Sunday, December 12, 2010

last post

I've had a lot of fun this semester writing this blog & sharing things with the world. I hope that anyone reading this has enjoyed it as well. Blogging can be hard because without comments, you don't know if you're being heard. But I think most bloggers write as much for themselves as for anyone else, at least at first.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and have a wonderful Christmas, New Year's, 2011, etc.

Photo: Patrick Emerson

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Getting Started with Google Reader

I just finished making a video tutorial on using Google Reader to organize your online reading. Check it out!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Feeling Overwhelmed?

I recently learned about a free online service called E-Couch. It's a online system for helping people with anxiety & depression if they're unable or unwilling to visit a specialist in person. It's based in Australia, funded by the Australian Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing, but anyone from anywhere in the world can log in & use the system.

E-couch is more suitable for people with mild depression or anxiety symptoms, or as a first step towards professional help that can include talk therapy or medication. There are surveys you can take to assess your symptoms, little cartoon stories about how depression can make you see life situations as being worse than they are, and a lot of encouragement that anyone can get better if they use the tools provided. Part of the aim of the program seems to be to destigmatize mental illness, and convince someone who is struggling that it is a common problem, and doesn't reflect badly on them as a person.

Sample page from e-couch program

Monday, October 25, 2010


Our next class assignment is to create a podcast. My podcast is on the website Mint which is a financial organizer that is internet-based. My podcast is about my experience with Mint, which has basically been awesome. I have all of my accounts linked to it, such as my student loans, my mortgage, as well as my credit cards & bank account. That way I can see the whole picture of my finances and where all the money is going, so I can see where I need to make changes and where my weak points are.

I had never used any kind of budgeting system before, so Mint has really helped me to keep track of things & feel less worried about money & more in control. I recommend it to anyone.

If you're interested in listening to my whole podcast, the link to it is here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

better, greener printing

I have a pet peeve, and that is when you try to print something from the web or your email, and it uses twice as much paper as it needs to. The worst is when it prints everything you wanted on the first sheet and the second sheet is just the copyright date or something, which wastes the whole sheet of paper! I try to be sure to ask it to print preview before I actually print, to make sure there is nothing funky going on, and then tell it to print at 90% scale if it will save that extra piece of paper. But sometimes I forget and it makes me so mad because it just takes a few extra seconds, and if everyone could eliminate their extra "oops" prints it would save probably thousands of trees. Or, a lot anyway.

So, I was happy when I found out about "Print what you Like." It's a bookmarklet that lets you print ONLY the important part of the page. A bookmarklet is basically just a magic link that goes on your bookmarks toolbar. It looks like this on my Firefox:
Go to Print What You Like to get yours. Once it's installed, you just click it before you print, select the text you want, and there you go. I especially love it for printing out recipes from sites like with no ads!

P.S. Today there's a Groupon for gourmet chocolate! Did I buy one? Um, yes.

Monday, October 4, 2010

multimedia & blogging paper

This week's assignment was to write a paper about using multimedia in blogs & then to also summarize the paper on our blogs. So that is what this post will be.

For my paper, I wanted to narrow down the topic to something manageable in 5 pages, so I decided to focus on a topic I already know something about, which is library blogs. Many libraries have blogs, Twitter feeds, and Facebook accounts as a way to reach out to their communities and inform people of events happening in & around the library. I decided to look at some libraries' blogs to see how they were doing at incorporating multimedia.

The two I liked the best were 24 Frames a Second (the New York Public Library's film blog) and the blog of Ohio University. They both did a good job of adding photos and incorporating different techniques to make the blogs readable and more importantly fun & interesting to read.

Another blog which seemed to be a pretty well-done example of a blog with little to no multimedia is the blog of Yale University Library. I decided that there are lots of different types of blogs that can be successful; some will be very media heavy and some won't, it just depends on what kind of look and feel the institution is going for.

If anyone is interested in the other blogs I used in my paper, you can check out my Delicious links.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Groupon mania

Yesterday I walked out of the Gap with two sweaters without paying a dime. So, what is the secret? Am I a kleptomaniac? No, I used a Groupon!

What is Groupon? Well, I knew you would ask. Groupon is this amazing new invention that creates a win/win situation for shoppers & businesses. Every morning, they email you a deal for one business in your area. Usually it is a local business like a restaurant or salon, but they do national companies like the Gap as well. The deal is usually 50% or more off your purchase. The deal is only available that day only, and it's like buying a gift card, but paying half the price. So once you buy the deal, you have up to a year in most cases to use it.

The reason I call it a win/win is that in addition to allowing the consumer to get some great deals, it also is a great way for small businesses to get new customers in a depressed economy. People might be going out to dinner less, so they want to go to a familiar place that they know will be good rather than trying out somewhere new. A 50% discount helps give people an incentive to experiment & maybe find a new favorite.

So, the deal that I got for the Gap was that I paid $25 for a $50 Groupon. When I went to the store, they had this sweater on sale for $25. So, I got two of them and after the Groupon was taken off at the register, I owed them nothing! So, they weren't actually free, because I paid $25 up front for the Groupon, but $12.50 per sweater is still an awesome deal. So, it seems like the Gap lost out on the deal, and they did in my case, but thousands of people participated in the deal and I'm sure at least some of those people spent more than they intended once they walked in the store.

Other Groupons I've gotten include Koto Buki (it was delicious & wonderful not to feel guilty about ordering the fancy sushi rolls) and Skreened (I haven't used this one yet, it might end up going towards a Christmas present-- you can get a custom made T-Shirt or hoodie which seems like it would be a great present.) I have used Groupons at a few different businesses, in person & online, and I've never had a problem getting it accepted or not getting the deal I was supposed to get. So, so far I can completely recommend Groupon for anyone looking for a deal. But watch out, it's kind of addictive!

In the interest of transparency I should note that if anyone uses the link in my blog to sign up, I get a $10 referral credit. But I would still be just as excited to share my sweater deal if that wasn't a (remote) possibility.