Thursday, August 30, 2007

KATU Blogger Meetup: Recap & Photos

Syndicated from:

KATU invited nearly 100 local bloggers to the studios in Southeast Portland for a "meetup". While met with initial skepticism, conspiracy, and as many theories as there were invites, the event was an amazing success! Thanks to the team at KATU for reaching out to the blogging community in stumptown -- for trusting me with the task of corralling the masses and hosting the meetup, the great food and drink, the clever (and useful!) thumb drive-containing gift bags and of course for letting us invade your studios for the evening! (I hope we didn't leave a mess?) More "Thank You" notes in a bit, but for now...

The Details
Arriving at the KATU Studios just before 6:30pm, my parking concerns eased with a spot across the street from the Portland Mercury offices, and -- more importantly -- the much-anticipated 4-Square tournament (good thing it wasn't a beer-tossing contest!).

Across the street, bloggers from all genres were shuffling in, registering and receiving name tags. My first impression was that the KATU staff was warm and welcoming -- working wonders at setting any tension or awkwardness at ease (thanks Kristen!). I exchanged greetings with the now-familiar Rob and Terry and made my way back to the studio.

What the room lacked in size, the buffet table redeemed in selection. The traditional fried finger foods were paired with an assortment of meats, cheeses, shrimp, even sushi (though I've never quite been able to stomach the idea of party sushi). KATU's staff of bartenders (perhaps explaining how they get through long wall-to-wall coverage of Pacific Northwest storms?) served up a selection of area wines and Widmer beer. I suspect we made friends among the engineering staff by leaving behind the leftover keg.

It's at this point we learn there's an interview for KATU's sister station in the news studio. This temporarily deflates hopes of a group photo on the anchor chair and quality time in Helen and Dave's AM Northwest living room. Fortunately, hope was restored in the form of a quick interviewer and we filed in to the primary broadcast studio.

You've certainly heard about tiny news sets -- this was no exception or surprise. I didn't realize they used the same room for both the local news AND the AM Northwest program. Props to the engineers for making that work every day!

I put on my headset for the group photo and more mingling / networking before the night came to a close. I regret that I didn't get to meet everyone, and I won't even *try* to recount all the faces and names I did chat with (with some exception below) -- hopefully you had as good a time as I did and, well ...until we meet again!

  • Matt & Scott at Portland Mercury - thanks for the 4-square, next time I promise I'll even play! (if you'll forgive me for the invite snafu?)
  • Rich - hopefuly you got at least one decent shot? (I went back to the mic so you could have a second chance. ;-) )
  • Dieselboii - Thanks for inviting fellow bloggers and the great chat.
  • LynnS - You were as insightful and friendly in person as you appear on your blog - thanks for coming!
  • Athena - I look forward to the Portland version - where can I get the Seattle book about ghosts? You're brave heading to the basement!
  • J.D. - when I win the MegaMillions ($325 million!!) on Friday, I'll come to you for advice!
  • Samuel John Klein (and the WifeTM) - You looked like a natural at the anchor chair, did you drop off a resume?
  • Aaron (a fellow "RCG") - thanks for reconnecting even though you couldn't make it (congrats on the newborn!). Let's get together soon?
  • To Rob, Terry, John, Julie, Kristen, Steve, Deb, and the rest of the KATU staff that made the event possible -- thank you! You were excellent hosts.

With that, I say... Let the conversation continue!

For more coverage of KATU's Blogger Meetup, visit:
  • Brian M. Westbrook's photo gallery (including the "group photo")
  • Portland Bloggers Flickr group (join the group, share your photos!)
  • Blogtown PDX Four-Square game highlights (bonus: animated photo)
  • Terry Heaton's PoMo Blog: Bloggers Meet in Portland
  • Oregon Media Insiders declares: "KATU Is My New Best Friend" (Can I have your energy drink? ;-) )
  • ...did you write about the meetup? Tag your post "katumeetup" so we can all find it. Drop me a note and I'll add to this list. Unless you have bad photos of me, then tag your post "awfulphotoofbmw" so I can filter out the horror. :-p

    Thanks again to everyone who came out -- it was a pleasure to meet such a diverse and passionate group of bloggers.
  • Monday, August 27, 2007

    Fountain of shame: Blog posts photos of vandals

    The Portland Water Bureau's "Water Blog" is using a new tool to combat an expensive nuisance in the City's fountains: shame. Posting a mugshot of the nineteen-year old accused hooligan, the blog goes on to describe the sudsy problem -- 75,000 gallons of water dumped at a cost of about $1000 for each incident. (Who knew?!)

    According to the Bureau, the blog is alone among the nation's municipal water utilities and blogs everything from water main breaks to whether or not simultaneous flushing during a Super Bowl half-time wreaks havoc on the water system.

    Back to the detergent drama, for those wondering, the blog reminds readers that the "pictures, names and addresses of people who are charged are public record." Chalk this up as yet another creative way blogs are being used to disseminate information to the public -- and discourage unlawful behavior. Does your blog encourage civic responsibility?

    28 Aug @ 15:30 -- Update:
    There's been follow-up on this story, and the use of blogging as a means to shame those caught commiting crimes. The Water Bureau lists various media outlets reporting on the story, and New York Times blogger Mike Nizza says, "Don't Mess with the Portland Water Bureau" (including a reference to this post).

    Stay tuned for more information on the power of blogs -- including a wrap-up of the KATU Blogger Meetup -- throughout the week, right here.

    Future employers read your online profile too!

    KXL Tech Expert Segment for 27 August 2007

    Information you share in an online profile is read by more than your friends and family – what a prospective employer reads about you in your social networking profile could keep you from that dream job.

    College students are accustomed to sharing weekend recaps, blogs about trips, and photos from parties with their peers … but more and more employers are searching employee hopeful profiles – and are marking an application “no hire” as a result.

    According to a March survey by the think tank Ponemon Institute (as quoted by
    Thirty-five percent of hiring managers use Google to do online background checks on job candidates, and 23 percent look people up on social networking sites. About one-third of those Web searches lead to rejections.

    What can those looking for a job do to keep from scaring off potential employers?
    • Be careful what you post. Details of sexual experiences, use of illicit substances, and frequent drinking may be best left out of your online blog posts, profile updates and photos.
    • Watch what you do write. Even if you “keep it clean”, sloppy grammar and poor spelling could give an employer a misleading representation of your skills and professionalism.
    • Talk to your friends. Ask they respect your privacy in their own profile updates and when posting pictures from parties.
    • Consider an alias. There’s no reason you need to give your real name online, your friends will find you – but employer’s might be unsuccessful.
    • Hide your profile. Sure it’s more fun to let anyone read your posts, but if limited to your network of friends you may keep that hiring manager from snooping.
    • Call in the professionals. Online services such as will monitor what information is available for you and, for a fee of course, work to remove undesirable content – if it’s not too late.

    Online privacy requires diligence, careful consideration and constant monitoring. A good rule of thumb is to consider that anything posted on an online profile is not private – avoid sharing details you would not want a prospective employer to use in considering whether or not to hire you.

    Further reading:

    Have you been rejected from a job because of what you had posted in an online profile? Ever pass up a candidate based on information found online? I'd love to hear from you!

    Thursday, August 23, 2007

    Digital SLR Cameras: Canon, Nikon announcements

    Canon and Nikon both announced new bodies aimed at the high-end amateur and professional markets this week. Canon, with it's new 40D body, took the first shot earlier this week with an upgrade to its popular 30D digital SLR. Nikon, just this morning, is touting two new units: the D300 and the 3D.

    As many of you know, I'm an avid Nikon fan and quite excited to hear about the D300 specifically. I'll leave the product specifics to the links section of this post, but for now I'll have to wrestle with whether or not to upgrade. On one hand, I did just get the D200 six months ago, on the other hand, it's only money and I'd love to upgrade. :-p [I *really* need to sell my old D70s before I buy YET ANOTHER body!]

    Nikon's new 3D is an upgrade for their professional line of cameras.

    For more on the new Nikon D300, Nikon 3D and Canon 40D digital SLRs... watch this space.

    Monday, August 20, 2007

    Portland-area blogger meet-up August 29th

    A local television station is inviting area bloggers to gather, meet, and discuss the blogosphere in-person next week. The folks at KATU are gathering local bloggers, enticed by free food and drink of course, to a no-agenda conversation.

    They asked me to help get the word out and welcome fellow bloggers to the event. I'm really looking forward to it and hope we get a good turn-out...

    Join me and hundreds of Portland's finest bloggers for this historic gathering!

    Hopefully I'll be able to meet as many of you as possible, and -- more importantly -- we can have a fun time! :-p

    Tuesday, August 14, 2007

    Nokia recalls 46 million mobile phone batteries

    Nokia today announced a product advisory affecting 46 million mobile phones worldwide. Phones with the "BL-5C" battery, manufactured between Dec 2005 and Nov 2006 could be affected. Customers are advised to visit the Nokia site to check if their battery is subject to free replacement:

    Nokia Battery Replacement Website

    I have a Nokia phone I use as a backup, for International roaming, and whenever I want a smaller alternative to my usual Windows Mobile phone -- punching in the 26 digit code into the site above told me I was not affected by the recall. Were you? Feel free to weigh in with a comment, or email me: tech (AT) brianwestbrook (DOT) com

    For more information on battery management, read my previous blog post on the subject here.