Look at the birds of the air

26 Feb

Today I took advantage of this incredible Florida weather and rode Blue Bell out on the Hawthorne Trail for a little while.

Many thoughts about post-graduation plans were creeping in, and bringing anxiety with them.

I stopped at a look-out point on the trail and noticed birds circling above…and all around. SO many of them.

The LORD reminded me of Matthew 6:25-27, 33

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?…But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

Those birds have to migrate…twice…EVERY YEAR. Yet they never worry if they’ll have food or shelter…He takes care of them. And he does the same with His people, whom he cares so deeply for. He is so faithful.

The Last Titanic Dinner

20 Feb

Choosing a picture from this grand, historic, SURPRISE reunion dinner  was near impossible, but I fought the urge to pick a shot of the delicious food and thought I’d show off my beautiful family (minus 9 cousins and one uncle).

Dad, Uncle Howard, Aunt Krisan, Aunt Dea and their families

So, Aunt Dea is the owner and cook extraordinaire of the Baron York Tea Room in Clarksville, GA. Each year she does a Titanic anniversary dinner, making the last meal the travelers had on the “unsinkable ship”.

Here’s a taste of our SIX course meal. (The average number of courses was eleven!)

Each dinner “passenger” receives a boarding pass with the identity of an actual passenger aboard the Titanic and their fate April 12, 1912.

My place setting

Mr. and Mrs. Edward Beane

 

Breaking it Down: Text Test

15 Feb

This weekend my family had a mini family reunion in Georgia.

My little brother even got to come down from Boston!

He’s does this chest-beat thing and has pretty great rhythm…even (or especially) while on a treadmill.

I made this video to play around with the video filter options in Final Cut Pro.

100 pictures = 1 movie

10 Feb

Yes, this post contains 100 emotional pictures (of my face), to produce what may look like a video.

It’s a series of pictures (that’s what video is, anyways, right?) you take on a webcam and as you take them it loops them together to create a series.

I learned how to use Toonloop in my Interactive Storytelling class this week.

Oh, the possibilities 🙂

*If you download Toonloop, here are some pointers:

1. First download Processing, which Toonloop must be opened in
2. Download the older Toonloop version (“Lite” for Mac users)
3. When you open Toonloop, it will have all of the program writing in the box, but when you click the “play” arrow, a screen should come up and your camera should come on, and you’ll see yourself.
4. Click the space bar to capture a picture.

Don’t Make Me Think

10 Feb

Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think” did just the opposite. It has me thinking of how I can make usability easier for my blog readers. His bottom-line agenda is to eliminate question marks that may form when someone is using a website. The edgy, conversational tone and funny footnotes make the book an enjoyable and rather quick read.

Krug gives the reader some basic ways that even a college student, like myself, can simplify a site without spending a pretty (or even ugly) penny. One of Krug’s biggest points is to make choices OBVIOUS. If a link is clickable, set it apart somehow from the normal text with underlining, coloring or using a bigger font.

Another way to make a site’s options obvious and visually appealing is to create a visual hierarchy, which does not necessarily mean from top to bottom. This can be done by prominence, grouping or nesting information. This is why I find “categories” on blogs helpful because it allows viewers to look at what interests or applies to them. I have a serious addiction to food blogs and Joy the Baker is my current favorite. Her categorical index helps a ton whenever I’m trying to decide on a recipe, because I’m often baking for a certain event or looking for a recipe with specific ingredients (hello, “Peanut Butter Meets Chocolate”. So dangerous).

Simplifying the site does not mean dumming it down. In fact, having a site that is straightforward will allow consumers to feel competent when using it. They will appreciate the ease of use. And that ease will more readily bring them back to your site again. It is important for the viewer to know – right off the bat – what the site is about and how it will help them. From that point, it should be obvious where to go for their specific needs.

Eliminating words is a great way to simplify a site. Marrying every word on the first draft is just asking for a nasty divorce. You will need to cut at least half of them off before you reach a final product…and a happy user. Having fewer words on the screen to choose from makes options more obvious and cuts opportunities for question marks to pop up.

Another interesting part of the book is Krug’s emphasis on testing websites. He cannot recommend it enough (the fact that that’s how he makes a living might have something to do with it) and insists it doesn’t even have to involve hiring a professional. Just having one outside person take a usability test could iron out many errors you and your colleagues overlooked.

One of the biggest problems company’s sites have is the point, use, message is not made clear. The company knows the material inside and out, so it can be a challenge building the site from a clueless (or clue-few) consumer’s perspective. If people do not know how a website can help them or what it is used for, why shouldn’t they click away? The trick when fixing the site is ironing out issues without creating other wrinkles.

Overall, Krug’s website wisdom is very applicable, even when using an already-formatted blog. It has helped me think about my site from the user’s perspective and how to make it more accessible for them. Thanks, Steve!

 

SQUIRRELS! inspired by GROUNDHOGS!

2 Feb

This morning Phil the groundhog crawled out of his underground home in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania and DID NOT SEE his shadow.

This means we’ll have an early Spring!

While I saw no groundhogs around campus today, I did see one of their Florida cousins perched in a tree outside of the Reitz, enjoying a snack. (He asked about you, Sarah)

[title inspired by “kittens inspired by kittens”!]

Precious Soda

1 Feb
I don’t know if Coca-Cola is trying to make their product healthier by reducing the size, or just rope people in with the absolute adorableness of a 7.5 ounce can of soda.
Either way, I’m enticed. (enough to take a picture, anyway…not purchase)
I’ve seen the mini bottles, but are these little aluminum guys new?