Sunday, July 31, 2005
Favicons and Amazon pictures
I had been saving things in my bloglines account to look at later. I am finally getting to that. One of them is this thing from lifehacker. The Favicon Picker Firefox Extension is amazing. It lets you pick a favicon for sites that do not pick there on. Then you are able to delete the text and save room on your linkbar for all the cool things that you want. (I guess there is also the assumption that you pick the pictures based on some sort of system and are able to go back and remember what is what. I am not so lucky. I am quite sure I will be bugging-me-not when I really just want see what people linked to a page via del.icio.us. Hehe. This should be fun. I tried to pick pictures that made sense, but what link should go with a picture of quiche? Actually I would recommend making some simple pictures of solid colors or big letters or something rather than using pictures. I am having trouble telling the difference between the quiche and the water lilies.)
And here is an explanation on the pictures of what I am reading in the sidebar of this blog. (By popular demand!) (Speaking of, I should probably change that, I have been reading some really intersting stuff lately.) I have an associates account at amazon.com (on the main website scroll down until you see the Make Money in green on the left side. Associates is the second thing under that. The Associates program is about getting people to buy things from Amazon and then you get a share of that. Its a money making thing. You can read about the Building Links here ).
Once you are logged into the associates account, you click on build links on the left of the screen. Then Product Links. Then Search for the product, find it, and customize that link. It then gives you the HTML that shows the picture and provides a link to the amazon page. You customize it to be a big or small picture, show the price or not, and so on. Then you copy the HTML and put it in the template. Then I usually have to tweak the link for the picture source to make it come from amazon. And then I am done. Any questions?
Technology makes me lazy
Sometimes I think about how lazy technology makes me. I love the find function on firefox. I like entering the little words and having something else look for me. It does a lot of work and saves me a lot of time. Right now I am taking a test. It is a stupid test with 17 essay questions when we were told that it is all multiple choice, but I guess that is beside the point. The test is open book and so I use the index a lot to search for answers. But what about when the index is not sufficient? My fingers itch to just type the word in and find someone else look for it. And if there was an electronic copy of the book available I might just do it. But there isn't so I can't.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
I read the latest Harry Potter book while on vacation. I read it in the DFW Airport. I read it on the airplane. I read it in hotels. I read it on the beach in La Jolla, California. I finished it, in tears, while in bed. My sister was nice enough to let me keep the light on and finish it. It was remarkable, because that is exactly how I finished the fourth book too. It was over the Christmas holiday so I was kicked out of my room and had to bunk with my little sister.
I would rate the fourth book right up there with number one, three, and four. It is very easy for me to classify the books at good (#2 and #5) and really good (#1, #3, #4, and now #6). Going beyond that sort of classification is hard for me, because I just cannot choose.
Things I loved about this book. (Jacki, you might not want to read this unless you have read the whole book. )
- I liked how mature Harry was, and how mature Harry becomes. Harry has experienced love and loss. When he mentioned Sirius, it just made me sad. Knowing how close Harry was to having a family and then losing it was just heartbreaking.
- I liked the relationship between Harry and Dumbledore. Harry realizes that Dumbledore values him and is treating him as an adult.
- I liked the pace. It was a nice ride. I didn't feel like it was too hurried or too exciting until the very end.
- I liked the romance. Seeing Ron and Hermoine dance around their relationship was very amusing. And seeing Ginny and Harry get together was something I was waiting for since Ginny set her eye on Harry in the first book.
- I liked how finally all of the pieces are coming together. This book, more than others (or maybe I was just paying more attention in this book) talks about things that happened in previous books and makes a lot of connections. I really felt like I would have benefitted from re-reading all of the books to get the full experience when reading this book. I really had to stretch my memory and think about what previous events they were talking about.
This was my favorite part. At the very end. Page 644-645:
And Harry remembered his first nightmarish trip into the forest, the first time he had ever encountered the thing that was then Voldemort, and how he had faced him, and how he and Dumbledore had discussed fighting a losing battle not long thereafter. It was important, Dumbledore said, to fight, and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then could evil be kept at bay, though never quite eradicated... And Harry saw clearly as he sat there under the hot sun how people who cared about him had stood in front of him one by one, his mother, his father, his godfather, and finally Dumbledore, all determined to protect him; but now that was over. He could not let anybody else stand between him and Voldemort; he must abandon forever the illusion he ought to have lost at the age of one, that the shelter of a parent's arms meant nothing could hurt him. There was no waking from his nightmare, no comforting whisper in the dark that he was safe really, that it was all in his imagination; the last and greatest of his protectors had died, and he was more alone than he had ever been before.That is a great piece of literature. I thought about some of the other good vs. evil stories and how they compared to this. I thought about Star Wars and ET and Jesus. I read in an article in Newsweek (I think) how there are some college courses about Harry Potter that compare the story to other classic pieces of literature. And the things that might have influenced Rowling. That would be a facinating class to take.
At the end of the book, where Ron and Hermoine show their support for Harry in his quest, it reminded me of the end of (R.I.P) Joan of Arcadia. Joan is told that she will be fighting good vs. evil. And her "army" is made up of her friends.
God: The universe is kinetic, Joan. Every day, you have to make a choice. Make it better or worse. Most people do a little bit of both. And there are those powerful enough to overbalance the scales on either end.
Joan: So is this fancy talk for you expect me to save the world?
God: Counterbalance is a better word.
Joan: You want me to fight back?
God: I expect you to fulfill your true nature, same as it ever was.
Joan: I really don't think I'm up to this.
God: I think you are or else you wouldn't have met him.
Joan: This is seriously going to cut into my normal high school routine.
God: You never liked high school that much.
Joan: If you want me to do this, I get it, but I can't do it alone. My own father doesn't believe me. My ex-boyfriend is siding with the devil. I have no weapons. Other people who have fought back, you know, the other Joan, she had an army, ok? I don't have anything like that. Where's my army?
[God looks pointedly to the side. Joan follows his gaze to see her group of friends. Grace says, "Quit it, Friedman!" and both Grace and Glynis smack Friedman. Luke is tossing something at Friedman. Adam is seemingly oblivious, lost in his own thoughts.]
Joan: Yeah. So basically I'm on my own.
God: You have everything you need, Joan. [He walks off, giving a low Godwave.]
I had the same feeling reading the end of Harry Potter that I had watching this very last episode of Joan of Arcadia.
Technorati Tags: HarryPotter, HalfBloodPrince, Book6, Reading, Books
Hello from Kansas
I'm back from a fabulous vacation in San Diego. We saw the zoo, the wild animal park and the beach. We went out to eat at some fabulous places. I took many many pictures, but forgot the cord that attaches the camera to the computer so I cannot post. They are pretty though.
While away I read all of Harry Potter. And Freakanomics. And I am 80% the way through Blink (which, I might add, saved me from being without reading material and facing my greatest fear.)
I return to Austin on Thursday when I will get a job. Hopefully. And work on my website and a bunch of other stuff.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
The last days of work
This is my last week with the four year olds. I will spend next week in California and then I need to FIND A JOB. A high school teaching job. Yesterday we had a circle time where I announced that this is my last week. They asked me questions about where I would be going (don't know) and who would be replacing me (don't know). They said that I should visit and bring the high schoolers to visit. They said simply, "We are going to miss you." And I am going to miss them. (Of course not during any Monday-Friday from 12:30 - 1:30. Then I will be sitting in a room of silence thanking my lucky stars that 22 four year olds are not driving ME crazy.) Since I cannot (in good conscience) post any of their pictures (no parental consent), here is some of their work.
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
not many del.icio.us lesson plans
Sign #48 that del.icio.us is not being used effectively (IMHO) by educators: the tag lessonplan 32 times (although lessonplans is used about 300 times, so there is that. This singular plural thing does spell problems sometimes. But I wouldn't dare change it. Besides, I usually mean lessonplan to tag a specific lesson plan and lessonplans to tag stuff general to lesson plans: info, templates, general ideas. )
Technorati Tags: del.icio.us, tags, tagging, education, lessons, lessonplans, lessonplan,
Monday, July 11, 2005
Harry Potter Decision
I love my life sometimes. Right now, one of the major decisions on my mind is whether to take the new Harry Potter book on vacation. It comes out Friday night. I am seriously considering going to Barnes and Noble for one of the release parties. I figure that would be fun. Chaotic, crazy fun. Then on Monday I leave for vacation to California. I cannot read the book in the time between the release and when I get on the plane. Book 5 took me 3 solid days to read. So the question is: Do I take the mammoth (although apparently not as mammoth as 4 or 5) book to California? And so I do a comparison:
- I like reading Harry Potter books.
- I like the idea of reading the book along with millions of other people.
- I need a book to read in the airport, on the planes anyway
- Do I really need an extra pair of shoes or whatever else would take up the room in my suitcase?
- A 670 page book to lug around
- A single minded vacation (MUST. FINISH. BOOK.) (I can picture it now, my dad pointing out the beach or mountains or pretty things outside of the window and I risk carsickness just to find out who dies. That would just be sad.)
- Reading the book while away from my other five. What if I need to reference something and I am 1339.8 miles away?
- Reading the book while away from regular high speed internet access. What if I need to... well... I don't know. But the internet might be the answer.
- Tears in public. At the end of 4, I bawled. I don't really remember much about 5 but I'm pretty sure I cried then too. What if one of my favorites dies and I am inconsolable, just as they are calling that it is my time to board?
Technorati Tags: HarryPotter, HalfBloodPrince, Book6, Reading, Books
Sunday, July 10, 2005
I am really enjoying reading Freakonomics. I am just about half way done and the book is really interesting. It is also quite an experience to be able to read the blog that goes along with the book. I think every book should have a blog associated with it to discuss ideas that are similar, what is going on with the press tour, interviews, etc. It is pretty cool. But no matter how cool the book is, it still doesn't hold up to a dip in Lake Cypress Springs. I borrowed my brother's copy and it got wet on the Fourth of July weekend. So he gets a brand new copy (left) and I will keep the thicker, warped one (right) .
Technorati Tags: freakonomics, bookblogs
This is a site that when you enter a del.icio.us tag, it will create a haiku based on related tags.
Here is a sample:
internet maps tools
However, this is not a haiku. I guess the computer is counting del.icio.us as having four syllables. Because on this version they count delicious as 3 syllables and del.icio.us as 4. Intersting. (Am I the only one who doublecheks the syllables in every haiku I read?)
Deliciousdelicious tag maps
tools web del.icio.us new
tagging tags techcrunch
Technorati Tags: del.icio.us, haiku, poetry,
So I finally found the lame file that I needed to use Audacity to export recordings in MP3. And I don't know what was so hard about it in the first place. I simply searched for it and there it was. So no more virtual ducktape for me. I wonder if I went back and re-packaged my screencasts I would get better (more accuracy between pointing and saying) results. So thats a thought. When I am done with work (this week is my last) and back from vacation to California maybe I will play with all that.
Technorati Tags: lame, audacity, screencasting, mp3,
Saturday, July 09, 2005
del.icio.us new feature: for
Now you can send links to specific usernames and receive links that others have designated for you.
We've just begun rolling out support for tagging items for others. To do
so, use "for:username" where username is the name of the user you
send the item to.
You can see items tagged for you at http://del.icio.us/for/ -- it'll
redirect to your own page, which other users will not be able to see.
This could be really awesome.
Technorati Tags: tagging, tags, del.icio.us,
Friday, July 08, 2005
I have officially passed my capstone experience. Now onto finding a job. Please please please gimme a job.
Thursday, July 07, 2005
rain: n. Water condensed from atmospheric vapor and falling in drops
Wow. It has been 36 days. And I just got a 4 minute rain shower. Well that should last us through September!
See the rain? There is it. Or was. It stopped raining pretty fast.
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
When I was working on my capstone everything stopped. (For those things that hadn't already stopped when I decided to get a job with 22 four-year olds.)
So I have now updated what I am reading. (Thanks for reminding me Jacki)
And I am very excited about my new website. It will have a whole new and exciting look coming next week. I made a cool background which I will probably take out and just put a solid color there. I have put my witchgraft webquest and some other projects up there. And I designed a pretty cool looking page. But I am not changing anything until my capstone project is graded. So that is why I am waiting.
July 4th Fun
After turning in my project on Thursday night and turning in my two weeks notice at my job on Friday, I went to a friend's lakehouse. We played dominoes, played cards, and relaxed on the lake. We went tubing, played with fireworks, and ate a whole lotta food. I had a great time.