Saturday, June 16, 2007

Dive into the web

From my first Open Diary entry to this post I have been living the Web 2.0 explosion with increasing interest and participation. Some weeks ago I changed the look of this blog taking advantage of Blogger layouts and some Ajax applications from Google. I am not any expert so I was delighted to include the video, map, and search tools that you can see here. Even more, subscribing my blog to FeedBurner made me realise how much this blog could become more part of "the web" than what I originally intended. This therapeutic exercise of writing that started for the sake of doing it (and having some "practice" for the thesis that I had to write at the time) have become a point of contact with a virtual community. It is then time to recapitulate some of the steps that I have followed...

After discovering that writing in the web can actually put you in contact with strangers I wanted to see the limits of this interaction and filled some profiles in dating sites. The frustration for not being able to actually contact other people in pay sites like Match took me to places like Plenty of fish, Person or OkCupid. This last one actually has surpassed my expectations from a dating site... which does not mean that it makes more easy to get a real life date! You still have to learn your lessons.

But the internet not only helps you to connect with others, it connects you with your life! Are you one who writes every reminder in a pace of paper that joins the bunch of others on your desk? Are you addicted to stickers? Is your agenda and address book cluttered with annotations? Do you have 567 bookmarks in your home computer (not to say the ones at work)? Do you always synchronize what you have in your computer at home with the one in your office?

Well, I could continue describing one or other aspect of my own life that has been impacted by internet. With pages like iGoogle (a kind of dashboard with all kind of useful widgets) I found that in one page and wherever there is access to internet I had my favourite RSS feeds, conversion tools, calendar, email, weather reports, etc. at hand. Then, one after the other I started using specific web tools.

I needed to keep notes of whatever I was finding while browsing internet for a particular subject. The old way of saving bookmarks was not useful. I always ended with a bunch of links, many without a clear context to tell me why I saved them in the first place when revisited later. With Google Notebook I found that I could save, organize and select the important information at the same time that I was finding it (enhanced by the add-on for the Firefox browser). Even more, if I still valued a website as to give it a bookmark I found that social bookmarking sites like Delicious could just make the trick. The trick of not only keeping bookmarks but also to organize them by labels (tags) and have them accessible from any computer connected to the web.

Word processor and Spreadsheet (former Writely now Google Documents), Photo album (Flickr for example), online Calendar and Feeds reader (e.g. Google again) are all web tools that, as I mentioned before, not only have made collaboration and exchange with others (either for work or for entertainment) a simple routine in my life but also have saved it to be drowned in this ocean of information... where of course I have decided to swim.

I use many other web tools (OK I am going to mention Remember the Milk which has cured my addiction to sticky notes), I do not know about many more and there are others in development... for sure. But let me say some final words about another "phenomena" that I also have joined: websites for social networking. They are for me a kind of synthesis of what I have loosely described above. They take the spirit of dating sites but with people that you already know, they allow you to collaborate, share or play with others not only with words and images but with whatever tools and widgets that someone develop. I am not going to explain those sites here, I think that you better find out what are those sites like Facebook, MySpace, hi5 and Bebo about by yourself. Like the slogan of the VoIP (voice over IP) provider Skype says... take a deep breath!... now dive.

Friday, June 01, 2007

A reason, a season or a lifetime

At the end of my teenage I was moved by this part of Oscar Wilde's Ballad of Reading Gaol:

Yet each man kills the thing he loves
By each let this be heard,
Some do it with a bitter look,
Some with a flattering word,
The coward does it with a kiss,
The brave man with a sword!

Some kill their love when they are young,
And some when they are old;
Some strangle with the hands of Lust,
Some with the hands of Gold:
The kindest use a knife, because
The dead so soon grow cold.

Some love too little, some too long,
Some sell, and others buy;
Some do the deed with many tears,
And some without a sigh:
For each man kills the thing he loves,
Yet each man does not die.

The prison (or gaol) still exists and the poem was inspired by Charles Thomas Wooldridge, Trooper of Royal Horse Guards who was executed on 7 July 1896 for the murder of his wife and I would say by Wilde's own feelings of betrayal from his former lover. Feelings that he poured out in his long, long letter De profundis.

In November 2005 I remembered Oscar Wilde writings after experiencing a broken heart.

But that experience, that encounter, taught me that she was not the one to blame but my own expectations. At the end of De profundis, Oscar Wilde realizes how much he is to be blamed for his misfortune. Later I would put in words my own realizations here helped by other books and movies. A final conclusion of what I mean with saying that love is the journey not the destination came in another post.

Last week I received this quotation. It summarizes what I have learned since that night of November 2005:

People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.

When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a
need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty,
to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally
or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are. They are there
for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your
part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to
bring the relationship to an end. Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk
away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must
realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is
done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has
come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make
you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually
give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for
a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, things you must
build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to
accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in
all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is
blind but friendship is clairvoyant.

Thank you for being a part of my life,
whether you are a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Thank YOU!

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