Tuesday, January 3, 2012
This is about Web 2.0 although it may not appear so at first. There has been a bit of discussion in the last day or so about how one decides on Twitter handles and such like. @shewgirl did a blogpost on it and @bonitoclub forwarded a post he had done a while ago about the historical origins of his name. I commented on this and made an aside about the banality of my Twitter name. I thought it was so obvious! But apparently not! I thought there were lots of clues in this blog and even in my current Twitter avatar. Maybe my #secretsanta this year knew?
Like @shewgirl my name has its origins back in 2007 when we were all doing the 23things project in Victoria. To this day I don't understand why anonymity was required but it was and like @shewgirl I spent ages tossing around trying to find a Google identity so that I could set up the required blog. It was just too hard! Then suddenly like a flash it hit me! I was going to be Polyxena and my blog was going to be Hecuba's Story.
To this day, I am not really sure why I came up with those two names. I do know that they were called after my cats, Polyxena and her daughter Hecuba. But why I came up with them in that order or at all is a mystery. I think one of the reasons was some wise advice given to me a few years earlier by an online friend. I was mourning the death of my much adored cat, Messalina, who had been there for me throughout my cancer treatment - and lots of other things. My friend from the BreastCancerList told me that one thing he had done to celebrate his cats who had died was to call new email addresses etc after them so that he remembered and celebrated them every time he used the account.
Once I had my Google identity as Polyxena, I started using it elsewhere and when I started up my Twitter account later on, well of course I was going to try for that moniker and it was available. So that is where Polyxena comes from. My white Xena's name and her ginger girl, Hecuba, form most of my online identity. And where did the feline Polyxena's name come from? Well, as some of you know that was a sheer mistake :)
The Story of Polyxena on Storybird
Monday, January 2, 2012
The year has started off for me with two Flickr photographic challenges: #2012PAD and #fp2012 to use their Twitter monikers. Last year I completed the #2011PAD (PAD equals Photo A Day) with 365 photos and really enjoyed doing it. The photos could be of anything and I certainly had a range of topics at the end.
It certainly honed up my Flickr skills and it also gave me a whole new Web 2.0 community to be part of. There were only three of us initially from Melbourne with the rest of the 50 from the UK mainly (if not entirely). So it was great to get to know this community through their photos. Being in the southern hemisphere where the seasons were the opposite made for some interesting comparative photos too.
At the end I took the opportunity to make a Pummelvision video of the photos and posted about that experience here the other day. It was fun to see quite a few of my Twitter friends reflecting on similar 2011 projects and in some cases to see the resulting video. I really enjoyed the whole process and am so glad that I have done the video and have it as a memory of the highs and lows of 2011. Thanks @sarahgb for setting up and administering the group!!
In 2012, I am taking part in two such projects. #2012PAD is on Flickr and essentially the same as #2011PAD and a continuation though a new beginning for those of us who did it last year. That started yesterday and my photo above is 366/2 for today. This year I have resolved to number them from the start very clearly so that I won't be flapping around in the last few days doing a comparison of what's in my set and what's in the group. Well, I suppose I might still be doing that but it will be a lot easier.
The #fp2012 project is slightly different but a variation as the photographs are themed rather than just PADs. This project, also a Flickr group, was dreamed up by @sarahgb and @csmramsden. #fp2012 stands for Friday Photos 2012 and the idea is that we will have 52 themes over the year and can post up to three photos a week with the Friday of each week being the deadline. The theme for this week is Beginnings (not surprisingly for the first one and for the beginning of a new year) and I just posted my first one today: 52/1/1. Again I am determined to get the numbering right from the start! Opportunistically, I used the same photo that I used for my PAD today. I hope to do the two projects in tandem though it remains to be seen whether I will always do that.
So, if you are looking for a 2012 challenge and want to hone up on your Flickr, do a bit of photography or meet a new community, why don't you come on over to Flickr and join up for either or both of the groups? I have given you the links above so how easy is that? We have also signed up the City of Boroondara Library Service for the #fp2012 challenge and will be interested to see how it works with a library. It would be great if some of you got your libraries on board too.
So happy Flickring in 2012! I am sure that I will be talking more about these projects as the year progresses and certainly at year's end.
Sunday, January 1, 2012
One of the challenges for me when I participate in these blogging challenges is that although I have three blogs they really have quite narrow parameters i.e. technology, reading and cooking. I am not complaining about that and it is exactly how I want those blogs to be. However, if I want to put up a photo (apart from Flickr), jot down a paragraph about the photo, or just make some general comments I really can't do it on my existing blogs.
One of the tasks I set myself for this #blog12daysxmas was to explore possibilities. In fact I didn't get very far with my exploring. For Day 3 of #blog12daysxmas I set myself up a Tumblr account. I know lots of people have been using Tumblr for ages but I guess I am just a bit slow. It was easy to set up a template and I experimented with a few of the free ones until I ended up which one I liked. It looks like an old-fashioned airmail letter and seemed appropriate for my Tumblr which is called Hecuba's Reflections: virtual comments winging their way to you. This automatically provided a link to my Twitter feed, my Tumblr likes and the Tumblr accounts I am following. I haven't explored if I can customize it myself but I should do that.
I like the way you can quickly insert a range of things from the top of the dashboard - text, photos, quotes, links, chat, audio and video. And I quickly discovered that I could link back from Flickr with my photos there or from Youtube with video. It took me a little while to work out what happened on the dashboard apart from composing as I had some difficulty working out how to follow people. But now that I am following a few I can see how everyone's post scroll through there and you can see the history of the posts and who has favorited/reblogged yours. Exploring Tumblr found me some really interesting visual sites to follow.
So I am sold on Tumblr. I think it is a great little tool for communicating and that there is some really interesting and creative stuff on there that is quite different from the regular blogpost. My main issue is that I can find very few friends on there. Maybe it is because very few are on Tumblr but I doubt it somehow. If you are on Tumblr and you want to visit me or follow me I am there as Hecuba's reflections.
For the last year I have been submitting photos to the Flickr group #2011 PAD or photo a day. There have been about 50 of us doing this: I say about 50 as people have come and gone over the year and started in midstream. These have mainly been UK library people with three or four of us from Australia, well Melbourne really.
This was quite a challenge for me that I got into because of my online friends @sarahgb in Wales and @csmramsden in Melbourne. I found it quite hard to get into the habit of remembering to take a photo and remembering to upload it. My tactic for the days I missed ended up being to look at which of my Flickr photos had been viewed by someone on the missing day. That led to some quite interesting inclusions and I often pondered and ponder why anyone had been looking at them. You can see my set here with its 365 photos. That was a learning too: number the photos!
I had been using Flickr for quite a while - since I learned and posted about it in this blog when I was doing 23things all those years back - but I found I learned so much about the possibilities of Flickr by doing this challenge. Previously I really hadn't explored groups and now am amazed at what is on there. I didn't know how to load directly to Twitter and Facebook. Duh! I was copying and pasting the url. Or into groups. I initially went to the group to do it and finally the penny dropped and I realized that I could do it from the image. I am sure there is so much more there to learn.
So yesterday was the end of the challenge and I wondered how I could review my life in photos in 2011. Fortunately my Twitter friend @jobeaz had finished another 365 project herself and had been experimenting with various ways to present them when our US friend @pollyalida stepped in and suggested Pummelvision. So I thought I would give it a go too as my other favorite, Animoto, wasn't going to let me do 365 images - well, at least not in the free version.
Pummelvision was simple and easy to use. Once I had opened the url, it asked me where my photos were to be fetched from (Flickr) and where I wanted the resulting video to be posted (Youtube). I had to do permissions for both of them, decide on one of two music options, indicate which photos I wanted included and their order, provide an email address, and press go! It took a while for the video to be made so don't be disheartened at that. Then the url appeared on the Pummelvision site and I was also sent an email with the url.
Here is the resulting video. You will find some things a little out of order as I discovered yesterday that some photos hadn't been added to the set but just to the group and vice versa. That is a big learning for next year when hopefully I will keep better track.
Well, what do you think? I was surprised yesterday to discover that only 11/365 photos related to books and blogged about it over on Hecuba Reads. It has been fascinating to look back at themes of flowers, streetscapes, buildings, landscapes, friends, family and colleagues, food and cooking, family and local history and above all my photogenic kitteh, Polyxena.
We had decided to do a different challenge in 2012: Friday Photos 2012 which will involve themed photos. I was excited to join up that challenge and we have joined up the City of Boroondara Library Service as well. So please join in if you wish. We will have fun getting to know each other through our photos.
But yesterday I was feeling rather wistful about not doing the PAD any more, particularly as I felt I had just started to get into it. I found myself telling Xena that she would not have as many photos for people to admire in 2012! However, fortunately a few others felt the same and in the middle of the night here (1/1) and on New Year's eve in Wales @sarahgb set up the new group at the eleventh hour! I have already posted my first 2012PAD and guess who is in it?