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Tips for Free Press's new augmented reality

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The first time I tried to surf the Interweb as part of a newsroom training course in the early 1990s I didn't know my URL from my browser. Suffice to say, it didn't go so well.

The first time, I was handed my Free Press BlackBerry, I was more than all thumbs and it took some time before I managed to send that first email.

And the first time I tried to use Blippar on my BlackBerry to test-run augmented reality in our newspaper, I ended up scanning my foot.

I offer these insights into my initial "epic fails" at new technology to say to those of you who had some difficulty accessing the new reality of your Free Press, just hang in there. I know lots of our readers had no problem unlocking the pictures and videos embedded in their paper and they were quick to email or tweet that they loved the experience.

But for those of you who might have ended up staring at a blank screen, or even scanning their foot, here are a few trouble-shooting suggestions once you've gone to blippar.com, the Apple App Store or Google Play and accessed the free app:

  1. Make sure you hold your smartphone or tablet about 12 inches above the page you want to scan. What you want to do is let your device's camera recognize as much of the page that is about to be blipped. Hold your device steady and let the app do the work. Remember: The red scan icon on the page is there to tell you additional content is available. In other words, don't just zoom in on the icon.
  2. When you are scanning, make sure there is enough light for your device to read the page. If you need additional light, tap the light in the upper left-hand corner of the Blippar screen.
  3. Once the app has locked onto the page, the icon should launch and tell you what you've blipped. Tap on it and you should be good to go.
  4. And if the content still won't spring to life on your device, give it a minute and try again. Like most technology, augmented reality works perfectly -- except when it doesn't.
  5. Make sure your device is one that can operate the free app from Blippar. In most cases, any camera-equipped smartphone or tablet will do the trick. In terms of BlackBerry devices, the Z10 can blipp but not the Q10. However, Blippar will be available on a wider range of the latest BlackBerry devices in the next few months.

I hope this helps you join others who have been able to access the new reality in the Free Press, the first major daily newspaper in Canada to make use of this interactive technology.

And since I want to hear from our readers about this new feature, please get on the guest list for the party we are throwing Monday, Sept. 9 at our News Café. Blipp the party invite above for the details on how to RSVP.

 

Paul Samyn is the editor of the Free Press.

paul.samyn@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @paulsamyn

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 5, 2013 A2

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Updated on Thursday, September 5, 2013 at 7:37 AM CDT: adds photo, adds video

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