Loki, Google Glass Explorer

Loki under Glass

Looks like time to reactivate this blog and make it tap dance again. I’ve been guilty of ignoring my own advice that I give to clients about not letting it lapse.  On the good side it gives me the opportunity to make a quick State of the Gumbo post and bring all of you up to speed on our current projects and events.


My weekly blog for SixEstate continues into it’s fourth consecutive year! Anyone desiring my services for book based projects needs to go through 6E, and please feel free to request me by name!

CincyVoices has been sold to one of the senior staff I brought in. I made sure to sell it to someone local with an online background that included the legendary WOXY. It should be coming back to life in the very near future. While it is no longer a part of the SocialGumbo Network we wish them the best and may even periodically lend a hand with things

Rising Tide 8 looms on the 14th of September and once more I will be doing my usual duties as MC. I will also be walking the room doing point of view interviews and providing one in depth Glass demo to a random lucky attendee. We have a Labor Day Weekend Buy One /Get One special, how can you turn that down?  Tickets Here

I am also very proud to announce a new ongoing relationship with Yorwerth Associates, Publishing Consultants and Literary agents. It seems no matter how digital it gets I often end up working with books. I love that.

Google Glass Explorer

Thanks to a few strokes of luck and the support of my readers (you people are fantastic, btw) I’ve now been sporting Google Glass for a few weeks.

First Contact: I must thank the folks at Google for allowing me to be the first one permitted to film the setup / training process. I’m pretty sure that having Kevin Frech of Logical Chaos as the cameraman is what made them allow it. Right now Kevin is pulling together a solid edit for me in between his other projects, and we hope to debut it in the very near future.

View From the Stage: Tonight the first of the projects I am integrating Glass into will hit the stage as I join forces with Wild Bill Dykes to get some comedian’s point-of-view footage as he brings Glass up on the stage with him.

Find Your Island Through Glass: Next weekend I’ll be heading out to Florida as part of the #FindYourIsland team, a group of five Glass Explorers being brought down to The Beaches of Fort Myers & Sanibel on the Florida coast. I will be part of a team of five Glass Explorers brought to the islands by MMGY. I’ll be joined on the three day adventure by

Chef Mars Gets Glassy Eyed: Chef Mars of Louisiana Bistro will don the device and deliver a potent combination of mockery and culinary skill. More details forthcoming after Sept 10.

Cafe Luna-  Art of the Barrista: Greg Hill, owner of geek friendly coffeehouse Cafe Luna will provide some point-of-view lessons in the art of coffee. From artistic foam to  amusing trivia. Coming in mid Sept.


Tabletop Game Design

Dark Roads and Golden Hells

ENnie Nominated

To my great joy Dark Roads and Golden Hells was nominated for an ENnie Award this year. While We did not win it was a wonderful thing to have happen to my first book. As a matter of fact our design team produced so much work for this volume that we had to release a substantial supplement, Shadow Planes and Pocket Worlds, so that we would not waste so much good work.

Despite the fact that I have done a good bit of d20 and Pathfinder design, this was my first physical book rather than a periodical or web property. All in all I’m thrilled at the nomination.

Not only was working with Kobold Press a fantastic experience, but I got to interact with and get feedback from a number of the original Planescape designers. I am proud to say that they seem to like the job we’ve been doing at Planewalker on keeping their work alive.

Savage Mojo

As my debut work with Savage Mojo I translated Dungeonlands: Into The Black from Savage Worlds to the Pathfinder Role Playing Game. The work is available for free on RPG Now and is the opening chapter of the much anticipated Tomb of The Lich Queen. At the moment I am putting the final polish on Pathfinder conversions of some of their Suzerain setting.

Heroic Journey Publishing 

These folks were kind enough to offer me a short series of my own, one that showcases one of my great loves, building character races. A total of four have been submitted and will be published under the common title Eldritch Races. At this point only The Runeborn is finished and available.  Look for the rest in the near future!

All in all it looks like the rest of 2013 is going to be both interesting and active! I promise that the next post will come within the week!


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Apps FlowI got my start as a blogger through citizen journalism during Hurricane Katrina. As a result, I have a great interest in ways to create media on the go. Whether it’s audio, video, or the curation of social media, the advent of tablet computers has provided a wealth of new tools for the content creator on the run.

Today, I’m going to take a look at some of my favorite tools for the iPad — apps that allow everything from on-the-spot video editing to live broadcasting. This list is geared toward the beginner, so I am going to look at the basics. The apps I’ll be describing are either free or in the five-dollar range at the most.

Google Chrome (Free) | iTunes Store

A good browser is always useful. For instance, if you get a chance to do an interview you weren’t expecting to do and aren’t ready for, you can Google the subject so that you can ask the right questions. While the built-in Safari browser in iOS is great, it does have limitations. With Chrome, you can get an experience much more in line with the desktop than with mobile.

Photoshop Express (Free) | iTunes Store

This cropped version of Photoshop is more than sufficient for doing quick image editing on the go. Captions, cropping, control of basic characteristics like brightness and saturation, and filters all allow you to give your image that extra bit of fine-tuning before uploading it to Flickr or Google Images.

Aviary (Free) | iTunes Store

Another terrific image editor in this vein is the open-source-based Aviary. A long-time workhorse of the Internet world, it has a super simple interface and is extremely useful when speed is required. It boasts one simple toolbar across the bottom of the screen for rapid edits, and it saves the output as a new image automatically, allowing you to retain your source picture.

Flickr Studio ($4.99) | Website | iTunes Store

If you use Flickr for your image-sharing, like I do, it just doesn’t get any better than this. Flickr Studio is the most powerful and efficient app I’ve tried. For a citizen journalist, the most important feature is the upload function: you can tag an image, add it to sets or to public groups, etc. It gives you almost all the functionality of the desktop website, but with a user experience in line with the Apple esthetic. The ease of use and versatility make it a must for the media creator on the fly.

iMovie ($4.99) | iTunes Store

Planning on generating content for YouTube? This is a great place to start. The cropped version of iMovie still packs a serious punch. You can shoot video directly into the program, allowing you to add several video segments as they are recorded, and edit them when you have time. I’ve always been intimidated by video editing, but the touchscreen interface of the iPad makes it much more intuitive and simple to use. It even has built-in effects that allow you to add captioning.

If you want to produce professional-looking video content, this is the place to start.

SoundCloud (Free) | iTunes Store

I got my start recording audio on the Web. During Katrina, I was using AudioBlogger, a long-outmoded service that allowed you to call in audio from any phone line and have it automatically post to your blog. Technology has evolved extensively since those days. The leader of the pack, based on sheer functionality, if nothing else, it the U.K.-based SoundCloud.

Not only does it have an extensive array of sharing capabilities, essential for this sort of work, but it also allows you to add comments directly to a particular point in the recording. This allows people to add their thoughts to the pertinent part of the interview. Even better, the SoundCloud comments show up everywhere the file has been embedded. Add this to the thriving international community it has built, and you’ve got one of the most useful audio applications around.

HootSuite (Free) | iTunes Store

If you’re trying to do real-time coverage, HootSuite is indispensable. It is a dashboard program that allows to monitor, respond, and schedule posts on a wide variety of social networks including Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook (both profiles and pages). Word on the net is that Google + integration is coming soon as well.

Creating media is a lot of fun, but if you don’t get in front of people, it doesn’t make a difference. With HootSuite, you can share your offerings as they are produced as well as solicit questions and comments from those following you online.

Google+ (Free) | iTunes Store

The Google+ iPad app has a lot to offer. Not only can you use it to interact in the ways I noted while describing HootSuite, but you can also initiate or join Hangouts through it. (Hangouts are Google’s new video chat system.)

At the moment, you cannot do a Hangout On Air, the broadcasted and archived Hangout that shows the platform’s true versatility. Of course, if you have a confederate with a desktop computer, they could start a Hangout On Air from your page and then invite you to join. That way you can still run the Hangout for your band, but be able to interact with it from the personal account on your iPad.

Pinterest (Free) | iTunes Store

Okay, so you’re working with images, right? Pinterest should be part of your workflow. My usual style of syndication is to shoot the pics, edit if needed, and then upload to Flickr. Once they are there, I pin them in Pinterest and share the link to the photo on Flickr through my other channels (Twitter, Google+, Facebook, etc.). While I do have reservations about the copyright liability issues associated with the company user agreement, one of those would apply to a case where you are pinning something you hold the copyright to.

WordPress (Free) | iTunes Store

Indispensable! WordPress on the iPad supports multiple accounts. As a matter of fact, this entire post has been created using that ability. This is fantastic if you contribute to multiple WordPress-based blogs like I do.

Its only option is the code view, but you can preview your edits easily with one touch of the screen. All your usual basic tools are there, although you won’t be able to access options for plug-ins. These are not really bad stumbling blocks, but it’s good to be aware of them. All in all, it has a great interface and gives you everything you would need onsite. The biggest problem with it is Apple’s annoyingly overzealous autocorrect.

This is where you will centralize you media and combine it into blog posts. Think of it as the hub of your reporting. You create the audio, video, etc., and then it all comes together at the blog level.

If you go out and play with this in the field, I advise a shock- and water-resistant hard case for your device. Just in case.

Let me know how you put these tips to use, leave us some links in the comments when you do!

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Every social media platform has a different array of images needed in order to set it up properly. The common thread is that they don’t often list the size image needed until you are already into the upload process.

Since several of my students and clients recently have requested this info (Hi Marcy!)  I’m posting it here where it can be the most accessible for everyone.  The infographic is the work of the bold folks over at LunaMetrics. I’d like to thank them for making it freely share-able!

Social Media Cheat Sheet by LunaMetrics
Designed by LunaMetrics
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Why we love WordPress

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The recent release of two Google based apps has been a true boon to iPad users.

With an iOS version of the Chrome browser the device has massively increased in usefulness. Likewise the newly updated Google+ app is a thing of beauty with a gorgeous user interface that really brings the platform to life. Between the two my iPad has become a truly useful work tool, finally.

So what is my problem? The same problem I had with Facebook for many years: there is no way to control or access Google+ pages using the app. To compound the problem you cannot really switch over to the desktop version ( which would give you thins capability), not even in the new version of Chrome.

Come on Google, there are many of us for whom this would be a boon. It would also be a golden opportunity to show that you can learn from Facebook’s mistakes. What do you say?

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Facebook ?Sometimes you just need a basic bit of information.

Today’s tidbit concerns the new Facebook Timeline. There are lots of tutorials for adapting to Facebook’s new way of doing things but I find that most of them leave out one simple and practical bit of information – the size of the images you’ll need to use. So, in the interest of being useful here they are:

  • Cover Image – 851 x 315 pixels
  • Profile Image – 200 x 200 pixels  (leave a 12 pixel  border to allow for Facebook’s auto-cropping)
  • App Images – 111 x 74 pixels

Keep in mind that these images cannot include price or purchase information, contact info, calls to action or references to Facebook features such as Like or Share.

For a more in-depth look at the new Timeline check out my recent series on SixEstate – Grappling with Timeline Part 1 and Part 2. Part 3 will be online Monday morning.

Image by birgerking, used under its Creative Commons license.

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SOPA and John Stewart

I’ve been writing on other platforms in opposition to SOPA, but I think my favorite introduction to the subject in the wake of the Internet Blackout Wednesday is John Stewart’s.

It’s a deadly serious issue despite the laughs, and now that I have wrapped up a pair of website launch projects I’ll probably be writing about it here. As a content creator I’ve had my words stolen. Scraper sites have lifted endless reams of my text over the years, and yet I find SOPA far more worrisome. Piracy means I lose some revenue, but the ramifications of SOPA could put me out of business completely.

Several client projects are wrapping up and one book launch is well underway. I’d like to thank all of my clients old and new for the business, it is truly valued!

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