Friday Fun: Geek Edition

I’m in a kind of low-key mode today.  I had to get up early for an appointment, which lasted about 2 hours, and I now have little energy for anything that requires major thought.  So, of course, I’m tinkering with the blog.  Back in the day, say 2003, 2004, I used to tinker on the blog all the time.  Partly, that was because I was just learning the ropes, and partly, I just thought it was fun.  I mean, it was the heyday of blogging, just before it went really mainstream and every media outlet on the planet got themselves a blog.  It was crucial to keep my blog looking slick.  Nowadays, with most people reading through readers, or just following me on Facebook or Twitter, blog maintenance is not a high priority.

But today, I thought, hey, let’s make some changes.  So, I’ve added a new image at the top, changed around some widgets, and even added a blogroll!  Remember blogrolling?  The actual site?  I loved that tool.  I liked it because it was mostly automatic.  You could be reading a blog and decide, hey, I like that, click a button and voila! in the blogroll.  I hadn’t found anything like that until today–really, I hadn’t looked that hard.  Many of you out there probably already know this, but you can feed your Google Reader feeds right to your blog.  It’s not as obvious as it should be.  But here’s what I did.  I have my feeds organized into folders: Computer Science, Eduction, Fun, etc.  Next to each folder, there’s a drop-down menu.  In that menu is a thing called “Create Bundle.”  What this does is “bundle up” the feeds in that folder into their own separate RSS feed.  Once you have a bundle, you have a couple of options for getting the bundle onto your blog.  One, you can use the Bundle Clip.  This creates a box with a list of all your feeds.  Handy, but only lists the feeds in alphabetical order.  I haven’t cleaned up my feeds lately and there are a lot of feeds that are defunct and they’re right there with the ones that aren’t.  No good for me.  I opted instead to find a plug-in for Word Press that displays RSS feeds nicely.  I went through 3 or 4 before I landed on Super RSS.  It works quite nicely, displaying the feeds in order of update, with snippets (optional).  If you’re not a Word Press person, I’m sure there’s something similar for most platforms.

I’d love to do more customization, digging into the CSS and PHP, but I don’t really have any ideas on what big changes I might make.  This will do for now.  And speaking of the old days of blogging, I remember when this cute video went around:

4 Replies to “Friday Fun: Geek Edition”

  1. Hi Laura,

    Two hour meetings can definitely sap the life right out of you.

    I am wishing you good luck on the “tweaking” of the blog. I do like the idea of the segmented blog roll. It makes a lot of sense for the different types of blogs that you follow. That was a good thought.

    I did want to let you know that the picture links under the “Me on Twitter” links were coming up broken for me. I tried it on Chrome and IE with the same result. I am sure that you knew, but just in case, I thought I would let you know.

    Thanks for your voice, and best of luck to you and your family in the future.

    ~TGCD

  2. Thanks, GCD. I didn’t know that. The images looked fine to me. So I switched plugins to not include the image.

  3. np GM.

    🙂

    That section looks a lot more clean now. I am glad that I could help. Looking forward to your next posts, of course.

    Off the subject of blog formatting, I thought that I would pass on some information that I recently received from another geek programmer parent. I sent a message to Geek and Dad’s Blog (http://geekanddad.wordpress.com/) to introduce myself and encourage them. In his reply, he gave me a tip on a place for early introduction to programming concepts to early education students. I have not had a chance to explore it yet, but I wondered if you had heard about the MIT project at:

    http://scratch.mit.edu/

    He said that his son started with something called Stagecast, but that he recommended that Scratch would be a great way to start for my guys (4 & 5). It sounds pretty neat, and I am anxious to give it a try. I was just curious if you had known about it.

    Your friend in the digital trenches,

    ~TGCD

  4. I teach scratch in middle school, though I’ve also used it with 1st & 2nd graders. I had the privilege of getting to go to one of their workshops on the MIT campus and even meeting Mitch Resnick. It’s a great program, really easy to use and teaches programming concepts well.

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