May 252012
 

Once popular photo-sharing social-network site flickr hasn’t kept up with the latest developing innovations where the pace is set by the likes of instagram, Google+ photos, Facebook, even with Flickr’s past 3 months of upgrades. I will say this: Flickr is still the most fertile place to find Creative Commons photos. (Any contenders?)

How can you download your Flickr photos for both backup and migrating them for sharing elsewhere? Here’s a list of web apps and client softwares I’d found that can download flickr photos in bulk:

web app

Windows / Mac / Linux
Bulkr http://clipyourphotos.com/bulkr – w/ a paid Pro version for extra features

Windows / Mac
PhotoSync Companion http://www.photosync-app.com/photosync/en/downloads.html

Windows software

Mac software
Photo Grabbr http://www.malarkeysoftware.com/projects_PhotoGrabbr.html

Java

Firefox extension

Chrome extension
DownFlickr https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/idiemcijhbenngdhkdiipmpkafnkbkeg

scripts

other references

Any others to add?

May 212012
 

Launching this week, the new book Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World is hands down the best book I’ve ever seen about blogging and social media! I’ve been swimming in this world of blogging for over 12 years, before it was called that, and have seen a good number of books about the amazing potential of social media, the (few) exceptional examples of blogging/ social media that’d made big impact (mostly short-term), some books that warns cautiously about its dangers, and some that give basic tutorials for how to get started by giving the readers a printed guided tour of the internet.

What Hyatt does exceptionally in Platform is reveal all the things he did over the course of 5+ years to raise his profile and build a platform so that his voice has become a most popular and influential in the online world. This book pulls together all the ingredients for the what and why and how to’s for using online media, developing valuable content, his personal workflow, how he measures results, and more nuts & bolts. It’s practically a recipe book for you to add water and stir. In this case, it’s add valuable content and work it consistently from now to eternity, retirement, anyways.

One aside about this book’s trajectory. The book mostly assumes that you’d want to build a platform to establish something to extend your influence so you can sell your products and services, even though the subtitle does say it’s for anyone with something to say or to sell. And the assumption behind that is you’d have to provide content that is valuable to a large enough of a number of people. Not every topic has that, like many things I believe to be important and worth having a voice, even if big groups of people don’t value it. Nevertheless, Platform is still a very handy reference book that can be adapted for when size doesn’t matter — hint: skip the parts about measuring.

What I love about the author Michael Hyatt is that he’s a CEO type (most recently of Thomas Nelson publisher) and yet willing to put himself personally out there online. They make too few of them like that. I sure hope, as his platform continues to grow, he’ll be an example and prototype of leaders in the 21st century, someone who is accessible, personal, and generously shares with others the valuable skills and lessons he’s learning along the way.

By the way, buy the book this week, send Michael Hyatt the receipt, and he’ll give you a gob of valuable bonus material!

[disclaimer: I received an advance readers review copy of this book]

May 192012
 

Here in Rockville Maryland for a quick weekend visit to be with family, one year after my Dad’s death. Everyone seems to have made whatever adjustments to this new chapter of life. I used this new technology I just found this morning called Spreaker to capture a few thoughts — listen. I’m anticipating that we’re not doing a formal program to memorialize this event; what’s important is being together and sharing life.

Bob Chuang

Click back in time and watch the 1-hour webcast about caregiving for my ailing Dad, as my brother and mother gave him the best care over his last 2.5 years. And here’s the short obit about his life. I also have a private memorial page for my Dad to which you’re welcomed to request access to view.

May 072012
 

I’m authoring a book about episodes in my life and thought I’d share the work in progress while it’s in progress. The idea of the book is to honestly share about (some of the) struggles in my life in a transparent and vulnerable way so that people, especially Asian Americans, can know that they’re not alone in their struggles. I also intend for this to be an example of how to come out from hiding behind shame and to finding courage to be vulnerable, getting healing, and helping others.

Though I wasn’t able to list it on Amazon as a free ebook (but I did list my eBook there for easier download), I can post it here as a free download.

For me, it’s about the speed to publish. (so not everything is perfectly formatted; and this also gives me an opportunity for me to experiment and to learn digital publishing on different platforms)

The e-book that’s I’ve just published is a compilation of blog posts from my 12 years of blogging that will serve as the starting point for telling more about my life. I’ve dubbed it a “chronological edition” because the blog posts are ordered chronologically, and the book title is tentative. In the final edition, I think the ebook’s length will more than double in size, as I’ll be expanding on a number of issues, including: depression, bipolar disorder, career choices, and identity formation. As a bunch of blog posts, the ebook is obviously disjointed and not an easy read.

I realize that I don’t have a most sensational life story like some others who’ve  been published, be it a courageous battle with disease, growing up in adverse circumstances, turning from a life of drugs and/or crime, or going from rags to riches. On the one hand, I see myself as an average guy, and yet, I also know I’m terribly unconventional so it’s taken many years to begin to feel comfortable in my own skin.

My thinking about the book is to just tell the story and avoid being prescriptive. In that sense, it won’t be in the genre of self-help nor inspirational. The telling of the story itself is the point. Maybe this is a new genre? But I am eager to hear feedback from you readers as to how I can better shape this ebook to be of more help to people.

In the ebook, I explain more of why I’m writing this ebook and what’s prompted me to author at this stage in my life. So, please do download it, read it, and provide much needed feedback. Your voice matters!

Whether the final edition will be published by a traditional publisher or if I’ll be self-publishing is yet to be determined. Either way, it will be published and not perish.

In the 21st century, what ought to be published is no longer is prohibited by the market. (others who have self published: Ben Franklin, Ezra Pound, Emily Dickinson, Thomas Paine, Jane Austen, Walt Whitman, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Virginia Woolf)  And, I will make the final edition available in digital and print formats.

May 022012
 

While there are articles (here, here, here, here, there) that give great ideas for how a church could be using Pinterest, right now it’s kinda elusive to find churches actually actively using Pinterest.

Aside: I myself have 624 pins and my dear wife has over 2,127 pins.

Here’s a list of churches on Pinterest I’d found, with a current count of pins when this list was compiled (please do add more) ::

http://pinterest.com/marshill/ Mars Hill Church (577 pins)
http://pinterest.com/foresthillpcusa/ Forest Hill Church (477 pins)
http://pinterest.com/uuca Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta (346 pins)
http://pinterest.com/wheatonbible Wheaton Bible Church (129 pins)
http://pinterest.com/fellowshippins/ Fellowship Church (76 pins)
http://pinterest.com/worthingtoncc/ Worthington Christian Church (58 pins)
http://pinterest.com/forefrontnyc/ Forefront Church (34 pins)
http://pinterest.com/bafchurch/ Bay Area Fellowship (4 pins)
http://pinterest.com/gopcmodesto/ (1 pin)

[update: added after original post went live] // http://pinterest.com/northviewchurch/ Northview Church via @brianbarela //

[update 6/22] // Godvertiser.com has a more complete list of pinteresting churches //

At the moment, Pinterest is invite-only. Add a comment and I’d be more than happy to give you an invite.

May 012012
 

What’s Next? A Look Over the Next Hill for Innovative Churches and Their Leaders” is a new mini-book by Dave Travis of Leadership Network. The book appears to be a report or white paper that was written to inform executive-type leaders of larger churches and that same kind of intel’ is now being made available to the public. And this kind of insider info may well be a glimpse of things to come, in some way like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I was very eager to read this 64-pager (print edition) and devoured it all in 1 sitting.

Dave notes that innovations could happen on the fringe or in smaller contexts that are nimble to try new things (“some would insist that innovation happens at the edges… smaller churches often seed new ideas and innovations into the Christian ecosystem…”) but asserts how an innovative idea spreads requires influentials and influencers on a larger scale — “… pushing an idea across the broad expanse, from an obscure starting point… there is a need for ‘opinion leaders’ to get on board… the diffusers of innovation…” And those influencers are by and large leaders in very large churches. Size attracts attention.

Yet, once an influencer doesn’t mean always an influencer. Dave noticed this: “Old conference notebooks reveal to us that many of the 2002 thought leaders are no longer at the center of our ecosystem. Yet they built the steps to this year’s platform.”

And Dave explains why large churches are valuable to our society: “… large churches are the most effective and efficient bundlers of social capital in a community… the best equipped to mobilize large groups of people to use their time, talent, and treasures for purposes that make the neighborhoods better places to live… [even] across the world…”

The book anticipates a number of trends and even some speculations about the future of the American church. And even researchers of global Christianity acknowledge that what happens in the United States still has (disproportionate) influence around the world, even though the center of Christianity has shifted to the south and to the east. I’d interpret that as more people are becoming Christians in parts of Asia, Africa, and South America, but the financial capital is here in the US for the time being, and that can make things happen for a time. In the long run, sheer numbers of people will outlast sheer number of dollars, just a matter of time. Consider, what could Christianity look like in 1000 years, and with that kind of perspective, we won’t be looking just at quarterly numbers or annual reports.

I did want to react to 2 things mentioned in the book.

Firstly, financial transparency in the church. This one is a toughie in the church, and in the non-profit world for that matter. And there may well be a bunch of factors for this, some for bad reasons and some out of fear and ignorance. I believe that if we are truly children of the light and the light of the world that the church can be leading the way in showing how to disclosure finances more than any typical non-profit. In so doing, the church can show how to avoid jealousy about staff salaries and being above reproach in its use of finances. Perhaps I am being too idealistic, but I believe more in the power of good over evil, truth over silence, honesty over hiddenness. Criticism will surface anyways, and even more so, now that everyone has a (potential) voice over the Internet.  And I’d counter misperception with hard data rather than hiding data any day.

Secondly, what about the next Billy Graham? Dave writes, “Billy Graham, the Sequel: Who will be the next great evangelist with a worldwide impact? I’ve predicted for years that we’re likely to see a native of India or some other Asian country, fluent in English, who can appeal to the West.” I wonder if s/he would really emerge from the the East? History tells us that there have been great evangelists from the East, like Watchman Nee or Bakht Singh.

I’d say someone from China might have a better chance at being a global evangelist, and not just because I happen to be of Chinese descent. From sheer numbers, India and China will dominate the population numbers. And so much of the world economy and cash flow is finding a home in China, so much of the clothes and furniture and technology we use today is made in China (including this MacBook Pro I’m typing on.) Yes, that next global evangelist will be internet-savvy, and I’d say more than event-savvy or media-savvy, s/he has got to be social-media-savvy, so it’d look a lot more like reality-tv live-streaming than an on-stage inspirational speaker, tho’ s/he’d have to be quite the motivational speaker too.

[disclosure: I work with Leadership Network]