When my lovely wife Marisa decided to part ways with Slashfood I assured her it was a good idea. I said, "Now is your chance to build something of your own! No longer do you need to be a slave to a giant corporation telling you what you need to blog about!"
She took my advice and started a very successful canning blog called Food in Jars (go ahead and visit it, and subscribe to the feed. I'll wait).
Of course, Food in Jars didn't take off right away. Marisa worked hard on it, posted lots of great stuff, and people took notice (she was even nominated for a fancy pants foodblogging award).
All the while I was thinking, "Hey, if Marisa can do it, why can't I?!" I've been blogging about technology for a good long while for other people.. so why not launch my very own Mac news blog?
I pondered that very question for a few moments and quickly realized that the world doesn't need yet another Mac news blog. That market is more saturated than something very saturated indeed.
I went back to the drawing board. I thought about what the people I admire in the independent blog publishing world all had in common: passion. That's the ticket! But what am I passionate about?
Over the last couple of years I've written a couple of books, and they haven't sold too badly (well, I wouldn't mind it if a few more people bought my Kindle book, but what can you do?). These books are all technical books, you know the sort. They teach folks how to use a piece of software or a gizmo or some such. That's when it hit me: I enjoy writing tutorials.
Why not launch a blog dedicated to teach people how to use the technology they already have? Brilliant (if I do say so myself!). And so I present to you, uncaring Internet, Scott Explains.
At the moment there is only one post up, detailing how to turn off that dumb 'Send from my iPad' email signature that is on by default on Apple's latest and greatest geegaw, but there will soon be more.
Why launch now? Over the years I've had many a great idea but I've always been flummoxed by my uncanny ability to over-think things to death. I figured the only way I would actually ever do Scott Explains was by actually launching it.
"How does the Kindle compete with this?"
And how do novels compete with pop-up books?
For ye olde day job I'm often tasked with mixing and mingling with a crowd, and interviewing folks about the topic of whatever event I'm at. I'm also in charge (most of the time) of editing the resulting video (though generally I don't have to shoot the video, which is fantastic).
The other day we had a 3D viewing party, and I grabbed a microphone, a camera guy, and worked the crowd. I enjoyed how the video came out, so I thought I would share it.
I'm posting this link to Philip Bloom's Amazon store for my own edification. Though, if you have a DSLR that shoots video you might be interested in seeing what gear Philip recommends.
I've got to admit that being a published author is kind of cool.
When we got back to the apartment tonight there was a package waiting for me. When the front desk guy handed it to me I thought, "Have I ordered something and forgotten about it?"
I ripped open the package when we got into the apartment and found four copies of my WordPress book. It would seem it has been translated into Czech (neat) and so I get four author's copies.
It is a little odd to have written a book and then see it translated into a language you, yourself, don't read (they even had someone retake all the screenshots so that they're in Czech too).
You know what this means! More royalties for me! And, I suppose, since I only need one copy for myself I'll be giving away the other three copies.
So, if you can read Czech and want a copy of my book leave a comment on this post.
This Facebook friend request came in last night. Clearly someone thinks I'm a teenage girl.
Note: I wrote this last Friday, but neglected to hit the 'Send to Weblog' button in MarsEdit. Travel back in time with me, won't you? All the way to March 12, 2010!
To say that I enjoy Apple products might be a slight understatement. I'm a fan.
You probably have heard of the iPad, thanks to Apple's truly remarkable marketing power (so powerful, it is, that it doesn't even APPEAR to be marketing to most people... even those in the press. I recall earlier this year a former Apple PR person wrote a post, which I can't find, describing how Apple sometimes leaks stories to the press itself. The scandal!). Anyway, you might not have known that iPads are now available for pre-order. In fact, they became available to pre-order this morning at 8:30am.
Here's my order confirmation:
Notice the time, 05:35 AM PST. Yep, I was on my computer at exactly 8:30am pre-ordering a silly gadget. My order would have gone through a few minutes earlier but Apple's store was having a little trouble, so I had to reload the page.
Clearly, I need help but at least I don't live on the West Coast so I didn't have to wake up at 5am to order a device I've never even touched. That would just be silly.
I know what you're thinking, "Scott, why didn't you get the iPad with 3G wireless access and more memory?" Because I ALWAYS have my iPhone with me, so my iPad doesn't need to have 3G (plus WiFi is plentiful in the places that I find myself most often) and I don't think I'll putting much music or movies on my iPad. 16 GB is good enough for now (and I'll eventually replace this iPad with the newer, shiner one that Apple is almost certainly already planning to release).
I did this without consulting Marisa, though when I showed it to her she said, "That's totally you." Which, I suppose, is a good thing. I am fairly certain that she would never have purchased something like that herself, but marriage is all about compromise (and we haven't yet had the discussion as to where we will be displaying this... especially since I'll need to get it framed first and I have about 8 other odds and ends that I need to get framed that I've had for varying lengths of time. The placement discussion might take awhile to get to).
Anyway, it is letterpressed which I think is cool and it features some pixalated creatures (monsters, I suppose) which I also enjoy. You can watch the process that went into make this by checking out this movie (maybe they were making my print during the filming!).
Now witness the firepower of this fully ARMED and OPERATIONAL watermelon!
Ukulele + TMBG = Awesome.
As an experiment I'm going to try and embed the orginal versions of each song via Lala.com.
Here's They'll need a crane:
And She's An Angel:
He also does non-TMBG stuff, so check out all his videos.
[YouTube videos via Marc]
I'm tempted to get this poster, but I live in Philadelphia so it is a little odd to have this kind of poster hanging in my place... right?
How To, Batman! is my latest Internet obsession (well, I watched a few episodes of it so I suppose "obsession" is a bit strong). If you need to figure out how to go green, dress for an interview, or taste some wine, How-To Batman has you covered.
He's even on Twitter!
This computer has been sitting in my closet for a number of years, neglected and nearly forgotten. A couple months ago I got it into my head that I should totally put it up on Craigslist and get a couple bucks for it (this is a circa 2003 PowerBook G4 with a couple gigs of RAM and a 1 GHz G4 chip... that's right, Mac users, there was a time when Apple didn't use the same chips as almost every other computer maker!).
I got it out of the closet, slapped Snow Leopard on it and then just put it back into the closet.
Today, whilst avoiding working on my new book, I decided that the den really could do with a little tidying (which it invariably can. The den is 'my room' in the apartment, which means that Marisa generally allows me to keep it as cluttered as I like... within reason. Sometimes it is too much for her and she cleans up a bit... there is only one place in the entire apartment that is off limits to Marisa: my desk. It is generally a disaster area, and that's the way I like it. Marisa tried to convince me that it would really be OK if she just straightened up my desk for me from time to time... but I will have none of it! She even went so far as to clean it up thinking I wouldn't notice. Foolish woman). I spent a few hours recycling paper, shredding stuff, folding clothes, and generally acting outside my normal routine.
As I was putting some pants back in the closet I spied the above PowerBook sitting in its box. I thought, "Heck, I can put it up on Craigslist right now for $100 and be done with it." So I grabbed it, cleaned it up a little and took a few pictures of it.
All systems were go, but I had forgotten if I wiped the drive of all my data, so I plugged the PowerBook in and powered it up. Well, I should say I attempted to power it up since the PowerBook wasn't interested in working.
Dead. A dead PowerBook!
Now I can't even sell the damed thing so I'll probably end up recycling it.
Oddly enough, seven years ago this month I was making ready to move to Philadelphia, and I even wrote a blog post using this very PowerBook on a train to Philadelphia where I was going to sign the lease on my first Philly apartment (and I was totally right about moving my stuff up four flights of stairs. It sucked... and I was about 100 pounds heavier than I am now so I wasn't much help. Sean and Elisa moved most of the stuff for me... though I did buy lunch and dinner for them as I recall).
Also found in the PowerBook box was this:
I know what you're thinking, "Didn't Apple sell internal AirPort cards for the PowerBook G4?" They did! Since this was several years ago I couldn't afford to get the PowerBook with the AirPort card pre-installed. In fact, the only reason I got this PowerBook G4 was because Apple, in a rare move, decided that they had so messed up with the industrial design of the Titanium PowerBook (which I bought the moment it was announced at Macworld Expo 2001. You can check out Steve wowing the crowd with features like a 5 hour battery life, a built-in DVD player (OMG!), being 1 inch thick and made of titanium. "Like the spies planes," quoth Steve Jobs.) that they had a trade in program. You sent Apple your old and busted Titanium PowerBook (I named mine Timmy) and they would sell you a new, aluminum, PowerBook for a steal.
I sent in Timmy and anxiously waited to see if Apple would send me a new PowerBook (Timmy may or may not have had a run in with a full glass of water that necessitated me leaving the PowerBook off and upside down for a few days to dry out). Luckily, Timmy was up to snuff and Apple sent me Ambrose.
I was quite exited to get a new computer, and shortly there after I ordered an AirPort card. The card came, I disassembled the computer to install it... and the darn card didn't fit! I figured out that I was putting it in upside down (I'm clever!) and it slide right in. All that was standing between me and wirelessly surfing the Internet was a plugging in a small cable from the PowerBook to the AirPort card. The cable was pretty snug, and it was JUST a little too short to plug in, so I pulled on it a little. Nothing. I pulled a little more. Nothing. Finally I pulled a little more and, success! If by success I mean I ripped the cable right out of the PowerBook.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is they I bought this external WiFi card for my PowerBook.
Anyway, I'll be recycling Ambrose at some point, but he was a good computer (I'm keeping my G4 Cube though!).
During Bridges’ speech I wondered whether – after all this time since the Big Lebowski started filming – maybe one of the Coen brothers should finally yell “cut.”
While I haven't been writing as much on my blog as I used to, I still read blogs everyday (often more than once a day! Crazy, I know!).
In the spirit of spreading the love a little, I thought I would highlight a few blogs that I've been enjoying as of late:
- Vulture: This is New York magazine's blog about pop culture, and I find it strangely fascinating.
- Jay Lake: Truly, it is a great time to be a reader. Authors tend to enjoy writing... so they tend to keep blogs of their very own (especially the geekier authors out there). Jay Lake is a successful SciFi writer, cancer survivor, and all around nifty dude (well, so I gather from his blog). He blogs about all sorts of things from his cancer treatments to the publishing world.
- The Millions: A book blog based in Philadelphia? Instant subscribe.
- Debauchette: It is no secret that you can find pictures of naked people on the Internet. Debauchette gathers tasteful nude pics from across the net. Needless to say this one is not safe for work.
- Tweetage W@steland: Dave Pell's very smart blog where he ponders how people are impacted by our 'connectedness.'
There you go, just a few of the blogs that I find interesting. Feel free to share some of your favorite blogs in the comments (it goes without saying that this blog is one of your favorites!).
My job at Comcast has me doing some interesting things. The other day I, along with a camera man, venturing into Rittenhouse Square to ask folks some Oscar related trivia.
This video (it is on YouTube if you can't see it in this post) is the result of a couple hours of me yelling to strangers, "Do you have a couple of minutes to talk to me about the Oscars!" The vast majority, it turns out, did not have the time nor the interest to talk to a stranger about an awards show. Who knew?
Anyway, I'm happy with the way it came out, so I thought I should share!
When Marisa stepped down from being the lead blogger over at Slashfood she was in a bit of a funk. She was afraid that Slashfood was the only way people would get to read her food writing, and that bummed her out.
I strongly suggested that she start a blog devoted to food that she could control completely. Everything on it would be by Marisa, and she could write about whatever it is her little heart desired.
That's about as much credit as I can take for Marisa's wonderful blog Food In Jars. The idea is brilliant: take Marisa's unhealthy obsession with jars into something that is both fun to read and informative.
Now, I'm a little biased since I'm married to Marisa and all, but I think her blog is pretty darned good. It seems that I'm not the only one since Saveur (a fancypants food magazine) has included Food In Jars as one of the nominees for their "Best Special Interest Blog" category of their first annual Best Food Blog Awards:
So what are you waiting for? Go vote for Marisa! A vote for Food in Jars is a vote for America (I mean, who eats tacos everyday?).
I'm a big guy, we all know this (assuming you have ever met me or seen a fairly recent picture of me). Sure, I'm not as big as I once was, but I'm a solid XXL when it comes to shirt size.
And speaking of shirts, one of my favorite shirt suppliers is Tommy Bahama (shocking, I know). Their XXL shirts fit me nicely (generally speaking) but it would seem that some people find the XXL too big, but the XL too small. The obvious solution is the XLX.
That's right, a size right between the two! I can't decide if this is genius or idiotcy, but I suppose if it sells a few more shirts Mr. Bahama is happy.
At the moment I'm working on my third book (Sidenote: I can hardly believe that I've actually written two books let alone a major publisher paid me to do it!) and I know many people often wonder what the 'writing process' is like.
Sure, no one really cares what MY writing process is... but it is so simple that I can't not share it: procrastination. I've been putting off writing stuff for a couple weeks now, which isn't good since my deadline is fast approaching.
Luckily, this weekend has been set aside to focus on getting some verbiage on the page. My goal is three chapters done by Monday. Can I do it?
But I do know that once I get on a writing roll I can words to paper pretty quickly (and usually in the right order, which is a neat trick).
He would know that I'm not close to any Tommy Bahama Stores (much to my chagrin and consternation). Though, if you're near a Tommy Bahama store and want to get 25% off let me know and I'll send you this coupon.