Useful Links: Academic Search, Pinterest Search, Mobile Form Labels, Online Class Retention

7 Academic Search Engines Not Named Google comes from Teach Thought.

Pinterest announced you can now search your own pins.

Mobile Form Usability: Never Use Inline Labels explains why what they call “inline labels” are are such an accessibility problem in mobile design.

Retention and Intention in Massive Open Online Courses: In Depth is a study from EDUCAUSE. It examines the retention rate in MOOCs and what that means to educators.

Adapting Ourselves to Adaptive Content: Video from Karen McGrane

This is Karen McGrane’s talk at the BDConf in April 2012, but I just discovered it. It’s extremely important information about the future of the web and content publishing. It’s a year old, it’s an hour long, and it’s completely worth your time.

You can read a transcript at Karen McGrane’s site in Adapting Ourselves to Adaptive Content (video, slides, and transcript, oh my!)

Here’s how Karen McGrane introduced herself during the talk, in case you aren’t aware of how valuable her insights can be.

So I do a lot of work with publishers, mainstream publishers. I led the redesign of the New York Times a few years back. I’ve dragged more magazines kicking and screaming onto the Internet that I can count. I’ve done lots of work with Condé Nast. I did the redesigns of the Atlantic and Time Out and National Journal and Fast Company. I’m doing a little bit of work right now with Time-Life. And I really like talking about the challenges that publishers face in relation to broader content strategy challenges that lots of other organizations are going to face. Because I think publishers, they’re like the canary in the coal mine: they face some of these content challenges more acutely, they have to adapt to changes in their environment more quickly.

Karen McGrane – Adapting Ourselves to Adaptive Content, BDConf, April 2012 from Breaking Development on Vimeo.

I admit that part of the reason I’m so enchanted with this speech is because it says so well what I’ve been trying to say for some time in Web Teacher’s Seldom Asked Questions and Keep it Clean: Your Blog and Clean HTML.

Useful links: Africa in infographics, Digital Classroom, Pycon item

Here’s a whole series of infographics about technology in Africa that detail how mobile technology is helping prevent the spread of HIV, growing corn, and many other intresting ideas.

Wylie Publishing announced a new venture called Digital Classroom. It’s a plethora of videos and tutorials for learning web design topics. As with the books they publish, the videos and tutorials cover all sorts of web education topics including Photoshop and Dreamweaver. I didn’t go through any of the courses to see how different they are from those offered by, but you may want to check them out to see if what they are doing will help you learn the next thing on your list.

Regarding Forking and Dongle Jokes Don’t Belong at Tech Conferences. Two things:

  1. GO ADRIA! You rock!
  2. Good guys in tech award to the Pycon organizers

The Marketing Minute: Help for Untouchability

I’m a big fan of writer and writing practice guru Natalie Goldberg. If I have a writing mentor, Natalie Goldberg is it. In 2008 I went to one of her writing workshops in Taos and took a bunch of photos.

Natalie Goldberg is going to be speaking at our wonderful local bookstore, Bookworks, next week about her new book The True Secret of Writing. I’m always torn when I go to events like this because I want to support my local bookstore and buy the book from them. Yet I’m at a stage in life when I’m trying not to bring home more stuff. Especially since I already have a row of autographed books by Natalie Goldberg on my shelves. And it’s always in the back of my mind that the Kindle edition is less than half the cost of the hardback. Do I really want one more hardback? What if I could get an electronic edition via Bookworks, not from Amazon? I wouldn’t be depriving Bookworks of a sale, and I wouldn’t be dragging home a hardback book.

It turns out that many writers and booksellers have considered this question and have come up with some excellent technological solutions. The latest newsletter coming from  Marcia Yudkin, Marketing Expert and Mentor of The Marketing Minute, addressed some of these new ideas. I’m reprinting the newsletter here:

Traditionally after a talk or reading, an author’s fans line up and buy the brilliant one’s books, taking home a token of their long-awaited experience that night.  Intangible and invisible, digital-only products like ebooks or downloadable audiobooks have much less appeal in that situation.

To replace inviting stacks of books or CDs at the back of the room, place QR codes on flyers handed out to everyone or on large colorful posters at a display table.  Audience members who have smartphones and the right app aim their phone at the code and arrive at a web page where they can buy the digital product.

To provide the delight of being able to walk out with something of the author’s in one’s hands, sell download cards at the event.  These credit-card-sized items show a book or album cover and contain a unique download code the buyer redeems later online.

Both ideas work only for a technologically savvy crowd, of course.  If you’ve gone digital-only and you speak to folks without the requisite tools and buying habits, you have a problem!

Reprinted with permission from Marcia Yudkin’s free newsletter The Marketing Minute.  Subscribe at

My fingers are crossed in hopes that Bookworks has implemented some of these high tech solutions to buying a book from a local bookseller.

Mobile Women (Infographic)

Infographic from a BlogHer Women & Consumer Electronics Study in 2012.

I don’t think I participated in this study, but if I had, I would have come out in philosophical outlook with the Gen X early adopters, which is further proof of how out of line I am with my generation, a generation that is too old to even be called a boomer.

Useful links: A11y, mobile navigation, responsive design

Sandy Wassmer asks, The End of Accessibility? in .net magazine.

Also at .net, Aaron Gustafson wrote Mastering Mobile Navigation.

Excellent tips from Trent Walton in When Making the Transition to Building Responsive Websites, the Hardest Part can be Getting Started.

Useful Links: Gender Gap, Screen-less, Registrars

The Tech Gender Gap in 2013: Is It Changing? The article cites a few hopeful trends.

Screen-Less Mobile Computers: Talking Changes Everything. Can we talk? (Again, I’m reminded of the TV series Eureka.)

Domain Registrars: Who’s the Fairest in the Land? Spoiler alert – it isn’t Go Daddy. But I see the company I use in this list.