HTML, XHTML, & CSS

The major difference between HTML and XHTML is that XHTML requires that you be very consistent with your coding, meaning all of it needs to be correct.  It requires that your source code be more structured.  Using HTML will pretty much guarantee your site won’t look the same in EVERY browser, which to me is very frustrating, especially outdated browsers like Internet Explorer.  Sometimes, I’ll look at my (personal) website, not this one, in Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari and I’ll see that Internet Explorer is the most off, especially with padding and line height in my CSS.  Not that making your site look the same in every browser can’t be done, you just have to add certain codes to your CSS and website document to ensure that it does.  However,  XHTML seems like a nice solution right now.  It’s always worth switching to a markup language that’s an actual upgrade.

CSS (Cascading Style Sheet), a proper definition would be –

a simple mechanism for adding style (e.g. fonts, colors, spacing) to Web documents.

[w3.org]

So, basically, a webpage would be pretty plain and boring without CSS, every site uses it.  It also includes the change in link colors, headers, font size, font type, font weight, etc.  It’s quite easy to learn how to do.  You could actually create an entire web page by just using CSS, which I’ve just recently learned how to do.

Web Standards are – Standardized specifications for Internet markup languages such as HTML, CSS, and XML. Formulated by the W3 organization, these standards enable people to create websites that will work in almost any browser or internet-enabled device, instead of being specific to certain versions of browsers.

Web Standards are significant because it would be pretty limitless if a website only worked in let’s say…Internet Explorer.  Not everyone in the world is internet savvy to realize “oh, maybe this site doesn’t work in my browser, but if I download another one maybe it would work”, so it’s important for sites to work in the most popular browsers as Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer.

Helpful Sources: About Web Design, WordPress Codex, W3.Org, Internet Glossary

Posted in css, html, xhtml. 2 Comments »

Video/Audio Podcasting

Have you ever thought about how much better it would be to incorporate a video or audio podcast onto your website rather than just have a boring old blog with just text that most people just skim through anyway?

Before I did some research, I never realized how many benefits there really are.  First off, it’s now becoming a rareity for people to actually have time to sit down and read long drawn out blogs.  I’ll be honest, for me, it’s painful to have to sit there and read very long blogs.  I prefer blogs that are short, sweet, and to the point you know?  Unless I’m researching on a specific topic and actually have to read it or unless the blog is quite interesting and it has my eyes glued to my computer screen, I most likely won’t.

What I get out of the benefits of video and podcasting is it will be more convenient to website viewers.  Instead of sitting down reading a blog, which people rarely have time to do these days, they can subscribe through RSS feeds and download your video or audio podcast right onto their MP3, iPod, or other audio device and listen to it anytime or anywhere they want; whether it be walking the dog, taking out the trash, working out while listening, etc.  How cool is that?  It’s also much more efficient.  It’s been proven that most people retain more information through imagery and actually hearing, rather than reading.  The views and traffic of your website will most likely increase tremendously.

Most importantly vodcasting “show cases charisma and communication skills”.  Audio podcasting demonstrates verbal charisma with your viewers.  Bottom line is, people love to be spoon fed and it seems like the more convenience and more you have to offer your visitors, the more they’ll love you for it and continue to visit your site.  You don’t see many average blogs with tens of thousands of visitors even sometimes in the first couple of months of opening, it takes a lot of work to get a regular blog popular, however, I believe that one that incorporates voice and imagery into their blog will most likely receive tons of more hits and daily visitors.

I’m not currently subscribed to any audio podcasts, though I do know of one, Kat at Kat Got Your Tongue does podcasting, I can listen to her while browsing other sites.  I don’t have to completely stop what I’m doing just to see what she’s up to in her blog.  I’ve subscribed on a few on Youtube, one being – Raven Symone Presents.   I think they’re fun to listen to in my spare time, I’d definately prefer to just listen rather than read, though if the person has a dull, boring, uninteresting voice, I’d probably rather read, but I guess that depends!

Also, about a year ago, I have tried podcasting myself, on Youtube.  It was quite fun, though it didn’t jump off, I’d only made one cast.  I did have a few subscribers and people interesting in hearing more.  I may try again in the future!

Sources: Articles Base, Mobile Cast Media, Byline Blog

Information Trapping

Information trapping is exactly what it is, trapping information.  Taking advantage of RSS feeds, Google Alerts, call alert, etc. are examples of information trapping.  Instead of searching all over the web for what you need, which could take forever, sign up for the things you’re interested in and just have it all sent to you as it’s posted, which is trapping the wanted information.  It’s also keeping up with information as it happens, keeping up with the latest web trends, rather than reading old articles or information, new things are released everyday.

I’ve never really taken advantage of the tools involved with information trapping.  The only time I have is when I was really interested in acting and I had audition alerts sent straight to my cell phone when new audition opportunities in my area arised, but as far as the web, I don’t take full advtantage of it.  There are only about 4 or 5 sites I visit daily, so there’s no need for me to really subscribe, I just usually visit them and see what’s new.  This is an excellent learning tool, but I guess I get overwhelmed by butt loads of e-mails in my inbox.  I subscribed to a few blogs a few weeks ago and my e-mail on gmail is constantly full and it’s just not helpful.  I would just rather go to the sites themselves.  I guess I’m more of a go getter, though I’m sure if there’s information I really need, this would be a great tool to take advantage of.

i think this is an excellent way to learn and keep up with what you’re interested in overall.

Helpful Sources: Research Buzz, Information Trapping Book Summary, and The Mendicant Bug

Twitter – What are you doing?

So, I’ve recently signed up and explored what Twitter (twitter.com) actually is.  I was thinking it was just another profile site type thing, like myspace.com or facebook.com, but it’s not.  Basically, it’s just a “what’s your status” site and there’s a simple box asking what you’re doing and you simply type it in.  I think it is a neat idea, espcially if you have tons of friends that use it, you can all stay updated on each other.  It’s very simple and easy to use.

I personally would not not find it useful mainly because most of my friends, family, and significant others are on Facebook and some on Myspace.  Frankly, with no one I know personally on Twitter, who cares what I’m doing? And the other way around.  I don’t particularly join social networking sites to meet strangers and to be updated on them. I join them because most people that I know in real life are joined and that’s how I mainly keep in touch with some of them and I feel myself of more importancy (on facebook and myspace) being that people actually want to be updated on my life and status.

The way I meet new people online is through my personal blog (not this one), not through social networking sites, maybe rarely though.  I think I will stick to Facebook for “what are you doing” updates, where I actually matter, lol.  It seems like with Twitter, if you don’t know anyone, you’d basically have to work your way up to popularity or something for people you don’t know to actually care.  I am not particularly seeking online popularity, well…Twitter popularity that is.

Collective Intelligence

I first want to tell what I first thought when I heard “collective intelligence”.  I thought maybe it had something to do with humans and their interaction with computers.  The real definition of collective intelligence is:

Collective intelligence is the capacity of human communities to evolve towards higher order complexity and harmony, through such innovation mechanisms as differentiation and integration, competition and collaboration.

So what if there was just one person on the entire face of the earth, say…yourself and there was no other people around and you were the only human.  Do you think you would be capable or have the resources to learn new things besides what’s already in your own world?  Collective intelligence is all about humans coming together to achieve a higher level intelligence by sharing the knowledge they already know, therefore learning from each other and gaining new ideas and perspectives.

For example, there is an interactive media club at my school in which students can come together and exchange ideas as in a public forum (community), where everyone is coming together for a common reason because of common interests wanting to learn more about new things about whatever it is.

Not only is it about exchanging ideas, but it’s also about achieving a higher hierachy or a better lifestyle.  Making money would be an example.  When you’re a teen you will most likely not become C.E.O. of some company right off.  You will probably have to start off at a fast food restaurant (for example), go to college, get a degree, start off at the bottom somewhere and as you learn more you can work your way up to higher positions (which is sometimes competitive), therefore making more money and achieving that ‘higher heirachy’ of living.

You obtain all these accomplishments through learning, hence, the term collective intelligence.  The topic of collective intelligence has become so much more interesting because of the online world and being able to connect to people all over through the internet and being able to access new people and their cultures and being able to learn and exchange new ideas. 

 I have never used the term collective intelligence until now and now that I have, I’m so moved by it and what it is.  It’s just us learning from each other and achieving something higher for ourselves.  I meet new interesting people everyday and learn new helpful things for my own life.  From the first post on this blog up until now, I feel like I’m already climbing my hierachy of knowledge.  I think as people you should want to do this.  Instead of staying in your comfort zone of people like you that you’re comfortable with, you should venture out and learn new things, you never know what you could learn from people who aren’t like you, even if they are just online.

Sources: Robin Good, BCI, and Enlightment Magazine

Communities of Practice

After reading and researching I summed up a community of practice as a community of people coming together for a common reason (i.e. an organization) to share their own knowledge of whatever the organization is about.  Communities of practice form overtime as the members begin to realize how their knowledge can e contributed or once they realize their place of importancy in the community.  With all the members passing on their own knowledge in the organization they are then able to learn from each other.  It is not necessarily a ‘formal’ organization as it’s very flexible and members can contribute however they want and to whatever degree they want.  It is a very valuable learning resource for people interested in a common thing.

I personally strongly support communities of practice.  No one person can know everything and be an expert at everything.  Everyone has their own expertise.  So, in these communities of practice, each person has their own perspective and knowledge about the certain thing.  In essence, when you have all these uniquely knowledgeable individuals, you then have a community in which everyone can come together and learn from each other.

The first thing that pops into my head when I think about communities of practice is a discussion forum, I think that is the perfect example because a discussion forum is an online community in which anyone can join amongst other members and discuss topics of common itnerests.  Some examples of forums if you don’t know what they are: Blogger Discussion Forums, Political Discussion Forum, and Movie Discussion Forum.  Just like a community of practice, you’re there to share your own knowledge of a certain thing or topic and in essence you’re learning from other members.

I like this way of learning much more than just the traditional institutionalized way of learning where you’re just listening to one person talk the whole time, only getting to see that one person’s views of everything and then just “giving them back the information on a test or quiz then forgetting about the information a week later” (as my IMD teacher once said) .  Rather, you are seeing the views of a variety of people and you can be excited to contribute your own knowledge as well, not only that you’re learning from others, they’re learning from you, and on top of that you’re actually using your own knowledge to help others, not just studying, taking a test then forgetting about it.

To me, this is one of the best learning tools out there.  I would definately want to take part one of these and I think in the near future this would become one of my default personal learning environments because I learn best in discussions and knowing/learning other people’s new persectives about things.  Now that I think about it, in a way, I am already involved in this.  I actually created my own discussion forum – SnapBeat Forums, which is just like everything I just stated, feel free to join if you’d like!

Readers: Are you a apart of any kind of communities of practice such as a discussion forum?  Do you find it useful?  If you’re not a part of any, do you think you would find them useful or does it seem confusing or difficult?

Acknolwedgements/Sources: Communities of Practice Artcle (by: Etienne Wenger), Full Circle Associates, Chris-Kimble, DSE

Being a Sufficient Blogger

What is a blog?

“Blog” is an abbreviated version of “weblog,” which is a term used to describe web sites that maintain an ongoing chronicle of information. A blog is a frequently updated, personal website featuring diary-type commentary and links to articles on other Web sites. Blogs range from the personal to the political, and can focus on one narrow subject or a whole range of subjects.

From reading Stephen Downes article “How To Be Heard” and several other articles on the web about how to have a successful blog on the web, there are a few tips of advice that really stood out to me in order to have a succficient or successful blogs, things I think are pretty vital and important when it comes to attracting visitors and readers.  This is also coming from my stand point as a personal blogger myself for about 2 years now.

Purpose: Find your purpose or reason for blogging.  Why do you do it?  Is it just for fun or are you passion about getting your thoughts or ideas out there to the world?  If you have no purpose for bloggin then it is a lost cause.

Design: The design and look of your blog is extremely crucial. Nobody wants to come to a blog only to see that the text is microscopic causing them to strain their eyes and franky hardly anyone will.  Make sure your text is large enough and readable.  As for your design, always choose one main color cheme for your entire blog, it will make it look way more organized.  Meaning, don’t make your homepage text black and red and then your about me page text yellow and orange, it’s terrible unattractive and is quite a turn off.  It also takes away the neatness from your blog.

Topics:  Post topics that are not only interesting to you, but also interesting to others.  Just because you’re itnrigued by how much bacteria can be found on a chewed piece of gum doesn’t mean everyone else will (that is only an example, no offense intended).  If you find that you aren’t getting any readers/comments for days even weeks, find things and make a list or collection of topics most people would find interesting.  Such as a recent movie you saw or world topics/issues. 

Length: Make sure your blogs are to the point and not too drawn out.  This isn’t a Shakesphere masterpiece, it’s blogging.  Not many people are going to read 2 and 3 pages of something you wrote, they have lives to, they may read a couple of paragraphs at the most, but it’s important to not make your blogs too long.

Marketing:  Sure blogging is fun and enjoyable, but what makes it more fun is when you actually have daily readers.  They do not come overnight and sometimes not at all if you don’t make an effort to get your blog out there (also refer to topics) and there are several easy ways to do market your blog as: commenting other people’s blogs, e-mail people you know letting them know you have a blog, post it on your profile like myspace, facebook, etc.

Too hard? If you think blogging is difficult, boring, or uninteresting, then by all means use your time otherwise.  Blogging should be something out of free will and because you enjoy it and it should not feel as an obligation.  If it feels like a job to you rather than a hobby then blogging is not for you.  You will most likely abandon it and it will just go down in flames.

On a personal note, I like blogging for fun and as a hobby, sometimes to post random yet interesting thoughts that post people may not think of most of the time.  I have a personal blog side aside from this class blog site in which I also provide free website content and resources. 

Question for readers/bloggers: Do you enjoy blogging?  Why do you do it?

Sources: Stephen Downes “How to Be Heard” article, Blogging Tips, Performancing, Average Joe, Kassandra Project