Are you a fan of NPR, but don’t want to deal with all the graphics and other distractions of its website? Well, then just use their text-only version of the site. Nice!
So I’ve written the past couple of days about all the options that are available to ConvergeSouth attendees during the various session time slots. Well, I have to tell you that the “Labs” in the 1:45-3:45 slot are REALLY going to test my decision-making ability because I truly want to see all four. Once you read the descriptions below I think you’ll feel the same way:
Podcast Lab (Mike Dell of Podcast Help Desk) – An active podcaster and consultant for the past 10 years, Mike Dell, from Podcast Help Desk, helps people with the technical side of podcasting. For the last 6 years he has been the lead tech support for RawVoice Inc., parent company of the podcast services company Blubrry.com. He hosts a bi-weekly folk and bluegrass radio show on community radio station WNMC, and is the fill-in news announcer (and sometimes guest) on the morning rock radio show, Omelet and Friends on WKLT FM in Traverse City. In his spare time he enjoys Banjo Picking and Ham Radio.
In the podcasting lab, Mike will give you the best non-geeky explanation of how podcasting works and take you through the hardware you will need for recording. (Both good-enough and the best). We will also cover setting up the dreaded RSS feed, Website (adding podcasting to WordPress) and keeping iTunes and other podcast apps happy with your show. We will cover the best practices for podcasters. When you leave you will have a checklist of items you need to record your first episode and get it listed in iTunes and other directories. If there is time, we will do a Q & A about anything podcasting.
YouTube Lab (Stephanie Carls) – Named a “Twitter Powerhouse” by The Huffington Post, Stephanie Carls shares her passion for social media and technology online and focuses on the ways both are changing the way we live and share information. With her creativity in her videos, she has even landed features in The New York Times and NBC News.
Frequently asked to participate as a spokesperson or digital correspondent, Stephanie has enjoyed working with Cottonelle, Chevrolet (as video host for 2012 SXSW Interactive Festival, Marketwired, Nike Women, Hallmark, GoPro, Nexersys (appearing on CBS “The Doctors“) and more.
In the YouTube lab, Stephanie will give you the extra push and knowledge you need to start your own video presence. Whether that is for yourself, your business, or even both, she will cover how to set up your YouTube channel and begin your journey creating your videos. Equipment needs as well as best practices for publishing and creating your presence will be covered.
Tumblr Sites for Beginners (Ashley Hallenbeck of The Coraddi) – Ashley Hallenbeck is a designer and aspiring jack of all trades. She is the current Director of Promotions for The Coraddi, digital design and animation instructor at The Center for Visual Artists, and is a self-proclaimed sticker genius. She wholly believes that all small businesses can and should have a strong online presence, and that it’s much easier (and cheaper!) to achieve than they might think.
With $15, a little bit of sweat, and minimal tears, you can have a website up and running in a day. No short-codes, no monthly fees, no bologna; Tumblr is the perfect unlikely alternative to WordPress. Its interface is basic enough for beginners, while still being flexible enough for experienced webmasters!
What’s All the Fuss About Squarespace? (Melody Watson) – Few topics elicit more enthusiasm from Melody Watson than coaching Squarespace users to tell their stories online. Discovering this platform literally changed the course of her professional life; she left her community college webmaster position to freelance. Melody collaborates with small business owners, non-profits, and artistic professionals around the country.
Are you looking for a versatile, sophisticated tool that comes with 24/7 support and the canvas on which to create nearly any kind of site you can envision? Do yourself a favor and consider Squarespace. During this lab you will learn about:
- Selecting the ideal template for specific site needs,
- Choosing the appropriate kind of page for offering different types of content,
- Formatting content,
- Adding photos and graphics,
- Site-wide design vs. page-based layout and design,
- Drafting blog posts,
- Connecting social accounts,
- Adding a form and collecting the gathered data.
Content that doesn’t fit into the session time-frame will be provided in supplemental resources.
Impressed? I thought you’d be. So if you STILL haven’t registered but would like to you can do so here. Hope to see you there!
So yesterday I wrote about a tough choice I have to make – which of four great sessions would I choose to attend during the 9:30 time slot at ConvergeSouth? Well my decision is made for me during the 10:45 slot, but if you attend you’ll have to make a choice. So here’s what you have to choose from:
How to Attract, Engage and Convert With Social Media Marketing (Angela Levine of Connect Marketing) – What if there was a system to help you identify a lot of the right people for your marketing message, find them online, get them to give you their email address and eventually convert a portion of them into customers? Many business owners would be happy with JUST getting an email address – let alone one of a pre-qualified lead. Angela will show you a system for using content creation and harnessing the power of two content delivery channels to attract, engage and ultimately convert your target audience.
Field of Dreams – Great movie, terrible content strategy (Ryan Neely of SFW) – “Content is king!” “Brands are publishers!” With all the buzz about content, how can you go wrong? Before you get busy blogging, join Ryan Neely as he walks through what goes into a successful content strategy, essential questions to ask before you get started and examples of different content strategies that have proven effective.
Design in the age of Dribbble (Nick Jones of Tiny Goat) – As designers, we’re living in a time of unprecedented access to inspiration. Sites like Behance and Dribbble provide us with a constant stream of styles to quote, and frameworks like Material Design give us endless shortcuts from blank screen to finished product. So has all that access watered down design? In this talk, Nick Jones will explore the nature of inspiration and try to answer that question. This talk should be part debate for design partisans, and part survey course for design fans.
Okay, this next one is being led by yours truly so you will be forgiven if you skip it – caveat emptor and all that.
Partnerships + Creativity + Social Tools = 150,000 Meals (Jon Lowder of PTAA) – How does a local trade association with a staff of three manage to raise enough money and collect enough food for a local food bank to provide 156,000 meals to the hungry and generate great PR in the process? With creativity, volunteer engagement, partnerships with local media and other organizations, Google docs, social media and a lot of sweat.
So, that’s just one hour of the day at ConvergeSouth and as you can see there’s a lot of “there” there. This really is a great event so if you haven’t already I do recommend you register and attend. Full registration details can be found here.
Fred Wilson writes a blog that is probably one of the easiest places for anyone interested in the future of our online lives to get a peek at what’s coming down the road. He and his venture fund have been early funders of companies like Twitter, Tumblr, Feedburner, FourSquare, SoundCloud, Etsy, MeetUp, Kickstarter and many more. In other words they know their sh**.
That’s what makes this recent post on Wilson’s blog so interesting and exciting:
We made this investment, in a neat company called Veniam that comes out of Porto Portugal, some time earlier this year but they finally got around to announcing it yesterday…
So enough about all of that. What does Veniam do? They make a “stack” of wireless technology that lets moving objects (think buses, garbage trucks, cars, vans, etc) carry a wifi access point/router and mesh with each other and anyone else who wants to join the network. With enough density, buses driving around your city can provision a wireless mesh that anyone can use on their smartphone when they are out and about. It’s a big vision and will take a lot of work (and luck) to realize, but this or something like it is eventually going to work and we are going to have a better way to access the internet on our phones than we have today.
Even if Veniam isn’t the solution, if these guys are backing it then there’s a very good chance that there will be a solution soon. That’s very exciting for those of us who’d like to cut the last-mile cord owned by the telecom/cable axis.
Here’s a nice primer on Bitcoin from BoingBoing:
Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer network, a set of protocols (standards for interoperability), client interfaces (called wallets) and a currency that operates on top of all of those technologies. The bitcoin system allows any person to send or receive a fraction of a bitcoin (the currency unit) to another person, anywhere in the world. The bitcoin system operates on the Internet without the need for banks or bank accounts and allows people to send money like they send email.
To start using bitcoin, you need a bitcoin client, or “wallet” application. The bitcoin client allows you to use the bitcoin network, just like a web browser allows you to use the web. There are many different types and makers of bitcoin wallets, for desktop and mobile operating systems and also available as web applications. To receive bitcoin, you need a bitcoin “address”, which is a bit like an email address or bank account number. If someone knows your bitcoin address, they can send you money, but cannot do anything more, not even identify who you are or where you are. Therefore, you can freely share your bitcoin addresses with anyone without fear or security risk. Once you have a “wallet,” it can create any number of bitcoin addresses for you, even one per transaction. Give those addresses to anyone you want to send you bitcoin. Tip: bitcoin addresses are created by your wallet and do not need to be registered with anyone, or linked to your identity or email address. They can be used immediately to receive money from anyone and become part of the network once they have some bitcoin sent to them. Bitcoin addresses always start with the number “1” and they look like a long string of number. One of my bitcoin addresses is “1andreas3batLhQa2FawWjeyjCqyBzypd”. This is known as a vanity address, because it has my name in the beginning, but it works just the same as if it was a long string of random letters and numbers. I use it to receive tips and donations from people all around the world.
The remainder of the article explains the entire process, including how to pay for things using bitcoins, tips on securing your bitcoin keys, how to find vendors that accept bitcoins, etc.
My wife and I were driving our son to school on the way to work and in the middle of the trip he asked, “Dad, have you heard of Bitcoin?” I think he was surprised and maybe even a little impressed that I had. I know for a fact that I was VERY impressed that he had. What ensued for the remaining few minutes of the ride was a discussion of bitcoin and a fumbling attempt by both me and my son to describe to my wife what it was. That’s when I realized I only vaguely understood how it might work. How fortuitous, then, that I found this article in today’s Wall Street Journal about Dish Network accepting Bitcoins for payment:
The move shows the resilience of the currency after a string of scandals and regulatory actions raised doubts about bitcoin’s future. The collapse of a major trading exchange helped lead bitcoin to lose two-thirds of its value in four months, but its price has rallied 27% over the past week. Coindesk’s Bitcoin Price Index was quoted at $565.55 at late afternoon in New York…
Dish said it will use Coinbase, a San Francisco-based bitcoin-payment processor, to process the payments, using that firm’s Instant Exchange feature. That means that although its customers will transfer bitcoins through an online facility, Coinbase will absorb the digital currency and remit dollars to Dish.
While we’re all celebrating the coolness of the “trust economy” – you know, those services like airbnb and Uber – someone asks a pretty good question:
“It all sounds great, at least according to the fawning sycophants who provide all of us out here in the provinces with such worshipful coverage of the amazing achievements of the Techno-Demigods. And it is great as long as you don’t bother to ask (or care) whypeople are suddenly employing themselves as improvised innkeepers and taxi drivers. After all, does anyone really want to let some strangers stay in their home for a few bucks? To drive some trust fund asshole to the airport on Saturday after a 45 hour week? I doubt it. People turn to the “Trust Economy” because they’re somewhere between financially stressed and desperate. They don’t make enough or they’re without any steady source of income at all. They do it for the same reason that people go to work at a temp agency or loiter in a Home Depot parking lot to do day labor: because they have no better options…
It’s remarkable how many of the recent Big Developments from the omniscient men of the Valley have managed to make the lives of the well-off easier without actually creating any jobs that pay a livable salary or have benefits. Oh, and they convince the media to cover these breakthroughs in a way that makes it sound like they’re doing you a favor. You’re free at last, free at last. Say goodbye to the chains of full time employment and hello to the boundless freedom of working piecemeal, making phone calls on Mechanical Turk for a quarter and driving Damon the Junior Content Developer to the airport so he can spend the weekend in Cozumel with his frat bros.”
How’s that for some cold water on yet another new-economy-shiny-thing?
Thanks to Lex for the pointer to what promises to be another time-sucker of a blog to follow.
There are testimonials and then there are testimonials. Don't know how Google Earth could find a more compelling piece to promote it's service:
Sometimes you just have to be slapped upside the head to have some sense driven into you. I was catching up on some reading and came across this piece from Sasha Dichter and these words struck a chord with me:
In today’s world we all are continually experimenting with the lines between connection / productivity / responsiveness and distraction / rudeness. Two colleagues of mine suggested the following four rules for managing incoming email and handheld devices, which I liked:
- Turn off desktop alerts of new emails coming in (the little box that pops up) (in Outlook: File > Options > Mail > Message Arrival > Uncheck “Display a Desktop Alert”)
- No reading email before breakfast
- No reading email while in transit
- No phone or email in the bedroom
My own scorecard is as follows:
- I turned of desktop alerts for new emails about a month ago and I love it.
- I almost never read email before breakfast and when I do it’s a sign that I’m under a crazy deadline or stressed for some other reason.
- Hmmm. I made a rule a couple of years ago not to look at my phone while in elevators, and I’ve stuck to that (it had become a reflex), but I spend enough time in transit that I don’t know that I can commit to this one.
- I do have my phone in the bedroom but I can honestly say it’s 95% as a time-piece and alarm
In reality these four rules are a really low bar. Increasingly I think we will all be playing with the limits and rules that work for us, and everyone’s line will be different. What makes me nervous is when I get reflexive about checking. That sort of unconscious behavior feels unproductive. (Emphasis mine)
My wife has flat out told me it annoys her how much I check my phone. At the table, when we go to bed, etc. and today when I was checking out at a store I realized I was checking my phone even before the clerk was saying thank you. In other words I'm being exceptionally rude to the people around me, and what bothers me most is I'm certain I'm missing signifcant chunks of conversation with my family. My kids are only a few years from flying the coop permanently – two of them are already in college – so this is just crazy behavior. Do I seriously want to waste the limited days they're still under my roof with my nose stuck in my phone? Obviously not.
For some reason it took reading a stranger's blog to bring me to that "Well, duh" conclusion. I plan on using some of his rules augmented with some of my own to do better.
Over at the Atlantic Wire they ask the question, "Why do we care about things that don't really matter?" Here's one reason:
The Bikeshed Effect, more formally known as Parkinson's Law of Triviality derived from the humor book Parkinson's Law, is "the principle that the amount of discussion is inversely proportional to the complexity of the topic," as explained in Producing Open Source Software: How to Run a Successful Free Software Project. The most classic and titular example is that people care more about the color of a bike shed than the decision to build a nuclear plant because they know about colors and don't know about nuclear power.
As they go on to point out the effect influences what we talk about and thus what generates "discussion" in our modern world:
Since everyone needs to say something — especially on the Internet — these mundane things get talked about often and with vigor. Meanwhile, the more complex questions — like "How Will Yahoo Increase CPM's Given Current Trends in Digital Advertising?" — get much less attention because most people can't comment with any intelligence, as The Guardian's Oliver Burkman explained in his column "Why trivia is so important" back in 2010. "Each wants to demonstrate, to the boss or to themselves, that they are taking part, paying attention, making a difference, 'adding value,'" he wrote. "But with complex subjects about which they're ignorant, they can't: they risk humiliation."
The dumbest topics — the tilt of an exclamation point, for example — therefore, get the most attention. A related phenomenon happens a lot in the work-life balance debate, which relies a lot on personal anecdotes to talk about an important societal question. Without much knowledge or data on women in the workforce, writers and thinkers revert to their personal experiences to fuel the debate. Since these people are women and have worked and have also had children, they can speak to the issue with some intelligence. That leaves harder questions, like how most women can improve working while raising families, on the sidelines.
People have always been trivial, ill-informed bloviators but now thanks to the online extensions of our society the effect is amplified. Rather than only being exposed only to the nimrods in your circle of friends, family, coworkers and neighbors your exposed to the hundreds of millions of nimrods you can find online. What a truly depressing thought.