Archive for July, 2010


Yesterday, I attended the Liberteks Smalbany 5th Annual Small Business day at the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering.  I was invited to be a Guest VIP Blogger and take some pictures for the event.  I didn’t get to take many pictures, but I did get to sit in on some pretty good seminars about how social media can help grow your business.

I was going to sit down and write a long, drawn out blog series about what was said, by whom in each seminar.  I decided against that, because almost everyone said the exact same thing:

Your business needs to be active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

As someone who has been using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for a few years, this was not news to me.  For those looking to drive more traffic to their company, this was an excellent place to spend the day learning how the web can work for you.  It was nice to see that these methods have been effective for many other businesses and continue to drive business to their sites.

I wanted to highlight some of the key parts of the seminars that I thought would be of importance to my readers and keep this from being a novel that no one wants to finish.  So, here are some of the best parts, in my opinion, of course.

The first speaker I heard from was Lisbeth Calandrino.  She was full of spunk and looked nothing like her claimed age of 70.  Lisbeth told us that being partners with your customers is a must.  She also mentioned that Sam’s club asked their small business customers what they need to stay in business, and they replied “money”.

Lydia Kulbida led a panel of bloggers and also offered a very important piece of advice for using online media to sell your product – Read it out loud to yourself.  Would you want to buy it?  Great advice.  Plus, she like LOST, so she’s OK in my book!

Mary Darcy from All Over Albany backed this theory up by saying “would you tell this to someone else?”  I really enjoyed Mary’s feedback on how she gets information to post on the AOA blog.  I wish she had more time to talk, as it was not only informative, but very interesting.

Mike Huber led a panel called Local Social Media and Your Customers.  He asked about blogging and tweeting – why would you want to do it, and why would people care?  Sonya Stark said to create lists.  People love lists.  Lisa D’Aquanni and Vic Christopher shared some great  information about blogging and what it can do for your business.

My favorite panelist was Rev. Al Rudnick.  I am not huge on religion, but he explained how people are using Twitter and Facebook during church and how they encourage it.  They even project it on a large screen so people can see it and participate.  I think I will try this on Sunday.  I bet the people in our church wont be as accepting…

Rhea Drysdale from Outspoken Media put on a great presentation about the Mobile revolution.  She detailed how Twitter, Facebook and Foursquare play a huge part in the mobile arena.  Rhea mentioned that you should protect your brand.  Make sure you get your company name on every outlet you can.

Alexis Grant (@AlexisGrant) held a great seminar about Using Social Media For Your Job Hunt.  She recommended three ways to make the web work for you;

Facebook – They are more likely to help you because you are already friends.

Twitter – Network outside of your friends.  Prove yourself as an expert.  Make connections with companies and employers.  Connect with people through Twitter that you might have been too intimidated to talk to at a job fair.

I think this event was a huge success.  It offered many great ways to promote your small business with social media.  Thanks to Tim Cronin and Larry Zimbler for letting me be a part of this event.  I hope to participate again next year.

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Yesterday, I went to the Lia Car Show in Schenectady.  I was pleasantly surprised at the number of cars that were on display there.  Not only were there some amazing classics, but there were also a couple high-end sports cars.  Here are some of the pictures I took at the show.

See ya soon!

The great folks over at LowePro have granted my wish and sent me two bags to compare for my next review.  I am really excited about this review because they are not only two totally different bags, but the are not backpacks.  I have always tried out the backpacks until now, and this will give me a chance to expand my horizons and share another option with you.  Here’s what they sent me;

LowePro Classified 160AW – This bag is a shoulder bag that will handle a DSLR with a 70-200mm lens, 1-2 extra lenses and a flash.

LowePro Outback 300AW – This bag is dubbed a ‘beltpack’.  It will hold the same camera and lens as the Classified, but also has room for 3-4 lenses and a flash.

I am off to try them both out and will have a report for you in a few weeks!  See ya soon!

The first pepper to start growing in the garden!

Over the past few weeks, I have posted information about my garden.  I decided that instead of posting heights and counts, I would write about what I have learned about gardening in my first attempt.

I was a little nervous starting this venture, as I had never so much as grown a single food-producing plant in my life.  Sure, I’ve kept the Christmas cactus and a few other household plants alive, but they were bought at a store and all the hard work was already done.  All I had to do was water them.  No big deal, right?  Here’s what I learned…

-Zucchini plants take over a garden.  We got this tiny plant from Hewitts and it couldn’t have been more than 6 inches long with one leaf.  Now, it is a massive, 3 foot round, 3 foot tall monster covering a strawberry plant and a banana pepper plant.  Next time, I will give it a very large area to grow in and make sure none of the smaller plants get shaded out.

-Tomato plants get HUGE!  I gave them about a foot and a half in between, but they still have grown so big that I can barely walk between them.  They are also almost up to my chest in height.  Next year, I will plant them about three feet apart so I can walk between them to pick the tomatoes when they are ripe.

-I also need to put some type of weed control down.  Not a chemical, but maybe weed cloth.  I have kept up with the weeds for the most part, but some have grown a little more than I would like.

-I need to work on a compost pile.  I was told that the pile will help to enrich the soil and make it much more fertile.

-Putting something down (grass clippings, leaves) around the base of the plants will help keep the moisture in the ground for the plants.

The first zucchini from the garden

So far, the garden has been a success.  I have harvested two large zucchini, a grape tomato and a cherry tomato.  There are two small sweet peppers starting to grow as well.  A lot of the other tomatoes have started to grow, but aren’t quite ripe yet.  One thing is for sure – I am going to have tomatoes out the wazoo pretty soon!  Guess I better learn a little bit about canning!

Here is the text of the first post I have made on the Times Union Biker Blog.  This entry can be found here.  Enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Rose Winters

Over the last few months, I have been talking with Mike Huber about blogging for the Times Union. I first met him in March at the Media 2010: How Blogs Shape The New Conversation conference at St. Rose. I have since been to a few other Times Union sponsored events we would always end up talking about creating a biker blog.

I wanted to write this blog for two main reasons. 1) To help raise awareness of motorcycles on the roads. 2) To share my love for the open road with other bikers. I have recently had a few friends involved in serious motorcycle accidents, one unavoidable and one because of someone’s carelessness behind the wheel.

I would also like to shed a little light on the stereotype that bikers are “bad people.” Sure, there are bad apples here and there, but for the most part, bikers are the most kind, charitable people you will ever meet.

Some of the regular readers may already know me from my interactions on many of the current Times Union blogs. For those that may not know me, I am (obviously) an avid motorcycle rider. I have been riding for ten years and really enjoy being out “in the wind” on the bike any chance I can get.

I am also a photographer. My love for photography is just as strong as my passion for motorcycles. That’s why I created the Capital Region Photography Meetup Group. The initials of this group (TCRPMG) make up the username I have been using on the blogs and on Twitter.

Now that you know a little about me, let’s find out a little about you. What do you know about motorcycles? Do you ride them? Do you have family that rides?

Hi all!  I wanted to share some very exciting news with you.  I have been asked to write a blog for the local newspaper.  The Times Union has recruited me to write a Biker blog and share the biker lifestyle with you.

Please head over and check it out at the Times Union site and tell me what you think.   Let me first preface your trip with this:  The banner has the default text in it and I don’t have the controls to change it from my end.  So, I will be working to get that changed ASAP.

Thanks for stopping by!

Last night, a few members of the TCRPMG went to Washington Park to apply what they had learned in the Camera Basics 101 course led by John Iannelli.  I think it was a huge success.  While we were there, I couldn’t help but grab this shot of the statue in the fountain and the amazing sky he was facing.

From where I was standing, it looked like he was yelling to the heavens, perhaps asking for rain.  The texture of the sky made it even more appealing.  I was really happy that I had been there at that exact time.

At the meetup, we discussed how light affects how your image comes out.  We also discussed shutter speed and aperture.  The main components when used together can make some really amazing shots.

We found a nice flower and took pictures of it, with the goal of having a sharply focused main subject with a blurred background (bokeh effect).  It was a great exercise and I think the members really enjoyed learning how this effect was accomplished.

Yard Sale Find

Rose and I went out to a yard sale today and I found a book that I thought was kind of funny.  It is called “How to Speak Southern” and is a dictionary of Southern speak.

The book is old and yellowing, but still in fairly decent shape.  I checked the inside and realized it was from 1976.  Wow, this thing is almost as old as I am.  It was written by Steve Mitchell and the Cartoons were done by Sam C. Rawls (“Scrawls”).  It was published by Bantam Books.

In the book, the first definition is “Ah: The things you see with, and the personal pronoun denoting individuality. “Ah think Ah’ve got somethin’ in my ah.”

There are many definitions, and most are quite comical.  Growing up in the South my first 18 years, I have heard a lot of these in person.  I can’t tell you if that is a good or bad thing.

One of my personal favorites is “fixin'”.  Like, I am fixin’ to go to the store.  That one always gets me when I am in the South.  Except most people that say it, say “fittin” to go to the store, which makes it even more odd.

So, my question to you is this;

What Northern Speak can you share with me?  What are some words that are definitely from the North?

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Picture of the Day – 7/11

The difference Topaz can make in a photo