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What I’ll be playing with this weekend – Asus Eee PC



Asus EEE PC, originally uploaded by Josh Bancroft.

There’s a new Intel marketing blog launching next week. I’ll post a link when it’s ready, but I’ve been working with the folks doing it, trying to help them “do it right” – get other bloggers in the community involved, get stuff into the hands of bloggers to use and live with, so they can write real opinions of it, rather than just doing it the standard marketing way. Good stuff.

Anyway, as part of these activities, I’ve got an Asus Eee PC on loan for a week or two to play with. It’s a very small laptop that runs Linux, has a 4GB SSD (solid state – no moving parts) “hard drive”, wireless, a webcam, an SD card slot for expansion, etc. I’ve been on the fence about actually buying one of these for myself, since they’re so popular (people who have them almost universally love them), and cheap, too (the 4GB model with webcam is under $400).

I’ve only had it for an hour or so, but it’s already caused quite a stir in my cube neighborhood. As soon as I showed it to someone, people materialized out of thin air to come check it out. We were all geeking out, drooling, plugging it into and external monitor (which it handles beautifully), and putting it through its paces. Testing YouTube videos, web browsing, the web cam, Skype, etc. It was a moment of concentrated collective geek joy, and soon, we were all pretty much convinced that we needed one for our own. One guy even started shopping for one, right then and there. πŸ™‚

So, it’s going to be a fun weekend. I’ll be putting the Eee PC through it’s paces, seeing where it works well and where it doesn’t. It’s not a laptop replacement, but it’s far more capable than, say, my iPhone, so it will be interesting to see how it fits into my gadget lifestyle.

Of course, I’ll be taking photos, maybe even video, testing out the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor), seeing how my 4 year old daughter Emma likes it, etc. And I’ll have more news about that new Intel marketing blog next week. Intel is making a big push around mobile devices like the Eee PC and MIDs, and I’m lucky enough to have a front row seat.

The best part is, they WANT me to blog about it all. Sometimes I feel like I lead a charmed life… πŸ™‚

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Microposts

Microposts from Twitter on 2008-02-21

  • I thought the lunar eclipse was happening much later than it did, so I was in a cub scout meeting with Rachel when it was going on. Bummer. #
  • My D40 isn’t back from Nikon repair yet, either, or I would have been out there with a tripod, trying to take some cool pictures. #
  • Blog post on "How and Why I Added Daily ‘Microposts from Twitter’ Posts" – http://tinyurl.com/39amgv #
  • What’s a good app to go through my iTunes library, fingerprint my songs, and clean up tags? IEatBrainz appears to be defunct… #
  • @influxx Yeah, there are apps that will take an acoustic fingerprint of an MP3, then compare against a db and grab the right tags. Magic! #
  • @influxx see http://musicbrainz.org for more details, and to grab a tagger app and try it out. #
  • Good summary of how I feel about Blu-Ray and Sony (via @clint’s shared items): http://tinyurl.com/2yaztv #
  • Just updated to iTunes 7.6.1 via Software Update. #
  • Watched the video of the satellite shootdown on CNN. Impressive! http://tinyurl.com/yrgkcf #
  • Wikipedia says that the missile that downed the satellite was traveling about 23,000mph when it hit. Yeow! http://tinyurl.com/34pe85 #
  • @billpearson Yeah, I think pretty much nobody believes the government or military when they say what their motives are. πŸ™‚ #

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How and Why I Added Daily “Microposts from Twitter” Posts

I’ve had a dilemma for a long time. it started when i began using Twitter a lot, which has been over a year now. For anyone who doesn’t know, Twitter is a service that lets you post 140 character updates on “what you’re doing”, which are read only by people who “follow” you, and you see only “tweets” (updates) from people that you follow. Sort of like a chat room where you get to decide who you hear.

Twitter is awesome, and I use it heavily. I’ve carefully cultivated a list of about 325 people that I follow. I know who all of them are, and I care about what they say. Most of the time.;-) (BTW, if you want me to follow you, just follow me, and introduce yourself – I’m friendly!) And there are almost 1000 people who follow me, which I find amazing. How can that many people be interested in what I say?

Anyway. Many people have noticed and pointed out the fact that I haven’t been posting here on my blog as much since I started using Twitter. This is true. This is what happened:

I quickly came to think of the stuff I wrote on Twitter as “microposts” – short little notes about what I was doing, or something I found interesting, or asking a question. The kind of stuff I would normally post here on my blog, until I had a better place for it. Whenever I had a “bigger” idea that I wanted to share, or something with a lot of pictures, or that otherwise didn’t work well within the 140 character micropost way of doing things, it became a blog post here.

Twitter became a kind of low-pass noise filter for my writing.

Lots of people who read this blog also follow me on Twitter. You’re my network. My friends. My connections. And since you were using Twitter too, there wasn’t a problem.

But I know there are lots of you who read my blog, but don’t know about or don’t want to use Twitter. I’ve tried to bring attention to my frequent microposts by putting them over in the sidebar, but I wasn’t really satisfied with that. I mean, who looks at the sidebar? Most people just probably tune it out. I know I do.

I know lots of people that use services like LoudTwitter, or tools like Alex King’s TwitterTools plugin for WordPress to do a “daily digest” post on their blog – to round up everything they tweeted that day, and put it into an automatic blog post.

The problem with this comes for people who subscribe to both the blog feed, and follow that person on Twitter. They’re getting the same stuff twice. It’s redundant and annoying, and I really didn’t want to make myself any more redundant and annoying and redundant than I already am.:-)

So, after kicking the idea around a bit (on Twitter, of course), i think I’ve found an elegant solution. Using TwitterTools, I’ve set up that “daily digest” post. But, using some cleverness built into WordPress (the software that powers this blog), I’ve excluded those Twitter digest posts from the blog’s feed. They show up on the site, so people who visit the site regularly to see what I’ve been writing will see my latest microposts, along with the regular big old blog posts. But the microposts won’t show up in my feed. That way, no overlap for people who subscribe to my feed AND follow me on Twitter.

If you subscribe to my blog feed, and you WANT to get my microposts, I heartily recommend you set yourself up an account on Twitter (it’s free and easy), and follow me there. I’m jabancroft. And don’t worry. Everyone thinks Twitter is stupid at first. And then they fall in love. So give it a chance, and don’t blame me for your future Twitter addiction.;-)

If you don’t want to use Twitter, but still want “the full Josh” firehose, let me direct you to my life stream site, www.joshbancroft.com. On that site, and its accompanying feed, you’ll get my blog posts, my Twitter microposts, my photos from Flickr, any videos i post on the web, and pretty much everything I write or create.

And I’d be remiss if I didn’t also point out my “linkblog” at linkblog.joshbancroft.com (and it’s accompanying feed), which is stuff I share from the hundreds of things I read every day in Google Reader and elsewhere on the web. Think of me as a news filter, your personal clipping service. I sift through all the posts, and pluck out the ones that I think are interesting. No more than a few per day. You can also add me as a friend/contact in Google Talk and Google Reader and get the same thing, if you know what that means. If you don’t, just use linkblog.joshbancroft.com. I try really hard to make it interesting and useful.

Does that work for everyone? Drop me a comment below if you like it. Or hate it. Or know of a better way to do it. Or think it’s the best idea ever, and want to do the same thing on your blog. I’m always happy to share!:-)

Update: A few weeks ago, I switched my theme (K2) to three column mode, and moved my “Microposts from Twitter” posts into one of the sidebars, using the “Asides” functionality of K2. It’s a LOT less cluttered, and doesn’t bury my “regular” posts under the piles of Twitter posts that I generate. πŸ™‚

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Microposts

Microposts from Twitter on 2008-02-20

  • @turoczy Wow, I can’t believe that Flowbee actually has a website. Too bad it hasn’t been refreshed since 1994… πŸ˜‰ #
  • @gwalter Well, the 1994 flowbee.com website will take your order, but I’m too chicken. πŸ™‚ #
  • Think I figured out what broke my IPSEC/VPN stack. Uninstalling the Cisco softphone software I was messing around with. Suspect that’s it. #
  • @turoczy Oh, wow. Sharing your first website would be an awesome meme. Though my first one isn’t online anymore. Not even on archive.org…. #
  • @turoczy I can find a 1998 version of the site, but it’s totally different from what it was when I created it in 1995. Still digging… #
  • My very very first website was created when I was interning in a CS lab at BYU in 1994, creating the BYU Alumni Assn’s very first website. #
  • Trivia: the BYU lab I first worked in (as a jr. high kid) was full of grad students working for Dr. Phil Windley (@windley). πŸ™‚ #
  • @turoczy Heh. My first site was 14 year ago. And even though I was only like 16, yeah, it makes me feel old. πŸ™‚ #
  • But it inflates my geek ego to know that my first websites pre-date the archive.org Wayback Machine. πŸ˜‰ #
  • @davechen I was only in that CS lab at BYU because my grandpa knew people. I was still in junior high. πŸ™‚ #
  • Uninstalling the Cisco softphone thing didn’t fix my problem. But reverting to a backed up image of my Parallels VM did! πŸ™‚ #
  • Flickr tells me that Ignite Seattle happened last night. Looks like it was a good time! http://tinyurl.com/2bgo42 #
  • Setting up LoudTwitter to make my tweets show up as a daily post on my blog. We’ll see how it goes, and if people like/hate it. #
  • @WiredPig The diff between kings plugin and loudtwitter is that I’ve never heard of kings plugin. Got a link? πŸ˜‰ #
  • @marusin yeah, I’ve had my tweets in a sidebar on my site itself for a while. And the RSS cloggage might be enough to kill it. Let me know! #
  • @WiredPig Checking TwitterTools out now. I knew something like that had to exist. Thanks! πŸ™‚ #
  • @croncast Yeah, I’d love a simple way to exclude "twitter digest" posts from my blog’s RSS feed, but still post on the page. Hmm… #
  • @WiredPig Yeah, a quick Google revealed several ways to exclude a category from a WP feed. Researching… #
  • Huh. Turns out that excluding a category from a WordPress feed is really easy! http://tinyurl.com/27jxr4 #
  • Man, I frickin’ heart WordPress to death. πŸ™‚ #
  • Hmm. "Select a category for your tweets" in TwitterTools is broken/blank for me. Any ideas? #
  • @SuperSpiker That looks like it would have worked, but luckily, I just upgraded to TwitterTools 1.1b1, and that fixed the blank category box #
  • Huge thx @superspiker @wiredpig @croncast @marusin. I’ve got Twitter integration working on my blog/feed just like I want it. I think. πŸ™‚ #
  • It’s 1:30 PM, I’m sitting next to the food court, and I still haven’t eaten lunch. Gotta remedy that. #
  • @memathews twitterstalked me, and came to say hi to me here at the mall. But we discovered his SMS tweets werent working, so, surprise! πŸ™‚ #
  • Dude. Pat Benatar is older than my mom. :-O #
  • Guitar Hero 3 keeps costing me money. Just bought a few songs from it on AmazonMP3. Rawk! πŸ™‚ #

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Ignite Portland 2 was one of the best nights of my life!

Now that I’ve had a couple of days to recover, here’s my recap post about Ignite Portland 2. It was, in short, one of the best nights of my life. It was so amazing to see how it all came together – the volunteers, the presenters, and the crowd. The crowd! We filled up the Bagdad – they had to cut people off at about 750, and we were so sorry to have to turn away about 150 people (from what I was told). Rick Turoczy of Silicon Florist has done an incredible job of rounding up everyone’s take on the evening. Don’ t miss his roundup post.

The best moment of the night came when I was sitting in my seat, down in front, surrounded by people who had worked so hard to make this happen, and who had become good friends in the process. And we, in turn, were surrounded by all the amazing volunteers, speakers, and sponsors that made it even possible. And we were all in turn surrounded by a crowd of exited people, enjoying themselves in a very cool theater. It all just sank down on me right then, a warm, fuzzy, happy feeling. I realized that this was the coolest thing I have accomplished so far in my life. πŸ™‚

So, here are some photos and commentary of how the evening went, from my point of view. I was the first to arrive at the Bagdad, at about 3:00 PM, to get set up. Plus, I had never been to the Bagdad, and I wanted to check the place out. It’s a beautiful building, and has a very cool “Portland’ vibe.

I was also surprised to see “Ignite Portland” up on the main marquee, since I thought we had asked them not to put it up there (we knew we didn’t need help drawing any more of a crowd!):

Marquee

I went inside, and looked around before Todd, Dawn, and the others arrived. I fell in love with the Bagdad – it’s a very cool place. As you’ll soon see…

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Tonight, we Ignite Portland. Again.

The last few days have been filled with anticipation, and tonight is the big night. No, not “Super Tuesday”. Not even “Fat Tuesday”. It’s “Ignite Portland 2sday“. πŸ˜‰

Response has been almost overwhelming – there are almost 600 people on Upcoming who’ve said “I’m coming” (it’s the 2nd most popular event on Upcoming right now, behind only SXSW), and I’m sure we’ll get a bunch more from people who read the article in last Saturday’s Oregonian, or heard about it on the radio yesterday. The Bagdad can seat 580 people, and hold 700+ “standing room only”, and I have the feeling we’re going to fill the place.

Everything’s in place, and ready to go. I just posted over on IgnitePortland.com on how to tag the media you make at the event, and how to participate if you can’t be there in person (video stream, Twitter, etc.). I’m heading over to the Bagdad early this afternoon to help get set up, but once it kicks off, I hope to be able to kick back and enjoy the event. A huge thanks goes out to my fellow Ignite Portland organizers for all the work they’ve put in to making this happen. And all the volunteers, too – you guys rock hard! πŸ™‚

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Got to play with a MacBook Air Today



Josh On Air, originally uploaded by TiEsQue.

At today’s Ignite Portland planning lunch, Raven brought his wife Mara’s MacBook Air – the one he ordered from her from the expo floor at Macworld, immediately after it was announced in Steve Jobs’ keynote.

We’ve all be following the shipping and arrival date vicariously through Twitter, and yesterday morning, it arrived.

Somehow, Raven was able to convince his wife to let it out of her sight, and brought it to show off at lunch today. Todd snapped this pic of me with it, and I have a bunch more I’ll upload soon, as well as pics posted below, and a short video tour I’ll upload soon.

It really is an amazing computer. It’s only marginally thicker than an iPhone, and it’s almost sharp on the edges, where the bezel is so thin. I was impressed by the keyboard, and how bright the LED-backlit display is. Raven says that it puts out almost no heat at all, and says he and Mara are happy with the performance.

My favorite feature after drooling for 30 seconds? The magnetic closure. There’s no button or slide or hook or latch to open it. You just lift the edge of the screen, and it opens smoothly. Like butter. πŸ˜‰

Here are the rest of the pictures, which you can also view in this photoset on Flickr (full size images are available – just click “all sizes” on the one you’re interested in).

The MacBook Air
MacBook Air - So Thin!
MacBook Air vs iPhone
MacBook Air Open
MacBook Air Open
MacBook Air - dropdown door reveals ports
Raven, MacBook Air, iPhone
Raven and the MacBook Air
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