Category Archives: Computer Geekiness

Blogging & Social Networking… Too Many Tools!

I am having social network fatigue. First, there are the long-form posting sites — my main blog, Posterous and Tumblr (though the latter may be argued as a short-form site too). Then there’s the quick snippet land of Facebook and Twitter. Then there’s the GPS-aware side of things like Foursquare, Loopt, MyTown, and Yelp! (I have since given up on Gowalla and Brightkite as not being particularly interesting to me).

The GPS group are getting a long form post from me soon enough as I have been evaluating them with an eye towards a blog post for some time now. At least that’s how I justify to my wife my continued use of them…

What I’m trying to figure out now is how I should talk to the world without having to worry about where I am writing. I am not a power blogger. I don’t really feel the need to blast 20 posts a day out there and I am not trying to set myself up as an expert in any particular field to make my site a destination for those in that field and resume fodder. I could just do things in my WordPress site and have my Posterous and Tumblr sites auto-carry the posts or at least links back to them and have links auto-posted to Twitter and Facebook. But I also like the ultra-simplicity offered by Tumblr and Posterous. It is just easier to pull a post together.

And then there’s the fact that I like posting pictures from my iPhone (not so much text — while I don’t hate the iPhone keyboard, I am just not interested in trying to type a lot on it) and I feel that it is much easier to go directly to Facebook or Tumblr than it is my WP site (yes, I have the app, I still find it a longer process than these other methods).

Maybe my problem is that I can’t commit to just one program and stick to that. I like so much of each of them that I want the freedom to use all of them whenever I feel like it.

I wonder what the rest of the world does. Where do you post and where do you ignore? How important is it to you to get your stuff out to as many sites as possible versus using just one and trusting that your audience (friends, family, whoever) can and will find it?

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Phil Coffman – Art Director + Photographer » iPhone Photography

Fantastic article on iPhone photography.

Posted via web from Webcrumbs

teehan+lax » iPhone Needs a New Home

Found via TidBITS, this is an absolutely brilliant idea. I want and need this yesterday. To stay on top of my life, I feel I spend a lot of time launching an app, checking its contents and then moving on to the next app. This is the perfect solution. It just needs a to-do list (either sync’d to To-Dos in Mail/iCal or, better still, something that OmniFocus can insert it’s to-dos into).

Posted via web from Webcrumbs

Well, that’s a relief…

I woke up this morning to news of a worm targeting WordPress blogs that had not updated to the latest version. So, I dashed off to backup my database and my posts to xml and then to update the blog. Looks like I wasn’t hit and all is well. And, for added measure, I threw a new theme up. As a web designer, I really should create my own theme but you know what they say about the cobbler’s own children…

On the History of Blogging

In November 1994, I sat in Central Park and was amused by some things I saw. When I got back to my computer, I created a new section on my website called The Journal and wrote about it. In hindsight, this was my first ever blog entry. Of course, it wasn’t a true blog in the sense that it had no RSS feed and wasn’t managed in any kind of content management system. But it was a posting about something I wanted to share and I began adding to that list. Over the next 15 years, I’ve (mostly) consistently continued this tradition right up to today (this site you are reading). Whether I was the first ever blogger is an entirely academic and, to me, uninteresting question. I was among the first and that’s enough for me. 

What is interesting is what happened in 1997 when Dave Winer started NewsPages. I was an early adopter of Userland’s Frontier tool and an avid user of it (in 1996 I built an entire Help Desk CRM tool using it for Dartmouth College that was still in use years after I left to attend grad school). Winer’s tool made it easy to both post blog entries as well as provided the RSS feed capability to allow you to subscribe to them. The second I saw it, I grabbed it, installed, it and began using it.

Of particular interest, and the reason I bring this up at all today, is Winer reporting today on his blog about an academic paper by Rudolf Ammann, presented at Hypertext 2009 in Torino, Italy (oh to be in Italy again!). The Paper is titled, Jorn Barger, the NewsPage Network, and the Emergence of the Weblog Community and goes into great detail on how NewsPages helped start a worldwide movement. I’m mentioned under my pre-marriage name of Andy J. Williams but it’s me all the same. 

So, that was something fun to wake up to this morning. I’ll try to contact the author to have him correct my name.

Posted via web from Webcrumbs (Posterous Edition)

Geek Interlude

Neat!

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Posterous: New Toy du Jour

I am trying out posterous (my site: http://AndyAffleck.posterous.com/) and it’s post-everywhere feature. If this works, it should go to twitter, facebook, livejournal, flickr, and my blog. On the plus side, it makes it much simpler for me to post stuff to all of the usual sites all at once. I have friends who only follow me on twitter or facebook but not my blog or flickr, or other combinations . With a tool like this, I can reach everyone at once. I think this will double or triple post in facebook thanks to friendfeed being in the mix there so I may reduce by one or two the other secondary services I use. On the down side, my images are stored on posterous’ site which makes my ultimate blog portability less. If I change things around, I’ll have the text in my WordPress database but not the images which will make my blog break if I ever discontinue posterous down the road. So, there’s that to worry about. But, still, for now it’s a cool thing to try out. If you do follow me, where do you follow me? I’m curious where you come from. I should pick one service to be mission control, the “if you want to stalk Andy, do it here” type site but each has its own special usage. Twitter is great for small chatter which I would never bother blogging about and blogs are good for longer, more thought out pieces. LJ is really only useful insofar as I can post private stuff there only friends can read. Otherwise, it is redundant and pointless. Flickr is for photos only and facebook is… well, facebook is its own thing.
 
Anyway, let me know where you follow me. I will influence what services I use moving forward. Happy Holidays!

 

Posted via email from Andy’s posterous

Email Forwards

It seems to be that time of year again where my inbox is getting filled with well meaning emails from people warning me about viruses, why God exists, that are the funniest things ever, that will bring me good luck if I inflict them on other people in my address book, and that will protect PBS from the latest round of evil funding cutting. My standard response is generally something along the lines of:

Hi! Please remove me from your distribution list. Forwarded email is an ineffective way of informing people about anything because they are almost universally incorrect or, worse, hoaxes. I get my news, laughs, and heartwarming stories from other sources and like to keep my email to a minimum so as not to overwhelm me. Thanks, I appreciate it!

If it’s especially pernicious, I’ll include a link to snopes.com or BreakTheChain.org. And I always try to link to a debunking of the particular email hoping that the person will forward the debunking around to their distribution letting them know that the email they just sent was wrong and not to forward it (they never do).

I’ve noticed a disturbing new trend lately though. The email forwards are saying things like, “This was checked with snopes.com and is real,” and even provide a link. Ironically, the links invariably start with, “This is a real threat,” and then go on to talk about how it was a real threat from 5 years ago and now is just leftovers floating around. No one ever reads below the fold to where it is debunked. So, the forward goes on and people think they are helping others when, in fact, they are just making more of a mess of things.

I used to be a lot more direct about this. I was pointed about them being hoaxes and pointless, I often replied to all so that everyone who got the latest round of forwards knew it was a hoax and not to forward it on, and I made it perfectly clear that email forwards were near the top rung on the “road to hell is paved with good intentions” ladder. But for professional and political reasons, I tread much more softly these days.

But the rule should simply be: don’t forward emails. I found this recent posting on a website to be particularly good: The five rules of forwarding emails. I would add a sixth: don’t forward emails. Especially in light of #5 which I hadn’t even considered: by forwarding emails, you expose my email address to the open Internet which exposes me to spam from people who harvest email addresses. I realized that one address that I created to be my private address for friends only has gotten out and will likely start collecting spam in greater quantities. Wonderful. Thanks. 

Please, don’t forward emails. It’s really that simple.

WireTap Anywhere Records from Multiple Sources

My latest article for TidBITS has gone live on their site: “WireTap Anywhere Records from Multiple Sources” — I wrote the initial draft of this article at 11:30PM in my hotel room in Las Vegas after the end of the New Media Expo. The guys at the Ambrosia booth were very accommodating as I kept coming back with more questions every day of the show. It’s an impressive product and I’m very happy to have reviewed it. You’ll note that my only complaints are more about GarageBand being a resource hog (OK, that’s not entirely fair… when I compare it to Audio Hijack Pro I am talking recording 4 channels versus 2 so it’s not so much that GarageBand is a resource hog so much as it is trying to do more than Audio Hijack Pro is in the same situation — as I describe in the article).

It is an expensive tool but for the people who need it, an excellent one.

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Hello world! (Again)

So, 13 months later and I move my entire blog yet again. Let’s see… a year ago I moved my site from MovableType into RapidWeaver but came to regret that decision. RapidWeaver is incredibly slow on my older, 1.25GHz PowerBook G4 and a huge resource hog. So, it had to go. Now I’m in WordPress because it’s what all the cool kids are using. Or something.

One of these days I’ll import all of the pre-2002 entries.

I’m using a WordPress theme for now. One day soon I will do my own design. Or at least swap out the image above with my own pictures.