Friday, September 25, 2009

Another way to do Followfriday

So I found this great site that will allow me to make lists of people I would recommend on Follow friday on Twitter. It is called I can easily make a list of say all the Social Media tweeps I follow then post that list on twitter as a link.

The only problem is that the peeps you are recommending are not mentioned explicityly in your tweet. This means that anyone who wants to see your recommendations has to click on the link in your tweet:
The nice thing is that you can follow all my recommendations with one click. It also gives an abbreviated description from the user's twitter account.

One the best part is you can actually see how many people have follows from this link:

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The downside to this site is that the people you are recommending may have no idea because their twitter names are not being mentioned in the tweet.

Monday, September 21, 2009

A walk in the woods - The New York Botanical Gardens

Last September, my wife and i started volunteering at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). We agreed to participate in a national study of tree development as Citizen Scientists. Since last September we have been going to the garden once a week to record the changes in certain designated trees. This data is submitted to the national phrenology network to be studied and collated with other data collected by others here and throughout the US.

Scientists use this data to see what changes are taking place in the normal development of the various tree species. This is reflective of global warming.

Committing to two years of this was a wise idea, otherwise we would have never gone every single week. It is also very enjoyable. There is an easy way for anyone to get involved by contacting the national phrenology network.

Friendfeed and the Tweecious plugin - users beware

I was pointed to a great tool for twitter. It is called tweecious. Tweecious combines twitter and delicious by searching your tweets and saving all the links you have tweeted to your delicious account. This seemed like a really good idea to me, but there was a catch. It works very well and when you first set it up it searches your last 1000 tweets. The problem was that I have friendfeed set up to autotweet anything I bookmark using delicious. This is usually a handy thing to do, but in this case, it was a disaster.

I finished setting everything up and suddenly my twitter stream was deluged with posts from my friendfeed account! Anyone who was following me must have been baffled as to what was going on. I tweeted the problem and stopped it after 30 or 40 tweets.

Here is what you need to do if you have friendfeed set up to autotweet and would like to use tweecious.

  1. go to your friendfeed account
  2. click on the settings link right next to your avatar
  3. click on "Twitter publishing preferences"
  4. You should be on a screen that says "Advanced Twitter Settings"
  5. Under "Post Entries From:" UNCHECK delicious
  6. Click "Save Changes"
Now you can set up tweecious. Follow the instructions on the tweecious site and you should be fine. For good measure you should probably leave that setting unchecked for 24 hours, then go back and recheck the delicious setting in friendfeed.

CORRECTION: I thought this was how it worked, but when I rechecked the delicious box in friendfeed after a long delay my twitter stream was once again bombarded with posts I had already made - only the posts with links. So if you use tweecious, you can't in all good conscience check the delicious box in friendfeeds twitter prefs.

The take away: You'll need to tweet the bookmarks you tag with delicious manually.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

How "social" is social media?

The question occurred to me while I was on vacation. I hadn't brought a laptop, after all it was my vacation. I looked up from my reading to see the three other people I was with all typing on laptops and could only wonder 'Is that how I look?' Are we being anti-social when participating in social media online?

I guess when I am at the office and the only one there any way, I'm being more social when fraternizing online, but when there is more than one person in the room one must remember to not only be social online, but to remember the social niceties of society. This is not always easy, especially in this electronically tethered world.

We must keep in mind the people around us as well as our online family. I know from personal experience that it is all too easy to get caught up in something like twitter, facebook, or even email and suddenly realize that you've been at it for a few hours without relief. Sometimes I'll see someone in my family sit down to "just check email", or "just check my wall" and I know that extricating them will be a herculean task.

So, remember to take the actual people around you into account.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Restless Leg Syndrome

I have a mild case of Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS). Normally I wouldn't even mention it, but a recent visit to my neurologist concerning this begs for a blog entry. I have had this for some time and have tried to ignore it. The doctor said I could take either one of two medicines that have been shown to treat RLS.

The first medicine I have been taking for something else for quite some time and it was possible that all I needed to do was up the dose. On the other hand the second choice was a widely used alternative but the side effects were a little odd. It lessens your inhibitions so that people who do experience side effects have been known to gamble uncontrollably, or one person who was fiscally responsible all his life starting writing bad checks (as soon as he went off the medicine he stopped the bad check writing).

So I guess if your too inhibited to go to Las Vegas or Atlantic City and blow a bunch of money, just take this medicine!

Peace in the Home or Shalom Bayit

I have tried to imbue many different values in my children, as all parents do. One value I felt extremely important for any adult is the idea of Shalom Bayit or peace in the house. I've been the peacemaker in our family since it's inception. Sometimes the only way to resolve differences in a dispute is to take the peacekeeper's role, to find a compromise that everyone can live with.

I've told my children more times than I care to remember that there are times when you have to know when to stop pressing your point and compromise. There are of course other times when you should maintain your position no matter what, wisdom is knowing the difference.

I seem to have always been the ref in my house, continually trying to find a middle ground to which everyone can agree. I had always hoped that one day my kids would "get it" and I would no longer have to be the bringer of peace. But now my daughter is heading into her senior year in high school and soon we will no longer need a ref in the house. Hopefully, my kids will take the lesson of Shalom Bayit to heart and someday be the peacemaker in their own homes.