2010 - Some Stuff I Did...

Twenty-ten (or two thousand and ten) was a great year. I experienced a few firsts, met some amazing people, and, in general, had a blast. After Forbes named Stockton the second most miserable city in America, Rod and I had the opportunity to be on KXTV and KCRA (and Rod finished the trifecta with his solo appearance on KTXL.

I helped a friend get his Kickstarter project, The Amazing Fist, funded, by producing the promo video.

To help raise money and awareness of sexual violence against women, I walked a mile in high heels. Ouch!

I joined the Stockton Earth Day Festival committee and served as emcee for the annual event at Victory Park.

Along with my partner in crime, Rod, I co-emceed the SJDC Media Fest. We even found a way to show up wearing nearly identical shirts. rod-and-matt-podcaststockton-mediafest-2010

With the help of many great friends, I had the chance to perform Podcast Stockton Live at the Taste of San Joaquin and Way Out West BBQ Competition.


Dressed up as the Mad Hatter, and along with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum, we particpated in the Library & Literacy Foundation’s Trivia Bee. We didn’t do any better than my past teams, but due to a rules change, we made it to the second round (the rule change was to allow all teams to compete in the second round).

Wes, Rod and I held our second and third Stockton Tweetups, bringing social media enthusiasts together in real-life.

What a year!

Goodbye 2010. Hello 2011.

2010 - Pictures

I took a lot of pictures this year, 12,223 to be exact. Twenty percent more than I took last year and three times as many as I took, on average each year 2001-2008. Of course, the big jump last year was because of my Canon T1i (have I told you how much I love this camera).2001-2010-pics-taken First, some my favorite pics of mine from 2010 (click each for the original).

Screen shot 2010-12-31 at 4.59.02 PMScreen shot 2010-12-31 at 5.00.04 PMScreen shot 2010-12-31 at 5.01.14 PMScreen shot 2010-12-31 at 5.02.54 PM makenzy-light-heartjr-zoeScreen shot 2010-12-31 at 5.20.00 PMScreen shot 2010-12-31 at 5.16.27 PM

I had a lot of fun learning more about my camera and lenses this year. Experimenting with manual shooting really helped me understand the impact of aperture, shutter speed and ISO.

Here’s my personal favorite picture from this year. As simple as it is, I learned that a simple piece of plain copy paper could make a good back drop. Also, because, it meant something to my friends who live Autism as a part of their day-to-day lives. 48-365 World Autism Awareness Day

After going through my favorites from my Flickr friends, it was far too difficult to find one single favorite of 2010. So, here are six of my favorites (again, click each for the original), in no particular order.

Stockton California August 7 2010-21Audrey Eyes49-365 - Podcast Like You Mean It! - Redcorn Studios Day Forty86-365 - Atlantic Sunrise - Redcorn StudiosArt Walk

Happy shooting in 2011.

Book-a-Week 2011


I have a lofty goal in 2011: to read 52 books.

I have always enjoyed reading but in 2009 and 2010 I fell off the wagon a bit. Typically, I would start each year with the goal of reading 15-20 books, a goal I accomplished about as much as I didn’t.

For 2011, I want to read more but I needed some inspiration. Along comes Daniel Johnson, Jr., one of the coolest guys I know but have never met face-to-face. His Facebook post about How To Read a Book a Week was just the inspiration I needed.

Since reading his post a few weeks ago, wanting to start a little early, I have read four books. That’s more than I have read in the last six months. I already have my next few books selected. Let’s see how it goes. I do not exactly have a great track record for these types of challenges (anyone remember my feeble attempt at my 365 Flickr set? or when I tried to ride my bike every day for a year?).

So, here’s looking forward to a great year of reading. Have a suggestion for me? Would love to hear what you’re reading.

Want to follow what I’m reading? Check out my list here -http://www.goodreads.com/mattbeckw.

Links: http://www.facebook.com/danieljohnsonjr/posts/168385256526315 http://inoveryourhead.net/how-to-read-a-book-a-week-in-2010/ http://www.goodreads.com/mattbeckw

2010 - Music

Now that 2010 is coming to an end, let’s take a look back at the year in (my) music. What was I listening to? What was I buying? Country music made up the largest percentage of what I bought in 2010. This shouldn’t surprise anyone that knows me well. Coupled with Bluegrass, they made up more than half of my new music this year.


Some of my favorite purchases in 2010:

Dierks BentleyUp on the Ridge - This is one of my favorite records of 2010. I wasn’t a big Dierks Bentley fan before this release but hearing the simple acoustic tunes on this one turned me in to a fan!

Newfound RoadSame Old Place - I only recently discovered this band after perusing YouTube one night. The band is chock full of very talented bluegrass musicians but it’s their great vocals that keeps me listening over and over again.

OrianthiBelieve (II) - My kids downloaded the song, “According to You”, earlier in the year and it made its way to my iTunes. I originally thought it nothing more than a run-of-the-mill pop song. When I actually listened to the whole song I loved it. The guitar licks are unmistakably influenced by 80s rock. The riffs and solo would be at home on so many of the great 80s rock albums in my collection. It was only after I watched the video that I learned that the singer was also the lead guitarist. Orianthi was hired by Michael Jackson for the tour he was planning before his death and can be seen in the documentary, This is It. The rest of the album is pretty “poppy” but I love the guitar work.

Snap Jackson and the Knock on Wood PlayersA Breath of Fresh Air - These guys are the epitome of the “newgrass” sound I love so much! Their sound is traditional with a modern twist (whatever that means, right?). This album, released on iTunes on January 1, is full of great songs. My favorite is “She Only Loves Me”. And did I mention they are from right here in Stockton? First time I heard them was when I stumbled upon them playing at a local park. Also, Snap is an amazing photographer.

Bruce KulickBK3 - I am a huge Kiss fan. Kulick, whose brother worked with Kiss for many years, was probably the most talented guitarist to play alongside Gene and Paul. This album, his third solo record, has a great edge to it. “Ain’t Gonna Die”, featuring Gene Simmons, is a great track. It’s what I would expect Gene to record on a solo record, just with better guitar work.

Honorable mentions:

Kurt Nilsen. I had never heard of this artist before I came across a video for the song, “Hallelujah”. For some strange reason, I had this song stuck in my head for weeks. One night, I decided to look for it on YouTube. The first video that came up was this one. I didn’t recognize any of the singers but immediately loved this version. I was looking away from my computer screen when, at the 2:04 mark, Kurt Nilsen started his part. I got chills. His voice is so powerful and beautiful. After winning World Idol, he has released pop and country albums.

Michael Seymour / Suddenly Seymour. I met Michael earlier this year when I interviewed him on Podcast Stockton. I got hear a couple of acoustic versions of his songs before they were fully produced. Michael has a great voice that goes perfectly with his music. I recently saw him play an acoustic show with just him and his drummer. They were awesome. Their EP, Searching For, is a great listen! Check him out on Myspace.

What is your favorite music of 2010?


Kansas City Chiefs Win The AFC West

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Today, the Kansas City Chiefs won the AFC West (just as the Bleacher Report predicted in May). To get into the playoffs, the Chiefs controlled their own destiny. Win the last two games of the season and they’re in. They destroyed the Tennessee Titans, and remained undefeated at home this year, and as luck would have it, the Cincinnati Bengals beat the San Diego Chargers. Since we were two games ahead of the Chargers, we took the division one week early.

I had a feeling this season was going to be special when we opened up at home against the Chargers on Monday Night Football. What a great feeling to return to MNF and man-handle San Diego the way they did!

Now, they have to beat Oakland at home next week and get ready for the playoffs. Of course, I’m already dreaming of a Chiefs-Eagles Superbowl (my twin brother is an Eagles fan).

Why I think we can do it:

1. Matt Cassel is amazing! This guy has an emergency appendectomy and returns in less than two weeks! 2. The Class of 2010 - Berry, McCluster, Arenas, Asamoah, Moeaki (didn’t we used to have another TE named Tony? I can’t remember.) 3. The running game! Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles have combined for over 2,000 rushing yards and have helped give the Chiefs the best running attack in the NFL. 4. Dwayne Bowe. With 15 TDs, this guy is a big play maker. 5. Todd Haley and Romeo Crennel

For now, number one sure looks great!

Go Chiefs!

http://www.kcchiefs.com/... http://arrowheadaddict.com/... http://espn.go.com/... http://bleacherreport.com/...

Flipboard for iPad


Flipboard for iPad was released earlier this year. Billed as the “world's first social magazine”, its interface is meant to replicate a magazine - the kind you flip through. It is designed to gather all of your social feeds and present it in a magazine style app with full web and video functionality. Its layout is simple and very clean with not overly fancy. With its first release, it only had the ability to display Facebook and Twitter feeds, along with select RSS and Flickr feeds.

image With Facebook and Twitter, your friends’ posts are displayed with their avatar. If they posted a link, the text of that page is displayed beautifully in Flipboard.

The most recent update finally gave me what I had been waiting for: Google Reader and Flickr login access. Now, the app truly is amazing! One stop shopping to check in on Twitter, Facebook, Flickr and, most importantly for me, Google Reader.

Logging in with your Flickr username and password will attractively display your friends’ pictures. image-3 The best part of Flipboard is its integration with Google Reader. Log in to your Reader account from the app and it becomes thebest interface for keeping up-to-date with your RSS feeds! image-5

Flipboard has quickly become one of my all time favorite iOS apps. At the low, low price of FREE it is a must-have for any iPad user.

Check out the Flipboard video here and then go download the app for yourself.

http://www.flipboard.com http://www.facebook.com/flipboard http://twitter.com/flipboard

Reading Is Like Your 401(k)

I got into the habit of reading when I was fairly young. My Mom suggested The Richest Man in Babylon and How to Win Friends and Influence Others. I devoured both and have been reading ever since. After years of reading I have learned quite a bit. I enjoy reading autobiographies and other non-fiction books (mostly categorized in the broad genres of Business or Leadership). Reading opens my mind to new ways of thinking. I consider it my greatest source of creativity.

After many years I have determined that reading is analogous with saving for retirement:

▪ Although it has great benefits, and many people want to do it, some just don’t do it. ▪ The trick is to start small. ▪ For best results, do it regularly, consistently, over a long period of time. ▪ After doing it for a week (or a month, or a year) don’t expect to be wealthy. ▪ It’s never too late to start. Start now. Create the habit now.

Happy reading.

How Many Business Cards Do You Give?


I recently met with a consultant and, as many consultants do, he handed me his business card as he left. To be precise, he handed me three of his business cards.

Did he think I would lose them? When I asked why he gave me three he said he hoped I would share them with people I knew.

This consultant and I had just met and I felt like he had assigned work for me to do. Asking me to make a referral after just one brief meeting seemed a bit pre-mature.

If you’re meeting someone for the first time, and you feel the need to give someone your business card, don’t give more than one. Work on building a relationship before asking for a referral.

You Need a Resume

If you have a job, need a job, or believe someday you will need a job, you need a resume. Really, you do.

I see a lot of resumes. And, yet, I still meet a lot of people that don’t have one. They have many reasons for not having an up-to-date resume. Frankly, none of them are good reasons.

Recent unemployment numbers show California with the third highest unemployment rate in the US (12.4%, higher than anytime in the last 30+ years) behind only Michigan (12.8%) and Nevada (14.2%). Recent reports show Stockton with a 16.6% unemployment rate. Additionally, for every job opening there are 5 unemployed people. I’m sure you don’t need those statistics to tell you that we are in a tight job market.

In this economy, with record unemployment, a resume is crucial. You might think that the only way to get a job is to “know someone on the inside”, someone in your target company that can help get your foot in the door. Your foot is a metaphor for your resume.

An opportunity to talk with a hiring manager may pop up at any time. The last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to put together a resume at the last minute.

A well crafted resume that highlights your accomplishments and how they can benefit your prospective employer is a good first step. Keep in mind, the only purpose your resume serves is to get you an interview.

Links: http://www.bls.gov/web/laus/laumstrk.htm http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_unemployment_statistics http://www.bls.gov/web/jolts/jlt_labstatgraphs.pdf http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/metro_11032010.pdf http://manager-tools.com/

Apple TV

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The Apple TV is awesome! I considered leaving this blog post as just that one short sentence but, alas, I’ll elaborate.

I was never excited about the previous version of the Apple TV. First, until recently, we only owned a very old (and pretty small) standard definition television for almost 18 years. Second, I was always turned off by the on-board storage. We have a couple of computers in the house, and plenty of external storage. I didn’t care to fuss with syncing yet another device. When I first heard that the new incarnation of Steve Job’s pet project would be streaming only, I had to have one.

We picked one up from the Apple Store in Modesto a couple days after they hit store shelves and after a little help from my friend Manny, we were good to go. For the record, it couldn’t be more simple to connect. Just takes an HDMI cable between the device and the TV. My audio setup was a little wonky between the cable box, TV and surround sound receiver.

Ok, that’s enough back story.

Music - this was the primary reason I wanted an Apple TV. We’ve had the iTunes Express for years but lack of TV interface meant we hardly ever used it. On Apple TV, there’s an awesome interface to browse and listen to music from our primary computer in the house. IMG_6562 IMG_6575

Podcasts - I listen to a lot of podcasts. The Apple TV allows browsing to the iTunes podcast directory. And what’s even better, I can mark one as favorite and listen just as soon as a new show is released. Having podcasts play on the TV make me wish Stump the Chef would come back; that video podcast is perfectly suited for this device! IMG_6580

iTunes Store content - In addition to streaming all of the content in my iTunes, I can also rent movies and TV shows directly from the Apple TV. I probably won’t be doing that at all, more on that later.

YouTube - Videos, especially those available in HD, look amazing from the Apple TV. Being able to login to my YouTube account is great for keeping up with my subscriptions. IMG_6572

Flickr - Photo slide shows look great using the Apple TV. The only downside is that I cannot sign-in to Flickr from the Apple TV like I can with YouTube. Still great for catching up on my Flickr friends. IMG_6582

Netflix - Lastly, the hidden gem inside the Apple TV! We waited years before getting cable (2005) and we might be the last family in America to get a flat screen television (2010). We don’t watch a lot of television and never saw the appeal of Netflix. Well, not until now. The same day we brought home the Apple TV we signed up for the free 30-day trial of Netflix. I don’t care much about getting a disc mailed to us but for 9 dollars per month, we can stream as much of their content as we want. I know this technology is not new but I am still amazed that we can stream TV shows and movies, in amazing quality, to our TV. Since we usually rent a few movies from On Demand each month, the Netflix option will save us some money. IMG_6560

For all the Apple critics that complain because Apple “forces” consumers to buy content through iTunes, strange how the Apple TV comes Netflix ready. And Netflix is far more valuable than any iTunes offering. Doesn’t seem to bother the Cupertino crew.

As an added bonus, to watch Netflix content from any computer, iPad or iPhone.

The Apple TV comes with a power cable and a very thin remote. Besides turning on the Apple TV, we typically use our iPhones as remotes, using the Remote app. This comes in handy when searching since you can use a real keyboard rather than hunting for each individual letter on screen. IMG_6567

The Apple TV is one of the coolest tech toys we own. If you rent 2 movies (or more) a month, adding an unlimited streaming Netflix account makes it even better! It has worked better than expected and we are getting a lot of use out of it.

I am still in awe that the Apple TV sells for only $99. For that price, I would have bought it just for music and podcast listening. The rest is gravy, and there is A LOT of gravy!

Links: Apple TV Manuel Montes blog Apple Airport Express Freakonomics Radio Podcast Stump the Chef Netflix