Spacemen and Play


Yesterday I went to the Vermont 3.0 Tech Career Jam.  I did not go into the actual gym with the tables set up since I am not actively looking for a job, but I did attend two panel sessions that sounded interesting.

The first one was called “So you wanna build websites.” It was interesting to get a perspective on the field of web design today and where it will be going in the future.  The future clearly is mobile computing and handheld devices (cell phones, etc.). and the future is here. They gave excellent advice to students and career seekers.  First they told them to concentrate on designing to standards not browsers.  “The browsers will come around,” they said.  They also said that it was necessary to have a concentration.  You cannot be a Jack of all trades in the web-design world doing graphic design, web app programming, and actually designing the site. You need to find your place and hook up with a few other people who have complementary skills.  Web design is far to specialized now.

The second session I attended was “So You Wanna be an Internet Marketer.”  This session was mainly about Google Analytics making conversions.  It made me want to do some more reading about making sense of web traffic numbers.  The most important thing that was said in the session, in my opinion was to be open to play with technology.  Champlain professor Elaine Young and others noted how important it was to try out technologies instead of instantly deciding, “that’s not for me.”

I wholeheartedly agree with this philosophy.  I need to constantly do this for my career as an Emerging Technologies Librarian.  Playing with technology is the only way you will stay current with what is out there and what your users are doing.  I hope to foster this environment and idea of play at Champlain College, along with other colleagues who are already playing and enjoying it.

Overall this Vermont 3.0 Tech Career Jam seemed like a great event bring businesses and students from around the area together to fill mutual needs.  I look forward to it next year.


Learning on the Web

I really am amazed with the web. Learning is just so different now. Instead of having to pay for journal subscriptions, professors are now putting their articles up for the public to view. In addition, institutions are also putting up video recorded lectures of classes. What I take advantage of though, are the wealth of online tutorials, especially for computer skills. I am not a graphic design guy, but in trying to come up with a marketing logo I was able to make a really cool looking Web 2.0 button.Ask Button

If you want to learn a new skill, the web could be an invaluable tool. I found the tutorial for this button at Free Adobe Photoshop Tutorials. But you can learn lots of other DIY stuff as well. The web as learning tool…I really like that.


Technology Woes

Technology is exciting and can help us with a number of tasks but it is also terribly frustrating. Today I was zipping along, thinking that I was going to be mister efficiency when I ran into two technology problems.

First, I was going to cook a chicken in the new slow cooker I received for Christmas. I wanted to simply “set it and forget it.” I set it just fine but luckily I didn’t forget it. After starting it, I came back about 15 minutes later to check the temperature and the whole unit had shut off. Moreover, I could not get it to turn back on. I got it to beep really loud at me once, but that must have been its death knell because it refused to work after that. Now I have to fool around with getting a receipt and sending it back to the manufacturer.

Second, I was going to post earlier today, but I realized that I needed to upgrade to the new version of WordPress. I had an automatic updater plugin but I kept getting fatal errors when I tried to activate it. I might have to search around for a new, working plugin one of these days. So, instead of spending my morning “setting and forgetting,” and posting to the blog I had to screw around with the slow cooker trying to get it to work, and I also had to update WordPress. I always forget how to update WP and luckily they have excellent documentation. It was just more reading and work than I wanted to do this morning.

My Christams break was very nice though. I was able to avoid a lot of technological distractions. I let my RSS feeds pile up, my e-mail inboxes became rather crowded, and I did not realize there had been a WP update until today. Technology can be very useful, but I find it helpful to take time away from it, because it is also often very stressful.