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February 13, 2007

template change

We have a new look around here as of today. The last template was the most appropriate for our topic, but its CSS was very hinky. Anytime we had images in our posts, the sidebar ended up at the bottom of the page. And it also refused to display our blogroll.

Things should be better now.

February 6, 2007

Two new categories

I’d like to direct your attention to two categories on the sidebar: app shout-outs and random cool stuff. Remember, you can earn bonus points for extra entries. Here’s two ways to start mining the gold in them thar hills.

App Shout-Outs give you an opportunity to talk about applications that we’re not covering in the course. (After all, there’s only so much time and space in the syllabus.) For instance, we could have talked about del.icio.us or de.lirio.us when we read about folksonomies, but we worked with Flickr instead. A couple of you mentioned social bookmarking in passing, but we never really discussed it in depth. We could do with a stand-alone post that explained what it is and why it's useful for people like us, if one of you wants to write it. As we move through the semester, feel free to post about other apps that fit the weekly topic. You probably know about some things that I don’t!

Random Cool Stuff: If you see something on the Nets that applies to technology and might be useful or funny to the class, you can post it under this category with a few words of explanation about its relevance. For example, the Blockbuster Super Bowl ad is funny and technology-related, but it doesn’t really fit in with our lessons. (Except it does — I think it says a lot about the digital divide and the trepidation a lot of people feel about understanding computing technologies.)

(You might want to hold on to your YouTube links, though, unless you have several. A future assignment will ask you to post a tech-related, YouTube-based blog entry. But there's lots of stuff out there on the Net besides YouTube.)

You’re also welcome to post about random “Hmmm” moments that have to do with the lessons, like Mike did when he wandered how The Matrix fits in with our current conceptions of avatars or William did with this post about Jimmy Carr.

Good luck! And if you have questions about grades or bonus points, drop me a line. If you’re still confused about how this works at this point, we need to get that cleared up so you can have a successful semester.

January 21, 2007

categories and RSS

You all did a great job last week. I'll be posting grades over the next few days, so keep an eye on the WebCT grade book. Also, ere several things I wanted to mention that may make your life a little easier as we go along:

1. Please make sure you select a category when you write your post. (The “category” pull down list is at the upper right of the entry screen.) This will keep everything neatly filed for us, for outside readers, and for grading purposes. There was only a little bit that needed to be categorized from last week, and I’ve taken care of that already. Just remember in the future.

2. I will be writing a number of instructional posts like this one over the course of the semester. Since blogs always post the newest entries on top, things scroll down pretty quickly — especially in a class of 35 people! So you’ll need to make sure that you read the necessary posts. You should be reading your classmates’s entries as well, because this class is heavily discussion-based.

There are several ways to do this. You could just keep scrolling back through the archives. You could click on the category of the week or the General Business category and read down through everything that way. Or you could set up an RSS feed. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication, and it makes blog-reading more efficient by collecting all the posts in one place and stripping out the surrounding graphics. It will also help you keep your place in your reading of this blog, because the folder empties out each time you read it. When you come back to it again, everything there will be the newest stuff. If you read more than a couple of blogs or want to keep up with newsfeeds, movie and show listings, weather, or podcasts, RSS can really make things more efficient for you.

There are a number of different free RSS readers out there. The one I use is Bloglines. It’s free and very intuitive, which is important for someone like me who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time setting something up. If you’re a Mac user, you might use the RSS function that is built-in on Safari. There are a number of others out there as well. Just google and you’ll find plenty.

I’m also going to add some technology blogs to our sidebar. Feel free to check them out. Also, if you know of a blog that should be on the list and isn’t, leave a comment on this entry and I’ll add it.

January 20, 2007

about the comments

Since some of you asked: you don’t need to worry about approving comments here. I’ll take care of it. I’ve also turned off email notifications, so you shouldn’t be receiving any more of them from here out.

January 17, 2007

New To This

Hello everyone. My name is Harpal (Paul) Thind. I would like to be called Paul. I am a full time student here at the U. I am a Junior and will graduate Spring of 08. My major is BME, Business and Marketing Education, and Communications. I have a lot that I like to do for fun. I travel a lot. Last year I went to LA, Las Vegas, twice, London, England, and also Cancun Mexico. I also like to play sports such as basketball, baseball, Golf, and I also like to fish. Yes fishing is a sport. Things that are interesting about me is that I really get along with everyone that I meet. I don't judge people based on first impressions. I judge them after I have met them. Just kidding. I run our family business which is managing and maintaining 2 liquor stores, one in Minneapolis and one in Arden Hills that we are just recently purchasing. I run the day to day operations and also help out with marketing. My parents help out as well however they also work full time at their day jobs.

I believe I came in in the development of the Net in it's infency. I remember reading about the Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and how he started an internet company and sold it for billions. The company had to do with showing live games on the internet. I believe that's where I started really getting interested in the net. Here is a link that talks about Mark Cuban, how he started out and how he made his billions. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mark_Cuban.

My first experiences with computing would have to be playing number munchers and Oregon Trail on the Apple IIe's in grade school. My first online experiences looking back now would have to be that they where all really slow. I couldn't talk on the phone and be online at the same time until we got double lines. The experience overall though was really positive. I was just overwhelmed by all the information that I could get at. My first computer surfing the Net was an Acer Asphire. Which wasn't too bad.

I believe that the concepts of web 2.0 really have brought about more interaction among users. I do believe that it has transformed user experiences online. I believe that because of all of the web 2.0 applications, more people are getting involved with the Net and generally have a better experience with it. I use ebay and wikipedia regularly.

Continue reading "New To This" »

January 13, 2007

Updating your name

As I mentioned in the email, you’ll need to change the way your name appears on the blog. Right now, it shows your full first and last names. You should modify this to either your first name only or a pseudonym. Several of you have asked if you can use your x500 ID, and that would be perfectly fine. Just drop me an email if you haven’t already and let me know what name you’re going by so I can make sure you get proper credit.

To change the information, you’ll begin by logging on to Uthink at http://blog.lib.umn.edu/. Click on the "Login to UThink" link at the top of the sidebar.

UThink Login
(You can click on any of these images to see a larger version.)


Once you’ve logged on, you’ll see the main MoveableType menu. Your screen won't have all of the same blogs that mine does, of course.

Changing names in MT 1


Click on the welcome link with your x500 ID at the upper right corner.

Changing names in MT 2


That’ll take you to the Author Profile screen, which is pretty self-explanatory. (I’m not screencapping it here because I don’t want to release my ID to the world.) Update your info, click “save changes”, and you should be good to go.

January 12, 2007

Welcome to the blog

If you’ve found your way here, it’s most likely because you’ve followed the links from the RHET 3401 WebCT site. Welcome to Life in the Network! We’ll be using this site for our discussions and as a way of exploring applications. I’ll also post course news and links to all sorts of relevant things.