Saturday, June 25, 2011

#blogjune 24 KeepMeOut

Here's another one from the Webbys! Are you addicted to certain sites and find them distracting and that they keep you from things you should be doing? Do you find playing with Yoville houses and gardens more entertaining than doing your own housework? Do you want to curb your use of various sites?

Well, in that case KeepMeOut is the tool for you. You can enter various urls that cause you angst, and set up KeepMeOut to warn you if you go there more than the times allocated. You can spell out frequency, limit your usage every day or just on weekdays, and specify times for the limits to be effective. You bookmark the site and store it on your browser. There's a list of most popular bookmarks that you can choose from. These not surprisingly include my favourites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Youtube but also a number I never use. Partly this is because you can set the language of the site to eight European languages or Chinese and some of the bookmarks relate to that.

I entered Facebook as a site whose use I want to limit to once in 60 minutes every day between 9am and 5pm. It was easy to make a bookmark and drag it to the browser or favourite it. You can then easily change the settings if you want. I changed my settings to weekdays only easily. KeepMeOut keeps usage stats for hits - both blocked and allowed. There are various testimonials on the site such as "KMO saved my degree". The idea is that you use the KeepMeOut bookmark to access any limited site, so you need to keep up that discipline yourself. It won't work if you just sign on directly to the url.

I'm not sure that I will use it but if you are in the middle of exams or other deadlines and want a tool to help with some self-discipline it's a neat little thing. Of course, you have to want the discipline and sometimes I just need Facebook to provide distraction from my housework :)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

#blogjune 21 Rouxbe

Another site I was introduced to by the Webbys is Rouxbe. Rouxbe is an online cooking school which has over 65 online lessons. The lessons are very comprehensive and each has a series of video steps, practice, quizzes and discussion. The lessons vary from Sharpening knives, making stock, knife handling and many more. It is iPad and iTouch compatible and looks fabulous.

Of course, the catch is that it is a business and there is a price tag. The options are US$29.95 for a monthly membership or US$239.95 for an annual membership (works out at $20 a month). If you want to do cooking school stuff online it certainly is something to consider.

#blogjune 20 Neighbourgoods

I've been inundated with Webbys emails telling me about various sites I might try. I saved them up intending to use them to explore during #blogjune. I am not sure how it has got to day 20 of #blogjune before I have explored any of these though. But a start is good.

One site that fascinated me was Neighbourgoods which is a site where you join up to borrow or lend goods to your friends or connections. So instead of buying a drill or a ladder or a tool that you will only want to use once, you can search here and borrow. You can limit who you lend to if you feel uncomfortable about strangers and you can charge if you want.

Signing up is easy as you can do it through Twitter, Facebook or OpenID though you will then be sent a verification code via email. You can either search directly for availability of a particular item or browse or post a request. As there were only four people registered within 100 miles of me and they had no items registered this didn't turn out to be of much immediate use. I also discovered that none of my Facebook or Twitter friends were registered.

Years ago when I and a number of my friends were all renovating houses in inner urban Melbourne we had a collective where we shared tools such as sanders, ladders etc to say nothing of each other's labour. I think that this is potentially a great way to manage such an arrangement.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

#blogjune 19 Martyn Wyndham-Read

I often speculate how we all got along before Web 2.0. Well, I suppose I mean I speculate how I got on as these days I can't imagine my life without many of the tools which didn't even exist a couple of years ago. Youtube is one of the sites that I am constantly finding stuff on that relates to quite long-standing interests of mine, interests that pre-dated Youtube by decades.

Folk music is one of those areas and Martyn Wyndham-Read is one of my favourite folk singers. Well actually, I think he is my very favourite folk singer. He is an English singer but has a strong Australian connection and I have only seen him perform here. I own all his CDs which I have gathered from gigs in Melbourne over many years. In fact I have some cassettes too. Imagine my pleasure when I discovered through a serendipitous search earlier this year that he has been videoed at various folk concerts and festivals in England and that these videos are on Youtube! Joy to the world indeed!

A song that was new to me on his 2011 Australian tour was Farewell to Anzac Cove based on a poem by Cicely Fox Smith. This performance on Youtube was at the Whitby Folk Week in 2010.

It always reminds me of my grandfather, Robert Alexander Leslie Purves, who was at Gallipoli but lucky enough to get gastro-enteritis and be taken offshore to a hospital ship and thence to Malta and then England. I wonder what he must have thought about the comrades he left behind and wonder whether he asked himself the questions that arise from the poem and song. His photo is here on Flickr but also heads this post.

#blogjune 17 paper-li reprise

Further exploration has meant that I have discovered that indeed previous issues are available under the archive tab, and that the widget does work on one of my other blogs that that doesn't have a black background. It appears that you can change the HTML coding to change the colour of the heading but that still didn't improve things for a black background.

I also changed the title of my newsletter after I produced it and it seems that the widget has embedded in it the original title and I can't work out how to change it.

However, I have explored the newsletter a bit more closely and realize that what I was looking at was really only my headlines! Now I realize that if I click for example on #blogjune the newsletter will give me links for many, presumably all for that day! Wow! this is a very useful tool. I have been reading #blogjune posts in a very scrappy way so this will give me any easy way to get to them and scan them.

#blogjune 16 paper-li Polyxena Press

I know that for a while I have been vaguely noticing tweets coming into my stream which refer to so and so's Daily News. I know I have noticed Kathryn Greenhill's a few times, looked at it and wondered casually how she did it. But it was only in the last couple of weeks when I got @ messages alerting me to the fact that my posts had appeared in someone's news that I thought I should investigate. And let's face it, the search was also going to give me something to blog about in the #blogjune challenge that I am behind in.

So how did I end up with my tweets (both curiously links to my Librarian and the Kitchen blog) in Punch's Library Place and the Tom Roper Daily? Going to one of their "papers" and a quick hit onto other information on the paper-li site showed me how! SmallRivers is a company focused on facilitating the discovery of relevant content and other people of interest on the web. Their enterprise paper-li allows Twitter and Facebook subscribers to produce the stuff coming through their streams in a newsletter style. You can choose your title, the frequency and them up to five streams of stuff to be featured.

I found the site a bit confusing to navigate. It appears there are ten credits for each title but it is not clear what happens then. Does one just create another title? Or is there then a charge? There is no mention of a paid version that I could find on the site, but who knows? I signed in via Twitter, but can I also sign in via Facebook and create a different paper? There is an ability to embed a widget in your blog. I have done so here on the side panel but it doesn't appear to work very well on a black background. I will try it elsewhere. I am also not quite sure about whether the separate issues are available anywhere but clicking on the archive link sounds like a good move.

Anyway I will be curious to see what comes up in it daily. Is this the essence of my tweetness?
Blog Widget by LinkWithin