Thursday, August 27, 2009


The most important thing I learned in the Betty Blogger summer school is that it's a mistake to dismiss things out of hand. I was in too much of a hurry to see Web 2.0 as "social" silliness ... several of the tools that we were introduced to could be very useful. In particular, the productivity tools, wikis, rss feeds and cataloguing tools will be of immediate use to me.

The most challenging part of Betty Blogger was keeping track of my user name, real name, display name, e-mail addresses and passwords. The registration organization chart that was supplied was a big help but I still had some trouble.

The "self-directed" learning model worked well for me. It was helpful to have the freedom of choosing which day in the week to do the assignments while still having a deadline that forced me to get down to it.

The Betty Blogger summer school did fulfill my expectations. I'd been wanting to have a better understanding of the various tools available but I didn't know where to start and I didn't have the time to figure out what I was missing. This "guided tour" has made it easy to learn the basics, a little at a time, while also giving me a glimpse of what else might be possible with further investigation.

As well, Betty Blogger's slightly silly and very supportive approach served to keep it all fun and light - as opposed to high tech and slightly scary.

If you were to run this program again I would be happy to recommend it to a friend.

Thank you very much
Hurdler 1

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


The link to my "LibraryThing" account is

Library thing is not at all what I expected. I had the impression that it was another very "social" site. In fact it does a terrific job of being both functional and social. I will very likely use this tool to keep track of my reading. The links to authors' sites etc. are very helpful. I'm looking forward to seeing what "like-minded" readers recommend!


I've subscribed to the following RSS feeds:

Choosing a new puppy
List of perennial flowers
Slow cooker recipes at, and News.

I found Google reader to be extremely user-friendly. I will continue to use it. This is an excellent way to create a "personal" news service.


I'm taking books to the picnic. Books and magazines and catalogues. For quiet time. After eating ALL of those terrific sounding things we're going to need a rest and, therefore, something to read.

My PBWiki experience was terrific. It's very easy to use.

A wiki would be the perfect thing to use for planning our "mothers and children" guide camp trip.

Peter's Very Own Recipe ...

Chicken with Garlic and Herbs de Provence ...

Heat the pan

add olive oil

add crushed garlic - cook through

add 1 chicken breast, (first pound flat with a tenderizing mallet and season with Herbs de Provence)

cook (Herbs side down) for 3 minutes - during that 3 minutes, season top side with Herbs de Provence

turn and cook for another 3 minutes

add some white wine (optional) and cook until liquid evaporates. That's it!


(Good with pasta, with olive oil and romano)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


The tags that were attached to the picture I sent you were "cute", "labradoodle" and "Milo".

I think Picasa is incredible.

The huge number of photographs and the even greater number of tags make it a bit difficult to work with. Hunting for a particular type of photograph is also a little labour intensive. However, the ability to share albums with friends and family could be a terrific help, given circumstances such as far-off relatives.

I will probably not continue to use this application. I recently bought a Mac and I'm excited at the prospect of starting to use Apple's photo organizing feature - I'm told that it is really terrific. Apart from that, I have some of the same concerns about Picasa that I had about Facebook - namely the "lifestyle" or "advertising" side of it.

On the other hand, I was pleased to see that it's possible to have access to your photographs limited to a particular set of people. I'm beginning to think that this might be an excellent way to share my "brownie" pictures with my daughter's brownie leader.

Thursday, July 30, 2009


I've deleted my facebook account!

I had a completely inactive account that I had set up a few months ago after being invited to be "friends" with a few old friends. For quite some time I've been waffling about becoming an active user of 'facebook' or getting out of it entirely. All along I've been inclined to delete the account but wondered what I'd be missing.

I have two completely separate sets of concerns.

The first thing I'm concerned about is privacy and security. I understand that, in Facebook, only people you designate as "friends" can see pictures or information about you. Nevertheless I do still have some concerns about security on the internet. After reading the posting at Betty's blog titled "Privacy and security online", and the article I found on Betty's blog concerning the Canadian Privacy Commissioner's fight over Facebook's use of its users' personal information, I feel a little relieved to be out of it.

My other concerns are more general ...

- Several of the message strings I read through were literally like reading the transcript of a phone call between friends. I was able to read a series of notes between two people trying to figure out when they were going to be able to get together for coffee! I'm inclined to think it would be easy to get bogged down in Facebook and waste too much time.

- I got far enough in my examination of Facebook to see lots of pictures people had posted of themselves and notes that they had posted about themselves and their comings and goings. The pictures were all of happy, smiling people - it was like one great big "life style" ad. A lot if it seemed awfully self-absorbed and contrived. I'm concerned about people feeling the need to present themselves in a particular light or "market" themselves. We have enough trouble dealing with the psychological damage resulting from marketing pressures already.

- I noticed that the number of "friends" was prominently displayed in each user's profile ... this explains why I keep hearing about people getting "friend invitations" from people they never really knew well. I guess you'd have to keep your "friend numbers" up! Nonsense!!

- I was very impressed with the Burlington Public Library search results. I had only heard of this kind of application of the social networking phenomenon. The Burlington Public Library page was full of very interesting and current information. I see that this would be a terrific way to get information out to the library's users. However, even searching 'Burlington Public Library' I was disappointed to come across the BPL pages' profile titled "BPL Pages Unite". There's too much freedom in anonymity maybe?!

In the final analysis I concluded that I should be able to get the information I'm interested in from other sources. I can see that networking groups could be a useful way for people with common interests to stay in touch however I still prefer more "personal" ways of staying in touch with my comparatively small number of friends!

Now that was long-winded! Looks like you pushed a button Library Lady.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


I bookmarked "The Landscape Design Site" (

I added the following tags to my bookmark: Design and Combinations.

I'm certain that I will continue to use 'Delicious'. This landscape design site alone contains links to several other excellent sites. Apart from this, I saw many "tags" of interest and browsing even briefly made me aware that I could easily spend hours hunting around to see what other people have found. Essentially, a lot of hunting has been done for me! As well, it will be very handy to be able to find a web site at home and then look it up at work without having to redo the search.

When I "hunted for an URL" ... looking for 'Canada 411' ... I was able to see a list of the tags that other people had used to identify it and by following those I found many other similar search sites.

When I used the "explore tags" feature, I was happy to find that others before me had used some of the tags I used so I found even more interesting gardening sites. The other thing that was a nice surprise was finding that it is possible to hunt for two separate tags in combination to make for a more directed set of results! Finally, when I found someone else who was interested in 'plant combinations', I looked at her other bookmarks and found still more sites of interest. This is like joining a bunch of different clubs!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Blogs and Twitter and Facebook and Chat have all seemed to me to be a series of hurdles to be crossed! It'll be fun to be able to jump them all in just a few short months! The big lumpy dog is a hurdle that may take a little longer!

Big lumpy dog with ball

Big lumpy dog with ball
"How many more hurdles?"