Tuesday, June 21, 2011

keeping it simple

My blog probably looks a little simple, a little sparse. There's a reason for this.

I'm fond of pretty things, but not of unnecessary decoration. Minimalism and accents work best for me in webpages. Back in library school (University of sheffield department of information studies represent!) I wrote a fairly critical paper comparing the Google homepage with the Yahoo homepage and pointing out why the Yahoo page didn't work in my opinion. Chief among the reasons for me was that they were trying to do too much.

A good blog, for me, is all about the text, and all about transmitting the text in as effective a way as possible. The key to this for me is simplicity: a decent font, text that contrasts well, decoration as an accent rather than a feature.

So, my block is black text on a white background. My other blog is black text on a pale grey-green background. I use a font I can read easily.

If you've read this far, imagine this blog post had all been in brush script in neon pink on a blue background. Once your yes have recovered, I think you'll understand why I keep my blog simple.


so, does that make this the 24th thing? The 25th?

wow, long time no blog.

This is the blog I originally set up for 23 Things back in 2006 when I was working for PLCMC. Opening it again, on a different continent, is more than a little weird.

So, what am I expecting to get out of doing 23 Things again? Increased familiarity with new media, the ability to be a change leader with web 2.0 stuff, maybe just a chance to see how different it is this time. Hell, the last time I did this, Twitter didn't even exist. (or maybe I just mean I wasn't using it yet).

So, yeah, I have pulled the bones of this old blog from the ground (better to use this than my writing blog or my podcast page, I suppose), and hopefully will be clothing it in flesh 2.0. And if that sounds disgusting, I'm very sorry.


Thursday, June 14, 2007

testing, 1 2 3

preparing for class

I have a blogging class this evening. I'm going to be teaching the class about what blogs are, who has them, the kind of blogs and blog services that exist, and how to get a blog for themselves. I hope it goes well.

Monday, November 27, 2006

this is the title of a blog post

This is the text that goes underneath the title. This is where the body of my blog post will go. Everything I type in here will appear as part of my blog when I post this.

This is fun, isn't it?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Yay! Yesterday I got the snazzy little mp3 player/radio/recorder. Oddly, it's the "recorder" part that's most exciting. I might use this nifty little doohickey to do some kind of podcast-type thing. If I can figure out how.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Audiobook adventures - or: why I won't be listening to Frankenstein on the way to work.

Recently Aja got me an Mp3 player for the car. It's a cer stereo that also takes Mp3 Cds, an incredibly cool thing, considering how much music we have.

So when I got to the poiunt of downloading an audiobook from NetLibrary, I naively assumed I'd be able to play it in the car. The car stereo plays Mp3 and WMA files, and the Netlibary downloads are WMAs.

Unfortunately, DRM stood in my way. Before the audio file will play, it ha to check with Netlibrary to make sure you have permission to use the file. As the car stereo doesn't have an Internet connection, it can't check with Netlibrary to get the relevant permissions. So the major use I would have for an audiobook (driving to and from work) can't be fulfilled this way.

It's a shame. I love audiobooks. When I lived in gastonia I drove for an hour and a half each day, and listened to some great fiction while driving. Now, my drive is ten to fifteen minutes, but it would still be fun to be able to listen to something while I drove.

The sad thing is that it would be comparatively simple (if illegal) to make a playable Mp3 CD of any audiobook the library has. I'm not going to do it, because I have more respect for library property than that and I don't want to break the law, but this is another case of legal methods being more fiddly and annoying than illegal methods.

I have friend who loves listening to music on his computer. He is online most of the time, and likes having a soundtrack. I don't think he owns a CD player other than the one in his car and the one in his Mac. He had recently bought an album (I think it was the Velvet Revolver debut one) and tried putting it in his computer. Instead of playing the CD, it crashed his computer. Seriously crashed it. The reason was, it was loaded with copy-protection software designed to work on a PC, and instead of working on his Mac it crashed the whole thing. It also didn't work in his car.

Eventually, to listen to the album he had laid down hard currency for, he had to download it illegally.

That's an example of companies turning consumers off. I really hope NetLibrary doesn't turn out to be the same thing.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Second life, first time.

I got Internet access at home about two and a half weeks ago.

I know that's incredibly behind the times, but we've only just moved into our new house, and we didn't feel like paying to get cable installed in the last place if we would be moving after a couple of months.

Thus, I've only just been able to get on Second Life. As of right now, I have no idea what I'm doing. I've found the library and several other place, adjusted my appearance so I don't look as silly, and had a lot of fun discovering that I am immortal no matter what height I drop from.

It's all a bit like living in the Neal Stephenson novel Snow Crash.

Oh, my name on there is Lamuella Raabe, in case anyone cares.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I second that dailymotion.

youtube is all well and good, but there are other, equally fun video sites out there. Dailymotion is much more user-centred than youtube, focusing on people's own videos rather than clips from TV shows or music videos. The clips they have tend to be funny, well-produced, and easily accessible. I'm a big believer in self-publishing, zero-budget filmmaking, and removing the boundaries between artist and audience. For that reason, any site like this that puts the creator at the forefront is something I appreciate.

I'm feeling a bit wicky

One of the final requirements on learning 2.0 is to pick a site from the web 2.0 awards and write a blog post about it. I decided to write about Wikispaces.

I found Wikispaces by accident when looking for a place to put up a collaborative fiction wiki. I wanted to create a world with some friends and tell stories in it. Wikispaces was easy and fun to use and encouraged collaboration.

When I was setting up my core competencies wiki, it was my first choice partly because I already had an account but mostly because it was so easy to use. I firmly believe that anybody who can write a blog post can create a wiki with this easy to use system.

Web 2.0 tools have to strike a balance between ease of use and power. If it's easy to use but doesn't do much, people won't use it. If it does everything but requires a PhD to work, people won't use it. Wikispaces is one of my favourite web 2.0 tools simply because it combines both worlds so well. It's incredibly easy to use, and allows great complexity in function and appearance.

Any tool that you can use to tell stories and get work done from the same interface is a winner in my book. That's why pens are so popular.