LEARNING TO BLOG: 2:1

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We’ve now had a second class in “How to Set Up a Website.” It was last night, everyone showed,  LeMasney was losing his voice… …and I’m bummed. The class was all about:

  1. How to make our blogs look visually exciting — with photos (our own or creative commons stuff) and videos. Le Masney is a graphic designer.  Blocks of type, such as I favor, are not his thing.
  2. How to stimulate traffic — with tags and categories.
  3. How to keep out undesirable comment.  (How actually to inspire comment was not addressed.)

He (LeMasney) “discussed” these matters with a pointer and a front-of-the-room screen which displayed a post from his own “365 sketches” blog.  I do remember that his post — which looked far too visually busy to me — was about nicotine and coffee, the latter of which he drinks and the former of which he now ingests from an electric cigarette. The reason I remember the verbal content of the post so well is because I’m a person who reads  — without visual enticements, other than a title, and maybe a subtitle.

But that’s not what we were supposed to remember as we gazed at the screen, and then at our own screens.  We were supposed to be focussed on the graphic design of the title, “nicotine and coffee”, which I believe LeMasney had created from some creative commons ideas he had uploaded to his media library.  (I’m throwing these terms around as if they were my friends.  Don’t be fooled;  I haven’t got a media library, at least not yet, and I don’t think I am going to be messing around with “creative commons” visual ideas, even if I knew where to find them should I want them.) That’s because the lesson was all about Dashboard, and where to click and what to click and when to click.

I wasn’t alone in feeling lost.  The others kept asking “where” and “how” and “what” questions, too. So after a while, I shut up and tuned out, except for noticing how LeMasney’s long-sleeved tee-shirt kept parting from his jeans whenever he raised his arms up towards the screen.  (He’s trim enough so that it’s sort of okay, although he’s not in the six-pack category.  But if he finds this an offensive comment, he should wear longer tee-shirts.  And maybe keep the sleeves down so as to cover the tattoo running up the inside of his right forearm.  It’s Princeton Adult School, after all.    Some of us might even be in our eighties!)

While he continued to enthuse about widgets and categories and comment control, I also took the time to observe how inaccurate first impressions can be.  You may (or may not) remember how I described the other members of the class in “Learning to Blog:1-3?” Was I ever wrong!

— The blonde behind me wasn’t blonde; her hair was silvery white.

— The wife connected to the husband nearest me, who I had thought put upon by the husband, was in fact quite savvy — at least in her questions, whereas he was entirely silent.

— The Apple lady had moved; she now sat where I could see her, looking quite snappy this time, in a dark purple tee-shirt that spelled out “Zoe” in white. (Zoe is the name of a hugely upscale ladies’ clothing store in Princeton; I make no speculations as to her connection with it.)

—  There were six, not four or five, computers per row of student tables, in addition to an extra half table with two more monitors on it behind the first four rows I had remembered.  And there was a whole other half of the room behind us, which I hadn’t noticed at all last week, with regular student desks turned away from our half of the room and facing a conventional blackboard.

Nine o’clock at last!  Out-of-there time.  Not before the homework assignment, though.  Only five posts for next time, but including all the good stuff we had learned about. Shall I try to jazz up this fairly faithful reportage with a photo of the two British Blue pussycats who were waiting for me when I got home?    The operative word in that sentence is “try.” If I fail, don’t blame me.  I’m pretty sure I’ll be moving to TypePad when this is over.

Sasha (left) and Sophie (right)

Sasha (left) and Sophie (right)

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LEARNING TO BLOG: 1-2

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Room 132 is full of computers — five per table, four rows of tables.  Well, of course.  (Did I think I was registering for a lecture course?)

I seat myself in front of the first computer in the first row.  This is partly to be sure to hear and see, partly from habit.  Throughout my long and extensive prior schooling in matters far removed from blogging, I was always a first or second row person.  (Never did understand, or wish to be one of, those loungers sprawled against classroom back walls.)

Unfortunately for me the computer for the first row, first seat — like all the others in the room — is a Dell, the operating system is Windows, the keyboard is large, black and noisy, and the mouse is attached to its moorings by a wire on the right side, with a red scroller dividing it in two halves.  Alas,  when I finally retired from my earned income stream at the beginning of 2006, I turned my back on the PC world of the office and rushed to embrace the freedom of Apple’s wireless wi-fi wonderland — with its dainty, nearly soundless white keyboard and its undivided mouse on which your finger can scroll wherever it falls.  I am also a lefty.

I know, I know:  These are not insurmountable problems. In fact, it was a no-brainer to move the mouse from right side to left all by myself, although the connecting wire was a bit short.  But I did have to ask which side of the divided mouse I needed to tap.  Amazing what you forget as you age.

You may perhaps have noticed that this is the second time I’ve mentioned age. My age, that is.  One mention per post, so far.  Think of that as a clue to why I was here, learning to blog.

Answer coming up a couple of posts from now…