Social Connections

Thank You, Steve Jobs

While it's rarely fair to equate an entire company's accomplishments with a single individual, there may never have been a case where that feels more right than with Apple and Steve Jobs. His passion for his products and their impact on the world was legendary, and unequaled in the computing industry. From the Apple ][, to the Macintosh, to the iPod, to the iPhone, to the iPad, he continued to create new markets and new business for his company.

Tonight, we lost him......

I am a PC user. But if truth be told, I personally own an Apple ][, a Mac SE, an iPod 4, an iPod Touch, and an iPad. Not to mention the various Apple devices used throughout the house by my wife and kids. Not bad for a non-Apple family. It's clear that no matter who you are, Apple, and Mr. Jobs have touched your life.

I remember my first COLOUR computer. An Apple ][, with its floppy drives and easily accessible inner workings. The Steves (Jobs and Wozniak) had claimed it was the best device to come out of a garage in decades. It was a new thing...called a personal computer. It was exciting!

Then 1984 hit, and the famous Orwellian commercial on the Super Bowl. This new computer...with a mouse, and a friendly interface, would change our expectations of computing systems forever. I remember my friends and I going to the mall and playing with the device in the store window. We could be .... artistic with it. It spoke in fluid curves, not just in columns of characters. It was...almost...human.

When the music industry was just getting turned on to digital MP3 files, the iPod arrived and showed everyone how it was done. Sleek, powerful, with plenty of cool. Everyone had to have one. The other manufacturers immediately became irrelavent. Then the iTunes music store arrived and people stopped burning (and stealing) their own music, and simply clicked to get it, for a low fee. This was a game changer, much more than people realize. The success of the iTunes store now drives much of Apples profits.

When the iPhone and iPod Touch arrived, the world got a new way to deal with hand-held electronics. It became the personal communicator that had since only been written about in science fiction novels. It brought a new multi-touch interaction, personal applications, and such a slick interface. Pinch-to-zoom is iconic, and I expect it everywhere in my life now.

Just when everyone thought the mobile world was getting smaller, it all of a sudden grew again! And the tablet was born. A perfect balance between light-weight and enough screen real estate. It took off like a shot! And it continues to grow beyond the general public, into the enterprise, embedding itself in everything we want from a mid-sized device.

And ALL of these things were carefully nurtured by one man....Steve Jobs. Sure, there were thousands of developers, researchers, design specialists, engineers, testers, marketers, etc. but nobody cares. They were Steve's accomplishments. He brought them to us, as his gift to the technology world. And everyone rejoiced.

On this day, we must celebrate the gifts he brought us. We must recognize his commitment to our user-friendly communion with technology. He made a big difference in our lives. He won't soon be forgotten.

Oh...and just one more thing...


  Thanks Steve!



Web Presence

Your Web presence is very important. Or at least important to people who care about these sorts of things. Trying to define and protect your personal brand requires careful planning, some luck, and a bit of technical know-how.

Today, I launched the ConnectWithDon brand. Okay, so it doesn't rival Coca Cola, but it did take some serious planning. I don't have a product or service or company. It's just little ol' me. But I wanted to have some uniqueness to my digital world. The most obvious personal brand is simply your name. Unfortunately, there are 34,532,345 Don Campbell's in the world (Yes, I looked it up!....okay, no I didn't, but you know what I mean). My wife once bet that there would be more than one Don Campbell in our sleepy little town. She won. She always wins, but that's the subject for a different post. The point is, that there are a lot people out there with the same name as me, so getting my own name with .com at the end was impossible. It actually belongs to an Irish actor. Likewise, I couldn't get it on Twitter either. So I had to go a different route.

The product that I'm offering here is strictly my connection. I don't have anything to sell you at the moment (although the Slap Chop looks like fun). So my product is really my thoughts, experiences, and willingness to interact. It might sound lame, but it's all I've got. Hopefully, it's enough. In trying to find a name related to my product, I quickly decided that I wanted people to connect with me, so ConnectWithDon it is! Fortunately, and this is where the luck part really kicks in, I was able to secure the Web domain name and the Twitter handle. The other hot properties, Facebook and Google+, are simply my real name.

Timing was a bit of an issue. I needed to have the website in place before I could announce the change. But I couldn't change my Twitter name until I had somewhere to point people. It was the classic chicken and egg story. I ended up building the website first, in stealth mode, then saying goodbye on Twitter before changing my username, then making the big switch, then announcing it on Facebook. Sounds easy...but it got a bit techie at times.

The Web is a fun, exciting place. It's also a place where IP addresses rule, but arean't very visible to users. Unfortunately, when doing serious site development they become very important. And there are all kinds of MX records and CNAME records and A records that need attention. I'm sure I don't have it all figured out yet. I suffered days of DNS changes that took 24 hours each to propogate, making it difficult to use the trial and error method. Things seem to be holding together at the moment.

The site itself took a while to design (in my head, so I didn't waste paper...although I did mock up a few pages using my soapy finger on my shower wall). It's a fairly basic design, but suites me fine. I wanted to capture some main features, and the rest I'll tweak as I go. Website design, as I've learned, can be a whole different problem. Perhaps the topic of a future post.

The bottom line is I'm here, and I think I'll make myself comfortable. The only thing missing is a few friends (both old and new) to talk with...and to help me lift the couch when I decide it belongs on the other side of the room.

I hope you'll enjoy it here too. I'll post as often as I can, until it either takes over my life, or becomes so boring that I format my hard drive and turn it into a table lamp. Your energy will help....A LOT!

What's YOUR Web presence strategy?




What the heck is an intervalometer? Sounds like something from science class. "Hey Jim, pass me the intervalometer so I can measure the newtonian interference patterns." Actually, it comes from the root word "interval", and that's the key.

An intervalometer is essentially a fancy timer for your camera. Like your built-in timer, an intervalometer can delay for a specified amount of time, allowing you to get into the shot, before taking an exposure. More than that, an intervalometer can also control how many exposures are taken, allowing you to take multiple pictures of yourself, and how long it waits between each exposure, allowing you time to fix your hair. Sounds perfect for a narcissist.

My wife bought me Canon's TC80N3 intervalometer (Wow! Such an impressive product name.) The TC80N3 allows me to do all the typical intervalometer functions, and works as a corded shutter release (with hold switch) as well. The truth is, it's a pretty simple device (despite its name), and can be very handy in certain situations. Let's explore:

Scenario 1

Suppose you are taking a group shot at a family reunion (please accept my sympathies). You need to be in the shot too, even though you'd rather not admit to being part of this motley crew. Put your camera on a tripod, connect your intervelometer, set it for 30 seconds (so you have plenty of time to yell at those nieces and nephews that are trying to give each other cooties), and push the button. Take your place in the lineup, and wait for the CLICK.

Scenario 2

You go back to the camera, look at the review screen, and notice that Grandma had her eyes closed. If only you had another image to choose from. Now you're never going to get them back exactly the way they were before. Intervalometer to the rescue! This time, set the intervalometer to take 10 exposures. CLICK-CLICK-CLICK.... and we're done. Now you can pick and choose the best parts from each image. All without having to run back to the camera each time.

Scenario 3

Suppose it's the night of the big lunar eclipse. Unfortunately, it begins at 3:00am. No problem, just set your trusty intervalometer to wake up and start taking pictures while you sleep. But the real problem is that the eclipse is relatively slow, and you don't want to take 10,000 exposures just to catch it all. Again, intervalometer to the rescue. If the eclipse takes 2 hours from start to finish, set the timer for the appropriate start time, set the interval to something like 5 minutes, and set the number of exposures to 25 or so, and you're done!

With the TC80N3, all sensible combinations are enabled, so you can mix and match your delay, interval, and number of exposures to your heart's content. The only thing limiting you is your own imagination.

How would you use an intervalometer?