Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Vocabulary Lesson: Glamping

GLAMPING is GLAMOROUS CAMPING. The word GLAMPING is a portmanteau. This is, according to the evening news, a Thing. It is sometimes called BOUTIQUE CAMPING.

And I can hardly believe that I am telling Old People this. (This is either a new low for me, or a new low for society. Probably me.)

Glamping usually includes the conveniences of home and often focuses on deluxe accomodations and the benefits of a posh lifestyle. This is weird to me, because camping usually involves bug bites, some form of hiking, mud, campfires, and various forms of discomfort. (I am not someone who camps. Or hikes. Or does anything outdoors.)

I think I should let wiseGEEK explain, because I can't stop rolling my eyes:

During a typical glamping trip, for example, the tents are often designed with bright designer colors and materials, not the olive drab canvas tents of yesteryear. These tents can be rigged for electrical power, which means occupants can operate appliances, reading lamps and climate controls. Forget about smelly sleeping bags placed on rocky or insect-infested ground, as well. Those who have gone glamping may sleep on full-size air mattresses, or even regular spring mattresses provided by the outfitters.

Here is Tom Haverford (portrayed by Aziz Ansari), of Parks and Recreation, glamping:

Additional Resources:
Glamping, Urban Dictionary
What is Glamping?, wiseGEEK
Glamping: Its Time Is Coming, The Wall Street Journal

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Technology Lesson: Twitter Security

Q: How can I prevent spammers from following me on Twitter?

A: You have options!

First, you should know that you can unfollow anyone you want, at anytime. (It's Twitter policy!) Twitter explains how to that here. And Twitter is very proactive in zapping spam accounts. (You can report spam here.) Of course, if your account is public, this will not prevent anyone from following you or reading your tweets.

The most effective way to prevent someone from reading your tweets, and following you, while keeping your account public, is to block the user. Twitter explains:
We provide all Twitter users with the ability to block other users. Blocking prevents a user from following you, sending you an @reply or @mention, or putting your account on any of their lists.
Twitter explains how to block users here.

Finally, you can lock down your account and simply NOT allow any unapproved user to read your tweets. (But if you ever go public, any user WILL be able to read your tweets.) This is what I do! I approve each user. I can follow someone without allowing the user to follow me. (Usually I allow someone to read and do not follow. Also an option!) You can adjust this in your settings.

I think this covers all the bases. Questions?

Additional Resources:
Following Rules and Best Practices, Twitter.com
Unfollowing from your following page, Twitter.com
How To Block Users on Twitter, Twitter.com
How To Report Spam on Twitter, Twitter.com
Twitter Settings

*This question has been abridged.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Technology Lesson: Shortening Links on Twitter

Q: How can I shorten links on Twitter?

A: Hoo boy!

Twitter restricts updates to 140 characters. (20 less than a text message!) So if you have a website to share, or a long hyper link, your message will be severely restricted. This is a big pain.

Fortunately, software and programs exist to shorten your URL. The URL will redirected the user to the full link. Most of the time, this shorter URL will last a long time and track page visits for you.

Many tweeters use other programs to Tweet. I used TweetDeck, which shortens the link for me. You can see TweetDeck in action below.

In the first image I've typed the link and TweetDeck is automatically shortening the link for me. In the second image the work is done. If I click the link, TweetDeck will display the full text of the hyperlink.:

In these images TweetDeck shortens the link to tinyurl. There are many options. (I like bacn.me because I think it's hilarious.) Ow.ly is popular because it shortens urls and tracks page views. All of these sites will shorten links--some will require that you go directly to the site to breven your URL, but some will not. Some will include benefits, but others may not.

Most Twitter clients will provide a number of options. Here's TweetDeck's list. Note that I can add bacn.me to the list if I want to:

Feel free to "shop around" before you commit.

Additional Resources:

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Vocabulary Lesson: Yacht Rock

Yacht Rock is a soft rock genre. Inspired by, or named for, the 2005 Channel 101 series of the same name, the "genre" is mostly 1970s smooth jazz and soft rock singers (almost always male).

Some examples include Kenny Loggins*, Michael McDonald, Christopher Cross, Steely Dan, Toto, and the Doobie Brothers. These artist, and this subgenre of soft rock really peaked in the mid-70s to '80s, and therefore a "restrospective" title. In theory, the "yacht" in yacht rock refers to white, WASP-y yacht owners who would enjoy this music. (Or, for fans of The 40-Year-Old Virgin, big box store managers.) Some songs included references to sailing, some performers dressed as ship captains, and some music videos were set at sea.

Some music journalist have long-accepted this as a Thing, and hipsters (as they are wont to do), quickly latched on. The term is often used to lampoon the genre, but Jimmy Fallon's running gag was a gentle mockery based in reverence. So be prepared either way, and feel free to let those whippersnappers know you remember when that music was NEW.

(Make sure you check out Fallon's videos and peruse the resources I've provided below!)

*Who I sometimes accidentally call Kenny Rogers in my verbal explanations. My apologies!

Additional Resources:
Yacht Rock, IMDB
Yacht Rock Docks in New York, The New York Observer
Top 10 Yacht Rock Songs Of All Time, IGN
Monday We're Having A Yacht Rock Party Late Night With Jimmy Fallon The Blog
Yacht Rock 2K11! Late Night With Jimmy Fallon The Blog
Yacht Rock, UrbanDictionary.com

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Technology Lesson: iChat Basics

I use iChat at work (these screenshots are from home!), and one of my co-workers mentioned that she knows Facebook chat, but is less familiar with instant messaging systems. She's technologically able, but it had never occurred to me that a seemingly newer technology would be better known! (I suppose a Facebook chat lesson is in order, too!)

So without further adieu, here are some basic tips for using iChat.

iChat is an instant messaging service, much like AIM (AOL Instant Messenger) or ICQ. iChat is pre-loaded on all Mac machines and was developed for Mas OS X. Click here for more information.

This is me, logged offline. I've clicked the small triangle next to OFFLINE. If I click AVAILABLE, I'll be asked to sign in to the service. (The program is currently set to use Jabber, which is connected to iChat.)

And here I am, having logged in through AIM, which you can also use. I recently linked my GChat and Facebook chat accounts to AIM, so you can see those groups listed here.

I can add a buddy to my list by clicking the plus sign at the bottom of the Buddy List.

I can chat with a new person by double-clicking my buddy's name in my buddy list OR by clicking FILE and NEW CHAT... at the top of the screen.

From there, I enter my buddy's name and click CHAT.

I can log off by quitting the program OR clicking the arrow on my buddy list and choosing OFFLINE.

Additional Information: