for the iPad when I stuff it into my backpack and (2) I planned to run our Autumn Gem tour presentation using the iPad during one of our remaining (and future) screenings.

Probably the biggest question regarding the iPad is why buy it in the first place? Do you need an iPad when you have a laptop and a phone? What is this third class of mobile devices that Steve Jobs… err… Apple is trying to sell us? How is the iPad better than a netbook? I’m going to end up answering this question in a somewhat roundabout way. In the coming weeks, there’ll no doubt be plenty of bloggers and writers coming up with interactive charts and scorecards comparing the iPad with various devices. Instead, what I will talk about is how I view the iPad through the prism of being involved with mobile computing for the past seventeen years.

And, seeing that I was in Newton, Massachusetts the other night for a screening, it’s only appropriate that I mention Apple’s first handheld computer, the Newton, at this point.

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Apple, Autumn Gem, Newton, Qiu Jin, Technology

iPad Case and Newton MessagePad Keyboard Case

I’m still collecting my thoughts on the new Apple iPad, but I wanted to share with you a side-by-side comparison shot of the iPad Case and the Newton MessagePad Keyboard Case from 1996. Back when laptops were 6-7 pounds, bringing around a 2-3 pound Newton, external keyboard, and Ricochet wireless modem was perfect for checking email and writing short documents.

MessagePad and iPad cases

While on tour with Autumn Gem, Rae and I having been traveling with two MacBook Pro laptops. It certainly gets heavy lugging around 15 pounds of computers, adapters, and cables around. We’ll still need to bring one MacBook Pro with us on our next tour, but I can see the iPad replacing the other one. With the iPad-VGA adapter, we’ll even be able to run our presentation and film straight from the iPad! While the output is not HD, it’s more than adequate in the venues we’ve been screening Autumn Gem in. The iPad really is a great device for creative professionals who want to showcase their work: photos, videos, illustrations, you name it.

Here’s a photo of me from the Apple Special Event introducing the iPad. More thoughts to come soon!