New Orleans — something is different here

I wish I had more time in New Orleans — this is our favorite city, it’s where I first kissed Maryam. I just got into my hotel at 11 p.m. and find out I have a 4 a.m. wakeup call. Who said that trying to be President is a glamorous job? I get to see the process up close and personal.

But, forget the politics, I had a nice ride in in an older gentleman’s taxi. He told me how he’s been living out of a FEMA trailer for the past year and just settled with his insurance company after more than a year. He thinks his house will be liveable in a few months.

Something else I noticed: the city was darker than the last time I was here (fewer lights when we flew in). And the airport was totally uncrowded. Complete antithesis to Oakland, which was close to my idea of hell. It was cold, but you couldn’t leave your spot in line.

We’re off to Iowa in the morning.

I think the Microsoft Vista giveaway is an awesome idea

Lots of people like BL Ochman are screaming bloody murder about Microsoft giving bloggers and other influentials free laptops loaded with Windows Vista. I personally don’t get it.

That is a GREAT idea. After all, how can anyone have a decent conversation about Windows Vista without having put a bunch of time on one of the machines?

Now, regarding blogger ethics. Did you disclose? If you did, you have ethics. If you didn’t, you don’t. It’s that black and white with me.

Did you sell your soul and you disclosed that? Fine. Now it’s up to the readers to decide whether anything you say is worth listening to. But you’re ethical.

Are you trying to hide that you sold your soul? That’s not ethical.

On Edelman’s side? Is sending out laptops ethical? Of course! That’s their job. Their job is to get the product and company they represent in front of as many influentials as possible.

For instance, the Edwards campaign has several journalists and bloggers in New Orleans right now. How many of them have disclosed whether they are paying their expenses or not?

The one thing I would have done differently is forced disclosure by those who get the laptops.

UPDATE: Now Microsoft is asking bloggers not to keep the laptops, according to Marshall Kirkpatrick.

Full disclosure…

I am sitting in an airport in Houston. I see a lot of people are wondering who is paying for the trip. I wasn’t supposed to announce what I was doing until I got to New Orleans, but since news schedules have been moved up (John Edwards announced he’s running for President today) I’m sure the campaign won’t mind.

PodTech will pick up my travel expenses to and from, and my hotel and meal expenses. At least that’s the current plan. If that changes, I will let you know. Again, if I sell my soul, I’ll do it in full public view so you know all my biases and conflicts of interest.

I am covering this trip as a journalist for I am not being paid or compensated by the Edwards’ campaign. They are paying for a plane to fly us around, though, and I’m not sure if that’s something that PodTech can compensate for, so let’s just say that’s being covered by the Edwards’ campaign.

More to come tomorrow after I get in, figure out what’s up, and all that.

Are there any restrictions as to what I can write or shoot? Not that I know of. None have been communicated yet.

Why me? I don’t yet know that. Other than Edwards was at Gnomedex and Ryan Montoya, one of his campaign guys, was on a panel discussion there with me, and then later Maryam and me met (and presented to) Elizabeth Edwards, John’s wife.

I have no idea what I’m going to be doing there. The first emails were basically “would you like to come along while John Edwards announces he’s running for President?”

Oh, and Maryam is working hard to keep my ego down. I’ll forever be known as “Maryam’s husband” now. 🙂

And I agree with Dave Winer that Edwards should go attend to matters of state. I’ll be very disappointed if Edwards decides to announce some other day (this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for me), but I’ll understand. UPDATE: he already announced, a day early, Google News reports, due to a slipup where his campaign staff accidentally opened up the Web site a day early.

Memeorandum has more on the day’s political and current event news.

Travel disaster

The lines at Oakland are up to four hours long. I missed my flight and am not yet to the gate. Unbelievable.

UPDATE: I started IM’ing with Maryam and the travel agent. They booked me into Continental. I sailed through in 20 minutes there. The whole line thing was all Southwest. So, I’m going to New Orleans. Will be there at about 8:43 via Houston.

Yeah, the San Francisco Chronicle has the news on what I’m going to New Orleans for. I wouldn’t say I’m there to “help” Edwards, though. I’m there to bring you along. That might hurt him. You might not like him.

More when I arrive.

Oh, to make this morning worse, I forgot my cell phone at home. So, if you need to get ahold of me email me at

Google Reader, the next “Digg?”

Steve Rubel and a variety of others are opining that Google Reader could be turned into the next Digg. Oh, I so so so agree with that!

Imagine what’d happen if Google bought TechMeme, and used its algorithms on Google Reader feeds too. Hmmm.

I do know that I’m really seeing some great blogging come through Google Reader — the result set is more diverse than TechMeme (more Z listers, yeah!) and more focused than Digg (less noise, more tech).

A commenter over on Rubel’s blog is wondering how Google is going to dominate the news aggregator business to make this happen. I don’t think that Google needs more than a few thousand people. Based on the notes I’m getting from my readers a lot of people are converting to Google Reader.

If Google improves it a little bit more, I imagine that’ll turn to a flood of people. I sure would like to find other Google Reader users who share items similar to the ones I share with people. I’d love to combine those two feeds, then remove duplicates (dupes are a real problem once you start subscribing to other Google Reader feeds).

I also wish my readers could just download my OPML file without me sharing it somewhere. Speaking of which, gotta work on that, but after this weekend since I’ll be busy until then.