Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Share This: Social Media for Personal, Professional, and Organizational Use

So many of my (so very few) readers know that I regular work with social media in my various capacities as instructional designer and instructor.  I have also been a social media strategist for NERCOMP and NEPCA over the years and provided consultations on social media for different individuals and organizations.  Social media is something I think, read, discuss, and use a lot.  So when I recently learned that a Jeanine O'Neil was contemplating giving up her courses on social media at North Shore Community College's Community Education (their noncredit courses), I talked with her and them noncredit program to find out about trying to fill the gap.  

For the first time, this late winter, I will be teaching:  

Share This: Social Media for Personal, Professional, and Organizational Uses

This first course will run from February 24-March 10 on Tuesday evenings from 6pm-9pm at the Cummings Center in Beverly.  I hope that this course will provide individuals with a strong understanding of social media that goes beyond just how to use it or why to use it, but a solid grounding in the benefits of using it for self or organizational promotion as well as developing an extensive social network of people to provide new opportunities and connections.  

The course description is as follows:  "The program explores social media and how to use it for personal, professional, and organizational purposes.  The course covers the nuts and bolts of social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Youtube, and Blogger, while also providing some deeper context on how to use these tools for different opportunities and engagement with different populations.  The program addresses marketing, advertisement and connecting with customers and communities through the use of social media.  Participants will also have opportunities to consider issues of social media including proper etiquette, privacy, and quantifying social media interactions."

To register, please visit NSCC Community Education page for more details (The course ID is: CSP207-ACN-17124).  


For those interested in learning more, below are a few artefacts of the course:  

Course Flyer


Course Introduction Video on Youtube





Course Introduction Slide Deck on Slideshare:






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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, December 12, 2014

365 Challenge: Catching Up!

I'm really into the home stretch here with the final month.  I'm surprised I've made it this far but so happy I'm here.  I am almost caught up with all the posting that I've been behind on.  I most definitely will be by December 31!  It was a bit much to ask to try to stay consistent the entire year, but I'll be glad if I end up with 365 short stories.  That's a feat I'll be proud of.  

November was a fair share of Kate Chopin and Ambrose Bierce, which was a very curious juxtaposition that I enjoyed.  I appreciated reading new stories by Chopin that I hadn't encountered before and discovering more and more I like the way she captures elements of life.  By contrast, I am glad to be closing in on Bierce to be done with him.  I am glad that I have read the entire works of the man, but am also tied of seeing the same thing time and again.  

So we're down to the final month--I wonder what new reads it will bring!

The reading list of entries thus far:

Anthologies that I've been reading from recently:




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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, December 5, 2014

My Most Recent Reads - November 2014

I got back into some kind of groove with my reading and such in November.  It was a reasonable catch of books this month.  I'm still not up to my previous proficiency but then again, I continued to be extremely busy this month with different projects.  To date, I've read 215 books this year.  Not bad at all and I figure December will definitely put me over 240.  Not the 400 from last year, but pretty admirable when considering all that I've done.  

The best picks of this month are as follows:

Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye

I grew up with Bill Nye on, but not really watching him.  After reading his book, I wish i did.  He is a very smart man with some great means of helping everyone better appreciate science and be done with the psuedo-science that is creationism.  He uses great examples and laymen's terminology to make science accessible and fascinating. 

Book cover to: Oatmeal - The Terrible Wonderful Reason Why I Run.  Source: http://shop.theoatmeal.com/products/the-terrible-and-wonderful-reasons-why-i-run-long-distances

The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman

Some people are already familiar with the witty and amusing website, The Oatmeal.  I regularly read it and had already read much of what is in this book, but it was great to have it altogether.  I included it because there's a lot that Inman gets right in terms of how many of us come to running.  I found it a valuable resource and collection of enjoyable adventures in running comic.  


The Troop by Nick Cutter

This has been one of the best (and most disgusting) horror texts that I've read in a while.  Cutter's narrative is a fascinating mixture of the invaded body and serial killer motifs superimposed on children to give it that Battle Royal flavor.  There were parts that made me squeamish but also parts I found compelling in how Cutter captured young adulthood and the challenges of youth.  

For other best picks over the last year, check out previous monthly reviews:

Audiobooks


  • As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride by Cary Elwes
  • Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye
  • The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances by Matthew Inman
  • Unruly Places: Lost Spaces, Secret Cities, and Other Inscrutable Geographies by Alastai Bonnett
  • Astonishing X-Men: Gifted Prose Novel by Peter David
  • The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells
  • The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change by Beth Kanter
  • The Troop by Nick Cutter

Graphic Novels


  • The Secret Service by Mark Millar
  • Star Wars Volume 4: A Shattered Hope by Brian Wood
  • Star Wars Volume 3: Rebel Girl by Brian Wood
  • X-Men Volume 3: Bloodlineby Brian Wood
  • Hacktivist by Jackson Lanzing

So what are you reading?  What books do you feel you want to finish by the end of the year?


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Short Story #331: Mr. Swiddler's Flip-Flap by Ambrose Bierce

Title: Mr. Swiddler's Flip-Flap

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

The narrator reports that his friend, Jerome is to be executed soon and that he has tried everything in his power to get him pardoned.  At a late hour, he finally secures a pardon but must get to the town where Jerome is being executed.  Unfortunately, every attempt to secure transportation and communication is interfered with.  The townsfolk know what he is up to but would rather see Jerome killed.  Thus, the telegraph office is closed, there are no more trains to the town, and no horses available.  Finally, he sets to walk to the town in hopes of getting there in time.  As he sets off, That Jim Peasely begins to follow.  Around the half-way point, Jim asks the narrator about his background in the circus and bets the narrator cannot do somersaults like he used to.  The narrator answers his challenge and as he does, That Jim knocks into him as he's somersaulting and then continues on to get ahead of the narrator.  The narrator answers the challenge by catching up and passing him.  After hours of travelling, the narrator arrives back in the town that he left and only then realizing that That Jim had turned him around.  As people return from the execution, they all get a laugh from hearing about the narrator.

Reflection

This was an enjoyable tale in the sense that I hadn't realized that That Jim had turned him around and was as surprised as the narrator. 

Short Story #331 out of 365
Rating:  (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 11/01/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Short Story #330: A Providential Intimation by Ambrose Bierce

Title: A Providential Intimation

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

Jarvis awakes in an angry mood.  He stumbles through his morning and finds himself at a pool table.  He makes a great shot and then decides to try it again, when Mr. Stenner bets him that he cannot repeat it.  The result is that Mr. Stenner ends up with Jarvis's coat.  In the pockets, he finds a telegraph instructing him to buy Sally Meker.  Upon reflection, he realizes it is the name of a horse and that this must mean the race is fixed.  He gathers up as much money as he can and contacts the only man he knows in San Francisco to buy Sally Meker.  When he arrives, he learns that the horse was injured but also learns that the horse was named after a mine and the mine just struck it rich.  The man is devastated to think he has lost his money but only to find out that the man, a parson, to whom he had sent instructions had actually bought the stock for the mine. 

Reflection

The story was a bit bland.  It seems more like an experimental story--that is, he is trying things out than an actual story, especially with the tale splitting off from Jarvis initially.  

Short Story #330 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 11/01/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Blog post on On Campus: Degrees of Angst Part 1

The following is part one of a two part guest blog post that I wrote which was published on WGBH's On Campus blog.  It's in response to the most recent report, Degrees of Urgency from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

Snapshot of the Vision Project website.
Snapshot of the Vision Project website.
"In late October, the Massachusetts’ Department of Higher Education released its “Degrees of Urgency” Vision Project report. It addresses challenges for state colleges and universities as demographic shifts in the next decade will result in smaller student enrollments. In New England, colleges can anticipate a 9 percent or more population loss.   

The report arrives on the heels of a dramatic shift in Massachusetts funding for higher education.  The new funding formula focuses significantly on completion rates of students who start full time and complete a program within the expected time. The formula seems likely to exasperate existing problems since state institution populations have continued to grow significantly since 2000, despite over 30 percent drop in public funding during that same time."

For the full post, please visit the On Campus Blog here.

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Short Story #329: The Failure of Hope and Wandel by Ambrose Bierce

Title: The Failure of Hope and Wandel

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

The story is a series of letters between two men who run a business together, Hope and Wandel.  Hope is writing from Chicago where he was unable to send items to Wandel to sell in New Orleans because Lake Michigan is frozen solid.  However, this gives Hope an idea about starting an ice business to ship to New Orleans since ice is so rare.  He includes a piece of ice in his letter to Wandel, which only melts and smudges the letter.  The two write back and forth and Hope promises him a giant warehouse of ice that he can deliver to New Orleans and make a massive profit.  However, as spring comes and Hope attempts to send the ice, disaster strikes and it melts.  Hope tells Wandel that he should beat it from the creditors.  

Reflection

It's a short but pithy story with the quick back and forth between the two partners.  It's amusing but not much to consider beyond that. 

Short Story #329 out of 365
Rating: 2 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 11/01/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Short Story #328: The Baptism of Dobsho by Ambrose Bierce

Title: The Baptism of Dobsho

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

The narrator explains that in youth, we often play jokes that we find tastless in later years.  He is no less guilty.  He shares about his younger days in the town of Harding when a revival of "Rampageanism" was rampant and his friend Thomas Dobsho had been swept up in the excitement.  Deciding that he couldn't stand to see his friend fall for it, the narrator decides to take matters into his own hands.  First, he goes to the reverend leading the revival.  He explains that he isn't there to convince him not to baptize Dobsho but to make sure he covers him in water because Dobsho might need some extra convincing unless he slides back into wicked ways.  The reverend agrees to do so.  On the day of the baptism, the narrator helps to prepare Dobsho and does everything he can to distract him while getting him ready.  They arrive at the event early and are first in line to be baptized.  When the reverend starts, he looks to the narrator in agreement and dumps the entirely bowl of water onto Dobsho.  The result shocks Dobsho and the other people waiting to be baptized as his hair sizzles and pops.  The narrator reveals that he had slipped seltzer powder into Dobsho's hair.  The reverend tells all that the narrator is responsible for what has occurred and throws the bowl at the narrator's head wherein the bowl breaks.  

Reflection

This was one of my favorite tales of the whole collection.  I actually laughed out loud when he expained that it was seltzer powder in Dobsho's hair.  


Short Story #328 out of 365
Rating: 4 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 11/01/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Short Story #327: The Widower Turmore by Ambrose Bierce

Title: The Widower Turmore

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

The narrator, Joram Turmore, explains that how he became a widower has never been clear and that his late-wife may relate the tale, no one is likely to believe her.  Joram explains that he married his wife in part because she was rich and he comes from famous family line that insists that labor is wrong.  However, as a Turmore, he is at a lost on how to kill his wife in a way that is proper and distinct for his lineage.  In contemplating his options, he goes into the basement to his family archives and artifacts to see what he can find to help him in his quest.  Afterwards, he decided that he would wall up his wife alive in the basement.  She doesn't resist this and only asks that her limbs are free while being walled up.  The next day, he reported what had happened to the Court of Successions and Inheritances and even showed them.  They provided the death certificate and he was free to inherit.  However, over the ensuing months he continues to hear reports of people seeing his wife.  He finally goes down to the basement to check and when he takes down the wall, he finds she is no longer there.  He did not know what to make of this until later when he was visiting the wine cellar that he stumbled upon an opening and realized that his wife had discovered his archives, knew he was going to do something and created a false door for her to escape from and eventually return to raid his treasures and sell them.  Joram is frustrated by the fact that because she is legally dead he can do nothing to get her or the resources back.  

Reflection

As with many of these tales, the horrorific is present as normal.  It feels often like Bierce took Poe's horror and said, "well, what if this was normal."  In it, we have tales that are both sick and amusing.  I think that's what I like about Bierce the most--many of his works are akin to Wes Craven and the Scream series in that it's aware of its own conventions.  


Short Story #327 out of 365
Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 11/01/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Short Story #326: Curried Cow by Ambrose Bierce

Title: Curried Cow

Author: Ambrose Bierce

Summary

Book cover: Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce

The narrator introduces the reader to his Aunt Patience who is a widow living on a farm in Michigan with her favorite cow.  The cow is entirely disagreeable to everyone and she has not been capable of having anyone help her with it.  She continues to go through farm-hands who leave on account of the cow and how nasty it can be to everyone.  However, after her husband's departure, she starts to look for a new husband.  This triggers a marrying frenzy throughout the state to avoid her, but one man, the Reverend Berosus Huggins is available and Patience secures him as a husband.  After they are married, Patience insists that he go and take care of the cow. However, he reports to know nothing of the cow but promises to go and take care of her.  Huggins goes out to look at the cow but does not directly approach her.  He studies her at length before setting to action.  He takes his clothing and sets them upon a cast-iron pump to make it look like a man.  The cow eventually makes her way over to this and gives it a hard kick, thinking it is the man.  The kick sends her tumbling backwards and bewildered.  In the aftermath as she recovered from her injured leg, Huggins because the cow's best friend and the cow no longer is as vicious. 

Reflection

A typical Bierce tall-tale with it's mixture of ridiculousness (people marrying in droves to avoid Patience) and smarts (Huggins disguising the pump).


Short Story #326 out of 365
Rating:  3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read: 11/01/2014
Source:  The Complete Short Stories of Ambrose Bierce, compiled by Ernest Jerome Hopkins.  Bison Books, 1984.  The full works of Ambrose Bierce, including this story can be found here on Archive.org.

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.


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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.