cycles of improvements

A good friend of mine shared something with me that was really cool.  Surely, you’ve heard to TED Talks. In case you didn’t here’s a brief description:

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design. Since then its scope has become ever broader. Along with two annual conferences — the TED Conference in Long Beach and Palm Springs each spring, and the TEDGlobal conference in Edinburgh UK each summer — TED includes the award-winning TEDTalks video site, the Open Translation Project and Open TV Project, the inspiring TED Fellows and TEDx programs, and the annual TED Prize.

And that’s taken right from their website.

I honestly don’t watch enough of them.  Some of videos I seen are “knock-yer-socks-off” type of good.  Most everything I’ve seen so far has been really inspiration.

So, my friend shared with me, TED Curator Chris Anderson on Crowd Accelerated Innovation, which was featured in Wired. I’ll embed the accompanying video here. I think both the article and the video have profound impact. Anderson’s video focuses on videos, but I feel the same sentiment can be applied towards Twitter and Facebook, and other social media outlets.

What I find interesting, is the concept of people who have passion and are self-taught, can raise the bar on those classically trained.

Innovation is hard work; it based on 100’s of hours of research, practice… abscense of desire… it’s not going to happen…

– Chris Anderson

Continue reading

Hello my dear friend! I’m a pure student…

This cracks me up.  I have been getting a ton of spam comments from the .ru TLD, and it always begins with either:

Hello my dear friend! I’m a pure student…

Or

Interesting CMS. What software do you use?

Or some variant of the above.  C’mon, guys, if you are going to try and trick me, you got to do better than that. At this point, I am almost insulted at this feeble attempt.  But that’s not really what I wanted to write about.

Tonight I’m sort of reflective. So much as happened since I last posted. Certainly some of it is good, some of it is exciting, and some of it has certainly been a challenge.  I spent the last 30 minutes trying to find a Youtube vid that represents my mood, but unfortunately, I think the risk of misunderstanding is too high, so therefore, I refrain.

I usually post about technology or funny things, but so much has been queuing up, it’s hard for me to decide where to begin.

  • I am still madly in love with my T-Mobile G1, the Google/Android based phone.  I saw that Google had an Éclair delivered to their office: Each release of the Android OS has been named after pastries: Cupcake, Donut… Éclair is rumored to be Android 2.0…
  • I actually had my first Corny Keg experience with my homebrew in anticipation of our neighborhood Oktoberfest.  Pics and vids to follow, (it’s this weekend).
  • I’ve been rehabbing a rental house in my spare (but limited) time.
  • I’ve been learning Python, (but had to use Perl in a recent pinch).
  • More and more people are asking me for help with Trixbox and Cisco SIP phones.
  • I’ve been to HP HQ in Houston, TX for an executive briefing; I was blown away and met some really cool people.
  • I am meeting with Cisco regarding their UCS offering.
  • I’ve been meeting with Microsoft (and attend the ‘Technical Decision Makers Launch’ of Window 7, Server 2008, and Exchange 2008.
  • I am planning on attending the VMWare Users group event in Atlanta on November 5th, 2009.  Maybe I’ll see ya, there?
  • I’ve been enjoying Google Wave! (Sorry, I haven’t been able to send out invites, yet… so don’t ask!)
  • I have a new WinCE based GPS that I am hacking, (oh yeah, I forgot about this, but it’s a big ‘un!).

So I’ve been busy, but it’s been good. Any of the above items could be a separate blog post.

I’ve been really impressed with Google Wave.  It ain’t perfect yet, but I see the potential of it.  I might even go as far to say that it could be Email 2.0 but I probably need to elaborate on that.  Along the same note, I wonder if Twitter is the new USENET.  <- If you don’t get that, don’t worry about it. But if you want my highly entertaining, hand waving monologue on this, let’s meet for a beer!

How I manage Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc

First, this is not going to be an article on how to make money with Twitter, social networking, or Facebook.  This is simply a post about how I’ve recently came to peace with managing my virtual life.

why?

Good question.  Let’s face it, in this day and age, when anyone wants to find out more information about you, they’ll hit Google and put in your name.  As a I hiring manager, I would hope any potential employee I’m interested in is involved and engaged in some online community.  As a potential hire, I am proud of the work and contributions I’ve made to the Internet at large, and I would hope to stand out against my competition.  If I ever decide to look for job in the future, look at the great network I have to work with.

It’s also fun! I don’t need to bore you with examples of friends I got back in touch with, or how my current position I got through networking.  I’d rather share examples about new friends I’ve made, many of which I’ve never physically met, but we’re connected to each other in other ways.

It’s a great resource!  I am sure many of you have had an experience where you said something on Twitter and then a company spokesperson, or someone you didn’t know offered help.  A couple of months ago, I tweeted some things about the book “Visible Ops Handbook” and I started tweeting back and forth with the authors, who were really nice and helpful.  How cool that I can connect with an author of book that really helped me!

The future knows no limits!  Let’s just say, that one day I might get tired of being in IT Operations and I want to social media or product development instead? It could happen.  And if I wanted to reach out to get inspiration and encouragement I got a place to go, and one never knows where my connections could lead me.  Who knows, maybe you really can make millions on Twitter, (although… for the record, I seriously doubt it).

what?

Okay, of course I use Twitter and I love being able to integrate with Facebook.  I also started using twitterfeed and tonight I just started using HootSuite.  Sure, I also use the other usual suspects, too. But just not as much:

  • friendfeed
  • Ping.Fm
  • Bright Kite
  • FourSquare
  • CoTweet
  • Plaxo
  • plurk
  • LinkedIn
  • Brazen Careerist

I’ll explain how these tie in later.

how?

Hang with me on this.  This all ends up everywhere, but I’m gonna break it down for you.  Consider this: Twitter essentially feeds everything!

twitter + facebook

This is the first step.  You got your Twitter account, right?  And you’re on Facebook?  Sure, there was a Twitter Facebook app, but as I have evolved with my Twitter usage, (we’ll still get to that), I didn’t want to bombard my Friends on Facebook with everything.  Especially since they can be a different audience.   I saw one of my friends was using a Facebook App called, “Selective Twitter Status.”  The way this works is you just put this hashtag in your Twitter update: #fb

Selective Twitter Status

Then it will be posted on your Facebook profile. If it doesn’t have #fb it won’t be posted on Facebook! By the way, the icon above is a link to the app.

twitterfeed + twitter + bit.ly

Remember I said Twitter is the source?  I started using Twitterfeed to post articles I normally post to Twitter.  Basically, once you create your Twitterfeed account, you subscribe to RSS feeds.  Then if you are willing to try to grok the advanced features, you can really do some cool things.

I have my favorite RSS feeds, set to check hourly, and then post one or two articles.  I don’t want my followers/readers to get burdened with too many automatic posts.  Now here’s the secret sauce! In the Advanced Options, I can prepend something.  So if I want it to go to Twitter and Facebook, I simply tell it to append #fb to the post.

Okay, so what’s the big deal about bit.ly you ask? bit.ly allows you to shorten URL’s, which is critical to keep under the 140 character limit for Twitter.  Now, if you actually take the time and go sign up for a bit.ly account, you get some cool things like a handy dashboard and your very own bit.ly API key!  You can do all sorts of cool things with this if you use TweetDeck, Seesmic, Hootsuite, Twitterfeed, etc.  You will be able to see what’s getting the most bang for your buck.  I can now see how many of my followers are clicking on my shortened URL’s and adjust accordingly.  Remember, I don’t want to flood my followers/readers so they’ll unfollow/unfriend me.

posterous.com -> twitter + facebook

This is one of the cooler sites that integrate with Twitter, I believe.  I would consider it a supplemental blogging site.  It’s not my main blog and it isn’t something I post to all the time.  Rather, it’s something I use to post cool news articles I come across in my daily Internet journeys. I have it set up that posterous.com posts both to Twitter and Facebook, so I don’t use the #fb here.  You can see my Posterous here, if you want:

http://jpabian.posterous.com/

what about ping.fm?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome! But I went to relying on my apps posting to the various sites as opposed as letting a single place do it.  I started having too many double posts on my sites, so I figured with a little trial and error, I could make it less annoying for my readers/followers.

other tools?

I use Twitterberry on my Blackberry.  I love how easy it is to fire off an update.  I also have UberTwitter on my Blackberry, but don’t use it too much.

I use Twidroid on my T-Mobile G1.  It’s much better than it was when it first came out. It’s a full functioning Twitter client.

On my Mac, I used TweetDeck and just went to Seesmic.

On my WinXP desktop, Adobe Air has an issue, and Tweetdeck and Seesmic won’t work, but Twirl does.  You just got to remember to use the #fb hashtag.

As I mentioned, I started using HootSuite.  It allows you to schedule tweets.  For example, my wife, @lilyan is going to be on the Today Show on 9/21/2009 at 8:30 so I want to be able to tweet about it to remind our friends.  I schedules several Tweets over the next few days to remind people, and I did include the #fb hashtag.

that’s it?

Yes, for now.  But I am always looking and trying new and different tools.  But the way I’m doing it now is pretty manageable and is working well for me.

You have questions or suggestions?  I would love to hear them so send them along!

Thanks!

inconceivable, yes… impossible, no.

please stop the voices

I’ve posted before about innovation and creativity.  Recent events have brought this back into my daily thoughts and how I continue to try and define myself.  Those are mere details that I don’t want to get into, however I do have some things to share.

you’re not helping

On Twitter, someone tweeted about this incredible post (apologies to you; I can’t find the original tweet):

The Makers of Things

In the late 1800s, the Brooklyn Bridge was built with no power tools, no heavy machinery, and only a basic, evolving understanding of how to make steel. It’s not these facts, but the stories surrounding the facts that inspire me when I take a good, long stare at a suspension bridge. But first…

Rands has quite a following.  I had not seen his blog before but you can bet I’ll be following it.   To me, the message is that despite the impossible, don’t stop trying.  Sure, I over simplified it, but that’s okay.  It’s such a great post, any summation I do would not do the post justice.  Just go read it.

realizations

However, it does help slam some things I’ve been juggling into perspective.  I don’t have or know all the answers, but I am not afraid to try new things and take some lumps, (or teeth marks on my skull) for something I believe in.  Change is scary.  New ideas can seem silly.  The wrong motivation can really crush the spirit.

In preparation of this post, I was trying to come up with a catchy title so I looked up innovation in the thesaurus:

Main Entry: innovation
Part of Speech: noun
Definition: change, novelty
Synonyms: addition, alteration, contraption, cutting edge*, departure, deviation, introduction, last word*, latest thing*, leading edge*, modernism, modernization, modification, mutation, newness, notion, permutation, shift, variation, vicissitude, wrinkle*
Antonyms: custom, habit, old, old hat, rut, tradition

Naturally, the synonyms are all familiar to me, but what was interesting was seeing them in this context.  The synonyms that speak to me are:

  • addition
  • alteration
  • departure
  • deviation
  • introduction
  • leading edge
  • modernism
  • modernization
  • modification
  • mutation
  • newness
  • shift

nuggets

The element that all these words have in common, is “change.”  Could the essential nugget of wisdom of innovation boil down to one thing?  Change?  Yeah, I think it does.

I’m conflicted.  I like to think of myself as an “Agent of Change” but I sure feel like a jerk saying that.   And there are probably people out there who think I’m a jerk for saying it, but the truth is, I do like change.

what about the risk?

But what about risk?  I’m not afraid of the risk of a change or a new idea, what I am shy about, is the risk of exposing myself.  For the most part, I feel like I am confident in who I am, but it’s one thing to pitch my ideas to higher ups or more experienced people in my arena.  It’s a personal risk, for sure, but also it’s pulling back the kimono a bit, right?  It’s exposing myself to someone who could squash my spirit or worse.  So it is risk? Or fear? Or both?

What holds me back?  What holds you back?

Alright, I feel like I am rambling a bit.  I think I went down the rabbit hole.  Anyways, where was I…

Back to innovation.  Whatever word you pick to use to describe it, I’m okay.

twitter: signal to noise

laying it out

I feel like I am sort of going out on a limb here since I really don’t want to cheese anyone off.  First, I am very thankful for all my Twitter followers.    Secondly, for the most part, they provide me with some great stuff.

But…

I have noticed a substantial increase of  self proclaimed “Internet Marketeers” who are all following +20k people and have +20k followers.  There’s a couple of problems with this.  First, I haven’t heard of them. Second, there is ALWAYS some vague reference to “financial freedom” that makes me think that they’re either recent graduates of a Internet marketing seminar or they are some other bandwagon jumper.  Third, their icon or avatar is just a little creepy.
Don’t get me wrong, I think they are probably really nice people, who really believe they are helping people, but for the most part, they seem to really only re-tweet what others are saying.

And therein in lies the delimma.

One of the things I really enjoy about Twitter is the original thought.  If I look through my stream, I see more re-tweets than I do see original tweets.  I guess there isn’t really anything wrong with it, but that’s just something I’d rather not see.  I don’t want to hear about “Twitter marketing secrets” but I would rather hear about something funny your four-year-old did. 

me <=> you

I want to relate to you.  I want to get to know you for who you are.  I want to make you smile.

And that’s it.  Well, okay.  I would like you to help me find a new job the next time I need one.  😉

my favorite music videos

I’ve been wanting to do this for a while. Since there is Youtube and Google Video, it’s easy to find your favorite music videos. Granted, the quality isn’t always perfect, but I rarely watch videos on MTV or the other music video channels. So, that’s where I get my fix. There are several videos that I would consider to be my favorites and some that I would say were very influential in my life. I should also clarify that while these are songs I really really like, this list is about my favorite music videos. Without futher ado, here’s my list of Top Videos…

Once in a Lifetime by Talking Heads.
I saw this video one night when I was spending the night at my Grandma’s house. My grandma would let me stay up late and I remember sleeping on a cot in the living room and it was a Friday night. SCTV was on, and this video was featured on the show.

Around this time, I bought my first LP… it was Devo, New Traditionalists. What, you want to know what my first cassette was? Sure, it was the self titled album by The Clash.

Rubber Biscuit by The Blues Brothers.
Okay, so this video isn’t that great, but I got lots of questions about “What’s with your tag line?” Well, I got it from this song.

You got to understand that I lived in Chicago when the first Blues Brother movie was made. As goofy as this song is, it will always hold a special place in my heart.

Everything is Everything by Lauryn Hill.
Damn, she’s got a voice. My wife was really into her and when I saw this video, I was floored.

I like the song and I like the who turntable motif. It’s a great video and song.

The Talking Heads – Road To Nowhere

I love this video.  I remember when True Stories came out.  It was a classic in my opinion and this video I thought really showed off some of the creative genius they had.

Great visuals.

They Wiseguys – Start the Commotion

I haven’t been able to find a lot of info on the Wiseguys, (apparently, there is German band with the same name and they overshadow these Wiseguys).  But I love this video with the loops (both audio and video).  It’s one of those songs that just sticks with you.  I sure wish I could find a better version.

Johnny Cash – Hurt

I don’t care who you are and what you’re made of.  If this doesn’t tug at the ol’ heart strings, then you are probably a cold bastard.  The first time I saw this video, I had a household of contractors, (we had just moved into our new house).  Everything came to a stand still and when the video was over, we were all teary eyed… “Uh, I musta got sumthin’ in my eye…”

I hope I go out like Johnny Cash.

Smog (Bill Callahan) – Rock Bottom Riser
I’m a recent new listener to Smog. I love it, or I should say him What I like about this video is the calligraphy-like draws that illustrate the song. I’ve always wondered how they did things, and I think this video is amazing. Much in the same way I’ve always enjoyed the opening to the old Pink Panther movies.

Cornershop – Brimful of Asha
I don’t remember where I saw this first, but I loved it the first time I saw it. In the same vein as “How’d they do that…” this video is cool. The song is good, too. I picked up the CD somewhere and there are a lot of good songs on it. Besides, Tjinder is a cool name, right?

Adidas – Hello Tomorrow
This really isn’t a music video, but rather a commercial. When I first saw this, I was about to watch the Simpsons with my son and after it was over, we just looked at each other with out jaws hanging open. We must have watched it 20 times on the TiVo. This video is so interesting, it got all sorts of press in the Ad journals:

And that girl singing is Karen O from the “Yeah-Yeah-Yeah’s”.

Einstürzende Neubauten – Stella Maris
Sure, I like the song, but this video is beautifully shot and composed. The subtitles also lend to the overall experience and tell a engaging story.

I would also like a hat like that.

Conclusion

I’ll be the first to admit that I am not up all the music videos these days.  But much of the music that is churned and pushed out is just crap.  The videos I’ve posted here are significant to me in that they were either the first time I was exposed to the music or I was a little kid and they made a profound impact on me.

There is a house built out of stone
Wooden floors, walls and window sills
Tables and chairs worn by all of the dust
This is a place where I don’t feel alone
This is a place where i feel at home

And I built a home
For you
For me

Until it disappeared
From me
From you
And now, it’s time to leave and turn to dust

(Instrumental)

Out in the garden where we planted the seeds
There is a tree as old as me
Branches were sewn by the color of green
Ground had arose and passed it’s knees

By the cracks of the skin I climbed to the top
I climbed the tree to see the world
When the gusts came around to blow me down
I held on as tightly as you held onto me
I held on as tightly as you held onto me

And I built a home
For you
For me

Until it disappeared
From me
From you

And now, it’s time to leave and turn to dust

– The Cinematic Orchestra – To Build a Home

behind a mountain

Man, have I been busy.   I’ve been doing so many things; some of which are blog-worthy… others not so much, but either way, I’ve been neglecting my blogging habits.

Surprises

I’ve actually been surprised by how many people have noticed I have not been updating my blog.  I didn’t realize how many people I know actually read what I’m up to.  I’ve had people ask about things I’ve posted on Twitter about and they want to know the outcome.  It’s flattering, for sure, and it is very encouraging.
Resolutions

So with the New Year, I need to be more mindful of what’s around me and more importantly, who’s around me.  In this economy, the best thing I can do for someone is to help.  I’ve set my self up as a “LION” and have helped introduce others to my network so I can help people and if I never need to reach out, I will have a support network that could also help me.

I also need to call a friend who works in a “white house” who will be out of a job in January just so I can say I’ve called this “white house.” wink wink

So, one of my New Year’s resolutions, (and I am sure I am not alone) will be more forthcoming with new blog posts.

Technology and Media

If you’ve known me for any amount of time, you know I am always looking for ways to bring the Internet out of the computer room and into my living space.  I’ve been working on many personal projects to do this and have enjoyed helping others experience better living through technology.  Yes, I know it sounds cliche, but I don’t know of a better way to put it.

Paging Dr. Roy… Dr. Rob Roy…

So, in turing over this new leaf, I’m off to upgrade my WordPress installation.  Following that… please expect more posts, more often.  Hopefully you’ll find something you like and which will help me think of new things to do.

T-mobile G1 / Google Android… Goodbye T-mobile Wing

A moment of thanks…

First off, I’d to thank a lot of you… most of the traffic I get to my site comes from people looking for information on the T-Mobile Wing.  I had the phone for about 1.5 years and posted all sorts of information.  Most importantly, many of you posted comments and offered help and tips to myself and others, and for that I am very thankful.

One door closes, another opens…

However, earlier in the month, my Tmobile Wing suffered a tramatic episode when all three of the children ran over it, (they were chasing eash other) and it got smooshed… really smooshed with a cracked LCD and everything.   At that point, I got “executive approval” to get a new phone.  My wife suggested an iPhone and I was about to pull the trigger until I heard that the T-mobile G1 was coming out on October 22.  I decided to wait.

The countdown…

I was all nervous on launch day, the 22nd.  I was worried I couldn’t find one and then I read that Costco and Best Buy would also be carrying them, but it was unclear when.  So after my big presentation on Wednesday moring, I drove to Costco and they had ’em.  Plus, you got a free “accessory kit” which was a Jabra bluetooth headset and a car charger.  Hey, it’s better than nothing.

Final Verdict…

I LOVE this phone.  I’m not going to rehash all the reason why I like it, there are a ton of other people who give it a thumbs up, but I am really impressed with it.  And there’s been no shortage of coverage and it looks like everyone is on the same page.

Coverage…

Over at the Download Sqaud, they have some great pieces about the first hands on with the G1 and a good post about Twitteroid, (which I haven’t installed yet since the offical release comes out Monday).

Lifehacker has a hands on post.  Gizmodo has a Android App Marathon and a category to get you going.

Walt Mossberg also seems to think the T-Mobile G1 is worthy.  Btw, Walt is awesome.

There are plenty of forums dedicated to Android/G1 coverage, and they include:

G1 for three days…

I will say that I enjoy this phone way more than my T-mobile Wing.  To be fair, I did not have a data plan with my Wing since I used Wifi with it so maybe that’s not a fair comparison.  But I do like the seemless Gmail integration.

The IM’ing on the G1 is also okay, not great.  Like all other phones I’ve owned, the default IM uses SMS for IM’ing.  I’m not big on that but I don’t it will be long before someone writes a cross IM-platform client for the G1.  Here’s a list of apps I think would be killer:

  • IM: Jabber/XMPP, AIM, Yahoo!, and MSN
  • Facebook App (using mobile web interface)
  • Brightkite App (using mobile web interface)

Apps I love:

  • Google Maps:  This is totally awesome.  You can do “street view” with the GPS and enable “compass mode.”  This is too hard to explain in text but if you see it, it will blow you away.
  • Barcode reader: Yeah, yeah… I know the iPhone has this too, but I think it is really neat.
  • Various weather apps:  All very useful
  • Gmail
  • Web browser: The web browser is better than ANY WM-base browser I’ve seen, including Opera-mini.

I’m still playing with it and rumor has it a slew of new app will hit the market place on Monday.

Expect way more to come.

wii controller and Mac Book

First, let me apologize for not coming up with a more catchy title for this post. I’ve been overwhelmed by the information I’ve found over this weekend.  That’s no exaggeration.  Furthermore, this is all new to me so I am not up on the digitial music vernacular so it’s like learning a new language.

First, if you saw my Tweets, you would have seen how excited I was that caught wind that the Wii controllers have Bluetooth in them.  I honestly had no idea.  Additionally, there’s been a ton of super smart, talented people out there writing crazy apps (for Win, Linux, and Mac) to do all sorts of crazy things.

How this started was that I got some great comments from Andy on Bob on my Theremin post a couple of days ago.  Somehow, I got down the rabbit hole looking for ways to make a Theremin-sort-of-thing on my Mac using the Wii controllers.

I found a great amount of great resources and I got pretty darn close.  But I had to learn how to use GarageBand, play around with the Mac MIDI drivers, and put them all together and make ’em play nice.  If I understood all the terminology, this would be easier, I think.

I was playing “drums” and guitar with my Wii controller, Nunchuck, and Garageband.  That was pretty cool, I must say.  I read about WiiJ’s and other looping sort of things.  I was so excited that I jumped head first into it, trying to get it all to work.  And that’s my problem.  I got to the point where it just wasn’t making sense any more, (seriously, I’ve felt like this trying to learn a new language).

The good news, I think I got all the pieces I need and I learned a ton about the potential for the Wii remote and digital music making, not just a Theremin.   I need to digest it and put together in a way that makes sense.  This is some pretty slick stuff.

Oh, did I mention that a lot of this isn’t just for the Mac?

Definitely more to come!

Wii Loop Machine Demo from The Amazing Rolo on Vimeo.

Theremin

Holy geez, I wan to build a theremin something fierce.   I have ALWAYS been fascinated by this.  I also want to build my own RDS-TMC traffic receiver.  It can’t be that hard.  Probably the hardest part is finding the right parts.

Leon Theremin playing one.

Leon Theremin playing one.