Sprinkles from around the web: Interesting links 4/30-5/06/10

Sprinkles from around the web

Links of interest I’ve found around the web. Your mileage may vary.


So Nashville Is Flooded… How Can I Help?. If you haven’t heard, Nashville’s under water. Check out this link for a list of ways to help.


Win a trip for two to Jordan. ExOfficio’s the company I work for, and we’re giving away a trip. If you’re over 18-years-old, live in the US, and are not related to me, put your name in. Odds are pretty good.


The Accidental Arab: Alexander Siddig interviewed by Jamal Mahjoub in Bidoun. I’m a big fan of Siddig and this is truly a wonderful interview. Both Siddig and Mahjoub share their experiences portraying and writing (respectively) Arabian characters and about their own identities.

“According to my mother, within six months I had learned English and within two years I had forgotten Arabic.” — Siddig

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5 Reasons to Follow Me (emcgillivray) on Twitter

Follow me (emcgillivray) over on TwitterPost inspired by Corvida over on SheGeeks.net.

Here are 5 Reasons to follow me (emcgillivray) over on Twitter and why Twitter is part of my relevant conversations.

1. You get an instant version of me, and I tend to share more of my interests in quick bursts than sitting down to write a blog post. You’ll see more of what you see here and at my other blogs, but Twitter is far more easy to share through.

2. I share out links that I find interesting and I think that you might too. Knowledge is power, after all. Even if that knowledge is chatter about the new Star Trek movie.

3. Many of my links come from friends, especially my Tweeple. I help my friends get heard beyond just their social circle.

4. I engage my tweeple and, in turn, we have conversations.

5. I recently got a G1 Android phone and started sharing photos from it on Twitter to help illustrate my life.

I’d love if you joined me over on Twitter or started following me if you’re over there already. Let the sharing began.

Happy New President Time

Obama in the Oval Office

This is perhaps one of my favorite pictures from Obama’s first official day on the job. There’s just something so awe-inspiring about that huge desk. So everything that room has seen, it always impresses.

When I was 9-years-old, I wanted to be President when I grew up, and Obama gives me hope that maybe might pipe dream is a possibility for someone like me. (Though I seriously doubt I will ever be president.)

Some of what the President is doing is already very exciting. Check out the Obameter, which tracks what Obama promised, what his team is working on, and what he’s already passed. Some highlights in less than a week are the repeal of the global gag rule and orders Guantanamo’s closure.

While the economy is still depressing, I’ve been enjoying listening to news and hearing good things. Hearing the effectiveness of a government. Hearing a hopeful message.

However, as I was looking at the picture above, I realized something was missing. Granted, it was the first day and everything might be moved in, but not in place. For contrast, check out my desk at home.

Yeah, for a President addicted to his Blackberry, a computer or any technology is missing from the picture of the office. Traditionally, presidents have chosen not to use e-mail due to it being subject to National Archiving and can be subpoenaed in court. However, Obama won that battle and will be using his Blackberry. Though with a limited scope of who can access it, and the National Archive has said that they won’t archive personal things, or as I like to think, the cute little messages he sends to his daughters.

However, it’s not just Obama that’s going through tech withdrawal. His very tech-savvy team is horrified about how draconian White House technology is. The White House has PCs running Windows XP compared to their slick Macs. White House web filters block Facebook, MySpace, and personal e-mail among other sites. Sites that Obama’s staff used to help him win. Access to instant messaging forbidden. Even the phones didn’t work.

On a side note, I’ve heard government filters are extremely strict. I have a friend who works for the Washington State Patrol, and if he surfs to a blocked site — like Facebook — his web browser locks and he has to have his supervisor come over and unlock it. 0_0

As some tech blogs noted, Welcome to the Corporate World as many of the Obama staff’s problems are familiar to anyone who’s worked a desk job. However, I would say that I’m looking forward to Obama’s people upgrading the White House. (I’m sure Apple would not turn down the pr opportunity to show the shiny Macbook in the Oval Office.) The White House just isn’t another corporation. It’s the government. Supposedly, the most powerful government in the world, and personally, I want to them to have access to the best technology that they can.

Delicious: New Look, Same Excellent Functions

Social bookmarking tool Delicious got a makeover. It’s a little louder than I expected, considering Delicious had a very stripped down original interface. But they are owned by Yahoo now.

I love the little gray arrows around the tags. This is my favorite feature. I think it looks great

Is that Arial and Helvetica? I’m a little surprised at that choice. They’re classic, but more print oriented generally.

I’m not sure how I feel about the tag sorting, especially if someone has hundreds of tags.

Bundling tags seems a little easier. However, when you add a tag to a bundle, it jumps back up to the top of the page. Probably one of those designer didn’t catch what the programmer did kinks.

I’m not sure I care a bunch about how it’s sorted for dates. However, it might be helpful for my wishlist account that I used last birthday/Christmas. (Now if I could only figure out how to get the relatives to buy me things off said list instead of giant cat books. I’m not five anymore, Cameron. You weren’t even alive then.) Yep, very helpful now that I’ve gone back and deleted all the clothing stores no longer have.

Besides, the basic function of storing my bookmarks on the web so I can access them from any computer and never fear of losing them and how much I love tags to sort, I do think Delicious provides a great search engine based on user popularity. I always find interesting blog posts or tutorials or nifty little shops when I venture out on the Delicious network. Yahoo may find themselves back as a true competitor in the search business with Delicious.

Other interesting articles on Delicious as a soically relavent search engine: The Search Engine That’s Already Better Than Google at SEOmoz.org and more thoughts on that at Academic Commons.

I Love You, ToDoist

Organization is one of the most important things for me to keep on top of my job, especially that since June 2007, I am the web team. (Now I have half-a-manager, hopefully a full-time manager soonish.) I’ve tried lots of things to keep on track, from handwritten lists to whiteboards to Excel spreed sheets to Outlook tasks to BaseCamp. But so far, the best I’ve come across is ToDoist.

ToDoist is simple to use and so far the few kinks I’ve run into have been fixed or added. You can even add it to your Gmail or check it on tiny screens of phones. (I don’t use either feature so you’ll have to tell me how it does.) After the initial set-up of mass to-do-ing, I find it easy to update automatically when I get an e-mail or find a new task.

Every day, I open it up and there are the things I need to accomplish. In my Work tasks, I currently have 198 tasks, which is down from 238 in May. I tend not to forget anything on my plate. Even those things someone mentioned months ago and for various reasons, couldn’t be completed until today. It has a neat feature for reoccurring events that allows you to see how many times you’ve gone. It’s easy to move tasks around if I don’t have enough time to finish something I’d planned on working on. And it’s even easier to click the “done” button.

ToDoist is a wonderful tool for keeping track of the never-ending tasks list. As a work application, I find it essential. Though sometimes I wish I could say the same thing about it when it comes to my Personal tasks because I tend to leave it alone once I’m away from work. Maybe I need two accounts…