Vinnie lived in San Francisco, CA and co-founded Lefora Forum Hosting.
He also started the 6,500+ member Silicon Valley NewTech Meetup.
That was a while ago, stay up to date on

Be back in 12′ish months

Posted: September 21st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Slightly less then a year after getting married, and a few months after having my company, acquired, I’ll be taking some time off to see this great world of ours and learn new perspectives while backpacking around the asian contenent with my wife, Kristine.

Please follow our journey here:

–> <–

Making Social Media Marketing Deliver

Posted: June 22nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

On July 8th, the follow up event to the UK’s Social Media Marketing conference will be traveling to San Francisco for a one-day event to provide guidance on effectively engaging with customers via social media, giving tips on how to maximize the impact of your campaigns, and offer insights into new services to try and trends to watch out for.

This event is interesting as it brings in leaders from the tech space, with experts in the journalism space, to share knowledge and bring ideas together.  I’ll be on a panel discussing “How to Build Communities for Brands

Register soon for the Early-Bird Discount and use this coupon code for 10% off: 10smmsf12

Thursday 8th July, 9:00am – 5:30pm

Hotel Nikko, 222 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Speakers include: Ben Parr, Co-Editor of Mashable; Richard Jalichandra, CEO Technorati; Chris Heuer, AdHocnium; David Gelles, Reporter at The Financial Times; Kym McNicholas, Anchor/Reporter at Forbes; Jon Swartz, Technology reporter USA Today; Hiten Shah, Co-founder KISSmetrics; Lawrence Coburn, CEO of DoubleDutch; Murray Newlands; and Marissa Louie.  The event is sponsored by Oracle.

Startup culture – Palo Alto, NY, & Boston

Posted: May 29th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Matt Shapiro, a second year MBA student at the Yale School of Management and part time Associate with LaunchCapital, a seed stage venture capital firm, authored the first Entrepreneur’s Census asking a range of questions to co-founders and ceo’s on why they landed in their city and analyzed the behaviors in each city with a series of questions ranging from fundraising to hiring.

As a NYC to Silicon Valley transplant I was very interested in the results of the census and passed it out to the Silicon Valley New Tech Meetup.

The results that most interested me:

  • 40% of startups in Palo Alto reached the financing they sought vs. only 24% in NY (graph above)
  • The leading reason for why founders picked a city was due to a prior job, university came in 2nd.
  • Software-as-a-Service beat out Advertising as a revenue model 2-to-1
  • The peak tiers for number of employees were 4-7 for NY and Boston, and 2 for Palo Alto, which would indicate a larger percentage earlier stage companies in Palo Alto, and a larger percentage of more mature companies in NY.
  • 42% of startups in NYC don’t pay for rent, vs. 22% in Palo Alto. With an avg. rent of $733/employee in NYC vs. $475/employee in Palo Alto, I can see why there’s a need for free rent!  Also, as a former NY’r, it’s much hader to create the live/work spaces that you have in Silicon Valley, such as our our Meetro house that crammed 8 guys into one apartment for living and working.
  • Angel Access – Silicon Valley has the numbers, with 17% of companies speaking to 20 or more angels in Palo Alto, compared to 7% in NYC.  Though the flip side of this could be our crazy west coast ideas sometimes need to land on more ears then those solid business plans in NYC.

Read the full research report below or head to the 2010 Entrepreneur Census website.

The Entrepreneur’s Census

SVNewTech – Tue May 4 – 2 companies in town from Europe & another $1,500 in give-aways

Posted: May 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Awesome mix of companies tonight, including two from Europe. If you can’t make it in person, check out the Live Stream @ 7pm:
Apply to demo:
Lineup – Very sexy desktop on the web where a group of ppl can share files, chat, and work together. [Edward Sanchez]
. – Self service market research platform. Put a survey together, select your demographic and get your answers a day later. [Lev Mazin]
. – Drop dead simple mockup creation that looks great.  Sketch out your new website in minutes.  BONUS: free license in this newsletter. [Valerie Liberty]
. – #1 location based app in Europe for discovering new places and connecting with friends.  The CEO joins us tonight on his visit from France. [Gilles Barbier]
They’re hiring [Sponsored Section]
  • Freelance Drupal website opportunity helping develop an interactive website. Work with designer and client and sign NDA.
  • is looking for an outstanding Ruby on Rails engineer with strong front-end development skills to join our team.
  • [your company here] – email vincent.lauria -at-
Links & Give-aways
  • Attention Startups: Are you looking for funding?  Consider submitting an application for SDForum’s Investor Forum: any stage, geography or technology; no cost to present as Newtech Meetup applicants that are selected will receive a free annual SDForum membership.
  • Social Gaming / Virtual Goods Summit May 6-7 in SF.  15% off for SVNewTech Members using code ‘SGSSVNM’ and 3 free passes in our newsletter
  • 2010 Entrepreneur’s Census is about to close – Tired of the speculative arguments regarding whether it is better to launch a venture in NY vs. Boston vs. Silicon Valley? Fill out this anonymous survey sponsored by Yale:
  •, the mockup software presenting tonight is giving away 1 free license in our newsletter
A special thank you to:

When: Tuesday, May 4, 2010 7:00 PM
Where: DLA Piper, 2000 University Ave, Palo Alto



SVNewTech – Tue Apr 6 – 5,000 members & over $1,600 in free prizes!

Posted: April 6th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

We’re about to roll pass 5,000 members today!  Every member of this group has contributed to our growth, thank you!  The 5,000th member to join will get his or her website or service tweeted out, so pass this onto your friends.  Also, there’s a 2010 Entrepreneur Census sponsored by Yale, please fill it out and let the world know why Silicon Valley is the #1 place to launch a startup.

Awesome mix of companies tonight. If you can’t make it in person, check out the Live Stream @ 7pm:

Apply to demo:

When: Tuesday, Apr 6, 2010 7:00 PM
Where: DLA Piper, 2000 University Ave, Palo Alto


Lineup: – Helping groups collect and manage money. A great system for that next Tahoe cabin rental with friends. [Bill Clerico]

. – Your website vistiors are really confused, make it easy for them to find answers to their questions. [Mark Christian & Brian Klug]

. – White-labeled location-based game for your Community, Brand, or Event. [Lawrence Coburn]

. – Amazon is not just for books.  Amazon Web Services is an entire suite of cloud computing resources powering many of the web startups in this group. [Alex McClure]


Links & Give-aways

  • Book Giveaway Tonight! Web 2.0 Fundamentals – 2 copies will be given away by the authors (& active SVNewTech members), Oswald Campesato & Kevin Nilson: or buy it 40% off:
  • Ad Publishers – Can’t make ad:tech SF during the day?  Then come out to the SFAdPub meetup where we’ll be featuring hot Ad Networks w/ free drinks:
  • Startup Lessons Learned Conference – Learn from the best on building a successfully *lean* startup.  20% discount code SVNEWTECH:
  • 5 FREE tickets – Digital Media Law Conference – 1 day forum for legal experts, biz execs, & entrepreneurs to discuss emerging legal issues in the digital media space. (5 free tickets given out in newsletter, signup here.  Everybody else 25% off, code SVNewTech25)
  • 2010 Entrepreneur’s Census – Tired of the speculative arguments regarding whether it is better to launch a venture in NY vs. Boston vs. Silicon Valley? Fill out this anonymous survey sponsored by Yale:
  • Looking for a new gig? Post on our job boards
  • Hiring? Email me for a sponsored listing.


A special thank you to:

Preparing for a Successful Acquisition

Posted: February 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

I just attended a breakfast hosted by Next Step, The Brenner Group and K&L Gates on how to position your startup for acquisition.  There’s a lot of common sense that goes into it.  I picked two halves of a pb&j because I think that’s what best represents a merger or acquisition – when the additive results tastes great and keeps the customers coming back to buy more.  Here are a few meaningful points I took away:

  • Position your self for an acquisition, such as partnerships with potential acquirers.  Think about this in your product strategy.
  • Think of your competition from your acquirer’s perspective.  You may not necessarily compete for the same customers, but maybe there’s similar technology/services out there that you would be similar to from an acquirer’s perspective.
  • Be mindful of your intrinsic low value customers vs. your high value and strategic customers.  Low value may be online sales customers, ad revenue customers, etc.  High Value and Strategic customers will usually be of the highest interest from a potential buyer
  • Accounting / GAAP / Tax compliance – make sure this is all legit.  I repeat, make sure you are fully compliance here. 1, it can really delay due diligence not to have all your paperwork or be out of compliance.  2, it can slow down the due diligence and you may not have the resources to sit through it. 3, it could be used against you during negotiations as the price can lower with increased risk.  4, if a public company is acquiring you, they will have to do a full audit with the SEC w/in 75 days of purchase. Finally, as you are positioning yourself for acquisition, you may want to have your company audited – your company will look stronger for it, and you’ll also avoid any delays during due diligence.
  • Make sure all your other ducks are in order, cap table, previous employees, founders that left, board seats, etc.  You (and your acquirer) don’t want any puppies coming out of the closet during or after acquisition.
  • Global acquirers?  They’ve seen a lot of global investment, and think the market might be opening up to more global acquisitions with companies looking for a presence here in the valley.

SFAdPub meets tonight, Feb 9th – prepping for a Google AdSense rep

Posted: February 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Hey all, just a quick reminder on our meetup tonight, Feb 9th. In March, Google AdSense will be sending a rep or two to answer your questions, so we’ll use some time tonight to prepare some questions I can send them before hand.

Tonight, Feb 9th, 7pm.
Zebulon, 2nd Floor, above the bar (83 Natoma St)

Please make sure you’ve RSVP’d Free appetizers will be provided.

Please forward this email to any friends/colleagues that run a web property and make real revenues from ads. The more people that join the group, the more influence we’ll have at getting ad networks out to answer your questions.

Also note, I may have to limit the RSVP count in March to 30 ppl, priority will be given to people who have attended this meetup at least once.

Look forward to seeing you tonight,

What is SFAdPub?
SFAdPub is a monthly meetup for ad publishers & web startups looking to learn from each other and share advice. Each month we’ll focus on a different topic, such as ad placement optimizations, mobile advertising, affilate networks, alternate ad networks, google analytics, etc. The group has been casually meeting over the past few months and started the monthly meetup in January. Come network with other startups and ad publishers and learn how to make more money from your site. Every other month, we’ll feature representatives from major ad networks to answer your questions:

SFAdPub – An informal meetup for ad publisher to increase their revenues

Posted: January 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Tuesday, January 11

The meetup will be an informal gathering for ad publishers to share knowledge of ad optimization and ad networks over beers.  As the group grows, we’ll have small roundtables with small and large ad networks, like google adsense.

The first one is tomorrow night.  Whether you’re interested in joining us tomorrow or in the future, please be sure to join the group to be informed of updates and free tips.

We have 15+ RSVP’s for tomorrow night, that’s great! I’m looking forward to getting 8-10 of us together for our first event.  I’ve spoken to people at Google and they’d love to come out to a future event in February or March – which would allow us to ask them direct questions about Adsense.

What to expect Tuesday night – A very informal gathering of fellow ad publishers sharing tips. I’ve spoken to the manager at Zebulon and she’s gonna give us our own room above the bar. And as an added incentive to join us, I’ll grab a drink for anybody who brings a fellow ad publisher along or gets them to join the group (honor system, i’ll trust you)

What: SF Ad Publishers Meetup w/ FREE snacks/appetizers
When: Tues, Jan 12, 7pm
Where: Zebulon, 83 Natoma St, San Francisco, CA 94105

Tue Nov 3 – Painting the town red for 4 fantastic companies

Posted: November 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Another great lineup and more free tickets in our monthly newsletter.  Demos featuring: custom TV, recruiting software you’ll need with the economy picking up, people powered car traffic info, and how businesses do twitter.

If you can’t make tonight, 7pm Live Stream:

Find a ride share ->


———————— – It’s like for video, create your own channel. [Adam Bossy] – Simple to use recruiting software to make your life easier when bringing on new hires.  [Joel Passen] – Crowd sourced traffic information.  Something I’ve been asking for since 2003.  [Anselm Hook] – ‘How Business does Twitter.’ From Ford Motors to Starbucks, co-tweet will help your company engage customers using Twitter. [Jesse Engle]


Links & Free Tickets

* Subscribe to my emailings on the website to receive links to free tickets –


They’re hiring:

  • Ning is looking for a Site Reliability Engineer, Product Managers, Designers, Oracle (11g) DBA and Database Architect. Contact and mention this svnewtech.
  • Meetup is looking for superstar engineers to move to New York City
When: Tuesday, Oct 6, 2009 7:00 PM
Where: DLA Piper, 2000 University Ave, Palo Alto

Posted: October 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

You won’t want to miss tonight’s lineup, 4 companies with solid ideas, each in a different market.  And for a clear indicator that this recession is turning around, the ‘We’re Hiring’ list at the bottom of this email is longer then the ‘Job Board’ for the first time since starting the job board this year.   And if you subscribe to my emails via the group, you’ll be privy to $2,400 in free ticket giveaway’s this month.

If you can’t make tonight, 7pm Live Stream: – A travel site focusing on a large interested community – families with kids.  Find activities, share advice, and travel to all corners of the world. [Brennan Pang & LiLing Pang] – Turn your twitter fans into a video channel.  Login to create a video channel with the videos your friends are sharing. [Joe Shapiro] – Simple invoicing and bookkeeping.  There in prime territory after Mint’s acquisition. [Tate Holt] – A secret y-combinator company that’s going to give you a sneak-peak before anyone else. [Tom Saffell]


When: Tuesday, Oct 6, 2009 7:00 PM
Where: DLA Piper, 2000 University Ave, Palo Alto

Reminder – the newsletter has $2,400 worth of free ticket giveaways to the first to act!  I work hard to sneak in free giveaways to the group each month.

SVNewTech – Tue Sep 1 – Ratings, Reviews, Notifications, Filtering, and hear from an Alexa Top 100 website.

Posted: September 1st, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Tonight’s lineup includes some fresh new startups and one well established company that has had recent success with another product launched on top of twitter.
If you can’t make tonight, 7pm Live Stream:
The Lineup – Allows customers at the local level to help answer questions and share ideas on products and services they use in their local community. [Nick Leung]
. – Get a single email sent on your own schedule that includes updates and notifications from all your social networks. [David Neubauer]
. – Filter out all that noise on your twitter account  with a simple but intelligent rating system. [Paul Singh]
. – ImageShack is the in the Alexa Top 100 (#61) websites across the entire web.  Learn about what they’ve done and where they’re going with their new yfrog service and twitter. [Mike Harkey & Jack Levin]
When: Tuesday, Sep 1, 2009 7:00 PM
Where: DLA Piper, 2000 University Ave, Palo Alto
Links & Free Tickets
* DLA is hosting the America West Regional Finals of the Global Security Challenge on 9/29.  Top contenders will present their security companies to an audience of security investors, advisers, analysts and other experts. [free event]
* I’ve submitted a panel to speak at next year’s SXSW conference on ‘Community Power: How to Use Your Users’.  I would love your vote:
* nvidia GPU Technology Conference: – 2 FREE passes to the first 2 ppl to email me w/ the subject NVIDIA GPU (a $750 value).
* Lawrence Coburn’s Expert Talk on SEO from Aug:
SVNewTech Job Board
People within the SV NewTech meetup community looking for new jobs:
* QA / Test engineer, <>,
* Peter Alexander – V.P./Director; Sales; Bus. Dev,  <>,
* Kirk Lawrence – Product Management,  <>,
* [Your Name Here] ->
They’re hiring
Meetup members looking to hire:
* Philips Healthcare, Foster City – looking for C++ and C# developers
* Meetup is looking for superstar engineers to move to New York City and is hosting a SV job meetup:
* [Your Company Here] -> Email me.
Sponsors and Supporters
A special thank you to:
* DLA Piper for hosting us each and every month -
* Bruce Chandler for filming/streaming -
* who is looking to hire superstar engineers wanting to move to NYC
* [Your Company Here] -> Email me.

10 ways to get your first 1,000 users

Posted: March 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

A friend, Paul Singh, is working on a new site,, and i’ve been trying to share any knowledge I can to help.  Philtro lets you rate articles and tweets so you can find the most interesting, relevant posts first and filter out the rest – a great idea in this firehouse of a superhighway.

The other week he asked:
“I want to get more users on the system, what tips would you give me to help build some buzz around the product?”

Here’s a cleaned up version of my emailed response:

  1. Read – Check out this post that I wrote on a friend’s blog - Startup Tips – Getting to that first 10,000.  There’s a book that every web entrepreneur should read, Paul Bragiel passed it on to me - Steve Blank’s “The Four Steps to the Epiphany “ – it’s a real gem.
  2. Twitter – If your service offers values to tweeters (which does in boatloads), twitter is an easy wave to ride.  I think if you get a twitter theme going and market it solely as a twitter add-on service, there’s real potential for it to spread by tweets
  3. Ads – It can’t hurt to budget $60 @ $5/day to do some google adwords.  To target the right audience, only buy ads on google search result pages (not ‘placement targeting’ ads that show on other websites).  For Philtro, I suggested to buy keywords like ‘rss readers’, ‘rss filtering’, ‘feed filters’, etc.  You will definitely get traffic to your site and you can work on converting this traffic.  It’s not unrealistic that this would send hundreds of people to your site over 2 weeks, maybe only a handful will sign up, but it will let you know what people are looking for and want.
  4. Audience – Make sure the initial group you invite (friends, etc.) are people that the service is solving a problem for.  Figure out who this is solving a real problem for on your list and send them a personal email addressing two things:
    1. Let them know you really value their feedback and need them to send you their thoughts (positive and negative)
    2. Ask them if they know 3 friends who would use this and could they make an intro between you and them.
  5. Blog – 1 of 2 thoughts here.  Either create a company blog and blog daily on it – tips, developments, feedback, new features, etc.  Or, use your own personal blog for the next month with 30% about the new site and 70% everything else.
  6. Bloggers – Search google blogs/technorati for any bloggers talking about this problem, and leave an insightful comment and link back to your blog (or site).  If the blogger is big time, or it’s a major publication, send them a follow-up personal email and ask them if they could review your site and send you criticisms over email because you want your service to be the best – they just may end up writing a blog post about you.
  7. No private beta (this is a matter of personal opinion) – With such a small pool of users initially, you want no barrier to entry.  After you get a few hundred, then you can put the barrier up.
  8. Seed ‘buzz’ – Is there a promotion you can create?  Maybe by creating a badge that people put on their blog, you can trade links from your homepage, like a scrolling featured blogger list.  Big blogs won’t need this, but you may stumble across a lot of little bloggers who would love this attention.
  9. Be a whore – mention the site everywhere you can, your blog, facebook, your flickr profile, vimeo, ….  anywhere you have a web presence.
  10. Feedback – When your service is small, it’s valuable to have a closed loop with people giving you feedback (it can’t be one way).  As your product will certainly take a few directions in the first few months – talking to people to hear what they want or need on the service is vital.  One method, is to add a chat widget (like AIM’s or meebo’s ) to your service so that anybody using the site can talk directly to you in real time (you can spare 5min here and there throughout the day.  And by the time it ends up sucking an hour out of your day, you’ve probably passed 1,000 users and can take it off :P  In addition to a chat widget, it’s always good to start a support forum on (plug) or a feedback tool like
While getting your first 1,000 users, you’re user base will most likely go through these stages:
* Stage 1 – your friends
* Stage 2 – bleeding edge early adopters who just like to play with stuff (removing private beta will allow these people access – however they find you)
* Stage 3 – early adopters
* Stage 4 – random users
* Stage 5 – real users
* Stage 6 – ???
* and hopefully at some point, Stage 7 – profit :)
There’s definitely a curve of how helpful ‘feedback’ is between stage 1 & 5, but I’ll leave that to another post.
Thoughts, other tips, and criticisms, I’d like to hear from you.

SiliconValley NewTech Meetup – March 2009 – Party like it’s 1997

Posted: March 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Looking forward to tonight’s lineup, I’ll keep this brief with the addition of the Job Board below – for people who are hiring or looking to be hired.  You may have noticed I’ve put a hard cap on the 150 this month, we’ll see how that goes and if there’s a better approach.  If you didn’t make it into tonight’s RSVP, you might be interested in another event today,

With stocks dipping into 1996, it’s interesting to look back and see how much the internet has changed (and the companies).  Here’s a clip to lift your spirits, Everything’s amazing, nobody’s happy –

On Deck for tonight – Simplify your worklife by bringing in your google documents, tasked based emails, and team into one convenient project on the web. [Amit Kulkarni] – Your own outsourced tour guide. Create or participate in a walking tour or a treasure hunt that can be accessed from any mobile phone.  [Rajiv Aggarwal] - Your very own accounting department.  Simplify business expenses for everybody – the spender and the finance manager. [Witold Stankiewicz & David Barrett] – Link your online world with your real one.  Very cool application of 3d barcodes. [Jamey Graham & Matt Stewart]

When: Tuesday, Mar 3, 2009 7:00 PM
Where: DLA Piper, 2000 University Ave, Palo Alto

The SVNT JobBoard
These are listing of people within the SV NewTech meetup community looking for new jobs:
* Andy Leeper – Looking for gigs that will let him use his web app development / systems architecture skills.,  <>,
* Kieran Chung – CTO / VP of Development, <>,
* Auri Biswas – Director/Sr. Manager (Web Product Management or Business Analysis) – MBA (Duke) + Big 4 Consulting Background.,  <>,
* Technical Executive in IT or Engineering,  <>,
* Paul Wcislo – Strategic marketing programs and communications to enhance image, attract buyers, and increase sales.,  <>,
* human resources/training, <>
* Mynampati – Product / Technology Management – Integrative & Analytical; launched 2 BI solutions,  <>
* Phil Hood – Publisher, consultant,  <phil@drumlink.colm>,
* Debra Evans – Pursuing Software or Web Development Project or Program Manager Opportunities,  <>,
* Parul Raj Lodha – Biz Dev for Internet/ Web 2.0 Startup,
* Alicia Lin – Strategic Recruiter,  <>
* Grace Hu-Morley – Product Management / Product Markteting Leadership Position , <>,
* Benjamin Hill – Seeking a Sr. PM role in collective intelligence based company.,  <>,
* product marketing, strategy, business development, business planning, product management, <>
* Bonnie Wang – Helped launched the 1st Chinese edition of Rolling Stone mag.  Seeking a position that draws upon her strengths as a bilingual communicator with marketing/PR and online community-building. <>

They’re hiring
Meetup members looking to hire:
* Kym McNicholas <> – Looking for a producer/videographer/editor for Burlingame Studio.  Tech minded, easy to work with, flexibile, and knowledgeable in new media.
* {stealth project} – 2 roles, iPhone/Web Software Developer & Web Designer/Developer,
* More openings [Gravity recruiting],


Carcam Roadtrip

Posted: March 19th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | No Comments »

Back in the spring of 2005 I live webcammed a road trip around the southern United States, a blogged a bit of it too.  I started in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and made my way all the way to Texas.  The return trip took me all the way back to nyc.  I snapped a photo every 10sec and placed it on a website (via my phone) for people to watch in real-time.  I also saved a copy of each of these photos.  So if anybody wants to get artistic, I have 32,000 photos for you to work with!  Someday, I’ll lay the photos down to a music track and make a short film.  At SXSW I came across a flyer for some folks who did something similiar, but with better camera.

Roadtrip Technology

How does one go about streaming their roadtrip to the web?


  • Webcam
  • Laptop (any flavor OS that suits you)
  • Cell phone with internet access
    • and cable/bluetooth connectivity to computer
  • 12V DC -> 120V AC adapter
  • Optional: FM Transmitter (so you can listen to some fly tunes)
  • Optional: GPS (so that you don’t miss an exit jamming to fly tunes)

Some photos of said supplies:

Webcam Laptop, GPS, FM Tuner DC/AC Adapter
Photo_042005_002 Photo_042005_006 Photo_042105_008
Optional FM Transmitter Car (with Webcam) Driver
Photo_042105_009 Photo_042105_005 Photo_042005_009
Treo 650 Phone

Let’s get technical:

Originally I purchased a Logitech Quickcam Express for $ 29USD from Walmart. However, the express only had a CMOS video chip and the quality was terrible. I broke down and purchased a Logitech QuickCam 4000 Pro for $ 99USD. You can get it from newegg for $ 64USD, but I was pressed for time. I am very impressed with the QuickCam 4000 Pro and recommend it highly. It’s 1.3 mega pixel supporting something like 1024×1068 for still photos. For my stream, I’m only using 640×480 to keep the files small.

I taped the webcam to my dashboard with masking tape. The Logitech cam came with two different ‘mini’ tripods. I taped the heavier stand to my dashboard, right in front of the steering wheel. I kept the cord in place with these niffty removable hooks from 3m (The Mini Hooks.)

I’m using the trial edition of TinCam WebCam software on Windows XP. It’s a neat little app that allows you to do a number of fun things with a webcam. I have the software snapping a 640×480 jpeg every 10 seconds and saving it locally with a timestamp for the file name. The software is also sending each picture to my web server via FTP. The app will allow you to store a history of photos (up to 99) and dynamically rename them picture01 though picture99. The app also generates a basic HTML page for you to display your pics. Nothing flashy, but it works.

I have cellular service with Sprint PCS. I like Sprint because they don’t rip you off with overage charges. They charge you in blocks of 100 minutes for $ 5USD, it’s a pretty good deal. They also have unlimted internet access for USD/month. I plan on abusing that this month with my always on feed ;) I have a Treo 650 which is a great little toy that I recommend. The Treo does not have support to act as a ‘modem’ out of the box. You have to use 3rd party software. I’m using PdaNet, again it’s the evaluation version. It’s a little app that you install on your treo that dials up to the internet. I wanted to note that the PdaNet software will not reconnect your internet connection if it is dropped. You have to click a ‘Connect’ button on your Treo, which isn’t too hard to do while you are driving. The goodnews is that the connetion only droped twice on my way down to Atlanta, and since I was pumping mp3s though my laptop, I could hear the windows ‘bong’ when the connection was dropped. (I had to reboot my laptop during the trip, and it was funny to hear the Windows Logon sound though my car speakers.)

You can connect to PdaNet though hardwire or Bluetooth. I used both without any problems in the PdaNet software. I think the internet is slow enough that you don’t notice a lag with Bluetooth. However, I always seem to have USB/Bluetooth problems with my laptop. I’m not sure if it’s Windows, my laptop, or the cheap $ 18 usd USB Bluetooth key I purchased. My laptop frequently doesn’t recognize the key, so I used the treo USB cable.

I had to borrow a DC/AC power adapter from my roomate Patrick. Thank you Patrick. The device works well, but the fan sounds like it’s dirty and it hums like a lawnmower. Luckily, my rental car has two DC outlets. My laptop and Treo are plugged into the DC adapter. My Belkin FM Transmitter plugs straight into the other car lighter.

I don’t have an iPod, I’ve been using my Treo 650 as an mp3 player. However, it only has a 1 Gig SD card, so that wouldn’t fit all the tunes I needed for a 1.5 week roadtrip. I loaded up my laptop with 12 GB of music before heading out (3,200 songs.) The music is a completly random collection made up of tunes from my days with Brent to CDs I burned for Kristine’s iPod mini. It is an ecletic collection. I kept my mouse pointer right over the next key and would had the mouse button frequently to move on to a kick-ass song. You don’t know how cool it feels to hear the opening track to Starwars as your driving down the highway around bends and under bridges. I can’t wait to put this trip to a soundtrack and make a movie.

Lessons Learned

  • Make your laptop screen resolution low so that everything appears big and is easy to read while you’re driving. I’m putting it at 640×480.
  • Need to know the keyboard shortcuts for my Windows mp3 player (Winamp) so that I can easily skip to the next song.

Road Trip Wiki

I also created a wiki to go along with my trip.  It quickly became internet graffitti, which I didn’t mind.  I’ll post a copy of it someday, but being that it’s pretty explicit, I figured I should leave it off of for the time being.

This was my reasoning behind it:

I’m experimenting with a wiki based homepage for a few reasons

  • I find it a quick way to make updates to my website, no hassle of uploading files, …
  • Wikiwig has an amazing WYSIWYG editor.
  • I am all about open source, sharing content, remixing, …. This is my way of expressing that.
  • Adds some artistic touch to my website
  • 2-way mediums are cool

I’m experimenting with the idea of a Wiki/Blog hybrid. One of Todd’s friends, James, had some really good ideas and set off a million new ones in my head. James made a good point to experiment with this first before developing anything. So below are my thoughts on what I want out of this Wiki/Blog and it’s pros and cons. I encourange people to contribute ideas and solutions.


  • Dynamic (non-linear) Information – Information in a Wiki is a lot more dynamic. Blogs are too linear and information is lost into the ‘archives.’ A wiki based structure would help keep a lot of fresh ideas current. For instance, let’s say I write an article about podcasting in February (how it works, why to do it, …) Then in April I write another podcasting article about good sites I’ve found. I think it would be best to combine these two postings into one page on ‘podcasting.’ This way if any new people stumble across my site, they will have much more useful information.


  • RSS feeds – The wiki software I’m currently using doesn’t support RSS feeds.  That is a huge feature for me as it allows other people to read my new information in an aggregator.  I have to think of ways to incorporate this.  For instance, maybe my ‘journal’ type postings can have the date as the title.  Any new pages created in my wiki would be added to my RSS feed.  And if I created an informative page, such as a page on ‘podcasting,’ then any new information I update on the page will be sent with RSS.  I think this would work very well.  However, RSS is very limited in that in order for a person to edit my content, they will have to click though to my site.  I wish RSS had better commenting features.
  • Displaying New Posts – On my homepage, how can I display new blog posts cleanly?  I need to think of ways of organizing all of this information.

1st Post

Posted: January 13th, 2006 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

I’ve been spending the better half of Friday setting up drupal on my dreamhost server. I’m still playing around with it, but I’m pretty impressed so far.