Friday, March 30, 2007

Put video on your blog!

I just recently learned how to add video to my blog. My friend Kevin Ross who just launched told me how.

First create a video. Upload it to (Follow their instructions, create a free account, then upload!)

Open a new post on your blog. Click the "edit html" tab.

Go back to your You Tube page. Click on the video of your choice (yours or anyone else's)and click on it to play. Notice to the right of it the word "embed." Select and copy the entire code to the right of that box, go back to your blog, click the "Edit HTML" tab, then click "paste." Then click preview and "Voila" you should see your post and the video!

Thanks, Kevin, for the tip!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Fear Itself

Yesterday, I sat down at a table to fill out some forms. There was a 9 year-old boy sitting across from me, happy to have someone, anyone to chat with while his Mom and sister were busy doing girl things. He rummaged through what I learned later was his sister's backpack, demonically looking for her pet. ("She never lets me play with her toys.") I was wondering what animal could have survived the clutter in that satchel, until he produced it. It was an old electronic gadget that said it was hungry and my new friend only had to click to feed it.

As he chattered incessantly, my mind wandered to all of my gadgets. They eat too. They eat batteries like candy. They need attachments. They need bigger memory cards. They need to be plugged in at night. The reason my wardrobe is seriously out of date is because what I used to spend on leather and wool, I now spend on silver and black gadgets. Gadget lovers are afraid of getting left behind.

That's why I am declaring a moratorium on buying a new gadget. My husband just smirked at me and quipped: So what will be your next gadget?

But I must steel myself against the entrepreneurial minds the world over who are trying to think up the next big thing for me to buy...the thing that will top the I-phone, the smaller better laptop, the Tivo, the GPS car systems. They are on the prowl for people like me--people who love electronic pets. Unlike he furry version, time you get used to one gadget pet, a new version of it is out. Your new pet becomes old (and gets tossed) with a quickness.

And because the American public feasts on a steady diet of fear, we also need huge TV's, so we can watch the news and be scared out of our peace and quiet. Then, we buy security systems, and motion lights and tasers and things, to protect our gadgets from thieves because Lord knows you cannot survive a walk around the block. After all, did you see the news?

Every week, a new fear movie comes out, it seems. Even if you never go to see it, the 300 promos will pack enough fear into your heart that it will surely come out the next time your power goes off and you are home alone.

My young friend's chatter pierces my wandering thoughts. "...and so I am sitting here even though I am bored to death because I don't feel like getting my butt whupped today." I chuckled.

That boy's mama put the fear of the belt into his hide and pinned him to his chair with just that thought-- although he was about to go stir crazy.

Fear. It works every time.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

In Your Face

As a mother in '07, you often have to take on new forms of communication to hear from your older children. Young people use instant message (IMs) these days. They just do. Oh sure, our five almost grown sons will call when they need something, and even come home once in a while, but if you want to hear from them more often, you need instant messaging, email, and a cell phone. Trust me on this.

On one extreme, one son (before he moved out) would be back in his room, come up front near my office to graze in the fridge, pass me by mutely, then go back to his room and send me a text message.

The oldest son, the one who made us grandparents, has a cell phone, but he actually prefers the old Ma Bell corded phone. The next four use their technology extensively. It's a good thing they do. As 20-somethings roaming the world, an email or an IM may be all they can manage. In just the past 12 months, I have received text messages and emailed photos from Turkmenistan (Near Iran), the World Cup in Germany, the Superbowl, Brazil's Carnival, Jamaica, Nigeria, South Africa, or helping clean up the aftermath of Katrina on spring break in the Big Easy.

One-on-one communication from your kids: priceless. But, then, someone invented Face Book ( Unlike My Space, it encourages interactivity and extensive photo albums. If your friend posts an album and you are in it, they tag you and the photo shows up in your album. If you are someone's "friend" you can see their profiles and photos.

While you invite new friends in, your friends also are inviting new people that you may not have considered. As far as I know, nonmembers cannot see your albums and writings, but I repeat, new people are connecting through folks you know all the time.

And, this is why I am writing. My Space gets all the media attention warning young people not to divulge too much information, but few warnings are heard about Face Book. Friends think they are sharing compromising photos with a few friends but you never know which of those friends might wind up being a future employer or a link to one.

Back in my college days, we took a lot of pics (some in compromising positions), but the average number of eyeballs that saw them was a fraction of those that see today's digital photos. On those college nights when we met the porcelain goddess, even if someone took a photo of it, they did not have access to tens of thousands that could see it. Today it is possible.

So at the risk of being the old fogey soon to be kicked off, consider this, young people: Only Your Friends Know Your Secrets. Only They will reveal them. Enjoy Face Book( but resist the temptation to embarrass someone. Better still, resist the temptation to embarrass yourself, because today, cameras are everywhere. If you don't believe me, ask the Ms. America , or American Idol contestants whose business have been dragged all through media headlines. If only they could unring those photos.


Thursday, March 8, 2007

I should be buying clothes...

Anyone who knows me, must have figured out by now that I am fashionably challenged. Unlike my mother and sisters who view shopping as a sport, I would rather spend my day in Fry's Electronics, or online. Today, I bought a portable speaker for my Ipod at Costco, when I was there to buy their delicious crisp Fuji apples. I was on my way to the dress store. Honest!

As I picked up the pricey item, I just could not put it back on the shelf. I reasoned,"I will just put this in my cart and then ditch it by check out. But, it had a hold on me. After all, I spend hours producing my podcasts, and too many people can't view them on the computer. At least this way, I have speakers --and rich sounding ones at that--that will help me show the world my creations. And, they are completely portable and rechargeable.

The speakers are called Sonic Impact i-F2, and since I don't feel like taking a pic, so click here to view. (I will have them in class to show my students.) The good news is I saved $50 by getting them at Costco! It's black and has a zipped enclosure, hand strap and completely houses the Ipod and all of its trappings--headphones, microphone, FM transmitter--not included.)

So, the next time you visit, go ahead and subscribe, so you can take me on the road with you! And don't laugh when you see me sporting clothing from the last millennium.--IPL