BJ’s Weblog

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Summing it All Up

I sat and thought the other day about the presentation for our last class on Monday. The main question I asked myself was: How did this class change my way of using and browsing the web, collecting information and making use of my time searching for topics of my interest online.

I often got confused and overwhelmed by the amount of information. Most of the time I would stumble on great articles that had wonderful abstracts and weren’t free. I did not know that many professionals are online giving out their information generously and enjoying discussions with complete strangers  on relevant topics accross the globe.

I put together all I had learned in the smallest paragraph possible for this blog:

The Tip of My Learning Iceberg:

a. Learned how to do effective search, without getting overwhelmed or lost.

b. Understood the importance of looking for and using Information Trapping techniques, News aggregators, email allerts and RSS feeds to get information from sources I want and control the amount I receive. Also, how to archive my information for future reference.

c. Got to know some like minded people on blogs, which changed my whole idea about blogging.

d. Got introduced to twitter, wordpress, delicious, igoogle, google chrome, and many other useful sites.

e. Understood the importance of online learning and COPs and understood how it can be used for personal education.

f. Got to read a great book on GTD.

g. Got to know some great people in class and online and got a closer and deeper glimps of who they are and what they do in life, which- without going online-I may have never known.

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Web Standards…Why?

I was reading articles about Web Standards , when I came across a guy called Dustin Brewer and his insights about this topic.

I do believe that in order to manage anything one would need standards. That wouldn’t mean, ofcourse that these standards will always remain the same. Especially in a world of ever changing technology.

Before I had taken scripting or reading about web design I had no idea that browsers could react so differently. I knew of course that I would get different views and colors because of browser sizes, and monitor differences, but didn’t know why some web sites just didn’t work in certain environments.

I think this blog was a good reference for me, to understand why things are being done in certain ways, when we could do them in other ways too.

And that is to create the most consistent looking and operating website on the web that is easy to maintain, read, access, and even keep clients satisfied in the long run because their websites will function correctly in different browsers.

In designing for print media, you don’t really have to worry about channel changes, if it is for a certain magazine or certain medium it will be defined based on the given media specs and all one has  to do is to create the best and most relevant design possible for that defined channel. And you are done with the format. 

I had never thought how my web site design could effect a client if I was not preparing it for different browser types, and could even effect my career as a web designer- but again, of course, I’m just a beginner.

Cuil-The Ultimate Search Engine?

According to wikipedia: “Cuil (pronounced [kuːl], “cool“) is a search engine that organizes web pages by content and displays relatively long entries along with thumbnail pictures for many results. It claims to have a larger index than any other search engine, with about 120 billion web pages. It went live on July 282008.” It is managed by the former google employers Anna Patterson, Russell Power and Louis Monier.

Cuil’s goal is to solve the two great problems of search: how to index the whole Internet—not just part of it—and how to analyze and sort out its pages so you get relevant results”.

This search engine is still slow and critiqued for it’s speed and usability and also irrelevance of suggestions and focus on size rather on topic, but what it’s promise is very encouraging. It will find pages based on your selected keywords, analyzes the content, and suggests new words and searches. Your research history will be kept private.

I think this new search engine would probably end up being a great one once it’s problems are dealt with. Usually any new addition has it’s ups and downs.

I am trying to figure this out..anybody else tried this?

LinkedIn Gets $53 Million, Valued at $1 Billion

OK since we chatted about linkedin in class, here is some information about what is going on with that site now.

I personally have found it very useful. I have referred people and been reffered by them through linkedin.

If you guys are on there, shoot me an email. I would be more than happy to add all of you.

Twitter

I logged on to twitter 2 weeks ago, and honestly didn’t feel much excited about engaging people in every single minute of my life. But I guess I missed a point, which is true about any tool. A tool is only useful when you need it and use it for the defined purpose of your choice. 

I believe it works for everything you do. There are a list of things you can do with twitter, especially is when you can use twitter when you are not online via your phone.

I think that the real use of twitter is when you use it for networking or for feedback or any kind of business collaboration in a very short period of time. The great thing I learned about it was how a classmate actually used it to generate business via his phone with TWITTERIFFIC.

Here is an interesting site about how twitter can be valuable and gives 5 good tactics on using twitter:

http://traffic.outbrain.com/network/postfr.jsp?agent=blog_JS_rec&post=http://mashable.com/2008/07/17/twitter-branding/&rfdid=792945

I think I might try using twitter for my artwork and see how it will go, if anything good happens, I will keep you posted!

Getting Things Done: David Allen

This book was/is a very detailed book. It takes organizing tasks to a very professional level. It starts by list making and goes as far as changing your drawer or file type in the office to how much to stack in them. 

The basic concept in the book is learning to manage  “actions” vs. “stuff” and base actions on: context, time available, your energy level and priorities. Close every open loop in your mind that leaves you thinking about tasks. If you manage your tasks with three options available which I will mention below, you will close unnecessary open loops in your mind, stress out less and focus more.

Don’t just create lists, create them based on priorities and write action sentences rather than just making a word list.

To manage each action David Allan proposes three ways to deal with it:

-take a two minute action: do it now if it takes 2 minutes( for example answering a call or email)

-defer: set aside time to do it later when you have time.

-delegate: if some one can do it better than you ask them to do it.

It is really hard to summerize this book, because it hardly has any fluffed text in it. it is to the point and has a lot of information. I believe this book is a must for any organization or company and a great read for anyone interested. If I were to do an extremely short review on this book I believe it would range from 5-15 pages. Therefore I advise you to read it. It’s up there in the Ai library on the fourth floor.

I think what worked well for me after reading the book was the delegate part. I have always had the tendency to do everything myself,  but I guess when one has to juggle too many things at once and get things done and not just done, but done effectively, then one must really reorganize the way they are doing it and if necessary allow some one to do it better than you, or at least take the stress and extra work off your schedule. one thing I would add to this book as an international student would be, if you already have the stress of living, studying, interacting in a different world other than the one you have lived in, you are bound to have an abundance of extra open loops to handle. Some may never close based on your situation. Although Mr. Allen proposes great strategies on how to deal with surprise tasks that are suddenly thrown at us from out of the blue, there will always be some extra element of the unknown and stress there that will remain.

Anyhoo. I highly recommend this book especially if you are out to get your dream-job some time soon.

This small blog does not do this book justice.