I’m Giving an Ignite Talk!

I have become a huge believer in the idea of serendipity, the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for (link). Many of the opportunities I have been lucky enough to come across have come into my life seemingly out of nowhere. Though, when I start looking back, I can almost always find the root of the happy surprises.

Here’s a quick list off the top of my head: Continue reading

Facebook for iPad is Finally Here

Hats off to my friend Jimmy [Twitter | Tumblr] for catching the article from the New York Times, At Long Last, Facebook Releases an iPad App, announcing the release of Facebook’s native application for the iPad.

Why it took so long to get Facebook to release an iPad app is up for debate. Some say it was Apple wanting content agreements with Facebook (remember iTunes Ping?), some say it was Zuckerberg contending that the Facebook website was already iPad friendly and then there was the leak that turned your regular iPhone Facebook app into the iPad app, which Facebook patched up lickidy split.

There was even a Facebook programmer, Jeff Verkoeyen, the lead developer for the Facebook iPad app, that ended up quitting the company due to frustration over the delays. He is now at Google. Their first iPhone developer went through the same thing a few years ago and quit. Continue reading

I’m in the New York Times!

Well, not me, but a photo of mine.

One of our ventures, Globalpoint, was written up in the New York Times Technology section today. The freaking New York Times! Major hats off to Michael Urban, who is highlighted in the article, for working so hard to create such an awesome product/technology and matching that effort with getting the exposure that resulted in this article.

The article highlights the trend in measuring sentiment through the social web and how this information is being used in not just political campaigns, but really all sorts of campaigns. I know we use sentiment analysis for all sorts of projects and ad campaigns. The information you get from these sorts of tools can be light years more informative and real than what you may get from a focus group or cold call survey.

Of course, there are natural biases and difficulties in fully understanding the sentiment in a medium not known for its ability to evoke tone, but the technology is definitely promising! Companies like ViralHeat, ThinkUp, Radian6 and more have all put their hat  in the ring in this burgeoning research sector.

“We’re not necessarily seeking to replace — immediately, in 2012 — the traditional mechanism. But it’s got to have a seat at the table,” said Michael Urban, who worked on several Republican campaigns and on polling for Mr. Hancock’s political consultancy, before starting Globalpoint, a start-up that develops sentiment analysis tools for use in politics.

I lucked out in that the New York Times needed someone to take the picture for the article and I was given the honor of taking on the task. I recruited the help of Amy and Krissy as my lighting grips and shot this photo.

Michael Urban of Globalpoint

For the shot I used my Nikon D700, Nikon F1.8 50mm, SB800 flash corded to my camera and fired through a 52″ pop-out diffuser. Really simple one light setup but it worked! I’m really pleased with the image and the quality of light.

What do you think?

One of the best parts for me is that I actually got a byline! It’s not an easy feat getting credit in any newspaper, much less one as venerable as the New York Times!

So totally check out the article online or in print. It’s on page B4, above the fold for today’s edition, November 1, 2010. And if you can spare a copy for me… I’d love to have a few for my portfolio and family. Thanks!

The Amazon Kindle is Magic!

I would like to thank all those that provided me with tips on which books I should get for my mother for Christmas. Living in Saudi Arabia, getting American books can be a bit difficult at times.

My dad and I thought, what better gift than an Amazon Kindle to solve this problem?! With new latest version she will be able to use Wispernet, even in Saudi Arabia, to buy books, get the latest New York Times and sync her reads between her Kindle and perhaps her iPod Touch. Pretty amazing technology we have these days.

It’s this sort of ubiquitous wireless internet and background syncing that will prove to the victors of the future. It will form the backbone of future operating systems, from the desktop to the tablet to the phone. I’ve already setup something like this for myself, combining systems like Dropbox, MobileMe and SugarSync with my iPhone, laptops and iMac. Amazing to think of how far we were away from this technology just a few years ago.

Ah, but I digress, back to the Kindle.

I got lots of recommendations on how to properly give the Kindle as a gift and especially on recommendations for books based on my description of my mom through Twitter.

I loaded up the Kindle with four books and one audio book of my favorite audio books.

The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion is one that I started while on the plane. You might think, wow, using the gift you’re giving your mother for your own?! Well, how else to make sure it works? Just like how she used to eat one of my candies or part of my dessert at a restaurant to “make sure it wasn’t poison.”

This book, recommended to me by @MaryMG, so far is just incredible. Within the first several pages I found my eyes tearing up. Didion has a sensational way of turning ordinary words into a phenomenal, emotionally rich story.

I can’t wait to read more of this book. Experiencing the Kindle has convinced me that it’s something I need to invest for myself. A slick eReader that makes reading more enjoyable and easy than I’ve ever known it to be.

Sure makes some twenty-four hours of travel more exciting, less annoying. And the girl in front of me who refuses to give me any legroom, your constant seat adjustments might keep me from watching any inflight movie or using my laptop but it certainly will not keep me from enjoying a good book!

Oh and for the complete reading list:

  • David Rackoff – Fraud (audiobook)
  • Joan Didion – The Year of Magical Thinking
  • Malcolm Gladwell – What the Dog Saw: And Other Stories
  • Stieg Larsson – The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Peter Mayle – French Lessons: Adventures with Knife, Fork and Corkscrew

The first three I strongly recommend. I”m about half way through The Year of Magical Thinking, I enjoyed Fraud when it came out a few years ago (anything David Rackoff does is worth a read or listen) and Malcolm Gladwell has never disappointed, really exited about his latest book, a compendium of his library of articles.


Mom absolutely loves her new Kindle and the book selection we (me and all my Twitter friends chose!)

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Zemanta for WordPress

I have been using this awesome plugin for a while now called Zemanta.  You have probably noticed all of the helpful links to other sites in my posts.  Whenever I mention something like Google or The New York Times, Zemanta makes a link to their site.

If I say something like, I was walking through The Castro District in San Francisco, it will put a link to a wikipedia article about Castro.  And if I say, while in Castro Ryan and I saw the movie Wanted starring Angelina Jolie, it will make links to the Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

Tonto National Forest - Ansel Adams Style

Image by davidanthonyporter via Flickr

Another cool feature is the image embedding.  If I said something like, “I was really look forward to seeing the Ansel Adams exhibit”, Zemanta will find a relevant picture.  And if I wrote about all of the fires in California from the lightening storm, Zemanta will allow me to embed a snippet of a related news article discussing the fires across California.

It even suggests tags for blog posts!

But it isn’t perfect, write about San Francisco and it will suggest these tags:

  1. San Francisco
  2. San Francisco California

Sometimes it will suggest tags that seem to have no relation to the posts.  “United Kingdom” pops up a lot.  I’m not exactly sure why.

Overall it has to be the most used plugin on my blog.  I have used it on every post since its installation on the site and recommend it to anyone else blogging.  Linking to other articles, embedding meta-tagged images and posting links to news articles will at the very least increase your chance of being picked up in a relevant search.

Get Zemanta, it will change the way you blog.

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