The benefits of publicness

My YouTube videos and comments now show my real name.

My YouTube videos and comments now show my real name.

I recently made the move of switching my usernames on various websites to be my real name. Previously, many websites I went on used the name “Zagorath”, or some form of it, like LOTRzagorath which I used on YouTube. Most notably, I linked my YouTube with my Google+ so that it is now using my real name for comments and uploads, and I changed from @zagorath to @jimcullenaus on Twitter.

But why would I go to the effort of making the change, potentially losing recognition among the few people that have come to know me (a few smaller YouTubers, particularly, on whose videos I regularly comment), and gaining a longer Twitter name?

For me, the main reason is simply consistency. I have a Google+ account tied to my real name, and I wanted the benefits of linking my YouTube account to that. In addition, I liked the idea that people could see my real name on both, so it was immediately clear that they were the same person. This second reason is also part of the benefit of changing Twitter along with them. Previously many of my accounts online could be split into two categories: those where I used my real name, and those where I used the handle Zagorath (or some variation thereof). Facebook, email, and Google accounts were probably the only ones that fall into the former category, while most others used Zagorath. However, even for this latter group, it has always been easy to find out my real name because in many cases that same account had my real name entered into another field. The best example of this is my Twitter account, where my real name has always been visible along with the handle.

Other than that, I believe that by using my real name people will be able to trust in what I have to say. By knowing this is a real person attaching their real name to what they do, I believe people will be less inclined to subconsciously discount or devalue what I have to say because of my anonymity.

Over time, I’ll see about changing over what I haven’t already changed (this blog, for example—Wordpress does not allow you to change your username, although you can change the URL), but for the moment I’ve made the changes on the majority of the accounts that I use regularly that I would wish to change

After I had drafted most of this post, I realised that this was something journalist and advocate of openness Jeff Jarvis (who I know from the This Week in Google podcast he co-hosts weekly on the TWiT Network) probably had something to say about, so I did a quick search and it turns out he’s done a post with the exact same title. His post is a far better one at actually describing the general benefits of being public and open. It’s a brilliant read, based on a chapter from his book “Public Parts” which—from what little I’ve read about it—looks like a really enlightening book. That post brings up some great benefits to publicness in a more general sense, and talks about being public not necessarily (or, not only) with your name, but with sharing information and knowledge in a public and open way. It’s a sentiment I can definitely agree with.

I definitely see the advantage of anonymity. It can allow people to express unpopular viewpoints without fear of potential retribution—social, political, or otherwise—but for me personally I think the benefits of publicness outweigh the negatives.

Idea: Partial fullscreen

Both Microsoft (with Windows 8) and Apple (since OS X 10.7 “Lion”) are moving towards a paradigm in their desktop operating systems that encourages the use of full screen apps. Whether you love it or hate it, this seems to be the way things are moving in the near future.

Even for those that like it, there are certainly some drawbacks. Some programmes just work better when they can be used on top of others. Note-taking apps like TextEdit or Notepad can work great over the top of a full-screen web browser, and it would be nice to be able to call up an IM window without having to switch over to another space if you’re working on a full-screen document.

Apps could use a partial fullscreen API to specify that they are suitable for being used on top of fullscreen applications, and then any windows open in them would appear in a menu after opening a drawer that is on one edge of the screen (perhaps some form of gesture or keyboard shortcut could also be used, or it could auto-hide, to preserve screen real estate).

In Windows 8 this could be added to the Charms menu, in OS X, I would say a three-fingered swipe from the very edge of the touchpad, but really any method could be used if the drawer were to be hidden when not in use.

When you pull out the drawer, a menu of all installed apps that can use partial fullscreen would appear, and upon clicking on the one you want, it would appear in the place of the drawer at the edge of the screen. Perhaps there could also be a simple tabbed system to switch between different partial fullscreen apps, such as different text windows, IM windows, etc.

People could benefit from something like this in a variety of ways:

  • Note taking while browsing websites for research purposes
  • Instant Messaging/chat while browsing the web
  • Audio libraries during fullscreen production or web browsing
  • Watching video while browsing the web

Fullscreen applications are great. You get more screen real-estate, they can help to minimise unwanted distractions. The problem is there are some cases where you want to be able to see more than one window at a time, for a variety of purposes. Partial fullscreen would help get the best of both worlds.

What do you think about partial fullscreen? Leave a comment down below.

YouTube Easter Egg: Let Google Rick Roll you!

I just discovered a cool little Easter Egg that YouTube has included in its HTML5 version.

By going to http://youtube.com/html5 and joining the experiment, the right click menu on a video will give you the option to ‘Save Video As…’ If you click that option, it takes you to a video of Rick Astley’s song ‘Never Gonna Give You Up, better known as the Rick Roll video.

Why not use this as a clever way to Rick Roll your friends?

Picture instructions on how to join the HTML5 experimentA picture showing the context menu when you right click on a YouTube video

A quick side note, this will only work with videos that do not display ads. The HTML5 player can’t display ads, so YouTube reverts to the normal Flash player, even if you’re in HTML5 mode.

To switch back to the normal Flash mode permanently, just go to the same page, and click ‘Leave the HTML5 Trial’

If you liked this post, please consider sharing it with friends and leaving a comment.

Problems with WordPress

About two weeks or so ago now, I was working on another blog post about the power of a tool named Prey. Months ago, I created a draft post where I posted a link to an interesting story regarding Prey, and then left for a while.

When I came back to work on it again, I was working for a couple of hours, and I had pretty much finished. I decided it was best to save it, even though I know WordPress should autosave anyway. It was at this point that I experienced a problem… Continue reading

How to update Facebook from Twitter

This post looks at how you can easily update Facebook and Twitter at the same time, while only visiting Twitter, or your favourite Twitter client.

  1. Go to Facebook, and search for “Selective Tweets”

    Select the App with that name.
  2. Type in your Twitter handle in the box next to the “@”, and click “save”
  3. Then just append “#fb” to the end of any tweet, and it will automatically be sent to Facebook as your status. Read past the break for a few little extras

  4. One final thing you can do is choose to be able to put the #fb anywhere in the tweet. The developer mentions that there can be some complications to this, however. If you want to do this, go to the settings, and put a tick in the box next to “Allow the #fb tag anywhere in the tweet?” You should then be able to put #fb anywhere within the tweet to send it to Facebook.

Please leave a comment, was this useful or not? Do you know any good alternatives? What did you think of the post? Or just any general comments.

New Logo

I’ve recently created a new logo for Music Meets Tech.

You can clearly see I’m no graphic designer, but I think it’s quite nice. It gives the general idea of what this blog is about.
I designed it on my Mac in Adobe Photoshop, using a variety of images which belong to me, or were found on the internet.
Unfortunately, the logo isn’t quite what I had in mind, because Blogger wouldn’t let me have more than 200 pixels in height. It’s a bit more squished than it would be otherwise, but doesn’t lose anything important.
Let me know what you think of the new logo—or the design of the site in general—in the comment section below. You can post with nothing but your name and email address, or even anonymously (although it’s always nice to see who the post comes from).

A review of three blogging websites, or, I’ve moved: again

So, I’ve moved my blog again. I decided to move my blog from WordPress, at https://zagorath.wordpress.com to Google’s Blogger, at http://zagorath.blogspot.com. The reasons for this are simple: WordPress is not. I found WordPress to be far too complicated for my uses. It was way too complicated for me.

When I was using Tumblr, I loved how easy it was to customise and edit the design. It was, however, lacking some very noticeable things. There was absolutely no in-built comment system, and no clear method for RSS. The problem with Tumblr is that it’s not really a conventional blog system. It’s not open enough. Tumblr is made to be used by people in Tumblr — it’s a closed system, more of a social networking site than a blogging site. And because of that, I couldn’t really use it for my blog.
So then I switched to WordPress. WordPress is an incredibly powerful blogging tool, and it is also amazingly customisable. But that’s the problem. It’s far too powerful, and too confusing for me. With WordPress, you pretty much have the option of using an in-built theme, or going all-out and creating your own. It’s very difficult to make many small changes. Most themes don’t even allow you to have a custom background. While I’m sure WordPress would be far superior for a serious blogger, or a web developer or something, for me, it’s just far too complicated.
So that brings me to my current situation. I’m currently using Blogger. I already have a Google account, so it was really easy to set up. I’ve now got the advantage of being able to more easily customise my blog. For me, one disadvantage is that there are no “categories”, only labels, which do the same thing as tags. Another problem is that it seems much more complicated to get Blogger to automatically Tweet with a new blog post. It has the added advantage, however, of allowing readers to comment using a variety of logins, including their WordPress accounts, should they chose to use them.
As always, I encourage any feedback on this that you may have. What have been your experiences with any of these three blogging tools, or any others you may have come across?