December 22nd, 2010


More Notes on Adventure Plans

Did some more explorations related to the northern Germany trip and some some more ideas are forming. Mostly so I don't forget them, but also in case someone has suggestions, here are a few:

  • Don't have to do the whole route! I think that involves too much time. What I can basically do is figure out how many days I'd like to do it (I'm thinking 3?), how much a day, then subtract this from the end point I want to reach, see where it is and start there. Right now I'm thinking Rheine looks about right. (BTW, Rheine is not the same as the Rhine/Rhein river.)

  • If I do start from Rheine, the most convenient place to fly to is Amsterdam, which is 100 mi. to the west. Flights to Amsterdam are competitively priced so I could go there and then get a train to Rheine. Then go north by bike.

  • Since it's easy to take a bike on a train, another idea is to intersperse biking and riding the train. I could bike one day in an area I want to see up close, then the next day take a train 50 mi. and get off again to ride. There's probably a regional pass (for the state of Frisia) that will let me do this cheaply, like flat rate of X euros over a week.

  • One thing I am wondering about is an actual bike. Sure, there are rental companies, but I don't know how it works when you need to pick a bike up in one city and leave it a couple hundred miles away. It's not like I'm going to go back to Rheine and return it. If you're in Europe taking the train you can take your bike on the train... if you're a sports rider you probably are used to packing it on the train... but I can't imagine actually packing up my bike in a crate and checking it. I wonder what the solution is? I will have to find some Americans who've had this same problem. (Edit: This article by Rick Steves says just bring your own bike. Hmm. I do like my own bike!)

What Is Twitter?

Still don't get Twitter? I just wrote this for work and thought hey! worthy of sharing. And BTW, I’m wcdarling on Twitter and have over 14,000 tweets, no lie.

What Is Twitter?

In order to use Twitter effectively, one has to first wrap his head around the concept. It’s well known Twitter is a communications tool with a post limit of 140 characters, but what is it? There a few different ways to describe Twitter.

One way is to characterize it as a “micro blogging” service, because in many ways posting to Twitter is like posting to a blog, with the exception of the fact the post has a size limit of 140 characters. Viewing someone’s Twitter profile page is a lot like viewing someone’s blog, with posts appear in chronological order, newest to oldest. Twitter accounts, like blogs, exist as content feeds and are easily imported, exported, included on web pages, tied in to Facebook, etc. While someone’s blog might include lengthy entries, photos, embedded images, someone’s Twitter “blog” includes text with links to these other resources – but in essence they are very similar things.

Another way to think about Twitter is as a web chat forum – only instead of being in a real-time chat with just one person, it’s a chat that takes place over time, with the possibility of many people listening in, joining the conversation, even repeating bits of it elsewhere. Actually sometimes Twitter conversations do in fact take place at near real time (e.g. someone tweets news and immediately lots of people read and reply, forward, etc.) At times of crisis or big news, Twitter can turn into a worldwide chatroom, with thousands of voices joining together, connecting through “hash tags” (keyword marks), replies, “re-tweets,” etc. Finally, the chat analogy also captures the fact that at its best, Twitter is a conversational medium, not a one-way “broadcasting” medium or a megaphone.

Twitter can also be compared to an online forum or what in the old days was called a bulletin board system. In the “Twitterverse,” someone can post a note, question, photo, video, news, or anything else – and then wait for the reactions to pour in. The original poster can monitor the “threads” of these conversations, keep involved in the discussion, and in the end the original post, if successful, becomes something like a forum post with a lot of replies. Again, Twitter at its best is a social medium.