Week 5: Time to put your feet up!

Welcome to week 5 of 25 Things @ Huddersfield!

You’ve all been working hard, so it’s time to have a Play Week :-)

There’s only one mandatory task to do this week and that’s to accept the email invitation to join the Wetpaint Wiki web site, which we’ll be looking at next week. If you’ve not received the email invitation, then please let us know (25things@hud.ac.uk).

For this week, you’ve got a choice of 3 options…

Option 1: If you’re a little behind, then you can use this week to play “catch up”.

Option 2: If you’re keen, then revisit one of the Things you’ve enjoyed doing the most and explore it in more depth. Be sure to write a blog post about what you’ve done!

Option 3: Do something else! Take a break and do something more productive… you could tidy up your email inbox, sort your drawers out, or you could spend an hour wallowing in TV nostalgia ;)

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under 25 Things

Week 4: Things 10-11

Welcome to week 4 of 25 Things @ Huddersfield!

10th Thing — Tagging

Tagging is an open and informal method of categorising things that allows users to associate keywords with online content (webpages, pictures & blog posts).

You had a quick look at tagging back in week 2, when we played with Flickr.

Here’s a video clip to introduce this week’s topic…

Del.icio.us

In addition to having an excellent name (yes, that’s a real URL – the .us at the end stands for United States), Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site that lets you save bookmarks to a central location (no more copying them to multiple browsers on multiple computers) and classify them all with tags.

How is that social?

Well, in addition to tagging your bookmarks, you can see how other users have tagged the same links and see related websites important to them. This is an excellent way to find websites that may be of interest to you.

Tagging is completely unstructured and free form, allowing users to create connections between data in any way they want.


(Most popular tags at Flickr)

Optional extra

If you’re up to the challenge, create a Del.icio.us account for yourself and discover how this useful bookmarking tool can replace your traditional browser bookmark list.

Is tagging a good idea? Create a blog post containing your thoughts.

Note: If you do setup a Del.icio.us account, here’s a quick word about the Del.icio.us Buttons. On PCs that have the toolbars locked down, these will install as options in your browser bookmarks. Use the “Post to my Del.icio.us” link to add the current webpage to your account (you may need to log in). Use the “My Del.icio.us” link to view your online account.

11th Thing — Technorati

So now that you’ve been blogging for a while, you might be wondering just how big the blogosphere is.


(Britain Going Blog Crazy by Annie Mole)

Well according to Technorati, the leading search tool and authority for blogs, there are over 112 million blogs currently being tracked by the site. Yes, big numbers. But, as you’ve already seen for yourselves, blogging is so easy that almost every industry have been trying to find ways to make blogging work for them.

That’s why, this week, we’re going to look more closely at Technorati.

Do you want to make sure your blog is being tracked? Register your blog with Technorati. Do you want to tag your posts to make them easier to find through a Technorati search? If you owned a business and were trying to attract attention you’d register it with Technorati.

Step 1: Take a look at Technorati and try doing a keyword search for “Huddersfield” in Blog posts, in tags and in the Blog Directory. Are the results different?

Step 2: Explore popular blog, searches and tags. Is anything interesting or surprising in your results?

Step 3: Create a blog post about your discoveries on this site.

As well as Technorati, you can also use Google Blog Search to find interesting blog posts — for example, you might want to track down all the latest “Strictly Come Dancing” gossip :-D

In the same way that spam emails are a big problem, the same is happening with blogs — when you use Technorati or Google Blog Search, chances are that some of the results will be spam blogs (also known as “splogs”!). They’re not too difficult to spot, as the blog post text is usually gibberish along with lots of links to buy Viagra.

Optional extra

If you’re up for another challenge, learn how to tag your posts with Technorati tags so they can join tag searches. The WordPress FAQ pages also have a section on how to add tags to your blog posts.

1 Comment

Filed under 25 Things

Week 3: Things 8-9

Welcome to week 3 of 25 Things @ Huddersfield!

8th Thing — Learn about RSS feeds and set up Bloglines account

You’ve heard of RSS? You’ve seen those small funny orange icons on websites? You’ve heard friends and colleagues swear by it, but still have no idea what RSS is? Well don’t worry! RSS is not only revolutionalising the way news, media and content creators share information, but it also is swiftly changing the way everyday users are consuming information.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web. Just think about the websites and news information sources you visit everyday. It takes time to visit those sites and scour the ad-filled and image-heavy pages for just the text you want to read, doesn’t it? See this video at BlipTV.

Now imagine if you could visit all those information sources and web pages in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’d already seen or read before… and without having to consume a lot of time visiting each site individually. Would that be valuable to you? Well, it’s available now through a newsreader and RSS!


(Firework Display, Scotland by foxypar4)

This week’s Things focus on learning about RSS news feeds and what free tools you can use to do this.

  • Using Bloglines Tutorial (how to Keep up with dozens of blogs everyday) – This online tutorial walks you through how to setup a Bloglines account and add newsfeeds. Follow Steps 1 to 3 to set up your Bloglines account. Steps 4 – 9 are optional and cover how to subscribe to different types of feeds (podcasts, Flickr albums, etc)
  • See also a short video on YouTube on how to add feeds
  • Google Reader – You may prefer to set up an RSS aggregator in Google Reader. Tutorials include: Google Reader Tour, Google Reader in Plain English and these two videos

Step 1: Set up your own, personalized RSS feed reader. Learn about the difference between RSS feed readers, Bloglines, and Google Reader.

Step 2: Create a free “RSS aggregator” account from either Bloglines or Google Reader and subscribe to at least 5 newsfeeds to your reader. If you’re struggling to find some newsfeeds, you can use the ones listed below…

Sample newsfeeds

…don’t forget that the 25 Things also has a RSS feed, so you could subscribe to that too!

9th Thing — Finding RSS Feeds


(Magnifying glass by 3fold)

Now that you have a newsreader (your Bloglines or Google Reader account), you can begin adding other newsfeeds that interest you.

There are several ways you can locate newsfeeds:

  • When visiting your favorite websites — Look for RSS icons that indicate the website provides it. Often a feed icon will be displayed somewhere in the navigation bar of the site.
  • Use Bloglines’ Search Tool — Use the “Search for Feeds” option in the search box to locate RSS feeds you might be interested in.
  • Other Search tools that can help you find feeds:
    1. Topix.net — This search tool allows you to locate recent newsfeed items based upon keyword or phrase searching. The tool focuses specifically on news and media outlet RSS feeds for information, not weblogs.
    2. Syndic8.com — Syndic8 is an open directory of RSS feeds that contains thousands of RSS feeds that users have submitted.

Step 1: Explore some of the search tools noted above that can help you locate some news feeds.

Step 2: Create a post in your blog about this exercise. Don’t know what to blog about? Think about these questions:

  • What do you like about RSS and newsreaders?
  • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your work or personal life?
  • Which method of finding feeds did you find easiest to use?
  • Which Search tool was the easiest for you?
  • Which was more confusing?
  • What kind of useful feeds did you find in your travels?
  • Or what kind of unusual ones did you find?
  • What other tools or ways did you find to locate newsfeeds?

Leave a comment

Filed under 25 Things

Week 2: Things 5-7

Welcome to week 2 of 25 Things @ Huddersfield!

5th Thing — Discover Flickr

Photo sharing websites have been around since the 1990s, but it took a small startup site called Flickr to catapult the idea of “sharing” into a full blown online community. Flickr has become the fastest growing photo sharing site on the web and it was one of the first websites to use keyword “tags” to create associations and connections between photos and users of the site. To date, over 3 billion images have been uploaded to the Flickr site!

For this Thing, you’ll take a good look at Flickr and discover what this site has to offer. Find out how tags work, what groups are, and all the cool things that people are using Flickr for.

Resources for Week 2

Using Flickr

Take a good look around Flickr and look for an interesting image that you want to blog about.

It might be a picture of somewhere you’ve gone on holiday or maybe a photograph taken near where you live. Be sure to include either a link to the image or, if you create a Flickr account, you can use Flickr’s blogging tool to add the image in your post.

When looking at images on Flickr, check to see if the image has a list of tags — these are keywords or labels which help you find images. For example, here are all the images that have been tagged with the word huddersfield.


(Old and New Huddersfield by nualabugeye)

Optional extra

Another option you have for including images in your post is to use the WordPress photo upload tool.

So go ahead, explore the site and have some Flickr photo fun and if you’re interested in looking at some photo hosting sites, then why not check out this story on the Wired website.

6th Thing — Upload a photograph to Flickr

Flickr currently has over 3 billion images, so I’m sure they won’t mind if you add a few more!

Create a Free account in Flickr (you will be able to use your Yahoo account, created in Week 1) and use a digital camera or mobile phone to capture a few pictures of something interesting. Upload these to your Flickr account and tag at least one of the images “hud25things” and mark it public.

Next, create a post in your blog about your photo and experience. Be sure to include the image in your post. Once you have a Flickr account, you have two options for doing this: through Flickr’s blogging tool or using the WordPress photo upload feature.

If you don’t have access to a digital camera, then browse through some of the pictures from The Commons, download one of them, and then upload the picture to Flickr. The Commons is a collection of copyright free images from museum and library image archives.

Photo Etiquette

A quick word about photo posting etiquette! When posting identifiable photos of other people (especially children) is it advisable to get the person’s permission before posting their photo in a publicly accessible place like Flickr. Never upload pictures that weren’t taken by you (unless you have the photographer’s consent or the image is in the Public Domain) and always give credit when you include photos taken by someone else in your blog. For further information about UK photography rights, see this blog post which includes a guide written by Linda Macpherson (lecturer in law at Heriot Watt University).

Copyright

Traditional copyright is very restrictive and limits what you can do with someone else’s creation. A number of alternative licensing models have appeared in recent years which allow you to share your photographs more freely.

Read about the Creative Commons (CC) license on their website and on Wikipedia. Use the Advanced Search tool on Flickr to locate a photograph that has been released under a CC license. Think about what benefits a photographer might get from using the CC license.

7th Thing — Mashups


(Mash and Gravy by chotda)

One of the benefits you might have thought of is that using a CC license allows other people to play around with the image and perhaps combine it with other stuff — this is sometimes referred to as a “mashup”.

Like many Web 2.0 sites, Flickr has encouraged other people to build their own online applications using images found on the site. Through the use of APIs (application programming interfaces), many people have created third party tools and mashups that use Flickr images. Here are just a sampling of a few…

  • Mappr – allows you to take Flickr images and paste them on a map
  • Flickr Color Pickr – lets you find public photos in Flickr that match a specific colour
  • Montagr – create a photo mosaic from photos found on Flickr
  • Multicolr Search Lab – find images which match multiple colours
  • retrievr – find an image by drawing it!

Discover more mashups, web applications, and Flickr tools.

Explore some of the fun Flickr mashups and 3rd party tools that are out there. Then create a blog post about one that intrigues you.

PS: The “Hudderfield” image was created by Spell with Flickr.

2 Comments

Filed under 25 Things

Week 1: Things 1-4

Welcome to week 1 of 25 Things @ Huddersfield!

1st Thing — Read this blog

Watch this short video clip Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us. It illustrates the rapid development of web based communication and information tools and the way they encourage collaboration.

Over the course of the next few months, this blog will highlight a selection of these technologies with exercises to help you become familiar with blogging, RSS news feeds, tagging, wikis, podcasting, online applications, and video and image hosting sites – in total, 25 things.

Each week we will introduce a new set of things, with exercises for you to complete.

You will be allowed one hour of work time each week – discuss with your line manager how best to use this, whether in short bursts or in one go. We hope that you will also spend some of your own time learning about the different things, either at home or at work. If you need help with any activity please contact one of the team (25things@hud.ac.uk) or work with your colleagues.

2nd Thing – Survey

Before you start, we would like you to complete this short survey.

3rd Thing – Set up your blog

You should work at your own pace tracking your progress through a blog where you will be expected to record your thoughts and experiences and add any ideas you may have on how to use these different Web 2.0 tools for yourself or at work. This is your time to experiment, have fun, and learn at the same time.

You can choose to use a screen name if you prefer to keep yourself anonymous. This name will be posted on your blog, but your “real identity” will not be listed. All participants will be linked to the 25 Things @ Huddersfield blog but you will be anonymous if that’s what you choose.

Why blog?

People blog because they want to share with others. They may share their opinions, rants on particular topics, or news from a holiday. They may even have a professional blog where they share views on their work, or they may have a blog all about their pet. When you’re blogging, you can adopt any persona you like. Some people have written from a cat’s perspective.


(keyboard kat by The Flooz)

This programme is based upon blog entries and during its course you’ll need to write on your own blog about each thing you complete. That will let the team track your progress. Will you want to continue blogging after you’ve finished? You may change your ideas on this throughout the course – let us know what you think.

Setting up your blog

Now that you’ve done some exploring around this blog and understand how the programme will work, it’s time to set up your own personal blog. We would also like you to write your very first post where you can introduce yourself, or your persona, or explain what the blog is for.

Remember, your blog is where you will be recording your thoughts and experiences for the 25 Things programme. If you are not sure how much to write, we would suggest at least 100 words each week, but don’t be shy – write as much as you like!

For this exercise ‘Set up your blog’ we are using WordPress, a free online blog hosting service that is extremely easy to use – we use it already in CLS for Grapevine.

Step 1: Go to the WordPress website.

Step 2: Fill in the form – remember, you can use a made up name if you want. Make sure you tick the box about legal flotsam. “Gimme a blog” should be highlighted, so click “Next” and follow the instructions. Make sure you make a note of your username and password and blog address.

Optional extra (A bit on the side…)

When you get your email confirming your blog, you will be able to choose a different theme if you want to personalise your blog’s appearance – just look for the link about themes and search for one you like.

Registering your Blog

Cut and paste the url (address) of the blog YOU have created (this can be found in the address bar on the page from which you are viewing your blog), into an email and send it to us at 25things@hud.ac.uk.

Once you have registered your Blog it will be listed here on the 25 Things @ Huddersfield Blog. The participants’ blog is a good place to gain inspiration and support each other via the comments section in the individual blogs.

Important: Bookmark your blog!

Save your blog to your bookmarks or favourites folder so you can return to it quickly later. You’ll need to add an entry to it for each 25 Things task you complete.

4th Thing – Set up 2 new accounts

To take part in this programme you will need a Yahoo account and a Google Mail account. Some of you may already have these, in which case use them. Otherwise follow these instructions to set up your new accounts…

Yahoo
Click here to go to the Yahoo login page. Click on the “Sign up for Yahoo” link and fill in the form. Make a note of your username and password.

Google Mail
Now create a Google email address which you can use as for any other email, but also when you want to use other Google services such as Google docs. To create an account click here.

So, how was it for you?

For the first post on your own blog, tell us what this first week has been like.


(Retro Keyboard by smileham)

1 Comment

Filed under 25 Things

Welcome

We’ll be launching the 25 Things @ Huddersfield on Monday 3rd November — please call back soon!

Leave a comment

Filed under News