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Technology

Coffee cup.

Coffee cup.

Using the holiday break to start pursuing a lifelong goal: Learning Adobe Illustrator. Here's my first project. Thanks VectorTuts for the help!

Mmmmm. Hot coffee.

A blog post about a blog post about blogging.

A blog post about a blog post about blogging.

These days it's hard for me to take seriously a blog post about blogging, particularly one that contends that we must take blogging seriously. Haven't we crossed that bridge about, oh, five years ago? I find it hard to believe that anyone who reads blogs doesn't understand the value of blogging. 

Still, the factoid about Twitter content versus consumption is interesting: Yahoo Research found that 50% of Twitter content is generated by .05% of users. Sounds like our old friend the Pareto Principle again. 

I do agree with Dorie Clark's point that writing helps one clarify ideas. Whether it also helps one demonstrate expertise is another matter entirely! I'll let you be the judge.

Happy Saturday.

Finding needles in the social media haystack.

Finding needles in the social media haystack.

It's a cold, blustery day outside so I'm huddled in my office with a hot cup of coffee catching up on a week's worth of reading. One article at the top of my list this week is  this short piece on Trends and Outliers, the blog of TIBCO's Spotfire data visualization software. In a nutshell, the post outlines efforts by researches to use Twitter information as the basis for predictive models. Professors at MIT have created a model that they say can predict hot topics before they go viral, while a researcher at UC Riverside is building a model that forecasts stock prices based on Twitter chatter about various firms. 

Interesting stuff, with potentially fantastic implications for fundraising. Imagine being able to shift through a pile of tweets to find donors more likely to give at year end. And at the same time, as seems to be the case with all applications of predictive modeling, I see sinister undertones as well. Do we want our global economic health, for example, to be dictated by the whims of millions of Twitter users? Although I guess one could argue that we're not far from that reality already...

In any case, worth a few minutes of your time. I hope you are warm and cozy wherever you are!

Friday contemplation: Stargazing with BT.

Thanks to Peter Kirn at the always amazing Create Digital Music-Motion-Noise blogs for this: A really wonderful, relaxing, inspiring way to spend 15 minutes on a Friday morning. 

I'm a huge fan of all music, and electronic, ambient, and chillout specifically, so this blend of music by BT with photography by Randy Halverson is right up my alley. As Kirn writes:

Over 13 minutes. BT’s “13 Angels On My Broken Windowsill” playing. And nothing but timelapse footage of starscapes above fields and farms on Planet Earth. All of this could be corny, and yet…Nope. It’s a breathtaking virtual-stargazing love song to the Milky Way.

A bit off my usual blogging path, but well worth watching. Grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and breathe deeply... 

Test, test, test.

Oh, I can be so silly. Jeff, Jeff, Jeff. 

I use the rather wonderful Squarespace for my blog. I really love it; it isn’t free like Wordpress but in my opinion the cost is more than balanced out by great ease-of-use and powerful tools. 

I’ve been really excited about the new Squarespace Version 6 that is in beta. It looks so fantastic! Wowza. And the social integration is great. A few months ago I requested a beta invitation and I got one!

And thus the trap closes. 

It started innocently enough. I had a few spare minutes today between meetings and thought, what the heck? I’ll upgrade my blog. The beta has been running for months — I’m sure the kinks are sorted out. Right? Right?!?

I logged in, chose an awesome new template, and hit migrate. This is going to be awesome! And then… 90 minutes of panic and frustration ensued as — of course — none of the pictures migrated over correctly, the new user interface left me confused, and my custom domains were changed. The blogger’s worst nightmare: Editing your DNS entry. It means something has gone wrong. Very wrong.

It’s all sorted out now and I’m mostly feeling stupid for ignoring the advice I give my clients: Test, test, test!

That new blog is going to be awesome. The toolset looks incredible. But I think I’ll experiment first…