Development Update: Moved to WordPress [dot] com

Hi there.  A quick development update.  I’ve moved my primary domain, blog, and content to WordPress.com.

Over the past few years I’ve used a number of commercial and self-hosted publishing platforms.  I maintain a dedicated-virtual server that powers the websites for friends as well as my Rails and PHP development projects. I’ll soon post a few thoughts about the advantages of managed vs. self-hosted solutions.

For now, this web log and domain resides safely on big, safe servers.

Thanks.

- DHP

Website Update

Hi.  Welcome to the most recent iteration of my website.  This is the first significant infrastructural change to my web architecture and associated technologies in two years.

**Please Note ** This site was developed on a staging server. I’ve done my best to correct broken links, copy, images, and media files. However, over the next few weeks you might encounter a bug or three.  I humbly ask for your patience as I fix things, and encourage you to contact me with the details of your bug.  Thanks.

What has changed?

Why the change?

  • Support of Open Source architecture.
  • Support of small and local enterprise (read: I like Laughing Squid’s product and Scott’s a nice guy).
  • I like to tinker and WordPress has significantly improved with each iteration.
  • I like the Genesis Framework.
  • Consolidation, archival, and simplification of web presence and content.

“It is much easier to get a story in the blogs than in the written press. One media director…”

“It is much easier to get a story in the blogs than in the written press. One media director indicated that her strategy for placing news stories in the NY Times was to place the story initially in the NY Times environmental blog and then hope that the print version of the paper would later pick it up.”

CJR: How to place a story? via daveburdick

One of my old editors at Time told me that when he was a reporter at one of the magazine’s far-flung bureaus (apparently, news magazines used to employ lots of people to gather news) he would routinely leak stories to the New York Times guy, because his editors in New York would only consider a story worthy if it had the validation of being printed in the Times

(via markcoatney)

The logic of this quote is based on numbers (and something I broadly agree with). More blogs than written press equals more frequency of stories on blogs. However, if you have a good story (and a persuasive communicator, ahem) you can get your story (or client’s story) in the written press.

(via joshsternberg)

RWW: How the Stuxnet Digital Warheads Attacked Iran's Nuclear Installations

RWW: How the Stuxnet Digital Warheads Attacked Iran’s Nuclear Installations:

/via @creepysleepy:

Stuxnet is a computer worm that can do as much damage as a bomb could in destroying an industrial plant or military installation. The Wikipedia entry about Stuxnet says it is the first discovered worm that spies on and reprograms industrial systems.

Stuxnet’s capabilities are clear following its use to attack Iran’s nuclear installations. The implications are considerable. Any enterprise that uses industrial control systems could be attacked by the worm, potentially causing as much damage as any sort of explosion.

Iran states the attack did not affect its nuclear program. But experts say it’s possible that the worm is the reason why Iran delayed the start of its uranium enrichment program.

The Jerusalem Post interviewed a German security expert who said Stuxnet contained two digital warheads, each with its own purpose.

Keep Reading on Read Write Web

Vote for Creepy Sleepy as Your Tumblr News Choice!

Vote for Creepy Sleepy as Your Tumblr News Choice!:

/via @creepysleepy:

Hey all! We have a stellar team of work-a-holics posting news, propaganda art, podcasts, production, and informative essays on Creepy Sleepy  To that end, we’d love your vote in the weekly Tumblr Tuesday recommendation for Creepy Sleepy. Thanks a ton!  Here’s the recommendation link and please do let us know which news and politics blogs you follow on Tumblr.   Thanks!


‘The Place’, Ghosts, & Higgins Gulch in the Black Hills

Higgins Gulch Road in the northern Black Hills is home to a number of terrifying events, both historic and contemporary.

Google Maps Link

‘The Place’, a nondescript spot several miles up the gulch, causes even cynics to get goose bumps and chills.

Professors and historians alike all acknowledge that the northern Black Hills, while undeniably beautiful, were also home to a number of historic atrocities.  While the United States maltreatment of the Lakota is well-documented, other facets of murder and ghosts in the northern Black Hills have escaped the history books.

Here are a few small, personal stories of Higgins Gulch:

- Higgins Gulch Road winds up the gulch to the trail-head of a mountain called Crow Peak.  Crow Peak’s name is derived from a massacre of Crow by the rival Lakota.  While this battle is thinly documented, it’s said that several thousand Crow were killed in Higgins Gulch.  A former professor of mine swears up and down that immediately after a ‘Sweat‘ he witnessed Crow figures lined standing in the Gulch, staring at the mountain.  Anecdotal evidence, sure, but this particular professor teaches very logical subjects and is not one bit superstitious.  I believe him.

- Even in broad daylight on warm fall days, Higgins Gulch creates a powerful and undeniable ‘vibe.’  On multiple occasions tourists, friends, family, and strangers have all remarked, “this place gives me the chills – I feel very uncomfortable here.” Again, more anecdotal evidence, but the feeling is undeniable and almost universally experienced.

- Near The Place several friends of mine and I witnessed the escape of killers leaving the scene of the crime.  We were out in the Hills late on a spring evening.  While hiking the rim rock, we noticed headlights driving down a mountain logging road.  Logging roads are generally very rugged and not suited for civilian vehicles.  We high-tailed it out of the gulch before the headlights could catch us.  We pulled to the side of the road and hid while the vehicle passed.  Turns out the vehicle we saw matched killers vehicle precisely.

- The Place itself seems to be an epicenter of odd happenings.  At the same mile-marker resides a former KKK ‘KonKlave.’ Long-time locals will often tell stories of ‘crimes’ (derive what you will from the word ‘crime’) committed near The Place.

- This brings us to The Grave at The Place.  We discovered The Grave in the fall of 1999 while a large group of friends played hide-and-seek at night in the mountains.  The Grave rests 100 meters or so up the slope of a large hill.  To access ‘The Grave’ one must park in a small, rutted pull-out off of a gravel road, walk across a field, traverse a creek, then hike the side of a mountain.  It’s a beautiful location, but difficult to access.  The Grave is a mound of rocks the size and shape of a small human body.  The area around The Grave constantly smells of rot.  Several friends of mine and I have visited The Grave on several occasions and each time flowers are clearly visible.  Some times the flowers are very old and withered, other occasions the flowers look as fresh as the day.  Combined with Higgins Gulch’s sordid and well-documented history banal, logical, and earthly explanations of The Grave at The Place simply do not suffice.

These are a few brief stories about Higgins Gulch and The Place.  Believe me or scoff; it’s your choice.  Perhaps some who have experienced The Place will also chime in with their thoughts and experiences.  Maybe they’ll choose to remain silent as is some times best with stories like these.

Or, maybe some day you will visit the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota, drive north, take a left at Higgins Gulch Road and experience The Place for yourself.  When you do, you’ll feel exactly how we feel about The Place: Terrified.

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Quick Thoughts on Facebook Questions

This is not a tech blog.  I am not a tech pundit. 

Having said that, I have a few thoughts on the recent launch of Facebook Questions – the new service that allows users to ask, answer, and search for Questions within Facebook.

If you don’t yet have the feature, fret not – Facebook says they’ve rolled this out to about 3 million people thus far but will deploy as quickly as possible.

Here’s a few screenshots:

Facebook Questions – Publisher

Facebook Questions – Page

Thoughts:

Facebook ‘Questions’ will have a significant impact on the Facebook – and open web – environment for a few reasons.  First and foremost, this is yet another push by Facebook to add organization and context to their social ecosystem; eg: ‘structured data.’ Facebook ‘Questions’ will provide a relatively simple means, via the Facebook ‘Publisher,’ for ordinary people to crowdsource inquiry (asking a question), feedback (answers to questions), and discovery (search for Q&A).    In other words, structured data + mass-scale + search = a huge win for Facebook.  Facebook wins here by common usage and buzz metrics.  But Facebook also wins by injecting an equally useful and disruptive product in to the market.

Here’s the post from Facebook’s blog announcing the launch of Questions:

Today we’re introducing Facebook Questions, a beta product that lets you pose questions like these to the Facebook community. With this new application, you can get a broader set of answers and learn valuable information from people knowledgeable on a range of topics. 

And here’s Mashable’s coverage of Facebook Questions.

We first learned of Facebook’s Q&A feature two months ago, when the company started asking for volunteers to beta test the product. The world’s largest social network even went so far as to promise beta testers a trip to Facebook’s offices to meet with the Q&A team.

If you have any, mm, questions or comments feel free to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, Buzz, or just visit the contact page.  Thanks.

- DHP

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ABC News Radio on Slacker = Headline News + Mobile

Today @abcnewsradio – my team at ABC News – launched a partnership with a mobile audio/radio/music company called Slacker Radio.  @SlackerRadio is an app (this is an iTunes link, though the app is also available on Blackberry, Android, and a number of other devices) that – much like Pandora – streams music and audio based on a a personalized recommendation engine.  

For the past several months the ABC News Radio team has been working their collective asses off to develop a great news product for mobile devices.  Slacker too has worked hard and been a big help.

You can read more about the service here, and you can listen to Slacker on your desktop here.

In NYC media circles we spend a lot of time discussing both the death of traditional news media as well as the emergence of disruptive technologies and the real-time web.  As we move ever closer to the real-time web, the convergence of traditional broadcast platforms with new technology becomes more and more interesting. The ABC News + Slacker deal is exciting because it brings us one step closer to this convergence.

Here are a few blurbs from around the web:

From Mashable

Good news for Slacker Radio fans — the web/mobile music application integrated ABC News into its stable of content today, allowing users to customize their news consumption as well as incorporate it into their Slacker stations … For 14 days, basic Slacker users will be able to access ABC News content; Slacker Plus users can keep on tuning in after the two-week period ends (the Plus subscription is $3.99 per month). The content — which includes segments from Good Morning America, anchored by Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Juju Chang and Sam Champion; and Nightline anchored by Terry Moran, Cynthia McFadden and Martin Bashir.

From Read Write Web

When we think “slacker”, we think dirty jeans, video games, gas station food and couches. But now, a partnership between ABC News and streaming music service Slacker Radio is looking to redefine our knee-jerk association, bringing news to those who can’t care enough to actively chose their music. (We jest.) … The partnership is the first we’ve seen between a streaming music service and a news service. ABC’s content will be available in two ways – as a separate stream of news and as a top of the hour update, which will interrupt streaming music with a news update each hour … According to the site, news will consist of “a mix of the day’s most compelling news including Headlines, US and World news, Sports, Business, Politics and more” and will be added throughout the day. According to the release, the news station “features segments from ABC News programs, including “Good Morning America” anchored by Robin Roberts, George Stephanopoulos, Juju Chang and Sam Champion, “Nightline” anchored by Terry Moran, Cynthia McFadden and Martin Bashir and much more.” Users will have the ability to skip and queue stories just as they can with music.  Overall, we really like the idea of an hourly real-world interruption of our streaming music and hope to see a similar option make its way into other services.

Thanks much to everyone who helped make this happen (not to mention those of you who covered this).  I’m stoked and hope you are too!

- DHP

@DanPatterson

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What I Do Pt. 1 ('Personal Branding' Interview)

I was recently interviewed via email by Dan Schawbel for his blog, Personal Branding.  I was flattered that Dan requested an interview and he was fun to chat with.  

My professional life is exciting and I’m very grateful for the opportunities that I’ve had.   To friends and strangers alike I often find that it’s difficult to articulate what I do, but the Personal Branding interview succinctly summarized the last few years of my career.  Dan’s original interview is here and you can read the transcript below.  As always, your comments and thoughts are appreciated.  If you have any questions feel free to contact me.  

Thanks.

How did you get your job at ABC News?

I’ve worked relentlessly for years to legitimize both my work and the social web as a medium.  Hard work and the associated sacrifices are often over-looked by today’s ‘social media experts.’  This is not to say I’m the most talented or hardest working person you’ll ever meet.  I’m far from it.  However, for years – long before social media was main stream – I stayed in on Friday and Saturday night to edit audio, code PHP, and send email.  I also thing it’s very important to acknowledge and thank people for their time – especially if they’ve helped you in some way.  Often a simple expressing ‘hey dude, thanks for coming on the show/thanks for connecting me to so-and-so/thanks for the coffee meeting’ goes a long way.  I’ve been in broadcasting for my entire adult life.  My grandfather is a HAM radio operator so in some ways radio runs in the family.  But I began both broadcasting (content creation) and platform building  (administrative) at the same time.  I attended the great radio program at Black Hills State University – a tiny school in the mountains – and studied under radio legend Dave Diamond.  Diamond encouraged ethical ambition and taught me a lot about the arts of speaking in public and on air, managing people, and building platforms, and completing long-term goals.  After a post-college stint working (and failing) in the music industry in California I returned to BHSU in 2004 to complete my political science degree.  During that time – mid-2004 – I began a radio show and podcast with a good friend.  Together Doc and I built the Creepy Sleepy show – a politically-independent podcast.  Over the next few years the show built a small but loyal following.  In 2006 I covered the South Dakota ban on abortion.  My reporting on the abortion issue lead to a job with Ellen Ratner and the Talk Radio News Service.  There I concurrently covered the United Nations and 2008 Presidential Campaign, and built digital platforms.  That lead to my current gig at ABC News.  Here I occasionally conduct interviews with technology and political thought leaders and am in charge of building the digital platform for ABC News Radio. 

There are so many different types of media now. You’ve invested your time in radio and blogging. Why were you drawn to these?

Ha! Well, the easy answer is to say that I – like everyone in the media industry – am a narcissist.  Look, I’m a strong believer that people – human beings – are inherently curious, inherently social, and inherently lazy.  By that I mean that people want the path of least resistance between people, other people, and information.  I’m draw to the ideas behind what, why, and how people connect.  To that end, I’m draw to the media platforms people – humans – use to communicate with each other.

What is your prediction for the future of media. Will it just be a giant mashup?

That’s a difficult question to answer.  Most journalists and pundits love hearing themselves talk but hate making predictions.  Truth is, no one knows and anyone who claims to know is not to be trusted.  But we do enjoy speculative hyperbole so I’ll bite.  First, I encourage you to check out a video from 2004 called EPIC 2014.  The video walks through a brief evolution of the web up to 2004, then speculates on the next 10 years.  What’s shocking about EPIC 2014 is how very accurate the video is.  Another great film is the recent documentary ‘We Live in Public.’  WLiP documents the escapades of Dot Com pioneer Josh Harris and various proto-lifestreaming experiments he conducted on himself and others.  A overarching theme in EPIC, ‘We Live in Public,’ and technology in general is the juxtaposition between the power of the social web and the pithy ways in which it’s used.  While I’m happy to ramble about my opinions on Facebook or Google or Twitter or how the public uses the social web, that stuff is far more like celebrity gossip snack food.  It’s fun but not too relevant in the big picture.  I’m far more interested in questions of Why and How than Who.

Who is the most interesting person you’ve interviewed? Why?

This is a tough question to answer.  While I’m low on the journalist totem pole at ABC (trust me – every journalist pays their dues for a long time; I’m paying mine) I have the luxury to be able to interview whomever seems interesting ans is willing to come on camera.  In this role I’ve had great conversations with tech leaders like Jason Calicanis, Lawrence Lessig, and Gary Vaynerchuk.  Independently I’ve interviewed Willie Nelson (great guy) a few times, Chuck D is a really down-to-earth guy, a few congressmen and senators, and various musicians.  Musicans – for the most part – are the worst.  Many are utterly dull but equally self-involved (the analogues between musicians and social media people are staggering but I’ll refrain from ranting).  On the campaign I was able to – briefly – interview every major presidential candidate.  The best interviews, however, are with people you’ve never heard from.  Every year I interview several dozen policy leaders at the UN and that’s always a blast.  While reporting from Darfur I – along with a group of talk radio hosts – interviewed president Salva Kiir.  That was fascinating.  We also traveled far in to Darfur and purchased slaves.  The UN frowns (maybe for good reason) on this practice.  They argue that it provides profit-motive to continue the abduction of women and children.  I don’t necessarily disagree, but this particular moment provided the opportunity to talk at length with oppressed women and children.  These discussions with marginalized (and who are we kidding: “marginalization” is euphemistic language for raped, beaten, stabbed and otherwise abused) people took deep seen in me and helped me understand the importance of strong and indelible journalism. 

But a lot of meeting cool people, traveling to interesting places, and building useful digital platforms comes down to luck.  I’ve worked hard, sure, but I’ve also caught a lot of lucky breaks.  As does everyone in my position.  I’m really happy that I’ve been able to meet myt idols and advisories alike.  But no one exists in a bubble and I do my best to thank the people in my life who have made some of these experiences possible.  My advice to both media industry veterans and n00bs alike is to a) be a good person, b) do the right thing, c) be tenacious but fair, say ‘thank you’ on a regular basis, but e) don’t take shit from fools.

Aside from media and politics, you talk about zombie’s. Do you find that your personal interests get in the way of your professional one’s at all?

Best. Question. Ever.  Really!  So I’ve written a bit about zombies and what attracts me to the ‘medium’ on my website.  With a few friends I’m building a modular geo-local, real-time social game called ‘Zombie Doom.’  We won’t launch for a few months but when we do we hope to introduce a few unique and fun ideas to both the social gaming space and the zombie afficianado space.  The lurching, undead, Romero-esque ‘Zombie’ is a very modern phenomenon.  Pre-Romero there are very few cultural instances of what we’d today call a ‘Zombie.’  Post-Romero the meme took strong and undeniable root in pop culture.   I think the reasoning is fairly simple.  People feel overwhelmed and want an escape.  A lot of people are attracted to the idea of “were society to collapse, I am strong.  I would survive.”  I think that – at least in the Western, hyper-busy, media-saturated paradigm – the ‘Zombie’ is a material expression for very real but very abstract fears.  Zombies – as an idea – are inevitable.