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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Tsunami gives boost to vlogging

From wire reports

When Jordan Golson launched his Web diary, or blog, in early December, he attracted about 10 views a day. But by late December, he was struggling to keep his site named up and running as it racked up 640,000 hits. The difference: tsunami videos.

Golson’s site — at jlgolson.blogspot.com — was just one of dozens of locations on the Internet hosting amateur videos of the Indian Ocean disaster. Some of the “video blogs” already existed; others sprung up within a week.

Even before the tsunami, media watchers had predicted that 2005 would be a big year for video blogging, also known as vlogging.

Even so, the genre is still in its infancy — and like much on the Web, its protocols are still evolving.

To obtain the tsunami videos, many bloggers linked to TV Web sites, pulled them from Internet bulletin boards or snatched them from each other, in a chaotic rush to make the unedited scenes available. Some TV networks, in turn, were alerted to amateur videos first by bloggers.

The story of one video, labeled “Tsunami hitting Phuket Beach” by Golson, is a case in point. The video, which showed an elderly couple overpowered by a wave, was filmed on a Sunday morning by a Swedish factory worker named Tommy Lorentsen. Lorentsen salvaged the tape from his camera after it was soaked and gave a copy to Fredrik Bornesand, a Stockholm police detective who appears in the footage trying to rescue the couple. Bornesand handed a CD of the clip to journalists with Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper who then uploaded it to their Web site.

Airports utilize ‘cell phone lots’

At least 13 airports are now sending motorists to “cell phone lots” to wait until the arriving travelers they’re coming for call for a ride, a new attempt to unplug road-clogging bottlenecks at passenger pickup spots.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Los Angeles International opened their first cell phone lots just in time to ease terminal congestion during the holidays.

The lots, which are free, grow out of two trends of the past few years: the explosion in cell phone usage and post-Sept. 11 security measures that prohibit motorists from lingering outside terminals.

Airport managers say the lots reduce the repeated looping by pickup drivers waiting for arriving travelers. The lots also reduce the slow, erratic driving — and the illegal parking — of motorists trying to hang back to time their pull-up to their passenger’s appearance.

The lots typically are no more than two-minute drives from the terminals. Most require drivers to stay with their car. Some limit waits to 30 minutes, although some airport officials say enforcement is likely only during busy times.

Sea-Tac uses icons — a car with a phone over it — to direct motorists to its lot.

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