My flickr pictures

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Earthquake's Epicenter?: Twitter

I listened to a fascinating discussion the other day on NPR regarding newly-found scientific uses of crowd-sourced data.

First, my pseudo-definition of crowd-sourcing:
- taking little bits of information from lots of individuals and smart devices, piecing it all together, and using the resulting set of data to make intelligent decisions.

One of the major crowd-sourcing developments is tracking earthquakes on Twitter. Scientists found that although not as accurate as seismographs, mining Twitter for specific keywords and phrases allow them to more quickly determine an earthquake's epicenter and magnitude. And I bet you thought Twitter was useless.

More crowd-sourcing action:
1. Google mines GPS-enabled phones for speed and computes road congestion
2. Google has helped the CDC track flu outbreaks faster than ever by combining search phrases with their geographic origin

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


What do you think, time to retire the blog? I haven't posted in over 6 months now. I'm pretty sure that means my blog is dead.

Or maybe I should just rehash it so it prominently shows a combo of Twitter & Flickr? Is anybody out there? Just nod if you can hear me.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


Wow, I've been majorly slacking on my blog posts (or complete lack thereof) lately.

In case you haven't heard (you will soon, trust me), check out Bing. It's Microsoft's latest attempt to take on Google.

My first impressions? It's sort of like Word or Excel - lots of "features" that sound great, but in reality 90% of people won't use them.

Google is simple, and people get simple. I'm willing to bet people won't be saying "just bing it" anytime soon.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Box Tops for Education + The Big Clip = Lots of Opportunity for Schools

One of the favorite things about my current job (Web Geek for General Mills) is the ability to discuss my consumer-facing work with family and friends and get direct feedback from them. I have a few friends that are teachers, and from time to time we'll chat about Box Tops for Education. I'll gain interesting insights like the coolness factor of collecting Box Tops and how it corresponds to age.

Speaking of Box Tops, I'm really exicted to see how The Big Clip will come to fruition in the local grocery stores this summer. There will be a big Bonus Box Tops sweepstakes (you can sign up now to be reminded once it starts), and I'd bet lots of great in-store deals to be had as well.

If you clip Box Tops from your favorite cereals, brownies, and Ziploc baggies -- that's great -- keep it up. But did you know you can easily earn money for your school by using the website? Next time you shop online at Gap or Barnes & Nobles, swing by first, and you can earn money for your school. No gimmicks, no catches.

Check it out and support your school.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Chat on the Web - Quick and Easy

Chatting (instant-messaging) on the web just got a whole lot easier. No need to worry about signing up for anything or installing any applications.
  1. Visit
  2. Click the "Create your room" button
  3. Copy the URL they show you
  4. Send this URL to friend(s)
  5. Give yourself a nickname
  6. Start chatting
No signing up. No registering. No worrying about cross-application compatibility. Just chat. Who would have thought?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Indecisive + Photography = Your Opinion

If there's one thing I've learned from photography, it's that everyone has different tastes. I might consider discarding a shot, only to find out that it's someone's favorite of the set.

I don't think art should be made to please others, but it helps if you ever want to sell it. I'm not there yet (against Addie's & Anders's best attempts), but wouldn't mind to make a penny or two someday.

So I'm curious. Which of these is your fav? (click on the image, then choose "All Sizes" to see it large)

Stone Arch I
Stone Arch I

Stone Arch II
Stone Arch II

Stone Arch III
Stone Arch III

Stone Arch IV
Stone Arch IV

Stone Arch V
Stone Arch V

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cheap on the Tweet

If you're a deal seeker, Twitter may be able to help you. Check out CheapTweet -- a Digg-esque site where the most popular deals are Tweeted & vetted by the Twitter community.

Think of it as answering the question, "what deals are people finding right now".

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

U2 360

Who wants to see U2 in Cardiff this August? I can show you around Swansea.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Times New Roman is So Last Year

Bored with your computer's available fonts? Now you can create your own.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Get Your King of Pop

Mark your calendars. On April 22nd, Michael Jackson's personal belongings are up for sale. Check out the auction details, and prepare your checkbook. If I had more change in my pocket, I'd bid for the Ms. Pacman / Galaga arcade game. It'd make a perfect end table.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tip of the Day: Advanced Google Search

Have you ever found yourself searching for information on a website, but to no avail, you can't seem to find it?  Perhaps the site has poor navigation, or even worse, a terrible search engine. Don't can let Google do the work for you.

Perform your normal Google search, but add a "site:[website name without the www.]" to your search string.  This instructs Google to search only that site for those keywords.

Here are some examples (these would be typed exactly into google):

Try it's saved me lots of times.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Why Twitter Matters

If you're a regular visitor to my blog, you're probably used to seeing my Twitter feed broadcast my latest ramblings.  And I'm willing to bet there are a number of people out there that a) don't know what Twitter is, b) don't understand Twitter, or c) think Twitter is overrated and will be gone in a year.

Well I've just read an article tweeted by @jcuene preaching why Twitter (and Twitter search) may become more important than most people think.  It boils down to this:

Google Search: provides the most relevant content on the Web that match your search terms
Twitter Search: provides the most recent content on Twitter that match your search terms

In other words, Google helps you find information.  Twitter helps you find information that is being discussed right now.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Monday, February 02, 2009

Social Media 101 - a.k.a. The Barack Way

I was about to write a post highlighting a particularly bad use of social media, when I stopped and (no offense) thought about my audience.  So instead, I thought I'd take a step back and briefly touch on what social media is all about in case there are any lingering questions out there.

Social Media is about you... whether you are a creator, consumer, or contributor, social media needs you.  Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and YouTube are all exemplary examples.

YouTube would be a worthless site if nobody uploaded a video.  It would be equally worthless if nobody ever watched those videos.  And it wouldn't be as strong of a website if nobody commented on, linked to, or shared its videos either.

Social Media is about taking traditional content & publication models and flipping them on their head.  Instead of a few powerhouse publishers creating content and distributing it out to the masses, Social Media is about the average Joe or Kjersten writing a blog post, Digging an article, Twittering about Super Bowl commercialswriting a product review, get the idea

This can be both extremely exciting and/or incredibly scary, depending on who you are.  Are you a CEO of a company whose products are being bashed by thousands?  Scary.  Are you a marketer who just happened to put together a web video that was forwarded to friends by the thousands?  Amazing.

And thus, the reason why this "new" form of media is so amazing.  It's 99.9% democratic, there are no boundaries, and nobody knows what the heck to do with it.

Thanks for reading and doing your part.  I'm trying to keep up with my end of the deal.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Tip of the Week

Do you struggle with pulling aluminum foil or plastic wrap out of the container?  Did you know that just about all major & store brand containers feature tabs at the end that you can push in -- so the roll spins around them, and stays in place when you try to rip off your portion?

Such a simple design, and so helpful.  Why doesn't more of the world know about these?  Or was I the only one left in the dark for all these years?  (Apparently not)

Friday, January 23, 2009

All Your Plastic Bottle Caps Are Belong To Us

I can now recycle plastic bottle caps at work.  Unknown to many, most recycling locations accept plastic bottles, but not the caps.  So start saving your caps and give them to me next time you think of it.  Together, we can make a difference. ;)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Lightroom is a Digital Photographer's Best Friend

There's a hidden cost in digital photography, and it's tied to one of the medium's greatest strengths -- the ability to take as many photos as you like for "free".  The cost is time, and it's the reason why I am so back-logged on my photos.

But as you may have noticed, I'm on a Flickr-uploading spree as of late, and it's all due to my favorite new digital photo tool, Adobe Lightroom.  It combines photo management, workflow, and editing seamlessly into one brilliant tool (that happens to integrate perfectly with Photoshop, mind you).  It's been saving me time, and allowing me to catch up on loads of photos.

Now my only problem is deciding when enough is enough...

Monday, January 05, 2009

iTunes Tip

I just discovered my favorite new iTunes "trick".

Want to filter your music by Album, Artist, or Genre?

Simply option-click (sorry, I don't know the PC version, probably Ctrl-Click?) on the little arrows that show up next to the item you'd like to filter, and voila.  Filter complete.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Happy New Year

If you haven't noticed already, I've been pretty slack on my blog for the last few months.  Now that I have my own personal laptop (yay!) I'm hoping to change that...

Many thanks to all my family and friends for making 2008 such a great year.  Looking forward to a great 2009.