Sunday, January 6, 2013

Strasbourg France


Strasbourg France, a set on Flickr.

Pictures from our trip to Strasbourg, France.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Semester Project

The Impact of Blogs on Communication


In our fast pace society it may be very difficult to maintain up to date communications with your friends, family or business peers.  There are some times when we need to turn to technology to fill in the gaps.  One option to maintain communication could be through the use of a blog.  A blog quite simply is an online journal (Shelly & Frydenberg, 2012, p. 21).  There are several websites that allow users to create free blogs from a template or a blog can be formatted to the linking of the blogger, or the author of the blog (Shelly & Frydenberg, 2012, p. 27).  A blog can be as simple or as complex and as up to date as the blogger, or author wishes.
History of Blogs:

            The history of blogs is quite interesting.  In 1994 the first blog was published by Justin Hall, a student at Swarthmore University.  The term “web-log” was introduced in 1997 by Jorn Barger to describe logging information on the web.  This was shortened to the word “blog” by Perter Merholz in 1999, the same year that free-web blogging services began to appear on the World Wide Web.  One of the first web services to appear was BoingBoing, which launched in 2000 (Thompson, 2006).  BoingBoing actually started out as an online magazine and was morphed into a group blog site, often referred to as a “directory of wonderful things” (  In 2002 several popular blogs were created.  This included Gizmodo, a blog discussing consumer technology, gadget news and information about digital culture (; Blogads selling advertising space on blogs ( and Gawker, a gossip blog site (  The scope of blogs continued to grow, as a 2003 blog was created to dialog about the Iraqi war and Wonkette (, a D.C political opinion blog in 2004.  By the year 2005, 32 million Americans were reported reading blogs and an over $100 million in merchandise was sold by the use of blog ads (Thompson, 2006).

As you can imagine there are a number of ways to electronically communicate information to others.  This could include e-mail, websites, social networking sites, electronic journals or blogs.  If you wish to relay important information, you may wish to use a combination of these formats.  A blog, in particular can allow the blogger to use such features as written text, pictures, videos and options for the end user to provide feedback.  Blogs are an easy way to increase communications.  This can include internal organizational use, external organizational use and for entertainment or personal use. 
An organization may wish to use a blog to communicate important information to its employee base.  This could include information that the organization may wish to keep from public consumption, but will need to be distributed to large number of people.  For example, at my organization there are blogs that can only be accessed via our intranet. The information is still restricted to those who have the credibility or access levels, but the blogs are used to share important information to the entire staff.  If an organization uses a blog, this will eliminate overloading email accounts or slowing down bandwidth.  An organization may also chose to use a blog, so that the information is stored in a central location and historical information can be searched or accessed at the end users discretion. 
In addition, organizations can use a blog to communicate to their external customers and stakeholders.  They may wish to share news about new product/service release, information pertaining to product/service use or product recalls.  The organizations may also wish to share personal reflections about organizational successes or future ventures.  It is important to also note that non-profit organizations or even governmental agencies could use blogs to educate the general public about a large variety of topics.  For example, many political candidates maintain blogs to keep their constituents informed of local or national news and to share their view points during election times.  Finally non-profit organizations can keep their audiences informed of charity events, news and viewpoints of recent news.   
Finally, blogs can be used for personal or entertainment purposes.  This could include connecting with long distance friends and family.  In some electronic forms of communication, personal connections can be lost, but a blog can include text and photographs to bridge this gap.  Blogs can also be used to share hobbies or interest.  They can also be used for journaling and sharing personal opinions on anything that is of interest to the blogger.

            As briefly discussed there are several benefits to using a blog.  A blog can allow the blogger to communicate important or interesting information to a large audience almost instantaneous.  The audience can then read the information and reference back to it at their leisure.  Blogs formats can contain archives and search features so that the most recent information is posted on the home page and all other information can be easily accessed.  A blogger audience can also set up a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed, so that they are automatically notified when a blog has been updated.  This eliminates the need to visit a blog every day for news and updates (Shelly & Frydenberg, 2012, p. 80).  Finally a blogger can add gadgets, or a mini Web application to their blog.  Such gadget can allow bloggers to share other blogs that they are interested in, share photo feeds, profile information about the blogger or even news, weather and entertainment updates (Shelly & Frydenberg, 2012, p. 48). 
            On the other hand, there are some issues relating to blogs.  In 2002, Heather Armstrong, for example was fired from her job after she discussed work matters on her blog.  Later that year, Senate minority leader Trent Lott resigned from his duties after racially charged talking points were discovered and leaked to a blog (Thompson, 2006).  A blog contains personal thoughts and viewpoints.  This could mean that the bloggers opinion could be scrutinized and the blogger could be held accountable for negative or derogatory comments.  It is important for the blogger to remember that blogs can be viewed by the public, information on a blog can become permanent information and they should be considerate of their audiences.

Wordle: Blog

            As you can see, blogs have enabled bloggers to expand their communication capabilities.  A blog can allow the blogger to send information to multiple audiences from one easy to use application.  The blogger has total control over what information is shared and in what format the information is displayed in.  A blog can start out as a hobby to connect with old friends or can expand into a productive business venture.  It will be interesting to see how blogs transform and shape as technology grows and blogger creativity expands.


Active ads. (n.d.). Why Buy Blog Advertising? Retrieved from

Boing Boing. (2012, April 18). Wikipedia. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from

Gawker:” Today's Gossip Is Tomorrow's News. (2012). Retrieved April 27, 2012, from

Gizmodo, the Gadget Guide. (n.d.). Retrieved April 27, 2012, from

Shelly, G. B., & Frydenberg, M. (2011). Web 2.0: Concepts and applications. Boston, MA: Course Technology

Thompson, C. (2006, February 16). New York Magazine. A Timeline of the History of Blogging --. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from

Wonkette. (2012). - The D.C. Gossip. Retrieved April 27, 2012, from

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Cooking and Spring!!!

It has been a busy week in the kitchen, but luckily with some planning and multi-meal recipes, it has been fairly simple. 

We started the week off with pineapple and ham stuffed crust pizza.  I took a pre-made stuffed crust pizza and added chopped ham and fresh pineapple.  Sometimes it is just as good to take some short-cuts and for this recipe, it turned out to be a fast, delicious lunch.  Then we had tacos with beans and rice with left overs that turned into loaded nachos.  Thursday I tried a new recipe from my slow-cooker recipe book, Turkey, Corn and Black Bean Chili.  I had some reservations about having a warm chili on such a hot day, but it turned out to be a delicious, refreshing meal.  The best part of the chili was that we had a quick re-heat meal the next day. 

I think the family will agree, our favorite recipe of the week was our lettuce wraps. We were very excited for the return of our local farmer's market where we picked up some hydroponic bib lettuce to make chicken lettuce wraps.  I have had wraps at various restaurants and knew that I could duplicate this meal at home.  We used ground chicken, carrots, cucumbers, fresh mushrooms, water chestnuts and lettuce wrap sauce.  It was a messy meal, but it felt like we were enjoying a restaurant meal right at home!

Finally, I am very excited about my spring bulb that are blooming.  As I look out the window, I am inspired by all of the fresh, light meals we will be enjoying at our garden starts blooming and we can enjoy the farmers markets!  Happy cooking!!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The perfect ending to a busy week.

This week has been extremely busy.  Kayla's dance recital was this weekend, so she had had long hours of rehearsal all week.  Kayla did a wonderful job with her tap and modern dance pieces.  We are so proud of her and her hard work really showed!!!  Dustin also had his first gallery showing at a local art show, so there has been little time for cooking and kitchen work.  We did start the weekend off with a family brunch.  Kayla's hair and make up artist came over to help get her ready for her performance, so we invited our extended family over for brunch.  The  menu included orange essence french toast, eggs, bacon and scrapple.  I love having a big family around the table and the family really enjoys breakfast food.  I normally make the fresh toast with Texas Toast bread, but since it was out of stock at the grocery store, we did a little experimenting and used Challah bread.  It looks like the Challah bread will our new favorite for french toast.

This week I will finally be able to get back into the kitchen.  We have a full menu planned and hope to try out some new recipes with the good old crock pot.

I have also been excited to add the Instagram for Android app to my phone!!!  I hope you enjoy a jazzed up picture of my favorite spring bloom.    Hope you have a great week and happy cooking!!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

More reason to Celebrate!!

Happy Easter!!!  The morning started off with a traditional Easter church service.  Then it was time for family dinner.  This year my sister hosted Easter dinner at her home in Hapstead.  It was very nice to see everyone in the family, to enjoy some old family favorite recipes and to watch the children playing outside in the beautiful weather.  The menu included ham, cole slaw, potato salad, pulled pork, picnic beans, homemade rolls, and a variety of desserts.  The highlight of today and one of our family's newest traditions was the release of the grandchildren's butterflies.  A few years ago my Mom purchased butterfly grow kits for the kids.  They really enjoy watching the caterpillars grow, form chrysalis and emerge into butterflies.  Our new tradition includes releasing the butterflies on Easter Sunday!!  I hope you enjoy some of the pictures of this very special day. 


In a few paragraphs answer the questions below
What is an RSS?
An RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is based on XML and designed to provide a user notice when information is updated on a website. Once a source feed is located it can be read with different client software. RSS is really helpful if you like to follow blogs or websites with daily deals or frequently post new material. RSS can be used to track updates from multiple sites in one convenient location. Both Internet Explorer and Outlook have feed readers built in to the application.

What is the history of RSS?
RSS was started by Netscape, one of the earliest web browsers, as a way for content creators to publish their writings on a syndicated format. The first version of RSS was called RDF (Resource Description Framework) site summary this first version was called RSS 0.9. RSS was eventually dropped from development after Netscape was purchased by AOL. The most current version RSS 2.0 was released by Harvard University under a creative commons license.

What are the uses of RSS?
RSS feeds can be used to keep track of news, auction items, forum headlines and product sales.The White House has a couple blogs that provide general information, press office feeds and a photograph feed. The US Department of Homeland Security hosts several feeds including news and press releases. offers feeds for recently added videos and shows, most popular  and highest rated.

How important are they as a means of disseminating information?
Businesses can use RSS feeds to link to important information or updates. Microsoft currently uses RSS to inform users of its Security bulletins. Amazon shows a headline view of the top 10 best sellers. If you wanted to keep track of when a new Blu-ray becomes available, all you have to do is subscribe to amazons RSS for Hot New releases > Blu-ray.

How are they used as a business tool?
RSS can be used as a business tool for such instances that an organization may wish to share important information with their employees or even their customer base but do not wish to flood an email system with updates for information. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

A Day To Celebrate

Today is my daughter Kayla's 13th Birthday.  I still can't believe I have a teenager !!  Of course, a big milestone like this, requires a celebration.  Kayla requested waffles, poached eggs, bacon and fruit topping for breakfast this morning.  We had fresh blueberries and mangoes from the produce stand.  I decided to keep the blueberries as they are and made a mango orange syrup with one of the mangoes.   The toppings were delicious and we enjoyed our big breakfast.

She then decided that she wanted to go to the Cheesecake Factory for a celebratory dinner.  We invited some friends and family to join us.  They have so many tempting items on the menu that it is difficult to decide what to choose- and then to save room for dessert.  I opted for Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps.  If you have ever been to a Cheesecake Factory, you know that the food is delicious, but the portions are very generous.  The lettuce wraps were messy but there were so many flavors and each wrap could be customized to my liking.  Here is a picture of the lettuce wraps, I enjoyed....and will enjoy again for lunch tomorrow.

What a perfect ending to a great day.  Happy Birthday Kayla!!!