Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Web Secret #33: The Internet is for fun - and learning

What's a happy new year blog post without a top 10 list?

For education and entertainment, I refer you to Lifehacker's "Top 10 How to Videos".

Actually, who has time to watch 10 videos during the holiday season?

Just watch:

9. Seal chips without a clip.

8. Get eight watch batteries from a AA.

and my personal favorite...

7. Fold a T-shirt in two motions perfectly (and fast).

Welcome 2009.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Web Secret #32: Web 2.0

In my very first iWebU blog entry I wrote: "You do not have to be a geek to understand the power of Web 2.0 and expand your business or your private practice".

This should have been followed by a blog entry defining Web 2.0. Oops.

That never happened.

Mea culpa.

So here is that missing entry...

Web 2.0 is a very new concept. Tim O'Reilly, the CEO of O'Reilly Media, a company that publishes books and produces conferences on computer technology topics, first coined term in 2004. What Is Web 2.0 wasn’t published until September 2005. His definition is lengthy and not particularly intelligible to a non-technically oriented person.

Now for a more understandable perspective.

A mental health professional is looking for an article on the use of technology during critical incidents.

Web 1.0 approach – She browses through the online archive of EAPA’s Journal of Employee Assistance, a static collection of web pages, eventually finding an article published in 2008, “Using Technology in Mass Disasters”(Vandepol).

Web 2.0 approach - The professional joins the EAP Manager Listserv. Her e-mail sent to the listserv “Do you know of any articles about the use of technology during critical incidents?” instantly reaches over 600 top notch EAP managers. A half dozen of them respond within a couple of hours with recommendations. She now knows about the JEA article, AND finds out there is an online panel presentation Critical Incident Continuum of EA Services: Technology Makes a Difference delivered at EAPA’s 2008 World EAP Conference which she can access in a matter of minutes.

See the difference?
Web 2.0 describes changing trends in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that aim at enhancing information sharing and collaboration. Web 2.0 is all about interactions between internet users.

In my opinion, professionals in any field should:
  1. understand the concept of web 2.0
  2. be aware of the numerous web sites and internet platforms that emulate core web 2.0 principles, and their application to their work
  3. potentially use some of these websites and platforms to enhance their businesses.
I repeat: there are dozens upon dozens of internet web sites and platforms that emulate core web 2.0 principles: Skype, blogs, SharedBook.com, ChaCha, etc., etc.

Choose wisely.

Actually, reading this blog will help you do just that...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Web Secret #31: Ergonomics Part 2 - Logitech Mice

Last week, I confessed that I use a $300 Kinesis Contoured Keyboard to manage the finger pain I suffer due to excessive geekiness and computer use.

However, I also took my pain management one step further.

I went on the Logitech website and purchased a collection of three different mice and trackballs.

I bought:

1 cordless Trackman Wheel - list price $49.95
1 Marble Mouse - list price $19.95
1 LX8 Cordless Laser Mouse - list price $39.99

The Trackman Wheel requires me to move the pointer on my screen by using my thumb. I click with my fingers.

The Marble Mouse requires me to move the pointer on my screen by using my fingers. To click I use my thumb.

The LX8 Mouse requires me to move the pointer on my screen by using my wrist. To click I use my thumb.

I prevent overuse of my wrist, fingers and thumbs for various tasks (scrolling, clicking, etc.) by rotating my mice/trackballs on a weekly basis.

Something to consider even if you aren't (YET) experiencing finger/wrist/hand pain from using the computer.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Web Secret #30: Ergonomics part 1 - The Kinesis Keyboard

I use a $300 keyboard.

OK, the list price is $299.

Why you may ask...

Well for the past three years, I have been using my keyboard for about 8 hours a day to:

surf the net
write code
use e-mail
author articles
craft this blog
and after a few months of this regimen, SURPRISE, my fingers started to HURT. Since I plan on working for at least another 15 years, (maybe more given the current economic meltdown), I became alarmed.

I began a crash course in the ergonomics of using computers. And I zeroed in on the life changing (albeit expensive) Kinesis Contoured Keyboard.

When I type, my hands are sunk into two valleys of QWERTY keys. My fingers apply a lot less pressure, my overall hand and arm typing position improves, leading to - bottom line - massive reduction of finger pain.

Some of the keys eg SPACE, ENTER, Ctrl, etc., are not located in the usual place, so there is a learning curve to using the Kinesis. I am the most uncoordinated person on the planet and it only took me two days to get up to speed.

I did something else to reduce my finger pain - but that's another secret...see next week's blog.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Web Secret #29: Wayback Machine

Every now and then I like to look back on my failed dot.com boom website eparttimejobs.com. At the time, my partner and I thought we had a winner, and we were already counting our millions. I still like our cool eyeball logo.

When I am feeling even more masochistic, I visit the 2001 version of the Google home page. Should've bought that stock...

All kidding aside, those of us who are unwilling to study past mistakes are condemned to repeat them.

So when I feel studious, I travel backwards in time via the Wayback Machine.

The Machine enables you to browse through 85 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. To start surfing the Wayback, type in the web address of a site or page where you would like to start, and press enter. Then select from the archived dates available.