Books on Hold is a blog series dedicated to books I have seen in passing and requested from my local library. See more in the series at the end of this blog post. — Douglas
As I move the my career more in the direction of blogging and other New Media pursuits, I am happening across more and more books like this. Certainly worth a read to see if there is anything I can glean from their experiences and advice.
“With roughly 95,000 blogs launched worldwide every 24 hours (BlogPulse), making a fledgling site stand out isn’t easy. This authoritative handbook gives creative hopefuls a leg up. Joy Cho, of the award-winning Oh Joy!, offers expert advice on starting and growing a blog, from design and finance to overcoming blogger’s block, attracting readers, and more. With a foreword from Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge plus expert interviews, this book will fine-tune what the next generation of bloggers shares with the world.
Learn how to: – Design your site - Choose the right platform - Attract a fan base - Finance your blog - Maintain work/life balance - Manage comments - Find content inspiration - Overcome blogger’s block - Choose the right ads - Develop a voice - Protect your work - Create a media kit - Leverage your social network - Take better photographs - Set up an affiliate program - Partner with sponsors - Build community - Go full-time with your blog - And more!“
With interests in both art and business, it seems only natural to combine them in my mind. “Art & Fear” addresses the all-to-common issues with creating art and I believe there are a lot of parallels to any career. Most art is about overcoming fear and it is the same with your career. You need to work through the fear in order to create something wonderful, not matter what you do.
I am a very happy use of Apple’s iPhone products. I have a 3G, an iPhone 4, an iPhone 4s and soon, an iPhone 5. All of the past phones have been passed down to other family members over the years and, at risk of jinxing myself, I haven’t broken a screen yet.
I am a Mac users for many years now, and I find that iPhone carries the same benefit at as my Mac. As I describe it to my friends and my clients, “The Mac/iPhone works the way that I do.” I understand it. It integrates well into my work flow and daily life and, for me, it works well overall as a piece of ubiquitous technology. it allows me to be productive no matter where I am, which is very important when you are a freelance consultant like myself. I can grab a few minutes with email while I wait outside a client’s house, or sit in a coffee shop and catch up on the latest news and events over my Cafe Americano.
The iPhone 5 can be a New Media production studio in your pocket. You can record audio, shoot and edit video, upload to YouTube and blog the results.
To sum up, it works for me. It might work for you. Check it out!
Can you make a camera pan using a cheap mechanical kitchen timer? Instrucable member, mikeasaurus, did. A cool, relatively low-tech way of allowing you to create smooth pans which you can turn into time-lapse photos. His example here was created by shooting video and speeding it up in the editing process. If you had intervalometer to trigger the camera shutter, you could create more traditional time-lapse videos.
Using a regular point-and-shoot digital camera I set the camera to video and wound up my timer. Here’s some footage I compiled with my camera pan, these videos were taken over about 10 minutes and sped up to show the slow pan effect:
I have always been an active user of online video conferencing systems including Skype and others. Lately, though, my use has picked up as I spend a lot of time in Google Hangouts and even participate in a weekly food show entitled Kitchen Party, over at Bakespace.com.
Producing a show for the public means you want the best picture quality possible. In the past, video conferencing tools have always looked a little fuzzy, a little dark and a little pixelated. This isn’t true anymore, though. With the latest systems, like Google Hangouts and the most current versions of Skype, you can share near HD quality video. Of course, in order to do this, you need the right camera.
I picked up the Logitech C920 after I saw how it looked with a few of my Hangout friends. It provides crisp video in 16:9 format and works with almost any video service. I use mine on the Mac, so there are really no extra software controls available, but Windows users can use the included software to adjust white balance and a few other settings.
In my case, I also use the webcam for one additional us — Timelapse movies. The high quality of the camera, along with some software on my Mac, turn it into an excellent time-lapse camera — allowing me to grab full screen HD quality movies using Evocam software. I have recorded time-lapse movies of myself working in the garden for my podcast, A Gardener’s Notebook, and it does a great job.
As you could probably guess from my recent New Media Tip video, I am a big user of Pinterest. It turns up all sorts of delightful links to Food, Gardening, DIY/Crafts and more. That said, there are two tips I would like to offer those who are starting to dive into Pinterest.
Pin individual item, not collections
When I look through my Pinterest stream I often see pins for 52 Frozen Foods to Make Yourself, or 12 ways to make chicken and other pins I call “collections”. I can tell you from personal experience that I usually don’t click on such pins. When I see a collection pin, I know I am going to have to sort through a web page filled mainly with items I don’t want, just to find a few — or one — I might want.
I prefer that Pinterest users pin links to one, particular item so that I know I will find it useful and those who might re-pin it will also find it useful. I would love to see some stats on how many people re-pin collections as opposed to individual items. If my preferences are any indicator, I would guess the repines on collections falls far below those of individual items.
Pin the detail page, not the front page of a blog
Too often I am seeing pins that link only to main page of a blog instead of directly to the item being pinned. Depending on how old the blog post is — and how frequently the blogger posts — the item being pinned may have rolled off the front page. Don’t make myself and others go hunting for the information. Visit the detail or individual page of the blog post and then pin that page. That will guarantee that your Pinterest followers will be taken directly to the information you want to share.
Do you have any Pinterest tips? Share in the comments below.
Getting the most out of your Pinterest feed, without burying yourself in a lot of unwanted information, means following Pinterest Boards, not people. It would be rare for you to like everything that someone pins, but by selecting the appropriate topic boards on Pinterest, you can get just the information you want from each person you follow.
“One of the most famous, and useful of these, is Michael Rosenblum’s “five shot” method that he developed training journalists from the NY Times to the BBC. It’s actually something he’s preached since the late 1990s, and those who are fortunate enough to learn it get an insight into shooting better video, immediately.
I’ve successfully used this in the classroom to teach visual literacy, because it hones in immediately on what’s important. The five shot method always prescribes these, shot in this exact order (my handout here):
A closeup on the hands of a subject – showing WHAT is happening
A closeup on the face – WHO is doing it
A wide shot – WHERE its happening
An over the shoulder shot (OTS) – linking together the previous three concepts
An unusual, or side/low shot – providing story-specific context”
Increasingly, iPhones are becoming acredible, convenient and reliable tool for journalists –both amateur and professional– to use in the field. Mobile reporting was even the topic of a UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism course taught by Jeremy Rue to help journalists learn how to get the most out of reporting from a mobile device.
Here’s an update of schedule and activies for this Saturday’s Super Happy Vlog House.
This is an open and free event where we learn, share and play with web video, blogs and the like. Come and geek out for the day at the beautiful Ojai Digital Dojo with others who are passionate about making video. All levels are welcome, beginners to experts.
There are both scheduled and unstructured activities. Feel free to come for the whole day or just the parts that interest you and fit into your schedule. Drop-in’s are welcome.
Likely Activities (it’s up to you what we do):
8am - Jim Joseph‘s coffee and morning geek talk. Jim makes the best coffee. Truly.
9am – Alicia’s Ojai Guest House breakfast for those who stay over Friday night or come early on Saturday. Fresh eggs from our chickens. UPDATE: belgium waffles!
10am – Welcome and introductions. Self organize the day’s activities.
11am – What’s new with HTML5 video? Lots of fun examples.
Noon – Pot luck lunch and BBQ, hot dogs (beef or vegie), sausages, burgers.
1pm – How to add fun video-related features to your web pages using HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery.
6pm – Open video and web clinic. Get help with your projects; collaborate with others. Edit and post that cool video you shot today.
7pm – Next to Heaven: vlog screenings. Whiskey and cigars, ports and chocolate.
This is a free event. We’ll organize some sort of pot luck lunch and dinner; please bring something or toss a few bucks into the kitty if you can. This is an adult friendly event with wine, beer and frank discussions. Children are welcome if accompanied by an adult.
For additional information, please leave a comment, email email@example.com or call 805-798-0436.
Overnighters are welcome. First come, first serve on rooms, beds, couches and the RV. Pleanty of room for camping if that is your style and weather permits.
WordPress is one of the most popular blogging platforms in the world today, whether you are using the free hosting of WordPress.com or running a self-hosted blog on your own web site.
Along with all the power the WordPress carries, though, is a responsibility to keep your blog as secure as possible. There are many exploits (and exploiters) out there that would like to turn your WordPress into a spam-infested Google magnet.
There is an easy way to keep your blog trouble free, though. You need to regularly check for updates to both the WordPress program itself AND any plugins that you might be using on your site. Updates often contain fixes for known errors or bugs that can be exploited by the nasty people of the Internet. Keeping everything updated doesn’t guarantee that your blog won’t be attacked, but it closes the most basic holes in your security.
So, in the interest of keep your blog on the straight and narrow — I am proposing that every Wednesday become WordPress Wednesday. Let’s make this alliterative weekday and use it as reminder to check our WordPress software, our plugins and even comments that we may have missed along the way.
So, how do you keep your blog updated?
First, if you are hosting your blog at WordPress.com, congratulations! You are updated automatically by the WordPress.com staffers. You could still use WordPress Wednesday as an opportunity to check your comments for spam or if they need to be moderated, but most of the work is done for you.
If you are using a self-hosted install of WordPress, here are a few actions to take each WordPress Wednesday.
Log into your blog Dashboard
Look for WordPress Update notes (usually on a yellow background) announcing a new update of the WordPress software itself
Look for update markers on your Plugins menu item.
These numbers in a black circle tell you how many plugins need to be updated.
Click the plugins link to see a list of all plugins
Follow the steps provided to automatically upgrade either the WordPress software or the plugins.
Look for the same type of update count listed next to the Comments area
Accept or reject comments that need to moderated or marked as spam.
With just a few minutes of time each WordPress Wednesday, you can keep your WordPress blog clean and speedy.
Need more WordPress help? Ask your questions in the comments!
Whether you are taking stills or video, a tripod always makes your work look better. These portable tripods by Joby give you amazing flexibility, both literally and creatively. With adjustable, bendable legs, you can use the tripod on a table or the ground as you normally would, or wrap the legs around a sign post or tree limb to make use of whatever your environment provides.
I have added the 3 current Flip Camera models to the WelchWrite store. I have the Flip MinoHD and really like it. I carry it everywhere I go and it makes it easy to grab whatever happens while I am out and about.
The Flip UltraHD adds 2 hours of recording time, a removable battery and image stabilization.
Check out all the Flip models and I think you will find one that is right for you!