Archive - 2011
Well, everyone has been talking about Yahoo’s decision to pull the plug on Delicious and about where they will share bookmarks next. It seems like a lot of different sites have been going under, and I’ve been moving my data from one site to the next.
I recently saved my delicious bookmarks and loaded them into a few different sites. One was Diigo. I’ve played with it a little, including loading a Chrome extension, but it hasn’t really grabbed my attention. I also loaded them into another site, but I forget which one.
Meanwhile, I’ve started playing with Pearltrees. It is a fun graphical way of bookmarking sites and linking the bookmarks together. It has been more interesting to me than some of the other sites, but I haven’t loaded a lot into it yet. It has some nice collaborative functions, and I’ll probably keep playing with it for a while.
I’ve also been using Rockmelt which has a nice share box on the top, as well as some nice side panels for social media. I’ve found I’m actually using it a bit to keep up on different sites. In a similar way, I’ve been playing with OneTrueFan which also has some nice sharing functionality. Now if only I could get OneTrueFan to share to Pearltrees and Diigo.
Besides organizing links, there is another set of sites that has caught my attention recently. Quora is a well done site for people to ask questions and share answers. Many of the early questions I’ve been reading are around technology startups. However, it seems to be broadening out a bit. Some of that may also be, because I’ve been adding a lot of friends and topics.
Then, there is Fluther. Fluther feels a bit like a me too Q&A site and just isn’t doing it for me. They were acquired by Twitter, which might give them a little staying power, but they remind me a lot of Plurk, another cute Me Too site, that I played with for a while and mostly forgot.
Slightly more interesting is Healthysparx. It is a health oriented Q&A system. However, I always worry about systems like this. How many people are getting inaccurate health information and perhaps making poor health choices as a result based on a system like this?
So, knowledge gathering and sharing systems continue to evolve. While others are focusing on mobile or location aware websites, and mourning Yahoo’s plans for Delicious, it may be that this is a good time to be looking more closely and knowledge collaboration.
With the final day for submitting music via Sonicbids to Orient Lodge Music Review for this quarter passing last week, I saw a flurry of new submissions. Sixty-seven have been submitted. I’ve written eight reviews already, so I’ve met my minimum goal. Over the next few weeks, I’ll try to get through all the new submissions in hopes of not missing something special that came in at the last minute.
This week, I’m going to lump five different performers together. My preference is towards singer/songwriters, Americana and eclectic music. Several submissions have more of a pop and/or rock feel to them, and while they are pretty good, are not the sort of things that I would normally review.
Sunday, my nine year old daughter Fiona had a friend over and I had them listen to several of these musicians, and here are a few top picks from them.
Starting off at the top of the list is Myla Smith. Myla has a great voice and a lot of studio experience. She began singing in church choirs when she was young and then was part of a group of singers for the PBS show “Barney and Friends”. All of this comes through in her music. Myla is the sort of singer that I wish more nine year olds were inspired by.
Coming in second for Fiona was Tori Allen. Like Myla, Tori has some Texas roots. In Tori’s case it comes through with some hard driving country music. Fiona likes country and her interview with a young local country singer helped get me going with my music reviews and inviting musicians to appear on Fiona’s Radio Show.
Third on the list was the only male performer, Jacob Vanags. Fiona’s friend Jamie really liked Jacob’s music and commented about who well he used some really large words. I think she was struck by his use of circumnavigate in the song “Public Transit”.
In fourth place was Briana Lynn. It is hard to find much of anything about Briana online. She has her MySpace page with eight friends, and that is about it. In her submission she writes,
I have been writing music since I was young and I am now trying to slowly take the steps to let others hear my music. I believe I have the potential to be a more than successful singer songwriter. I haven't got a huge following because I feel awkward doing self promotion, but I can't stop writing.
Well, she really should work on her self promotion because we all liked her music. Perhaps a little bit of it is like writing a blog post. Blog posts, tweets, songs, short stories, novels; they all have lives of their own. We write and then we set our writing free. Some people like some of the stuff we write, other stuff falls flat, but our writings have lives of their own, and the success or failure of one piece or another is just one more step in building up our library of works.
Rounding out the list was Amy Petty. By the time we got to her, Fiona and Jamie were losing interest in the whole process and wanted to go play cards, so probably Amy didn’t get as much attention as she deserved. Also, Amy is a little more edgy, more towards the sort of music that I like. I really like Amy Petty’s music and note that she played at the Berkshire Women's Muse Fest in 2009.
With that, as I like to do for my Music Monday posts, let me end with a video. This one is of Amy singing at A Celebration of the Song at The Sheldon in St. Louis, MO, also in 2009.
Back in August, I took a look at Google Friend Connect, Newsletters, Drupal, and other stuff. At the time I decided not to use the Drupal module and to simply hard code some Drupal blocks. Since then, I’ve played a little more with newsletters and Google Friend Connect, and talked about it over on the Adgitize Forum, including sending out a Google Friend Connect newsletter targeted to my readers who have said that they use Adgitize.
Then, I stumbled across a question on Quora, What is better: Google Friend Connect or Facebook Connect? An anonymous person commented
Facebook Connect is about a million miles ahead.
Google Friend Connect is pretty much a failed product that has been abandoned.
Well, I seem to see a lot of blogs that have various Google Friend Connect gadgets on them and I seem to get more people ‘liking’ my blog with Facebook Connect. So, I thought I’d take a closer look at some of the data.
As I write this, I have 3191 followers on Twitter. TwitterCounter shows 47 Twitter users. However, only 12 of these are people that actually follow me on Twitter.
On Facebook, I have 1863 friends. 231 people have followed my blog via Networked blogs. 11 have connected with Facebook Connect and three have liked the Orient Lodge Facebook page I’ve set up.
With Google, there are currently 292 people that have connected. It seems to be better at making connections than Facebook or Twitter. MyBlogLog is another site where I’ve gotten a lot of connections. Currently, the number stands at 700. We shall see what happens if MyBlogLog goes away. There are also 80 people reading Orient Lodge listed via BlogCatalog and a handful on BlogFrog. What is not explored is the overlap of these communities.
I installed the Facebook Connect Drupal Module and you can see a few new link and share options. So far, I haven’t seen a lot of interest with Facebook Connect, other than that it seems to connect a little more nicely with Drupal than Google Friend Connect. I have left on the Facebook Connect Comment feature, so now people can leave comments in Facebook, Disqus or Drupal.
Bottom line? It sure doesn’t look like Google Friend Connect is a failed product that has been abandoned. There are plenty of social network graph recent reader and everything else widgets and gadgets around. Each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages. I’ll keep exploring many of them. So which tools do you like and why?
What a difference a year makes. I spent most of last year consulting. It was lots of one off contracts; small little jobs, often with a political slant. I got a lot of writing done, fairly good writing, I believe done. Much of it was on the blog. I probably tweeted less and didn’t attempt National Novel Writing month. The family dog died. We adopted a new dog. Friends and relatives died.
Then, in October and November, things started getting busy. I wrote a bit for the Bethwood Patch. I haven’t written there for a few weeks, because my new job has been taking up all my attention. After a decade of mostly freelance consulting, I’ve returned to the nine to five in the office routine. I’m still settling in there, and look forward to a lot of writing there.
But looking a little deeper, things haven’t really changed all that much. My writing form may have changed a little. The topics I am focusing on may have changed a little. The predictability of my cashflow may have changed a little, but deep down inside, things really haven’t changed all that much.
Last year, I wrote:
I will try to slow down, to just say no to museum running and trying to live each moment more fully and more lovingly than the previous.
In 2009, I quoted an old Calvinist joke applying it to 2008 saying
What did the Calvinist say when he fell down the stairs?
Thank God, that’s over.
As I tried to find words to frame a resolution for the year, I wrote:
Yes, I would like to make a difference, to somehow help people find their voices and get more involved in the public sphere, yet that boulder seems not to be budging very much.
In 2008, I asked
What are the parallel processes taking place between my family life, the mailing lists that I’m on, blogging communities that I’m part of, and our nation and the world? Is there some sort of master narrative that can be found? Where do dreams and ideas like Social Dreaming fit in?
So, perhaps each succeeding year does not make as much difference as we might think, but is really simply a convenient checkpoint to look at a much bigger story. How did last year fit into the broader story of your life, the life of your community and the life of your world? How will next year fit in?
Will it be a Happy New Year? I sure hope so.