On Sunday I hopped in my car, attached my GoPro camera to the windshield and headed down Highway 1. For those not familiar with the area, Highway 1 winds down most of the coast of California and affords quite the view out across the Pacific Ocean as you wind around hills, fields, and cliffs. It’s one of my favorite drives and I recommend it over Interstate 280 if you’ve got the extra time. I recently realized that I’ve been missing long drives by myself. I really enjoy how they give me time to think while the scenery constantly changes and good music plays on the stereo. Plus driving along a beautiful highway with all sorts of interesting turnouts makes for a good way to spend the afternoon.
My recent acquisition of a GoPro HD Hero2 camera (thanks Heather!) and various accessories has me using it for all sorts of things. In addition to shooting wonderful 1080p video underwater in the British Virgin Islands, one of the features of the GoPro camera is a time lapse mode where it can take a nice high resolution image every second. The small size and portability of the GoPro as well as the various mounts make it much easier to use versus my gigantic Pentax K20D dslr. But, not having a dedicated LCD screen makes aiming the GoPro a bit difficult, so the video is slightly tilted as the windshield mount isn’t perfectly level and when I took it out on the cliff I was just using a Gorillapod in the grass so you might have to tilt your head a bit. I do have the LCD Bacpac to help with lining up shots, but for time lapses the Battery Bacpac takes priority.
For those wondering how I put everything together, it’s actually quite simple. Quicktime Pro 7 has a great “Open image sequence” feature that I used to make all the individual clips, then I wrestled with iMovie 11 and its limitations to put together the clips with some simple transitions and audio. I used ccMixter to get some Creative Commons music that would work with the track, eventually settling on DLDN Instrumental by timberman. I’m still trying to figure out a good system to match up the music I’m actually listening to while the photos are being snapped and try to recreate the feeling in the final video, but haven’t figured that out yet, not to mention the copyright issues of posting that music on video hosting services. In this case the soundtrack to a good portion of the trip was “Moods for Take Out”, an album I had received from the musicians themselves the previous weekend. Throw in some High Contrast, Underworld, and Boards of Canada and you’ve got the playlist for the afternoon.
If anyone’s interested, my route, tracked by my Garmin Vista HCx, is below. As you can see, I had a bit of a roundabout journey through the city thanks to a few blocks of the Great Highway being closed around Ocean Beach. The video of that fiasco as well as video of all the hanggliders and paragliders at Fort Funston was sadly never captured. (Note to self: check camera blinky red light more often) But as I headed south I managed to hit a handful of beaches and recognizable areas including my favorites: just past Devil’s Slide at the beginning of the video, Pompanio Beach, and Pescadero Beach. As the sun set, I watched the light of a boat on the horizon blink as it rolled on the Pacific waves and the stars and planets dotted the sky. Not a bad way to spend my Sunday.
Filed Under Personal | 2010-12-31, 00:57
If you haven’t noticed, this site hasn’t been updated in awhile. It’s because life has been happening. Got married, got a new job, traveling, large scale fire art, shenanigans and pranks, and more consumed most of 2010 for me. I’m not dead, just insanely busy. I’ll eventually come back to posting here, but in the meantime you can get your share of my links, thoughts, photos, and more via Twitter (@edrabbit) and Flickr.
Just wanted to make this hiatus official so I can stop feeling guilty about this neglected site.
Image by Scott Beale
The first ever “How To Not Be A Douchebag at SXSW” session went incredibly well! Violet Blue, John Adams, and I led a Core Conversation this year at SXSW Interactive with the hopes that we would raise awareness and help with douchebaggery reduction. We had a full room with mostly newbies, but a few SXSW veterans and even some reformed douchebags showed up. The core conversation was the perfect format and really encouraged discussion and some debate.
You can listen to the talk or download it.
In preparation for this session, I realized that a lot of being a douchebag could be boiled down into three realms:
Douchebags generally act like they are entitled and that the world should stop for them because they are so important. Take a second every now and then to reflect on how you may be acting. Don’t be that self-entitled douchebag arguing with the doorman, “Don’t you know who I am?!” Douchebags also have an “undue sense of accomplishment” that they think entitles them to something even though they’re just riding coattails.
Common sense manners are huge! Please, thank you, don’t cut in line, etc. Oh, and the biggest thing when we’re guests in Austin? TIP! Tip your waitresses, the bar staff, and especially those working open bars. Not only is it nice, you never know when it might come back around and help you out, i.e. quickly getting drinks for that important business client. Treat the volunteers well and thank them for their hard work!
Check your motivation when interacting with people. Are you genuinely interested in them and what they have to say? Or are you just trying to gauge whether or not they are worth your time? According to Google we’ve come up with a new term: “badge surfer”. A badge surfer is someone who is constantly checking people’s badges, even before getting introduced to them to see who they are and what company they work for. It’s fair to check badges later when you may have missed a name or something, but don’t use them as a measurement of whether you should talk to someone.
I think if you keep these three things in mind (EMM), then you can avoid a lot of douchebag behavior at tech conferences like SXSW. But that wasn’t all we covered in the conversation. Some other great points were brought up:
- Douchebags use terms like expert, guru, ninja to describe themselves and have “MAS“
- Douchebags hand out unsolicited business cards before engaging in the conversation with someone. Respect someone’s approach to business cards. Some people love them, some hate them. Also respect that not everyone wants to instantly hand out their contact info.
- Douchebags are allergic to transparency
- Douchebags use their sexuality to sell you a product. (“There’s a thin line between douchebag and booth babe”)
- Don’t game and cheat on social media. In a douchebag move, Adobe had claimed several mayorships on Foursquare at SXSW.
- Douchebags lack empathy. Many rules are meant to be broken, but in a way that doesn’t screw anyone over.
- Know what you’re talking about when trying to pitch your product or service. Admit when you don’t know what someone is talking about.
- A douchebag act doesn’t instantly make you a douchebag. Make an effort to politely call people on douchebag moves, but respect that some douchebags might be beyond saving.
- If you’re going to take a picture or video, ask someone first!
- When asking questions at a panel, don’t pitch your company/service. If you want to promote your own company, do your own panel to share your knowledge.
- Don’t start off with “This may sound redundant” and don’t monopolize the microphone.
- Try not to monopolize people’s time after panels. Make a personal connection and pass on your contact info. Email a panelist after the craziness of SXSW to reconnect.
- It’s acceptable to ask Twitter and friends for invites to parties, but don’t overdo it and spam your followers.
- Don’t anonymously be negative on the backchannel at sessions. If you see chatter on the backchannel that’s not being addressed, stand up and bring it to the panelist’s attention during questions.
- Don’t tweet every other sentence at a session. Highlights are good, but constant chatter is useless.
- Don’t do multiple check-ins at the same place. Don’t connect everything (Foursquare, Gowalla, Twitter, Facebook, etc). Duplicate information cross-posted to multiple services is annoying.
- Don’t tweet at the urinal. Don’t take calls in the stalls.
- Let people know you might be tweeting at a higher rate than normal while at SXSW. In the past TwitterSnooze was handy but they’re down. It looks like Muuter might be a good solution. Other’s have expressed success using lists.
- When trying to get a personal introduction or someone to make a blog post about your stuff, overwhelm them with your passion and recognize that you’re asking someone to use their social capital for you.
- “It’s South By Southwest, not Girls Gone Wild”
- Be careful when talking with someone you’re trying to make a more personal connection with. If you’re asking for contact info they may think it’s for business.
- You can’t have a real date at SXSW. There’s too much going on, people have work and networking to do. Try to grab coffee or lunch.
- Who is “that guy” and how do I avoid being him?
- How do I self-promote without being a douchebag?
- What words instantly make me sound like I don’t know what I’m talking about?
- How do I not come off looking like an obnoxious PR flack?
- How do I pitch my product/service/technology?
- How do I handle an open bar?
- How should I ask questions at panels and presentations?
- What is the proper Twitter/Foursquare etiquette at SXSW?
- How can I treat the locals graciously?
- How can I make a connection with someone I’m attracted to and not come across like a marketing dweeb? (i.e. — hooking up, the undouche way)
When we got done discussing douchebaggery we handed out some buttons and stickers. (Big thanks to Snarky McF for making the buttons!) It was great to do this panel on the first day as we got to see all sorts of impact over the rest of the week via Twitter and blog posts:
“Finally, I think I understand not only what a douchebag is, but why douche bags flock to the tech and media scene. I am writing from the blogger lounge at South by Southwest (Interactive) 2010, where people laugh at the pin I’m wearing: “Not a douchebag.” Thanks to a pivotal panel I attended the first day of the conference, I am a proud owner of this pin.” (Read Bernice Imei Hsu’s full post: I Am Not THAT Douche Bag (And Other Related Blurts))
Barry Moltz shared some of the things covered in our session in his post How Not to Be a Douche Bag at a Trade Event
And even Robert Scoble chose a “douchebag” pin when I gave him the choice:
image by Rod Begbie
All in all we had overwhelmingly positive feedback from people and it was brought up several times over the week. I’m considering doing this again next year and would love to hear people’s feedback (both positive and negative) on the session. I know next time I’ll remember to introduce us and what we do (*facepalm*) and will try to keep things more SXSW specific.
Ok, one last warning! Our “core conversation” on How To Not Be A Douchebag at SXSW is only a few days away. Violet Blue, John Adams, and I (along with insight from Ben Metcalfe) have put together what we think will be a a great panel.
We’re scheduled for Friday, March 12th at 5pm in Courtyard Rio Grande B. Come early to grab a seat as 99 people have already said they’re coming! Official page is over here if you want to add it to your schedule on my.sxsw.com.
I just wanted to say I think that you did a really awesome job and I really wanted to take you along but it just came down to my gut feeling on who I thought would work really well together and I think that my final four really did. The other potential final four that was going to go, you were a part of it. It was just a totally different dynamic and one that was more of a “traditional BME” cast of characters.
Unfortunately I’m trying something different with this group and this challenge. Who knows though, I hope that you can kind of be “on call” almost in case it turns out that I need a back up member. You’re definitely #1 on my list. You were one of the finalists that I was trying to make a 5th position for but I just didn’t have the funds to pull it off.
Thank you again for applying and I hope that if I do this again in the future, that you’re willing to apply again.
Oh well, guess this means I get to spend the next three months planning a wedding, helping organize another international fire art run, getting 2pir rebuilt, giving a talk at SXSW, revamping my business (or finding a new job), and enjoying San Francisco. A huge thanks to everyone’s support and words of encouragement through the whole process!
You can check out who won over on the ModBlog post.
The following is my “extra credit assignment” for the BME World Tour. Thanks to everyone for their support, I’m one of the 9 finalists!! We were asked to do a video, photos, and blog post of our day in order to pick the final 4 (or 5!) people who get to travel the world.
When I got word that I was in the top ten finalists, my heart skipped another beat. Closer and closer to a trip around the world. I could feel my passport tugging on my sleeve, “can we go!? can we go!? please please please!”, but I calmly explained to my anthropomorphized government document that the decision was not up to me. I still had one more assignment to prove I was worthy of such a trip: a blog entry, video, and photos of a day in my life. Luckily the next day had potential to be interesting enough to share with the Internet.
My day started with my fiancée, Heather, waking me up early with the video camera rolling. It was one of those cherished beautiful San Francisco days where the sun was shining and it was actually warm. In between my half-awake grunts, she said goodbye as she was off to hike around Alamere Falls with friends. Shortly after she departed, I crawled out of bed and made myself a gourmet breakfast of Lucky Charms and soy milk. A quick shower and shave and I grudgingly sat down in front of the computer to do some work. The curse of working for yourself is that every day is a possible workday. Luckily addressing my emails and other chores only took about 2 hours this time and I was soon out the door.
Down the three flights of stairs with a laptop, camera, and flip video in tow; I jumped into my car and trekked across the Bay Bridge to Oakland. I was headed to NIMBY, an industrial art space in south Oakland, to work on one of Interpretive Arson’s fire art pieces, 2pir.
For those not familiar with it, 2pir is “a blisteringly interactive large-scale fire toy”. It consists of two circles: an inner circle fitted with motion sensors and an outer circle comprised of 16 large flame effects. When a participant waves their hands, feet, or any other body part over the motion sensor it triggers a large column of flame. While on the inner platform, many people perform their best sorcerer imitation, summoning fire with their hands, while others choose to dance and twirl around, flames following their movement. The beauty of the piece is that the performance is different everytime.
2pir was designed and built by Interpretive Arson, a Bay Area fire art group that I’m a member of. It was originally built in 2006 and has since undergone several upgrades. This year it’s time for another one of those upgrades as the ignition system was no longer up to our standards for reliability. In addition, several components needed to be upgraded in preparation for our second international run in Denmark later this year at Smukfest.
The previous day we had spent some time finalizing a design for new flame effects and built a single prototype for testing. We wanted to make sure one new flame effect worked successfully before building the other 15. Today it was time to actually test this prototype and see how well it performed.
We dragged the prototype outside, hooked all the plumbing up to a tank of propane, plugged in the electronics and hit the switch. The resounding sound of combustion echoed off the walls of the warehouse. Success! But it wasn’t perfect. Ignition wasn’t 100% reliable and we wanted the best shape of fire we could get. After a period of tweaking, adjusting, and experimenting we were mostly happy with what we had. We made a quick run to Home Depot to grab a few materials and then stopped off for some burritos to refuel ourselves.
Back at NIMBY, the sun had set and the darkness of the seemingly deserted industrial section of Oakland was just asking for some noise and light. We fired the flame effect back up and enjoyed lighting up the yard and bouncing the percussive sounds of explosive propane combustion off the walls. After a bit of fun it was back to work: grinding, cutting, drilling, and welding the frames for the new effects.
The work went late into the night before we all decided to call it a day and I headed home. The late night drive across the Bay Bridge on the way back into San Francisco is always one of my favorites times. The bridge is relatively empty and all lit up, as are the downtown skyscrapers and streets of San Francisco. It’s a great time to turn up the music, coast over the water, meander through the empty city streets and clear my mind. My ritual-like return home always includes a hot shower before sleep and this night was no exception. After climbing into bed with Heather, the echoes of our controlled explosions rang in my ears as I drifted off to sleep.
A selection of photos: 20100228-2pir Testing
The short version: Holy crap, I’m one of 18 finalists in a contest to tour the world and meet/interview/photograph/video people involved in the body modification community. It’s a trip of a lifetime. Please vote for me!
The long version: So there’s this website called BMEzine (or just BME) that you’ve probably heard of if you’ve ever looked up info on body modification. It’s the site for body mod online and has been around for years. I’ve been reading it for as long as I can remember. They’re running a contest right now for a group of lucky winners to take a trip around the world to interview people involved in the body modification community. There are essentially 3 jobs on the tour that need to be filled: a writer, a photographer, and a videographer. I would love to jump into any of these roles and have essentially applied for them all. This is one of those once in a lifetime opportunities that comes along that are impossible to pass up. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I want this.
In order to apply for the tour we were asked to submit an application along with an audition video. I sat down and spent almost an entire day trying to come up with an audition video I was happy with (the end result that you see above) and then I sent in my application with a long list of the stuff I’ve done. It was tough, exponentially harder than putting together a resume due to a desire to present who I really was and my personality rather than just cold, hard skills.
Today the 18 finalists were posted to BME’s ModBlog. I’m in awesome company and there are a number of people I would really enjoy traveling with, let alone the actual trip itself. Rachel, the Editor-in-Chief of BME, is asking for everyone to vote for your top 4 favorites. If you feel I’d be suited for this job, please head over there and vote for me as well as any others that you think would be good for the tour. This opportunity really means a lot to me and I’d love to have a shot at it.
The voting doesn’t necessarily dictate who will go in the end but it can’t hurt! But hurry, voting ends on March 1st 12:01PST so there’s only a few days to vote.
A huge thank you to BME and Rachel for offering this contest and picking me as a finalist. Additionally, a big thanks to everyone for their positive comments and votes!
P.S. To all you guys out there who know that PollDaddy has vulnerabilities, please don’t exploit them for my sake. I’m serious, this is too important to me for that stuff. Thanks!
I think it’s safe to officially say that my proposal for SXSW 2010 has been accepted. “How To Not Be A Douchebag At SXSW” will be a core conversation at this year’s South By Southwest. A huge thanks to everyone that voted in the PanelPicker (apparently we were pretty popular), and of course thanks to SXSW for accepting the idea!
I’m organizing the conversation, but I won’t be educating alone. Violet Blue, John Adams, and several others will be helping lead the conversation. I’m excited that this was chosen to be a core conversation since it means we’ll get to hear the opinions of everyone that attends.
The rough draft of some of the questions you can expect to be answered during our session:
It’s looking like we’ll be scheduled on Friday, March 12th, so make sure your flights get in the day before because you won’t want to miss this! Not only will you get educated, there will also be a limited number of appropriate stickers and buttons.
Journey to the End of the Night is near and dear to me as it became one of the catalysts that convinced me to move to San Francisco when I played in the first game in 2006. I was living in Chicago at the time and realized that it was time for a change of scenery. I had always had this thought in my head that perhaps California was where I needed to be, and that San Francisco seemed like my kind of town. But I had never been to San Francisco, let alone California. So I booked a flight out to stay with a friend for a few days. Coincidentally the newly joined kind of weird but creative-inducing web game I had started playing (sf0.org) announced it would be holding a street game that weekend I was in town! The evening was an excellent introduction to San Francisco, and while I started off the day saying “I’m thinking about moving to San Francisco”, I found myself definitively saying “I’m moving to San Francisco” while sitting on the beach in the early hours of the morning.
This year Journey was held in Oakland, which I figured would be an interesting break from the now familiar city of San Francisco. I would be thrown into an environment I wasn’t familiar with and that would be exciting. The result of 6hours and 12+ miles walking? Tons of exercise, an exploration of new and different places, engaging conversations with friends, seeing old faces, and a new found appreciation for Oakland. While I failed to write up a full account from the first Journey, this time I documented in excess. GPS tracking (open in Google Earth), videos, and photos as well as the full text of our evening. You can check out my proof at sf0: Journey to the End of the Night: Oakland by Rabbit (and if you’re a player, toss me some votes!)
I didn’t think I’d be posting more about the Inauguration, but the stories about the Purple ticket line and the infamous “Purple Tunnel of Doom” are gaining steam. The Huffington Post has a great round-up of info on it and I figured I’d share the Google map that I put together after the Inauguration because I wanted to see where exactly we were all day. Little did we know that we were actually under the Mall most of the day. Here’s a link to the map with photos and all.
And here’s a list of my Twitters from the Inauguration: http://tinyurl.com/edrabbitinaug09