Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lowell Folk Festival - collection 2008

Redd Volkaert and Cindy Cashdollar at Lowell Folk Festival

Little River Band at the Lowell Folk Festival

Henry Grey & Friends at the Lowell Folk Festival

TREAD performing at the Lowell Folk Festival

Lowell Tweets

Live lowell folk festival #2

Live lowell folk festival

Off to Lowell

Lowell Folk Festival 7/25/08

Festival draws about 250,000

Lowell - Boarding House Park - Saturday Schedule

franklin train waiting on the bridge

franklin train on bridge outside south station

The Franklin train is on the bridge and I am looking back towards South Station and downtown Boston while waiting for the inbound traffic to clear so we can head out via the Dorchester Branch. There is bridge work on the Dorchester Branch limiting traffic to a single lane for the next couple of years.

Mobile post sent by shersteve using Utterz. reply-count Replies.

Gillette sports girder view

girder view

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This should have been posted on Wednesday from the stadium. It went up to Utterz but somehow didn't make it to here.

Happy Birthday, Carolyn!

WestPoint_80531 002

Carolyn on the right, Allison on the left in a recent photo.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Rapid Fire Learning - July

Chris Owen takes us on a scandalous look inside her learning this month to get the JJL group kicked off with Rapid Fire Learning (RFL). If you are not familiar with RFL, briefly we take some time at the end of the month (usually the 25th, but I am late) and reflect on what has occurred to come up with 5 things we have learned.

1 - Travel is a great learning environment
Dolores and I took the train from the northwest suburbs into downtown Chicago on our recent trip there. The conductors ticket collection routine is different from here in MA. Here, they usualy gruffly demand to see the ticket or pass, leave a ticket on your seat so they will know for the next stop. The conductors in IL walked pleasently long the car, calling out "Who needs a ticket?"

2 - Go into the woods
Hiking in the woods is a great get away. No cell phone service, no internet (ah, can I do it but what if I miss something). Yes, the world is different in the woods. You get reminded of what really matters. And with all due respect, it is not the internet.

3 - Lincoln lost
I recall learning about the Lincoln-Douglas Debates while in school (now many years ago). 150 years ago, the two gentlemen met in 7 towns from Auust through October; whistle stop travel, the crowds, the actual face to face debate. Completely different from the TV stuff we see today. One thing I had forgotten from those days was that Douglas won the election. The debates established Lincoln and his line of thought so that he was able to move directly from his role as an attorney to the Presidency. Quite a move.

4 - Pictures tell more than one story
The wonderful theme at JJL shows that every picture does tell a story but they are not limited to tell just one.

5 - When folks gather around a common interest, great things can happen
The recent PodCamp Boston 3 (PCB3) with 370 individuals attending over two days has spawned over 2,000 Flickr photos, hours of podcast and video shows, and the learning continues. If there is a PodCamp near you, I recommend participating. If there isn't one go ahead and start one, I'll be glad to provide some help.

What did you learn this month?

Little River Band at the Lowell Folk Festival

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Henry Grey & Friends at the Lowell Folk Festival

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Monday, July 28, 2008

TREAD performing at the Lowell Folk Festival

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Newspaper recycle bins appear at South Station

newspaper recycle bins

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These were not on the platform this morning as thousands of commuters came through with their newspapers but it looks like they will be there for tomorrow morning.
How long will the plastic bag last?
Which newspaper will jam the slot?
What will happen to the papers that come to the now jammed slot?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

new understanding

While driving to the Lowell Folk Festival today, pondering many questions raised multiple times from SOBCon08 through the recent PodCamp Boston 3 - How do I distill the essence of what I do, what I want to do with my writing, with my media making?

I have my value add statement:
Personalized coaching to create the wow experience!
I have my sherku:

focus your writing, say it
all concentrated in just
nineteen syllables

But that apparently did not satisfy Liz who asked for "
some real personality and real advice".

Where am I going to get that?

Listening to my heartbeat
What moves me?

Coming to the Festival provides one clue. Music drops into that heart beat and moves me; sometimes it moves me to tears. Dale Wasserman writes:
The lyrics are alternate expressions of key moments in the play and must be obedient to the demands made of the Book .... move the story, reveal character, hit emotional high peaks. It's this latter that is the unique tool of the musical. Nothing can transcend music in twanging the heartstrings of an audience.
Reflecting upon the recent PodCamp experience provides another clue. I was pumped up all weekend; not lacking for energy, greeting, meeting folks at the registration/welcome desk. Helping them get oriented to what was about to happen. The lines I used in several variations Saturday/Sunday morning went something like this:
You're checked in now. The names tags are on the table over there. Be creative. You can also pick out a t-shirt of whatever size would be good for you or a special person to where. The food and coffee is on the third floor. You can take the stairs over there to go up. Everything else is happening between here and there.
So how about combining the good experience with the music of life?

Let's try:
Revealing the good experiences in the harmonic beats of everyday life!
How does that work for you?

Do that help you understand what I am about?

Please let me know!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Lowell Tweets

hard to stop, when you're on the go; hard to stop zydeco. Jeffrey Broussard has the folks dancin' about 3 hours ago from mobile web

can you tell a folk music lover by the way they dress? Not by the folks in the crowd here in Lowell about 5 hours ago from mobile web

Cindy Cashdollar, Redd Volkaert, playing some mean music here at Lowell Folk Festival about 5 hours ago from mobile web

whether in English or Portuguese, the blues are the blue. Listening to Helder Moutinho sing fado in Lowell about 6 hours ago from mobile web

Lonesome River Band pickin' and singin' here in Lowell. Catch it live on about 7 hours ago from mobile web

my mistake, i said Henry Davis, should have said Henry Grey! Good blues! about 8 hours ago from mobile web

Henry Davis playing the blues here in Lowell tune into to listen to the live broadcast about 8 hours ago from mobile web

getting ready to listen to some fine music at the Lowell Folk festival Saturday afternoon - about 24 hours ago from TweetDeck

live lowell folk festival #2

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live from lowell folk festival

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off to Lowell

I am off to the Lowell Folk Festival, for those outside MA who would like to listen to what I have been getting drawn to for several years, you can tune in to WGBH's web site. They will broadcast live from the Boarding House Park Stage (where I will be).


BTW - if you are going to be in Lowell today, stop by Boarding House Park. I'll be wearing my white PodCamp Boston t-shirt.

Yes, it is personal

I just read a wonderful summary of PodCamp Boston 3 written by someone I had only briefly met while working the registration/welcome desk last weekend.

Sarah gets into why PodCamp works and in particular why social media is personal.

Read it here.


just words

A little time with Wordle today. This image was created from the contents of this entire website. Did I really use that word? When?

title="Wordle: Steves2Cents"> src=""
style="padding:4px;border:1px solid #ddd"

These are just the words here.

Deval Patrick made an important speech
during his campaign for Governor where he repeated the phrase "just words".

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lowell Folk Festival 7/26/08

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Mobile post sent by shersteve using Utterzreply-count Replies.  mp3

5 for Friday

Helping to catch up what I am finding that you might finding interesting, here is 5 for Friday:

1 - "I like spoken word because it only requires you and your voice." read more about Jon Goode here

2 - "Women are leaving corporate America in droves," says Herrscher. "Technology will allow it. Generation X and generation Y want that balance of family and work. We watched our parents who blazed the trail. But we see what it did to their lives. We need to figure out how to do both." Read more about Robin Herrscher and Today's Momma here

3 - "The director of a leading US cancer research institute has sent a memo to thousands of staff warning of possible higher risks from mobile phone use.

Ronald Herberman, of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, said users should not wait for definitive studies on the risk and should take action now.

He said children should use mobiles in emergencies only and adults should try to keep the phone away from the head."

Someday, we will get this answer settled. In the meantime, check out the remainder of this article here.

4 - People who are walking around cities often need point-to-point directions just as desperately as those in cars. Google (NSDQ: GOOG) figured this out, and has added walking directions to its Maps service. After a few test runs, I can say with confidence that it does a pretty good job, at least in NYC.

Read the rest of the initial review of Google's walking directions here

5 -Here’s the deal: BeMyRecordLabel is where you get to be my record executive. I’ll consult with you and involve you in lots of the creative decisions as well as the ups and downs of making a CD. You get to join in as I make it.

Read the posting by Christine Kane here and go to BeMyRecordLabel here


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Free, plus

Free is good.

Free, plus is better.

No, this is not some off hour slicer/dicer/come on, although the effect is about the same.

They get permission to market to you in this case for free.
(The slicer/dicer costs real money.)

Tom Friedman, NY Times author, has a new book coming out. How do you catch attention of potential readers?

Provide free downloads of the audio version of his most recent book "The World is Flat". This also entitles you to a teaser audio sample of the new work: "Hot, Flat and Crowded"

You can sign up for this here. The offer has a limited time period; the free downloads begin 7/25 and expire 8/4/08.

"the festival draws about 250,000 visitors"

GateHouse News Service
Posted Jul 23, 2008 @ 10:25 PM

Lowell —

With organizers getting ready for the 22nd year, Sue Ann Pearson, the newly named executive director of the Lowell Festival Foundation, believes the event can only grow – and offer revelers summer fun without spending a lot of gas money to get there.

“There is that lovely word, ‘free’ – there are no gates, no admission,” said Pearson, noting that the festival still provides what very few can – a far-reaching scope of concerts with no admission cost.

New this year will be a carnival-style parade through downtown Lowell, with local artists and musicians joining in the revelry, Pearson said.

You might want to take in Portuguese fado singing – a traditional style of soulful ballad that has found a new audience.

Or, if you are in the mood for a different kind of blues, you might want to take in Henry Gray and the Cats, with a sultry sound straight out of Gray’s native New Orleans.

Read the full story in the Milford Daily News here.

I previously posted the Saturday Boarding House Park schedule here.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

wacky boat names

When recently in Chicago, Dolores and I walked from Grant Park up to Navy Pier. As we walked along the water front, many of the yachts large and small were still in their dock. Was it due to the weather (threatening) or the high cost of fuel?

The names for some of the boats caught my eye:

"Seas the moment" - nice play on words

"Au revoir" - appropriate

"Indecision" - wow, that is one thing the captain can't be in a storm or he'll lose his ship for sure!

If you had a boat, what would you call it?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

New Twitter tools "found" at PodCamp

I am a sometime Twitter user so the use of this tool at PodCamp this weekend did not surprise me. It was heavily utilized at Boston 2. What I did find this time around were some of the other tools that have taken place around Twitter, two of them you might find useful:

1 - sumize or

You input a particular tag (i.e. PCB3) and it will provide all those tweets so tagged. It will also update and tell you x amount have arrive and if you refresh, they will be viewable. For a conference like PodCamp it was easy to really keep the pulse on what was happening (at least for the portion of those tweeting). While in the fish bowl, one must remember that one key reason why there is a PodCamp is that not everyone knows about these tools and that is why they are attending, to find out.

2 - tweet later or

Say you have a series of updates to provide to a group and want to get them out at a specific time but can't coordinate the efforts of several people to all provide the updates at the same time for you. Use TweetLater. The sessions for each day were all queued up to be sent out timed to arrive so folks would know what is happening. for the few schedule changes, those tweet laters were edited to provide the correct update. Again, the only issue with this use at PodCamp is that we also need a low-tech version of providing updates to folks.

What twitter tool or tools do you use?

Podcast Survey

I picked up a card for an academic survey targeting independent podcasters at the recent PodCamp Boston. The survey is brief, online, and I found it easy to do. No tricky questions. Nothing needs to be revealed with special considerations.

If you are a podcaster and interested in helping an academic in their effort (to ultimately help ourselves), then check it out here:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Anonymous or not?

Anonymity has a place I suppose. I am still trying to work it out for myself. As for trusted information, anonymous entries have no standing. Even within a crowd, the wisdom of the crowd may seem to enable anonymous entries and create a sense of "trust-worthy-ness". However, when you can dig deep into the data and reveal that some entries are tied to special interests, then the anonymity becomes a problem. The "trust-worthy-ness" is disrobed.

One of the key educational skills that will be required for success in the evolving world and state of information is to make sense of what can be trusted and what needs to be verified. It will require more than a sniff test.

Source of this: some coversations during the weekend at PodCamp Boston 3 and this recent link via Liz to one talented person who can uncover the identity of wikipedia editors.

The Faces of PodCampBoston

The Faces of PodCampBoston, originally uploaded by GregPC.

Lisa is one of the many fine folks who came and participated in PodCamp Boston this weekend.

We had a good conversation about using social media to help students connect and engage in their learning.

The weekend is over but the time for action on what we have learned is just beginning.

To view other photos that GregPC took in his "Faces of PodCampBoston" series, click through here.

PodCamp Boston 3

I hope you take to heart the message that Chris Brogan and I promoted this entire weekend. The time for talk only is over. New media, social media, whatever you want to call it, is an incredible power, the likes of which we as humans have never had before. We can affect events at great distances, see beyond walls, know the thoughts of others, influence millions without getting out of our chairs. I hope you take a step back, realize the power you have, and make something of it. I hope you DO something, whether it’s volunteer with a local charity, raise money for a food bank, help homeless kids, whatever your passion is, I hope your PodCamp Boston 3 experience has given you the means to begin improving your part of the world.
Read Christopher S Penn's full posting here.

What I loved most about the experience was the energy, the sense that we could make progress, the fact that people came into the venue, engaged, and took EVERYTHING further. I felt energized, and excited by the conversations I had, and will unpack several of them into blog posts, a newsletter article, and more.
Read the full posting by Chris Brogan here

Well, PodCamp Boston is over for another year. What did I learn? I found people were asking me more questions than in the past. Is that because I’ve been around? Perhaps, but what I can say is that it is nice for an SEO professional to be able to talk content and messages with a PR professional, or for people with a common past to compare notes as well as talk to each other about what they are doing now.
Read/listen to the full Utterz post by Doug Haslam here

For more postings, videos, photos and media from PodCamp Boston 3, search for the tag "PCB3"

Sunday, July 20, 2008

PCB3 - Summer shower

PCB3 - Summer shower, originally uploaded by shersteve.

Most PodCampers are staying dry while Boston gets caught up in a summer shower.

Final count for today is 236. Lots of good buzz around.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

PodCamp Boston 3 rocking along!

The atmosphere is still a buzz, the conversations still a-going, the sharing still a-happening...

Final count was 350 individuals here today to explore the new and social media world here at PodCamp.

Back here again tomorrow for more fun!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hertz Rental Feature


On our recent trip to IL, I had rented a car when I landed at Midway and carried my own Fast Lane device with me to use with the rental to avoid delays at the toll booths.

Turns out that I did not need to bring this with me. I found this device already in the Hertz rental.

Nice rental feature! This is good customer service.

Have you found this provided by other rental companies?

Pose with Abe

Sharing a seat with Abe

Dolores and I posed with Abe Lincoln on the bench in front of Union Station in Springfield, IL recently.


The photo can be found on Flickr

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

PodCamp Boston 3 - Last day to register

First and foremost, please download a copy of our official PodCamp Boston 3 Guidebook, put together by Michelle Wolverton. This guide contains maps, directions, and the schedule that YOU collaboratively organized as a group. (and you did a great job!)

2.2 MB PDF

Second, if you haven't watched any of the preconference sessions yet, you should - learn about BrainTorrent, tips for presenters, and much more.

If you haven't entered the Twitter contest to win an 80 GB Zune and other prizes, it's not too late! Just come up with some witty sayings in 140 characters or less - details here:

If you know someone who is on the fence about attending, due to insurance regulations and a need to get a final registration list to the venue for security, PodCamp Boston 3 ticket sales will END on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at noon eastern time. If they wish to attend PodCamp Boston 3, they MUST obtain tickets before then.

Please make every effort to be on time, as stuff like giveaways, contests, free food and drinks, shirts, and other goodies will be available on a first come, first served basis.

We're looking to welcome you to Boston in just a few days! (even if you live here)

As always, a HUGE shout-out to our sponsors, who make this event possible. Please check out their services during the breaks in the Rotunda room area to see how they might be of help to your new media efforts.

Premium Sponsors

mDialog :
Blue Sky Factory :

Plus Sponsors

Mzinga :
Utterz :

Sponsors :
Blubrry :
ooVoo :
MatchMine :
MarketingProfs :
MarketWire :

Finally, for those history buffs, we're also pleased to present you a free copy of the Handbook of New England, published in 1916 by Harvard University. It's a fun read if you want to see how the area around PodCamp Boston 3 was nearly 100 years ago.

Thank you, and see you in Boston in just a few days!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Monday, July 14, 2008

PodCamp Boston 3 - Register in advance, please!

To avoid any security issues, PodCamp Boston 3 will not permit any day-of registrations by cash or check. Folks are welcome to register on the day of the event via the electronic registration page, using a credit card. A laptop with Internet access will be available at the registration desk to assist you with day-of registrations, plus anyone with one of those fancy iPhones!

Next Steps:

originally posted at the PodCamp Boston 3 blog

The summer with Abe

I think I'll look back upon this summer and recall it being as the one spent with Abe Lincoln. We are in the midst of visiting his home in Springfield, IL and will spend some time in Gettysburg, PA in August.

Reminding/re-learning about the Lincoln-Douglas debates is timely as we are preparing for an election in November. It was a significant act for Barack Obama to announce his candidacy in Springfield, IL. A poster highlighting a re-enactment of the debates this summer has this quote:

Lincoln thought slavery had to be treated as a wrong, and kept from growing. As Lincoln said:

That is the real issue. That is the issue that will continue in this country when these poor tongues of Judge Douglas and myself shall be silent. It is the eternal struggle between these two principles-right and wrong-throughout the world. They are the two principles that have stood face to face from the beginning of time; and will ever continue to struggle. The one is the common right of humanity and the other the divine right of kings.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Rainbow Yellow: Juggling balls

Rainbow_Yellow_balls, originally uploaded by shersteve.

These are not used much. I would need to make more time to practice juggling. I recall enough of the session at GEL 2007 from the Flying Karamazov Brothers to feel comfortable that when I do make time, I'll be able to do somethings that with practice will show improvement.

The first part of juggling is concentration.
In order to concentrate, you need to prioritize.

How do you juggle your time?
Do you make priorities for the important things?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ticketing Changes - gone away?

As reported earlier this week, the MBTA/MBCR implemented some ticketing changes at South Station by checking that you had ticket before you boarded the train.

I wondered how long that would last?

The queue for the Amtrak departures creates a navigation maze for the commuter rail folks. And heaven forbid they dispatch a commuter trail on the platform adjacent to an Amtrak Acela or Regional being boarded in the slow long line fashion. The few times this did occur, there is no chance for anyone to stop the 500 plus folks marching to their commuter train.

So how did the proverbial management THEY think it was going to work? Smooth and charming?

Fortunately, I guess we won't need to know as it apparently did not last long. I saw it in effect Tuesday but not since.

dark reading

No, this is not when you pull up in a corner with a good book and you get so into it, it doesn't matter that the sun has set and the room is darker than when you started making it hard to read the words on the page.

No, this is dark and scary stuff. Good food for conspiracy theorists but with a dose of reality, as in, this stuff is happening around the corner.

Recent updates:
Trojan Attacks Multimedia Files Stored on Hard Drives

JULY 10, 2008
| Infected audio and video files show no signs of malware, but are lethal when shared with other users
Congress Opens Debate on Behavioral Advertising

JULY 9, 2008
| Businesses say tracking users' online behavior is a benefit; privacy advocates say it's a threat
FasTrak Toll Hacked, Exposing Privacy Dangers

JULY 9, 2008
| Researcher finds electronic toll tag vulnerabilities in Black Hat 'Highway to Hell' research
iDefense Revamps Bucks for Bugs Contest

JULY 8, 2008
| Changes aimed at making
vulnerability research 'sexy' again, iDefense says
Vendors Issue Massive Simultaneous Patch for Common Internet Flaw

JULY 8, 2008
| Design flaw in DNS protocols could have been used to redirect traffic across the Internet
That should provide some taste of the dark reading available in the IT security world.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Top Women Bloggers

NxE published their listing today with the Top 50 Most Influential Women Bloggers. Many I would not quibble with, some I have not heard of (no real surprise as the web space is so hugh). Some I know and follow were also left off.

Go read the listing and see if you would add any.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Lowell Folk Festival - Saturday 7/26/08

Boarding House Park:
12:00 – 12:45

1:00 – 1:45
Henry Gray & the Cats
2:00 – 2:45

Lonesome River Band
3:00 – 3:45

Helder Moutinho
4:00 – 4:45

Red Volkaert & Cindy Cashdollar
5:00 – 6:00
Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys

The full schedule for the 22nd annual FREE folk festival can be found here

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Ticketing changes for MBTA

As I boarded the train at South Station last night to come home, there was a line up of conductors and security personnel to check that I had a ticket or pass before boarding the train.

Given the presence of the extra security, I thought there must have been a new alert targeting the Franklin line.

It turns out this is a new campaign by the MBTA/MBCR. More details are available at Universal Hub here.