Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Vocabulary Lesson: SFM

Am I getting Old? Several vocabulary lessons have been precipitated by my own ignorance. For shame!

So here I am. I didn't know what "SFM" meant. Thanks to the powers of Google... I do.

SFM means "So Freaking Much." (Or... "So Fucking Much.")

Here is the abbreviation, as used by a Young Person in the know:
You would probably only used this generally, when expressing genuine affection. You would not use it as a means of dislike. For example, you'd only use SFM as seen above, and not, say, "I do not love watching Glee SFM." (Mostly because that's not how a person should speak anyway!)

Gosh, it's hard keeping up with kids these days.

Additional Resources:
SFM, InternetSlang.com

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Technology Lesson: Unsubscribe From A Comment Thread On Facebook

Long ago, you wanted to Stop Notifications on a Facebook post, you could find the post on your feed and click STOP NOTIFICATIONS (or even UNFOLLOW) under the post's content. That "long ago" was a year ago, but with Facebook's ever changing interface, those days are in our past.

Oh, how I long for those days!

Why might you want to stop notifications? Well, if you're like me, you might have some very popular Facebook friends. Whereas I might receive one or two comments, my friends over receive as many as twenty (or more!) comments on every post. My Facebook friends have thousands of friends, whereas I have approximately 200. Received nearly 100 e-mails is my idea of irritating, and telling Facebook to stop notifications means I won't receive those e-mails.

Of course, if a comment has my name in it, I will receive the notification via e-mail.

To stop the barrage of e-mails, log into Facebook.

Find the post in question. (A shortcut to doing this is to click "SEE COMMENT" in the e-mail sent by Facebook.)

Click the arrow at the top right of the post. You're probably familiar with this and the menu it provides, as this is how you can unfollow a person, hide an add, or unfriend someone, all from your newsfeed.


DONE! In my example you can see that I did this with a post from my dear cousin. After you've chosen STOP NOTIFICATIONS, you'll see above the post, "You will longer get notifications for this story." It's a confirmation that you were successful.

If you click STOP NOTIFICATIONS in error, the message is followed by a link titled GET NOTIFICATIONS, which will quickly undo your work. If you decide you want notifications sometime later, you can not repeat these steps and turn notifications "on" again.

All Facebook posts

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Technology Lesson: A Tour of Facebook's Message Center

Let's look around your message center in Facebook. Your message center is where you Facebook messages and chats are stored.

To access your messages, click MESSAGES. It's in the LEFT COLUMN next to your newsfeed. It is the second item in that column, under NEWS FEED.

You can also see messages by clicking on the conversation bubble icon at the top RIGHT of your screen. This will provide a preview for your inbox. (You can also view messages sent to your other folder. We'll discuss that folder in a moment.)

If you click a message from this preview it will open as a chat box at the bottom of your screen. That's because...
Chat and message histories are threaded together — you can think of them as one and the same. When you open a conversation, you’ll see a conversation that includes all your messages along with your entire chat history. If you send a chat message to a friend who has turned chat off, the chat message will be sent directly to their message inbox.
The default view in your messages is of your Inbox. You can search for a specific message by typing in the search bar on the top left, above your messages. You can also search by clicking the magnifying glass on the right.

You can view your Other messages by click OTHER, next to INBOX. You can see Archived, Unread, and Spam messages by clicking MORE.

You can start a new message by clicking + NEW MESSAGE in the center of your center. A blank message will appear. Type the name of your friend in the TO field. Your friends and friends of friends will appear as you type. So will previous messages.

You can send a message to anyone on Facebook. You might want to send a message because you are friends with someone but don't have his or her e-mail address. Or you might not be friends but want to contact the person. (To do that, find the person's page and click MESSAGE at the bottom right of his or her cover.)

If you are not friends with the person, the message may be sent to his or her Other box. If you send a message don't hear back, make this assumption. Most people don't check for Other messages. (It also makes you feel better!)

If you're messaging a stranger, Facebook may prompt you to pay the social media giant to ensure that the message is delivered to the inbox. Is that shady or what?! The fee is about $0.99.

If you're not friends with someone, but the person is in a group on a message (say, the message is sent to a group of people, or a Facebook group) or is a friend of a friend it may go to the inbox. Likewise, you may receive a message this way.

Messages are also sent to Other when they are pre-filtered. I think that's pretty rude of Facebook, personally. Whereas an inbox message will prompt Facebook to notify you via e-mail, an Other message will not. Per Facebook:
Your Other folder is where you'll find messages and emails that have been filtered out of your inbox. You can change your filter preference right from your inbox.
To get to your Other folder, click Messages on the left side of the homepage. At the top left of your main messages view, click Other.
I advise that you occasionally check your Other folder. If you're worried about missing out, you can manage your settings:
You can change your filter preferences right from your inbox:
  1. Go to your messages inbox
  2. In the upper-left corner of your messages, click Other
  3. Click Edit Preferences
  4. Select Basic or Strict filtering
  5. Click Save
Messages may end up in Other anyway.

Facebook Lessons

Additional Resources:
Managing Messages, Facebook Help
Sending A Message, Facebook Help
What is the "Other" folder in my inbox?, Facebook help

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Vocabulary Lesson: IIRC

Today's lesson is yet another abbreviation I rarely remember: IIRC.

IIRC stands for If I Recall Correctly.

Like many abbreviations (TBH, TL;DR, BTW*), is is an Internet-created abbreviation. You will likely see it in forums and comments at the bottom of articles. In general, this abbreviation saves the typist and commenter time, and also lends an air of casualness to the conversation. It also covers the commenter's bases (albeit weakly) in the event that the person does not actually remember correctly.

*That's to be honest, too long; didn't read, and by the way.

Additional Resources:
IIRC, Urban Dictionary
IIRC, Internet Slang.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Technology Lesson: Shoot your video in landscape mode

If the Young People in your life had tried hard to instill the value of shooting photography in landscape (horizontal) or portrait (vertical), it can be hard to fight the urge not to shoot videos in portrait (vertical) mode.

But you really shouldn't. I'll show you two vertical videos, which will illustrate why you should shoot horizontally.

This video was shot with my iTouch. I didn't turn my device. Now the overall image is "smaller" than it would be if I had turned my iTouch. Unfortunately, those black bars are distracting. Remember that TV screens, laptop monitors, and YouTube videos are oriented to display horizontally. So your camera and cell phone screen should be turned that way, too.

I'll let Wired explain why that is:
Videos, unlike photos, are almost universally presented horizontally. There’s a reason for this: It’s how we’re built to view the world. Our vision allows us to see more to the left and right than top and bottom. So when you shoot a video on your smartphone in portrait mode, you’re violating not only the set video standard, but also the laws of nature as they pertain to human sight.
Gizmodo asks, "What would it be like if every time someone gave you a dollar to spend, you spent 33 cents and threw the other 67 cents in the trash? This is like that."

Even worse, the black bars indicate that I have no idea what I'm doing. Amateur hour!

This video is even worse. Because I didn't edit the video and have it rotated, there are no black bars—but the video is unwatchable.

So, before you fire up your phone or digital camera, visualize the finished product, streaming online for your friends and family, or playing on your living room television. Then proceed accordingly, so your finished product is supremely watchable, and able to be enjoyed.

Additional Resources:
That’s Not How You Use That: Shooting Video in Portrait Mode, Wired
Portrait video and other things cameras shouldn't let you do, The Verge
PSA: Please Turn Your Damn Cellphone Sideways When Recording Video, Gizmodo

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Vocabulary Lesson: N.B.

"N.B." is an abbreviated Latin phrase. It stands for nota bene and is commonly used at the end of lengthy blog posts.

Translated, nota bene means note well. In many articles, it serves as an editorial note or "p.s." at the end. From this Zagat FAQ:
In present-day English, it is used to draw the attention of the reader to a certain (side) aspect or detail of the subject on hand, translating it as "pay attention" or "take notice."
This Gothamist article is an example of N.B. in action. You'll see that Gothamist's Dobkin provides a long answer with additional notes at the end.

Additional Information:
Nota bene, Wikipedia
What does N.B. mean?, Zagat Help

Tuesday, March 11, 2014


In today's Technology Lesson, I'll show you how to download an image from Facebook and send it in an e-mail as an attachment. I'll also show you how to post the image to Tumblr, since that's what I did with the image. This lesson is highly specific, but it is also by request.

You see, my particularly adorable niece was spotted in her local meat market Saturday, hauling a five-pound bag of ground beef. The meat market posted her brilliant visage to its Facebook page, precipitating the need for this lesson. It seems unfair to violate her privacy on this blog, especially since there was a rather amusing image on my Facebook feed a few days later.

As for this the title of this blog, I am openly mocking blogs that run their entire economic scheme on clickbait. Upworthy is the biggest offender in my mind, as it often ends its posts with "YOU WON'T BELIEVE" or "YOU'LL FEEL [SOMETHING POSITIVE." (Upworthy also removes the dateline from its posts, which I think is unethical and disingenuous; this method helps make old stories go viral again and again.) This is probably a bad move for someone looking for gainful employment, but now I've squeezed a third lesson into one post!

Let's get started! Turn on your computer. Log in, if necessary. Connect to the Internet, if necessary. Open your browser. (A browser is a program or application you use to surf the web. Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Chrome are examples of browsers.)

Go to www.facebook.com. Log in to your account if necessary.

If you are looking for a specific photograph, search for it. For example, I typed the name of the meat market of the search bar when I was acquiring the photograph of my niece. When I sent my niece an old photo of myself with dyed hair in 2012, I went to my page and clicked on PHOTOS.

In the example I'm providing, I happened upon the image in my newsfeed.

Click the image so it opens in its own "window." Right click the image (using the right button on your mouse, or by holding CONTROL and clicking the image). Click "SAVE IMAGE AS..."

A dialogue box will appear. Before you save, you will need to choose where the image is saved. Your computer may send you to a Downloads folder. You may have previously set where downloads go. On my PC all files go to a TEMP folder unless I direct it otherwise. Find a place where you can find this file again. Then rename the file. I renamed this image "yogabear.jpg." Make sure to include the extension; without ".jpg" you can not send the image.

The first thing I did with this image was upload it to a Tumblr I keep for my niece. Yes, I have a Tumblr for a toddler.

I typed www.tumblr.com into the address bar of my browser, and hit ENTER. I was already logged in, so I went to the RIGHT COLUMN of the screen and picked the blog I wanted to upload the image to. I have an embarrassing number of accounts.

Look, there's a feed of my posts! I clicked PHOTO, as I want to upload an image. A white box dropped down, and I clicked "CHOOSE UP TO TEN PHOTOS" which was in the center of the box.

A box popped up. I went to DOWNLOADS since that's where I saved my image. I selected the image and clicked OPEN.

The image appeared in a Tumblr draft. I provided a rather clever caption, which you can read above. I clicked POST.

Satisfied with my blogging, I went to Gmail. I typed www.gmail.com in the address bar.

I was already signed in. I clicked COMPOSE, which you can see at the top left of the screen. A draft appeared at the bottom right of the screen. I typed a recipient (in this example, I sent the email to myself), and a subject line. Then I clicked on the paperclip at the bottom of the box. If you hover, it will say ATTACH FILES.

A box popped up. As before, it was already in Downloads. Go to the folder where you saved your image if you are not already there. Click on the file and click OPEN.

I then typed a message in the body of the message. If you send an attachment without a message, most email clients will ask if you're sure you want to send an empty message. Don't be rude. Send a message with your attachment!

Again, I think I am pretty clever.

You can see the attachment in the message at the bottom. This is what it looks like in Gmail. It may not look like this in every email client.

When you are satisfied, click SEND.

In review: right-click the image, choose "save image as...", save image, go to your email, open a new message, attach the file, select a recipient, type a subject, type a message, click send.

Now, wasn't that easy?