When I visited my parents last February, I spent some time examining a small reel of 8mm film – footage from my the wedding of my grandparents, Cy Kaplan and Theresa Goldman, in December 1938. The film was practically falling apart, and much of it had been damaged years ago when my grandfather had someone clean the film, and they ended up corroding it instead.
I spent a lot of time investigating ways to restore and digitize the film, along with a number of other reels we had from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. So you can imagine my surprise when I came back to Florida to see my parents and grandmother this week, and they told me that a cousin of mine had given them a copy of all of the footage on a DVD. It turns out that when my grandfater had the film restored, they got transferred to a VHS copy. A cousin had a copy of this tape, so he decided to burn it to DVD and send it out to the family.
A couple of nights ago, we spent the evening watching the footage, largely at half-speed, so my grandmother could identify people for us. Even though she's 92 years old, it's amazing how many people she could spot almost instantly. She also got to see footage of her parents, who died more than 60 years ago, for the first time in decades.
Since I've been documenting my grandmother's stories on this blog, I thought I'd share her wedding film as well. It's about seven minutes long, including the very end of the ceremony, the wedding reception, and brunch back at her family's house in Chelsea, MA the next day. I know it might not be very interesting to everyone, but having it in digital form means the world to us. -andy
This week, NPR’s Morning Edition will air a series on the 10th anniversary of the word “weblog” and the impact of blogging over the last decade. I’ve been helping the producers in a variety of ways, like writing a timeline tracing blogging’s origins, tracking down interesting bloggers for them to interview and writing a story on my own experience with blogging over the years. (I’ll post links to them once they go online.)
I also sat down with a producer from Morning Edition to do a demo of the mobile audio blogging service Utterz and the microblogging tool Twitter. We were curious to see what kinds of responses we’d get from Utterz Twitter users to this question: “What are you doing for New Year’s Eve, and what do you wish you were doing?” We got 70 replies, and I thought I’d share some of the highlights.
For Utterz, I recorded the question as a voicemail over my mobile phone, which then got cross-posted onto my Utterz page, my blog and my Twitter account.
We got 42 replies to the question this way, including this one from video blogger Jonny Goldstein, who talks about attending a Chinese banquet with his in-laws:
Wendy Drexler, a teacher in Florida, described a trip she’s taking to Maine:
Fricka, who designs apparel for gamers, recalls how she spent one New Year’s eve helping a mother and baby after their car caught on fire:
It should come as no surprise that Hawaiian blogger InfinityPro is happy to be home in Hawaii:
In contrast, technology evangelist Len Edgerly would prefer to toast the new year with Barack Obama:
One Utterz user who goes by the name “rcow” doesn’t know what he’s doing because his wife plans all of their social engagements:
Jennifer Sardam, who writes the literary blog Observed in Books, plans to work on her reading goals for 2008, even though she’d rather be celebrating another new year in Germany:
Over at Twitter, meanwhile, I received 28 replies. Some of my favorites:
kthread: happy to be ringing in the new year partying with close friends at my house, attempting to make this: http://tinyurl.com/39rcsu
leh4: What I wish I were doing: scuba diving somewhere WARM. what i’m actually doing: moving into my new apt
karynromeis: I’m going to a party at my church. I wish I was going to a party with my friends back in Cape Town!
vgloucester: Probably sleeping – probably sleeping…lol.
ruby: I’ll be at the beach with my friends and our families for the 11th New Year’s in a row! It’s ritual of laziness+food+drink+love.
ryanne: we don’t have plans yet, but probably something low key!
ClareLane: Going to Sedona for R&R with nature and spirit and college roomie and our hubbies. Am very happy doing just that Thanks!
jonnygoldstein (supplementing his Utterz post): i’m will be in NYC. Going to Chinese midnight banquet with my wife and in laws. Wish I was going to be inebriated at some blow out.
digitalmaverick: I’ll be, as every true Scot, wearing my kilt and singing Auld Lang Syne at a party, then at the bells I’ll 1st Foot my neighbours
kanter: raising money for cambodian orphans http://tinyurl.com/yryffz
jensimmons: I’m sleeping on much of New Years, recovering from hauling all my stuff to Jersey. I’m thinking about heading to a yoga retreat.
Darshell: Hope to be going out with the hubby- dinner, dancing, etc but will probably be home with the kids. Who wants to babysit new year’s?
Karoli: staying home watching the ball drop on the high-def TV. wish I were going to Corona del Mar and chilling
tigerbeat: not sure yet. Probably be up late enough to listen to the 3 am feed of Morning Edition on KQED. Wish i were somewhere warm & sunny
JoeGermuska: spending it in with friends, which is just the way I like it
BrassT: Watching movies and playing boardgames with the kids and hubby How late will the kids sleep if I let them stay up til 12?
But my favorite reply came in the form of two responses from blogger/artist Susan Reynolds:
NEW YEARs eve home in VA recovering from breast cancer surgery but encouraged by all of you. Twitter pea avatars = VISIBLE Support
NEW YEARs eve – what I wish I was doing? I can’t imagine feling more loved, so no celebration could be better
For those of you who don’t follow Twitter, about two weeks ago Susan announced via Twitter that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and would have surgery on December 21. Susan even created a blog called Boobs on Ice to document her sudden transformation into a cancer patient, including how she soothed the pain of her biopsies by using bags of frozen peas as a compress.
Almost immediately, the Twitter community responded. Dozens of people started changing their profile picture to show them with a bag of frozen peas, to show their solidarity with Susan. That gesture then morphed into a photo sharing group on Flickr, which now has almost 300 pictures of Twitter users with their bags of peas.
Meanwhile, it didn’t take long for Utterz to get into the mix. NBC cameraman Jim Long, better known to the Twitter community as NewMediaJim, recorded an impromptu interview with Susan using Utterz, just after she finished her pre-op visit:
By the time Susan’s surgery took place on the 21st, Twitter users had organized a fundraising campaign called the Frozen Pea Fund, asking people to donate to the American Cancer Society in Susan’s name. Nearly 120 people donated more than $3500 in the first 24 hours. If that doesn’t demonstrate the power of Twitter and Utterz as tools for building community, I’m not sure what would. -andy
Right now I’m recording a demo of Utterz with a producer from Morning Edition. We just posted question to Twitter – "What are you doing for New Years and what do you wish you were doing?" – and we’re asking it on Utterz as well to see what kind of replies we get in the next 24 hours. You can also reply using other tools like Seesmic, blip.tv, etc – whatever you want. Just be sure to let me know either by replying to me on Twitter or posting a comment below if you’re not a Twitter user. And please keep your responses clean as we may use them on air. Thanks!
According to Al Jazeera and a number of other news sources, the latest video from Osama bin Laden’s wingman, Ayman Al-Zawahiri, came with a brief note that Zawahiri would like to take questions from the public and answer them in his next propaganda video. The Al Qaeda-associated websites that first published the video said that Zawahiri would conduct an “open interview” in which user questions could be submitted over the Net. However, they didn’t go into too much detail as to how those questions would actually be collected or selected.
Just in case Dr. Zawahiri is reading this blog, I thought I’d offer some friendly suggestions, from one Web 2.0 enthusiast to another.