I’m not sure I fully understand what is going on in these photos, but the one of an elderly woman holding a “WiFi Now” sign is propaganda gold.
Erica! Where ya been?
Glad you asked.
I’ve been off avenging. Specifically, I’ve been avenging the less-than-impressive webhosting capacity of my former ISP-who-shall-remain-nameless. I switched to GoDaddy recently, and spent a good amount of time cleaning everything up, updating, and migrating my databases. I also spent a good amount of time berating the salesman about GoDaddy’s stupid ads which seem to assume no women could possibly be potential customers. Can you say heteronormativity? GoDaddy sure as hell can.
Three things I learned from migrating a self-hosted WordPress site over to GoDaddy:
- You’re going to need a static IP address if you want to get everything set up and see how the site looks before switching over your domain name. Otherwise you can’t test your WP install and that my friends is playing with fire.
- You’re going to want to do it quickly, otherwise you will lose people’s comments and you’ll have to keep going back and re-uploading the database. So no slackin’.
- If you are using OS X (why would you use anything else? silly monkey.), Apple’s native ftp application Fetch is actually really good at grabbing entire directories and recursing them without a lot of permissions/ok buttons to deal with.
So here’s the new site, just like the old site but with better traffic-handling ability and more prominent text-link ads. Yay!
*Thanks sponsors! My car payment thanks you! My cat thanks you! My landlord thanks you!
Locking down your in-home wireless network is like paying the cable company to take your neighbor’s money.
It’s to everyone’s advantage to fill their neighborhood with wireless access. It should be a municipal service. We benefit as a community when a resource is widely available. The tragedy of the Commons only applies when the shared commons is a limited resource.
The only people who don’t benefit from open community networks are companies who profit from the marketing-created illusion that bandwidth is rare, precious, and costly.
Do you scream at your neighbors: “get your OWN cell phone network and stop using mine!”
Do you call the cops when someone takes a shower using YOUR aquifer?
Does your radio’s signal belong to you?
Remember when it was illegal to make a free long-distance call? Were we going to run out of phonelines? Or was it because, for awhile, “long-distance calling” was the only established business model available to consumers, and eventually legislation built up to protect the market?
Once cellphones created a different profit model, did free long-distance calling stop being “wrong”?
“Ownership” of a wireless network connection is marketing, not reality.
Nobody is going to break into your computer. Nobody cares about capturing your keystrokes. There are better ways to secure your computer than hiding inside a little ComCast/TimeWarner-generated moat and trembling in fear of imaginary baddies who want to eat your bandwith.
Bandwidth is not a limited resource. You are not gonna run out of Internet.
Do you know anyone who has ever run out of Internet? No.
Get a firewall and quit whining.
I just spoke with a gentleman who helps run Second Life, and he informed me that there are, like, a billion librarians on SL, who own a string of islands and facilitate information exchange. Can anyone confirm this?
Are we cool or what?
Guess who drank too much last night? Everyone!
It’s hangover day here at South by Southwest. The panels are slow and attendance is low.
This morning I went to a panel debating the merits of ignoring users. It matched my mood nicely.
User profiles are taking a beating this year.
Guess who was the only woman in the gaming room playing Guitar Hero and shooting bunnies with the Wii? You may call me Token.
Reverend Billy and the Church of No Shopping are here. They’re staying at our hotel, which was kind of startling when I crawled out of the elevator this morning.
I’m going to try and find someone from the Creative Commons who wants to come speak at Cornell about using the CC in scientific publications. If you know anyone, give me a holler.
I tried out Cornell Library’s book-delivery service this week. A nice stack of David Foster Wallace books quickly appeared at my workplace yesterday afternoon, and I got a friendly call when they arrived.
If you are a Cornell student or staff, you can have library books delivered to any library-location of your choice for free. For me, this means walking upstairs to our sunny little ornithology library overlooking the pond, and sitting by the fireplace for a bit.
I’m an irredeemable Amazon.com addict, so I view as a right the ability to learn about a book, click a few links, and have said book delivered to me. Imagine my pleasure at being able to do this without paying for it.
Unfortunately, you pretty much have to be told about the service to find out about it, unless you are the type of user who clicks links labeled “requests” on library websites and enjoy library jargon. Like many public services in the country, the crucial step of communicating to humans was overlooked.*
*Many nonprofits seem to say to their clients: “Look, we provide a valuable and benevolent service. You could at least be arsed enough to jump through a few design hurdles in order to discover our valuable service that you don’t know exists because of our design hurdles.”
I’m not sure, but I think the Cornell Library Patron narrative is supposed to go like this:
- A student or staff member goes into the library catalog and searches for some interesting books, thinking “Hey, I’ll go pick these up at the five separate library locations where they are housed”
- The patron adds each book to her “bookbag” (navigating a series of hurdles involving ID numbers, multiple passwords unique to the library system, and cute-not-descriptive service names) to create a list of books she wants to get.
- A MIRACLE OCCURS HERE
- The patron mysteriously knows that she can have her books delivered.
- The patron clicks into the catalog page for each book (students love catalog pages!) and separately clicks “requests” at the bottom of the page, knowing instinctively that book delivery is a “request”.
- The patron chooses “Book Delivery Services (9996 available)” from a dropdown list conveniently located below the fold.
- Assuming the patron does not receive the helpful error message “Your Patron Initiated Call Slip Request failed. This item is not available for Call Slip requests.” like I just did (Patrons Love Call Slip Requests!), she enters her ID number again.
- The patron is familiar with the names and locations of the dozens of small on-campus libraries and selects her nearest branch.
- The patron knows that, unlike use of the weight rooms, climbing wall, or campus cinema, the library book delivery service is free.
- The patron clicks “submit request”, then repeats the process for each item she wants delivered.
- The patron celebrates her triumph with a fine malt beverage.
Still, mad useful if you know about it.
The financial advice site Get Rich Slowly suggests using the library as a frugal way to save money on books. I agree, and am going to endure more bad OPAC design in the interest of financial progress. Stay tuned.
Cornell librarians: Please do not kill me. I’m glad to have your services. Bad online user experiences are common in the library world. I’m sure you are busy right now improving the OPAC and writing clear non-jargon filled text describing your services. Go Big Red!
I got my New York Public Library card in the mail today.
Anyone who lives in New York state is eligible for a card, so I now have access to the library’s impressive collection of online resources.
I spent the morning refreshing my Spanish at the NYPL’s Online Language Learning Center. It uses the Rosetta Stone software, which now has a place on my desert island list of media resources, along with the White Album and the entire first season of The Dog Whisperer.
If you haven’t used or seen Rosetta Stone, it is Language learning software with the remarkable ability to hack your brain and force it to actually understand and remember all of those verb conjugations you had to memorize back in college. The lessons are reinforced with audio, video, writing and images, so it imitates an immersion experience more than a typical grammar-based language course. There’s even a module that has you speak into a microphone and shows you a waveform comparing your speech with someone who doesn’t suck.
I haven’t explored the other web resources, but I’m tickled at getting access to this one. The software is in the $300 range, and Cornell doesn’t have a license, so I feel like I’ve gotten my taxes worth this year. Thanks NYPL!
One of my student employees, Katie, is being recruited by IBM. We’re proud of her, and not a bit surprised. Our other student, Zach, is trying to decide between working at Google or Amazon. They will be lucky to have him.
One of the advantages to doing web development at a University, is that you get to work with Google-caliber people, but get to pay them student slave wages. For some reason they don’t seem to mind.
So, in honor of our super students, I’d like to direct you to these official IBM Songs that you can listen to online from their corporate archives. Enjoy, and remember: We are the men! Of IBM!