See you in Vancouver!!

Yup. I’ll be joining forces with my old friend Mark as we co-keynote at Northern Voice 2013!

northern-voice-moose

(Isn’t that the cutest social-media-conference-canadian-animal-mascot ever?)

I’ve been wanting to go to Northern Voice ever since I heard of it. People who’ve attended both tell me the NV and PAB vibes are very similar, and knowing some of the organizers behind NV, I can’t see not enjoying this event. With this year being the first PAB-less year since 2006, I jumped at a chance to go, it’d been far too long since I’d been to Vancouver!

Mark and I will co-present about some key learning around 7 years of PAB in a session called “Social-nuclear dynamics and creativity”.  I won’t give more infomation about it here (yet), but strongly suggest you check out the Northern Voice site for more information, and even better, to register!!

I can’t wait for this great event, and for a chance for the Mark & Bob team to fly once again  — See you in Vancouver!

 

 

 

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Podcasting lite

One of the things I always disliked about (audio) podcasting was having to link each episode to a blog post. I understood that podcasting grew out of blogging to a certain extent, but it bugged me to have to create blog posts, and make show notes or whatever.

Video, somehow escaped this with sites like youtube. You just put the video there with the title “Man gets football in groin” , no need to walk through the different aspects of the video in the description. Meanwhile, back in audio-land, the “gurus” were telling us we had to have detailed show notes, so search engines would pick up on these, and spread the word etc …etc… blah..blah.

What a pain in the ass show notes are. I’ll blog if want to, but I’d prefer to create audio and be done with it. So for my new podcasting adventure, I’ve gone back to how I did it in 2004, using a php script called dircaster which is still being maintained after all these years. It makes life so simple:

  1. Record
  2. Put what you want in the id3 tags
  3. Put the file in the right place
  4. Be done with it.

RSS creation is automatic, there’s even a quick and dirty webpage example in there. That’s all you (I) really need.

I’m not completely insensitive to those who want to read a blog, so I’ve added additional automation with IFTTT, and it takes whatever the hell shows up in the RSS and creates a post on the podcast blog. Commenting space if it’s ever needed :) …  If this holds up everything will happen with a simple file transfer.

So I record and upload with Bossjock Studio on my iThing, and that’s it. Blogging not required. This is what I always wanted. Let’s see how this goes..

 
The show blog is here : bobstuph.blogspot.ca
 

 

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Best Episode Ever

 

A cool thing happened recently, I was asked to join the cast of “Best Episode Ever” for this season.

Other than a way for me to get back into podcasting, its also been a crap-load of fun to hang with Anthony Marco and Dave Brodbeck; 2 of the “good peeps” I’ve met in my podcasting life.

I’m having tons of fun recording it, hopefully you’ll have tons of fun listening and commenting on it..  Here’s the about page to show it’s real…

It’s a whack o’ fun, and it’s got me back into podcasting… What’s next. Catfish show,  or Bob and AJ?

Hmmm.  For now, listen to Best Episode Ever. and enjoy the fun I’m having

 

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The last PAB-Post

PAB2012 Family Picture

The PAB2012 family picture

It’s done. PAB2012 was this past June, and it was the final instalment in the adventure that began 7 years ago.

It’s a rare privilege to be able to decide when a long term project ends. There are plenty of examples of projects that were cut short by external forces, or even worse, allowed to run too long. Although part of me is sad the event is over, there’s a strong sense that this was the right time to end PAB, and I’m left with a great sense of satisfaction at what we accomplished from 2006-2012.

I find it interesting now to step back and look at PAB as a body of work, as opposed to a string of individual events. There’s a whole lot I’m proud of about what we did with PAB, and thankfully, there’s nothing I regret, though there are things from which I learned.

One of the things I’m most proud about PAB is the content evolution it took. Podcasting is what brought the group together initially, but it stopped being about podcasting once the how-to information became easily accessible. We could have gone the easy route, and become an event about social media and online interaction. Somehow, while we couldn’t put our finger on it, we knew that this wasn’t the place to go with this group of people. Good stories and being human is what created the connections, and we did our best to grow from that.

Of course when the core aims of a project don’t include  ’make money’, it allows us to be bigger risk takers, and choose speakers/directions that weren’t all based on google-juice. I won’t name any here, for fear of leaving someone out. Suffice to say almost everyone who ever presented at PAB enriched me as a person.

PAB wouldn’t have happened at all without Mark Blevis, I’ve told the story many times, and will again for a beer :) , Mark took an idea for a camping meetup, added the conference framework around it, and helped make it reality. Neither of us had ever organized a conference before, and somehow, we did rather well if I do say so myself. Through the ups and downs of this project, we were fortunate to have the other up when one of us was down. We were an incredible team, and I hope we get to do it somewhere again. It’s a good thing we used our powers for good. :)

The biggest lesson Mark taught me is that you need to give people a chance to say ‘No’. If you want to ask someone for something, don’t assume that ‘no’ will be their answer and not ask them. Make sure you give them the opportunity (in some cases, multiple opportunities, hehe) to say no. You just might be surprised, and get a “Yes” instead.

I purposefully didn’t blog pre-PAB this year, I didn’t want to build hype or anything, I wanted PAB to be PAB. If someone didn’t get it by now, they never would, and that’s ok.

In seven years, PAB could have evolved to become a lot of different things. Now, as I look back, I realize that PAB was, exactly, what it was meant to be.

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Dead projects can haunt you

Halloween (2 be or Not 2 be)

If you’ve been online for any amount of time, chances are you have some dead online projects. It could be an old blog, podcast, the website of your wedding x-years ago, whatever.

You may have used a tool like WordPress or Joomla to create the site initially, nice themes, easy content creation, up and running SUPER quick – canoefuls of awesomeness, until the project is over.

When it’s over, you now have a site to maintain or take offline. Yup, hackers and evil-doers find new ways to break into things all the time, and the software creators are usually a step or two behind them. So you need to keep these sites updated to keep them from being hacked.

Like a lot of us, I use a shared hosting package, where a lot of my sites are hosted on the same account. So this past weekend, when an old blog (or maybe an old plugin on a newer blog) fell victim to a hack, it was successful infecting pretty much all the sites I had hosted there.

Crap. Not a fun way to spend time, this delayed my finding the answer to life, the universe and everything. (I know it’s 42, but I wanted to do the math myself).

I won’t bore you with the technical details, but let’s just say I’m happy this was on a unix box, grep and sed continue to be good friends of mine.

I’m at the point now where the “active” projects are back online, and I need to do something about the dead projects. I’m looking at tools that convert WordPress sites into static html, and get all the database and php out of the way. A static site, while not easily updatable, is a great way to treat your dead, but not quite offline, projects. I’d like to keep the Bob and AJ site up a while longer, but not invest the time maintaining it.

So there’s your warning, even if your project is dead, keep the software and plugins updated, or look into converting to static to save yourself some headaches.

Photo credit : George Erwss

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The most-used app on my iPad

I’ve always looked at my iPad as more of a media consumption device than a creation tool. Sure in a pinch I’ll hammer out something in GarageBand or Ideas, but my creative pursuits still happen away from the iPad.

So, really, it’s used as an ereader/email/reddit client, with its most frequent use I didn’t expect – radio.

It seems like every media outlet wants you to install their app  (to see their ads, I guess).. Having an app for each stream is idiotic to me, it’s like having to use a new browser for every site..

I like having one app to listen to all the streams :

 

Tunein seems to do the job really well. Plays all the streams, and even lets you record which is handy for those time in the airplanes when you’re just not feeling it for  ”Air Canada presents Anne Murray” …

When I’m working, it’s streaming pretty much all day.. To the point where I don’t fire up iTunes much anymore..

 

 

 

Current favourite streams of mine include:

Classic Hits Auckland 94.7 (ok, I like the accents)
Lots of the 181.fm streams
CBC streams
a few GotRadio Streams

You listening to any good streams lately?

 

 

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Something useful from a comment thread

I know! I was surprised too!

I was reading a comment thread about the new iBooks that (obviously) degenerated into the usual Pro/Anti Apple slop between haters and fanboys..

I left the discussion before they mentioned Hitler, but did catch a link to an (open) interesting project I hadn’t seen before….
openSUSE-Edu Li-f-e is a Linux distribution assembled for education. Check out the software list (http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Education-Li-f-e#Educational) – seems very interesting.

Nice to know that while some people react only to what Cupertino wants them to react to, others are creating tools that can help further knowledge – for free.

Downloading it now, looking forward to this

 

 

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The ability to dislike

Somewhere, as social networking expanded online, the masses lost the ability to dislike stuff.

I know, it’s because existing online is a wonderful kumbaya everyone loves everything everywhere kind of place, right?!

It isn’t. 

I can think of countless examples of sites, opinions, people I dislike. I’m sure you can think of quite a few as well. There needs to be a way to dislike something without having to join Anonymous.

Some sites seem to come close – If you look at reddit for example, you can vote an item up (or like it), and you can vote items down. It’s one of the reasons reddit seems to work well, there’s a community filter in effect, and to be honest, it’s usually quite good. The thing about this approach though, is that the more down votes an item has, the less chance it has to be seen. I think this opens up the possibility of down voting masses attacking a particular idea, so it won’t get seen.

There are times when people should be allowed to show they disagree with something, without that affecting how many people see that item. Just because I happen to dislike something, I shouldn’t affect other people’s exposure to it.

facebook and Google+ don’t want to see the other side of the coin.  They only let you “like” or “+1″ something. The least reaction is no positives, that’s not how life works.

I think Google could leap ahead of facebook by introducing this:

It wouldn’t affect where an item shows up in the stream, or even generate extra SEO to it. Don’t make it too attractive to try to get -1′s, just allow people to show that they dislike or don’t approve.

While we’re adding buttons, maybe even add a “0″, to say “I’ve read this, and it leaves me indifferent.” Seems like it’d be easy to do… and would generate valuable information.

You can learn a lot about a person by paying attention to what they like, you can learn even MORE by paying attention to what they don’t like.

What do you think?

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My three words

What a year. Went by in a blink didn’t it? I do hope it was good for you.

I have no personal complaints about 2011, other than it did seem to go by faster than 2010 (which in turn went by faster than 2009, and so on…). I have a great life, loving family, and we’re all healthy and happy enough to meet 2012 head on. I’m not sure what else I could ask for, anything else would seem petty or selfish.

Work wise, it was another successful year for me. I was involved in some great projects with smart people and was able to recognize and also be recognized for great work. I look forward to the new projects 2012 will bring.

It was a year of changing friendships. New bonds were created, older ones strained, and a few lost completely to death at an unreasonably young age. For the new year, I hope to build on the new bonds, repair the strained ones, and never forget the ones I’ve lost.

There’s a “3 word meme” going around again this year. I believe one is supposed to pick three words that will define 2012 for you, blog about it, and then somehow account for meeting or not meeting those goals later on. I first noticed it last year, and brushed it off as more social media crap. I’ll participate this time though and share my three words with you. I’m not the first to use them, but 2011 was a good reminder of my priorities. I hope I can stay true to my goals for 2012:

Live, Love, Laugh.

I won’t post an update as to how I did, if you know me, you’ll know. If you don’t know me, it doesn’t matter, does it?

I wish these three things to you for 2012, don’t lose sight of the important stuff.

see you in 2012!

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Fun with cheap video cameras

If you’ve known/read/listened to me for any amount of time, you’ll know that video has never really been a draw for me. I’m primarily an audio guy, and in recent years have added photography to my creative pursuits.

Video though, never really captured my attention. I mean, I like a cat-getting-run-over-by-a-roomba video as much as the next guy, but i’ve never felt adventurous with video the way I can with a camera or microphone.

This summer, I was hanging out with a lifelong friend, and he was telling me about his hobby – remote controlled airplanes. He’s built/destroyed several planes, and he shares the hobby with his son, so it’s also a source of quality father/son time.

Anyhow, the conversation turns to airplane modifications, and I mention that I’d seen these tiny little video cameras online (from China of course) super cheap and with seemingly endless possibilities.. So he, I and another friend of ours each ordered these $10 cameras and set out to see what we could do with them.

If you’ve never heard of these things, they’re called “808 cameras”, and look like the remote door lock thingie for your car :

 

Shipping from China being what it is, we waited several weeks until we got them. Once we did get them though, I was impressed at the image/sound quality for such a cheap thingie.

As someone who’s always taken pretty good care of their toys, there’s a strange sense of freedom that comes with knowing that your financial risk is $10. It lets you do things you wouldn’t with a $1000 or even $200 camera.

So our creative challenges to each other have started, and we try to see what we can do with this thing…

Al’s shot a great video of a recent flight:

I used some tape to secure the camera to our hockey Goalie’s helmet (at a strange angle, and aimed wrong – you don’t want to watch the whole thing):

Al also took his on a roller coaster at Callaway Park:

Our friend Mike has promised to attach his to a remote-controlled helicopter, and if it warms up a touch before winter kicks in, I’m going to try to attach mine to a kite.

None of these videos will win any awards, but as we get more used to shooting with a camera that has no viewfinder, they’ll get better.

The great thing is we’re exploring different creative options, sharing amongst friends,  and having fun.

If you have (or acquire) one of these little cameras and want to join our “what the hell can we do with these” group – leave a comment, we’ll find a way to join up and share videos – ideas bring more ideas!

 

Chuck Lohr has a great site about the different variations of this little camera

 

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