Friday, July 23, 2010

Happy (Follow) Friday: Kristin and her Fabulous Cake

Happy Friday to everyone and a special "Follow Friday" to all those on Twitter. It's a Twitter tradition to recommend some of your own special followers to others in the fast-growing social media site.

My Follow Friday recommendation is to Kristin Slocum who works for Mobility 21 as the transportation advocacy group's communications manager. She is heading up some major initiatives and helping to transform the public face of transportation using both traditional and new media tools.

Aside from her stunning work as a visual communicator and public relations professional, Kristin and husband, Mike, will soon appear in a reality show of their own wedding on The Learning Channel's Fabulous Cakes.

Here is a little slice preview of the behind-the-scenes look at the making of their reality show set to air Aug. 2, featuring the centerpiece of any wedding celebration -- the fabulous cake.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Guest Blog: Lessons Learned as a PR Intern

I asked Elmira Karimzadeh, our intern at the Orange County Transportation Authority and recent graduate of Cal State Fullerton, to share her tips with other interns and their employees.

Elmira is an extraordinary professional -- mature and experienced beyond her years.

She is an active participant of our nationally recognized social media team and spoke on a Gov 2.0 panel with other regional and national experts on how to increase citizen engagement.

Check out this slideshow of her work with service dogs, her visit to Bravo's the Real Housewives of County and this audio interview interupted by reality show star Jeana Keough after an exclusive runway show with pop singer Livi Franc.


After hearing this audio interview with Elmira and checking out her six tips for a successful internship, please let us know what you think and share your own advice.


By Elmira Karimzadeh
Guest blogger  

My nearly two years at OCTA have confirmed my place in public relations.

Although school is valuable and necessary, hands-on experience is priceless. I have evolved from an intimidated third-year PR student to a confident young professional looking forward to my career in communications.

This rewarding journey has been challenging, thrilling and filled with lessons. These are my top six tips to maximize your internship.

1. Every successful writer has a great editor

When your boss critiques your writing, which is inevitable and eye-opening, pay attention. If you are attentive and ask the proper questions, the blood bath that has resulted from the overuse of red ink will mean more than just a bruised ego.

Learn from your mistakes, and be mindful of them with your next writing assignment.

2. Vary your writing -- don’t lose your creative edge
As a public relations professional, you’re a writer. At OCTA, I write a biweekly newsletter, press releases, facts sheets and advertorials, but I write on my off-time too.

Don’t allow your writing to become mechanical. A former professor once advised me not to limit myself to certain writing styles. Practice all writing styles- even those that are not relevant to your line of work.

I will never have to write a poem in my professional life, but that doesn’t stop me from doing so in my personal life.

3. Be proactive
A willingness to do extra work shows enthusiasm and positions you as a “go-getter.” When you have down-time at your internship, ask your supervisor or others in your department if there’s an assignment they need help with.

By asking for more work you showcase your abilities and kind gestures, of any caliber, will not be forgotten.

4. Read, read and read some more
Be informed on current events. Know the trending topics in public relations. Articles in main-stream and trade publications are filled with helpful advice.

Case studies are a useful way to learn from the mistake of others. Being well-versed isn’t just beneficial to you, but it makes for useful small talk with other professionals. It’s a networking icebreaker.

5. Network
Now that you’re caught-up on your morning read, put it to good use by participating in industry networking events.

Networking sessions are useful even if you’re not looking for an employment opportunity. It’s always good to meet other professionals who are contributing to public relations.

6. Continue learning
This next tip applies to life and public relations. Never close-off your mind to learning.

I’m a recent graduate and have much to learn about public relations, but I hope when I’m an experienced veteran – I’ll still be eager to learn about my field.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Next Food Stop: Xanh Bistro July 30

Here is a music slideshow of our next foodie gathering at Xanh Bistro, a little "green" gem on the edge of Little Saigon. It's appropriately located across from Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley.

The restaurant's name also is fitting because "xanh" means green in Vietnamese, and its gourmet food prepared by chef/owner Haley Nguyen blends the freshness of the Southeast Asian cruisine with refined western culinary techniques. Her desserts perfectly showcase her skills.

The lunch is part of our regular Orange County tweetups or better known as twEATup because the emphasis is gathering for good company and great food. The non-hosted event is open to all -- just bring money for your portion for lunch and be ready to share everything and anything that makes you care.

Please RSVP here and feel free to invite anyone for the noon lunchtime gathering for Friday, July 30 at Xanh Bistro, 16161 Brookhurst St. in Fountain Valley. Post any questions or comments on Twitter at the "hashtag" of #OCtwEATup or post them to the blog.

Many of the photos are courtesy of Megan Enloe, a social media consultant and all-around wonderful person who cares about good people and of course good food. And here are some additional links for Xanh Bistro and Yelp reviews.

Live to Eat: Culinary Adventures

Live to Eat: Culinary Adventures

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Celebrating the World's First Social Media Day

I waited until one minute after midnight to post this blog and to shout: "Happy Social Media Day, Wednesday, June 30!"

It's the first global Social Media Day. Followed only by New York City, a gathering in Orange County, Calif. is expected to be the second largest in the U.S. and the fifth largest in the world.
The unique effort by the social media and blogging website Mashable has helped organize approximately 450 "meet-ups" or "tweet-ups" in 74 countries to celebrate the new social world we all now live and work in.
Approximately 300 people are expected to converge upon the Orange County Register's headquarters along with some of Southern California's foremost social media experts who are speaking at 625 N. Grand Ave. in Santa Ana, Calif. from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. (Pacific time)
Speakers and participants include Rochelle Veturis, Jonathan Lansner, Kevin Sablan, Kristin Slocum (who appear in this iReport) as well as Nancy Luna, Dustin Luther, Robert Watson, Morgan Brown, Bryan Elliott, Jim Marks and others. See this link for the full schedule of the afternoon's activities. 
And check out this audioBoo interview of some of the participants sharing a preview of the special opportunity to cultivate new tools and friendships as well as enjoy some great grub. 

Thanks to Nancy Luna of the wildly popular Fast Food Maven blog, Twitter- fueled mobile trucks are serving food in the front lot for the first-of-its-kind gathering of social geeks -- Taco Dawg, Piaggio On Wheels, Calbi, Oh For Sweets Sake and Tropical Shave Ice.
Participants are using the hashtag of #SMdayOC to keep track of the live tweets for the social media event.
Happy Social Media Day -- June 30! But we have a feeling that every day is social media day because these high-tech tools are now integrated into our daily personal and work lives. 

Monday, June 28, 2010

My Prezi Preview for Social Media Day

I'm presenting on national Social Media Day Wednesday, June 30. Hundreds of social media newbies to veterans will converge upon the Orange County Register to learn new tips or further refine their new media tools.

I'm using a cool new tool to display my 10-minute tips on using social media in crisis communications and issues management to hopefully avoid a decade's worth of disaster.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Picture-Perfect Protos: Honoring the Best of PR

I'm a highly competitive person.

And throughout my nearly 20-year career in public relations and communications, I've submitted case studies on projects that not performed exceedingly well in the business world, but also had to meet the highest levels of documented success of the four cornerstones of effective PR -- research, planning, implementation and evaluation.

Watch an interview with John Wayne Airport Spokeswoman Jenny Wedge on the significance of the awards program.

And you can hear an audioBoo interview with PR university students attending the prestigious event for the first time.


This year was no exception as we prepared entries for the annual Protos Awards for the Orange County Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America. But it was a bit different this year. As soon I stepped into the Surf and Sand Resort Hotel in Laguna Beach Friday evening, I knew it was unique.

The regular competitive edge was replaced with friendly smiles and a celebratory note. We were gathered to honor the achievements of our industry. And it was especially meaningful in the current economic recession where harsh financial realities forced all of us to do more with less.

The event emcee, Ric Romero, consumer reporter for ABC7 news, joined veterans in the profession to  pay tribute to award winners in numerous categories and to recognize area university PR students -- Alicia Guiterrez of Cal State Long Beach, Jennifer Nguyen of Cal State Fullerton and Amy Chase of Chapman University -- as Shining Star Scholarship recipients.

As you can see from the above music slideshow, we were among the many honored for our behind-the-scenes dedicated work on behalf of our organization or clients. We took home awards for every one of the entries we submitted, including the only two prizes for social media programs and one for our interactive transportation-focused e-newsletter.

But the highlight of the night was sitting next to and chatting with a PR legend -- John van Barneveld of Public Communications Worldwide -- who won both the Distinguished Service Award for Individual and for Organization. See the video interview taken with my new iPhone 4 with the father-daughter Barneveld team and the TV journalist.

As the night progressed, I found myself cheering for every winner. It wasn't about who collected the most hardware, but a celebration of how much we have progressed as an industry.

The event was special because of the passion of a handful of PR professionals. Please join me in thanking Protos Chairwoman Ricca Silverio of Bock Communicatons and her hard-working team of:

Nicole Hoperich, NDH Creative
Mairim Martinez, Integrated MarketingWorks
Julia Meza, Integrated MarketingWorks

Jocelle Untalan

Laura Figge, Pacific Communications
Rachel Smith, GolinHarris

Teri Sawyer, T&Co.
John Tomaszewski, Marketwire

Jenny Corsey, Westbound Communications
Alexis Linn, GolinHarris

Kate Mossbarger, Global Results Communications
Julie Murphy, Kia

Barbara Ruelas, Global Results Communications

Jill Cagle, Building Industry Association
Courtney Day
Anne McNulty
Molly Smith, PRSSA, Cal State Fullerton

Did you attend the event or experience it via live tweets? What did you think about the event and the recipients of the Protos honors?

I also welcome your thoughts about the future of the PR industry in our fast-changing world of real-time information.

Friday, June 25, 2010

PR Professionals Gathering for Protos Awards in Laguna Beach

Top public relations professionals are gathering for the 35th Protos awards competition for the Orange County Chapter of the American Public Relations Society of America.

It's overcast in beautiful Laguna Beach, Calif. at the luxe Surf and Sand Hotel Resort overlooking the pristine Pacific Ocean.

But Orange County's brightest PR pros are here to celebrate the highest achievement in the industry -- the coveted Protos award. Meaning first in Greek, several hundred people hope to bring home the shinning trophy that symbolizes the best in public relations programs and tactics.

Follow the hashtag on Twitter of #Protos or #OCprsa for real-time updates on the action and who is winning what. We'll have photos, audio and video of the excitement building in Orange County.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

What a (Bizarre) Day!

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you my end-of-the-day expression is: "Oh, what a day!"

For me, it's an exclamation of how productive, dynamic, challenging or  interesting the day was.

Today was more than that. It was just plain bizarre. First, I woke up at 2 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep -- partly because I'm always afraid I'll sleep through my alarm clock before important events.

We had a "Dump the Pump" kickoff event in Fullerton targeting both  morning commuters and the morning news show.

KTLA's Eric Spillman interviewed me. Ever the plucky spokesman for the Orange County Transportation Authority, I espoused the benefits of trying transit: let someone else do the driving, enjoy a stress-free commute and get free flame-grilled chicken.

Yes, Simon Oh, our new intern from Cal State Fullerton, donned a six-piece chicken outfit as the camera zoomed in as he passed out El Pollo Loco gift certificates to happy commuters.

(This is when I fall asleep.)

He got a bit claustrophobic (code for embarrassed). So as his mentor -- of course -- I took over as the chicken mascot. By the way, the chicken has no name. What mascot is nameless? And after putting on the furry beast for a mere O.C. minute, I now know why no El Pollo Loco employee volunteered for the early-morning gig.

Of course, I'd do close to anything for a good visual -- including the chicken dance complete with props.

It was only 8:30 a.m. and I was already running late for the next assignment. I came back just in time for the OCTA board of directors meeting where the capacity-only audience applauded because our CEO won the honor as one of the top 10 public works officials in the nation, and the board approved a $1.2- billion budget.

Our next big event of the day was adjacent to a freeway ramp for the much-anticipated groundbreaking of a $328-million West County Connectors that will build carpool connectors and construct other improvements to the I-405, I-605 and SR-22. It's one of Southern California's most-travelled areas with approximately 300,000 vehicles each day.

After an interview with KCAL news, I was ready to make last-minute adjustments for what had been a well-executed event thanks to the superbly organized Christina Byrne, OCTA's community relations officer, and our team of PR superstars.

Nearly everything about the program was flawless. And instead of a cliche "shovel-in-the-dirt" photo-op, we planned for officials hold up oversized puzzle pieces and put them together. Get it? Get connected!

See below for a music slideshow of the event with photos courtesy of Megan Enloe, an extraordinary photographer and engaged citizen.

Then as we were taking our last photos, we heard a loud bang. "Oh, no! Did rubbernecker get distracted and slammed into three vehicles in front of it?" I asked myself.

The crash crunched cars like soda cans with smashed windshields. We were all frozen. Was anyone seriously hurt or killed?

Then suddenly two women from the car that rammed into the other vehicles leaped out and ran toward our event site. A half-dozen police officers chased them on foot. Then, I saw police vehicles and helicopters. Just great -- another SoCal high-speed chase but on our freeway connector event.

Without skipping a beat, Art Brown, our board director and mayor of Buena Park, ran after the suspects. Thanks to the retired law enforcement officer's fast feet, Brown helped nab one of the runaways. Police apprehended the other minutes later. It turned out to be a mother-daughter team evading the police.

Enloe, a Tustin resident and social media practitioner, ran with Brown and captured some incredible photos of the incident. Hear my audioBoo interview with Enloe and find out who she called a hero.

She is my hero for her care and concern to enhance the community. She's been there countless times volunteering her time to capture photo memories at many community events.


After being up for more than 19 hours, I was ready to finally hit the sack and just sleep my crazy day away.

Just as I was preparing to sleep, a magnitude 5.7 earthquake rattled Southern California at 9:26 p.m. -- of course.

The temblor was the largest aftershock in a series that have hit the California-Mexican border area since a magnitude 7.2 shook Easter Sunday.

I wanted to blog about my interesting day, but was so exhausted that I finally fell into a deep sleep -- only to be awaken by my alarm clock and the dawn of another day full of possibilities.

What was your most interesting day? And what would you name the El Pollo Loco chicken mascot? I would love to hear about them.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bonjour Vietnam: Scents and Sounds of Home

I made a music slideshow above tonight to pay homage to my birthplace and as a dedication to my grandmother who died during my return to Vietnam several years ago. Why would I chose a scratchy French song?

A few years ago, I happened upon the song on the Internet. After the beautiful song was accidentally posted online, it immediately struck a worldwide chord among the Vietnamese community -- both inside and outside Vietnam. It's from an emerging singer of Vietnamese decent from Belgium named Quynh Anh.

The song -- "Bonjour Vietnam" was written by Marc Lavoine, a longtime French pop star and actor. The two later teamed up with a pop hit, "J'espère," that made Quynh Anh a household name ... at least in France, Vietnam and other places with large Vietnamese communities.

I had the chance to meet her last year at a concert in Orange County. I marveled at how someone who had never been to Vietnam could sing with such sentimental remiss. Perhaps it's because the longtime culinary and musical traditions had been steeped into her heart and soul as they had been for me. 

After hearing that song again, I was feeling a bit homesick for my Mom's homemade noodle soup. It's not the ubiquitous Pho soup, a clear consume nuanced with beef stock and subtle spices and herbs considered the national dish of Vietnam.

Tonight, I'm forgetting Pho and turning my culinary attention to Bun Rieu Cua. It's made with ripe tomatoes that would put some Italian mothers to shame -- especially my Mom's version. It's full of delicious meatball-like morsels of crab and shrimp handcrafted by Mom.

I'm working up the courage and the appetite to try to make this wonderful dish. Luckily, I found these easy-to-follow instructions.

I'll give it a go. But I know it'll only be a temporary fix until I come back home for the real deal.

What's your favorite dish that reminds you of home? I'd love to hear about your comfort foods and read any recipes you'd like to share.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Surprise Birthday and a Memorial Day Mashup

Yep, I turned 41 today.

I helped organized an impromptu tweetup or a meet-up with Orange County's emerging social media community.

The lunchtime gathering occurred in the world's largest overseas Vietnamese community in Westminster, Calif., also known as Little Saigon -- which is not so little any more with its bustling restaurants, markets, coffee shops, offices, doctor's offices, banks, news rooms, entertainment and other cultural centers stretching into three other cities in the heart of Orange County.

These are the folks enjoying good food and good company with their Twitter links so you can follow them: @billrams @DianaWei @SaigonDotCom @RicDizon @MeganEnloe @tbatsjsu @SvenJohnston @TanyaSalcido @TheBigDebowski @TjKeenan @TravelCostaMesa @NormanNaylor @DealPerkOC -- and six others not using Twitter ... yet!

Check out these photos of the group from Tustin resident and social media advocate @MeganEnloe and follow the Twitter hashtag #OCtwEATup or #OCtweetup for future impromptu lunches and events in Little Saigon or other places in Orange County.

As I tried to rush back to the office to address an incident involving a tanker truck fire on the Riverside Freeway (SR-91), the 20 people enjoying good food and company asked me to wait. A birthday cake with candles and a blue Twitter bird suddenly appeared and the group started singing.

I was floored. The kindness of the group deeply touched me because it was much more than my birthday.

May 30, 1969 was among the height of America's involvement with a tiny tropical country in Southeast Asia that many people had never heard of.

The Vietnam War -- or as the Vietnamese call it, "the American War," was raging in the battle fields and in the political forum in the United States. It was a war that changed generations and left 58,000 Americans and approximately 2 million Vietnamese dead.

Why such a grim post on a happy occasion as your birthday? It's simply because my birth date has always fallen close to if not on the actual Memorial Day holiday in the U.S.

I can't help but reflect upon the memories of the people who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our nation's freedoms.

I can't help but well up with tears at my own father's passing decades ago so that his eldest son could earn the beautiful bounties of America. And I can't help it but try a little harder to do some good in this world.

I want to thank everyone who has made my birthday so special, but I also want to offer my gratitude to all who served to make America and this world a safer and better place.

Please share your thoughts. What does Memorial Day mean to you? How do you celebrate the holiday?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Think Twitter is a Passing Fad? Or a Water Cooler Fixture with Staying Power?

We all have regular routines. Before going into my neighborhood Starbucks each morning, I would walk by the newspaper vending machines. Most of the time, I've already seen nearly all of the news displayed on the front pages.

Thanks to the power of Twitter, I have my news aggregated and ready for me when I wake up and glance at my iPhone. It's clear that I'm a news junkie.

As I was passing the news bins earlier this morning, the USA Today lead story jumped out at me. The headline below the bold blue graphic read: "Twitter Power: Learning from ourselves in real time." This summarized my nearly two-year experience with the 140-character-limit social media site with almost infinite possibilities.

After experiencing the aftermath of the Iran election and countless moments via shared with other Twitterers, I've concluded that Twitter is not a passing fad, but a really cool tool that has helped enhance my life. I am to do things faster, better, cheaper and smarter. And government and citizens can cultivate deeper understanding and more meaningful civic dialogue.

But the best part is being able to engage with wonderful people not only in Southern California, but throughout the world. I feel honored to learn from the best hearts and minds online thanks to Twitter.

And another amazing reward has been to actually meet some of these people who share some common traits -- independent thinkers, innovative minds and upbeat spirits.

From my first Twitter follower -- Andrew Galvin or @Andrew_Galvin of the Orange County Register -- to my 25,000th follower -- Matt B. Cole or @MattBCole who is a travel consultant from Tennessee --  thank you for enriching my life with useful nuggets of knowledge and even some fun water cooler chatter and juicy trivial tidbits.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Just Don't Call Them 'Mommy' or 'Daddy' Bloggers

The award-winning Diversity Committee of the Orange County Chapter of the Public Relations Society hosted a luncheon panel discussion Thursday on "Mommy and Daddy Bloggers" -- but just don't call them that.

They are people -- moms (and one dad) -- who happen to blog:

Kimberly Porrazzo, president and chief content officer, Churm Media Digital
Linda Landers, CEO of Girlpower Marketing
Adam Rogers, author of the "Back to Work Dad" blog on
Heather Pritchard, local and national activist blogger
Theresa Walker, editor of and The Mom Blog at the Orange County Register


Some interesting facts on the power of women in the blogosphere:

  • Women in the U.S. control 83 cents of every household dollar
  • Women are now the heaviest Web users, with 11.5 million moms actively contributing to or reading blogs
  • When making purchasing decisions, today's women tend to choose online media as a resource above TV and print media

What do you think about the advice that Orange County's bloggers and PR pros shared? What are your tips on working with bloggers? I would love to hear your insights and suggestions.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Why Are Social Media Experts Quitting Facebook?

On one of my last days in San Francisco, I met with Gov 2.0 Radio host and social media practitioner Adriel Hampton or @AdrielHampton on Twitter for an early morning chat before he headed to work at the San Francisco City Attorney's Office.

I wasn't too surprised when Hampton told me he recently canceled his Facebook account. He expressed concerns about Facebook's growing "anti-democratic" actions.

One of the nation's leading social media users, the Bay Area resident is joining other high-tech heavy weights in quitting Facebook over privacy concerns. He is part of a growing chorus of influential tech users and privacy advocates leaving Facebook over the social network's latest privacy flap.

Last week, Leo Laporte, a hugely popular tech podcaster and radio host, deleted his Facebook page live on his show.

I've been thinking about whether I should join the "Quit Facebook Day" protest May 31, which happens to be the day after my birthday. Perhaps on that day, it'll be the birthday of my privacy being restored -- sans Facebook. 

It's easy to join the online protest May 31. Facebook users have posted information on how to bid farewell to Facebook for good.

What do you think? Are you quitting Facebook or are you willing to tolerate the social networking site's latest privacy gaffe? Or is leaving Facebook akin to trying to quit smoking -- you want to, but just cannot?

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Chef Webber and his California Fusion Cuisine is Front and Center at SF's Venerable Cafe Kati

One of the reasons to make a trip to San Francisco is to experience its world-class cuisine.

But after several culinary disappointments at highly recommended restaurants via Zagat and Yelp, imagine my distrust after a long-time family friend organized a group dinner at Cafe Kati, an Asian fusion restaurant.

After reading user reviews on Yelp and food critics' comments in Gourmet, Food & Wine and Bon Appetit magazines, I felt less jaded and more hungry for good food and good company. I found both in a cozy Fillmore / Pacific Heights restaurant and much more.


Imagine our delight as the restaurant staff seated our group in a private room in the back of the restaurant. We found ourselves with the friendly chef/owner Kirk Webber who took it upon himself to share with us his passion of the blending of east-meets-west cuisine and his long-time love affair with food culture that began to bloom as he trained in classic French techniques in San Francisco and was further refined while working as a chef in Tokyo.

That's a long way from his roots back in the early 1980s of Orange County in an era that he described as devoid of cultural and culinary diversity.

The chef beamed with pride as he shared with us his restaurant's milestone of soon turning 20. That's a lifetime in restaurant years, especially in the ever-changing gourmet food scene of Northern California.

And if the delectable meal we enjoyed is any indication of things to come, Cafe Kati and its brilliant chef will be around for another 20 years to significantly contribute to San Francisco's delicious culinary journey.

In addition to the chef and his friendly servers, our group's food highlights included:

  • Vietnamese-inspired mango spring rolls
  • Crab Rangoon wontons
  • Peanut-crusted prawns on a bed of green papaya salad
  • Signature dragon roll of crispy prawns, avocado, crunchy cucumber wrapped with smoked salmon with a wasabi vinaigrette

Main courses
  • Grilled scallops served with a port red wine reduction of risotto of white corn, mushrooms, carrots and spinach
  • Miso-glazed black bass in a dashi broth season in a seven-spice Japanese spice mix, udon noodles, bok choy, green onions and a vegetable tempura
  • Grilled hanger steak in a sesame-soy marinade, spicy Spanish fries, green beans, yams, zucchini and sauteed spinach
  • Butternut-squash raviolis with a homemade sauce
What's your favorite restaurant in the Bay Area? And what would you like me to cover in future blog posts? I would love to hear what you think. 
    Know Before You Go:
    Cafe Kati
    1963 Sutter Street
    San Francisco, CA 94115 
    (415) 775-7313

      Thursday, May 13, 2010

      Guess Where Another Prototype iPhone Landed? Good Morning, Vietnam!

      Either this is a huge hoax or it's another case of a new fourth generation iPhone gone a missing. And of all places, it landed in Vietnam.

      The apparently brand new 14GB iPhone 4G is a cleaner design than the one purchased by Gizmodo.  After being flashed before the cameras to "How Deep is Your Love" by the Bee Gees, the iPhone was taken apart with photos to prove it.

      "It's a real Apple product," Tran Manh Hiep, a dealer for a mobile phone accessory store in Saigon told global news network AFP. "I plugged it into iTunes and it recognized it as an Apple device."

      He then filmed the prototype next generation iPhone and shared his review of some the gadget's new features, including a front-facing camera and round buttons on the new sleek look.

      Hiep also explains that this prototype is missing two screws on the right and left sides of the dock connector. That's different than the first prototype in Gizmodo, suggesting that it's a newer model and closer to the actual retail version. 

       Vietnam's tech-loving youth first posted the video on the TaoViet or Vietnamese Apple network.

      Since being posted onto YouTube, the video has burst into worldwide popularity with nearly 1.2 million views in just a few hours.

      Check out more photos from Engadget of this little high-tech hideaway or ... ahem ... stole-away that landed into Vietnamese hands.
      What do you think? Is the iPhone a fake or is another Apple engineer in deep trouble?

      Tuesday, May 11, 2010

      Pho Tweetup: Twitter Never Tasted So Good

      If you're like the average American office worker, you're pressed for time during the lunch hour. It's rare these days to go out and enjoy a good meal with good company.

      I often find myself eating lunch in my office. But I do deliberately try to get out into the world and experience Orange County's sunshine -- once in a while.

      For months now, Orange County Register's Jon Lansner or @JonLan and I have been trying to go to Little Saigon in the heart of Orange County for pho, Vietnam's national noodle soup dish.

      Pronounced "fuh," it's served with rice noodles, chicken, beef or vegetarian style over a piping hot clear broth that's been stewed for at least eight hours with spices. Then cooks sprinkle over each bowl sprigs of cilantro, sliced white onions and peppery scallions. And it was subtly delicious -- nuanced with spices and herbs at Huynh restaurant.

      The customize-it-yourself dish is complete by adding your personal touch of fresh bean sprouts, Thai basil, Vietnamese coriander and rau ngai or Vietnamese saw-leaf herb. Add the garlicky Vietnamese red-pepper sauce and semi-sweet hoisin – and it’s nearly the perfect all-in-one dish. 

      Instead of just meeting over steaming bowls of pho and other tasty Vietnamese dishes, we opted to extend an open invitation via Twitter to anyone who wanted to join us.

      Just a day ago, we tweeted #OCtwEATup or Orange County meet-up via Twitter with an emphasis on EAT. It made sense -- open conversations via social media, open table and great discussions with some new friends:

      After the great conversations, the group of Twitterers stopped next door at a market with the scent and sights of fresh exotic tropical fruits.

      While the group soaked in the culture, I had to run back to the office for a 1 p.m. conference call. I traveled internationally for lunch, met some new friends -- and didn’t even realize it.

      Saturday, May 8, 2010

      A Special Tribute on Mother's Day with Lyrics to 'Lòng Mẹ' or Mother's Love

      Almost every Vietnamese knows the melodic "Lòng Mẹ" or Mother's Love.

      For Vietnamese worldwide, it's a song of a mother's love "boundless like the overflowing Pacific Ocean," cresting wherever her children are.

      Just like Americans celebrating Mother's Day, I hold my mother -- Anh-Nguyet Nguyen -- in high esteem. It's not just because her bravery 35 years ago in 1975 was responsible for us escaping war-torn Vietnam for a better life in America.

      And it's not because she sacrificed everything after my father died in 1986 so all three of her children could be college-educated.

      And it's not because she taught her children the value of hard work, persistence and treating others with respect and kindness.

      It's simply because she is my mother.

      So to all the wonderful moms out there, Happy Mother's Day! And to my own Mom: "Con thuong ma" or I love you, Mom.

      My favorite rendition of the song is from Dalena Morton, a woman from Florida who isn't Vietnamese and doesn't even speak Vietnamese. I've also included the English lyrics of the famous song by the prolific composer Y Van.

      English version of Mother's Love 

      Mother's love is boundless like the overflowing Pacific Ocean.
      Mother's love is ceaseless like a gentle and sweet stream.
      Mother's words is soft as an whispering rice field.
      The lullaby (outside veranda), the declining-moon's shades, mother.

      Mother's love for me is like the autumn moon.
      Mother's love is like a breath of air playing on lake's surface.
      Her vague lullaby is soft as a cadenced kite's flute,
      rain and shine, all day long, playing with kids' singing.

      Loving us, she spent many restless nights,
      we had tight sleep, how happy our mum was.
      Loving us, many days and many nights,
      taking pains and troubles, she nursed us til grown-up age.

      Through ups and downs, our thin mother doesn't mind.
      All life's hardships make her sad head hoary.
      All days and nights, she's glad for us wholeheartly.

      Her sweet lullabies echo through years, interminably.


      Mother's love overflows villages everywhere.
      Mother's love rises high, moon and mountains listen silently.
      Her lullabies agitate mountains, streams, bamboo rows.
      Pacific waves are quiescent when hearing her lullabies.
      With all her heart, mum comforted us through childhood.
      A great affection is soft as music and singing.
      All day long, she admonishes us with ardent words,
      engraved on our hearts through thousand of miles away.

      Loving us, mum sang pleasant words.
      To lull us to sleep, she didn't mind to have wakeful nights.
      Many years, her tears flowed down like streams,
      flowing in our hearts, her hair was already gray.

      Whoever is on the road to somewhere far away,
      despite all hardships through the whirligig of time,
      though sunlights go dim but love will never fade,
      always expect to be back under mother's shade.

      Friday, May 7, 2010

      It's 'Follow Friday' on Twitter


      Users on Twitter started a weekly tradition that continues to gain strength -- "Follow Friday" where people recommend other Twitterers to their followers.

      I visited former Cypress Mayor Tim Keenan or @tjkeenan on Twitter and Linda Keenan of Creative Media Recording for my first Follow Friday AudioBoo. The Keenans are one of my favorite people -- simply hands-down high-quality people.

      I joined OCTA as its media relations manager in 2002 and Tim was the chairman of the board of directors. We worked on several high-profile news events and navigated through some sensitive issues that helped cement the organization's positive reputation.

      Before sitting down for my official audio interview in a professional sound studio, I turned the tables on Tim and activated my AudioBoo app for my iPhone and interviewed Tim and Linda.


      I want to share my heart-felt thanks to Tim and Linda for their constant support and infectious bright outlook on life.

      Thursday, May 6, 2010

      Journalism Day at Cal State Long Beach

      A recent graduate of Cal State Long Beach and a current student talk about how social media has altered the journalism and public relations landscape.

      May 5 -- Cal State Long Beach's Journalism Department hosted the 2010 Journalism Day: "What Friends Are For: How Social Media Are Revolutionizing News and Public Relations."

      I shared my insights on the dynamic changes to both journalism and public relations and how students should optimize opportunities in social media.

      Other panelists included representatives from major print, broadcast, online and public relations organizations, local, national and international. For more information about the event, click here.