Hey Internet! I did a presentation on infographics at this year’s SpeedCon. I created the central infographic and did my research to find the other examples. I opted to present it with Prezi since that tool is so dynamic – it’s the best thing for working with large graphics like this. Anyway, it got some good feedback so I thought I’d share.
Want to know more about it? Drop me a note. Enjoy!
Every four years we find ourselves back here, don’t we? Our TV’s spew angry ads and our radio’s hurl insults. Internet bloggers chortle with delight at the latest nominee faux pas or bristle at perceived slights. It’s a free-for-all of who can convince the most people that their lot in life is terrible – and it’s the OTHER guy’s fault.
Most of the population ducks and takes cover for the 4-6 months preceding the November general election and I admit that’s my basic strategy, too. It’s not that I don’t care about the country — on the contrary, I really, really do. But I had a whole class on rhetoric in grad school and nowhere is it better demonstrated that the US airwaves the week of a national convention. I did pop up to get righteously indignant at the stupid, superflous, and insulting Amendment One, which passed in NC earlier this year despite my vote. I should’ve known better since almost always the person I vote for loses. Hmmm… new voting strategy?
This post is not to endorse a candidate. On the contrary, it’s to ask for a candidate who’s not there. I have listened to and read the opinions of people – on blogs, on Facebook, on the radio, friends, etc. and it seems to be that many of us want a candidate who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal. So think someone who wants to spend less money and control the debt, while allowing rights for gays and supporting equal pay for women (although why that’s considered “socially liberal” in 2012 is so beyond me!). When most of us bemoan needing to vote for the “lesser of two evils” it’s because we can’t believe we have to decide what’s more important: supporting stem cell research, or supporting the free market. I know plenty of people who agree very strongly with both of the candidates, and yet at the same time dislike both for various opinions or endorsements. I like Romney’s plans for the economy, but I can’t believe the Republican Platform is still determined to outlaw abortion. I have huge respect for Obama’s support of gay rights, but I have really appalling doubts about his health plan.
My question is, where’s the third guy? I generally feel like I match up to the Libertarian candidate more often than not, but the truth is, I don’t give a damn what your party is! In fact, lose the party – they’re the ones making everyone conform to one platform or another! Can we please get a truly independent candidate, who unapologetically straddles party lines and endorses responsible government and civil liberties for all? And I’m not ignorant of the party system – I know this person would have serious fundraising problems and no super-pricy super PAC to support them with reels of negative ads. But I’d be happy to give that person my money, and I think a lot of other people I know would, too. Until that third candidate can get into the race, and get fair time and attention, I’m going to keep ducking every four years.
Got a shot at tickets to this year’s Extreme Beer Fest in Boston and who could pass that up!? Headed to good ‘ole Mass last Thursday and started my weekend with a throughly enjoyable away-team victory as the Canes finished their season sweep of the Boston Bruins (defending Stanley Cup champs!) with a shutout. Go Cam! I also got to hang out with my brother Bab from Bahston (that’s phonetic spelling, for your enjoyment) before he headed out to a bachelor party in Chicago.
But let’s face it, the real draw was the beer (sorry, Bab). And did we ever enjoy some beer! Started out the tastings with a trip to Sam Adams (I’ll come back to this) then hit up Harpoon Brewery before going to EBF’s “Night of the Barrels” tasting. Saturday we rented a car and headed to beautiful, frozen New Hampshire. Once there we got a brew tour from Smuttynose, enjoyed lunch at the Portsmith Brewery and discovered a very young brewery, opened a mere 6 months ago (and owned and operated by two ladies – represent!) called Throwback. Then we headed back to Boston for EBF take two, and another 100+ beers to sample. Yes, if you’re wondering, my liver was pissed off with me.
The photo shoot out front
I don’t want to undermine the sheer joy that was the sampling of dozens of beers and a variety of breweries but I do have to recount the coolest event of the trip. I overslept on Friday morning (long story) and we wandered out to Jamaica Plains a bit late for our planned Boston Beer Company tour. As we came around the corner of the brewery we stumbled on a photo shoot with none other than Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams, and a number of his cohorts and brewers (you may have seen these folks on various Sam Adams commercials). I, being a total fangirl, was gushing at the mere sight of all these famous beer-y people and immediately started snapping photos. And just when I thought it could get any better, it turned out Jim was going to be leading our tour of the brewery!
Now, this isn’t a production locations for Sam Adams beer- they’ve moved on to much larger locations but they keep the site of their original brewery available for tour and for brewing small batches of their Utopia (limited-edition, high alcohol content) beers. So the tour is normally relatively short as I understand it – about 30 to 45 minutes. Jim talked to us for almost two hours. He talked about how Sam Adams got started, his family history, how beer is made, how they made some of their brewing and bottling decisions, what he thinks about beer in general (and some larger breweries specifically!) and he told some truly crazy and hilarious stories from his 25+ years in the beer industry. He’s met some weird people and made some strange brews! Best line of the day by far — when asked why he’d never sold Sam Adams he said, “I think there’s enough rich ass holes in the world. There’s not enough brewers.”
Can't remember what he was talking about here but he was a really happy, animated guy. Hard to get him to hold still in a shot!
Whether it was because it was on-location and super fresh, or having Jim Koch serve me, my Sam Adams never tasted better than it did that day. Really a wonderful beer. And I was so excited and inspired at the end of the event that I volunteered for an interview for the cameras (the who tour Jim did was filmed). Had to sign a waiver and they seemed happy with me so I guess I should keep an eye out for my face on some Sam Adams promotional materials!
So that’s my visit with Sam Adams and Jim Koch. I really did enjoy the beer festival – I know I mostly skipped all mention of it here but check out my post on the GirlsPintOut blog to learn more about the best of the extreme beers. Oh! And I have to throw a huge helping of gratitude to Jason and Mike for being awesome beer fest buddies (I’ll go to a beer fest with you guys anytime!), wonderful New Hampshire tour guides (FANS DRINK DRIVE) and all-around nice guys.
Last week I attended the Social Media Strategies Summit in Boston, MA. This was a conference for businesses and non-profits to discuss the use of social media in marketing, communication strategies, fundraising, community-building and much more. It was all about making use of the right tools at the right time and it was great.
I met several experts in the business and non-profit arenas and got lots of good ideas. Because I work for a university I was not really the target audience for some of the content but it was still worthwhile and I picked up several social media policy ideas and samples which will certainly come in handy. I also presented at the conference – I did a session on community-building, which seemed to be well-received. You can view it on Slideshare if you’re interested.
Above all it was nice – and quite validating – to hear much of the stuff I knew mirrored back to me from the “experts”. Something that is so new and cutting edge, that changes every day, is hard to stay on top of and I had some concerns about offering legitimately helpful and insightful information. Happily I was able to share my knowledge with confidence that came from experience with campus projects, research for grad school and opportunities to work with groups outside of campus. And it was neat to be able to hang out with people as dorky about social media as I am!
In other social media news, I posted another article for Examiner, this one on Google+. Check it out:
Google is fabulous at providing us with the things we need, often before we need them. It’s possible we really need an alternative to Facebook, we just don’t know it yet. Facebook has done a good job of pushing its constituents away by limiting privacy options and occasionally publishing our phone numbers without warning; there’s every possibility that someday there will be a mass exodus when Facebook goes a step too far and starts choosing our friends for us. Until then, however, the only people who seem to be inhabiting Google+ are the lonely few who truly hate Facebook and Mark Zuckerburg, or who honestly love Google and its own intensive stalking tendencies.
As some of you may know I have been working on a masters degree in Technical Communication for about eight thousand years now. Happily I’m on my last class – an independent study course – and finishing up the menial tasks required to receive approval in the form of a very expensive and official piece of paper. I might actually frame this diploma – I’m not even sure where my undergrad one is…
Despite the required work still to be done on my final class, I don’t actually have to be in a classroom this semester so it feels very much like… well, like I’m free! And so I’ve turned my attention to some things I’ve wanted to do for awhile but have put on hold: photography, dance, social media meetups, beer meetups, dating, cleaning my house, having a dog. And reading. I love to read but have put most fiction (and the enjoyable non-fiction) aside in exchange for journal articles and seemingly endless text books. I am SO pleased to be able to read for fun again and over the last couple months have made it through a stack of great books, many of which had been waiting for quite awhile.
Fall of Giants
Ken FollettHis latest book, the first in what will apparently be a trilogy. Follett wrote one of my favorite books of all time, Pillars of the Earth. This book wasn’t as good as that one, but it had a similar feel to it and wasn’t nearly so crappy as his Pillars follow-up, World Without End. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for the second in the trilogy.
Bill BrysonAnother of my favorite authors, Bryson has the ability to write about nothing in a completely entertaining and absorbing way. This non-fiction book has the pretense of talking about The Home as the chapters are broken into discussion on the origins of various rooms of the house. However Bryson meanders far beyond those rooms with random stories from different time periods, countries and contexts and yet ties them all up in a beautiful bow.
How We Decide
Jonah LehrerThis book I stole from my brother and therefore had to read on a deadline so I could return it the next time I saw him. Another non-fiction book, this one is part economics, part scientific study on how we make our decisions. From the basic – what’s for lunch? – to the instinctual – which open receiver should the quarterback throw to? – this book looks at it all. Interestingly, I read Katie Couric’s The Best Advice I Ever Got at the same time, which unintentionally provided a fascinating counterpoint in consideration of our major life decisions – those we make in light of the advice of others and sometimes against our own better judgment.
The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Robert HeinleinThis one had been sitting on my bedside table for some time and initially I did have a hard time getting into it. A sci-fi novel, this book takes place on a futuristic moon colony, fighting for its independence and trying to establish its own government. The political development is very much libertarian, which if I were ever going to argue about politics (which I don’t want to) is the way I would argue. I really enjoyed it and found myself well wrapped up in the characters and success of their little culture.
Joss Whedon (and others)I may have had this book (a graphic novel specifically) waiting for a year. Seriously, it was ridiculous. But once I opened it I couldn’t put it down. Once again I am reminded that everything Joss Whedon does is brilliantly fun and entertaining and this story of a vampire slayer in a new generation was enthralling. I need to find more.
The Eyre Affair
Jasper FfordeI headed to the family lake house in Canada this summer and, as usual, could not possibly pack enough books to last me the week. Happily the cottage has hundreds of books in shelves all over the house and I stumbled on the second book in this series, Lost in a Good Book. Once I discovered my error I bitterly regretted reading them out of order but was too busy being excited that I had found a new author I loved to get too angry. On a side note, I’ve never read Jane Eyre, so this book has also prompted me to read the classic which I downloaded for free to my iPhone. Copyright finally pays off!
Recently, my friends Sarah, Des and I decided that we would start our own club of sorts – a group that meets monthly and talks about books, music, current events, the meaning of life and other general stuff. We totally stole the idea from some other friends of ours who are far cooler than we are (if you can imagine that?!) but we’re super-excited to do our own thing. We’re now on our third meeting/book and it has gone better than I could have hoped. Since we take turns picking the book each month I’m already pondering what my next pick will be – there are so many great things to read!
Ok, my nerdiness has now overwhelmed even me. Only thing left to do is publish this post and go read in bed.
I’m very happy to report that I’ve completed and submitted my capstone project for my Masters degree. Huzzah! The project, to create a university, graduate-level course on social media and technical communication, was a big task and represents a lot of hours of work over the course of this semester. I’m very pleased to have it in the bag.
I’m not quite done, however. Next Tuesday, April 26th I’ll be doing my defense presentation for my department faculty, my peers and other interested parties. As you might imagine I’m pretty nervous but also confident in my knowledge of the subject matter. And I’m looking forward to really being done.
I’m including a copy of the defense presentation below. The project work can be seen on my website: http://www.jenreally.com/675project.
Please feel free to look it over and add comments or provide feedback if you have some. I really want this to be a conversation piece and jumping off point for future improvements and the doubtless revisions that will need to be made to a project on something as dynamic as social media. Any interest is appreciated!
Raleigh, NC hosted the NHL All-Star game (and associated a activities) this weekend and it was fantastic. I don’t know how the experience was for an outsider visiting or watching at home but from my perspective Raleigh was a wonderful host, threw some great parties, offered up some beautiful weather and just generally impressed.
A few high points:
The downtown convention center immediately following the Fantasy Draft
My pretty stadium
Inside at the Skillz Competition (fastest skater).
My nephew wants to go meet the Sedin brothers and two other All-Stars enjoying some Starbucks. Saw them Sunday morning at North Hills.
So yes, first of all I know it’s been FOREVER since I posted. I’m a bad person, I’ll never let it happen again, please still be my friend, etc.
Now to the point. Once upon a time there was a very silly girl who liked beer and football. When you put these together, what do you get? Tailgating! On the fine fall day this story takes place, the girl was tailgating with friends who liked drinking games. Evil games like Flip Cup. And to make a tragic story more palatable the girl got really drunk and, in a momentary lapse of sanity, threw her iPhone 3G. Overhanded. See picture to left (I actually dropped the phone again about 15 seconds after this picture was taken so it got a lot worse but you get the idea.)
Being incredibly cheap I decided I was going to get myself out of this mess and fix the screen on my own. I also heard from several people that I did not deserve to own an iPhone anymore (that’s fair) so I wanted a little redemption. This post covers my experience with fixing the screen and I’m going to give you all the things that helped me out – hopefully this will help get me out of the karmic Apple doghouse.
First, I have a 3G. Do your research and make sure you get the right screen/instructions fr the right model of iPhone. I did a fair amount of research beforehand and I heard a lot of mentions that fixing this on your own still cost $20, $35, $50+. Since the only expense is really the glass and the materials it takes to install I have to assume the glass is very expensive when purchased from some retailers. I found the right glass repair kit on Amazon for $6.29. Check it out and enjoy the helpful and reassuring user reviews as well.
The other things you’ll need, at least according to the internet, are:
a small screwdriver,
a plastic prying tool and
some kind of heat source, like a blow dryer.
I did not have all these things. The screwdriver I had was 1/4 inch; I suggest finding a 1/8th inch one if you can. I got some of the screws out with the larger screwdriver but had to borrow a small one to finish the job. I lost the plastic prying tool that came with my kit but was able to use a small flathead screwdriver without issue. I didn’t have a suction cup either but I was able to pry the screen out with the aforementioned flathead screwdriver. Finally, I also brought some packing tape into the mix because my screen was SO cracked – that helped keep the pieces together (to a point) and during the process of pulling the face apart. My glass kit did come with the double-sided tape pre-cut to fit all the nooks and crannies of the iPhone and that was a life saver and totally worth paying for.
I watched a video of the entire process (embedded below) before I started and it was a good one. I actually referred back to it when putting the phone back together (all the other sites just say “do everything you just did in reverse order which is not ideal, imo). The guy in the video did quite a few things wrong when he tried it and those mistakes stick with you so hopefully you won’t repeat them.
As for the process itself, the two biggest issues by far, at least for me, were the tiny screws which took AGES to get out, and the process of detaching the screen from the adhesive.
The screws just require patience. That’s all I can say except that also they’re smaller than you think and don’t lose them.
As for detaching the screen from the adhesive I actually think I might have had an easier time than most because my screen was broken into so many tiny pieces. This is where the heat source is supposed to come into play – it helps loosen the adhesive. As you do your research though you’ll hear that too much heat causes the very delicate frame to warp and bend. I used a curling iron blow dryer which I think was less damaging since it’s a more dispersed heat. That being said I did do a little bit of damage why trying to pry off the glass pieces. This frame is really delicate so again, all I can say is have patience. And it can be bent back into shape to some extent so don’t stress too much. The picture to the left is the frame and glass separated but see all the little black pieces? That’s glass. And those are just the pieces you can see.Lots of glass on everything.
Once everything is apart it all has to go back together. The final connections were quite nerve-wracking but when you can turn your phone on and actually have it respond to your touch the payoff is GREAT. Make sure you test this BEFORE you push the screen into place and add the final screws!
Video tutorial of the whole process – runs about 10 minutes. Lots of good examples of what NOT to do.
And if you’re actually still reading I really hope this is helpful. It’s certainly cheaper than playing Apple Genius’ $bigMoney to fix it for you and if you don’t mind getting your hands dirty it’s very rewarding. As for the rest of my loyal readers, thanks for sticking around and I promise I’ll write again soon. Ish.
I have been so busy posting to my blog on a regular basis I belatedly realized that I have hit 1000 posts on Twitter! I guess my micro-blogging habit has really interfered with my regular blog updates (not that I was doing terribly well at blogging before the distraction of Twitter…). I spent some time going back through all my fascinating posts and realized that I’ve nearly hit another milestone: 1 year on Twitter. My first post was September 18th, 2008.
It was at times sweet, nostalgic, painful and hilarious to read my thoughts on events of the last year. There were very few things that I couldn’t find a context for in my 140 characters; my memory is bad but Twitter gave me just enough thread to unravel huge sweaters of ridiculous stories. I’m in awe of Twitter all over again for giving me back the highlights of day to day life that I would never have remembered otherwise.
So in an effort to actually post something on my blog, and to effectually recap the last 12 months in collections of 140 characters or less, here they are: my favorite (amusing, nostalgic and/or topically relevant) tweets of the last year.
I’m web 2.1 baby! 8:59 AM Sep 19th, 2008 from web
Trivia night! Tonight’s team name: “Recession: fragrence for men” 5:28 PM Sep 24th, 2008 from web
#ncsu_oit has some really great empolyees- here’s to you guys! 1:23 PM Oct 7th, 2008 from twhirl
Tried to vote over lunch but the line was out the door. Nice to see democracy in action! 12:18 PM Oct 29th, 2008 from twhirl
in Google apps session at #unccause08 — it’s standing room only! 1:31 PM Nov 18th, 2008 from twhirl
I got my iPhone! 2:08 PM Nov 26th, 2008 from twhirl
Waiting for health services to finish their parents orientation session. They’re talking about student mortality. Welcome to NCSU! 2:15 PM Dec 12th, 2008 from TwitterFon
Happy Christmas to all! Got a Wii fit, season 3 HIMYM, a Pi plate and gift cards! Yeah! 4:56 PM Dec 25th, 2008 from TwitterFon
In NYC! At upright citizens brigade improv show 8:01 PM Dec 30th, 2008 from TwitterFon
Happy new year twerps! NYC is f%<+ing cold. 12:50 AM Jan 1st from TwitterFon
Sad day: Nortel files for bankruptcy protection http://is.gd/fR8K — My Dad worked there 16 years and they moved us out of Canada. 11:10 AM Jan 14th from twhirl
Direct TV is starting to make me angry… 4:43 PM Jan 16th from twhirl
Sleeping in tomorrow and then up to watch the annual NC flip-out-over-2-inchs-of-snow event. 12:00 AM Jan 20th from TwitterFon
Having “fun” at “playmakers” with my work “friends”. 6:23 PM Feb 6th from TwitterFon
I’m a good girl: went to the gym! Also, I ate a cupcake. So I’m just a regular girl now. 8:32 PM Feb 17th from web
Social experiment: Word Association on Twitter. I post a word and your response is what my tweet made you think of! 11:30 AM Feb 24th from twhirl
Watching hockey and working on taxes. I think the announcement of a $4 trillion budget has made me want my return as soon as possible… 9:07 PM Feb 26th from twhirl
Octuplets mom breakfast special: 14 eggs, no sausage and the next guy has to pay for it. (Thanks @opus2008!) 7:44 PM Feb 27th from TwitterFon
So here we go: my well-overdue review of my Mac Mini entertainment center. A quick refresher: I bought a Mac Mini, the cheapest one ($599) that had baseline RAM, storage, no keyboard or mouse etc. My plan was to plug it into the nice TV and use Boxee, among other things, to contribute to my general entertainment.
The Mini showed up quickly but I was stuck without the right cables or my keyboard and mouse so I spent a very frustrating night just looking at the box. While I was working on picking up the cables (comes with DVI to mini-DVI but I needed a DVI to HDMI for my TV connection) and the keyboard (more on that in a moment), I got some extra RAM (and had it put in by a very talented and gentle friend) and an external hard drive and those piece rounded out the specs I wanted without spending $$$ via Apple.
So, I really wanted a keyboard with an integrated mouse. I borrowed a wireless keyboard and mouse from a friend for a few days but that confirmed my thoughts: sitting on the couch, there’s not a good surface for a mouse. So I did my research an ultimately ordered a “Logitech DiNovo Edge” (perhaps the only product ever created for a Mac that is actually less than the Windows version of the same product). I’ve been extremely happy with it: the keyboard has a good tactile feel, the mouse has a scroll element built-in (takes some getting used to but still awesome) and it has all the keyboard short cuts of a regular Mac keyboard. And best of all, it’s less expensive than the wireless keyboard and mouse the Apple Store sells. It, more than any other one piece of the project, has made this a success since it allows me to be sitting/lying wherever I want and still use the keyboard and mouse without issue.
And I’m very happy to say that I have been using the Mini a lot. I have friends over pretty often and we frequently watch YouTube or other Internet videos, TV, movies, etc. with Boxee. While planning our upcoming trip to Vegas we sat around in the living room and did our trip research on my TV. I got a video camera for my birthday recently and those videos have been replayed often via the Mini. Has it replaced cable? No, though I do watch less of it. The big issue now is all the talk of Time Warner Cable increasing fees for downloads- which obviously is not awesome timing for me. But if it weren’t for sports and my evil, suck-ass two year contract with Direct TV I would quite likely either abandon or cut way back on my cable TV.
So check back… I’ll post “soon” and I think I’ll talk more about Boxee, the fantastic open-source application which is the foundation on which all my network entertainment is built. And in other news I’m heading to Vegas in July (woot!) and I’m enjoying watching the Hurricanes make a run at the post-season (SO STRESSFUL!). Happy May, folks!