Storify + Mission Shooting = useful tool for sad story

My roommate just started working at Storify – a service that allows you to quickly aggregate news stories from different sources. There was a violent shooting in my neighborhood tonight with a slightly higher than average number of shots fired (20), so I thought it was a good time to try it out. Sort of a morbid use case, but you can see for yourself…

Internet Identity Crisis: How to Choose a Good Handle

I have never had nicknames that stuck. EVER. This, coupled with having a common (at least common 30 years ago) first name and a painfully long and complicated last name, makes creating an “internet identity” or handle difficult. Media Culpa provides a few good tips to good twitter handles here. In addition to these criteria, I think a good handle should be:

  • Easy to prounounce
  • Easily spoken aloud in less than 5 words
  • Even easier to spell (especially when spoken)
  • 3 syllables max
  • I have been using lweite, which admittedly is horrible, and conforms no almost none of the above criteria. I have lliissaa in a few places, but it is taken on twitter (which is probably what matters most).

    So what to do? Is it appropriate to stalk the person who has the handle I want and who, by the way, never uses her account? Probably not… its a little creepy (and also, I couldn’t find her email address–yes, I did stalk her a bit). Should I just start from scratch? How about pwnedbylisa? too geeky? I’m sure my “woes” will end at some point and I will settle on a handle to use across all accounts I own, and hopefully these tips will make it easier for others who are trying to build their personal brand.

    Mac made easy

    Before buying the current cute little 12″ G4 powerpc I have toted all over the world, I was known between friends to be the one who thought that Macs were BS. I ended up buying it because it was the right price, lightweight, and small–ideal for carrying along traveling.

    At first a bit nervous about all the programs I thought I would be unable to use, I have to say that I fell in love with it within 20 minutes and forgot completely about my mis-informed perception that development for mac is behind that for PC. In fact, I have found every program I need and more… some programs that I use ONLY run on macs simply because the developers refuse to use the inferior Windows OS to develop.

    To help people that are just beginning their life-long Mac love affair here’s a list of programs I use–most of which are open source, and thus free:

    Firefox–Internet Browser–This is a MUST HAVE for every computer Mac and PC alike… DOWN WITH IE! For a list of good plug-ins see this post on Brendan Nee’s blog. Replaces Internet Explorer.
    Jungledisk–Automatic backup–an easy-to-use interface that works with Amazon S3. Replaces CDs and the built-in “Time Machine” which takes hard drive space.
    KeePass–Password Database–have 45907 passwords to remember? KeePass keeps them in a secure database. Replaces scraps of paper and dusty corners of your memory.
    Adobe Suite CS3–Graphics Tool–this is not open source, and not easy to use unless you know how, but its a must-have for web development and complex photo editing. Also offered on PC.
    Skype–VOIP Internet Phone Service–call your friends around the world for cheap over the internet. Replaces the device known as a “telephone”.
    Transmission–BitTorrent Client–simple interface and easy to use. Replaces Microtorrent.

    Web Development Tools:

    TextMate–Text Editing Tool–the best text editing tool I’ve used, free 30 day trial then 39euro, but worth paying for and only for use on macs! Replaces Aptana or notepad.
    Transmit–FTP Client–also not free, but worth the $30 for excellent, light-weight UI. Replaces Filezilla.
    Xamp–Offline Webdev Tool–this is the same as the PC version. No replacement.

    Free and Open Source Substitutes for above programs you have to pay for:
    Aptana–Text Editing/FTP–replaces TextMate but is a bit bloated and crashes from time to time.  (Edit:  Aptana Studio is freely available (and open source) for the Mac (Universal Binary) as well as Windows and Linux.. Thanks Paul)
    Filezilla–FTP–replaces Transmit, but is not as lightweight or intuitive
    Gimp–Photo Editing–replaces Adobe Photoshop, but I have not fully tested its capability

    That about concludes my list. I haven’t included a replacement for things like Quicken because I don’t use it, but and have features that track personal finances (Quicken does not run on MacOSx). To avoid having to pay for Microsoft Office, you can use Google Docs which has spreadsheet, word processing, and presentation capabilities. Here’s a list of other mac open source programs that is comprehensive but concise.

    Travel Blog

    I know I promised a blog right when we left for our trip.. well…. it has been a bit harder to get internet than we expected, and I had some problems finding a working computer before I left. BUT I promise that it is on its way!! I am being taught web design as I make this blog, so it is taking a bit longer, but it will be worth it! I will send an email with the URL as soon as its ready.. Hopefully within the next week. =) Hope you all are doing well.

    p.s. if you read this and would like to be subscribed to a shortened edition of the travel blog, post a comment here with your email address.

    Brendan found an awesome tool to document and track family genealogy. Its called The site has an easy-to-use interface that allows anyone to add information about family members including birth date, spouses (current, ex, and deceased), maiden names, and MOST IMPORTANTLY email addresses. The email addresses are the way that the trees grow! By simply putting a few emails on your tree of those in your branch, you could spark a revolution because it only takes a few determined folks to fill up the tree.

    If you are interested in more detail, you can edit the info of those that are entered in the tree and keep track of the county of birth and death, order of siblings, occupation(s), and nicknames.

    The other good part about the program is that it will keep track of birthdays and anniversaries and send email notifications (if you want it to) so that you never forget a birthday or anniversary again! If you have family photos that you would like to store, just use geni–it will keep track of the photos and allow you to tag them so that you can see everyone in the photo. Those that are adventurous can even create their own profile!

    As you can probably tell.. I’m suuuper excited about this website, and I hope to see you all on geni!