Testing, Testing

I’m trying out a post on my relatively new mobile device.

I want to know how pretty it is, how the formatting translates, how easy it is to include photos, and if I can schedule the post (as opposed to posting it immediately).

Oops! and Skype is Sneaky

I’m at a VISTA supervisor training in Dallas, and I completely forgot to blog.  Sorry!  I’ve met so many fascinating people and have lots to report.

One barrier to reporting this, besides full days of sessions and an evening out in Dallas was that Firefox was running funny, and I couldn’t understand why.  I finally figured out thanks to Felipe that when I installed Skype, it automatically/sneakily included a buggy Firefox add-on.  Shame on Skype for sliding that one under the table, and further shame for doing so with something that hurt my web-browsing.

More soon!

Preaching to the Tech Choir

The blog Dangerously Irrelevant compares the phrases “I’m not good at math” with “I’m not good at computers” and wonders why the second one is so much more acceptable.  I concur.

I’m completely boggled when I meet fiercely intelligent, energetic, involved, interested, and interesting people and then hear them say something like “I don’t do computers.”  Boggled.

boys choir by saikofish on Flickr
boys choir by saikofish on Flickr

When I hear something to the effect of, “I’m over 30, I’m not a computer person,” it translates into two messages:

The first says, “I make excuses,” and it’s disappointing.

The second says “I don’t value anything you say via computer or about computers,” and it’s insulting.

I’m smiling at the irony of posting this on my blog.

Summer Institute!

Summer Institute 2009 Program Cover
Summer Institute 2009 Program Cover

This is a place-holder just to let you know that I’m planning on blogging about Summer Institute, a major Minnesota conference in Adult Basic Education, that runs this afternoon through Friday afternoon.

It’s my first time ever at this annual conference, and I’m very excited about the people I’ll meet and the ideas I’ll come back with.

My plan is to type my notes, blog, and be on Twitter during the conference.  I’ve never done this before either, but at other conferences I either sit there thinking about paying attention and therefore not really paying attention, or I take great notes and promptly lose them.

I’m planning to put links to related blog posts and other materials in this post for readers’ bookmarking convenience, and because I like information hubs.

Here’s to trying new things, and let’s get started!


Please Close Your Laptop
Summer Institute: Plenaries
Summer Institute: Teaching Personal Finance

Summer Institute: Quick Reflection

RSS Adjustment

I finally went through my Google Reader and unsubscribed from a bunch of feeds I either don’t read or don’t care about when I do read.

My intention was to limit the amount of content that went to my reader.

That lasted about 2 days, and then I started subscribing to other blogs, including Kalingo English and Dangerously Irrelevant. They’re blogs that I’m more likely to want to read and to comment on though, and are very shareable with colleagues, so I’m confident in my decisions to add them.

Reading my RSS feed is much more informative and enjoyable since I made the changes. I shouldn’t have waited so long to shake things up.  I set up a quarterly reminder on my calendar, encouraging me to rethink and delete.  I don’t think I’ll need much encouragement to add.

Maybe I should set up “clear off your desk” reminders also – the cat just jumped up and fell off.

Recommended Reading

Here’s an extremely mixed bag of reads I’ve found worthwhile:

Career Stuff: I recently had to update my resume because I’ll be supervising our next VISTA.  While I was at it, I wish I’d seen this:

Avoid These Phrases to Keep Your Resume Relevant

Productivity: Since on a slow day I’m interrupted 25 times, I’m constantly looking for tips and tricks to get back on task and not have days escape from me.  This one fit my needs nicely:

Take 18 Minutes to Keep Your Days On Track

Social Change: I’m pretty aware that I’m a person who’s white working in a community of color.  In this post, Allison points toward a documentary she found worthwhile and has plenty of her own commentary about the importance of communities helping themselves.

Social Change and Being Black in America

On Attitude: Sometimes you need it.  You just have to be able to stand up for yourself and your work.  Chris Brogan does so briefly, strongly, and in his own words.  We all need to be able to do this in our own words.

Why I Use Affiliate Links When Reviewing Items

Humor: If you don’t read xkcd.com, you should.


Twitter Ifs

I would pay more attention to Twitter if:

  1. I could have a desktop client on my main computer at work;
  2. TweetDeck didn’t take up an enormous amount of memory on my home computer;
  3. Twitter.com itself made it easier to listen.

I would be happier with Twitter being part of the world if:

  1. People would stop fretting and fussing that Twitter is causing the general populace to cease to read longer texts such as books;
  2. It didn’t lend itself so easily to generating new words such as “tweeps.”  It’s ridiculous – I was half inclined to name this post “twifs.”

Things I’ve learned because of Twitter:

  1. URL shorteners are handy;
  2. Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog was fun;
  3. Automated messages are Irritating.

Blogging for T-Ron’s Cause: Results

Let’s start with what I didn‘t get:

  • immediate attention from Obama
  • attainment of the end goal

I would still say it was a beneficial exercise because:

  • it was a fun first experience for me in cause-blogging
  • I was able to publicize the post to get more readers than usual – many times my average daily readership since returning from hiatus.  It’s a good thing to know I can do.
  • increased readership means increased awareness
  • I learned about Squidoo.com in the process of spreading the word
  • I now have a concrete motivator for furthering my current network work

The way I see it, the only way to totally fail is to learn nothing.  Onward!

State of the Welcome Video Request

To re-cap, I’m hoping secure a 1-minute video of Obama saying “Welcome” to new citizens.  It’s part of every new citizen ceremony, and the first one is the day after Obama’s inaugurationRead more about the request here.

The good news is that people are looking at the post (not in overwhelming droves, but significantly more than normally read my blog).

And I know that at least a few people have tweeted @obamainaugural.  Thank you!

Next steps:

Continue tweeting @obamainaugural and @barackobama the message:

1st new citizen natlztn ceremony = 1/21. Will they have a new welcome message from the new Pres? http://bit.ly/14EUV

Spread the word to your contacts, linking back to the explanation post at http://bit.ly/14EUV.  From that we’ll either get numbers or the attention of one person with an in.

How else are the Obama folks listening?

What do you think about next steps?

Last Chance to Reach Some New Citizens

Teacher Ron Mazurowski
"Teacher Ron"

At every Naturalization Ceremony for new US Citizens, they play a recorded video welcome message from the President.

The first Naturalization Ceremony of Obama’s presidency will be Wednesday, January 21st.

According to Teacher Ron, a roving citizenship teacher in the Twin Cities, the video is about a minute twenty seconds – not a big deal to create, especially for a skilled speech-writer and orator.

They can’t use the old welcome video, and unless Obama and some helpers can find five minutes to record a greeting for the country’s newest citizens, they just won’t be welcomed by the President at all.

Crowds of prospective citizens taking an oath - LIFE - L Larson
Crowds of prospective citizens taking an oath - LIFE - L Larson

I guess you could argue it’s a small beans issue.  I, however, would argue that it’s not.  It’s a symbol. This one small nod to the community of the very newest Americans, this stopping everything for just a few minutes to welcome them to the country he just took leadership of, would send a powerful message to them, the larger immigrant community, Americans, and the world.  It would say, “I, the President of the United States of America, value new citizens.” It would be some of the change we’ve been promised.

Teacher Ron pointed out that Obama would need to get the request no later than Friday, 1/16 for there to be any hope of a video for this ceremony.  He looked at change.gov, and tried contacting MN Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office to ask them to contact Obama but was “politely blown off.”  He’s not sure how else to tackle it.  Frankly, I’m not either.

I know I don’t have many readers, and I know it’s short notice and a seemingly small matter, but I thought I’d put it out there on the off chance that the message would get through.

Even if it’s too late for the 1/21 ceremony, we can still ask for it to be a priority.

If you’re listening, could you help get the word out?

Any suggestions for what else I (or we) can do?