Avast, ’tis that glorious time o’ year again me hearties – Talk Like A Pirate Day. So put down yer coffee ‘n raise th’ bottle o’ rum as ye find some ships t’ raid ‘n villages t’ plunder, damn yer cursed eyes!
Archives for September 2007
Some new widgets for the WordPress MyDashboard plugin.
“I’ve selected the best for their graphic design, historical value, or the sad tale you can infer by holding them between thumb and finger and listening closely.”
A wonderful photo pool on Flickr.
So, I ran across a little QuickSilver tip which may be old news for the QS power users, but was new to me: QuickSilver is a a great timer for reminders. So, say you need to call someone in 30 minutes, but you don’t want to have to keep monitoring the clock as you are working on a project, writing e-mails etc. You could use a dashboard widget, or a kitchen timer, but why not use QuickSilver? It’s pretty damned easy:
- Open QuickSilver (cmd-space) and type a period (.) to open the QS text box
- Type your message (Call the restaurant to confirm tonight’s reservation) and hit the tab key to move to the commands pane
- The first option is to display as large text, make sure its highlighted and hit ctrl-enterto save that command to be used in conjunction with the next command:
- Choose ‘Run after Delay’ or ‘Run at Time’
- To have your message appear on screen in half an hour, type ’30m’ (30 minutes) in the box and hit enter.
It take about five seconds to do, and in half an hour, you’ll see a large box reminding you to “Call the restaurant to confirm tonight’s reservation”. Give it a shot, it’s a very useful feature! You can of course use other time options, seconds, hours etc.
Thanks to David Hayes for publishing the tip on his site, where I stumbled across it.
“Acorn is a new image editor built with one goal in mind – simplicity. Fast, easy, and fluid, Acorn provides the options you’ll need without any overhead. Acorn feels right, and won’t drain your bank account.”
A large table comparing the features in different Web app frameworks.
“30 secret Photoshop shortcuts that I’ve learned from years of experience. Well, what I mean by “secret” is that these shortcuts are not documented in the menus.”
“Bubbl.us is a simple and free web application that lets you brainstorm online.”
“Processing is an open source programming language and environment for people who want to program images, animation, and interactions. It is used by students, artists, designers, researchers, and hobbyists for learning, prototyping, and production. It is created to teach fundamentals of computer programming within a visual context and to serve as a software sketchbook and professional production tool. Processing is developed by artists and designers as an alternative to proprietary software tools in the same domain.”
Technorati’s constantly updating stream of political stories from the blogosphere.
“Food on a stick = happiness.”
“My version started out as a stew/soup, which was great, but when simmered slowly for a few more hours it became an outrageously good burrito filling or topping for a burrito, or whatever else you want it to be. Perhaps a filling for enchiladas?”
“Sweet at first, but then a substantial kick on the back of the tongue makes it quite addicting.”
A tasty looking recipe for garlic parmesan fries.
This is the third entry in this series, in addition to the overview, I’ve written an entry on informal meetings, covering the more relaxed gatherings that can, and should happen amongst your members between the formal meetings.
One of the most important ways to maintain and expand your group is to set and stick to consistent meeting times and locations. Regular meetings ensure that everyone has a chance to plan ahead. A regular meeting time and place makes it easier for your members to arrange for babysitters, avoid making conflicting plans, and in general remember the event. It also makes life much easier for the planners, as there is time to choose a topic, presenter(s) and verify the location reservation.
Anticipation = Participation
By planning ahead you can broadcast future topics and play up the presentations and discussions, generating excitement within your group, and hopefully driving your members to spread the word to their friends and colleagues who may not be aware of the group.
Location Location Location
There are several important factors that come into play when choosing a venue for your gatherings. Here are some things you should keep in mind when looking for a venue:
- The size of the group that will attend, which impacts the amount of:
- Seating – remember to calculate for people bringing computers!
- A central location, that is easy for the majority of users to reach via the major modes of transportation in your city (highways, subways, canals etc.)
- The facilities:
- A WiFi connection
- A projector and screen
- Ample seating, with table space for laptops
- A room quiet enough for the presenter to be heard, and separate from the rest of the location’s clientèle
Home is Where You Hang Your Hat
The ideal location is one that you can use for sevaral meetings in a row. In this case laziness is a good thing. By not moving it every month or two, everyone knows where you’ll be come meeting day, so they don’t have to scramble at the last minute, looking for an old e-mail , or even worse, start on their way, realize they don’t know where the meeting is and opt to go home. It happens. It happens far too easily.
A Little Planning Goes a Long Way
While that’s a bit trite, the saying rings oh so true when you are building and planning for a group. Take a bit of time up front, and you’ll find that your group will grow much more quickly, and predictably. Keep an eye out for what works and doesn’t. If you move to a new location and see a major drop in attendance for two or three meetings in a row, step back and think about what changed, and whether you should rethink your location choice.
And remember, the group should be fun for you and your members. You will have to do some work, but it pays big dividends. As always, if you have questions, suggestions or critiques, just let me know in the comments or the contact form!
“The name Anivers –as you might have guessed– is derived from the word anniversary. Anivers celebrates the anniversary of Smashing Magazine.” An interesting free font
“A humor magazine! And community! About parenting! On the Internet! Offsprung is all these things, and so many more. “
Amazon provides some details on their new design, which has a substantially different navigation structure; gone are the top tabs.