Blogging Cool Tools Geek Fun Social Media SXSW Twitter Twitters Video

Twitter in Plain English

My pals Lee and Sachi LeFever of CommonCraft have done it again, just in time for SXSW. These guys do a really great job of explaining difficult topics in “plain english.” These videos are really great if you are just starting out trying to figure out this strange online world.

At last year’s SXSWi in Austin, TX, Twitter broke for the first time, err, um, was a break through product that helped people quickly figure out where the cool parties were and helped them track down their friends without calling them.

Since then, Twitter has been quickly adopted (and broken) by at least some of the masses (myself included).

I didn’t really get Twitter at first and I thought that it represented all the worst things about blogging (navel gazing, echo chamber). Here is a link to the day I spent talking about my cat in protest of Twitter. I even annoyed myself.

Eventually, I came around…

So, what the heck is Twitter? If you follow me on Facebook, you’ve probably seen my rapidly changing status. That’s coming from Twitter. And while I do kid about the Twitter uptime, by and large, they’ve created an incredible service based on something very simple.

Here’s CommonCraft on Twitter in Plain English.

Conferences Social Media SXSW SXSW 2008 Video

SXSW Bound


I’m excited to be heading down to Austin once again for the yearly SXSWi Festival in Austin, Texas from Friday March 7th until Tuesday March 11. That little “i” next to SXSW means I’m not going to the film thing or the the music thing, I’m going to the nerd thing.

From last year’s SXSWi, here’s Ze Frank explaining SXSWi.

[thanks for the pointer/embed code, Scott Beale]

One day, when the kids are older, I’ll drag my wife out to Austin and we’ll do both Music and Interactive. Music, in particular, looks to be amazing.

Anyhow, if you are heading down and want to say hi, you can get in touch with me on my phone (if you have it), email me at, direct message me on Twitter or turn up near me at one of the panels or parties I’m planning on attending.

Hope to see you there.

Ignite Seattle Pictures

Ignite Seattle pix

Ignite Seattle Screen

I’ve posted my pix from last night’s Ignite Seattle event.

Ignite Seattle is a tech geek meetup held semi-irregularly that brings out some of the best and brightest in the Puget Sound region.

Had a great time and hope the next one isn’t so far off in the future. Wish my pix were better, but I’m still new at this whole photography thing.

Here is a link to my photos on Flickr –

Feel free to use my photos in blog posts and what not, just link back here for attribution.



This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.



This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.



This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.


Ignite Seattle Pix

Ignite Seattle – Mission Control

Photo by by Randy Stewart.

I’ve posted my pix from last night’s Ignite Seattle event.

Ignite Seattle is a tech geek meetup held semi-irregularly that brings out some of the best and brightest in the Puget Sound region.

Had a great time and hope the next one isn’t so far off in the future. Wish my pix were better, but I’m still new at this whole photography thing.

Here is a link to the photos on Flickr –

Product Design Video

Missing Kathy Sierra

As someone who designs products for a living, Kathy Sierra has been really instrumental in my continuing education of product design. Kathy has written a number of training books for O’Reilly and used to run a product design blog called “Creating Passionate Users

Helping users “kick ass” has been my adopted mantra and I have Kathy to thank for that.

About a year ago, Kathy stopped blogging. I won’t talk about it here, but you can read about it on her site.

I really miss Kathy’s help in creating kick ass web sites so I was pretty happy to see this interview.

Here is a video interview from the recent Tools of Change conference. While the focus of the conference is publishing, this video serves as a great overview of Kathy’s studies and writings.

Politics Video YouTube

Tomorrow’s primary

I’d complained for years that the California primary (and a few others) were held too late to matter. You’d think that the 5th largest economy in the world might play a slightly larger role in picking our next president.

No sooner did I leave the state, did they switch the primary to hang with the likes of New York, Illinois and 20 other states in handing out the largest number of delegates in a single day. Ugh.

Hangin’ at the caucus

There is a tiny chance Washington votes might matter in the primary. I’ll be going to my caucus on Saturday, but hopefully, the race will be decided by then.

How am I voting (or whatever it is I’ll be doing at a caucus)? Well, I heart Bill Clinton and wish that we could go back to the heady late 90’s. Hillary… um, well, I really like Bill Clinton and I think that having Bill back would be swell.

That said, I gotta go with Obama.

Here’s a video that a pal of mine, Eddie Codel did talking about Super Duper Tuesday and Obama.

Get out and vote, California!

Microsoft Yahoo

My Steve Ballmer near miss at Yahoo!

225px-Steve_ballmer_2007_outdoors2.jpgSo, here’s a little story I’ve told a few times privately, but only once publicly before. It happened so long ago at this point, and given today’s news, it doesn’t really matter to the parties involved.

After a late Friday night down on the Santa Clara campus, I decided to sleep under my desk rather than drive home to San Francisco. I woke up the next morning to a loud booming voice that I thought I recognized. “Developers, developers, developers!” Ok, he didn’t actually say that, but I shuffled to my feet only to see Steve Ballmer standing outside my cube.

I didn’t actually scream, but I might have let out a small yelp. Now, I’m too old to hate now, but then, oh man, did I hate Microsoft. If you’ve ever heard me swear before (sailor’s blushing, etc), imagine the cacophony of swear words that was going off in my head at that particular moment.

Worse than just seeing Ballmer, I saw Jerry and TK as well. The only thing I could think was, “Holy crap, we’re being acquired.”

I mean, a clandestine Saturday morning meeting between the Evil Empire and the heads of Yahoo!? What else could it be?

I said to myself, “I’m so outta here if Microsoft ever buys us.”

As this happened 8-9 years ago, nothing ever came of it (as far as I know). Jerry later told me that meeting face to face was something that they did periodically and that they did it on the weekend so folks wouldn’t freak out or speculate. I don’t know if I bought it, but it was Jerry, so I let it go.

Yahoo! Today

I worked at Yahoo! from 1996 to 2001. It was the best of times. When I started there were less than 40 people there and when I left there were 3000 people. I think that especially back then, Microsoft acquiring Yahoo! would have destroyed the company.

I don’t work at Yahoo! anymore, but just given their shear size and the maturing of the company and the industry as a whole, would it be such a bad fit now? I really can’t say for sure.

Good luck

Yahoo! has been hurting for a while in the press and their stock has been fairly depressed. A lot of the down attitude toward Yahoo! isn’t so much a reflection of the company but a constant comparison to Google and their quarter after quarter barn burners.

Google is a tough competitor. Can a combined Microsoft and Yahoo! compete effectively? I hope so.

To all my friends and the rest of the folks down in Sunnyvale – I wish you the best.

Ich bin ein Yahooer!

[Steve Ballmer photo from Wikimedia]
Conferences Northern Voice Social Media

Northern Voice registration is live


Start your browsers and whip out your credit card, our kind neighbors to the north have activated registration.

To quote the website –

Northern Voice is a two-day, non-profit personal blogging and social media conference that’s being held at the Forestry Sciences Centre, 2424 Main Mall, UBC main campus, Vancouver, Canada on February 22-23, 2008. This is the 4th annual incarnation of this event, see the 2005, 2006 and 2007 websites for previous information.

The thing that makes Northern Voice great is the people. Last year, both the speakers and the attendees were incredible and I can’t wait to catch up with some of those folks again this year. I learned a lot, shared a lot and made some new friends and acquaintances.

Hope to see you there.

Leopard Mac OS X

Leopard Feature – Show warning before changing extension

I’ve spent the last couple of days using Leopard full time and so far, it’s been pretty good to me. I’ll reserve my complaints for later, but so far, the collection of little things in Leopard have added up to a really nice package.

Haven’t heard anyone talk about this, but I frequently change extensions in Mac OS X and always got a stupid warning asking me if I was sure that I wanted to do that. Great question to ask my mom, but for me… not so much.


Also, Finder Preferences is the place you can turn off the trash emptying warning too.


SNL – The Change Bank

Really should be working… but this is one of my favorite SNL ads of all time.

“How do you make money doing this? The answer is simple. Volume.”

Love it.

Ditching Cable Video

Hulu beta – The Simpsons

So, I’m traveling right now for the Thanksgiving holiday and catching up with some shows is difficult to do (legally). Being on Pacific Time still, my wife and I aren’t exactly the best at going to bed early, so naturally, a little laptop enabled television entertainment is in order.

Normally, if there was a program that I missed or am away, I’d pay the $1.99 to download the episode, or in the case of many programs unavailable on iTunes, I’d find them… well, elsewhere. This morning, however, I got an invite from Hulu to try out their new service.

For your viewing pleasure, I share with you, The Simpsons. It’s not going to help you on that transcontinental plane ride to see your folks, but it will help you once you can’t go to bed at 8:00 pm PDT.

I have to say, it is cool to watch The Simpsons on your own blog.

Home Entertainment Off Topic Video

The case for the writer’s strike

Growing up in a union family, I’ve always had sympathy for the working man (ok, I’m also a working man, but you get the point).

Admittedly, some unions are better than others and not knowing both sides of the case, I whole heartedly, with full disclosure, present this video I found today about the writer’s strike going on in Hollywood.

Godspeed, Writer’s Guild of America and good luck. I’d like to see the Daily Show again this year.

Apple Consumer Electronics iPod

Sync Yahoo! Addresses in iPod Touch

ipod touch setup

Here’s a pleasant little surprise in the iPod Touch setup. I’ve always wanted to sync my Yahoo! Address Book with Apple Address Book but most of the solutions didn’t work very well.

While I was setting up the iPod Touch, I noticed that syncing with Yahoo! Mail Address book was an option. The iPhone must have this, but it certainly makes more sense on the iPhone than the Mail free iPod. Nevertheless, this is a nice add on that should keep my Address Books in sync (theoretically).

Of course, given my last post, maybe Mail is the missing icon, not my fanciful predictions of other features.