Today at The Tobacco Hut the following folks were in attendance: Joe K, Peter G, Paul O, Bryan J, Lou, and myself. I was smoking a Crown Viking filled with Tinder Box Reserve 1928, a most excellent tobacco. I got the pipe from Lou several years and it's one of my favorite freehands.
There was a lot of tech talk throughout the day. Paul had some computer questions for Joe, Joe bragged about his latest iPad and Apple TV purchase. He sold his iPad 2 to his daughter (I thought initially he had sold it to Vic!). Later, after Joe had left, we talked about various TV viewing options, from streaming to Tivo to Hulu to Netflix and RedBox.
Bryan and I talked at length about e-readers such as his Nook and my Kindle, their advantages and disadvantages. A shout out to Bryan for his 25th wedding anniversary! One thing I pointed out regarding obsolete technologies such as floppy disks is that the regular ole' book, i.e. the printed word, will never die out. It can't be made obsolete by some new technology.
Bryan, I mentioned this to you today when we were talking about music. It's a link that I've mentioned in this space before and Paul O is happily listening in now. It's called Psychedelicized Radio and features songs from the latter half of the 1960s, some you've heard but mostly obscure bands. Give it a listen - I think you'll like it.
It's free but they do welcome donations to pay for the server space. It runs them about $90/month and I've donated since they began about two months ago. It kind of works like Joe's favorite broadcaster, NPR. Joe, if you tune to 89.7 FM this week, they're in the middle of their pledge drive. Would you like me to donate on your behalf like I've done before? Maybe you can add to your NPR coffee mug collection.
If you read the blog last week, you know that Lou has come to a decision regarding the store. If he is unable to sell it by April 30th when his lease is up, he will be forced to shut the doors. As sad as that will be, I think we all understand his reasoning and support him a hundred percent.
I've been thinking about how we can all stay in touch when the Tobacco Hut Era comes to a close. We've had some great discussions and forged good friendships throughout the years and I, for one, would like those to continue, even if it's just in a "virtual" sense online.
When I send the blog update announcement out everyone's e-mail address appears, so folks can obviously stay in touch that way, but I'd like to duplicate the lively discussions that take place every week at the Hut in some online form. I'm exploring a couple options: an online forum, a Facebook group page, or Twitter.
The Facebook group page is extremely easy to set up and use; the downside is that not everyone is on Facebook. Twitter is also easy to set up and use, but tweets are limited to a small number of characters so isn't really conducive to proper discussions. An online forum offers the most robust environment in which to converse (I'm thinking of the Smokers Forums, Puff.com forums, and others).
There are a couple challenges with creating an online forum. The first is financial. The most full-featured and reliable forum software is vBulletin, but it costs $195/year plus hosting costs. I would also have to get up to speed on the technical issues as I've never been on the "back end" of forums, only as the user.
There are free forum applications but they are chock full of unwanted advertisements, and I would still have to arrange for hosting.
Another alternative is Ning.com - it's a niche social media development application which is only $19.95/year for the Mini site. The Mini site is limited to 150 members, but is fairly robust with a lot of cool features. It would be kind of like a Facebook site just for us - you can make comments, add photos, etc.
I'm kind of leaning toward that option if there's an interest in it from the gang. Let me know your thoughts and have a great week!