Archived entries for Hmmm...

Status: WFHYSOTCB

Well, I’m still not home yet. Was supposed to be home on Sunday, but I guess thunderstorms and airplanes don’t mesh well.

@media in London was my first stop on this trip. After the conference (which was excellent – I’ll post more soon), I went to Germany for a few days to catch some World Cup action. From Germany I flew to Albany, NY. Aimee and I arrived about 10pm. She stayed in NY to prep for her best friend’s wedding, but I caught a 9am flight out the next morning bound for a family reunion ourside Cleveland on the Lake Erie shore. Reunion was great. I left the family reunion a day early to fly back to NY (Syracuse) on Saturday afternoon to be at the evening wedding there. That was Saturday.

So far so good.

I’m a lucky guy in general, but it sorta ran out. Sunday I was scheduled on an evening flight home: Syracuse-Atlanta-Oakland. Aimee and her Mom dropped me off at the airport and I went inside to check in. After just a few minutes I realized that things weren’t looking good. I called Aimee and told her to pull over in case I needed to be picked back up. (This was a good instinct.)

Turns out ATL was shut down due to severe thunderstorms. All flights were canceled. To make matters worse, it was the end of Syracuse graduation weekend so I wasn’t the only one trying to get out of town. All Monday flights were full. For some reason they don’t fly the route on Tuesdays. They were able to book me confirmed for Thursday, and I got placed at the top of the standby list for Wednesday.

Aimee and her mom picked me back up, and I tagged along with them to their summer place on the St Lawrence Seaway about 90 minutes north of Syracuse.

So here I sit. Current Status: Working From Hundred Yards South of the Canadian Border (WFHYSOTCB).

I called back the next day, and learned they canceled all flights on Monday too. Because I was already on the standby list for Wednesday, the new array of people hunting for flights should have minimal effect on me.

It’s Wednesday now. I’m off to the airport in a couple hours for a late-evening flight to Oakland. Scheduled to arrive about midnight.

I don’t mean to complain; All and all it’s been an outstanding trip. Many great experiences. Many great people and conversations.

It’s just that, really, I’d really like to be home soon please.

Wish me luck.

UPDATE: Well, it’s about 1:30 am local time and I just got home. My bags didn’t – they’re still in Atlanta I guess – but I did and it feels good.

Flickr Tips: Monitoring Comments and Configuring Alerts

Monitoring Comments and Conversations

After I used Flickr for a while, I started to pay more and more attention to the social and community aspects. I haven’t ventured onto the message boards or chat yet, but I enjoy leaving comments on photos and having conversations there.

In several instances, I’ve asked for travel advice and questions about the locations and people in certain photos. Other times I’ve inquired about the techniques used to capture wonderful photographs or after-effects. In all these cases, it’s easy to comment but it had always been hard for me to remember where I’d commented, and notice when a reply was posted.

Then I discovered the Photos you’ve commented on page. This page solves all those problems for me: in a clean way, it presents all the photos you’ve commented on. It’s ordered by most recent activity, so you see photos you’ve recently commented on, as well as those that have been recently replied to. It works great, and has encouraged me to contribute and participate even more.

Notes and also Comments are shown in this nicely-integrated view.

Configuring Flickr Alerts

The Flickr mailbox is OK, but it doesn’t’ really fit into my personal online workflow. I prefer to receive my notifications in email. To set it up so Flickr sends you email instead of only adding to your Flickr mailbox, click My Account from the top of any page. From there click Notifications from Flickr (which you’ll see on the right, under the Privacy Settings header) and adjust the settings. For the four choices on the page, I have “Yes”, “Yes”, “As soon as it happens” and “Yes please!”.

To modify which email address these messages are sent to, click “Edit your email address” from back on the My Account page. (I set up an Address Guard on Yahoo Mail, which allows you to create a unique mail address, which I use to keep “alert” messages like this out of my main inbox.)

If you haven’t played with Flickr for at least 10 hours, start now. You’ll discover cooler and cooler features the more you use it. In fact, this “discoverability” aspect of Flickr is one of it’s great strengths and attributes.

Carpool Conversations Vol. 2

In the second installment of Carpool Conversations, we talked about the dynamics of communication and collaboration. This image is a visualization of our thoughts.

Thinking collaboratively speeds the development of an idea. Talking about a problem helps us understand the problem. Conversation and collaboration are important to the process.

Another thought we had, that’s not represented in the chart, is that “silence is a powerful tool”. It seems that speaking less sometimes gets better results, and that moments of silence are important. For one, it’s important to listen and it’s important to think, both of which are markedly more difficult to do while you’re talking. Secondly, repeating a point has the generally-unintended consequence of reducing the potency of the idea. If you keep talking after you’ve made your point, you have a tendency to stray from the initial message, thereby watering it down. At the same time, your listener doesn’t have a chance to absorb the idea. Know your message, deliver it as clearly, accurately and succinctly as possible, then allow it to stand on it’s own and flourish.

We didn’t get to talk too much today (no pun intended), because for some reason the traffic was sparse and we make good time north.

Stay tuned for Carpool Conversations Vol. 3.

Carpool Conversations – Trip #1

Background Information

This is the first dispatch from Carpool Conversations. I live in San Francisco, but work in Sunnyvale about 43 miles south, in the heart of Silicon Valley. The long drive sucks, but the great thing about it is that it’s an protected time to think, to reflect, to brainstorm, and to explore. There are no distractions in the car; no Internet connection and nobody popping into my cube.

I often carpool with my friend Jon Koshi, and we have great conversations about the web, design, interface, the future, and the present. We both tend to bring complimentary sides of the same topics to the conversation. We both like to think big, and, if I do say so myself, we’re more aware than average of current events, practices, trends, and developments. Jon is a Designer by practice and I’m a technologist by practice, so we’ve got both sides covered in that regard too. (We talk politics and currents and news and life too, but this series will largely focus on technology and human beings.)

Koshi and I both believe in words and word smithing. We believe that examining and designing frameworks for ideas to operate within creates stronger ideas while helping to vet the root concepts. We like to discuss nuance and subtle distinctions, and in the process gain a deeper understanding.

I’m writing this from the road right now. I’d like to resist editing too much, and instead share the thoughts as they appear in the carpool. Hopefully this will be on interest to some of my good readers.

And with that, I can’t resist saying, “start your engines!”.

Take the Edge Off

As Russ says, “Not only is it hysterical, it’s accurate (and we all know it).”

Boondocks is the only comic I read. It’s routinely good. I like it’s hiphopness. My Yahoo! offers it, of course.

Casual Gaming

At last week’s Mobile Monday, which I attended, Anita Wilhelm (aka MobileGirl) presented a mobile-based game her startup is working on:

Caterpillar Mobile’s current product is a cameraphone game called Zooke. Zooke allows its members to create challenges for all members or only members of an immediate social circle. You might be on a mission to find the best George Bush bumper sticker in Berkeley and have other game players rate your findings. It is a community-driven reality play experience that makes everyone’s day a little more exciting with minimal effort.

I liked the idea of casual gaming, the idea that you can have an experience in short segments while you’re going about your normal routine. I’m also interested that this represents a shift from highly time-intensive games. Well, she follows up that with a new post last week discussing Casual Gaming and thinking about an article of the same title by Tom Hume.

He captures the essence of an important shift from hard core gaming experiences to engaging play experiences perfectly! Allowing players to engage lightly in the experience throughout their daily lives is essential to creating something compelling and addictive to be used on a mobile device. Allowing players light weight games or frameworks that they can think about while on the move, but not have to interact with continually in the virtual world is essential. Giving them tools which allow them to explore and play at their will fits the affordances of the mobile device.

I remember the days of having hours and hours to play video games, but to be honest, it’s a pretty distant memory. It’s cool to see people working to bring games and playing back into the lives of otherwise distracted and busy peeps like me. It’s also fun to watch a new medium like Mobile develop.



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