Category Archives: About blogs

PicLens

Sometimes you need to know about new software right now. This is one of those moments.

PicLens from Cooliris is an immersive, full screen environment that displays content (images and Flash video) as a dynamic wall of thumbnails. The wall can be manipulated with the click of a mouse to scroll and zoom, and you can switch to a “playlist-like” view of the folder contents with a single click.

This is better explained by seeing it in action. Have a look

http://www.piclens.com/

And then

“The PicLens Plugin for WordPress makes it easy for you to provide your readers with an immersive slideshow experience. Visitors simply click a “start slideshow” link (see example) to activate PicLens Lite, a slick filmstrip-style presentation console. From there, they can play or pause your slideshow, or better yet dive into a full-screen mode.”

http://piclens.com/lite/wordpress.php

This plug-in is for server installation only. Not available for WordPress hosted blogs.

You can also add a gallery to your website. Full instructions here.

http://piclens.com/lite/webmasterguide.php

Open for comments

Comments throughout the blog are now open to guests. An email address is required, but not prior approval.

This is an experiment to see if readers want a discussion space. Readers can also be participants. The blog is mainly intended for students attending the course but we have a wider readership, who have offered helpful links  and constructive criticism.

It is intended as a small test case to help us see where the boundary between course membership and guest participation should be drawn. Do students want a public forum, or do they want a more private space? Do we all gain from a conversation which includes visitor comments, or is it too difficult to keep contributions relevant?

More fundamentally, are comment threads and forums  solutions looking for a problem to solve? We need to think about defining the problem to which this is the solution.

To add your comments about comments, head over to the Comments Welcome page.

Participating users need to add the Comments(RSS) feed to their feedreader. In this template it is at the bottom of every page.

Feedreaders

In the first lecture I talked about RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds and encouraged everyone to try out a dedicated feed reader. As you monitor more news feeds/waste more of your life on the web, a feedreader allows you to manage information more effectively.

RSS brings you a preview of updated content on a website or blog. You no longer have to remember or make the effort to visit a website, unless there is some new content which is of interest to you. Subscribers can skim read the headlines and select what is useful to them. They can do this when it is convenient for them. At the time you subscribe a feedreader will pick up all recent posts, so you have a historical view of a site which allows you to see something relevant, although it was posted a month ago.

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About the blog

This blog is an example of the type of blog students will produce using WordPress hosting. You can have as many posts as you like. These work best as short pieces. You can also create a small number of pages. Pages suit a longer piece such as an essay, or static content. Depending on your choice of theme, tabs linking to pages will usually be arranged at the top, sometimes at the side.

I will use this example blog to demonstrate how to upload files and edit your blog. You are free to experiment with different themes and plug-ins. Generally, changing the theme re-arranges all the elements without mishap. At least as far as loss of text is concerned. Usability can suffer, but unlike a traditional website, you can change your mind about the design without the overhead of re-design and re-coding. Continue reading