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Blogfest This Saturday, Calhouns, 6pm

Lissa has announced Blogfest for this coming Saturday! Blogfest is an opportunity for us onliners to meet in real life (irl).

When: Sept 27, 2008 6:00pm until ?
Where: Calhoun’s on Kingston Pike near Pellissipi Pkwy
Who: Bloggers, blog readers, Twitterers, and their significant others, family and friends

Come have a great time getting to know the people you read every day, and put a face to the words.

RSVP: In the comments here, or by emailing me, or Rich

The early Blogfests set a great tone for future gatherings. People of different political philosophies, different religious backgrounds, different economic sectors, etc. all came together just to be social and had great times despite differing views. I think some people have avoided recent blogfests because of fears that political views would clash. Set those aside for the evening and just come have some fun! Lissa has reserved a large room. We can put red on one side and blue on the other.

This is not a Barcamp. This is simply a social gathering. Come one, come all!

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Blogfest was a blast!

Rich pulled together another great gathering of great minds. Hopefully Lissa will have the official round up. You beer damaged brain keeps wanting to introduce her as Leesuh but her name is Lihsuh. I’m so sorry!

Multimedia messageMultimedia messageMultimedia messageMultimedia message

In attendance were Cathy (minus business cards…sorry), Rich, Lissa, Tommy, Victor Agrenda (Knoxvillians probably want to read him here), Joseph Agreda, Frank Murphy (and son), Jon Katsiros, and a friend of Jon’s (sorry..I missed their sites). Michael Silence had planned to attend but something must have come up. Apologies if I left anyone out.

We secured a large space of the absolutely packed (and valet parked) Wild Wing’s Cafe. Now we probably overstayed our welcome. Little note to management, simply asking if we could free the table would be better than slowly turning up the radio. When the radio didn’t run us off, they turned the televisions to a ball game at LOUD volume. As we left, the TVs suddenly quieted. That was funny! The venue was nice but I think we are still looking for the ideal spot which combines fun, food, adult beverages but child friendly (I suppose that’s optional), wifi, and the ability to socialize.

What happens at a Blogfest? We get to see the faces behind the words we read in feed. Of course as video and audio become more prominent by citizen journalist publishings that statement loses some of its oompfth. Still, nothing compares to the energy and dynamics of real life conversation which is what I believe Loic Le Meur (Whoa! He’s my younger brother’s age!) is attempting to duplicate with Seesmic. New ideas are generated, laughs, laughs and more laughs, food is consumed and beverages, economic and social boundaries are breached bringing people in different walks of life and opposing political views together on common ground, introductions are made and new readers created in this pioneering land of blog. Overall, good times are had. Of course, I miss seeing Randy Neal, Dr. Helen, and the blogfather himself, Glenn Reynolds at the table. Lookout Glenn! You’ve just been RealityMeAlanched! And yes, to all those I didn’t name, I missed you too!

Oh, one, is that Sylar?! (Sylar’s IMDB) And, two, my wife thought one of the guys in attendance had "really sexy eyes."

Other Blogfests:

Update: Lissa posts about A Wild Blogfest and Rich has his wrap up. Frank has posted blogic: the gathering and Tommy put down a few sentences. Cathy talks about the restrooms at Wild Wings Cafe.

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Another wonderful Blogfest!

Friday night, Rich of Shots Across the Bow pulled together another blogfest. It was at Bailey’s which unfortunately has turned 21 and older only to circumvent Tennessee’s smoking ban. I had planned on spending 20 minutes at Bailey’s then getting Noah from karate practice and bringing him to the party. Barry, of Inn of the Last Home, brought the whole family only to leave them in the car at the same time I was running Noah back to the house. La Fonero had sent me a second wireless router to give to a friend. I was considering either using it to extend the range of the first router they sent me or hacking it. After getting a Seesmic invite to pass along to someone, I thought I’d give the router away too (which went to Barry). Rich and Eric got the Seesmic invites. And for grins I grabbed some Allaire swag and gave away some tshirts and a mouse pad. The Allaire swag is leftovers from when I was supposed to be putting together the Knoxville ColdFusion User’s Group. Others are planning on cleaning out their basements during the next Blogfest.

In attendance, Johnny-Oh of Closet Extremist, Eric of Straight White Guy (who has the coolest calling cards! that is, poker chips for his blog), Cathy of Domestic Psychology, myself, Lissa Kay of Oh Really, Rich of Shots Across the Bow, Craig Thomas of The Roundtable, Tam of View from the Porch and friend, Les Jones, and Barry of Inn of the Last Home (with family in car)!

I had a blast but fear I monopolized Eric. Certainly was nice seeing some new faces!

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Blogfest and Blogathon

Devil of a wife

Tonight is a Blogfest! We will be there. Rich, one of our Blogathon partners is already at Bailey’s on his shift.

Bailey’s holds a special place for Cathy and I because that was where we had our first date. We met for all of 2 minutes at a Halloween party being thrown at my house then 4 months later we were behaving like nervous school kids on a first date over a pool table at Bailey’s. I rapid fired every joke, with increasing naughtiness, I knew to cover my nervousness. Cathy flirted and wow’d me seducing me with her beauty and wit then upping the ante on my innuendos until everyone in the bar had quit playing pool to watch us being suggestive with pool cues, lessons, and across the table exposures. We had a blast! And our friends who got us together to commiserate our similar situations, hoping that we would take some frustrations out on each other and move on, just sat back and enjoyed the show as two grown adults fumbled around trying to remember how to date.

I almost blew our relationship. I was so overcome by Cathy that I really did not want to screw things up by coming on to hard. So in the parking lot I tried to be all casual and attempted to say, "I don’t want you to feel pressured or rushed into a relationship" but the words came out something like "if you want to get together and have sex without a commitment, I’m your man!" Oh yeah! Smoooooth.

Heading to Bailey’s! Oh! You can still sponsor us! Pleeaasse! Read more here.

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And then there was Blogfest!

They gathered, and there was much posting!

Cathy felt I needed an opportunity to socialize with other bloggers without chasing Evan around.

He chatted with strangers trying to enjoy their meal with the exception of the older gentleman and his daughter co-worker date escort hooker which is regretful because that could have been a fun conversation, “pardon my son for interrupting your, uh, uh, thang. So, do you measure those heals with a yard stick?” [Source]

Tommy Shoots Pool

Tommy decided to join me on the promise that he would get to play some pool. The downside of letting me go by myself was that Cathy was not around to keep me in line..ahem!..Sorry about the shiny head jokes guys. It just came to me in a flash. This blogfest promised to be interesting as I really could put name to face and I would be able to talk without that "where’s the toddler" twitch. Rich assures me that Evan is great at the events and that I need to worry about him less. The first Blogfest we attended has a sense of apprehension to it. I mean, we all knew other and simultaneously knew nothing of each other.

we all read each other so…is there really anything to talk about? "Um..Post #1345." "Ha! That was great. I responded in comment #12768." "Read it! Excellent retort! Did you catch the Youtube video on that?" "Covered it in post #4491." Silence. "Check please." [Source]

The second Blogfest was more natural but faces and names were still coming together.

When people from the online world meet for the first time, the experience is unnerving, fascinating, and enlightening for these online people have shared stories and know of each other intimately but are always surprised to find that often the person they "know" online is not the same as the person in real life. [Source]

LesMichael and MckinleyTish and MarkLissa KayRich and Paul

The attendees at this third Blogfest were Mushy’s Moochings (who’s review has much clearer pictures than my cell phone pictures above), Shots Across the Bow, LissaKay (she impressed me with her semantics), The Kat House (also great pictures in her review), Blogitude (another great picture..beginning to think the camera phone isn’t sufficient!), No Silence Here with Knoxville’s youngest blogger – Mckinley, Les Jones, and Tommy (picture above at the pool table).

Rich Lissa LesRich Lissa Les

The turnout was a little smaller than previous events. I hope that is because of the summer and not partisan politics, or a mistaken thought that we like each other better in print than in person. The event really was fun! Several of the bloggers even tracked down one missing blogger (Barry of Inn of the Last Home) to hear him play at the Eagle’s Lodge. Unfortunately, I had kept Tommy from World of Warcraft too long and had to skip the Eagle’s Lodge to treat his withdrawal symptoms. See you guys next time!

Side note, we did have a couple of baseball players try to join our conversation ala Jon Stewart’s giant head of Brian Williams but we mostly ignored them.

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Blogfest this Saturday!

As a reminder, this Saturday, the 9th, Rich has organized another Blogfest!

WHEN: Saturday, June 9[edit]
WHERE: Bailey’s in West Knoxville.

Looks like attendees thus far will be Rich (of course, Lissa Kay, myself (but I’m leaving Cathy at home with the k i d s and I’m sure I’ll pay for that later), Mushy (might be there on Friday), Tish, Mark, Barry (mightwill be at the Eagles Club), and Michael Silence. Glenn and Helen and Say Uncle haven’t missed one yet. Will they be attending? And what of Mr. Neil?

Lissa has put out encouragement to attend for AtomicTumor, Daco, Netmom, Bos and Eaves as well as Preston, Serr8D and Number 9.

I’ll be packing pool cue. Who wants to break?

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Blogfest Happened!

Last night was one of those nights where I just should not have left the house. Of course, here of late as stress has increased, and I continue to work alone, I seem to have more socially inadequate moments. For me the blogfest was a blur as if I had too much to drink by the time I arrived. I got people’s names wrong, botched jokes, interrupted at inopportune times, could not get some of my past to come into clear focus, failed to eat my meal, and overall was a distraction rather than a compliment to the festivities. Oh, we also showed up late rather than early and that was me too.

I blame Evan! The child does not get restaurants although the wait staff seemed pleased that Evan was willing to sweep the floors. He tore through the restaurant as if it were a race track. Poured tea on the table. He chatted with strangers trying to enjoy their meal with the exception of the older gentleman and his daughter co-worker date escort hooker which is regretful because that could have been a fun conversation, "pardon my son for interrupting your, uh, uh, thang. So, do you measure those heals with a yard stick?" Evan was tired and doing his best to stay awake so I did the fatherly thing and drove him around until he slept but timed it wrong and he woke up just as I returned to the restaurant. Some thought I left angry but I was simply frustrated. I think Evan should have terrorized his grandparents instead of the patrons. For future blogfests, I will stay home and watch Evan, and Cathy and Tommy can go have a good time (and Tommy did have a good time! "Strawberry short cake fixes headaches and bad moods.")

On the positive side, I finally made the connection that a fellow blogger happens to be an old friend from college days! I had to sit back with a stunned look on my face as a wealth of blocked memories rushed into my head like the failure of the Wolf Creek Dam will on Nashville. Better put a call into the psychologist and hypnotist. I have lost touch with most people of my past. My best friend from high school and college days who at one time could read my mind hasn’t even met my youngest child and has only seen Amy once. Strange how age, responsibility, and children pull us into our own little cosmoses. When we went to the funeral, we boarded Molly at Dreamcatchers. I had to fill out a form that required a local emergency contact and I struggled to actually come up with a name and a phone number since all the relatives were going to Parsons.

Rich has the roundup listed as: Glenn, Helen, Tam, Friend o’ Tam (Bob I believe), Me, Cathy, Tommy, Evan, Mark, Lissa, Michael, and Rich. Cathy has the photographic evidence including the rain chains (see Jon) for Les.

Let’s do another blogfest soon!

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The Best Blogfest Write-up!

The best Blogfest write-up goes to Barry with his perfect recap of a wonderful evening! East TN bloggers met in person to put name to url. Glenn Reynolds has the list of attendees. These events are a little strange to enter. For one, the children (except Noah) were with us and I have continued to fool myself into thinking that blogging is something we do unawares to them despite knowing full well they understand our blogs completely. I am sure that both Tommy and Sarah have visited each blog and declared them "boring and weird" since our blogs don’t use the word "cuz," don’t change the font size nearly frequently enough, and have no picture from Naruto. Also, we all read each other so…is there really anything to talk about? "Um..Post #1345." "Ha! That was great. I responded in comment #12768." "Read it! Excellent retort! Did you catch the Youtube video on that?" "Covered it in post #4491." Silence. "Check please."

In reality, we walked in 30 minutes later than intended and confused the hostess since we had no reservation, no call ahead seating and, apparently, had no intent to sit down. We made various attempts at figuring out if anyone was here: "Blogfest?" Blank stare from the waitress. "Inn of the Last Home?" A waitress goes to get a manager and whispers something about police. I didn’t know they already had a run-in with Mike Faulk. Sarah exits the restaurant in embarrassment and I stare blankly at a crowd of people that looks something akin to the prisoners on the train in The Wall.

So Rich Hailey approaches asking, "Looking for Blogfest? Someone identified you." For a brief moment I experience what celebrities must feel and I reply, "Good to read you!" Blogfest 2007 attendeesAfter locating Sarah we fill the final seats at the blogger’s table. Lucky for Sarah, a girl near her own age was sitting right beside her. They ignored each other the entire evening. Tommy had the pleasure of sitting beside Mike Faulk who graciously tried to engage the nervous, bored teens until being drawn into adult conversation with Dr. Helen, Glenn Reynolds, Perry Nelson, and Lissa Kay. Amy sat on Sarah’s other side. Evan took the head of the table with Cathy and I on either side of him until Katie Allison Granju, Jon Hickman, Randy Neal and Mrs. Neal showed up adding yet another table. The early bird side of the table included Thoughts of an Average Woman, Barry, Michael Silence and his wonderful daughter, Rich Hailey, and Say Uncle. As some seats emptied, Les Jones and his wife, Melissa, filled in (I hugged his wife and he was probably packing!). Pulling up the rear was Mark Steel who enjoyed Tuckaleechee Porter until closing. [Hopefully I covered everyone. This paragraph should have links to ALL attendee’s blogs and their Blogfest review.]

A play date?

In the realm of overt cuteness, Michael‘s daughter with a huge grin unabashedly bee-lined it to Evan, grabbed his hand, and led him through the restaurant to the vacant upstairs banquet area so they could run and play. Ah! My boy’s first date! Of course, little Casanova is in big trouble if he let’s the ladies lead him so easily.. ahem! They were adorable and thrilled beyond belief to have a playmate.

In the small world realm, Melissa and I go back a decade give or take. We met at a friend’s party eons ago. She recounted how I encouraged her to get into computers. The teenage girls who ignored each other in lieu of text messaging went to the same beach at the same time for a vacation this past summer. Perry Nelson worked with Lissa Kay.

In the realm of social ineptitude, I flashed our camera enough to make restaurant patrons think they were at a Hollywood movie debut, asked Mr. R Neil, "So, what do you do?" only to see everyone look at me like I was from Mars, Cathy and Katieand I got to blathering such a technical description of something that I myself became lost in my words! Guess I need to get out of the basement more often.

Overall it was fantastic event. Rarely do you attend something where no introductions are needed and the person sitting beside you possibly understands you better than your psychologist. It was definitely interesting meeting people face to face with whom you already have somewhat of a connection. I only wish we had more time for deeper conversation. The time flew by and partings had to come almost in conjunction with hellos. I look forward to the next Blogfest!

Evan chose Jon

Update: As I re-read my post with Cathy I realized I left something from the "In the realm of overt cuteness" paragraph. I had intended to tell about Evan and Jon. Ironically, before I could return to update the post, Jon had commented about being left from Barry’s recap. Evan doesn’t always warm up to people. He even shys away from the grandparents from time to time. There was a moment at the Blogfest where Evan stopped running around. Planted his feet. Extended his left arm straight as an arrow and pointed his index finger at Jon. Then he reached his right arm out straight as an arrow and pointed his index finger at Jon. Jon was the chosen! Evan declared him, "The fun guy!" Then Jon, father to be, reached down and picked up the insistent Evan who proceeded to drool and snot all over him. Evan really liked Jon!

Update: Mark Steel came in as we left.

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Tweetup was a whale of a time!

Aubrey’s management eyeballed them suspiciously. Fifteen silence people taking broad steps toward the restaurant with heads hung low, each holding a device in one or two hands with their thumbs making rapid movements. One of these characters held a device in each hand. "Quick! Open the patio. These guys look like trouble." The group settled in around the table, and, wordlessly, began pecking on their phones and palm devices. Occasionally one would look up, point and laugh. These are the Knoxville Twitters!

What is Twitter? Probably the most common question asked of anyone who admits to their texting addiction. Followed by: I don’t get it. Twitter is a microblogging platform which you update from your phone and receive updates through your phone. You can also update Twitter with special programs, instant messengers, websites, and email. Basically, people choose to follow your updates and you choose to follow the updates of others. When you send a message, all your followers receive it. It is like shouting into a crowded room. Some people use if for vanity/voyeurism/exhibitionism, some use if for marketing/spam/self-promotion, some for utility, some for news and so forth. The possible uses for Twitter continue to be defined as it is truly a new frontier in the electronic wilderness.

Right now Twitter is known for having frequent outages. People are irritated but the simplicity of Twitter puts it ahead of its competitors. The fact that Twitter has a strong community puts it ahead of the other services too. Twitter is going through growing pains and it will overcome the scaling issues. Twitter is well worth the wait!

Today’s Tweetup (a meeting of people who otherwise may only known each other online by their Twitter nick names, like a blogfest) was a lunch at Aubrey’s off of Papermill. Fifteen people attended and we all had a blast. In attendance: @djuggler, @zane_hagy_z11, @knoxgirl75, @mwoodvols, @whodini, @suzytrotta, @cocoholder, @kmberlylauth, @bballentine, @utfcu, @bobmissy07, @ashleystravel, @alanstevens, @mjstone, and @stuboo. Topics ranged from "what’s up (or down) with Twitter?" to careers to funny antidotes. We managed to stay out of politics I think. It was a lot of fun! I look forward to the next.

Update: Every needs to follow @thecadillacman so that he gets the next announcement.

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It’s people. Soylent Jott is made out of people. They’re making our text out of people.

Last night, Lissa Kay asks if I know how Jott works. I used to work at The Learning Company in its foreign language division which was bleeding edge when it came to speech recognition (which is different than voice recognition btw). I knew all about Lernout & Hauspie and how to trick Dragon Speech. Jott’s accuracy (not demonstrated last night) has always amazed me because there is no training involved. You sign up for an account and instantly start using it. Most speech-to-text software requires some training which usually involves reading several paragraphs of text to the software so it can learn the nuances of your speech patterns.

As it turns out, Jott combines machine translation and humans to convert the speech to text.

If we were dealing with a very limited set of words, in a known context, spoken very clearly by a accentless person in a noise-free environment, then pure machine-driven Speech Recognition might have been the way to go. Instead, we wanted to be immediately useful and simple to adopt, letting any English speaker jott using an ordinary cell-phone, their natural voice, in a realistic setting (their car, running between meetings, etc.). So we use a mixed Human/Machine method for transcription, and that blend will change over time. [Source, Entrepreneur27, Interview with John Pollard of Jott]

Since Jott uses humans, you can spell difficult words to assure they get turned to text correctly. I have inquired to see if Jott plans to support IM, SMS, and emails sent to the inbox.

See a screenshot, the numerous services to which Jott can post, and my thoughts on Jott at the bottom of Rough Week Behind Redux to Follow.

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Knoxville Tweet Up

Knoxville Twitters @Whodini and @Z11 are planning on meeting with other area Twitters at Lakeside Tavern in Concord park today at noon. I may or may not be there depending on how much work I get done in the next hour. I have to leave early to pickup a child from school. Let’s schedule the next one for 11:30!

In similar news, this Saturday is the next Blogfest! 6:00pm at Wild Wings Cafe. Rich has the details and be sure to leave him a comment if you are planning on going Saturday so that they can arrange enough seats.

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Scoble is an Idiot

All bloggers are idiots! The first line of Why I Blog says "blogging is stupid." Why?

We paint targets on ourselves and encourage friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers to make comments which, depending on our mood, may hurt our feelings or cause us to make a flippant remark in jest or anger that changes our relationship with those commenters. It is dangerous waters. [Source]

Why would someone throw themselves to the wolves and risk having your reputation tarnished?

  • Blogging provides a creative outlet for writing, research, technology, presentation, marketing, and social networking.
  • Regular publishing improves vocabulary and grammar.
  • Blogging provides history.
  • A personal blog allows for trial and error with lessor used html tags, css designs, and web technologies, growing the programmer’s toolset and professionalism.
  • Blogging provides an opportunity to give to others [through mentorship].
  • Community develops around a blog.
  • Friendships develop between people that may never see each other. Business relationships can form. Support networks can form.
  • Blogging can even be therapeutic!
  • Blogs can be totally fictitious.
  • Blogging is exhibitionism with a sprinkle of ego boosting.
  • Blogging has become an outlet … to share … adventures!

Those are some of my reasons. Blogging has its nerve racking side with people getting the wrong impression of the blogger. Online provides a false sense of anonymity which allows us to put on or take off a mask much the way a car allows someone the same false sense of anonymity which manifests itself in road rage. We see a driver give the finger to another driver, blow their horn in anger, or cut them off because the cars take away the human element; all the driver sees is a car. However, those around us see a white van with a big number 53 on the hood and wonder "why is Doug being so rude?" Can one blog post change your reputation with the people in your life (online or real life)?

When people from the online world meet for the first time, the experience is unnerving, fascinating, and enlightening for these online people have shared stories and know of each other intimately but are always surprised to find that often the person they “know” online is not the same as the person in real life … and in real life the person may have much more depth, be less revealing, and more politically correct. [Source]

The reverse is also true. When someone in the real world discovers your blog, you risk having their impression of you changed. I often cringe when someone says "I found your website."

So who is Scoble and why is he an idiot? Scoble is not unlike me. He’s a technoevanglist. I used to think he was over-hyped because of his job at Microsoft and just happened to be one of the lucky bloggers that got noticed. Then I actually started reading his work and watching his Twitters (and his link dumps) and to be frank, he has earned his notoriety! And his notoriety has been self perpetuating as it has taken him into tech shows and earned him first looks at cool technologies. Ok. Maybe Scoble is very unlike me. Perhaps I wish I could be more like Scoble! Why is Scoble an idiot? Oh! Because he published something raw and got the ire of many people. (He’s not really an idiot.)

It’s interesting that Wired chose to link to this and jump on the "Scoble is an idiot" pile. [Source]

It is easy to criticize someone particularly when that person throws themselves in the public’s eye. The more people looking, the more likely someone will give a negative review. As we produce a large volume of work, the odds that the publisher is going to put out something bad increases. Perhaps we should be a little less critical!

Update: Dennis Howlett understood Scoble’s message.
Scoble Doesn’t Deserve the Scorn He’s Getting (I understood his message)