was one of the more impressive artists I saw at SXSW.
Google purchases Frommer’s (which I forgot)… mines the data, then sells it back. Kind of ridiculous.
A friend posted this to their FB. Thought it was worth re-sharing. My favorite is #19 … stop being afraid. I agree. Fear based decisions are never a good idea!
19 Things You Should Stop Doing in Your 20′s
I had a rather enjoyable discovery recently. I noticed that I felt like I was 15 again. Since I am 25 (wink wink), this was pretty cool. My friend actually popped into my place and I caught her saying ‘I feel 15 again’ … I stopped and pondered how this could be? A grown man kid running around Venice like a 15 year old. Was this a good thing or bad thing? Good thing I do believe!
My quick analysis is this. 15 was the age (for most of us in the U.S.) when we rode our bikes like there was no tomorrow … mainly because we were not allowed to drive. Yearning for freedom from our parents, we’d race around neighborhood to neighborhood on bicycle … sometimes to places we weren’t supposed to go. It was crazy and it was fun and you were 15.
My 30 day challenge to you is drop your car for 30 days and pick up your bike. No matter where you live, make it a challenge. The less you drive your car, the more you will enjoy the freedom of the open road on bike.
I don’t currently have a car which is a mix of my current financial situation and choice. When I recently rented one a few weeks back, it was a pretty amazing feeling. Suddenly I was 16.
Peace out friends. Go forth and ride local!
* Joy ride to the Marin Headlands in San Francisco. Bike purchased at Sport Basement
* Wolfson testing out his PureFix Cycle in NYC.
* Friday night beach ride from Venice to Manhattan Beach on my Sun Cruiser.
A few years ago I started a blog called The Internet Privacy Guide as part of my continued effort to educate my friends and anyone interested on Internet Privacy. I am now updating these posts and centralizing everything on my main blog. Without further ado … ‘What to do when you get hacked?’
1. Start cleaning up immediately
Don’t put off taking care of this till tomorrow. Your password and privacy has been compromised. Start cleaning up now!
2. Change your password immediately
In order to stop any further damage from getting done, CHANGE YOUR PASSWORD! Your email or facebook or whatever was most likely hacked due to a weak password. This time it’s critical you make sure it’s a stronger password. Please read the article I wrote and posted on The Basics of Creating Strong Internet Passwords for what I mean by this.
3. Change the password on any other accounts that uses the same password
Everyone is guilty of occasionally using the same password on another site. If by chance you use the same password for any of your other accounts (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin) change those passwords immediately. Whether your account was hacked by a human or hacked by a computer, they are most likely going to try and access other sites with the information they now know, which is your email address and your password.
3. Search your email for other leaked passwords
Do a search across your email on the word ‘password’. There is a high probability the attacker has already done this and recorded the passwords in these emails. Ensure again these accounts are all changed. On a side note, I would question the security measures in place of any web services that send you your password over email.
4. Check your ‘Sent’ folder and ‘Trash’ folder
To help you understand if the attacker spammed your friends or tried to reset other passwords, check your ‘Sent’ folder and ‘Trash’ folder for clues. If you were hacked on Facebook or Twitter check your messages and direct messages sent.
5. Review your email accounts settings
Depending on your email provider, the attacker may have edited your account settings to do one of the following
* Auto forward all email to another account. Verify this isn’t happening
* Change the ‘sent from’ email address on your account so that all email is now not sent from a spammy one.
* Your ‘footer’ and ‘vacation responder’ notifications haven’t been modified.
6. Check your old email addresses
A lot of times it’s a friends old Hotmail, Yahoo, or AOL address that has been targeted that they forgot about. If you haven’t visited your old email account in awhile, go back and log on to these sites and do one of the following
* Update the password on your old email and make it strong.
* Delete your old account
7. Complicate Your Password Reset Security Questions
Often hackers get access to your old password reset questions / answers, so I’d highly recommend changing them. Here I’ve written an entire post on steps you should take here at
Complicate Your Password Reset Security Questions.
These steps will help prevent an attacker from accessing your old email accounts and also gaining access to your personal email and personal contact list.
8. Spread the word about strong passwords
I don’t necessarily recommend spamming your friends and letting them know your email account has been hacked (this should be obvious), but I do think it’s important to spread the word about creating strong Internet passwords (considering posting something on your Facebook). Creating a strong password is the number one thing one can do to prevent against these attacks in the future.
Let’s make this short. Apparently some peeps are up in arms about a new reality show from Mark Z’s sister. I don’t really know cause I barely pay any attention to any of this trash anymore. Famed snarky TC writer Alexia has entered the game and upped the ante with her well written piece titled Silicon Valley Needs To Take Itself More Seriously … Not’ (article link here) where she works to persuade the people that what these snobs really need to do is chill and be open to the the new ‘whoring of silicon valley’ … the name i’ve dubbed this … where claims that it may be good because it just might get some people (and women) interested to chase new careers in technology.
Well friends, let me tell you what I think silicon valley does *not* need. For one the effing media, and you can throw what TechCrunch has become into that bucket. Less bull sh*t lies of overnight success. Less bull sh*t lies that you can build a real product in 24 hours, no experience necessary. Less bull sh*t lies that this scripted entertainment is what we want to use to inspire the next generation of tech innovation. And less bull shit connections producing bull sh*t lies. repeat circle.
I’ve got some shocking news. Most innovative technology we use today was made by nerds … not actors! These nerds love to blow shit up. take shit apart. re-engineer shit and rebuild shit. Why? because it is fun and cool if you’re a nerd, you nerd out to these kinds of things!
I guess I can say this because I’m a self proclaimed nerd and if you’re reading this, chances are high you’re one too. Here’s a heinous photo from 2001 when i was spending way too much time with my computer. Posting this in an effort to help build stereotype nerd cred.
Thankfully I’ve been spending a little more time outside these daze to help with my pasty white glow.
Why am I worked up about this all of a sudden? Well mainly cause I don’t want the media to ruin the Bay Area’s innovative spirit by attracting movie stars, not innovators. Once upon a time before we had the media (yeah I know that is a stretch to think) we used to have politicians whom were just outstanding citizens and were asked to represent their communities in Washington. The media glamorized this and enter career politicians. I won’t name any names but you can use your imagination.
Let me propose this nugget.
Experimentation leads to new thinking => leads to new ideas => leads to new ways to transfer information => leads to innovation
Anyway, back to Hanging Local since my career as a thick v neck model won’t last more than this photo. See you tomorrow SF!
I’m hoping for a little Revenge Of The Nerds
Hey. That’s me, smile and all, in the cab to LAX en route to Austin Texas for the 2012 SXSW (pronounced South-By-Southwest for my non industry/film/music friends) festival. I did not realize that after several weeks of anticipation and round the clock work in preparation for my time in Austin, the Universe would be throwing me a few curve balls once I landed.
In typical SXSW fashion, my housing situation for my time in Austin had fallen into my lap the previous week through a friend. Unfortunately this friends friend had left out the material information that for the bargain price of $250/night, her place was lacking both running hot water and working Interent. Fearing my buddy Meb would kill me when he got into town, the apartment owner and I quickly agreed to go our separate ways and I turned to AirBNB to locate a new place to stay.
Enter Debbie. She was renting a two bedroom house in East Austin in a semi-edgy neighborhood that I knew and liked. After dealing with AirBNB’s ridiculous phone situation (they make it extremely challenging for you to have a normal conversation via the phone with the landlord) I’d decided to go with Debbie after she persuaded me that her place was perfect for what I was looking for and ‘*very* peaceful’ … her exact words.
A few clicks and booked. I had to keep going as I had a very busy week ahead and I hadn’t had a real night of sleep in weeks. After another 4 hour night of rest on my buddies futon, I dreamed of settling into Debbie’s East Austin retreat. In the pouring cold rain, I walked over to Whole Foods and purchased $300 of groceries for the week then through some legit miracle found a cabbie hanging in parking lot to take me, my guitar, my 3 computers, 300 kozies and $300 in groceries across town.
This is where the dream of AirBNB stil has a long way to go. As I did my first walk through of Debbie’s place, the first thing that was obvious was that her two bedroom place was not 2 bedrooms. Anyway you look at it she had one large master bedroom. In an effort to rent her place out as a more desirable 2 bedroom, she had put up a 3 part folding screen separating two parts of her bedroom. Anyone would quickly realize this was a complete joke, but I was tired and worn and trying to make the best of the situation. As I looked at the second bed, it looked like a couch I’d see at a doctor’s office made to look like a bed. Legit. At that time she informed me that she had an inflatable mattress … an option I was definitely going to opt for.
As I started to bring my luggage into her house the next thing I noticed was that Debbie had neglected to tell me she was a chain smoker. As I looked at the ash tray at her desk it became increasingly obvious that she had been smoking inside her house for quite some time. At this point I couldn’t take it anymore. How the hell was I going to tell Debbie that this would not work and was not what I had agreed to? Again, I was pretty sure that Meb would kill me when he got into town and I was sitting there with an insane amount of luggage and perishable food, in the rain, with no where to go or stay in Austin as the smoke from her house creeped into my clothes and skin. I so badly wanted this to work as I had a tremendous amount of load on my shoulders for the week but I could no longer convince myself that this is what was sold to me.
In as polite of fashion as possible, I told her straight up my issues and we agreed to go our separate ways. She had mentioned something about AirBNB not charging me yet so I assumed it would be no issue. This is where the real bitch of AirBNB kicked in. Now homeless in Austin, I walked my stuff over, via several trips, to my buddy John’s place to figure out what my next move was. I immediately contacted AirBNB and cancelled the reservation.
First the CSR (Customer Service Representative) on the other end told me in a condescending tone that I could cancel via their website. Sorry for having a degree in Computer Engineering, but I already tried that and as I walked her through what I saw on my screen, she agreed this was impossible and processed the cancelation.
I thought my pain would end there, but the next I heard from them was that I would be refunded $1200 from the $2120 they had charged my card. Debbie’s false sell of an apartment and the 5 minutes I spent at her place walking through it was going to cost me $920. WTF?! I’ve been bootstrapping my business for the last 3 years and parting with a G for a false sell was not an easy pill to swallow.
I quickly wrote to them
Allen Romero, Mar 09 14:46 (PST):
why does it say my full payment was not refunded?
phone: +1 415 XXX-XXXX
And received back
Sophie B, Mar 11 08:21 (PDT):
Hello Allen Romero
Thank you for reaching out to us about your cancellation.
Please keep in mind that each listing has one of five cancellation policies specified in the Details section of the listing. The cancellation policies range from Flexible to Super Strict. Each host sets their own cancellation policy. You can go to this link to review each cancellation policy in full – https://www.airbnb.com/home/cancellation_policies#flexible_nav
Please note that our guest service fees are non-refundable.
Your reservation with Debbie had a flexible cancellation policy. The reservation was cancelled at 2012-03-09 22:22:06 UTC. Therefore, you were refunded for 3 of the 5 nights for a total refund of $1200.
If you have any further questions please let us know. We are always happy to help.
Seriously? This is how they deal with customer service? I realize some folks rant about this stuff never having been on the other end of the line but I have a tremendous amount of empathy for Customer Support having started my career at Google as a CSR answering thousands of emails and building out their tech support processes for handling hundreds of thousands AdSense publishers in 2003.
In short, there is a time and a place to break protocol and resolve the issue. Not every thing can be answered with a canned response … especially when it involves one thousand dollars of your customers money.
As it stands now, I’ve filed a dispute with American Express and find myself dealing with a major headache going back and forth with airbnb over their channels and protocol. I checked and Debbie’s place is no longer listed on AirBnB. Shocker.
Much like everyone out there, I have a lot going on in my life (yes I am trying to launch a business) and spending hours to resolve this issue is not something I have any interest to deal with. This would have been a non-issue with any hotel I stayed at in the hospitality business. If AirBnB is going to compete in this market with their millions of dollars in venture backed funding their going to need to up their game.
Will I recommend AirBNB to anyone in the future? Not unless you want a headache!
To me getting business done aka getting shit done is about solving problems. How good is this person at solving problems period. Sure maybe they’ve done this process before but how are they going to handle the new challenges, new problems, new people, new walls presented to them. Can they solve for X … and Y … and Z? Problem solving. That is what I care about. How good is this person at solving problem because who the eff likes a headache?
Problem solving is all good but if they don’t have the raw talent to solve the problem this is gonna take a long time. Either a proper education, strong work experience in that field or natural affinity to said topic is definitely required.
Is this person going to join the cult or disrupt the cult er I mean cult(ture)?
Join. Good. Disrupt. Bad.
Anyway, if I am hiring someone, this is what I am thinking about … that and their ability to sing karaoke … drunk and naked … but that is a completely different blog post.