Events Geek Fun Ignite Seattle

Ignite Seattle 7 in Photos

Here are my favorite pix from Ignite Seattle 7. See more about Ignite Seattle here.

Mónica Guzmán - Ignite Seattle 7

Seattle PI’s Big Blogger, Mónica Guzmán implores us to put down the iPhone
Todd Sawicki - Ignite Seattle 7

Todd Sawicki talks about the beauty of ballet
Jessica Hagy - Ignite Seattle 7

Jessica Hagy on Lies to Ignore
Mehal Shah - Ignite Seattle 7

Mehal Shah tells us how to Fight Dirty in Scrabble
The Winning Cut - Ignite Seattle 7

Scissors beats paper

More pictures after the jump.

.How To Pictures

Add lots of keywords to Lightroom quickly

I discovered a quick and dirty keywording method in Lightroom that has improved my workflow a great deal. Keywording photos makes it easier to find them later in Lightroom and better yet, if you are sharing your photos on Flickr, it will make your photos infinitely more findable for anyone who is searching.

Easy Tagging

I started using Lightroom because of the thoughtful, fast workflow it offered. Keywording in Lightroom is both quick and robust and the metadata I added was exported to Flickr as tags (thanks to Jeffrey Friedl’s wonderful Export to Flickr Tool).

Prior to Lightroom, I used iPhoto to organize my photos which has keyword support that was designed for people needing only a handful of keywords (if any).


iPhoto Keywords

I always expected more from iPhoto, but I imagine, for most people, tagging is a secondary feature. 1

Why Not Just Use Lightroom’s Existing Keyword Method?

Lightroom’s keyword tool is great if you’re just typing in a few new keywords, but if you have many keywords to enter (with Parent categories and synonyms), it gets a little tedious. Lightroom requires you to switch back and forth from the mouse to keyboard a lot, which can really slow you down.

Second, if you already have a keyword data source that is a long list, you can’t just copy and paste that into Lightroom.

Finally, once you import keywords, it’s easier to keyword photos inside Lightroom through auto-completion (if you type them in) or dragging and dropping onto the keyword.

Getting Started: Export Your Keywords

If you’ve already been keywording your photos in Lightroom, you can get an idea of what your existing keyword data looks like by selecting Metadata > Export Keywords… The resulting file is a tab delimited text file that can be viewed in any text editor (TextEdit, TextMate, etc).

The keywords are structured something like this:

		{synonym, synonym, etc}

Creating a Text File to Import

I have a massive amount of keyword data in Lightroom and I’m constantly adding to it. On occasion, I know what keywords I’m going to add before a photo shoot.

Shortly before the last Ignite Seattle event, Brady had posted the schedule on the Ignite site, including speaker names, their Twitter IDs and the topic of their talk. This made for an easy copy and paste into Excel.

After a little data massaging, I saved the file as a .txt file that was tab separated and ready for Lightroom. It looked something like this:

	Hillel Cooperman 
	Dawn Rutherford
	Shelly Farnham 
	Dominic Muren 
	Jen Zug 

Import Your New Keywords

Lightroom_Metadata_menu.pngNow, before you start importing keywords into Lightroom, I’d suggest that you first set up a new catalog to see what the results from the import will look like.

If you import a lot of new keywords and they aren’t structured properly, you might muck up your existing Keyword List. While you can “Purge Unused Keywords,” this might remove other keywords that you actually wanted.

Create a new catalog, by selecting File > New Catalog.

Select Metadata > Import Keywords and you are on your way.

Keyword entry

If you do type your keywords, type in the little keyword box, not the big one. If you enter keywords into the big keyword box, they don’t auto-complete whereas they do auto-complete in the little box.

That’s it.

Hopefully, this will help you as much as it has helped me. Having good keywords will help you find and organize your photos much more than without them.

Caveat – Don’t Move/Change Keywords

Sadly, what I really wanted to do was restructure my keywords without breaking my existing keyword set, but this is not possible with the current Import/Export tools. If you want to move a keyword into a category, you must use the Lightroom interface to do so.

For example, if you have a category “People” and a keyword “Randy Stewart” at the top level of your keyword hierarchy, you can’t move “Randy Stewart” under “People” in the text file.

Lightroom stores keywords as explicit paths. For example, you can have both

	Randy Stewart
Randy Stewart

which I think is a total pain. You can have the same keyword on multiple levels. Some folks think this is a feature, personally, I think that it is a bug.

It would be fantastic to edit this file manually although, I suppose if keywords didn’t work this way, they would have to store keywords in a database rather than a flat file.

  1. The inclusion of facial recognition changes this substantially, but so far this hasn’t translated into more robust keywording, but it makes it much easier for keywording people.


The Naked Truth in Photos

Here are some of the pictures that I took and notable quotes from The Naked Truth event in Seattle on July 9, 2009. The event was held by Redfin, Madrona, Fenwick & West and Square 1 Bank.

Fred Wilson

Fred Wilson - The Naked Truth

“what’s the worst kind of failure? one that takes a long time and costs alot of money” (via jtgameover)

“the idea that you cannot build an important tech company outside of Silicon Valley is a crock of shit.” (via Fred Wilson)

Mike Arrington

Mike Arrington - Naked Truth

forget the money, just sell yourself like YouTube did before you ever make any money. Twitter is going to sell for $2 billion to Microsoft or Google by the end of the year, and they’re going to have absolutely no revenue whatsoever.

(via Techflash)

The Crowd at the Naked Truth

The Crowd at The Naked Truth

Greg Gottesman, VC plays Emcee

Greg Gottesman - The Naked Truth

There’s a lot more commentary out there (mainly Twitter) and video of the event will be posted on Seattle 2.0 later.

More photos

Jason Preston - The Naked Truth Greg Gottesman - The Naked Truth Glenn Kelman and Mike Arrington - Naked Truth Fred Wilson - Naked Truth Brad Jefferson - Naked Truth Jonathan Sposato - Naked Truth Fred Vogelstein - Naked Truth Mike Arrington - Naked Truth Damon Darlin - Naked Truth Jonathan Sposato - Naked Truth The Naked Truth Crowd Damon and Marina - Naked Truth Jonathan Sposato - Naked Truth Glenn Kelman - Naked Truth Greg Gottesman - Naked Truth Damon Cortesi - Naked Truth

Events Geek Fun Photos Social Media Social Media Club

Pictures from Social Media Club Seattle June Meetup

Had a great time at last week’s Social Media Club Seattle meetup. Met lots of interesting folks and took a number of photos.

Little known fact – I was the first to give it a go as a Social Media Club organizer here in Seattle, but life got in the way of me doing it as well as I could. Glad to see so many good folks taking the ball and running with it.

Oh, Really?...

Vanessa Fox – "Oh, really, Chris?"

Social Media Club Seattle

Showing Jeremiah the love

More pictures after the jump

Events Pictures

Pix from the npost demo event

Here are some of my favorite pix from last night’s npost event. Thanks Nathan for organizing gathering of so many good startups.

More pictures are in my npost Flickr set.

TA McCann points to the future - npost demo event

The Crowd

The Crowd at the npost demo event

Jeff Lawson

Jeff Lawson - npost demo event

David Jennings

David Jennings - npost demo event

Applause-o-meter - npost demo event

Amplitude measures the response

More pictures are in my npost Flickr set.

Product Design Twitter

Tweetdeck delivers (what I want in a Twitter app)

In my last post, I laid out what I wanted in a Twitter application with Groups and Mobile being high on the list. I wanted to create groups once and to be able to access those groups on my iPhone and desktop. I thought that the easiest way to accomplish this was to create a web app that had a mobile interface.

Another Way

There was another way to create my desired product and that was to have a fully featured desktop app and a fully featured iPhone app and sync your Groups between the two. Syncing, however, is less than ideal.  I have long history of using Desktop and Mobile apps that sync together and generally, syncing was done poorly (data loss or corruption) or at best, slowly.

Enter: Tweetdeck for the iPhone

Tweetdeck for iPhone logo.jpg

Tweetdeck for the iPhone and its desktop equivalent have mostly answered my call for the perfect Twitter application.

It doesn’t change that I don’t particularly like Adobe AIR due to its lack of native OS interface conventions, but Tweetdeck answers most of the feature requests that I outlined previously and works well enough. It even includes some of my “nice to haves”

UI Tour

Tweetdeck for iPhone - All Friends Tweetdeck for iPhone - Groups and Notifications

Reading Tweets, both in “All Friends” and “Groups” as well as a view of the most recent update.  Much like Tweetie, you can then dig into your friend’s profiles and recent Tweets by clicking on their avatar.

Tweetdeck for iPhone - Add New ColumnGroups and Columns

Groups functionality was one of my primary wants in an iPhone app. In many ways, having groups on the go is even more important than at my desktop. Being able to quickly see the folks that matter to you is something that is sorely lacking in Twitter and I look to 3rd parties to make up for this deficiency.

To ease the burden of creating groups in a limited interface, Tweedeck can sync with your desktop client.  Syncing from the Tweetdeck server makes adding Groups from the desktop a snap, although you will have to create an account on Tweetdeck’s Web site.

A few issues

Tweetdeck for iPhone - TMI

The initial view into Tweetdeck shows us a list of “All Friends” in a slightly shrunken view.  I like this view as it immediately gave me a clue that swiping to the right would give me a different view.

What I don’t like about this view is that like the desktop app, Tweetdeck on the iPhone tells users things that they don’t really need to know about. In this case, the number of API calls are displayed,  which is interesting, but not necessarily that useful. There is any number of better ways to do this (limit API calls to avoid this issue altogether or make limiting API calls a preference).  Ask the average Twitter user (let’s say… @Oprah) what an API call is and I’d bet the best you’d get is a blank stare.

That and a few of the other “extra” buttons (left and right arrows, for example) add to the already busy interface.   The worst thing about this is that otherwise, Tweetdeck is almost as minimal an interface as Twitter can have and retain all the extra functionality that Tweetdeck offers.

Tweetdeck - Load More Friends.jpg

Adding Groups

Groups functionality is great to have on the iPhone app, but I had imagined that adding people to groups on the iPhone would be a little tedious. In many ways, Tweetdeck did an admirable job at adding this functionality, but they only pull in your 100 most recently added Friends(I’ve got over 500). Tweetdeck then displays your Friends list alphabetically.

The trouble comes in when you click “load more friends”, Tweetdeck grabs the next 100 people and “fills in the blanks” alphabetically. If I had realized that this is what was happening from the beginning, I’d have clicked “load more friends” 5 times to see the full list, rather than sifting through the list twice to find the folks I wanted to add.

Finally, the app has been a little “crashy,” let’s just say. I’m running the iPhone 3.0 software, so perhaps there is a little blame to spread around.

Tweetdeck for the iPhone – Great 1.0 Product

I’m hesitant to even qualify my opinion of Tweetdeck for the iPhone with a “1.0 product” label, but it’s mostly there.  To some degree, the UI issues that I’ve outlined feel a little niggly given how good this app is otherwise.  Huge thanks to the folks at Tweetdeck for making such a useful, free (for, I suspect, a limted time) application.

You can download the Tweetdeck iPhone app from the iPhone App store and the desktop app for Mac and Windows directly from

I’ve also posted a Tweetdeck UI gallery on Flickr.

Product Design Software Twitter

What I want in a Twitter application

After yesterday’s PeopleBrowsr announcement, I started looking around for an “ideal” Twitter client. In terms of features, here’s what I came up with (beyond the baseline Twitter features). They are ordered by importance.


Ok, here’s my dirty little secret about Twitter, I don’t read everyone that I follow all the time. – gasp –. I know, it’s terrible. But here’s the thing, I like everyone I follow and I do read their Tweets some of the time. I don’t want to unfollow them because they are having a bad week and and I just can’t read their feed. Or they represent a company/product I like, but they are getting a little too chatty.

While I agree with Tweetie developer, Loren Brichter, that groups in Twitter would be best handled on the server side, but until Twitter adds this as a feature, any third party app that I use should have grouping.

So far, no iPhone client software has groups (as far as I know), but even if there were, I’m not sure I would use it. Currently, managing groups in a desktop app is an onerous task. Managing groups on the iPhone would be Herculean.

Desktop App?

I love desktop apps. I’m a Mac user and there are all sorts of common conventions that, if you are a good developer (read: Cocoa), I get to use across all applications. From big things (like Emacs key bindings, preferences in the same place, etc) to little things (pressing the up arrow to go to the beginning of a field), there are lots of little niggly conventions that are embedded in my hands, making me faster and more efficient.

Many Twitter clients are written for Adobe Air (are there other Air apps?) and from a development standpoint, Air is great. You can write an app that can access the web, is cross platform, visually appealing and sits outside the browser (browsers can crash when you have 27 windows open like I frequently do). Additionally, you might be able to add functionality that would be hard to add with just HTML, CSS and Javascript.

What sucks about Air is that you get none of the OS conventions that I mentioned above. This might not be a problem if you are new to computers or not terribly advanced, but for power users, it sucks. I imagine that this is something that Adobe can fix, but I’m not holding my breath. Adobe fell off the OS native app convention bus a long time ago.

Web app with mobile version

Now, you could go off and create a killer desktop app for the Mac, but you’ve got two problems there. First, there are more potential Windows customers, so you’re not addressing the whole potential market and second, you’re not solving my mobile problem.

Like Google Reader replacing NetNewsWire for me, having an app that works on the web (mobile and desktop) keeps my world in sync, without syncing anything. Before Google Reader, I thought that web apps were clunky compared to desktop apps (and most web based RSS readers were clunky compared to NetNewsWire), but using two full fledged computers (my Mac and my iPhone) syncing with the web just wasn’t cutting it.

If the app is web based, has a mobile version and has groups, congratulations, you’ve just solved my biggest problem with keeping up on Twitter. I get many of my desktop “conventions” and everything stays in sync, because it doesn’t need to sync.

Note: I’d probably relent on this point if Nambu and Tweetie Mac clients would have a baby (Tweetbu? Nambie?). I tend to read more Tweets at my desk and write more Tweets on the go.

Multiple accounts

I have a personal and business Twitter account. I conceivably could have more, but managing multiple accounts on the web isn’t fun. I’ve limited myself to two, mainly because I use two browsers and I don’t really want to use more.

In theory, if I were married to a Twitter client, I might be able to do without groups and sign up for yet another Twitter account that I exclusively read from, but like many email clients, app designers would need to account for this by making a primary “response” account to go along with my “read” accounts. But so far, this hasn’t happened

Nice to haves

Beyond that, I’m easy. Obviously, I need to be able to see DMs, @replies and non-“@” mentions of my usernames.

Here is my list of “nice to haves.” Get the above features nailed down before looking at this list.

  • URL shorteners/expanders
  • Inline photo/video integration
  • Location links into a web map
  • Saved searches/filters
  • Avatars are nice
  • Preferences in an obvious spot (or even better)
  • An interface so simple I don’t need to find the preferences
  • UI that does not make me want to stab eyes out

Unnecessary features

  • Stocktwits
  • 12seconds
  • Twitscoop
  • All these buttons:


Until then

I use Nambu on my Mac, Tweetie on my iPhone, TweetDeck if I have to use Windows, PowerTwitter in Firefox, (but I usually use Safari). I want to like PeopleBrowsr, but I can’t get past my last “nice to have.”

What about you?

Is it just me? I’m curious to hear what features other people need in their Twitter app. Am I too simple? Do I ask too much?

Events Photos Pictures Seattle

Seattle 2.0 Awards pictures

Here are some of my favorite pix from the Seattle 2.0 Awards on May 7, 2009.

Jonathan Sposato - Seattle 2.0 Awards

Jonathan Sposato

Glenn Kelman - Seattle 2.0 Awards

Glenn Kelman

Danielle Morrill - Seattle 2.0 Awards

Danielle Morrill

John Cook - Seattle 2.0 Awards

John Cook

Greg Huang - Seattle 2.0 Awards

Greg Huang

Ignite Seattle Photos Pictures

Pictures from Ignite Seattle 6

Here are my favorite pix from April 29th’s Ignite Seattle 6 event.

Scott Berkun - Ignite Seattle 6

How and Why to Give an Ignite TalkScott Berkun

Scotto Moore - Ignite Seattle 6

Intangible Method – Scotto Moore

Ron Burk - Ignite Seattle 6

The Psychology of Incompetence – Ron Burk

Maya Bisineer - Ignite Seattle 6

Geek Girl: A life StoryMaya Bisineer

Ken Beegle - Ignite Seattle 6

Decoding Sticks and WavesKen Beegle

Jen Zug - Ignite Seattle 6

The Sanity Hacks of a Stay At Home MomJen Zug

Dawn Rutherford - Ignite Seattle 6

Public Library HackingDawn Rutherford

Click below for all of my Ignite Seattle 6 pictures.

apps iphone

WSJ on the iPhone

The Wall Street Journal launched their iPhone App today, officially showing the NYTimes how a newspaper app ought to work. I love both papers, but man, is the Times sloooooow.

The NYTimes app is astonishingly bad. In the time it takes to update, it should be saving all articles locally, which it does not. Fortunately, is much more usuable.

WSJ on the iPhonePodcasts in the WSJ app

The Wall Street Journal app is free, snappy and includes their one stop access for Wall Street Journal video, audio and text. It adds up to a convenient place for all of their content. Nice.

My friend Josh noted: “I especially like being able to “flick” between articles. It’s like page turning. Very cool.” Clearly, somebody on Wall Street is thinking about design and usability.

WSJ Podcasts - No FF or Rewind

My biggest complaint about the app is that the designers made special effort (it seems) to remove the fast forward and rewind buttons on their audio content to disallow people from skipping ads. I get the “gotta make money” part, but did they remove rewind just to balance the design? Weird.

That oddity aside, this is a fantastic first rev of the Journal’s iPhone presence. The WSJ app is free and available at the iTunes App Store

Events Geek Fun Ignite Seattle

Ignite Seattle’s Triumphant Return

After it’s globe stomping success, Ignite Seattle returns to Seattle on April 29, 2009. From its humble beginnings here in Seattle, Brady and Bre’s 5 minute talks, with auto-advancing slides (aka a night out at the bar with geeks) has expanded to a world wide phenomenon (and a show from O’Reilly).

There have been Ignite events held in Baltimore, Sydney, New York, Paris, Des Moines, Leeds, Denver, Cardiff, Anchorage, Budapest, San Francisco and in three separate locations in Oregon (damn, you guys have a lot of geeks).

If Ignite hasn’t (ahem) caught fire in your town, you can set one up. Brady Forrest has provided a plethora of helpful hints here.

Hasselhoff, Nude! - Gnomedex 2008

Editor’s Note: Not all Ignite Talks have naked Hasselhoff pictures

April 29th’s event promises to be a good one (a partial schedule has already been posted) and with a new venue to boot:

After a long search Ignite will be at the King Cat Theatre in Downtown Seattle. It’s a great space that has a bar, 700+ theatre-style seats and a great stage. This venue will allow everyone to have a seat and should provide us a good home for some time.

Here’s a little video to tide you over until then.

Ok, technically, this was Ignite Portland, but Jason did do a version of this in Seattle.

Here are my pix from various Ignite events.

Ignite Seattle

Boxbe Video

What is Boxbe?

The company I’ve been working on for the last couple of years is Boxbe, an email overload tool that works with Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, AOL Mail and Google Apps.

Here’s a three minute video that I created some time ago to better explain what Boxbe does and how it might be able to help save you from your overloaded inbox.

Personally, Boxbe made my eight year old Yahoo! Mail account usable again by removing the spam Yahoo! didn’t catch and shutting down all those marketing emails I didn’t really want any more.

You can learn more about Boxbe here.

Photos Pictures SXSW SXSW 2009

SXSWi 2009 – Happy Cog’aoke Party Pix

So, as I was planning a separate post about the parties at SXSW I realized that it would be dominated by one as I had the most fun taking pictures of folks at Happy Cog’s karaoke party.

I’ve done karaoke (badly) and I’ve taken photos at parties before, but this party was special as they had fantastic lighting and super campy performances.

Here are some of my favorites:

Tara Hunt - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Tara Hunt channels Styx.

Jonathon Finnegan - Happy Cog'aoke - SXSWi 2009

Haveboard’s Humpty Dance

Schlomo Rabinowitz - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Feel the Power of Schlomo Rabinowitz

Armano - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

David Armano lays down some Skynyrd.

Sarah Harrison - Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Sarah Harrison had a story to tell about her little cat.

Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Happy Coggers Rob Weychart and Kevin Hoffman gave us the time of our lives.

Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Lauren Isaacson‘s spot on Winehouse brought the house down.

Happy Cog'aoke Party - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Aaron Brazell represents. ‘Nuff said.

Thanks Happy Cog for a great party. Let’s do it again next year, shall we?

More Happy Cogaoke pictures here.

Photos Pictures SXSW 2009

SXSWi Keynotes in Pictures

I upped my photographic game this year with some new camera gear in hopes of documenting SXSWi as best I could. Here are some of my favorites from the keynotes from this year.

Tony Hsieh - South by Southwest Interactive 2009
Tony Hsieh (and his Zappos crew) want YOU to have good customer service.
Kathy Sierra and Gary Vee - SXSWi 2009
Kathy Sierra and Gary Vaynerchuck

Gary Vee - SXSWi 2009

Gary Vee of Wine Library TV

Kathy Sierra - SXSWi 2009

Kathy Sierra points to something that kicks ass

Nate Silver - SXSWi 2009

Nate Silver of

Nate Silver and Stephen Baker - SXSWi 2009

Stephen Baker (Businessweek) and Nate Silver

Tony Hsieh - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Tony Hsieh of

Lawrence Lessig - South by Southwest Interactive 2009

Lawrence Lessig talking about Change 2.0

More pictures in my Flickr stream


SXSWi People and Panels

There are numerous ways in which you can build your SXSWi Schedule this year including Sched, cerado ventana and the main SXSW site.

But one thing missing from all of this is a good way to look at the folks who are on a given panel. I made a little spreadsheet that has the panels broken out by the people giving them, it’s derived from the official list here, but sortable so you can find the folks you might want to see and the panel they are on.

Unfortunately, I didn’t incorporate the times they are happening, but this is a good way to insure you don’t miss the people you truly want to see.

See the whole list over at Google Docs

Conferences Northern Voice Photos Pictures

Northern Voice 2009 in Pictures

This is the start of more photos being posted here on the blog. I’m taking lots of pictures and most of them just end up in my Flickr feed, but what fun is that?

Here are some of my favorites from Northern Voice 2009:

Nora Young - Northern Voice 2009

Nora Young

Eagranie Yuh - Northern Voice 2009

Eagranie Yuh

Kris Krug - Northern Voice 2009

Kris Krug

Northern Voice 2009-7

Dave Olson

Roland Tanglao - Northern Voice 2009

Roland Tanglao

Chris Heuer and Kim Cathers - Northern Voice 2009

Chris Heuer and Kim Cathers (not technically @Northern Voice)

Robert Scales - Northern Voice 2009

Robert Scales

More Northern Voice 2009 Pictures on Flickrh5