Monthly Archives: November 2009

Daily Practice Makes for Good Creative Habits

Tues 11.03.09 – Regardless of whether you are participating in National ________ Posting/Writing Month or just reading/watching others, I think the best part of the November novel writing, blog posting, vlog posting, drawing, and any other permutation, is that daily practice really does hone one’s creative skills and ingrains, in a good way, the habit of the activity.
One of my favorite authors of all time, Madeleine L’Engle, frequently in articles, her books, and in writers workshops would encourage folks to write at least 30 minutes every day. She stated that with the daily habit comes the inspiration, not the other way around.
For a few years after taking the workshop with Ms. L’Engle, I would draw for 30 minutes every day. And then by the late 1990s, it became taking photos for at least a total of 15-20 minutes every day.
Rather than attempt to count up time and compare it to one creative activity, now I make sure that I reserve 30 mins to 1 hour every day for a / some creative activity be it writing, drawing, blogging, photography, or mobile blogging. By doing this regardless or schedule or busy-ness, it means that I carve out time time to slow down, time to create and explore.
Today on Twitter I started asking who of my circle of association is doing one of the Na__ __ Mo’s? I found that a good variety of folk were participating in the original NaNoWriMo, NaBloPoMo, NaVloPoMo (video blogging), and NaDrawMo (drawing).
One of my Twitter friends made apologies for his lack of participation saying he was not creative, I replied back that one can blog about whatever, it doesn’t have to be a story or long post. I would like to reiterate that this month is not about being the best or most polished or even the most creative, but about clearing a space for yourself to establish a new daily habit or even just to challenge yourself in something that you have always wanted to do but never did. So many of the folk who are writing novels this month have never written fiction but are doing the NaNoWriMo to really let go and loose their inhibitions about the activity.
It is not too late to join us.
Here is a list of the folks that I know in real life or via the Internets who are participating in National DoSomething Everyday Month:
Kasper Jespersen
Steve Lawson
James McNally
Sudhamshu Hebbar
Velvet Verbosity
Mrs. K (of course)
Jessica Spengler
Vikki Chowney
Lauren Isaacson
Laurie White
Mauricio Reyes
Utku Can
Ann McMeekin
Mike Maddaloni
James Whatley
Lloyd Davis
Benny Crime
Rupert Howe
Shaun Inman
Trey Piepmeier

Color, Form and Blur with the Nokia N97 Camera

Bright Scarlet Electric Blue Attack of the Blur Magnus and Scruffy Tussling At one angle And the other
All photos taken today by Ms. Jen with a Nokia n97.

Tues 11.03.09 – Today a white Euro, Nokia N97 entered my life for a bit, what is the first thing I did after making sure it was charged and had the newest firmware version 20 on it? I took it out for a photo walk.
The big October version 20 firmware update has taken care of about 98% of my previous frustrations and complaints about the N97, it is now a very nice little mobile computing machine of which the touchscreen is more responsive and the camera is taking better photos.

Tidbits :: Monday November 2, 2009

Language Hat on The Bookshelf: Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue : “if Welsh were, say, for some reason regularly taught in schools across
Western Europe and in America, as French and Spanish are, then to
linguists, raised with ‘schoolboy’ Welsh, the parallels between Celtic
and English would seem glaringly obvious and would long ago have been
accepted as having a causal rather than correlative relationship.” – Read the comments, that is where the discussion gets good.

CNet speaks to Nokia’s Niklas Savander in Nokia exec talks Ovi platform. It is a good interview if you are interested in the mobile space as he breaks down the various relationships that a manufacturer has to deal with in various markets, not just the US, but Asia, and Europe. 

NYTimes on Mt. Kilimanjaro Ice Cap Continues Rapid Retreat : I guess I better hop to my Life List goal of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to see the snow and glacier.  What the NYTimes doesn’t mention in this article is that Kenya and Tanzania have been in the grip of a drought for about the same amount of time that the Southwestern US has been in for the last few years.

Simplicity, Complexity, and Minimalism

The design world, particularly the web design / user interface folk, have been going through a spasm of minimalism / simplicity lately with many top web folk redesigning their blogs to simple text, plain background (usually white or a light color), and a graphic line or two.
Tim Brown at Design Thinking has decided to plunge into the murky waters of design philosophy and semantics to parse out what the difference is between simplicity and minimalism as it pertains to web design / interface design. The articles does not end with his words, but the real debate begins in the comments as various designers debate what do the words and practices really mean.
Read it.
Now if you need a visual for who is the current king of minimalism, view this photo from 1982 which sums up the future of ID/UX 27 years later in one go.

How to Change the Directory that Movable Type Uploads to When Using the Atom Protocol (Lifeblog, PixelPipe, etc)

I don’t know about you, but I have had a little list of blog upkeep items that have been on my to do list for ages, but haven’t had the time to research and then execute them. After thinking about a few of them for some time, oh like a couple of years, I decided recently to make a real paper list and make it happen.
Here are the things I wanted to do:
1) Figure out how to get thumbnails of images to appear in the excerpted version of this blog’s RSS and Atom feeds.
2) Think about how to keep the evil sploggers (spam bloggers who scrape feeds) at bay AND keep my regular feed readers happy with a good feed. I have had my private full feed for at least two years now & announce it frequently but folks who want a full feed didn’t know about it.
3) Even though Perl is not really my friend, I have wanted to figure out how to alter the Atom script for this blog so that when I use Lifeblog or PixelPipe to mobile blog from my camera phone to this blog that the photo will be uploaded into the file directory of my choice and not the default main blog directory.
A few weeks ago, I dedicated a few hours to attempting to bending the Atom and RSS feed templates to my will. Unfortunately, Movable Type 4.x is very dependent on the Asset Manager for knowing where the images are, and due to challenge #3, I was not able to fix #1 with any satisfaction, as all the fixes required the Asset Manager to know where all the images are and by default the Atom script uploads all assets/images to the main blog directory, which causes a messy main directory with my daily mobile blogging. To solve this, I have been manually moving images to a proper image directory and then updating the blog post later, thus the Asset Manager can’t keep up with me. Poor thing.
Persistent artist vs. computer program. Who is going to lose? In the long run, the program. Until I solved problem #3, problem #1 was a null point.
I solved #2 by resetting my public facing feeds to be a bit bigger excerpts that would show the images but would excerpt any article over a certain length. I use the .htaccess file to stop any lifting of images. And I still have the private complete feed for anyone who emails me and lets me know that they want the url.
Today, I decided to conquer the moblogging directory issue and attempt to make Perl bend to my will.