Rubik’s Folly

I have been trying to solve the Rubik’s Cube all of my life. Keep in mind this addictive puzzle was invented back in 1974.

Like many humans, I can spin the Rubik’s Cube in various directions all day long. After hours of studying the masters on YouTube, I finally figured out how to record myself solving the Rubik’s Cube:

  1. Walk into the store and buy a new Rubik’s Cube.
  2. Bring ‘er home and set up a video camera.
  3. Mess ‘er up again while recording.
  4. Bring the video into an editor and reverse playback.
  5. Export.


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Yeah, it’s pretty obvious I suck at this. Still doesn’t take away from me accidentally solving the Pyraminx back in the day (that really DID happen).

Around The Home Office In Less Than 80 Days

I’m not sure why so many of you demand that I create a home office tour video. I’ve done several of them in past years. Nothing has really changed. I have a lot of crap. I’ll have the same crap next year.

Since I knew I had to give in and show off the office to keep you happy, I thought it would be fun to record the video using my iPhone and the new CamHelium app. This 99-cent app puts a helium balloon inside of your iPhone. It gives your voice that lovely balloon-y sound effect we all know and love. Tap the button to start and stop recording… and you’re done. There’s nothing fancy or tricky about the application.


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Record video messages for friends, children, family, and even your boss. Share your creations immediately via email, Facebook, YouTube, or MMS. Sit back and enjoy the laughter that will soon follow.

Slices Of Gnomedex 10: Brian Solis Takes Solace In Community

If there was a theme in our Gnomedex schedule, it was that YOU have the power to change the world. No one embodies this ideal more than this year’s keynote speaker Brian Solis.

Brian has been coming to Gnomedex for many years as a paid attendee. He felt that this was the only conference which held value for him. He always walked away with something special. He used this to talk to our audience about what Gnomedex is and was… and what it has meant to him.

“If the elite have TED, the geeks have Gnomedex.” Gnomedex, to Brian, is the place where community comes together and creates positive change… in ourselves and the world around us. The web defines a whole new era of society. Anyone who doesn’t realize the true power at their fingertips needs to be educated. Every tweet, blog post, and podcast is a tool that you can use to help create the change that you desire to see.


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We are the last generation to know privacy as it was. Each of us has the opportunity – and obligation – to help educate those around us. Party of the beauty of social media is to earn a response. Isn’t that why you tweet? You want to see what someone has to say about your thoughts. You want to know how the community will embrace them and take them further.

There are studies that show Twitter is making the world a smaller place. Social media is closing the distance. However, the way we communicate and connect is changing drastically.

People talk about how social media is about relationships. Brian reminds us that we don’t exactly send each other birthday cards. We check in with the idea of those we are connected with. We’re grooming an idea of relations over relationships.

Brian is globally recognized as one of most prominent thought leaders in new media. A digital analyst, sociologist, and futurist, Solis has influenced the effects of emerging media on the convergence of marketing, communications, and publishing.

He is principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning New Media agency in Silicon Valley, and has led interactive and social programs for Fortune 500 companies, notable celebrities, and Web 2.0 startups. His website is ranked among the top of world’s leading business and marketing online resources.

Slices Of Gnomedex 10: Jason Barger Takes A Step Back

What happens when you take a step back? It’s very powerful and can change the world. A single example can make a huge difference in our businesses and our lives. When Jason Barger approached me to discuss his book, I begged him immediately to join us on the Gnomedex stage. This is what our conference is all about — changing the world one person… one day — one STEP BACK — at a time.

Step Back From the Baggage Claim is a movement to help affect change. In Jason’s own words: “Change begins from the ground up. The pressure underneath the wings has to be greater than the pressure above the wings. Change begins with singular moments. Change can begin at the baggage claim and carry into our everyday lives. Change begins with you and me.”


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The book is powerful, and the inspiration behind it is even more so. I hope you’ll take the time in your life to step back — and to spread that message to others.

Slices Of Gnomedex 10: Violet Blue Changes The Conversation

Why do we not discuss sex? According to Violet, America (and much of the world) has become so puritanical that we equate sex and sexuality with something negative or bad. There is a real fragility in having these types of conversations and building these communities. She’s seen many online communities falter over the years. Sometimes, they are disposed of due to a particular service being closed or sold. However, there are times when the almighty Terms of Service are evoked and she watches people’s voices be stifled once again.

Violet didn’t set out to be a tech geek. Her “AH HAH!” moment came years ago when she realized that the media either wanted to pretend sex didn’t exist or they wanted to discuss it as though it is a bad and scary thing. She realized the best thing she could do with her life is to change the conversation by changing the distribution routes.


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Sadly, it’s difficult to build sustainable and stable social media models. This frustrates her to no end, as it does many of the rest of us. Her passion for the work she does came from seeing problems. The more she learns, the more she realizes how large the black hole is when it comes to sexuality being discussed openly and with honesty.

Many sites — Facebook included — take the stance of either contextualizing the hell out of sex or pretending it doesn’t even exist. This is a problem that will continue to make social media structures fragile and makes us vulnerable as a culture. Violet is working on shattering her way through issues such as these by opening the eyes of one person at a time.

If you thought the social graph would save us all, you are sadly mistaken. You just might be that poor dude trapped in the seatbelt of your car while Google Streets drives by to snap a picture.

Don’t let the gatekeepers decide what you should discuss. Make your voice heard… whether you are talking about sexuality or whatever else it may be that drives your passion.

Violet is a Forbes “Web Celeb,” a high-profile tech personality and one of Wired’s “Faces of Innovation.” She is regarded as the foremost expert in the field of sex and technology, a sex-positive pundit in mainstream media (MacLife, The Oprah Winfrey Show, others) and is regularly interviewed, quoted, and featured prominently by major media outlets.

Violet has many award-winning, best selling books; her books are featured on Oprah’s website. She was the notorious sex columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. The London Times named Blue one of the 40 bloggers who really count (2010).

Slices Of Gnomdex 10: Do Spots Dream Of Electric Sheep?

Spot is a visual and software artist living in New York City. Draves is best known as the creator of the Electric Sheep, a continually evolving abstract animation with over 60,000 daily participants. Draves’ award-winning work is permanently hosted on MoMA.org, and has appeared in Wired and Discover magazines, and even as an official skin for Google Chrome.

When not working as a full-time artist, Draves has worked for a series of technology start-ups. Draves is now an engineer in the mapping division at Google Inc. Spot started VJing at underground parties in the early ’90s and still performs live.


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How To Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, And Vanish Without A Trace

There should be an image here!How To Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, And Vanish Without A Trace is the authoritative and comprehensive guide for people who seek to protect their privacy as well as for anyone who’s ever entertained the fantasy of disappearing — whether actually dropping out of sight or by eliminating the traceable evidence of their existence.

Written by the world’s leading experts on finding people and helping people avoid being found, How to Disappear covers everything from tools for disappearing to discovering and eliminating the nearly invisible tracks and clues we tend to leave wherever we go. Learn the three keys to disappearing, all about your electronic footprints, the dangers and opportunities of social networking sites, and how to disappear from a stalker.

Frank Ahearn and Eileen Horan provide field-tested methods for maintaining privacy, as well as tactics and strategies for protecting personal information and preventing identity theft. They explain and illustrate key tactics such as misinformation (destroying all the data known about you); disinformation (creating fake trails); and, finally, reformation — the act of getting you from point A to point B without leaving clues.

Ahearn illustrates every step with real-life stories of his fascinating career, from undercover work to nab thieving department store employees to a stint as a private investigator; and, later, as a career “skip tracer” who finds people who don’t want to be found. In 1997, when news broke of President Bill Clinton’s dalliance with a White House intern, Ahearn was hired to find her. When Oscar statuettes were stolen in Beverly Hills, Ahearn pinpointed a principal in the caper to help solve the case. When Russell Crowe threw a telephone at a hotel clerk in 2005, Ahearn located the victim and hid him from the media.

An indispensable resource not just for those determined to become utterly anonymous, but also for just about anyone in the brave new world of online information, How to Disappear sums up Ahearn’s dual philosophy: Don’t break the law, but know how to protect yourself.

How to Disappear: Erase Your Digital Footprint, Leave False Trails, and Vanish without a Trace

  • Author(s): Frank M. Ahearn, Eileen C. Horan
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; First edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English

Slices Of Gnomdex 10: Austin Heap Uncensors The World

If you don’t know who Austin Heap is, then you’re going to want to. He recently appeared on the cover of Newsweek Magazine, where his work in bringing uncensored Internet to the people of Iran was featured. Austin believes in fighting censorship in all forms and works tirelessly around the world to foster change in the way governments, leaders, and citizens think about the free exchange of information. He is someone to be admired for the things he’s done, but he’s also one of the nicest and most genuine people you will ever meet.

Austin is the Executive Director of the Censorship Research Center, which works to provide anti-censorship education, outreach, and technologies for free to those who need it most. Their first major project was discussed during this presentation. Haystack seeks to provide access to information and communications to the Iranian people following the restrictions imposed by the Iran government.


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The work Austin and his team are doing is nothing short of amazing. Watching this video will open your eyes to the strides being made each and every day against censorship… and will show you how far we still have to go.

Remembering Ten Gnomedexes

With this year’s Gnomedex behind us, we’re starting to see the feedback from those of you who were with us. It’s important to remember that while no two people have the exact same experience when attending a conference, you all take something away that enriches your life. Take the time to read what others have to say about the event — you might learn something new.

If we happened to miss your post, please let us know and we’ll be happy to include a link to your thoughts.

Thank you once again to everyone who helped make this conference possible. From all accounts, this was the best of the series and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Portland Code Camp: May 30th At Reed College

There should be an image here!If you’re in or anywhere close to Portland, Oregon and you care about software development from a coder’s perspective, there’s a terrific (and FREE) event coming up on May 30th that you should definitely attend: Portland Code Camp 2009.

If you’re interested in learning from cool, smart people or if you have some area of code passion you’d like to share with others (no experience necessary – seriously!), then go check it out and sign up now.

The 2009 Portland Code Camp is a free mini-conference that is a community-driven event by, and for people who write software. The event features sessions on all kinds of software and technologies, regardless of language, vendor, or platform. Code camp brings the software development community together, focusing on the common act of creating software. It is designed for all interest, all levels, and all ages.

Be a Presenter! The 2009 Portland Code Camp is a great opportunity to present a session on a piece of code, a technology, or a project that excites you. Share your knowledge and experience with others. If you’ve never presented in public before, code camp gives you a opportunity in a warm, friendly setting.

About this FREE Community Event in Portland

A. Concept. Portland Code Camp is a community event focused on the needs and interests of the developer community, and where we can learn from each other. Anyone is welcome to attend and anyone can propose a session on any development related topic. Final session selection is based on the interest expressed by those planning to attend. If the developer community is not interested in a topic, it just doesn’t make the ‘cut’.

B. Community. Portland Code Camp is about the developer community. ‘Real’ developers, not business interests guide all stages of planning for the event. And ‘real’ developers (those planning to attend) express their interest in session topics.

C. Cost. Portland Code Camp will always be ‘FREE’ to the developer community. There are no charges to attend any of the Portland Code Camp activities. We do raise funds from Sponsors, but Sponsors have no control over the sessions selected.

D. Sessions. Sessions may range from ‘white board’ discussions to down in the trenches coding. Session presenters should present materials that is their own original or derivative work, free of copyright encumbrances. All session materials, code samples, scripts, even slides, will be made available to attendees. Session presenters should only offer material, including code, that is available to re-use, adapt, and alter for the attendee’s own education, projects and even work.

E. Presenters. Anyone is encouraged to offer a presentation. Portland Code Camp provides a ‘low-key’ opportunity for inexperienced folks to make their first public presentation efforts. Some presenters will be experienced and some will be making their first public presentation. The Portland Code Camp audience is quite supportive of first time presenters. Most presenters will be from the Portland area, while a few may be from outside the area.

F. Code. Portland Code Camp sessions will focus on coding –with few exceptions. We encourage presenters to keep their presentations with the realm of ‘code’; a few sessions may have such informative value that they will be permitted without code. But such sessions will only occur if they garner sufficient interest (see paragraph ‘A’ above).

G. Schedule. Portland Code Camp occurs on evenings and weekends in order to reduce work related scheduling conflicts.

To read more about this sort of thing, converting HD DVDs to Blu-ray, exchanging water-damaged iPhones, network security, Easter eggs, or whatever else Greg Hughes feels like talking about, you should drop by his blog. He may not update daily, but the wait’s always worth it!

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Busy Month Ahead: TechEd In Barcelona, DevConnections In Vegas

The fall conference season is upon us, and I’ll be off to Barcelona on the first of November for a week at the Microsoft TechEd Europe/Middle East/Asia conference. I’ll be joining my friend and colleague, Richard Campbell, there for the week. If by chance you’ll also be there, be sure to let me know ahead of time!

Then, the following week Richard and I will both be traveling to Las Vegas for the DevConnections conference, where we’ll be doing a live RunAs Radio recording session. Should be fun, and we have a great guest slated. More on that later.

If you’ll be at either conference, please let me know via a comment or an email!

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On My Way To TechEd Europe And DevConnections Soon

November will be a busy month of conference travel for me. On November 7th I’ll fly briefly to Las Vegas for a quick panel gig at the DevConnections conference (I’ll be there Wednesday afternoon and all day Thursday), followed by a more extensive trip on Saturday the 10th to Barcelona, Spain. I’ll be there for the entire IT Forum week of Microsoft’s TechEd Europe conference. I’ve never been to Spain before, so I’m looking forward to the trip.

If you’ll be at either of the shows, let me know and hopefully we can meet up and say hi. I’ll be there in part to help run some floor events and to record more interesting interviews for our RunAs Radio shows.

I’m also going to stop off in the SF bay area on my way back from Spain to spend Thanksgiving with my dad and family there. By the time I get home it will have been two weeks on the road.

[tags]tech conference, security, development[/tags]

Gnomedex Reviews

Chris | Live Tech Support | Video Help | Add to iTunes

Gnomedex 2007 attendees leave messages for Chris via Eyejot. Talking into a huge cardboard cutout of Chris was just a bonus.

the Name Inspector breaks down what the word Gnomedex really means.

“To understand this name, you first need to know (if you don’t already) that the conference is run by Lockergnome, the brand under which net entrepreneur Chris Pirillo and his associates do all their stuff. That’s where the Gnome- part comes from. The -dex part, of course, is a reference to COMDEX, a big computer trade show that took place every year between 1979 and 2003. The name Gnomedex can be thought of as a blend of Lockergnome + COMDEX. Because Gnomedex does not, unfortunately, mean ‘Gnome Dealers’ Exposition’, the ending -dex in this name has lost its acronymical function and is only used to set up an analogy to COMDEX.

So where does the name Lockergnome come from? It’s a slight tweak of The Locker Gnome, a nickname that Chris gave himself in high school that relates to one of his physical characteristics. Let’s just say that what Chris more than makes up for in professional stature, he lacks in physical stature. As he says in his history of Lockergnome, people, including his own writing teacher, used to call him “shorty names” such as gnome. One day when Chris was standing by his locker, The Locker Gnome just came to him. Chris insists that he was never actually stuffed into a locker.

Following is a list of people you will find on the Eyejot video. Unfortunately, the list is not complete. A few people didn’t leave their names, and a couple of times the background noise unfortunately drowned out a speakers’ name. If you see yourself on the video, but not identified here, please leave a comment and we’ll get your name added in!

Daryn Nakhuda, Andru Edwards, Ben Metcalfe, Chris Johnson, Josh Hallett, William Smith, Eric Doolan, Matt Miller, Mike Kowalchik, Andy McCaskey, Kathy Gill, Deepak Singh, Ricardo Ribago, Raines Cohen, John Anthony Hartman, Xenia Hertzenberg, John Blue, David Perry, Steve Lacey, Josh McKenty, Jamie Nelson, Tom Novak, Darcy Vany, Chad Randall, Mike Marusin, David Levitt, Corrie Westmoreland, Russel Holliman, Natalia Menezes, Jim McCusker, Francine Hardaway, Jevan Woolley, Buster Pik, Dan Greenfield, Baratunde Thurston, Jason Harris, Greg Birch, Sean Amminati, Sanford Dickert, Chris Brogan, Greg Cangialosi, and last but NOT least… Dad.

Want to embed this video into your blog? Use this code:

Other problems solved, tech revealed, and questions answered from The Chris Pirillo Show:

Want to keep up with what Chris is up to at this very moment and maybe have some of your own questions answered? Join us here!

[tags]tech conference, online video[/tags]

Gnomedex: Always A Rewarding Challenge

I’m only beginning to sift through the Gnomedex information inside and outside of my own communication spheres — and it’s beyond overwhelming. Feedback has been quite constructive, and I was definitely sensing an increasing amount of disparate frustration with random elements across our conference’s universe. It boils down to both Ponzi and myself doing our best to cater to 375 special interest groups — which is both our blessing and our ongoing challenge. Is Gnomedex really a “conference” anymore?

We have attendees that range from 17 to 67, male and female (still largely male, but the M2F ratio was much better this year), entrepreneur to developer to enthusiast to marketer to influencer to… with so many perspectives and ideas situated in the same space, how is it possible to make sense of what happens anywhere and everywhere during any kind of official gathering?

Any given on-stage session may have been equally panned and praised by the same audience — while the next session was overwhelmingly accepted. This reality was likely a “meatspace mirror” of our generally-accepted, unfiltered presence in the blogosphere itself. Some people loathed the open discussion format of Gnomedex 6.0, vowing never to return… so we skewed traditional for Gnomedex 7.0, and new Gnomedexers wished we had more of an open discussion format.

Are you seeing our challenge yet? :)

Gnomedex is just about as close to a un-virtual blogosphere as I’ve ever seen it.

I believe the functionality of Twitter at Gnomedex had an overwhelmingly negative impact, both on-site and after the event. It provided an immediate emotional outlet for people who — in some cases — shot first and asked questions later. That’s the nature of “the beast.” Whereas some Gnomedexers took notes “offline” with a plan to review them long after emotion has passed, countless others were equally compelled to share their thoughts immediately (with absolutely no self-editing or time for further introspection some of these subjects quite possibly deserved).

I have previously stated my position on, and partial disdain for, the much ballyhooed “echo chamber” — which is largely why I steered clear from officially giving certain personalities the stage. These people are omnipresent, and would likely shape the events (regardless). I love having everybody there — so that’s not the purported issue.

Some people loved Cali and Neil, despite their genuine nervousness (which was likely exacerbated after seeing just how “raw” the Gnomedex audience could be). The story, itself, was uplifting to those people who aspired to one day quit their day job and find fame and fortune online somehow — and it was also an interesting juxtaposition of roles, with Neil having a lot more personality than I believed currently perceived by their regular audience. Unfortunately, I was sensing a lot of “I could do this presentation better than them” reactions — which is a challenge when delivering content to any group of top-notch bloggers, most of whom COULD do that presentation blindfolded.

Darren Barefoot’s “Stacies” session was more grounded in practical examples of how we can deal with an ever-transforming global (and virtual) economic infrastructure, while Michael Linton’s presentation on Open Money was a bit less concrete. Both had roots in technology and community, but it seems that a large part of the Gnomedex audience wanted less high-level assertions. Asking Michael to sum up his studies and experience in :45 was an impossible task, and asking him to (likewise) summarize the concept in a simple sentence or two is tantamount to a developer trying to put a finer point on the complexities of any scripting language. “Sound bytes” do not do justice to incredible concepts — and in an age where microblogging is the norm, extended critical thinking often takes a backseat to incomplete satiation.

Allow me to draw corollaries from 2001 and 2003?

At the first Gnomedex conference, I remember watching Scoble stand on stage and tell everyone about this magical new thing called “blogging.” Nobody understood it, and nobody knew what it could do for them or the world around them. Two years later, I was ranting and raving about RSS — and a few people thought I was absolutely nuts, predicting radical publishing trends and leading people to learn more about something there was virtually no documentation on.

Sometimes, just sometimes, the message is lost with the messenger(s).

Sometimes, you’re two steps ahead of the curve — a “crackpot” sentiment echoed in the Gnomedex captone presentation (which, sadly, lacked actual prototypes as potentially promised by the presenter). Dave Winer with OPML, Tantek Celik with Microformats, the list goes on and on. Now, I’m not saying that we’re all crackpots — but what do you think people outside the echo chamber think of our petty squabbles and discussions? These “outsiders” are the same people who were intimidated by strong voices at last year’s Gnomedex — and likely the same people who watched the on-site emotion unfold this year from afar (thanks to the live stream, Twitter, blogs, etc.).

How does one attract the blogosphere’s thought leaders without hammering through the topics that are (quite frankly) already yesterday’s news — or completely irrelevant to people who don’t live and die by whatever is on TechMeme or its vertical equivalent? How does one equally attract those who are striving to become thought leaders, or those who love following those thought leaders?

I think we could be on the cusp of transforming the annual Gnomedex event into something with broader-reaching (and local) applications throughout the year. That may mean adding a dedicated person as an event / logistics coordinator, setting the agenda to be half as dense, and extending the “conference” another day to bring our energy outside the conference center. It also means establishing an ongoing sponsorship model with the brand, a point upon which I will expand in a not-too-distant future entry.

Every Gnomedexer peer review has been valid and constructed with clean conscience, as far as I can tell. Of course, tracking the volume of feedback has been extremely difficult for me to do (even with all these “great” tools at my disposal). I need an open, human-edited assembly of links — aided by people with enough passion and perseverance to be as complete as possible.

My thoughts on these matters are far from finished, but I can tell you that Gnomedex (once again) transformed my personal and professional perspectives in a positive way. Like many other Gnomedexers, I’m feeling re-energized with the event in recent memory. This is the enigma of our collective experience — so much intelligence, so many opinions, so many ideas, so many backgrounds. How can one leave this event not feeling drained?

And how can one effectively continue to remove the draining elements from an event which still continues to provide introspection and professional growth to its most active participants?

You always get out of it whatever you put into it — seldom more, seldom less.

[tags]tech conference[/tags]