Ria Galleria revamped

After a frustrating few years using PixelPost (I’m slow to frustrate), I finally revamped riagalleria.com with WordPress. There’s something so comforting about a fresh WordPress install — it’s so familiar and reliable, but always coming up with neat new surprises (version 3.4 has über-cool live previews).

Ria Galleria relaunch
Ria Galleria relaunch

If only every relationship had that magic mix, just like me and Mr B.

State of the Internet 2011

Working in the publishing section of the UN a few years back, I was familiar with acronyms such as, SOTWF or SWP (State of the World’s Forests and State of World Population, respectively), which represent the “flagship” publications of the UN. A new flagship can now be added, although it’s by Online Schools rather than the UN, and it runs on the next generation of browsers using HTML5: It’s the State of the Internet 2011.

Watch it, click it, drag it and reset.

State of the Internet 2011
Created by: Online Schools

Come together

Ten days into the summer break and I feel a change coming on: no longer thinking about teaching projects and grading, my mind has been increasingly filled with personal geeky projects, driven in large part by the recent purchase of my first smartphone. I’m not going to give in to the boring clichés (it’s like the Internet on acid!), but it has opened my eyes to the ease of cross-communicating — importing the university contacts list in one click, syncing tweets, news, and of course everything google, could not be easier. The forces of serendipity were also present with the launch of Google+, which I joined two days after its launch (thanks to Gordon).

I’m withholding judgement about G+, although I note that in my G+ stream I tend to be a lone voice expressing doubt among an almost constant gush of positivity.

As if Google wasn’t already expanding its realm of influence ever wider (watch out McAfee; Google has just announced its move into malware scanning), Craig Judd hooked me up with an invite to ifthisthenthat (ifttt.com/wtf), which offers a mindboggling range of cross-communication actions. Some of the actions are not especially innovative, for example automatically posting new photos on FB to Flickr, or using the clock feature to trigger reminders. However, there are some really useful / fun combinations. For example, you can set it so that every time my daughter plays a Ke$ha track (scrobbled to my Lastfm account), send me an SMS; or when the temperature drops below 15 degrees celsius, SMS my son to put on his jacket.

You get the idea.

ifttt channels
ifttt channels ... growing weekly

New channels seem to be added very regularly — WordPress being a recent, highly sought-after option — and with more channels, the connectivity possibilities grow enormously.

So tomorrow I’ll start playing around with it some more, immediately after we’ve swapped two kids’ bedrooms — I’ll probably only be able to lift a finger, which is fortunately all you need these days ;-)

Head in the clouds

I recently took advantage of the cheap software available for university staff and ordered Adobe CS5.5 Web Premium, bundled with InDesign and Captivate for … 26 euros … and MS Office 2010 for … 12 euros! I know! GTFOOH, I hear you cry enviously.

I actually hesitated about the second purchase since so much of what I use nowadays is cloud-based: Dropbox, Evernote, Gmail and Google Docs. Yet I almost felt guilty for not buying it at such an absurd price, and I still enjoy the ease of doing precise editing work in Word (currently working on Improved Plantain Production).

The downside is that MS products are infamously bloated (my bundle has 3 DVDs; I’ll only install the basic one) and resource-hungry; even now the installation .exe is pulling down over 90% of my CPU, … actually I think it’s frozen. Bummer.

Google+ logos
New Google hieroglyphs

In the meantime, one letter appearing per second, I’m waiting for my invite(s) to Google+ — launched today — the second attempt by Google to compete with other social networks — Buzz flopped almost before most users realized it had popped up in their Gmail sidebar. I’m intrigued by the circles concept, whereby you can target shared information within designated circles of contacts. This was/is one of reasons I use multiple accounts for FB and Twitter — not everything is for everybody.

I am not sure that the restricted launch of Google+ is the best strategy, however. It worked with Gmail — the user-base gossip generated a massive … buzz — and that works for single-source communication like email; but social networking needs lots of nodes to work, and an exclusive user group cannot go beyond its own limited boundaries. Early users report favorable experience but seem frustrated that they can only connect with other beta testers, and the conversation seems to be, “So now we’re here, what are we supposed to do?”

Steven Levy’s excellent, extended review of Google+ gives fascinating insight into the planning and thinking behind it, and gives details of other innovative features, such as the Hangout, “like a group Chatroulette without nudity and with about 100 extra I.Q. points”. I only hope my laptop can handle the streaming — right now it’s having a hard time playing music from the server downstairs.

 

Dang! That MS Office install has really hung! Beam me back up to the clouds, Scotty!

Update the day after: Office did finally install last night but is now grinding through15 security updates …

Pissing in the wind

I’m halfway through an Outlook training day for which I signed up after Outlook 2010 was introduced at our university over the summer, replacing the previous Groupwise system. I had hoped for a sleek overview of an ultra-efficient workflow, but instead we’re working our way along the toolbar, stopping every now and then to send each other emails trying out the new tricks: customized voting (No; No; No) and Directing all replies to the least IT competent colleague.

Time’s dragging, though, so I started fiddling around and tried to set up an auto mail storm. In rules, I set every mail from myself to be forwarded to myself. I had hoped that it would create a perpetual cycle of self-mailing, but sadly it stops after one cycle. Too bad.

Anyone got some other impossible rules?