photo of 3 tablets, the first with an image of a Periscope broadcast, then a Blab broadcast, and finally a screencap of a CSULB BeachNet+ login info page

Periscope, Blab & BeachNet+

Hi Guys!

As you know I broadcast our 1st class on Tuesday via Periscope. I tried to broadcast our Thursday website workday on Blab, and when that total failed I went over to Periscope. Between my “broadcasting skills” and various technical issues, it was kind of a so-so week for streaming mobile video. It’s almost too early to ask you what you think since there’s kinks to still work out, but here’s a little recap of what happened in Week 1.


I think, you tell me, that the Tuesday Periscope went pretty well technically. The big issue I was aware of was how hard it was to talk to the F2F audience and read the comments & questions of the Periscope audience as they scrolled past. I was excited to try Blab because it had 2 ways to potentially solve this: students at home could take a “video seat” and actually talk, and also unlike Periscope, Blab comments can be scrolled up and down so you can check for things that went by.

Screen cap of a Blab broadcast in a Chrome browser window.

A successful Blab broadcast from my home studio

The short answer is that after a few minutes, 10 or 15 maybe? of trying, Blab didn’t seem to let peeps in, I got logged out or crashed and lost the Blab, started a new one, which made the link everyone had obsolete, and various video freezing, and so on. I had previously tried Blab from my off-campus studio and it worked pretty well. So the problem might not be “Blab’s fault”. It could be BeachNet+. We just got an email Tuesday afternoon about the tremendous load the 41,024 of us (students + faculty + staff) place on the network, especially at the beginning of the academic year:

This email is to remind you that the first weeks of the semester are always heavy traffic times for the University networks, especially Wi Fi. One of the big reasons for this is the huge number of mobile devices using our network during this time of year. It seems everyone sets their phone, pad, and laptop to be on the Wi Fi at all times nowadays. Not only do people use their phones for everything, but these devices are chatting to the network all the time, even when their owners aren’t looking at them, so the load on our network is tremendous. The University has been adding capability every year, but it is a tall order to keep up at peak times like this. If you or your students have problems logging on or getting to University services, bear that in mind. You may have to try a few times or wait awhile to make a connection.

— Pat Mullen, Technology Coordinator, School of Art, College of the Arts, California State University, Long Beach

IDK why we had such poor results: Blab, or BeachNet+, or something else. For whatever reason I think Periscope functioned better. So back to our original plan. Well, we never left the original plan, this was just a Thursday test actually.


I think technically Periscope worked ok. In trying to project it on the UT-108 theater screen, sometimes my device would work ok, but the projection would freeze. Tuesday I used a Moto-G to broadcast and an iPad to project on the screen. Thursday I used an iPod Touch to both broadcast and project on the screen. Maybe streaming video out to the cloud and also over to the Theater Projector was too much.

If you checked out the Periscope, or the Blab, any reactions?

  • Did it work technically?
  • Was it useful?
  • Was my often not reading comments / questions a problem?
  • Was my turning to Periscope from time to time and asking “any questions from Periscope” helpful? (it seemed like that sort of worked out)
  • Is the whole thing not that great and would it be better if I skipped Periscope and just focused on everyone in the F2F class?

Twitter Hashtag

I did try to say occasionally “any questions from Periscope” and at least a few of you got to ask things. Was that good? Or did you feel left out?

One thought I had to deal with Periscope just floating comments off and not scrolling them was that you could also ask with a Twitter Hashtag #Art110, and then they’d stick around and I could read them. But maybe having another place to go is too much hassle?

We’ll see how it goes in Week 2. Please do give my your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below or F2F!

Thanks everyone!

Written by Glenn Zucman

BA, Psychology, University of Hawaii, MFA, Intermedia Art, Long Beach State. Host of American Public Media's "Border Patrol." Host of KBeach Radio's "Strange Angels." Interested in Identity Art that explores our Oracle-at-Delphi-like straddling of corporeal and virtual realms in our new media century. Civil rights in online space. 10 years...
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