Monday, June 25, 2007

Weekend of Extremes

I had a great weekend and I hope you did as well. It was a weekend of extremes when I look back on it now. Not in "good" vs. "bad" type of extremes, but one that really shows a contrast on the materialistic side of life.

I spent Friday night and all day on Saturday at the ABCCM Women's Shelter with a bunch of my good friends from my BFG (Bible Fellowship Group). We really had a great time completely renovating one of the rooms there. What was so impressive was how so many things came together to provide us with the materials to redo the entire room. Nick Ragle of Sherwin-Williams here in Asheville donated most of the paint and painting supplies. Joe and Karen Schneider of The Carpet Barn donated the laminate hardwood flooring and Eddie and Rebecca Colley of the class donated a brand new matress. Even better, when two of the members of the class went to Lowes to buy a new ceiling fan, they saw a co-worker there and when they found out what we were doing, they donated a ceiling fan! With the donations and about $325.00 given by the class and a lot of people working, we were able to transform the room in just a little more than a day. It was great to watch everything come together over the two days. Denise Edwards, the organizer and real motivator on the project, caught several pictures of what happened. Thank you Denise for your tireless hard work and caring heart!

Jeremy Heiny, in orange, and Chris Angel work on getting the chair rail and floorboards in place.

Jeremy is an extremely talented and sought after trim carpenter of R. Weaver Construction and luckily he was part of our group and took care of making sure that we got that done properly.

Wow! Check out the room after the day was complete.

That picture shows the floor and all of the paint and trim work. It was so exciting to see it all come together. When we added all of the furniture and put in some new decorations that my wife ran around to just about every garage sale in Asheville seeking out, it was really impressive. You can see more pictures on Denise's Snapfish account here.

On Sunday, Laura and I experienced the other extreme. The life of luxury lived by George Vanderbilt at the Biltmore House. We had a great lunch at the Stable Cafe next to the house and did get to see some of the grounds before it started pouring the rain. Fortunately we did get season passes, so we will be going back to get some more pictures throughout the year. Here are some that we captured yesterday.

One of the lions that guard the front door to the house

View from the left side of the house

View of the house from the Lagoon

It was a lot of fun, but I am looking very foward to being able to hang out on a nice sunny afternoon on the grounds this summer again. There will certainly be more pictures to come then!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Web 2.0

Everyone has an opinion, and that has been very clearly evident in the "Web 2.0" debate. What is it and what defines a Web 2.0 site or experience has been discussed, battled, rehashed, revisited and over used. So, why not throw in my 2 cents as well! I mean, really... this is a blog right? Isn't the very nature of blogging hit at the core of Web 2.0?

Two years ago, just when Web 2.0 was taking root and really starting to become a "household" name among the techie crowd, I posted a couple of ideas with some colleagues of mine about what Web 2.0 and Mashups were all about. I have heard it is still floating around out there somewhere in "Google Cache" but what I said then still holds true in my opinion today. Web 2.0 isn't all graphic and glitter or even just the technology (aw man, but that is what I like!)... It is really about community (ok, i like that too :-) ). When it comes down to it, community is Web 2.0. Think about what the web was 10 years ago and what it has evolved to be today. We have gone from static content being churned out by universities and corporations to dynamic user generated content. That user generated content is what drives all of the wow in Web 2.0. From blogs, wikis, and podcasts to photos, mashups and YouTube, the web is now a collaborative playground for its users. I don't know about you, but I no longer limit my surfing to a single store for the product that I want, nor do I simply just trust the CNet reviews. I want to know what other people say about the product and the company. I go to places like and to get the lastest deals that the community has found and I want to read the reviews that other consumers like myself have made. Community makes the model of a company pushing a product to a consumer a little more interesting... user generated content demands a level playing field, one where the company must speak person to person. I read the blogs and listen to the podcasts and watch the videos that my peers have made. I want to know what a real person thinks, not what a company is pushing. I think it may have to do with our innate desire for relationship. God created us for relationship and the web 10 years ago was cold and impersonal. It is growing to be personal and relational... "warmer".

So, why write about this? For one, I am always interested in where things are going in the connected world and of course it fascinates me. Secondly, to explain a little of where I see DigitalChalk going. We are continually creating a learning environment that fosters community. A community where people can give their opinions on a subject or share the knowledge that they have with more than just a few people that they can gather in a room, but with masses of people around the globe. While the technology that lives in DigitalChalk and makes it work is easily recognized by a developer as Web 2.0 technology, it is the users of DigitalChalk that truly make it so. They are the ones collaborating, sharing, and forming the relationships online through the software. It is the community that defines Web 2.0.

In the spirit of sharing, this is a great YouTube flick on the transformation of the web and Web 2.0

Friday, June 8, 2007


Seems appropriate that I would start a blog and announce a new Web 2.0 site at the same time! This week was a big week for DigitalChalk, and fun and engaging online multimedia site! On Monday at the ASTD conference in Atlanta, DigitalChalk was publicly announced and advertised for availability to the marketplace. I have been working on DigitalChalk with a great team for a little more than 6 months and it is exciting to finally see it publicly available. A HUGE thank you to our beta customers who made this launch possible and to my teammates for all of the long hours of coding. You can check out the site at and let me know what you think.

I had a great time talking with all of the exhibitors and attendees at the conference and learning about how DigitalChalk could meet their needs and how they could help us out. There are so many ideas and possibilities. DigitalChalk will evolve quickly. There are new features being worked on everyday and I am excited about what is coming in the very near future... I will let that be a tease for now :-) You can be sure that I will be talking about them here when I am able to, as I am already about to bust right now!

At the booth...

ASTD invited DigitalChalk to the Braves game and I had to have some ice cream!