Now scrolling: The Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Week 4, Thing #9: Merlin and Other Wizards

Trying to find Lincoln-dedicated newsfeeds has been an education and an adventure. Many history websites feature a page on Lincoln, but their RSS feed is usually on the homepage, and is very general in content, not focused on Lincoln at all. Even a great quote site I found wanted to offer me several authors, not just Lincoln. So tracking down a dedicated newsfeed was not easy.

Feedster and Technorati are extremely powerful search engines. Typing in "Abraham Lincoln" gave me over 86,000 hits on Feedster ; over 57,000 on Technorati. Not since Veronica have I seen so much information pulled in on one search. Because keyword is inclusive rather than selective, I got every single website even mentioning the two words Abraham Lincoln. So I probably won't be using these servers in the future. was just the opposite, bringing up only three RSS feeds on Lincoln. Only one of the blogsites was "approved" by Signet8, and none of them featured what I was looking for.

My best resource was Blogsline, which brought up about 370 searchable sites. I added four more sites to my reader by searching Lincoln on Blogsline. But I had my best luck simply typing in "Abraham Lincoln RSS feeds" on Explorer. This is how I tracked down HighBeam and the New York Times.

Anyway, I also added Merlin to my Blogline reader and opened an account with them. I like that page very much and almost registered for the geocaching teasure hunt. These days you can go anywhere in the world without leaving your desk. Geocaching is very lively and offers lots of activities for students.

I also explored and found it user-friendly, with lots of appealing graphics. Plus, news can be searched by city.
I did find one great blogsite on Technorati about the Kennedy/Lincoln parallels. I've always loved this topic and would like to devote a future blog to it. There are over forty parallels total, not all of them mentioned here. Some similarities between the two Johnsons as well as Booth and Oswald are very chilling.

In general, I enjoyed exploring the various ways to track down newsfeeds and would like to keep practicing and expanding on these methods.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Week 4, Thing #8: RSS Lincoln

If you look to the right and down a little, just above the picture of Ford's Theatre, you'll see two RSS newsfeeds on Lincoln -- one from HighBeam and one from the New York Times. You'll also see a link to my blogslines where I've chosen 16 feeds -- 10 from the list, 3 from the library URLs provided, and three "harvested" from other participants. I borrowed one from Ellen's 2.0 page, and two from Anthony's Sports and Technology Fan site.

The "Feed Me" tutorial by Palinet was the most helpful to me. So was Anthony's RSS write-up on his blogsite. Once I learned to recognize the button or xml tab on websites, the process went a lot faster. Finding websites offering strictly Lincoln RSS and nothing else was a little more challenging.

Using Blogsline was a great experience. I never knew there were so many newsfeeds to choose from. I've opened more internet accounts in the past 3 weeks than I have in the past 10 years.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Eight Things about Me

Anthony tagged me. So here goes - I hope I can think of 8 things/facts/habits about myself.These are the rules: Each player lists 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, the player then tags 8 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know that they have been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

1. Obviously I'm a history buff with a special interest in Lincolniana, which I think is a strange word.

2. My favorite sportscaster is still Al Michaels, despite the Oswald Rabbit trade.

3. My favorite music is early jazz.

4. I used to work at a newspaper when they had lead type, and yes, I saved a sample of it.

5. I also worked at a seminary, writing for their development office. You didn't know seminaries had development offices.

6. I once had a beach house on the Eastern Coastline which went down in a storm and made it on the AP wires.

7. My favorite book in Scripture is Revelation. Lincoln's was Job. I guess that's understandable.

8. And yes, I have a cat. He is my proofreader. So if you see mistakes on this page, blame him.

Give me a while to think of 8 people I want to do this to.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Week 3, Thing #7: Technology article: Alexander Graham Cell

State of the art technology during the Civil War was the steel point pen and the magnetic telegraph. Every day Lincoln could be seen crossing the White House lawn to the telegraph office to check on messages from his generals. He often spent hours there and actually composed the Emancipation Proclamation in that office.

But unless a telegraph wagon was available in the field, some dispatches could take days to reach the White House, often after battle situations had changed drastically.

Wait now, suppose cell phones had existed during the Civil War? It’s not such a far-fetched idea. Bell was working on the photophone, a form of fiber optics, 15 short years after the surrender at Appomattox.

Would cell phones have made a difference? Instead of crossing the White House lawn, Lincoln might have been standing out in front of it, trying to get a signal, or worse yet, leaning out a window to better hear his generals. Even then, you know how those signals can get garbled. The drama of Sherman’s ultimate message may have played out something like this – Sherman: "I beg to give you as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah." Lincoln: "What? You broke your leg on a skiff and you’re sitting in Louisiana?" Sherman: "No, no. I give you Savannah as a Christmas present." Lincoln: "You sang Oh Susannah at a Christmas pageant?" So much for progress.

Plus, you know that if Lincoln had carried a pocket phone, it would have gone off right in the middle of the Gettysburg Address, probably blaring Dixie, which he said was his favorite tune. Oops.

And wouldn’t McClellan have loved a cell phone. Instead of keeping the President waiting for hours in an outer room while he chatted away with friends, George could have just stuck his head out the door and said "leave it on my cell."

And how about Jeff Davis, sitting in church, quietly informed by a messenger that Richmond was under attack? No need for that anymore. His cell phone would simply have gone off during the service, probably also blaring Dixie.

Now text messaging – I think Lincoln would have preferred that. Just think, no more scribbling speeches on the back of an envelope or blotting ink on crucial documents. He could have text messaged the entire Emancipation Proclamation, 160 words at a time, to every cell phone in the Confederacy, and for less cost than the average teenage conversation.

The only trouble with text messaging is, you can be erased. That’s right. Lincoln’s most important human rights document might have disappeared forever into microspace. Oh well. Maybe there’s something to be said for pen and ink after all.

If you agree with me, share your thoughts on how Lincoln might have used modern technology during the Civil War. If you disagree with me, leave it on my cell.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Week 3, Thing #6: Flickr Mash-ups and Third Party Sites

Lincoln Sightings Across the Nation

Not really. These are Lincoln sites, not sightings. But I thought the headline was catchy. I chose six locations pertinent to Lincoln's life and career-- again from a website -- and uploaded them to Flickr. This was successful. Then I had to transfer them to Mappr.

Mappr almost killed me. I misunderstood the whole tag issue at first. When they say generic, they really mean generic. "Ford's Theatre, Washington, D.C." was not accepted. "Building, Washington, District of Columbia" was accepted. Once I renamed all my tags and sent them back to Mappr, the next stage of placing them on the map went quickly enough. The map has to be "zoomed" in to a size big enough to recognize the states, or again, you will be told "Wait, don't you want to make this map larger?" or something like that, I forget the exact prompt. I got beeped often in this process, but once the map came together, it really was fantastic. I can hardly believe a program like this exists. To see my map, try this link. It was still working for me as of yesterday and I hope it is still live. Anyway, enjoy Mappr as much as I did. This whole exercise was a great adventure. Also, look for my technology article, forthcoming.
P.S. What I really love about Mappr is how unfailingly polite it is. No curt, one-word commands here. An entire page is devoted to telling you what you did wrong. The prompts go something like this: "Mappr thinks there is a low possibility that this picture was really taken in Washington, D.C. Is there something missing from your tag? Mappr could be wrong, but we can't find this location." Imagine, an interactive program implying it might be wrong. Well you know darn well Mappr isn't wrong. So that leaves you. If you want to feel right about the world today, check in to Mappr and make a few mistakes. Some engineer went to a lot of trouble programming manners into this thing, so you might as well enjoy it.

Week 3, Thing #5:Explore Flickr

Exploring Flickr was great fun. I set up an account and went to work creating a composite from a Flickr trading card template. For the results of this, see my example several blogs down titled "My Friend Flickr." The Lincoln White House I.D. Pass was made using a web photo from my picture file. Filling in the text and hitting all the right keys was no problem. My next attempt was Mappr. That was another story.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Week 2, thing #4: Register blogsite and track progress.

I registered my blogsite at night and of course, had to wait until the next morning to see the link appear on the list of participants. I found the online registration form easy and concise, and the whole process took only a few minutes.
I also downloaded the tracking log and I am getting more comfortable with post permalink URLs. Clicking on them makes all the comments appear. That is so cool. I even printed out the personal learning contract and signed it. Look to the righthand column and down a little to see my signature. My "work arounds" include consulting with 3 or 4 key people who are fearless in technology (including my liaison), working at night using my home notepad in case the work environment gets hectic, and taking a few breaks during the process, rather than get writer’s block...or blogger’s block.
My tech toolbox includes a good printer, speakers and earphones, an attachment for saving materials to a disk if necessary, and 2 computers: one at work and one at home. My home computer is dial-up, but the speed and capabilities seem more than adequate.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Week 2 Thing #3 : Set up the account, start blogging

Setting up my own blog and adding my first post was great fun. Creating an account, choosing the template and deciding on a topic and name was no problem. I knew if I could find a theme powerful enough to hold my attention for 9 weeks of heavy technology training, I might make it. A great deal of my reading has been about Lincoln (more than I realized), so I figured sharing information about him would be an interesting way to develop technological skills. Remembering to register my blog was another issue. But that comes next.

Week 1 Thing #2 : 7 1/2 Habits of Lifelong Learners

Of the 7 1/2 habits of successful people and lifelong learners, I like the first one best. I enjoy beginning a project with the end in mind. There's something about a long-range plan that creates a sense of security and I can better enjoy the smaller details along the way. I also like to play, so I guess habit 7 1/2 is my favorite, too.

The most difficult habit for me will be #3, seeing problems as challenges, and #4, having the self-confidence to turn them into positive learning experiences. I'm hoping habit #5, acquiring a tech toolbox, will help me to do this and become more comfortable with new methods in general. I'm looking forward to this whole experience because of the "step" nature of it. One skill builds on another, and self-pacing is a big plus. It also helps to know that assistance is available from co-workers and liaisons. It should be quite an adventure.

Week 1 Thing #1: Introduction to blogging

Okay, it's time for accountability and observations. My motivation for taking this course was to update my web skills and literacy. Podcasting, RSS newsfeeds, tagging, wikis and image hosting are all terms I've heard about but have found intimidating. I'm expecting RSS feeds, Mappr and podcasts to be my biggest challenges, but you never know. A simple image hosting could be worse. I'd love to learn to run a scrolling marquis. Will settle for an animated flag. The Javascript option on my dashboard seems not to be able to run motion on a website. Will consult more about this later.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My Friend Flickr

Look at this perfectly awful thing I made using a Flickr template. Instead of a trading card, I created a White House pass for Lincoln. I think the photo looks very "driver's license." And it's not a profile, so you know he's over 18.
Somebody commented that I had assassinated him all over again. That really hurt.
My next project will be working with Mappr, and maybe some great Lincoln sites across the country.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Lincoln's opinion of blogging:

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt.”

Saturday, June 9, 2007


Did you hear the one about the letter at National Archives written by Lincoln, urging his generals to pursue Lee after Gettysburg? The war might have been very different if Lincoln had been in the field.


Was Lincoln dizzy at Gettysburg? Too late to ask him now, right? Medical sources claim Lincoln was ill with smallpox while delivering one of the greatest speeches of his life. If so, he did a better job with smallpox than most of us do without it.

Tell LincolnFreak what you think of these latest news developments in the ongoing saga of Lincoln, a man who has had a longer life than Elvis.

Friday, June 8, 2007

All Lincoln All the Time

Okay, I admit it. I'm a Lincoln freak. And since nobody's going to check out this blog to write a history paper, I'd rather post and share fun stuff about one of America's best known presidents. Hey, it doesn't even have to be researched. Rumors made this country great and I never reveal my sources.

Great advice from Robert E. Lee: "Don't waste your time reading novels and always accept a promotion."

Great advice from George Patton: "Never fight for the same real estate twice."

Great advice from Abraham Lincoln: "If you think a quorum is forming, jump out the window."

I think Lincoln's advice is the wisest.