Category Archives: Community

Seattle Bloggers: We're Here to Stay

I was congratulated by so many people tonight (most of whom I did NOT know or who did NOT know me). I really feel awkward taking ANY degree of credit for this event. KOMO should be very, very, very inclined to do this again and on a regular basis – it’s only going to grow and increase flow. I’m just happy to be one conduit.

If KOMO is the rallying point for bloggers to get together, become acquainted with one another, and ultimately stretch their relationships beyond special interest circles, then KOMO can and should accept that role – which could be willingly embraced by any other traditional media outlet that was just hoping to learn more about its most vocal community members and advocates (read: bloggers).

Funny thing is: just about everyone was asking about the agenda (even though there really wasn’t any), and curious to know how they were discovered in the first place. Made for great conversation starters, but also underscored my belief that serendipity is the spice of life. I’ve been dying to get out of the technology blogger echo chamber for quite some time, and felt exceedingly relieved to know few others in the room.

So, next time…

  • Need to have a poll to set tentative dates within a specific week. You could never accommodate everybody’s schedule, but at least you can get a better idea as to which night works best for most people on any given week (or no preference, for some).
  • You’ll keep your costs low and confusion at a minimum by keeping it in the same place, even if it happens to fall at different times of a week and/or month.
  • Don’t turn this into anything more than a social event.
  • I might actually tap into your WiFi, because my EVDO signal wasn’t very strong in the studio(s).
  • It’s a radical concept, but what about some kind of semi-UNproduced “Meet The Bloggers” show where you have someone do mini-interviews with the bloggers who show up? Bring ’em on stage, give ’em a small bit of make-up, ask ’em what they blog about, put their URL in the lower-thirds, then run the program either online (exclusively) or in some random 4AM time slot that would otherwise go to an advertisement for Girls Gone Wild Volume XXXIV. Heck, if you don’t wanna do it, I’ll set it up through my live stream next time and do it anyway. 😉
  • What about a table near the entrance where people can drop off a small stack of business cards, just to take a look to see who else might be there – then they might network their way through the crowd looking for the name and connections to that person?
  • I think we would be better off using to organize attendence – it’s much more open-ended and prone to attracting even more interested bloggers.

The EVDO connection kept halving my live viewers, since Ustream doesn’t handle disconnections and reconnections very elegantly yet. Still, two people took live screen caps before I had a chance to ask. Gordon Medley took the first shot (with the group photo live), and Taylor Hornby snaped the second (with me at the anchor desk):

Prillo Screen Capture Komo Photo OP Blogger Meetup 2 Aug 2007

Live at KOMO

Then, someone else dumped a few of the group shots onto my desktop (thanks to the help of another local blogger). I didn’t catch either of their names, sadly – and I certainly couldn’t name everyone in the photo:

Seattle-area Blogger Meetup Group Photo (2)

On Help and Linux Help

Via Andrew Cooper:

I just discovered your youtube page a few days ago. Since then I watched 99% of your videos, and I have to say it is a great thing you are doing. It got me excited that people like you are out there helping people across the world, with just the use of the internet. I was a big fan of yours when you were on Tech Tv, and I am glad to see the “call for help” intent is still out there!

Some people don’t see me as giving back to and trying to support the community, but that’s not my problem. I’m very happy to know you were able to discover what we’ve been up to as of late. And speaking of late, as I’m composing this at 2:40am, there are people in the chat room trying to help someone fix a crazy CD problem. A few hours ago, “fatboy” hopped in and claimed: “Oh by the way chris thanks to your vid about the computer restarting and freezing on its own and all, i moved my computer to a cooler room and now it doesnt make this weird sound like its being overworked and also it doesnt freeze and it runs smoothly.”

Anyways, I was wondering if I could get an invite for LockerGnome? I am not so sure what it takes to get an invite, so I decided to just ask out right. Also, I have a quick question. I am just starting to get into Linux. Well, a few months ago. At the end of my college degree courses I had a linux class (which was made because of me, haha) and we used Suse linux. I am about to turn an old pc into a linux box.. and I am wondering what you recommend what version of linux I use to teach myself the basics? There are so many out there, it’s tough to decide. Thanks for your input, and keep up the good work. I’ll be stopping in the chat more often!

I’ll yield all Linux questions to Matt Hartley (or any one of my Linux followers, for that matter). As far as invitations to blog on Lockergnome – ask me again in a few weeks. We are still hoping to announce something new at Gnomedex, and would certainly welcome you, so long as you meet the general criteria. We’re in the process of migrating from WordPress MU to Drupal (for a few reasons), and the important pieces and people are finally starting to come together.

Is Outsourcing My Pownce Identity Smart?

Heh. The Pownce identity saga continues – with this post from the Chris Pirillo proxy (who doesn’t appear to be malicious, and raises good points):

Why would anyone be the fake Chris Pirillo? Well, unless you are a Chris Pirillo, Leo Laporte, Robert Scoble or whoever… you will never be able to build up a network of “friends” to spam URL’s to. Ok, just kidding. But, then again…

There are many problems with sites like Twitter, Pownce and Jaiku. The first one I find annoying is how the so called A-listers seem to dominate them. It all ends up the same turning into a silly popularity contest with a bunch of “friends” agreeing to every single thing the A-lister’s say.

I think it would be nice if the “F-listers” of Pownce, Twitter, etc. to be able to have some power from time to time.

Do you ever get sick of people like Robert Scoble or Jason Calacanis crowdsourcing you for their benefit?

Maybe I’m not making sense… if not, I’ll clarify in the replies.

Overall, I think the big problem is the A-Listers don’t give their fans enough credit. How can they give us credit? Well, you could start by plugging us more!

If it weren’t for us readers/listeners you’d be nothing. Why not feature a reader’s blog or something from time to time? Be thankful for your success… and share the love!

First, I do my best to give credit where credit is due – whether in our live chat room, recorded videos, blog posts, etc. Links are all over the place where warranted – but some of us don’t know what you do until you take the time to tell us, without any kind of expectation or pressure of sharing what you’ve done with others. I don’t sign up for every available social network (I still do not have a Pownce account, for example).

I do, however, like the Chris Pirillo proxy’s idea here, and am wondering if we could do something in conjunction with one another (officially) if s/he is willing? Problem is, this Chris Pirillo is not me – he’s someone who I think means well, but may not be going about it the right way (pretending to be someone else can be considered a misdemeanor in some cases).

If this person’s legal name is not Chris Pirillo, and he’s using my trademarked logo to lead others (friends or not) to believe that this is an account controlled by me. I don’t necessarily want to shut this guy down, but I do want to encourage him to state outwardly that he’s not me (perhaps only me by proxy).

What’s perhaps even more shocking (and WHOLLY disappointing) is the extreme lack of action or communication on the part of “Megatechtronium” – so I’m to assume that they’re clueless that this is (a) happening, and (b) a potentially gigantic problem. That would keep me away from Pownce more than anything.

On the crowdsourcing concern, you might note that Lockergnome is currently undergoing a radical transformation that we hope to have ready in time for Gnomedex (though with Subwolf’s stroke, those plans may be suspended). Bottom line is: I’m working on a way that any qualified individual can blog about whatever they like and generate revenue and rank with a minimum amount of effort. Internal beta tests have been VERY promising. More on that soon!

Subscriptions are Equal to Social Pressure

I was a little taken aback this weekend by a personal attack on YouTube that was accurate, but largely based on inaccuracies. I’m not going to dismiss it outright, because the person who made the remark is quite an intelligent individual.

It was noted, accurately, that I do not choose to have comments or subscriptions displayed publicly on my YouTube channel. YouTube comment streams have been open gateways for spambots (as illustrated by a maxhansen). And, as pointed out in the same video, YouTube mail is completely unwieldy to manage – but it’s something that I certainly check regularly, and respond to when warranted.

My YouTube subscription list is hidden because I chose not to show it – my prerogative, but not for nefarious reasons (as it was assumed). Yes, it’s true… I subscribe to a LOT of YouTube channels, because I’m a serendipity kind of guy. I click on just about anything and everything. Moreover, I do my best to subscribe to the channels of people who choose to subscribe to me. Call that parity more than anything else, but it’s not the only thing that prompts me to subscribe to a channel – and I’m sure you could find flaws in this reasoning, but honestly – is it worth the time to argue over someone’s personal preferences? I’m not leaving comments, I’m not spamming channels, and I’m not holding a gun to anybody’s head.

I can’t watch everything, and I think that’s central to the argument. Just because I subscribe to something doesn’t mean I’m always going to have the time to take it in – and let he who does not have thousands of unread items in his news aggregator cast the first stone. The weeks leading up to Gnomedex are always hell (a wonderful kind of hell that leads up to a heavenly experience). Now, since jimmyrcom tagged the following video with “lockergnome,” I can only assume he wanted me to (eventually) see it – which would have happened naturally, I’m sure:

That didn’t get my attention as quickly as it should have, but I’ve been inundated with other matters (outside of the YouTube universe). A few people sent me the link to his follow-up video, and that’s what this particular post of mine is all about. I appreciate his candor, but I don’t appreciate being under the gun for participation or chastised for my way of doing things. It’s fine to complain about sponsor logos, but it’s not okay to say that what we’re trying to do isn’t all that useful.

I’m not for everybody, and my style isn’t either. However, as has been spelled out OVER and OVER again, people are finding what we’re doing with the videos incredibly helpful (and overtly interactive, sometimes to a fault). Every single day, someone new decides to swing into the experience and take part – mostly getting out of it whatever they put into it. I, too, have interests beyond technology topics, and sometimes my subscriptions reflect that. Do I feel the need to share my subscriptions with the world? No, not necessarily – but it’s not like you couldn’t go out of your way to look, either. If I didn’t reciprocate your YouTube channel subscription, I apologize – it was an oversight, and I’ve been a bit pre-occupied as of late.

Ironically, someone just popped into our chat room and wrote: “ chris I just found u on youtube n finished watching like 20 vids n you r a freaking GOOOOOOOD!!!!!!” The user is likely exaggerating a bit, but his experience seems to be the norm. It doesn’t explain how I don’t want to share my subscription list on my YouTube profile page, but… it does deflate the argument that what we’re doing is not all that useful. There is no conspiracy (at least, in this case).

ADDENDUM: I completely forgot to mention that I gained a lot of subscribers over time by being featured on the front page and in prominent places throughout YouTube. That, and many of the people who subscribe to me can’t be subscribed to, and I tend not to subscribe to people who post videos that aren’t really theirs (or that don’t include them in some fashion). Again, this isn’t always the case – but still germane to this discussion.

Big Media and the Blogosphere

Upon receiving the invite for this week’s Seattle-area blogger meetup with KOMO TV, Dave Newton put things into perspective for the community-at-large:

I’m flattered that I made a list of Seattle area bloggers, but not starry-eyed enough to accept the invitation to come and be cooed over by the TV people, no matter how sincere they may seem about recognizing my significance. See, I have been, and plan to continue, commenting upon and sometimes criticizing KOMO-TV, and many other media organizations. So, I prefer not to drink their booze and eat their hors d’oeuvres, thanks all the same. I guess I can’t help thinking I’d have a harder time blogging about them afterward, and that they–KOMO-TV and Mr. Pirillo, the self-styled self-promoter–would like that very much.

I left a comment, which is something I seldom do in blogs these days (choosing, instead, to take remarks back into my own space so that others within my circle might discover them easier). “You shouldn’t stop complaining… in fact, I’d say you should be complaining even louder now. 🙂 Unfortunately, that’s the only way companies listen (in reaction to PAIN points).” Dave responded:

I’m trying to understand what he meant. I think he’s encouraging me. Always dangerous. Anyway, thanks, Chris. You seem to get that I’m not attacking you for promoting. I’m exposing the normal, legal, process of schmoozing communications people to obtain positive coverage. KOMO-TV has a perfect right to do this, and since most bloggers are not journalists, or not professional, or both, there’s nothing in their upbringing to preclude their swooning over any attention from anybody important. I come from a conventional old-time broadcaster background, so I’m not available for schmoozing. That’s all.

Yes, I always encourage complainers – dehypers, if you will (although, I often complain in a hyperactive manner). At least Dave understands that bloggers aren’t journalists – though many of them (you!?) seem to think they are (or should be treated as such). Local news outfits are in even bigger trouble as they face an increased risk of losing their national affiliate status.

More than anything, I see larger media outlets finally understanding their increasing irrelevance with the minds of Americans. Mind you, I’m all for that – as I think ‘big media’ has taken too much away from us (far more than it has given). I’m not trying to kick ’em while they’re down, but I am hopeful that they’ll soon put an end to the separation between themselves and the community. Therein lies an opportunity as I see it – but I’ve been mistaken before.

Color me an idealist. 🙂

Pownce: Social Networks aren't Identity Networks

Interesting. Someone just told me that I was on Pownce – which is odd, because I never signed up for an account. Lo and behold, here “I” am. I’m not terribly upset about it at this point, but that’s pretty much my identity – and the people following “me” may not know that that’s “me” or have no idea who I really am. This is indicative of the problems all these stupid-ass social network sites face:

  • There was no verification that this person, using my name and photo, obviously intending to make people believe that the profile was my own (despite having jumped up and down about how I wasn’t really ready to try Pownce yet), is really me – who he or she claims to be. Why? No, seriously – why? This isn’t *MY* fault – it’s Pownce’s, and they’re not the only social network with this severe identity shortcoming. If this is an identity-oriented service, where the hell is the identity check!?
  • Some of these people may think this is really me. It’s not, and if it was – I certainly wouldn’t use that profile picture (taken at the first Desktop Linux Summit a few years back).
  • Some of these “friends” may have no idea who the hell I am, yet have added me as a friend – which makes little to no sense if this person really isn’t me, or I (not “I”) didn’t initiate the relationship. Sorry, man – that’s not me. You already know where to find me, and it’s not on Pownce at the moment.
  • If someone claimed this profile in my name to reserve it for me, I appreciate the gesture – but please, I really don’t feel comfortable with putting my identity here when it’s already BLATANTLY obvious that the system is just as lousy as every other social network on the planet (in terms of identity and ABSOLUTE BENEFIT to the account holder).
  • One reason I stuck with Twitter is because it’s simple, it lets the world know what I’m up to, and I don’t feel like my identity is getting monetized out the wazoo without proportional benefit.

Sadly, this is an industry-wide problem – not a Pownce-specific one (although they’re making it all too easy to point out the flaws inherent in the entire ecosystem of social networks). Why do I pick to join one network over another? I don’t know. I really don’t know. But I can tell you one thing for sure: I don’t like it when people pretend to be me. Why the hell you’d ever want to pretend to be me is beyond me, but I guess that’s the point?

More Conference Passes Made Available!

It’s a hat trick! For the third year in a row, the Gnomedex conference is sold out.

Some supporters have asked us to move the conference to a larger venue, but a larger venue would likely increase the ticket price for attendees. Moreover, we realize that the optimal Gnomedex audience size is between 300 – 400 people. For future Gnomedexes in the Seattle area, we have considered looking into Microsoft’s Executive Briefing Center in Redmond – but have yet to hear back from anyone on pricing, size, etc.

Since the main auditorium for Gnomedex 7.0 is now at capacity, community members have requested that we open the external Sound and Cove chambers for an in-house video feed – which we are now officially doing. There are now 50 additional passes available for the Gnomedex 7.0 conference.

Despite having to incur a greater cost for the extra rooms, and despite accepting registrations in the last week leading up to the event, we will not increase the ticket price – it will remain the same. Consider that other conference coordinators might be inclined to do the opposite.

The Overflow pass will give you access to everything and everybody, but entrance into the main auditorium will not be permitted (fire code). There will be the “Sound” room for silent observation of the live video feed, and the “Cove” room for those Gnomedexers who would rather have a vocal backchannel with the live video feed.

We can’t guarantee direct interaction between the Overflow rooms and the main auditorium, as that has been difficult (and expensive) to manage in the past. As always, we will do our best to make sure everybody is treated like a VIP – because as a Gnomedexer, you are.

Lesson to learn: ALWAYS register for Gnomedex early unless you love the overflow rooms. 😉

Seattle-area Blogger Meetup with KOMO-TV

KOMO-TV and its owner, Fisher Communications, has graciously agreed to serve as host for a blogger meet-up at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday August 2nd. The event will be at Fisher Plaza, 140 Fourth Avenue North in downtown Seattle. Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments (alcoholic and otherwise) will be served and everyone who attends is promised a cool piece (or pieces) of KOMO swag. That’s right; we’re digging deep for this.

This is a social event, so come prepared to meet and make new friends. If you know of a local blogger who’s not on the list here, please let me know or feel free to invite them, too. We’d like to meet everybody.

KOMO-TV is interested in getting to know bloggers in the area, and what better way to do that than with a little party? Again, this is a social event; there’s no agenda for the station other than helping facilitate this meet-up. Fisher Communications recognizes the significance of the personal media revolution, and they want to listen and pay attention to what you’re saying. I think this is a good way to start.

KOMO-TV news anchors will be there, so don’t forget to bring your camera! You’ll also be able to take pictures of yourself (and your co-anchors) at the anchor desk.

Please use the RSVP function of this Evite to let us know if you’re coming. We want to make sure we have enough food for everybody. If you have any questions about this event, feel free to contact Leanne Dillon from KOMO-TV at (206) 404-6055.

We should all use “komomeetup” as the tag for photos, videos, blog posts, etc.

The Most Amazing Conference Keytone

I’m done with traditional keynotes, methinks – “keytone” is a much more appropriate word, especially when referring to Robert Steele. Again, I must thank Jeff Barr for making the intro. This is an excerpt from his email introduction:

Just want you to know that I am working toward a $2B a year Open Source Agency under diplomatic auspices that would nurture all the opens beginning with open source intelligence, open source software, and open spectrum, and quickly including open money, open culture, open society, etc.

This is quite interesting:

Eventually, I see volunteers creating the attached weekly report for every state, every county, every municipality, and every topic covered by World Index of Social and Economic Responsibility (WISER), and all of that integrated into Medard Gabel’s EarthGame with real budgets for open space dialogs on trade-offs.

I, for one, can’t wait to meet this guy…

Conference Updates

Gnomedex is pretty much full-up this year. I’ve already received a few requests for “more tickets”, but have already publicly stated that I dislike the idea of opening up the overflow room. I’m interested in your arguments for overflow’ing again, pro and con. It’s going to cost us more to stream the video into the extra rooms…

Jeff Barr introduced me to Robert Steele, and I believe he’ll be kicking us off this year – and I think I’m more excited about him than I would have been with the other “keynote” possibilities: “Just want you to know that I am working toward a $2B a year Open Source Agency under diplomatic auspices that would nurture all the opens beginning with open source intelligence, open source software, and open spectrum, and quickly including open money, open culture, open society, etc.”

I’m keeping one speaking slot open for Derek Miller, who was recently diagnosed with a terminal form of cancer. God willing, if he has the energy to talk about what it’s been like sharing this experience with the world, we would be (sincerely) overjoyed. Derek’s been a gigantic Gnomedex supporter ever since it came to Seattle.

And, lastly (for now), I’ve configured a $4,167.60 MacBook Pro (that includes shipping, and hardware that could likely be purchased elsewhere for cheaper but time is OF THE ESSENCE). This unit will serve as the staging grounds for the video that will be sent out through Ustream. If you your company logo (or URL) on the big sponsor sign at the front of the hall, I’m offering this purchase in exchange.