Tech Lunch North in Phoenix

Tech Lunch North – #techlunchnorth

When: Thursdays at 12:30pm
Where: Chino Bandido in North Phoenix
What: Get together with other community technical people for a fun lunch. Talk about technology, social media or whatever comes up!

The Tech Lunch North back-story

I live in North Phoenix, near I-17 and Bell Rd. I wish there were more live music venues, more good restaurants, more breweries, more pubs with good beer, more events in the area.

While I’m in no position to open up any type of venue at this time, I do have the ability to start/coordinate/promote/plan/help with events. I’ve always been impressed with the chatter & turnout of Tech Lunch South that I hear about on Twitter.

Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a Tech Lunch North? Now there is.

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While I was looking into starting the event, I just so happened to stumble upon the site AZGroups.org, which already had a listing for a tech lunch north event.

I was excited, “it already exists!”, but as I journeyed over to Chino Bandido the first week to try and meetup with the group, I was sourly disappointed. There was no one there.

Eventually, I found out that Tech Lunch North was started by Steele Price and contacted him via email. Turns out, tech lunch north was just him and a couple of co-workers and it wasn’t being promoted much.

I took the opportunity and started promoting Tech Lunch North on Twitter, Eventification, got the event a shout out at Social Media Club Phoenix and am looking into other ways to raise awareness on the event.

#TechLunchNorth turnout

These days, we normally get around 6 people to show up and hang out for #techlunchnorth, but we’d like to get even more people to attend!

So you, yes you reading this, you’re invited to Tech Lunch North on Thursday’s at 12:30pm at Chino Bandido. Spread the word. Hope to see you there.

For the most up to date info on Tech Lunch North, search on Twitter for the #techlunchnorth hashtag.

Doppelganger week on Facebook

This week is doppelganger week on Facebook. What the hell is that?

“Doppelganger week! During Doppelganger week change your facebook profile picture to some famous celebrity such as a famous musician, actor, or athlete that you have been told that you look like…. and repost this message.”

Doppelganger week is a Facebook meme where users update their profile photo to be a celebrity that they’ve been told they look like, or a celebrity that they think they look like. Cute game eh? Jared Newman at PC World doesn’t think so, calling it narcissism exposed.

To me, it seems like a harmless game. I like the concept better than the multitude of annoying quizzes and chain status updates/notes (post this or you die) that rear their ugly head on Facebook.

I’ve been told that I look like Michael C. Hall (of Dexter fame), Adrian Grenier (of Entourage fame) and a few others. I decided to go with Adrian Grenier since I’ve heard that one the most often.

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A Facebook fan page for Doppelganger week has even popped up onto the scene. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, as there’s a fan page for just about everything else in the world.

What do you think of doppelganger week?

PC World coverage

I’m in this month’s (December 2009) issue of PC World magazine, talking about Paypal.

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Wes.PCWorld
It’s an article about sneaky consumer fees and I am quoted talking about how Paypal recently started charging personal account owners fees for certain transfers. They never used to do this and they didn’t notify anyone.

I also blogged about the Paypal issue. The full PC World magazine article is online here.

ComputerWorld also quoted me here.

Happy Halloween 2009!

I hope you had a Happy Halloween! We dressed up as gangstas this year.

Picture 1 (Custom)

We started out the night by giving out candy to the neighborhood kiddies. Our gattling gun makes noise when the trigger is pulled, so I had some fun shooting the little ghosts & goblins when they came up to trick or treat.

Afterwards, we headed out to the Halloween bash at Tim Finnegans. They had drink specials, live music, a costume contest and some Guiness girls giving out some schwag. One of the Guiness chicks hooked us up with t-shirts and bottle openers.

At the end of the night, the owner of Tim Finnegans hooked us up with a set of Carlsberg glasses, a shirt and a hat. It was a fun night.

Upload and Tweet mobile video on Android

I recently started using Swift, which is a Twitter client for Android. One of the main reasons I switched away from the Twidroid client was due to the lack of video support. Swift supports both Yfrog & TwitVid video services, making it easy to upload & tweet out video links while on the go.

I tested out both services after capturing some video of a chipmunk at the top of North mountain here in Phoenix, AZ. Below are the results.

Yfrog

TwitVid

I like TwitVid better. Not only because it gives you a larger video, but also because of the name. A link to “Yfrog.com” doesn’t tell you much, unless you already know the service. A link to TwitVid.com though, would immediately make you think of video, even if you have never seen a link from that site before.

Do you upload & tweet out video links while on the go? If so what service do you recommend?

After Hours Creative Get Your PHX

Get Your PHX (fix), founded and organized by Ken Clark, is a monthly event that strives to bring attention to and promote newer businesses in the downtown Phoenix area.

Straight from the horse’s mouth: “The goal of Get Your PHX is to show up, en masse, to support those who pioneer new restaurants, stores, bars and event spaces. Plus, we want to provide a chance for you to meet others like you, who want to get the most out of Phoenix.”

The August Get Your PHX event was held on 08/20/09 at the After Hours Creative building in Central Phoenix. This building is a multi-use urban gemstone, with workspaces, an art gallery and living spaces all intertwined. It is located at 116 W. McDowell Road, a quick walk from Central and the Lightrail.

Get Your PHX

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The event started out in the art gallery section of the building (pictured above). They are currently showing a “Masks” exhibit, which you may or may not be able to discern from the photo above.

While mingling with fellow Phoenix business supporters, I nibbled on some delicious munchies from Fresh Gourmet to Go and sipped on some tasty beverages courtesy of Ken Clark (donations are encouraged at the events). I especially appreciated the vegetarian options that were available.

After a brief intro from Mike Oleskow (one of the owners) and Ken Clark, I was off for a tour of this magnificent piece of architecture.

Building, Architecture & Design tour

Scott Roeder (one of the building’s architects) was on hand to give tours of the facility. His insights into the building code restrictions and their creative workarounds were truly awe inspiring. Due to city of Phoenix zoning/construction regulations and restrictions, the architects had to carefully plan and design the building to maximize the usefulness of the structure with the limited space involved. These restrictions included a 2 story maximum and a 30 foot height maximum.

Below is a photo of the design & marketing company work space, adjacent to the gallery on the first floor.

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To maximize their space usage with a 2 story building restriction, the architects started with a basement. The large underground area provides for storage, supplies and much needed extra space.

Most areas & rooms can be sealed off for privacy purposes, allowing an event to occur in one area without disturbing other occupants of the building.

The Mezzanine

Next up, they came up with a mezzanine area, which overlooks the first floor. This large mezzanine area provides for extra office space on one side of the building and a writing studio/guest bedroom on the other side. This provided a vast amount of extra space and functionality without creating a full 2nd story.

Top Floor Living Area

The top floor living area is officially the second story, but it’s the 3rd level in the building and a casual observer would call it the 3rd floor.

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Notice the vaulted ceiling above. This was a critical part of the architectural design, once again purposed with maximum space usage in mind. The city code allowed them to erect a building of 30 foot height maximum, but that regulation had a shiny little asterisk next to it. As the architects researched this, they found that the 30 foot maximum was a median height. To take advantage of this, they created an angled building, with one side approximately 25 feet tall and the other end stretching near 37 feet. They used the taller side of the structure for the enclosed living space (shown above) and the lower side as a very large, expansive balcony area (pictured below).

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This is one of the only architectural tours I’ve been on, but I was simply blown away by their ingenuity, design and creativity.

Have you toured the After Hours Creative building? If so, I’d love to hear your impressions in the comments section below.

More info: After Hours Building, After Hours Creative, a Desert Living article (PDF) on the building, GetYourPHX.com.

Diggnation Tempe

Last night, I attended a live filming of Diggnation at the Tempe Center for the Arts (TCA), in Tempe, AZ. Big thanks to @EvilBobby for getting me on the speshkal kids list. I showed up around 7pm and cruised over to the GoDaddy area to pick up my ticket. Tons of people were still trapped outside, waiting to see if they would be allowed entry, as most seats were first come first served.

Lots of Tweeps

After gaining entry and picking up my ticket, I cruised around the TCA lobby area to see who was in attendance. Fellow Phoenix tweeters were abound. I chitchatted a bit with @chuckreynolds, @tambre, @paulvalach & @georgie_phx. I also got a chance to meet @Clintus @KtHaney @brianshaler & @transparnthuman.

The TCA bar incident

As I stood in line at the TCA bar, waiting to get a drink, I noticed many peeps walking around, happily sipping on tasty Fat Tire ales. I ordered up a Fat Tire once I got to the front of the line and was promptly told that they were all out (the bartender said they only had the few beers standing on display at the bar; Budweiser, Miller? & another crappy beer). Not one for craptastic beers, I then made do with a mixed drink. As soon as I took my first sip, the girl in line behind me asks for a Fat Tire and the bar tender pulls one out of the fridge and hands it to her. Really?? Really TCA bartender? I asked him “I thought you were all out?” and then he tells me “that was my last one”. What an @$$hole. I shrugged it off, as I wasn’t going to let this little bartending blunder ruin my night.

Diggnation

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This was my first time at the TCA and I was impressed. It’s a relatively new building and fits 600 attendees. The only thing that sucked was the lack of mobile phone service inside the theater. Most people were getting zero signal inside.

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The actual Diggnation show was a ton of fun. Lots of antics and hilarity ensued.

Highlights include the GoDaddy girls giving away all types of swag, the weird @unicorn, Kevin & Alex chugging beers to the crowds’ “chug” chant, Kevin hitting stress balls into the audience with a putter, the putting contest and the main part of the show itself, which featured the funny conversations and antics of Kevin & Alex – the show hosts.

I wouldn’t call myself a Diggnation fan before I attended this show, but I would now. If you attended, how did you like the show?

More coverage over at NewTimes.

Twitter in Phoenix Arizona

Hello, I’m Wes Novack. I’m on Twitter and I tweet A LOT.

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Follow me, talk to me, let’s have a conversation.

How I use Twitter

I use Twitter to stay connected with the community in Phoenix Arizona, to read about breaking news, for entertainment, to broadcast interesting links, to talk to others and for many other purposes. I also follow and converse with others outside of the Phoenix area, but the majority of the tweeps that I follow are in AZ.

My follow back policy

My follow back policy is simple: interact with me & I will follow you back, regardless of your location. What does “interact” mean? Reply to one of my questions, ask me a question, retweet something I post, etc. I will notice any of these and if I’m not following you, I will. I have found other follow back policies to be too time consuming or inefficient.

Thanks for reading and I hope we can interact on Twitter!

1/3/2015 Update: I moved to Utah in 2013, and I don’t particularly adhere to a ‘follow back’ policy these days…

Twitter integrating the ReTweet

Twitter integrating the ReTweet

Twitter announced “Project Retweet” today, as the company is now officially working towards integrating a Retweet function directly into the Twitter service, website and API. Twitter plans to launch the feature in “a few weeks” and is currently working with developers to allow them to prepare for the new API features. This means that when the new feature actually does launch, your favorite 3rd party Twitter client such as Tweetdeck, Twidroid, etc, could already have the feature available.

Kudos to Twitter for integrating a feature that is highly desired and will be highly utilized by the community.

Twitter published the following image with their announcement, to give you an idea of what the integrated Retweet feature will look like.

In the image above, notice that the 2nd mock tweet from the top, by ev, is actually a retweet. Underneath, you’ll find the attribution, stating that it was retweeted by biz. So even if you’re not following ev, if you are following biz, you would get a tweet appearing in your stream that looks like it came from ev.

How will this affect the Twitter experience?

This might cause some mild confusion with the Twitter community on the initial rollout, but over the long run, it looks like it will be a great way to handle retweets. You’ll no longer have to crop/edit/squeeze the original tweet that you are retweeting, as the integrated retweet will take up the exact same amount of characters as the original tweet. No more losing precious tweet characters for “RT” or @username, the integrated retweet will be an identical replica of the original tweet, except with an added retweet attribution underneath, but not part of the actual tweet. Pretty freakin cool!

One question remains on how the original tweeter will actually see these new integrated retweets in their own stream. It would be a bit strange if you get a duplicate (re)tweet in your stream that looks like it came from yourself, but how else would you know when/if someone retweeted you?

What do you think about the upcoming integrated retweet?