Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Brief Notes on Importing CDs in the New iTunes

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!

It's just my luck that I wrote my lessons for December before the new iTunes was released. This version is dramatically from the last release, and it's been a real bear getting things done.

You might feel the same way, having gone to the trouble of learning iTunes. Generally speaking, the new iTunes feel like it was meant to be easier, particularly for Old People. When you open the program for the first time, take a moment to use Apple's tutorial. (It will be awhile before I post again.)

Here is the biggest change I noticed, which will help you: The library and devices are at the top left and right of the program. I received two CDs in my Christmas stocking, and set about importing the music to my library.

The CD appeared in the program when I put it in the computer. If you want to import your music, click IMPORT CD at the top right of the screen. You'll see the title of the album in the TOP LEFT. If you click the title, you'll be able to access your library.

That's all I have for now; hopefully a Young Person is nearby to field questions. That's what they're here for, right?

Facebook, ever the changing network of social urgency, added a new feature at the end of the summer: Close Friends.

In addition to separating your contacts into lists based on location or connection (college, work, neighborhood association, etc.), you can add friends that you know well or frequently interact with. Facebook added the friends you communicate with most often as a default when this feature rolled out. You may have noticed and removed everyone in a blind panic, or non-gallantly shrugged and carried on with your blase use of the site. (That's what I did!)

The benefit to this feature is that you can keep up with the friends you know better, actually care about, or worry about missing updates from. Their posts will go to the small globe at the top of your page, which is generally reserved for notifications regarding your own activity.

Take it from Facebook: "You can add your best friends to this list to see more of them in your news feed and get notified each time they post."

Facebook explains how to add to your Close Friends list:

And to get less notifications:

There are also smart lists and custom lists, but if you have that many friends, and need that many lists, I'm pretty sure this is not a blog you need. (...I'll probably review it in February anyway.)

Facebook does not notify when you add someone to your Close Friends.  

So stalk away, friends!

This will be the last Lessons for Old People article for 2012. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! I am going to focus on some personal projects in January. I hope to see you in February. As always, e-mail me with posts you'd like to see or any questions you might have.

Additional Resources:
How do I use lists to organize my friends?, Facebook
How do I adjust the notifications I get about Close Friends?, Facebook

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Vocabulary Lesson: Disemvowel

Disemvoweling is when a person removes the vowels from a sentence. This is a practice reserved for Internet commenters that leave unsavory, impolite, or just plain mean comments on a blog post. Time named the practice one of the top 50 inventions of 2008.

The idea is to make the person look ridiculous. It's a unique form of censorship, in that the comment is still available to read. It sometimes draws more attention to the comment due to the challenge of reading it sans vowels. The practice may effectively eject the person from the community.

Here is what disemvoweling looks like, using the phrase, "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog." Wikipedia used this example too. It turns out that the spam on this blog is pretty mild.
Th qck brwn fx jmps vr th lzy dg
I don't disemvowel, simply because I'd have to edit comments, and that is far too much work when I can just click DELETE.

Additional Resources:
Disemvoweling, Wikipedia Kotaku’s New Tool: The Straight Razor of Disemvoweling, Kotaku How To Keep Hostile Jerks From Taking Over Your Online Community, InformationWeek

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Technology Lesson: Downloading Your Free Weekly Single

Apple's iTunes provides one free single a week. (And also many free TV episodes.) Downloading these free singles is fast and easy. Here's how to build your music collection with free music.

Turn on your computer, and log in if necessary.

Start iTunes. Click ITUNES STORE in the left column of the program.

Look for the picture that says SINGLE OF THE WEEK. You might need to scroll to find it.

Click the image that says SINGLE OF THE WEEK. The week I wrote the lesson, Norah Jones was the artist. The artist will change each week.

You'll see the artist and song of the week on the right. Under the artist will be a grey bar that says FREE.

You may need to sign into iTunes. If prompted, do so.

The song will appear in your PURCHASED music and your library. The download will occur automatically, following your sign in or clicking FREE.

Feel free to drag the song to your iDevice.

All iTunes lessons

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Technology Lesson: Hiding Sponsored Posts (on Facebook)

Not to overemphasize the importance of Facebook (wouldn't it be nice if we could all walk away?) but today's lesson is, again, about Facebook.


I think it will be extremely helpful. Facebook's Suggested Posts have inspired great ire among its users, and the uninvited posts are a distraction and sully the Facebook experience.

Luckily, hiding the posts is an easy process! It's just like hiding people or posts you don't want to read.

To start, log in to Facebook. Go to your news feed.
When you find an unwelcome Sponsored Post, hover your mouse over the post.

You'll see a small arrow in the top right corner of the post. (Not the page, the post.) Click it.

Click HIDE.

Facebook will congratulate you on this brilliant decision: "This story is now hidden from your News Feed."

You will be given the chance to Unhide the post. if you want to do that, click UNHIDE. You'll also be given the opportunity to unhide all posts from this company. This is not a bad idea, and you should consider doing that too.

Facebook says that its new Sponsored Posts program does not affect its usability. I disagree, if only because I constantly hide Sponsored Posts, and the program's existence is a thorn in my side.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Technoloy Lesson: Mass Like Deletion

Last week we deleted our interests. Let's clear those last Likes, too. Repeating last week's early steps:

To start, turn on your computer, log in if necessary, connect to the Internet (if necessary), launch your browser, and log in to Facebook.

Go to your page. (As a reminder: click your name in the left column of your newsfeed.)

Click LIKES in the row under your name, or scroll down to your Likes and click SEE ALL.

Scroll past your interests, until you see LIKES:

Hover your mouse over the page you want to unlike.


Now, hover you mouse over the word LIKED.


The page WILL NOT immediately disappear, even though you have unliked it. This is less satisfying than last week's lesson, am I right?

Facebook lessons

Happy Birthday, Dad!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Technology Lesson: Unliking Your Interests On Facebook (Part 2: Many Interests At Once)

Last week I showed you how to Unlike a single page. Today you'll cull all of that crap in your profile at one time.

To start, turn on your computer, log in if necessary, connect to the Internet (if necessary), launch your browser, and log in to Facebook.

Go to your page. (As a reminder: click your name in the left column of your newsfeed.)

Click LIKES in the row under your name, or scroll down to your Likes and click SEE ALL.

Click EDIT, located to the right of your interests, which are likely displayed in a graphic form.

All of your interests will be available for editing:

Hover your mouse over the interest you want to delete. You'll see a small blue "X." Click it.

The image will disappear immediately.

Click DONE EDITING when you're done!

Next, we'll clear out all of those extraneous Likes!

Facebook lessons

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Technology Lesson: Unliking On Facebook (Part 1: One Page At A Time)

Sometimes we like things on Facebook, for a promotion, or a friend's sake, and we want to unlike the business, idea, or sports team. This is easy to do, and there are a few fast ways to take care of it. Today we'll unlike one individual page. Later, we'll take care of many pages/interests.

To start: Turn on your computer, log in if necessary, open your browser, and log in to Facebook.

If you want to unlike one page, go to that page on Facebook. The fastest way to do this is to type the name of the page in your search bar:


Go to the page.

Under the banner, you'll see a button that says LIKED. Click the button.

Now click UNLIKE.

PRESTO! You'll see the button now says LIKE with a thumbs up next to it. This is an indication that you were successful.

Facebook lessons

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Vocabulary Lesson: Derpy

Derp is a stupid word, and I don't like it. It's used a lot in pop culture, and proliferates online, so I feel obligated to define and explain it.


"Derp" is a word used to explain disgust with someone's alleged stupidity or ignorance or to signify one's own behavior in the same vein.

Know Your Meme explains, "Derp is an expression sometimes used online to signify stupidity, much like the earlier forms of 'duh' and 'dur.'"

My generation is fond of it. We used to say, "Uh, doy!" when we were kids and then thump our chest, to mime the mentally handicapped. Derp has the same connotation. Sometimes the phrase is elongated to "herp a derp."

The word has made its way into Saturday morning cartoons. When an animation error made a pony on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic "wall-eyed" the show's (notorious) adult, Internet-savvy, fans named the pony "Derpy." The pony is now a main character... and named Derpy Hooves.

Man, people are going to be mad about this one.

Additional Resources:
Derp, Urban Dictionary
Derp, Know Your Meme
Derpy, My Little Pony wikia

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Setting A Ring Tone On Your iPod

Today's lesson may be too specific, but it should have elements that will help you in related pursuits. I say this because I have an iPod, not an iPhone, and this lesson uses my iPod Touch (or iTouch).

I'll be setting an alert tone in iMessage.

To start, get your iTouch, USB cable, and turn on your computer. Load iTunes.

Hook up your iTouch.

Find the file you want to set as your tone. Mine was e-mailed to me by my friend (who included instructions). Save it to your computer or external hard drive if necessary. (Maybe it's already there!) Add it to your iTunes library.

Find the file in iTunes. Click TONES.

Drag the file to your iTouch. Disconnect your iTouch when the file has transferred.

Go to SETTINGS in your device.


Click TEXT TONE. Find the tone you want. It is going to be under RINGTONES. Click the tone you want.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Culture Lesson: Gangnam Style

"Gangnam Style" is a Korean pop single by PSY. The song was released, in Korea, last June, but thanks to the Internet and celebrity fans, hit a peak of American popularity last month. I'll borrow from Wikipedia, since I'm going to regurgitate it anyway:
It has been shared on the internet by celebrities including T-Pain and Katy Perry, covered by others such as Nelly Furtado[4] and Maroon 5,[5] and has been featured in international media outlets such as The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times and CNN International (see Reception).
Around early September, "Gangnam Style" flash mobs started to appear in various capitals of the world, and "Gangnam Style" has also become the source of parodies and reaction videos by, among others, The Oregon Duck, midshipmen from the United States Naval Academy and the North Korean government.[6][7] Psy has brought the "Gangnam Style" dance to various locations including Dodger Stadium, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and Samsung commercials (see Impact).

My exposure was this season's SNL opener. I felt old. PSY also appeared on Today and Ellen, teaching the dance moves to Today's anchors and Britney Spears. Here is Britney Spears learning the dance:

Remember, Old People: Dressy classy, dance cheesy.
Additional Resources: YouTube video

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Technology Lesson: Adding a Cover Photo on Facebook

A cover is a "unique image for the cover of your timeline." Here is a note from Facebook about that:
Pick a unique photo from your life to feature at the top of your timeline.
Note: This space is not meant for banner ads or other promotions. Please don't use content that is commercial, promotional, copyright-infringing or already in use on other people's covers.

Log in to Facebook.

Go to your page. The easiest way to do this is to click your name, in the lefthand column of your Facebook feed.

If you don't have a cover, you'll see a blank area above your page with the text ADD A COVER. You can not get rid of this area if you don't want a cover. (Facebook really wants you to get into Timeline.) If you already have a photo, the text will say CHANGE COVER.

I have my image ready to go in my downloads folder. You will need to locate you image, on your digital camera or on your hard drive. If you have an image you've uploaded previously, in a photo album or on your wall, you can choose that instead (you'll click CHOOSE FROM PHOTOS).


Facebook will upload your photo/image. You can drag you image to reposition it within your cover area. The cover is a rectangle, and probably does not allow your image to fit perfectly. With this photograph, I could only drag it up and down (whereas I had more leeway on all sides with my personal cover photo.) When you are satisfied, click SAVE CHANGES.

Click the photo to add a description. You'll see the text ADD A DESCRIPTION to the right of your image. Click that text, and provide a description. Click DONE EDITING to save your changes.

Welcome to the newest Facebook era!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Technology: Changing Your Facebook Photo

Facebook is often changing its interface, making lessons here obsolete. (Boo!) Today's lesson is a repeat, as I will demonstrate how to upload a profile picture with the new timeline.

You will first need to decide on which photo or image you want to use as your profile photo. You will also need to scan it or upload it to your hard drive. (Or have your digital camera handy.)

Start by logging in to Facebook.

Go to your Facebook page. (The easiest way to do that is clicking your name on your news feed.)

Hover your mouse over your current photo. EDIT PROFILE PICTURE should pop up on your screen. Click it.

Facebook will provide options. If you want to upload from your camera, or hard drive, click UPLOAD PHOTO. (We can examine the other options on another day.)

Find the picture, select it, and click OPEN.

Facebook will do the rest of the work. If you want to reposition your thumbnail, click EDIT PROFILE PICTURE again. This time, click EDIT THUMBNAIL and drag the photo until you're happy with your newer thumbnail.

Go to your profile picture and click it. To the LEFT of your photo you'll see ADD A DESCRIPTION. Click that, and provide a description. Click DONE EDITING when you are satisfied with your self-description.

Ta da!

Here's a little note about your profile picture, from Facebook, by the way:

Who sees your profile picture? 
Remember: your current profile picture is always public. Now, when the photo gets added to your Profile Pictures album it's set to public — and you can change who sees it.
 And don't worry, cover photos are coming up next!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Technology Lesson: Cleaning House On Your Facebook Apps

I've talked about Facebook applications before, but today seems like a good day to review application management.

Maybe you see a post made my someone else's app. Maybe you are "liking" pages you've never actually liked! Perhaps you're worried that you accidentally activated the Washintton Post Social Reader, and now everyone will know which articles you've read.

It's always a good idea to clean house digitally. Here's how you do it with your Facebook applications.

Log in to Facebook. (Go to facebook.com, log in.)

Click the triangle next to HOME. It is in the BLUE BAR at the top of the page, on the right. Click ACCOUNT SETTINGS:

This is what Setting looks like:

Click APPS in the LEFT COLUMN. Your applications will be listed in the center. You can click the "X" to remove the application outright, or click edit to delete the application or tweak the settings:

If you delete the application, Facebook will ask for a confirmation. (I have never once willingly agreed to Farmville, so this was news to me!):
If you click EDIT, you'll see this:

Now you can see all my applications! I feel so exposed. It's possible that you'd like to keep an application, but don't want other people to see it. This would be where you'd fix that.

See how easy this is? I think it's a good idea to regularly organize your digital life. It makes it easier in the long run to manage your digital life (and find stuff too!)

Technology Lesson: Removing a Facebook App
Technology Lesson: Installing a Facebook App

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vocabulary Lesson: "Splatter Platter"

Today's lesson is brief, and not modern, but I just can't help myself.

SPLATTER PLATTER is an antiquated term for the teenage tragedy songs of yore. My mom loves a few of these songs (and I do too!). I heard this colorful term on Minnesota Public Radio's The Current last month.

Some popular splatter platters include "Teen Angel," "Tell Laura I Love Her," "Dead Man's Curve," "Last Kiss," and "Seasons in the Sun." Except for the late '90s cover of "Last Kiss," none of these songs were released after 1976! Which is for the best, because we can't spend all of our days listening to morose ballads about teenage tragedy, can we? (No, we can not.)

Additional Resources:
Teenage tragedy songs, Wikipedia

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Technology Lessons: Top Stories vs. Most Recent

When you log in to Facebook, you have two options for viewing your newsfeed. The (seemingly) default option is Top Stories. The other option (which I prefer) is most recent.

I'll let Facebook explain how Top Stories works:
When you sort by top stories, we'll try to show the most relevant news since you last checked Facebook.

We determine whether something is a top story based on lots of factors, including your relationship to the person who posted the story, how many comments and likes it got, what type of story it is, etc. For example, a friend’s status update that isn't normally a top story may become one after your other friends comment on it. 

This means that a post with many likes, shares, or comments, is likely to dominate the conversation. It may be from fifteen minutes ago, but it is probably much, much older.

My personal recommendation is to toggle your view to Most Recent. This will make it easier to make sure that you don't miss any updates. This is VERY easy to do.

Click SORT at the top of your newsfeed. A box will drop down:

Click MOST RECENT. The posts on your feed should reset. You can always return to Top Stories if that's what you'd prefer, or you want to know what is popular.

Additional Resources:
What's a top story?, Facebook