September 12, 2012

∴ Live Blog-Following the Apple iPhone Event

Just a quick aside about today’s media coverage of the iPhone event. As most hardcore Apple fans know, the company doesn’t provide live audio or video coverage of their public keynotes, and only delayed, recorded video coverage of WWDC developer sessions. Real-time coverage happens via “live blogging.”

A media outlet’s reporter writes second-by-second updates to a weblog, narrating what he or she hears to a scrolling, time-stamped page on the outlet’s web site. At the same time, one or more photographers snap and upload images that are immediately incorporated into the stream. All data moves over 3G or 4G cellular wireless connections.

But the photos are usually interspersed among the text items on the web page, so it gets a little tedious scrolling up and down as large images rapidly scroll away what you’re reading. One of today’s media outlets did something new, and better, though.

I usually follow these events through live blogs at four or more sites, in case one or another chokes from heavy readership. Today’s lineup included The Verge, Anandtech, Macworld and Engadget. Anandtech was the newbie this time around. Hands-down, Engadget had the best live blog presentation.

The photos were presented across the top of the page in a Cover Flow-like progression. Engadget must have had multiple photographers continuously shooting, because the rapid succession of images was almost like slow-scan TV. And the images didn’t interrupt the flow of text, which occupied its own half of the page.

I could flip back and forth through the photos as the text continued to update, and the images didn’t return to automatically updating until I flipped back to the last one.

And most importantly of all, Engadget’s live blog stream didn’t choke. I didn’t have to reload the page once during an hour and forty minutes of coverage.

Very well done, Engadget. You’re my go-to live blog resource. Your Apple coverage technology was … Apple-like in its simplicity and effectiveness.

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