Friday, February 6, 2009
Is there a way to automatically get rid of duplicates or dead links? That would be very handy. I also seem to be having a personal issue wrapping my head around the concept of organizing by tags. I'm so used to organizing my files and favorites using Windows folders (with a strict naming convention and filing system) that the tagging system seems a bit too willy-nilly and unstructured. I'm sure I'll get used to it but it was surprisingly frustrating.
Is anyone else having trouble adjusting to a more relational model of data organization?
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
For example, Thing 13, social bookmarking, was immediately repulsive to me. I don’t want to share my “favorites” with the world (you can deduce quite a bit about someone from what they read or listen to and there’s a lot I’m not sure I want the world to know about me). Plus, if I’ve already got my favorites stored in my computer why in the world would I need to store them again on a social bookmarking site.
If I had been looking at this on my own I would’ve simply skipped on to the next Thing and filed social bookmarking away as “irrelevant”. But, knowing that I had to do a blog post about using it, and doing some of this training from home, I stuck it out, dug a little deeper and found that this social bookmarking thing just might be worthwhile (just like RSS feeds and Rollyo).
When I was working on my Rollyo searchroll on Low Carb Recipes for Thing 12 I was adding my favorite sites to the list when I found myself having to search for websites that I had in my favorites on my computer at home but hadn’t bookmarked on my work computer. Plus, last night when my wife asked for help working on her homework on her netbook, I found myself searching for a particular website that I knew I had bookmarked on my laptop. Dang, if I only had my bookmarks in one place that I could access from any computer… wait! Social bookmarking! And, I can keep my favorites private and not share them with the world.
I’m not sure if I’ll use the social networking aspect of the bookmarking much but I can see how it could be useful for professionals (like the math teacher in the tutorial). I find myself using upward of five different computers regularly (one at work, three at home and various other public or staff computers when I’m out at branches doing classes) and having the same favorites available on all of them would be extremely useful.
I need to stop being so initially cynical about the value of something new. Doing these 23 Things is not just teaching me about technology but also about myself!
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
After racking my brain for an hour trying to figure out what in the world to make a Rollyo searchroll for I decided to take a break and work on my family’s meal menu for next week (yes, I make a menu and draw up a shopping list, not to mention I do most of the shopping, and I’m just nerdy enough to do it all in an Excel spreadsheet). I try to keep the menu fresh by adding new recipes every once in a while and since my wife and I are controlling our carbs I started to go for my usual low-carb recipe sites when BANG! It hit me. I could use my favorite low-carb sites for a Rollyo searchroll.
Of course, being lazy I immediately searched Rollyo to see if anyone had already made one (why reinvent the wheel when I could just steal one) but, unfortunately, nobody had. So, I created my own and made it “public” so everyone can see it. I named it Low Carb Recipes (creative no?) so if you’re interested you can check it out.
Now, back to my menu.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
To complete Thing 11 I added a few of the books I remember having in my collection. I believe my daughter still has them although the pure sci-fi books don’t get much use anymore. Here’s the link to my LibraryThing collection.
I found it to be pretty easy except for a few minor annoyances. One, it’s hard to find the older prints of books. I have a 1987 print of Dune by Frank Herbert but I could never find the associated item entry (plus, none of the cover pictures match the book covers I have). Also, when I was adding books from a series such as Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality, I wish there were some way to simply go back to the previous search results list. Having to search every time was time consuming, particularly if you had gone several pages into the list to find the appropriate entries.
All in all, LibraryThing is pretty cool. Is there something like this for my music collection?
Thursday, January 22, 2009
I suppose you could save a little time by simply searching for a particular website’s feed on Syndic8. You wouldn’t have to search around for the RSS feed link on the site’s webpage (they’re never in the same place and some sites don’t even have them). Plus, they also proffer “featured” or “random” feed links on their homepages that may introduce you to a link you might never have purposefully searched for. And, they typically offer a way to browse through related feeds in case you’re looking for something new. Technorati is pretty impressive but Syndic8’s categories leave a lot to be desired (particularly because you have to drill down through several layers to actually get to a feed).
Technorati did a much better job of finding related feeds to blogs when I did a custom search for “raising chickens” than Syndic8 or Topix and the Bloglines’ search produced comparable results to Google Reader’s search.
All in all, I will probably end up doing what’s easy and familiar and continue to use Google Reader’s search function.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
I actually did Thing 8 before I completed Thing 7 only I used Google Reader instead of Bloglines because I already had a Gmail account. I made the mistake of adding feeds from all of my favorite blogs and opened Google Reader this morning to find 457 unread items. I think I’m going to have to do some weeding. :-)
It’s amazing just how thoroughly my life has become driven by technology. My household has three computers (2 laptops and a desktop all linked to my home wi-fi), 4 televisions (with digital cable), 3 cell phones (plus VoIP land line with 2 wireless handsets), 2 video game systems (PS3 and Wii not to mention the 4 Nintendo DS handhelds we got this Christmas) with all the accompanying accoutrements and uncounted various other electronic gadgets and doo-dads from Zunes and iPods to an “atomic” clock and programmable coffee pot.
I pay all my bills online. I read all my news online (mostly from news aggregate sites like Google News although I do listen to NPR in the morning). I listen to all my music via MP3 or Pandora internet radio. I use my credit or debit card for nearly every purchase. I pay at the pump. I watch “on-demand” TV both online and through my digital cable and DVR. I text more than I talk on the phone (not by choice but everyone I know only wants to text anymore). I Gmail, Facebook, MySpace, Digg and, now after completing Things 1-8, I blog and RSS (sometimes all at the same time). I use Excel for my household budget and grocery lists. I even walk the dog listening to podcasts on my combination “smart” phone/MP3 player/digital camera.
Sheesh! But, what’s even more amazing to me is that I’m still not on the forefront of integrating technology into my life. I don’t Twitter. I don’t have a PDA, or an iPhone or a GPS. I don’t play MMORPGs (like World of Warcraft) and I don’t have a Second Life (although I did create an avatar). I don’t access the internet from my cell phone nor do I lug my laptop with me everywhere or frequent “internet cafes.”
And yet, I know people who do all of those things and more I probably don’t even know about. In fact, I’m doing the 23Things because I know I’m not “totally digital” but want to at least be aware of what’s going on. How much more technology can we as human beings take? I’ve read about eyeglasses with “heads up” computer displays, “wired” clothing and even directly connecting electronics to your brain! I love technology, but where do we draw the line?
So far though, I have to admit that all the technology I’ve adopted and adapted to has improved my life significantly and I expect more progress will make my life even better. I may be a “late adopter”, but I eventually get with the program.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Update - I forgot to talk about the 7 1/2 Habits video. It's a good video with some excellent ideas. The contract is a little much for me. I don't find that they motivate me any more than not signing a contract. But, it does force you to think about your goal in specific and concrete ways which I think most people don't do. I'm glad they included having fun because to me that's the most important. If it's not fun, I won't do it for long.