How Much Would You Pay for Online News from Halifax’s Chronicle-Herald? Poll

Halifax and Nova Scotia’s main newspaper, the Chronicle-Herald, is considering setting up a paywall for access to its online stories. Funny that it was the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) that reported this, not the Herald itself! (Oct 17 2012)

A paywall is a system where surfers would get some stories free, but would have to pay a monthly subscription for most of the other stories. Or you’d get snippets of some or all stories, but would have to pay for the rest of the content. Either way, you’d be having to pay for most of the content. What I want to know in a survey is Continue reading

Extended Video of Batpod Motorbike by Vietnamese Super Fan

Vu Tung Lam, a mechanic from the tiny village of Lang Son recently introduced himself to the world by building working prototype of the Batpod, Batman’s motorbike from The Dark Knight trilogy! See my extended video of it below and read more about this cool machine made from an old $125 Suzuki motorcycle!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Ten Tips To Better Tweeting

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If your ADHD from Twitter has progressed beyond reading paragraphs, here are the ten tips to better personal tweeting in point form, without elaboration so you’ll have to figure it out:

  • Tweet in the third person
  • Be positive
  • Practice humour
  • Two tweet jokes
  • Don’t advertise
  • Ask questions
  • Gigantic concepts and miniscule details
  • Nothing like feelings
  • Use interesting words
  • WTF

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I’ve been looking into a lot of tweets for a few months now and, to be frank, there wasn’t all that much to keep my interest. People and their lives just aren’t that interesting from what comes across. Even the people you think would be interesting aren’t that interesting. Or is it because they don’t know how to convey it? And if they’re like that, think of what the more “normal” people tweet. Yeah, you know the ones I’m talking about. Many of your friends, my friends, me, and very possibly you.

But if you need to tweet, at least put some effort into all that phoniness associated with Twittering, would you? Use it to improve your writing skills, story telling skills, sense of humour. Use it as motivation to actually do something interesting with your life so you could tweet it without having to try any of those other things. Use it to spread good energy. There’s a lot of potential in tweeting for real life skills improvements and value, if only people would embrace the thought rather than drown in all this shallowness associated with tweeting. You don’t have to “fake” your tweets in doing all this. Just show a little flair people maybe don’t see much of from you, or at least not on the text side.

To help these boring tweeters you know improve their tweets, I have created ten tips for better tweeting. These aren’t meant to be the greatest or best tips or anything, in no particular order. They are just ten I came up with which I know helps. However, let’s start with a tip zero, which is getting over denial. You can’t solve a problem till you admit you have it. That’s why you’re going to send this to somebody, post it to their Facebook wall or something, right? I’m posting it to my own!

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TWEET IN THE THIRD PERSON. There is so much “me” culture in Twitter it’s sickening. Talk about yourself in the third person the way someone would read that tweet. Ban the “I” word. Starting with a verb is also a good thing because it’s action-oriented.

Tweeterbird is singing the sweetest song heard.

I’m singing the sweetest song heard just sounds a lot vainer.

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BE POSITIVE! You’d be surprised how human negativity spread among people by any means, and how it builds up through self-affirmation like a tweet. If you need to self-affirm, do it in a way that doesn’t spread to everyone else! Also, telling the same message without the negativity is not only a challenge, it’s a nice way to look at the same problem through a better lens.

Tricycle got a flat tire today but still had three left (optional: If two out of three ain’t bad, then three out of four can’t be, either).

I don’t know about you, but I get a very different reaction seeing that rather than something like Can’t believe I got f#&$ing flat tire today!

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PRACTICE HUMOUR. Humour can be the easiest way out of being negative, but it can also be the hardest thing to try to find something funny out of a bad incident. Just try writing something funny. It doesn’t have to be what you’re doing, just maybe what’s on your mind, or what came into your mind as you tried to think of something funny. You could develop your written sense of humour this way. You can think up things until you’re ready to tweet it. People might know that, but so what? You’re putting an effort into it… which is more than they can say of their tweets. Whether the attempt elicits a groan, smile or laugh, people will at least have a reaction, which is more than they can say of most tweets.

Punster‘s body is like Iraq after a 23 mile run… full of free radicals causing lots of pain and suffering.

If someone doesn’t get it, it might intrigue them enough to ask you about it rather than reading about your body hurting after such a long marathon training run if you plainly tweeted it that way.

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TWO TWEET JOKES. Good jokes are often set’em up, knock’em down affairs. Not these long drawn out stories. So find some and share them. Ask something in the morning. Let your followers think, or just plant the thought in the back of their heads so when they get the punchline later in the day, they’ll remember and get it, have a good laugh and release. Tension and release is something quite often referred to in music, but this is the same idea. Your followers can try to finish your jokes , and they might (which means you’ve engaged them), but you ultimately hold the answer for all your other followers who will be waiting for it.

NovaScotian How many Newfies does it take to have an orgy?
NovaScotian Just one, though more than two hands would make it a better orgy.

Don’t ask. I just made it up on the spot. If you also find you don’t have enough jokes, well, take it as a sign to get some more for the next party you attend.

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DON’T ADVERTISE. If you’re trying to sell something, chances are your friends already know about it. I don’t care whether that’s Avon or chocolate or otherwise, aside from the occasional special event, I’d tolerate one tweet about it. Any more and I’m buzzing you out for good! You didn’t get into Twitter for commercials, do you think they did?

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ASK QUESTIONS. If you learn something new, share it by asking a question? You can ask with the answer in the question, or create suspense by asking the question and answering later. The latter is good for when the question is too long.

Socialstudies Did you know ears makes noises of its own, albeit at a level only detectable by supersensitive microphones?

Socialstudies Do you know what the NSFM policy for Internet posting is?
Socialstudies Not Safe For Mom. Don’t post anything not safe if Mom ever saw it.

If you’re ever short on ideas, may I introduce you to the Social Studies column in the Canadian national newspaper, the Globe & Mail. It is written by Michael Kesterton and is exactly what it says it is, a daily miscellany of information. It is my favourite week daily reading by far and has been for many years! The username is fictitious. Questions about details in your life could also be fun, although it might sound vain after a while. Still, imagine if you did one of those 25 Things about You Facebook memes one tweet at a time!

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GIGANTIC CONCEPTS & miniscule details. Can you think big? Can you think philosophically? Give your followers something to ponder for a while? Or give them a chance to be smart and tweet back an answer. But maybe you’re one of those types who has an eye, ear or other awarenessfor detail. Can you describe it?

Burncock If a tweet goes unread, does anybody hear?
RockingRobin
is listening to old skool tweeting of nightingales. Tweet! Tweet!

The first is actually a very practical rather than useless philosophical question. The username is not meant to be offensive, but is a play on the spelling of Bruce Cockburn‘s (pronounced KO-burn) last name. He is the writer of the referenced phrase, If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody hear? from the song If a Tree Falls, in 1989. I’ve been fortunate to have met Bruce in the summer of 2008 and he’s a very nice and candid guy. The second is a nice thought to me rummaging through hundreds of techno-tweets.

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Nothing like feelings. Add some feelings to whatever it is you tweet to humanize the tweets. Like being positive, feelings are contagious so keep it to the good ones. Feelings can also liven what is otherwise a mundane tweet.

Gogetter is peeing with a passionne.

I would have enjoyed that tweet over one that said is peeing. Would you?

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USE INTERESTING WORDS. Why think big concepts and notice little details when you can conceptualize gigantic concepts and be aware of miniscule minutaie to expand yours and your followers’ lexicon?

Wordwatcher believes in kaizen, gestalt and arete rather than religion.

Kaizen (the art of constant self-improvement), gestalt (a total greater than the sum of its parts) and arete (excellence in the fulfillment of purpose of function) are three of my favourite words, as well as my spirituality.

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WTF TWEET. If you’re not familiar with the acronym WTF, it stands for What the f*ck and is used when you’re wanting to express that reaction and question in Internet or chat jargon. Every once in a while, throw one in out of the blue. See if anybody asks.

Machoman is putting on a tutu & prancing about… “I could have danced, all night, I could have danced, all night, and still, have begged, for more!”

I just used this one the other day. The reference was to little 10 year old Hollie Steel, by whom I was amazed and had blogged about recently.

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Got any interesting tweeting twips two share?

Please do in a comment below!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.7

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It’s Over Susan Boyle, Hollie Steel’s Got Your Number

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Update from May 15, click here to share what Hollie Steel and Susan Boyle should sing next in Britain’s Got Talent in order to be better than the other!

From May 30, see Hollie’s semi-final and final performances.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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OH… MY… GOODNESS!!! Whatever’s in the water over there in Britain, the Americans could only wish they had the same thing going. Where the British keep finding some of these talents is beyond me but have a listen to what little 10 year old Hollie Steel does in her Britain’s Got Talent 2009 audition… especially the last notes in the song that she hits… and I mean HITS! Can you say, ree-DONK-u-lous???

Hollie Steel

Hollie Steel

Well, wait a minute. I take that all back. I actually have no words worthy of what I saw Hollie do in that video.

However, I had to come up with a story to blog and share this video because my superlatives weren’t good enough. So how’s about me making the call Hollie’s going to beat out Susan Boyle to win Britain’s Got Talent 2009 unless some even more amazing comes along? That might be hard to imagine but, hey, that was hard to imagine when Susan Boyle did her audition. You can leave your opininon in the poll below to agree or disagree with me if Hollie will win, but here’s my reasoning, psycho and social analysis, Siminh Cowell style! 😉

Let’s start with talent. After all, BGT is a talent show, right?

No contest. Hollie Steel could sing Susan Boyle out of the auditorium. Don’t get me wrong, I like Susan Boyle’s voice a lot, but she simply doesn’t have the power, dexterity, range, timbre or much of any other qualities by one gauges a voice that little Hollie does. This girl could sing the birds out of Britain, never mind Susan Boyle out of the auditorium! If there were no birds in Britain left next year, it won’t be because of climate change. They’ll have gone to where the singing competition weren’t nearly as tough!

Second, not in importance but what popped into my mind, appearance. Are you kidding me? Sure, the old spinster look is charming and refreshing among all those teenage pop stars and older ones who overdo their looks, but that can’t complete with an adorable 10 year old girl cuter than any button I’ve ever seen!

Third, expectations. Susan got the audience so riled up because initial expectations for her were below Hollie’s. People were so cynical towards Susan, which was what made her audition video so moving the way she turned them on a dime to be her supporters. Of course, Hollie dealt with cynicism towards her in the form of Simon Cowell flashing his hand just 15 seconds into her audition, ready to buzz out her out at 3:19 left in the video. But true to her name, she was solid steel to stand her ground. She did not so much as even flinch at the sight of his look and opened hand. She just waited for a few seconds till the music queued her in, opened her mouth, almost as if on queue to respond, and released a tsunami of a singing voice that startled Simon back in his place, with a shocked reaction on his face that was just priceless! But, in general, Hollie was a cute girl people were hoping to succeed from the start. Nobody likes to see a little girl get crushed publicly, and so the expectation change from start to end for Hollie wasn’t nearly as large as Susan’s. Just look at judge Kelly Brook‘s face light up at 3:54 remaining in the video when Hollie came out. Kelly was just enamoured with this girl throughout! However, next time out, the surprise will be gone for both. The audience will listen and they’ll look, to which I defer to my first and second arguments above in favour of Hollie.

Fourth, determination versus innocence. Susan Boyle knew she could “rock” that audience as she said in her audition video. It was a matter of people giving her the chance. She was going on determination, not innocence. She knew she was good, had recorded before and that it was her looks that stood in her way. Hollie Steel, meanwhile, “only entered in the competition so she did not feel left out when her 15 year old brother Josh also went for an audition”, according to the UK Telegraph. It may be easier to admire determination than innocence, but I argue it’s easier to fall in love with innocence. If BGT isn’t a talent contest, it certainly is a popularity contest. Hollie’s got talent, and she’s got love, doubly trumping Susan again. Besides, Simon’s already issued public warnings to Susan to focus on the contest and not get carried away with fame. Susan’s already lost her innocence. As for Hollie and determination, she’s got plenty, overcoming near death from pneumonia at the age of four!

Finally, voter demographics. Britain and the Western world are getting older. Susan Boyle’s got a lot more people in her age bracket (40-60 year olds) than 0-20 year olds in Hollie Steel’s age bracket, half of whom won’t likely be calling in much. However, last I checked, children, especially adorable little girls singing the birds to shame, rather loved by the general public. I think a lot of people Susan’s age will vote for Hollie the kid, hoping or having grandchildren of their own at their age. It’s all about the children at that age, not your fellow age groupers who are talking about failing body parts and new medication! And no, those few cowardly cyber bullies doing stupid things online dissing little Hollie, hiding behind their Internet covers, aren’t nearly enough to alter the votes. (see Sun story link below)

Right now, Susan Boyle is still the 1-2 favourite (The Sun, UK), but I’m going to step out and call it for Hollie barring a better candidate later.

Right or wrong, though, BGT 2009 has got me hooked! I will be following this year the rest of the way!

As for their American equivalents, I blogged just the other day asking what does America’s Got Talent, or American Idol, have to compete with Britain’s Got Talent seeing videos the likes of Connie Talbot, Paul Potts, Susan Boyle? The question becomes even more pressing now with Hollie Steel coming along! I’m starting to think those American shows should be called America Ain’t Got No Talent and American Idle! Go to the post questioning that talent and prove me wrong with some answers!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.6

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