Why I Love Video Blogs

Josh Leo is one of my inspirations for video blogging, and this episode, in which he asks his girlfriend to marry him, really touched me and made me happy. Here's to a long and happy union of vlogger and camera-shy but supportive mate!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Street Scenes

We are back in Denver, where the views on Larimer Street this morning were less orderly than those experienced during my walks down Brattle Street in Cambridge, Mass., where we spent the weekend for the dedication of my grandson at Arlington Street Church. Below is a photo of my favorite spot on Brattle Street, the home of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

Thursday, January 25, 2007

You Gotta Love Them Western Democrats

Time Magazine has an excellent piece by Joe Klein titled "The Democrats' New Western Stars." It concludes with this anecdote about Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer:

In the end, the real impact of the Rocky Mountain Democrats on their party may be more spiritual than electoral. Their informality and egalitarianism, their lack of bile, their can-do optimism stand in refreshing contrast to politics as it is practiced in our nation's capital. One night last autumn, Schweitzer took me to Jake's Restaurant in Billings, one of the better steak houses in his state. "Oh, hi, Governor," the hostess beamed. Schweitzer asked her if she had a table available. She frowned over her reservation list. "Sorry, Governor, we're full up," she said. "You want to sit in the bar?"

"Sure!" Schweitzer said, without blinking an eye. I daresay that no Governor of an East or West Coast ... or Southern state would ever get stiffed like that or take it with such equanimity. But it sure felt bracing, like a fresh wind off the prairie, like America is supposed to be.

My favorite Western Democratic stars are Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Wyoming's "Gov Dave" Freudenthal. In Wyoming, former Gov. Jim Geringer, a Republican, was caught pressing to the front of the line at a Sunday buffet at Little America, and the story symbolized an imperial way of being governor that paved the way for Freudenthal's two wins, the latest with a plurality of 70 percent of the vote in the heavily Republican Cowboy State.

Hickenlooper, an Easterner who has learned Western ways, was photographed in the local paper shoveling snow for the elderly during one of our recent blizzards. In another city, this might have been seen as a mere publicity stunt. But we know John here, and we know that's just the kind of guy he is. And that's why his approval rating is over 90 percent and his reelection campaign in May is going to be more of a citywide party and pep rally than a bruising battle with a serious opponent.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

First Trip to Vegas

I took this photo yesterday at The Palms in Las Vegas, where I gave a Web 2.0 demonstration to the Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) Board of Trustees. I had never been to Vegas before in my life, and frankly I wasn't very impressed. It's over the top, of course, but beyond that it's just plain creepy to see people gambling at 6:30 in the morning, feeding machines like the ones in the photo above at every hour of the day. It's an odd place for a gathering of arts types, but it was great to see the WESTAF trustees again, to reconnect with old friends from my time on the board.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Obama Begins a Long, Long Journey

I just opened an e-mail from Sen. Barack Obama which included this video and his announcement that he is forming a Presidential Exploratory Committee. I doubt there is any turning back, so this is a big day for someone who hopes very much that he might bring this country new leadership and a new way of addressing sharply divisive issues we face as a nation. After a period of consulting with people around the country, he will announce his plans on February 10th.

Click on the video to hear him read the statement, and click here for the transcript.

What a mind-numbing decision he and his family are making. Whatever the outcome, I wish him and his family godspeed and safe journey.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Still Insanely Great

Tonight I stumbled upon a video of Steve Jobs introducing the Macintosh computer in 1984, and the similarities with Jobs's keynote last week, in which he introduced the iPhone, made my spine tingle. There are plenty of reasons to doubt whether the iPhone will join the Mac in the pantheon of true technology breakthroughs. But the man I waited five hours in line to see on Thursday, starting at 4 a.m. at the Moscone Center, is clearly the same guy who played his audience 22 years ago like a symphony. My guess: the iPhone will indeed be as revolutionary as the Mac, which I purchased in 1984. And I'll be standing in line again, as soon as one forms to get an iPhone.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Apple's Latest Disruptive Breakthrough

I only had time to scan half of the exposition space at MacWorld Expo this afternoon. The carpet is very red. The place is a-buzz with iPhone enthusiasm, and so was the stock market, which boosted Apple shares to a record high and docked established cellphone makers, according to The New York Times. There is a good overview of the phone breakthrough in this Time Magazine article.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


My Portland friends Henry and his grandfather Bill showed a generational difference in preferences for killing time this morning while waiting five hours in line to hear Steve Jobs at the Moscone Center.

Live from the Line

At about 6:45 a.m. the doors opened to the Moscone Center, and the long, wide line flowed indoors. We were like a herd of bats, blinking our eyes in the bright lights. The line is now recreated in a vast room with concrete floor and high ceilings, like a warehouse. This is the room in which we wait to enter The Room where Steve Jobs will bring us the future.

Technical difficulty kept me from adding audio from Morten of Denmark. But in a fine internet moment, Mary Agnes from Portland asked if I might be able to find a site that would explain a sewing stitch she needed for the scarf she's working on while she waits in line. Google didn't fail me, and within minutes we found out that "ssk" means "slip, slip, knit," and there was even a diagram to explain how to do it. Luckily my Verizon EVDO BroadbandAccess internet connection is rock solid here in the Moscone Center, as it was out on the sidewalk.

Two hours before show time. I'm VERY glad I invested in my little camp seat at REI yesterday.

Waiting for Steve Jobs

By the time I joined the line (at 4:05 a.m.) for Steve Jobs's keynote, the line was already stretched all the way around the Moscone Center West. I joined it pretty sure it was the right line, and this was confirmed by the family ahead of me, three generations of Apple fanatics from Portland, Oregon. Bill, the eldest, is 75 today and has been coming to these events for 10 years. Henry, 13, is here for his second. Last year they arrived at 6 a.m. for the 9 a.m. keynote and were very disappointed to find they were herded into an overflow room, not the main hall.

Bill checked the front of the line and reported back that there are people in tents there, who must have arrived much earlier than we did. A TV news truck is setting up just down the line from us. The two guys behind me in the line are from Denmark, here for their first MacWorld Expo.

Why are we here? "It's like coming to a rock concert with my father, only it's technology, so it's important," say Mary Agnes, the woman in front of me who is here with Bill. "It's part of the hype, to be the first to hear it from Steve's mouth."

"In Denmark we don't have Apple stores, but I run an Apple dealership, and we have 17 stores in Scandanavia, so I thought it was time to come and see Steve," says Morten Andersen, the guy behind me, who arrived at approximately 4:07 a.m. He has stores in Iceland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Denmark. There is still no Apple store in Paris or Rome, so it will be a while before official Apple stores come to Scandanavia. Morten says the iPod is the reason for Apple's current success. "We have people coming to the stores who say, 'Oh, does Apple also make computers?'"

As for me, I love an event. And last year at this time I was watching Steve Jobs on my Dell computer screen, prowling the stage of the Moscone Center like a black panther. That sight, and the excitement of Jobs's presentation convinced me to switch from PC to Mac, and I've never regretted it, mainly because the Mac platform is so much easier for podcasting.

Queen of the Elder Bloggers

Steve Garfield's mother has been a great sport following in her son's footsteps as a web media pioneer. She writes "My Mom's Blog" by Thoroughly Modern Millie, and in this TV story, she talks about how her life has changed as a result of her online adventures. She has made new friends from all over, including Paris. Steve himself is the Vlog Prince, a happy and insightful evangelist for all things video on the web. I follow his work regularly, and I particularly like his series of videos in which he helps Millie open pesky containers. Here is a sample, Number VII of "I Can't Open It."

What's great about this is how mother and son have deepened their bond through technology. It's happened in my own family, as my ability to help my parents through various techno-tangles has knitted us closer together, even when stuff happens that frustrates the hell out of them. Like Millie, they motor on and make their son proud.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Casper Girl Wows Inaugural

Alaceia Davis, who I believe is 11 years old, sang the National Anthem today at Gov. Dave Freudenthal's inauguration in Cheyenne, Wyoming. She is from Casper, and she gave an amazing performance. Click here to listen.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

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