Monthly Archives: March 2006

End of the month catch up

These are a few of the sites I’ve tagged recently to my account in no particular order.

New video posted

This morning I recorded a video to answer a question from my friend, Forrest Umberger, about how I intersperse comments into replies to his email messages.  I posted this video at YouTube after trying unsuccessfully to post it at Google Video.  I’m not sure what the problem was with Google Video unless perhaps it was longer than they permit.  I’ll have to go back and explore their rules to see if they limit the size.  This video was 12.2 MB in length and about 3 minutes long, so I would think that it should fit their requirements, but who knows?

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Different Approaches

When Mike and Daryl and I met yesterday, our conversation revealed that we each have very different styles of surfing and using the various tools that are available to us. And that, I think, is one of the great values of getting together with other knowledgeable users. You get ideas about different ways of doing things, particularly if you don’t get hung up with trying to convert others to your style but rather learn from them about their preferences.

For example, although I had read about the blogging tool, Performancing, I had never bothered to download it or even to explore it very much. Since Mike had it on his laptop, I got a chance to see it for the first time and I was impressed enough to investigate it when I got home and download a copy. This is my first blog entry using it.

Mike, who is still using Firefox as his primary browser, had also downloaded Opera and he, of course, also has a copy of Flock on his system, though at the time he did not have the most current one. And the fact that he has several browsers on his system is to my way of thinking a good idea.

I know that some of my friends seem to believe that if God wanted you to have more than one browser on your system She would have installed them at the factory. In other words, they can’t comprehend why anyone would have two browsers, let alone several. I think the answer is as simple as the answer to the question “what would you do if the only browser you had went wonky on you and wouldn’t load web pages?” Having more than one browser is at least insurance against that possibility. It also gives you multiple options to see whether a problem may exist with a web page just because of the browser you are using. However, there are other good reasons for having multiple browsers too. For instance, I use Opera because it has a nice Chat capability that I use for irc chat. Since no such feature exists currently in Flock, which I use as my default browser despite its pre-release status, Opera provides that additional capability to me.

The three of us also talked about how we use tagging and bookmarking and that demonstrated that all three of us have different styles. Mike, for instance, makes heavy use of Bloglines to “cover” the web sites he wants to check on regularly. He considers bookmarks as only temporary pointers to sites that he might want to blog about, so he merely sends himself the links he finds interesting at his gmail account, where he keeps them until he has completed his use of them and then deletes them. It works for him, so who’s to say that isn’t as good a practice as any other. As I’ve reported before, I use FeedDemon as my RSS reader and because I own that software, I also have access to NewsGator, which is an online RSS reader that is now associated with FeedDemon.

Of the three of us, I seem to be the one who is making most use of tagging. Mike doesn’t seem to use it much at all, and Daryl uses it some but is skeptical about its trendy nature and possible tendency to fall into disuse at some point in the future. I, on the other hand, have about 350 tagged sites on my page and find it quite handy when I am traveling and want to help a friend or relative with their systems. It gives me a way to locate sites that I find useful when I am not at my own computer.

Daryl made an entry on his blog recently called “How I’m using Flock” that I found particularly helpful because it gave me ideas about how I might use it too. I am convinced there is no one right way to use the tools we have available to us, and that there is great value in meeting with other users occasionally to discover what practices they have developed. While it is possible to pick up such tips and tricks from web sites and forums, there’s nothing like a personal conversation and demonstration to help you understand what works.

Lunch at Panera

Mike Neel and Daryl Houston, originally uploaded by CaptQuirk.

This afternoon Mike Neel, Daryl Houston and I met at Panera, here in Knoxville, for a first-ever meetup of Flock users in the area. Daryl has been employed with Flock since some time last year and was able to provide some information about what’s going on with the evolution of this program. Despite the relatively slow (but free) WiFi at Panera, we looked at some of Flock’s features and talked about new things that are in the works. It was a pleasant and cordial meeting and perhaps it marks the first of many such gatherings for Flock users both here and throughout the rest of the country.

On being involved

I suppose all of us have heard it said many times that “the more you put into something, the more you’ll get out of it.” And my recent experiences in being involved in the Flock community only bears out the wisdom of that statement.

For instance, last night I spent a bit of time proofreading Eli’s newly developed Wiki explanation of how to verify a bug in Flock. In doing so, I rediscovered how to identify which build of Flock you are using, which is needed information if you are going to report a bug. I’ve also learned a bit about participating on IRC by hanging out on the irc-flock channel and observing the dialog that takes place there. Not only do you get a sense of the personalities of the Flock developers, but you also see how hard they work to make a product such as Flock work. So whether it is becoming involved in a church, a political party, or a hobby, jumping in and contributing whatever you have to offer, putting something in leads to a significant return on your investment of time.

And now here’s the point of these observations.

I believe the same principle applies to the Internet itself. You can simply be an observer of it by reading web pages, and from that you’ll derive a certain amount of pleasure and enlightenment, or you can become a participant in it by creating content online, whether through something like Flickr or writing a blog or participating in forums or becoming involved with an open source project. In my experience it is much more educational and clearly more fun to participate in the Internet than just to observe it by reading the content that others contribute. At the risk of committing the crime of using trendy terminology, Web 2.0 is to me far more fun than Web 1.0 was.

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Meet the Flockers

Daryl has just blogged about a meeting tomorrow at Panera’s restaurant at 205 N. Peters Rd here in Knoxville at 1:00 PM. Anyone interested in learning a bit more about Flock is welcome to join us.

I have to take exception with one comment Daryl made however. He said …

Knoxville’s not exactly a bustling metropolis of the bleeding edge web.

Daryl’s Flock Blog

I think you have to qualify that statement by adding “with respect to Flock.” Maybe that is what he is implying when he refers to the “bleeding edge web.” Granted not many folks here in Knoxville have yet discovered Flock, but we need not disparage the home town and the expertise that resides here. I’ve met some pretty sharp cookies in and around Knoxville as pertains to the web. They’ll come around to discovering Flock eventually, I’m sure.

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