Archive for the ‘Bloggity’ Category

Your spam filter may need recalibrating when…

July 4, 2014 @ 7:01 am | Filed under:

…your friend Monica’s comment gets held up in pending but Mr. Convert Flash Video sails right on through.

P.S. Since my comment notifications didn’t seem to be working for everyone (were they working for anyone?), I’ve switched to threaded comments as an experiment. I don’t love threaded comments myself—too hard to see what’s new in a discussion—but I’m curious to know if the reply notifications work any better this way. If you comment and don’t get an email notification, let me know?

Little bits of blog business

November 24, 2013 @ 12:45 pm | Filed under:

I’ve been doing some housekeeping on Bonny Glen (because, you know, it’s easier than doing ACTUAL housekeeping) and decided to give it a bit of a makeover while I was at it. Just the blog, not the rest of the site. Mainly I wanted an excuse to keep on looking at these gorgeous autumn leaves (taken during my Portland trip the other week) for a while longer. I suppose this means I’ll have to overhaul yet again in a few weeks. But that’s probably about the extent of how long these colors will appeal to me, anyway. 😉

(For the link colors, I wanted to try to match one of the red-orange shades in the leaves. On a whim, I Googled “color picker from image” because surely someone has invented that magic, right? And sure enough! I found this. You hover your mouse over an image and it tells you what it thinks the hex color is for a particular pixel area. I tried a lot of shades before settling on this one, which isn’t quite as red as I was going for. But you know, house full of children yadda yadda yadda. Sooner or later you gotta say close enough.)

Anyway, I’ve checked it in various browsers and it’s looking good to me in all (except that iOS has the banner image shifted oddly to the left, and I don’t know how to fix that), but if anything looks off to you, do let me know. Thanks!

I genuinely like Like

November 12, 2013 @ 8:35 pm | Filed under:

facebook_like_button_big1

Related to the ongoing discussion about blogging and commenting: Lesley kindly shared the link to the little heart-button plug-in she uses at her Bower. Now, I know Facebook’s like button comes in for lots of ribbing, some of it earned. Many people have written about the superficiality of ‘like’ culture. Clicking a button to ‘like’ a cause is a far cry from actually participating in the cause. I get it. But the humble, mockable like button serves another purpose, a kind one, an actually meaningful one. It says: I’ve read this, I paused a moment in my busy day and took note of something you said, I appreciate your words, I’m grateful you shared this thought (or link) with me. It’s quite nice, really, how much companionable message can be conveyed by that quick click. “15 likes” can mean “15 smiles.”

I’ve been noticing this particularly on Twitter of late. For years, I all but ignored the “favorite” button there. I took it literally, understanding it to indicate a truly outstanding tweet, the sort that must by definition be rare. But somewhere in the past year, I realized people had begun using “favorite” as “like.” Quite often, it’s a way to let someone know you appreciated his or her comment even if you didn’t have anything to say in reply. I favorite quite liberally now, just as over on Facebook I like with abandon. And my appreciation is genuine. You’re saying interesting or amusing things, and I like them.

Anyway, I’ve added the like plug-in here, in case you’d like (heh) a way to say hello without leaving a comment. I haven’t yet decided how I want to label it (I’ve left it just ‘like’ for now). Lesley or Sarah, which one of you was it who had a “nodding quietly” button for a while? I liked that designation very much. I’d click a heart for it if I could, and mean it. 🙂

Related: do me a quick favor?

October 31, 2013 @ 8:36 am | Filed under:

If you have a blog of your own, or a Tumblr or some other platform where you share things with the public (including a public FB page), would you share the link in the comments here? Even if you know I already know the link. 😉 (Other readers here may not.) I’d love to make sure none of my blog-friends are slipping through the cracks of my feed reader. Ever since I switched over to Feedly, I feel like something’s missing—even though I imported from Google Reader and all my subscriptions should be intact.

Feel free to tell us a little something about you and your site. But no pressure! I hereby declare Bonny Glen a certified Pressure-Free Zone.

Updated to add: your comments will probably get held up in moderation because of the links. Don’t worry if they don’t show up right away; just means I need to move them out of pending.

This one’s long enough to make up for the two weeks of silence

October 30, 2013 @ 4:10 pm | Filed under: ,

geobug
So it seems I hit a little blog lull, quite unexpectedly. I write posts in my head every day, all through the day (it’s why I began blogging in the first place, you know: thinking in narrative is the way my brain has always, always worked)—but lately I seem prone to tossing a thought or a quip or a link onto Facebook instead of chronicling here. And yet I recoil, actually, from the idea of handing over one’s mental activity to the data-miners and the the rushing update stream. I have this looping conversation with myself over and over. If you blog and are also active on Facebook, I bet you know exactly what I mean.

On Facebook, people leave comments: that’s one point in its favor, part of its great appeal. And let me back up and say how much I love certain aspects of Facebook! I champion it often, when people are running it down for being shallow or negative. Facebook gave me what no other medium has: daily contact with my faraway cousins, my old school friends, my coworkers from jobs long past. Very precious contact, actually. Friendships rekindled and deepened. Road trips made merry (and potentially safer) by en route updates, with friends keeping tabs on us and inviting us to stop and stretch our legs as we made our way across the country and back. There are things Facebook can do that this blog cannot.

But: vice versa! Such riches I have tucked into the archives here—family treasures, I mean. Stories I’d certainly have forgotten, had I not recorded them here. A diary of sorts of our homeschooling journey. An annotated reading journal. A commonplace book, with pictures. Oh, I love this blog, what it’s given me. Including the friends: no small matter, that. Facebook reconnected me with old friends. Blogging gave me new ones, and I count those friendships as very real and rich indeed.

I don’t comment on your blogs nearly often enough. I’m still probably among your most faithful readers, though, did you know that? 🙂 I find myself reaching for the like button to let you know I’ve appreciated a post, am nodding my head at your insight or smiling at your joke. On Facebook people snark about the superficiality of ‘likes.’ I understand why, it’s quick and glancing, it’s not saying anything meaningful, it sometimes suggests an unfortunate endorsement of the wrong half of a sentence. (“I got an offer on a YA novel today! But then I fell and broke my leg.” Er, like? No, wait!) But that silly like button serves a purpose. I means I’m here, I’m reading this, I took note of what you said, I’m glad you shared. If I could click a button on Feedly to let you know I’d appreciated a post, you can bet I would. Clicking through to actually comment, now…oh, I wish I were better about it. Sometimes it’s captcha that deters me, or login technicalities. (Blogger gets very grumpy with me when I don’t want to comment as Melissa Wiley’s Official Data-Providing Google Account, which I loathe doing on friends blogs because I’m just Lissa to you, right? And I can never remember my WordPress login on blogs that aren’t mine.) But other times, a friendly comment is an easy click away and I still don’t take the time, because I’m probably reading your post on my phone, and I really really hate typing with my thumbs.

A Facebook update is much more likely to generate discussion these days, at least for me. Of course, Facebook is such a combustible stew of people from all one’s different worlds and walks of life—sometimes I cringe, seeing all my people jumbled up together that way. I’ve tried separating my personal and professional worlds there but it’s flat impossible. Colleagues become friends, and then what do you do? Make them switch accounts? Who can keep up with multiple accounts anyway? Not I.

All of this is musing without agenda: I simply thought I’d try thinking aloud here the way I did in the olden days of blogging. You know, way back in 2006.

For my own amusement, a few of the topics I’ve posted about on social media recently:

• geocaching, which has become our favorite pastime, and I could talk about it ENDLESSLY for HOURS (see one diabolically clever hiding place in the photo above—oh how we shrieked!)

• how I’ve started writing serious poems again, and I really miss my old grad-school poetry workshop mates and the close readings we used to do of our own poems and others

• Coursera classes I’m taking (alone or with various kids), and many many thoughts about how we use Coursera—and actually I have a long post half-written on that subject. It began here (is still in drafts) and spilled over to Facebook, and judging from that conversation I actually have a lot of practical information to share on the topic.

• related: gossip as a vital tool for human survival—one of the many fascinating points of discussion in the Coursera “Brief History of Humankind” class I’m taking, about which I have LOADS OF THINGS to say

• also related: the Coursera “Modern and Contemporary Poetry” course is wonderful and is going a long way to satisfy my ache for close readings, since each week’s lesson consists of video discussions (grad students and professor) of several different poems—one poem per fifteen(ish)-minute video, perfect for diving into in small chunks of time, which is all I have

• a mocking gripe about my internet service provider, not worth recording

• links to various articles, all of which I’ve shared in the sidebar here anyway

• my delight over the first sketches for Inch and Roly #3

• a picture of The Greatest American Hero, which generated more comments than anything else I’ve posted this month

• the sudden realization after all these years that in the Magic School Bus theme song, the guy is not actually saying “Make a sacrifice on Mars.”

• and in the comments of the above, the revelation that “the guy” is none other than Little Richard!!!

• an adorable photo of my boys

• Overheard, Rilla to Huck: “I’m going to teach you three things. The first one is Pounce, and it goes like this.”

Which is, it turns out, kind of a lot.

Greatest_American_Hero

Adventure of English, take two!

October 5, 2013 @ 10:42 am | Filed under:

Heard from two friends that yesterday’s post isn’t displaying the YouTube clip on iPad. Sorry about that! It’s visible on my laptop so I didn’t realize. 🙂 Here’s the direct link for those who missed it: The Adventure of English episode one: The Birth of a Language. We’re deep into episode two now and thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

Thanks for the heads-up, Ellie and Edith!

Heads up, Feedly’s being weird

August 17, 2013 @ 5:50 am | Filed under:

If you’re a Feedly reader and my previous post seemed to end abruptly, it’s a glitch I can’t get to the bottom of…for no reason I can fathom, my blog is now appearing excerpt-only there. For some people. Not everyone. Until further notice, I recommend clicking through to see if there’s more to my posts than what appears in your reader. Sorry for the inconvenience!

Adjusting to Feedly

June 21, 2013 @ 4:33 pm | Filed under:

Only eight more days, guys, until Google Reader goes poof. Have you downloaded your data yet? Have you migrated to another reader? I’ve settled in at Feedly (will be investigating Digg Reader when it launches, though) and am mostly happy there.

I’m usually pretty eager about change—it energizes me—so I’m not sure why I’ve been so grumpy about shifting away from gReader, especially since Feedly offers some features I actually like better than Reader’s. Let’s face it, I’ve been sulking ever since Reader Share got the axe. But onward, allons-y, and all that jazz.

So here’s what I like about Feedly: the granular customization it offers. I very much like being able to customize the feed view at every level: all posts, topic folders, and each individual blog.

Like this. When I click on “All” (that is, all unread posts), I like the titles-only view. You can scroll quickly down and click on any post title to expand it to reveal the full post.

Feedly titles only view

You change the view by clicking one of the icons by the red arrow.

When I click on newest posts (“Today” in the sidebar) or any of my topic folders, I prefer magazine view: a thumbnail image and post excerpt.

feedly thumbnail view

 

For individual blogs, I nearly always prefer full article view. As you scroll down the page, posts are automatically marked as read. You can mark them as unread with a click. I love this—it’s faster than gReader’s mark-as-unread function was.

postview

 

For a few particular blogs, especially ones whose feeds are excerpt-only, I choose card view instead—a larger thumbnail image plus post excerpt. (Sarah, I think your blog is exceptionally lovely in this view.) 🙂

otherpostview

 

It didn’t take me long to click through my feeds and customize these views; it’s just a simple click in that top right corner. I did it a little at a time, as I read through a few days’ posts.

My default start page is “Today”—you can customize that in Preferences (bottom of the sidebar). You can also select a default view for all your category and feed pages, and then tweak individual blogs later.

feedly prefs

 

Another feature I love: you can click the number next to a category or blog name in the sidebar, and that marks all posts in that section as read. Gotta be careful, though; I’ve done it by accident a couple of times, meaning to click a category and marking the whole darn thing as read.

(By the way, if you don’t see your blog in the lists above, don’t be offended. I’ve probably got you squirreled away in another category. I have a filing system to rival Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler’s.)

The other thing I appreciate about Feedly is how easy it is to share links to Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms. And the bookmarking and tagging features are clutch. (Updated: Gwenda Bond just discovered all our Google Reader Starred links have been automatically migrated to Feedly’s “Save for Later” section. YES.)

You can change the colors, too! Click “Themes” at the bottom of the sidebar. I go back and forth between the blue, a soft green, and this nice, simple white layout:

Feedly in white

Yep, it’s growing on me. How about you? Even if you land somewhere else later, now’s the time to migrate your Google Reader account to Feedly’s new cloud server.