Blogs > Life, I wrote.

Life Editor Ivan Lajara talks about living in the Hudson Valley, language, the Web, cats and even politics. But he shouldn't.

Friday, May 27, 2011

10 things your tweets say about you

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Jimmy Fallon, as Neil Young, sings Miley Cyrus' 'Party in the U.S.A.' with Crosby and Nash

NBC late-night host and Saugerties High School grad Jimmy Fallon went to the Neil Young well again, again impersonating folk singer while singing teen sensation Miley Cyrus' "Party in the U.S.A."

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Oprah Winfrey, a timeline

Check out this timeline about Oprah Winfrey, as created by Stephen Rosenshein of Dipity.

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JRC Chat on community engagement

It's Wednesday! And that means that members of the Journal Register Company's Idealab - and anyone who wants to - are going to be taking part on the weekly Twitter chat at noon.

Today we will be talking about community engagement: What we've done, what we should do, what we have yet to do, how to do it well and how to replicate proven successes. Or something like that.

The live feed is posted below. But you can also follow the chat here or here or also here. And you can also check out past chats over here.

If you want to chime in, just post a tweet with the hashtag "#jrcchat" so it can automatically appear below, or post a comment in the field at the bottom of the chat box.

As always, you are welcome to participate at anytime you want.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Watch Jimmy Fallon, as Bob Dylan, sing the 'Charles in Charge' song

Saugerties High School grad Jimmy Fallon, as Bob Dylan, sings the 'Charles in Charge' theme song. Flawlessly.

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New Paltz student was a Doodle 4 Google finalist

400 State Finalists in the Doogle 4 Google constest were chosen from a total of more than 107,000 entries from across the country. In each state, two doodles were selected in each grade group, so that each grade group and each state were represented equally. Among them was "Limits Of Time," by Grace Park of New Paltz High School. Congratulations



Hat tip to Paul Rakov for the find.

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Wacky labels finalists are here

Finalists fro the 14th annual Wacky Warning Labels Contest have been selected. The three national winners will be chosen in mid-June. This year's finalist truly are some gems.


They are:

* “For gun only, not a functional day planner” - a label on an advertisement for a leather handgun holder designed to look like a daily planner.
* “Does not supply oxygen” - a label on a common dust mask.
* “Warning: Avoid Drowning. Remove safety cover from spa when in use” - a label on an outdoor hot tub cover.
* “Warning: The action depicted in this brochure is potentially dangerous. The riders seen are experienced experts or professionals” - a bicycle brochure with pictures of small children riding their bikes.
* “Warning: Pen caps can obstruct breathing. Keep out of mouth” - instructions that come with a ballpoint pen.




Some classics:


“Remove child before folding” – on a baby stroller.
“Never operate your speakerphone while driving” – on a hands-free cell phone product called the “Drive ‘N’ Talk”! (2010 Contest Winner)
“Not for use on moving vehicles” – the warning on the “Off-Road Commode,” a portable toilet seat that attaches to a trailer hitch.
“Danger: Avoid Death” – a warning on a small tractor.

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Today's is Bob Dylan's 70th birthday. OR IS IT??????????????

One year ago, WDST's program director Jimmy Buff sent me this image about Bob Dylan, arguably Woodstock's most famous one-time resident.




Buff said then that the image from Dylan's passport (isn't his real name Robert Allen Zimmerman?)is from the liner notes the the "Bootleg Series Vol 1-3 Boxset."

"Note the date," Buff wrote. "My theory is Bob is happy to let the world celebrate the wrong date."

Radio Woodstock is playing Dylan's top 70 songs all day long and will giving away Dylan music. WDST will be at the Woodstock village green from noon to 2 p.m. today handing out free Bob Dylan birthday cake.

Mmmmmm, cake.

Here's Weird Al Yankovic doing "Bob," a nice homage to the "Subterranean Homesick Blues" video.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

The Rapture, on twitter

RIP 'Macho Man'

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Randy “Macho Man” Savage, the professional wrestler known for his raspy voice, the sunglasses and bandanas he wore in the ring and the young woman named Miss Elizabeth who often accompanied him, died in a car crash Friday in Florida. He was 58.

This is what I remember the most when I hear his name. Good times.

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Blondie unleashes Kingston-shot video in time for Zombie Apocalypse

Blondie has finally released the video for "Mother," which was shot at 383 Wall Street in the city's Uptown district. (Remember that casting call for fashionista club zombies a while back?)

See if you can spot your friends.



Just in time, methink, because the Centers for Disease Control has just released the U.S. governmental guidelines to combat THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE!


And you were worried about the end of the world on Saturday.

Credit goes to Ethan Barnett for pointing me to the Blondie video.

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

JRC Chat on video at noon

It's Wednesday! And that means that members of the Journal Register Company's Idealab - and anyone who wants to - are going to be taking part on the weekly Twitter chat at noon.

Today we will be talking about video: What works, what doesn't, how to do it well (quickly and with minimal tools) and how to replicate proven successes.

The live feed is posted below. But you can also follow the chat here or here or also here. And you can also check out past chats over here.

If you want to chime in, just post a tweet with the hashtag "#jrcchat" so it can automatically appear below, or post a comment in the field at the bottom of the chat box.

As always, you are welcome to participate at anytime you want.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Toddlers have superpowers

If you have a toddler, you are probably most familiar with the tot's uncanny ability to put your car keys inside the black hole of doom, which is conveniently located somewhere inside your house (most likely behind the refrigerator, or the toilet).

You might also have encountered some very special ninja abilities.




But when a toddler combines her super-human abilities, then you are in for some mayhem. Say, for example, that it's 8 p.m. and you want your tot to go to sleep.

So you say something like, "Time to go to bed"  or "It's sleepy time!"
Inevitably, this will happen:

There is no reasoning from this point on.You'll say, "Sorry, baby. It's time to go to bed."
This is how Pandora's Box is opened.
It is at this crucial point that you'll try to bring the toddler to her room. This will activate her super-human abilities.

First, you'll try to grab your tot. She'll tense up and become THE ARCH!

This is problematic in that the more you try to carry them, the more the arch will solidify in strange and unwieldy angles. It is an exercise of mathematical precision.


Once the arch achieves its purpose, which is for you to let go of the child, THE ARCH becomes THE NOODLE!
On its way down to the safety of the ground, and not content with slipping away from your many attempts to grab her, THE NOODLE will release a defense mechanism that has to be witnessed to be understood.

When this sound is compared with others in a decibel scale, what you get is this:

Once the toddler reaches the ground, her weight will multiply by about 12 tons, give or take a ton or two. The toddler's gravitational pull will be of that of the moon.
You'll somehow manage to disperse the tot's gravitons with sweet words, chocolate milk and a gummy bear (the toddler's kryptonite), at which point the little one will stand up and pretend that nothing has happened for the last hour.

Then you'll say, "OK, baby. Time to go to sleep."

Rinse and repeat.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

'60 Minutes'' Sovereign Citizens story drops by Rosendale

"I have liens against me in three states in this country for a half a billion dollars," Robert Vosper, the town justice in Rosendale, told CBS correspondent Byron Pitts.



If you are wondering what happened after, here are some stories on that subject.

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Friday, May 13, 2011

The Fracking Song

The kids at Studio 20 have put together this excellent explainer of horizontal hydraulic fracking.



They write:
“My Water’s On Fire Tonight (The Fracking Song)” is not meant to take the place of the rich, detailed investigation done by Abrahm Lustgarten and the rest of ProPublica’s frack squad. It’s impossible to sum up a massive, immersive experience like “Buried Secrets” in a two-and-a-half minute song. Instead, the intent is to bring people in, to create an easily digestible package that compels news consumers to dig into the real meat of the story

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Artists' Soapbox Derby, the memories

Last year was the first time the Daily Freeman livestreamed the Kingston Artists' Soapbox Derby, then in its 16 year. Inexperienced with such experiments at the time (I had just gotten the equipment), I forgot to record the event, in which more than 30 entries (which was low, actually) participated. The derby has been in the area for as long as I have, so it's always been in my memory as being part of the mid-Hudson Valley.

There were more than 1,000 visitors last year, despite the rain. The crowd had been eight times that much some years before when it was sunny, so sunny one year that Mayor Jim Sottile had to go around distributing water. In 2005, the Mayor's car ran over a stilt walker.

Good times.

Thankfully, las year, I also had my phone. And I took a whole bunch of photos.



Big Guy Media did the official video, in which George Donskoj announced that it was going to be the last year of the derby under the Donskoy umbrella. At the time, Nancy Donskoj, now the Main Street Manager, also expressed hopes that someone else would pick up the event.




It is no secret now something was up with the Donskoj partnership. And there were sings all around. The couple recently divorced. The Donskoj Gallery became the Storefront Gallery.

One of the things that stuck with me was when George said last year that for some teens, the derby has always been a part of their lives. It's always been here.

For this transplant, that's the truth.

The future of the event is up in the air, and it's probably up to the Kingston community to pick it up from now on.

In the meantime, let the good memories prevail. Gravity control and all.

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JRC Chat at noon discusses success!

It's Wednesday! And that means that members of the Journal Register Company's Idealab - and anyone who wants to - are going to be taking part on the weekly Twitter chat at noon.

Today we will be talking about success: What we've done that's worked and how to replicate that to serve you better.

The live feed is posted below. But you can also follow the chat here or here or also here. And you can also check out past chats over here.

If you want to chime in, just post a tweet with the hashtag "#jrcchat" so it can automatically appear below, or post a comment in the field at the bottom of the chat box.

As always, you are welcome to participate at anytime you want.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

How to increase your newsroom's engagement

So I tasked myself with improving our newsroom Twitter and Facebook presence (and your experience with us) back in late March and early April.



Sure, The Daily Freeman and its reporters are on Twitter and on Facebook. But pushing links (or asking questions for the sake of asking questions) is not really the way to go.

Here's what we did.

First, we needed some tools. I personally find the social media manager Tweetdeck immensely useful (here's why), so I decided to equip reporters with the program, and then add the link shortener bit.ly's API key so that we can keep track of  what links works and what doesn't.



"Wait a second!" You are saying right now. "What's API? (And what's up with the stick man?)"


The application programming interface is basically a language that allows programs to talk to one another. All you do is grab your bit.ly account's "key" (also known as "a whole bunch of nonsensical characters") and add it to Tweetdeck's settings (needless to say, you need a bit.ly account and Tweetdeck).

Here's a tutorial on how to merge all this:


(Actually, here's the tutorial).

All of this is basically to figure out what messages generate responses and clicks.

Second: Training. As mentioned in this space before, I set up training session for Twitter best practices and Facebook. Here's the whole enchilada, in two parts.

How to improve your newsroom's Twitter presence:



How to improve your newsroom's Facebook presence:



As a favor to you (because you probably don't have two hours to spare to watch me, me me), I've summarized it all neatly here:



Actually, for a real summary, you're probably better off reading this.

Third, execution time.


This is where the staff really shined. Unprompted, reporters are now routinely thinking in a way that incorporates these tools into their workflow. I don't have to tell you about Patti Doxsey's live-tweeting of a murder trial with an iPad, for instance. (If I do, check this out).

 Here's why we're doing this, by the way, it's not just because we can:





I also like to think that our engagement on Facebook has finally created more conversations with you. We're getting close to 2,200 likes, and there has been more connections and interactions in the past for weeks than since I remember.

Yes, there's much room for improvement, but the seeds have been planted. And they're sunflower seeds. We're tweeting more, sure, but we're tweeting valuable stuff — and not to the empty Twitter forest, which looks like this:



And this brings us to the fourth step. Evaluation, troubleshooting and repetition of successful experiments.
Using Patti's latest live-tweeting as an example. Here are some quick stats from last week's live-tweeting: The average reader of Dailyfreeman.com stayed with Patti's tweets for more than an hour. Her sessions along gathered more than 100 comments from you, some opinions, but many of them questions, which I tried to answer when I was moderating the comments.

(By the way, I used the live-blogging platform CoverItLive, so that those without a Twitter account could still follow her tweets. Here's how to use that).

Many people, incidentally, created Twitter accounts just to follow her.

Moving on. On Tuesday, we're doing a livestream of the Kingston school board candidate's forum. And we'll have a CoveritLive container for you to participate while it goes on. The livestream idea came from reporter Kyle Wind, a continuation of the many livestreams and digital-first initiatives we've had in the last year.

All this has been a bit bumpy, yes. But we're getting better and better, so hopefully you won't have to see things like this:

Or worse, this:


We'll get there.

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Hot stuff in Delhi

As a part of its Cinco de Mayo celebration, O'Neill's Shire Pub in Delhi hosted a Jalepeno Eating Contest on May 7 (?).
The winner of the men's category, Chris Payne, ate 15 pickled jalepenos. The winner of the women's category, Michelle Jetter, consumed 8.

Ouch.


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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

White House press conference at 2 p.m.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

JRC Chat on social medial rules Wednesday at noon

OH HAI!

We - journalists, fans (foes?) and everyone who wants - are having a Twitter chat Wednesday at noon to talk about JRC CEO John Paton's MANDATORY SOCIAL MEDIA RULES FOR ALL EMPLOYEES.

We'll have fun.

The live feed is posted below. But you can also follow the chat here or here or also here. And you can also check out past chats over here.

If you want to chime in, just post a tweet with the hashtag "#jrcchat" so it can automatically appear below, or post a comment in the field at the bottom of the chat box.

As always, you are welcome to participate at anytime you want.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama: A cautionary Foursquare tale

Tweets per second: evening of May 1, 2011

Tweets per second.

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Tweets from the man who tweeted the attack on Osama bin Laden -- without knowing it

Obama Osama Media FAIL