Category Archives: Tutorial

I *heart* the Bookmarklet and other Techy Geek Stuff

I have been reluctant to update the layout here on Read and Tell Me for some time.  Why? Primarily because I found began to use Google Reader so not to miss anything on my favorite blogs…..you know, all 100+ of them.  I started using G Reader after I found this happy thing….Byline.  For almost a year, I have kept up with my blogs in very little time by flipping through them like a magazine.  Byline has a button that with one touch you can send it to email, Instapaper (if you don’t know about Instapaper you are MISSING OUT), Twitter or just open in Safari.  You can categorize blogs in folders and it syncs directly with Google Reader.  Amazing?!?!

Here is the rub…..well, I guess there are several.

1.  You miss out on the ambiance of the art and design of the blog.  When you are reading content using Byline, you are looking at a white screen with words and pictures only.  If you follow a blog that does not have the appropriate settings, then you only get words and no pictures.

2.  You do not show up as having visited the site.  For a fellow Blogger, this is really frustrating.  I like to know that people are reading.  Numbers are just numbers, but they do keep me motivated.  Comments are best, but I have a lot of shy readers.  I know you are reading because you ask me about things I post on my blog all over town and Law Man now has quite a following of people downtown who address him as such.  THAT IS AWESOME, by the way….keep it up.  I love it when he comes home and reports that ‘so and so’ called him Law Man.  **BTW, I know you can change settings on your blog so that it forces you to “jump” to the actual post on the web, but that makes me feel like I am being told what to do and I despise being told what to do.

3.  Finally, I find it hard to comment using your mobile device.  It is possible, but depending on the blog, the security settings and your mobile device typing ability commenting can be anywhere from tedious to impossible.

Long story a little bit shorter, when people have asked me how I keep up with the blogs that I do, I gave them a very vague answer to avoid them falling into the number of lurkers who read my blog and I have no idea they are out there.

A few weeks ago I discovered something that has apparently been out since 2007. Someone really should have told me this, I feel betrayed.  I will not betray you.  Here is the secret.

Step 1:  Set up an account with Google Reader.

Step 2:  Go to upper right hand corner of Google Reader home screen and click on the settings button.

Step 3:  Go to the Goodies Tab

Step 4:  Add Subscribe Bookmarklet

If you find yourself repeatedly visiting a website to check for updates, or if you just stumble across a page you want to keep track of, you can easily subscribe to it in Google Reader using the subscribe bookmark.

To use the subscribe bookmark, simply drag the link below to your bookmarks bar. Then, when you’re on a web page, you can click the bookmark to view it in Google Reader.

Once you see the feed preview, confirm your subscription by clicking the “Subscribe” button within Reader

Step 5:  Add Next Bookmarklet

The next bookmark is an innovative way to read your subscriptions. It allows you to use Google Reader through just one link – clicking on it takes you to the next unread item, marking it as read in the process. It is particularly useful for subscriptions which only include snippets or when you want to read an article in context.

To use the next bookmark, simply drag the link below to your bookmark bar.

You can also create a next bookmark for a specific tag. To do so, select a tag below and drag the resulting link to your bookmark bar.

You are set.  Now you can keep up with all of the blogs your heart desires, comment and participate and get the full experience of the art and design on each site.  It will continue to sync with Byline or any and all other Google Reader apps you have on your computer and mobile devices.  Yay!!!  Problem solved.  I love it.

By the way, Instapaper and Pinterest both have Bookmarklets too in their Goodie Section.  I also have one for Ravelry and Ziplist.  Check them out and let me know what you think.  If you have any technical questions or problems leave them in the comment section or shoot me an email.
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Typography is my Love Language

They say, “A picture is worth a thousand words”.  I do love a great picture visual or conceptual….but for me, the typeface is where it is at.  I obsess over the type used in on billboards, magazine ads, stationary, and logos.  Logos……now that is a whole different matter….I love a great logo.  I even stalk a few advertising websites just to check out the latest and greatest company emblem.

I have also used Logos as a pre-reading tool for my little guys.  I am always pointing out a logo around town and asking them to tell me what they think they are trying to sell or market.  Now, they point them out to me.  Sorry…..I digress.  Back to typography.

I guess I can categorize my Logo Love in to three areas….

1.  Script typography….I abhor my own handwriting.  I am not sure why, but I do.  It keeps me from a lot of things, especially hand written notes, but with the perfect font, I can almost express the same sentiment.  I especially like the Pea Gretchie it is so much like my mother’s handwriting it creeps me out sometimes.  Creeps me out in a good way.

2.  Ampersands…. &&&  I just love the ampersand.  Perhaps it is because I always have more to say about everything, or maybe it is just because I like how it sounds when you say the word.  Either way, I search and search for fonts with a great ampersand.

3.  Creative Ornamental Typeface….these are what I use in a lot of the themed birthday parties.  Some examples are:

I used Comic Book when I did the Superhero Theme.  And several Dr. Seuss inspired fonts for the Dr. Seuss Party and to add text to the Classic Children Stories themed nursery/playroom at our old house.  Click on the examples and you can download them free for your personal use.

If you have a similar adoration for typography, you will love this video.  Enjoy and happy Techy Tuesday!

Erik Spiekermann – Putting Back the Face into Typeface from Gestalten on Vimeo.

  I am pretty sure I discovered this video from Christopher over at Midwest Media.  He is doing some really cool things here in the Oklahoma City area.  Check him out.

Handmade Valentines

One of my go to project for snow day(s) are handmade Valentines for the boys to make for their school buddies.  So, the first thing I did when I received word that we Oklahoma City was expecting the Snow Storm of the Year was buy research some ideas and buy supplies.

Last year, we made precious handmade crayons….I loved how they turned out.

This year, I threw out several ideas….all were quickly turned down by my big guy….but, finally I hit on a winner.  VALENTINE ROBOTS.

They turned out so cute…..here is what we did.

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I found some paint to further decorate them….but I kind of like how they look without.

What are you making during this snow storm?

Sharing Digital Pictures

I know it is Wednesday, but I spent Techy Tuesday at the Zoo with my oldest.  I am sure you understand.  Lately, the issue of how to share digital pictures has come up over and over again.  I wish I were better at sharing pics….but, like with everything else life often gets in the way.  I do, however, have a few ideas of some easy ways to get those pictures out to friends and family.

I am unapologetically a Mac person, but most of these ideas can be used with a PC too.

First, if you do not know what Flickr is…..click the link now….did you click on it?…seriously…it will change your life.  It is a great way to store, organize and share photographs with all levels of security.  Plus, with Flickr you can utilize the fun Flickr Toys for a little creative touch.

I also use iPhoto and Mobile Me all the time.  (I have read that PC users can download Photo Gallery for Windows Live for free….some even say it is better than iPhoto….but, I don’t believe it.  I am sure it is *fine.)  In iPhoto I organize my photos, in theory, primarily by event.  It is organized by date automatically.  Then I set up Album’s for everything I am working on.  My favorite thing about iPhoto is the ability to download a simple plugin that allows you to send pictures, by batch, to Flickr, Mobile Me, Facebook, EMail, etc.  LOVE IT!!!!  So, for example, if you send some pictures to Facebook via iPhoto….you can easily find the album and edit, etc. at any time.

The way that I prefer to share pictures is via Mobile Me.  Here is how….straight from the Mobile Me website….

Use Your Gallery as Holiday Central for Family and Friend

Your MobileMe gallery has a great way for your family and friends to view and share holiday photos in one place, whether they are celebrating under the same roof or in a different country. You simply set up a new album in your gallery and enable all of MobileMe’s sharing features. Then everyone can participate right on the web.

Simply log in to me.com/gallery. Click the “+” button at the bottom to create an album and check all the options under Allow to enable others to download and upload photos to your album. After creating the album, copy the link at the top right and send it to everyone in your holiday circle.

Again, you have a several security options to keep personal photos private or password protected.

I am pretty sure you can do this via Windows Live in much the same way, but I have never tried that.

I have used services like Kodak Gallery, Snapfish, Shutterfly, etc to share pictures.  I like these services for some things like the huge amount of photos you can save basically creating an additional backup.  (Now, many of these services require you to purchase a certain number of prints to use their storage, but usually this is minimal.)  I also like these services to share prints.  The downside is that it is very difficult and sometimes not even possible to download a photograph in its original size and quality.  The one really cool thing about Shutterfly is that you can set it up to add pictures to other people’s galleries.  This is a great way to share pictures from a trip or a single event.

Now, if I could just get all of my photos organized, I could share with everyone!!!  But, that is for another day.

So, how do you share you pictures digitally?

Techy Tuesday — Organizing a Garden

I often joke…tongue and cheek, of course…that my life as a stay at home mom is a lot like the life of Scarlett O’Hara trying to take care of Tara without the luxury of “help”.  I am the cook, house cleaner, chauffeur, mechanic, nurse, butler, gardener, not to mention CFO and at times, the wet nurse.

This is not meant as a complaint, but more just an observation.  I do a lot of different things none of which I really know all that much about.  The most applicable training for this was probably my time in the nonprofit world.  I ran a quarter of a million dollar program with only one full time employee, ME.  During this time, I learned how to “make things happen” on a shoe string budget and only “general knowledge” of my responsibilities.  Let’s just say I could not have done it without Google.

I learned that organization is the key.  Not just putting my spices in alphabetical order, although that helps, but having all of the information that I might possibly need at hand at all times.  Now, working moms, here is the key…..you must juggle this without a desk.

Enter Laptop.

This is how it all began.  But, it has evolved into a finely tuned system complete with smartphone and smartbook.  Yes, that is my answer.  These are not toys but tools for any respectable and organized mom.  You may quote me on that.  I do tend to favor Apple products, but this organization can be accomplished…generally…with a PC brand too.

So, get excited for Techy Tuesday.  Every Tuesday I will post ideas about how to use technology to get organized and keep all the balls of motherhood in the air and still be cool, calm and collected.

This week I have been organizing my garden.

Challenges:

  • Oklahoma is HOT
  • I have a lot of shade
  • My dog and my children like to dig
  • I can never remember what I did five minutes ago much less when I watered last

Benefits:

  • I *heart* fresh produce
  • I love to share the joys (i.e. successes) of gardening with my children
  • Gardening gives me something to do during the HOURS we spend outside in the before mentioned HEAT

So, here is what I am doing to “get organized”.

I made database on Bento for my Garden.  This allows me to keep track of what I have planted, how it is doing, growing instructions, etc.  From this information I can:

  • Pick up other ingredients to pick up for a specific recipe based on what is ready to harvest.
  • Keep a running record of what I have success with growing.
  • Reference any special care information at any time and any place, via iPhone.

Created a diagram of my garden to design, reference, and keep for future ideas.  I used this template to create the one below in Word, but you can also use Photoshop or similar program. 

I use the calender function in iPhoto to keep track of what my garden, flowerbeds and yard look like during various seasons of the year.

  1. Assuming the date is correctly set on your digital camera, it will be saved in iPhoto along with your image.
  2. Add a “description” by highlighting all applicable pictures via >photos  >batch change (i.e. “yard and garden”)
  3. Search your iPhoto Gallery for the designated description.
  4. Sort by date via >View >Sort Photos >By Date

VOILA!!!!  You have all of your Yard and Garden Photo’s sorted by date so you can determine what you were successful with and what you might want to change.

These are a few ways I use technology to organize and learn more about caring for our yard and garden beyond the obvious research and reading blogs about others success and tips.  I hope this inspires you to get out and get dirty….then come in, wash up, and get organized.