Previous month:
December 2009
Next month:
February 2010

9 posts from January 2010

Want to do online video? Get Steve Garfield's new book "Get Seen"

I can still remember when Steve Garfield completely blew my mind and opened it up to all sorts of possibilities.

It was April 2007 and a whole bunch of us from the from the Boston area had gathered at Boston University for Doug Kaye's latest Podcast Academy 2... C.C. Chapman was there... Chris Brogan (before he started his ascent to rock star status ;-)... I seem to recall Christopher Penn... it was all the "early days" of podcasting and so by and large most of us knew each other in some way. Many of us were in a local email mailing list for New England podcasters - and we were there to learn from Doug Kaye and the talented list of instructors he brought, but also to learn from each other.

The final session at the end of the last day was Steve Garfield up to talk about "Video Podcasting".

I can still remember Steve up on the BU stage... because in the first few minutes of his talk, he completely shredded the curtain I had mentally erected around this intimidating thing called "video podcasting".

You see... I had been blogging since 2000 and participating in audio podcasting since early 2005 (with "For Immediate Release", where I still contribute to this day), but video?

No way! Video was hard... it required expensive equipment... it was difficult to do... it took special knowlege... it was complicated...

And there was Steve, standing up on the stage pointing a silly little commodity point-and-shoot camera first at himself and then at all of us... copying the file over to his computer... and then uploading it to YouTube or his blog or some site... all in the first 5-10 minutes of his talk!


Was the awesomely intimidating "video podcasting" really as easy as this???

Yes, it really was that easy back in early 2007 - and it's gotten even easier today with tools like the Flip camera (I'm holding out for the WiFi one!) and with embedded video cameras in most all new laptops. The online services have gotten easier to use... [UPDATE: Over on his blog, Steve has actually dredged up a copy of the video of that Podcast Academy 2 talk. I didn't remember part of how it began (with the online group interaction), but you can see where he started with showing us how to create a simple video podcast.]

Through all the changes, Steve has been there continuing to teach us about how to work with online video... and even more to show us how to do online video through his various projects.

And now Steve's made it even easier to learn about online video... he's got a new book out from Wiley called "Get Seen: Online Video Secrets to Building Your Business"[1] which I read on the flights down from New Hampshire to Orlando yesterday. It's a great book for anyone looking to get started with online video... Steve talks about the tools and what you need to get going... but he also talks about the incredible importance of content and having a solid story... it's all great stuff...

Even if you have now been working with video for a while, as I have with my Emerging Tech Talk video podcast, you're bound to learn more that will help improve the quality of your shows. I know that I certainly took a great number of notes that I'll now look to put into action.

Being about video, you can of course watch Steve talk about what he wrote about:

Thanks, Steve, for continuing to share so openly... and I do hope this book helps even more people start contributing videos online!

[1] Disclosure: Yes, this link to Steve's book and the link on the image both contain my Amazon Associates ID. If you buy the book as a result of following those links, I might make a few pennies. However, this review was not requested by Steve or Wiley. They did not send me a copy of the book. I bought it from Amazon myself.

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or

Re-connecting with Seesmic Video... (after losing the URL)

seesmiclogo.jpgOnce upon a time... a few years back... there were a good number of us who were trying out short-format video "blogging" by way of Seesmic, from Loic Le Meur... but then Seesmic as a company took a detour, created an AIR-based Twitter client (acquiring Twhirl in there), then creating a web client for Twitter, then a native Windows client for Twitter... and in the process morphing "" into something very different.

Along the way of Seesmic's evolution into something different, I know that at least I (and I'm fairly sure some others) lost track of whatever happened to Seesmic video. So I was pleased to learn today that Seesmic video is still alive at either:

Although it seems that "" is the one to use based on SSL certificates. Now that I've paid attention, I do now see it at the bottom of the main page... I just hadn't seen it in the past.

So now that I found it again, I of course had to record a video:

Based on the info on my Seesmic profile page, it seems my last video was 314 days ago...

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or

Facebook for iPhone 3.1 - ALL your *iPhone* contacts belong to us! (HUH???)

facebookforiphone.jpgAfter installing the brand-new version 3.1 of the Facebook for iPhone application, I started to enable the "Sync" feature to sync my Facebook contacts with my iPhone contacts, when I was VERY put off by this warning screen shown on right:

If you enable this feature, contacts from your device will be sent to Facebook and your friends' names, photos and other info from Facebook will be added to your iPhone address book. Please make sure your friends are comfortable with any use you make of their information.


Obviously the app has to send my iPhone contacts up to Facebook so that Facebook can match up the contact info with the names of my friends in Facebook.

But then what?

Does Facebook then ignore my contacts? Are they stored in Facebook's giant databases? Will they all be spammed with info about joining Facebook? ("Dan York is on Facebook, why don't you join?")

I looked for some kind of privacy policy or other info in the Facebook app... on the iTunes page, on the page for the Facebook for iPhone app. I can't find one anywhere.

I do have people in my iPhone address book who have given me private/unpublished numbers. I'm not really comfortable having all that data sent up to Facebook if I have no idea what they are doing with it.

What's the deal, Facebook?

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or

Our screens are getting bigger... and smaller... (is your website ready for that?)

Over on his blog today, Christopher S. Penn pointed out that, at least according to website analytics, the screens we use to view web pages are getting both bigger and smaller...

His point being that those of us working with online marketing need to think about our content both in terms of how it will appear on giant screens now available and also on the tiny screens of mobile devices.

Naturally, I had to check the analytics for this site and, sure enough, the same two sizes Christopher identified appear in my stats... only on my site for the past month they are at #6 and #7. (Chris' were at #6 and #9):


Now, granted, when you look at the percentages of visitors using those screens, it's only 4.7% using the 1920x1200 and only 4.6% using the 320x396, but still, it's interesting to see. (I also at some point should dig in and look at the trend over time.)

wptouchonvoxeoblogs.jpgChristopher mentions the need to make sure your website looks good on mobile screens and recommends the MobilePress plugin for Wordpress users.

I've not used that plugin, but what I found worked very well for the Voxeo blog site was the WPTouch plugin from Brave New Code. As you can see in the image on the right, it displays all your blog posts in a very iPhone-friendly manner. It has other options, too, to interact with the blog site. (But you don't have to trust me, just head over to with either an iPhone, iPod Touch or Android phone and check it out.)

I admit that part of the deciding factor was that I really liked the look of the site with WPTouch. If you click on the "down arrow" in the upper right next to the blog name, you also have easy access to the tags, categories and other navigation controls of the blog.

The key point, though, is that you need to make sure that your website content degrades gracefully as it goes from giant screens to small screens. For WordPress-powered blogs, either of these plugins - or the others out there - will help reformat your content appropriately.

What are you doing on your site to address the mobile audience?

P.S. If you use Google Analytics and want to see where these screen resolutions are for your site, go into GA and then into the report for your site. Click on "Visitors", then the arrow next to "Browser Capabilities" and then finally "Screen Resolutions". Where are 1920x1200 and 320x396 on your site's list in terms of order? Feel free to leave your results (like "#6, #7") here in the comments...

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or

How NOT to send out an email marketing message... (FAIL!)

This just arrived in my email inbox... can you say... "FAIL?"

It's 2010, people, never assume that people have their email programs set to display all images...


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or

Outstanding list of the "Best Internet Marketing Posts of 2009" from Tamar Weinberg

tamarweinberg.jpgOver on her "techipedia" blog, Tamar Weinberg has pulled together an outstanding list of "The Best Internet Marketing Posts of 2009". It's a LONG list... but Tamar has done an excellent job curating a list of what's been worthwhile to read this year in the social media / marketing space. There's a few I might add... but I can't quibble with any she's listed there.

If you're looking for good info on marketing, PR, social media, search/SEO, and many other topics... you definitely need to read through the list and start following links.

Thanks, Tamar, for compiling this list... it's a great resource for all of us.

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or

Entering the DSLR world... with a Nikon D90

nikond90-1.jpgA few days before Christmas I joined the ranks of DSLR owners with the arrival of a Nikon D90, the kit 18-105mm lens and an additional 50mm/1.8 prime lens. (Shown on right, with the picture taken by my iPhone.) had a great price and I decided that it was the time to make the leap.

I had been debating for probably a good 8-9 months as the prices kept getting better and better. My big dilemma was, of course, the almost religious divide between:

Canon vs. Nikon

And, of course, the issue is that you are not just buying a single camera... you are buying into a system. Lenses, batteries... all of that is unique to a brand. The lenses are the biggest issue, because you naturally accumulate more as you do more with photography. I also realized that as a family, we'd probably soon be a multiple-DSLR family and so the decision was for more than just me.

I didn't have a particular historical bias between Canon and Nikon. For most of probably 20 years I shot very large amounts of slide film with my trusty Olympus OM-10, but I put that down probably a decade ago when I started to play with digital point-and-shoot cameras. I looked at the Olympus digital cameras but wasn't impressed... and still have a lingering dislike of Olympus for their proprietary xD cards that were a pain with an Olympus point-and-shoot we owned.

So in my typical Dan-dives-deep style, I consumed huge amounts of online reviews, including all the incredibly detailed ones at I read Duncan Davidson's "Advice for the $2K camera budget"... I spoke with large numbers of friends... I asked on Twitter... I asked on Facebook... I spoke with colleagues at work... I tried out cameras from friends and colleagues...

I couldn't decide.

You see... all of the folks around me came down pretty evenly on both sides of the divide. Good friends who take incredible pictures and whose opinions I trust used Canon... and other friends shot pictures of the same caliber with Nikon. So in the end I was debating about the Canon Rebel T1i, the Nikon D5000, the Canon EOS 50D and the Nikon D90. The reality that became clear was:

Any of these cameras will take outstanding pictures.

For the typical hobby/home photographer, it's hard to lose with whatever choice you make... you just have to make the choice. As a colleague in Germany said to me in a Skype chat:

But the most important thing is: Don't look forever. Buy now, whatever the choice is today. And go shooting :)

So in the end, I chose a Nikon D90. Why? Two primary reasons:

  1. When I tried it out, the D90 just "felt good in my hands". A purely subjective reason. The controls all worked well for me. I just liked the feel versus the Canon models I tried.

  2. A number of colleagues at work all have D90s and so I have a local pool of D90 users to talk to and learn from.

winter-nikon-1.jpgThat was my choice of what worked for me. And I've been VERY pleased with the results... as has my wife... so much so that we have a Nikon D5000 arriving soon as well. :-)

Now that I've made the leap to a DSLR, I find the quality of the shots so far ahead of my point-and-shoot camera that I don't know that I'll be going back much at all! The DSLRs are now also so incredibly easy to use. It's also great just to have the feel of a SLR-size camera back in my hands and to be able to tweak the settings of a shot and experiment and play with photograpy.

I'm having fun... taking a ton of shots... some smaller number of which I'll start adding to my Flickr account once I finish a writing project this week that is consuming all my outside-work time.

Have you made the leap yet? Are you in DSLR land? What was your choice?


If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or

"The Daily Shoot" gives you daily practice in becoming a better photographer...

dailyshoot-1.jpgDid you get a new DSLR camera over the holidays? (I did!) Or do you have one and want to get inspired to do more with it? Or do you not have a DSLR but just enjoy photography? Do you want to push yourself to try out more ways to make images?

If so, grab your DSLR, point-and-shoot camera, iPhone, mobile phone or whatever other camera you have and head over to "The Daily Shoot" at:

You can naturally just browse through the pictures that other photographers have taken, but it's also very easy to get involved yourself:

  1. You start by following @dailyshoot on Twitter.
  2. Each day at 9am US Eastern a new "assignment" comes out.
  3. You take a picture and upload it to Flickr, Twitpic, yfrog, The Best Camera or a couple of other photo sharing sites.
  4. Then... you tweet out the link in a reply to @dailyshoot with the assignment's hashtag, like I did here:
  5. Your picture will then be added to the pages of the Daily Shoot website.

That's it. See the assignment, take a picture, upload it, tweet it.

There's no time pressure... you don't have to have it in by any certain time. You can do it today, tomorrow... or whenever. You can go back and do past assignments and post them. You can just do scattered assignments whenever your schedule permits or when you have the interest. It's all about self-motivation and giving yourself a reason to play with your camera and push yourself to do more with photography.

It's also about learning from other photographers. You can go to the Assignments page and browse through the photos that are contributed for each assignment. The site nicely opens each photo in a new tab so that you can easily keep going back to the assignment page to see the other photos. (In Chrome I'll command+click each photo (I'm on a Mac) to open a bunch up in different tabs to look at them.) Here was the assignment about "yellow"... it's fun to see the different perspectives on the assignment.

You can also view the pictures from each individual photographer, so if you find someone's photo you really like you can then see the other photos by that photographer (hint: click on the name of the photographer underneath a thumbnail on the Daily Shoot site). Here's my page of photos. Here's Duncan's much better page.

It's fun to do... and a way to learn more about and practice the art of making images.

duncandavidson.jpgThe Daily Shoot is the brainchild of photographer Duncan Davidson (pictured on the right) and programmer/consultant Mike Clark. I've been a fan of Duncan's photography back from when I first saw the great photos he shot at eComm 2009. I've enjoyed his writing on his blog about photography. Here are a couple of his posts I liked:

I've also met him at a couple of events now and he's just a really decent and great guy. He recently wrote about how the Daily Shoot site has evolved and I look forward to seeing where it goes.

Meanwhile, today's assignment is out... I'll have to see if sometime today I can find something interesting to shoot that is circular...

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or

My 3 Words for 2010...

iwillwritesomething.jpgAs we enter 2010, I've long been a fan of Chris Brogan's approach of sharing his "three words" for the coming year (and have enjoyed his postings on the topic over the last few years)... and this year thought that, in keeping with one of my own goals, I would share my three words for 2010:


May 2010 marks my tenth year of blogging across the various sites I have, yet 2009 was a challenging year for my writing.

Sure, I wrote many posts here, on Disruptive Telephony, on Voxeo's weblogs and other places. But nowhere near the number of posts I wanted to write - and not with the regularity I desired. My queue of post ideas is up in the hundreds at this point... and as usual I wake up each morning with my head exploding with stories to tell.

Now, 2009 did have some unusual challenges for me personally. For starters, at the beginning of March, I took on a new role at Voxeo heading up all of our external communications. No longer was I just our "lead blogger", but now I also had responsibility for all marketing, PR, analyst relations, collateral, trade shows / events and everything else in "communications". Plus I now had a team of 4.5 people scattered across two continents. There was admittedly a good bit of a learning curve on all the broader pieces of how we were telling our story, how to bring that all together into a cohesive plan, and how to work with a new team. The second factor was that in late April, our second daughter entered the world bringing with her all that glorious joy... as well as all the intense sleep deprivation... these two factors together meant that making time for writing (and being able to do so coherently!) was challenging at best.

But as 2010 dawns, the story is different. Sure, it's shaping up to be an absolutely crazy-busy year at Voxeo with all the great work we have underway, but I've got an outstanding (and growing) team and we're working together real well now... and the daughter? Well, at 8 months she's still not sleeping through the night all the time, but I'm either getting more sleep or just getting used to sleep deprivation.

So my big personal goal for 2010 is to return to telling more stories... writing about the changes happening all around us... chronicling the revolution we are in the midst of ... in the ways and means through which we communicate... that is the story of our time... and I want to get back to doing my part in telling that story.


As much as I want to write more myself, I also recognize that there are a great many other people out there weaving together the threads of this larger story. In 2010, I want to interact more with others... pointing to their stories... commenting on their posts... sharing their work with others. Sure, I've tweeted out many links, because that's easy, but this year I want to be a bit better about engaging in deeper conversations, either through actual comments or responding through blog posts, podcasts, video, whatever...


I'm 42 years old. I have 7-year-old and 8-month-old daughters, an awesome wife and great family and friends in my life. I also have a job that I love and a passion and drive to succeed and do ever more. I work long hours and travel a fairly significant amount... and I love what I do. The downside is that in recent years I haven't been paying enough attention to keeping the body in the best shape... I want to be around for a good long while, and this year needs to be one in which I make some changes. Not just in dropping some weight, but in integrating physical activity on a regular basis. As a home office worker, it's easy not to... but I need to... and maybe by publicly stating it here I'll actually get my tail in gear this year to make it happen. ;-)

So that's my list.... Write. Interact. Health.

2009 was a great year... 2010 looks even better... what are you going to do with this precious year? What are your three words?

If you found this post interesting or useful, please consider either subscribing to the RSS feed or following me on Twitter or