Monday, August 14, 2006

YouTube posting test

Bathtime in Clerkenwell

This is a test to see if I can successfully post to my blog from YouTube. It also happens to be a great clip ...

Friday, August 11, 2006

Durham


Durham
Originally uploaded by Ronald Hackston.
Last post for today, I promise, but this photo is just incredible and unbelievable. And gorgeous and all those other things.

Like Flickr, but not

Image hosted by Webshots.com
by mineral108

There are quite a few services similar to Flickr on the Internet, although Flickr is generally considered the best and most user-friendly. The one I'm most familiar with is WebShots, where I grabbed this picture ...

Google is trying to do something similar with Picasa Web Albums (or here for more general information) but haven't found a way to duplicate the social aspect of Flickr yet, as far as I can tell.

There's also a service called Photobucket; the home page makes it look as though you have to register, but you can easily search pictures without setting up an account.

And there's a service called 23, but again the lack of established
community is hurting them. I do like the way search results appear there: here's the result of a search for "blue." (Warning: Link no longer works. Just type in "blue" once you get there, eh?)

Another interesting photo sharing website is Zooomr, currently in beta.
It works well and fast, and could be one to watch out for. One of Zooomr's big pluses is a quick pop-up window that lets you view a larger image before you decide to go whole-hog and open the main picture page.

There's also Vizrea, which does require registration but looks interesting.

The Flickr entry at Wikipedia lists a few more, and this Wired article compares Flickr to a few others.

Swiss Re Yellow


swiss re
Originally uploaded by seriykotik1970.
I really like this picture, especially the yellow.

Xanadu


Xanadu
Originally uploaded by CharisseLouw.
Another beauty from Flickr

Playing with Flickr

I've been messing around on Flickr a bit as that is the assignment for Week 3, and I won't in fact be here during Week 3 as I have vacation coming up. I'm still not sure exactly what is meant by Flickr "third-party sites," but I have explored Flickr itself and found some excellent photos.

Some of my favorites:


tollerSCREAM.


Starlight
Originally uploaded by tollerSCREAM.



post
Originally uploaded by Girla Obscura.



fertile
Originally uploaded by Girla Obscura.




I'm going to see if I can find a way to add a slideshow of my favorites to this blog ... if I can do it, more on that later!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

A few interesting sites I need to explore

  • I think this will let me add tags to my posts here. It's a Greasemonkey script for Firefox, so I'd have to install the Greasemonkey extension again, which I've avoided for some time. Something to think about.
  • What is Photosynth, from Microsoft Labs? (The video sure looks awesome, although the computer I'm using doesn't have speakers. Be warned, though. It's a long video.) For that matter, what else is there at Microsoft Labs?
  • Articles at Technorati with the Blogger tag.
  • Good list of Blogger add-ons.
  • It would be neat to display an auto-updating word cloud on this blog. This blog both does it and talks about it, but I can't figure out how. Wait, ZoomClouds might do it.

Test mobile photo blogging

test mobile posting of photo

And this worked too! Yay! (Not that the pictures I take on my phone are very good, but it's a neat thing to be able to do.)

To Blogger from Picasa - testing

Just a test for uploading pictures directly to Blogger from Picasa. And, clearly, it worked fairly well, even if the picture is in a bit of an odd place. Posted by Picasa

Becoming a better (digital) photographer

Early on, PLCMC's Learning 2.0 project talks about the importance of Life Long Learning and gives tips for creating your own Life Long Learning project. I've never exactly been formal about things I want to learn, but I can see the value in it depending on the type of thing you want to learn. (I often don't even realize I'm learning something until about halfway through a project. I don't often, as the 7 1/2 habits recommend, "begin with the end in mind". I am, however, convinced that I can learn just about anything I set my mind to.)

At any rate, I've decided to formalize something I've been working on for the past few months anyway: Becoming a better (0kay decent) digital photographer. I can't afford a new camera so I'll be limited by the technology I already own, but I'm sure it's capable of a lot more than I currently get out of it.


One of the things the website suggests - and indeed offers a template for - is creating a learning contract with specific goals and deadlines. (I'd include a link directly to the template, but it's embedded in a Flash presentation and I can't figure out how to dig out a direct link out. The presentation itself is here: Just click where it says "Attachments" in the upper right hand corner.) So, I've done my contract, and step one was to take some baseline pictures to show how bad I am now, and upload them. (I must confess I did this about a month ago, but it's always nice to start a project with a few things already checked off.) Anyway, the pictures I took are here. (The black and white ones at the end aren't mine, but they were too great not to include.)

Hopefully, by Oct. 5, my chosen deadline, I'll be able to post some much improved pictures! (Of the library still, so it's easier to compare.)

23 Things: Thoughts

Basically, I just want to think for a few minutes about what the 23 Things project (part of PLCMC's Learning 2.0) entails. What I want to do is give my first reactions to each of the main topics, so don't expect to find 23 things listed here! (Although you can find there here as well.) Some weeks there are three "Things" that really all deal with one topic; in fact, I guess I'll be talking about each of the nine weeks.

Week One: Introduction
I think this is officially Week One, the week that began Aug. 6. The introduction is good; the thing is that it gets me excited and eager to do something, but in order to really do something, I have to work ahead. I wonder if other people feel the same way? No complaints here, as I'm happy to do things on my own!

After watching the Lifelong Learners presentation, I have decided to concurrently learn how to take good digital photographs. More on that later, as it will get it's own post.

Week Two: Blogging
Got it. I've got a personal blog I've been writing off and on for several years at Typepad, but decided I'd rather set up a separate one for this project here at Blogger. (I'm still debating this decision, and I may change my mind in the end.)

There are many, many things I'm struggling to do at Blogger that I could easily do at Typepad, because I have more experience with how Typepad works. However, I think it will be a good learning exercise to use Blogger, since that's probably where most patrons who might consider starting blogs will work, and the service I'm most likely to get questions on. Oh, I guess I really should have introduced myself. I work in Virtual Village, the computer center at PLCMC's Main Library. A lot of what I do involves customer support on the Internet; any kind of question, from "How do I email the gas station at the corner of 3rd and Main in Topeka, Kansas" to "How do I use eBay," the library computer users expect me to be able to answer it.)

Week Three: Photos & Images
Mostly, this week is about Flickr. Flickr is, of course, the most popular image hosting site on the Internet. To be honest, I haven't used Flickr much. I'm not even sure what the practical uses for it are. To share photos among friends, I'd prefer something more private.

I've been using Picasa Web Albums recently, since I got invited to the beta a few months ago, and using it to post pictures is so easy. I haven't ever tried posting using Flickr; maybe I'll do that when week 3 rolls around. Flickr definitely is more social that Picasa Web Albums, although I think Google intends to make Picasa more Flickr-like eventually. Right now, unless you know the address for another Web Albums user, it's almost impossible to find their pictures, so it isn't the browsing tool that Flickr is.

The instructions for Week Three also indicate I should explore some Flickr third party sites; that could be fun. Wonder if that search engine where you draw something and then search Flickr for something similar to your drawing counts? Because that was fun. Wish I could remember what website that was ... Wait, this is it. Works best in Internet Explorer, so no Firefox! If I could draw it might work really well. Try something simple; it responds mostly to color for me, although if I draw this I do sometimes get a London Underground sign, which is the goal.

Week 4: RSS & Newsreaders
Week 4 has us playing around with Bloglines. Bloglines is great! I've had an account there for several years, and have always been impressed. I also like NetVibes and the Mobipocket Reader for RSS feeds. NetVibes is another online reader; Mobipocket is a free program to download and install. If you have a PDA, Mobipocket makes it easy to transfer RSS feeds to your device for reading later.

Week 5: Play Week
Play Week first has us learning about an online image generator. I think I'll have to wait and see the detailed post for that week, because I'm not sure what they mean by "online image generator." Could be one of many things ...

We're also going to look at LibraryThing during week 5. LibraryThing lets you catalog your book collection. I've been using reader2 to do this for some time, off and on. I'm interested in seeing what the differences are and which I prefer.

The third "thing" in week 5 is Rollyo, where you "roll your own" search engine. Looks interesting. (While I'm talking about search engines, let me say a quick word about Exalead, which is a great search engine not many people have heard about. I'm playing around with the beta for their new design, and it's going to be even better! I haven't done enough investigating to see if the changes are mostly cosmetic, but even the cosmetic changes are good.)

Week 6: Tagging and Folksonomies
I've been playing around on del.icio.us for a couple of years; I'd do more there if I could remember where to put the . s in the URL. And I noticed lately that Amazon has added tagging, which I think is great! (In library-talk, a tag is a keyword, BTW.)

Week 7: Wikis
Wikipedia is great, and so is the wiki we set up for Virtual Village staff a year or more ago, so that instead of rummaging through a massive notebook for what to do when computer 68 looks like it has ants on the screen, we can do a quick search. I think that wiki is still running - Viki was her name. I haven't had the guts to check on her in a few weeks as I am afraid I will find the patient has indeed expired and I liked her too much.

Week 8: Online Applications & Tools
I know these exist, but I've never really played around with them. In theory it's great to do word processing and such online, but then what happens when your modem and network card get fried in a lightning strike as mine did a few months ago? It took 4 weeks to really get up and running online again! I'd hate to think about all my info being online and being unable to access it from home; sometimes it's just too private (like banking account info) to really feel comfortable using a public computer to get to it. Technology is great when it works. But I'm sure these will be fun to try.

Week 9: Podcasts & Downloadable Audio
Despite the nominal topic for the week, the first thing we'll do is examine YouTube. Well, I examined YouTube one night a few weeks ago and got almost no sleep because I kept finding Beatles and Rolling Stones concert footage from the 1960s. (Well, duh, it had to be from the 60s if it was The Beatles, huh?) Anyway, I love YouTube but try not to visit because it takes all my time. I really don't understand how YouTube keeps out of copyright trouble ...

Also in week 9, we'll search for podcasts and videos, and download an audio book. I've done both of those things before, so that shouldn't be difficult, but it will be fun.

Conclusions
Well, they'll have to come later. This post is already too long, and it's time for me to be on the public service desk anyway. There are a few things I think may have been left out that we ought to explore, but for now I'll just say that the program is nicely done, and if everyone on PLCMC staff will follow it, we stand to learn a lot.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

How to add a Bloglines Blogroll to Blogger

So, how hard is it to add a Blogroll that originates from Bloglines? (BTW, a Blogroll is just a list of the blogs you have subscribed to in Bloglines.)

Very hard.


It looks simple. You just go to Bloglines, click Tips underneath your list of feeds, and there's a nice Blogroll wizard. Easy? Nope. Here's the tricky part: You have to know your Bloglines username. And no, it's not the address you used to sign up with.

To get your Bloglines username, go to Bloglines and click Account in the upper right of the screen. Then select Blog Settings. Enter the username you want to use. Then, beside Show my Blogroll, be sure to select Yes, publish my Blogroll.

Now go back to the Tips page and the Blogroll wizard. Enter your username and the title of the folder you want to pull from, if you're being specific. Click Generate HTML.

To get your Blogroll onto your Blogger blog, log into Blogger and select the blog you want to add the Blogroll to. Click Template, then Edit Current if that tab isn't already selected.

In the actual template HTML section, scroll down until you see the list of links. As a default, they usually look something like this:

<li><a href="http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=110">Edit-Me</a></li>

Delete everything between <li> and </li>. Then paste the code the Bloglines Blogroll Wizard generates in the same place, betwen the <li> and </li> tags.

(I think. I left mine between the <li> and </li> tags, but I'm not sure that's necessary; possibly you can delete them too.)

Preview your template to make sure your Blogroll is working.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

First post!

First post? God, I feel like I'm on Slashdot.

 
Blogger design by suckmylolly.com - background image by Wagner Campelo