Technology... is a queer thing. It brings you great gifts with one hand, and it stabs you in the back with the other. ~C.P. Snow, New York Times, 15 March 1971

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Art of Socialization: Blogging to Twitter, Part 2

So you know the value of publishing your blog posts to Twitter.  Now how do you do it?  Some blog platforms have this ability built-in (LiveJournal, for instance), while others require a plug-in or a third-party product.  Whether you use a built-in feature, a plug-in, or third-party product, there are pluses and minuses for each solution.

My experience with blogging is with LiveJournal, Blogger, Tumblr, and Twitter.  One of the most popular blogging platforms is WordPress.  I haven't used it, so my knowledge of it is limited.  My mother in law uses WordPress and seems very happy with it.  Her blog is called Designin' with Judy and is hosted on her company web site, TechPalette Design.  The CleverWP blog has an article about using the plug-in WP to Twitter to publish your blog entries to Twitter.  I haven't tried the technique since I haven't used WordPress, but it seems to be a workable solution.

One third-party solution that will work for any blog (or website for that matter) that has an RSS or Atom feed is FeedBurner, which is currently owned by Google.  Blogger, also a Google product (though not originally as with FeedBurner), doesn't contain any built in ability to do this, so a third-party product is necessary.  If you have a Google account, you can use the same account to log into both.

The Future of Delicious

One problem with the Internet has always been to keep track of the sites you like.  This was true twenty years ago, and, with the constant expansion of the Internet, it is even more true now.

Back in the 90s when I was first on the Internet, I used the bookmarks in my web browser.  This worked to a point, but it causes problems if you need to access your sites when you're on another computer or if your computer dies and you don't have them backed up somewhere.

Later, when I was hosting my own website,, on my own FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and then Slackware Linux server, I wrote a program in PERL, a scripting language.  I entered my links into a text file, then ran the script and it created a web page that I could then access remotely.  This worked pretty good, but I was limited on where I could add links from.

Then I stumbled on a website, early in its history called Delicious.  They got a clever domain name of It was catchy and easy to remember and it took off quickly.  You can save your links on their website and access them from anywhere.  You can make your links public or private.  You can send links to friends on the site from within it.  You can search or browse other people's links.  It is basically social networking for links.  It solved my problems.

Later on, Delicious was sold to Yahoo!.  Yahoo! kept it in tact.  The only change I know of during the time they've owned it was allowing people to create accounts on it using their Yahoo! ID, so they didn't need a separate account with a separate password.  But my existing account still works without being linked to my Yahoo! account.

Over the last month or so, there's been a rumor that Yahoo! is looking as selling Delicious.  Today, I received the following email:

Delicious has a new owner -- what this means for you

Dear Delicious User,

Yahoo! is excited to announce that Delicious has been acquired by the founders of YouTube, Chad Hurley and Steve Chen. As creators of the largest online video platform, Hurley and Chen have firsthand expertise enabling millions of consumers to share their experiences with the world. Delicious will become part of their new Internet company, AVOS.

To continue using Delicious, you must agree to let Yahoo! transfer your bookmarks to AVOS. After a transition period and after your bookmarks are transferred, you will be subject to the AVOS terms of service and privacy policy.
So, AVOS now owns Delicious.  They claim it will stay free and that they will develop it.  They did do amazing with YouTube before Google bought it, so I don't doubt their abilities.  We'll see where it goes from here.

I backed up my bookmarks just in case and agreed to the new terms.

Bethany Kennedy
IT Professional

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Education Revolution: Online Education

Image from MBA for Better Future
Since earliest university-like schools were founded by the Roman Catholic Church in the 600s, education has been identified with a classroom setting.  Students go to a building or room and a teacher, lecturer, or professor stands up and teaches them.  But in the Information Age and the age of the Internet, this is changing.  Online classes in various forms and at various levels are growing in popularity.  Technology is changing the way learning is done.

For many years now, my father-in-law has been teaching real estate classes online.  He is able to teach far larger classes and still give the students the interaction and attention they need.  These classes have been very successful, and have allowed students at universities that don't offer the subject matter he provides the opportunity to take the classes.

This is just one of the areas that online education is opening up.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The Art of Socialization: Blogging to Twitter, Part 1

Why do you write a blog?  Whether you write as a place to share your thoughts or activities, a place to share your art or the things you love, a place to promote your business, are a step in changing the world, chances are, you write to be read.  A blog with no readers is just a personal diary.

One of the big hot things on the web right now is social networking.  What used to be done in clubs and bars, conferences and conventions has moved to the web as social networks.  Everyone's heard of them, Facebook and MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter.  People build their social network by finding people they know in real life, finding people with shared interests, finding friends of their friends.  The more people you know, the faster your network grows.

People use social networks for many things.  Some just want to know people, read about other people's lives.  During the Great Depression, cinema took off.  People were looking to escape their daily lives and their own troubles.  In a movie, you could watch other people's lives and forget about your own.  Centuries before that, novels became popular for the same reason.  While people still go to watch movies and read books, TV has really filled this escapism void.  And know On-Demand and Netflix, TiVo and DVR, Youtube and IceFilms, have made it so we can watch what we want when we want.  We can escape from reality any time we want with whatever we want.

Social networks and blogs fill this same need for people.  They give people a window into other people's lives.  But with these things, it is real people, real stories, not the fiction of movies and television.  Well, presuming everyone is honest.

No matter what you blog about, there is an audience.  There is someone out there somewhere that is interested in what you want to talk about.  The Internet is world wide (hence the name World Wide Web).  There are 6.91 billion people in the world, and, though obviously not every one of them is connected to the web, there is bound to be someone out there that shares your interests.

So, you want to write to be read, and there's someone out there that wants to read what you have to write.  How do you find each other?  The reader of course could do a search in Google or Yahoo! or whatever search engine they like and hope they find you.  But how high in the search will your blog be?  While the terms your reader searches for be the ones that find you blog?  There's no guaranty.

The goal of the blogger is to connect with people who share her interests who want to read what she has to say.  Isn't this what social networks are designed for?  One good way to get readers is connect with people through your social network that share the interests you write about, then share your blog with your social network.  Posting links to your blog entry to a social network is called socialization.

I talked in my last entry about Twitter.  Twitter is one of the larger social network, and there are applications set up that make it easy to share your Twitter Tweets with most other social networks.  If you can get it to Twitter, you can spread it to the rest easily.

In the next series of posts, I'm going to talk about ways to get your blog seen on Twitter.  From there, you can share it with the world.

Bethany Kennedy
IT Professional

Monday, April 18, 2011

Twitter: The Epitome of the Information Age

I started using Twitter January 11, 2009, three and a half years after the company started.  For those people not aware, Twitter is a service where you can follow other people and post short, 140 character "microblogs" called Tweets that your friends, or whoever, can read.  The idea of Twitter was born from a desire to have a text-based dispatch service, so people could text on their phone and the service would let their friends know what they were doing.  The character limit was 140 characters based on limits on cell phone SMS (text) messages, however, the first version was entirely web-based and SMS service was added later.  In the five years Twiiter has been around, it has grown from zero to over 200 million users, though it's estimated only 100 million of these users actually use it regularly.  But even 100 million is a huge number.

During the events in Egypt and the early days of this newest conflict in Libya, I learned most of what I knew directly from Twitter and from links posted to Twitter.  Minute by minute news (and rumour of course) spread quickly through the Twitter network as people posted what they knew and everybody retweeted it.  Even some news sites were posted details that came from Tweets from their readers.  The Twitter phenomenon is like nothing ever seen before.  It is the epitome of the Information Age.

I originally got joined Twitter for an easy way to post messages to my Facebook profile, but quickly Twitter took on a life of its own in my life.  You can do many things with Twitter.  My LiveJournal and Blogger blogs post to Twitter, LiveJournal using its built-in connection and Blogger using  I use Seesmic on my Blackberry to read Twitter and also to post to it.  Websites like can be used to shorten URLs (the web address used to get to webpages) so they don't use up as many characters in Twitter.  Both Seesmic and integrate with as well as similar services.  I also use a plug-in in the Google Chrome browser to shorten URLs right on the Twitter home page.  Seesmic and other clients integrate with other services like to embed pictures into Tweets, so they aren't only text anymore.  There are literally thousands of applications and websites that integrate with Twitter.  I even have a gadget on this blog that shows my latest Tweets.

Earlier today, I read the following article from CNN Tech:

The article talked both about the origins and history of Twitter and its future.  Many people are predicting the end of Twitter, based on a plateau in use of the website.  However, as the article points out, this is misleading.  This only counts direct web hits, not the plethora of applications that are used to access it, the websites like Facebook and LiveJournal that Tweets can be sent to, widgets and gadgets on websites, and the people who subscribe, send, and reply to Tweets from their regular cell phone with SMS.

Twitter isn't going anywhere, but with new applications, widgets, gadgets, and services coming out to increase its functionality, who knows what it will be like in two years, let alone ten.

Those of you who haven't heard of Twitter before now or haven't used Twitter, I suggest giving it a try.  You might just like it.

Feel free to follow me.  My Twitter account is kethar  (  Comment on this blog if you do follow me, and I'll be sure to follow you back.

Bethany Kennedy
IT Professional

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Enforcing Laws on the Internet

Last night, I was reading an article on the Ars Technica blog on my Kindle.  The article was entitled "Consumer groups skeptical about new Kerry-McCain privacy bill".  It started me thinking about enforcement on the Internet.  You can read it here:

Privacy of your information and who shares what with who is a good thing, though there are obvious issues with the bill as pointed out in the article.  But how much good will the bill actually do, even if the issues mentioned are taken care of?

The issue to think about here is that the Internet is international, not just in the United States.  Obviously US laws cannot be enforced in other countries.  So what happens if the website is run by a company in, say, the United Kingdom?  Or if the website is a US website but the advertising company whose content on the US website is over seas?  How about the situation with Facebook.  They have servers at a data center in California, but they also have a data center in Ireland.  Is the law enforcible purely because they are a US company, even if they were to put the information tracking and sharing part of their website exclusively in Ireland?

This has always been the issue with the Internet since the US part was connected to international networks.  This is the issue with SPAM laws and child porn laws.  This is the issue with music and video sharing.  Do you try to regulate what international content can be accessed within the country?  Do you try to get cooperation with other countries?  Do you completely cut off connection to other countries?  Do you go after the people viewing illegal content (not relevant to the privacy bill, but definitely to some of the others)?

Different countries have taken different tacts.  China blocks a lot of content, and monitors what passes through their borders.  Some Islamic countries have completely shut down private citizen access to other countries or allow no computer networking for citizens at all.  Some countries don't worry about international content at all.  And the US has tried different tacts at different points.

So how will the choose to deal with this issue with this new bill?  Or has anyone thought about or mentioned it to McCain or Kerry?

Bethany Kennedy
IT Professional

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The beginning of a journey...

I have been working in the Information Technology industry for over fourteen years and have seen many changes, innovations, mistakes, and leaps.  In this blog, I would like to explore different issues, technologies, ideas, and trends int he computer world.  I would like to share my opinions and unique perspectives with whoever wants to read it.  Please join me in this journey to the edge of technology.

Bethany Kennedy
IT Professional