Closing the open tabs

Excluding a couple loose ends, my strange semester is over. In theory, it is the last full load of courses I will have to take, marking the time-to-get-serious part of my doctoral journey. One of the major casualties for me as I finished my classes was the dearth of blogging.

Having been in a daily groove for the Fall semester, it is a bit disheartening to see all the unclaimed days in our BlogSchmog calendar. That sad fact is one of many things inspiring some change this summer. Here’s a few things that have been slowing down Firefox for me, waiting to become blog posts …

Women and High Tech
I met Joyce Boadt at BlogIN last month. She is working on strengthening the community of women involved in technology, managing a discussion blog on issues of gender and tech. She launched the online forum at the start of the year with the following backstory:

For those of you who don’t know me, I was there at the very beginning of Women & Hi Tech. We had monthly meetings and divided these meetings between professional development programs and “working meeting” where we worked on various projects and proposals. However it was the networking and discussions that occurred before, after, and even during the meetings that I remember most. We spent a lot of time talking about why an organization like Women & Hi Tech was needed. We were able to share our experiences and challenges we faced as women in male dominated fields. I hope that these discussions and even this blog can recapture that feeling again. I’m looking forward to meeting more of you and learning from you.
From Women & High Tech blog (January 30, 2008)

Reminiscent of the way relational-cultural theory came into existence, with a bunch of like-minded women exchanging stories at their kitchen tables.

Twitter Apps
When my Google Reader use dropped off the map in February, so did my diligent monitoring of all things Twitter. Lately, though, there has been a surge of interesting third-party development for the Twitter community, some of which are filling a real need. I haven’t used Twitter Snooze yet, but the idea is that you can temporarily turn off the tweets of noisy neighbors. I’ve come close to doing this when people I follow tweet from conferences, but the disposable nature and current size of my information stream makes it sort of pointless. It is a service that fills a need, though.

Even more exciting, though, is a trend toward third-party Twitter APIs. Summize launched on April 4 as a search tool for Twitter content. They have a great browser plug-in to add it to the search options (along with Google, Yahoo, etc) and their own API to allow other developers to glean content. One early success from that API-of-API access is Twistori, which extracts searches for Love, Hate, Think, Believe, Wish and Feel to create a flow of Twitter messages using those words. This evolution is exciting to watch, especially with a backdrop of slightly more sophisticated critiques of Twitter (witness the somewhat clever AltText Video analysis of the medium). I have a number of Twitter projects on the burner right now, including one I hope to bounce off of Tweet Stats creator Damon Cortesi this week.

Looking for Inspiration
In about six hours, the polls open on the most meaningful Indiana primary in a generation. Having been underwhelmed by the last several weeks of campaigning by the Democratic candidates—where are you, Barbara Lee?—I may not know until I pull the lever whether I’m going to help Obama or Clinton pull out of the Hoosier deadlock. But I am more certain about the local candidates I’m supporting, most notably County folk Geoff McKim and Sophia Travis. I’m also going to try to push Baron Hill out of office again by voting for Gretchen Clearwater.

The most inspiring thing I have encountered occurred within the week. Marty McCrory tipped me off to news of Central Washington players helping an opponent score the winning run.

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