Maybe you are as shocked to see a new post from me here as I am. Maybe not.
It has been a long time since I even considered posting here on this longest running of all my blog attempts. It’s not worth the time to rehash or go back and try to analyze what was going on. It’s best to see my posting this entry as someone walking in the door and calling out “I’m home.” The only salient fact is that I’m back, not how long I was gone or for what reason.
Life has moved on for me, but I am back here and vocal again. For better, I hope, or worse, if need be.
Why am I home again? If I answer that honestly, I’d say it’s because I took a look at WordPress.com again, and I was delighted by the improvements that the Automattic team has made to the interface for writing a blog. Everything is easier to do than it used to be. I can focus on adding the content and what to say, and pretty much whatever I want to do (at least so far) I have been able to do intuitively and with remarkably little effort. I so liked the interface, I decided to use it for this entry.
I’ve been using this tool for a number of months now and find it incredibly useful.
While the video describes how to add this tool to Firefox, Safari and Chrome, it is quite possible to add it to Internet Explorer too by just making it a Favorite and storing it in your “Favorites Bar.” It is my experience that you may have to remove some of the pre-installed Favorites that Microsoft, in their infinite wisdom, have determined to put there so that the Readability link will appear when you are reading a page. Also, you must assure that the Favorites Bar is visible at the top of your browser for this tool to be of any use to you.
Fortunately, Arc90 has created a video to illustrate how to install this bookmarklet into Internet Explorer too.
Though I’m sure there’ll be reservations about this development, I can hardly wait for it to be available. Having already connected my HDTV to my computer via HDMI cable, I already appreciate what the bigger, clearer screen means to using the computer. Being able to use the computer to find and watch TV shows with the power of Internet search technology is a far cry from the days when my father would tell my mother to “change the channel” — and she would do it compliantly.
I only hope I live long enough to see it and that it isn’t so expensive that I can’t afford it.
Instead of sending my friends links and suggestions that they watch this kind of content, I’m taking Leo Laporte up on the opportunity to embed his content here on this site. TWIT (This Week in Tech) is frequently interesting and almost always informative. I enjoy watching it even if some of my more tech savvy friends may look down their noses at it.
I have just created a free basic subscription at Vimeo. Running the HD video there through my HDTV is stunningly spectacular. Even it you never upload a video there, it is worth creating an account just to be able to save your favorites from this fount of creativity and beautiful imagery. Here’s one example.
I recommend that you click on the button at the bottom right of the video (with the arrows pointing to the four corners of your screen) to cause it to display in full screen mode. It warrants every pixel you are willing to devote to it.
This video is one of many HD videos available at Vimeo.
When you comment on one of my blog posts, if you should ever do so, you’ll note that Echo is now enabled on this site. This video interview by Robert Scoble of Khris Loux the co-founder of JS-Kit will explain what Echo is and how it works.
It might be worth making a comment just to see how it works!
This animated explanation, sans narrative, of how the website formerly known as del.icio.us morphed into delicious.com, its current incarnation, shows the evolution of one UI into another and illustrates some ways to use the newly-evolved interface to a catchy little tune to boot.
The video is worth watching for the entertainment value alone although it is also is somewhat instructive. It seems most entertaining to me when viewed full screen so I recommend you watch it that way by clicking on the icon with the four outward facing arrows in the lower right corner of the video’s window.
Pressing Esc returns you to your normal viewing mode.
I first became acquainted with what is now called Delicious.com when I learned of it during the course of my initial experimentation with Flock. My first bookmark on Delicious was on February 6, 2006, but that was 1214 bookmarked locations ago. So if nothing else, I’m grateful to Flock for getting me together with my good friend Delicious. It has been a rewarding friendship for me.
You may remember that I wondered a couple of days ago whether you were permitted to and if so, how you might go about setting up more than one Twitter account. The answer, as I read the service agreement, is that it is permitted primarily because it is not expressly prohibited. My reason for wanting to know that information was so that if it were legal and possible, I wanted to create an account to post updates on my friend Paul Moor’s condition. I have now done that. It is called FriendsofPaule and it is open for anyone who chooses to do so to follow.
I was able to get around the fact that Twitter wants a “different” email address for each Twitter account you create by using Gmail’s flexibility. Gmail permits you to append a suffix, for instance, “+ TwitterPaule” between your email username and the domain name, i.e. Gmail.com, and still Gmail will treat it as if that suffix wasn’t there. There are many clever uses of that feature, but for yesterday’s obstacle, that did the trick. So I created the feed for informing Paul’s friends of any “little bits” of news I might have about him as illustrated in the following photo.
Two of the three of those so-called “tweets” are exactly 140 characters long which is the maximum allowed. I enjoyed immensely thinking to name myself, the author of that feed, Paul’s amanuensis because that is essentially what role I am performing. At the moment he can’t access, or possibly even absorb, Twitter, but as his amanuensis, I can convert what he tells me into tweets. And thus his friends, if they should be challenged to cite on what authority they may have declared something to do with Paule, may simply say a little birdy told them so.
If you search back through this blog or check the categories listing in the sidebar for the word “Flock,” you’ll find lots of references. That’s because I began beta testing it (almost alpha testing it) several years ago. There were many things I liked about it back then that are still present in the latest version and may even have undergone improvements that aren’t necessarily visible in the interface.
I downloaded version 2.5 from the Flock website yesterday, after being reminded by Daryl Houston that it now had a tight integration with Twitter.
It is ironic that I ceased using Flock because it was moving to integrate services that, at the time, I wasn’t ready to embrace. I’ll admit that my point of view at the time was that they were essentially trivial and a waste of time. I’m not yet entirely certain that previous assessment isn’t accurate, but as I have begun to participate in both Facebook and Twitter, I have found each of them has its legitimate and helpful uses, so I decided to give Flock a second look. Going back to try Flock again is like remarrying your ex-wife; it feels strange at first, but maybe some of the old joy will be augmented by as yet undiscovered new joys.
I have set Flock as my default browser for this trial which begins today and will, for the most part, run for at least a month. Like President Obama and his attempt to quit smoking, I may from time to time resort to old habits for expediency or if I’m under unusual stress, but I’ll do my best to achieve what I want to do in Flock first. We’ll see whether 30 days will be enough to establish a new habit.
My first impressions upon returning to Flock are very positive and pleasant. I have used this blogging tool before. There is an uploading tool for pictures to whatever service you use, which in my case is Flickr. And that uploader was always one of my favorite features. It seems to be just as convenient and reliable as before. Flock integrates a lot of tools that someone who is active online in posting to or commenting on blogs and forums and the like, can use and will find to be very handy. One of the early questions about Flock, which is built on the foundation of Firefox, is whether the integration of all these tools is better than customization and choice, meaning just the Firefox browser onto which you can add just those pieces of functionality that you want. I suppose there are those who are still debating that. For now, I am back to trying Flock because of the integration it offers. I am anxious to know how convenient I find those features and whether at the bottom line, I am more productive online because of them.
If you are interested in experimenting with a new browser (Yes, Virginia, you are permitted have more than one browser on your computer at the same time. The Geek Gods have authorized it. In fact, you may have as many as you like, particularly if you are trying them out), then check out Flock and we can compare notes in our comments.
Twitter isn’t new. However I am new to Twitter, having only signed up since my return to Knoxville from Las Vegas, NM, in May. The video that follows gives a good overview of what it is and an explanation of how to begin using it.
How one uses this microblogging tool is left to your imagination. However, here’s an example that has occurred to me.
It seems to me that because there are a number of us who are concerned about any news of my 85 year-old Berlin friend Paul Moor as he recovers from his stroke, I could use a Twitter account to post the latest on his condition and activities. That is a much more sensible way to blog about how he is doing because 140 characters would ordinarily be more than enough to give a succinct report. And the available news at any one time isn’t usually sufficient for a blog post, though of course when it is, that medium, rather than Twitter, could be used. It seems like an ideal platform for this kind of use.
Do any of you know if one can set up a second Twitter account while you are logged into your current account?