By Kathryn Magura
Over the years, I have found a number of sites on the great interwebs that have either kept me informed or entertained (or both). Today I thought I’d share some of my favorites with you:
- Feedly: When I heard Google Reader was going away, I went into a sort of panic as to how on earth I’d keep all the sites I follow tracked. Thankfully, Feedly seems to be doing the trick. What’s nice is that they use cloud technology, so you can pick up where you leave off on mobile devices, laptops, and tablets.
- Buzzfeed: I’m sure you’ve seen some the various posts on Facebook like, “20 reasons you know you’re an 80s kid” or “best of goat duets with artists.” All those posts come from the brilliant minds over at Buzzfeed. I frequently get lost in the nostalgic trap that is one of those lists. Be careful going down that rabbit hole though, because you’re guaranteed to lose a few hours!
- Greatist: Looking for ways to improve your health, fitness, or happiness? Want to find a healthy and creative recipe? Then I recommend signing up for a free account at Greatist.
- Bonus Link: Leave it to Reddit to have a page devoted to all things sloths. 🙂
Those are just a few sites that keep me occupied on the internet. What are some of your favorites?
By Brenda Bethman
This week’s links do not really relate to technology per se, but as you know from my previous posts, I’ve been traveling a bit this summer and just returned from vacation. So reentry is on my mind:
One thing I’ve started doing for the past couple of years is scheduling a “transition day” for my last day of vacation — we come home the day before that day so that I have a day off between getting home and going back to work. I use that day to unpack, do laundry, catch up on snail and e-mail (don’t answer much email that day, but I do go into my inbox and delete like crazy). I find it really helpful in terms of making that first day back in the office feel a bit less stressful. How do you deal with vacation reentry? Share your tips in the comments!
By Kathryn Magura
Despite my best efforts to remain sloth-like, 2013 has become the year of personal wellness for me. I did not set out with some overly ambitious goal to get “fit” or lose weight in 2013. What I did do is set some personal goals for how I wanted to live my life, and what I needed to do to feel healthy. Along the way, and through great advice from many of you, I found some applications that have helped me live a life more well:
- Couch-to-5K: I am not a runner. In fact, for most of my life, I would say I have been an anti-runner. “What if you’re being chased?” I would give up, obviously. “What if there is a zombie apocalypse?” Team zombie. These are a few of my standard responses to convey my disdain for running. Then why on earth would I start running? Basically, I wanted to see if I could do it. Could my stubborn determination outweigh my staunch dislike for running? I have seen many other friends who wanted to run try out the Couch-to-5K app in the past with great success. How does it work? Well, the program is 9 weeks long broken up into 3-30 minute routines each week. You start by alternating walking with a smidge of running, and by the end you are running with a smidge of walking. Basically, they trick you into becoming a runner. Works for me! I started the program early in the spring and saw almost immediate results. I got sidelined by bronchitis, but have since restarted the program. Would I describe myself as a runner? Not yet, but at least I’m trying!
- Lose it!: The year before I turned 30 I noticed I was starting to gain weight at a rate with which I was not comfortable. I decided I would lose 30 lbs by the time I turned 30 and joined Weight Watchers online. I ended up losing over 35 lbs in just over 3 months, and it seemed annoyingly easy to do. I didn’t really work out much, just started eating better and drinking more water. I have kept that weight off for a few years, but then about 6 months ago I noticed I was starting to add the pounds again. I heard some friends talking about the Lose it! app, and how it helped them shed weight. I decided to download the free version and give it a shot. I appreciate how easy it is to add your foods and exercise, and how that all combines to healthy calorie intake goals. This program has helped me lose some of those extra pounds, and keep track of what I eat and how that impacts my daily routine.
- Sleep Cycle: I am a terrible sleeper. Awful, in fact. I have tried various techniques to try and improve my sleep, with little success. I have toyed with going to a doctor to assess my sleep patterns to see if there is a problem that could be isolated and therefore worked on to improve my sleeping. This past winter, I was introduced to the Sleep Cycle application, and thought it would be a great way to have a pre-assessment of my sleeping to see if there was a discernible pattern to my terrible sleeping. The way Sleep Cycle works is it measures your sleeping patterns over a duration of nights, and provides you an assessment of the best and worst times for sleep during the night. Tracking when you are at your deepest and lightest sleeping hours could help determine if something simple, like going to bed an hour earlier or later, could help you have better sleep. You can also track things like foods eaten or other things to see if there is a specific cause of a bad night’s sleep.
These are 3 applications I have had success with over the last few months. Which ones would you recommend to facilitate personal wellness?
by Jess Faulk
This coming Monday I will be teaching a session at the Boston Nonprofit Center on Productivity #Techtips for the organization Socializing for Justice (My 2012 SAWTT blog post on last year’s presentation). When I began thinking about teaching folks about the technology they can use to be more productive, I also started to reflect more on the behaviors we need to take on to be more productive. I believe you need both to truly find success. So this week’s linkage love is pointing you in the direction of some fabulous women’s blogs talking about productivity.
Alex Grant entrepreneurial writer and digital strategist, writes in her blog, “The secret to creating the life you want: Be proactive, not reactive.” She writes about how important it is to be make priorities, and make peace with the fact that you can’t do it all. I was particularly impressed that she actually had a “tweet this” link in her blog to share the idea. What a cool idea!
Jessica Lawlor, Public Relations and Social Media Professional tells us about how she gets a great start to the day by waking up early and making most of her morning. While I fear I will never be a morning person, I do like her ideas on planning ahead and being focused on what you want to accomplish.
By Anitra Cottledge
I had a great conversation recently with some colleagues about ways to utilize technology and social media to communicate about your office or department. This is one of my favorite topics, so I had plenty to say. We talked about topics and strategies that have probably been mentioned before: create a social media policy for your office (building upon your institution’s policy if they have one), be strategic about what you post, develop a social media schedule, and track your engagement via social media, i.e., make a monthly note of how many followers, hits, likes you have. Pay attention to what’s working and what’s not working and be willing to evolve. Remember that social media and technology are just new(er) mechanisms of outreach.
The other thing that we talked about was deciding which social media platforms to use and why. I went through our usage of particular platforms (at this point, we are utilizing a lot of social media with the exception of Tumblr, because we don’t have a need for it. This past year, we started using Pinterest, and are playing with some different ways to use it and integrate it with our other communication vehicles.
What came up is that technology moves so quickly, and before you can blink, there’s a new platform on the horizon. Here are a few upcoming trends and/or platforms to watch out for:
- (The Incredible) Shrinking Videos – Are you using Vine to make short, 6-minute, looping videos that you can share with friends via a mobile app? Wired Mag on how Vine is the next (current?) thing.
- Embracing the Visual – I don’t know how this is necessarily new, because it seems to me (in an anecdotal way) that people already utilize visual imagery to engage audiences via things like Instagram, Pinterest, infographics, and using more photo and video on Facebook. Nonetheless, if you haven’t given this idea some thought in relation to your social media strategy, now is the time to reframe and rethink.
- Going Mobile – I am starting to see more mobile versions of websites, and have recently gotten involved in trying to optimize a site’s information for mobile use. Considering the large amounts of people who access the web via smartphone, considering mobile design or responsive design is important.
These are just a few things that I’m thinking and reading about. What are trends that you’re noticing?
by Kristen Abell
Since I started developing websites as my full-time job this last January, I have gotten to be friendly with quite a few different tools and sites on the interwebs as resources for me while I’m still learning all about web development (aside: I’m pretty sure there is no way to know all about web development – just a never ending learning process. I sort-of love this about my job). For those of you that also develop websites or who dabble from time to time – or even for those who want to learn more – I thought I’d share a few of my favorites so far.
Codecademy – This was possibly the single most helpful tool I used in learning about CSS and HTML when I first started. If you are wanting to learn more – or if you’re just wanting a refresher – I cannot recommend this enough. I have also used this in training others on website editing around the university. This is definitely one of my favorites.
A List Apart – This blog has all sorts of tips and tricks for developers and designers. These bloggers tend to be on the cutting edge of trends and more than willing to share whatever they’re learning with the rest of us humble developers. One of my favorite things about this blog is all the information they share about responsive design. As it still tends to be few and far between elsewhere, this is like an oasis in a web development desert for responsive design.
CodePen – Admittedly, I haven’t used this one as much as I should. This is a great tool for figuring out bits and pieces of CSS for your websites. Or, as my fellow web developer here says, it’s extremely effective at making you feel inadequate as a coder – seeing what others can do with CSS is both extraordinarily cool and horribly daunting. But there’s no time like the present to learn, right?
Codrops – This is another site I’m just familiarizing myself with, but it looks to have some great resources for website developers on it, including some stellar blueprints for different website tools and some ideas for tackling some of the more difficult challenges in web design. I can’t wait to play with it more.
What web development/design sites are you using? Please share!
by Valerie Heruska
I’m riding the struggle bus with finding a new RSS reader. I love Google Reader like I love that perfect shade of pink nail polish that doesn’t exist because OPI refuses to make it, but I digress. Come July 1, Google Reader will be that pink nail polish. As much as an epic tragedy this is, it will happen and I will have to make the best out of this situation. So here’s some research I’ve been doing on new RSS readers:
The Old Reader: it’s still in Beta, but if you’re like me and want to play with things in Beta, then give this one a whirl. Be forewarned, they’re still fixing the bugs and there is no mobile app. It’s web-based, just like Google Reader.
NewsBlur: It’s real fancy and easy to use. They have apps compatible with Android and iPhone AND they have an iPad app. So now I have 3 wonderful ways to read things. Hooray! It organizes your news nicely on a sidebar and you can have multiple folders. It’s just a super nice layout and very easy on the eyes, without being too noisy – one of the things I appreciated about Google Reader.
Feedly:Basically, it’s Google Reader’s long lost twin (think the Parent Trap). It allows the same functionality as Google Reader and is also compatible with iPad, Android, and iPhone. It has a very simple interface and is user-friendly.
If you know of a replacement for Google Reader (:::Cry::::) please let us know!
By Jennifer Keegin
Here’s some interesting, fun and useful tech links for your week!
10 Computer Shortcuts You Can Use for Evil
Small little tricks that you can play on co-workers or others.
Learn to Code
So you don’t know code yet? Learn in your spare time this summer! Just like learning a new language.
Computer Tips and Tricks Everyone Should Know
This is straight from Reddit and is a crowd sourced page of tips and tricks.
App Directory for All Your Gear
Very cool listing from Life Hacker.
The Creepiest Apps and Sites
‘Cause they are creepy.
By Brenda Bethman
As you know from my last post, I have travel on the brain right now (even more so now, since I leave in 10 days). I’ve also been out of the office a fair amount during the last month or so due to illness and travel, so this article in the Wall Street Journal caught my eye. Author Melissa Korn notes that despite a clearly-stated out-of-office message, some folks nonetheless emailed repeatedly during the time she’d stated she would be out of the office:
“I was horrified to see at least four or five notes following up on emails that had only been sent a day or two earlier–when my out-of-office response was already switched on. The senders knew I was out, yet they still felt the need to send another note, asking why I didn’t respond. One went so far as to send a text message to my personal cellphone after receiving my automatic reply, convinced that her news was too important to wait. (It wasn’t.)”
I also noticed this when I was out of the office with bronchitis in late April/early May. Despite an out-of-office reply that basically said “I’m sick and will read your email when I feel human again,” many students emailed daily with their queries. This also happened during spring break, with one student going so far as to find my cell phone number and texting me (no, that did not go down well).
Of course, part of the reason folks repeatedly email is because they assume that “out of office” doesn’t actually mean anything as many folks (like Korn did) continue to check their email when on vacation or ill, as this article on CNBC points out (“How the Smartphone Killed the Three-Day Weekend“).
To get around this expectation, danah boyd developed what she calls an “email sabbatical” and more folks are declaring “email bankruptcy” upon their return.
As student affairs professionals, it’s easy for us to lose boundaries as Stacy Oliver pointed out last summer but time off (especially after the craziness of April and May) is essential. Even I, notorious for my email habits, turned off last summer and this past Memorial Day weekend. The challenge I’m now finding is getting others to recognize that I really do mean it when I say I’m out of the office. But I’m hopeful that it will take as I prepare for my summer travels.
What about you? How do you turn off? And get others to respect your boundaries when you do?
By Anitra Cottledge
I’m still feeling fuzzy from the semester and its ending, and am just getting around to my usual routine of clicking around the intrawebz. A few technology-related items that caught my eye:
- I’m Out of the Office. No, Really. I Am. – This article poses the question: “Is the out-of-office message meaningless?” Not to me. I don’t have a problem not checking my email when I’m away from the office. I used to have my email synced to my phone…for about two hours and then I just wanted people to pelt me with an endless stream of gummi bears.
- #Hashtags: Facebook’s missing link to pop culture – So Facebook is missing out on cool points because it doesn’t have a hashtag mechanism? I suppose this is true. One part of me says, “What the big deal? I use hashtags on Facebook anyway, even if they aren’t live.” But then again, hashtags are useful on Twitter, particularly when you’re trying to follow a conversation. Then again, I don’t use Twitter in the same way that I use Facebook, so I’m not sure that I would want the same hashtag functionality on Facebook as I have on Twitter.
- Tools for Displaying Tweets at Your Event – Some new and useful tools that could come in handy for those of us in Student Affairs, who tend to plan lots of programs and events, and may want fresh ideas about how to integrate technology into our programs.
- Facebook Rape Campaign Ignites Twitter: Boycott Threats From #FBrape Get Advertisers’ Attention – When Jaclyn Friedman, executive director of WAM (Women, Action, & the Media), Laura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism Project, and Soraya Chemaly, feminist writer and activist, write an open letter to Facebook asking that it take action on “pages and images that explicitly condone or encourage rape or domestic violence or suggest that they are something to laugh or boast about.”
What are you reading?