Continental 1404, Pan Am 103, and thoughts on dodging bullets

This morning, before I’d even had my tea, I learned via e-mail that at my local airport last night a Continental flight 1404 veered off the runway and crashed, injuring 58. AP reported that local resident Mike Wilson tweeted his experience immediately after he escaped the burning plane.

Two tweets from Wilson especially caught my attention:

Mike Wilson's first post about the Denver plane crash he survived

Mike Wilson's first post about the Denver plane crash he survived

And then, a couple of hours later…

Mike Wilson reflects on a similar bullet he dodged earlier

Mike Wilson reflects on a similar bullet he dodged earlier

…Next I was making breakfast, listening to Colorado Public Radio, which was (of course) reporting on the Denver airport accident. They followed that with a story that stopped me cold for a bit: Witnesses, Families Remember Lockerbie Bombing. Yes, today is the 20th anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 — a terrorist attack that killed 259 on the plane and 11 on the ground.

On the evening of Dec. 21, 1988, I was a 22-year-old journalism student packed up and ready to head back home to NJ after spending a semester in London. I’d been at the office Christmas party for the business magazine where I’d been interning. When I entered the house I’d been sharing since August with five other students, my housemates who hadn’t yet departed for home were sitting in the living room, crying. Mindy said, “Diane’s plane crashed”…

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High Praise from Jeremiah Owyang

For years and years I’ve followed the work of Jeremiah Owyang, one of the brightest online and social media strategists around. (Currently he works for Forrester Research). We had a chance to catch up a bit at Denver’s Thin Air Summit this past weekend, where he gave a top-notch presentation on the The Future of Media in the New Social Era.

So yesterday I was thrilled to see Jeremiah tweet:

High praise from someone I respect mightily

High praise from someone I respect mightily.

Wow! And that’s coming from a blogger who always, always teaches me something! I’m thrilled he’d recommend my blog to his more than 15,000 Twitter followers! Thanks, Jeremiah.

Blogging: Every word counts

On Sunday morning, from 10:45-noon MT, I’ll be speaking in Denver at the Thin Air Summit. (Twitter hashtag: #TAS08) It’s a new conference on new media that I hope will become an annual affair. A lot of intriguing new media people and companies live and work along Colorado’s Front Range. We’ve really needed our own event. (Hate to break it to ya, Bay Area, but you’re not the only new media hub in the country.)

The title of my talk is listed on the schedule as “Blogging: Making every word count” — which I’ve just decided to re-edit because I dislike unnecessary gerunds, especially twice in the same title 🙂

Grammar aside, that title is deliberately nebulous. Here’s why… Continue reading

Boulder Naked Pumpkin Run: Halloween 2008

IMPORTANT UPDATE NOV. 2: I researched applicable Colorado law. It does indeed appear that any Naked Pumpkin Runner whose indecent exposure citation gets upheld in court will have to register as a sex offender! Read the details

I just got back from hanging out in downtown Boulder, enjoying the Halloween freakery. The peak of the evening was the 10th annual running of the Naked Pumpkin Run, where a bunch of people put jack-o-lanterns on their heads and streak down the Pearl St. Mall.

Yeah, the cops aren’t happy about this. This year, they ticketed lots of runners, and it look like some may have been arrested. Which seems odd considering the context of today’s local news:

Boulder Daily Camera Halloween News

Boulder Daily Camera Halloween News

Given that, I would’ve thought Boulder’s cops would have had more important law enforcement activities on hand tonight than busting harmless streakers…

Anyway, with that strange introduction, I give you some video of tonight’s Naked Pumpkin Run!…

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TechStars Investor Day and other good stuff today

This morning I had the privilege of attending some of the morning presentations from this year’s crop of TechStars startup companies in an event called “Investor Day,” held at the Boulder Theater.  TechStars is a Boulder, CO-based program that provides seed capital and mentorship for tech startups. SocialThing (which just got bought by AOL) and Brightkite were both graduates of last summer’s TechStars.

The main reason I went was because my good friends Susan Mernit and Lisa Williams were presenting the flagship product, WhozAround, from their new company, People’s Software Company. I’ve been watching them endure the TechStars maelstrom this summer, and they pulled through great despite lots of pressure and stresses.

WhozAround is currently a Facebook application in alpha. It’s the first step in their plan to bypass the current communication chaos that ensues whenever two or more people try to agree on a place & time to meet. As Susan said in her presentation today, “Do all those e-mails, IMs, texts, Facebook notifications, and other messages really make getting together easier?” I can answer that with a resounding “NOT!!!”

Here’s Susan giving the presentation:

Susan Mernit presenting at TechStars Investory Day, 2008

And Susan and Lisa taking questions from investors:

Susan Mernit & Lisa Williams taking questions from investors

(Apologies for the crappy images, my iPhone camera isn’t great for that sort of lighting and distance. I was sitting in the balcony.)

I’ll be heading back to the Boulder Theater in a couple of hours for the Tech Cocktails event there:

Tech Cocktails

But some more cool stuff happened today…

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New iPhone users: Get ready for a shocking first AT&T bill

Last night I got a great big surprise from AT&T in my e-mail: my first bill for service for my new 3G iPhone. I was told when I cought the phone that this would be around $70-75. Instead, the bill I received — for a phone I’ve had only 3 weeks — was a whopping $191.89.

I immediately tried to call AT&T, but they don’t take billing inquiries at night. So I expressed my shock and anger about this on Seesmic and Twitter.

Since then, some AT&T customers who had the first-generation iPhone told me that AT&T bills in advance for this service, so your first iPhone bill will basically be a double bill (plus activation fee, joy).

I’m really annoyed because when I bought the phone at the Apple store on July 18, I specifically asked what to expect in my first month’s bill and was given incorrect information. So this failure to communicate isn’t just AT&T’s problem, it’s Apple’s problem too.

This video explains why failing to communicate this policy to customers up front is a really bad business move.