Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Google's Mobile Foray is a Big Deal

For those of you who think that Google's purchase of Motorola Mobile is not a big deal .. then you should check out the front of the NY Times app on my iPad last night.  I snapped this shot.
There are four stories, and every one of them deals with Google and the news.

Personally I think in the end, its a power move to get the patents after recently losing out to Apple and Microsoft i a bid for over 6000 patents held by Nortel.

Now Google has the ability to tailor the hardware for its operating system, in much the same way that Apple does for the iPhone. One of the reasons the iPhone, and for that matter most of Apple's products work so well is their tight control over hardware specs.  Microsoft got into trouble because they designed software for such a wide array of hardware platforms, it was bound to not work as well.  Google now has the opportunity to do what Apple has been doing, develop a piece of hardware that is fit to a tee for the Android OS.

Should be interesting to see the results.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Event: Mirror To The World: Documentary Photography 2011

I was recently fortunate enough to meet up with some incredible DC photographers at a local meetup of their group to go over all things social media and photography.  It was an honor and a privilege to meet some real titans in the local photography community, including  Frank Van Riper, a local Washington Post columnist, author of some incredible photo book, leader of many workshops, and most important of all, the official head of the Cult of FVR ;)

Frank is one of the teachers of workshops at Photoworks in Glen Echo Park.  He has been curating photo's for a local exhibit they put on there, called Mirror to the World.  I wanted to pass along the details of the show so you can all try to get over there.  All of the work is amazing, I cannot wait to see it.

So here are the details :

Mirror To The World: Documentary Photography 2011
March 11 - April 17, 2011
Opening Reception: Friday, March 18, 6-9 p.m.
Photoworks Gallery in historic Glen Echo Park is proud to present Mirror To The World:  Documentary Photography 2011 Mirror To The World seeks to celebrate narrative photography -- story telling with photos and words.  This exhibit represents some of the best in documentary photography, by a local group of six not-yet-famous photographers.  Curated by nationally recognized documentary photographer and author, Frank Van Riper, this show offers a series of intimate "picture stories"  -- including an exploration of abandoned prisons, a rehearsal and performance by the Folger Consort, and a woman-on-the-street view of a raging fire in Brooklyn.  As Van Riper states, "It will, as always, be a hell of a show."
Participating Artists:
1. Michael Borek- Scranton Lace  (A pictorial study of an abandoned lace factory in Pennsylvania...)
2. Claudia Copeland- 'A Concord of Sweet Sounds'  (Images from the Folger Consort...)
3. Rachel Eisley- Fire in Brooklyn (A vacant tenement burns in the snow...)
4. Mark Parascandola- Relics (Gorgeous studies of abandoned buildings -- including prisons, tenements, etc...)
5. Erica Wissolik- The Carrie Furnace (One of the last great steel mills in Pittsburgh...)
6. Eric Zhang- Rituals (Three slices of life from the DC area:  Way of the Cross, No Pants Day, and Sharing the Dream...)
Exhibit hours are Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. and Sundays and Mondays, 1-8 p.m.  Photoworks Gallery is located in historic Glen Echo Park, Maryland.  Visit www.glenechophotoworks.org for more information.  Exhibit is free to the public.
Hope to see some of you make it !

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mayor Fenty, Please Come Back

DC politics are in a freefall.
Mayor Gray is clueless.
DC Council Chair Kwame Brown even more so.
Adrian Fenty, please come back.

Now that is out of the way, lets dive in to the discussion at hand.  I was a supporter of Mayor Fenty and I thought for all his faults, he did a lot of really good things for DC.  I loved Michelle Rhee, while controversial, the city's school system showed results.  In essence, they got shit done.  After Vincent Gray was elected this past November, I had no real opinion .. until he started hiring people that served under Mayor Barry, worse yet, at a major premium.  Strike 1.

Soon after taking over as Mayor, he then began hiring teachers that were let go by Rhee.  Strike 2

In the dust up over Councilman Brown (we will get to that in a bit) we find that unlike his predecessor who eschewed  a security detail and an official car and instead drove himself around town in a cool SMART car saving the taxpayers much needed cash, Mayor Gray has now gone on to lease a Lincoln Navigator costing the city almost $2000 a month !  Not to mention he brought back a security detail which rides around in a leased Lincoln Town Car.  Strike 3

So while Adrian Fenty worked hard to streamline the local government, Mayor Gray has decided to go the opposite route with a city that is facing a $400 million budget shortfall.  Will giving up a car solve that ?  Absolutely not, rather it is a bad sign that he makes poor decisions, not what you want in a mayor.

On to Council Chairman Brown.  He was recently found to not only be leasing one top of the line Lincoln Navigator (costing the city $1769 a month) but another one ($1900 a month) because the first one accepted by the city on behalf of Brown, was rejected by the Chairman because the interior was stone color, not black as he requested .... not to mention the fact that the second one came with a $1500 premium because it had to be driven to DC from a dealer in Kansas City.  So what is Chairman Brown's response ... not much. Of course his office released a statement where he apologized and stated that the vehicles would be returned, and that he
look forward to continuing to focus on education reform, getting our people back to work and getting the District's economy back on track.
What it does not mention is the fact that even though the cars may be returned, the city will still be on the hook for almost $4000 in monthly lease costs.  Worse yet, he says that he will  reimburse for "his share" of the time he used the vehicles.  Are you kidding me ?  The only reason the city has these outrageous expenditures is because of him !!  He should be forced to pay for the entire years lease on both vehicles whether he drives them or not, period, end of story.

So as you can see, our local DC government can not be in worse hands.  The old adage that the grass is not always greener on the other side is not always true.  Fenty might not have been perfect, he definitely had his flaws, but i would much rather see his SMART car parked in front of city hall instead of a fleet of overpriced Navigators.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Egypt is Far From Free

Like many over the last couple of weeks, I have been keeping one eye on the events that were transpiring in Egypt. A country that has been under a "President" for the last thirty years whose feelings and frustrations over the policies had finally boiled over. It was amazing to see in a sort of time lapse that eventually led to the ouster, or coup as I would more appropriately call it of President Mubarak.

Over the last day or so, as I started to think about it a little more in depth, mostly due to the chatter on Twitter and Facebook about it, it strikes me that it is not all that different than other events in history. Many times populations have protested and eventually over ran the government that was in place. France, Russia .. the list goes on. A different scenario, but how do you think Hasni Mubarak came to power .. on the heels of an assassination.

While it is true the people took to the streets and demonstrated for the freedoms and rights that deserve, I feel in the end they will have gotten few of the things they expect. They want free elections, but what they got was a "transfer" of power to a military council. This is not to say those elections and reforms are not on the horizon, but would it not have been more practical to allow the current regime to govern while reforms and changes are implemented? What the people of Egypt got was initially a transfer of power to the newly appointed Vice President, who was the former head of the Intelligence regime and I would assume a figure many people relate to the problem not the solution, and then a country ruled by a military council. We did not even see Mubarak make the final announcement himself ...in essence, a military coup.

I am not here to say that the Egyptians are not on the path to a new and prosperous democracy which affords them all the rights and freedoms they deserve, but I am saying that lets not be so naive that these are certainties. As I said yesterday on Facebook, these power vacuums do not always lead to great new freedoms and/or leaders. Most times they do not.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

$28,000 For Comcast Cable

Last night we headed down to the new neighborhood restaurant, Mandu in City Vista, to try out the new space.  It is very nice, food was great, priced right, good service, etc.

But thats not what this post is about.  As we were waiting for the rest of our party to arrive we sat at the bar and grabbed a quick drink.  We started chatting with Doug, a think the manager, and the bartender about how things were going.  The topic somehow turned to a television when another bar patron asked if they were going to get one.  Doug answered that indeed he did plan on it, but currently was having issues with getting a Comcast line.  He told us that the estimate given to him by Comcast to set up the service was for $28k !!! Yes you are reading that right .....  He said that he was told that a line was needing to be run from a local "sub station" ... never mind the fact that the establishment is on the first floor of a HUGE condo and apartment building, whose tentants I am sure have Comcast cable .... so there is no way for anyone to believe that cable does not exist in the very building Mandu resides.

We were utterly amazed at such a ludicrous business dealing, and it goes to show the lengths to which big business is not only out to screw the consumer, but small businesses as well.  We always hear that small businesses are the backbone of our economy, yet are placed in such idiotic circumstances which simply make doing business and competing in the marketplace nearly impossible.

So we want to start a Twitter and Facebook campaign to fight this BS !! So head over and Like the Cable for Mandu DC Facebook page and tag all twitter updates about this with #cable4mandu and lets get a good local DC business the proper service it deserves.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

DDOT On the Case ...

Classic, only took 6 months for them to remove a wooden box that was accidentally cemented to a sidewalk ?


D.C. Dept. of Transportation officials have finally managed to remove a wooden storage locker that had accidentally been cemented into the sidewalk on the 1200 block of H Street NE. And it only took ... six months.

What took so long? For background on the odd story of this box, read this and this. Basically, DDOT and the Department of Public Works couldn't agree on whether the locker ought to be removed. DDOT declared that it violated public space laws, while DPW didn't think it was that big of a deal. And since the locker had been permanently affixed to the sidewalk during the H Street Streetscape construction project, it was going to take more than just a garbage truck to haul the thing away.

Well at long last, DDOT spokesman John Lisle provided the above photo as evidence that the matter has been resolved. Lisle didn't know for sure what sort of equipment ended up being needed to do the job ... did anyone happen to see a jackhammer on this part of the sidewalk this week?

"I'm glad DDOT finally removed this illegal locker," says ANC 6A commissioner Drew Ronneberg, who had been pushing the city to take action on the box since August.  "I was worried that it wouldn't happen before the streetscape work was completed."

Read more at www.tbd.com

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Picture Says a Thousand Word, But ...

It does not convey the sheer power of the emotion behind the picture as we look not only at the picture, rather we see the picture through the eyes of the photographer.

I was lucky enough last night to attend the opening of King Week here in DC at the DC Public Libraries. The opening featured some great live Jazz in addition to some pretty incredible photography.  The exhibit was put on by Critical Exposure.
Critical Exposure teaches youth to use the power of photography and their own voices to become effective advocates for school reform and social change.
By empowering young people to develop skills as documentary photographers and advocates, we expose citizens and policymakers to the realities of our current two-tiered education system as seen through the eyes of the students who confront those realities each day. 
It was a really powerful show and I found myself very emotional as I looked at their work and tried to imagine life through their eyes.  I think the organization is a great idea and I plan to not only donate, but see if I may be able to volunteer in some fashion.. I urge you all to take a look as well to see if you can help out.  

Below are a few pics I got of the work and the commentary to go along with it.  Look and read and see if you dont feel a lump in your throat ...

See, pretty powerful aren't they ?

Wait Apple Changed a Design to Make Way for Different Cases !

I'm shocked ! Dont they always do this. I mean they make a cut from licensing on every peripheral sold right ? Sounds like smart business to me, even as aggravating it is as a consumer.

Amplify’d from www.engadget.com
The leaks suggested that the Verizon iPhone would have have slightly relocated buttons, and it's true -- as you can see in the photo above, the newly revised CDMA antenna notch has pushed the volume and mute controls down a hair from GSM version. That means a lot of cases -- Apple's current bumpers included -- won't fit properly on the Verizon version, although many third-party cases feature an open slot for the buttons that might still work. Either way, we'd bet Apple and third-party manufacturers are scrambling to have compatible cases in stores before the February 10th launch date -- just make sure to check yours first if you're switching from AT&T.
Read more at www.engadget.com

Saturday, January 08, 2011

FCC Continues to Ride Google's Ideas

Yesterday at CES, I was excited to sit in on the session with FCC Chairman Genakowski to see what he had to say about the past, present, and future of all things policy and FCC. I had no real preconceived notions about what we would hear, but I was curious if there would be talk about the recent passage of the Open Internet rules and some of the criticism they have received.

While Chairman Genakowski didn't touch too much on the recent rules, he did look to the future and some initiatives that the FCC is going to work hard toward in the near future. One of the major pushes Genakowski is concentrating on are what he termed "voluntary incentive auctions". The premise of these auctions is to allow broadcasters the ability to auction off some of their unused spectrum while they are not using it and would receive compensation for the amounts they give up. Think an on-demand commodity market for spectrum where it could be bought and sold when needs demanded for some and supply was abundant for others.

As I was listening, I kept having this nagging feeling that I had heard this before .. Then it dawned on me, this idea was the very same idea I had heard said by Google's Larry Page several yeas ago a a Google Talk in DC. I went back and looked through the archives of my posts and foundwhat I was looking for a post from May of 2008:

Something else that I thought was conceptually a pretty revolutionary idea by Larry, was a suggestion to totally revamp the spectrum bidding process. As it is right now, companies that get these spectrums, do so for a very very lenghty amount of time. Larry stated that spectrum should be auctioned off, almost down to the minute, as carriers had the need. Almost a stock exchange for spectrum.

It seems that the FCC has become a clearinghouse to push through ideas of industry partners like Google and Verizon, evidence this market idea and the recent Open Internet initiative that was basically a rewrite of the Google-Verizon tiered broadband approach they co-released last year, instead of standing on their own to create and enact regulations that are fair for everyone.


Friday, January 07, 2011

Zumanity at the Mashable Awards

Last night we got a chance to take in the 4th Annual Mashable Awards in the Cirque d Soliel Zumanity Theater at t he New York New York Casino. It was an okay time, seemed like the crowd was tired and not a lot of energy.

During the show we got treated to a small slice of the Zumanity show by e cast and it was pretty cool. Check out the video of the action.

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

750 Million Picture Uploads ...

This is truly an amazing number, especially from reading the text below, the average daily is 100 million .. which is a lot in and of itself.

I sat in a session at SXSW last year, with the engineers of Facebook, Reddit, and some other companies talking about how they have designed and built out their infrastructure. It was fascinating. Facebook, as we have read before basically has designed there own file system for the photo storage called Haystack. Its pretty amazing all these numbers and what heights we have reached.

Amplify’d from techcrunch.com
It doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but it’s still staggering to think about: over the New Year’s weekend, Facebook saw 750 million photo uploads from its users. That’s a lot of celebrating, and it sets a new Facebook record.
The stat was just tweeted by Facebook marketing director Randi Zuckerberg (who is also founder Mark Zuckerberg’s sister). We’ve reached out to Facebook to ask what the last record was, but I’m guessing it was set over Halloween, which has historically been the biggest day for Facebook Photos.
To give some context to that number, in July Facebook said that more than 100 million photos get uploaded every day (that average is higher now, obviously).
Read more at techcrunch.com