media (108)

Vine: 6-second Videos

I’m not exactly up-to-date on the latest in anything, so I just learned about Vine, Twitter’s six-second video app. Now there’s an idea! 6 seconds.I do find it a bit confusing in that it doesn’t start and stop, but loops back and starts over at the end. 2 things I just learned:

1. Click on it to stop it.

2. Click on speaker @ top left to activate sound.

Seems like a powerful new means of communication. Grab those short attention spans! Info here. Vine blog here.

No bottom line I

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2nd Day At Mother Earth News Fair

The “Half Acre Homestead”presentation went well. Preaching to choir. This is Cheryl Long, editor of The Mother Earth News introducing me. I’m always nervous for these things. Mostly that something technical will go wrong, and sure enough, I forgot the connector of my MacAir to a normal projector, put the slide show on a key drive, fired it up, and it woudn’t work properly. Luckily, Chris McClellan had his natural bldg. materials booth nearby, and he figured it out. Whew! It used to be so simple when I lugged around Kodak Carousel projectors with slides.

   Links for all the tools I showed are at:

I’m going to write up about maybe a dozen tools or products I discovered at the fair — when I get the, aha, time. Such good stuff, all super relevant to the life I’m leading now.

  Right now I’m heading out to barn country.

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Leverageing My Content

I first heard the phrase from a friend who went to work for a hot new company during the tech boom. Well, uh, OK. But in spite of its dorky sound, it has real meaning for someone like me.

I’m all over the place. Can’t help it. Always have been. Everything in this world is just so daggone interesting. Especially now. I think I appreciate the computer more than younger people because of where I come from. It’s such a breath-taking span from hot lead type to InDesign, from bulky dictionaries to Google, from rotary phones to the iPhone 5. (Part of my excuse for being so eclectic.)

Back to leveraging: I’d like to sell more books, I’d like to get us more income so we can get out of the 40-year-old scrambling for $$ to pay the printers. I had an idea: to take targeted sections of this blog and turn them into eBooks. Say homesteading. For people interested in homesteading, but not necessarily in Muddy Waters or skateboarding.

You homesteaders and gardeners out there: would you pay $2.99 or $3.99 for an ebook based on a selection from my homesteading posts?  Go down on the far right column and under “Topics,” click on “homesteading.”

I don’t know about a print book. It could be done but might cost too much.

I’ve put up over 3500 posts now. Does it make sense to separate this mass into subjects and reach “targeted” audiences?

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Stewart Brand’s Whole Earth Catalog, the book that changed the world

From an article (long one) in yesterday’s The Observer, by Carole Cadwalladr, here. Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images

“…But then, it’s almost impossible, to flick through the pages of the Catalog and recapture its newness and radicalism and potentialities. Not least because the very idea of a book changing the world is just so old-fashioned. Books don’t change anything these days. If you want to start a revolution, you’d do it on Facebook. And so many of the ideas that first reached a mainstream audience in the Catalog – organic farming, solar power, recycling, wind power, desktop publishing, mountain bikes, midwife-assisted birth, female masturbation, computers, electronic synthesizers – are now simply part of our world, that the ones that didn’t go mainstream (communes being a prime example) rather stand out.…

“It changed the world, says Turner, in much the same way that Google changed the world: it made people visible to each other. And while the computer industry was building systems to link communities of scientists, the Catalog was a ‘vernacular technology” that was doing the same thing.…

“John Markoff, who wrote What the Dormouse Said: How the Sixties Counterculture Shaped the Personal Computer Industry, says, simply: ‘Stewart was the first one to get it. He was the first person to understand cyberspace. He was the one who coined the term personal computer. And he influenced an entire generation, including an entire generation of technologists’.…


“Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired magazine, tells me how he first came across the Catalog when he was still in high school ‘and it changed my life. But then it changed everybody’s life. It inspired me not to go to college but to go and try and live out my own life. It was like being given permission to invent your own life. That was what the Catalog did. It was called “access to tools” and it gave you tools to create your own education, your own business, your own life’.…”

Sent us by Vic Long

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Cook’s Illustrated

I fell in love with this magazine the first time I laid eyes on it. The layout, the drawings, the consistency. There are no ads! The design is elegant. The front cover and rear cover of each issue are always lovely paintings of food by two different artists: Robert Papp and John Burgoyne.

   Not only does it look good in the graphic arts sense, but the articles and recipes look to be a cook’s delight.

    It’s tied in with the TV and radio shows America’s Test Kitchen.

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Twentysomethings/Henry Alford

There was a well-written, funny, perceptive article in the New York Times today (actually dated 5/1/13) by Henry Alford on Williamsburg (in Brooklyn). I’ve been telling people over the past few years that these twentysomethings are different.; they’re a new ballgame.

   Henry not only gets what’s going on with young people, he likes them:

   “I like this generation of young folk. Their food is terrific, and they find even the most insignificant things “awesome.” I admire their adventuresome quality vis-à-vis fixed-gear bike-riding and their non-prudishness in the face of nudity. Yes, their attention to detail on the fronts of locavorism and beard care can verge on the precious, but I’d much rather have a young Abe Lincoln serve me his roof-grown mâche than I would have an F. Scott Fitzgerald vomit all over my straw boater. Today’s twentysomethings are self-respecting, obvi.

   If every youth movement says as much about the status quo as it does about itself, then this new eco-conscious, agrarian-seeming, hair-celebrating nexus of locavorism is maybe telling us that the rest of us need to plunge our fingers into the rich loam of the earth, literally and metaphorically.…”

   Click here. I subscribe to the Times, so get the full stories on their website. If you don’t, I’d go buy today’s paper if possible, this article (in the Style section) is worth it. I think it’s a journalistic reporting masterpiece. Very funny, and some exquisite turns of phrase. Ridic. Obvi.

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T. L; D. R.

Meaning “Too long; didn’t read.”

This really caught my eye. It was in a NYTimes article a few days ago about a 17-year-old who sold his company to Yahoo for 30 million dollars. What was way more interesting than his youth and all the money was his idea: “…his algorithmic invention…takes long-form stories and shortens them for readers using smartphones, in its own mobile apps…”

“…he started coding at age 12. Eventually he decided to develop an app with what he calls an “automatic summarization algorithm,” one that “can take pre-existing long-form content and summarize it.” In other words, it tries to solve a problem that is often summed up with the abbreviation tl;dr: “too long; didn’t read.”

   I’ve now got a sign, TL; DR posted by the computer. Like keeping videos under 2 minutes. And it’s a new world coming, with pocket sized screens the norm for young people. Keep it short & sweet, I keep reminding myself…

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Mark Frauenfelder Joins CoolTools

I’ve mentioned many times how the CoolTools blog has been so invaluable to me. It contains reader-written reviews of any number of tools. It’s almost embarrassing how many things I’ve learned about and purchased as a result of CT. For me, it’s the electronic Whole Earth Catalog.

  It was started by Kevin Kelly, former Whole Earth Review magazine editor, and one of the founding fathers of Wired magazine. Today it was announced that Mark Frauenfelder, founder of Boing Boing (my other favorite blog) and editor-in-chief of Make magazine, is partnering with Kevin; he’ll be editor-in-chief of CoolTools and is working with Kevin on a paper book on the best of CoolTools. This is a killer duo.

  Check out:

  -Mark’s announcement on Boing Boing here

  -Kevin’s announcement on CoolTools here

  -The tools on CoolTools here

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