Category: Meta

Living in the cloud

I did not realize how much I loved the cloud until this week.

This is my last week @Poynter, and I spent part of the day clearing off my work MacBook Pro to hand in.

The process is typically a major pain. Words docs, spreadsheets, presentations, photos, music, and email all need to be found and saved onto external hard drives or thumb drives and reconstructed on a new machine. I still have Zip disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs and even a Syquest disk laying around from previous migrations.

But this time: painless.

Most of my working documents are in DropBox. All of my email and calendars (personal and work) are stored in various Google Apps accounts. The majority of my news reading is done via RSS feeds stored in Google Reader. Firefox is syncing my bookmarks (somewhere) but I use Delicious and Instapaper in most cases anyway. All of my notes and to-dos are in Evernote. Almost every photo I have taken in the past year is still on my iPhone – a few are on Facebook, Flickr and Instagram. When traveling I watch movies on Netflix and TV via Slingbox. And, Twitter is what it is.

In fact music is the only real cloud hold-out for the moment, though I have that backed-up to Amazon’s Cloud Drive and an external drive at home just in case.

Scanning the laptop – the only files actually saved locally are applications and random downloads that could be deleted. The entire process took about 20 minutes, and I can walk away fairly confident I am not leaving behind anything I am going to need later.

And – bonus points – most of the apps I use on the laptop have iPhone/iPad equivalents. So despite being without a computer for the next few days I am barely going to notice. Actually, I would be much more distressed if I lost my phone for the weekend.

Sure Amazon’s cloud crashed for three days last week. So far – the risk is worth it.

Moving south

There is an old joke in Maine about a family that heads south in the winter for warmer climates – they have a vacation home in Kittery. If you are from away, trust me it is funnier in person. It also helps if you know where Kittery is.

That punchline comes to mind as we are in fact moving south this summer – all the way from New Hampshire to Boston. South of Boston even.

My fellowship at Poynter ends April 28, and on May 2 I will start at the Boston Globe / as a Senior Product Manager (Yep, I buried the lede there) helping develop and support new mobile products.

Needless to say I am excited about the new job – phones and tablets are where the action is going to be for the next few years. And, I am incredibly indebted to Poynter (especially Julie, Steve, Mallary and Regina) for helping me think and write about mobile and social these past months.

I will be commuting for most of the summer – it is about an hour in good traffic. We hope to sell our place in N.H. and move to Mass. sometime before September. That part of the process can’t come soon enough – I spent the weekend painting and putting new tile in the upstairs bathroom. Why is it we never really get around to fixing a place up until we are selling it?

On a related note – anyone want a piano? No way am I moving that again.

The life of a tweet

I sent a note out over Twitter earlier today trying to gather some additional responses to a Web Tools Survey I am working on: Doing a survey of news Web sites – what open-source and free tools and services do you use: #journ

Typical enough – but what was interesting was watching the traffic (via

I have noted on the chart the timing of each re-tweet (red) and, perhaps more importantly, the actual conversions of clicks to survey responses (green). In the first hour the survey received five re-tweets, 110 referrals from Twitter, and four people actually completed the survey.

You can check out the raw data here

Is this illegal?

Is it wrong to embed/share an Associated Press video?

Apparently there are some crossed lines at AP. It is a big company so not a surprise that mistakes happen. But, they look pretty silly when a regional AP rep asks an affiliate radio station to remove similar videos from their site. Especially when the videos were embedded from the official AP YouTube Channel.

Does AP know how its YouTube channel works? (CNet News)

Free can be good and effective. Did I mention free?

If you are an online-type-person working at a have I got an offer for you.

I am working on a small research project that hopefully will turn into a case study and presentation at Poynter later this summer. The working title is: ’10 Things You Can do for Free Today.’

The project involves identifying 15 – 20 of the top ‘free’ tools being used on newspaper Web sites and then building short case study for each focused on ease of installation, use, successes and best practices. The tools most commonly mentioned so far range from Coveritlive to Qik.

If you are interested in helping out just answer a few quick questions here: Web Tools Survey