How Romance Scammers Port Video Files Over Skype

I’ve had many victims of ‪#‎romancescams‬ (where scammers used my photos) ask me how it was possible that they saw “me” over Skype. From these conversations, I’ve discovered that the scammers used a technique to port video over Skype to further fake someone’s identity. This appearance over video was often reported by victims as the convincing moment where they felt that they were talking a real person (vs. the fabricated identity). I’ve created a short screencast to explain how this works. Please share – it may save someone from falling into one of these scams. Thanks.

Using Twitter Well (With Tweetdeck)

Jesse Newhart has put together a good, 8 minute overview of how he effectively follows a high number (15,000+) of people on Twitter using Tweetdeck. I use many of the same strategies for following a lesser number on Twitter (2000+), and if you do follow a significant number of people, these ‘tricks’ are useful if not essential.

And while I am writing this, I just noticed that Brian Crosby has asked “why would you want to follow 15,000 people?”. I think the video may itself help to answer this important question as Newhart does explain each strategy in context (e.g., looking for links, helping to answer people’s questions, noticing popular trends among followers). While I do not follow that many, I know that I do benefit from following more people than I can regularly engage.

“Teach Us Something” – Submit Your Microlectures

As part of the open graduate course discussed in my last post, I have put out a call for microlectures to be included as a resource on the course wiki.

From the wiki:

As an experiment in this course, I am attempting to solicit short, five minute or less, recorded microlectures that will benefit the course participants and hopefully, will also benefit those individuals who submit them. The basic request is simply “teach us something” in a style and media format of your choosing (screencasts, talking-heads, lectures, presentations, hands-on, audio, music, animation, drawing, machinima, etc.). While the course is focused on topics related to social media & open education, I also welcome other subjects as I believe it is important that the power of social media is not in simply teaching about social media.

If you would like to submit a microlecture, please fill out this Google Form with the appropriate information including a web link to your media. Once submitted, the information will appear in this Google spreadsheet.

Thanks to all who consider this request. The course runs from September until early December, so you will have several months to participate. I am hoping that this will become a useful resource for others.

200 Years That Change the World (Hans Rosling)

In this video, Hans Rosling demonstrates GapMinder, a tool for “unveiling the beauty of statistics”. The content for the brief video is the change in the life expectancy & income throughout the world in the last two centuries. Gapminder looks like a really neat tool, and the trends described through the tool are interesting.

If you would like to play with the simulation used in this video, go to If you want to see more of Hans Rosling, check out his TED Talk.

Interactive Video Object Manipulation

Dan Goldman recently posted a video on Interactive Video Manipulation, a new technology being developed. This has great possibilities, and the demo is very impressive.

Interactive Video Object Manipulation from Dan Goldman on Vimeo.

I can’t wait until I get to play with a consumer version.

This demo illustrates our research to bring interactivity to video editing: Our system analyzes videos using computer vision techniques, enabling interactive annotation, browsing, and even drag-and-drop composition of new still images using video footage. This is a joint research project of Adobe and the University of Washington.

Green Screen (Chroma Key) Basics

As I’ve stated before, Izzy Video is one of the best resources I have come across in regards to learning digital video techniques. Izzy Video is not free (it’s about $45 USD for a 6 month subscription), but Izzy does release a few free videos from time-to-time. The latest free video outlines the basics of using a green screen in video production. As usual, it is very well done and informative.

Izzy Video

And, if you have missed it, I highly recommend taking a look at Matthew Needleman’s K12Online Conference presentation, “Kicking it Up a Notch Film School For Video Podcasters“. This is an excellent overview of the procedures and techniques you should know to get started with video in the classroom. Matthew has done a wonderful job of making this presentation equally informative and entertaining.