When this Pew Research and Smithsonian quiz passed by my Twitter feed, I had to jump over and give it a shot. After all, with an undergrad degree in chemistry education and a masters in Science Ed, I had better know a good amount of basic science and technology. Fortunately, I was able to pass with a perfect score that put me in the 93% range.

Give it a shot!

Science and Technology Knowledge Quiz

Yes, I have been slack. [Insert typical excuses here – busy at work, nothing to say, off on other projects, so on and so on]

Yesterday, I heard a piece on All Things Considered, the evening news show on National Public Radio here in the USofA that just captured my imagination. It was about a composer named Rolf Liebermann, who composed a number for office machines back in 1964. Now, back in 1964, office machines made noise. Imagine:

  •  16 typewriters,
  • 18 calculator machines,
  • 8 accounting machines,
  • 12 office perforators,
  • 2 metronomes,
  • 2 entrance door gongs,
  • 6 telephones, a fork lift,
  • and, a duplicator (just to name a few of the objects in the piece)

Yes, this is a piece about things making noise….making a lot of noise, in a drumline kind of way. As one who LOVES me a good drumline, I was hooked.

And, the commentators went on about how today’s electronics don’t make that kind of noise. True, my iPad and Android are silent when I hit their buttons. My iMac keyboard is making a pleasant little clicking while I type this but there is not much other noise right now. Would I want it to be noisy? Not necessarily.

However, we keep hearing about the bombardment of “noise” coming at us all of the time. There is still a high signal to noise ratio – just maybe not really noise like the office machines of the 1960s. Its the noise of Twitter, Facebook feeds, Pinterest boards and more just going by and every little sticking or at least less and less signal comes to me. Are you finding the same thing?

Of course, I love it when someone finds a way to take our common objects and make music, just like Rolf. Reminds me of one of my favorite musical experiences, STOMP.  Enjoy. Find some signal and some music today.

The semester is almost over. The pace has slowed down and I need to do something a bit more geeky just to get my grey matter back on track. So, inspired by D’arcy Norman’s reclamation project of his data, I decided to give a whirl to some of the tools he mentioned to see if I could bring some of my data into my world rather (or along with) the hosted solutions.

I am not quite a self-contained as D’arcy and probably won’t be. He dumped Flickr and I don’t see myself doing that anytime soon as I really like Flickr and the service it provides. I see it more as a backup for my photos than the main storage so it is not my end-all, be-all  for image files. I have tried Coppermine and, to be honest, really didn’t like it at all.

But, I have all this “power” with my Bluehost account over installing MySQL databases, adding users and so forth. I wanted to wield that power!!

The Hippie Hosting co-op is intriguing but I have invested way in advance wlth Bluehost and have no complaints so I am going to stick with them for a while.

Thus far, I have installed Lessn for a way to shorten URLs ala Bit.ly and tinyurl to keep them local rather than relying on a third party service. Seems to work fine but my main concern is that the domain I am using (audreyjwilliams.info) is so darn long it might not be as helpful for URL shortening as I would have hoped. I guess my decision is if something t-f.net is available and worth the $20/year for another domain.

I also have installed Scuttle for bookmarking. After Delicious was purchased by Yahoo and then leaked that it might be “sunsetted”, I really was concerned about my bookmarks as I had LOTS of them (I have been using it since 2005). I jumped to Pinboard and that has worked but I also liked the idea of having a local version of these bookmarks, just in case. I do like how Pinboard gathers my URLs from Delicious as well as from Twitter so it really is an aggregation of all the places where I save URLs.

Also, installing Scuttle allowed me to become a bit more of a MySQL admin as I had to create a new database, new DB user and then run SQL scripts to create the tables, etc. I have always used something like Fantastico and SimpleScripts to do this in the past, so I was happy that my efforts went off with no problems.

But, wait, it can’t be all smooth sailing

Image: 'The droids we're googling for' http://www.flickr.com/photos/49462908@N00/3951143570


However, when it came time to import my Delicious bookmarks into Scuttle, I did hit a roadblock. Scuttle only will import XML files from Delicious. Delicious used to be able to do that so I was off to my best friend, Google, for some suggestions.




I found a Python script on GitHub that sounded good and learned that I can run Python from TextWrangler (awesome!!) However, that had some kind of error in it so I could not get the XML file generate.

I found deliciousxml.com was another often mentioned alternative that no longer answers as a webpage (Doh!). However, I did find on Tech Cocktail that you can use this URL:

Use command line prompts to export your bookmarks. Visit the following URL:  https://{your username}:{your password}@api.del.icio.us/v1/posts/all > bookmarks.xml to get the bookmarks as bookmarks.xml

That worked great and I know have my bookmarks in Scuttle from Delicious. Now, if I can figure out to get all of my bookmarks from Pinboard into Scuttle – I would really have the funnel in place and a nice redundancy for this collection.

Back to my good friend, Google!

I am working on a presentation for a class on emerging technology in business. My topic is curation – which is something I hold near and dear to my heart with my museum background and that little old library science degree I have on the wall. In digging into curation on the web, I found Forrester’s Social Technographics Profile and thought it was quite interesting as a way to organize how we participate on the web. The levels certainly overlap but I am sure folks fall more into one over another one the majority of the time.

I am firmly a creator but also a conversationalist primarily. What are you? How does it fit into the demographics of “your people?”

Kickstarter is really becoming a part of my life as I have helped fund at least four projects there now. They offer such a wide variety of opportunities to help folks with interesting ideas that just need a little financial support. It is limited to projects and not for fundraising for causes or “fund my life” kinds of things. The idea of micro-funding is so great. A little from a lot of folks can go a long way.

So far, I have helped:

  • a movie director create a film in Brainerd, Minnesota
  • a new social networking platform
  • a bakery/blogging business in South Carolina
  • a digital storytelling class

The most interesting aspect, IMO, is that I have some form of connection to almost every person that I have funded. For the movie, I knew someone from Brainerd through a conference and he told me about the project. So, a friend of a friend connection. The social networking platform came into my knowledge based on a tweet from someone I respect who had funded it. That influenced my decision. The blogging bakery is being developed is by a WordPress developer who I follow on Twitter and the storytelling class is also a Twitter connection but I have also met him in person at a conference. I think without that Twitter or other connection, I would not be inclined to make a donation to the Kickstarter appeal. So crowdsourcing is an amazing thing but I do see that the crowd has to be connected and willing to share that connection in order to motivate folks to share as well. It actually is more crucial than I first realized.


Now, I need to come up with an idea to put up there for funding!

I am fortunate to be asked to travel with the college choir where I work over spring break and blog/photograph/video their trip. If you want to follow along on our adventures next week in Germany, check us out here: http://blogs.pstcc.edu/variations2012.

Some of my best summers were spent at Lutheridge, a summer camp outside of Asheville, North Carolina. I went there as a camper and then worked several summers while in college and when I was teaching high school. It was a great, creative and energetic time in my life.

One of my friends from that time is Kami Kinard, who is now a published author. (Check out her book, The Boy Project).  She also has a blog called Nerdy Chicks Rule. I was surprised and honored when she asked me to be interviewed on her blog. So, I got to share some of my techy-feelyness with other folks around the world!

And, I got to share my love for Song Charts one more time!


Since I found this last year, I was curious to see what the latest presentation from JWT would bring.

From a T-F perspective, these entries caught my eye:

BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. I actually have been using this phrase for a while now at my work because we have been experimenting with checking out iPads to faculty and students and my take on the results is that they are truly “personal” computers and don’t share well with others. We need to expect to bring our own devices, customized as we want, to all kinds of locations and get the cloud based services we are using.

Social Media in the Olympics: I am a HUGE Olympics fan (yes, I braved the crowds in Atlanta!) and with the IOC now allowing athletes to use social media during the event, we are primed to see the Games in all kinds of new ways and at new levels of access.

Online Living in Print and Your Public Story: This is fascinating to me. We archive our lives online and on our phones at this point. The only hard copy pictures I get are from older relatives who still print all of their photos. But, there is also (according to the JWT) a growing appreciation for physical objects like stationery and personal postcards from digital photos. This takes it one more step with services like Social Memories that can pull out your digital archives from Facebook and put them into a book format and IBM’s Museum of Me that builds a virtual museum from your Facebook activity. Or, get more professional and use about.me (Check out my about.me profile!)or Storyvite to pull from all of the different sources and create a collated record of your online professional life.

Split Personality Smartphones: I have had this conversation with folks at work several times. While I don’t carry two devices, I do know people who do – one for work and one for personal. This prediction, that kinda mirrors what Apple tries to do with Spaces

Check out the whole thing. What grabs your attention?


Having just finished a holiday trip, I thought this video of a bag’s trip through an airport was interesting. Delta airlines ad nonwithstanding.