Archive for the 'Blogging' Category

Working

Working on my SSHRC application this weekend, grading assignments, and writing a paper. Everything is due Monday.

Thanks everyone for the recent comments. If you haven’t seen yours here yet it’s because it’s in cue with several hundred others. Mixed in with the viagra et al spam are comments that agree with me and comments that don’t. They all have to wait. I’ll get to them in time but not likely this weekend. Sorry to disappoint but everything is not always all about you.

I suggest those of you that can relax, take a break and do so. I’ll join you when I can.

Social Networking Hilarity

There’s going to be another Windsor blogger meetup on Tuesday October 21, 2008 at Taloola Cafe @ 7pm-ish. In the process of spreading the word I realized that I was

facebooking
about the
wiki
for our
meetup
about
blogging.

Is that somehow redundant?

Windsor Blogger Meetup Tonight

A bunch of local bloggers have started meeting up on a monthly basis. The February meetup is tonight at Taloola Cafe, start time 7:30, everyone is welcome.

There’s a wiki here with details http://windsorblogs.pbwiki.com/

and the signup for February is here http://windsorblogs.pbwiki.com/February+2008

Last month there was a mix of blog topics — technology, photos, food, navel-gazing, local politics…and looking at the sign up so far it looks like it will be that way again. Hopefully something for everyone.

CSS Get Naked Day

What happened to the design?

It's CSS Naked Day

Today is the 2nd Annual Naked Day, when people everywhere disable the styles on their websites.

The idea is promoting Web Standards. It’s a good time to see how your site loads (i.e. how far down the page is your real content?)

I tested to see how it would look first in Firefox with the web developer toolbar by simply disabling the CSS ( CSS > Disable Styles > All styles). I was mostly happy with what I saw so in header.php I commented out the call to the stylesheet. There are a few things I see that I need to tidy up but for now, here you have it: my naked blog.

Enjoy.

For more info and a list of sites that have gone naked for the day check out the Annual CSS Naked Day website for more information.

Winter Projects

I turned in my application to the MA history program with an exciting proposal to collect oral histories from the last women to give birth on Pelee Island,Ontario, back in the 1950s. By then most women were relocating to either mainland Ontario (Leamington or Windsor) or to Ohio to give birth. Pelee Cottage SunsetI’m excited because there’s a personal connection – my grandmother was one of the last women to give birth at home on the island (to my father). Even though she died over 10 years ago from breast cancer, I feel connected to her through this project. It also means I’ll get to go to Pelee to talk to people and talking to the older generation of islanders is always a hoot. (photo credit Jonath, flickr.com. Click the image to go to the photo’s flickr page.)

I’m working on a directed study this semester, cross-listed between the Women’s Studies and History departments about how the emerging technologies of blogs and user-generated media have changed the form and content of communications between mothers and information about mothering. I’m not a mommyblogger but I’ve followed the flurry with interest since BlogHer 2005 where it was identified as a radical act by Finslippy. I’ve watched La Leche League change from a personal mother-to-mother organization for breastfeeding help to an organization with a strong emphasis on online helping and information sharing – including providing mothers and health care professionals with links to Dr. Jack Newman’s video clips for help with latch and positioning and the online Community Network for leaders, and forums for mothers. It’s still mother-to-mother, but it’s changed. Online communities help with the sense of isolation mothers can feel after having a baby, but the technology changes the style and who has access to helping. The project is still too large and it’s hard to cut out pieces of the research in order to make the project more manageable, but it’s getting there.

I’ve begun writing a summer project grant that will (hopefully) allow me to make podcasts of historical Canadian texts in the public domain. I’m excited about it and hope to work with Toronto’s Mitchell Girio for production quality and also hoping for some original music from Mitch and some local Windsor artists. I’ve had some skeptical response to the idea from traditional historians who wonder if people would actually be interested in downloading and listening to Canadian history on an mp3 player — but I see it as a great way to encourage interest in our past — and to give attention to works that maybe haven’t been included in the traditional canon of what is Canadian History. I think it’s incredibly exciting and of course, you never know until you try. I know I would do it, and I know my kids would be into it too. That’s enough for now, for me.

Actiongirls is getting busy too. We’ve planned a pile of Stitch n Bitch sessions with more to come. This project is slowly attracting community interest. There was a reporter from the Windsor Star at our meeting yesterday who asked plenty of baited/leading questions. No doubt there will be an article filled with misquotes in the paper on Monday. /sigh/

So… I’ve discovered that there are places where people with ideas like mine gather and brainstorm and plan and Norther Voice Banner develop and change the world. One of the conferences I’m trying to get to is later this month: Norther Voice 2007. They’re offering a travel subsidy (deadline today, Feb 2 at 12 PST). I never considered that I might be able to go to this since travel across Canada is crazy expensive but when I found out about the funding assistance I decided I should try. With the bursary I could get there and learn and contribute my experience as a women’s-studies-history-IT-student-mom-activist-artist-geek. Without it, there will be nothing but homework and dishes and laundry for me until I save more pennies. Maybe it will help me sort out where I’m headed, trying to combine computer science, history, feminism, activism, and art. Either way I’d get to see the Rockies.

Meaningful work

If I lived in Vancouver, was done school, and looking for work, this job opening at Social Signal would be the one for me. In the meantime, maybe this is the one for you? Here are some excerpts from the posting. For the entire job description and more about Social Signal, click through to Alexandra Samuel’s post.

Wanted: Web services consultant

Who you are: You enjoy working with technology, and want your work to have social value. You like knowing that the work you’ve done each day has made a real difference – to your colleagues, your clients, and the world. If you’ve got a free evening you’re torn between spending it online checking out a new site you’ve heard about, or heading out to meet your friends at a community gathering or demonstration.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • configuring and troubleshooting web sites for socially-oriented online communities (you don’t need to be a programmer or web designer, but you do need to enjoy learning new software programs or web tools)
  • advising on site strategy and design as part of a development team
  • researching, writing and/or copy editing blog posts and online community contentwriting how-to guides to help community members use advanced online tools with ease and confidence
  • identifying and exploring new web sites, tools and strategies

Skills:

  • tech skills (Mac/Windows/Linux, software programs you know, web tools you use)
  • solid writing and communication skills
  • personal organization and time management

Experience:

  • technology work (paid or volunteer) for community organizations, socially-oriented businesses, or government agencies
  • projects where you have developed or managed a web site or blog
  • professional or personal projects that have required you to learn a new software tool or technical skill
  • situations where you’ve resolved a technology challenge
  • situations where you’ve been the primary tech support for colleagues or friends
  • writing for work or fun, on a regular basis, possibly on a blog
  • volunteer work for community organizations or causes
  • situations where you’ve worked independently with minimal supervision
  • situations where you’ve gone the extra mile to get the job done

Interests:

  • commmunity groups, projects or issues you’re involved in
  • web sites you like or web tools you’re excited about

Bonus points for:

  • having your own blog
  • demonstrated knowledge of Drupal, WordPress, PHP, HTML or CSS
  • knowledge of one or more scripting or programming languages
  • a personal take on the relative virtues of open source and proprietary software

We’re looking for a progressive, tech-friendly person whose passion for social change is matched only by a fascination with technology. This sixth member of our team will have a hands-on role in developing and implementing online community projects for our diverse range of clients. We don’t need a programmer, but we do need someone who enjoys working with computers and is a quick learner. We can help you learn the tech skills you need for the job; you need to come equipped with your own communications savvy, political smarts, and love of new tech challenges.

Compensation will be commensurate with skills and experience. Please note that this is an entry-level position.

Theory and practice, geekdom and activism… what an awesome way to contribute to the world.

Site update: new look for femilicious

It’s been almost a year and a half since femilicious was born and I felt that it was time for a new look. This new theme is based on Freedom Blue by Frank Helmschrott. I chose this theme after searching off and on for a few weeks for something that wouldn’t need too much tweaking to get a look and feel I like, and in one afternoon I have something I think I can live with for awhile.

Besides changing some colours, one of the changes I made to get this theme up was to change the German text to English. I doubt it would slow down an avid blog reader but I’m not sure how many people understand the German for “submit a comment” and “email required”. I didn’t know I did until I was doing it. There are still a few words here and there that need translation to English and I’ll get to these soon. It’s just a matter of hunting down which files hold the text and editing them.

There was also an error in the Archives.php file – I had to change the id to match the other pages so that the content would wrap inside the left-hand div. The id is misnamed so if you’re trying to get this theme working on your own site change

<div id="content">

to

<div id="contentwrap">

in the fourth line of code. Once this is changed the body will sit in the left div and the sidebar will return to the right.

One of the things I like about this theme is that the divs set the main content first and the sidebar information follows. This is really important for browsing without a stylesheet. It’s not just for Naked Day anymore; people browsing from mobile devices or with a speech reader don’t want to scroll through/listen to your entire blogroll, archives, and categories before they get to your new post. If you want to see how your divs are laid out, one easy way is install the Web Developer Toolbar for Firefox, then on the CSS tab select Disable Styles then choose All Styles. You can get a pretty good idea here of what your site will look like to someone with a text only browser. If things are not good you can fix it by rearranging your divs so the most important content comes first and controlling presentation with floats.

I decided to try out a random html flickr badge for some colour and life. It’s also for my own benefit as a happiness generator. It makes me happy to see pictures that I took on vacation or somewhere else fun. There were some problems finding a placement for the badge that didn’t throw the entire site presentation out of whack. I had originally thought to place it in the header but had a much easier time setting it at the top of the main style template after the call for the get_header function. Opera and MSInternet Explorer didn’t like the having CSS information in the php file so I had to cut it out and move it into the stylesheet. Now that I’ve done that it’s looking good in Opera but MSIE still needs a bit of tweaking. MSIE is a nightmare for incompatibilities. For that reason, if you’re not already using it, you might want to get firefox - it will make your life so much better, and not just if you’re developing for the web. For added browsing pleasure, install AdBlock Plus and you can take advertising right out of your life.

I still want to bring back the categories list and the blogroll but those need a bit more work so they’ll have to wait for another day. If you find a glaring mess in any browser please leave a comment.

Update: Right above the comment text box are some buttons whose labels were in German until an few minutes ago. The values for the buttons were in a separate javascript file, sitting in wp-content / themes / this theme and lo-and-behold there it was. I knew it was javascript and that it was somewhere but it took me awhile to find it. I’ve changed those to English now as well. If you mouseover you can read the German. Enjoy.

Not a mommyblogger, not a Jane

I’m on my way home from BlogHer 2006 and realizing that there are a lot of things I am not. Mostly today I know I’m not a mommyblogger.

Mommy/parent blogging does have incredible potential to support new parents in what can be overwhelming isolation and a shocking discovery that babies are not all crisp cotton, cute bunny flannel, and eyelet lace. But there was a sense that BlogHer 2006 was a mommyblog love-in. I know mommy bloggers are plentiful and organized into communities and websites and it makes sense that many would want to attend BlogHer to meet their blog crushes, friends, etc., but… they’re a tough clique to crack – and not all women desire these things. I felt like I was crashing a party or like Hermie the wanna-be dentist elf who just didn’t fit in.

I don’t think I’ve made enough of an effort to really find a place in any blogging community in particular. I’ve been a blog hermit and a blog transient: I read daily, I write occasionally, but mostly I keep to myself. I can make a conscious effort to try to break out of my hermit ways but what about the many other non-mommybloggers there this weekend? I wish someone had organized a session that would have taken on some of the heavier issues that were only brushed upon this weekend. I thought the feminist blogger birds of a feather session might have done this but it was over before it really got going. Maybe had I attended the post BlogHer Woolfcamp…

It takes a certain amount of confidence to walk up to someone and start talking. It takes a belief that you have something worthwhile to share and/or enough courage to say ftw if no one cares. BlogHer was just too big for me. I would have done better with some smaller break-out sessions – though maybe these happened in other sessions and I missed them. How many other bloggers are introverted and have a hard time jumping in to large group discussions? The long days with back-to-back sessions wore me out. I know that many, many bloggers are insightful and intelligent and I would have loved to talk to more of them.

I also know that I’m not a Jane. I’ve done home repairs (and foresee many more in my future) but I get sweaty and I swear when it gets rough. Which, at my house happens quickly. My tools are crummy because many of them used to live outside on my grandparents’ farm. The house really should have fallen down at least a generation ago. Keeping it standing is not an exciting weekend project, it’s an ongoing struggle that I’d rather not think about. It’s far from a girls’ night pajama party but maybe that’s because I’m not staining my driveway or hanging a shelf, I’m dealing with a rotting foundation. A rotting foundation that I’m very happy to have considering the stats for single mothers in Canada.

BlogHer highlights for me: drinks on the patio Friday night and finding out Saturday morning that one of those awesome women writes arse poetica (one of the first feeds I ever grabbed!!!) and meeting the great and multiblogous Sour Duck at the Day 2 welcome.

Yay Canadian BlogHers!!!

Hooray for Kate!

After BlogHer 2005 (which I could not attend) I got really keen for bringing it to Canada. I talked with the team at BlogHer and they put me in contact with Alexandra Samuel. Unfortunately my house was robbed right as the excitement was building and with no computer it was a challenge to keep up the momentum. Then the new semester began and here it is April…

Luckily Kate has started up with the idea and there is interest! I’m so excited – it will be a great way to meet other bloghers, and a fabulous way to share the work of planning.

Doing too much (again)

I don’t know how it happens. Last week I was enjoying a visit from my oldest and dearest friend and her son, cooking meals and eating them sitting down. I had clean laundry and exciting plans for the upcoming semester. Now it’s four days into classes, I’m overwhelmed by assignment due dates, already behind in the readings, falling asleep all over the place, giving up on a grant application, dropping plans everywhere, bailing on lunchdates with friends and just generally sinking into depression. Luckily the kids are still fed and mostly have clean things they can wear so I know it’s not that serious.

I drift between feeling great/wanting to do all the things I’ve ever dreamed of and wanting to hide and never come out. I keep surfing to the BlogHer site and dreaming about going to the 2006 conference. I imagine all the things I could learn, all the cool discussions that will take place, and all the amazing women I could meet. I even checked out the hotel site and the assorted cheap flight sites. I want to go. I do. But I just can’t bring myself to do it. Read more »

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