Good Reads

Thanks to Tekzilla, I found an interesting website called Good Reads. Good Reads allows you to quickly and easily enter the books you own into the site so others can see what you are reading, want to read, etc. It also makes it handy when you are a book lover like me, and have a hard time remembering which books you own and don’t own.

You can organize your books into bookshelves. It comes with three built in shelves: read, currently-reading, and to-read. You can create your own shelves, and a book can be on multiple shelves. I’ve organized my bookshelves by topic, so far I have shelves like sql-server, powershell, c-sharp, f-sharp, to name a few. You can find my list at:

http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1268221

I like this concept, in the past I’ve always used an on-line bookseller when suggesting a book. Now this gives me a way of sharing my book list without looking like I’m a marketer. Another valuable feature, the site lets you create reviews for each book and give it a one to five star rating.

Right now I have added my most recent books. The ones on the bookshelf in my office in easy reach (or that have spilled onto a stack on my desk due to lack of bookshelf space) that get used a lot. I love books as a learning medium, so wind up buying a lot. Eventually I will add more of my current computer book collection. Also right now I’m focusing on my computer books, but will eventually add some of my recreational, self improvement, and business books.

Check out Good Reads and my list when you can. It’s free, and pretty quick to add your book list to. If you create a list feel free to leave a comment with a link so we can see what you are reading!

Twitter, Arcane Style

Twitter. You’ve probably heard it described a million ways. A micro blogging tool. Group instant messaging. Social networking. Keith Elder even described like “being in the speaker’s lounge at a code camp”. There are as many ways to use Twitter as there are reasons to use it. Of course, you can go right to http://twitter.com and use the web interface. There are many desktop clients available too, my personal favorite is Witty. There are even ways to update your Twitter account from your cell phone or smart client mobile device.

There are two keys to making Twitter work for you. First, is to decide what sort of content you are looking for on Twitter, the second is to then follow people who will deliver that kind of content to you. Many people use Twitter to keep others updated on what’s going on in their lives. Where they are hanging out, who they saw that day, what their day was like, etc. Mostly (IMHO) stuff your Mom wants to know.

The next reason to Twitter is to receive information from companies. Places like http://woot.com keep you informed of their deal of the day, which means the info is pushed to me instead of me having to go hunt it down. One of our local TV stations also Twitters to let us know of bad weather events that may be coming.

The final reason I’ll mention is the reason I Twitter, for good technical content. I’ve chosen a mixture of people who Tweet a steady stream of links and tips that I can learn from. I also try to provide relevant posts with useful info.

So, you’ve decided you want to get on Twitter. You’ve gone to Twitter.com and signed up for an account. Now what? Well, you need to decide who you want to follow. There are several ways to do this. First, you can find someone you already know about. I’m assuming you’ve logged into Twitter, and are staring at your home page. Up in the text box next to the Twitter logo where it says “Name or location” type in my Twitter name, arcanecode (all one word) and press enter. You will get a result with me in it, just click on the “Follow” link and you’ll begin to see my Tweets when you refresh the page.

Now you can look at my profile, and look at the list of folks that either I’m following or are following me. (I’d suggest the following page, since it’s more discriminating). You can then choose to follow those folks.

Another way is to search for people in or near the town where you live. Back on your Twitter home page, in the Name or Location box type in the City, ST where you want to look for and press enter. This will produce a list of people who have identified themselves as being in your town. Look over the list, click on their profiles. See how frequently they post, when their last post was, and most important are their posts of interest to you.

I’ll mention one other thing, a common convention when you see someone’s twitter name is to use an @ sign in front, for example @arcanecode. When using an @ sign, Twitter will automatically route that message to the person so they can see it.

To get you started, here is a short list of technical folks I follow for one reason or another. If you want to see my full list, just look at my Twitter profile and click on Following.

Birmingham Twitterers

@arcanecode – That’s me!

@jeff_barnes – MVP for Connected Systems (WCF)

@tmiranda – MVP for UI (WPF guru)

@KV4S – Fellow ham and software developer

Southeast Twitterers

@keithelder – MVP from Mississippi and the person who got me hooked on Twitter

@dougt – Microsoft Developer Evangelist for the Southeast and all around swell guy, no matter what Glen says.

@glengordon – Host of “GeekSpeak” on Channel 9

@TheADOGuy – Co-author of many of the .Net training books and magazine articles, recently into Silverlight

@vinull – Speaker out of Knoxville TN and .Net Developer

@dougal – One of the authors of WordPress, one time room mate of @glengordon, and my brother in law.

Nationally Known Twitterers

@shanselman – Host of Hanselminutes and nationally known speaker

@carlfranklin – Host of DotNetRocks

@codinghorror – If you don’t know who this guy is, you should

@twitlive – Leo Laporte’s information stream for his new http://twitlive.tv website.

@leolaporte – Host of the Twit.TV network, former TechTV star

@patricknorton – Host of Tekzilla, former TechTV star

@saraford – Famous for her Visual Studio tip of the day blog

I’ll wrap this up to an apology with all the folks I couldn’t mention, there were just too many. I follow a lot of really great folks and you’ve all provided me with some great information. Thanks!

Now, to the rest of you go out and start Twittering!

The Virtual Meeting

We had an interesting event last week during our BSDA meeting. Doug Turnure from Microsoft was presenting at our BSDA group. I decided to Twitter the high points as Doug went through his presentation on SIlverlight. (I loved Doug’s line about the DLR being the Woodstock of programming languages.) During the event Shawn Wildermuth, The ADO Guy (who should probably take on the new name The Silverlight Guy) tweeted back with some interesting comments and links.

At the same time Doug was also recording the presentation using Camtasia. I’m hopeful the quality will be sufficient to distribute as we were using a new microphone in new surroundings.

My goal is to take as many of the BSDA’s meetings as I can to the virtual community. To record the presentations for later playback, and to provide an interactive experience for those who can’t attend. What about your user group?

Where’s Waldo?

I have been a bit absent of late with the blogging. I just thought I’d take a second to explain. Last week my beloved wife had some pretty serious abdominal surgery. She’s going to be fine, but for a bit I’ll be playing both Mommy and Daddy, taking care of the kids, doing housework, etc. Thus my spare time for blogging, learning new technology and other geeky pursuits is quite limited.

I did have one pleasant surprise, during the three day hospital stay (yes I stayed with her) I found the hospital had free public wi-fi. When she was napping I was able to get out my laptop and handle a few work items, and communicate to the extended family about her condition. It was a nice “extra” that made the stay that much better.

It got me to thinking, there are a lot of places I go that it would be nice to have that free wi-fi access. Anywhere that you spend a lot of time, or need to do some sort of research. Around here I know several restaurants and coffee shops with it, as well as all the public libraries. There should be more though. One bookstore chain has wi-fi, but charges for it, another doesn’t have it at all. I mean, come on wi-fi doesn’t cost that much, and I would certainly be paying for it through my store purchases.

Doctors offices are another place I wish I had it, often you can spend hours waiting on a doctor. Sure would be nice to be able to check e-mail and let the office know “I’ll be here a little longer…”

What other public locations can you think of that you’d love to have some wi-fi in?

Arcane Links

I recently joined LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/). Seems like a good way to get hooked up and stay connected. See my public profile at:

http://www.linkedin.com/in/arcanecode

Join yourself, you might be surprised how many people you know that are on Linked In.

Arcane Get-A-Ways

It’s always great to get away with your coworkers every so often, in a situation away from the office. That’s where I’ve been the last few days, in the mountains of north Georgia. Very pretty country, and our big team building event was a 6 mile canoe ride.  

Unfortunately there was no internet access in the lodge we were in. Seems it was being renovated and they hadn’t gotten around to hooking it back up. They barely got the new carpet installed before we arrived. (I was the first one there, and as I was walking in the carpet layer was driving away).

It was a weird experience being internetless for several days. It’s amazing how used to connectivity we’ve all become in such a short time.

Speaking of connectivity, I now have a Pownce account. http://pownce.com/arcanecode/ . I’ve only just started it, will try to figure out how to most effectively use it over the next few weeks. Meanwhile if you have a Pownce account feel free to send me a friend invite.

I also read that WordPress now has a good integration with Facebook, and am considering a Facebook account. Let me know your thoughts.

Finally, I’ve updated the Arcane Lessons page ( http://arcanecode.wordpress.com/arcane-lessons/ ) with more lesson plans, be sure to check it out.

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