Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Getting Around Twitter Ajax

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

This is a bit of a hack so you don’t have continuously press the “more” button when trying to get back to old tweets in Twitter. This is helpful if you can’t find what you need through the Twitter search engines and you have an idea when you tweeted something.

**Important Note: If you want to be able to search back on YOUR tweets you need to be looking at YOUR profile with all your tweets. If you want to search everybodies you need to be on the home page. If you want to search someone else’s tweets you need to be on their page. Got it? Good.**

If you hover your mouse over the more button you should see this in the lower left hand corner of your brower:


cc licensed flickr photo shared by shauser

We want to get to that URL but you will notice that as soon as you move your mouse off the ‘more’ button you no longer can see that URL. So what we need to do is right click on the ‘more’ button and select ‘Properties’ which should give you something like this:


cc licensed flickr photo shared by shauser

You will need to copy the address given to you in the element properties. Make sure you highlight the whole thing because you will need whole URL address.

Next paste the URL into the address bar and you will see a spot in the url that says “page=x” x being a certain page.


cc licensed flickr photo shared by shauser

You can change that number that follows the “page=” to whatever you want, making it much easier to search further back in your tweets to find something you said many months ago. Of course there is some guessing work involved here but it is much easier then clicking “more” over and over again.

Hope this helps you in your search for past tweets!

You’ve Been Warned

Thursday, May 21st, 2009

Reverend Warning

While I was having Jim help me work out my new site, this little warning popped up on my dashboard.

Let that be a warning to you UMWBlogs users. The Reverend is always watching and waiting for his moment to strike! 😉

Digital History And All That Chaos

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

One of the articles I read was “Strange Facts in the History Classroom: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wiki(pedia)” by Christopher Miller. Wikipedia has been a hot topic in every academic department since it became a popular resource. I think Miller’s approach to the subject is the most even keeled way to look at the matter. One major point he hits on is that it is not necessarily about Wikipedia or online sources, but the skills that the researcher has when evaluating and analyzing them that are most important. Just as with every source that a historian uses they must compare it to others and check its sources. I think the root of the problem lies in people’s fear of the internet as a whole and anonymity and ever changing face of it. Anyone can post online and say anything and this scares a lot of people and it raises many questions, e.g. who and what defines an expert or a scholar in a certain field?

            An important aspect of Wikipedia is that it is community moderated and as stated in the article Wikipedia tends to have just as many errors as any encyclopedia, which, is impressive given everyone’s fears about how it is not a trustworthy resource. I believe Miller’s approach to teaching his students about sources is a step in the right direction. We are no longer in an age where scholars are in charge of history and the way it is interpreted. Miller’s point was not just to discuss Wikipedia, but the changing face of scholarship in the twenty first century. Like I said before what is most important in all of this is the students develop a sort of digital fluency in dealing with this relatively new way of researching. Even more basic than that students need the fundamental skills of critical thinking and analysis, skills that are apparently just supposed to happen while you are a college. Some people can pick up skills like this intuitively and from lots of experimenting and practice, but I think we are doing students a great disservice by not addressing these issues head on and more than one class a semester.

   

While reading Barbara Weinstein’s “Doing History in the Digital Age” it was interesting to see some of the problems we read about in our book and some of the problems we actually faced while doing these project she too also faced. The digital age has made process more transparent. Questions of how and where do we store things especially for long term.

            Like Miller she also addresses the fact that it is not just about being digital and while this important we need to make sure we are not going with technology for technologies sake. When discussing money distribution for projects in the humanities she notes the unfair advantage projects that met certain digital guidelines had over those that did not, she states:

“In a classic case of putting the cart before the horse, they would have to reduce the time and resources devoted to the crucial processes of transcription and tracking down references in order to ensure digital accessibility. The result would be a devaluing of an artisanal/scholarly process in favor of an industrial/technological mandate, with the likelihood that quality would be sacrificed.”

            This brings to mind the whole industrial knowledge of education and the standardized tests that plague the schools of our nation. In the abstract it looks like a good idea, but put into practice and in the long run it is helping very few people and probably hurting the overall cause. So, sometimes the question is raised, what is more important technological standards or quality? Now this doesn’t always hold true and it would be a false assumption to see these two on opposite sides of the spectrum, but this case shows us that we are not done answering all the questions the digital age has for us and it will be by thoughtful thinking, analysis and bit of trial and error that we determine answers for the digital age.

 

While reading this article I also thought about copyright issues and so this is a bit of a tangent. While ideally everyone would have access to everything published freely and easily the truth is money makes the world go round and when publishers already make small profits there isn’t much incentive to make items electronically available. So where is the balance and how can we get all this information that should be available to the public with little cost, but still maintain the systems that produces these books that we want to read? Personally, I think a lot of the issues come from the length of the copyright period. Right now copyright laws are skewed in favor of the copyright holders while the public has to wait a lifetime (and then some) to have open access to these sources. One of the most obvious solutions would be to limit the copyright term to something reasonable in which the copyright holder still can make money off of it, but people also aren’t at a disadvantage because of the wait period. This seems obvious to me (and probably to you) but we have that whole silly government that seems to not want to agree with popular opinion, its not like we are in a democracy or anything…oh wait. Well, like I said money makes the world go around and to quote one of the major corporations who has helped extend the copyright, “It’s a small world after all”.

Tech and Junk

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

This has been a hectic week and I’ve had a lot going on and have been busy with lots of stuff so I wanted to do a bit of an overview just so I can get it all down on digital paper.

Instead of keeping our blog on umwblogs our group decided to do a separate install on umwhistory. BUT after talking to the WP Master Jim Groom, who just made his return this week, we decided it would be just as easy to keep it on umwblogs and the burden of updates wouldn’t be on Dr.McClurken in the future to maintain the install of WP. So Jim and I (but mostly Jim) have been hacking away at the site on umwhistory, so I will probably be showing that one at our groups the presentation tomorrow. But moving the theme files will be easily done with the help of Jim’s backend assistance.

Jim and I also discovered there is a WP plugin that works with Simile timelines and so Jim is going to be kind enough to install the plugin and see if works. It would be much easier than creating our own navigation bar.

I’m working on another post detailing exactly what Jim has done for the site to take it from blog appearance to site appearance and all the possibilities that we have for categories and tags. Having the amount of markers we do it is helpful to have several ways to filter and search through them and the tag and category feeds will help us do just that. The possibilities are exciting.

Also Jim (did I mention how awesome he is?) recommended that we should grab the pictures from the VA site. I’m assuming since they are government property they are under public domain? Someone correct me if I am wrong. Jim also showed me a really easy way to get the google maps to work on the site so for each page we could possibly have a map for it. In addition another possibility is having a large google map that would cover all our markers and it wouldn’t be too hard at all.

There is still work to be done and I will eventually blog about the finer details and also how awesome the K2 theme for WP is, but that is for another time.

Now for a bit of randomness. After a conversation online last night I did a little photoshop this morning and created a Che Guevara-esque photo of Dr.McClurken.
So for your viewing pleasure:
jmguevara01.jpg jmguevara02.jpg

My question for you fellow Digital History students, what kind of caption do you see with this picture? Do you have a color preference? Oh and should there be t-shirts? Maybe a sort of I survived McClurken’s Digital History Seminar deal haha.

Way Overdue OneClick Install Post

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

So I mentioned a few weeks ago about a WP plugin called OneClick install. It isn’t available on UMWblogs, but if you have a separate install or your own blog this a pretty nifty plugin.

If you google it you can find a site to download the plugin and in addition you will need the Firefox extension and that can usually be found with the download. If you don’t know how to install a plugin in manually there is a lot of documentation out there that can help you, but the nice thing about the OneClick Install is that once you install that you’ll never need to do it manually again!

So if you manage to do that (and if anyone is really interested and needs help I would be more than willing) once you have OneClick installed and the FireFox extension added you are just about set to go.

What does OneClick install exactly do? If you find a theme or plugin for WP that you like, instead of manually installing it OneClick allows you to do it right from the browser. First you need to make sure you are logged into the blog you want to install the plugin or theme, otherwise it won’t work. In addition when you find the file you want to install make sure that the link to the file is a direct link to the file, otherwise it won’t work either. I know it may seem like more work, but its not.  Once you have a file in your sites right click on it and in the menu pops up you will see an option for OneClick Install and you can either chose theme or plugin. Once that is done you can go the dashboard of your blog and activate the plugin and there ya go!

Hopefully this plugin can help you save some time and frustration.

Learning a little SVG from PGMJ

Tuesday, August 28th, 2007

Classes have officially started.

Like many students I am trying to find the balance between work and play, and locating a happy intersection where those two things meet. I found a bit of that at work.

Yesterday Patrick introduced me to a little program called InkScape. It’s free and available online at inkscape.org. The program is like MS Paint hyped up on steroids, or, maybe more closely related to the likes of photoshop and other wonders like that…

One of the main reasons we used InkScape is that creations can be saved in .svg (as opposed to.jpg, .gif, etc.). Svg stands for Scalable Vector Graphics. This format is still relatively new to the web but, the possibilities of what it can do are exciting.

800px-bitmap_vs_svgsvg.png

Originally uploaded by Yug.

From wikipedia’s page on svg:
“This image illustrates the difference between bitmap and vector images. The vector image can be scaled indefinitely without loss of image quality, while the bitmap cannot.”

SVG will help create slicker looking websites with more possibilities for interaction. And if it is shiny and I can play with it, then I am there.

There are also more possibilities for manipulation with svg but, being a n00b I’m not even sure of the extent of it (hence why I linked to wikipedia’s page multiple times).

If you are anything like me then you like to waste spend time playing around with cool tools (for real school fools?). InkScape is definitely an application to check out (especially if you only have the likes of MS paint on your computer).