February 2009

We’re off to Palm Desert to mix and mingle at DEMO.  This is the last time the wonderful Chris Shipley will be hosting the venerable event, as the changeover to Matt Marshall of VentureBeat is official.

Despite the economic recession and contraction of budgets and expenses, DEMO is still hosting the launch of several hot companies, ready to gain their 6-minutes of fame, which hopefully will catapult them to an even lengthier span of fame.. and fortune.

I haven’t been to DEMO for a year or so, and I’ve never been to Palm Desert, so I’m looking forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting new ones.

I just read this blog post by Tim Ferriss of the Four-Hour Work Week, and have bookmarked it, as I think it has some valuable info that I’ll refer to now and in the future.  Thus, I also wanted to share it with you.

His post is here:  Measuring What Really Works on Twitter: Post Timing and Headlines

Mark is in serious training for a grueling bike ride in July, all in the name of fighting cancer.  He’s signed up for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Team in Training and is trying to raise funds for charity.  He’s supposed to raise $5000 by May, otherwise, he’ll either have to drop out or pay up the delta between what he’s raised and his target on his own.  We’ve just donated and I hope you’ll consider pledging an amount – whether it’s $10 or $100, it all makes a difference – for both Mark and others like him that have suffered from cancer.

Here’s an excerpt from Mark’s blog:

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society – Team in Training

Team in Training logo In May, I will be cancer-free for 10 years after having received a clinical trial, radiation, and later, high-dose chemotherapy followed by a stem-cell transplant at Stanford Medical Center from 1998 – 1999 for advanced Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I want to both share this milestone with others who are dealing with blood cancers and give back to the medical community. Recently, I joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) fundraising program – Team in Training. My goal is to raise $5,000 which the LLS will use to fund research for cures and less invasive treatment as well as to provide patient and family services. While actively fundraising, I will be training for an intense cycling event, the Death Ride. On July 11th, my teammates and I will strive to complete 129 miles and climb 15,000 feet in the California Alps. During the next five months, my Honorees will be family members past and present who know cancer all too well.

“You must do the things you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

The U.S. army conducts a psychological test de...
Image via Wikipedia

I just read a fascinating article in London’s Times newspaper, which has some quite intriguing quotes.  First, is from a clinical psychologist – Oliver James – about his concerns about Twitter.

“Twittering stems from a lack of identity. It’s a constant update of who you are, what you are, where you are. Nobody would Twitter if they had a strong sense of identity.”

I guess while we’re at it, he should probably add blogging to that too, since Twitter is simply a micro-blogging service.

The article also had another great quote from Dr David Lewis, a cognitive neuropsychologist and director of research based at the University of Sussex.

“We are the most narcissistic age ever.  Using Twitter suggests a level of insecurity whereby, unless people recognise you, you cease to exist. It may stave off insecurity in the short term, but it won’t cure it.”

Eek, I’m now having an identity crisis (although, contradictory, I do have a big narcissistic head), and am utterly lost and insecure.  Gotta go back to Twitter and tell everyone about it…

All in the family

Image by kathyjohnson via Flickr

Last week the Consorts gathered together at WaterBar in San Francisco to celebrate, socialize, and have some mighty nice seafood. Here’s a group shot of us after we piled through giant helpings of cracked crab, lobsters, shrimps and oysters.

Image of Tweeting Bird from Twitter

I’ve had a few people ask me how to get more Twitter followers and what apps I use. I have to spend some time thinking about how to word my condensed answer on how to get Twitter followers – I don’t have zillions of followers, so I’m a bit relunctant to say I know anything special, but I do have a few, so I guess I must have done a couple of things “right” along the way (or I just got lucky, which is probably a lot of it). In the meantime, here are a few things I’ve been using and Tweeting about:

TweetDeck

  • Pros: When you start following a lot of people, it’s hard to spot some of those special Tweeters you really want to keep up on. With TweetDeck, you can create a special column filled only with those special peeps. I also use it to search for the names of our clients so I can monitor the chatter about them.
  • Cons: It occassionally dramatically slows the performance of my PC and even crashes it. I’m also sometimes annoyed by their data limits – once you hit then the windows won’t refresh for a while.

Twitpic

If you use Tweetdeck, Twitpic is incorporated into the functionality.  You can link your Tweet with a photo – and with only 140 characters to use, it’s nice to allow your picture to tell your story because a “picture is worth a 1000 words” and Twitter is only a bumper sticker.

  • Pros:  Easy to upload and share photos.  Also allows sharing, blogging and comments.
  • Cons:  It’s supposed to work seamlessly with TwitterBerry, but it never works.

TwitterBerry

I’m a BlackBerry user, so TwitterBerry is my mobile app.  You can Tweet within the app and save SMS charges and you can also see replies and direct messages and reply back in an easy-to-use format.

  • Pros:  Simple interface and superb mobile convenience.
  • Cons:  The aforementioned Twitpic problem (not a big deal) and you constantly have to refresh to see what’s new.

TwitterSearch

Well, the name explains it all – enter your keyword, get results.

Twitter Grader – Location

Want to see who’s Tweeting near you?  Enter your city and you’ll see the top Twits in your locale.  Interesting but I do admit I felt a bit voyeuristic too.

Twitter Balloon

See that little Twitter widget to the right, with my pic in it?  That’s from Korelab and it’s a Twitter balloon.  It’s not the easiest to configure, but the instructions are in the blog and I like that it’s a bit more visual than the other Twitter widgets I’ve seen.

SocialToo

I used to get an email every time somebody followed me, but because my inbox is also inundated with Russian spam, I decided to eliminate anything extraneous.  I now get a once-a-day summary email from SocialToo that tells me who followed me (and which one of my Tweets was where they began to follow) and who drops me (and which Tweet bored them to tears).

PowerTwitter

This Firefox add-in cleans up the regular Twitter interface.  After you load it up and go to the normal www.twitter.com site, you’ll see photos and video thumbnails, plus links presented in a much nicer format.  Plus, the company behind this is from Marin – yo!

Blackberry 8800 with Google Maps GPS
Image by asmythie via Flickr

I’ve been waiting for this feature for ages. I’ve been synchronizing my calendar between Google and my BlackBerry, but have been missing the ability to sync my contacts as well – especially because my BlackBerry now refuses to connect to my PC (some “unknown USB device” error…uff). While the iPhone gets all the cool apps, I’m happy to see we at least finally get the “basics.”

If you are like me and use a boring BlackBerry, here’s the link to the new version of Google sync with calendar and contacts:Google Sync for BlackBerry

Robert Norton (King.com) and Robert Scoble (Po...
Image by kathyjohnson via Flickr

Yesterday I read that EA will be joining the ranks of companies that are laying off staff in droves.  But while others are shedding employees and revenues, King continues to beat the recession by delivering fun, relaxation and stimulation to millions of people around the world through their collection of unique and addictive games – including hits like Bejeweled, Sudoku, Cake Mania II and Hunted Forever.  They also offer exclusive online versions of TV game shows such as “1 vs 100“, “Deal or No Deal” and “The Biggest Loser.”

The world’s leading online social games company today announced that 350 million games a month were played on the King.com platform, nearly doubling the number of games played on the site a year ago.

King’s 84 percent jump solidifies three consecutive years of growth: In 2007, the number of games played per month increased 138 percent, from 80 to 190 million, surpassing the momentum of 2006 which saw growth double from 40 to 80 million games played per month.

King’s growth consistently ranks above the industry average: industry-wide traffic swelled by 27 percent in December 2008 from the same month the previous year, while American consumers spent more time than ever on gaming sites; up from 3.7 percent in December 2007 to 4.9 percent in December 2008, according to market research company comScore.

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Raph Koster (Metaplace)
Image by kathyjohnson via Flickr

Have you ever thought about creating a place on the internet that’s not just filled with text and static photos but with artists and poets, musicians and muses, techies and non-techies all meeting and interacting in an environment designed with their sheer creativity?  I’ve been playing around in Metaplace as they have recently entered their invitation-only alpha stage and it’s a place where I can really lose myself.  I started out at Metaplace Central and bumped into visionary and creative genius, Raph Koster.  We strolled around together and he gave me a giant bouquet of balloons.  I then transported myself to another world where little blue aliens bounced around.  I saw sign post to go ice skating, so I tried that experience too.  I found myself in a winter wonderland next to an icy lake, where I could try my slalom skills (they were pretty bad).  Finally, I hopped back to Metaplace Central and played a little game of Connect 4 with Raph.  He kicked my butt.  Drats – I need some practice.

If you’d like early access to see and experience what the world is coming to, please use this special code MPCONSORT to get in to Metaplace .  Just don’t challenge me to a game of Connect 4 – it’s too embarrassing.