Monday, May 12, 2008

Too busy to post?

Yeah, the big move, the new job, the househunting... And a new blog, of course. All have taking up a lot of my time - and taken me away from being able to post here.

And I have great new stories to tell you, too: hotel electronic key cards, my wife's GPS navigation system, my hand-held GPS, my new work technology.... But I'm going to have to put this blog on hold for now until things settle down I think. Same goes with my website, which needs updating in a serious way since the job and residency changes....

Could this be the way it begins? I get to "busy" to do about this stuff? Now, in ten years, will I realize I've been too busy for so long that I'm out of the loop? Maybe I've reached my adult-life tipping point...

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Long time, no post: moving via internet

Yeah, long time no post. We're in the middle of a move, though. Not much going on there except I've been frustrated on multiple occasions with websites that promise easy interaction and reservation / customer service capabilities (I'm looking squarely in your direction, PODS and uHaul). Instead, they simply ask you to fill out a lengthy form and then tell you to call the 1-800 number. Or, better yet, how about the uHaul customer service chat? After taking the time to log in, wait in line to chat with someone, and then finally sending over your question.... you literally get a LIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE PERSON telling you to call the 1-800 number to talk to another LIVE PERSON. Wha?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Tracking visitors and blog hits: Feedburner and Google Analytics

With nearly 50 posts on my blog, I got to wondering if anyone was actually looking at it. Not that that is the point - the point is simply to get into the practice of using Web 2.0 applications and, like the subtitle says, "keep up with new technology and the evolving web." But still, it'd be interesting to know, right? And, investigating how to do it is a learning experience in itself.

After a bit of searching around, I put my blog into Feedburner (another Google aquisition). While I was at it, I also added a bit of HTML code to my pages so they can be tracked by Google Analytics. My GoDaddy hosting already supplies decent tracking and report stats, so I don't know how useful that will be, but I signed up for it anyway to see if it would provide any additional information.

Since registering with Feedburner, by the way, my Blog has one hit (and I think that was me).

Follow me on Twitter!

My sister turned me on to Twitter several months ago, but I found it to be pretty dumb and impossibly difficult to update. But just a week or so ago, my old buddy Mike Bush started using it. And then I read that it was possibly being hailed as "The next Facebook." Looks like sis was way ahead of the curve after all.

So, in keeping with the goal stated up there at the top of my Blog, I'm going to start updating my Twitter feed. I'm even delving (yes, delving) into the world of texting (you can update your Twitter feed via text messages). This is definitely a place I'm lacking, anyway, so I'm kinda getting into two things at once. I thought email from my phone was close to texting, but yesterday I read an article in the Washington Post Magazine about evolving technology that included a quote from a teen: "Yeah, I still use email if I'm trying to send a message to an old person, like my teacher or my Uncle." Ouch.

Texting is the way to do it, or, even more current, "broadcast texting" using something like Twitter. So, I suppose in some ways, I'm leaping over "regular" texting and getting right to the new thing.

I added the Twitter app to my Facebook page, too. Follow me on Twitter!

More on converting video for iTunes

I tried to convert one of my own videos for iTunes, but it didn't work. I exported it as MPEG4, which is what I thought it needed to be, but it wouldn't go. I'm trying again today. I found a couple good resources for getting things right - this article from iLounge, and of course, the iPod Nano technical specifications page at Apple (which is what I was going by the last time and it didn't work). We'll see!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How to crash your computer with iTunes

I've had my iPod for a week now, and yesterday I went into iTunes again to update my podcasts, check on my music, and see if I could find a couple more things to pull in for my iPod. Since I had only used up about half of the 8 GB capacity, I figured this would be no big deal.

I subscribed to two more podcasts, Movies You Should See and NPR's Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. Then, I went ahead and told iTunes to "GET" a bunch of other episodes of some of the other podcasts I had subscribed to. This should fill up my iPod nicely, I reasoned, and I let the computer chug away at downloading and went to bed.

Well, sometime the next day, my wife yells at me from the living room, "What did you do to the computer?!" Turns out I had totally filled up our little 4-year old PC to its digital gills with data, and it had something like 140K left on the hard drive. Oops.

Well, being the technological brains in the family, she sits down and fixes the whole thing, moves stuff around, and generally gives me a mini-tutorial about how to use iTunes (and not make duplicates of all my podcasts and not accidentally delete all my music - two things I recently did).

So, since we're not quite ready to commit to a whole new computer yet (I think a beefy iMac is going to be the '08 family Christmas present), we're headed off to CostCo on Monday afternoon to get a big external media drive. The plan is to transfer all of our music and everything iTunes is pointing at over to our new drive (500 GB for $129 says the website). That should hold all the video, movies, music, podcasts and whatever we want. And plenty of room to grow (hopefully).

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Arlington County is a YouTube Partner!

Well, it all seems kinda shady like a back room deal or something, but I got an email from tha Virginia State Government person today telling me that Arlington County's YouTube account had been upgraded to "Partner" status. I didn't even have do anything since my previous posting where I said I would apply - I guess she just emailed her contact at YouTube and got it done for me. That's great, but at the same time it seems weird that it works that way.

So, now I'm working to design the banner and logos and such that I can add to our page - there's a new section on the Account Management page for "Branding Options." Hopefully I can get something thrown together and put up there soon. The other awesome benefit (in addition to that auto-play that started this whole thing, of course) of being a partner is an increase in the max upload. As a partner, I'm still limited to 1044 MB per video, but there isn't a time restriction.