Multi-Topic Update: San Diego Fires, Jersey Boys, Technology

The last week or so has been extremely crazy and busy. 

First up the San Diego Wild Fires (aka FireStorm 2007) have been all consuming, and I'm happy to report that my immediate & extended family, friends, and co-workers in the San Diego area have been spared major hardships.  But our hearts go out to those who lost love ones or their homes.  The fire fighters and public safety folks have been outstanding and they deserve a ton of credit & praise.  Thanks!

The weirdest thing about the fires, was that during the whole time it was going on, Christy and I have been in Jersey Boys heaven.  They have released a new Jersey Boys Book, Frankie Valli has an excellent new album out called "Romancing the 60's", the touring cast is in San Diego, and we traveled to New York City (NYC) / New Jersey (NJ) on Sat. 10/20 returning Tue. 10/23 for the Fan Tribute and to interview Tommy DeVito. And did we mention we've seen the musical three times in six days: Fri. 10/19 (Opening Night in San Diego), Sun. 10/21 (Broadway), and Wed. 10/24 (Cast Talk Back in San Diego).  Yes ... we are crazy.

Lastly a quick update on some technology stuff.  Things are still going on over at TechNewsRadio but a little slower than I'd like.  My fellow FriendsInTech members have put together another new Halloween special called "It's The Great Server Chuck and Kreg."

Other quick tech mentions:

I recently upgraded from a Cingular 8125 to an AT&T Tilt and I'm really loving the new phone with high speed 3G/UMTS/HSDPA connectivity plus Windows Mobile 6 and integrated GPS.  The camera is also a big improvement, as is the keyboard/button interfaces.

A couple of weeks ago I did upgrade my 8-GB 2nd Gen Apple iPod Nano to an 8-GB 3rd Gen Apple iPod NanoI have some unboxing pictures posted to Google.  I like the video option a great deal. I used it to watch dozens of video podcasts recently on the trip back to NYC/NJ.  I have also been using it a lot at home sitting in bed or by my computer using a DIY  Lego stand.

I have also picked up a copy of Apple's new OS X via Amazon.  I hope it gets here soon so I can rebuild my old G4 iBook for Christy and finally get her off of Windows XP and spare her the horror of Vista.


List Of Sites For Food & Dinning Out Reviews

The following is a list of food & dinning out review sites from an article in the Wall Street Journal published on Saturday, Oct. 6, 2007:

The other interesting thing from this article was that restaurants are now giving away meals to bloggers in the hopes of a good review. 

So far according to the article it appears to be paying off with good rankings but bloggers that aren't transparent are playing with fire.


New Media Expo 2007 - Getting Started With Audacity Session

I will be at the New Media Expo 2007 this weekend (Sept. 27-30).  I am giving a presentation on 'Getting Started With Audacity' in the Podcaster 101 track:

Session 8 - 3:15pm to 4:15pm
Ballroom B
Saturday, Sept. 30, 2007
http://www.newmediaexpo.com/saturday2007.htm#Audacity

If folks are bringing their laptops to the session, then it is highly recommend that the come with Audacity pre-loaded ... http://audacity.sourceforge.net. I also have upload some demo audio files in zip format that I will be using if folks are interested in working hands-on with the same material: http://www.newmediaexpo.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1634.

If you'd like to meet-up at the Expo please drop me an email or post a message to me on Twitter.


Some Reasons I'm Not Getting An iPod Touch

I had an interesting conversation yesterday at lunch with some co-workers, one of which has an iPhone, on why I was not getting an iPod Touch:

  1. Lack of key hardware features: Bluetooth, external volume control, speaker, physical iPod control buttons, & camera.
  2. Currently missing some key applications: Mail, Notes, Maps, SMS, & Widgets
  3. Minimal capability as PDA-like productivity tool (read-only calendar for instance)

The real deal breaker was that I could not use the iPod Touch as a mini-data collection tool.  If it had Bluetooth portable keyboard support so I could use it to rapidly collected data I read from print media, then I would have probably lived with the other negatives and purchased one.

I do think that the items #2 and #3 will be solved in the future by software upgrades.

That is my deal breaker.  What is yours?


Wild Idea Gets Some Traction: 'Personal Movie Place'

A while back on one of my runs I had this 'wild' idea that centered around a geographical social networking site that linked movie buffs to each other by enabling them to come together and watch movies that they were very passionate about in a high-end but personal cinema environment.

One of the high-level use cases was:

Sandra goes online to mypersonalmovieplace.com and signs up to "host" her favorite movie "Blade Runner" on Friday night at 8 p.m.  Other fans of "Blade Runner" in her area would be notified and then they could reserve their spots in the 10-20 seat mini-theater.  Once some minimum is met, the room is reserved, and confirmations are sent out.

This movie establishment could have 10-20 of these mini theaters in standard footprint.  The scheduling and collaboration software would be the core glue to bring it all together.  I by no means think something like this is easy to do, the legal issues are probably enough to make most people go crazy.  But when I talk to folks about it, I always get a generally favorable response.

Well ... this idea has some traction no thanks to me.  Mark Cuban and his excellent team at Landmark Theatres is doing something similar at their $20 million multiplex in West LA near Beverly Hills.

They call their rooms - Living Rooms - where a few dozen people can watch a movie in their own personal screen room with access to bar, food, concierge services, and other treats.  The tickets per seat are $11.  There are also plans for slightly bigger rooms like for 60 people that would rent out for $1500 a show.

There is no indication that you can order up the movie of your choice, but I'm sure that is something that would be doable.

The source of the information for Mark Cuban's effort was from an article in the Union-Tribune published on July 22, 2007.

If you like this idea, please feel free to use it (it is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.5 License).  You do have to compete with the likes of Mark Cuban.  Good luck with that.


Recommended Podcasts To Listen To Via Google Reader

I have created a "Recommended Podcasts from sholden.typepad.com" site and RSS feed based on my research from my last post on this topic.

podcast, comment, recommend, podcasting, rss, technewsradio, google, readerIt seems to work pretty well for my workflow and it helps to be able to get links back to the individual podcast so I can put them into TechNewsRadio recommendation podcasts.

Only thing missing is a good comment option for myself on why I liked the podcast.  I'd really like to be able to add that as an option.


Investigating Options For Commenting On Specific Podcast Episodes

I have been wanting to come up with a quick way to comment on specific podcasts that I've been listening to.  In a recent brainstorming session with a friend we considered that maybe Apple iTunes was keeping the RSS referral post link in the meta data of the iTunes music library XML. 

Unfortunately after digging into the XML file and looking at what iTunes exposes to AppleScript, it doesn't appear to work.

Maybe I should output the podcast OPML file I have from iTunes, and use something like Google Reader to manage my options for specific podcast episode commenting. Thoughts?!?


Book Reviews: Dead Sea Scrolls, Google, Freemasonry

I finished reading several potentially interesting books during our recent family vacation trip to Vashon Island, WA:

I really have to recommend the Fields book on the Dead Sea Scrolls.  It is very well documented and historically interesting - plus it has some great pictures.  Part of the Dead Sea Scrolls are on display in San Diego (through December 2007) which is the main reason I picked up the book.

The Google book is also recommended for those interested in technology, Internet history, and business & organizational ideas.  I personally only had a minor understanding of the history, technologies, and personalities related to Google so I found this book very interesting.

The Freemasonry book was entertaining but nothing spectacular.  I enjoyed it because my father and his father were Masons, and I learned a lot about what they probably went through.  The background history was interesting and I enjoyed the humor of the author.

 


Privacy Thoughts - Google Vs. ISPs

There is a lot of good blogger analysis about Google's ability to drill down deep into the search world and possibly get  into trouble by not keeping personal privacy data private. 

Given Google's business model of matching people to ads, it is in their best interest to not blow this, and keep private data private.

However, there seems to be a small group of alarmists raising issue with Google's recent purchase of RSS service provider Feedburner.

I do have to disclose that I am a big fan and happy customer of Feedburner. Congrats to the team over there. 

Based on my above assertion that Google must, if they want to be successful, protect privacy, that this new found very rich data in Feedburner will get the same high-level of protection. 

Plus, I don't see any signs of Google behaving badly, and that can not be said about ISPs.

Wired recently published a piece that outlines one of my big privacy concern areas - the data ISPs can and will be collecting, and what they plan to do with it as it effects public disclosure (overt, covert, and stolen), and possible manipulation as it enters 'their' network and gets to your devices.


Podcast Recommendation - Interview With New Media Author Philip Meza

Chris Gondek over at the Invisible Hand Podcast had a great interview with Philip Meza the author of the book "Coming Attractions: Hollywood, High Tech, and the Future of Entertainment" that is definitely worth a listen.

The one great thing in the podcast was that Chris let Philip outline some key recommendations that companies and organizations should be doing to excel in this new media world.