All Things Full of Shit

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At a certain age, I had to put up with finding out there was no tooth fairy, no Santa Claus, and no Easter Bunny.

I obviously survived all those disappointments, but I don’t know if I can survive this one: as of the first of the year, Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg will no longer be producing AllThingsD for the Wall Street Journal. My equilibrium is now all messed up.

Kara and Walt represent the epicenter of the digital universe as far as I am concerned. Their consistent ace reporting and leading industry guidance, has helped give birth to some of the greatest innovations of our lifetime. Rumor has it, that Steve Jobs would call Walt in the middle of the night to get his opinion about moves he was planning to make. Today the founders or leaders of Google, Twitter, Facebook, Tesla, Amazon, eBay, and Microsoft regularly contact the dynamic duo for their all-important reality checks.

AllThingsD was launched by Walt and Kara, both former WSJ tech reporters/columnists, seven years ago as an extension of The Wall Street Journal’s D: All Things Digital conference.

I don’t think I missed a morning since they started that gig that I didn’t read them and then check back several times during the day to see what else was going on. No matter what other tech site I read, AllThingsD represented the ultimate truth in the ever developing story of Silicon Valley. I’m not the only one who feels that Kara and Walt just have the finest reputations.

I can’t Imagine what the WSJ was thinking when they didn’t renew with Kara and Walt. AllThingsD was the must respectable part of the WSJ organization. While reports claim that the WSJ will try to replace them with new tech hires, I think it is safe to say that it will take years for the publication to capture the caché they once had.

It just proves there is nothing sacred in publishing. It a dollars game, nothing more, nothing less. If the legendary folks cost too much, bring in the youngsters. Editorial is nothing more than some gobbledygook crammed between the almighty ads.

When I look at the larger picture, I realize that Kara and Walt have a better future ahead of them. Either they will sign on with another media service or start their own. In either case, the millions of readers who believe in Walt and Kara will follow them anywhere. They are a part of our digital DNA. We can’t live without them.

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I Bet You Didn’t Know……..

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Look what I found on Twitter

Peter S. Greenberg (@PeterSGreenberg)
Could hotels be sued for posting fake online reviews? It’s happening with Yelp. How to find real verified reviews: ow.ly/p1AjT

CNN (@CNN)
Food expired? Don’t be so quick to toss it. on.cnn.com/1eVE82A

Dr. Mehmet Oz (@DrOz)
Can your hair become immune to your shampoo? @YouBeauty investigates: ybty.co/1dxTudd

Lance Ulanoff (@LanceUlanoff)
Photographer Identifies People in Iconic 9/11 Image Using Social Media on.mash.to/157giN9

Mashable (@mashable)
Google introduces a new logo on.mash.to/1eVEtCB pic.twitter.com/3V4m4q9Sps

Wall Street Journal (@WSJ)
Hiroshi Yamauchi, the man who turned Nintendo into a global videogame giant, has died at age 85. on.wsj.com/18DDgq8

The Associated Press (@AP)
Hundreds of Colorado oil and gas wells are shut down by flooding as spills are reported along rivers: apne.ws/15FYmaK -MM

Huffington Post (@HuffingtonPost)
Remembering Rabbi Phillip Berg, founder of the Kabbalah Centre huff.to/1gCVaON

The Associated Press (@AP)
Wells Fargo to lay off 1800 workers from mortgage department, which was already cut by 2300 jobs in Aug.: apne.ws/1eVGyyu -SS

Forbes (@Forbes)
The sports biz is booming. Meet the 34 richest sports team owners in America: bit.ly/15G3egb #Forbes400

New York Post (@nypost)
Iconic journalist Carl Bernstein to teach ‘Press and the Presidency’ course at Stony Brook University nyp.st/1a7DF7p

We Forget What It Takes To Be a Star

The next time one of your kids or grandkids tells you they have a dream, be careful how you respond. He or she just may be the one who will be supporting you in your old age.

YouTube recently profiled some of the biggest stars in Hollywood when they were just starting out. Mashable wrote about it as well. I wanted to share it with you as sort of a reality check. We forget how hard some people work in order to achieve success.

I am working on several digital projects where people expect to be overnight sensations. They don’t understand the sweat and determination others have put into their crafts. The founders of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, and Yahoo gave up years of their personal lives to be where they are today.

And that never stops. It’s all a matter of lifestyle and preferences. Just remember, the advice you offer young people in your life has a long lasting effect. Your word carries a lot of weight. It’ll be to be interesting to see their final choices.

1) Lady Gaga performing at NYU’s annual talent show.

2) Louis C.K. at a Boston standup.

3) Justin Timberlake on “Star Search.”

4) Angelina Jolie in her first movie,1982.

5) Scarlett Johannson in an audition tape.

6) Fergie on “Kids Incorporated.”

7) Ryan Gosling on “The Mickey Mouse Club.”

8) Beyonce Knowles in the group Girl’s Tyme.

9) A young Kirsten Stewart in a commercial.

Personal Electronics to the Rescue

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Even though my entire life is immersed in electronics, I did have a digital awakening today that took me completely by surprise.

I am very much aware that many younger people own and are addicted to a smartphone or tablet. What I didn’t realize is how much people our age rely on them too.

I got a taste of it in the surgical waiting room today at Lenox Hill Hospital. Eliot had a hernia operation very early this morning, and I spent eight hours with the same group of people waiting for our loved ones to come out of surgery. Unlike other experiences like this when people were uptight and tense during “the wait” period, I noticed a strange calm and Zen-like atmosphere in the room.

Then I realized the difference. Everyone was glued to a mobile device. And I mean everyone. From children who came to Lenox Hill with their game devices to 90-year-olds who were reading a book on Kindle or Nook, everyone came armed with their favorite electronics to pass the time. It was interesting to see who was using what, and what programs captured their time.

I snuck around to see what was going on. Some were on Facebook while others were playing word games, reading online newspapers and magazines, sending emails, or yakking on their cells. Whatever it was, they were absorbed. Not a head bobbed up for hours. And when it did, it was to go to the bathroom or to get something to eat. Once that was done, straight back to the electronics.

I couldn’t help noticing the huge difference in the temperament of the crowd. Most of the usual pent-up anxiety was gone. They waited patiently for the surgeons to return from the operating room. I even witnessed something I never saw before. One gal was talking on the phone when the doctor who operated on her mother appeared. She actually kept him waiting while she finished her conversation. I thought to myself “Wow, what is that doctor thinking? Maybe he has seen this before.”

For better or worse, personal electronics have put many of us in our own zone. Like everything else in life, we have to find a balance that makes sense. I have a feeling it will take care of itself.

Eliot is feeling good tonight. I hope the rest of his post-op goes well. Thank you for all of your calls and good wishes.

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TV Audiences Now Get a Voice

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I just had a discussion with my girlfriend Marilyn about reading user reviews on the Internet. She advised me that she started writing reviews on Trip Advisor because she thought it was very important to share information. She also reads the reviews of others to get a realistic opinion of what to expect on future vacations.

I didn’t tell her at the time that I found her comment very timely because we got involved in another conversation, but I made a mental note of what she said. Marilyn’s remark represents a new trend in the 50-plus crowd. We are all reading and relying on reviews more then ever now that the Internet allows us to express ourselves more. I have friends who will not go to a restaurant, a show, a movie, or on a trip without reading all the reviews from people who went there first.

I used to hear people referring to Consumer Reports all the time because of their expertise. Now Internet users don’t want that. They want to hear from others like themselves. They don’t want anything colored. They want the pedestrian viewpoint.

The good news is that the review opportunity is being extended to television shows. While some sites may offer a taste of television reviews, the master of movie reviews, Rotten Tomatoes, just announced that its social movie site, Flixster, is launching TV Zone. The first reviews will be for prime time scripted TV series.

The official announcement says:

“The parameters for a good score will be similar to the site’s movie rules: to be “Certified Fresh” a series must have 60% positive reviews, and the same cutoffs apply. But film and TV are different and there will be growing pains on how to apply the site’s processes to the TV side.”

At launch, the site will provide both professional and Flixster-user coverage. I hope everyone takes advantage of this new opportunity. We can now all be TV reviewers at our age. Who ever thought?

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Extreme Staircases

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Just because we are a little older doesn’t mean we have to give up the adventure in our lives. In fact, this summer when Eliot and I found ourselves 2,000 feet above the Douro River amidst the most gorgeous winding vineyards in Portugal, I thought, I’m glad I didn’t miss this.

The more I travel, the more I feel like we have a lot of living left to do. It makes me feel as if life is going to go on forever. Yes, I know the realities of my day dreams, but as long as we are healthy enough, I want to go, go, go.

From time to time, I scour the Internet for places I would like to see. I have little interest in resort-time vacations. I want adventure. I am learning to use sites like Jetsetter (member discounts), Kayak (good airfares), Hotel.com (accommodations), Yapta (travel fares), Trip Advisor (hotel reservations and walking tours), and Home Exchange (home swapping).

I just came across several destinations that are so not me, but boy would l like to give them a chance. I love setting my eyes on something I have never seen before and looks like one of the wonders of the world. When I first saw this on The Huffington Post, I couldn’t wait to share with you.

These are destinations with extreme staircases. I don’t do well on stairs because I get a slight vertigo. If I can hold on to Eliot or someone else who volunteers a lending hand, I may be able to conquer. Take a look at the photos below. For the entire story, click here. All I want to do is pack my bag.

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Don’t stop now. See the other spots.

Every Airplane Ride Is Like a Maiden Voyage for Me

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I am usually on an airplane once a month, sometimes more often. I have been flying since I was eighteen years old. If you do the math, you’ll figure out I have flown hundreds of times.

Yet, each flight is as scary to me as my first flight in 1966 when my cousin Debbie had to fly across the United States from Los Angeles to get me so I could go back with her to spend time with my West Coast family. I refused to fly alone.

Now I prefer to fly alone so I can concentrate on every little detail. There have been times when I’ve thought the engines had stopped or I’ve smelled a fire. If the flight attendants congregate in one area, I want to eavesdrop to know what’s going on. I also examine every person who enters the plane. If a person looks suspicious to me, I watch their every move. The worst for me is when someone gets up in flight to get something from a piece of luggage from the overhead. I worry about what they are reaching for and does it have a trigger.

I was very surprised when I saw a recent article in The New York Times from columnist David Pogue that talked about the mysteries of air travel. At first I wondered why a personal tech writer was covering air travel, but then Pogue carefully explained that technology and the travel industry are getting more and more intertwined. Find out why air turbulence and lightening won’t crash a plane, and whether or not your mobile devices really interfere with navigation. There are lots of other areas covered. Here is your chance to learn more.

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Hanging with Hung Liu

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Over a decade ago, when our daughter Whitney was attending Carnegie Mellon University, she gave us a tour of the artsy side of Pittsburgh. We went to a glass blowing factory, the Andy Warhol Museum, the Pittsburgh Botanical Garden, and several contemporary art galleries. The minute Eliot and I walked into the Michael Berger Gallery, we saw a triptych that we fell in love with. It totally wasn’t the style we usually pick. There was just something about the colors on these paintings that were so brilliant, we just felt completely energized.

We bought them on the spot, shipped them home, hung them in our New York dining room, and went on with our lives. Two years ago, we were walking through Art Basel Miami and spotted a series of paintings in the Nancy Hoffman Gallery area that looked just like the one we had at home.

Nancy Hoffman told us that  Hung Liu was now considered the greatest Chinese painter in the United States because of her connection to the culture and history of China. While she was born in Changhun China in 1948, she spent most of her adult life in Oakland, California where she heads up the art department at Mills College. Her paintings are exhibited in the finest galleries all over the U.S., as well as the top museums in more than twenty cities.

Nancy has kept us up to date on Hung Liu’s progress through email blasts and Facebook. A few weeks ago, we received an email notification that the Nancy Hoffman Gallery was going to have a showing of Hung Liu’s new work. Eliot and I agreed we would go, hoping to meet the artist herself.

We did. We met Hung and her writer husband, Jeff Kelly. We found out that the paintings we own are some of the more important pieces that account for her notoriety. Liu is known for her large, drippy oil paintings of Chinese historical photographs, many of which are of young prostitutes or war refugees.

Thanks to Google, Facebook, and email, we will be closely watching the career of Hung Liu.

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Our posse with Hung’s husband Jeff Kelly.

Scoop Interview with First New iPhone Customer

Today marks one week and one day since the line started in front of the Apple store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. Enthusiasts from near and far wanted to be the first on line to buy the two new iPhone models being offered. That means there are human beings walking around this Earth who have the freedom to stop whatever they are doing on a day-to-day basis to stand in line for 15 days just so they can say they bought the first units sold at that particular location.

“You got that right,” said Brian from Brooklyn, who was actually napping when a group of us strolled by him this past Wednesday night around 11:30 pm. I thought he was sound asleep, but as we approached he quickly got himself assembled for a DigiDame interview.

Brian was very upfront. Part of this whole experience was to get interviewed. Sorry Brian, this interview is only for DigiDame. We are no Huff Post. He didn’t care. “I’m just getting warmed up,” he announced. I asked him every question a mother would want to know. He answered everything as if I were a close friend. As he spoke, I was once again reminded that most young people today are willing to share openly and don’t have the inhibitions of many of us older folks. “Take me like I am,” is his philosophy, even though he was polite as heck. When I asked what his mother thought about his escapade, he gleefully answered, “I am buying two iPhones, one for me and one for her.”

What a smart young man. Brian’s interview is above. Click here for more details on the wait.

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The Future of TV Viewing

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Here are three different wide angle views of sporting events that you may see on future TV sets. This panoramic angle is also perfect for concerts, musicals, stage productions, talk shows, you name it.

I just had to let you see this. I know some of you are going to say this is impossible. Save your breath on me. Tell Panasonic. That is the company that is developing a new type of TV set that is going to change TV viewing forever. They are going to provide a panoramic-type TV set. They have an eye-stretching video camera that is going to capture the wide-angle output.

Panasonic is using a combination of four high-definition lenses to capture a 160-degree field of vision. The picture quality produced is at 720p, and the cameras move simultaneously to pan and tilt. The Japanese TV manufacturer said the new TVs will be priced at half the cost of other options that provide so-called panoramic views. When Panasonic introduces its revolutionary unit, nothing will compare, according to our sources.

Panasonic explains “The unit divides its panoramic picture into four quadrants, with each camera capturing the action of one quadrant. Before the final picture can be realized, a computer stitches the four parts together to produce one video feed.” That makes sense.

The unnamed camera/TV system is just a prototype for now. Panasonic is thrilled to be first in providing entire football fields in full detail. Right now the system is on tour at Sydney’s Integrate 2013 electronics show. Can’t wait to read the reviews.

For a more technical explanation click here.