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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ericast 207 - Reading Gabe's Journal

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We're discussing an interesting journal project from a random student named Gabe, who has sent a journal traveling across the world.  Something like a note in a bottle, except with more detail and the USPS behind it.

It's an interesting way of weaving together Ericast listeners, past and present... though that really wasn't Gabe's intent, I'm sure.

In the spirit of "listener feedback week" (an old Ericast tradition that had a brief life -- I might bring it back...) there are two calls from Matt touching on past episodes.  So if this happens to be your first Ericast, Matt provides a great summary of the past couple weeks.

On a completely different note, I also talk about face-to-face meetings as a revived supplement or replacement to online or technology-mediated ones.  Sounds interesting, doesn't it?  It all started with a passing reference I found in a Sunset Magazine article about the Las Vegas downtown revitalization:

At a company-wide meeting in fall 2012, Hsieh took the stage with four other jeans-wearing Zappos execs. During an open question period, a young woman stood and praised the company for embracing Facebook and Twitter and Pinterest before other online retailers. “What’s the next big social media platform we should watch for?” she asked.

Hsieh paused for a moment, then answered. “Well, there’s this thing called downtown. It gets people together. It may seem crazy,” he said, “but five years from now it won’t.”

Thoughts on that, or any other? Let me know with a voicemail to 206-339-3742 (a.k.a. 206-339-ERIC) which really, truly should be working even if it doesn't work for you.  Or, send me (eric) an old-fashioned email to  Or, find me on Twitter or Facebook or whatever; start with if you can't find me otherwise.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Ericast 206 - In Loco Parentis

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Last week at a local higher-ed IT conference I gave a presentation entitled "In Loco Parentis: Our Children are Growing Up!"
As cloud-based vendors become more popular and Google can answer almost any question, IT has moved from “controlling” our clients to “guiding” them. This session proposes that a rich, respectful metaphor for technology support is… parenting.  Yes, parenting.  Some of your clients still need to be told to eat their peas and wash behind their ears, but many are precariously driving for the first time or standing awkwardly in the gym corner at the school dance.  Some have turned away from you to sow their wild technology oats, while others have settled down and are bringing you the joy of technology grandchildren.  All of them are growing and maturing; how do we mature along with them, and grow into a new kind of relationship different from (and even better than!) the past?
Want to hear it?  Sure, you do!  And here it is.  This week's podcast is a recording of that presentation as it was given live on Friday, January 18, 2013.

Questions? Comments? Related thoughts?  Call the listener feedback line at 206-339-3742 (a.k.a. 206-339-ERIC) and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ericast 205 - Minnesota Expo Experiences

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More than usual, this week's episode is a bit... Random? No, it's focused on one topic.  Unstructured?  Well, it has a beginning, middle, and end.  Lame?  Ah!  That might be the right word.

I took the girls to the 2013 Home and Landscape Expo at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis.  It was really fun... but, at its core, it was us wandering around looking at booths and talking to vendors.  Our Aspen Air problems (they're a heating and cooling contractor) were noteworthy, but that's still an issue-in-progress so you'll just have to listen to this podcast for the full scoop... then listen to future ones to see if we ever do get the gift cards that they promised us.

The 2013 Healthy Life Expo was good, too, but nothing too earth-shattering there.  I could make you a list of the vendors I saw and give you mini-reviews of their products, if you'd like?  (I have no idea who made the roasted cocoa beans as a coffee substitute... but I can look that up, because they were really yummy...)

As usual, 206-339-3742 (a.k.a. 206-339-ERIC) is the place to call and leave a message with your thoughts.  Or email me (eric) at -- nobody ever emails me, and it's such a lovely old method of communicating.  It's one step beyond Comcast's request that you mail them or SEND A TELEGRAM (no, I'm not kidding!) if you need to communicate with them... but that's a story for a different podcast...

Friday, January 11, 2013

Ericast 204: Appreciating vs. Maximizing

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Switching back to the "deep" side of the Ericast for a moment (maybe for awhile... but at least for one episode... and what a way to kick off 2013, right?) we're asking questions about whether there's a difference between appreciating something, and "maximizing our investment" in it.

Wow.  It doesn't look very deep when you see it there in print, but it gets pretty deep.  Check it out.

More than usual, I'd really love your comments on this one.  Call 206-339-3742 (a.k.a. 206-339-ERIC) or email me (eric) at  Or, catch up with me on Facebook or Twitter or other various venues; you know who I am and where to find me.


Thursday, January 03, 2013

Ericast 203: Holiday Train Spotting

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Having coined the term "zeppelinspotting" back in Ericast #173 I now feel a tad odd turning "trainspotting" into two words... but, hey, we're all entitled to botch a podcast title or two in every series, right?  Maybe you could argue that it's really a pun on "Holiday Train", so we're "spotting the Holiday Train" instead of "doing trainspotting on a holiday"... maybe?

This episode talks about "the show I've never been able to make" because I can't score the interview that I really want to have.  So, instead of that, I have two very special guests summarize our experience with the Canadian Pacific Holiday Train as it stopped here in the Twin Cities.

(For those wracking their brains trying to figure out the bulldog reference I made, you want to do some research on Spike and Chester... and just think of me as a "fawning sycophant," as that site phrases it.)

Questions?  Comments?  Train-related thoughts?  Got a caboose in your train of thought and want to talk to a voicemail box in hopes the train starts up again?  (That metaphor needs work...)  Call the listener feedback line at 206-339-3742 (a.k.a. 206-339-ERIC) or email me (eric) at