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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

Marisa McClellan on the early days of blogging

Marisa McClellan:

I miss those early days of blogging, when you didn’t need perfect pictures and a post didn’t require a vigorous social media campaign in order to find some readers.

Those days aren’t over Marisa! We’re still here. Still posting imperfect pictures!

Canning links from Marisa McClellan

Marisa is excited:

Oh friends. Canning season is on so hard right now. I have 25 pounds of apricots spread out on baking sheets on my living room floor, and I have four pounds of super ripe peaches on my kitchen counter. There are dilly beans fermenting on the dining room table, and I put a finished half gallon of kosher dills into the fridge. I both love and am totally overwhelmed by this time of year.

Follow the link through to get to the links.

365 photos by Marisa McClellan

Marisa McClellan is shooting a photo per-day and posting it to her blog (and Flickr account if you’d prefer). Most of her photos are fairly drool worthy but the above tips the scales (you know, because of the cast iron).

She’s up to 38 or so. I’ll be watching every single one.

Other projects like this exist on Flickr too such as the 365 days group and Project 365.

Email comment replies to commenters using the CommentMailer plugin for WordPress

Sorry for the long title but I’m guessing that this post will be found by people searching for this more than those of you that subscribe to my blog.

For a long time, actually ever since I got an email from Marisa McClellan stating that she replied to a comment I left on her blog, I’ve wanted to be able to reply to a comment on my blog and have it automatically sent to the person that I’m replying to via email without changing the workflow for me. In other words, I didn’t want to have to copy/paste my reply and email the commenter or reply to the default WordPress comment notification email. I wanted to simply click reply on the comment, type in my message, select who I would like to email (or not) and click send.

With CommentMailer I can do just that. Although it is only at version 0.1 (so it is a little bit rough) it works great and I am happy I can finally let people that are kind enough to comment on my blog know that I’ve replied via email.

Update: Prompted by Katy Widrick asking me, via Twitter, how to set up Comment Mailer I’ve decided to post my response email syntax here.

%previousmessage%

My reply:

%currentreply%

%signature%

%notes%

— end —

The %notes% keyword is the one that will ultimately put a link in the email back to the original blog post. It would be nice to have %link% available though.

Since the garden is beginning to bear produce I’m beginning to pull together recipes that I’ll need. Zucchini bread via Marisa McClellan and Zucchini Breakfast Casserole via Simply Recipes are two of those recipes.

Food in jars – learning to can food

It is no secret that Eliza and I have a lot of learning to do regarding our gardening adventures. Our biggest problem to solve, it seems, will be what to do with all of the produce. Marisa McClellan has our solution. FoodInJars.com is her Web site that has a single mission: “a campaign to teach people to can”.

Marisa, we’ll be referencing Food In Jars a lot in the coming months. Thanks for the hard work involved in putting it out there.

The Independents Hall Grand Opening Party

Arriving in Philadelphia on September 1st, quite possibly one of the nicest days I’ve experienced all year, I knew I was in for something special. Bright blue skies filled with cool, crisp late summer air – it was the type of weather that you remember for quite awhile.

Early Saturday at Indy Hall

Independents Hall is nested nicely in Old City, two-floors above Strawberry Street (or what could be called an alley), and is now the venue for the future of coworking in Philadelphia. Spending the better part of the day there, on a Saturday, working with a few other people is a real joy. The space, the people, the weather – all factors in inspiring productivity.

My main reason for coming to Independents Hall on this day was to be part of the judging panel for the Viddler MealToday contest and to use the space’s grand opening party as the backdrop for the announcement of its winner. Alex Hillman, and the rest of the coworkers at Indy Hall, were all extremely accommodating – allowing us to take over a few of their desks for the day, a good portion of their second floor, their projector, and their board room. Really, we couldn’t have asked for better hosts.

I had a ball seeing all of the people in Philly again and had a great time judging MealTodays with Scott McNulty, Marisa McClellan, Rob Sandie, and Gary Vaynerchuk. We’ll be releasing a video later today We’ve released a video on the Viddler Spotlight (our blog), which shows what went on that night and that should give you a good glimpse into what it was like to be at Indy Hall’s party and to be judging the MealTodays.

With well over 100 people in attendance there is no doubt in Philadelphia’s interest in coworking and community (and probably champagne). Such support makes me both jealous and inspired to someday setup a coworking space further north of Philadelphia. But that won’t be until I have time to settle down.

If I didn’t get to say hi to you while in Philadelphia, sorry. I’ll be in again this weekend for Podcamp Philly.

Recollecting BlogPhiladelphia

If I had a dime for everytime someone asked me why I lived in Pennsylvania, instead of somewhere not so “behind the times” like Silicon Valley, I’d probably have a free cup of coffee. But this past week’s BlogPhiladelphia unconference flies in the face of the misnomer that Pennsylvania is indeed “behind the times”.

The main problem is; we’re all hiding. In general the entire east coast is overridden by old-world companies that are closed, non-communicative, and local. With more events like BlogPhiladelphia – I think we could start to see some real change in Pennsylvania. I think we’ll start seeing some of these companies start to reach for the open, community-driven successes of their west coast “competitors”.

BlogPhiladelphia was thoroughly enjoyable. Unless you knew it, you’d never guess that this was the first event of its kind (that I know of) that has been held in the Philadephia area. The unconference was well organized, well attended, and properly represented outside of its venue walls.

The sessions of BlogPhiladelphia

Every session on the BlogPhiladelphia schedule seemed to have just the right balance between education and discussion. Each seemed to also hold enough value that it made me wish that I could have attended them all instead of needing to choose between two conflicting sessions.

Each session had a “leader” who acted as the moderator for the discussion topic rather than a lecturer. This worked very nicely for the majority of the topics and each moderator seemed to do a very good job at involving the attendees into the discussion topic. My favorite sessions ended up being those where the leader of them didn’t end up saying a whole lot, but rather steered the conversation in a way that kept with its topic. I think the vast majority of the session leaders did a fantastic job!

The food of BlogPhiladelphia

Pleasantly surprised. That is how I would describe my reaction to the food that was served at BlogPhiladelphia. Breakfast and lunch, for each day, was provided by uwishunu.com, ziddio, and philly.com. Thanks to each of those organizations, and whomever picked the menu, for providing good food rather than what is typically given at some of these types of events which would eventually have you going home holding your stomach.

The after parties!

When I arrived in Philadelphia on Wednesday night I drove straight from my home to the studio offices of P’unk Ave for a pre-party hosted by my new friends Geoff, Alex, and Rick. The P’unk Ave guys are excellent hosts! The pre-party was great and I can’t wait to get back to Philadelphia sometime to spend more time with the P’unk Ave team.

After Thursday’s sessions we were invited by the Radisson-Warwick hotel to the bar in the lobby ( I think it was called Tavern 17? ) for free finger-foods and wine. The wine was actually fairly good (I’d venture a guess that it was some type of Australian Shiraz. Can anyone confirm?) and I wish there was someone there to thank for everything before we headed to the next location.

 

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Alex Hillman

 

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Marisa and Roz

 

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Crazy people!

 

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Owen Winkler

 

The party at Triumph Brewing Company. All photos credit Roz.

 

The party moved to the Triumph Brewing Company where, and I think I can speak for everyone that attended, we all had a very good time chatting, playing games, taking photos, and just generally enjoying the company of our fellow attendees. Thanks to Indepedents Hall (Alex Hillman) and anyone else that helped pick up the tab for us all to enjoy ourselves until Triumph closed. If it wasn’t for you I may have remembered Geoff Dimasi of P’unk Ave picking on me all night.

I was unable to attend the final after party on Friday night due to my long drive home. In retrospect I should have stayed for a few hours because all I ended up doing is sitting in traffic. Ugh.

The value of BlogPhiladelphia

Photo descriptionScott McNulty and I

Photo credit: Marisa McClellan

As Chris Conley pointed out in his recap of BlogPhiladelphia, there is much more value than meets the eye with BlogPhildelphia in the relationships and conversations you hold during offtimes of the event and after the event has come and gone. This is something that is true for nearly every event I’ve attended over the last half year with Viddler. The value of these events is in the relationships you build while attending them.

Not that there was not any value in the sessions or discussions that took place during BlogPhiladelphia. To loosely quote several attendees that commented about their experiences: “I’ve learned more in the last 48-hours than I have in the last few years.”.

BlogPhiladelphia was a huge success and was very meaningful for everyone that attended. I’m very happy to have attended and I look forward for the next event in Philadelphia.

BlogPhiladelphia – Day 1

9:00am – Free breakfast always tastes better doesn’t it? I’m sitting at the front most table at BlogPhiladelphia in the Grand Ballroom at the Radisson-Warwick Plaza hotel. Call me the teacher’s pet, but I wanted a good seat.

You can watch my twitter and my flickr for updates throughout the day as well.

Update: Dave Parmet pointed out that there is an official BlogPhiladelphia flickr group so please add all of your photos there.

9:30am – The introductions are complete. We had an introduction to “what an unconference is” for those in the room that have not been to one. And now the first session is beginning. For session information, see this page.

Update: The video of this session is now available.

Update: “I think being too serious can actually drive away readers.” — Joey Sweeney.

Caroline Marks says that Ziddio sees users that end up getting tons of views on Ziddio but not on their own sites. I’m beginning to wonder if there will ever be a market for an open platform for video sharing that does not have a portal site attached to it? Would someone pay for something like that to subsidize that portal? Oh, and Ziddio has cats on their frontpage – must be that Web 3.0 thing.

@BlogPhiladelphia attendee: Students “practice medicine” in SecondLife. Awesome. Would you try to advertise, or network, for your company/blog in SecondLife? Have you? Personally I’m not against it because I’ve read many success stories involving the use of Second Life. I think you go to where the people are, you don’t decide where the people should be.

Request: Anyone in the room have an advil or aspirin or something? Please bring it up to the front table to the guy in the marroon Viddler shirt. I’ll buy ya an open source beer.

Emily King: (quoted loosely) “It takes about a week to get a post out.” — Intelligent Travel. Is this “blogging” if it takes so long and is such a process? She says that she’s working hard to make that much quicker though, so keep pushing Emily!

The backchannels (blogs, twitter, etc) for BlogPhiladelphia must be working – because nearby bloggers are beginning to flock to BlogPhiladelphia. Come on down, and bring Aspirin.

Marisa, of ForkYouTV, hooked me up with some pills! Thanks so much Marisa!

Break time.

11:30am – In the Crystal Ballroom. About 60 people are in here, so far, to listen to the COO Dina Kaplan from Blip.tv. I’ll fill in the details as I have them.

She asked for a few examples of video blogs, one is called PhilaStories. Sounds interesting. She’s giving an overview of Blip and says the number one tip to building an audience is doing “regularly updated content”.

Dina: “The average video blog length is 3-5 minutes.” Setting a specific period of time for each show, and trying to live within that for each episode, will set the bar with viewers to expect a certain amount of time they’ll need to devote to watching it.

“You set the rate” regarding how much you should be able to get for sponsorship of your show. I thought it was amazing that she didn’t know ForkYou when they were mentioned when ForkYou uses Blip to host its raw video files while using Viddler’s flash player. I know Scott and Marisa. I heart ForkYou!

Attendee: “How do you address the questions of the media buyers like: How many rolls of toilet paper will we sell by sponsoring a video blog?” Trial and error. Faith. Instead of going gangbusters, do a trial period. If the results do not pan out, move on.

1:45pm – Lunch was very good. Cheese steaks! Looking forward to the afternoon’s sessions as well as my opportunity to demo Viddler!

Side note: Tonight there will be a sponsored event at a bar (Alex can you give details)? Please see Alex if you, or your company, can donate a few extra dollars towards the open bar. Thanks!

Update: Additional coverage of BlogPhiladelphia can be found everywhere. In podcast form at PhillyTip.com, and John Suder’s blog are two examples. Any others? Put them in the comments please. Oh, and of course – pay close attention to the blogphiladelphia tag on Viddler for video coverage of some of the sessions.

2:30pm – Don Bain from Electric Rain compares the 2d browsing experience with the 3d experience of Second Life. Tens of thousands of people are looking at the same page (Amazon.com) and you wouldn’t know it. In Second Life, you can be with other people looking at the same thing. The avatar is the “personalization”. The person is the cursor. “Navigation” is actual movement. Excellent points.

Thomas Taylor told me that there is now a BlogPhiladelphia wiki so if you can help to document this conference, and don’t have a blog or would rather use this wiki, please do so!

Updating the next day: I was without my laptop for the last 6 hours or so, long story. So I am going to edit this entry even though its already Friday.

Scott McNulty lead a session at the end of the day talking about negative, or bad, comments left on a blog. Opinions about moderation ranged from “delete immediately” to “never delete” comments that are felt as being negative. What are your thoughts on negative comments? Keep them? Ditch them? Ignore them?

At the end of the day we had an OpenGrid where Allen Stern, of the tech blog CenterNetworks, was able to present PreRollr. PreRollr allows you to add ad overlays to videos on your site. Then I was able to do a presentation on Viddler which, went, not so well considering that I didn’t bring the right cabling to hook into the projector here. My boy John Billota came to the rescue with his computer though (thanks John!).

Afterwards the hotel Radisson’s Tavern 17 (I think) invited us down for free wine and food which was a great precursor to an after party at Triumph Brewing Company. Thanks to all that chipped in (I’ll get a full list from Alex and update) and letting us
eat and drink for free until the bar closed.

Philadelphia Weblogger Meetup – February 17th

Though this event is split into two parts, the Philadelphia WordPress Meetup and the Philadelphia Webloggers Meetup to me it is all just about blogging and so I sign up for both.

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Chris at Ten Stone Bar – April 15, 2006

This Saturday (February 17th from 2:30pm till about 4pm) I’ll be attending the Philadelphia Webloggers Meetup at Ten Stone Bar & Restaurant. Will you be there?

 

So far Eliza, Mike, and Chris are coming with me. It looks like Rob, Tom, and Marisa are definitely going. Andrea and Jason might be going. And sadly Tony G. can’t make it. Update: Happily Tony G. is able to make it!

And, it appears we’re going to have a fairly full house.

If you are in the Philadelphia area (heck I’m 2 1/2 hours away and I’m still going) and you’d like to meetup with some great people to discuss WordPress, blogging, Viddler, or just sit back and enjoy a beer – sign up to the meetup and we’ll see you there.

Note: You can add this event to your calendar program of choice since this post is marked up using hCalendar. Enjoy.

Note addendum: It appears that the above link won’t work for Outlook users? Not sure why – probably because Outlook sucks? 😉

Meeting up in Philly

The Philadelphia WordPress and Weblogger meetups are over, for April. Eliza, Chris, and I drove down to Philadelphia (it takes us about two and half hours), and enjoyed the company of many bloggers in the Philly area.

First, we met up with Andrea and Tom. This happened to be Tom’s first Meetup also. It would seem that Meetups are an old hat to Andrea, since she is involved not only with the WordPress and Weblogger Meetups, but because she also frequents the Philly Webstandards Meetups as well.

Mike, a freelance developer and Nintendo DS player, was the next to arrive. Mike’s hill-top view, like Andrea’s, into “the standards movement” was refreshing. Hopefully they, and their entire team, will keep up the good work they are doing on that front. Mike is a Ruby on Rails convert, so he is also involved with that group in the Philly area.

Ellen, who brought Pineapple stuffing (which I found delicious) and lover of cats, showed up next. Ellen’s perspective into the attidude, demeanor, and personality of cats really made me think twice about our cats. Ellen described her blogging purposes as “fooling around”, which is why I think many bloggers do their writing. In some ways, it is definitely the purpose for most of my posts here on my site. I find my personal blog a very personal outlet for ideas and thoughts that wouldn’t, and perhaps shouldn’t, otherwise have any public view.

Scott McNulty, system administrator and fellow Macintosh enthusiast came with his smile on. He did not hold me accountable for my Drew Carrey comment, to which I will forever be in his debt. By far, the funniest guy in the group, Scott even made Ellen’s Pineapple Stuffing recipe hilarious.

Ben, fitting name for a bloke in Philly, came in fresh from the Philly Pillow Fight (his photos from the fight). Ben has a firm hold on what he likes musically, so he and Chris had a nice discussion regarding that. Here are some photos that Ben took while at the Meetup.

Amardeep, also known as Deep (the best name on the planet bar none), wandered in from the nearly 75 degree Philadelphia air. All of us wished that we had more time to talk to Deep, though the amount of people and the amount of time that we had together didn’t add up. Deep teaches Literature, and so his site is driven towards his thoughts on that specific topic.

Marisa of Apartment 2024, showed up beaming. I doubt she’ll ever live down the fact that her site comes up first for “Does Papaya make you poop?” on most search engines. We all have our vices Marisa. She also writes for the Philly Metro blog, which has the purpose of advocating local blogging. It will be decades until we see a Clifford Metro blog, this much I can assure you.

Tony, whose specific job title eludes me right now, works for TV Guide in Phildelphia. I didn’t realize they were based there, but you learn something new everyday. Again, another gentlemen that I wish I had more time to talk to, he writes his personal blog for the very same reason we all do, as a place to jot down thoughts. Recently Tony wrote an article called Bon mot du jour, in which he states that he isn’t always as eloquent as he’d like to be. I can fully attest to that, being that I’m often caught saying something that sounds like someone ten years my junior.

Stephanie, of Patrick Murphy 06, walked in next. I didn’t get any time to speak with her, but she’s on the front lines of blogging about politics in the Philadelphia area. Seems like their doing a fairly good job too.

Leah (spelling, sorry) and Duran came in last. Slackers. 🙂 After talking to Duran for a little while I learned about his hatred for Active Directory, or those that manage it improperly to be sure. I’m with ya Duran. Leah, another person I only literally got to say “Hi” to, was very excited to get some help with her backyard. Go help her out if you can.

Final thoughts

All in all the trip was definitely worth getting to my first Meetup. I had fully expected to see Owen, who ended up having a medical situation, and I hope he recovers quickly from that. Jason Santa Maria, Rob Weychert, and Joshua Lane of Pixelworthy were supposed to show up too. I hope their teeth are ok.

It was enjoyable, if only for a few hours, to spend some time with people that hold the same importance on this thing called blogging that I personally do. I look forward to doing it again one day, and I’m even considering starting up a Meetup closer to home.