I am so grateful that I felt compelled to pen this email to the reporters at FiveThirtyEight.com, praising them for their work on the Live Blog that has been my mainstay these past few days. I thought they deserved public recognition (such as it is on this badly-neglected site), so I’m reprinting it here.[Read more…] about An Open Letter to FiveThirtyEight.com
My Standing Desk Initiative
I’m sure I’m not the first person you’ve heard of adopting a standing desk, but there’s likely still more to learn. Everyone’s different, after all. Maybe I’ve experienced something that will help you in your own ergonomic working endeavors.
When I was in journalism graduate school at Columbia — one of the most intense periods of my life, work-wise — I experienced carpal tunnel syndrome for the first time. When I visited a doctor to get treatment, he talked about the perils of being a desk jockey and even said that people who sat all day at a keyboard should do strength-training to enable them to handle the rigors.
Since then, we’ve seen study after study determine that sitting all day is “the new smoking,” leading to early adopters experimenting with treadmill desks, standing desks, sit/stand desks, etc. One thing I’ve learned in reading their accounts is that people’s bodies really aren’t meant to STAND all day, either. Therefore, I determined to try a set-up that allowed me to switch positions — not to mention walk around a bit — throughout the day. [Read more…] about My Standing Desk Initiative
Not Just Gingers And One-Offs: The Enrichening Of English Around The Globe
This morning, I caught up on the news by reading about the recent terrible accident in Glasgow that took six lives. Most headlines I saw referred to it as the “Glasgow Bin Lorry Crash.” Here, we’d call it the “Garbage Truck Crash.” Sad as the incident was, It got me thinking about a less-tragic cultural phenomenon that I’ve been observing for some time.
When I was a kid, I wouldn’t have had any idea what a “Bin Lorry” was. I remember having to look up words like “treacle” after I’d come across them in books. And books were nearly the only places I ran across such words. I met an exchange student from Australia in high school and was fascinated by slang he taught me like saying “no worries” rather than “you’re welcome” or “not a problem.”
I also remember being confused about the term “mince” or “mince meat” — I thought I’d figured out that “mince” was what we termed “hamburger meat” or “ground beef,” but then I heard about a “mince pie” or a “mincemeat pie,” which sounded like dessert to me. And speaking of dessert, that Pink Floyd song that asked “how can you have any pudding if you don’t eat your meat!” mystified me a bit, too. I thought I knew what pudding was, but this seemed an odd usage of it. [Read more…] about Not Just Gingers And One-Offs: The Enrichening Of English Around The Globe
Old-Skool Content Marketing
Because content marketing is growing in importance and sophistication, it’s tempting to think of it as something new. But, just like Social Media Marketing is an extension of Word-of-Mouth marketing, content marketing has been around forever.
My favorite example is something people likely see every day as they’re commuting back and forth to work — the ubiquitous electronic sign, usually appearing at bank branches, that gives us the time, temperature, date, and, in our community, a listing of local events. That’s content marketing at its best, providing essential utility. We don’t even notice it as such anymore, we take it so much for granted. Yet it still serves its purpose of positioning the bank as a reliable and helpful pillar of the community.
I ran across another example of old-skool content marketing while going through my mother’s recipe box the other day. A realtor back in the day provided homemakers with recipes on index cards, with a watermark featuring the brand and the Better Homes and Gardens logo (was this the distribution method, maybe?). The individual realtor’s name and phone number (note no area code) appears on the back. Love it.
How NOT To Do Content Marketing
The “Can I do a guest post on your site?” emails are arriving fast and furiously, and may have reached its peak with this that came in today:
Hello,Hope you are doing great!!!We have a unique, genuine and good quality content for your site – which needs to be published on your Site.We promise you that Once this content is published we will not share with any other blogger.Please let us know if we can send the article to you for review.
Uh… no thanks. Does this really work?
UPDATE: The stakes are getting higher, as this just hit my inbox –
How To Make Lists Look Better In HTML, Part 2
Note: This post has been updated from its original version to reflect more HTML knowledge on my part…
I started this mini-series with a look at how to spread things out more easily using standard (though outdated) HTML list tags. Now, a look at my secret weapon — fake lists. It looks like a list, but it isn’t a list at all.
By the way, these tips are meant for folks who aren’t on intimate terms with CSS or are working on sites where they don’t have access to the CSS — there may be more elegant ways to accomplish this stuff, but I’m no designer/coder.
So, first, let’s look at the problem we’re trying to solve:
(Note: I’m using an example from George Aspland’s recent Marketing Land column, so be sure to check it out.)
The above doesn’t look terrible, but, for my taste, it’s kind of bunched up. I’d like some spaces between the bulleted items. And, in some cases, I’d like to break up the bulleted items into multiple paragraphs. It’s just easier to read with a bit more space.
So, what I do is cheat.
Rather than make an unordered list, I enclose all the to-be-bulleted items between <div> tags. For the first one I add styling information like this:<div style=”padding-left: 50px;”> This indents the text (on the left), which adds some nice white space. You could also add right space by using <div style=”padding-left: 50px; padding-right 50px;”> and tweak the number of pixels until it looks like you’d like.
But what about the bullets? Well, turns out there’s special code — • or • — to create a bullet. So I add those to the front of each bulleted paragraph.
Here’s how it turned out on my edit of the above text:
You can do the same thing with ordered lists. Just write the actual numbers or letters, rather than using a <LI> tag within an ordered list. The bullets or numbers aren’t out in the white space, as they are with real lists, but I prefer that quirk over bunched up text.
Works for me. Maybe it’ll work for you. Thoughts?