A Shooting Star

Samsung Galaxy Edge 6 Plus, Part 2

Edge6plus on Alki Shirt cropped

The S6 Edge+ on the celestial backdrop of an Alki Tee

I’m among the legion of baby boomers who have chosen iPhone for its ease of use, clean design, reliability and impeccable craftsmanship. The iPhone is a symbol of prestige, too. They’re expensive. Having the latest and greatest iPhone says, “I can afford it.”

iPhone isn’t just for boomers—it appeals to everyone. The millennials in my life, all now earning solid incomes, love their iPhones. I’ve seen a group them influence a lone Android user to switch.

So, how can an Apple fangirl learn to love “Android?” 

I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy 6 Edge Plus (S6 Edge+) for about two months. I was able to “get on board” quickly after an initial adjustment to the user interface, and the more I use it, the more I like it.

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Edge notifications save your battery

I’m spoiled by some of the conveniences, like the notification feed on the S6 Edge+ screen (visible without opening my phone), or the bar along the top displaying icons for emails, messages or updates. With a simple wipe down from the top of the screen, it opens small summaries that I can select and open, or swipe out of the way.

And even the keyboard seems friendlier. I don’t have to toggle to access numbers, and emojis are easily accessible. Predictive text  is automatically on, and I like how the device seems to learn from my activity what I might say, or which hashtags I might use. Some people hate predictive text, but it works for me. If you don’t like it, you can easily disable this feature.

A great comparison of the Apple and Samsung devices can be found here.

The S6 Edge+ camera is amazing.

The image resolution on the S6 Edge+ is 16 megapixel (MP) and it shoots video in 4K.

What does 16 MP mean? 16 megapixels captures twice the amount of visual information compared to an iPhone 6. Why should you care about the “pixel depth,” or the amount of megapixels?  For one, it allows you to capture enough information so you can enlarge and crop a picture and still retain sharpness. It gives you more room to play around with the photos you shoot.

More MP also enables the image quality to be closer to the quality of film. More MP makes it possible to blow up an image and to turn into a large print or poster, retaining crispness.

The beautiful high definition display has 3.6 times more pixels than the iPhone 6.

Its clarity is stunning. When our youngest son stopped by few weeks ago, it was the first thing he noticed when he picked up and inspected the S6 Edge+.

And as I mentioned in my earlier post, the screen casting feature works fantastically! Screen casting means you can share what’s on your phone onto a smart TV. That means it’s large enough for everyone to enjoy. (How to mirror)

Edge6plus camera settings cropped

Menu of some of the options available

More great features for the taking

Object tracking autofocus will follow what you’re shooting and keep it in focus as it moves; and optical image stabilization will keep your image steady. Anyone with active kids or grandkids will really appreciate these two features when shooting video.

Virtual shot is cool, too. You can shoot a stationary object by circling it, and get a dimensional view of it. Wild!

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Virtual Shot captures an amazing 360 degree view

With the holidays quickly approaching, I’m sure some great deals can be found on the S6 Edge+. The regular retail price is $768 (slightly more than the iPhone 6s Plus at $749.99). But you get an awful lot of bang for your buck, including Samsung Pay.

Samsung Pay

You can leave your credit cards at home when you use Samsung Pay. it uses your fingerprint to identify you, so it’s very secure. It didn’t take me long to get into the habit of using it because it’s super easy and convenient. Samsung Pay is accepted by more merchants than Apple Pay. and works well with older retail credit card terminals.

It’s fun it is to see the raised eyebrows from merchants who totally don’t expect it to work. Two days ago I went into Walgreens, and the cashier tried to get me to hold the phone up against the NFC receiver. I simply held the phone over the credit card swipe area, and Voila! He just sighed and said technology is changing so quickly—it’s hard to keep up!

So I hope this post is helpful. Leave a shout here if you have questions about this device, and if I can’t answer them, I’ll find someone who can!

As Samsung says, it’s not a phone—it’s a galaxy.


Verizon Wireless has given me the opportunity to use some of their products.

More about Terri:

Experiencing Life on the Edge

David with Edge 6 Plus cropped

I think I’ve mentioned, my husband is somewhat of a neo-Luddite. So when I handed him the new Samsung Edge 6 plus (S6 Edge+) to take with him to our Randle property on AirBNB, he offered a pained expression that said, “Oh, no. This is new. I don’t like it.”

We sat down and I recorded his fingerprint before he left Seattle. He didn’t understand WHY, but went through the drill. Well acquainted with entering a password to get into a device, he thought it was pretty cool when he found out he could unlock the phone by simply using his fingerprint!

The fingerprint sensor that works so perfectly on the iPhone is now also working perfectly on the S6 Edge+! Yay! (Though it is an outstanding device, the Galaxy Note 4 fingerprint sensor was tempermental.)

There are many cool things about the S6 Edge+, which by the way, is the first Android phone I’ve used that I actually LOVE.

First, the “edge” in the name refers to the rounded sides of its elegant front face. It’s not just pretty. It feels nice in your hand. It feels luxurious.

The device feels light, but sturdy.

The “edge” on the S6 Edge+ is beautiful industrial design, but actually offers functionality. It saves power because you can access information, notifications and important contacts without drawing energy to light the entire display. The most obvious thing: the Night Clock quietly displays the date, time and battery power left in the phone. Very convenient! Also, you can set it so the edge will silently light up when messages or notifications arrive.

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How do you read notifications along the edge? At first I didn’t think it would be practical or useful. But if you swipe your finger back and forth along the edge three times, it brings up the clock, but also offers news, comments on posts or whatever you adjust to appear in the feed—again without lighting the entire screen. Very cool!

Another great thing is the “tabs.” I set it up the “people” edge, that lists my favorite people (including family members and Reg Saddler @zaibatsu) and the “apps” edge, which currently includes Google Play Music, email, AirBNB, Instagram and my photo gallery.

People and App edge

I’ve always used iTunes for music, but at Reg’s urging a few years ago, I synced my music library with Google Play. And am I glad I did! With the Google Play “Music” app, you can set it to create a station based on a favorite song in your library. My mind was blown when it delivered a ton of great, NEW music I’d never heard before—truly stunning discoveries!

The 16MP back camera is great, and the 5MP front camera is solid. When the S6 Edge+ is asleep, simply tap the home button twice to open the camera. By clicking the arrow at the top of the screen, the in-context explanations of various features are easily understood and accessible. Tap again to collapse the information. Swipe the main screen from left to right to reveal options like pro settings, panorama mode, virtual shot, selective focus and other features, including “Live Cast.”

Similar to Meerkat or Periscope (sans social integration), Live Cast, lets you post the video to YouTube for later viewing.

Oh, and it’s easy to take a screenshot on the S6 Edge+. Just hold down the “home” and power lock keys simultaneously.

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One of the most fun features is “casting.” If you have a smart TV where the phone and TV are on the same wifi network, you can play whatever you’re watching on your phone onto the TV screen. And I’ve learned you can reverse the process—having something from the TV appear on your phone. It was really fun to be in the University Village Verizon “Smart Store Plus” in Seattle, and broadcast the time lapse video of Jimmy Kimmel’s NY set being built, onto a big screen across the room.

Taking on Apple Pay, Samsung has integrated Samsung Pay into theS6 Edge+ and Galaxy Note 5. It allows you to load your debit or credit cards and use the magnetic credit card swiper on credit card terminals.

No, your phone doesn’t go through the swiper! But it magically communicates via uniquely created tokens for each transaction. At our store we have a new chip-and NFC-compatible card swiper, but Samsung Pay actually works with old-school credit card swipers, even if your phone is in an Otter Box case!

Once you’ve loaded Samsung Pay and connected a credit card, a translucent tab appears at the bottom of your home screen. At any time you can swipe up and instantly use your credit card by scanning your fingerprint.

UPDATE: 10/31/15—I used Samsung Pay at the veterinarian’s office today. They use Square. It worked FLAWLESSLY and the other animal owners in the reception area were amazed. The staff gushed, “We’ve never seen that before!” It was awesome! NOTE: it does “not” work with credit card swipers built into a keyboard or monitor—(does it, Elena?)

The S6 Edge+, with its 5.7″ screen, is a terrific entertainment device, but with its split-screen functionality, makes it a great business tool as well. Imagine being able to have two windows open, and do “live’ drag-and-drop from one window into the next. Very sweet!

There are myriad other great things about this phone. I’ve just scratched the surface, and continue to discover new features that are mind boggling. I can honestly say, as a 3-decade-plus Mac user, and dedicated iPhone user, this is a terrific device that I think many iPhone users could easily come to love. I know I have, and I’d say that even if Verizon hadn’t sent this product for me to experience.


Until November 15, 2015, you can receive a free wireless charging pad (value: $49.95), by loading Samsung Pay on your and connecting it to one payment source! I went through the process, and Samsung promptly sent an email to verify some information. It was a piece of cake!

Free Charging pad

Eligible devices include the Edge6, S6 Edge+, Galaxy Note 5, and Galaxy 6 on Verizon, ATT, T-Mobile, Sprint and US Cellular. Connectable cards include American Express; and Visa and Mastercard issued by banks listed in the above offer.

Claim Forms must be submitted by 11:59:59 PM ET on November 15, 2015 to be valid


Photos shot with the Samsung Edge 6 Plus and Samsung Galaxy Note 4. 

More about Terri:

Racing Bigfoot in the Shadow of Mount St. Helens

Joe Galioto

Imagine running a 200+ mile race in four days, over impossible terrain, with only six hours of sleep.

Some of us think our jobs feel like that!

But in fact, this is exactly what Joe Galioto did, along with 58 other athletes who completed the Bigfoot 200, an extreme endurance run that traversed Mount St. Helens in Washington State.

When Susan Galioto inquired about our AirBNB property in Lewis County, Washington, it was a head scratcher. Based in New Jersey, she wanted to reserve the house for nine days, but for about half the time, it would be empty. She then told me the reason: her husband was coming to participate in The Bigfoot 200, and for the duration of the race, he would be on or near Mount St. Helens, one of the most active volcanos in America.

I did some checking and found out some interesting facts about Bigfoot 200:

  • Just under 50,000 feet (15,240 meters) of ascent
  • More than 96,000 feet of elevation change
  • 203.8 miles long, non-stop, point-to-point
  • Start: Mount St. Helens in the Cascade Mountains; Finish: Randle, WA in the Big Bottom Valley.

When asked if there any races as long or difficult as the Bigfoot 200, race director Candice Burt responded, “Yes. There is the Tahoe 200 and Colorado 200, and other difficult races that are even longer or have extreme weather, like snow or heat. [But] it is my opinion that the Bigfoot 200 is the most difficult 200-miler in the United States.”

Prior to a reservation, it’s important to communicate with our AirBNB guests in real life or by phone. It helps us anticipate issues that may arise, but in addition, it’s a chance to get to know interesting people like Joe and Susan whom we’d otherwise never have a chance to meet. As the race time was growing closer, we nailed down the logistics of getting them the keys and directions, and I mentioned that there is no cell phone service beyond the town of Morton except for Verizon. Fortunately, like us, they were Verizon customers.

The Horsfall House is a 100 year-old farmhouse filled with a sweet spirit.

My husband, David Horsfall, and I purchased the property 25 years ago, when we realized our two young sons were growing up in the city, and had no experience playing in the woods, building fires and doing things that we did when we were kids. There are trails running through the 22 acres of forest, and there are meadows surrounding the house, which is just a few minutes from the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. It’s an easy drive to Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens, and a great place to get acquainted with nature.

A couple of days before the race, Joe flew into Seattle, then drove two hours to Randle to familiarize himself with the area, and to train and explore. He arrived at the property on September 4th and described his first reaction:

When I first drove up the drive and parked by the house and got out of the car, I felt this incredible surge of energy and emotion, I felt like I belonged there.  Not sure if you’ve ever had an experience like this, but it is powerful.  I didn’t even go in, I just walked around the property, the house and to the shed and then finally the front porch where I entered.  It was like I was revisiting a place I had been before and I was just walking around checking to see that everything was the way I remembered.

Before I unpacked the car, I called Sue and asked if there was any way she and the boys could fly out, I knew it was crazy and far-fetched (but hey, running 205 miles in the mountains was somewhat far-fetched too) – I just felt like I was “home” and they should be there. That they would love this house and property as much as I did, and I was only there for five minutes. 

Whenever he is asked how he trains, his typical response is “run lots,” which is funny and obvious, and not far from the truth.

He is a NASM-certified personal trainer, USAC cycling coach, and RRCA running coach, but stresses that regardless of events he enters (and the required training), the needs of his family take priority.

About his preparation, Joe says,

“I make up workouts that don’t require as much time, but attempt to duplicate the same stress my body would be feeling late in a race. Additionally, strength-training, back-to-back training runs and strategic races such as the “Running with the Devil,”  hosted by the NJ Trail Series, which consists of running 1.5 miles up-and-down a ski slope for 12 hours, all play a role, but most important of all is mindset — I’m a firm believer that with the proper training and a positive mindset, you can achieve your goals.”  

Joe reached the “downtown” Randle area early Sunday morning, and as he walked fast towards the White Pass High School finish line, many people driving by slowed down to say “hello” or congratulate him. He saw the race director, Candice Burt, along with members of her team; photographers; runners who finished earlier; friends he’d met only days before — all clapping and cheering. He continued to fast-walk until the final turn. Filled with feelings of pride, euphoria and gratitude, following a grueling four-day challenge, he began to run. Arms pumping, knees high, he sprinted the last 100 meters and crossed the finish line with his hands in the air. There was never a doubt!

Before heading back to New Jersey, Joe had several hours before he needed to get to the airport. So he made a trip to Alki Surf Shop where David and I were working that day.

Selfie of Joe, Terri and David at Alki Surf Shop in Seattle, WA

Selfie of Joe, Terri and David at Alki Surf Shop in Seattle, WA

Hearing about Joe’s connection to our home, and the exhaustion, hallucinations, and pushing himself to extreme limits to reach the end, was amazing and awe-inspiring. David and I felt fortunate to meet him, and honored to play a small part in such a remarkable achievement.

The finishers:

http://www.ultralive.net/bigfoot200/webcast.php

Joe’s path:

Joe Galioto Bigfoot 200 map

A Spot satellite tracker enabled family and friends to track Joe’s progress

The course was out of cell phone range, so it was critical to be able to have a way of letting others know his location. Joe wore a Spot satellite tracker, which enabled family and friends to track his progress, and if he had needed it, provide emergency responders a way of finding him.  Each dot in the photo represented his location. If you see it on the web site, you would see tailed information (such as time of day) when mousing over the dots.

Mount St. Helens crater

Joe approached the Johnson Observation area just prior to sunset, and was treated to the beautiful sight of the Mount St. Helens crater, awash in alpenglow.

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Unexpected beauty along the race path

Along the Lower Falls section of the Lewis River (approximately 110 miles into the race), the view of the waterfalls was just incredible.

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Traversing boulders

The first section of the race ended in Blue Lake 12 miles away, but required an awesome traverse of the Mount St. Helens’ blast zone boulder field.

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Fixed ropes to scale a steep wall

Climbing out of the canyon and heading towards Windy Pass (approximately 20 miles into the race), required the use of a fixed rope to scale the very steep incline.

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And as for Bigfoot? He wasn’t spotted.

Photos and captions by Joe Galioto


I Lost My Android Phone! Help!

SGNOTE4- Alt_© Terri Nakamura 2015 IMG_0012

Have you ever had that sick feeling when your Android phone goes missing?

It happened to me!

After a day of work, errands and the usual rigamarole, following dinner, my husband and I settled in for an hour of TV. That’s when I process and post my Instagram photos that were shot during that day.

When I went to grab my Samsung Galaxy Note 4, it was not to be found!

Hmmm. I looked through my office, my car, and the usual places in our house, then started to quietly freak out. Where is my phone?!

Tried to call it — nothing. But I distinctly remember having it here when I got home this afternoon. Weird!

If you’ve linked your Android to Google, you’re in luck. I used the My Timeline link (https://www.google.com/maps/timeline) on Google to retrace my steps. I wanted to see where in the world my phone could be:

My Timeline August 4, 2015

It’s interesting, but a ton of people must lose their Androids. If you type “I lost my Android phone” into Google, you’ll get something like this:

I lost my Android - Google

When you sign in, Google gently urges you to have a back up phone designated to receive 2-step verification (if you’ve set it up that way)

Don't get locked out

After you sign into Google with your password, Google will attempt to contact your phone. You can choose to have it can ring your phone at full volume for 5 minutes to help you find it. The only thing is, in order to do that, your phone’s battery needs to have some juice. Mine was dead, dead, dead.

So I selected the option to lock my phone, put a message on the lock screen, then changed the password. Pretty cool you can do all of this from your computer. You also have the option to erase your phone, or change the name of the device. Since I was PRETTY sure it was in my house, I didn’t want to erase the phone. I hadn’t backed up the contents for a week, so I would’ve lost some photos.

Ring, Lock, Erase

During the 3 days my phone was missing, I checked the location each day and saw that it hadn’t moved, and I also saw that the phone hadn’t been re-charged or turned on. Yep, Google can tell!

Contacting my phone

Google says the phone location is accurate to 33 feet, and it’s not kidding. So I had to believe the phone was someplace in my home. But where? I thought I’d looked everywhere.

As an added measure to make sure the phone couldn’t be used, I had Verizon suspend the service but continue billing. If you suspend service and maintain billing, there’s no penalty. But if you suspend service and billing, for each day service is suspended, you add 1 month to your current contract.  www.verizonwireless.com/support/suspend-service-faqs/

VZW suspend service

When you suspend your phone service, Verizon will send you an email verifying you’ve requested to do so. Included in the email is a link to reactivate it — super convenient!

So, how did I find my phone?

The first half of the week, after an epic run of hot weather, it had finally cooled down. So I’d been wearing black skinny jeans and black socks with my Arcopedicos.

I don’t know what other people do, but I keep my sports socks in a separate drawer.

On the day I found my phone, Seattle was back to hot, sunny weather. It was time to break out the shorts and tennis shoes! That meant I needed some low socks!

When I opened the drawer, lo and behold…

Samsung in the sock drawer © Terri Nakamura

I activated the link on the Verizon email and the phone was back online in a few minutes.

It was freaky being without my Samsung Galaxy Note 4 for so long. I take it with me everywhere, because it’s the best camera I’ve seen on a smart phone.

I hope this article will help you in case you find yourself in this predicament!

Happy ending for me. I hope it is for you, too!


Alki Surf Shop: http://www.alkisurfshop.com

Terri Nakamura on Twitter: https://twitter.com/terrinakamura

Alki Surf Shop on Twitter: https://twitter.com/AlkiSurfShop

The Horsfall House on AirBNB: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1229224

More from Terri Nakamura: http://seattledesigner.blogspot.com/

Up in the AirBNB

Randle at sunset

The Horsfall House in the afternoon sun

The Doors sang, “People are strange, when you’re a stranger.” But since we put our country house on AirBNB, the people we’ve met have been anything but strange.

AirBNB is to lodging what Uber is to cars for hire. As of early January of 2015, it had booked more than 25 million reservations in 92 countries.

Our vacation home is in the insanely beautiful Cascade Mountain area of Washington State. We hadn’t been using it very much because of the work we were doing on our new retail store, Alki Surf Shop, in West Seattle. So we thought it made sense to let other people take advantage of it. The listing was begun in 2013, but wasn’t activated it until last fall when a friend enquired about renting our house. It seemed like it was as good a time as any to give it a try.

Before creating our listing, I did some research to see what kinds of properties were available in the area, how they were priced, and what kinds of amenities they included. Then I began the process of collecting images of our home, and writing descriptions, with the goal being 1) honest representations and 2) highlighting the positive attributes.

Among the tools we’ve used to create and manage our presence, the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 has been great. Not only is the AirBNB app terrific, the Note 4 has enabled me to document changes in our house and share them on the site. Here are a few new ones:

Kitchen

A peek at the kitchen

Kitchen Nook

Looking into the breakfast nook

Living Room

The living room has a sleeper sofa that sleeps two

You can see, the quality of the photos are as good or better than most point-and-shoot pocket digital cameras! That’s because the camera on the Note 4 is amazing!

Toward dining room

Looking into the dining room from the living room

Verizon is the only carrier we have found to provide reliable service in Randle, Washington. We heard from one group who said they were able to get a signal on AT&T and to a lesser degree, T-Mobile, but the last time we were there (a week ago) AT&T at least, was zilch. Honestly, I don’t know what we’d do without Verizon. It has been our lifeline to the outside world.

My real-life bestie has using AirBNB in her travels, and has found some amazing places in the U.S. and abroad. I’d also heard of VRBO (Vacation rentals by owner), but felt more confident in AirBNB because of my friend’s personal (and positive) experiences.

I’m am AirBNB novice, but I’ve found ample support, both within the host communities, and from AirBNB itself. Each time I’ve had a question or issue, AirBNB has answered within 24 hours. The communities are even faster. Post a concern, and BOOM, help is there.

The experience has been largely positive, and we’ve learned through guest feedback, how to make our home even more hospitable. We’ve met people from far-off lands, as well as those from our own back yard. We discovered we share mutual IRL friends with one of our guests. Several people in another group work at a very popular restaurant here in Seattle, The Whale Wins, listed by Bon Appetit as one of the top 10 new restaurants in the U.S. in 2013. We enjoyed them so much, I made it a point to take our extended family there when we celebrated my birthday earlier this month. And trust me when I say the food was fabulous!

So how are a country house, AirBNB, a Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and an award-winning restaurant connected?

Through great technology and with help from Verizon.


AirBNB: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/1229224

Alki Surf Shop: http://alkisurfshop.com/

Terri Nakamura: https://twitter.com/terrinakamura

Alki Surf Shop: The Store Verizon Helped Build

A mini Statue of Liberty near the birthplace of Seattle

A mini Statue of Liberty near the birthplace of Seattle

Many people think of Verizon simply as a telecommunications company. But it’s much more. Because of its unique lens on its customer’s needs, it enables people to create, build, communicate and connect in ways you might not imagine.

After months of planning and renovation, in July we opened the legendary Alki Surf Shop in Seattle, home of original Alki-branded clothing and accessories.

Alki Surf Shop is a dream come true for both my husband and me. We’ve created a unique, fun and inviting experience in the Alki Beach neighborhood of West Seattle.

Beside the great “Genuine Alki”-branded clothing we’ve designed and produced locally, we identified and filled a need: There wasn’t a resource on the beach that offered essential things like towels, mats, sunscreen and other “oops, we forgot” items.  And we realized there isn’t a central source providing information on local businesses and services, so we started a bulletin board featuring business cards, menus and schedules to help support our neighbors, while at the same time helping visitors to the beach..

Tees, tanks and hoodies with the Alki Genuine brand.

Tees, tanks and hoodies with the Alki Genuine brand.

Colorful beach towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach mats, flip flops and more are available to beach visitors.

Colorful beach towels, sunscreen, sunglasses, beach mats, flip flops and more are available to beach visitors.

Also, there wasn’t a place on the beach that focused on Alki souvenirs, which is crazy since Alki is a “must see” destination in Seattle. People frequently tell us it feels more like southern California or Hawaii than a metropolitan city. In addition to the wonderful people we’ve met in our neighborhood, just this past week we had visitors from France, Germany, Finland, Denmark, Japan, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, The Dominican Republic, and states from all across the country.

Our first visitors from Germany and Arkansas

Our first visitors from Germany and Arkansas

Alki Surf Shop offers a clean, beautiful and inviting shopping experience with a friendly “island vibe.” We receive a lot of great comments in our guest book, and love the suggestions we receive from customers who help guide us as we add new products to our shelves. When a customer makes a purchase, they are treated like “Hawaiian royalty” by David, who blows a conch shell with a shout out to thank them. It makes for lots of laughter and applause.

From early in our journey, the Nokia Lumia Icon smartphone, and Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet played important roles. They allowed us to connect with, and stay on top of, correspondence with suppliers, manage our inventory, and source, as well as coordinate the procurement of important building materials. They were literally lifelines for us!

© Terri Nakamura Sweet! Nokia Lumia Icon and 2520

Verizon’s Nokia Lumia Icon smartphone and the Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet.

By storing important documents in the cloud, everyone with authority to share the files is able to access and update them using the 2520. The tablet is housed in a durable case with a built-in keyboard and touchpad—both beautifully designed for aesthetics and functionality. And it folds compactly for storage. And we often use the Icon to power the music in the store, or to take photos and videos of our visitors.

In addition to the Icon and 2520, we have Verizon cell-phone signal booster, and a Belkin HD Net Cam — essentials needed for staying connected.

© Terri Nakamura  Belkin Netcam HD for Alki Surf Shop Seattle

The awesome Belkin Netcam HD plus helps us monitor activity in the store, day and night.

The Belkin HD Net Cam offers amazing peace of mind. There are five sensitivity ranges for motion detection from “lowest” to “highest,” and depending on the setting chosen, we are sent alerts of movement in a given area, allowing us to immediately see and hear what is happening. There is also an option to store recorded video on a subscription cloud service. The night vision feature let’s us look in on the store at any time, which is amazing and cool.

Two other great add-on tools from Verizon include the Jawbone Era, a very small, light and comfortable headset, which makes it possible to talk, hands-free, while performing other work.

The second is the Jawbone Up Activity Tracker, which is basically a bracelet that monitors your movement. Since we began the process of building the store, it’s required so much in the way of physical exertion (demolition, stripping surfaces, scraping, speckling, sanding, painting, finishing, etc.), that I’ve lost 12 pounds! It’s been great to have the Jawbone Tracker as a positive reinforcer!

© Terri Nakamura  Jawbone ERA and Jawbone UP cropped

Terrific gadgets including the Jawbone UP and Jawbone ERA have enhanced the process.

It may take a village to raise a child, but it took Verizon to help our business get up and running. Thank you to @theonlinemom and #vzwbuzz for helping make our dream come true.


Follow us on Twitter: @alkisurfshop; Friend us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/alkisurfshop or visit us at the store in Seattle, located at 2622 Alki Avenue SW, Seattle, WA 98116 near 59th and Alki Avenue SW. (206) 403.1901.

© Terri Nakamura Dashboard hula girl Alki Surf Shop Seattle

One of three dashboard hula girls you can find at Alki Surf Shop in Seattle.

#MoreNorCal with Verizon in San Francisco

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 The inspiring view of the San Francisco Bay Bridge with Cupid’s Bow by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen in the foreground.

Last week I had an amazing opportunity to spend three days in San Francisco as part of a 30-member group invited to attend the Verizon Brand Influencer’s Summit. The weather was beautiful and we all stayed in the Hyatt on Embarcadero, so it was a bit like an adult-geek summer camp!

What is a brand influencer?

Brand influencers are people who engage audiences on behalf of a company, product or service. From my standpoint, my personal reputation is at stake, so whatever I say or do in regard to Verizon can be counted upon to be authentically my personal opinion.

I’ve been a Verizon customer for more than a decade, so I’m a long-time consumer and supporter of the company. People have asked (and assumed) I receive payment for my tweets, posts and tagged content, but Verizon doesn’t pay me anything. I’ve received phones and tech gadgets, and have never been given ultimatums such as, “You must write about this product and endorse it.” Ethically, I won’t say something good unless it is.

What happened at the summit?

So many great things happened during the summit. From the moment my first Uber driver picked me up at the Oakland airport and dropped me off at the Hyatt, I knew I was in store for something very special. Meeting many long-time virtual friends from social media was truly exciting. Having experts from Verizon, Microsoft and Nokia introduce to us new technology was mind bending. And learning about Verizon’s exemplary global citizenship initiatives made me feel proud. In case you aren’t aware, The Verizon Foundation focuses on energy management, education and health care. You can learn more about them by checking out this link: http://www.verizonfoundation.org. I was truly inspired and impressed by their work.

We also were allowed to tour Verizon’s “Solutions Zone,” where new products as well as products still in development were on display. It was a rare opportunity to explore Verizon’s inner sanctum, and especially to access technology that is not yet released to market. Cameras, networking equipment, robots and even a soft-drink refrigerator with an illuminated, transparent, animated glass door. The Verizon Solutions Zone is a tech wonderland.

Five favorite Verizon moments

1.
Meeting Monica Villa, Sara Hawkins and Ann Tran. I’ve been wanting to meet Ann for years, and found her to be a lovely person. She’s pretty, petite, and fun. Monica is VZWBuzz’s fearless leader. She makes everything happen, and is fun, smart and kindsome of my favorite qualities. Sara and I became acquainted through Twitter and Instagram. She’s as warm and genuine as I knew she would be!

There were six #BA75 (www.bitrebels.com/social/twitters-top-75-badass-women/) sisters in attendance. Beside Ann, Sara and me, there was Joyce Cherrier, Misty Belardo and Gina Stark. It rocked!

#BA75 women in attendance included L-R: Terri Nakamura, Misty Belardo, Joyce Cherrier, Ann Tran, Gina Stark and Sara Hawkins

#BA75 women in attendance included L-R: Terri Nakamura, Misty Belardo, Joyce Cherrier, Ann Tran, Gina Stark and Sara Hawkins

2.
Our first dinner together at La Mar was delicious and fun. La Mer is a popular Peruvian seafood restaurant, beautifully situated overlooking San Francisco’s waterfront. Before dinner, we had a chance to mingle and introduce ourselves. Gina Stark and Chris Rauschnot were to my right and left during dinner. Each course was more amazing than the one before it.

3.
The first full day at the Verizon Innovation Center was exciting. The space is modern and inviting and the event was perfectly organized, complete with a full agenda, name placards, microphones, and plenty of great food and drink

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Receiving a new Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet along with a KILLER case with built-in keyboard was a mind-blowing. I’m writing this blog post with it, as it comes loaded with the Office suite, including WORD! Beside a full keyboard, the case also has a built-in track pad. Compact and light, it’s a beautifully designed piece of technology, functioning very much the same as a laptop. Another bonus: a Nokia wireless charging plate for our Lumia Icons. It is absolutely fantastic!

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4.
The second day, just when we thought it couldn’t get better, Verizon gave us an “Up24” and “ERA” by Jawbone, and the Roadster 2 in-car Bluetooth speaker. I returned to Seattle with a bulging suitcase to a boatload of work, so some of the gadgets haven’t yet been used. But let me say I’ve really looking forward to trying them!

WP_20140521_08_59_37_Pro

5.
At the end of the second day, the group scattered. But I enjoyed some great hang time with Gina Stark in the Hyatt lobby, where we were later joined by Ann Tran, Chris Fleury and Calvin Lee. A terrific cap to this superb experience was being able to see my college roommate, Barbara Lloyd, who was able to rearrange her schedule so she could visit for an hour. Seeing her was the icing on my favorite red velvet cake!

Barb and Terri  2

The Verizon Influencers Summit was a rare opportunity to view Verizon from the inside. I don’t imagine most people know how hard they work to integrate meaningful technology into the lives of their customers, employees, and the world at large. Learning about their public service initiatives painted a picture of how we wish all companies would behave. The gathering gifted us with the opportunity to solidify long-time connections and forge new ones. When the second Uber driver picked me up and we drove across the new Bay Bridge, I looked back at a very special experience. Thank you, Monica, for making it happen.


Visual scrapbook

Leaving Seattle © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140519

Checked my flight at Seattle Tacoma International Airport

In the plane © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140519

The plane was packed! I was so lucky because a woman I was chatting with had priority boarding (I was in the last group). She saved me a seat in the third row!

In my Uber Car © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140519

I can’t lie—I love Über. As we crossed the Bay Bridge into San Francisco, the driver pointed out the old bridge (to the left).

Welcome to the Hyatt © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140519

Finally arriving at the Hyatt on Embarcadero, I was greeted by a dapper doorman

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My room was on the 10th floor. Here is the view looking down into the lobby.

LaMar Menu © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140519

Dinner at La Mar was amazing! You can imagine a huge table of social media aficionados, all taking photos of the food with their Nokia Lumia Icons!

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Arriving at the Verizon Innovation Center after a brisk walk from the Hyatt.

VZW Summit first day © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140520

Getting settled before the presentations began.

Lumia2520 and more © Terri Nakamura_

Did we really receive new tablets?

Launching Lumia 2520 © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140520Excitement as we installed apps on our new Nokia Lumia 2520 tablets!

VZW Demo © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140520

The presenters were knowledgable and helpful, wanting to make sure they answered all of our questions.

Solutions-Zone-Terri-Nakamura-WP-20140521Video Camera © Terri Nakamura _WP_20140520

We saw a lot of cool new products in the Verizon Solutions Zone.

Leaving SF © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140521

Heading back across the bay to Oakland

Back In Seattle © Terri Nakamura_WP_20140521

Back to Seattle, greeted by traffic!

 

The Enduring Legacy of The Kingsmen—Part 1

At the time, they didn’t know it would change the music world, and their lives, forever.

Interviewing current and former Kingsmen members Dick Peterson, Steve Peterson and Barry Curtis, as well as Hollywood Walk of Fame DJ, Brien Bierne, wasn’t just fascinating—it was fun. They talked to me about The Kingsmen, “Louie Louie,” and how it all began more than 50 years ago.

Francis Ford Coppola once said art depends on luck and talent. For the legendary Kingsmen, it involved luck and talent, but timing as well. Dick Peterson, one of the band’s early drummers, is quick to admit The Kingsmen’s rocket to fame was the result of the perfect musical storm.

In the early 1960s, rockabilly stars from the 1950s were still churning out hits. But the early 1960s also ushered in new and eclectic sounds ranging from novelty songs to musical styles including folk, doo wop, rhythm and blues, surf and Motown. Of that time, Peterson, “The fan focus was shifting from individuals like Elvis, Fabian and Frankie Avalon to an era of bands.’”

As the musical scene was evolving, former disc jockey Brien Beirne, sees one event as a major catalyst. “In fall of ’63 when The Kingsmen came out with ‘Louie Louie,’ a very interesting thing happened that I think changed everything musically,” he reflects. “It was the death of President John F. Kennedy. Everybody was looking for an escape. It was such a horrific, devastating moment, and I believe it opened the door to lots of new sounds. The Kingsmen were part of the wave that represented escapism for the youth of the day.”

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Louie Louie 45 RPM © 2006 Richard Peterson

So, in April 1963, when five young guys in Portland, Oregon, recorded an audition tape to land a gig on a cruise ship, they were unprepared for what was about to come.

The Kingsmen’s version of “Louie Louie” was popular in the Portland area, where it enjoyed cross-pollination by local KISN AM rock DJ, Ken Chase. Chase also financed the $36 needed to produce the demo destined to become the iconic hit single, and hosted The Kingsmen as the house band in his teen nightclub, The Chase. Beirne, who was a teenager in the Portland area at the time, remembers it being such a hot ticket “that it didn’t matter how many pimples you had—if you could get a table for you and your date at The Chase, you were ‘golden’ for the evening.”

The band enjoyed success and played packed houses, but it wasn’t until Boston’s most popular DJ, Arnie Ginsburg, aired the song as “The Worst Record of the Week,” that “Louie Louie” experienced a meteoric surge in popularity. The reason? Unintelligible lyrics had teenagers imagining the words were laced with profanities and descriptions of sexual acts!

They didn’t realize the poor sound recording would be a critical factor in the song’s appeal, but several things came into play:

  • Jack Ely, the lead singer on the recording, had just had his braces adjusted and his mouth was in pain;
  • The sound engineer refused to move any of the microphones nearer to Ely, impacting the clarity of the lyrics; and
  • The band had not tightly rehearsed, which opened the door to spontaneity.

The ambiguous lyrics, the rough sound and energy, and the luck of having Ginsburg spin the song when he did was pure genius, but unplanned. Peterson laughs, “It was very fortunate. Without the controversy, I think The Kingsmen’s version of ‘Louie Louie’ would’ve died.”

To be continued…

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Terri Nakamura is a professional graphic designer who loves social media, music and writing.  Follow her on Twitter: @terrinakamura; Read her blog, Confessions of a Graphic Designer: http://seattledesigner.blogspot.com/ or find her connections: http://about.me/terrinakamura

© 2010-13 Terri Nakamura

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The Enduring Legacy of The Kingsmen—Part 2

“Louie Louie” — under investigation by the F.B.I.

Because of its unpolished sound and edgy rhythm and blues, the song already had huge appeal, but questions surrounding the song lyrics fueled its momentum. As the controversy grew, the song was banned on many radio stations, and prohibited entirely in the state of Indiana. Of course, this meant the song was destined to take off in a big way. A concerned parent wrote to then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy, complaining the lyrics were obscene, and eventually an official inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation was launched. Was “Louie Louie” really corrupting the youth of the day?

J. Edgar Hoover, head of the FBI, said about the song, “[I] strongly believe that the easy accessibility of such material cannot help but divert the minds of young people into unhealthy channels and negate the wholesome training they have already been afforded by their parents.”

Take a moment to consider what’s on the radio today!

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Letter from the FBI Lab, WA DC. 1965. Printed through the Freedom of Information/Privacy Act, section 202-324-5520

The guys had no inkling of how big a deal it was.  Former keyboard player Barry Curtis remembers, “All I knew was, at one point we had two singles and three LPs on the Billboard Chart at the same time, and The Kingsmen were the number one live touring band in the country.” They were on the road constantly and insulated from the outside world. In fact, it wasn’t uncommon for them to be booked once, often twice, and sometimes even three times in a day, 330 days of the year. And think of how cool it was for a bunch of teens and early 20s guys from Portland, performing with The Beach Boys, The Zombies, The Dave Clark Five, and The Rolling Stones.

They were earning $4000 a night or $6,000 on double days, so even when considering their manager’s 15 percent; 10 percent for their agents, the prestigious William Morris Agency; and hotels and expenses, they were still making more money than any of them could’ve imagined. But it wasn’t like all of the money was ending up in their pockets. The guys drew salaries and were told the rest was “being put away for their retirement.” For context, during the mid-1960s, the minimum wage was $1.25; the average family income was less than $7,000 per year; and you could fill your gas tank for $5.00. They were having the times of their lives.

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“Jolly Green Giant” recording session, Audio Recording, Seattle—1964 Left to right: Jimmy-John, Lynn, Jerry Dennon, Mike, Karney Barton (engineer) © 2006 Richard Peterson

As their fame and popularity grew, so did the FBI investigation. The Federal agents attended every concert, monitoring the band. In spite of the constant surveillance, the guys weren’t concerned until there came a knock on the door in the middle of one night, with someone saying, “This is the FBI and we are going to talk.” That was when everyone realized, for the first time—they might actually be in some trouble.

To be continued…

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Terri Nakamura is a professional graphic designer who loves social media, music and writing.  Follow her on Twitter: @terrinakamura; Read her blog, Confessions of a Graphic Designer: http://seattledesigner.blogspot.com/ or find her connections: http://about.me/terrinakamura

© 2010-13 Terri Nakamura

The Enduring Legacy of The Kingsmen—Part 3

“Louie Louie” — Unintelligible at “any speed”

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The Kingsmen lion logo © 2006 Richard Peterson

After 31 months, it ended in a Federal Communications Commission hearing. There were two possible outcomes.

The first was finding for the plaintiffs. If the song was ruled as obscene, there could be dire consequences for the band. The record would be banned and possibly The Kingsmen could be subjected to fines or worse. Finding for the plaintiffs could’ve also implicated the recording label for engaging in transporting obscene material across state lines.

Or, the judge could find for the defendants.

After listening to the song at every speed, the judge still couldn’t hear anything with certainty. Considering the lack of FBI evidence, and relying on his own ears, he ruled the song “unintelligible at any speed,” and lifted the ban.

The verdict was a triumph because “Louie Louie” began climbing the charts once again, with all rumors about the alleged raunchy lyrics intact. The guys capitalized on the situation under the guise of, “Hey, we got away with it!”

In the spring of 1964, The Kingsmen were touring with the likes of Dionne Warwick, Chad and Jeremy, Peter and Gordon, and famed DJ “Murray the K, aka ‘the Fifth Beatle’” (Murray Kaufman). They were on top of the world. And they were guests on popular shows including American Bandstand, Shindig, Hullabaloo and in the film, “How to Stuff a Wild Bikini,” starring the heartthrob of boys across the U.S., Annette Funicello.

When the British Invasion hit in 1964, its music shared the airwaves with American bands, and instead of being seen as competition, their music was appreciated by everyone, including The Kingsmen, who by then were like ambassadors of American rock. But when the ”psychedelic era” hit mid-decade, the new musical expression reflected a seismic shift in society and culture.

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Actual schedule hand-written by Murray Kaufman, posted backstage for Easter Extravaganza, March 1964 © 2006 Richard Peterson

The decade ended with Woodstock. By that time the guys recognized they weren’t “what’s happening,” and though their popularity waned, their music continued to influence other bands of the day, even laying the groundwork for the “garage band sound.”

Curtis muses, “It all starts somewhere. We were all influenced by other people. It wasn’t so much that we influenced established bands, but we influenced a lot of local bands. Young bands today—they just keep that whole thing going.”

To be continued…

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Terri Nakamura is a professional graphic designer who loves social media, music and writing.  Follow her on Twitter: @terrinakamura; Read her blog, Confessions of a Graphic Designer: http://seattledesigner.blogspot.com/ or find her connections: http://about.me/terrinakamura

© 2010-13 Terri Nakamura