Useful tools: Delicious

In the second of this (very) occasional series about things I use to help me work, I want to talk about Delicious. It’s been around for a while, and indeed I’ve been using it since I started up as a freelancer. Its staying power can only be a good thing!

It’s ideal for keeping track of all those handy articles I find and read (or intend to read…), as well as sharing them via my websites. However, it was only at the weekend when I had a bit of a fiddle around with it that I discovered some handy features.

From many to one

Previously, I had a Delicious account for each of my blogs (which proliferate faster than I can keep up), with a different log-in for each. In addition, since Yahoo bought Delicious, many of these now have Yahoo log-ins instead.

Fed up with all these different usernames and passwords (plus I don’t use Yahoo for anything else), I decided to bring all my bookmarks (both public and private) under my …

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The art of letterpress

There’s an interesting audio slideshow about the ‘disappearing act’ of letterpress on The Guardian’s website. The article introduces us to the craft and how a master of the trade puts it all together to produce beautifully printed items.

After I left university I spent a short spell working for a printer in Oxfordshire. He’d spend hours in the hot, stuffy basement with this mechanical wonder, enveloped in ink fumes.

He used to put off the task for days, with an understandable dislike of the humid air and emerging light headed at the end. Still, I wish I’d insisted on learning more about the process (although I don’t recall it being letterpress).

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Useful tools: Netted

There are lots of little things that help me do my work or keep up to speed with the online world on a day-to-day basis. I thought it would be handy to share these as I think about them or as a new one comes to light.

They’re not all technically ‘tools’, but if they help us to do our jobs better, then that label’s good enough for me. Take ‘Netted’, a free daily email newsletter from the producers of the Webbys online awards.

Every day they dig up an interesting website and send it straight to your inbox. It’s a great way to find out about quirky apps and even discover something useful. Find out more and sign up.

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Online PR guidelines for ‘print’ people

If you’re interested in content and you’re not a member already, I’d recommend joining the Content Strategy Google group. Many well-known (in content terms, at least!) names pop up regularly on there, contributing to a range of interesting discussions.

One such person is Ginny Redish, who recently responded to a query on online media centres or press offices with some best practice guidelines for press officers ‘who come from print’. I thought this was worth sharing.

Seven guidelines for online press releases

1. Make the headline a statement that gives the key message. Think ‘bite, snack, meal’ — a concept from Marilynne Rudick and Leslie O’Flahavan. The headline is the bite. 2. Make the first few sentences the snack — just a bit of elaboration of the key message. 3. Break up the piece with informative headings. Think of headings as key message bites to the next bit of information. 4. Keep paragraphs very …

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Why hello, 2010

Happy New Year everyone! Another year done and dusted, another Christmas been and gone. I can hardly believe I’ll have been freelancing for two years in April.

So, what do you hope this year holds for you?

I’m planning to focus my efforts more on issues that matter to me – they all pretty much fall under the topic of ‘environment’. I’m on the hunt for new clients in that broad sector, building on my current experience in engineering and construction. Anything, from sustainable housing to renewable energy. If that’s you, get in touch.

And to bolster my knowledge in that area, I’m excited to be starting an MSc Architecture in Advanced Environmental and Energy Studies in March (to complement my BEng in Mechanical Engineering). It’s a distance course from the Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT) (Europe’s leader) and the University of East London (UEL).

The on-site course would be even better, but that would be a bit tricky seeing as I live …

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