All Atwitter

Sunday, May 03, 2009

atwitter   (u-twit’ ur)   adj.  [1825-35]
Being in a state of nervous excitement;  to chatter quickly;  aflutter;  twittering
By now, unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, chances are very good that you’ve heard of Twitter.   But maybe you’ve intentionally ignored the buzz or aren’t quite sure what it’s about.   Twitter is a free, real-time social messaging service.   Okay, that description may be technically accurate, but it sure doesn’t give a prospective user much to go on, does it?   And in turn, that sort of dry summary also shortchanges the service.   So, what then is Twitter, really?

twitter birdDeceptively simple, Twitter is a free online social networking platform that allows users to send & receive text updates, or "tweets," from other users whom they’ve opted to "Follow."   Think of "tweeting" as sending an instant message to a whole group of people.   So Twitter is a global conversation; a DIY chat room; a link -sharing service; a permanent cocktail party where it’s socially acceptable to join in on any conversation.   (You can also have private conversations via Twitter’s Direct Message, which are exactly like the public messages except that they can only be read by the intended recipient.)

But really, the following Common Craft video created by Lee & Sachi LeFever explains Twitter far better than I can:



Twitter was designed as multi-platform service so tweets are limited to 140 characters in length so they can be delivered to a cell phone, email account, the Twitter webpage, or any of a vast array of Twitter reader applications that can be installed on nearly any kind of computer.   You may find the 140 characters to be rather restricting at first, but you quickly become adept at writing very concise posts to work within those confines.   And I recommend using one of the free URL shortener service like is.gd to compress lengthy web addresses down to more Twitter-suitable sized URLs so you can share links with your Followers.

On Twitter, you are, of course, free to talk about anything you want, but the question, "What are you doing?" may be a bit misleading.   Oh sure, you can tweet about the awesome BLT sandwich you just ate, but a much more effective or interesting approach is to think of the question above the input box as, "What would be funny, interesting, or useful to one or more of my Followers?"   So for example, while your Followers may not be all that interested in the awesome tuna wrap you’re having for lunch, they might be quite excited to read about the incredible deal you just discovered on a 3-pack of HDMI cables for $10.

Ready to give tweeting a try?   Pop on over to Twitter and get started!   Or if you need a little guidance, check out Darren Rowse’s How to Set Up a Twitter Account article.

So, what’re you waiting for?   Get all atwitter on Twitter!
 

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Posted by Rob at 5:12 AM 3 comments links to this post

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Word Up!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Thanks to Brian over at The Cheek of God, I discovered a nifty & free little web-based "toy" by Jonathan Feinberg called Wordle.

Wordle generates very snazzy "word clouds" — a visual depiction that gives greater weight or prominence to words that appear more frequently in the provided source text — and lets you tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, color schemes, & more.   It may seem like just a fun time-waster at first blush, but I think you can glean a bit of useful insight with this tool;   Since it prominantly highlights your most commonly-used words, you may discover some interesting vocabulary trends within your writings.

I plugged in a sampling of 2Dolphins posts from the past 2-3 months and here’s the result:

2Dolphins word cloud from Wordle

This reminds me of the Which Words Do You Own? study that I submitted our blog to last year.   It’s interesting to see the difference in the word cloud from back then vs. this current one from Wordle.
 

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Posted by Rob at 5:48 AM 9 comments links to this post

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It’s Like, Us!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Rob & Dede's Simpsons avatarsBack in July when the movie released, Dede whipped up custom Simpsons avatars on The Simpsons Movie website that depicted us as Springfield’s newest residents.

Then yesterday, I came across a link to another fun Simpsons character generator widget that does an even better job of transforming a photo of you into a Matt Groening-style Simpsons character.   Here’s what Dede & I look like according to Simpsonize Me!

 


Rob & Dede's DoppleMe avatarsAlso earlier this week, I stumbled across the DoppleMe Free Dynamic Avatar Maker and decided to see what we’d look like in their little world...

It’s a little surprising how well some of these avatar generators capture your likeness.   You can use these images on Internet forums or social sites.   Have you tried any of these?   Post a link or pic so we can see what you came up with!
 

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Posted by Rob at 9:04 AM 1 comments links to this post

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We've Been Simpson'ized

Friday, July 20, 2007

Awhile back we were M&M characters and now we’ve become part of the Simpsons.   For the promotion of The Simpsons Movie, their movie website has a "Create Your Simpsons Avatar" program that let’s you create your own custom character.

We’re not really big fans of the Simpsons, but just the same, here’s sorta what we might look like in Matt Groening’s world:

Rob & Dede's custom Simpsons avatars

 

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Posted by Dede at 7:23 PM 3 comments links to this post

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July Blogtipping

Monday, July 02, 2007

Blogtipping iconJuly is here already so it’s time for another round of Blogtipping.   Blogtipping, coined by Easton Ellsworth, is an opportunity to say 3 nice things (& offer 1 tip or suggestion) to 3 of your favorite bloggers.   So here are the sizzlin’ entries for this month:

Webomatica from Jason Kaneshiro covers the subjects of technology, movies, music, comics, television, bottle caps, and, well, just about anything else he can think of.   Webomatica keeps me coming back because...
  1. I really like Jason’s writing style and the blend of content.
  2. There’s a constant stream of new & interesting posts.
  3. Very clean & easy-to-navigate site design.

Rory Sullivan’s hamelife is billed as a site for parents who want to be different.   Spend much time there and you’ll find plenty to like:
  1. Rory’s slant on parenting aligns closely with the Love and Logic approach that Dede & I strongly endorse.
  2. I like the conversational tone and great sense of humor that Rory lends his posts.
  3. Plenty of parenting topics are covered, but there’s a variety of other interesting stuff too!
  • Tip: I’d like to see more photos!

Fortify Your Oasis by Rowan Manahan is a recent discovery which promptly made its way into my Google Reader list because of...
  1. Rowan’s interesting workplace & career insights & advice.
  2. He seems to dislike PowerPoint (the mindset, not the software) as much as I do!
  3. He had me hooked with the Rives’ If I Ruled the Internet video.
  • Tip: Great content, lots of pics, but if I had to nit-pick, I’d say the Blogger banner at the top needs to go!

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Posted by Rob at 8:33 PM 9 comments links to this post

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Joontipping

Monday, June 04, 2007

Blogtipping iconThe past month was the third wettest and, with an average daily high of just under 68°, also among the coolest Mays on record.   But Summer’s finally stirring and the thermometer is inching perilously close to the century mark.   With these warmer, longer days, it’s not always easy to divvy up time for being cooped indoors surfing websites.   Even so, there’s no shortage of noteworthy blogs.   And Blogtipping is a chance to give three compliments — and offer one useful tip — to three fellow bloggers:

Connected Internet from British blogger Everton Blair covers gadgets, web development & marketing, computer gaming, gadgets, and a range of general technology news has a lot to offer:
  1. Very clean & easy-to-navigate site design.
  2. Features a steady stream of new & interesting tech content.
  3. Well-connected (pun intended!) with its reader base, CI even features a message forum.
  • Tip: Everton’s a bit enigmatic - I’d like to see him join in on the Face Behind the Blog meme so we can catch a glimpse of the wizard behind the curtain.

Fire Ant Gazette from West Texas blogger, Eric Siegmund is offered as "observations from a decidedly ordinary perspective," but I’ve found it to be uncommonly good because of...
  1. The conversational tone and wry wit.
  2. Post topics vary greatly but are often of local interest.
  3. Between the blog comment banter and his meeting with other area bloggers, Eric fosters a real sense of community.
  • Tip: Earlier this year, the blog featured more photos & I’d like to see that trend make a comeback.

Life Is Risky by Susan Driggers is a relatively new blog that I only just discovered a few days ago, but immediately made its way into my Google Reader subscription list due to:
  1. Thought-provoking content about writing, technology, & just generally-interesting stuff.
  2. Her promotion of community-building blog carnivals & friendly web marketing techniques.
  3. Although a revamp is forthcoming, the site layout is already clean & accessible.
  • Tip: As with the other Blogtippees this month, more photos and/or graphics could sure spice this site up.

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Posted by Rob at 7:15 AM 6 comments links to this post

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May Blogtipping

Monday, May 07, 2007

We’ve commented often since it began that, with our Russian adoption journey, time has ceased to pass in increments of hours or days, but instead it ticks off in months.   Even so, it’s hard to believe we’re already back around at the first Monday of the month.   And with that, it’s time for May’s Blogtipping.

You may recall from my April Blogtipping post, this notion was originated (One year ago this month!) by Easton Ellsworth over at Business Blogwire as an opportunity to give three compliments — and offer one useful tip — to three noteworthy fellow bloggers.   So, here we go...
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Wise Bread is a team blog dedicated to sharing insights to help you live a savvy & fulfilling life without sacrificing your financial independence.   There’s so much to like about this site:
  1. The editors offer really diverse & relevant personal finance tips.
  2. They also include unexpected but very applicable lifestyle posts.
  3. Easy-peasy email link right at the top of the page.   (Amazing how many sites miss that.)
  • Tip: There doesn’t seem to be a list of editors or contributors, which might be nice.

The Presurfer is Dutch blogger Gerard Vlemmings’ ode to the weird, wild, wacky, & wonderful websites strewn across the Internet.
  1. I’ve been a fan of this blog for a few years now.   The interesting entries just keep rolling!
  2. Post topics range from useful to trivial, plain to bizarre, and just about everything in-between.
  3. Site navigation is a breeze!
  • Tip: Seems like none of the content prior to moving to Blogger this year made it over, which is a shame...

Things That ... Make You Go Hmm is TDavid’s blog offering reviews & commentary on technology, movies, music & more.   I’ve been following it for about a year now and this blog is true to its name because:
  1. Posts cover a wide variety of stuff like other sites, but always with a personal slant, not just generic linkdumps.
  2. New entries are added often and comments responded to quickly!
  3. Hmmcast!   TDavid boldly ventured into weekly videocasts this year.
  • Tip: I’d like to hear more about how the "no TV for almost a year" project is going.

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Posted by Rob at 11:52 PM 1 comments links to this post

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Track and Field

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Dede & I don’t usually send many packages but recently we’ve done quite a bit, between racing around to prepare & ship reams of paperwork needed to update our expiring Russian adoption dossier documents, ordering supplies for our upcoming master bath redo, and having our wayward digital camera shipped home after our most recent Brady trip...   (Thanks again, Glenda!)

So I went Googling for a better way to track all of these packages rather than having to go to each company’s website for each item shipped.   And I found Jason Young’s Simple Tracking which lets you enter a FedEx, DHL, or USPS tracking number to get quick info on the whereabouts of your packages in transit.   Even better, it provides a link you can use to subscribe to an RSS feed for automatic shipment tracking updates.

Want to see it in action?   Type "859552121988" in the form below & click the Track button:

Powered by SimpleTracking.com

While you’re at SimpleTracking.com, be sure to sign the online petition to allow them to do UPS tracking!
 

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Posted by Rob at 3:58 AM 0 comments links to this post

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April Blogtipping

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hey, we’ve arrived at the first Monday of the month so it’s time for the next round of Blogtipping. You may recall from my March Blogtipping post that this was coined by Easton Ellsworth and is an opportunity to give three compliments & one useful tip to three fellow bloggers.   Now, I didn’t set out with "guy-stuff" in mind as the theme for April’s spotlight blogs but as I was assembling my props for the month, it just sort of evolved...Blogtipping icon

Dumb Little Man is Jay White’s collection of tips to make the everyday person more productive in life. What’s to like about his site?
  1. Jay & Mark post tips that are practical & relevant.
  2. New articles are posted often and categories make the content easy to navigate.
  3. You can subscribe to receive updates via email.
  • Tip: There doesn’t seem to be a way to email suggestions or contact the author directly.
Dethroner is Joel Johnson & Alex Colby’s head-on, two-fisted, & unflinching daily digest dedicated to men’s grooming, fashion, home life, & other toils of the modern man. What’s not to like?
  1. Useful or just plain entertaining content covering the gamut of guy stuff from TV shows to DIY projects to half-naked coffee baristas.
  2. They’ve even got manly discussion forums!
  3. Did I mention beer?
  • Tip: Some posts might make even The Duke choke up a little!   Rhino Egg Harvesting?
Toolmonger features tool reviews, commentary, news, & projects. You’ll find yourself returning to this blog because:
  1. Articles on a wide variety of stuff - not just the kinds of tools you’d find in your garage.

  2. New tool content & reviews are added continuously! (Thank goodness for RSS feeds!)
  3. I sent these guys email & they answered very quickly!
  • Tip: Needs more of those cool "'One Beer Projects" how-to articles!

As a bonus capper for this testosterone-fest, be sure to jet over to the Miller Lite "Man Laws" site to catch up on all of the latest unwritten guy rules decreed by Burt, Jimmy, & the other distinguished "Men of the Square Table."
 

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Posted by Rob at 7:05 PM 1 comments links to this post

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Blogtipping

Monday, March 05, 2007

Easton Ellsworth over at Business Blogwire proposed that the first Monday of each month be Blogtipping Day. What is Blogtipping, you ask? Blogtipping is where you say three nice things - & offer one simple tip - to three of your favorite bloggers. After all, everyone likes a little pat on ther back, right? And you never know, your little extra bit of attention might just be the tipping point for some little-known gem of a website to become an overnight sensation.Blogtipping icon

If you’ve read many of the posts here, you already know that Dede & I like to give credit where it’s due so we pepper our blog entries with lots of links. But this seemed like a great opportunity to do so in a more formal fashion, so, here are our Blogtippees for March 2007:

bookofjoe.com, one of my favorite blogs, is penned by Joe Stirt, the world’s first treadmill-blogging anesthesiologist. What’s to like about his site?
  1. His posts cover the gamut - from mundane to marvelous.

  2. Joe’s writing style is uncommon & uncompromising.

  3. New entries are posted often and the site is easy to navigate.
  • Tip: Please post more info on your unconventional computer workspace setup!
TipNut, which offers tips on everything from homemade Febreeze recipes to preventing bad breath for your dog, is one of Dede’s faves because of:
  1. Practical tips that everyday, not-neccesarily-crafty people can use.

  2. Tips are well-categorized & easy to search for.

  3. The site features a perky color scheme & clean page layout.
  • Tip: This is a new site, so the only suggestion might be to hurry up & post more tips!
TreeHugger deserves some props for placing an emphasis on improving the world. While we’re a far cry from environmentalists in any sense, I admire (& am inspired by) these folks because of:
  1. In-depth articles that make it easy to take steps to "green up" your life.

  2. The wealth of interesting new blog entries that pour in continuously!

  3. Convenient navigation controls right at the top of each page.
  • Tip: The site’s main page is so packed that it can be a bit overwhelming.

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Posted by Rob at 12:11 AM 2 comments links to this post

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Hacks Awe

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Years ago, the term "hacker" carried a connotation of a malicious meddler who attempts to gain unauthorized access to sensitive computer systems to steal, change, or destroy information as a form of cyber-terrorism.

But today, it’s come to mean something entirely different and much more flattering. Now a "hacker" is someone who enjoys the intellectual challenge of creatively overcoming or circumventing limitations — someone who makes things work beyond perceived limits through unconventional means or skills. And there’s a whole new social culture of hacking that’s emerged as a result of information-sharing via Internet-based communities.

Some of our favorite websites to visit are hack sites, where off-beat, sometimes-radical thinking folks put forth creative ideas to make everyday things work just a little bit better, easier, and/or cheaper. Here are just a few:

Lifehacker logo banner

Lifehacker makes getting things done easy & fun with simple tricks for managing your information & time. If you don’t already have this site bookmarked, well, do it now!

lifehack.org logo banner

Danny O’Brien’s lifehack.org is a frequently-updated blog built around the theme of hacks, tips, & tricks that get things done quickly by automating, increasing productivity, & organizing.

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Asha Dornfest’s Parent Hacks is a collaborative weblog that collects useful parenting tips, recommendations, workarounds, & other bits of wisdom. It’s the stuff that would’ve been left out of the instruction manual — if there were one to begin with.

ikea hacker logo banner

ikea hacker is a a nifty site that offers simple tips on repurposing, tweaking, & otherwise improving the cool stuff from Dede’s favorite store, IKEA.
 

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Posted by Rob at 11:22 AM 0 comments links to this post

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Forget Waldo, Where's George?

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I stumbled upon the Where's George? website today. It’s the ideal place if you want to know where your money goes — literally. As of today, 99,237,098 unique U.S. paper bills have been registered at this site that tracks the geographic circulation of money.

Track Your Money at "Where's George?"
 

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Posted by Dede at 6:05 PM 1 comments links to this post

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We Have Become M&Ms

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Discover what you'd look like as M&M characters at the Planet M&M's website where you can build your own plain or peanut self and show your true colors! Guess who these couple of nuts are?

Groovy Green & Rockin' Red

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Posted by Dede at 8:53 AM 1 comments links to this post

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Elf Yourself

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Santa's scary new helper - Dede Elf! I recently discovered OfficeMax's Elf Yourself website where you can Elfamorphosize yourself (or just about anyone else) into one of Santa's funny little helpers. Naturally, I had to try it out with pictures of our peeps (also, I'm easily entertained). Click the names below to see each of their Elfin likenesses:

  • Rob
  • Trey
  • Linda
  • Whit
  • Clems
  • Gretchen
  • Amberly
  • April
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    Posted by Dede at 9:17 AM 0 comments links to this post

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    We've Been South Park-ized

    Sunday, September 17, 2006

    Ever wonder what you'd look like if you were a South Park character? Well, I hadn't either, but then I stumbled across a link to South Park Studio v2 early this morning. Now I'm jonesin' for some Cheesy Poofs...

    Rob & Dede in the land of Cartman, Kyle, Stan, & Kenny

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    Posted by Rob at 7:56 PM 0 comments links to this post

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    Bug Me

    Tuesday, May 11, 2004

    This is a cool site where you move your mouse cursor around on the guy’s face to bug him. Keep clicking on him until he’s had enough.

    www.yonkis.com/mediaflash/cursor.swf
     

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    Posted by Dede at 10:40 PM 0 comments links to this post

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    Signs, Signs...

    Saturday, March 27, 2004

    Seems the notion of custom virtual signage has boomed recently. Now you can create your own Motel Sign, Road Sign, Wedding Chapel Sign, Church Sign, or Business Sign.

    Or over at Letter James, you can create a custom movie marquee, airport ticker board, Scrabble tile message, or overhead bridge graffiti. So now you've got no excuse - get a word in edgewise, say your piece!

    LED Traffic Sign


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    Posted by Rob at 9:33 AM links to this post

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