Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Vietnam Idol - Bill from Saigon

"Bill" (real name Tran Son Hung) has become a bit of a celebrity in his home country of Vietnam. The original video that I made of him and posted on YouTube has been viewed over 70,000 times on that site, plus at least that many more times on all the sites where it has been reposted by Vietnamese bloggers.

I went back to talk with Bill again in early October while in Saigon with the AACC recruiting tour. I also met Chau, a wonderful young lady from Vietnam who is studying mass communications in Singapore. She was home from college for a few weeks and we met to talk about Bill and about her interest in interviewing him as a journalism project for her program at the university. It looked like we weren't going to be able to see Bill since he had gone home to his home province for a few days. We talked a while and I shot this video of Chau.

We got lucky when Bill answered a phone call from Chau and decided to come back to Saigon earlier than originally planned. The next day we met him at Ben Thanh market in his normal spot and talked with him some more. I shot a lot of video and have posted two responses ( number one, and number two) and am just tonight posting the third video response (embedded below) to the original video interview with Bill. There will be one more video posted from the last part of our conversation together.

For Chau's part, she successfully got an article published about Bill in both the Vietnamese version and the English version of the Saigon newspaper Thanh Nien Daily. (Here is my cached copy in case that link rots.)

Friday, October 26, 2007

20 minute PD

Here are some of the cool things that I learned recently from my blog aggregator. In total, I spent about 20 minutes learning about these things from several people that I consider to be my teachers.

1. via Nancy White: this very cool flash video - Animator vs. Animation

2. via Mental Floss: a video contest winner (and losers) -String Theory explained in 2 min.

3. From 463 Communications: another poll about the Internet (many people like it!)

4. via Jane Hart: a very interesting publishing tool - Springnote

5. via Inside Higher Ed: Apollo Group (think U of Phoenix) is going global

6. via Scott McLeod: two posts from Doug Johnson (and about Nancy Willard) dealing with fear mongering (post 1) and sticky messages (post 2) related to kids' uses of the Internet.

Having all this useful information delivered directly to me is just one example of how communications in the world are changing.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


Ran across a news article on TechCrunch about GoodBarry. Obviously I just couldn't resist finding out more about good ole Barry. I like this part. "As CEO, software developer and customer support rep you can imagine that "Barry" had the powers to grant a lot of our customers' wishes. As the resident online business genie, Barry quickly become loved and known for his quick responses and willingness to help." From the GoodBarry/About page.

I'm not making this up. Apparently, when I'm good, I'm very, very good!

I spent some time this weekend updating the design of this blog as well as Desire2Blog. I used a photo of a Red Sea starfish from Flickr member JennyHuang to create the new header. The header is a bit large (tall), but I didn't want to lose too much of the photo. Jenny is one of the many photographers sharing their work through the Creative Commons licensing (Attribution) option built into Flickr. Almost all of my photos are similarly licensed.

I resized, cropped, and added the text elements using my favorite free online photo editor, Picnik. I just heard that Flickr and Picnik have signed an agreement that will likely lead to the Picnik tools being integrated into Flickr in some way. That should help make Flickr a one stop shop for digital photo needs. Already it is very easy to access your Flickr photos in Picnik, so I mainly hope that they don't muck it up.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Random Thoughts

Seeing how AT&T has changed their terms of service to potentially dump customers who criticize them, I'm expecting any day now to receive a letter from Northwest Airlines thanking me for all the money over the years, but telling me that my kind of business is no longer welcome at NWA. Not only have I ranted about them in this blog from time to time, but I also sent a formal complaint to the airline about the way I was treated on my return trip from Asia. That complaint was filed over a week ago. I'm not exactly holding my breath waiting for a reply because I firmly believe that they just don't care. "Elite" customer? Hah, that's pretty funny.

Better yet, just wait until the RIAA tries to get their hands around my neck. I've sent a "Reader's View" letter to the Duluth News Tribune about the travesty of justice served up by a jury right here in Duluth. If they publish the letter (no earlier than next week, if at all I'm told), I expect that the RIAA will move my name near the top of the list of people whose lives they would like to squash. I'm guessing that they won't like being called a terrorist organization, even though it's true. Everybody is concerned about cyberbullying among youngsters, but who is looking into the cyberbullying going on in corporate America? Nobody.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Latest Michael Wesch Video

Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Kansas State University has again collaborated with his students to produce a video that is certain to be very widely viewed. On the heels of The Machine is Us/ing Us, comes along A Vision of Students Today, embedded below or use this YouTube link. Since seeing the first one I've wondered if he and I might be distantly related. My mother was a Wesch and about a third of my cousins have the Wesch surname as well. More importantly, here's the video:

The original post on Michael's blog explains how it was made and how the students provided the input.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

2 minutes in Seoul

Just a quick little video of some of the non-business time while I was in Seoul last week. The Major League Baseball store was a flurry of activity. Who knew that so many young Koreans are crazy about U.S. baseball, or at least about the hats? None of the current Korean players are exactly tearing it up - so I'm not sure what the attraction is.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Images from Day in Macau

The AACC recruiting tour delegation spent about 12 hours going to and from Macau for an international student "mini-fair." Here are some of the images from that day.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Community College Fair in Vietnam

I shot some video footage to give you an idea what one of the AACC recruiting fairs looks like. This was shot near the end of a grueling 3.5 hours where almost 800 students attended with their families to learn about community colleges in America. There aren't very many students seen in the video since it was at the end, but it was a madhouse earlier in the afternoon. This was the first chance I had that day to step away from the table and shoot some video. Link to video at

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Dinner with the VACC

I'm trying another Animoto, this time with a voice narration rather than music. Might not be very effective, especially with the 30-second (or 25 in this case) short version. Looks like it would work better with the $3 long version of an Animoto.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Surabaya Recruitment Fair

A quick look at the international student recruitment fair in Surabaya, Indonesia.

Jakarta Recrutiment Fair

A few sights and sounds from the AACC recruitment fair in Jakarta, Indonesia. Free 30-second short made at