Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Southbay Bloggers Meeting Soon

First Tuesday Meet
Tuesday June 6, 2006
7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
Event Location: Barefoot Coffee, Santa Clara

O'Reilly on Web 2.0 Service Mark Controversy

Tim O'Reilly Comments
Tim O'Reilly, in his blog, has posted a through response to flames in the blogosphere regarding the Web 2.0 Service Mark Controversy:

"Just to be clear, neither CMP or O'Reilly is claiming the right to all use of the term Web 2.0, as some of the posters assert. We just want to keep other conference companies from putting on events that trade on the name and concept that we created."

This is a long post and is quite detailed. It is worth taking the time to read in its entirety. Tim O'Reilly is a great guy who has been a champion of the open source and Web 2.0 evangelizing community. O'Reilly has created an ecosystem that fosters emerging technology. Tim O'Reilly has done a lot for us. He deserves to be heard out and given every benefit of of a doubt. I am not going to say more as it is all in his post! Please read it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Scoble's mom passed away

Knowing the call is coming does not make it easier
Robert Scoble's mom just passed away. This was not unexpected, but it is very sad. Our thoughts and hearts go out to Bob and his family.

Pizzacast Followup

Fellow Pizzacast Attendees, and Other Interested Folks:
Thanks again for participating and for all the subsequent suggestions, comments, postings and ideas I have seen since or been sent the pizzacast. As you know I have one of the pizzacasts posted (Pizzacast 1.0, "before the pizza") and still have the post pizza pizzacast 2.0 to post. One of the most exciting things is the followups to Ryan's post where two of the people on the list have already said yes to speaking to the class/classes.

My wife Sue and I are going away for the weekend. We are leaving in the morning and will be returning Tuesday. So, I do not anticipate posting pizzacast 2.0 until then. It should be a good show as well. Enjoy the holiday weekend!


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Is Web 2.0 a trademark?

Does O'Reilly own the term "Web 2.0"?
According to a link from Techmeme, "the upcoming Web 2.0 half-day conference (In Ireland) is the target of a cease and desist letter (below) from the legal team of O’Reilly publishers." I am planning to teach a class with a lot of content about Web 2.0 this Fall. Am I asking for trouble?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Digesting the Pizzacast

Pizzacast, the day after
I was up late posting the first podcast from this geek dinner. Even after I went to bed my head was all abuzz with the conversations we had. The podcast that was released was the first part of the dinner, the part before the pizza arrived. Ryan had a great post mortem of the event that really synthesizes what folks had to say.

One of my favorite things Ryan said was, "Oh, and the bonus mystery guest, who read about the beer-and-pizza plan on Valleywag, was Gabe Rivera of Memeorandum. That was unexpected." As you can tell by the audio, I did not realize who Gabe was until after the dinner was over and he had left. He totally slipped under my radar. I am thrilled that he came, he added a lot to the conversation!

These are the voices of the future
I am excited that the pizzacast came out so well. My favorite part of working at SJSU is the students, all these wonderful gifted people. These are the voices of the future! I remember when Scoble was a student and he would stop and talk to anybody who would listen. Looking back on that, I think wow. He and I would spend hours talking and it was easy to take it for granted. These are the Scoble's of the future! I urge you to listen to them now. They have so much to say and Cynthia McCune and I really appreciate their and Gabe's perspectives and ideas and welcome yours. We came to listen. What a thrill it is to be able to do so over and over again. And, there is part two coming. How cool is that?

Now it is your turn! Please let us know what you think and what you would like to see in these new classes. Anybody and everybody, your advice is welcome. We have a blank slate and that is a rare thing in academia. We are listening!

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Pizzacast: Geek Dinner Conversation on New Media Class

Planning a new media journalism class at SJSU, Pizzacast 1.0

Edupodder Podcast twentythree, 27:55 minutes, 26.5 MB MP3 - Posted May 23, 2006
First of two podcasts recorded May 23, 2006:

To listen to high quality audio, click here --> MP3 File Here

At a geek dinner in San Jose, students, faculty, staff and Gabe Rivera (of memeorandum/techmeme fame) have a conversation about a new media class, Journalism 163, planned at SJSU. Speaking are Keith Callenberg, Evan Luine, Andrew Venegas, Joshua Marx, Cynthia McCune, Ryan Sholin, Lambert Lum, Gabe Rivera and Steve Sloan.  This is the first of two conversations recorded at a San Jose Pizzeria on May 23, 2006, 27:55 min, 26.5 MB.

Links: Keith Callenberg | Evan Luine | Andrew Venegas | Joshua Marx | Cynthia McCune | Ryan Sholin | Lambert Lum | Gabe Rivera | Steve Sloan

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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Geek dinner details

Geek dinner today at 6pm is a mashup!
This evening Cynthia McCune, JMC webmaster and I are having a Geek Dinner at Tony Sopranos on San Fernando Street in San Jose. This dinner is a mashup with students, faculty and staff from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications at San Jose State University mixing with folks from other departments at SJSU and hopefully the area blogging community being invited. In other words, if you can read these words you are invited.

There is a topic for the event. We are planning to be teaching a new course, J132, in the Fall focusing on new media in journalism. By this we mean using new technologies like blogging, podcasting, videocasting to report the news. I don't want to say much more than that for fear that it will taint the conversation.

Following the meal there will be an extended conversation which we intend to record and release as a podcast. Professor McCune and I have drawn up some questions to get the conversation rolling. Here they are:

  • What is your vision of what a new media class is?
    • What would you like it to be when it grows up?
    • What are you looking and hoping for?
    • What are you hoping will be the outcomes of the class?
    • What are you hoping to get out of the class?
    • What do you think the class should not cover?
  • What specific concepts and technologies do you think the course should cover or not cover?
    • Print and/or traditional mass media
    • HTML
    • Web Design
    • Web 2.0 and Ajax
    • XML
    • RSS
    • Blogging
    • Audio and/or video podcasting
    • OPML
    • Disruptive Technology
    • Mobile devices, cell phone cameras and Moblogging
  • Who would you like to see as guest speakers in the course?

The items in the above are presented for the sake of getting the conversation started. While they certainly reflect some of the issues Professor McCune and I have been discussing, their inclusion in this list does not mean these will all be included in the curriculum. That is what this conversation is all about. Folks there will be invited to pose other questions and present ideas. This is intended to be an open conversation. If you are interested in more info on these topics they can be Googled.

Updated info!
If you are not familiar with some, or a lot of the items in this list, do not let that scare you away! These are just things being thrown against the wall to see if they will stick and perhaps spark some ideas. Late things to add to list for pondering:

  • Open Source, principles and software
  • The Long Tail
  • Tagging, folksonomies and taxonomies
  • Attention Metadata
  • Craig's List
  • User Hacks
  • Mashups
  • OS Platform Issues (Mac vs. Wintel vs. Linux)

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Sunday, May 21, 2006

About Email for Life

SP MT4 at Susuin

Does E-mail for life make sense?
My dad was a railroader. To him this was a typical day at work, a bit over 50 years ago. This steam engine was the transportation technology paradigm of this time. In 1952 he took his, then new, Argus camera to work in to test this new camera. He was not trying to capture history. This was transportation technology just over fifty years ago. It was taken for granted as being the way things were done.

Lately some university folks are talking about offering students E-mail for life and possibly supporting E-mail for our graduates for fifty years into the future. They take it for granted that E-mail will still exist in fifty years. Do we want to make a commitment to support E-mail technology that long? Imagine if the railroads had made a commitment to support the technology of fifty years ago "for life." Actually, that would of been kinda cool. It is not very practical though.

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Friday, May 19, 2006

Mackerel Scales Over SJSU

Mare's tails and mackerel scales make tall ships take in their sails

This is one of my father, Lloyd Sloan's favorite sayings. He taught me weather proverbs that reflected real world situations where fair weather day clouds can signal coming weather changes. A mackerel sky refers to cirrocumulus clouds, which often precede an approaching warm front, which will eventually bring veering winds (changing from northeast and east over to southwest and west) and precipitation. Tall ships were what they called the old sailing ships of a century and a half ago! Another weather proverb he often quoted was, "Red Sky at night, sailor's delight.  Red sky in the morning, sailor take warning." If you want to learn more weather proverbs here is a link.

This morning the weather was cold and it is going to rain.

Scoble, feelings and blogging

Hieros Gamos

On Death and Dying
I have known Robert Scoble since he was a student at SJSU about fifteen years ago. We used to spend hours in my old office, which was inside a vault, talking about tech and also about life, our families, our pasts and futures. This was after my first wife, Candy, died in a car accident. Candy and I were estranged and had filed for divorce shortly before the accident. I was mostly staying at my sisters when Candy (as near as we could tell) fell asleep at the wheel. It was one in the morning. She had our three children in the vehicle. She was on her way home from telling her mom, who lived about 90 miles away, about our planned divorce. She was driving on a lonely two lane country road. It was raining. The heater was on as were, according to one of my sons who was awake, the wiper blades. She must have been exhausted. The road was slippery. Her vehicle slid sideways into a farmer's field, into a phone pole and she was killed when it impacted on her driver's side door. Two of the kids ended up in intensive care. All of a sudden, in the time it takes for a phone pole to shatter a life, I was a widower with three sons to raise, two of whom were in the hospital and a wife to plan a funeral for. I got by with a lot of help from my friends.

In the years that preceded this I had seen my parents die. (My father had a rare disease that there had only been about 20 cases of. It was like he won the anti-lottery.) In the years subsequent my sister and other relatives died.

Bob Scoble was there for me
Bob was there for me during that time so long ago. We talked about a lot of this in the time that followed and he listened and gave me very non-geek advice. Later, as I started dating and then even later when I met Sue, the woman who became my second and current wife he was still there for me to listen and offer good advice. Yes, he worked for me. But, I considered him a friend, peer and not as a student assistant. Sometimes I was kind of his tail gunner when he would get in trouble with the faculty and other staff (like when he'd load up their computers with buggy beta software rendering it crash prone) then they'd call me up and say, "help, I have been Scobelized!"

After Bob left SJSU he and I drifted apart. I stayed in academia, remarried and my children and wife and I got older. Bob went on to much greater things. We stayed in touch.

When Bob started blogging it seemed to me his personal-emotional side mostly stayed out of his blog.

I have seen other bloggers get very public about her feelings and personal life experiences. I have read folks I know post about their depression. One blogger posted about a personal past suicide attempt. I am pretty public as well, but still I hold back and have mostly kept my "Geek" life and my "Family" life separated into two separate blogs.

Death and dying has a way of obliterating barriers. Bob has seemed to tear down all barriers with his blogging about his mom and her recent stroke. I am touched to see it and appreciate Bob sharing his feelings with the substantial audience he has built up over the years. He is in a position to better improve people's lives and family relationships, and he is doing it. This is very ungeek like!

Next semester I am going to be teaching a course on new "Web 2.0" technology. Bob's posting has put me in a real rethink about what I should be telling students about the where the line should be, or if there should be a line at all, between our professional face and our human one.

Six Feet Under
The other day watched, thanks to Netflix, the pilot episode of "Six Feet Under". It involved a very sudden death in a car accident. It was a very well written episode, but it struck a nerve with me. It had me in tears remembering what my children and I experienced. Then I found, the next day, this old photo of mine seen above.

About the photo: This came to me then as I was walking through this cemetery with my oldest friend Marie Roby (then DuBois) while on a photo expedition. As I read the tombstone, the story of this couple's lives jelled down to a handful of statistics, about their child also buried there, I thought about the great depth of details all their lives must of been and what a story was buried there untold. I put a wide angle lens on the camera, put it on the ground and set the self timer and we posed behind the tombstone. It is still one of my favorite photos. It makes me think of my first wife, my parents, my sister and the other family and other loved ones both here and departed from my life.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

San Jose Geek Dinner, Bloggers & SJSU folks invited

Bloggers, Podcasters & SJSU students, faculty, staff and others are invited
This is a geek dinner, meetup, podcast conversation on Tuesday evening the 23rd. Please join Cynthia McCune, JMC webmaster and I! This is regarding, but not limited to, a new course I plan to be teaching at SJSU this Fall unoficially entitled (by me) New Media in Journalism, Journalism 163 (section 3). The initial concept is that the course will include blogging, podcasting, RSS & other Web 2.0 technologies.

The questions posed in the Tuesday podcast are, how do you as a blogger, podcaster, student, faculty person and/or staff person envision such a class? What would you like to see included in it?

The plan is we will have a pizza and beer party, as professor Cynthia McCune says, "off the reservation" Tuesday at 6pm at Tony Soprano's Pizzeria [Link]. We want to get to know each other, have a conversation on the subject, and then podcast the conversation thus taking it global. I hope to continue the conversation with other folks and to release this as the first in a series of podcasts on the subject.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Great link from Ryan

When Ryan sends a link, pay attention
This is from Ryan Sholin [Link], By Allan Richards:

"First day of class I gave them the project: produce a newsmagazine before the end of the semester -- in three months. There was mild panic. These kids could write, and a few were excellent photographers, but they really didn't have much tech experience. They thought I'd run a tech course.

I had them set up a message board, told them they had 15 minutes to create blog sites, and that the word Google was a verb as well as a noun."

This is great stuff!

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Revolution from the edge: students posting class recordings

Classes put on the web by students
The power of Cluetrain [Link], as delivered via Web 2.0 technologies, is that the Internet empowers individuals to engage in a global conversation. Now normal citizens can be accessable as networks, media houses, corporations, governments and universities in delivering information about products, goods, services and ideas. On the Internet all URLs are equal.

In the past it was just well funded institutions that controlled the media and thus the conduits of information. In the past there was only direct dial up one-to-one phone communication between ordinary citizens. Ordinary citizens, as frustrated customers, could call their friends on the phone, or perhaps go to their window and yell out "I am mad as hell, and I am not going to take it anymore." But, their angry voices would only carry so far. The mass media was controlled by institutions who provided monologues of information and controlled and spun the message. A monologue is not a conversation.

Not any more! Here is an example as relates to education. Educational content is reaching the Internet not just by the institution and faculty putting it there. Students with small portable devices are now able to record and post lectures. They are doing it [Andrew Venegas recording Link.] Students are pushing the envelope. If we, as the institutions, strive to control content and the message, perhaps we are wasting our time fighting against the tide.

The nature of the Internet, and Internet enabled individuals, is that it (and they) route around obstacles. Maybe our time would be better spent learning how Cluetrain can be remixed to relate to education [Scott Adams, Cluetrain for Education Link.] Maybe working together with our customers, the students, we can help education content become more open. Perhaps we can spark a real open conversation, and not a series of monologues, by tearing down the walls to learning.

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Help Desk Frustrations

Bad day at the Help Desk
Yesterday did not start off well. In the morning, according to one of our student employees, a client was sharp and used profanity with the student because the student did not do something for the client. This was a task which the student employee lacked the administrative access to do. "I am unable to do that" was not an answer the client was willing to accept. Sadly, some faculty and staff feel it is okay to verbally abuse student employees. The client did not leave a name or phone number. Coward!

Then later, just before quitting time, I had another client come in wanting service that would have required me to stay late and miss a personal after work commitment. I did not have time to do what the client wanted me to do after hours. Then, the client wanted me to keep the client's own personal computer and fix the problem for the client so the client could pick up the computer later. We are told we are not supposed to touch a client's computer, much less keep it. The client was annoyed with me.

Please be considerate. We have support protocols we have to follow and we lack administrative access to all systems at SJSU. Also, if you want service please do not come in right before closing time and expect staff and sometimes student employees to stay late to help you. Often times staff are not even paid for staying late and in my opinion it is not fair to expect that. We offer free service, but that does not mean our staff should have to work for nothing.

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Monday, May 15, 2006

Cindy Chavez for Mayor of San Jose

Cindy Chavez and I

Our duties as citizens
Today the help desk closed at 5pm and I rushed out of the office to the headquarters of the South Bay Labor Council [Link]. I believe one of our responsibilities as citizens is to participate in the democratic process. That is why many times over the years I have volunteered my time to precinct walk and phone bank for candidates I believe in. Candidate for mayor of San Jose Cindy Chavez [Link] is one of those candidates. I was especially thrilled when she came by the union hall to thank those of us who were there working for her. It was a thrill too to see so many of the people, like Ron Lind of the UFCW local 428, whom I have known for so many years, there. Plus, it was also exciting to see the new faces, young people who were working their hearts out for Cindy. It was really fun, and for a good cause too. Cindy is a great person who has helped university employees and really been there for working families in the San Jose area. I think Cindy will be a fine mayor and is worthy of every effort we can make to get her elected.

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Sunday, May 14, 2006

Cats Hill 2006 Bike Race

Cat's Hill Racers

Still shooting after all these years
Yesterday I spent all day in Los Gatos at the Cat's Hill Crit Bicycle race. I took a couple hundred pictures. On of my favorite photos was this shot of pro racers hammering up the 23% grade of Cat's Hill. I shot this photo with my digital Nikon D2H, but I made it in PhotoShop. Using PhotoShop and my Wacom Tablet I created two layers with very different exposure and contrast settings. Then I masked off the high contrast layer and masked into it where the riders are. This is an image I could not have made with film, absolutely no way!

The Bike club newsletter
Today was production day of the ACTC newsletter which I publish. I made a black and white version of this image for the newsletter. This link shows how I cropped and used the image. The final version of this newsletter is here. This is how it went to the printer!

Actually that is not true, the printer receives 11x17 printer spreads. If you are curious what they look like, this is how it looks in printer spreads.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Return of Track Warrants

The recent passing of Rob Carlson has prompted me to repost all the Track Warrants editions that have been off the Internet for so very long. This is the first free E-zine that followed in the traditions of the first version of CTC Board and Flimsies Magazines.

Track Warrants was posted over ten years ago when the web was a young way to share information. It predates the great western railroad mergers and has a lot of old photos and railfan trip reports from those days. It is crude by today's standards, but I learned a lot doing it.

Track Warrants is here:

I am trying to debug these old files, so please bear with me.


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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Robert Scoble's Mother is Dying

Robert Scoble's mother is dying. She had a massive stroke and is not expected to live much longer. Robert is blogging [Link] about the pain and the difficult decisions that come at the end of life:

"I'm reserving my real emotions. But, let's just say that this is about the suckiest thing I could imagine. Turns out she'll be lucky to live out the week. She signed a do not rescuscitate order and told all of her friends and family to let her go if she was going to be in such a state. Thankfully that took most of the hard decisions out of our hands. But it still was tough not overriding her wishes."

These are some of the most touching posts I have ever seen. I have known Robert a long time and years ago we both had some very close conversations. Robert helped me through some very difficult times of my own involving the loss of my first wife. Robert writes about how being able to blog about this has helped him deal with the events he and his family are going through now [Link].

"Thanks to everyone for putting up with this blogging. It's helpful to me and I get phone calls from people who are touched by it (and family members)."

Life is about good times, and bad times, and being there through the best and also the worst of them. Sometimes we can laugh with those we love. Sometimes all we can do is hold their hands and be there with them. And, sometimes we have to let them go. That is sad. It hurts like a hurt you do not know until it happens to you. The most precious gift life has is it's preciousness and the most important lesson we learn is not to let things not get said or not get done. That is what Robert is writing about now and his words now are some of the most important words he has ever blogged.

I hope he keeps blogging about this and folks reading his blog think before putting off saying the important words, or doing the important things that later may not be able to be said or done. Sometimes tomorrow never comes. Few things in life suck as bad as regret.

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Emerging Technology PowerPoint

My presentation to Cynthia McCunes Class today
Here is the presentation I gave to Cynthia McCune's class [ZIP file Link.] It is a 35.5MB ZIP archive, with the power point inside of it. You will need QuickTime to be installed on your computer to view the included video files. On Windows computers the included QuickTime movies may have problems presenting. The Windows version of PowerPoint seems to want to play the movies in Media Player. Even if you cannot see the videos, the presentation has value. I really enjoyed making and giving this presentation and talking with the class today.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Rob Carlson Found Dead

Failure to post leads to sad discovery
As you may know from reading my blogs I am a train buff, otherwise known as a railfan. Years ago I started a rail news magazine called "Flimsies" then followed that up with an on-line E-zine called "Track Warrants." Those faded away and were replaced by a daily updated web site, that predated weblogs, called the Altamont Press Rail News Line [Link]. Rob Carlson was the person who ran Altamont Press's news site and he did a great job with the site. He almost never missed a day posting the news until April 27. That was his last post. I just saw this posted on the related Bulletin Board:

I am afraid that I have to break some bad news to you all . Because I was worried like everyone else about Rob not keeping the news up to date, I went over to his apartment. I got the managers to go into his apartment. He was there. However I am afraid that he was deceased. Can only say that I am kind of in shock right now. I first got to know Rob in about 1975. We did a lot of railfanning. Anyway. I am afraid that is the story. Maybe there will a report later on the cause of all this.

John Orr

I know John Orr and knew Rob. What a shock this is.

Monday, May 01, 2006

SJSU Wireless problems today

We are getting wide spread reports of wireless users having problems authenticating to the network. The problem does not appear to be a Comcast issue. Clients are able to see the logon screen with no problems. But, some clients are reportedly taking multiple attempts to logon and others are not able to logon at all. There is no estimated time of resumption of normal service. I am sorry, the only suggestion I have is to try again later. There is no reason to believe this is related to the failure of the campus firewall this morning. Updated information will be posted on this website [Link] until 5 pm today and starting at 8am in the morning.