Impressions on the Social Age

White House Stops Bullets

Posted in Local DC by Trace on November 16, 2011

Image: Associated Press

Two bullets were found outside the White House on Tuesday, having been fired by an unknown person. The Secret Service is investigating the source of the shooting as well as the shooter. Neither bullet is thought to have penetrated White House security do to the ballistic glass in place behind the historic glass on all White House windows.

One bullet was found after it had hit the ballistic glass, and another was found outside.

Gunshots were heard near the White House on November 11th. The Secret Service were quick to respond. Within five minutes of the shots, police had secured a vehicle on the 2300 block of Constitution Avenue, which runs along the National Mall near the White House. In the vehicle, police found an AK-47 assault rifle registered to Oscar Ramiro Ortega.

The evidence recovered at the scene led police to open an arrest warrant for Ortega, a 21 year-old white-hispanic male. Ortega is 5′ 11″ weighs 160 pounds, with a medium build, brown eyes and black hair and beard. He has a visible tattoo on his neck reading “Israel.”

Neither President Obama nor First Lady, Michelle Obama were at home when the gunshots were hear. That afternoon they were heading to San Diego, before heading to Hawaii for the Asia-Pacific economic forum.

According to a statement issued by the Secret Service, the sounds of gunfire likely originated from the Ellipse, a grassy area just south of the White House. If the shots were fired from the AK-47, and the Secret Service did not indicate this was the case, then they traveled 700-800 yards before hitting the White House. The AK-47’s effective range is only around 300 yards.

“There’s always an outer perimeter and this was on the very outer perimeter of our security,” the Secret Service official told CNN. “The gun and car were found within several minutes. We have a lot of security — a lot of layered security down there and the security worked.”

While the Secret Service does have a warrent for the arrest of Ortega, they are not saying the gunshots on Friday are conclusively tied to the two bullets found. But rather Ortega is a person of interest and the manhunt is currently underway. The Occupy Washington DC protest camp was searched in relation to the hunt when a few calls were placed possibly placing Ortega at the scene.

According to the US Park Police blog post, anyone with information on this incident is asked to contact local law enforcement or US Park Police at (202) 610-7500 for immediate assistance, or the Criminal Investigations Branch Tip Line at (202) 610-8737 for non emergent information.

I’m A Beat Blogger!

Posted in Social Media by Trace on February 3, 2011

Cool Glasses, Power Tie. Oh Yeah.

Hello readers, here’s a personal message from your friend, Trace.

This week has been a pretty fantastic one thus far. I’ve got a new apartment to sign a lease on, may have found a cat to help me occupy said apartment, and I became the newest member of the & blogging team – the company is called Livid Lobster.

Thank you, thank you. Be looking out on WebBeat and GeekBeat for possible mention of my stories and you can always go to either site and find posts I’ve written! To watch GeekBeat go to Revision3 or subscribe on iTunes, to watch WebBeat subscribe on iTunes and I might even post on OneMansBlog!

I’ll do my best to keep updating here, though as I often write about technology, social media and other cool web trends and issues, it will be tough to keep me from putting those on the Livid Lobster blogs. We’ll have to wait and see. It’s going to be an interesting February, which is good, as last February was #SnOMG, #Snomageddon, and #Snopocalypse all in a row. Regardless, I’ll do my best to blog here, there and everywhere!

Now here’s a sample of the work of my new friends at, enjoy!

Google Maps in 3D!

Posted in Web Discovery by Trace on January 19, 2011

Sure. It’s in 3D, but what about in IMAX?

Browsing the web today, like you do, I cam across a feature in Google Maps while accidentally right-clicking. 3D View. That’s right, Google Maps’ StreetView is available in 3D. Get yourself a pair of old Cyan and Red 3D glasses pull up your town in Google Maps a level of realism unparalleled in virtual reality – and similar to real reality.

The feature seems to work whenever there is StreetView available, both domestically and abroad. Just right-click and enjoy the three-dimensional, color-altered goodness.

How did you miss this cool feature?? Find out…


Don’t Buy the Verizon iPhone: A Plea for Sanity – UPDATE

Posted in Mobile by Trace on January 16, 2011

Do not buy a Verizon iPhone. It is a waste of your money. Mashable created a funny infographic regarding the differences and similarities of the new phones, but really the issue is CDMA. It’s all about CDMA #fail.

It’s not jealousy, nor is it anger. We all knew these bright-red invites were for something important. I knew the AT&T exclusivity was expiring. This was the event everyone was waiting for and we all knew it. The excitement was palpable. I was at work so instead of watching the live streams I got text messages and followed the live blogs on Engadget, MacRumors and Gizmodo (I wanted the critical perspective too).

The problem is, it’s a rip off. The Verizon iPhone is a rip off.

Find out why after the jump … (more…)

Google Instant: An SEO Game Changer?

Posted in Uncategorized by Trace on December 3, 2010

google instant and SEO game changerGoogle Instant has been around for a while now, and I’ve been thinking for some time, this new advance out of Google Labs could be a game changer. In the past, Search Engine Optimization meant “owning” your search terms. Using tools like Google’s AdWords paired with content strategies to catch the eye of the Google crawlers, you could move your page up the search results.

Now with Google Instant, the first step (owning your search term) has changed a bit. While Google’s bot attempts to fill in your search based on a variety of factors (from what I can tell – geographical location, search history/habits, etc.) your search term is no longer required. Plus, even if the bot fills it in perfectly as you type it will be constantly re-assessing potential terms, and I don’t know about you, but I find myself watching the results as I type and occasionally end up stopping to explore the web before returning to complete my search.

This means, if the search term you’ve decide to “own” is on the way to a larger search, and people are as mezmorized by this as I am you could be getting some of their ADD traffic! Possible? Probable?

Does Instant search have the ability to work like StumbleUpon? Maybe so. Has anyone experienced strange traffic in the last couple of months? What are your thoughts, could this be possible? Leave a thought in the comments!

I tweeted it! I didn’t tell anyone!

Posted in Social Media, Twitter by Trace on August 26, 2010


Not long ago, a friend of my finally graduated from college and got her bachelors degree (congrats!), but the thing is, while we are close friends she neglected to mention it to me. Instead, I found out via Twitter. Now, finding information via Twitter is nothing new for someone as Tweeted out as myself, however this was one of those funny times when she’d been so excited she had actually forgot to tell me!

Later in the day, I sent her an IM and she spilled the news. I congratulated her and jokingly asked why I’d read it on Twitter hours before and she said, “I just tweeted it! I didn’t tell anyone!”

That comment gave me pause right away. Is that really what she meant? Later she realized her mistake and said, not that I didn’t tell anyone, but I didn’t tell anyone.

Has our sharing become so autonomous that this girl didn’t think twice in telling her Tweeps about her recent successes, yet didn’t actually think of it as exclaiming to a public feed? Are wires crossed in our heads? Isn’t Twitter a digital equivalent of shouting in a crowded square?

According to a Scientific American from 2008, we might have something crossed. “Public sharing of private lives has led to a rethinking of our current conceptions of privacy.” We don’t really think about privacy in the way that we used to. I sat with my Grandma recently, she was asking me what I was going to do now that I’ve got my MA in Public Communication and what that meant. I went on to talk about social media, new media, and how the world of information is growing and becoming more personalized. She shuddered and said, “It all sounds so narcissistic and petty to me. I’m glad I’m not involved in any of that… What happened to people’s sense of privacy?”

Grandma’s got it right. What did happen to our sense of privacy? YouTube is America’s Funniest Home Video’s run amok, Facebook and Twitter and Foursquare (of FB Places if you prefer) all want us to share all of our information with each other constantly… It’s a barrage of personal data that we used to keep to our chests and now we’re throwing into cyberspace (yep, remember that word?) on a daily, hourly, or minutely(?) basis! It’s a little crazy if you think about it too much.

How can we not think of sharing as… well sharing? I’m not sure, maybe I’ll tweet about it and see if I can get any responses…

Break Out Adventure

Posted in Uncategorized by Trace on August 12, 2010

The Problem

I, like many of my fellows, love my iPhone, but sometimes I just wish it was a bit more convenient to use. For example, when in New York City or DC there are 10 million* WiFi networks. When walking around, my iPhone pops up with a little notification every time I use an app that accesses the Internet:

Stop! I don’t want to join your network!

To turn off these pop-ups I can either disable WiFi or Disable the Notifications in the WiFi menu… However, either option requires me to go to Page 2 of my Home screen, tap Settings, scroll to and tap WiFi, then tap to toggle Notifications to Off or toggle WiFi to Off.

The whole process is simply arduous. Especially when an Android phone can put a toggle right on the home screen. This is just one example of the hoop-jumping iPhone users subjected to proprietary software. There are other examples, but I think we all get the point.

A Solution

JAILBREAK! Get that iPhone out of Apple’s exclusive grip: now without legal ramifications (instead only violates Apple’s terms and conditions).


The Wayback Machine

Posted in Uncategorized by Trace on July 25, 2010

As a kid, I watched Peabody and Sherman go back in time and check out twisted history, it was always entertaining, and while silly, the idea of twisted history similar to how we look at the Internet.

In the Internet sea there are few rocks. Have you ever been exploring the Internet in search of a page that you absolutely know exists and you just can’t seem to find it?

The internet is constantly changing. It’s in the Internet’s DNA. Everything is updating and re-evaluating, deleting and adding. Google or Bing are really amazing resources to show you what the internet has now, but what about what the internet had back then? Do you even know how to look back in to Interwebs’ past?

This week, I was auditing Bloom Grocery’s social media and website, however, near the end of the week-long project, Bloom updated their outreach. This update, aside from adding exactly what I was recommending, changed their website. What does one do? How do we go back? This is where’s Wayback Machine is useful.


Is Twitter A Step Back?

Posted in Social Media, Uncategorized by Trace on July 14, 2010

As social media becomes more and more accepted as “just plain media,” there are more and more tools and platforms to use this new social mediascape. In July 2006, Twitter launched to lukewarm fanfare, and gradually increased in popularity. As Twitter becomes the half-brother of Facebook – often mentioned as an aside – we start to study it for societal influence and opinion formulation. I love Twitter, I use it every day, every hour even, but isn’t Twitter a step backward?

What is Twitter about? It’s kind of like conversing on a train. It’s about sending information out into the public timeline and sharing that information with whomever wants to listen. You can talk to me, but random people chose to listen in, or shut you out, listening and creating their own conversation.

In comparison…

What is Facebook about? Facebook is like being invited to a private party. It’s about connecting a real person who has added interests, information, photos, purchasing decisions and using this as a digital representation of their personality. It’s like a suburban backyard BBQ, next to a shopping mall. I don’t even see the next party over unless I’m out looking for it, networking style.


Augmented Reality is Simply, Simple.

Posted in Uncategorized by Trace on July 5, 2010

One of my favorite programs of the rarely used pieces of Android or iPhone software is called Augmented Reality (AR). The idea is to use the devices’ internal cameras to overlay digital information on real life video.

A popular example is the Yelp app. Yelp has been able to perform AR since the iPhone 3GS, but with the new iOS4 it’s even quicker and more precise.

To use it, open Yelp and switch to the Map view of the nearby Yelp reviewed establishments, touch the Monocle button and simply hold up your phone as if to look through it. The map becomes a video display of what is “behind” the phone, with the Yelp reviewed establishments overlain complete with names and star ratings. Plus, if you turn, the phone knows the direction you’re facing adjusting your “Monocle” accordingly.

Image courtesy