Sunday, April 20, 2014

Are You Ready for a New Twitter? It's HERE!

Irony of ironies!
I recently worked a few nights madly and happily Photoshopping & designing a new Twitter look for our school's Twitter page! (it's still not perfect! & best viewed on a big desktop screen) when I heard that they're soon changing the look and design features of Twitter altogether! What the what!? Doh!
(It's HERE! See Update below!)

According to Mashable, they're making it look a lot more like Facebook.  You know how I feel about Facebook, right?

Change Happens.
When Twitter changed their profile look a few years ago, I was Gwynnie on the spot figuring out how to make it look cool & I shamelessly shared my tips, too! Added to that my Twitter At-A-Glance and my Twitter: Art of the Follow comics, I try and keep up with Twitter trends.  Heck I could do a collection of screenshots of Twitter's morphing looks. So, it comes as no surprise that they're changing it again. You probably won't notice much if you use a Twitter client like Tweetdeck or HootSuite, (in case you're wondering what I use - neither! ...I like the straight computer version of Twitter) but I gotta tell you - having a good looking Twitter background IS important! The first things I encourage new Twitter users is to break that egg and add a profile picture, write a banging profile description, include your location (at least country & time zone), add a link to some professional website (school, wiki, blog, Flickr, something that legitimizes you!) and to customize your Twitter background.
Why? Keep reading!

Dahling, You Look Marvelous!  
or Your Twitter Background is Your Branding Billboard
I'm working on a new preso & blog post (it's gonna be a long one!) about how to be a Twitter Ninja! But as a preview let me remind you that when people see your Tweets during a conference or an #EdChat or #TLChat they click on your name and POP goes up the profile quick view! That's why it's super important and a great opportunity to craft your brand or to at least look tech savvy and snazzy!

Mine looks like this now and of course I just re-designed it when I re-designed my school background.  The DAY that the new design change was announced! [she bangs head on keyboard]
Twitter hasn't rolled out the new look to old users yet, only new ones! (I keep checking!) but if you want to get a head start you can design one that's 1500x500 but do note that the tool bar at the top will take up or cover about 55 pixels  and the bottom toolbar 65 pixels.
I feel like Steve Martin in the sophisticated oeuvre movie, The Jerk! I want to run out jumping up and down yelling "The new Twitter is here! The new Twitter is here!" instead of phone book! Just a couple days after I blogged about this (it's Wednesday 4/23) Any Twitter user who wants the new look can get it! See my new updated profile below. Then all the specs I guessed at...they're all pretty good! I still had to play with the graphic to get it right in all views!
I really like the new "Pinned" or featured Tweet! But don't forget to change it once and a while! Especially if you use Tweetdeck! The new look (I refuse to call it the Facebook look) is wide and expansive. Here's the full size screenshot
Here's how it looks when someone clicks on my name in a Tweet - see why I centered the Tardis? Even though it's sorta cut off the top in the full size view? Pretty cool, huh? It's like my head is FLYING out of that Tardis! Geek heaven!

Thank You Channing Tatum!
A choice few celebrities got the new look early, that's why I'm showing you Channing Tatum's Twitter profile as an example (and not just because he's amazingly funny, talented, & gorgeous!) So that's how I figured out by taking screenshots and measuring with Photoshop the image sizes - and also because there aren't any .PSD templates out there yet!  Another thing to keep in mind when designing your new Twitter background when it's viewed in the chat pop up it will be cropped to a centered 515 pixels (do don't put anything too super cool on the sides like I did above!
Sometimes you gotta play with these things! View the full size of the example to get a better sense of how it's gonna look for you!  Please note: all sizes are approximate - I'm a geeky amateur! 
No Photoshop? No Problem!
If you don't have Photoshop, use PicMonkey!  When you get there select design then custom and put in 1500 and 500 OR upload a very big picture and crop it to 1500 X 500.

Just the (Approximate) SPECS!
  • Twitter background image should be 1500 wide by 500 high 
  • Your profile picture will be a LARGER 200X200 pixels
  • The image will be covered by the tool bar by 55pixels on the top and 65 pixels on the bottom
  • When viewed as a pop up during a chat the Twitter profile will center crop the image to 515 pixels and will show your profile text, location, and your website link.

So dear readers...tell me in the comments
What did I forget?
Would you read a blog post or enjoy a preso on how to be a Twitter Ninja with all kinds of biased opinions & tricky tips?
Are you ready for this change?
What Twitter client do you use, if any? 
Have you ever tried using Photoshop Elements? (It's hard!)

6 New Features of the Twitter Redesign You Should Know About

Coming soon: a whole new you, in your Twitter profile

Twitter Begins Wide Launch Of New Profile Design

Sunday, April 13, 2014

School Librarians Rocking it Hard Every Day!

Introducing the SLJ Librarian of the Year Award
Advocacy is always important. Advocacy for kiddos, teens, literature, creativity, giftedness, special needs, technology, a filterless society, community projects, connection with parents, geeks, goofballs, oh and LIBRARIES! Transparency IS the new black!
In our profession, being an advocate for your kids, your library,  your program, and yes...for YOURSELF is ESSENTIAL!

I Nominate YOU to Nominate Yourself!
You can and you should nominate yourself for this award. The first education honor or award I got was the  Teacher of the Year Award in 2001 from PBS & the NTTI (OMGosh the write up is hilarious! CD-ROM's & the Handspring Visor! LOL) , I filled out the paper, got my principal on board and went for it! And Kathy Schrock presented it to me! (I know, pinch me, right?) I was also the first school librarian to get that award, too! That felt awesome!
If you win this one, you would be the first one to get it! That alone is super coolness! You can also ask a friend or an administrator to join in.
You're rocking it HARD every day!
Be confident, be proud, be excited!  You're rocking it HARD every day! You're helping teachers, teaching kids, connecting with the community, tech trouble shooting, cleaning LCD projector filters, laminating, standardized testing administering, building a library collection, weeding, and book talkin! You're going to do this for us....for our and your profession! You're going to share the cool things you do every day with your awesome kiddos - you're promoting your school, your district, and your state! Oh and you can also get some cash money $$ & cool swag, too! Holla! 
Do Not Humble Yourself Out of a Job! 
This is not the time to blush, turn away, and mumble - "Oh my word! I couldn't possibly!  People would think I'm bragging!" -- women have been doing that for way too long! Do you think men worry about that? When you're an outstanding, significant, committed educator and change agent - you need share and celebrate that! It also says to the kiddos that what we do matters and we are proud of who we are and our profession. That's being a good role model.
I Judge You to be Fabulous!
I am honored to say that I was asked to be a judge on the panel for this first ever award. (And if I hadn't been you know this girl woulda been going for it for myself, what!? LOL) Our PLN rocks it hard and I want to see your name! I want to shout about your awesomeness! I want to be YOUR cheerleader!
Apply for this NOW!  

Key dates: 
  • Nominations open: April 1
  • Nominations close: May 23
  • Judging: June
  • Final decision: July 1
  • Winners profiled in SLJ: September
For more information you can also contact the amazing supportive and FUN
Kathy Ishizuka: or @kishizuka

I hope this blog post comes across as passionate, encouraging, and supportive! Don't get me started on the Bossy word, grrrl! 

Oh and sorry, as a judge I can't write these letters myself, you gotta go ask someone in your school or district. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Digital Image Factory & Cue Tips

Graphic Design Desires
Combining a few recent posts (10 Tips for Digital Photo Editing & Fun  & Lustworthy Fonts Made of Win!) and some slides I made for PD in my school, I created the slidedeck below with EVEN MORE great sites for FREE digital imaging with bonus and totally biased graphic design tips! Hope you like it!

Got Cue?
I'm also going to be using this as part of my preso & Workshop Factory and Image Factory during my appearance at the CUE Conference in Palms Springs, CA! (I know, pinch me, right!? SO honored to have been invited to speak!)
LeVar Burton is keynoting the conference, plus there are loads of amazing sessions. I've never been to the desert before, but after all this snow we've had in DC it's certainly intriguing! I'm hoping for a balcony room. Love me a balcony!

Workshop participants are going to be challenged to create PPT with their best and curated 5 Cool Tech #CUE14 Tips from the conference applying the Presentation Ninja principles in regards to image, font, succinct text, & colour scheme!
Because teaching tech tips in isolation NEVER works! I to always create some kind of construct or reason to apply the newly learned principles and it will make them more meaningful and memorable.

For more font & graphic design resources visit my Font Lust Scoopit Page! 

My best PPT Ninja Tip - Save your PPT as ALL Pics: Why? By doing this you will preserve your awesome fonts, all formatting, AND it will make the size (mgs) smaller so you can upload it to slideshare or use in a webinar.
Save your preso as "all pics" --but make sure to click OPTIONS and choose 180dpi so that the quality of the images is closest to optimal size 1024 x 768 - this will create a folder of jpg images on your desktop. Next, create a NEW ppt adding "all_pics" in the title example: Presentation_Ninja_All_Pics.PPT
I always use underscores when naming docs, it's part of my good naming convention habit! Then drag, drop, and reposition each jpeg onto each slide of the preso.  Voila!
(Check out the full size of graphic)

Oh and here's a SQUEE moment & another reason why striving for great graphic design is a good thing along with the power of Slideshare:  I uploaded the above slidedeck on Slideshare on Sunday night & Tweeted it out, and BOOM! Next day they featured it on their front page! I mean, what the what!? 800+ hits in one day! Crazy, right?
What FREE Imaging sites did I miss in my slidesdeck? What are your favourites? What are your best graphic design tips?

Cheers dears!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Harry & Ginny True Love 4Evah!

I am a longtime Harry Potter fan and the recent news that JK Rowling thought maybe Harry and Hermione should have ended up together has me in a bit of a FANGIRL trailspin of

What the What!? Nooooooo!  

Here's the comment I plastered around almost everywhere I can (don't judge me!) LOL

No way would Hermione have made Harry happy or vice versa! She's way too prickly, stubborn, cranky, (as his he!) and they would have snipped at  each other until a divorce would be the only answer. Jenny is sweet enough (but not saccharine)  to put up with Harry PLUS she's magically strong enough to earn his respect.  AND by marrying her he's now part of the Weasley family - which he always wanted to be, and I think is perfect!

I have wondered who, if anyone, was Hermione's
intellectual equal - what other cool brainy boy was there at Hogwarts?

Hmm? Not Neville though he turned out to be awesomely brave! Someone who would earn her respect and not let her trample over him. I'm at a loss! And Viktor was nice, talented, strong, brave, but really not intellectual enough, IMHO.

I obviously am a HPFan and have thought of this WAY too much! LOL But then again, I AM a school librarian -[preens] so it's like my JOB to do it! [nod nod] yeah, that's right!
The Daring Librarian (.com!)

What do YOU think? I'd LOVE to hear your opinions & thoughts in the comments!
Harry Potter and the Tearful Farewell - 

a selfie of my happy/sad eyes red, puffy, & with all the makeup cried off after watching the last Harry Potter movie.

"It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are far more than our abilities"
- Dumbledore pg. 333 Chamber of Secrets

Back in 1999 I joined the Unofficial Harry Potter Fan Club started by interweb fan fiction pioneer "Jenna" (never found out her last name) and created a special bulletin board display with pages I printed (in colour!) from the website! Of course with art attributions!

In defense of JK Rowling for leaking these HP second thoughts or revelations. Why not? I go back and edit my blog ALL THE TIME! I fix and tweak my graphics designs twice as much! She's an author - she wrote it, she can re-write it, she can muse and re-consider and share! It does not dramatically change how I feel about the awesome source material, the books, or the HP world! The Twitter and fandom backlash about this is just plain silly!


Resources & Image credits: 

I'm not the only who has this opinion!  Read this essay with book notes from The Leaky Cauldron:  Why Harry Picked Ginny, Rather Than Hermione, As A Romantic Partner An Analysis of Sexual Attraction and Humour By Gowdie

Harry & Ginny graphics by akqzall from Fanpop

added by akqzall
added by akqzall 
The rest are all mine. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Lustworthy Fonts Made of Win!

Lustworthy Fonts
I've made no secret that I have a great love for graphic design, fonts, and the FREE site PicMonkey; which makes even the novice dabbler feel like their creations are Made of WIN! As Joyce Valenza said in a recent blog post "my love for PicMonkey, in general, is so great that a premium subscription is critical!"
But you don't have to have a Royale subscription (but it's worth it!)  to get lustworthy fonts, see!? Here are 10 FREE fonts that are super cool!
And here are 10 Royale fonts that are nom nom delicious! You can also find some of these fonts on Dafont and 1001 Free Fonts! How do you find them to download them to your lappie? Just Google the name of the font + FREE + MAC (or Win)  - and Bazinga! Lustworthy Fonts!

Design With Style 
& Pimp Up Your Blog Posts
The coolest new thing they offer is the ability to create from a blank canvas and a new design feature where there are pre-set sizes! Even a Facebook Cover [wrinkles nose & makes a face] Don't make me talk about our breakup!
If you're a blogger, a header graphic is very important! Whether you choose a square or rectangle, every blog post should at least start with a coordinated graphic. When people Tweet, Scoop, or Pin your blog post - that graphic will be the one that represents it with flair! See the example to the left!  How should you do this? Use the power of PicMonkey or use a Flickr Creative Commons photo (Just always give attribution!) - this will make your blog posts pop!
Honestly, any blog that’s has coordinated, meaningful, helpful, or cool pics is always one that I’ll read! I know I go over the top with graphics - that's my addiction, ok? But one related picture is a great thing!
For more bloggy tips, check out my post Just Blog It! Blogging Tips & Ideas
Quick Blog Link Tip: 
Every link you add to your blog, be sure to check off for the link to open in a new window. That way, your readers won't get distracted or lost and can always come back to your post!

More Lusty Gorgeous Fun FREE Fonts!
Number of times the word Lust or lustworthy was used in this post = 8! \\FTW!//

Saturday, January 4, 2014

4 Easy Steps to Embed a Tweet

Super thanks to Sasha Reinhardt or @MiddleGrdReads for letting me use our Tweet convo as the embed examples and inspiration for the graphic! Cheers!
Have you consolidated your many different flash drives, changed your passwords, cleared your cookies, & dumped your cache? Click below for 10 Super Geeky Tips for the New Year

Here's that golden Tweet. My silly Twitter high point of 2013! This is what got the most RT's & most Favourites? LOL Oh sure, this & not any of my ed tech bon mots! Ok, I'll take it! ;-)
What about you!?
What was your Twitter high point this year?
What's your best geeky tip for the new year?
Is there something you've always wanted to know how to do & would like a comic infographic showing how to do it?

Monday, December 30, 2013

21 Bingeworthy Shows for Winter Watching

Good news TV Bingers, We're Not Alone!
According to Netflix it's OK to binge on TV shows and entertainment!  Whew, I thought I was the only one!
Who needs DVD's?! Leveraging the power of my beloved Roku box, Verizon Fios on Demand, and Chromecast combined with my amazing Amazon Prime Instant Streaming account (AP) Netflix (N)  (streaming only account) and ACORN MEDIA (AM) TV, there are hundreds of awesome bingeworthy TV shows with no commercials out there waiting for you!
Are you an Anglophile? Do you LOVE British TV?
Me, too! Then AcornMedia TV might just be for you! With new shows added every month and the most extensive catalog of all my favourite series and documentaries all streamed handily though my Roku box, this is a brilliant addition to my steaming addiction! (Sign up for a 30 day Free Trial to give it a go then 4.99 a month)
Here are my 21 picks of great bingeworthy TV!

So, once you finish with Breaking Bad and the 2.2 days it would take to watch ALL of Mad Men, what then? Here's my list of Netflix (N) & Amazon Prime (AP) and British TV Acorn Media (AM) golden nuggets of pop culture entertainment that can liven up your Winter Break! Get out your fuzzy socks & why not cook up the Drunken Sugared Nuts & Brie recipe below to enjoy with or take to that New Year's Eve Party!
Murder, Mystery, & Mayhem...
Add These to Your Watchlists!
American Horror Story Season 1 Murder House & Season 2 Asylum
"Darling? There's a latex covered geek crawling around the house"..."Can't hear you dear I'm seducing the maid who is ancient yet looks oh so tasty, let's chat later"  "Oh right, later then"
These series are not for the faint of heart but are kick butt awesome! Jessica Lange's acting chops can't be beat!  It's hard to believe the same mind that brought us Glee brings us this excellent ensemble series that are shockingly horrific and breaks ALL kinds of boundaries. NOT for the kiddos. TV-MA (A) (N)
The Walking Dead - Missed a few seasons? Didn't see the first one? Want to see how Carl went from an annoying little kid to a kick ass Zombie killer? Yes, I quite thought so! Catch up NOW before the second half of this seasons game changer starts! I love this show but it's VERY tense! NOT for the kiddos! TV-MA 3 seasons on Netflix but costs $ on Amazon. 

Torchwood  Do you like Doctor Who but wish it was edgier? Maybe a little sexier? How about a whole LOT sexier? Try Torchwood! I've been a fan since 2009, when I wanted to Save the CoffeeboyTorchwood (2006-2011) is a spinoff of the iconic Doctor Who that was intended to be (and is) sexier, scarier, more adult, and literally down to Earth. It's about an elite, secret task force, based in Cardiff Wales, that investigates alien activity, led by the rather amazing omnisexual Captain Jack Harkness (super sexy John Barrowman). Torchwood is the reason I finally started watching Doctor Who. That's the geeky cart before the horse in a great big way, isn't it? I had to catch up and fill in Dr. Who as I went along and Matt Smith was my first full time LIVE episode Doctor which answers a lot about my devotion to the raggedy man.
Torchwood ran for two seasons and two miniseries, Children of Earth (outstanding) and Miracle Day (sort of sucked, unfortunately). Although there has been no official announcement, it is unlikely that there will be more Torchwood. Although you never can tell. One can always hope! DO NOT watch with the kiddos I did say sexier, right?
(A) (N)
The Fall - Gillian Anderson stars as an expert MET detective searching for a serial killer in this gripping thriller set in Belfast. Seen from both perspectives,  this one will have you guessing - how can it end? Short commitment, only 5 episodes! (N only!)

Sherlock - Oh Benedict Cumberbatch - how did we live without you and your frenetic version of a modern day functioning sociopath Sherlock Holmes?! And how did we survive without the Otter-Cumberbatch, meme? [shakes her head wonderingly]
Please, if you haven't watched this - go now! Short commitment only 3 epsisodes per season - 6 total. The long awaited 3rd season starts on PBS on Jan 19th (A) (N)
Midsomer Murders - My favourite long running British mystery series! 80 awesome episodes of small English villages, beautiful scenery, scandal, and murder! Even catch a young Orlando Bloom showing up with a bare bum on the episode Judgement Day!  Looking for a particular episode or want to vote for your favourite? Visit the awesome but "old school" Midsomer Fan Site & follow the show on TwitterNetflix! Amazon used to carry it, then one day it was GONE! This is the show that made me join Netflix! (AM) Acorn Media Only for the LATEST Episodes!

Foyle's War - British murder & mayhem set in WWII Hastings, England.  A set down from Michael Kitchen is a thing of restrained beauty!  (AP) (N) (AM)

Agatha Christie's - Poirot - my favourite little Belgian detective with his ever so active little grey cells! Add in gorgeous Art Deco stylings and exotic locales and you have classic brilliant TV worth watching! Alas, the end is near after 25 years of solving crimes David Suchet retires. [snif] The clip above makes me cry every stinkin time! (AP) (N) (AM)
Miss Marple Whether you like classic Joan Hickson or perky (and sometimes scandalous) new versions starring Geraldine McEwan, Miss Marple doesn't let you down! Just don't visit St. Mary Meade unless you want to get knocked off. (AP) (N) (AM)

Haven  Based on the Stephen King short story "The Colorado Kid," this is just super cool freaky deeky! Plus I fancy rotten! First 3 seasons are the best!  FREE on Netflix but $ on Amazon)

Grimm A homicide detective discovers he is a descendant of hunters who fight supernatural forces. On this show, it's who I find crushworthy! S1 & S2 Not avail on Netflix but included FREE with Amazon Prime
Inspector Lewis - More British murder mysteries set in beautiful Oxford with all kinds of classical references! And super sexy Lawrence Fox (who is joyfully married in RL to Rose aka Billie Piper!) is quite easy on the old eyes, eh wot? [hums angelically] (A) (N)
Twin Peaks - Before American Horror Story and LOST there was Twin Peaks. Cherry Pie, quotable quips, murder, sex, sins, small town scandals, and damn good coffee. You're welcome. (A) (N)
Vikings  - Think Game of Thrones without the dragons. NOT for the kids. (Amazon Prime only)
Sons of Anarchy Seasons 1-5
I was slavishly devoted during the first few seasons, then I sorta got lost. But it's great TV! (A) (N)

X Files - The Truth is Out There....yeah, it's a CLASSIC.  (A) (N)

Just for FUN!
Psych - This show makes me LOL! It's chock full of pop culture references that make geeks like me super happy! Oh and hello...this year they made a 2 hour musical! Yes, that's AWESOME! All seasons FREE on Netflix - they cost $ on Amazon
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy - Groundbreaking and heartwarming! (N)
Orange is the New Black - umm awkward, uncomfortable, & hilarious. Created by Netflix - brilliant, right?
Archer - TVMA Think sexy animated Bond meets Mad Men (N)

Spoil Yourself: TV Worth the Money$
Bates Motel $1.60 an episode Amazon SD  
This one snuck up on me - my friend Sondra insisted it was good so I added it to my DVR but didn't watch it right away. When I did, it was like WOAH!  The acting is amazing!  Critically acclaimed performances by Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore I can't wait to see where this series goes next.
Sleepy Hollow  OhMyWord! - British actor Tom Mison really sells Ichabod Crane! - His acting, earnest delivery, and swoonworthy good looks (see blue eyes penetrating below)  are mesmerizing! Oh, and errr....the show is pretty awesomely campy and fun, too! Ahem! $1.99 an episode or 19.99 to buy the whole first season. OR set your DVR to record them - they may even do a marathon!

Ooops! Did I Just Write That?
Umm re-reading this post it sounds very TMI Tiger Beat to me now! Shamelessly sharing my twitterpated celebrity crushes with all you dear readers - do forgive me!  Heh heh...ah well, tis the season to be swooning, tra la la la la!  

I want to hear from YOU!
What TV shows or series did I miss? 
What shows would you add to this list?
What shows are you currently binging on? 
Do you have a Roku box, Chromecast, or Apple TV?
 Netflix or Amazon Prime? What's your fav?  Would love to hear from you in the comments and thank you as always for your readership!

Catch it Whilst You Can! 
Oh and the Titanic,  Saturday Night Live and lots of movies and shows will expire on Netflix on New Years Eve - so you may wanna get on this right away!

Drunken Sugared Nuts & Brie
Great for a New Year's Eve party or just for binge watching!
14-ounce round of Brie
1/4 cup of brandy
1 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans or better yet, a mix of the two! (see photo)
1/4 cup packed brown sugar

Mix the sugar, nuts, and cover with the brandy all together in a covered container and chill in the fridge for at least 24 hours up to a week (or 2!)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
Place the brie on an ovenproof dish or pie plate. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm brie and bake for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts and gets all awesome bubbly!
Serve on Town House Crackers or with apple or pear wedges. Enjoy! 
Adapted from a Paula Deen recipe
Later Additions from the Comments, Discoveries, & Tweets
David Tennant as Casanova. Need I say more!? know I will. This is the part that got him the role as The Doctor. It's sassy, saucy, cheeky  - he even mugs to the camera and it has an AliG dressing sequence that just can't be missed....OK, check it out below! Available only on Netflix
Mariela is binging, too! And she recommends Arrow! (N)

Jennifer Northrup likes Sleepy Hollow, too! 
Squee! AcornMedia RT'd me! 
And my MOST RT'd Tweet to Date: 
How did I embed the Tweets? See the next blog post! 

Credits & Resources:
Most all TV related graphics from IMDB, mirrored on my Flickr to avoid bandwidth hogging.

Post inspired by this article: 
All Of The Shows You Should Be Binge-Watching RIGHT NOW
The 22 most binge-worthy shows in TV history
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