This is what Shawn Morton would look like if he had been made of LEGO sMoRTy71.com -- the personal website of Shawn Morton
Monday, June 30, 2008
Louisville Geek Dinner v.0.5 tonight
Just wanted to post a quick reminder that the Louisville Geek Dinner is tonight at 6PM at BBC on Shelbyville Road.

The Geek Dinner is always a good time. The last event drew nearly 100 people. So if you're into technology or are just a geek, dork, nerd, dweeb or weirdo, stop by. This guy is buying the first round.

BTW, you can RSVP by either editing the Louisville Geek Dinner wiki (doesn't get much more geek than a wiki) or visiting the Facebook page.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Podcamp Ohio 2008 recap
I made the 3-hour drive for Podcamp Ohio in Columbus yesterday . I had attended Podcamp Nashville back in February and enjoyed the networking and sharing that took place (if not the content).


Photo courtesy of cmcbrown on Flickr

The Columbus event had 5 time slots with 4-5 sessions per time slot. Topics skewed heavily toward podcasting obviously; however, there were plenty of other sessions geared toward non-podcasters like myself.

I attended four really strong sessions: Daniel Johnson Jr.'s "Managing Multiple Online Identities," Michelle Lentz's "The Power of Twitter," Luke Armour and Paull Young's "What NOT to Do in Podcasting and Social Networking" and Bill Balderaz's "Podcasting, Blogging and Social Networking Marketing."

This is the first event I've attended in a very long time where I can say I took away something from each session. Plus, Profilactic got a couple of shout outs by Daniel Johnston Jr. and Michelle Lentz, so that was a bonus.

The event was hosted at ITT Tech in Hilliard and lunch was provided by Qdoba. There was also a swag bag with a Podcamp Ohio t-shirt, Harry London chocolates, TechSmith demo software and Podcamp Ohio and viddler stickers. They also gave away prizes including full versions of TechSmith's Snag-It and Camtasia Studio.

I saw lots of familiar faces from previous social media events including Daniel Johnson Jr., Michelle Lentz, Doug Petch, Nathan Ketsdever, Mitch Canter, Robin Maiden, Andrew Paradies, Krista Neher and Steve Gerl.

Also got to meet a lot of new people as well including Chris Abraham, Greg Schwartz, Andrea Hill, Rob Rutkowski, Billy Fairchild and many more.

At the end of the day, a lot of the attendees headed over to Dave & Busters next door to grab some dinner. The timing worked out perfectly for me as I was trying to wait until severe weather moved out of the area for the drive home.

Unfortunately, I was just too tired to stop in Cincinnati for the Photrade launch party. Would have loved to checked that out. I ended up getting home around 10:30p completely wiped out; however, it was definitely worth the drive.

Thanks to Angelo Mandato and the rest of the organizers and volunteers.

You can see photos from the event on Flickr under the tag "podcampohio" and you can see what attendees Twittered about the event on Summize.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Great session this morning at Social Media Bootcamp
We had a really good turnout and very interesting discussion at the IABC's Social Media Bootcamp this morning. There were about 30 people there (even though attendance was capped at 25).

Jason Falls, Aaron Marshall, Nick Huhn, Michelle Jones and I were the panelists. We covered everything from Twitter 101 to RSS 101 to corporate blogging strategy to how to engage your customers when your organization isn't ready to embrace social media.

I streamed Jason's presentation live with QIK on my Moto Q9h. We actually had a pretty lively discussion going on online during the stream on QIK.



We plan to do other sessions like this in the future. If you have an organization in the Louisville area that would like a hands-on bootcamp on social media, let me (or any other of the panelists) know.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
On the Social Media Bootcamp panel tomorrow
Along with some of my Social Media Club colleagues (Jason Falls, Michelle Jones, Aaron Marshall), I will be participating in the International Association of Business Communicators' (IABC) Social Media Bootcamp tomorrow morning at the Louisville campus of Webster University.

The bootcamp is designed to give attendees a basic, hands-on overview of social media tools and techniques such as blogging, RSS, Twitter, wikis, etc.

The event is open to the public ($45 for IABC members, $55 for non-members); however, attendance is being capped at 25 so we can get everyone involved.

I will, most likely, be streaming the event live on QIK for those who can't attend. Check out http://www.qik.com/smorty71 at around 8:30am tomorrow to catch it.
Monday, June 16, 2008
Four upcoming events I'm attending
There are a handful of web and social media events between now and the end of June that I'll be attending. Want to mention them so that we can maybe get a few more people there.

Social Media Club of Louisville, June 17th
The June meeting of SMC will be held at Fox and Hound Pub & Grille (which was the location of our badass Twitter meetup last week). No panels or topics this time, just networking and socializing.

Forge Louisville web meetup, June 19th
The June meeting of Forge Louisville's web subgroup will be held at Jenicca's. I'm hoping there is a better turnout for this month's event. May was a real snoozer. Otherwise, this one will definitely drop off my calendar for July.

Podcamp Ohio, June 28th, Columbus, OH
This one will be a little bit of a commute for most people in Louisville; however, Todd Earwood and I are making the trip over to Columbus next Saturday. We did the same for Podcamp Nashville earlier this year and it was a great way to meet social media professionals from other markets. Plus, there are several people I know from Cincinnati attending, so it will be a good opportunity to catch up with them.

In addition to podcasting, there will be sessions on Twitter, blogging and lifestreaming/social media aggregation.

Louisville Geek Dinner v.0.5, June 30th
Ben Thomas is hosting the 5th Louisville Geek Dinner at Bluegrass Brewing Company on Shelbyville Road. Will be interesting to see if we can fit everyone in since the last one had almost 100 people. Ben has a wiki (can't have a geek gathering without a wiki) so that you can RSVP there.

For those that can't attend, I will take plenty of photos and even shoot a few QIK videos.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Louisville Tweetup #1 recap
As I mentioned previously, Todd Earwood and I organized a Louisville Twitter meetup to get some of the 602 Twitter users in the Louisville area together.


Photo by Aaron Marshall

The event far exceeded our expectations with almost 50 Tweeple showing up to have a few drinks, meet some new people and get lots of free swag.

I posted a full recap on the Let's Tweetup site. You can also see photos from the event on Flickr.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Louisville Tweetup tonight
Just wanted to post a reminder about the first Louisville Tweetup tonight. Todd Earwood and I were able to line up a handful of sponsors including Lijit, Mixx, TubeMogul, Heaven Hill Distilleries, Louisville Mojo and the Louisville Film Society to provide some great swag.

So if you're in Louisville and you're using Twitter, stop by the Fox & Hound Pub and Grille at 6PM tonight. It should be a good time.

More info at http://letstweetup.com.

BTW, despite what @earwood has been telling everyone, I will NOT be buying drinks for the first 71 people through the door.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Picked up a new digital camera this weekend
Last Christmas, I bought Amy a Canon A540 digital camera. Some time in the past couple of weeks, the camera was lost (with a nice 2GB SD card inside). We searched everywhere in the house, but couldn't find it. We even offered the kids a $10 reward if they found it. Nothing.

With some trips coming up and with Maddox doing so many things for the first time, I figured it was time to grab a new one.

My criteria were:

1. At least 8 megapixels
2. Very small
3. Very inexpensive
4. Good reviews
5. Could be purchased locally

I basically wanted something that takes decent photos, can fit in my pocket and could be cheaply replaced if it were lost like the Canon. Plus, I needed it next week for a trip to Columbus and the Twitter meetup, so I couldn't buy online. Figured it would be a tall order , but it was worth a shot.

After a couple hours of research and a trip to Circuit City, I ended up getting the Samsung L200. It is an ultra-compact, 10 megapixel with a 3x optical zoom. I didn't have the Samsung on my short list of cameras when I entered the store; however, it had more features, higher resolution and a much more intuitive UI than the others I was looking at.

Samsung L200
Samsung L200 through the lens of our ancient Kodak 3MP camera

Size comparison of Samsung L200 and Moto Q9h
Samsung L200 next to my Moto Q9h

The best part was that I got it for $127 by pricematching to Best Buy plus Circuit City threw in a $100 Epson photo printer. And, to top it off, I've got 30 days to try it out with Circuit City's ridiculously flexible return policy.

So far, I am very pleased with it. To my totally untrained eye, it takes great photos out of the box. It's also got a ton of manual settings that I haven't begun to explore yet.

SDC16984
Sample photo taken with the L200
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Playing in my first Guitar Hero tournament
I signed up for my first Guitar Hero III online tournament last week. Beginning tonight at 8PM, I will need to play 4 songs on Hard difficulty: The Metal, Knights of Cydonia, Cult of Personality and Same Old Song and Dance. My best cumulative score will be used to determine if I make it to the next round.

Currently, there are 541 registrants and only 25 make it to the next round.

In the second round, each contestant plays the same 4 songs on Expert difficulty. The top 4 scorers get to go to San Francisco to compete for the title of biggest dork on the planet (or something like that). You will also get a chance to play the new Guitar Hero: Aeromsith game before it is released in stores.

I'll post an update once my scores are in.
I hate getting my oil changed
There are few things in life that I dislike more than having my oil changed. I don't have the tools and equipment (or the desire) to change it myself, so I usually just take it to my local Valvoline store since I can be in and out pretty quickly.

Fortunately, I don't put too many miles on my car, so I only get the oil changed 2-3 times per year. Unfortunately, today was one of those 2 or 3 time per year.

The thing I hate so much about Valvoline (and other drive-thru oil change places) are all of the upsells for filters and oil additives and wiper blades and other things that I don't need. I just want my oil changed.

As I pulled into Valvoline this morning, I noticed that they now have a $24.99 Early Bird Special for customers between 7-10am. Last time, I paid over $40. Figured this might be cheaper and less-painful than usual.

I was wrong.

Before they got started on my car, they said, "Oh, you're not going to be able to get the special because your car requires synthetic oil." I asked why and they explained that because it was a European car and because it was a turbo that the engine would be permanently damaged if I didn't use synthetic. They said I would need to sign something saying they weren't liable for that damage if I wanted to use conventional oil. The price for the synthetic oil change? $60.

I quickly pointed out that I had had my oil changed at this Valvoline location at least 6 times, which they verified in their computer, and they never used or suggested synthetic. So if what they were saying were true, then Valvoline would already be liable for any damage done to my engine.

Suddenly, conventional oil was OK and the oil change got underway.

Once I got back home, I decided to call my VW dealer to find out the truth. According to Roy in the Service Dept. at Bachman Volkswagen, my engine can use either conventional or synthetic oil and that no damage would result from it. He said a lot of mechanics and oil change places don't like to deal with VW's because they can easily damage the oil pan if they aren't careful.

I would rather see companies like Valvoline be upfront and say that they won't change the oil on my car, like Wal-mart does, than lie to me about upgrades that I don't need. Be honest and I will respect you a whole lot more than if you lie to me.

Now, I've got 3,000 miles to find somewhere else to get an oil change. Any suggestions?
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Organizing a Twitter meetup in Louisville
Tod(d) Earwood and I are organizing a Louisville Twitter meetup (or a "tweetup") on Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 6PM at Fox & Hound Pub and Grille.

Why would we organize a tweetup (my wife mockingly asked me the same question, so I figured you might ask, too)? It turns out there are a lot of people using Twitter in the metro area. We wanted to give everyone a chance to get-together for networking/beer drinking in person.

Instead of being just a random meetup, we're adding a little flair (you can never have too much) to this one. We've reached out to a handful of our friends at other web startups to get door prizes and giveaways, so expect cool swag from Lijit, Mixx, Louisville Mojo, Profilactic (I love that site!), TubeMogul and UStream. We'll also be streaming it live on Ustream with our dashing host/emcee Joe Bennett (see Joe in action here).

We've registered a domain, grabbed a Twitter name and set up a very basic website describing the event and listing our sponsors. Now all we need to do is convince everyone to show up.

If you're in the Louisville metro area and you're using Twitter, simply DM @letstweetup to let us know you're coming. Or you can RSVP from our listing on upcoming.

I'm talking to you, @jasonfalls, @nickhuhn, @melissaking, @michellej, @jaygarmon, @robmay, @jackbr4, @churchSMO, @nikkikey, @joebennett, @andyswan, @safetyguy1656, @nowsourcing, @timbarrett, @mark_w_kaelin, @jerang, @bryanpeabody, @tb, @gbullard, @erikeckel, @twinkie, @tlosbo, @ericroland, and @brianherbert.

For more info, check out this video invitation from Todd Earwood. It's good stuff.

About Shawn Morton

Married father of 6; VP of Social Media at JPMorgan Chase; gluten-free; gadget enthusiast; hair metal aficionado; #Movember man View more on LinkedIn.