twitter

What responsibility do we have to our followers?

This past week, I’ve gotten quite a few (hundreds actually) new followers on Twitter and Google+. What’s going on? Does this have anything to do with the new changes on Facebook? Do people hate it that much? Or, does it have anything to do with Farmville changes? 
It’s nice to have all the new followers, but with new followers I feel a bit of responsibility to come up with good tweets and links. 
I tried to find some great quotes by joining  quotesdaddy.com. It is pretty good, but, still it doesn’t seem to be enough. So, I’ve been retweeting a lot. 
Oh sure, I know that the marketing gurus are saying to themselves that they’d be doing a lot more than just repeating quotes. But I don’t feel its right to blanket people with ads. Don’t we have some responsibility to our followers?
I think my responsibility is to only share stuff that I find interesting enough to read. So my question is: What responsibility do we have to our followers? Please tweet me @geekesse.

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Are you in a browser rut?

Since this website is about surfing the internet, I thought I’d talk about the tools of the trade today. I’m surprised at the many people who still use Internet Explorer. Are you one of them? I have a number of customers who were, but I’ve released them from their shackles and I want to set you free, too! You’re not stuck with Internet Explorer. There’s a favorite saying among web surfers: “Friends don’t let friends use Internet explorer.” 
Even if you’re using another browser, you might want to try something else to see what you’re missing.  Every day, you go to the same web sites, interact with the same groups, and kid yourself that you’re on the cutting edge. You’re not. Did you know that websites appear differently when viewed with different browsers? Sometimes, it can be quite dramatic. Did you know that some tools may be available in one browser but not another? Even if you prefer to remain in your comfort zone, you should have a secondary browser installed.
There are a number of browsers available these days. The other top browsers, besides Internet Explorer, are Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari, and Opera. Each of these browsers offer add-on support, multiple tabs, security, and other similar attributes, however there are some major differences in all of them.
Sure, it comes pre-installed with Windows, but there are only two reasons I ever use the application. The first, is to download another browser, the second is to see how badly IE renders my website designs. Yes, it mangles the designs. Most designers have to write in a special code to accommodate those clinging to IE, just so it will render the pages into something that looks close to what they want it to look like. Some just throw up their hands and put a popup advising the web visitor to install a different browser. Microsoft has been making some in-roads toward improving the browser such as adding extension capabilities, and improving the interface, but it still gives much to be desired.
If you’re using a Mac. Apple’s Safari comes pre-installed. However, you don’t have to be a Mac user to run Safari. This visually appealing browser is fast, customizable, and has built in pop-up blockers. It rarely, if ever, crashes.  On the Mac, it is set to the default and I have never changed this. I usually keep it open to read my news subscriptions and mail because I find this browser renders text very cleanly and is the easiest on the eyes. Safari does not come with developer extensions enabled. You have to enable it in preferences. Once enabled there are quite a few extensions available. To find them go to
https://extensions.apple.com/. These are the extensions I have installed: The New York Times Browser toolbar, Better Facebook, Builtwith Analysis, Scribe Fire, LastPass, Buffer, Twitter for Safari, and Safari Restore.
Many of my friends claim that Chrome is blazing fast. I haven’t noticed any difference, but I haven’t played around with the settings much. The reason, Chrome is supposed to be so much faster is that you can have gadzillions of tabs open, but they are not drawing away any load time from the active tab. Each operates in its own world, so that you can be doing some work in one tab, and won’t lose any speed in another. Or, if one tab crashes, you don’t have to restart the whole browser, just reopen the crashed tab. One of the features tI also like is that Chrome has is the ability to set the startup to open all of the websites I’ve added in preferences. It eliminates an extra step. I have all of my clients’ websites, plus my own personal links (google plus, my blog, twitter, and iGoogle) as the default start up. I’ve only installed what I consider basic extensions. They are: Last Pass, G+ Tweet, Google +1 Button, ScribeFire, Shareaholic, Xmarks Bookmark Sync and Zemanta.
The name of this browser alone, tells you that it dances to its own tune. It’s a completely different browsing experience. Try out this browser and you’ll be suddenly aware that there’s a whole new world out there, especially if you are visually oriented. Like other browsers, its appearance is customizable, so I don’t mean visually oriented in that way. Everything about the browser has a “feel” and look. Take for instance, its rendering of rss feeds (your newsgroup feeds) which appear like magazine pages.  It allows you to browse with your voice or by flicking your mouse. The browser takes some getting used to, but I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. The first thing, you’re tempted to do when installing Opera is to go to their extensions page and start loading it up with your standby Firefox extensions. Try to change your method of thinking when you use this browser. Why? Well, first the extensions library is nothing to write home about and some of the Firefox favorites don’t work, such as Xmarks sync feature (don’t worry, you can still import your bookmarks the old-fashioned way). The second reason is that Opera is more about multi-media. It allows you to stream your photos, music, videos, and phone all together under a program it calls Opera Unite.  Opera Unite bypasses the need for servers so that you interact directly with another person. This is excellent if you’re working on a project with another person, because you can work and chat in real time, exchange files, and it does it seamlessly.
Firefox is the browser I use to get my work done. There’s a reason why its the browser of choice among web developers: its completely customizable. With the millions of add-ons available, there’s practically nothing you can’t get done in Firefox. Before I talk about extensions, I wanted to mention the great features available in Firefox. One of the best newer features is what Mozilla calls App Tabs, instead of using up valuable real estate on your tool bar, you can move the sites like your mail or twitter page, up to the tab bar where they are always accessible. You can also have tabs in groups. For instance you can have all of your social media sites open in one group; then switch to another group such as Netflix or anything. There’s also session restore, which comes built in with Firefox. If, for some reason, Firefox crashes, when you reopen it all of your tabs are restored just the way you left them. And, even if Firefox lost track of the tabs, it pops up a humorous apology “Well this is embarrassing, firefox is having trouble recovering your windows and tabs and this is usually caused by a recently opened page.” And lists the pages so you can check off the ones you want to reopen. 
Extensions (aka add-ons):
All of the browsers offer add-ons in one way or another, but Firefox is the king of add-ons with a huge community of developers adding dozens of new add-ons per minute. Don’t let the idea of having too many choices deter you from checking out the add-ons. Here’s how to find the right ones for you. There’s a place called Firefox Collections, which is like Youtube playlists. Say you’re interested in Jazz on youtube and you can see the recommended lists of songs that people have compiled. Firefox Collections is the same. Say you enjoy blogging, wouldn’t it interest you to see the favorite extensions of Problogger
Then you can pick and chose the ones that sound appealing, and if you end up not liking one you can just disable it or uninstall it all together. (A word of caution, I just noticed that the most popular add-on listed in Firefox Extensions is currently AdBlocker. I would not recommend installing it because I’ve had nothing but bad luck with it. You can try it out, but it’s notorious for causing crashes, especially when you go to flash heavy websites.)
I usually end up adding extensions based on need. I need to do some repetitive task and so I search for an add-on that will do it for me automatically. For instance, one of the scripts available is the GreaseMonkey Extension Facebook Mass Accept which allows me to click one time to accept all of my Facebook gift requests and send a gift back. Now, what used to take an hour takes a second. I click on the mouse and get back to my work, but my friends get their gifts. GreaseMonkey is an extension that offers a wide variety of tasks by adding scripts to it. You can get these scripts after you install the extension.
In addition to GreaseMonkey, these are the extensions I have installed on my Firefox browser: Add-on Compatibility Reporter, Buffer, DownloadHelper, Evernote Web Clipper, Fasterfox, Feed Sidebar, Integrated GMail, LastPass, MultiLinks, PowerTwitter, ScribeFire, Smartest Bookmarks Bar, StumbleUpon, Web Developer, WiseStamp, Youno, and Zemanta.
Of course you can over do your add-ons and I’m getting close. But, that’s OK. If you’re not using an add-on, you can disable and re-enable them at will which I often do. Disabled extensions don’t slow down Firefox. If you do notice that Firefox has become sluggish, you might want to check out your addons. One of them might be a power-drainer. To check if a add-on is causing the problem, you can restart Firefox in safemode by going to the help menu and selecting “restart with add-ons disabled.” If you notice a significant difference, its due to one of your addons. To find the culprit, disable the extensions one-by-one to find it. Of course, If you recently installed an add-on and then your troubles started then you should start with that one first.
These are the top web browsers, but there are many more available. I encourage you to check them out because you really don’t know what you’re missing til you’ve tried it.

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Are we getting nastier?

I recently set up a blog for a customer and was encouraging him to integrate it with social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook. He wasn’t in favor of the idea because, he said, Twitter had become so “nasty.” The tweets he’d seen lately were nothing but nasty attacks. Earlier this year, a poll on civility showed that 85 percent of Americans think that politics had become increasingly uncivil. In “We’re getting meaner! What’s it to yah?” NPR interviewed satirist Andy Borowitz the author of The Borowitz Report,. who said we have to put it in historical perspective. But overall comments seemed to indicate that meanness was growing. In August, USA Today published an article on the American Psychological Association’s findings that the workplace had become uncivil.

In 2008 I wrote a Nettiquete post for members of my newsgroup, but I think a lot of it is still good advice. These tips are really just a friendly reminder of how we should treat other people. You can start by taking all of the “manners” that your mama taught you and apply it to your online communication. That said, here are the most important “rules” to ensure a happier and more successful time online:

  1. 1. BE CONSIDERATE. The first, and most important thing to remember is the golden rule. Remember that there’s another person(s) on the receiving end of your post or email. It sounds obvious, but sometimes when you’re looking at an electronic monitor, its easy to forget. Also remember that your “humor” may not be recognized because we cannot write voice in-fluctuations, etc, as well as we can hear them.
  2. 2. “IF YOU CAN’T SAY SOMETHING NICE…” One of the shortcomings of schools is that they don’t spend more time teaching people how to argue. How many times have you had to figure out the ratio of a circle in contrast to the number of times you had an argument? I’m just saying, they should re-prioritize the educational requirements proportionately to life’s requirements. If you disagree with someone don’t, ever, make it personal. Not only is it hurtful, but it doesn’t work in swaying others to your side of the argument. I remember once when I was a child, my sis and I were having an argument and she realized she was losing. At the end of her rope, she appealed to my mother with “MOM! APRIL’S STUPID!” The result was that everyone, my mother included, erupted in uproarious laughter. 

A side note: A lot of boards and newsgroups tell you to continue the argument off the list. I’m not going to tell you that because people come away with a false sense of anonymity. There is none. Some think that there’s only two people reading a so-called “private” email and so they can say the darndest things. But remember you have no control over what the receiver does with your email and now with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or rather the current abuse of the act, a server can be ordered to hand over all of your correspondence as well. In addition, I have my email backed up from 1987/8 til now. At any time, I can pull up the correspondence from others and blast it across the internet for all to see. I’m telling you right now, give up the idea that there’s any privacy involved in the internet. Any lawyer will tell you, “Never put it and writing.” And, speaking of privacy, I want to politely decline any further correspondence that include the words “for your eyes only” or “not for publication.” What do I do with that? Are you implying I like gossip?

3. DON’T WASTE OTHER’S TIME: Realize also that others might not want to hear you drone on about the same thing (especially if it has nothing to do with the group topic or repeated tweets to your friends only but we’re all in on the conversation. This coincides with one of my biggest pet peeves, the email forward button. Don’t use it. OK, you might use it once or twice, but only use it if you add some information or some comment or any text at all. Otherwise, consider taking the forward button off your menu bar. You can still find it, if you need to, in the “message” part of the menu. If it says “Pass it On,” don’t. My filters already put those emails right where they belong, directly in the trash. I belong to a lot of boards and newsgroups, so I get thousands of emails a day and it makes me feel like a heel when I get messages titled, “I better get this back.” If I spent my time responding to those I wouldn’t have the time to answer all the legitimate queries I get. In that same vein, never post “dittos.” If you have nothing more to add and you’re not answering a survey, a “me too” is useless.

4. ANSWER YOUR PERSONAL EMAIL: If someone has taken the time to write to you personally, answer them. Even if all you can write is, “I’m busy right now, I’ll try to write more later.” And with that I add be patient for a reply and if you don’t get an answer within a reasonable time period, like say 14 days, then send a gentle reminder. Perhaps, a “did you get this?” and repost your message. Many times, it can take me weeks to write an answer, though I try to keep the time down to a couple of days. 

5. ALWAYS SIGN YOUR POST: especially if you’re giving information. In genealogy this is SO important. Facts are irrelevant if they have no source. If you’re not willing to leave your name, then you’re just a lurker who has nothing to add. Sorry to be so crass, I’m pointing out how others view your posts.

6. QUOTE: Give me some idea of what you’re responding to or talking about. Familiarize yourself with the copy and paste keys on your keyboard. It’s really exciting when I get an email responding to a post that I put up on a board 10 years ago. But, realize my memory’s not that great! I need to know what my question was that you so kindly are responding to. This applies to emails also. Figure out how your email software or email website handles quoting. Sometimes you have to highlight the person’s message, sometimes you have to set your program to do that. If the message was long, remember you can just “quote” the part you’re responding to and delete the rest, but at least quote something. If you are talking about a web page, give the url. I really, really, and I mean, really!, appreciate people letting me know about a broken link or a error on one of my websites. However, please understand, that I have no way of knowing what site or what page you are talking about unless you give me the url.. Help! (To give the url, highlight the text in the url box at the top of your browser go to edit, go to copy. Now, when you go to your email, go back up to edit then to paste.)

7. CHANGE THE SUBJECT LINE. This is especially true on web boards because many times the search engine crawlers only search by subject line. You took the time to respond, now take the time to make sure the right people see your message. On yahoo groups, it seems to only search by subject or email addresses. So, if a person is looking for a particular subject, and the subject hasn’t been changed, those emails are missed. Changing the subject line is an easy thing to do. When you click reply, pop back up one line and write a short description of what you’re writing. 

8. BREATHE! Before you hit the send button, look over your reply. Seriously consider whether you’d want to receive the message you’re sending. Are you clear? Would you talk like that to someone if they were standing in front of you? We get all caught up in the speed of this new internet thingy, or the thrill and excitement that we have a great come back, that we don’t realize the web doesn’t have to dictate the speed of our reply. Recently, some college did a study they called The Good Samaritan. In it, they discovered that the one thing that dictated how “good” people acted toward each other was related to how much time pressure the person was feeling. Those who were rude or unhelpful felt rushed. So, remember to breathe. You’re not rushed. We can wait for your words of wisdom. If you’re a Twitter user, you might want to install the Buffer app on your browser. It allows you to buffer your tweets which will put some space between your reaction and your posts and, at the same time, eliminates appearing as a spammer with 10 tweets in a row.

This blog is probably way too long, and gives too much emphasis on the negatives. The last thing I want to do is scare away newcomers from participating in the two-way street that the internet has become. Honestly, I haven’t seen a lot of negative attacks. Perhaps I don’t recognize when someone is attacking me because a lot of what I read strikes me as funny. I’ve been blessed with a great group of followers. If you follow me, I promise I won’t get nasty and if I do, throw this back in my face.

The greatest blog post ever written

I’m really bummed. Yesterday, I was away from my computer so I used the new Blogger app and wrote the best post ever written by anyone on the world wide web to date. 

Image representing Blogger as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Seriously! I’d show you, but apparently it disappeared. Or, perhaps it appeared on somebody else’s blog. I’ll never know. I was just double checking my blogger log, and it’s not there. It’s as if the post never existed at all. 
I was able to successfully post from the app one other time, so I know it was working correctly. Blogger has, however, recently been making changes to their website. The new features include a sleek look, an improved editor, access to analytics, and many more widgets. They have been slowly rolling out changes with something new every time I log in,  so perhaps I just happened to hit the publish button at the wrong time. I’m crossing my fingers that this was the case and it was a temporary glitch. Still, being leery now, I’ll probably use the Evernote app or MacJournal app and write my blogs on there from now on. Both of those allow you to save your post as well as synch it with your computer.
Another reason I’m bummed is because I’d made a commitment to myself and to NaBloPoMo that I would post once a day for the month of September and have made it through all the way until now. I’m still going to count it as if I’d posted, using this post in place of the one that disappeared.
So? What was the greatest blog post ever written? Alas, that seems to have disappeared.
Note: This is the 17th post toward my commitment to writing a post a day. Have you joined NaBloPoMo yet?

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Stumbleupon: ‘You Have Reached the End of the Internet’

Yesterday, I was informed by Stumbleupon that I had reached the end of the internet. I backed away to reread it. My eyes not being what they used to be I was sure I was mistaken. Apparently I had already gone through all the links in my interests list and there were no more interests to select from. 
I looked at the URL. Being a savvy websurfer, I’d heard about the trick of adding  .ro.ro at the end of any link to get you to the end of the internet. For instance if I changed my website url from pastisenterprises.com to pastisenterprises.ro.ro/ I would end up at the end of the internet — but it didn’t have that suffix. It wasn’t a joke. 
Restaurant at the End of the Universe
I paused for a much needed drink at a hip hotspot called The Restaurant at the End of The Universe with a couple of old friends who always happen to be there. Arthur, Ford, Zaphod, and Trillian were working on some math problem. “How can it be 42?!” Arthur was yelling over the roar of the band.  As they droned on, my mind went over my options:
  • I could start over
  • I could start recommending more sites to Stumbleupon. 
  • I could look at the Stubleupon alternatives.

StumbleUponImage via WikipediaStumbleupon is a website surfer’s dream. You click on the Stumbleupon add-on icon in your browser’s toolbar and it whisks you away to a random website. The more you click “like” the more options it has to take you to the next time. And, if you find a really cool site, you can click on Stumbleupon’s share button to show others your great new find. When I’m having a stressful moment, or need to take a break from a project I’m working on, I use Stumbleupon to change my mood, lighten up, or just to distract me. Unfortunately, Stumbleupon had decided that I was done. That’s ok, maybe I do need a change. There are tons (hundreds) of other sites that allow you to bring up random websites. Here are a couple:

First. there’s always Google’s Feeling Lucky button. I say, first, because Google is set to be my home page on all of the browsers I use. You put in a topic and click on the “I’m feeling lucky” button, instead of getting a selection of search results, Google pulls up the top rated website that has to do with that search. Usually the top rated website tends to be someone who paid for that spot. So, I’ve never been a big fan.
Spinsnap describes itself as a channel surfing tool for the internet. You pick your favorite channels and when you click “spin again” you are taken to a website involving a completely different topic. Spinsnap offers some very small niches that others don’t offer, including genealogy. Need a little more structure? That’s there too. Spinsnap has a lit of the most “liked” sites in each category.
If you join Yoono you won’t ever miss one of your friends’ shared links again. Yonoo allows you to view all the tweets and status updates while you continue to browse the web. Share and view links among the friends in your various social networking accounts including Twitter, Facebook, Linked in, and some others. It doesn’t, however, have google plus yet.  A word of warning though. It can be quite distracting. If you use the Firefox plugin, unless you collapse it, it takes up about one-quarter of your browser. I usually surf on my 14-inch MacBook pro and need all the viewing space I can get. So I usually collapse the sidebar. The sidebar contains all your connected friends posts and a popup appears on the right corner every time one of your friends updates their “status” either by tweeting, or posting on Facebook. It also notifies you of any new posts with this annoying “boing” sound. One of the first things I did, was try to figure out how to stop all the Farmville posts from appearing in the links without eliminating Facebook posts all together. I couldn’t find a way to apply filters to the Facebook feed. What I really like about Youno, though, is they have a lot of different ways to use it. You can use it in with addons in Firefox or Chrome browsers; you can use it on a mobile app; or there’s the desktop app for PC and Mac.  When I first used it, they only allowed one account for each of the social networks, but I believe they’ve extended it to other accounts. When I click on share, it tells me what account I’m sharing it with, so I’m assuming that means that you can add other accounts. Its easy to setup accounts, just by going to the website and clicking on “connections” but that’s another item on my to-do list. 

Open Share IconImage by Si1very via Flickr

This isn’t really like Stumbleupon, in that you don’t click on something and it takes you to a random place, but it does allow you to share your links on Stumbleupon, as well as a gazillion other social networking sites. You connect your accounts and click on the icon in browser toolbar (you have to install the add-on first) and it shares it to the site(s) you select. What’s great is you can see what your friends are sharing and so in that way you can find some new sites that you would have never thought to go to.
If you’re a fan of wikipedia, then you’ll love this one. Paste this link in your browser bar and get a random topic: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random You can also add it as a button in your browser toolbar and the next time you’re bored click on it and be taken away to a whole new world. I usually end up on some topic I never would have gotten to on my own. For instance, I was just taken to a page John Garrison Marks, a retired hockey player. I have never had a repeat, so this can go on for a long time.
Delicious is a social bookmarking service, which means you can save all your bookmarks online, share them with other people, and see what other people are bookmarking. But, did you also know you can find some great random websites? The best way of finding random links is to go to the most popular bookmarks being saved at any given moment. Because there are a lot of people using delicious, it tends to change from minute to minute. So, just refresh your browser and get a whole new list. It’s a great way to stay in the loop because it lets you know what people are doing this very second.
In the mood for a little less reading and more viewing? See random Twitter Pics being shared by going to http://twicsy.com/top/hour. There are some very funny, really inspiring, and/or really disturbing photographs being shared on Twitter. Twicsy lets you see the top retreeted images. And, when breaking news is happening this is the place to be as you see photos being taken of the event as its occurring, rather than what’s shown on the 6 o’clock news.

42, The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Lif...Image via Wikipedia

There are so many more random website servers that I’d like to share with you but right now, my friends at Milliways have finished their argument and agreed that the answer is indeed 42, and Zaphod has offered me a lift back home in his Infinite Improbability Drive, so I gotta run.
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Genealogists You Should Have in Your Circle

Google+ is a great asset if you’re interested in technology with a steady stream of posts day or night, but what if you’re interested in genealogy? Not so much.
What is Google + (or Google Plus)? – Well, its everything! Its like a blog, its like Twitter, it’s like Facebook, its like Google Buzz, its like a photo gallery, its like Instant Messaging, its like video messaging; Its all of those things rolled into one fantastic gathering place. It’s a tool to use to connect to your “circle of friends” and share posts to those in specific “circles” about specific topics. You add your friends into circles and then choose what to share with that circle. Sound intriguing? If you need an invite, just let me know and I’ll send you one.
Without much work at all, I’ve added some great people to my circles. I’ve named my circles: Business Contacts, Family, Following (bloggers who I follow), Humor (people who always make me laugh), Mensans, Friends and Genealogists. You can name your circles anything that you find most helpful.
Every morning, when I startup my browser & Let me rephrase that because In truth I never turn off my browser. So, every morning with I click on my open-all-at-once button that I’ve labeled “DAILY” in my browser bar, the first site to pop up is my Google+ Stream. That way, while I’m waiting for the coffee to brew, I can see what people are up to, read some news, and maybe get a laugh or two.
But yesterday morning, my stream was a little too long to read through it quickly, so I clicked on my circles one at a time until I clicked on my genealogy circle and hit a wall. There was just one post. It was by Marian Pierre-Louis, who writes two of my favorite blogs: Marian’s Roots and The New England House Historian.

I said to my self, “Self? Where are all the posts from all the genealogy blogs you follow?” Popping up to my genealogy circle, I realized that I hadn’t added those bloggers to my circles yet. Thus began my quest. I went to each of the genealogy blogs that I follow so that I could add the authors to my genealogy circle.
I was very disappointed when i found very few of them, exactly two, had any link to their Google profiles. See, they have to have a profile or you can’t add them to your circle. If you’re a fan of genealogy, you know there are thousands of genealogy bloggers on the internet. Genealogists do take their time incorporating newer technologies into their toolbox for some reason or another, but once they find out how the tool will benefit them, watch out. I’ve learned so many research tricks thanks to a genealogist. Take, for example, Twitter, a year or so ago it was difficult to find genealogists actively using the site, but like all bloggers they’ve come to appreciate Twitter for its ability to attract more followers and broadcast their content to a much larger audience.
Here are some of the ways I have found using Google+ beneficial as a genealogist:

Get news of a new blog post immediately (No more missing your favorite genealogist’s words of wisdom)
Let blog followers know about new posts
Get more readers and along with that get more interraction
Ask a research question and get a lot of viewpoints. Most of the time responses are very quick
Share family research news
Coordinate reunions (or research trips)
Private video chatrooms to work on a specific project

Perhaps these bloggers don’t know yet how easy it is to add a Google+ button to their blogs. Whether you’re using blogger, WordPress or any of the other blogging software, it’s very, very easy.

Head on over to your Google+ profile. In the URL bar there’s a number, that’s your profile ID.
Copy that number.
Then, go to WidgetPlus and paste that number in the Google Profile ID box.
Fiddle with any appearance settings you’d like to change and then click “Get Code.”
Copy the code in the text box that appears.
Go to your blog’s design area to add a new widget, paste the widget code and save.

That’s it.

Don’t get me wrong. There are genealogists on Google+, it just takes a little elbow grease to find them. I’ve created a list of the ones who I consider worth adding to your circles. The criteria I used was very simplistic:
Are they actively using Google+?
That knocked off a few immediately including the author of the very popular genealogy blog Dear Myrtle. Although she has a Google profile, none of her posts on Google+ are public so I assumed she was not using it to communicate with her readers.
I made no judgements about the quality of their posts. If your favorite Genealogical blogger isn’t there, you’ll have to find them. Two ways to find people on Google + are to search for their names in the search bar at the top of your Google+ page or go to the Google + directory where you can search for people by tags (keywords).
If you find any genealogists who are actively using Google+, please let me know so I can add them to this list:

Put These Genealogists In Your Circle

Jeffrey BockmanJeffrey Bockman

Genealogical Lecturer and Writer, was a contributing editor for the Everton’s Genealogical Helper.


Tamara JonesTamura Jones

Author of Modern Software Experience


Leslie LawsonLeslie Lawson

Forensic genealogist and guest speaker


Lisa Wallen LogsdonLisa Wallen Logsdon

Author of the Genealojournal and Old Stones Undeciphered


Joan MillerJoan Miller

Author of Luxegen Genealogy and Family History


Chris PatonChris Paton

Author of Scottish Genes Blog and Scotland’s Greatest Story


Susi PenticoSusi Pentico

Genealogy Instructor, Historian and Educational Assistant, Genealogical Research and Educational Chairperson CVGS Conejo Valley Genealogy Society.


Marian Pierre-LouisMarian Pierre-Louis

Author of Marian’s Roots and The New England House Historian


Caroline PointerCaroline Pointer
Professional Genealogist & In2Genealogy Columnist for Shades of the Departed, & Texas Aggie. She also writes 4YourFamilyStory.com


Lorine McGinnis SchulzeLorine McGinnis Schulze

Author of Olive Tree Genealogy Blog


Randy SeaverRandy Seaver
Author of GenamusinsSouth San Diego County Graveyard Rabbit and Geneaholic


Drew SmithDrew Smith

Author of the book Social Networking for Genealogists


Megan SmolenyakMegan Smolenyak

Author of Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History, companion guide to the NBC series. She also
writes Smolenyak’s Roots World


Kirsty F. WilkinsonKirsty F. Wilkinson

Author of The Professional Descendant


April Heath Pastis April Heath Pastis
You are also very welcome to add me to your genealogy circles. I am the founder of the Heycuz genealogical newsgroup.

NOTE: This is day No. 11 toward keeping my commitment to NaBloPoMo to post once a day. Have you joined yet?

‘Dogtooth’: Disturbing and Thought Provoking. On to ‘Red State’…

Last night I broke down and put in a Netflix DVD that’s been sitting on my desk for months now. I was reminded that it had been sitting there when Twitter became inundated with posts about the break down in the Starz-Netflix contract. The Satellite TV channel had a distribution agreement with Netflix to provide digital access to movies from Sony and Disney through Feb. 28. 2010. But, Starz announced that it will not continue the arrangement and so Tweets were telling everyone they’d “better” go watch all the Starz movies in their Netflix que. 
When I do watch movies, I tend to watch digitally. I only use the DVD feature when a film I really want to watch isn’t available. 
I had read a review about Dogtooth and was intrigued. It was a well-respected film critic and it was the shortest review I’d ever read. It said something like “I’m not telling you NOT to see Dogtooth. I’m NOT telling you TO see it. All that I’m telling you was that it was disturbing.” That was it. Then, when it received the nomination for Best Foreign Language Film at the 83rd Academy Awards, I decided to order it.
Now I know what he meant. Whoa. There are few films that I’d say I’d remember all my life. Most of the stuff i watch are chick-flicks so that’s not surprising. I forget the premise days after I’ve watched some of that stuff. 
Disturbing isn’t the half of it. I picked up my remote a number of times to turn it off but I was, I don’t know, mesmerized? Like the lookie-loos who stare at a car accident, I couldn’t look away. And, it had nothing to do with the fact that my Greek is practically nonexistent even though I am married to a Greek. Learning Greek is another item on my To Do Someday list. So, I had to read the subtitles to follow along. 

Greek critic Dimitris Danikas gave the film a rating of eight out of ten (“with enthusiasm”) and characterizes it as “black, surreal, nightmarish.” He believes that Dogtooth is as important for Greek cinema as Theodoros Angelopoulos‘ 1970 film Reconstruction.
The movie’s official website describes Dogtooth as:

A hyper-stylized mixture of physical violence and verbal comedy, Dogtooth is a darkly funny look at three teenagers confined to their parents’ isolated country estate and kept under strict rule and regimen — an inscrutable scenario that suggests a warped experiment in social conditioning and control. Terrorized into submission by their father, the children spend their days devising their own games and learning an invented vocabulary (a salt shaker is a “telephone,” an armchair is “the sea”) — until a trusted outsider, brought in to satisfy the son’s libidinal urges, plans the seeds of rebellion by trading VHS tapes for sexual favors. 

Comedy? I wasn’t laughing. It’s haunting. Dogtooth is a movie that will invade your dreams. Most of our beliefs come from our parents. I like to think of myself as a free thinker, questioning everything and am so proud of the fact that my son is exactly the same way. He doesn’t accept anything blindly. 
Once, a teacher was expounding on the merits of Ronald Reagan and he questioned the teacher’s premise. I was so proud of the teacher who, rather than admonishing my son for disrupting his class, gave him a Merit for showing a willingness to learn and called me personally to thank me for raising such an inquisitive kid. He said that very few students actually ask ‘Why?’ 
In Dogtooth, these kids have been brain-washed their whole lives, so it is both astounding and some how natural that one of them asks ‘Why?’ It takes an awful lot to question the very foundation of your existence. Your vocabulary alone rules how you think, what you think and how to think. Dogtooth is thought-provoking.
According to the Twitter trends, the movie Red State looks like it is another thought-provoking movie with a horror-theme twist. In fact, according to Twitter trends, every minute of the last 72 hours someone has tweeted about the Kevin Smith movie. I’m not a horror film nut, but I do love John Goodman. The film also stars Michael Parks,, Melissa Leo and Stephen Root
The trailer for the movie is frightening enough to make me wonder if I really want to see it. Their website describes it as:

Kevin Smith steps his foot into horror territory with this politically tinged fright flick starring Michael Parks (From Dusk Till Dawn, Grindhouse) as a controversial Fred Phelps-ish reverend who brings his own brand of zealotry to a wayward group of teens. Smith directs from his own long-in-development script. 

Some of the tweets:

BrianRector @ThatKevinSmith just got done watching #redstate feel like i see the world in a new light

frozeneyes @ThatKevinSmith just finished #RedState Sir! Fantastic work! Parks is absolutely haunting! Job well done to you, cast, and crew!! It looks like another thought-provoking film.

JaseFox #REDSTATE Goodman’s acting when he recieves his orders in the field. Parks’ monologue speech which dominates the second act of the movie.
numbangel1120 Michael Parks for Best Oscar #REDSTATE

Time to fireup Netflix and see if I can get it. If not, the films available at On Demand and iTunes or you can pre-order the DVD.
NOTE: This is day No. 4 toward keeping my commitment to post once a day. Have you joined yet?
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Stream of Consciousness Post

Hmmm. Today’s NaBloPoMo prompt is “How did you feel about the start of the school year growing up?” No. I said I wasn’t going to follow the prompts. School is a boring topic. I was lucky though. My brother was, as my geeky friends said, “One of the beautiful people”, so I never had a lot of peer pressure. I was always on the fringe of all the groups at school…

Beetle BaileyImage via Wikipedia

My geeky friends…lol. What ever happened to “Beetle Bailey“? Why did we call him that? Haven’t kept in touch with any of my school friends. Well, actually there are a few school friends who managed to “friend” me on Facebook. That’s amazing. How did they find me? Its not like I advertise who I “was.” I don’t have my school listed in my profile, do I? Nope. I don’t even have my maiden name on there…
Geeze look at my wall. Natalie needs some LOVE for her Sims. Better send that. Dang, Lana wants to share a special delivery package. I hate those things. Every time I open them I get a freaking brick. Makes me feel like Charlie Brown trick-or-treating and what does he have to show for it? @CB: “I got a rock…”

I love Halloween. Why is that my favorite holiday? Maybe cuz I had so much fun with my school friends on Halloween. The Haunted House, sigh. Makes me laugh even now. Oh the thrill of getting scared to death with gory zombies grabbing you in the dark. Haha. So fun. Or rumbling though my closet and settling on the same old costume, a hobo. How original. Every body always said I was creative. Maybe they were just being nice…

Oooh, Rocky Horror Picture Shows. Every Friday night, we’d go down to the theater and throw toilet paper at the screen. What a mess that theater was. How did they stay in business? How did we always manage to have left-over toilet paper? After the midnight showing of Rocky Horror we’d head over to the music teacher’s house to teepee him. How weird was that? Living two-doors-down from me was a major mistake. Were we too cruel to poor Madrano? There are lots of worse things to have regrets about than a few streams of toilet paper, I guess.
Better launch “Clean My Wall” or I’ll waste the day answering requests on Facebook…
ARGGGGH…

TechCrunch Nike Apologizes For Nike+ Issues, Promises Fixes, New Platform Soon http://tcrn.ch/pA7gXv

Dang! Every time I go up to the top menu, that’s when the popup throws me back into Seesmic Desktop app. I really have to figure out how to move that #@#$!! notification box. It’s in the worst place: in the top right corner, so every time I go to my browser menu, I inevitably hit the Seesmic box. I sure miss Nambu. I can still use it, even though they went out of business. No. Gonna force myself to get used to Seesmic or find another Twitter client. I need one that can handle all my ghost accounts. Seesmic doesn’t quite cut it… Can only have two Twitter accounts… Come on! I write for more in my sleep. What was I doing before Seesmic so rudely interrupted… Oh yeah, back to my Facebook Friends list…
Let’s see, who of these are old school friends…Facebook Friends! Ha! They really should come up with a better word for it. And there it is… One of my biggest pet-peeves about Facebook: Without fail there’s a post on the feed that starts, “If you’re my friend….” and ends with they’ll unfriend me if I don’t repost their droll ramblings. In ALL Caps, much less… OMFG!. Friends don’t threaten. Besides, you’re NOT my friend, you’re just my Farmville neighbor…
Let’s see…old school friends on Facebook. Oh, sigh, talk about regrets…Ronnie…I was so clueless. Can’t believe I was so naive. Why in the world would he want to friend me after I treated him so badly? Why did he have such a crush on me? Why couldn’t I give him the time of day? Its not like I was hot stuff in school…

How would I describe my school days, anyway? NaBloPoMo, why are you haunting me? All I really remember about school is that I was in a hurry. I just wanted to get it over with and get on with life and now? I’m still in a hurry.

NOTE: This is my 3-day toward keeping my commitment to post once a day. Have you joined yet?

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Creating A Facebook Page For Your Business

Recently, I was asked about the merits of having a Facebook Business page. Actually, the person asked whether they should drop their website and go solely with a Facebook Business Page. Having a Facebook page is not an either/or solution if you integrate Facebook with your business’s website or blog. The ideal scenario for a business is to have its own website, plus actively participate in social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBaseFacebook has some powerful tools for businesses. With a page, those interested in following you can become “fans.” Then, anything that you post to your page can be seen by your fans and their friends too. You can store photos, videos, information about your company, and links to your blog. The limitation is that you are bound to their format, and any information is kept in separate tabs.

If, for example, you are an active blogger you can add it to your Facebook page, and any time you update your blogs your fans will see it on their walls. At the same time, you can add a “widget” to your blog that will encourage “fans” to follow you on Facebook.
So, the inevitable question that followed was, “How Do I Create a Facebook Page?”
Steps in Setting Up a Facebook Page.
Creating a Facebook Page is very, very simple. Don’t let the length of article below deter you. It’s long because I tend to be verbose and I wanted to go over the options in detail

  1. Go to Facebook and make sure you’re signed in.
  2. Go to this url:
    http://www.facebook.com/pages/manage/
  3. Click on the +Create Page button
  4. In the page that comes up you will need to select the type of Facebook page you want to create. In the left column, you can choose a Community page (aka Groups). In the right column, you can choose Official Page, which is what you choose if you want to create a business, organization, or fan page. You’ll probably want this option.
  5. Select one of these choices:

    a) Local business. (Note that if you choose this option, your business will only come up in a Facebook search for people who live in the immediate area. If your customers are outside your county, don’t select this option. If you’re a mechanic, or any business, who’s customers are only local, then you would select this option.

    b) Brand, product, or organization. This choice assumes that your page is of interest to any one, any where. I would select this option for any business or organization.

    c) Artist, band, or public figure. I wish more people would create these. Being a geek, I tried for the longest time to become a Facebook Friend of Dr. Michio Kaku, the physicist who hosts the Science Channel and other TV shows), but never could because it was always telling me that he had too many friends and “try again later.” Cropped image from a larger one of Michio Kaku...Image via WikipediaFinally, he started a fan page and now I can keep up with where he’s appearing, read his blog, or not. Since I am not a Friend, he doesn’t know me or that I’m ignoring him when I get too busy. Because I’m a Fan, rather than a Friend, my posts don’t appear on his wall. His posts appear on my feed, that’s all. This would be the perfect choice for say, a Town Historian, who wants to let people know what he’s working on, answer questions, have discussion boards, etc.
    If you select the second option (Brand, Product, or Organization), a pull down bar will appear prompting you to select the category. For example, Retail, Technology Product or Service, Religious Organization, etc.) Pick the closest one.
    If you select the third option, Artist, band or public figure, a pull down option bar appears prompting you to select the category. For example, government official, writer, actor, etc.)

    1. Page Name: Once you select the type of page, a text box appears asking for a page name. Type in the name of your business or organization.
    2. Check off the box that states that you are an official representative. This is a security measure for Facebook so that if its determined that you are trying to pull a fast one then they can pull your page at any time. You cannot proceed without checking this.
    3. Click the “Create Official Page”.
    4. Another popup appears asking you to confirm that you are an official rep and that they will take away the page if it violates their terms and conditions. They provide a link to it if you want to read the terms.
    Thats it. Now you can start filling in the page with information. In fact, once you confirm that you want to create a page, you will be taken to a form area prompting you to edit your page. I discuss the sections of that form below. You can take your time with this because you have not invited anyone to your page yet and a page has to have at least one “like” to start showing up in the Facebook search function. In short, no one can find it but you.
    Editing Your Facebook Page.
    Now that you’ve created a page, its time to start adding information to it. This can be done very quickly if you’ve done a little preparation. Things you should have or know in advance include having a representative image, contact information, website information, mission statement, and a paragraph about your business/organization.
    When you first create a page, Facebook helps you along with a page that has six options: images, invite friends, import contacts, post update, create a fan box, and set up your mobile phone. Ignore most of these options for now, because there’s nothing for any one to see yet. So why invite them? However, the first option of adding a photo should be your first step.
    1) Profile Photo. The first thing to do is to add a photograph. If you just created the page, this will be the first option that Facebook presents to you in their “Let’s get started!” form. Click the “Upload an Image from your computer” link. A popup appears asking you to navigate through your computer to find the best image. Select it, and your photo is uploaded. Don’t worry that your photograph doesn’t appear right away. If you refresh your page, it will show that its been added. Notice also, when you refresh your page, the option to add an image has disappeared and the No. 2 option–Invite your friends–has been moved up in its place. Don’t worry, you can still change your picture if you change your mind. In the left corner, just like on your profile page is your photo. If you want to change it hover your mouse over the picture and a Change Photo link appears.
    2.) The nitty gritty now starts. Time to fill in the information people will see when they visit your page. Right under your recently uploaded image is a “Edit page” link. Click on it.
    3.) The first form that appears is your Basic Information including date founded, company overview, general information, mission, awards, products and website. Fill in the information. Its alright if you leave the areas that don’t apply blank. Click save changes. It will return you to the same form but Information Updated appears at the top. You can make any changes if you like.
    4.) On the left column, there are other choices of information to fill out. They are: Manage Permissions, Basic Information, Profile Picture, Marketing, Manage Admins, Apps, Mobile, Insights, Help. I’ll take you through them.
    5.) Manage Permissions. Not ready for prime time? If you like, you can turn off the visibility of the page by clicking the box “Only Admins can see this Page.” That way you can take your time and edit your Facebook Page. The other options on the page focus on what you will allow visitors of your page to do. Do you want them to be able to post? Add photos? Add Videos? The default selection is that visitors can do all of that. Its your choice. If at a later date, you need to change it for any reason–say someone’s spamming your page–you can turn it off. The last option is to delete the page if for some reason you’ve changed your mind about having a Facebook page.
    6. The second and third options have already been filled out. The second being, your Basic information–see no. 3 above. The third option is your Profile Picture–see no. 1 above.
    7. Marketing: In this area you get tools for promoting your page, both on Facebook and on other websites. Anywhere you go on the internet these days, you see icons that allow you to share a link to an article on the site on Facebook; to “Like” the website; or to become a Fan. In this form, you can get the code to do that. If you have a website administer, the easiest thing to do, is to give them access to your Facebook page. To give your designer access you go to the next section that I will discuss next. You can create these promotional tools yourself if you’re technically inclined. There’s help information on each of these pages. There is also the option here, to advertise on Facebook. Ads on Facebook are charged on a cost per click basis. For information on advertising, go to the Facebook help page: http://www.facebook.com/help/?page=409.
    8.) The next option in the left column is Manage Admins. I believe you should assign at least one other Admin. The reasons I think its important is that this person can access the page and not have access to your login codes and it is an important backup in case there’s any problems with your personal account. If the main administrator cannot access the page–because he’s incapable of logging on, is out of the country and can’t get to it, or Facebook powers-that-be decide to revoke your membership status–the alternate Admin can always come to the rescue. Admins can update pages, change permissions, add photos, answer and delete posts, etc.
    Another administrator you might want to add is your website designer. From time to time, that designer will need to get some code, create an application, or other options, and its easier and faster if they can log in to get it, rather than trying to have you get the code and email it back to them. To add another administrator to the page, you must first be a Friend of the person. Make sure that you have added that person as a friend first, and in the box under your name, start typing the first letters of that person’s name and a list of your friends will appear. Select the appropriate person. If you want to add more administrators, click “Add another admin” right below. When finished. Save changes.
    9.) The next option is Apps, which really should be called tabs because it’s where you add menu tabs and adjust their settings for each of them. At the top of your Facebook business page there’s a tab-like menu. The default tabs are Wall, Info, Photos, and Discussions. In Apps, you can adjust the settings of these default tabs and add other tabs including an events calendar, videos, links, notes, and much more. Facebook calls these tabs “Apps.” The reason is that each one of these tools is implemented through online software that must be installed before you can use it. At the bottom of the page is the option to browse more applications you might want to install. You an also install Apps by clicking on the + symbol that is located to the right of the last tab on your Facebook page.
    Facebook has A LOT of apps to choose from, and you can even create your own apps if you’re a techie. The Add Apps area is searchable and also categorized. If you have a lot of videos you might want to add the YouTube app (YouTube) which makes the videos on your YouTube channel available to your Page visitors. If you’re a blogger, adding NetworkedBlogs would allow visitors to see any new posts to your blog. Or if you’re an active Tweeter, you can add tweet 2 twitter. If you like you can also have an eCommerce storefront, one app that does this is Payvment E-Commerce Storefront. If you’re looking to build up your mailing list, you can add MailChimp. There are also external sites that interact with Facebook such as Google, Plaxo, and many more, including special links to your own website.
    10.) The next area, titled Mobile, is where you set up your smart phone interactions. The options are mobile email, Mobile web, iPhone, and Text messaging. If you want to be able to upload photos or status messages from your phone, you would create a Facebook mobile email address. Clicking on mobile web allows you to create a Facebook url that directs people using their phones directly to your Page. If you have an iphone, you can install the Facebook app on it and whenever you click pages, your new page will appear. A note of warning about this. If you don’t want your phone to buzz every few minutes don’t approve the “Push Notifications” when you install the app. With SMS you can update your page status on your iPhone’s text messaging system.
    11.) Insights, the next area in the left column, reveals the statistics of your page. These stats include active users, new “likes,” number of views, number of new posts, etc. If you’re running a marketing campaign, this can be very useful. You can export the information which will create a csv text file so you can import it into your favorite database software such as Microsoft Excel. Note, that you will be emailed the same information here once a week if you haven’t turned it off in your personal Facebook account notifications options. If you’re not sure if its off or just want to check your notifications you can control it through “My Account” settings page, or go directly to: http://www.facebook.com/editaccount.php?notifications.
    12. The final area, Help, is where you find help with FAQs available on all of the sections above.
    That is a basic look at setting up a Facebook page. If you still need help, or if you prefer to watch a video on how to do this, go to YouTube and search for Creating a Facebook Page. There are many outstanding videos there. Once you get it set up and have played around with the options, you’ll probably want to do more. Later, in you’re interested, I can discuss other options, like setting up a custom Facebook Landing page, and connecting Facebook with your website, etc. Good luck! If you need any help or have any comments, I’d appreciate the feedback.
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    Guido the Geek Performs Hit on Twitter?

    President Barack Obama talks with White House ...Image via WikipediaWhen White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs admitted his Twitter account had been compromised, a host of feelings popped up for me. Having had one of my websites hacked a while back, I thought well if a site as huge as Twitter could have left its guard down what had happened to me wasn’t that bad. It could happen to anyone. The thought of such “huge” people as Gibbs and Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown‘s wife Sarah getting hacked goes to show how wide spread technology crime has become. Still, don’t you find the media’s attempts to describe technology a bit funny? I do. In a New York Times article — Twitter Is Hacked Tuesday Morning – NYTimes.com — the writer states:

    Other attacks, including the first worm to strike the iPhone, launched in November 2009, also paid tribute to Mr. Astley. In rebel-Web parlance, clicking to see Mr. Astley is known as being “rickrolled.” Twitter has since disabled @matsta’s account.

    I love that description “rebel-Web parlance.” ROTFLMAO.
    The article also suggest a mafia-like cybercrime organization, which elicits in me visions of Guido the Geek completing a hit on Twitter account holders. Is there really a “cybercrime organization?” Well, sort of. There are a few groups who’s sole purpose is to steal identities. That’s what the Justice Department‘s division of  Computer Crimes and Intellectual Property define as cybercrime organizations. If there is a Cybercrime Mob, is there also a “Godfather?”
    I know its not funny to those who were infected. The matter might appear less humorous to me if I’d visited twitter that day. Yes, I have a twitter account, but rarely post any tweets simply because I can’t write sentences that short. And, by the time I think of something to say, the subject is too old to comment on. I also don’t read tweets off of the website. Like many, I use an app (I prefer NAMBU) to keep up with those I found interesting enough to follow. However, I can go weeks without even firing it up. But, now that I know there’s a cybercrime mob, you can bet I’m going to follow @guidothegeek so I can keep up with them.

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