Geekalicious Recommends... February 2013


Welcome to "Geekalicious Recommends..." for February 2013.
Here are my favourite geek and tech based posts that I have read this month.  'Visual' seems to be a recurring theme.

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Let's start this month with a bit of a funny.  One of the High Tea Cast crew pointed me in the direction of the Tumblr account called POHTPOF: Pictures Of Hipsters Taking Pictures Of Food.  I hold my hands up here - guilty as charged, m'lud.  I even Instagrammed my Costa coffee yesterday because no-one has ever seen a picture of heart-shaped sprinkles before have they...? But it brings it home when you see how daft other people look when photographing food and drink, doesn't it?

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Google Plus Helper have written a great post which shows you how to share links effectively on Google Plus.  Using the tools provided on the platform ensures the link you are sharing is displayed effectively and (most importantly) is crawled by Google for use in their search results.  It also shares tips on the best way to share using the +1 button displayed on blogs and websites

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The next link was highlighted by Melinda Fargo.  Initially, I wasn't too sure if this Google Glass article was a spoof or not but it seems plausible.  It reviews a mobile device, developed by Google, that brings technology closer to your senses.  In a week where I blogged about going "Off The Grid" it is very ironic that I've also been looking at this concept.  I am planted firmly in the centre of the two worlds believing that we should find a happy medium in our digital world.  Online life is very much a part of who I am and how I communicate and could never completely remove gadgets from my life but having technology so readily available next to my temple is maybe a step too far, even for me?

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This week saw the Oscars award ceremony.  The pre-show red carpet programme has evolved into a product placement opportunity starting with the question "Who are you wearing?" but, more noticeably unrelated statements such as, "You could take a great picture of that with your [insert well known camera phone make and model here]. The way in which we watch television now, especially live events, has evolved with many people using their social media platforms to share their opinion.  Social Media Today have documented the Oscars trends on the three main social media platforms in infographic format with some interesting statistics included.

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This next infographic is from Visually and attempts to plot all the Vaguely Rude Place Names In The World.  It is totally interactive but I'm sure they've missed a few out... 
(edit: January 2015 - original source

Vaguely Rude Place Names Of The World



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Finally, I spotted this image scroll past on Twitter.  It appears to have been first tweeted by @utterben but has been retweeted and claimed so many times that I am unsure of its actual origin.  But whoever created it is spot on!

daily mail outrage

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I hope you have enjoyed these recommendations.  If you find or write an article that you would like me to include in the next round-up please drop me an email and I'll give it a read through.  I am always happy to recommend great blogs and enjoy finding new blogs to read.


Off The Grid

social media,
Back in June of 2012, Phil Szomszor of The Red Rocket went "cold twerky" for a week.  As I gasped with horror at the mere thought of living for a few days without Twitter, Phil explained that he wasn't completely disappearing from social media, but he was going to invest that time into building his Google Plus presence.  Albeit slightly dated now (yes, even after only eight months) you can read the results of his experiment here.

I would describe myself as a social media juggler, as mentioned in Phil's post; I manage the three main platforms (Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook) very well and my preference swings from one to the other depending on my mood.  So when I heard Joanne Mallon was throwing down a 'no tech' gauntlet I decided to sit on the sidelines and watch (oxymoron intended).  Here is Joanne's account of the day:


geekalicious, guest post, Three years ago most of us didn't have smartphones – now they’re as precious as members of the family, and we keep them safe like prized jewels. 
After my daughter challenged me to a day without technology, my response was to clutch my iPhone to my bosom and hiss You will prize this from my cold dead hands.  But then I thought about it, and the fact that children are often criticised for spending too much time in front of a screen when really it’s we adults who can’t face time unplugged.
So I did it, a day without technology. And when I was writing about my day on my blog (as one must) I asked if any other bloggers wanted to try it too. And that’s where it really started to get interesting because for every one person who was prepared to spend a day off grid, there were several more who said they couldn't even live tech free for an hour. And to my mind, they’re the ones who need to try it the most 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a technology fan. I’m part of the generation who has benefited from technological advances in so many areas of life. And it's all so easy now - these days you don’t have to know how stuff works to be able to make it work for you. Thanks to technology I can work very flexibly from home around my family. I can take great pics and share them with far-flung relatives. I can make great friends whom I've never actually met. So yes, tech is good. But not so good that we can’t benefit from stepping back from it occasionally. 
For me, the down side of tech toys is that they enable you to be physically present but mentally somewhere else. So you can be in the room with your children or spouse but your attention is anywhere but with them. That’s what technology can take away – the ability to be fully present in the moment and not composing a tweet about that moment in your head. Life is not just one big Instagram opportunity.

Another blogger who took up Joanne's challenge for the day was Lynn Schreiber.  Almost as much of a Twitter addict as me, I was interested to hear how Lynn would cope without her beloved i-Products and you can read about her day without technology here.  But what is most interesting is the continuation of 'low-tech' that she has implemented since the experiment.  Here's what Lynn has to say:


geekalicious, guest post,
When Joanne asked me to go offline for a day my initial response was 'OMG woman, are you out of your mind?' but after some consideration, I decided to try it out.  I wasn't sure that I could do it, so deliberately ran down my iPhone battery so that I wasn't tempted to cheat.
I blogged the day after the experiment about how it felt and now, a couple of weeks further down the line I can report on the long term changes I have put into place. 
Before my day without tech, I would sit until midnight on the computer, then take my iPhone or iPad to bed and sometimes faff around on the internet for another hour or so.  Now I generally go to bed earlier and often put the gadgets aside to read a book (although I often do that on my Kindle so not quite tech-free).  If I do continue to surf, I tend to log out much earlier than previously. 
I have cut down on my forum posting and general browsing and am working hard on various projects, some ofwhich should actually enable me to make money.  I would say that I am using the computer slightly less and I am using it for more 'worthy' activities rather than watching cat videos and arguing with strangers. 
My Twitter addiction won't be that easy to kick though, so don't ask that of me again.  The hardest part of the day was not being able to tell everyone how well I was doing on my Day Without Tech.

Even though it is only three years since the first iPad was introduced, I have been using forums and taking part in online activity for the best part of thirteen years now.  Digital engagement has become a huge part of my life and is very much a way of life in some respects.  I appreciate that we need to step away from the screen occasionally and stop living our lives through phone cameras, reporting back every single moment of our lives, but would removing it completely and going 'off grid' be productive?

Could you go without technology for any length of time? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

#TwitterArchive : have you downloaded yours yet?

In December 2012, Twitter announced that they were opening up their archive and making your past tweets available for download.  You can access this by visiting twitter.com > click the cog in the top right hand corner of the screen > select "settings" > scroll down to the bottom of the page > select "Request your archive".



Once your archive is downloaded upzip the file (right click on the file and select "Extract All") and open.  Double click on the browser option and your archive will open up in a web page.  You can view your tweets month by month, search for specific words or hashtags and usernames.  You can also interact with your old tweets just as you can now.

It has been noted by Claire (@BumpWearClaire) that you can only view the archive of your existing @username.  If you have changed your name in the past you currently cannot access/download that archive. I'll update this post in the future if that facility becomes available.

I have also spotted some users mentioning or retweeting old tweets.  Does this mean we are in danger of creating a Twitter Möbius Band as in much the same way as I mentioned on The Huffington Post when Facebook promoted "on this day in..." notifications?

Will you be downloading your archive?  What was your first tweet?  How has your twitter use and interaction changed over time?  Let me know in the comments.





Here are some soundbites from people currently accessing their Twitter archive:









And I shall end on the type of information that hugely excites the Geek in me... I was the 17,636,207th user to sign up to Twitter.



"Thinking In Geek..."

Geekalicious, Thinking In Geek, Magix,
Thanks to MAGIX for featuring me in their online magazine this month.  They are focusing on women in IT/Tech with an emphasis on creativity and covering a wide range of topics.

See all the tweet-sized quotes here.

This post also appears on Typecast










How To Set Up A Custom Domain On Blogger (using 123-reg)

custom domain tutorial
If you are wanting a custom domain name for your website or blog and are using Blogger it is very simple (and cheap) to use a 'vanity URL'. Geekalicious is hosted on Blogger and I bought the domain name www.geekalicious.co.uk to give it a more professional and memorable feel.

Here is a comprehensive guide which shows you exactly how  to buy your custom domain name from 123-reg.co.uk and how to set up the redirection.  Please click the images to enlarge them.



Buy Your Domain Name



geekalicious, custom domain tutorial


To buy your domain name from 123-reg.co.uk navigate to their home page and search for your preferred URL.  This will create a menu of domain names that are available and will also feature the ones that are not available.  

geekalicious, custom domain tutorial


Using the drop-down menus onsite select the domain name(s) you want to purchase and the time frame you would like to own that domain name for then head to the checkout screen.  Create an account with 123-reg if you are a new customer (or log into your existing account) and use your preferred payment method to pay for domain name(s).

Setting Up The Domain Name


geekalicious, custom domain tutorial


Once you have purchased your domain name log into your control panel, select your domain name from the drop down menu and hit the Manage button.  This will take you to the overview page for your domain name where you can see the date you purchased your domain name, the expiry date and edit auto-renewal payment methods.  Scroll down slightly to the "Advanced domain settings" section and click on the "Manage DNS" link.


geekalicious, custom domain tutorial


Switch to the Advanced DNS tab and enter the exact commands in the image below (click to enlarge) using the Hostname section and the drop-down menus.  Click Add after each input to save.  


geekalicious, custom domain tutorial

EDITED TO ADD
w.e.f. March 2013 : an additional line is needed.  Add in the information below.

Hostname : 4LRXPHK7RRAW    
Type : CNAME
Destination : gv-JBV4LVLWX6EUEN.dv.googlehosted.com.

(note: you need to include the dot at the end of that destination code)

  • The www 81.21.76.62 command refers to the domain hosting package that 123.reg are providing
  • The CNAME command specifies that the domain name is an alias of another
  • The www 216.239.32.21 and the three other similar commands refer to the hosting packaging that Blogger are providing

Setting Up Blogger With Your Domain Name


geekalicious, custom domain tutorial

Open your Blogger dashboard and navigate to Settings > Basic  then scroll down to Publishing.  Click "add a custom domain" and then "switch to advanced settings".  Enter your domain name into the box and SAVE. Your domain name will be displayed with an edit button next to it.  The original blog name will be shown underneath with redirects displayed next to it.  Hit the edit button and tick the box that says "redirect yourdomainname.com to www.yourdominname.com"  (this ensures that when the www. is missed off in the address bar the website/blog is still displayed).

That's it!  You've done it!

Your redirection may take up to 48 hours to register but I have experienced it happening a lot quicker recently - sometimes almost immediately.

Web Forwarding

As mentioned in the Hints and Tips section below, it is a good idea to buy as many forms of the domain as possible. To utilise these you can forward them all to the main address by using the web forwarding facility.  The example I am using here is for my personal blog Typecast.  This is called a "301" redirect and informs search engines (such as Google) that the indexed page is your main (permanent) web address.  You can use a "302" redirect (temporary) if you intend to change the settings again in the near future.


From the 123-reg control panel click on the link "Web Forwarding" in the Domain Basics section. 


Find the web address you want to forward and click "Add"



Ensure you are using the "permanent forwarding" tab and complete the information as required.  Click "Confirm" when you  have finished.


If you have any questions please let me know in the comments.

Hints and Tips


  • Imagine a custom domain name or vanity URL as a beautiful blanket placed over a tatty duvet.  Everything is the same underneath but it looks nicer.
  • Your archive (all your old blog posts) will be updated with the new domain name.
  • Links in to the new domain - or internal links - will be automatically redirected but it is good practice to fix update as many as you can.  Start with your own internal links and then politely request that friends update their blog roll or any links they have pointing to your blog.
  • Subscribers that receive updates from services that use your RSS feed (e.g. by email or Google Reader) will continue to receive those updates as your feed remains unchanged using this method.
  • Your Page Rank will reset to n/a or 0 (zero).  Fix your links (see above) and continue to blog, linking in and out naturally, and your Page Rank will upgrade at the next update.
  • Consider everywhere you promote your blog and where you may be mentioned or ranked.  All these will need to be informed of your new URL.
  • If you have used the rel="canonical" command to prevent Blogger changing the extention (.com) part of your blogspot address to represent the country of the reader (e.g. .co.uk for the UK, .fr for France) you will have to remove this command from your template.
  • You will receive an email reminder when your domain name is due for renewal but it is good practice to try and remember yourself.  If you do not renew the domain name on the renewal date it will be made available for another buyer.  Some buyers have alerts set up to purchase domain names that have not been renewed and will attempt to sell them back to you at a much higher price.  If you did not renew your domain name your blog would revert back to the original name, e.g. geekaliciousUK.blogspot.com
  • If you have the budget and the domains are available it is sometimes a good idea to purchase as many forms of your domain as possible, i.e. co.uk, .com, .org.  You can redirect all of these into the main URL using the instructions above and visitors are directed to the main website no matter what version of the top level domain they type.


Additional note.  This post has not been provided by or sponsored by 123-reg.co.uk but after using a few hosting management services I find that they have the most user-friendly control panel for beginners.


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