Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Vocabulary Lesson: Murk

Today's lesson is provided because I read it in a headline, and I hate to be bested by slang. I love slang! With that established, I want you to know that Old People are not likely to encounter today's word.

And that word is: murk. Webster's New Orld College Dictionary (Fourth Edition) defines murk as "darkness or grim," and notes that the word's usage is ARCHAIC.

Slangily, the word is a verb and means to beat someone so viciously that the victims dies, succumbing to his or her injuries. It is sometimes spelled merk.

Here's the headline that forced me to Google the word: "Protect Ya Neck: FBI Steps In As Crazed 'Fan' Threatens To Murk Ne-Yo And Record Exec Clive Davis!!" 

The link below will take you to Bossip, so understand this isn't going to turn up in the New York Times any time soon. (Though it could end up on an episode of SVU hoping to gain a little street cred, yawn.)

Additional Resources:
Murk, Urban Dictionary
Protect Ya Neck: FBI Steps In As Crazed 'Fan' Threatens To Murk Ne-Yo And Record Exec Clive Davis!!, Bossip

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Vocabulary Lesson: Follow Back

Today's lesson is brief, and perhaps speaks for itself, but may be worth covering just in case.

"Follow back" is a social media term used to discuss reciprocity. It might be used as a request ("Follow back?") when one person follows and/or friends another, to ask if that person will follow or friend the first user. (For example, I might add you to Twitter and ask or expect you to follow me in response.)

Or, a person might add to their bio online, "I do follow backs." That person is saying, "When you add me, I add you, too!"

Accumulating friends and followers is important in social networking (unless you are cranky, like me), and particularly important to Young People. A high number of followers may indicate popularity. (As an Old Person, you have every right to scoff, "Right! But do you know those people?!" See, I'm crabby.)

Some accounts—for most sites—exist for this purpose! Personally, I think these accounts as just as bad as spam robots. Some spammers create links, or fake websites, luring users to follow their accounts in return for an exponential increase in followers.

There is also a level of guilt associated with this action, though I doubt it is served in large doses. I found an abbreviation for this phenomenon, ISFBG (I Should Follow Back Guilt). I can't confirm that it's a popular string of letters, but it's worth knowing, I suppose, if you come across it (or suffer from it). Having too many strangers friend you, and pressure from those strangers, can occasionally needle the nerves (and patience) of the user. So, you know, beware?

The request/phrase is also sometimes shortened to "follback." If someone asks you, "Follback?" you have my permission to laugh uproariously at this stupidity. Seriously.

Additional Information:
ISFBG, Urban Dictionary
Follback, Urban Dictionary

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Technology Lesson: Listen to Music on Spotify (by Bryan Dennis)

Today's lesson is by Bryan Dennis, who kindly offered to explain Spotify, a music streaming service that is new to the U.S. (But not Europe!)

Technology Lesson: Listen to Music on Spotify

Spotify is a Swedish music service that became available in the United States in July 2011. It is legal (artists get paid when you play their music) and has millions of songs and thousands of albums and most of the artists that you will want to listen to. It is a magic jukebox but it isn’t. You need a computer with a relatively recent operating system: Microsoft Windows (2000 and newer) or Mac OS X (10.4 or newer) and a high-speed connection to the internet

If you love music and want to expand your horizons without breaking the bank this is the service for you.

Getting Started

There are three ways to get Spotify: Free, Unlimited ($4.99 per month) and Premium ($9.99 per month). Free is the way to start. The only downsides of Free are some ads and a limit on how many hours of music you can listen to in a month (20 hours). Upgrade if and when you become dissatisfied.

To get Free Spotify you must be invited. There are different ways to get an invitation but I just go to the following link where Trent Reznor (of Nine Inch Nails) will get you an invite right away. Just enter your e-mail address: http://www.spotify.com/us/trent-reznor/ema

Spotify will send you an e-mail. Follow the instructions to set up your account and download and install the software you need. This may take 10–15 minutes. Then launch, log-on, and you are ready to listen.
Using Spotify

If you have used iTunes or listened to any music on the Internet you will recognize the Spotify layout: search box, forward/backward arrows (upper right), play,pause, next track, previous track, volume (lower left).

The default view is “What’s New.” Click on an album to select it and see the track list. Use the lower left Play, Pause to control playback. Click on the back arrow in the upper left to get back to What’s New. When in doubt, click and see what happens. Nothing to mess up, and you will figure things out the old fashioned way—trial and error.

Type the name of an artist, album, or song in the search box and click on the green arrow to the right of the search box. Search results are displayed below. You can select by Artist, Album, or Song. Navigation is always done by clicking on either an image or text. Give it a try. If you get lost just use the back arrow to return to the search results.

If you click on an artist name in the search results view you are taken to a new view that has sections called Top Hits, Albums (in reverse chronological order), Compilations, Appears On. Select what you want to listen to by double clicking the track you want to hear and use the Play/Pause buttons. Note that the album of the track you are listening to will be shown in the bottom left of the Spotify window.

If you click on album title in the search results view you are taken to a new view that lists the album tracks and may give a review. Double click to select a track and listen in the usual way.

In the search view is a list of all tracks by that artist. Just double click a track to start listening. Hours of your selected artist without further intervention.

Beyond the Basics
I am satisfied with the basics, but Spotify has a bunch of additional functionality. You can put together your own playlists, share the music you are listening to with friends, and even listen to the music you have on your computer from other sources, like iTunes. Explore these features as you wish.

You are tethered to your computer and a high speed connection unless you upgrade to the paid options. Sound quality is good, but not great, so audiophiles may be dissatisfied. You won’t find everything you want to listen to on Spotify (e.g., The Beatles) and it can be very hard to find the exact performance you want to listen to if you are a classical music fan.

For additional tips on how to get more out of Spotify, click here: http://huff.to/oEdLCr.
Listen and love Spotify. Questions?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Technology Lesson: Uploading To Your Facebook Wall Via E-Mail

This blog previously instructed you how to reply to Facebook posts via e-mail. I think this is a handy time-saver, but did you know you can post more to your Facebook wall than replies? Because you can! (Thanks to my housemate for pointing this out!)

Facebook provides its users with an individual e-mail address for this purpose. (Using it for other purpose will provide you with zero results.) You can send your status or media to the e-mail address, and the content will post to your Facebook wall. Pretty cool, right?

I'll let Facebook explain:
Your personalized uploads email address can be used to upload photos or videos to your account from a computer or mobile phone. To see what your personalized upload email is, be sure you are logged into your account, then go to the Facebook Mobile page. Alternatively, you can take the following steps:
  1. On the computer, go to the Publisher located at the top of your Wall and click the Photos button next to "Attach."
  2. Select "Upload a Photo."
  3. Click the "upload via email" link.

The email subject will be used as the caption of your photo or video, or your updated status if your email contains no photo or video. Note that photos and videos uploaded via email are visible to everyone by default, but you can change the privacy setting of any photo album by going to your Photos page and clicking "Album Privacy."

To review, you obtain your personalized e-mail by logging into your Facebook account, and going to https://www.facebook.com/mobile.

That page will provide you with your personalized e-mail address. I would provide a screenshot, but this seems fairly simple. Besides, as Facebook says (emphasis mine):

  • This is a secret email just for your Page - don't share it with anyone except other admins of this Page.
  • The email subject will be used as the caption of your photo or video if your email contains photo or video.
  • The email subject will be used as your updated status if your email contains no photo or video.

Some ideas for how you might enjoy using this trick:
  • Posting photos you've taken from your [e-mail capable] mobile phone, iPod, iPhone, or iPad
  • Posting a status from work without having to log in (which I would never do*)
  • Sharing videos shot from your Internet capable devise
  • Posting just about everything without logging in, ever again (I envy you already)
*But totally did at my old job, to Blogger. Probably to this blog!

Technology Lesson: Replying To Facebook Posts Via Your Inbox

Additional Resources:
Expand All
What is my personalized upload email address?
, Facebook