Friday, January 31, 2014

I Died on Broadway

If I work for another 40 years, I may not have as much fun as I had today in making this video.

Broadway has been turned into Disneyland for football fans this week. From 47th to 34th, the whole thing is one big Super Bowl carnival; nothing but football fans and football games and football rides and the Lombardi Trophy. I don't know how you could not like it.

(Yes, that's a GoPro camera on my head. Sadly, none of that footage made the final cut.)

So anyhow, on Friday we grabbed a bunch of the WSJLive on-air talent and headed out to Times Square for a little field-goal kicking competition. I'd seen the goal posts set up on Broadway and 46th Street earlier in the week, and wanted a chance to get on there.

I got in touch with the NFL people, who were really very helpful, as they were earlier with our Lombardi segment. Honestly, I was surprised that we asked for two segments the week of the game, and they got back quickly and made we had everything we needed.

They blocked out a half-hour for us, and then it was just a matter of us making our kicks.

As a team, we weren't so hot. We went three for eight. Personally, I had an even worse performance. I was 0-3, shanked every one wide right. And on right on the Great White Way no less. The indignity.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Super Bowl Indicator and the Lombardi Trophy

Having some fun with the Super Bowl Boulevard thing they set up on Broadway this week. Went down to see the Lombardi Trophy and talk stocks with JC Parets.

Friday, January 17, 2014

You Can Do a Lot With Bitcoin

I collaborated with my colleague Mike Casey on a post this week, listing some of the things you can buy with bitcoin: tickets to the Sacramento Kings, classes at the University of Nicosia, gold (yeah, really, no kidding), dates, dates with other bitcoiners, a house in Southampton, luxury autos...well, you get the picture.

Yeah, bitcoin's still a mystery to most people. For what it's worth, I can state this definitively about bitcoin, though: it works. At least on an individual basis. I can say this because I have physically seen purchases made with bitcoin. Whether the currency ever gains wide acceptance or not, whether it can support large numbers of people using it, there are a lot of questions surrounding it. But on a small-scale basis, a simple transaction between two people, it works. It facilitates commerce.

Here's a bit of the post. You can read the whole thing over at the MoneyBeat blog.

From Space Travel to Pizza, Your Bitcoin Goes Far These Days

You can’t get much more mainstream than professional American sports. In that sense, Thursday’s news that the Sacramento Kings basketball team will let its fans use bitcoin to purchase tickets, jerseys, hot dogs and anything else from its selection of products may go down as a key moment in the digital currency’s coming of age. 

But this is only the latest in a steady progression of vendors choosing to transact in bitcoin, a group that is at the vanguard of the digital currency’s bid for legitimacy.

There are now tens of thousands of merchants around the world accepting bitcoin. Merchant processor Bitpay now has more 20,000 separate clients and says that at its current rate of growth it will hit 100,000 by year end.

So, even though bitcoin might not yet have truly earned mainstream status, there’s already a lot you can do with it.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

All the Me's (My First Touchcast)

I've started experimenting with Touchcast, a new software tool that allows you to do some really fascinating things with interactive video. It allows individuals to create some pretty professional looking videos, but what's really ingenious about is that all of the graphics that you bring into the video, pictures, charts, web pages, anything, are all interactive.The viewer can touch or click on them, and be pulled into that graphic.

It really is an amazing little program. They have a free version for iPad, and now a desktop version, too. The first time I saw it was back in May, when we made a pilot in the WSJLive studio with a more advanced rig, a touchscreen desktop computer. As cool as it is to watch, I think it's even more impressive to see it on the other side. At the time, I compared it to, as an anchor of a show, going from driving a Malibu to driving a Maserati. The picture above I took is actually the monitor, with my own reflection in it.

To get the full flavor of it, you'll have to watch the video on Touchcast's site. Here's the link to my channel. This is the first one I produced on my own. It's a goofy little thing about all the other people I found on through the web named Paul Vigna; you can get an idea of how powerful this technology can be.

Hopefully, I'll do more and better ones as I get more used to the technology.