kgiff.com
Please excuse the mess. I'm in the process of moving to a new server and new blogging software. It'll be a while before this place gets to be looking like normal again.
Thursday, January 27, 2011

I’m working on our 2010 photo book and realizing how much I rely on blog posts to help compile the book and remember what happened throughout the year. And well, since I didn’t blog much in 2010, I don’t have much to add to the book.

So in honor of re-instating this blog, I’ll show you a couple of pages from the 2010 photo book still in progress. I decided to play around with scrap booking type elements in this year’s book. The verdict is still out on how I feel about it. Maybe I’m just not good at using the different elements yet, but I think I prefer the cleaner format of books I’ve done in the past.

Since we just got through the first big snow storm of this year, let’s take a look at the first big snow storm of last year:
2010_blurb_02-03

Yesterday’s snow storm brought the DC area to a halt. I’ve heard of long commutes during storms (heck I even experienced one in the late 90s when it took me over 3 hours for my usual 20 minute commute), but last night was ridiculous for so many people. If you made it home in under 5 hours, consider yourself lucky. Chris made it home in about 3. I was lucky and got to leave work early because Emily wasn’t feeling well (probably the only time I will ever feel fortunate that my daughter isn’t feeling well). We ended up having to venture out for Pedialyte for Emily before Chris made it home and the few miles to the pharmacy were pretty bad.

The roads suck. Please be careful out there.

Today Emily is feeling much better and the roads have cleared off nicely. Hopefully they’re wrong about us getting more tomorrow morning…

Kelly • 09:44 PM • (0) Comments
Friday, November 06, 2009
work

I'm getting ready to move this blog to another blogging platform. I've been planning to move it all year and haven't been posting because I don't want even more posts to have to move. But I decided to post about what I've been working on at work.

We've been working on a really tight deadline, but we're about ready to launch our website for an online video contest for the Department of State Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs. Check out the promotional video below.


Find more videos like this on ace
Kelly • 07:57 PM • (0) Comments
Thursday, March 26, 2009
techrandom

There have been a lot of complaints about the new look of facebook.

As with any kind of change with any website people use on a routine basis, there is an outcry against the new changes. That's to be expected as people generally don't deal well with change. Typically we all get used to the changes and learn to accept and maybe even find that the new design works better. I don't think this is going to happen with the new Facebook design. The only thing this design did was make it harder to find the information I find relevant.

In the old design, I was very fond of the live feed tab, which provided a real time stream of what your friends were doing. This stream was updated automatically, without having to refresh the page. I wasn't too concerned when the rumblings about the redesign started because I assumed this was more of what was going to be surfaced in new layout. Instead it's not much more than a status update feed that may just as well be twitter.

The things I miss most are seeing when my friends are attending events (I may want to go too), friending new people (I may know them too), joining groups (it was hard enough to find updates about groups in the old layout, now it's pretty near impossible), and when my friends comment on other people's photos and videos (lots of times conversations happen around photos). The "highlights" area on the side in the new layout rarely provides information that I find relevant. For now the iPhone Facebook app still offers these features (although it doesn't allow you to click through to events).

Maybe I'll eventually get used to the new more limited stream of information, but as for now, it makes me feel like I'm missing information along with reading about applications updates I don't care to see.

Kelly • 09:30 PM • (0) Comments
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
blogdesigntechphotography

Last year I ordered a book from Blurb and reviewed it here. I decided I'd do another book for 2008. This time I worked on it throughout the year.

The 2008 book is a compilation of all the pictures that Chris and I took, plus blog posts, and posts from tumblr. I got a little more adventurous and did some of the layouts myself instead of using the layouts provided by blurb. In most cases though, I still used Blurb's layouts.

I chose a 7x7 book because I like square things. I picked an Image-wrapped hardcover book -- an option that wasn't available last year, and upgraded to premium paper (another option that wasn't available last year). The cost of my 154 page book was $47.95. I uploaded the book on January 11th to the Blurb website and was given an estimated ship date of January 19th. On January 20th, I got an email apologizing for the delay in shipment due to some issues putting the book together and a code for $10 off a future order. My book shipped the 22nd and I had it the 23rd (I only paid for standard shipping).

IMG_3736

I was stumped on a cover when I saw Lee's poster. Using a piece of software called Posterino, I made the cover (not quite as nice as Lee's).

IMG_3740

The paper upgrade was well worth it. The pages are thicker and the paper as a bit more of a satiny texture. The only main complaint I have about the book is the bleeds did not go all the way into the spine of the book leaveing a bit of white showing in the middle of photos that spread across pages or pages with non-white backgrounds (as seen in the images below).

IMG_3738

Overall, I'm very happy with the book and am planning on ordering another one next year. I really like the size of the 7x7 book. I think the price is very reasonable and until I have time to scrapbook again, this is a really good alternative. The photos are of decent quality -- even the ones taken with my iPhone.

IMG_3737
Kelly • 08:31 PM • (0) Comments
Sunday, January 04, 2009
life

Well it's 2009 already and this blog is still here. A little dusty perhaps but still here. I still haven't changed it like I was planning on, but let's face it, it may be 2010 before I get around to it.

Berkley chasing Riot - Photo by fidojournalism.com

We've had a busy fall raising a Riot and trying to keep Cisco and Berkley healthy. Riot is for the most part well-behaved these days and Cisco and Berkley seem to being doing pretty well too.

We had pictures of the dogs taken to mark Cisco's 7th birthday and Riot turning 6 months. They were taken by Stephen Bobb of FidoJournalism and we think they turned out fantastic! (The picture in this post is one of the ones he took.)

Chris and I are both starting the year with the same companies we started last year with (this might be the first time in a long time we can say that). I'm not sure we can say we'll be ending the year the same way, but time will tell.

I could end this post saying I resolve to start blogging more, but lets play that one by ear.

Wishing everyone the best for 2009!

Kelly • 08:46 PM • (0) Comments
Friday, August 29, 2008
dogs
I Am Cute

Meet Riot, our golden retriever puppy. I was lucky enough to get one of the Comedians from Gaylan's Comedy Litter. Our little comedian was Mr. Green and he is a doll. When Riot grows up he'll do agility and obedience with Kelly, hopefully some pet therapy, and who knows what else. Chris is hoping he'll have a buddy to watch TV with too.

I drove to New York last weekend to pick him up. Everyone is settling in nicely, it was a rough couple of days but every day we're all getting a little more adjusted.

The weekend before Riot came home, Cisco had a fun filled weekend of agility and probably the most consistent he's been at a trial in a long time. We qualified in 5 of 7 runs for the weekend, and the other two we missed qualifying for by two weave poles and my handling mistake causing a refusal.

Cisco's Ribbons
Kelly • 10:57 PM • (0) Comments
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
blogtechfamily

Usually I just don't write anything and don't tell anyone. This time I'm letting everyone know. Don't expect any writing from me on here for a month or two.

Why? Well I mentioned before I really want to change blogging software and haven't gotten around to it. Now I'm sick of dealing with all the comment spam I've been getting. So I'm turning off comments (I'll try to leave them on on this post) and changing software and doing a mini-facelift. Please come back and see me in a month or so.

In the meantime, you can keep up with what I'm doing by following me on twitter, looking at my pictures on flickr, or follow everything in one place using SocialThing! (which AOL just acquired). Or you could always e-mail me -- I might even write back.

Oh and today is my dad's birthday. Happy 70th Birthday Dad!

All Smiles
Kelly • 06:38 AM • (0) Comments
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
dogsagility
Cisco's OA

This weekend Cisco, Berkley and spent at the Blue Ridge Dog Training Club's Agility trial. Cisco qualified in Jumpers on Friday getting his first leg towards his MXJ title and his first three MACH points. Saturday he Q'd in Open Standard finally getting that third leg and getting his OA title. Sunday his very first Excellent Standard run was met with the first time we've seen the zoomies in about 3 years and blowing all of our contacts. Sunday afternoon jumpers was a bit better, but we missed our weave poles and took a off-course jump. But I'm not complaining.

This weekend marked a few significant events for Cisco. As mentioned above there was a bit of zoomies taking place that hasn't been seen in years. He had six runs in three days and not one of them would I describe as pokey -- for the last year or so typically at least one run a day could be described as pokey. I also had a bunch of people come up to me and tell me how good he looked. All of this on the heels of a week that he practically drove us nuts nightly with his wanting to play with toys or be outside.

I think he's feeling better. And we didn't even know he wasn't feeling well. I really thought that my 6½ year old retriever was finally starting to slow down. Apparently not.

We kind of came to the conclusion this past April that maybe he was allergic to something in the food he had been on since September (he had been having hot spot after hot spot -- which even for my allergic dog was not that common). We switched his food and went to the vet where we got medicine to treat the ear infections. A month later, the ears still looked bad and the doses were upped on the medication for the ears. A month after that the ears still looked bad. At this point I decided to call the allergist and see if we could go see him again or we needed another referral from the vet. So off we went to the allergist who put us on different medication and had us restrict his diet (including treats -- no rawhides or even chicken flavored nylabones (the dogs are really missing those I think)). A month later the ears are looking tons better (not quite perfect yet) and we have a different dog.

Kelly • 07:50 PM • (1) Comments
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
techphotographytravel
Mom and Dad at the Folklife Festival

Last weekend I went with my parents to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival. For those of you not familiar with the festival it's a yearly festival downtown on the mall that celebrates the living culture of states and nations. Every year a different nation, state, region or theme is picked. This year is all about Texas (the state), Bhutan (a country in the eastern Himalayas, bordered by China and India), and NASA (who is celebrating 50 years).

I think my mom was a little surprised when I asked if they were going to go this year and if they were, if I could come along. Admittedly it was not one of my favorite things to be dragged to growing up -- I remember it being hot and humid and crowded and boring. The heat, humidity, and the crowds were all the same, but I had more patience for listening and learning than I did growing up and it wasn't nearly as boring as I remember -- they had a ton of activities for kids this year (I don't know if they had the same thing when I was growing up or if I was too shy to want to participate). We had some interesting conversations with monks from Bhutan and engineers from NASA.

Steady Hand Bhutan

This year as part of the festival, the smithsonian has started the 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Documentation Project group on flickr for people to share their photos taken at the festival.

The 2008 Smithsonian Folklife Festival Photo Sharing Project strives to strengthen both the mission of the Smithsonian Folklife Festival to promote cultural democracy, visitor participation, and cross-cultural conversation and the Smithsonian Photography Initiative's mission to document how photography plays an integral role in our lives and throughout the Smithsonian.

If you have a chance, check out some of the great pictures being posted to the group on flickr. It's really neat being able to see the festival from so many points of views and perspectives.

The Smithsonian has also joined The Commons project on Flickr. The commons got a brief mention in my blog in my tagging post but deserves a greater mention. As stated on flickr:

The key goals of The Commons on Flickr are to firstly show you hidden treasures in the world's public photography archives, and secondly to show how your input and knowledge can help make these collections even richer.

If you haven't taken some time to explore the commons, you should. There are some great photos reflecting our nation's and our world's past. So much of this content was hidden away or only viewable from a single location. Now it's available to everyone. How great is that?

Kelly • 09:15 PM • (2) Comments
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
houselife
photo.jpg

We are having the floors replaced in our kitchen, hallway, powder room, mud room, and foyer. The laminate, hardwood and carpet has been removed from these areas a tile has been put down.

It's taking forever. Okay, maybe not forever, but much longer than we thought (we were initially told 5 days, we're on day 9 heading into day 10).

While all this has been going on, I've been working from home -- with the exception of three half days, my parents came to watch the workers. So I've been working from the living room, and relaxing from the living room, and pretty much spending all my time keeping me and the two dogs contained in the living room. And while the set-up may seem ideal to some (who wouldn't want a full size fridge sitting next to their TV? tongue laugh), I'm sick of my living room. Fortunately, Chris is staying home tomorrow.

I think it's coming together nicely.

Berkley is Going to Like the New Floors They Started the Backsplash Today

In other news. Chris started back in sort of his old role with his new company last week. He's been swamped getting things back in order and coming up to speed on what's going on.

Kelly • 10:34 PM • (0) Comments
Thursday, May 29, 2008
liferandomfriendshouse

So I finally got called out for my lack of blogging. Sorry JR and thanks for checking. I can make a ton of excuses, but I won't. Just one. I'm kinda over this blogging software and want to switch again, but I haven't found the time to invest in setting something else up.

Not much exciting has happened in the last few months. We've been really busy, but with what, I don't know. Here's a brief re-cap of the highlights.

Kelly • 07:34 PM • (1) Comments
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
techblog

It's naked day!

To know more about why styles are disabled on this website visit the Annual CSS Naked Day website for more information.

Kelly • 01:06 AM • (0) Comments
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
tech

Last week I had the opportunity to hear Thomas Vander Wal speak. Thomas coined the term "folksonomy" which describes the collaborative tagging and organizing of content on the web. Thomas' presentation was very inspiring and got me thinking about a lot of things. One of which was how I (and my friends) use tags.

Moose Up Close

Tagging is a way or organizing information in a way that's meaningful to the user and others. It's a way of helping people find and re-find information. For example, if you look at my photo library on flickr. There are close to 3,000 photos I have uploaded so far. Let's say I'm looking for a picture of a moose I took in alaska. Looking through nearly 3000 pictures to find a moose, doesn't sound like a lot of fun. I tagged all the pictures I took in Alaska with the tag alaska. That bring the total down to 600. Getting better. But searching for the tags alaska and moose gets me 14 results. From there it's pretty easy to find the shot I was looking for.

Tag it

Another use for tagging is to group together like information. For instance, last summer at BarCamp DC, signs were hung up to tag asking participants to tag blog posts, photos, etc with barcamp, barcampdc and barcampwashingtondc. Searching for these tags provides a set of results that gives you a pretty comprehensive overview of the day's events from many different perspectives.

I tag for my own find-ability first -- names of people or animals, the event, and anything else there is a chance I might want to find later (a particular toy the dogs are playing with, the quarters Cisco unwrapped one morning, etc.). I usually add some generic tags ("golden retriever" for Cisco) for the benefit of others looking for something. A lot of my research for things is coming from non-traditional sources, videos and photos of products uploaded by average people have weighed into decisions for a few purchases I've made.

If you're not tagging your online content: photos, blog posts, videos, etc., I highly recommend it. If you are, I'm interested to hear how you choose to tag things (and if you ever have the impulse to tag other people's content).

As a somewhat related note. If you haven't seen the Library of Congress photos on flickr, you should check them out. It's neat to be able to view these photos that they've made public. And they are encouraging the public to help with the metadata on the images, making them that much more valuable.

Kelly • 11:06 PM • (2) Comments
Thursday, March 20, 2008
tech

On my new MacBook I've noticed that quite frequently Safari stops executing the JavaScript on a page. So many Web 2.0 websites rely heavily on JavaScript for functionality that this results in many buttons and links on a webpage doing nothing when clicked. In GMail this results in not being able to read or delete anymore messages; in Flickr, the drop down menus stop working; for twitter, the update button no longer sends and update. I can't say for certain, but it seems like this usually coincides with use of a google website (gmail or google analytics).

While searching for what could possibly be going on here, I ran into this blog post suggesting a possible fix to JavaScript not working in Safari. Like me, the author has the debug menu enabled in Safari. The suggested fix of clearing out the log messages in the console did not work for me. (Which by the way, I had over 300K JavaScript error messages on a computer that's less than a month old and not used that often.) What seems to have worked is turning off Enable Runaway JavaScript Timer (also located in the debug menu).

For those not familiar with Safari's debug menu, it provides access to a lot of features for developers -- changing user agents, inspecting the DOM, getting access to JavaScript error messages, etc. In order to enable it, quit safari, open a terminal window and type % defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDebugMenu 1 chnging the 1 to 0 will disable the menu.

Kelly • 05:51 AM • (1) Comments
Saturday, March 15, 2008
agilitydogs
Cisco's AXJ!

Last weekend was Blue Ridge Dog Training Club's spring trial. Friday I took off of work to play. It was the worst day of our weekend. I made lots of mistakes and didn't do a good job of telling Cisco what to do.

We seemed to get that all out of our system because by Saturday things were falling into place. We started the day with a great Open Standard run where we got third place after getting a refusal called (it was a bad front cross, but I don't think it should have been a refusal). Saturday afternoon, we had a perfect Jumpers run. It was our third Excellent A Jumpers leg which got us our AXJ -- our first excellent title! Berkley came with us on Saturday and Sunday (it's been about 6 months since he's done any agility). Saturday he forgot he actually had to get on the contact obstacles and ran right past the dog walk and a-frame with me.

Sunday Cisco turned in two great runs. Neither was qualifying, but they were still good runs (we had a missed a-frame contact in open standard and one refusal in our first Excellent B jumpers run). Berkley did better on Sunday. We did knock a bar and run across the broad jump, but we did our contact obstacles and our weave poles.

I'm still on an agility high from last weekend and wish we had signed up for something before mid-April.

Kelly • 08:18 PM • (1) Comments

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