27 August 2013

New Facebook feature - shared photo albums

Yesterday Facebook announced a new feature – the ability for multiple Facebook users to upload photos to the same Facebook album. 

Currently only the Facebook user who creates a photo album can upload photos to that album.

With shared albums, if you create a photo album on Facebook you will be able to add contributors who will also be able to upload photos to that same album.  You can add up to 50 contributors for each album and each contributor will be able to share up to 200 photos each. 

Image courtesy of Mashable

You will still have privacy settings for your shared albums, with the options of Public, Friends of Contributors, or Contributors only.  The album creator will be able to delete and modify photos, and contributors can edit the photos they upload.

I can see this feature being useful for families, where all family members can add photos to a combined album, but with the privacy settings at Contributors only. 

Facebook groups could also create shared albums, where the members of that group could contribute their photos – especially useful for say, a hobby or crafting group; or groups that hold regular events so that it’s not just the Facebook Group administrators who can add photos. 

You might have to wait a while before you see this feature on your profile.  Facebook started rolling it out yesterday to a small group of users before its worldwide release.  

Will you use this new feature?


Some more information on this feature:  I recommend you read this post from Leonie Smith - The Cyber Safety Lady.  There are definitely some privacy issues with this new feature, and Leonie has a better/more private way that families can share their photos on Facebook.

21 August 2013

Disney Infinity

Have your children started pestering you about Disney Infinity yet?  It’s the latest game for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii, WiiU and Nintendo 3DS and it’s being released tomorrow in Australia.  

The ads have started on TV and all the major retailers have specials on from Thursday. 

It has figures, similar idea to Skylanders, and two different ways of playing - you can play with your favourite Disney characters in their movie; or play with different characters together, not restricted to their own movies.  The reviews I've been reading are all great and the links to my favourites are below. 

First, take a look at the trailer: 

Disney Infinity review from IGN

Disney Infinity review from Mashable

Disney Infinity review from Press Start Gaming Australia

Disney Infinity official product guide

Of the major retailers, BigW has the best prices, and you can also laybye until Christmas.  You can view the products BigW has here.  This shows you the normal prices - they are all on special from Thursday.

I think Disney Infinity will be on Santa's list for my boys this Christmas.

20 August 2013

Look what I got in the mail - Personal Planner

Whilst so much of my life is assisted by technology, one area where I've gone the other way is with my diary.  I do have my appointments in Outlook syncing to my phone and iPad, but I've always loved being able to open a diary and see exactly what’s happening and what needs to be done. 

In my attempt to create some balance between my crazy blogging and working life and my personal life, I decided that I would try keeping track of work in a separate diary, so that I wasn't always reminded of it every time I opened my personal organiser.

I've always been a Filofax/organiser-type person, and I still love them, but I needed to find something different – something that would exactly suit my working life.  My search ended when I discovered Personal Planner.

Look what I received in the mail yesterday!  My gorgeous new planner.

What I absolutely love about this planner is that I designed it to fit my life.  I chose a large size that I could leave open on my desk to keep track of what’s on – although there are three other sizes to choose from.

I could then add my own cover picture – or choose one of their great designs; and what wording I wanted on the front.  It was a toss-up whether to go with Techie Mum or my business name – as I am going to use this planner for both.  Techie Mum won this time.

When it came to choosing what went inside, I love that I was able to customise it to suit me.  I like seeing my day broken into hours, but I could have just had a blank writing space for each day.  

There are four spots at the bottom of each double page where you choose what goes there.  I added a To Do list, an Idea of the week box, a notes area, and, my favourite – Training.  The training box is actually meant for workouts, but I'm going to use it to list the computer training I have on each week.  

There are lots more options, and you can even have all your family’s birthdays and special events added to your planner, so you don’t have to write them in.

Even though it’s August, I didn't want to wait until next year to start my new ‘organised’ work life – Personal Planner even lets you choose the month you start at. 

Once you've ordered online it takes about three weeks for your planner to arrive.  My planner cost $45 including postage, and I think it was well worth it.  Pop over to Personal Planner and take a look.

Disclaimer:  I paid for my planner myself; I've decided to review it here for you because I just love this product!

12 August 2013

HASHTAGS - what are they, and how do you use them?

Once each week I'm going to post the answer to a techie question from a reader or a student from my classes.  One topic I've been asked about a few times lately is Hashtags.  While they have been around for a while, there are still lots of people who have no idea what they are or how they work. 

What are Hashtags?

If you use Twitter you will probably have seen Hashtags in tweets – they are the words preceded by the # symbol.  Some Facebook users have also been using them, although the ability to use hashtags on Facebook is only now being rolled out to all users.  You’ll also see hashtags on Instagram, Pinterest and Google+. 

Hashtags enable you to find information on a particular topic or to follow an event or conversation.  When a hashtag is added to a post it turns that word or phrase into a clickable link.  When you click on the link you’ll be taken to a feed of public posts, and posts from your friends, that also include that same hashtag.  It’s just a quick way of following a common topic or conversation.

For example, at a conference, all the delegates can be given a particular hashtag to use, so that when anything regarding the conference is posted on Twitter, and now Facebook, all the delegates can follow those posts.

Can I make up my own Hashtag?

Yes, and No.  If you just make up a hashtag and add it to your Twitter or Facebook posts it doesn’t mean a thing - no one else is going to add it to their posts because they don’t know it exists, and it won’t be found by searching unless you’re lucky enough for someone to search for that particular topic.  You need to let others know about your hashtag so that it can be used and followed. 

For example, you could let your friends know that you are going to use the hashtag #helensholiday to post about what’s happening while you’re away on your big trip, and they can use that hashtag to follow what you’re up to and also to converse with you. 

When you are watching TV you’ll often see a show’s official hashtag being displayed on the screen or announced at the start of the show.  On some shows you’ll also see a Twitter feed appearing along the bottom of the screen – each of those tweets has used that same hashtag, which has enabled the TV show to pull those tweets into its broadcast and display them on your TV screen.

You just have to let your audience/friends/customers know about your hashtag before you start using it. 

Before you make up your own hashtag, check if it is available by searching for it (with the # in front) on the different social networks – Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, and Instagram.   If there are no posts with that hashtag then it’s yours to use. 

How do I find out which hashtag to use?

You can search for existing hashtags at search.twitter.com – just remember to put the # in front of what you’re searching for.  

For Facebook just type www.facebook.com/hashtag/the hashtag you want (without the #).  With both Twitter and Facebook, at the top of the feed you’ll see the different hashtags that are being used for that particular topic. 

When you use one of these hashtags in your tweet, anyone doing a search on twitter will see your tweet when they search for that word.

Where do I find Hashtags to follow?

Following hashtags can keep you up to date on your interests and the latest news.  You can search for hashtags as detailed above, or try searching in your chosen social network by adding the # in front of that topic and just see what appears in the feed. 

If you just want to see what’s popular at the moment just go to your Twitter home page.  On the left, about half way down the screen you’ll see the Trends box.  This is where you’ll see some of the most popular Twitter topics displayed and those with # in front of them are hashtags you can follow.  If one of them interests you, just click on it and you’ll see all the tweets containing that hashtag.  

Some tips for using hashtags

  • You don't have to add hashtags to every tweet or post.  Add them when you want it to be found under a particular topic.

  • You can place a hashtag anywhere in the tweet or post, but at the end usually makes it easier to read your main text.

  • Don’t get carried away with adding numerous hashtags to your posts.  You just need to add the main topic or two. 

  • If you’re using hashtags on your personal Facebook profile, your privacy settings will control who sees your hashtags – it’s the same as for a normal post.

  • There are no spaces in hashtags – run the words together.

  • You don’t need to use capital letters.

You can use a hashtag to ask for advice, promote your business or a contest, find information or just keep up to date with an event you’re going to.  

Which hashtags do you follow?