My first camera was a Canon 35mm SLR with a kit lens. It was a Christmas gift from mom and dad close to twenty years ago. Besides their love, and my eduction, that camera was perhaps the greatest gift my parents even gave me. While there was a period of time during which I put the camera down (film can be a hassle) there was never a time where I didn’t see things around me and consider how I’d capture the moment on film.

My reawakening happened one overcast afternoon London, England. I was with my wife and in-laws, walking the streets, just taking in the amazing sights, and suddenly I wished, out loud, that I had my camera. “Wait a minute. You do!”, exclaimed my wife. “Huh?” I replied. Then I suddenly realized… my iPhone!

Those were pure moments. I wasn’t worried about megapixels or a fancy lens. In that moment I became a believer that the best camera is the one you have with you. The simplicity of that experience reawakened the love. Sharing those captured moments with friends was the glue that made it all stick. I have since upgraded my megapixels but that moment reminds me never to take that, or myself, too seriously.

I brought my first iPod home six years ago. It is third generation, classic white, holds 4,000 songs, and predates the color screen. We have been through a lot together. It was with me on countless trips between California and Arizona, moved with me to Arizona when those trips became too much, saw Linda and I buy our first house, and our marriage. Unlike our marriage, the iPod is a little worse for wear. The battery no longer holds a charge, and after I left it outside to suffer a few days worth of Arizona summer, the wheel no longer works.

You are more likely to either hand-me-down, or lose an iPod, before throwing it away. A little uncertain exactly what I should do, I decided the old iPod would get a permanent home in the bathroom. I bought a JVC charger / speaker deck for it to sit in, loaded it with a lot of my favorite music, and there it has sat for the last two years. The bad news is that it continues to show signs of aging, including no longer syncing to my iTunes.

I have a nice new model that will reportedly hold 40,000 songs. It’s black. The wheel works. It plays video. I also have my iPhone (that really holds more music than I need). With the introduction of the iPhone, I realize that I will likely never buy another iPod. That isn’t the point though, is it. When the old iPod completely gives out, I will likely put it on my bookshelf along with my old 35mm camera, and gaze upon them from time to time, in thanks, and remembrance.

Twitter 101

November 19, 2009

Social media coming at you like a big wave? A former professor put it into perspective. “It seems technology is like that huge wave you try to catch and stay on top of, but eventually, and inevitably, it washes over you and either pushes up on shore where you will forever remain, or you will drown, or if you are one of the exceptional and fortunate ones, you will pop back up to ride the next wave.”

Now, the 101 part: This is a blog. You likely understand blogs. Twitter is a micro-blog. What makes it micro? It allows 140 characters a post. I’d suggest a simple strategy to get started. Sign up at twitter.com. Then search for folks you’re interested in following. Celebrities (@lancearmstrong), friends (@owenwbrown) and people in your industry (@mashable). The gist Follow first and then decide how you will use the tool to communicate what you have to say.

Got an iPhone? Get the Tweetie app and get Twitter in your pocket! For everything else see http://mashable.com/guidebook/twitter/

US Open Tips

September 25, 2009

A few weeks ago my wife and I, accompanied by her mom and dad, made a trip to New York City for the US Open Tennis Championship. It was a blast. Here are a few things worth sharing that we learned during our three days.

1. Go the first week. The tournament is two weeks long. The first week I think is best to see live. You’ll see a lot of quality tennis in just a few days. We saw almost all of our favorite players and became fans of several others. We were there about ten to twelve hours each day.

2, Buy General Admission Tickets. Save your money on the expensive tickets. General Admission cost around $40. What you get for your money is access to every court in the place with the exception of Arthur Ashe. The super big stars play on Ashe but they can’t all play there at once! This means that some of the big names play on the smaller courts including Louis Armstrong and the Grandstand.

3. Download the iPhone app. Yes, there’s an app for that. Save your $7.00 for the days scheduled and download the free application.

4. Visit the side courts. We got to see a lot of tennis in just three days. Most of the best tennis was either in the Grandstand or Armstrong. However, it’s worth checking out the side courts just for the fact that you are so close.

5. Getting around in Armstrong. Up until a few years ago, this was the main stadium. I would also note that it is connected to the Grandstand and most night matches (besides Ashe) will be here.

  • Start with taking the stairs to the very top upper deck.
  • Check out the bathrooms up there; the aren’t crowded. Can’t say that about elsewhere on the grounds.
  • Easier access to refreshment stands. Cold beverages, good, etc.
  • From the upper deck one can come and go during sessions. Otherwise you have to wait until the change overs to be seated.
  • Once you’re In the upper deck you can  work your way down to better seats.
  • On a hot day there is a breeze up there which is oh so important when it’s really hot.
  • When you do venture down, remember that the west side seats have less legroom, east side more legroom.
  • The west side offers more shade on a sunny afternoon.

6. Tips on getting there. I should mention here that we stayed in Times Square. Wherever you are, take the subway. The gates at Flushing Meadows open at 10:00 AM. Play starts at 11:00 AM. The smart money (for us at least) was on leaving at 9:00 AM. There’s an express train from Times Square so visit mta.info.com before your trip and get familiar with the route. Each ride on the subway is $2.25 each so plan ahead and get your MTA card loaded with as many trips as you will use. When you read a subway map in the tunnels note that they read down. So, if you are on Wall Street and are trying to get to 34th Penn Station, 34th needs to be below Wall Street on the map.

7. Essential gear.

  • Hat.
  • Sunscreen.
  • Water bottle (& refill). Pay $10 for it there? That’s about as much as dinner for one on the grounds.
  • Cash and Credit.
  • Shoulder Bag. One strap only. Leave your backpack at home as they are banned. It’s not so odd. If you think this is weird, just think about all the rules at the airport.
  • Cliff Bars.
  • Camera with a good zoom.

I’m sure I left some good stuff out. Let me know if you have any questions.