Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sharing what you find on the web

Every day I find web pages (usually through one of the "new ways") that I want to hold up to my friends and coworkers and say 'hey, this is good stuff' or 'have you seen this yet?' So, how do I do that?

There are several ways and the process has changed over the years and continues to change on at least a monthly basis. If I didn't adopt new methods of gathering information, I'd be left behind.

Old way

E-mail a mailing list or group from my address book. I rarely if ever use this method any more. Occasionally, I'll email a link to one individual with a personal note - if I know they aren't using any of the newer and better methods.

New Ways (in no particular order)

Delicious - Easy to find in future if you ever need it. Categorized. Has replaced my browsers' bookmarks with browser plugins for MSIE and FF.

Friend Feed - Allows others to add their comments. Aggregates more then just web sites.

Twitter - Keep up with more than just links. Maintain relationships. A couple of my cohorts post an IT tip of the day (usually with a link) to ITTOTD.

Reading feeds with Google Reader and posting to blogs (here and here) - Adds more context and discussion than any of the other methods.

Google Reader's Sharing - Share pages directly from within Google Reader - others can subscribe to your shared pages using their favorite Feed Reader.

When I started writing this list I was identifying "advantages" of each, but as I wrote each advantage, I realized that almost every one of these advantages could be perceived as a disadvantage by some. To me, these are all advantages.

Today, I'm using Google Reader to keep up with most of the incoming information along with Twhirl to keep up with both Twitter and Friend Feed, which keeps up with my friend's Delicious, blogs, and more. I'm not convinced that this is the best way and am open to trying other methods.

I also use my iPod to keep up and really enjoy listening in my car (adapter plugs into the radio). But that's another blog post.

Please share how YOU keep up and share.

Here's an old article about using delicious, but most of it still holds true.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Moving to FriendFeed

While hiking (without computer and cell phone reception except for a couple of times on the peaks) I found myself thinking about what I would tweet if I could. You know you're addicted when you start thinking in 140 characters.

On the last night on the trail, I asked my son what he missed most, what would he miss if he lived in the days without electricity, indoor plumbing and the like. I don't remember his exact words, but it boiled down to missing his network - he missed being able to communicate with all his friends. My network was at the top of my list too (after being with my wife and youngest son). I could easily live without electricity, computers, indoor plumbing, non-dehydrated food, and my comfortable bed (new sleeping pad was worth every penny). What I missed most was being connected to my friends. One of the first things I did when I got home was to upload my pictures to Flickr and tweet to tell my friends that I was back and read about what I missed during the last three weeks.

As I read my tweets and feeds I learned about how FriendFeed was replacing twitter. This means that I need to change my work habits again. I still need to figure out how to move to FF without leaving my twitter friends behind. - suggestions?

Can I post to FriendFeed and have it go to Twitter?

Look for another post (hopefully soon) with more info about FriendFeed.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Your GMap

Every now and then, I find something that grabs my attention and says "this has real applications right now!" YourGMap is one of those things. I found this one a long time ago and was recently asked if I knew of an application that did just what this one does. I had posted it to my first blog, but wanted to capture the content and have it on this blog.

YourGMap is a FREE web based application that lets you create your own map and publish it to the web so you can link to it from any web page or email message. I quickly put together a map of the west district county offices and research stations.

Because this is based on Google's Map program, you can pinpoint down to within a 100 yards or so or you can map points across the country or world. You can indicate a location by street address, GPS coordinates or by pointing to it on the map. You can also add comments to each location. I choose to include the address and entered the phone and fax numbers. Once you've created a map, you can go back and edit it later to remove or adjust your locations or add more locations to it.

How could an Extension Agent use this?

  • Map your demonstration farms. Use different color pointers to indicate different types of demonstrations.
  • Map disease or insect outbreaks.
  • Map the largest trees in the county.
  • Map the roadside vegetable stands.
  • Map the 4-H Clubs meeting places.
  • Map the locations where you will be teaching a nutrition class. Use the comments to indicate the date and time for that location.

These are just a few ideas that I thought of off the top of my head. I'm sure you can think of many more that apply to your work.