Tuesday, February 12, 2008

These Flickr Things

I am ready to be done with the Flickr challenges. I think that the same minds that create and enjoy these kinds of games are the descendants of people who, in less technical times, would have been craftspeople. They would have been building furniture or knitting pullovers. They are like bees, driven by some innate instinct to make stuff, occupy their time productively. It's a force that is admirable. But I don't want to make any more little doohickeys, not even digital ones. By the way, it seems like this exercise (6) doesn't work if you try to upload EPS or TIFF files. Stick with JPGs. I figured that out after my first couple of trading cards didn't download but just disappeared. I do understand that if millions of people are doing this, it behooves me to have some passing familiarity with it, but I think I'd better go back and get a familiarity with some other things that passed me by. I never made my own wine, for example, or learned to dance. I'm not sure that I fully embrace a world in which so much contact and experience is mediated by technology. I must try to find the positives.

Thing 6

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Flickr 5 Thing

So, I've spent about one hour 30 minutes here trying to make sense out of number 5. Some of the tools didn't seem to have a product that I could post. I've been toggling back and forth like a madman. I haven't felt quite this stupid since being introduced to differentiated equations when I was 12 years old. One of the problems with this kind of learning is that there's nobody to provide advice. I can't put my hand up and say "Please Sir." The tone of the email from our masters today seemed to be "You're all stupid. Just get on with it." That's basically what my math teacher told me as well. Consequently a life of letters. Oh well. I have a sneaking suspicion that what I have planned to be a daring exposure of flesh on my blog will instead be another little question mark. Or not.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

More WIth This Flickr Thing

Okay. Since taking somebody else's photo didn't work too well, let's try one from the account I just created. Here's a picture of the front of the St. Cloud Public Library.

Oops. I guess that didn't go too well, either. More question marks. I'm spending way too much time on this. Overall pleasure and satisfaction with online activity is decreasing by the hour. Maybe one of the defining characteristics of people who really get into this is that they like a challenge.

The Next Flickr Thing

All right. I get to post a photo somebody took. Let's see. Well, how about this picture of the Spice Girls taken by somebody who identifies himself as emutree. They've always been favorites of mine. Come on girls, tell me what I want.

Oh. I don't think this is supposed to work this way. I think the photo is supposed to be here. Instead, there's a question mark. Click on the question mark and you get to emutree's Flickr page. Where did I go wrong?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Thing 3: Not really simple

This was a very frustrating Thing to do. The instructions were not clear and complete. I didn't know if I was supposed to be setting up new accounts (email and blogging) or entering information from existing accounts. The interfaces didn't clearly explain to me in sequential order what I should be doing. I've wasted a lot of time backtracking and re-entering information. Yuck! This is one reason why I don't embrace new technologies, even though I can see how it might be useful to get certain kinds of news delivered to me without my having to go seek it.
I signed up to receive blogs from a couple of fellow CMLE bloggers. I hope they have interesting things to say.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Books Sure Are Nice

I love how people are sure the book will survive because it’s a nice thing. Home cooked meals are nice also. It’s all my mother ever made. (Frozen dinners weren’t available when I was a child.) Those meals that moms made in the 1950s were better in every way than frozen dinners, and we all know it. It doesn’t stop people eating TV meals or even feeding them to their kids. Why? Because marketers have convinced us to opt for convenience over quality.
I’ll give you an example of how technology gets pushed onto us. When I was a club cyclist aged 17, my handmade bicycle was every bit as good as the bikes being ridden by Tour de France racers. It cost about one month of a tradesman’s wages. It was lightweight, durable, affordable, and was easy to fix. All racing cyclists in the 1960s had bikes that were similar. The frame was steel, the parts were Italian Campagnolo, the saddle made of British leather. In those days, it wasn’t unusual for a racer with a flat tire to exchange a wheel with a spectator on the road. As a consumer, this was great. I built my bike and was set for years. For the manufacturers, it wasn’t so good. After they’d sold me a track bike, road bike and training bike, I didn’t need anything else for the foreseeable future. This all changed after Greg LeMond bolted a pair of aero-bars to his bike in the 1989 Tour de France. Since then, technical innovations have transformed top-end racing bikes. They are lighter, but they are much more expensive. They are prone to breakage, difficult to fix, have a variety of components that aren’t interchangeable, require specialized tools for repair, and have a limited lifespan. Plenty of people like me remain devoted to the older equipment. We trade bits and pieces on eBay. The cycling press call us retrogrouches. Companies still make steel frames by hand, but it’s a boutique business and expensive. Amateur racing cyclists would be better off if things could be like they used to be, but commercial imperatives force change and innovation.
A good book? Nice as a home cooked meal.
The Kindle? Downloads faster than Lance!