December 10, 2009

Le Web day 2: End of day show report

David SparkHere’s my second and final show report from Le Web. We had been led to believe that Le Web was going to be about real-time Web. After the first day, we were wondering when that discussion would begin. But by day two we finally got some discussion on that topic.

Watch the video for a summary of day two, mostly about the real-time Web and also some of my critiques about how the show was handled. But for a full analysis of the event, make sure you read my report, The cool and not-so-cool from LeWeb.

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December 9, 2009

Le Web day 1: End of day show report

David SparkHere’s my end of day show report for Le Web, the Web 2.0 conference in Paris. I’ve been in Paris for the week reporting with the Traveling Geeks (watch video of us on a train). Watch the video for a quick summary of the companies I saw, plus a quick story at the end about an outbreak Robert Scoble had at the expense of the French entrepreneurs.

Companies and links mentioned in the video.

December 9, 2009

How Dell handles customer service and sales through social media

David SparkAt the Le Web conference in Paris, I spoke with Richard Binhammer, better known as @RichardATDell on Twitter. Three years ago Richard, who was and still is working in public affairs, was told by his boss to start getting engaged in blogger relations. It appears that Binhammer’s move into social media was one of the many responses to the 2005 Dell Hell outburst initiated by social media consultant Jeff Jarvis, who wrote an open letter to Dell complaining about Dell’s customer service. At the time, Dell’s response was, “We don’t respond to bloggers.”

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December 6, 2009

The Traveling Geeks land at Le Web

Go to dinner with the geeks and you’ll get lots of photos taken

David SparkLet me set the scene for you. More than a dozen geeks have traveled to Paris for a weeklong tech odyssey culminating with coverage from France’s premier Web 2.0 conference, Le Web. I’m having a hard time trying to determine what the difference is between “Le Web” and “The Web,” but as far as I can tell, it’s soft cheese.

Our group, the Traveling Geeks, has come from all over the world to meet, see new technology, and report about it. Everyone is blogging from multiple locations, but if you want to catch everyone’s coverage, no matter where they write it, just follow the blog Traveling Geeks (RSS).

Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • “Traveling Geeks” pens look a lot better than they work. I’ve witnessed three run out of ink within one minute of use.
  • Connectivity at hotel is horrible. I’m jonesing for a fast connection so I can upload some videos. I’ve got a video of an aging accordionist playing and singing “I’m Just a Gigolo.” UPDATE: I got a fast connection and I just posted the video. Take a look.
  • Geeks bring their video and image capturing equipment to dinner. Things normal people wouldn’t dream to photograph will not only be photographed and videotaped, but you’ll have lots and lots of it. Here’s just the beginning of our photostream.
  • The doors on the Paris Metro will try to crush you if you don’t get in or out fast enough. Tom Foremski of Silicon Valley Watcher was unfortunately our guinea pig for that discovery. Despite all the photos of everyone’s meal and the closeups of the pores on my face last night, nobody got a shot or video of Tom vs. the Paris Metro.

Special thanks to Mobile Globe for sponsoring last night’s dinner. I was privy to a rather cool demo of its mobile application that lets you make international calls anywhere in the world for just 4 cents per minute. Installs on BlackBerrys, iPhones and a bunch of other Java-enabled devices. And another thanks to Mashcast for making that silly video of all us at top.

August 12, 2009

Coolest power tools of some top geeks

The Geeks

JD LasicaDuring the Traveling Geeks’ trip to the United Kingdom last month, I spent some time polling the Geeks about the productivity and must-have tools that they use during the course of a typical workday.

I did the same thing during the first Geeks trip to Israel last year and came away with a wealth of apps, some of which I incorporated into my daily routine: See Tools the alpha geeks use. Back then, the list included Qik, TweetScan, FriendFeed, Skype, Bloglines, Pandora, Foxytunes, NetVibes, Socialthing, Seesmic, Adium — and it serves as an interesting snapshot in time of what tools some of the top Bay Area bloggers and technologists were using in spring 2008.

This time around there was more emphasis on social media services like Twitter as well as multimedia apps. Among the tools in the Geeks’ arsenal: Zemanta, Tweetdeck, HootSuite, PeopleBrowsr, Mindjet, Shopstyle and Friendfeed (Twitter and Facebook are givens). Remember, this is a partial, on-the-fly list of useful tools — intended to introduce readers to some apps they might not be using — and not a comprehensive list, and it also doesn’t take into consideration any of the startup apps’ we were introduced to in the UK.

Also, whether you’re a geek or not, please add your favorite tools in the comments so we can all learn what works for you!

Here’s our rundown:

JD Lasica

JD & MeghanFirefox, with occasional forays into Flock and Safari; Firebug and Zemanta plug-ins

WordPress, the open-source platform for my Socialmedia.biz and Socialbrite.org blogs

• I just started using HootSuite 2.0, a Web-based, Ajax-smart Twitter application that I find superior (so far) to the downloadable Tweetdeck and Seesmic Desktop apps. (I’m @jdlasica on Twitter.)

Zoho Writer and Zoho Sheets, which are superior to Google Docs (though I use the latter when forced)

Fetch tied to BBEdit, to manage files on my blogs’ servers

Snapz Pro X, to capture images and movies from any Mac computer screen

Flickr Uploadr, to batch-upload photos to my Flickr photostream

Paparazzi, a wonderful tool for Mac users to capture entire Web pages — even the portions that appear below the fold

zohoFinal Cut Express for almost all my video editing

Gmail for email and to store files in the cloud

Google Talk and Skype for most of my chats

Delicious for social bookmarking in the cloud

Google Reader to keep track of blogs and share stories to Socialbrite

Vimeo and Blip.tv for video sharing

VLC, the open source media player, to watch videos in almost any format

• Still alternating between iTunes and Pandora for my music jones

• Still trying to learn QuickSilver (so far unsuccessfully) for keyboard shortcuts. Considering LaunchBar.

Google calendar to manage my events, though I need to get back to using Upcoming more.

Facebook for wasting time

iPhone apps: Google maps (for location), Stanza and eReader (for reading), experimenting with Twitterfon, Tweetdeck, Twittelator and Simply Tweet for Twitter, Evernote (for keeping notes online), Loopt and Google Latitude for geo-awareness, Yelp for restaurants, Rocket Taxi, iTalk and QuickVoice (for interviews and recording random thoughts)

Robert Scoble

Robert ScobleRobert — the former famed Microsoft blogger — has gone to an all-Mac household (“I like the OS better,” he says), though he runs Windows 7 using Parallels Desktop on his MacBook Pro laptop.

Robert generally chooses his apps to run in the cloud rather than buying OEM packaged software. “I’m trying to move my life completely to the browser. Ido everything on the Internet. The only thing I do locally is video editing,” for which he uses iMovie for his personal videos.

Some of his choice apps:

peoplebrowsrFriendfeed (“Friendfeed is my chat application.”)

PeopleBrowsr, for social media search

Mindjet, for mindmapping presentations

Tweetdeck, to manage Twitter

Seesmic, to post video and manage Twitter

Google Docs and Spreadsheets for free office applications

iPhone 3GS, SimplyTweet and whole bunch of other apps

iMovie

Howard Rheingold

Howard RheingoldFirefox

CopyPaste Pro: “If I had to recommend only one tool for Mac users, this would be it. It remembers the last 200 objects of any media type that I cut or copied to the clipboard.”

Skype for voice over IP

Google Talk for chat

Social Media Classroom (of course)

Diigo, a research and knowledge-sharing tool

socialmediaclassroomFinal Cut Express

GraphicConverter

Seesmic Desktop

Powerpoint

WordPress

iPhone GS for video and Mobypicture and Pixelpipe apps

“Sky” Schuyler

Sky Schuyler, CTO of the Dalai Lama Foundation, served as the tech lead on our trip and time and again generously shared information about his tech habits. Some of his favorite tools:

WordPress to power a long list of blogs

• Sky uses a Flip Mino recorder and occasionally its internal software to do rudimentary video editing.

FeedWordPress: Sky configured this plug-in to suck our individual blog feeds into the TravelingGeeks.com WordPress blog.

YARPP (Yet Another Related Posts Plug-in), a Firefox plug-in for Firefox that finds related posts within my blog and I have configured it with a special CSS so it also displays little thumbnails next to the suggested posts.

PGP to encrypt email and confidential data on his computer.

Google Docs, chiefly for sharing word docs in the cloud.

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August 5, 2009

Final reflections on the Traveling Geeks trip

Craig & Karyn

JD LasicaIt has been one month since the Traveling Geeks kicked off our trip to London and Cambridge with a Tweetup at JuJu in Chelsea. (I was the chief organizer of trip.) From this distance and vantage point, here are a few random impressions:

• I think too much can be made of the differences between entrepreneurship in the UK and in the United States. While it’s true that Silicon Valley nurtures a spirit of innovation marked by the mantra “Fail often, but fail fast” — an axiom that permits experimentation without demanding an immediate return to investors — it’s even more true that the businessmen and entrepreneurs I met along the way have the same fire in the belly — a burning desire to build something of great value.

SeedCamp was a high point of the trip to many of us, and apart from the well-done, compact presentations, it was fascinating to watch tomorrow’s young business leaders mingle with each other and exchange ideas and contact information. Cross-pollination at its best. Spotify, Huddle, Skimlinks, Zemanta — these are names that may grow into notable consumer brands in the coming years, and Moo arguably already has. (Here’s my writeup; and here’s my video interview with Skimlinks founder Alicia Navarro.)

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