Got Travel? Travel Blogs and Travel Bloggers, Unite!

For some time  (100,000 years  in internet dog years), I’ve wanted to collect *all* the travel blogs in one spot and organize them by destination.    That’s not happening … yet …  but I’m very happy to see so many great folks online blogging travel now as well as many  lists of bloggers popping up.

An interesting issue in finding the holy grail of travel information is whether people would rather hear from *travelers* or from *locals*.      I used to lean to the former – ie I wanted to hear from other folks who had visited a place to get the best information, but it’s become clear to me now that the best source for travel information are well informed local folks – ideally those who are in the travel industry and therefore familiar with a lot of attractions, hotels, restaurants, history, customs, etc.     An example for Oregon is … me.

I worked in the travel industry for many years and I know a *lot* about Oregon, especially Southern Oregon.    Unfortunately there are not very many people blogging “local travel” from a local perspective.  Ironically pretty much all the travel writing blog folks  (including me) are so busy talking about their own trips out and about, they are not writing much about their local places – the kind of information that would be simply wonderful if you were to visit a place.

So … my challenge to travel bloggers is to write a few posts about things to see and do in your own neck of the woods.   Let me know if you do and I’ll be happy to feature it prominently at our heavy traffic site  “Travel and History”.  Please include a bit of history in the travelogue if you can.

Here are some from some cool traveling folks:

Blogs/ Travelers list from Traveling Teri:

  1. 1step2theleft
  2. 20sTravel
  3. 501 Places
  4. Abigail King
  5. Adventure Girl
  6. Adventure Living
  7. Agent Cikay
  8. Alex Berger
  9. Almost Fearless
  10. Andi Perullo
  11. Andrew G. Hayes
  12. Andy Murdock
  13. Around the World “L”
  14. As We Travel
  15. Aussie Nomad
  16. Bairds Travel
  17. Beth Arnold
  18. Bike Raft
  19. Boots n All
  20. Border Jumpers
  21. Brendan von Son
  22. Brian Swan
  23. Brooke Schoenman
  24. Budget Travel Sacramento
  25. Cailin O’Neil
  26. Cal Bosch
  27. Candice Walsh
  28. Cara Lopez Lee
  29. CC Burns
  30. CG Travels
  31. Christine Amorose
  32. Couch Surfing Ori
  33. Dave’s Travel Corner
  34. David Lytle (davitydave)
  35. Diana Ellefson
  36. Docudramaqueen
  37. Don Nadeau
  38. Donna L. Hull
  39. Drifting Focus
  40. Dustin Main
  41. Earth Explorer
  42. Eat Live Travel Write
  43. Elite Travel Gal
  44. ELoren
  45. Erica Kuschel
  46. Everywhere Trip
  47. Fodor’s Travel Guides
  48. Fox Nomad
  49. Gadling
  50. Gerard Ward
  51. Girls Getaway
  52. GloboTreks
  53. Got Passport
  54. Got Saga Latino
  55. Got Saga
  56. Grumpy Traveller
  57. Happy Go Lucky
  58. Harriett Baskas
  59. Holiday Greece
  60. I Live to Travel
  61. Isabelle’s Travel Guide
  62. Janelle Norman
  63. Jason’sTravels
  64. Jeff Titelius
  65. JoAnna Haugen
  66. Jason’sTravels
  67. Joe Hunkins
  68. Johnny Vagabond
  69. Journeywoman
  70. Kevin May
  71. Kim Mance
  72. LandLopers
  73. Larry Blanken
  74. Legal Nomads
  75. LJ Rose Expeditions
  76. Lonely Planet
  77. Malaysia-Asia
  78. Margaret Kinney
  79. Monica Wong
  80. My Journey of a Lifetime
  81. My Melange
  82. National Geographic
  83. Neverending Voyage
  84. New York Times Travel
  85. Nomadic Chick
  86. Nomadic Matt
  87. Ottsworld
  88. ParisBuff
  89. PatriciaVance, GotSaga
  90. Pauline Frommer’s Travel
  91. Perrin Post
  92. Peter Greenberg
  93. Richard Escobar
  94. Rick Steves
  95. RTWDave
  96. Runaway Juno
  97. Sam Daams
  98. SaraKateTravel
  99. Secured Traveler
  100. Serendipity Traveler
  101. Shawnosaurus
  102. Smart Women Travelers
  103. Solo Friendly
  104. Solo Traveler
  105. Sosauce
  106. Soultravelers3
  107. Spencer Spellman
  108. Spunky Girl Monologues
  109. Stay Adventurous
  110. Stay Bank
  111. Sumit Gupta
  112. Susan Farlow
  113. Suzy Guese
  114. Technomadia
  115. Thank God I Surf
  116. The Jungle Princess
  117. The Longest Way Home
  118. The Mad Traveler Online
  119. The Planetd
  120. The Roaming Boomers
  121. The Tashinga Initiative
  122. The Travel Tart
  123. The Travel Tweeter
  124. The Trip Chicks
  125. Tiffany Travels
  126. Timesonline Travel
  127. Travel Answerman
  128. Travel Blogger
  129. Travel Bully
  130. Trailer Campers
  131. Travel Cuts
  132. Travel Designed
  133. Travel Dudes
  134. Travel Girl (smultronställen)
  135. Travel Happy
  136. Traveling Anna
  137. Traveling Perly
  138. Traveling Savage
  139. Traveling Ted
  140. Traveling Teri
  141. Travels of Adam
  142. Travelocity
  143. Travel Off the Cuff
  144. Travel Optimist
  145. Travel Maus
  146. Travel Muse
  147. Travel Savvy Mom
  148. Travel Squire
  149. Travel Susan
  150. Travelwriticus
  151. Trey Ratcliff
  152. Tuscan Blog
  153. Unbrave Girl
  154. Uncornered Market
  155. Vagabond3Italian Notes
  156. Vagabondish
  157. Velvetescape
  158. Wandering-off
  159. Wanderings of a Travelbug
  160. Wandering Trader
  161. Want to Go Travel
  162. Welcome Tuscany
  163. Wend Magazine
  164. Where I’ve Been
  165. Wild Junket
  166. World Nomads

Blogroll from Travel Answer Man John Van Kirk:


Alaska TravelGram
Almost Fearless
Anders Meanders
Arthur Frommer
Brave New Traveler
Evan Sparks
Everett Potter
Flight Wisdom
Hidden Travel Gems
Hotel Blogs by Guillaume Thevenot
Intelligent Travel
Jeanne Leblanc
Marriott on the Move
Online Travel Review
Peter Greenberg
Rick Seaney
Roads Less Traveled
Safe Cruise
Ship Critic blog
Southwest Airlines
The Cruise Log
The Daily Traveler
The Practical Nomad
This Just In…..
Tim Leffel’s Cheapest Destinations
Towers and Tarmacs
Travel Babel
Travel Gear Blog
Travel Log
Travel Maven blog
Travel Post
Travel Rants
Traveler 2.0
Traveler’s Check
Tripinator – Travel 2.0
Upgrade: travel better
USA Today’s Hotel Hotsheet
World Hum The Middle Seat Terminal

Flickr to PS3 slide show troubleshooting. Name bar right click for “Date Picture Taken”

UPDATE March 2011:  Well, more trouble with this even following my own directions below, but after many failed attempts  we got the files to copy after backing out of the PS3 menus, going back in, and using the “options” (triangle) key to bring up options rather than simply clicking on the “flash drive” icon.   The problem of the order of the pictures remains since you cannot sort them by date taken and they do not pull in the files in the order you have sorted them on the flash drive appears to be by name of folder or file) Moral of this nasty application is probably … DO NOT USE IT!  But if you do consider naming your slides such that the names match the order in which you want them to appear.


Wow, I sure had a remarkably difficult time getting my pictures from Flickr to a flash drive to a slide show on our high def TV using the PS3.     Seems like it should have been a snap, but here are some troubleshooting tips if you find yourself with the same challenge  (Why bother?  Because slide shows on big TVs are so nice compared to having people cluster around your computer screen!)

*  Bulkr is a great Flickr backup tool – it worked beautifully and pulled my Flickr pictures onto my hard drive.

*  Note that you may need to right click on the “name” bar in the folders as you work with them – the taskbar that has the file names – and tell it to display the “date picture taken” data.    For slide shows it is often  important to have “date picture taken” information so you can order the shots in the same sequence that you took them  (assuming you kept up the time and date stamps on the camera – a very important thing to do although Flickr will let you bulk modify those if needed).

*   If pictures are not showing up, try loading them into a folder named “pictures”.

*  Using your PS3 controller, go to the “Photos” section and select the option for the flash drive / removable drive.      Using the triangle button you should be able to display the contents of the flash drive, though inconsistencies here have been one of the problems for me.

….. to be continued …. maybe…..

Hardbat Classic Las Vegas – Please Bring it Back Budweiser!

Hardbat Classic Las Vegas – Eric Owens and Wally Green

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

As a table tennis enthusiast I’m hoping Bud Light brings back the Big Money Hard Bat Classic Hard Bat Table Tennis Tournament they had last year across the country, with a great finale tournament in Las Vegas and then shown on ESPN.

As a marketing guy I’m sensitive to the fact this may not have had the return on investment Bud had hoped for – probably because the early promotion was too spotty. Bud may not even have realized that offering 100,000 in first prize money *alone* would bring a huge number of excellent players into the mix even as they did realize that the severe handicapping and restricted paddles would pretty much guarantee that the winner would NOT be a great player, just a “good” one. [with apologies to Jack Baker, a tennis guy with a very good game who won the tournament because he was spotted up to 17 points in matches against better players].

I think the handicapping is a great idea, though I’d recommend Bud have *two* tournaments next time – one with handicaps and one with regular paddles and rules. “Real” Table Tennis is an amazing sport, and I think part of the reason the Hardbat Classic seemed to fail to attract as much attention as it should have was that the event worked hard to perpetuate the notion that it’s a “goofy” sport. I’m not too sensitive about this (and surprisingly even many of the greats in Table Tennis are very modest about their remarkable ability) , but the two-track approach would work better where you showcased “basement style” hardbat along with the blazing spin and speed of quality sponge rubber play. The $120,000 in prize money was chump change to Bud even as it was *by far* the largest prize in US Table Tennis history and one of the largest purses in the world for this low-money sport.

Summary for Bud Light’s Marketing Benefit:

* Hold another Hardbat Classic

* Begin promotions *now* via bars and Bud regional distributors, making sure their participation matched the size and scope of the venue. Last year I think many regionals opted out due to expense, so the Vegas event was “bigger” than the collective national events. Keep Vegas the same (it was great), but make sure the national scope is much bigger than last year, even if that takes more time to promote. If necessary cut costs by halving the Las Vegas convention venue and limiting the number of “free trips” – or perhaps initiate a modest “buy in” for participants. It’s cheap to get to Las Vegas and often cheap to stay there, so the impact of this does not require a large number of free trips for players. More prize money would probably have a higher ROI than free trips. Venue could have been half that size – I never saw all the tables in action and games could have been started and run much earlier.

* Change the online marketing to be a viral, social media rather than the centralized, very weak website with limited information as before.

* Enlist the help of the many Table Tennis clubs throughout the USA, perhaps with modest stipends to help promote / run the bar tournaments. Few players in California and Oregon (areas I know pretty well) knew about this tournament, and very few bars seemed very enthusiastic about an event that – if properly promoted – would bring them some business.

* HAVE TWO tournament tracks – Hardbat Classic’s “Ping Pong” and an open division with regular paddles and players from all over the world. Bud’s big in China now, so use this as a way to promote the brand there. Even a modest first prize of 25,000 in the elite division will bring players from all over the world and provide much better chance to bring in a lot more spectator / players who are going to be interested in seeing world class play.

WordPress Publishing Problems with Flickr or other programs?

Another reminder (because I’ve needed this many times) that you must enable WordPresses “Remote Publishing” protocols if you want to blog photos directly from Flickr  (a fantastic feature – I wish more people could do this but it remains a little tricky to set up both at Flickr and at WP unless you know this is needed (defaults have these boxes UNchecked).   I think you only need the XML-RPC after correct configuration at Flickr, but do both so you have more ways to publish to your WP blog:

Remote Publishing

To post to WordPress from a desktop blogging client or remote website that uses the Atom Publishing Protocol or one of the XML-RPC publishing interfaces you must enable them below.

Atom Publishing Protocol
Atom Publishing Protocol


Geschmack ist KING

Ben’s Europe Set D

Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Munich, Germany.

The influence of US culture was remarkable in Europe, especially given how much Europeans tend to resent US cultural encroachments. McDonald’s, Burger King, and Kentucky Fried Chicken stores were fairly common, though many seemed to adjust to the local cultural flaire. The McDonald’s in Paris had a beautifully appealing selection of croissants at a counter specially designed for breakfast.

Yahoo Bing Search Update

UPDATE:  Hypothesis appears DISproved.  After under an hour Google has correctly posted’s coverage of this issue “yahoo bing search” ahead of’s  at Google Blog  Search.  This is the RIGHT answer.   Good work Google!


(( This is mostly an SEO test post – please ignore or read at your peril.   If you were looking for a political argument, please see other posts ))

OK, so the “real” and  meatier post is over here:  Yahoo / Bing Search Update, but I predict Google is going to index this one way above that one for the reasons I discuss …. over there!      JoeDuck is an old site and has a lot more Google Authority than Technology Report , so even though I’ve got a picture of over there of me  hanging with no less than Google CEO Eric Schmidt,  I’m thinking this one will get a much higher rank for “Yahoo Bing Search” than the real post at Technology Report which is far more insightful and relevant than this one.     Hmmm.

Rome Colosseum, Forum, Palatine Hill

My son summed up the situation well about the Roma Pass, which probably isn’t worth the $25 Euros to most if they can avoid the Colosseum lines, which I think you can do if you buy that ticket as a combo ticket at the Palatine Hill Entrance to the Ancient Rome area.

It’s important you see the Forum and Palatine Hill as well as the Colosseum, and with an audio tour of these three you’ll spend perhaps a half to full day in this area for about half the cost of the Roma Pass. The Vatican is NOT included in the Pass so our 2.5 Rome days involved only one where we used the Pass. We DID get to skip a huge line at Colosseum but I think we could have done that with the combo ticket you get at Palatine Hill or Forum area where lines are likely to be much shorter.

“We decided to buy the ‘Roma Pass’ which lets you skip lines, get into the Colosseum and stuff, and ride public transportation for free. We picked up the passes in the station for 25 euro each. The kit it’s contained within is well put together, it contains a little map and some tourist information. However, in hindsight we’ve determined it wasn’t worth the cost in our case – mainly since the metro here is cheap, only 1 euro a ticket.”

Buffett vs Krugman: Economic Optimist vs Pessimist

When I hear Paul Krugman -brilliant nobel laureate economist – fret about the economy and global warming I’m always confused by what seem to me to be grossly overstated concerns about both the health of capitalism and the health of the planet in general.    Krugman’s views – to me – seem poisoned by the tendency of smart people to “overthink” problems and “understate” the potential for innovation and technology to rescue people from our foolishness.

A good example of this intellectual defect were the grossly overstated concerns back in the 70s that the earth simply could not sustain the inevitable population increase, and we’d have massive starvation and horrors … by now.       Although it’s VERY important to note how poor many people are in the world, this is NOT at all a function of carrying capacity of the planet and does NOT lead one to the conclusion “don’t feed or they will breed” which is nonsense.  That view is fundamentally naive and misguided and I’m amazed how many people still cling to it – extensive research now makes it crystal clear that the best path to lower birth rates and better quality of life is poverty reduction, education, and health initiatives in the developing world.

But let’s go back to the health of the economy.   Buffet’s the man to listen to, not Krugman: Buffet on Economy

Obviously these are still perilous times, but fretting isn’t called for.    It’s time to fret less and innovate more.   Let’s GO.

The Singularity … will return after this message from our sponsor?

First, note that I’m a big fan of the concept of “The Singularity” and of Ray Kurzweil, the brilliant technological evangelist who is creating a film to introduce the concept, The Singularity is Near. However I find it more than ironic that the film is delayed.    It’s not even clear from the website if it’s out yet – I think screenings at a couple of film festivals went more poorly than expected so I’m (wildly guessing) they are making some changes before widespread distribution.    But in any case it was supposed to be out in 2009 and it’s not even out yet.

Nitpicky?   To some extent yes, but I think a major  challenge for the pro-singularity, pro-technology movement is that despite the brilliance of many advocates, we need to see a lot less talk and a lot more action.    Skeptics reasonably point to a history of failed promises of artificial intelligence, where advocates like Kurzweil reasonably counter-note that you can’t call these major shots to the exact date, that there is every indication processing power will equal human brainpower very soon, and that technology is clearly advancing in exponential  fashion – basically  that technological progress over the last year is far greater than that of the preceding year and we can expect this accelerating rate of technological progress to continue.

Still, it’s conspicuous when somebody insisting that “The Singularity is Near”  can’t get the movie launched in the year it was supposed to be out.    Perhaps, Ray, your timeframes are too optimistic?   I sure hope not, because I’m rooting for the singularity ASAP, but ….


Invictus by William Ernest Henley (1849–1903)

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.