Zero to Hero Rundown

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Like I said yesterday, I’ve been participating in the “Zero to Hero: 30 Days to a Better Blog” thing that WordPress is doing, and (mostly to keep myself honest) I thought I’d give a semi-regular rundown of what I’ve been doing, since not every task requires a blog post.

Day 1:

Today’s assignment: write and publish a “who I am and why I’m here” post.

I updated my “About” page for this assignment. For the last ever, it has said “TBD,” partially because I thought it was kind of smartass and partially because I was too lazy to do anything to it. I do feel that my blog tagline accurately represents me – or at least this blog – and I didn’t feel the need to elaborate more than that regarding the essence of me and this blog. But, since WordPress says the About page is one of the things people actively look for when deciding whether or not to read a blog, I thought I’d update it. And then I gave it a spot in my menu. Actually, I enabled a whole new menu – I’m pretty pleased with myself. Feel free to check out my “About” page.

Day 2:

Today’s assignment: edit your title and tagline, and flesh them out more in a widget.

Okay, so I pretty much ignored this one, because, as I indicated, I’m quite pleased with my tagline, feel no need to edit my blog’s title, and didn’t want either of them in a widget. But I did give it some thought, so I’m counting that activity as completing the assignment.

Day 3:

Today’s assignment: write the post that was on your mind when you decided to start a blog.

This one I totally skipped because I have no idea what post was on my mind when I decided to start a blog. Probably “I would like to make millions with this blog without leaving my pajamas, please”.

Please don’t revoke my “Zero to Hero” badge, WordPress.

Day 4:

Today’s assignment: follow five new topics in the Reader, and begin finding blogs (and bloggers) you love.

This was yesterday, and I followed and added to my WordPress Reader:

  • ArtOfTea: “blooming*expanding*connecting” [it’s a tea blog, if you couldn’t tell]
  • Just Homemade: “a pure vegetarian way of life”
  • VeggieZest: “vegan and vegetarian recipes from around the world”
  • The Fashion Medley: “’Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.’ Coco Chanel”
  • TChing: “Discover tea”

Although I might have done it wrong, because I couldn’t figure out how to find blogs by topic. I could see how to search tags, and I found blogs that way and by looking through the “Recommended Blogs.” I think maybe I was supposed to add some tag topics to my tag list, and follow those tags, and pick blogs from those tags. Oops.

So, maybe I’m not so much a “Zero to Hero” as “Zero to Maybe Possibly Contender.” I can live with that.

Sunday Evening Posts

IMG_6016_Fotor

Our neighbors, who recently moved here from Hawaii, are obviously going to be the cool neighbors on the block. No pun intended.

So, I’m moving my “Saturday Evening Posts” to Sundays. The name isn’t as catchy but the timing is better for me.

The list of things I starred this week on Twitter and in my RSS feed was long this week, you guys. I actually had to cull quite a bit, because you all deserve only the best of the best.

Android/iOS: The American Red Cross has already released an app with information on what to do in emergencies for people. The Pet First Aid app fills the same need for any pet-related emergencies you might have.

In addition to providing basic emergency info for things like bite wounds, poison, or choking, it also allows you to store a variety of helpful information about each of your pets. You can add your veterinarian’s contact info as well as entries for each pet’s name, age, tag IDs, medication info and more. While hopefully you won’t need to use the app very often, if you have pets it may be worth keeping it on your phone.

Integrate the Pantone Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid, into your tea cupboard this year! Its bold hue intrigues the eye and sparks the imagination! Cheers!

I don’t usually include the images from the posts, but this is so pretty! I kind of want to do my office in this hue now.

Few in the legal academy are looking into how we can use technology to reconceptualize our own overall approach to teaching. If we embrace online technologies now, we will begin to develop expertise within the legal academy about how to best use newer technologies for legal education.

It struck me recently that those people who fixate on the flaws in every plan are in safe territory all the time. There are no perfect plans. There are no perfect interfaces. So these people will be right every single time — there are ALWAYS flaws. But you can’t actually live like that …

GymPact, the app that makes you pay–literally–if you don’t meet your exercise goals, has a new name, Pact, and two new diet-oriented features for the New Year.

Wait, wait, wait – I was all excited for a minute. Does it pay you for working out, or does it make you pay if you don’t reach your goals? Because one of these things is much more inciting than the other.

So here we are in our own Age of Discovery, although perhaps “Age of Disruption” or “Age of Disintermediation” or even “Age of Innovation” would be a better term. In law, libraries and higher education, we know there are new areas soon to be available to us but no one knows exactly what form they will take. The best guesses are roughly in the shape of dragons, sea monsters and giants.

As anyone liberally educated knows, the Age of Discovery is a bit of a misnomer. It’s hard to describe arriving at a piece of land as a “discovery” when there are already hundreds of thousands of indigenous people with fully formed cultures and societies already living there and that have been for thousands of years. One of the best path towards the future is going to be by learning from other professions that have gone through their own disruptive periods.

Speaking of, I’ve also started to really dislike the words “innovation” and “disruption” lately. We honor “innovators” and the highest honor one we can give to a company or service is to call it “disruptive.” The impression is that only the most special of special snowflakes are capable of invoking change and that we only need to change when the environment demands it.

Seriously, people. Stop quoting Susskind. Stop comparing your online education efforts to Coursera. You will never be Amazon.com .

The truth is that professions and organizations (and organisms) are always changing and evolving. You don’t need to wait until the bottom drops out or some other major cataclysmic event occurs before you decide to change. Dinosaur were wiped out by a giant meteor, true, but there were several thousands of changes that happened before and after that event and not all as a result of something bad. Find your strength and capitalize on it instead of waiting for things to stop working.

I will probably never not link to Sarah Glassmeyer’s blog. She always has something interesting to say about things close to my heart. Being an academic law librarian right now is to be a part of three institutions that are currently undergoing tumultuous change, and it’s hard not to constantly be reacting to stuff, rather than consciously trying to be proactive in seriously considering the best way to do one’s job – or to improve it.

I’ve also been participating this week in WordPress’s “Zero to Hero” better-your-blog thingy, but much of that involves behind-the-scenes stuff (following others’ blogs, thinking long and hard about your blog’s name (nope, not changin’ it), etc.), so I don’t have much to report on that front. Just wanted to explain the badge that I stuck up there on the top right. If my blog suddenly gains massive amounts of followers, or is linked to on a listicle or something, you’ll know why.

‘Til next week!

Back to Work

Back to work

Yes, after a week and a half of slothing around the house, hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work I go and all that.

Although, since not even J-Term has officially started, I wasn’t quite as dressed-up as I imply here.

And I wouldn’t be able to do these shoes even if everybody else were back at work as well.

I’ve actually been wearing jeans, huge sweaters, and flats the past few days.

2013 in Review

Ah, year-end recaps and reflections. Had enough of ’em yet? No? Okay, then.

On the social media front for me this year:

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,000 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 33 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

There was a lot of loss for me this year:

The busiest day of the year was June 17th with 250 views. The most popular post that day was Baba.

Not far behind were my posts about my mother-in-law’s passing, as well as that of my beloved Nuala.

So, you can see, it was kind of a crappy year for me and mine. (Interestingly enough, to me at least, is that in Facebook’s encapsulator of my year, it doesn’t have any of these events listed as one of my “20 biggest moments from the past year”, even though I linked to these posts on Facebook and they were more commented-on and shared than any other post of mine. Is it because Facebook doesn’t want to depress people, or is it because they were links to outside sources, rather than native status updates?)

Don’t want to leave 2013 on such a sour note, necessarily, so let’s look at some of my other stats, shall we?

I always find this information amusing:

Some visitors came searching, mostly for “shish odoshi”, “shi shi odo shi”, “i love her expression”, “agafya lykova”, and “tea kettle with train whistle”.

I have no idea what “agafya lykov” means.

Oh, wait, I just Googled it.

It’s the name of a Russian woman who had been living with her family in the forest, away from all human contact, since World War II. Did I blog about them? No, I did not. However, I did read an article about the family earlier this year and it was fascinating; you should read it. Still, I didn’t even mention the article in a “Saturday Evening Post,” so I’m not sure how people got to my blog with that search. Perhaps I tweeted the article and therefore it was in my Twitter sidebar?

Speaking of Twitter … wanna see my top 10 tweets? Lucky you!

Twitter top 10

You can view it here, too: http://goo.gl/UlXNck

If you prefer a less static representation of my 2013 on Twitter, check out this little video, which is kind of cool, if I do say so myself. I am most popular at conferences, apparently. If you’re interested in the top tweets of my corporate alter-ego, check it out here. Nifty video for said alter ego here.

My top Instagram moments are lined up here. I won’t bore you with my top Pinterest or Polyvore moments, mostly because I have no idea what they are. And I’m pretty sure I don’t have any “top” moments on LinkedIn or Google+.

As for what 2014 brings …

I used to be big on resolutions, but I’m not so much any more. The only one I’m really making out loud is that I intend to floss more this year. (N.B., this is a resolution I make every year. Perhaps 2014 will be the one?)

Also, as someone who just (as I was writing this at 10:40 on Monday night) admonished her loudly yodeling and raspberry-blowing daughter with, “If you don’t be more quiet and try to go to sleep, we won’t go meet your sisters tomorrow” (note – her sisters, who live in the attic, are imaginary. As is the attic. And thus I have no idea how I would enforce this threat), I should probably try to be a better parent next year. (On the other hand, she quieted right down, so …).

More seriously, I hope 2014 brings joy, peace, happiness, and comfort to you and yours. And if you hear of a delicious tea, or an awesome tech gadget, or a gorgeous fashion trend, or a new-fangled way of looking at law librarianship or legal academia in general, let me know! I am honestly interested in these things, and I can always use blog fodder.

Finally, if you know of effective tips to get your kid to sleep (and to stop blowing raspberries) without threatening the disappearance of their imaginary siblings, I’d be grateful for the knowledge. See you all next year!

Saturday Evening Posts – the last of 2013

Winter Path

Not a lot goin’ on this week. But there were some notables:

    These all had one thing in common: They seemed too tidily packaged, too neat, “too good to check,” as they used to say, to actually be true. Any number of reporters or editors at any of the hundreds of sites that posted these Platonic ideals of shareability could’ve told you that they smelled, but in the ongoing decimation of the publishing industry, fact-checking has been outsourced to the readers. Not surprisingly—as we saw with the erroneous Reddit-spawned witch-hunt around the Boston Marathon bombing—readers are terrible at fact-checking. And this, as it happens, is good for business because it means more shares, more clicks.

    This is not a glitch in the system. It is the system. Readers are gullible, the media is feckless, garbage is circulated around, and everyone goes to bed happy and fed.

    Fascinating. Infuriating.

  • This nifty database shows how apps suck up your data plan, GigaOm

Do you know how much apps can drain on your phone? This website will help you find out.

Firefox may not get quite as much love as it’s Google-y rival, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t get plenty of love in 2013. With plenty of add-ons and tricks to stay productive, keep your privacy, and customize your browser, here’s the best coverage of Firefox from the past year.

This year, Firefox received no less enthusiastic attention from its fanbase. This year, we learned how to use Adblock to fix YouTube’s biggest annoyances, erase your most embarrassing autocomplete suggestions, and how to manage more than nine tabs without ruining your browsing experience.

As law schools are forced to tighten their belts, law libraries are getting squeezed especially hard. The future of the law library isn’t merely bleak, according to law professor James G. Milles. He thinks they’re doomed.

Because I love scaring myself during break that I’ll be out of a job before break’s over.

Whether you’re among the chosen to get a new computer for the holidays or are burdened with the responsibility of playing family tech support, we’ve got you covered with an essential pack of Mac apps, utilities, tools, and time-wasters. Grab another moose-shaped mug of eggnog and start downloading.

I received a new iMac for my birthday (in August) that I just picked out a week ago. I love it, and am always on the hunt for good apps. I edited the image above in a free Mac photo editing app, Fotor (not sure I want to shell out $80 for Aperture, definitely sure I don’t want to shell out any more than that for the others, especially when I really just want a bunch of filters and borders). If anybody has any recommendations, let me know!

These are really funny. More often than not crude, and sometimes NSFW, but very funny.

Hope you all had warm, happy, safe, and cozy holidays!

Wrap Dress

Wrap Dress

I kind of really like this wrap dress from Garnet Hill, don’t you? So effortlessly chic. Although wrap dresses and skirts can be kind of iffy on the wrapping side of things. Does it really wrap, or does it gap? Anyway, I like the idea of pairing it with those bright orange pumps, even though I could never wear such shoes in real life. And I love the bag. And, of course, there’s a return of my lately-coveted specs. Thoughts?

(Not so) Wordless Wednesday

If you didn’t receive a card from us this year, don’t worry. Nobody did. We just didn’t feel up to it, for numerous reasons.

If we had, we might have sent you something like this:

2013 in Review

Only it most certainly would’ve contained a picture of Thomas. A cursory review of the roughly 2,426 photos that I took this year indicates I took none of him, poor guy.

Merry Christmas, Happy (belated) Hanukkah, Happy (extremely belated) Ramadan, Joyous Solstice, Happy Festivus … Happy end of the year, everybody! I, for one, am eagerly awaiting 2014 and hope to see you all a lot more in the coming months.

24 Days of Tea

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I was lucky enough this year to get my hot little hands on David’s Teas tea advent calendar, thanks only to my cousin (in-law), Sean Hugunin, who picked one up for me in their San Francisco store (they sold out in just a couple of hours online). Seriously, Sean, I can’t thank you enough. I really loved this!

Chocolate Orange

I got to try a huge variety of different teas; many of which I’ve never even considered tasting, such as pu’erhs and oolongs. Some of them I didn’t care for too much (turns out I really don’t like Jasmine-flavored teas AT ALL), but it was such a fun experiment, and a nice surprise each morning!

Main Squeeze

Also, it forced me out of my tea comfort zone, which was a good exercise.

Day 5: Stormy Night

My very favorite was Stormy Night (above). It was chocolatey (what a surprise, I know) and malty. I’ll for sure be purchasing some of that once my tea supply dwindles a little bit.

24 Days of Tea

It also made for some fun photo subjects! Want to see more? Check out my 24 Days of Tea set on Flickr.

Solstice Evening Posts

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Happy Solstice, everyone! Are you as ready as I am for the days to get longer again? Well, it’s still going to be a while, so you might as well get caught up on blog posts from my RSS reader:
 

Tanning leather is a toxic endeavor and also quite fatal for animals, but a new alternative bio-based leather promises to be more environmentally friendly. Richard Wool, a professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at the University of Delaware has been working on an eco-leather alternative made from natural fibers and oils. Flax or cotton is […]

I am pretty excited about this; I hope it really is environmentally-friendly as well as cruelty-free. And would durable be too much to ask? I totally do the non-leather shoe thing (and purses and stuff, but that’s not as big of a deal), but they aren’t as high quality (on the other hand, they aren’t as expensive, either, so I can afford more of them).

  • New on SSRN: Legal Education in Crisis, and Why Law Libraries are Doomed, Out of the Jungle
  • The dual crises facing legal education—the economic crisis affecting both the job market and the pool of law school applicants, and the crisis of confidence in the ability of law schools and the ABA accreditation process to meet the needs of lawyers or society at large—have undermined the case for not only the autonomy, but the very existence, of law school libraries as we have known them.

    Oh, well, this isn’t depressing at all!

    Vampires, of course, feed on something that we desperately need but also can’t imagine being a source of food. You have metaphorical vampires in your life. These are people that feed on negativity, on shooting down ideas and most of…

    I guess I wasn’t the only one struck by Seth’s post:

  • Keep Calm and Carry Garlic, 3 Geeks and a Law Blog

This is the time of year when we reflect on all that has happened over the past 12 months; the successes, the failures, the moments of epiphany, the stumbles, the growth and change, basically everything that makes us human. That is why I was so struck by the timing and subject of Seth Godin’s recent post about vampires (and he’s not talking about Team Edward or reviewing the latest True Blood episode). Seth explains that these metaphorical vampires are “people that feed on negativity, on shooting down ideas and most of all, on extinguishing your desire to make things better.” What is so striking to me is that Seth says that these vampires cannot be cured; they cannot be shown the error of their ways. Trying to change their minds and get them on board is a waste of time. Seth explains that all we can do for these people is pity them.

… So we added Do.com to our list of services which have closed this year. Services like Xtranormal and Google Reader, just to name a couple.

So what do you do when your favorite web service shuts down? There are four basic steps that can help.

Imagine, if you will, a Venn Diagram. One circle is the unholy mess that is the current state of legal education.  One is the systematic failures surrounding issues of Access to Justice.  And the third circle is the Reinvent/Innovate/New Law world of individuals attempting to make the practice of law more efficient using technological solutions.