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Month: December 2014

Did you know remote meetings can be good?

Do you hate meetings that run like this? Do you know there’s a way to fix every technical problem in this video?

Are you an aspiring event planner?
Do you consider every detail?
Do you anticipate what’s needed before the organizer knows?
Are you patient?
Are you comfortable working in front of crowds?
Do you sweat the details?
Do you take pride in your work?
Are you OK with doing a great job, mostly anonymously?
Will you do what you need to do to get the job done and make a great event?

Are you reasonably technical and can work with such cutting-edge technologies as:
– Telephones
– The Internet
– Microphones
– Speakers
– WebEx
– E-mail

Are you eligible to work in the US?
Can you tolerate sitting near me for up to 8 hours every weekday?

Then you too could be a WebEx Support Specialist for the US Department of Labor! APPLY TODAY!

Seriously, our contract changed hands and there is another WebEx Support position to fill. You’d be working with me (perk or punishment depending on your outlook). You’d be setting up WebEx events large and small, answering questions about WebEx capabilities and assisting in planning large events.

If you’re interested, let me know. E-mail me at peroty@gmail.com. This is a real job we’re trying to fill.

Muting for a happier Twitter

Everyone can talk about what they want, but I don’t have to listen to it. This is true in life and it’s true on Twitter. I interact with the service through Tweetbot on my iPhone and Tweetdeck in Chrome on the desktop (Mac and Windows).

When I’m on my phone, I want to dip my toe into the Tweetstream so I mute what detracts from my experience there.

When I am on a computer, I have more time and attention to pay to Twitter. Due to this, I have very few mute filters in Tweetdeck.

Tweetdeck Mute Filters

In fact, as of today, I only have three things muted.
– Muting “sponsor”
– Muting “clickhole”
– Muting “gamergate”

I don’t remember when I muted clickhole, but it was probably at a time when a lot of people were tweeting them. I tend to mute the Topic of the Day™. Though I mostly do that on Tweetbot.

I muted sponsor because I don’t need to see what you’re sponsoring. I’ll see it on your site, in your RSS feed. I don’t need to see it on Twitter too. And if I miss a tweet with the word sponsor in it, then it’s not a big enough loss to worry about. Life will go on.

Gamergate was the latest addition. I didn’t choose the #gamergate hashtag, nor GG. I chose the word because it got rid of most of the people talking about it endlessly. Yes, it’s my white privilege. Yes, I know I have the power to walk away from it and people are still hurting. But nothing I do will affect that either way, so I filter it out.

But what about Tweetbot?

Tweetbot is where I stick my toe into the ebb and flow of Twitter. I don’t want to engage in everything. I want to see if there’s anything new to read or answer people who’ve replied to me.

I don’t mute any users. None of you have raised that level of ire with me, yet.

There are a few keywords I mute. They do the heavy-lifting in reducing the noise to let the signal come through.

Game of Thrones no more

First, I mute Game of Thrones. I don’t watch the show. I don’t read the books. I don’t care about the series. So I don’t need to see everyone making jokes I don’t understand nor talking about the show.

I would add Doctor Who and Mad Men to this list as well, but those are vague enough terms, I don’t want to block those. And people just don’t talk about them as much.

Last Retweet (that I didn’t see anyway.)

Next, I mute LRT. I recently had to ask what this meant and learned it was Last Retweet. I don’t care to read your explanation about your last retweet.

This is because I’ve turned off retweets for most of the people I follow. There are a few people I care enough about to read everything they share. (You do know you can turn off retweets, right? Click the gear icon on the user’s page on Twitter.com or in Tweetbot, and select Turn off Retweets.

Turning off retweets is the single best thing you can do to quiet noisier users.

This next filter comes from @sweatingcommas. I wanted to know how I could mute the replies in my main stream in Tweetbot.

While I do enjoy the conversations in Twitter when I’m on the desktop, I don’t want to see the replies go back-and-forth forever when I am on the phone.

^@ mutes replies

By muting ^@ it mutes everything starting with @ as the first character of a tweet. This keeps my main stream in Tweetbot to only the top-level tweets. I see my replies in the reply thread and if I want to see who replies to something, then I can swipe to follow the thread.

Muting replies is the second best thing I’ve done to boost signal to noise.

Any clients on the mute list?

Just one. Foursquare earned its place on the mute list years ago. I don’t care where you are or what you’re doing. I use Foursquare/Swarm fairly often but I don’t need to share that with Twitter.

#Hashtags

I ignore hashtags for the most part. I will often mute a hashtag for seven days when it’s linked to a TV show. When a TV shows asks people to vote on something, or enter a contest with a hashtag I mute it for a week. By that time, it’s usually gone in a week.

The only temporary mute I have still on my list is #AddFishToSciFi, which has three days left. I don’t need to see 50 tweets about it.

Also on the mute list is:
– #BWENY
– #depressingsitcoms
– #eurovision
– #GetGlue
– #OveheardAisha
– XPNLOTL

I can’t even tell you what most of these are, or how long ago they were things. But they annoyed me enough to mute.

Make Twitter What You Want It To Be

I’ve long enjoyed Twitter since it can be whatever you want it to be. I always found it fascinating no two people’s Twitter’s look alike. It can be whatever you want it to be, and with a little work, it’s easy to remove a lot of noise and boost the signal that makes Twitter so valuable.

There are other people doing good work on the Tweetbot muting front.

Other Resources?

An excellent resource is from SilencedBots

It will mute things like jargon, SXSW, Celebrities, Spam, Hot Topics and other things.

It’s also possible to share your Tweetbot filters.

So go forth and make Twitter a better place to be. A happier, more sane place where you enjoy hanging out and not stressing out.

Hat tip to amazing photographer and writer Josh Ginter for the inspiration to write this post.

Bookmarklets I Know And Love

I don’t use my bookmarks bar in Chrome for anything related to Bookmarks. I use it almost exclusively for bookmarklets. What is a bookmarklet? It’s a bit of JavaScript that does a specific function. Instead of linking to a URL, it performs a small command. You’ll see if you keep reading.

Plex
I have a shortcut that adds a video from YouTube or Vimeo to my Plex queue. It’s my watch-it-later system for video when I want to watch a conference talk or interesting video later and know I’ll forget otherwise. If you have video hosted on a computer at home, I highly recommend you let Plex organize and share it. To get this bookmarklet go to the Watch Later Help page. Drag the Plex It! link to your bookmarks bar.

KeepVid
In the course of running events, presenters will often send me link to YouTube videos they would like to play during their presentation. the idea of running a video from the web, with the possibility of advertising gives me nightmares.

I use KeepVid to rip the YouTube video to my computer and run the video from there. It allows me to show the video to the audience without running the risk of advertisements, network difficulties, related videos, comments of other undesirable things.

– Markdown Quote
After moaning on Twitter about the shortcut I had found, I longed for a better solution.

Rob Malanowski came to my rescue. Rob, who is my spirit animal, provided a wonderful bookmarklet that grabs the title of a page, puts it into a Markdown link and then grabs the highlighted text and pastes that in after a “>” which makes it a pull-quote in Markdown.

That sounds really convoluted. Here is what it does.

Markdown pull-quote bookmarklet in action

Now I have my quote and link to the page ready to write about. It’s a small thing but it’s quick and it makes me smile every time I use it.

If you want to use this bookmarklet, grab the link below and drag it to your bookmark bar.

Instapaper

Instapaper changed how and where I read. As a commuter that spends most of my hour commuting underground, I can’t read anything online. So I dig into my reading queue. To find the bookmarklet, go to Instapaper’s Save page and drag the Save to Instapaper link to the bookmarks bar.

If you’re curious what I’ve read and liked, I keep a list at Carl Likes which also posts to Twitter at @CarlLikes

– Fever feedlet
This is my shortcut to add a site to my local installation of Fever where I read all of my RSS feeds.

I used to have bookmarklets for Pinboard and HuffDuffer but I now use Chrome extensions for those. I often change the bookmarklets I have in my bookmarks bar. I’ve downloaded and used most of what Brett Terpstra writes because they’re useful and fun.

I hope you found something useful in this smattering of links. Do you use something that makes your life a little bit easier? Tell me about it on Twitter.