Thursday, June 01, 2006


Pocket lint

Marla wrote a great, rambling post the other day (you think I ramble? You ain’t seen from ramble ‘till you’ve been to Marla’s place) about how ideas for a blog post just jumped out and hurled themselves at her over the course of a rather strange afternoon.

I’m so jealous! Why don’t blog ideas leap out of the shadows and assault me? After 503 posts, am I finally out of material?

Not hardly.

I have a bunch of stuff. What I lack is a unifying theme. Let’s call this the pocket lint post, where I show you bits I’ve been stuffing in my pockets with the idea of doing something creative and interesting, and instead just turn my pockets inside out and show you the goods.

For starters, did you notice the cool little blog trick I added to the sidebar last week?

(Ack, tried to reproduce it here, but it's not showing. You'll have to look over on the right and scroll down. It's the pretty box with the colourful words.) It’s called a Zoom Cloud, and unlike this word cloud, it continues to aggregate words from your RSS feed, so over time you can see which words you use with the most frequency. Quelle surprise, my most common words seem to be Tristan, Simon, mom, love and coffee! But what’s really cool is that you can click through on the words, and it shows you a list of posts that use that word. So it’s kind of like an index, or a category system (which Blogger sadly lacks.)

I love it! I love watching how the words change from day to day. (If you make one yourself, make sure you put in your blog’s site feed, and not just your site URL. )

Speaking of creative, did you read that Martha Stewart is launching her own version of My Space, but aimed at adult women in the 25 to 45 demographic. A spokesperson says there is currently nothing on the Web for this demographic to share photographs, scrapbooks, recipes and similar projects. Um, have they heard of blogs? I dunno, I’m smack in the heart of their target market, but I don’t think I’ll be stampeding over there to check it out. And they don’t launch until late 2007 (16 months or more away!) – don’t they have any concept of how quickly Web 2.0 is changing social networking? Who knows what the state of the Web will be in a year and a half. From a biz perspective, making this announcement now seems a bit ridiculous.

You know what's a really cool and rather useful tool? Google Calendar. I've been using it for about a week, and I think it will be incredibly helpful as the boys get older to keep track of appointments, social engagements, birthdays and other events. I suspect my own family doctor has turfed me as a patient because I missed my last physical appointment, and we've had to reschedule a bunch of things lately because we've double-booked ourselves. I can keep one calendar with family stuff, another with work stuff, and Beloved can keep his own calendar, but we can view them all concurrently. And it has reminders! (Sadly, I will still have to transcribe things from the Google calendar on to the wall calendar in the kitchen, because it is the absolute authority on all events. If it ain't on the kitchen calendar, it ain't happening.)

And finally, speaking of calendars and birthdays (hey, look - sometimes segues just crawl out of the Interweb on their own!) a friend sent me a link to the Birthday Calendar. Not only does it calculate your age in days, hours, minutes and seconds (ouch), but it does some kewl numerological analysis, gives some astrological information and a bit of other trivia. The candles on my next birthday cake will generate enough heat to boil 4.2 oz of water. Not nearly so cool as the Zoom Cloud, but worth a click if you’re bored.