Archive for January, 2011

Why I go to Conference

January 27, 2011 1 comment

Conference changed my life. That is not an exaggeration or bloated truth. It is a simple fact. NetVu conference changed my life. It impacted my life professionally and personally more than I ever could have known or hoped for.

As a fresh faced newbie I was a little nervous going to conference for the first time in 2005. I was the only attendee from our agency and was tasked with finding some tangible solutions to some technical problems we were facing. The first time you go it’s a head trip. There are so many people and so many things going on and that it is a little overwhelming. There are these amazingly brilliant people that really stand out. Folks that I wanted to be like and that inspired me and showed me what a true professional was.

The first super hero I ever met at conference was Johnmichael P. Monteith. He is this whirlwind of intelligence, innovation and ingenuity with a healthy dose of approachability and business acumen mixed in. When I first heard him speak at a session I thought, “Oh my god I am in so over my head.” These technical gurus had already found and dealt with problems that I was just beginning to understand.

I didn’t know how I was supposed to get up to speed with these great minds and contribute or even really how to speak with out sounding like a dumbass. I was in awe.

Ultimately I mustered up the courage to say a little something to JP and we had a conversation. I explained my problems and what my technical concerns were. Patiently he helped me find the right folks to ask if he didn’t know the answers and answered the ones he did thoroughly and completely. It rocked. And it set my perception for the rest of Conference.

That was my first day at my first conference. I knew I had come to the right place. These were folks that are in the trenches, that deal with the day to day tactical issues that can slowly erode any efficiencies that technology is supposed to bring. And they were approachable and helpful and friendly and fun.

That first conference was so important because that’s where I met the people that I am closest to in my life outside of my family. That first conference I made relationships that have turned out to be life long friendships. Over the next 5 years we forged a bond that superseded the insurance industry or any occupation. These are folks that I have on speed dial that I talk to weekly if not daily to ask for advice in all aspects of life.

They are my sounding board and I am theirs. When we first hit a problem its those folks that I contact to see if they have seen it, heard of it or knew of a way to deal with it. They are the ones I call to see how they liked this system or that product. And those relationships all started at conference.

Each year each we push each other to take broad steps in application of new technologies. We as a group virtualized, went to terminal servers/citrix, thin clients, sans, upgraded exchange and dealt with eforms and slew a multitude of other technically complex dragons. It’s a wonderful feeling to be in the middle of an install and something go sideways and you can call and chat with a trusted pal that has been through the same thing already.  And conference was the genesis of all this goodness.

I cant quantify the costs that I have saved because of conference. I can’t tell what the exact ROI is. What I can say is the relationships that I have made at conference have bettered my ability to deal with all kinds of problems my agency faces. Conference has given me agility that I wouldn’t have had other wise. I can absolutely state that we would not be where we are today if it were not for NetVu conferences. I would not be near as good as a tech if I didn’t know these people that are now dear to me.

I know times are tight and things are tough all over but if there is any way possible, you need to come to conference. I don’t say that as a spokesperson for NetVu or as anyone with anything to gain. I say it because I know this is true. We are stronger together than we are apart. And NetVu conferences bring us together. They allow us to meet each other, laugh together and bond in a way that can not be replicated by any other means. The people there deal with the stuff that drives you crazy every day, they can commiserate and offer advice. You will be a better stronger tech by going. And hopefully you will have success in making enduring relationships that will change and improve your life.  Come to conference, it will be worth it.

I really hope to see you there.

Categories: Uncategorized

Skate Vid

January 24, 2011 Leave a comment

Here is a little vid I did of a skatepark in lakeland. Just practicing with the steadicam and new lens. Need lots o practice.


Categories: Uncategorized


January 21, 2011 2 comments

Freaking beat. We have been working nonstop on projects. Tonight, we just finished my wifes new site, Check it out. Give it a like(im “like” whoring for her site) if you would.

Categories: Uncategorized

How can twitter make my conference experience better?

January 14, 2011 6 comments

I want to look at a perfect world for a second. Rose colored glasses on if you please.

We are going to go to a conference. A conference where everyone has a twitter account and everyone has a phone with a twitter client(i ❤ Uber Twitter-if your phone has a client). At this conference Im able to ask a question via twitter – “How do I fix problem x? #confhash” –  All these fine folks are periodically checking the relevant conf hashtags and are able to provide input immediately with a reply. In the next 5 min I get 3 reply’s from users that have had the same issue, 1 reply from staff and 1 reply from a vendor that wants to sell me a solution. I end up meeting with the 3 users and solving the issue, rubbing shoulders with the staff and the vendor buys me a drink.  Ive just leveraged the staff, the facilitators of the conference, the attendees and folks that are not physically present. All which now feel included and can participate. Also all around the conference halls are monitors with the live twitter feeds of the hashtags so others can look at the questions and happenings and going on as well.  Pulling them in. Getting them involved or as the mighty @unmarketing preaches, engaging them.

The networking at the conferences is by far the best reasons to go. The folks that you meet and make pals with and can call are the real take aways. The classes are good but the people are great. And twitter makes it easier for us to connect with each other. If I know that there are 10 -15 folks that are getting in a bit early and have been chatting on #conftech why not arrange a little dinner get together. One I would have never had the chance to have before hand.

Another area that a good implementation of twitter at a conference could help tremendously would be for first time attendees. There is not a better way to heard those poor overwhelmed souls and keep them together than to say Hey follow #confNoobs and ask questions on #confNoobs and we will get you sorted out. But the conference has to push i to the attendee’s. And it needs to start before conference. They have to say get on twitter, use these hashtags, lets start talking.

If your going to a conference, beg plead and cry to make them start using twitter. The first year wont be great, there are many lessons to learn but after you see the result the next time you plan a conference it will be an intregral part of the strategy.

Twitter is this amazing free tool that we can use to connect to each other but like any tool if it is unused then it is unproductive.

ps here is another very involved article about twitter and conferences.

Categories: social Media Tags: , ,

Anatomy of a Tweet

January 14, 2011 Leave a comment

I feel like I am constantly introducing new folks to twitter. I find my self trying to explain what a tweet is and how it works quite a bit so i thought i would throw a little basic twitter info up. This will be the first in a short series on twitter basics.

1. Avatar – A graphical representation of you. Many pundits say to have a face picture so others can connect with you more easily. Here are some thoughts on avatars. They are at least good to know even if you choose to ignore them, which plenty do.

2. Twitter Name – The name you choose as your twitter handle. I chose Ferox11(Ferox was a gargoyle from a roleplaying game long ago, and 11 is a cool number) the fella above chose a more practical name, his own. You want the twitter name to be a short as possible.(tweets have 140 character limit and names count) Twitter names can be changed after the fact.

3. Persons Name- The name you entered in your profile.

4. Link to article shortened by– A lot of tweets are used to pass links(news, pictures, movies,websites), because the native links can be extremely long, companies have come up with a way to shorten them. Google, Twitter, and all offer this service. One of the cool things about these services is you can see which of your links were clicked and when, here. So the process would be – Your surfing around and you find a cool article about pacman and you want to share it. You could copy the url from the web browser paste it into and it would shorten that link and then track any clicks.

5. The actual body of the tweet- For this tweet it is the Title of the article the entire contents of the tweet can not be more than 140 characters. That includes the text, the links and hashtags or any other character.

6. Tweet hashtag – Hashtags were first created to categorize  topics. Say I want to have a specific discussion about Chickens – so I can eliminate all the other Chicken bs floating around twitter I tag all my tweets pertaining to this specific conversation with #chicken so folks that want to be in on it can easily eliminate all the other conversations with the word chicken in it, by searching for #chicken. Now, Hashtags have become that and alot more. In the instance above he is simply emphasizing that the article pertains to cool science. Not really hoping that anyone is following the specific hashtag but more giving a theme to the tweet. The best explanation that I have found is here. Clever uses of hastags are cool.

7. When – how long ago was the tweet.

8. Click to Favorite – You favorite a tweet if you want to save it. Initially you will not use it but sooner or later as you progress down the twitter road you will find tweets you want to save or really enjoy. You could also use to save tweets. just send a tweet you want to save to @tf66 and it will be saved for you. Add **category to add a category to it. Check it out, its one of my little web tools.

9. Click to Retweet – A retweet is when you like the tweet enough to retweet it to all of your followers. On the twitter website you can not edit or do anything to the retweet, you click the button, a box pops up asking if you really wanna send it to all your followers you click yes and BAM all your followers have it. A retweet you send looks like this in your stream – 

a tweet that has been retweeted to you by someone you follow looks like this-– you can see the Twitter user Carr2n liked this enough to retweet it, and since i follow him I received the retweet.

Retweeting is currency in twitter and it pays to use retweeting strategically. People like to be retweeted. I always know who retweets me and I try and keep an eye out for stuff I think they might appreciate being retweeted. It takes some time to understand it but master retweeting and you will do well.

10. Click to Reply- If I wanted to tweet back to Lance and tell him Hey great article it would look like this. You can see I start the tweet with @lanceulanoff (in twitter parlance a mention)- his twitter name with @ symbol in front of it. This is a reply. Replys do not show up to my followers unless they are following both he and I. Stop for a second and understand that. Replys do not show in anyones tweet stream unless your followers are also following the person you are replying to. I often see folks tweet replys but are obviously intending the tweet for a broader audience. Any one visiting my tweet stream will see that reply so its not private at all just doesnt show up to my followers when i send the tweet unless they are following both.

11. Direct Message- Just something you need to know. The way you privatly tweet someone is to direct message them. You place a d (twittername) – then the tweet and its private only between you and the recipient. The only catch being you can only DM those that are following you. Very elegant simple controls.

I think thats enough for Lesson 1. Let me know if I am wrong or missed things. hope to see ya on twitter.

Early #FF

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

So we got some new vid equipment and I wanted to test it out before i do a few things at the office with it. So brought it home and my fearless daughter helped me make a video. To be honest i had no idea what we were gonna do until we got in front of the camera. The new equip was a light and a black backdrop and I wanted to see how it would work. I think the vid is over exposed a bit and as I use it more I will learn with it. But hell the minute i put it up, tossed it out to my followers on twitter, in the first 5 views someone disliked it on youtube, with no comment. That kills me, just let me know why you didnt like it or disagree. Is it bad quality or is it exploitative in your opinion or whatever. But not leaving a comment means I cant fix it if I desire to.So now i feel all mixed about it. If dorothy was a david I wouldnt have a concern in the world but because shes not I worry.

Categories: Drivel, Family

Where I Stand.

January 4, 2011 Leave a comment

So there is an issue in Polk county! Some sheriff gave some churches some basketball hoops. And in good old American fashion, the Atheists of Florida, Inc decided to sue. Here’s the article that brought the issue to light for me – Atheists of Florida Take On Grady Judd: Where do you stand?

This is the specific kind of crap that is taking the magic out of America. Lets look past politics for a minute and look at the story. There were some hoops(pole and basket) in a jail. The sheriff removed those hoops and put them near or on church property in economically challenged areas. In places they knew would be safe and taken care of, where they would be used by people, voting tax paying people or the children of taxpayers.  For example, the physical location of one hoop was in the parking lot of a church and was open to all, for free. That sounds pretty swell to me.

But to the Atheists of Florida, Inc.  it became a right wing plot to use our hard earned taxes on frivolity. So they decided to do what now seems more American than apple pie, they started making noise about filing a lawsuit. They felt that it was a misappropriation of tax payer funding and felt a desire to prove it in court.

I think they are full of it. I think they want to be in the news and could care less who they hurt and what communities they affect. I think they are much more concerned about themselves then the actual impact on the communities that are being affected.

I also believe that the Atheists of Florida, Inc. general membership is unaware and uninvolved with this kind of crap. This doesn’t help anyone that considers themselves an atheist. We need understanding and togetherness not hate and divisiveness. Atheism per Wikipedia is in a broad sense the rejection of belief in the existence of deities, not the attack or limiting of charity for those that choose to believe or being against those that choose differently.

Where’s the common sense? What was the intent of the action? Was it to further the religious agenda of a few churches by providing them with basketball hoops or was it the easiest way to get the hoops to people that would use and appreciate them.  The sheriff did a good thing. He helped people. If it helps you sleep at night he helped tax payers. To me, he helped people and someone found a way to twist that around for a little branding opp.