By the looks of things around here, you’d think that I’d gone a little AWOL – and part of that is true. I guess when you work on others’ blogs, copy, marketing, and video production – your own personal blog takes a back seat (funny how that making money to pay the bills thing works). So without further adieu…let me bring ya’ll up to speed on what I’ve been working on.
As I wrote back in the beginning of October, I’ve started working with MindMeister in a variety of capacities. Truly, this is one of the best gigs I’ve ever had. Not only is Michael Hollauf (my boss), one of the most supportive people I’ve ever worked with, he’s also very open to any and all marketing ideas. One of the first projects I did with MindMeister is the 4:37 screencast that went up about a month ago.
I can’t take credit for the video footage in this one, as the intro and most of the screen footage was produced and recorded by Wolfgang Bartelme. However, the vocals were recorded by me.
Shortly thereafter I received a headlong introduction to working with Ruby on Rails. After installing NetBeans and getting and stunnel connection set up, I now have access to the ‘guts’ of the MindMeister engine. On any given day, here’s what I’m looking at:
If you’re familiar with coding, then all of this makes sense. If not, it’s completely Greek to you (and me – partially). I place myself somewhere in the middle. My coding experience more or less ended with html, however I’d consider myself a fairly decent php and css modifier, but not creator. To be fair, when I work with code, I’m only altering text, not actually programming strings. However, there is a certain level of organization required, as some text has already been created in a string previously, and doesn’t need to be duplicated, rather, a simple expression is needed to call upon this text.
Got all that? Yeah – me too….but I’m getting there.
The last project I’ve worked on is a screencast video diving into some of the more advanced features of using links within MindMeister mind maps. Again, the intro and outro were created by Wolfgang, but everything in between is all me – video and vox.
And just in case you’re wondering, here’s what I use to make the magic happen:
- MacBook Pro 2.5 Ghz w/ 4GB DDR2 SDRAM
- Adobe Premiere Pro
- Shure SG 25 microphone
- Allen and Heath Xone XD 53 headphones for monitoring
And if that wasn’t enough – I’ve also authored a blog post or two at the MindMeister Blog
Nothing really new in the way of fatfoogoo. I keep tabs on the daily industry news concerning microtransactions and their applications in the video games industry. Naturally, in-game advertising also shows up on my radar, as it’s also a monetization method for video and social games. I did however recently read that one of fatfoogoo’s investors, Christian ‘Toto’ Wolff, recently purchased a minority stake in the Williams F1 racing team. This buy in signals the first time ever that the teams’ principles, Sir Frank Williams and Patrick Head have allowed outside investment. So indirectly, fatfoogoo now has a connection to the Formula One racing world? Awesome.
Naturally, you can always have a read of what I’m reporting for fatfoogoo over in the industry news section.
Here’s a teaser that I put together of a much larger project in the works. At the end of last winter my two filmmaking partners and I had the opportunity to interview Chanda VanderHart and Anna Lea Stefansdotir of Talespin – Musical Tales for Big and Small. To be honest – we’ve got so much great footage that I’ve simply been overwhelmed as where to start with the editing process (maybe a MindMeister mind map would be in order here?). Footage was shot by me, while the audio was provided by, unfortunately I never got the guys name – but the dude running the soundboard. And speaking of audio – let me tell you, aligning a separate audio source with video is much trickier that it looks. After doing a little research, as well as talking to Ritchie (aka datadirt), it seems as though most DAT recordings run at 48kHz, while most video footage audio is recorded at 44kHz. Not a major difference, but it’s enough to offset frames. In other words, I couldn’t simply lay the audio in under the video, as every 60th frame or so, the audio would start to go out of phase. To correct this, I had to manually splice the audio and line it up with the video. See if you can hear the cuts – I bet you can’t.
So that’s about it for the month of November. Sure there’s a whole slew of stuff I’m working on for MindMeister right now, but it’d spoil the surprise if I told you about it pre-launch, eh? You’ll have to stay tuned. If you don’t want to miss a beat, you can always follow MindMeister on twitter, become a fan on Facebook, or subscribe to the RSS feed. Shameless marketing plugs FTW!
A few weeks back, my production partner Magda Pressel and I had the opportunity to sit down with Amy Hoy, Freckle., Dieter Komendera, and Joe Markovics, a.k.a the team behind the time tracking solution,
MP: This is the team of Lets Freckle, a cooperative effort between Slash7 featuring Amy Hoy, and naturally Thomas Fuchs and abloom featuring Dieter Komendera and Joe Markovics. Amy and Thomas are well known and respected figures in the programming world, noteably for Thomas’ involvement in the development of .
MP: We’re here with the team of letsfreckle.com and I’m going to ask them some questions. So maybe just tell me something about yourself.
AH: My name is Amy Hoy, I’m the public voice, I write all the blog posts so far. I’m an interaction designer, self taught, and I’ve been making web pages in various forms since 1994.
TF: My name is Thomas Fuchs and I’m more on the development side of things. I’ve done web development since about the same time as Amy did. So, like fourteen years now. Amy reminds me that I’m the author of script.aculo.us which is used by sites like Apple, NASA, (AH) CNN, yeah, sites like that.
MP: Joe and Dieter share a similar past, both working in web development for the past 9 years.
JM: I started during college, together with him. We were at a kind of boarding school and we were bored all day. That’s how we got into web dev, and that’s what we’re still doing right now.
DK: My name is Dieter Komendera, and I am more on the programming side of things. I’m doing all the…most of the Rails stuff.
MP: All four members work as freelancers, and have spent a lot of their time trying to find a time tracking solution that was right for them; but often came up short.
AH: The idea came from looking at what other systems did not have that frustrated me. The first thing that I did when I was really hungover and working Freckle out on paper was to look at all the assumptions that the other software makes that you have to do first and see which we can get rid of.
MP: Indeed the software is well structured and user friendly. For example job codes can be created on the fly, and simply tagged. However, Freckle still is a work in progress. Customer feedback is quite important to the freckle team, but can sometimes go a little overboard.
TF: There were a couple of quite outrageous comments. It’s very interesting to see people who are getting that enraged about a piece of software.
MP: But while a number of time tracking solutions on the market today offer a host of additional features that Freckle does not, that’s not to say that the team isn’t hard at work building out additional functionality, including an API.
DK: We definitely have plans to integrate invoicing to freckle so that you can just run a report on the time entries you have and it will generate an invoice for you.
MP: Freckle’s API is designed to both import and export time tracking data from a variety of sources. With the Freckle API, developers can both push and pull data to and from Freckle.
DK: This of course can be used from any other application who wants to use Freckle or to integrate with Freckle.
MP: Like many small web application companies today, Freckle is 100 percent privately funded.
AH: We’re not funded in any way. We have very low costs, so we’ve been funding it, quote/unquote, with our time.
MP: Freckle; four freelancers that couldn’t find a time tracking solution that fit their needs simply built their own solution from the ground up. And in the process, they’ve successfully managed to create a new way of looking at time tracking.
- Freckle: Time tracking with style (ajaxian.com)
Those of you involved in the twitter community have undoubtedly heard of ‘tweetups’, where the local twitter community organizes an event where they call all meet and socialize offline. An outstanding idea in it’s own right, but a group of organizers from London have decided to take this concept one further and combine a charity fundraising event and tweetup into one cause. On the 12th of February, twitter communities around the world will band together not only to meet each other, but to raise money for an amazing non-profit organization.
After hearing about the event, I took a drive on over to charity:water. While I’ve never had any direct contact with this particular charity, I did work with the good folks from WaterAid a few years back, and know that what these folks are working on is truly a great thing.and did a bit more reading. The non profit that twestival will be raising money for
Ok, looks good. Who’s organizing the Vienna event? Ummm. No Vienna event? Well, far be it from me to let my horrible german skills prevent me from organizing the Twestival Wien. This was spawned on by a recent conversation I had with Amy from LetsFreckle.com. She commented, “Wow, there’s so much tech going on in Vienna that I just don’t know about.” You and me both Amy. Hopefully, this event will not only raise money for a good cause, but spur on future twitter and tech events in Vienna.
And so it is born. @MountainDan has become the official organizer for the Vienna branch of this global event. As it stands right now, I’m also the only volunteer, organizer, location getter, and fundraiser (both corporate and private). This is also my plea for help. I’ve received a bunch of stuff from the Twestival folks, and to their credit, they’ve really mapped out a lot of procedures and ideas, but have ultimately left it up to the individual (or in most cases, local teams) to handle things on their end.
Right now, we have no sponsors, and no location. The first official vienna.twestival.com blog post went up today, but sadly only with about the same info I’m writing to you here now.
I do have a lead on a cool location, and thanks go to Thomas Fuchs for suggesting werkzeugH as another possible location. I’ll be shooting them an email as soon as this blog post goes live. Ideally the twestival location should have wifi access (the bigger the bandwidth, the better), multiple projectors (event organizers are currently working on live web streams of events around the world, and Thomas Fuchs and Amy Hoy are working on something tied in to twestival that would look VERY cool on a projector. They’ve bound my lips with duct tape not to reveal any details, but is IS very cool), a decent but not overpowering (the whole point is to meet and talk) soundsystem, and perhaps most importantly: Booze.
Ok, here’s where the good news starts to flow. I’ve already spoken with my boss, Martin Herdina from fatfoogoo about the event, and he’s verbally pledged support. We have not, however, gotten into details about what form that support with take? Cash only? Cash plus entertainment (i.e. a video gaming station – yet again, need for those projectors), Cash plus some fatfoogoo staff to help organize and/or work the event? Notice the casual dropping of the word cash? Ideally, I’d like to see two sponsors for this event. One that will sponsor the evening, and one that will make a matching donation for all funds raised.
Music is the one of the things that I DO have nailed down. Smartula, Stephono and hopefully I (time permitting) have our copies of Traktor fired up and will be laying down the niceties all night. Other Vienna DJ’s are more than welcome to and encouraged to participate. Simply get in touch (see below)!
Martin has a great connection in Mirjam Mieschendahl from groops.at, and she’s offered to help out in any way she can. Groops.at has a huge user base, hopefully some of which are involved with twitter as well. She’s also got a Rolodex with some of the most important media contacts in Vienna (think FM4, Vienna Online, Kurier…etc.) and is the administrator for the women’s group at the Vienna BarCamp. I’m also quite good friends with Ritchie Pettaur (@datadirt) from datadirt.net, and I’ll be calling upon him shortly. Needless to say, we’ve got a good lead on getting some coverage, but as my grandmother always used to say – the more the better. If you are, or have a media contact in Vienna, please let me know (see contact details below).
As recommended by the twestival folks, prize raffles and/or silent auctions can be one of the most effective ways to raise money at this event. Given the recent NPD report that the Nintendo wii was the console sales winner last year, a natural choice is to raffle off a wii. Another thought that popped into my head was doing a silent auction for a night at the MonzaKart go-kart track in Vienna. Who doesn’t love go-karts?
Once a location is secured the next step will be to ensure that we’ve got enough twestivalwien volunteers on site to make sure that the night runs smoothly. Currently I need someone to work the door and collect tickets (I’ll update this post once I’ve heard a bit more info on that from twestival), and I would estimate 3-4 other folks that will be there in an official capacity just to make sure all of our high-tech is running the way it should.
So here it is Vienna and the world. You dear author of this blog (and others) needs your help. Whether you can volunteer, offer your services, or simply donate to the cause, any and all help is now being accepted.
Remember, no donation or help is too small or insignificant.
So there you have it folks. I’ve got just over three weeks to pull off what looks like a miracle. Yes it’s going to be a lot of hard work, but at the end of the day, I’m quite certain it’s all going to be worth it.