Monthly Archives: January 2013

Learn with Youtube

In addition to the ever-popular Google website, we have all likely visited Youtube for a variety of reasons, such as to view funny or entertaining videos, or to listen to our favourite selections of music; however it is also a virtual “gold mine” of very useful video information on just about anything in the world that you can imagine.

Read up a little more about Youtube on Wikipedia.

For example, if you just purchased a new television, camera, phone, or some other electronic device, and would like to know how to use it, YouTube just might be the answer. Alternatively, if you would simply like to know how to make peanut butter cookies (my favourite), or how to prepare some exotic meal, then why not let someone actually “show” you how to accomplish this?

Also, for those seeking technical knowledge such as how to use Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop or some other piece of computer software, there are thousands of instructional videos on YouTube to help you along, regardless of your technical skill level.

On a personal note, we recently had a new “in wall” wired timer switch installed in our home to control our outdoor lights. The device came with a “manual” of convoluted programming instructions that were far less than intuitive, and quite frankly, not very helpful at all. I turned to YouTube for assistance, and almost immediately found a video of someone actually showing me step-by-step how to program our exact device.

The trick when using YouTube is to know which “keywords” to use when searching, so that you are not bombarded with millions of videos that I would call “false positives”. In this sense, I would define a “false positive” occurring when too many results are returned (because some of the “keywords” matched), but they have little or nothing to do with the video that you are seeking. For more information about keywords, please check out Wikipedia

An excellent “keyword” to use when searching on YouTube is the word “tutorial”. This one word, when combined with other very precise “keywords” such as the make, size, and model number of your device for example, can limit the search to the very specific item in question, and most of the time you will find some kind soul out there in cyberspace who is more than willing to show you exactly how to do whatever it is that you need to do.

Another useful “keyword” to use if you are trying to learn something new from scratch, would be the word “beginner”. This can be very helpful for learning new technology for the first time, allowing you to start slowly and work your way up into more complex topics.

So, if you are the kind of person who learns via the “visual route”, why not give YouTube a try the next time that you need to know how to do something?

Even with the proper “keywords”, you will still likely receive some “false positives”, but with practice, you will learn how to narrow your search. As with anything in life, “your mileage may vary”, but I have personally been extremely satisfied with the seemingly endless supply of videos found at the YouTube website, and use it almost daily.

– David Spearns (ETAG Volunteer Technology Tutor)

What is Pinterest?

Today we no longer require piles of magazines, some glue sticks and a pair of scissors to creatively convey your thoughts and ideas of the things you love. With the use of the Internet you can find videos and pictures that inspire you and compile it all on an attractive pin-board style website called Pinterest.

The concept behind Pinterest is to provide users with a way to collect and broadcast the things they find inspiring. It’s a simple and semi-addictive virtual pin-board that lets you seek out and organize collections of things you like, such as events, interests, projects, photos and hobbies.  The website has something for everyone. Subscribers of Pinterest use pin-boards to organize their creative endeavours, like planning a wedding, decorate their homes, create the dream wardrobe, and organize their favorite recipes all in one place.

Pinterest gained a lot of popularity in the spring of 2011 with the launch of the Pinterest iPhone and Android apps, making the interest discovery experience more personal and mobile than evers. In fact, the app launch generated over 11 million visits per week early in it’s existence.

Pinterest has a design and feel much like Facebook. Each user can upload a profile photo of their choice. There is also a stream of continuously updated posts that display content based on a particular users desired interests. Similar to other web tools you might have seen, Pinterest uses “Facebook connect” to allow Facebook members to log on to Pinterest through their Facebook accounts, which provides them the option to publish their Pinterest findings on their Facebook newsfeed.

Pinterest is FREE to join, similar to creating a new Gmail or Stumbleupon account. Getting started is easy. Staying away might get a little difficult. Let Pinterest be the vehicle to your own unique discovery.

– Simone Carpio (ETAG Lead Volunteer)