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6 posts from August 2010

Does the Disqus blog comment system not work with the iPad?

Are any of you out there using the iPad running into problems with leaving comments on blogs using the Disqus blog comment system?

This morning I browsed to Scott Monty's blog on my iPad and went to leave a comment on his "Picture This" post. (Great post, BTW!) I typed in my reply and then pressed the "Post as..." button... and... nothing:


Now, when I press that same button on my laptop, I see this window popup on the page:


allowing me to then choose the identity that I want to use to post the comment.

This popup does NOT appear for me when I'm using the iPad's browser to view Scott's blog.  I tried another blog that also used the Disqus system and had the same result.

Looking at the HTML source of the page, I'm guessing the issue may be the JavaScript script that Disqus is using to generate the comment form... but that's just a guess at this point.  It may also not be an issue with the Disqus system, per se, but more in the specific way that Scott's blog embeds the connection to Disqus. I don't know.  All I know is that when I had a comment to leave this morning, I couldn't do so.

Anyone else seeing this kind of issue using the iPad's browser with Disqus-powered blogs?

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How to create an automated Twitter self-service "RSVP" app using

twitterlogo-shadow.jpgDo you want an application that lets your customers interact with you via Twitter - but to do so via "self-service"? i.e. without a person having to help them? What if you wanted to make it so that people could RSVP for an event via Twitter and receive an automated acknowledgement?

That's exactly the type of app a colleague of mine wrote about in this recent post: Linking to Twitter using Javascript & Tropo Scripting. He shows how you can create an app like this using the cloud communications service and walks you through step-by-step what you need to do.

The appropriate automation and scaling of your Twitter usage is a topic near and dear to me... I've written about it myself over on the Tropo blog with topics like "creating a 'night service' for your Twitter account." (And yes, I do want to continue the series, since it's not really a "series" if I only wrote Part 1!) It's a topic I know I'll keep returning to.

Anyway, check out Justin's article... and Tropo accounts are free, so you can try it out yourself!

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Mashable: Hilarious parody "Twitter Movie" trailer

Saw this article in Mashable and just did have to share it here... for those of us who have been involved with Twitter since its early days, it is fun to laugh at some of the more inane aspects of the service. Enjoy:

Kudos to the team who put this together!

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Where have all the bookstores gone? The move to e-books and the changing book distribution model

Do you still shop in a bookstore?  Or do you buy your books online at sites like Or have you ditched print books altogether and now read "e-books" on a reader like an iPad or a Kindle?

As E-Books Gain, Barnes and Noble Tries to Stay Ahead - New York Times is out today with a piece about the changes at Barnes & Noble and also about changing consumer trends in general that is worth a read.  Interesting stats on the changes in buying habits:

In the first five months of 2009, e-books made up 2.9 percent of trade book sales. In the same period in 2010, sales of e-books, which generally cost less than hardcover books, grew to 8.5 percent, according to the Association of American Publishers, spurred by sales of the Amazon Kindle and the new Apple iPad.

As an author, but also as simply a lover of reading and of books, I do wonder about where we re going. If I look at my own behavior, we have two large bookstores here in Keene, NH. One is a Borders branch and the other is a local Toadstool Bookshop. Both are great places to browse books... Borders has a coffee shop/cafe area and WiFi. Here's the thing, though:

I almost NEVER go there!

Part of it is that I don't find I have time in my daily life to just go and browse through books. Maybe I should make that time... but I don't... and I don't see it happening soon. The other reality is that as a cheap... er.. "frugal" Yankee, I just don't want to pay the higher prices of a bookstore when I can get the exact same book for less online, particularly once you get sucked into Amazon Prime and can get a book delivered so fast.

I've also bought more e-books this year than ever before, largely because I now own an iPad. I had purchased a few before for my iPhone or desktop, but the reading form factor wasn't that great. The iPad is great for reading... and again there's a price factor. I bought a bunch of O'Reilly books I'd wanted not too long ago when the ebook versions were only $5.

An interesting aspect of e-books (or are they "ebooks" or "eBooks"?) is the ease of receiving updates. Just today I received an email from O'Reilly that there is an updated version of one of the books I bought that has a number of corrections and fixes. Pretty much impossible to do with a printed book, particularly because they wouldn't know I had bought it. (More anonymity with print books... a subject for another blog post.)

Now, there are a host of reasons why I personally still like print books... "tree-ware"... I'm not yet cool with the idea of "cuddling up in bed" at the end of the night with my e-reader. And I just like the feel of a book in my hands. But I can see the day coming...

How about you? Do you go to bookstores anymore? Do you still buy books? Or have you shifted to e-books?

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When did YouTube move to allowing 15-minute uploads?

When uploading a video today to Voxeo's YouTube channel, I noticed that videos can now be up to 15 minutes in length:


When did this happen?  You used to be limited to 10 minutes. Not that I'm complaining, mind you.  With my Emerging Tech Talk video podcast, I try to keep each episode to down around 5-7 minutes, but sometimes I've been in a really good interview and it's felt rushed at the end to keep it down under the 10-minute mark.

Also, with longer presentations from conferences and events, I've considered posting those to YouTube as segments, but with an hour-long talk that would have meant 6 ten-minute segments, which seemed too much for me. As a result, I've been posting those long videos to our channel. With a 15-minute limit, I could break those hour-long sessions into only 4 segments, which is much better to me.

Regardless of when that limit was changed, I'm just very happy that it was changed!

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The additional travel challenges for content creators (i.e. why my backpack is so heavy)

As I got ready for my travel down to New York City this week for the SpeechTEK conference where I spoke and also helped staff Voxeo's booth, I reflected as I packed on all the extra steps I wind up going through when planning to be a "content creator" at the show.  I'm not there only to talk and show our new services... I'm also there to write blog posts, take and upload photos, record video interviews (and maybe audio interviews), to post tweets and respond to tweets, etc., etc.  For multimedia content creation, there's a bit of extra work and gear.


My travel pack of choice these days is a Lowepro Fastpack 250. It fits the gear I need, but also has this great feature where you can unzip the side pocket and pull your DSLR out very quickly.  As you can see by the picture, I travel these days with a Nikon D90 for photos and a small JVC Everio MG-330 hard drive video recorder.  In truth, the D90 can also do video... but it's harder to hold for video than the JVC unit is.  Perhaps I'll eventually do more with it... but for the moment I carry both.  Both have power cords (or battery chargers), naturally.

I also carry a Blue Eyeball (which I reviewed) in case I want to do two-shot video recordings (using my MacBook Pro's camera and the Blue) for an interview.


Add to this, of course, the laptop, and these days the iPad as well... and it's a heavy pack.  I also naturally have my iPhone for photos and quick status updates and such as well.


There are also a series of steps that all this gear adds to travel preparations:

1. Import and delete all the photos off the DSLR memory card (which in my case means importing them all into iPhoto on my Mac).

2. Import and delete all the movies off the video camera (import into iMovie for me).

3. Make sure the battery is fully charged on the DSLR.

4. Make sure the battery is fully charged on the video camera.

5. Make sure that I have all relevant cables needed to copy content off of the cameras and onto my laptop.

It's not a huge number of steps, but it does add up, particularly if I have a lot of photos or movies on the cameras.  Yes, with memory cards being so cheap I certainly could leave the photos on the DSLR, but I'm also paranoid about losing photos... so I want to make sure they are off the camera before I go traveling.

If you are a "content creator" for your organization, what do you bring when you travel?  What steps do you wind up adding to your travel preparations?

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