Useful Links: Playing for Change, 300+ WordPress tools, Text Zoom

Links to Playing for Change, a worldwide music project, 300+ WordPress tools. Accessibility tips. More…

Playing for Change is a worldwide multimedia music project, bringing musicians from all over the world together by digital magic to create wonderful  music for a web site, a YouTube site, an album, and iTunes videos. The program brings supplies, facilities and education to musicians around the world. I realize it has nothing to do with teaching or learning web design, but it’s clearly a project that could not have been achieved before the advances in technology that support it.

WordPress God: 300+ Tools for Running Your WordPress Blog. Who could resist a list like this? Only someone using Blogger or Typepad would pass up this gem.

Check your design with text size increased to 200 percent from 456 Berea St is good advice  to teach all students as a standard part of their routine checks of every page they design.

Useful Links: 224 Layouts, the Whuffie Factor, WP Plugins

A new source for CSS layouts, get the Whuffie Factor in your social network, a great WordPress plugin for your clients. More . . .

CSS Layouts: A collection of 224 CSS Layouts available for downloading is from Jacob C. Myers. There is information about how to customize the layouts, and you can preview each one before you download. I can’t read the white text on the teal background at the top of the page, but I assume it would be informative if you could see it.

Event: Building your Business with Social Networks – The Whuffie Factor with Tara Hunt of Citizen Agency is a Carson Workshop in London in June.

Everyone knows about blogs and social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. And they’ve heard about someone who has used them to grow a huge customer base. Everyone wants to be hands-on, grass roots and interactive. But what does this mean? And more to the point, how do you do it?

KnowIT shared a nice WordPress plug in that allows you to put some instructions for a client right in their Dashboard. It’s the WP Instructions Plugin by Sam Burdge.

Quoting Tweets on Your Blog? Try Twickie

Twickie will display threaded Tweets as text on a blog or website. More. . .

Are you posting Twitter conversations on your blog? Do you wish you had a way to make them look good so the conversation was easier to follow? There’s a very new application that will collect a thread and provide some code to paste on your blog. It’s easy and free.

The tool is called Twickie. Right now it’s on Chris Pirillo’s personal site, but it may move to its own domain in the future. It’s isn’t perfect yet;  it’s just getting started, though it works pretty well already.

the Twickie page

It’s easy to use. No downloads. Just go the Twickie site, and log in to Twitter. Your most recent tweets will appear. If you want to collect a thread you click a button that says “Get @s” and the thread is given. For any threaded conversation, code is provided.

export Twickie code

The code is basic HTML including some inline styles that make the thread look like Twitter conversations. It can be pasted on a blog or web page. Here’s an example. The conversation is less than wonderful, but it does illustrate the point. I copied the code from Twickie to create the following:

Miraz: Always happy to oblige. I hope things are well where you are. Rain here and more Webstock. 🙂

about 17 minutes ago

falmouthdesign: What sort of reply are you looking for? Did I miss the question?

about 24 minutes ago

vdebolt: Need @ replies for a BlogHer post. Would you reply to this, please, please, please. You are truly kind!

about 45 minutes ago

Looks good, doesn’t it? It’s text, with clickable links to profiles on Twitter. A big improvement over showing Twitter conversations as images.

As I said, it isn’t perfect. For example, I replied to some of these replies, which brought in another reply. Twickie doesn’t pick these up as part of the original conversation. Each Tweet I sent out was the start of its own thread. The only @s that got pulled in, were the ones sent directly in response to the original Tweet. It would be great if Twickie recognized that a reply in response to a reply is part of the thread. Maybe I’m asking for the impossible.

You can’t do a Twickie search for hash tags. I’d like to see that added. I think it would be especially useful when following breaking news or tracking events and conferences. There are sites that track hashtags, but not threaded.

This tool is so new, I couldn’t find anyone using it yet. If you give it a try and post something on your blog using Twickie, let us know so we can take a look.

More Information: Twickie video with Chris Pirillo. You can follow @twickie on Twitter to keep up with news about this tool.

Cross posted at BlogHer.

Useful Links: The future of the web, shared passion, valuable blogs

The future of the web, shared passions about web education, and the most valuable blogs. More . . .

A battle of Beliefs: RDF, Natural Language Processing, and the future of the web at Burningbird pulls together information about HTML 5, RDF, the past, present and future—all with insight. Give it a look.

Shared Passion by Derek Featherstone shows that I’m not the only person who had a great time at Web Directions North 2009. He comments,

The premise was simple: bring together educators, web professionals and industry representatives to create a kind of think tank on improving the quality of education for the next generation of web professionals.

If  you care about the things that Derek mentioned, check out the Web Standards Project Education section and see where you can help.

The Twenty-Five Most Valuable Blogs from 247 Wall Street talks about the blogs that generate the most income and views, although they say themselves that it’s impossible to assign a value to a blog.

Legal Rights for Bloggers

Bloggers' Rights at EFF
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) released “the Legal Guide for Bloggers, a collection of blogger-specific FAQs addressing everything from fair use to defamation law to workplace whistle-blowing.”

The introduction to the Guide says,

Whether you’re a newly minted blogger or a relative old-timer, you’ve been seeing more and more stories pop up every day about bloggers getting in trouble for what they post.

Like all journalists and publishers, bloggers sometimes publish information that other people don’t want published. You might, for example, publish something that someone considers defamatory, republish an AP news story that’s under copyright, or write a lengthy piece detailing the alleged crimes of a candidate for public office.

The difference between you and the reporter at your local newspaper is that in many cases, you may not have the benefit of training or resources to help you determine whether what you’re doing is legal. And on top of that, sometimes knowing the law doesn’t help – in many cases it was written for traditional journalists, and the courts haven’t yet decided how it applies to bloggers.

But here’s the important part: None of this should stop you from blogging. Freedom of speech is the foundation of a functioning democracy, and Internet bullies shouldn’t use the law to stifle legitimate free expression. That’s why EFF created this guide, compiling a number of FAQs designed to help you understand your rights and, if necessary, defend your freedom.

The announcement at Blogger’s Rights contains links to the document and to usable badges like the one shown here.

I’ll be writing about fair use and the Shepard Fairey case regarding the Obama Hope poster tomorrow on BlogHer. I hope you’ll take a look at that article.

As with disability law and accessiblity on the web, so too with fair use and the rights of bloggers: very little is set into legal precedent yet in the current world. In the uncertain legal period we are muddling through, it’s good that an organization like the Electronic Frontier Foundation is working to help us be clear about our rights.

ADDED 2/14/09. Here’s the BlogHer article: The Murky Mysteries of Fair Use Rise Again.

Can We Talk at Web Directions North?

Are you going to Web Directions North?

Can we talk? More. . .

Are you going to Web Directions North?

Can we talk?

I’ll only be there for a full day on Tuesday. During that day, I’d love to talk to you. Here’s why. I want to write two blog posts when I return from WDN.

One post will be for this blog. This one will be “Profiles of the Men at Web Directions North.” It will be a photo and paragraph about any man who will stop and talk to me a minute and let me take a photo. Give me a card so I spell you name right, tell me why you’re there and what you do. The elevator speech version. A quick profile. Picture your photo and a paragraph about you. That’s it.

The other post will be for Blogher. This one will be “Profiles of the Women at Web Directions North” and will be the same idea, featuring women. A photo, a profile, that’s it.

If you don’t want your picture taken, that’s fine. I’ll do text only; I’m open to new profile possibilities.

I do as many “women in tech” posts as possible for BlogHer. When I had this idea I was thinking I would only talk to women. Then I thought why not include the guys and put a post about men here instead of on BlogHer. Equal treatment–no gender discrimination. Geeks and geekettes. You get the idea.

Send me an email (virginiaATvdeboltDOTcom) or tweet me  (@vdebolt) or leave a comment. Let me know if you’re willing to get profiled.

I’m easy to spot due to my gray hair and the camera hanging from my neck. Look for me. (If you have any thoughts to trade about agism and  gray-haired old gals at tech conferences, I’ll save them for another post. But gray-haired old gals really do stand out in a geeky crowd.)

Talk to you soon . . .

The Best Job in the World: Going Viral

Absolutely everybody wants to get paid $100,000 to live for six months on Australia’s Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef and be the island caretaker. It’s the best job in the world. How did the job manage to go viral and become a sensation? More . . .

Absolutely everybody wants to get paid $100,000 to live for six months on Australia’s Hamilton Island in the Great Barrier Reef and be the island caretaker. It’s the best job in the world.

It sounds so easy. Keep an eye on the pool, stroll on the beach, write a weekly blog post, live in a beautiful three bedroom house/office, and make money doing it. You do have to be able to write in English, swim, and be over 18. Not the skills you normally see on a resume, but requirements, nevertheless.

So many people are willing to drop everything and go down under for 6 months that the number of applicants crashed the site. There are only 35 days left to apply at this web site, if you’re interested.

Island Reef Job web page

Finding BonggaMom’s I’ve Found My Dream Job expresses the desire to run away to a beautiful isle with sandy beaches and rolling surf, but tempers it with a dose of reality:

I suppose asking the kids to get themselves to school by themselves for 6 months is a bit unreasonable. Oh, well.

That’s my thought, too. It sounds like heaven, but who can leave everything behind and run away to paradise? Apparently a lot of people. Outnumbered 2 to 1: Fine, I’ll get a J-O-B summarizes the emotional pull of this job quite well.

So, let me get this right. You are going to pay me for something that I currently do now for free? I can live on an island paradise as opposed to the frozen tundra wasteland I currently call home? I can wear flip flops and sarongs as opposed to layers of sweats and college sweatshirts with an outer layer of blanket?

image of Hamilton island from

This image of Hamilton Island came from The Best Job in the World web site. Which brings me to the brilliance of the Tourism Queensland team that put this site and this job together. Raise your hands now—had you considered a vacation at Hamilton Island before hearing about this job? No? Well, what about after reading about the job, looking through the web site’s luscious photos of decadent irresponsibility and worry-free living like the one above? Is Hamilton Island on your list of places to visit now? If you said yes, then Tourism Queensland has done its job.

The job went viral. It was a sensation on Twitter, as you can see in this image.

a few tweets about the island caretaker job

The job was world news everywhere like this story from CNN.

I don’t think merely filling the job was the goal. I think the unspoken goal was to bring attention to Hamilton Island as a vacation destination. If the cost of the job and the nicely done website brings returns on the investment with tourist dollars, then the goal is achieved.

How did Tourism Queensland succeed in creating a viral sensation? I think these are some of the reasons:

  • they tapped into a universal desire (get away from it all and bask on a beach)
  • they came up with a hook—the best job in the world—that was guaranteed to grab attention
  • they tied it to a huge paycheck that is very attractive and feels very much like winning a huge sum for doing almost nothing. Something for nothing always attracts interest.
  • they packaged it beautifully in an attractive site with stunning visuals that emphasized the lure of paradise for both the job holder (and the potential tourist to Hamilton Island)
  • they made it easy to apply for the job. More importantly, it’s easy to learn more about the islands of the Great Barrier Reef and to find a vacation package to get you there.

Are you going to apply? Good luck if you do. If you don’t, perhaps you can still profit from a few ideas about what makes an idea worthy of going viral.

Cross posted at BlogHer.