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Having worked in libraries for more than 25 years, one of the things I have grown ever-more passionate about promoting unique collections and getting resources out “into the wild.” Augmented reality offers a very real way of getting resources into the hands and eyes of anyone with a smartphone or tablet.
When selecting the subject for my project, I wanted to keep the project geographically local, and to draw material from the UVic Libraries Archives. What I settled on was to highlight the donors and benefactors whose names grace campus buildings, auditoriums, and other landmarks. This has the additional benefit of promoting donor relations (and potentially making the administration happy!)
This course used three key tools: Layar, PorPOISe, and Drupal. As happens in tech, we discovered that through recent updates to the interface, Layar has pushed geolocated AR into a corner in favour of promoting image-based AR. This led to more than a few technical issues including our projects not working on iOS devices (in a room full of Apple tech, this was pretty close to a deal-breaker). However, I also packed along an Android tablet so I could test it in a limited way (my tablet has a very weak compass so testing was challenging).
I input a dozen points of interest and it was really exciting to see all the points pop up on the Layar test interface.
It’s always fun for me to dig through the Archives (I focused my search in the UVic Archives’ Historical Photograph Collection) and to research local history, so I did spend some time digging. However, I also spent a lot of time trying to find workarounds for the technical problems. Another student took the time to test the POIs using an alternative to PorPOISe, Hoppala and found that her Layer then worked. Knowing this, my next step will be testing my project in the same way.
The methods I chose were purposely simple because my goal was to have something that worked and could be demonstrated by the end of the course. While there is the chance to use 3D objects and animations, I felt the need to be modest in my exploration.
I can easily see augmented reality being used as a powerful outreach tool both for collection promotion and also fundraising efforts. I will be approaching the administration about making this project fully realized and released.
It’s been a while since I updated about the projects I am working on and this past week has been busy!
It’s still in progress but I was inspired by the Coaches’ Preview post I wrote before Social Media Camp to put together a larger ebook on social media best practices. I wrote about 3500 words the first week then slowed significantly once I started researching for some numbers to back up my observations. Still, I am pretty content with the progress so far and hope to have a draft finished within another week. The working title is Creative Conversations: Using Social Media to Connect. When it is done, it will be released by Those DeWolfes Creative as a free download and will be Creative Commons licensed (CC-ND) so that it can be shared freely.
Once it’s finished, I will be working on putting together an ebook of smoothie recipes, many drawn from what I learned last year doing a smoothie-a-day for June. A year later, I’m still making smoothies most mornings and have a few faves and a few I work into rotation when I have a chance.
2. I’m going to start a movie review YouTube show.
For over 20 years, my friend Alynda and I have been bouncing around the idea of doing a movie review show. We finally came up with a show title we like — The Cloud and the Silver Lining –and are going to have a companion blog to go with weekly shows doing reviews of “back catalog” films. We will try to tie into movies currently in theatres but look at films you “might also like…” to take a page from Netflix and Amazon. If you want to follow along, you can also like our Facebook page; content should start building in June.
3. ThoseDeWolfes Press published another book.
This is the first book we have published that we didn’t write or contribute to (although Shawn did design the cover); it’s a fantasy novel by Dave Robinson called Amadar and is now available for US$4.99 in several countries. I had to remember how to add the ISBN, but otherwise it went fairly well; only quirk — it was available for purchase in the US (and had two sales!) for about 10 hours before I could see it on my publisher’s bookshelf.
Well. That happened.
I came into this election feeling pretty damned apathetic. Our riding was pretty secure — even the earliest polls showed Rob Fleming out in front. Hubby even opted for a sign on our front lawn….
…but here’s my confession. Even though I really like Fleming — both as a person and as a representative — I could not support Adrian Dix as leader of the NDP let alone our Premier…. so when it came time to mark my X, I went Green.
Was that unethical? Maybe. Was I alone? Maybe not. Looking at the numbers, there is NO way any pollster was going to suggest the Liberals would take this, being 20 points behind when the election writ was called. However, I don’t think most split left. I think most of the people who were adults in the 90′s were fearful of an NDP government — especially people not living on the coast (look at the CBC-Election map (screen-captured at 10:45 pm 14 May) and you’ll see the orange NDP all down the coast and tucked into the Kootenays but red Liberal everywhere else — oh and one little dot of Green on the island.).
I also think, with turnout looking like it’s a pathetic 48%, I think some of the NDP’s support figured it was “in the bag” and stayed home. Classic blunder. (The most famous is never to get involved in a land war in Asia!) And on that note, I really have to congratulate Fleming and his team — they very actively reminded us to vote, either for the advance polls or today. We got door-hangers, phone calls, and visits. Very well-coordinated campaign and they got the vote out and even though it was a re-election and polls were in his favour, his team did not take the lead for granted.
Clark ran her campaign the same way — she did not take anything for granted. She stumped all over the province — pretty much every one of the 85 ridings. She took photo-ops, put on hard hats, kissed the proverbial babies, and, like her or not, worked hard. Dix? He had an air of entitlement around him that rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
So. What will this mean? Business as usual for the most part — certainly not the money fight I was expecting to see if the NDP got in. On the other hand? We kept the devil we know.
Fresh from Social Media Camp and one of the most interesting talks we attended was about Chinese social media (talk was by Paul Salo – full video embedded below). So today, Shawn and I got our feet wet by joining weibo.com — China’s answer to Twitter.
You might be wondering “Why?” but why not? I think it’s great to be able to find a new audience for my writing and my photos; and inside China, they can’t see Facebook or Twitter or many other websites we use regularly.
If you want, you can have a look at my profile: weibo.com/victriviaqueen — and if you have Google translate built into your Chrome browser you’ll see that a good chunk of it will translate, but not all of it. So it’s a little like pushing buttons in hopes that web usability is close enough to standard to make sense — and for the most part it seems to be
In some cases, where it doesn’t translate, the actual name of the link gives it away, e.g. …/signup.php or similar. That’s how I figured out how to set my specific domain to read /victriviaqueen instead of the assigned alphanumeric string (if you hover over that second one from the bottom (circled) it links to account.weibo.com/set/domain).
I am trying to keep track of all the little things that are not obvious for someone not able to read Chinese and will put together a how-to through Those DeWolfes Creative.
However, all of this made me realize I have wanted to learn Mandarin for a long time and would love to read simplified Chinese. Apparently, the average 8 year old in China knows about 200 characters which equates to about 40% of what you need to know to get by. Most literate adults know 1000 characters (90% of what you need) or more — 1000 is still not quite enough if you aren’t learning phrases though. There are over 80,000 characters but it seems like about 3500 covers close to 99% of what the average reader needs to know.
After some searching, I found Chinese Tutor (fastchinese.org) through the Google App Store and plugged it in. On and off all night I have been practicing characters. I started with 5 then as I mastered those it went to 9 then 12 then 14.
It’s addictive — perfect for educational software!
The flashcards are characters. You type in the pinyin (luckily, when inputting you don’t need to add the tones). Then it tells you whether you got it correct or incorrect. If you continue to get them correct, it unlocks more new words. I got to 24 “unlocked” words by 10:00.
I even tried pronouncing some, though the only one I got right out of the gate every time was the word for “hello” — which I know because Shawn says it frequently! I also got the word for “airplane” right by complete fluke twice, then flubbed it the third time. This isn’t going to be an easy thing.
Bonus: Kiddo got very excited and wants to learn, too!
So… 24 out of the 200 an eight year old might know and the at least 1000 that I need to get a grasp … this could take a while…
This year, hubby and I will be wearing our team colours and coaching newcomers at Social Media Camp starting Monday. We have been assigned seven newcomers whom I’m sure will have varied needs and differing levels of comfort and skill. So how will we manage all of this?
Well, we will do our best to answer their questions (or find them answers) and we will stick to some basic advice about social media.
- Be Complementary. Know your audience/market and go where they are. If your market is on Twitter and you are on Facebook, you are just going to be shouting into the wind.
- Be Choosy. Pick a manageable number of SM services rather than spreading you our your team thin over many services.
- Be Competent. Learn to use your chosen service(s) well.
- Be Creative. Don’t send the same message over multiple services. It’s OK to link to the same blog post across multiple services but you need to tweak the language depending on the service and audience. This also limits the number of people who tune out if fans follow in multiple places.
- Be Conversational. Don’t just broadcast, engage. You’ll hear that word a lot but it means you need to interact with your audience in a way that is positive and meaningful to them.
- Be Careful. Be mindful, positive, and keep it balanced. It’s not always easy to measure ROI, but it is often easy to calculate how much time you are spending versus how many engaged fans you have.
Other than that, I believe you can use any social media service to spread the word about you and your brand as long as you follow the basics!
Fan fiction uses characters and worlds created by other writers to build new stories. Sometimes, these fit well, sometimes the result is…. well… laughable. Very often, it is erotic or downright pornographic — and of course there is the whole subgenre of slash fiction but I digress.
I’ve only once written a fan fiction piece and it was a “drabble” challenge — 100 words, in the West Wing world. I mentioned this to Shawn yesterday and he said he’d never read it. I actually wouldn’t be surprised if he had read it and forgotten it but, since it was nearly 7 years ago (digital excavation found it as an Open Office file from May 2006), so here it is again:
“Yeah, I know.”
“Really. You don’t need to deal with this one.”
“Yeah. Except… there’s something here – See? On page three here.”
C.J. grabs the file out of Josh’s hands, “Josh, this memo is three years old. Leave it.”
“Really? You don’t think maybe –”
“No. I don’t. I don’t think you need it and I don’t think the President needs it. Now excuse me; I have to go and explain why we’re invading a country that didn’t exist until this morning.”
And that’s it. That is my entire foray into fan fiction and it will likely stay that way. Why? Because to me, fanfic is a little like digging through a writer’s closet and trying on their clothing. Sometimes it fits but more often you just end up looking like a nine year old playing dressup if you’re lucky, or the world’s worst cosplayer if you aren’t. I’ll let you be the judge of the West Wing piece above — brevity may be its saving grace.
If you’ve never seen The West Wing, I recommend at least the first four seasons — it got a little uneven after that. Oh, and that perfectly matched little set of screencaps is from a tumblr dedicated to Josh Lyman’s character. Too funny! In fact, if you follow through to the post that screencap is from, there is some dialogue from that scene so you can compare to my little snippet.
It’s May first and I am home sick (I’m not really that sick, but Kiddo is, so I stayed home to look after her) and I am thinking about the duality of May Day celebrations.
On one side is Beltane with its phallic maypole and celebrations of “coming together” (marriage & making babies) with parades and feasts.
On the other is International Worker’s Day (in Canada we celebrate on Labour Day instead), celebrating worker organization (unions) and workers’ rights (like regular work hours and safety) with marches and protests.
So … do the parades ever run into the marches? Hehehe.
But the weirdest coincidence today? Kiddo is watching Mayday right now (I have no idea why she loves this show).
If you are celebrating today, Happy May Day, whether you commemorate the achievements of the workers’ movement or observe the age-old traditions of Beltane. Of course in Canada, you are probably at work… but at least it’s a Wednesday so, happy hump-day.
A week ago, Shawn, Kiddo and I took part in a Dance Walk downtown. It was silly but fun. On Friday night, we went to Lucky Bar for a Daft Punk tribute show (well, Kiddo didn’t, owing to the fact that it was a bar) and danced in a more typical environment.
I used to spend hours and hours in dance clubs and while some things have changed (guys were as likely to be out there on the floor dancing alone or with their buddies as girls were), a lot is just the same (having to adapt to the space available, propping up the inevitable drunk folks, dodging the super-excited dancer who doesn’t adapt their style, and wearing the odd drink that someone thought was OK to carry through a crowd). At one point though, I freaked out and felt completely self-conscious and “old” even though we were far from the only 40-somethings in the room.
Dance Walking is a little closer to theatre than the bump and grind of a club floor. It forces you to not take yourself so damned seriously. The music wasn’t nearly loud enough to have the right effect but the concept is very much like being in a movie.
Joseph Gordon Levitt shows you how its done in 500 Days of Summer on his way to work while in that first-blush-of-love phase of the relationship…
And Amy Adams embarrasses Patrick Dempsy’s character in Enchanted with this over-the-top song and dance in Central Park…
Of course, no one does Dance Walking like the old Hollywood Musicals… even if it was in a studio lot. Here’s Gene Kelly performing the title track from Singin’ in the Rain..
And if you are looking for a good reason to dance (aside from exercise) — it turns out it is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of dementia. In a study funded by the National Institute on Aging, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 20031, the results showed that while doing crossword puzzles or other brain teasers could reduce the risk of dementia by 47%, regular dancing reduced it by 76%!
So I think I need to dance more
1Leisure Activities and the Risk of Dementia in the Elderly
Joe Verghese, M.D., Richard B. Lipton, M.D., Mindy J. Katz, M.P.H., Charles B. Hall, Ph.D., Carol A. Derby, Ph.D., Gail Kuslansky, Ph.D., Anne F. Ambrose, M.D., Martin Sliwinski, Ph.D., and Herman Buschke, M.D.
N Engl J Med 2003; 348:2508-2516June 19, 2003DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa022252
Longevity is a curse.
Our lifespan has increased dramatically as a key benefit of civilization. The Tomb of the Eagles on Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland, produced the remains of 342 people. The most common age of death was early adulthood, between fifteen and thirty. Only 1.5% of people were over 40, and very few lived to reach the age of 50. Our longevity has hockey sticked in the last century. We’re saving children from an untimely demise and we’re keeping the old alive longer.
Photo credit: “Hug” by zhouxuan12345678 on Flickr.
The universe has been screaming at me lately, saying something like, “BE WITH PEOPLE.” I’m not completely sure if those are the exact words, the screaming is pretty loud.
Among the chorus of voices:
- Hubby’s blog post about friends
- a recent evening out in which we met new people and saw other friends
- a lot of deep conversations with different people online that I wish were in person
- discussions about the benefits of nudity spurred by an article shared on Facebook that also led to an accounting of local “clothing optional” beaches
- this post about hugs vs. deluxe hugs (which just made me want to hug people)
- all the shitty news stories coming out of the states (which also make me want to hug people)
All this, collectively, seems to remind me that I need human contact. Not just my family but friends too — friends I’ve known for a while and friends I’ve only known online and people who are little more than avatars to me at this point. As much as I love the dimensions of social media, I know I do have to “climb out of the Matrix” from time to time. So, I’ve been making an effort to get out more often with friends, see people in real life and have real conversations and see facial expressions, and even get a hug now and then Hubby is doing the same.
At work, I made the commitment to go outside every day. Whether I sit in the sunshine or walk through the drizzle, I make sure I get out of the basement, go outside, breathe unfiltered air, and see daylight. It also means I interact with people — even if it’s just holding a door open for someone. It has done wonders for my mental health.
We’ve both uncharacteristically signed up for the “dance walk” tomorrow. Of course Hubby and I signed up without really clearing it with Kiddo and then we sprung it on her… so I explained it was like the zombie walk but with less zombies, “but you can be a zombie if you like.” So that is her plan.
Going forward, if you haven’t seen me (or us) in a while and would like to get together, just give us a shout. Heck, you can even drop by — but if you don’t call ahead and you find us indulging in the benefits of nudity, well we aren’t paying for any counselling.