As mother’s day closes

I'm so happy we got my mom's sister here in time to see my mom. She came all the way from Germany. They are so sweet together. Instantly I could tell there was a bond that was deeper than any other that's come through the room I'm spending time with mom in tonight.

Christian Long said it perfectly: I do have a mother that I love dearly.

I just wish I didn't have to be reminded of that love quite the way I've been reminded in the past week.

Hat's off to all the mother's around the world! Oh, and Susan Kitchens has some excellent questions to ask your mom if you still have time left to do so.

Here's hoping that this week is better than last.

Outside the 53,651 bubble

I've been thinking about the 53,651 people who read TechCrunch. What, you missed that whole meme that passed through the tech blogs this past week?

Rick Segal wrote about the meme and said it's the paying customers that matter.

Well, for the past five days I've been hanging out with folks who don't read TechCrunch. Maybe that's my mom's gift to me. Get me outside the Silicon Valley or Puget Sound bubbles.

So, I've been thinking about what it'll take to get these folks to try something new. Hey, the iPod still hasn't gotten here, so don't even ask about podcasting, RSS, or tagging. Interestingly enough, blogging has been heard about here. One older lady who visited my mom saw that I was blogging and she said "oh, blogs are the things that's keeping the media honest."

Heh. The things that get heard here in a small town in middle America.

But, back to the lesson. How do we get things out to these people? Well, for one, we need wide-spread wifi here first. Google hasn't set up a Wifi network here in Livingston. That's a business opportunity. Second, there aren't signs extoling the Internet here. I haven't seen a URL on anything in days. I haven't seen an iPod poster in days. I haven't seen a Fry's in days. It's almost like geeks don't exist. Although there is a killer computer museum in Bozeman (I'll try to visit that this week too).

Thomas Hawk wrote about this issue. He taught people to Flickr in New Orleans.

Oh, damn you Thomas. Now you've made it 53,652. Heheh!

Like I said, how do you cause an avalanche? One snowflake at a time. One snowflake at a time.


PR done badly

It's amazing how many product pitches I've received in the past few days. Even in phone calls. Do they not read my blog? Do they have no clue what's happened in my life in the past five days?

Apparently not.

I'm sad I'm not going to Syndicate. I'd like to ask Richard Edelman about why PR folks are sometimes so clueless.

Now, keep in mind, not all are.

Frank Shaw, Vice President of Waggener Edstrom, demonstrated his clued-in behavior by sending me a very nice note. Not that he needed to demonstrate that again. He's proven that he is clued in many, many times before. I guess that's how you get to be vice president at a major PR firm instead of just a lackey paid to smile-and-dial.

But, in today's world of search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, Technorati, Feedster, and others, it just isn't good to be clued out.

I don't know what to do about it. Other than to turn down free stuff. And not write about such jerks' products or companies. It's amazing how much free stuff I've been offered since I told the world I'm not going to accept it anymore.

The good PR folks can call me anytime. After all, I wrote a book with one. Oh, wait, he doesn't like being called a PR guy. Says he's retired from that business. Oh, yeah, Shel, you're the best, and you just don't wanna be associated with the bad ones. Me neither.

Boy, has PR changed since we have the ability to share our lives in real time with the world? You bet it has.

You also now understand how Microsoft got such bad PR. We forgot that PR is done one relationship at a time. I wonder now how many press releases we sent to journalists who were sitting with mothers who were dying?

How is blogging changing PR? One mother at a time. Heh!

The Internet is coming down the tracks

Coal train rumbles through Livingston

Dave Winer called me tonight and we had a nice chat about families and parents and all that. In the middle of the conversation a long train rumbled past. "The Internet is here" I told Dave. My end was being held in front of the Chop House, which is an excellent restaurant in Livingston.

He didn't quite understand until I explained it to him. See, the Internet is powered by electricity. What, you think those data centers at Yahoo and Google and MSN don't require much power? Think again. In fact, Google is planting its data centers near power sources because they require so much power.

So, when a train loaded with coal rumbled past, the first thing I thought of was that coal was going to power some of our Internet.

Of course I took a picture.

I told Dave that the railroad is a big deal here in Livingston. I know train buffs (they call them rail spotters, or if you really are a train buff, a "flimsie") come from around the world to watch the trains go over the Bozeman pass between Livingston and Bozeman, Montana. It's one of the most scenic train crossings in the world. Tomorrow I might follow a train or two and try to capture a picture as four, or six, electromotive engines pull a mile-long train over the pass.

It's an awesome sight to watch. The sheer physics are amazing.

Are any of you train fans? What draws you to watching trains? I think that's something I picked up from my ex-boss, Steve Sloan. When I worked for him he wrote a newsletter, named "Flimsies." Today he has a train page, although much of that doesn't seem to link up anymore. I'm sad, cause he had some really great photos of trains all over the Western United States.

But I think my love of trains goes back to the Lionel set that Uncle Victor gave our family when I was young. I still remember setting that up and driving it so fast that it flipped off of the tracks. Weird what we remember from when we were young.

Anyway, tomorrow I hope to catch a train after I take my brother to the airport. Even as I type this I hear a train horn in the distance. I wonder what's on it? Toys? Cars? Oil? Or more coal?

A stinky situation

No, this situation isn't about sitting with my mom this Mother's day.

You see, my mom shared one thing with me: the love of the outdoors. So, since Maryam had to go home today I wanted to make sure she experienced Yellowstone National Park.

So, yesterday we drove into the park. She was amazed. Couldn't believe that wildlife would walk within yards of people. I took her to Mammoth Hotsprings. My mom had taken me there a few times before.

Norris Geysers

Eventually we got to Norris Geysers. It smells there. Really.

Think about what would happen if 100 people would fart in an elevator. That comes close to the smell you'll experience at Norris and other places in Yellowstone.

See, the hot water that comes out of the ground brings with it Hydrogen Sulfide. It smells. Like rotten eggs. Or farts.

Norris is one of those places you'll probably see on Discovery Channel. If you have an HDTV I'm sure it'll be pretty interesting to watch, but HDTV won't bring you that smell. It must be experienced.

Norris geyser water

Why go there? Well, the geyers are interesting to watch. And the colors that form in the water streaming from the geyers are brilliant. My little cell phone camera doesn't do justice.

It seemed to be a good place to spend the afternoon. The only thing really smelly about it was my mom wasn't there. I might go back this week and sit on this bench and take it all in again.

My mom loved this place. She lived only an hour away.

I wish you all could experience the smell without experiencing the stinky situation. Heck, I wish that for myself.

Oh, by the way, Eric Rice wrote a beautiful thing about mothers this morning. He wrote "And never has it been so worth it to cry this much before noon."

P.S., my mom is doing as well as can be. She is a bit more alert. She recognizes people as they walk in (she has SO MANY friends here). Her sister arrived last night and they have had some very touching moments together. My mom strokes her hair and looks at her. Unfortunately there's not much else of my mom there to connect with. Funny thing, she picked up my business card and stared at it for quite a while. Ever since then we've brought her pictures and other things to look at.

As for me, it's a tough thing to go through. But, I'm trying to see the good parts in it and there are many. Even though it indeed, is a stinky situation. Much like the color in the geyser water below the smell.