4 Days Left Till TwinF Becomes Frozen

By: leelefever on January 2, 2007 - 4:11pm

For the past year, TwinF has been our baby, our home, our object of interest and we are quickly approaching the day when we stop writing here.  In fact, we have decided to close the site this coming Saturday, January 6th - exactly one year from the day we left Hawaii for New Zealand.  From that point on it will be frozen in time - no new updates.  Between now and then, we plan to post lists of our favorite things - photos, videos, experiences, countries etc.  It should be fun.

It's a sad moment for us, really.  We have had such a great time with the site and it's connection to you as our online companion. It's hard to let go and I'll miss it, really and truly. The connection will end here, but it will sprout in other places, where we'll continue to live online in one form or another. 

For those of you who want to continue to keep up with us through my writing, photos, videos, etc., tune into Lee LeFever dot com.  I've already started blogging a little there and it will turn into our personal home on the Web.  In fact, I'm committing myself to posting one picture per day to the site for all of 2007.  Don't expect to be impressed on a daily basis. :)  

If you're interested in our consulting business, it has also come back out of "hibernation" to give our business a home on the web once again. See: Commmon Craft - Social Design for the Web

Again, keep an eye out for our favorites and other goodies coming your way soon. 

Me, MySpace and iPod: Delightfully Geeky

By: leelefever on October 12, 2006 - 8:17am

I knew it would be interesting at least- a standup/improv comedy troupe called Boom Chicago doing a show called "Me, MySpace and iPod".  As it turned out, it was completely up my alley and I was very impressed.

It was the first I had seen a comedy routine integrated with technology and social networking - something very close to my job when I'm not traveling. 

For instance, they asked the audience who had a page on and someone was chosen for the skit. They went to the live site during the show to check out the guy's page and asked him about some friends on his friend's list.  Then, later in the show they did a whole routine that brought his MySpace friends to life based on his descriptions.  So freaking funny - and for the skit to work every night they have to find someone in the audience with a MySpace page - in Amsterdam. This goes to show how huge MySpace is.

They also did a skit based on Wikipedia, which is an online encyclopedia that a very large community of people manage by editing pages.  Wikipedia works, but is also famous for disagreements about how an entry should be written.  In the skit, they ask for an object, in this case a pineapple and they take turns describing it in encyclopedic style.  When one performer disagrees, they yell "EDIT!" and it becomes their turn to create the "real" definition.  Wiki-based humor, wow.

Being that we are in Amsterdam, they also parodied Anne Frank and showed a YouTube style video blog that was done by Anne Frank back on the 1940's [watch the video].  It was a take-off of the now-famous LonelyGirl15 on You Tube.

I was in awe. It was funny yes, but what really blew me away was that these websites and ideas were too geeky for prime time only a couple of years ago and now, suddenly, it is mainstream enough to become fodder for an entire comedy show.  If I was running a technology conference, I would hire Boom Chicago in a second.

March of Dimes "Share" Community Nominated for Webby

By: leelefever on April 12, 2006 - 12:46am

I got some news today that makes me very happy.  As some of you may know, I am an independent consultant and I work with organizations to create and manage online communities.

Today I found out that one of my favorite, most rewarding projects ever, was nominated for a Webby Award in the "community" categoryNancy White and I worked with the great folks at the March of Dimes on the current version of their "Share" community web site, which is based on enabling parents to share their stories and support one another using blogs and message boards.  

I'm so happy for the March of Dimes and all the people that keep the community going today- especially the members.  Congrats on the nomination everyone! Fingers crossed!

Also, there is a "People's Choice Award" and if you'd like, you can vote for Share! :)  Yay!

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Learning to Stop Working

By: leelefever on December 16, 2005 - 10:48am

We're temporarily at the house where I grew up in Kernersville, NC with my parents.  We're just about to leave for a road trip around the southeast to see friends.

I'm struck today, when I'm supposed to be relaxing at home, by my compulsion to check email, blog, upload pictures to Flickr and basically keep up with my online life.  I need to slow this trend down.

I think that I haven't really stopped working at all.  All the deliverables from my normal work world have been transitioned to to-dos on the trip.  I am drawn to fill gaps of relaxing by thinking about what I could do on the computer, even as I sacrifice more trip oriented activities.  I couldn't wait to have the feeling of not working, but it seems inescapable. 

As we said from the very beginning, we want to have a good trip more than a good web site and I have to keep that in mind.  Of course, I realize that I'm practicing that which I criticize about myself at this moment- it just feels good I suppose.

Visiting Consumer Reports

By: leelefever on December 13, 2005 - 6:10pm
I first met Anne McKay and Daniel Harrison at a annual conference called the "Online Community Summit".  They both work at Consumer Reports and I had been looking for a time to take Anne's invitation to visit the headquarters.
We hopped on a train this morning to Yonkers from Grand Central Station to meet Anne and Daniel. 
Along with doing a quick talk about online communities, we got a tour of the headquarters, which is where all the testing occurs, except cars.  What an amazing place- it's filled with experts on TV's, paints, washing machines, speakers, mattresses, treadmills, cameras- you name it.  They put a group of products through the paces and then rate/rank them, all for the good of us consumers.
The artificial butt to the right is used to test couches by sitting on them millions of times.  Often, they have to create their own machines to do the testing.
One of the most fascinatng parts was the anechoic chamber, which is used to evaluate speakers.  It's a room designed to be devoid of any sound and is the perfect example of deafening silence. I know why Daniel says he can't be there long- it's a freaky place.
We owe a big thanks to Anne and Daniel for lunch, a great tour and introductions to interesting people.

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TwinF Goes International

By: leelefever on December 3, 2005 - 10:00pm

Though it's not officially part of the trip, tomorrow we'll arrive in Banff Canada, our first international destination since starting the site.  As you can see on our newly updated itinerary (from the About page), we'll be there from December 4-8th. 


Lake Louise by Topato.


We're both really looking forward to Banff - we've wanted to go for a long time.  I'll have to do some work on a workshop on blogs, but Sachi is pretty much home free to hit the slopes and be a ski-bum (what a loser).  We'll both get to go dog sledding as part of the workshop, something we've never done that should be loads of fun.  It should be a stark contrast to New Zealand in a month or so as well.

 Like Hawaii, Banff will be a time to practice blogging for the big trip.

Finding and Listening For Travel Resources

By: leelefever on November 22, 2005 - 11:27am

A big part of my (soon to be former) day-job is helping organizations understand the blog world and how the world of business is changing thanks to the Internet.  I write about this subject a lot on my Common Craft blog.

This morning I posted about what I call "listening" which is becoming aware of the information being shared on the Web.  Over the last few years a number of new tools and sites have made it possible to define a niche and then become aware of what is being said on the Web regarding that niche.

For TwinF, that niche is world travel and this morning's post is all about the tools I'm using to listen to what's happening in the travel world. You might find it interesting in a geeky way.


Taxes and Other Loose Ends

By: leelefever on November 13, 2005 - 11:30am

Planning a trip like this is an amazing experience, both for the building excitement and fun and for the amount of loose ends that must be tied up.  It reminds me of the Beck lyric from the song Jack Ass:

Loose ends tying a noose in the back of my mind  It's not quite a noose, but the list is quickly growing and shrinking every day.  Think about paying taxes... We're leaving on December 11th, long before our tax statements come in.  We're leaving before our year even comes to a close.  Dealing with taxes is a big deal for us and yesterday we spend most of the day sorting through receipts and the Common Craft revenues and expenses in preparation for a meeting with our accountant.

What we plan to do is have a big envelope ready and have Mark put any mail that looks tax-related in it and have it sent to the accountant before texes are due. 



Common Craft is a whole other pain.  It just occurred to me last week that I have a number of annual renewals and payments I usually make in the Spring.  Business License renewal, Excise tax, Seattle City Business Tax, etc. I had to call the offices and get special forms for renewing and paying early.

This is all in the name of more peace of mind.  The more we can do now, the less we'll have to worry about next year and that is a good thing.

Class Photo

By: leelefever on November 8, 2005 - 7:02pm

Class photo, originally uploaded by Lee LeFever.
Last night I did a talk at the University of Washington for a graduate  Communications class.  The title was "The Evolution and Trends in Online Communities".  I talked a little about TwinF and mobile devices.  The photo above was taken in the class and immediately uploaded, to show them how it works.

We Welcome You

By: leelefever on October 3, 2005 - 8:53pm
Over the next few days, we expect new folks to be checking out the site.  Our bet is that you are one of those folks.  If so, let me be the first to welcome you and say that you are looking magnificent. 
I've been asking myself what I should say to folks coming to the site for the first time. I would point you to all the things that get me excited, but I want you to find those for yourself. I would tell you about the trip and why we have this site, but that would be redundant.
So, let me give you a quick snapshot of our lives right now.  We are about two months from quitting our jobs and leaving our home for a year with backpacks.  Just today Sachi got custom-made orthotics for her hiking shoes (she has foot issues).  Yesterday we got a new bed for our 11 year old dog, who will be with Sachi's brother Mark here in Seattle while we're gone. I've been geeking out on a Palm Treo 650  (a phone/PDA) lately, preparing to use it to update this site from the road. Tonight we decided it was cool enough for a fire, so we built one.  It lasted about 15 minutes.
Virtually everything in our lives right now is focused on the trip.  From this point on, it's only going to get more intense.  We want to share the excitement with you. We hope you'll become a member so you can post comments and share your experiences.  We want this to be fun.
[Update] I awoke this morning to find that some changes were made last night that impact how the Maps on this site behaves in the Internet Explorer browser.  Sorry about that. It should be fixed soon. 

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