Category Archives: Web/Tech

Farewell to the Aughties

I just finished compiling my “Feeling Fine in 2009″ playlist. Since 2004, I have compiled an annual list of the best tracks of the year. Personal favourites, critical darlings, and popular hits all get knocked together and uploaded to our iPods. I’m already thinking about my next playlist – the”Naughty Aughties” best of the decade.

4th gen iPod by Mr. Bsod

The annual holiday music project aside, there’s nothing like the introspection and nostalgia that comes with looking back over a year, and a decade. I find myself checking in against my dreams. Have I been true to myself and what I value? What have I accomplished? How have I made a difference? Have I been a good person, wife, sister, daughter, friend? Heavy stuff to be sure.

Ten years ago, I was a newly-wed living in a basement apartment in the “North Beaches” in Toronto. I was working as an Account Executive at Fleishman-Hillard. Taking a look back is a blur. John returned to school full-time to take a post-graduate certificate in public relations, my God kids were born, we moved to an apartment in North Toronto, got my first iPod, I injured my back, stopped using film in my camera, got on board with this whole Internet thing, got promoted 6 times, mourned the loss and celebrated the life of my Grandma Hobbs, sold my first car to a scrapper for $25, changed the way I consumed music, took a 6-week trip around Europe with Mr. Flackadelic, quit my job at FH, worked for Yahoo!, took a job at Tucows, bought a new car, stood up for my sister at her wedding, bought a house, got a dog, went to work at SMG. There were a lot of constants throughout the decade. Quality time with family and old and new friends. Down time at the cottage and in Nova Scotia. And of course, living and having adventures with my wonderful, supportive and incredible husband.

I can’t wait to see what 2010 and the next decade have in store.

Dispatch from PAB09 #1

Podcasters Across Borders promised that PAB09 would bring it to the next level. “Sure, podcasting is about creating compelling audio or video, but media creation is so much more. It’s about building and engaging communities, using social media dynamics, and honing the skills we use in all aspects of our online presence.” Thanks to the organizers, sponsors, speakers and participants, the event last weekend did not disappoint.

Six String Nation ay PAB09 by LexnGer

Six String Nation at PAB09 by LexnGer

Due to a prior commitment last Friday night, I wasn’t able to make it to Kingston until Saturday morning. By all accounts, I missed an incredible time with Jowli Taylor of Six String Nation. “The goals of the Six String Nation project are simple: to invite the many voices and perspectives that together define the spectrum of Canadian identity and experience to speak to one another – each in their own voice; to celebrate the people and stories that make each part of Canada distinct; to tell the story of a country from the roots to the trunk rather than the other way around; and to encourage us to tell that story to ourselves and the world through music – the language that Canada speaks just about better than anyone else in the world.” Alexa Clark, who documented PAB09 in photos,  writes: “Jowi Taylor of the Six String Nation project was the keynote at Podcasting Across Borders. WOW! He has lead the creation of a guitar which contains 64 pieces of Canadian History. It has inspired both the newest 50cent piece and a book. But the project still needs help to finish. Check SixStringNation.com.”

I met Mark Blevis in the hotel lobby bright and early on the Saturday morning of PAB09. Mark is co-founder and co-organizer of Podcasters Across Borders. He was up first on Saturday and spoke about a Curiosity Manifesto and how so much of out thinking is goal and results-oriented. Mark spoke about how curiosity is not about the end, or finding an answer. At the end of his talk he presented his Curiosity Manifesto:

1. Asking one question is only the beginning

2. Seek a greater understanding, not a solution to problems

3. A curious attitude will set me free

Tod Maffin delivered a Jolt called JUICE: Getting Your Creative On. Here are my free-form notes:

Most people confuse inspiration with creativity. People don’t spend time talking and sourcing inspiration. You have to go out and do things. In your own space that’s not going happen. Go to art exhibit, an AA meeting, a meetup, go sit in an emergency room. Just be. Don’t do anything there.  You start to notice things. Look at things twice – a flower? Examine the soil. Boat horn?  Listen actively what comes next. Inspiration occurs in the absence. We need to take time for our brains to process things. We need to find a way to capture all this stuff. Like an idea book. You got to be able to pull it out and write it down. You need a creativity bank. Prime your brain – let your brain do things with processed images. Sit in a room by yourself for 3 minutes. Remember scenes and start your synapses firing. Eliminate things from the room if you can. Do it a second time 48-hours later, you’ll retain memory/learning for life. To be creative you have to find the best place to work. Pull something out of inspiration. Sing. Don’t block it.

Next up, Valerie Hunter who presented While You Weren’t Looking … From the visible to the audible

Valerie does video description. Here’s an example of her work.

Valerie described her creative process and workflow. The balance of providing context to a visual narrative and being inclusive in undertaking her work.

Links to learn more:

Pimping the new MacBook

I got to unbox the MacBook provided to me by new employer on Monday. I have been in geek heaven pimping it out with the stuff that makes my work flow.

Firefox was the first download.  Customizations thus far – the Hover This! boomarklet, the Share on Tumblr bookmarklet, Feedly (thanks to Rob and Zoë for that one!) and the Delicious extension.

Also – Adium, TweetDeck, iTunes, Things, MS Office 2008, PhotoShop Elements, Last.fm, Xpad, and WriteRoom.

And I chose this photo of my dog for my wallpaper:

Scotia at 8 mos #3 taken by Leona Hobbs

Scotia at 8 mos #3 taken by Leona Hobbs

Join the Tucows Team: Marketing Manager

I’m on the hunt for a kick-ass Marketing Manager to join our team at Tucows.

Here’s the pitch:

As our Marketing Manager, you’ll get to work with a bunch of bright, passionate people who are really smart about the Internet and good at what they do.

You’ll get to apply your creativity and innovate ideas to design, implement and manage our marketing programs. It’ll be your job to deliver email marketing, promotions, retention/acquisition campaigns, search engine marketing & optimization and to manage media and analytics.

Tucows is one of Canada’s oldest Internet companies. As a wholesale Internet services provider, we offer domain names, SSL certificates and email, to our resellers (thousands of web hosting companies and ISPs around the world).

At Tucows, we believe the Internet is the greatest agent for positive change world has ever seen. We know that people find the Internet complex and confusing, so our work is to make things simple and reliable. We’re big on innovation and creativity and believe it is found in every employee, customer and partner we have. And finally, we know that through teamwork we can achieve remarkable things.
If this sounds like your dream job, cruise on over to the Tucows site to read all the details and drop us your resume.

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photos: 1. Tucows Squishy Cows in Russia!, 2. Narcissism, 3. Tucows Action Shot, 4. Moo Moo Update, 5. , 6. Overlooking Tel Aviv

2008: Web Services I Can’t Do Without

Inspired by Mr. Arrington, (who started a keeping a list of his essential web 2.0 companies in 2006), here is my list of web services I can’t do without:

del.icio.us

My bookmarks. I use it daily to tag just about everything. 2007 brought upgraded features including “do not share” which I use to make notes on my research, create lists, etc. Links I do share feed out to my tumblr blog, Tumbleona.

tumblr

I’ve said it a couple times before. I’m a huge tumblr fan. It is such an elegant tool to create a collection of my quick finds and my feeds around the web. Tumblr got some funding last fall and rolled out a service upgrade in November.

leonahobbs_archive

last.fm

I registered for last.fm on Janaury 2, 2007 and have scrobled 9,556 songs so far.

Wikipedia: “Using a unique music recommendation system
known as “Audioscrobbler”, Last.fm builds a detailed profile of each
user’s musical taste by recording details of all the songs the user
listens to, either on the streamed radio stations or on the user’s
computer or portable music device. This information is transferred to
Last.fm’s database (“Scrobbled”) via a plugin installed into the user’s music player.
The profile data is displayed on a personal web page. The site offers
numerous social networking features and can recommend and play artists
similar to the user’s favourites.”

From my charts, I know that last year my top artists were:

1. Wilco

2. Ray LaMontagne

3. Sloan

4. The Tragically Hip

5. Elliot Smith

6. Nick Drake

7. The White Stripes

8. Bob Dylan

9. Beck

10. Iron and Wine

So far, I only Scroble from my Macbook Pro. As you can see, I listen to lots of mellow stuff lots while I work. I use the recommendations to find new stuff, too.

Facebook

What a wild ride.

According to data released on Monday by Zinck Research:

“Over the past month something very interesting has happened in Canadian society. First, Toronto became the first North American city to have over one million subscribers to Facebook. And second, approximately half of online Canadians are now on Facebook.

“With our world becoming increasingly wired, Facebook appears to be bridging the gap with our online and real lives,” said
Singh. “We see people who have connected with people from their past and, given how mobile we have become, being able to stay in contact friends and family from across the country and around the world – all via this easy to use and engaging platform.”

Fastladder

My primary feed reader because it is simple and works really well for scanning. Instead of housecleaning my feeds, I start accounts on new services for a fresh start. This year, I went from Bloglines to Fastladder. I have a Google Reader account that I use when I browse on my PSP. I prefer Fastladder to Google Reader and Bloglines, although the Bloglines beta looks promising.

Tucows Email Service

As Ken mentioned this week, we “eat our own dog food” at Tucows. I use IMAP for my Blackberry and to run Mail.app on my MacBook Pro. Our sweet AJAX-based web mail was new last year, and rocks.

flickr

I love taking three minutes to cruise flickr for photos I like. (You may have noticed a few of them here and there on my blogs.) Yahoo! upgraded me to a flickr Pro account when they killed Yahoo! Photos, I find I’m using it more and more for my own photos.

popurls

My homepage because it is “the premium aggregator to the best of the web”. I also use the PSP version and receive updates on Twitter via the popurls network.

Social (Media) Butterflies

Flutter by Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton

Flutter by Creativity+ Timothy K Hamilton

Today, I spoke to communicators at the Canadian Institute’s Social Media conference. And last night I caught Richard Binhammer’s (aka RichardatDell) talk at Third Tuesday. Tomorrow, I’m off to give a talk to students in the Loyalist College’s PR program.

Richard’s talk at Third Tuesday last night was great. Dell is getting “it” done. It is great to have the opportunity to learn from a practitioner of Richard’s caliber.

I must remember to buy Joe Thornley a drink the next time I see him. As conference chair, he gave me a very generous introduction and flashed me the “5 Minutes” sign in the nicest possible way.

Today, I was fortunate to hear Ian Graham‘s talk. Ian is an IT Strategy and Planning guru for BMO. Ian’s talk Introducing Change Management to Adjust Workplace Culture to Social Media is a fantastic road map for anyone looking to start using social media tools inside the enterprise.

This was my third annual appearance at the Canadian Institute social media conference. It was great to have chats with delegates about CEO blogs, social media releases, and wikis. I am encouraged to see the skepticism and resistance to the change brought to our business by social media starting to evaporate.

photo: Flutter by by creativity+

Join the Tucows Team: Customer Success Manager

tucows Squishycows! by Jason Gulledge

tucows Squishycows! by Jason Gulledge

If you’ve got a knack for B2B marketing and communications, have I got the job for you.

Be our Customer Success Manager!

We’re looking for a passionate communicator to build dialogue between Tucows and our wholesale ISP and web hosting customers.

As our Customer Success Manager, you’ll get to work with a bunch of bright, passionate people who are really smart about the Internet and good at what they do.

It’ll be your job to develop programs to help our customers sell more Tucows services to their end-users. You’ll get to design, implement and manage our customer reference program. You’ll be an evangelist for our services. You’ll be a champion for the needs of our customers within Tucows.

Tucows is one of Canada’s oldest Internet companies. As a wholesale Internet service provider, we offer domain names, email and billing services to thousands of web hosting companies and ISPs around the world. We value our people – we’re big on teamwork; we respect each other and value each individual’s contribution; we continually work to exceed our customer’s expectations and we play to win while maintaining our principals of fairness, excellence and ethical conduct.

If this sounds like your dream job, cruise on over to the Tucows site to read all the details and drop us your resume.

Looking for more information about Tucows?

Learn about our wholesale servicesEmail, Domain Names and Billing software.

We care for and feed a couple of official blogs  – our corporate one, and another for developers.

Our news releases, financial information and other corporate deets are available at http://about.tucows.com.

photo credit: tucows Squishycows uploaded by Jason Gulledge