Google Schmap for the iPhone

Here’s a photo I took in 2003, in the fairly early days of digital photography. A few years later, it was one of the first photos I uploaded to my Flickr account, and to my surprise, late last year I got a request from Google Schmap for permission to use the photo in their series of online travel guides. Why not? I’ve gotten credit for this late nite snap of this famous Paris cafe, and it’s a credit that keeps on going. Today, I’ve been informed that the photo will now appear on Schmap for iPhone and iPod touch. In 2003 we hadn’t heard of those things yet either. (See the photo on the iPhone, even if you don’t have an iPhone by clicking here.)

Remembering Gay Rights Activist Del Martin, 1921-2008

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — August 27, 2008 — Out4Immigration has just learned that LGBT rights’ trailblazer, Del Martin, has passed away in San Francisco.

The AP reports that the 87-year-old activist died peacefully at San Francisco General Hospital this morning with her wife, Phyllis Lyon by her side.

Del and Phyllis were the first couple to be legally married in San Francisco, California on June 16 of this year. They were married by Mayor Gavin Newsom in 2004, which kicked off the Winter of Love and the more than 4,000 marriages that followed before the state stepped in to stop them. Those marriages paved the way for this year’s historic California Supreme Court ruling that granted all of us the freedom to marry.

Out4Immigration says “Let’s be inspired in our continuing struggle for LGBT immigration rights by Del’s bravery and tireless efforts to put a human face on lesbians and gays and fight for our rights back when we simply had none. Thank you, Del. We send our deepest condolences to Phyllis.”

Traditional Media Scoops Obama’s New Media VP Text Message

I was surfing channels a little after 10 pm (Pac Time) last night, when the ticker on CNN stopped me from moving on to E! and TVLand. It said, “CNN confirms Biden as Obama VP pick” (or something like that). Hey — where was my text message!?

Turns out CNN, AP, NBC and more scooped the text message and email notification the Obama campaign promised supporters who signed up to be “the first to know”. No doubt about it, everyone’s been on this story for nearly two weeks now — with Sen. Joe Biden’s name surfacing around August 19 as a real hot prospect.

The speculation and the rumors had the online world on the edge of our laptops, jumping at every text message, clicking on every story that implied the reason you signed up to be “the first to know” was because this was going to be the kind of news in which that was going to mean something. Obama was going to pick Hilary after all. He was going to pick an obscure congressman from Texas. He was going to pull a rabbit out of a hat and voila! — it was going to be okay to like French people again!

With the news broken the old-school way, what would happen to the text message? It was already well after midnight on the East Coast, going on 11 pm on the West. Had new media lost this round? Or had it simply pushed old school to up its game?

I made an exception and took my cell phone to bed with me. The text message came in at 1:05 am (Pac Time):

Barack has chosen Senator Joe Biden to be our VP nominee. Watch the first Obama-Biden rally live at 3pm ET on http://www.BarackObama.com. Spread the word!

I read it. I went back to sleep. I’m wondering how many Obama supporters sleep next to their cell phones on a Friday night/Saturday morning? How many leave their phones on at night? How many were woken up after midnight (there’s reports that the message came a little after 3 am on the East Coast). How many were in a bar and didn’t hear the damn message? Thought it was “drunk text” and ignored it altogether? The timing of this “first to know” — genius or a complete joke?

And I was worried I was going to be in the shower!

‘Staycation’ Declared ‘Ditziest’ Word in Travel Reporting

It’s summertime and as an American (and a self-employed one at that!) I’m yet again reminded that we don’t take enough vacation time.

You’ve undoubtedly read the stories piling up on the ‘Net and in the Sunday travel sections of your local papers (that you read three weeks later while waiting for a dentist appointment). These stories about how much time off people in other countries have compared to the US seem to be in particular abundance this year. Three weeks, four weeks, six weeks or more compared to the two holidays we choose to observe and the self-imposed mental health day to avoid a nervous breakdown last month. As if to add insult to injury, a word that was probably made up by an annoying office co-worker 15 years ago (you know, the one that makes you never regret your decision to become self-employed) — “staycation” — is popping up every which way you click or turn.

The staycation, of course, is a stay-at-home vacation. A week off from work in which you don’t go away, but choose to stay local and enjoy things close to home (like going to a movie or sipping a pina colada in your backyard) that you don’t normally do.

Well, I can’t think of anything worse for someone who works from a home office! And, I’m going to join forces with travel guru Arthur Frommer who says “to settle for a staycation is to stop enjoying the great adventure of life”. Frommer has pronounced the “staycation” to be

the ditziest word in current travel reporting…a shameful second-rate substitute for travel that various pundits are currently recommending. Shocked by the cost of transportation, unwilling to offset it with cheaper accommodations, they are advocating, in effect, that we all return to the 1800s by simply moping around the towns in which we live.

And I can say that this applies even if the town you currently mope around is a great one, like San Francisco. The Internet is full of travel sites and recommendations and ways to find cheap alternatives to a “staycation”, as you know. Use them.

Photo by KazzaDrask Media.

Who Will Be Barack’s VP?

The Obama campaign continues to wow the social networking set with its direct appeal to log on and learn more (before anyone else does). This week, they’ve launched a sign up campaign to receive a text message to be “the first to know” who Obama names as his VP running mate. It’s so simple, even someone in the fastest-growing texting demographic (ages 45 to 64) can do it. All you do is text the letters VP to 62262. If you do it (I did, after a little reassuring that I would not be inundated on my mobile with the same calls I’m already getting on the home phone — but rather text messages, which are way cooler), you’ll get a nearly instantaneous reply that you’ve been successful.

It will be an exciting moment (and I do mean of 60 seconds variety) when Obama makes his VP announcement to see the Web 2.0 (and beyond) crowd’s response to getting this new media message format to the mainstream. I’m going to guess it will be blogged about for a solid 36 hours or so as the turning point for new school journalistic tools, because I’d imagine even the oldest of warhorses out there are going to have to sign up to receive the text message to stay in the game. I only hope I’m not in the shower!

Bonus points: Guess the average age of a texter. Click here for the answer and to read an excellent article on the Obama VP choice text campaign on Mobile Marketer, one of my sources for this blog post.

PHOTOS: San Francisco Chronicle PiX Page

A few weeks ago I had the privilege of photographing a private party for San Francisco businesswoman Ruth Garland-Dewson. The party was hosted by Anette Harris in honor of Ruth’s recent “Power of One” award from the Jenesse Center in Los Angeles. Ruth is often referred to as “The Mayor of Fillmore Street”. She is the owner of the landmark San Francisco shop Mrs. Dewson’s Hats and the executive director of the Western Addition Foundation for Girls. Photos were published on the PiX page of the August 10 edition of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Photo by KazzaDrask Media.