Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Cam23 2.0: Week 2, Extra thing: Twitter, extended!

I have been a Twitter enthusiast for a couple of years now. The applications I have most used with Twitter are these: -- the site that shortens URLs. Many of my tweets are for the purpose of flagging up my own blog posts, or linking to other things I've found online; there's an obvious point to a service that will shorten the web addresses of those things to fit within Twitter's 140-character limit. Will become redundant now that Twitter has taken to automatically shortening URLs that appear in tweets? Not for me: I like to see how many characters are left while I'm still preparing the tweet; and another thing that does, besides shortening URLs, is generate QR codes from them. I'm glad to see that 23things will be getting on to those later.

Twitterfeed -- the site that turns blog posts into tweets. Or rather, that generates tweets including links to new blog posts, together with as many characters from the heading and the top of the post as it can fit in. I have found this invaluable for the Haddon Library blog. I rarely get to see Twitter when I'm at work (in truth, my rule is to avoid Twitter at work unless my email inbox and 'Received' folder are completely empty), and, as I'm the only tweeter in the Haddon Library team, that means that the Haddon Library's Twitter stream won't get updated from the Haddon Library. But now, it doesn't need to be. I can update the blog, and, thanks to Twitterfeed, the blog will do the tweeting for me. For help in teaching the blog to tweet I must thank Niamh.

For my own personal blog, I've gone for the opposite effect. Instead of making the blog update Twitter, I've set up my Twitter account to put my latest tweets on the blog (see right). But that uses a widget I found via Twitter itself, so presumably not as adventurous as some other external applications. Many of those applications require the user to share Twitter login details, and I'm reluctant to do that more widely than I have to. And my tweeting, up to now, has been from the standard Twitter page on the web, or even from a dumb mobile, rather than from more elaborate clients.

Perhaps that's a personal idiosyncrasy. My teenage enthusiasm for distant radio stations was gratified using the most basic equipment -- portable or even pocket-size, medium wave.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Cam23 2.0: Week 1, Extra thing: Ways to make your blog beautiful

This Blurtmetry blog was born as coursework for the 2010 round of 23things Cambridge. And now I'm coming back for more.

I will probably confine my own blogging in this 2nd round to the Extra things -- the ones devised partly with us 2010-ers in mind. But I hope to follow every post on the other Cam23 2.0 blogs, and might even venture a comment or two.

In response to this first Extra thing, I have changed the blog template, and added a Twitter widget and a visit-counter widget. I did also add a share-on-Facebook widget, but removed it when I saw that I'd got such a thing already.

Talking of visit-counting, I've noticed that hits on this blog shot up during the three weeks or so after the announcement of Cam23 2.0. Most of them had clicked through to Blurtmetry from the site of the 2010 version, and the numbers dwindled rapidly when the blog for the new round went live. Perhaps, now that I've registered for the new round, the hits will go up again. I hope so.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Poems for Tavistock

Here are four poems that I wrote in 2008 for a competition organised by a writers' group in Tavistock in association with St Eustachius' church there. The brief was for 4-line poems on the theme of love, and all entries appeared in the competition anthology Poetry in the pews. It wasn't therefore a very selective anthology, but this was publication enough, according to my rule, to let me blog the poems now.

None of the poems requires explanation, but if Tavistock gets a link then I reckon Edington, named in the first poem, also deserves one. And the musical work named in that first poem gets tags.


It's a church music festival, so not
the place they'd sing 'Sure on this shining night'.
But we walked there, late summer night, in health,
and felt the starlit landscape to the north.


Our first bike tour was first for firstness, yes,
the new itself still new, new day new place.
Today, newness is less, firstness is full.
Yet the wheels no less strengthen in their pull.


An arm round her shoulders
and letting her cry.
Ah, that's not what I meant
by a holding reply.


I'M SPECIAL vexes, without meaning to,
the special rage of I'M AS GOOD AS YOU.
-- Why don't you try I'M OK YOU'RE OK?
-- Yes, but it never seems to stick that way.