Blogging Conferences Cool Tools Northern Voice 2007 Software

Mac blogger toolkit – Northern Voice 2007

CBC columnist and Mac geek, Tod Maffin ran another great session at Moosecamp around favorite productivity tools. Below are my favorites from the session.

  • ImageWell – Swiss Army knife for images (free)
  • Paparazzi – takes screenshots of full web pages.
  • TextExpander – condenses messages, phrases or code that you might reuse all the time into short keystrokes.
  • VoodooPad – wiki for your Mac. BEST NOTEPAD EVER!
  • Synergy – software for using one keyboard and mouse with two computers (and screens). Kind of like a KVM…
  • Hazel – best maid for cleaning up your Mac.
  • – test web designs on 31 different browser platforms.
  • QuickSilver – I’m hoping I’ll get this one day, but for now, I’ll point it out to all all of you

More tools

Audio of the session

image by Flickr user katiew
Conferences Digital Cameras

PhotoCamp at Northern Voice

Kris Krug, photographer extraordinaire, organized a conference within a unconference within a conference at this year’s Northern Voice. He collected an exceptional panel of other photogs and tech geeks.

High end consumer cameras

Tim Bray did a talk on high end compact cameras. Made me think about using the G3 again. It does shoot in RAW and it has the intervolator. I wonder if the G6 has that? If you are looking for a new camera, Tim posted his talk at the here.

Tim’s talk brought up some points that I’m always thinking about: I love my Canon Rebel, but there are serious costs to bringing it with me all the time. It takes beautiful pictures, but it’s big and bulky. The vast majority of the photos that I take are on my Canon SD450. Maybe I could learn to use it a bit better…

Color Profile Love

A huge THANK YOU to Matt Trent at UBC for teaching me in 10 minutes everything I needed to know about color profiles in Photoshop. I sat through an hour at a Macworld session years ago from someone who worked at Adobe and I didn’t get it. Now, I think I’ve got all I need to know.

The secret – if you work on a Mac and are posting photos online work with Adobe SRGB. Why? Safari reads numerous color profiles, but almost no other browser does. The color profile is smaller than Adobe RGB, but it is the lowest common denominator, thus will look the same on most browsers.

Hopefully, next year I’ll get to see your lab and work in HDR.

Matt Trent’s Moosecamp Presentation

Adobe Lightroom

Roland Tanglao led a session about Adobe Lightroom, which looks a lot like if iPhoto and Adobe Bridge had a kid. Oh, and apparently, in the photo world, black is the new white.


Lots of good features here, but not enough to pull me into another app. One interesting thing, though, it looked like Roland was running an older G4 laptop, but Lightroom really seemed to fly. If you’re looking for something a little more robust than iPhoto, Lightroom might be for you.

Thanks everyone for such an informative session! Look forward to seeing you next year.

Conferences Northern Voice 2007

Pix from Northern Voice

400545822_59342ffc0f_m.jpgChris Heuer, Social Media Club founder and all-around nice guy, has a great set of pictures up on Flickr from the conference so far.

Check them out here.

All Northern Voice photos on Flickr are here.

Photo by (or at least in his feed) Chris Heuer
Geek Fun Social Media Social Media Marketing

Ziki ad follow up

ziki logo.jpgSo first off, if you haven’t used Google Adwords, I highly recommend it. Besides being a great user experience, you can learn quite a bit about search terms that you might be interested in.

To feed the ego, I now have a sense of how many people are searching for ‘Randy Stewart‘ on Google over the last month. I didn’t realize that Google showed this data, but I guess it makes sense to know what you are paying for.

So, Ziki…. how much are they paying for my name? Well, I’m not an SEM specialist, but given that I have the third position when you do a search on my name and I know how much I pay when someone clicks, I’m imagining that Ziki is paying slightly less than I am.

How much am I paying, let’s just say 6x the copper version of Abraham Lincoln. I’m still interested in what Ziki is doing and I think it’s a really smart marketing campaign. They haven’t reached their 10k goal in signups just yet, so there is still an opportunity to get in on their campaign.

Conferences Northern Voice 2007 Social Media

Northern Voice this weekend

So, given how blog lazy I’ve been lately, I’m a little embarrassed to go to a blogging conference this weekend, but nevertheless, there I’ll be going. Hell, I guess any excuse to get back to the beautiful city of Vancouver is good enough for me.


If you are at Northern Voice this weekend, drop me a line and say hi. I’m the guy that’s going to be catching up on a long list of blog ideas so I don’t feel lame.

Look forward to meeting you all.

Boxbe Social Media

Boxbe Blog is live

I’m excited to announce the launch of one of the projects I’ve been working on lately, the Boxbe blog. Boxbe, as you might remember is the market based spam solution I mentioned a few months back. We’re still figuring out all the ins and outs, so the blog is a little slow going right now, but we should be picking up post-wise in the not-to-distant-future.


Boxbe solves a couple of very real pain points for me.

First, as someone who wants to have conversations with readers and potential new clients, obfuscating my email in any way is a bad idea. I want people to be able to email me easily and Boxbe helps me do that.

Second, while the word ‘spam’ is loaded (one man’s spam is another man’s canned meat), certain kinds of emailers (Viagra, Vioxx, penny stocks, etc) will never pay one red cent to reach me, so those kinds of email are dead to me. Forever. Putting a small fee in the way of spammers pretty much removes them from the conversation as their business model is predicated on free email.

Anyhow, the service is a little rough right now, but it’s being improved on a daily basis and I expect to see a lot of updates to functionality and usability real soon now.

If you’d like to reach me, send email to

Boxbe Blog

Building Community Conferences Links

10 tips for meeting people at industry events

My friend Andrew Chen has posted his thoughts on meeting people at conferences. Great list if you are in the mood to meet folks in your industry. Here are a few of the points:

  1. Use pre-conference time wisely
  2. Arrive early for some 1:1 time
  3. Sit next to interesting people, and introduce yourself
  4. Bring business cards, and ask for business cards

Some of these things might appear dead obvious, but you would be surprised how many people don’t follow them. Fact is, even if you are shy about meeting folks, other people are as well. Keep in mind, the main reason why people attend these events is to meet people.

Andrew, btw, just moved to Silicon Valley from Seattle. He’s an Entrepreneur in Residence at the VC firm, Mohr Davidow Ventures on Sand Hill Road. Sounds like a dream job to me! If you’re looking to get a company off the ground or join a startup, he might just be the guy to talk to.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ll be in Palo Alto this weekend and spending a little time in San Francisco on Monday and Tuesday.



Steve Jobs thinks DRM is pointless

Wow… here’s something I thought I’d never see.

Steve Jobs posted on the official Apple blog, errr, Apple’s press release area a letter entitled “Thoughts on Music.”

Basically, Steve boils it down to 3 possible futures.

1. Stay the course with DRM.
This doesn’t really work for the music companies as they still sell most of their music on unprotected CDs. DRM really only hinders the sale of music on iTunes and other players as folks don’t like being locked in.

2. Apple licenses Fairplay
This doesn’t work for the music companies because ultimately when more companies have access to the DRM, DRM becomes less effective.

3. DRM goes away.
I’m still shocked about this one. You can buy music from anyone and play it on any device. Ultimately, Apple still has the advantage here as they sell the number one player.

So, the big question is why did Steve post this?

Here are some possibilities:

  • European bans on DRM will affect Apple’s business.
  • A free market for music would help, not hinder Apple’s music business. Apple doesn’t have 100% player market share, so in theory, they could sell more music. Apple could, in theory, sell more iPods.
  • iPod battery life would increase. DRM sucks batteries dead because of the additional horsepower required.
  • DRM is a bad user experience and Steve knows it.

Ultimately, I hope this has some affect on the state of DRM and isn’t just a power play to garner consumer sympathy for Apple’s dilemma.

[via TUAW]


Community Next – this weekend

Sorry, faithful readers for my long departure. I’ve been buried under a few projects. Hopefully, I will be posting more regularly very soon.
In the mean time, I’ll be attending the Community Next conference this weekend at Stanford. If you are at the conference or in the Bay Area and would like to meet up, drop me a line at

Apple Conferences Home Entertainment HTPCs Macintosh Macworld

Macworld 2007


Just a few quick general impressions from the show today.

iPhone and AppleTV

First, iPhone and AppleTV are two huge new platforms for Apple to develop and deserved the spotlight today. That said, not really being able to touch or to truly get a “live” demo of the iPhone was a bit of a bummer. I guess this is why Apple usually doesn’t release products that aren’t done.

[Jan 10, 2007 – David Pogue gets a hands on with the iPhone – “Typing is difficult”


The AppleTV seems to be on the surface of things a great platform for Apple to develop. That said, I think they may need to do some convincing to those of use with HDTVs. While photos look great on this device, video was …lacking. Maybe it’s the fact that I was looking at a 42″ HD set from less than 3 feet away, but video looked kind of horrible. I’m not sure if it is the device or the video, but man, it didn’t look good.


Fanboy Whining

No Macworld would be complete without a little complaining. I know we’ll see it soon, but I really, really wanna see what Leopard looks like. I get that two big products were introduced today, but what’s shipping from today? Typically, we get a little software to play with before the hardware ships, so I’m bummed that we didn’t get iLife ’07 today. I suspect that it is tied to the features in Leopard we haven’t seen yet.


From a visit to Macworld perspective, Macworld is pretty boring. Folks at home are getting as much of a hands on experience as we are at the show. However, the AppleTV and iPhone launch are the most significant new directions we have seen from Apple in years. Exciting times, indeed.

More pictures from the show

Apple Consumer Electronics Features iTunes Microsoft Portable Entertainment Rumors

Twas the Night Before Macworld


Twas the night before Macworld when all through the town
No MacBook was mooing nor turning brown

At Moscone, nerds were queuing with care
in hopes that Saint Steve would soon be there.

Geek Fun Google Site News Social Media Social Media Marketing

How much for a Google ad?

Given Ziki’s marketing gimmick, I’m curious just how cheap it is to buy an ad for my name on Yahoo! or Google. I’ve never used either AdWords or Yahoo! Marketing Solutions personally, so it will be a fun way to see if I get any clickers. No fair clicking on my ad if you are reading this, but feel free to click on the Ziki one ;-)

I’ll let you know how it turns out in the next few days.

Building Community Social Media Social Media Marketing

Ziki – free advertising for bloggers

ziki logo.jpgOr anyone who has ever used a social network or a service with feeds…

I love the idea of aggregating all my social network data and social media contributions into a single place, but they have made a somewhat kludgy effort at doing so. I certainly did a bit more clicking than necessary. Here’s my page.

Building Community

To attract people in an already crowded space, they are promoting their first 10,000 users by buying ads on Google, MSN, and Yahoo!. Marketing members’ content appeals to their egos and in turn gets more users to the site through the ad spend.

I’m imagining that buying name based keywords is relatively inexpensive with few people actually clicking. Arguably, this is the best, if not least expensive, way for a growing social media site to spend money in text advertising.

Bottom Line

Ziki is definitely an interesting concept but it seems like I’d just want all of this stuff aggregated on my own blog. If they master the art of publicity for their members, it certainly would be a valuable service for those looking for an audience.

[via Paul Stamatiou]

Consumer Electronics Games

A Merry Christmas, Indeed


Ok, they weren’t both for me, but add a TMX Elmo, and I may have had all the hot gifts for Christmas in my trunk.

Loving the Wii

The PS3 was for my brother-in-law, but the Wii (or Wheeeeeeee! as we said over the holidays) was all for me. I don’t want to join the choir in the universal praise the Wii has been getting, but wow! It’s pretty spectacular when you can hand any high tech device to someone who isn’t a gadget nerd and they can immediately use it.

This isn’t to say that the Wii isn’t without faults, but as a first generation device (I guess this counts as a first gen device), the level at which this game system just works is nothing short of amazing.

That said, game developers, you have your work cut out for you. While Wii Sports was spectacular, other games were spectacularly difficult for non-gamers, or even hard core gamers. I’ve found that by turning down the sensitivity on the Wii-mote, it tends to work a bit better for me.

It’s just fun

While the graphics fail to compare to the PS3 or the Xbox 360, we had a lot of fun going bowling, playing tennis and hitting the ball out of the park in baseball. I even had fun playing golf! I can’t emphasize the fun part enough. Often, games feel like another task to complete or a skill to acquire, and frequently feel more like work and less like a game.

Clearly, I can’t recommend this system highly enough to non-gamers, but the Wii also fits as a “supplemental” game system (Wii60 anyone?) for so-called “hard-core” gamers.

Downloads Features

Cool Tools – PicLens


This a very simple plugin for Safari that makes full screen slideshows from folders on Flickr and most of the other major photo sites. Nicely implemented and a great use of screen space.


Building Community Social Media

Slashdot Firehose (or Digg vs round 2)

Looks like Slashdot is doing something about getting their ass handed to them from Digg. Now, according to our pals with dubious numbers at Alexa, Digg has well surpassed Slashdot in terms of reach, rank and pageviews. This isn’t news. Even if Digg had not expanded beyond its tech crowd, Digg was growing at a rate that outclassed Slashdot in every way.

Slashdot Firehose

Slashdot has launched a editorial voting system called Firehose to “allow users to assist the Slashdot editors in the story selection process.” It’s a straight up copy of Digg, but Slashdot is not giving up ultimate editorial control of their home page.

slashdot firehose.jpg

I haven’t seen it before, so I can only guess that it just launched and it seems to only be launched to logged in users.

slashdot firehose3.jpg

Somehow, I don’t think that this will get new users on Slashdot, but allowing users to vote on stories certainly will make editorial decisions a little easier.