Commanding Chaos for Coworking, Open Source and Creative Communities

October 2007 Posts

Setting up Nameservers on a New Domain

Tue, 10/30/2007 - 12:49 -- rprice

It's time once again for your favorite lo-fi screencast, Instructr! One day this might be a separate website, but for now it's a feature of this blog.

This screencast demonstrates how to use GoDaddy's Domain Control Center app to set up a hostname and nameservers on a domain you've just bought or one you're trying to move. This assumes your server setup is similar to the one I have set up, and won't work for everyone. Still, you may at least know which questions to ask now. Watch this video (about 2 minutes) and let me know what you think.

Download the Screencast (in stunning 480×320 optimized for iPhone!)

If you want to see anything else demonstrated, like if you want to teach your boss how to subscribe to RSS feeds, I would be happy to figure something out for you. We do dedications!

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Orlando Puppet Festival this Weekend!

Wed, 10/24/2007 - 15:09 -- rprice

Check out this video: The 2007 Orlando Puppet Festival!



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You can check out my full post about Orlando Puppet Festival over at BloggingFringe.com, but here's the short version:

This weekend, a parade of puppeteers will precipitate through downtown in an un-pompous display of consonance.... or they'll just knock your socks off with some kickass puppeteering. This isn't the stuff your nieces and nephews are watching on Nickelodeon, we're talking real theatre with one of the oldest art forms in the world as the showcase.

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PodCamp Orlando

Fri, 10/19/2007 - 23:25 -- rprice

Orlando has at least 4 healthy podcasting networks, as well as hundreds of travel shows, religious shows and whatever else you get from the regular podcast crowd. It's high time that we get an event together.

We had a BarCamp in September with 170+ attendees, but there was only one podcast session, led by myself. I realized we could take some of the geekery out of it and turn it into a media convention, akin to the BlogOrlando unconference held by social media guru Josh Hallet - instead of focusing on techniques, we can talk about what it means to podcast and what this medium is doing for the world.

I'm really hoping to get a wide sample of the community, not just geeks - arts groups, university professionals as well as other institutions and corporations as well.

I've contacted a few people directly and created a PodCamp Orlando Facebook group to get us started.

We have a great local networking group here called Florida Creatives - we get together once a month for a Happy Hour downtown - and we have a wiki where a lot of the organization will be going down. I own the domain OrlandoPodcasters.com and PodCampOrlando.com - the community is mostly organized, we just need to make the event happen.

This group seems to have great support internationally. I'm excited to become a part of it.

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2 Weeks Away from Blogging

Fri, 10/19/2007 - 00:15 -- rprice

I haven't announced this yet, but in an effort to get Petentials launched that much sooner, I decided I was going to take a month off of blogging - it's more like 2 weeks off, 2 weeks in England, 2 more weeks off.

Still, I find that in the past several weeks, between moving downtown, ELLA Fest and Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal Drupal, I've missed hearing about what's going on with my friends and the people I follow but haven't yet befriended.

Just now I'm having a thought about people I've inspired in some way to publish a blog: Katharine, Kait, Becky (coming soon), Kate (with an E), Aleshia, Kyle, and Charlie. I'm not saying I'm the reason they're blogging, but I had something to do with them installing wordpress or registering their own domain (there are lots more of those people around) or setting up a wordpress.com/Blogger account. These people all have something to say, or wanted to have something to say, and for my part, I helped them find the method of delivery, and if nothing else, I read all the posts they write.

Here's my attempt to give one of those folks a shove today. My friend Kate (who lives in New York, not London) from Absent-Minded Improv, and SO many other things in Orlando, was having trouble with restaurant reviews last week:

I suppose I have no future as a restaurant critic. Maybe that Guide to Coffee won’t be as likely as I’d hoped.

The ironic thing about this situation, though, is that Kate is a writer - it's her job, her passion, her chosen profession. I don't see it as a problem, I see it as a failure to connect with your goals, or perhaps a lack of structure, but cerainly not a lack of something to say or a talent with which to say it. I reply:

I think the reason why you have trouble expressing this in writing is the medium - break out your still camera and switch it to “video” mode. You’re an improviser, you can make this work.

AND/OR

Describe the scene to us, don’t just tell us how it was. Give us a story - if you read any restaurant reviews, you’ll find the best ones are very linear. They really only cover one person’s (at most a small group’s) interaction with the store on a single occasion, with possible recaps of previous or return visits. Reviews are stories. You’re a storyteller. You are powerful. You have it inside you to make me love or hate a coffee shop in New York.

Think about it. Then do it.

The major medium (other than my OrlandoScene.TV videos) where I have made any attempt at storytelling is through the subtle art of screencasting. Search for the word "Flock" on this blog, and you'll see what I mean... I hope. Instead of just pointing at the buttons, you have to have a real example. That's why I only screencast when I have a real example to show off. Teaching "in theory" always lacks a bit of that spark (or it does for me). A good teacher can make you care about the project just by making it feel real. This wasn't always something we achieved in my Digital Media classes at UCF, but when we did, I didn't mind doing large portions of the work for the project, nor did the other group members.

What's this all about? Storytelling. That's why it's "vs. the Media". Their storytelling has been tainted by centuries of corporate interest and tradition. The new guard of Digital Medians doesn't have those blinders on (or we try not to). If we can stop trying to emulate what we grew up with and really create something(s) on our own (and use lots of parenthesis), we can change the world. Being a New Media Marketer, or a Podcaster, or a Vlogger, or a Teacher, or whatever term we may label ourselves with, is about just that -- doing it your own way. That's why I turn down more of the clients that come across my doorstep. They all want something that's "just enough", but that's never enough. They want a story, and I want to give them a story. If I can't care about the project, I can't commit to it. Sometimes I can care and I can commit, but I'm just not motivated. That's a personal problem.

This is getting rant-y and I'm supposed to be somewhere in 4 hours.

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BarCampOrlando Video

Wed, 10/17/2007 - 00:56 -- rprice

Featuring... everybody. Special shout-outs to Mike Misowitz from Petentials.com, Mike G, because he's badass in every picture, the guys with awesome beards, and Jason Hawkins for rocking this video. It really is the BarCamp Video to leave all others behind.

Back room love, self-promotion, flashy titles, music by badass bands I've actually heard of (and seen live). It's all there, it all gels, and I couldn't ask for anything else. I'm so proud that such a conference existed to spawn such a video created by such a talented group that covered such a conference.

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A follow-up to my CVB Podcast post

Thu, 10/11/2007 - 23:39 -- rprice

If one is creating a guide to planning a vacation, would one not want to point to specific places?

In one respect, the Orlando Travel & Visitors Bureau is missing out on some great conversion metrics by failing to include specific links to visit. In one podcast the "travel expert" mentioned the fact that "Orlando has a great Opera". Such a statement could hardly be more true, but they fail to follow through with this idea. Not only that, but they don't give their listeners an opportunity to follow through. They say "just go to our homepage, you'll probably find what you want there... probably... but the homepage is the only important page on the site. We won't tell you what to click on or what to search for. You're on your own, have fun!"

You can spend all this money on a theme song and make us invest how many minutes in listening to it, and then miss the point entirely.

You made a podcast simply to make one. If there were goals in mind, I don't think they came close to being fulfilled.

Here's a possible list of goals:

  1. Set up this travel expert as a travel expert
  2. Reaffirm in the minds of people that there's... something to do in Orlando
  3. Tell them not to bring any extra t-shirts with them, spend your money here so we get sales tax
  4. Let people know we have virtual tours of the parks on our website - too bad Disney has a whole video game devoted to this on their website
  5. Let them know there's variety

OK, great. But aren't you guys a for-profit venture? How did this one slip through the cracks? Here are some possible goals for a podcast:

  1. Promote our new "Endless Summer" campaign (this is a real campaign of theirs)
  2. Sell some hotel room stays
  3. Sell some Opera tickets
  4. Introduce people / drive traffic to our events directory
  5. Get the word out that Orlando is a great place for festivals
  6. Let people know about the awesome DIY culture in Orlando, or the vegetarian restaurants, or Vietnam Town, or Eatonville, or local businesses - something

That's all for this installment of "What Were They Thinking?" See you next time!

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Orlando Travel & Visitors Bureau Knows Podcasting?

Thu, 10/11/2007 - 11:29 -- rprice

No, they don't. Honestly, this thing doesn't even deserve any Google juice I might be inadvertently throwing at them by linking to them. Orlando Travel & Visitors Bureau - Orlando Florida Vacation - Podcasts

After checking out what they had to offer (I listened to one episode out of 3), I sent this email through their ONE contact form - no comments, no email addresses, just this dinky little form where you type a subject line, your email and a very small message box. I think it's designed that way so you feel insignificant and to give you the feeling that nobody will ever read or respond to your message. If it's not, you should work on that, guys.

Here's my first message:

This is not a podcast. Your RSS feed doesn't work. The first and only requirement of a podcast is the ability to SUBSCRIBE to it. Also, any podcast with a transcript defeats the point of it being audio or video. Give them bullet points and links to rich media or other guides (particularly those written by local bloggers, newspapers, etc.)

I've been participating in podcasting for 2 years now, and I'd love to talk to someone from TVB about the production and release of these.

A huge point is the difference in production and sound quality between your intro/exit and the rest of the show - I realise you guys must have paid some money for that Orlando theme song, but it doesn't get me excited about taking a vacation.

If you want to talk, come down to the Crooked Bayou on Monday the 15th for Florida Creatives Happy Hour. There you will meet a group of passionate independent people who really love this town and all it has to offer. A number of us have our own podcasts, blogs, and videoblogs and we have great conversations about what's happening in Orlando right now. Your podcast is almost 2 years old now - has Orlando stayed the same in the last 2 years? Really.

I would very much like to interview someone from your office for my video podcast, OrlandoScene.TV - if we can arrange something like this, give me a call or email.

P.S. That comment about transcripts was mostly a heat-of-the-moment statement. My commenters have let me know that transcripts can be useful, but I think in this case they still didn't have any forethought applied to them.

Then I watched the video they had available, which was produced a whole year after the first two episodes, thinking maybe they learned something... they didn't. Here's my second message:

I'm now watching the video you made, and this is so clearly scripted, but the interviewer is on a phone line for some reason, and she keeps saying "um" while she looks at her script. If you're going to create an audio brochure and not provide an RSS feed, don't call it a podcast.

A HUGE point I have here - where is the feedback channel? if I want to ask a question about a podcast I just listened to or watched, I have to use this contact form. For all I know there is a person in India reading all of these. What's the deal with that? Give us some space to comment and discuss what we just saw. You'll be amazed when you see the visitors to your site actually coming back to check the comments.

I don't care if they never contact me. This whole experience does not assume any intelligence on the part of the person doing the "Vacation Planning". If they're thinking about it before they go, give them a little credit. The entire podcast is just a brochure for their OrlandoInfo.com website and nothing else. Really. I know I said that already, but it's so true.

If you're reading this and you'd like to produce something real, email me - rprice AT ryanpricemedia DOT com and we'll show these jokers what it means to podcast.

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Randi Zuckerberg's Innovativity

Thu, 10/04/2007 - 08:34 -- rprice

I don't often watch the ScobleShow, but I saw they interviewed the first sister of Facebook, Randi Zuckerberg (and it was only 5 minutes, Scoble is notoriously long-winded). It was calld Face to Facebook with Randi, cute. Here's the deal: She called herself innovative like 5 times. Never reffered to a team or what the people who use Facebook do as innovative, but herself.

If I ever call myself innovative, I want someone to come back to this post and call me out on it. I'm having trouble putting it into words, but I don't want to tell other people what to think of me. Randi is clearly trying to associate herself with the word "innovative" in the minds of the people watching this interview. It's likely that in 3 years, I won't remember what she said except for that word, and now neither will you...

How did Randi earn the right to innovate as the Digital Media Producer at Facebook? She made some videos that are only funny to silicon valley geek types, but I've never really found them that funny.

I'm going to look into Randi some more over the next couple of weeks and see if I can find something cool about her - I'm sure that after her appearance on Scoble she's all over the place. If not, maybe I'll just interview her. Stay tuned.

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Jessica Clark almost gets Coworking

Wed, 10/03/2007 - 09:58 -- rprice

Jessica Clark recently wrote a web-only article for The American Prospect, "an authoritative magazine of liberal ideas" about our new friends at Independent's Hall called Coworkers of the World, Unite! She gets all of the factual information correct:

Co-working goes hand-in-hand with the volatile startup lifestyle, offering a haven between gigs and a spot to generate new projects and connections. The trend started in the capital of what business writer Daniel Pink has dubbed the "free agent nation" -- San Francisco. There, Chris Messina, 26, and Tara Hunt, 34, run Citizen Agency, a marketing and design firm that advises clients on how to develop brand communities, and Citizen Space, a co-working office.

Fine piece of journalism, really. I think this could help a newbie understand coworking. I disagree with the last 3 paragraphs. I left a comment, but it feels like I didn't think it all the way through.

Am I too whiny? I felt like a kid defending his Ninja Turtles:

How can you say "for Hunt and others, these new ties are just as valid as the old connections of blood, proximity and race." and then include these comments?

"no number of Facebook friendships will serve as a safety net if you go bankrupt"

"Incubate their startups so that they can cash in and move on to other projects."

You have a theoretical knowledge of what all these buzzwords mean - social interaction, barcamp, coworking - but would you have written that if you knew what it was like? The bonds you make because of these common goals are far stronger than those you make with an everyday working relationship. To quote Chris Heuer from an unconference this week, "Business is personal again". I won't hire anyone I wouldn't invite into my home, or go on a weekend camping trip with.

The people I've met because of my interest in coworking are getting invited to my wedding. I mean that.

She goes through several thousand words building up Coworking, BarCamp and other such geeky topics as new ways of holding a community together, and then accuses us of being hollow, shallow capitalists in the same breath.

Jessica, I charge you to go work at Indy Hall for a month and read your article to yourself; then we'll talk.

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Listen to my BlogOrlando Podcasting Session

Wed, 10/03/2007 - 01:22 -- rprice

BlogOrlando artwork by Jeremy Harrington

Download the Podcast

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