Sunday, May 31, 2009

#ASTD09 Building Knowledge Management Solutions

Presentation: Building Knowledge Management Solutions
Presenter: Marc J. Rosenberg PhD

Still working on my evil plan to build a Knowledge Management thing (of some ilk) for Banner.

Any tips, tricks, etc would be good here.

Ballroom A is where they have the translators. Interesting to see the large contingent of Japanese and Koreans at this conference. Many have translation headsets with them. The translators themselves are in wooden soundproof boxes near the back corner.

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BTW - slides on ASTD website somewhere (will find it later).

Why knowledge management?
- Training no longer can keep up with the pace of knowledge growth.
- eLearning can no longer keep up either. Still take time to update.
- Can't get it done or TO EVERYONE.
- Courses capture yesterday's knowledge. We can't put in the newest information.
- "Training professionals have typically focused on developing brainpower more than managing it."

(this poor guy is living the trainers nightmare. The freight elevator...losing control of the remote for his slides...a HUGE room with few people...a squirrely mic)

Right now ...update everyone "before you leave for the day."
- Can't keep people informed on a daily basis with "training"
- Gotta get them up to speed wherever they are at any time.
- Knowledge is KEY to competitiveness

Knowledge: The intersection of people and information
- Knowledge: Internal. Information: External.
- Data is information without context. Data USELESS without context.

4 types of knowledge
- Explicit knowledge: Easily described and specific enough to be codified in documents, practices and training.

- Tacit knowledge: Elusive, often more valuable. The experiences, heuristics, ideas. Embedded in people's experiences and life's work. This is what we are most concerned with!

- Common knowledge: Info known across the organization. Either explicit knowledge in practice or tacit knowledge assumed explicit.

- Undiscovered knowledge: Exists but no one knows where it is or how to get it. How do you get this out there. "If no way to get my idea out - probably not valuable." Used to have a suggestion box, but no one acts on stuff.

Knowledge Management (KM): getting information from those who have it to those who need it. As efficiently as possible (optional).

Trainers do it too, but the way they do it can't be scaled. Not personal.
- This is NOT the end of training. KM AUGMENTS training

What people look for on web
- 45% documents about a subject
- 26% a web address
- 24% advice from peers
- 30% scientific or tech info

As trainers - our role mostly education, training and sometimes a little information
- our emerging role - development of information services. Get quickly and directly from source.

Education - long-term, developmental (leadership training), broad situations (months or years)
Training - near term. specific situations, skills-based (weeks or months)
Information - Learn for NOW. Apply to various situations(hours or day)

Knowledge management
1) Knowledge publishing and storage - if true, shared drive

2) KM about knowledge control - we really want to make information MORE available. Only limit what absolutely have to.

3) Goal - document repository. But also people.

4) To generate appropriate level of benefit relative to cost, KM projects must be huge. Should be small.

5) KM will replace training (NOT)

6) If you build it, they will use it. Maybe to look at, but not to add stuff. Just like any implementation. Teach people to learn on their own!!!!!

7) KM is a technology. It needs and is enabled by technology. Really about the content.

Relationship between training and knowledge management
- Training - instruct, must "stop work", program dictates how learning takes place (no one "browses" a course), transfer skill and knowledge.

- KM - inform, less work interruption - ideally embedded in work (help systems), user determines how learning will take place, make information available when needed to perform a task.

New framework for learning and performance.
- Training (formal)
+ Classroom training
+ Online training

- Workplace learning and support (informal)

+ Knowledge Management

-- Information Repositories (WebMD, USA.Gov, Vehix.com) - organizes large amounts of content and makes it easy to find. Explicit content, lots of content, can distribute. Use business rules (how long available, more info, who can see, etc). Can use portals as a way to send out and structure for different audiences. Also doc mgmt, content mgmt, search, personalization, alerts (self-defined), security etc.

-- Collaboration - very powerful in building a learning culture. FREELY SHARES KNOWLEDGE. Orgs that freely share knowledge tend to learn the best. Knowledge networks (informal) and community of practice(formal). Vertical COP - the mgmt chain. Horizontal COP - colleagues of similar type / rank. Good example - Xerox Eureka

-- Expertise - Who has the right answer? Where is the right expert? Really important because there are false experts. Call Centers - whenever get a question more than once, send them to FAQ. When experts identified and FREELY VOLUNTEER - you've made progress.....

+ Performance support (job aids, online tools, etc). Most popular performance support tool today - GPS. (My Verizon GPS in my phone is the best ap EVER)

+ Mentoring and coaching

New paradigm
- Employee is knowledge seeker with constantly changing learning needs and timeframes.

Web 2.0 drives eLearning 2.0 - these are Knowledge Management technologies
- These are also becoming very easy to use.
- Instead of authoring tools and LMSs - talk about the new internet.
- From passive information retrieval to eCommerce (transactions) to dynamic collaboration
- Performer is going to look for information in the easiest way possible with new tools on web.

6 new approaches (though not new to the audience for this blog - unless you got here through my hockey ramblings...)
- wikis, blogs, web conferencing, podcasting/vidcasting, RSS feeds and feed readers, social networking (why aren't internal directories more liked LinkedIn?)
- Wikis are becoming one of the most powerful ways to disseminate knowledge seen.

Can learn about all of this stuff - You Tube. Search "....." in Plain English
- Common Craft

Rethinking our role.
- What does this mean for us?
- We have to understand the dynamics of the org. But - people looking and people giving.
- How do people find answers? Eye-opening

Most sucessful knowledge management implementation on the planet?
- The Public Library! Why? Dewey decimal (or Library of Congress for university libraries). Also - we all know how to USE IT! Every library works the same. And it MANAGES the information. Everyone agrees and accepts how it will be done.

- Our corporate intranet - erm...not so much [man, you are telling me!]

A "course-centric" view of knowledge.
- Training person - thinks about the packaging. Everything is a course. Lots of great courses. Run by the LMS. Problem: doesn't give knowledge of all Java knowledge available in org.

A "knowledge centric" view
- Start with CONTENT.
- May find not just courses, but also experts, information repositories, communities, etc....
- Biggest advantage - capturing the intangible relationships.
- Capture LOTS of content - in form and function.

Trainers have to have a much broader perspective of what content IS.
- Divorce it from the course.

Impact of knowledge management gauged by how it supports business growth and operational improvements.
- Maybe you can reduce the amount of training :')

Goal - start small, think big, be ready to scale.
- in interim - take 1 topic and go deep OR serve enterprise and go wide.
- (prototype, prototype, prototype)
- Will need partners, including IT. Remember: make friends with the nice wonderful IT folks.

What new skills are needed.
- Current: evaluation, ID, needs assessment, project mgmt, teaching
- New skills: Business analysts, library science, change management, content analysic, knowledge architecture design.

Work is interrupted. Including by training. Disruptive and inefficient.
- Goal - to interrupt less.
- Embed (as much as possible) knowledge into work processes.

Future
- Less courses disseminating "facts"
- Training needs to focus on application and creativity.
+ I want people in a training class to solve problems, create solutions, create teams
- Trainer becomes sage on the stage to guide on the side. Facilitation.
- Knowledge Management before the class, during (to search for knowledge), after the class and maybe even build a community of practice.
- Gotta stop giving fishes. Remember college - 15 hours of courses, 30 hours of homework.

4 Cs of success
- Culture - culture of knowledge hoarding, will kill KM
- Champions - esp. managers
- Communication - win the hearts and minds of people using the tool
- Change - uses all of the above.

(Go hear John Cotter if can - and good books. Great person on Change in organizations)

If go into Knowledge and Performance, must expand your toolkit.
- Must get into KM, Web 2.0, Communities of Practice, etc.
- Give people many more solutions.

"If you have great skills training, but don't have access to up to date information, you'll look like an a@@ in front of the customer.

#ASTD09 The Science of Brain-Friendly Teaching

Presentation: Using Your Noggin - The Science of Brain-Friendly Teaching
Presenter: Dr. Spencer Kagan

Any research information I can pick up on what we do can't hurt.

Noticed when I walked into the room he works to create a very positive, upbeat environment. 50s music, smiley people giving handouts, happy-looking clip art in the handouts. Bright colors on the site.



Of course, my inner Goth girl rebelled and wanted to turn the clip art people into zombies and listen to Iron Maiden.

It's a wonder they let me out of my cube.....

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This is structured for note-taking. Pen and paper. He created an interesting workbook for this. I may add my notebook later as images. Depends on how motivated I get.

Align Instruction
- How Brain best learns through Structures.s

Silly Sports and Goofy Games as breaks.

Uses kinethetic motions as cues
- Ex. Quiet signal
+ Raise hand
+ Stop working, talking
+ Signal other

Example of talking to people. He gave cue - raised hand. We did same.
- This is an orienting response.
- Better attention.

Quiet signal
- External novel stimuli --> Orienting response
- Internal novel stimuli = Intelligence shift = Brain Activation
- Mirror neurons --> Contagion of attention
+ Mirror neurons - whenever we observe something doing something, our brain fires like WE are doing that thing. (Why I really don't like horror movies, Law and Order, etc)
+ There is a survival response in empathy and imitation
+ People who study this most - politicians and marketers.

TakeOff - TouchDown
- TakeOff (stand if true)
- TouchDown (sit if false)
- Why motion more brain friendly - getting more oxygen in the brain (and we need the exercise).
- The brain consumes 20% of our oxygen and glucose. Brian is 3 pounds.

Why we need the fuel
- 2000 dendrites on average in neuron
- Dendrites fire 200 times per second
- 100 billion networked neurons
- Yup - we want to give them oxygen.
- Each neuron will fire depending on
+ Configuration of neurons
+ What happened in the PAST that cause same firing pattern
+ Chemicals in brain at time

Read John Ramey's book - Spark

Movement energizes whole brain, thereby increasing retention

TakeOff, TouchDown vs. Raise a Hand
- Better nourishment - more large muscles, more oxygen
- Brain attend to novelty

Novelty - attention - retention

Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up
- We remember more what we SAY rather than what we hear.
- You want THEM to retain - STOP TALKING

Choice of how to structure the interaction.
- THEY structure. Pair up, then look for others who may know if stuck..
- Can't let your mind drift if you are continually searching. Not just paired up.
- How I structure moment to moment determine retention

Power of processing
- Gum = content, Chew = processing
- We want more Chew! Give the student more time to process.

Why frequent processing
- More energy for new learning
+ Brain is not designed to inhibit impulses.
+ If participants SITTING, they are inhibiting impulses. Energy levels go down.
- Clarify and refine thinking
+ More aware of what didn't know
- Store in long-term memory
+ Things don't gradually MOVE. You have to do something very different between long term and short term
+ Gotta have the processing to put it in long term. Do something with info.
+ We need to stop to let people process
- Clear working memory
+ Consciousness.
+ We have a limited capacity for working memory (10 things)
+ Limited capacity in working memory allows focus.
+ The processing clears working memory
+ To Do lists - clears working memory so you can CONCENTRATE. (Had that happen Wednesday!)
+ Have them write down their personal to do list before starting. Will have more of their undivided attention.
- Engage multiple intelligences and multiple memory systems
+ Social interaction lights up certain areas of the brain
+ Engaging Episodic Memory - most brain friendly. Retains very well.
+ Episodes - beginning and end. Location. Where the predator is.
+ We record in episodes. Therefore, we should help create episode

Verbalization increases Retention
- If teaching were the same as telling, we'd all be so smart we could hardly stand it - Mark Twain.

Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up & Rally Robin
- More nourishment
- More novelty and alertness (new person)
- More brains active
- More brain parts active
- Social Interaction
- Episodic memory

Team building - team interview.
- Teambuilding - think about FUN. Fantasy stuff
+ Favorite after school activity
+ favorite rock group / cartoon
+ Dream Car
+ Dream profession
+ Dream vacation
+ Who would you be for a day

- Academic Content - apply

The Amygdalae
- as a threat sensor
- 2 amygdalae
+ left amygdala
+ tone of voice - hostile
+ left amygfala
+ faces - hostile
- Both sides are threat sensors
- Fires most: stranger over friends, other races over same race, fearful face over happy, angry over friendly
- linked to all major parts of the brain
- not adaptive in our training. When it fires, shuts down emotions, decision making, attention, thinking, working memory.
- enough firing, inhibit long-term ability to learn
- The amygdalae inhibits learning.

Teambuilding deactivates amygdalae
- makes you "more comfortable"
- reduces the "they are going to kill me" reflex.

Training about safety (wow! no kidding!)

Social interaction - brain most lights up.
- Process sight: Visual Cortex.
- Decoding Words: Wenicke's Area.
- Encoding Words: Broca's Area

Your brain is never more engaged than when you are explaining to others. Widespread activity.
- Daniel Goleman Social Intelligence.

Silly Sports / Goofy Games
- Hagoo - make the others smile

Kinesthetic Symbols
- Engage multiple Intelligences (get to everyone's intelligences)
- Engage multiple memory systems - incl. episodic
- Place content in more places in brain
- An exponential increase in the probability of recall.
+ Content in the verbal cortex, moror cortex and visual cortex

5 principles of brain friendly training (I didn't remember it in this order)
- safety - shut up the Amygbala (threat response). Teambuilding, fun context.
- emotional - James McGaugh. Anything followed by emotion better remembered.
- nourishment - neurons. Major muscle movement.
- social - lit brain. Structures
- info processing
+ novelty, predictability Too much predictability - boring. Too much novelty - chaos.

Within the Structure - novelty.

#ASTD09 ITS: Powerful Hands On Tool

Presentation: ITS: Powerful Hands On Tool for Product and Process Innovation
Presenter: Etsuko Ogiso, Business Consultants, Inc. (Japan)

This session will be geared more towards organizational creativity rather than individual creativity. Since I ultimately have to apply creativity anyway, figured it wouldn't hurt to look at the macro level. Also thought this was a good opportunity to get a more international perspective on business.

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Business Consultants Inc - 1964 (Japan), 470 employees, 200 professional consultants. $80 mil in sales.

ITS - Innovative Thinking System

Developed end of 90s.
- Though educational seminars, training, consultation
- Now at 4000 companies (Japan, Korea, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and a few in US)

5 main applications of approach
- Improvement *
- Problem Solving *
- Future Assessment
- Personal Development
- Creating New Value and Opportunity

Innovation = Creativity + Implementation

Divergent Thinking - generate the ideas
Convergent Techniques - narrow down ideas. Polish and fine tune winner
Implementation Techniques - How to bring ideas to

All about the 7s

7 Inventive Techniques for Divergent Thinking phase (Went through 3)
- The more hints (Image/Idea Generated (IG)), the more images.

Technique B = "Breaking"
-- Identify the common notions (you wear shoes on feet)
-- THen create IG - can be the REVERSE of the common notions (you do NOT wear shoes on feet)
-- Take the IG - then create idea. (slip on shoes - though I'm not certain how you get from 1 to the other)

(Wow! Seriously jargonized brainstorming technique!!!!!)

Yamaha used technique to create "silent piano". Practice without disturbing others. Have headset.

(Attempt to do exercise for above.)

Technique F - Finding Flaws
- Focus on the flaws, faults, defects of theme
- Imagine problems resolved
- More problem is defines, better the idea generated

- Flaw - ex. I must pay at the reception desk when checking out
- IG (this time, the Solved State) - I can quickly check out without coming by the reception desk
- Idea - bill sent to my home. Can just leave the hotel. (Apparently, express check-out is not popular in Japan)

(Activity for exercise F)

Technique L - Linking
- Need magazines, newspapers, book for technique
- Close eyes - see where finger points. Pick the word. Relate that word to your theme.

- Theme: A New type of candy
- Word picked - Traffic signal
- First image that came to mind: red
- Idea: A red candy that burns fat

Activity for exericse L (individual)
- Theme: New ways to effectively run a meeting

- Word - rabbit
- Image - furry
- Idea - cushier chairs.

- Word - Lemonade
- Image - tart
- Idea - Serve drinks with glucose.

- Word - actress
- Image - beauty
- Idea - Nicer meeting environment. Few distractions.

(And then here is where my "self-constraining straps of thinking" kick in.... How about reducing the number of meetings altogether! I know...not the spirit of the exercise....

My partner came up with better ideas - also centering around keeping meetings short.)

First step is to "evoke the brain" to make other patterns.

Self Constraining Straps of Thinking - The self-limiting parameters preventing the emergence of new ideas and behaviors.
- Business environment
- Business / Company Background / History
- Budget
- Human Resources
- Technology
- Timeframe
- Organization Structure
- Colleagues and Management
- Self

Focus on how to resolve the problem, before knee jerk saying know.

Mental Locks (taken from Roger von Oech)
- Right answer
- Not logical
- I'm not creative.....

Mental Locks in Japan
- Is this at any other country>
- Lets see how this goes
- Who is responsible for failure
- (The concerns are pretty international)

2nd step - Convergent Thinking
1) Screen many ideas
2) Polish the candidate ideas

Screening techniques
- Birds Eye and Bugs Eye - Macro / Micro
- Decision - Inductive Reasoning
- Priority - Criteria Based
- PNO - positive / negative / originality
- Goal - meeting objectives
- Sketch - rough planning
- View

Demo of PNO screening - people tend to focus on positive if like idea. negative if hate.
Idea: Building all the railways underground
Positive: aethetics, weather, reliability
Negative: safety, expense, unpredictability of the build environment
Originality: not so original. Other city has this service already.

Pick 2 or 3 (but encourage use of all)

Polishing the idea
- Pre-plan considering the 6 aspects
+ Emotion - anticipating reactions (more innovative, more anxiety)
+ Benefit - focus on positives
+ Drawback - correct negatives
+ Fact - research needs
+ Strength - improve the product
+ Testing - pilot or prototypes

Exercise on emotion.

Step 3) Implementation - Mapping techniques
- Road Mapping - goal is an action plan
- Hardware (business infrastructure)
+ Information - research planning
+ Critical Factor - flow chart
+ Contingency - crisis management
- Software (Human aspects)
+ Power - influence
+ Resistance - negotiation planning
+ Support - relationships

Exercise on contingency mapping.

Best Practice of ITS approach
- Combine with existing training program.
- 6 days
1) Acquire basics for marketing and techniques for idea generating
2) Analuze current situation
3) Generate ideas
4) Screen ideas and select candidate for implementation
5) Create proposal
6) Develop road map / action plan

#ASTD09 Conference Goals

I have 3 goals for this particular conference:

1) Meet up with fellow blogger folks who I haven't met yet.

2) Get more information on innovation and creativity. If you couldn't tell from my posts, I've been feeling a bit stale in the education space recently.

3) Get more information on Knowledge Management and Knowledge Management Systems. Not interested in "stuff to buy" per-se, more the change management AROUND the systems and ideas for designing a solution that is user-friendly.

Yes - in that order.

Now that I have found the Internet (did you just hear Bill Curtis?), you can expect the usual "Wendy goes to conference" notes and ramblings.

And you get this ALL WEEK!!!!

Excited yet?

#ASTD #IeL09 Big Conference Week

You all are going to see lots of traffic from me this week.

It's Conference Week in Wendy World!

Sunday - Wednesday is ASTD. You will see #ASTD before each of my titles related to this conference to make it easier to track on Twitter (for those of you who use this as your platform of choice).

Thursday - Friday is Innovations in eLearning. Unless Mark O tells me otherwise, I am using #IeL09 before each of my titles. Thanks Clark Quinn for the feedback!!!

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I'm never sure whether it is better to attend conferences near home or far away.

When you are far away - your LIFE is the conference. Even if I am able to get away for dinner with friends if I happen to have some in the area, I manage to be pretty focused when I am on business trips. Not much else to do, really. Even the crazy social times all have business and network implications.

At home - it's much easier to get distracted.

I'm going to miss Monday night's festivities due to a class that starts that evening. Yes, I've signed up to get my a@@ whomped in a CrossFit class. I would much rather be drinking beer with you all, but it's something I've needed to do personally for a long time. So if you see me limping / gimping / looking uncomfortable walking around at either conference, you now know why.

Tuesday, I'm only attending the 10am session because of some work obligations. Good thing my office is on a Metro line.

At least I can kinda focus on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

I am looking forward to meeting some fellow bloggers and tweeters:
- Cammy Bean
- Janet Clary
- Dave Ferguson (who I'm hoping I don't miss on Monday afternoon.)

I also get to see Clark Quinn and Mark Oehlert again.

Should be a good, exhausting week!

BTW - if you run into me at the conferences, stop by and say "Hi." I'm the brunette in the glasses lurking by the power outlets.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Field Trip to Hershey

What's with all you Caps fans?

I heard a variation of this comment from practically every Hershey Bears fan I ran into last weekend.

I get the impression that there were more of us interlopers from Washington than usual.

Ryan and I went up there to root for the guys who kept the Caps going - particularly mid-season. Upon our explanation as to why we drove 2 1/2 hours specifically to root for "their team":

Wow! That's pretty cool!.

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The Giant Center is a very nice arena. Not a bad seat in the house.


View from Center Ice. The color from my cell phone camera doesn't show the number of Caps jerseys in the house. There were quite a few....



Our "Sega-view" seats - thanks to the nice ushers at Giant Center who let us change seats. Yes - we actually WANTED to sit at the end of the ice.

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Another bonus, beer is only $4.75 (as compared to $7.50 at Verizon Center).



Still not cheap.

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Hershey fans are very welcoming and willing to share their insights into the players, the team, the history. They are proud that they are the oldest continuous AHL team in existence. They know that they bring depth and a winning tradition to any NHL franchise they happen to be affiliated with - whether it be the Philadelphia Flyers, the Colorado Avalanche, or the Washington Capitals. Right now, especially after this season, Caps fans are glad to have the partnership.

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This got me thinking about how there are two layers of fandom.

We went to Hershey to root for the players. The names we were familiar with from the season. Beagle, Neuvirth, Sloan, Helmer, Aucoin. There were a few players that are fan favorites that we didn't know - Arsene, Pinizzotto. The Hershey fans were happy to educate us on them all.

Ultimately, Hershey fans root for the TEAM. Doesn't matter who plays for them - they wear the sweater, they are IN - with all of the cheering, swearing, armchair quarterbacking and bad nicknames that entails. For example, a couple of Hershey fans explained that they call Tyler Sloan "Swiss". In their mind (I didn't see evidence of this on the ice during the game I attended), he plays better with the Capitals. Of course, if he left to play for another AHL team, he would be called "that damned Sloan guy" or some other epithet. It takes love to come up with an imaginative nickname.

Because they are a minor league team - the Hershey fans love it when their guys are called to the majors. The ones I talked to follow Green, Laich and Steckel very closely. They also are huge fans of Bruce Boudreau. And don't even get them STARTED on Varlamov. They are thrilled these gentlemen are doing so well in the bigs and understand that the goal for these players is to graduate to the NHL.

Interestingly, given a choice between major league teams - most would root for either the Flyers or the Penguins (split 50/50 from the informal survey) before the would root for the Caps. They want their boys from Hershey to do well. Couldn't care less if the Capitals do. Because those boys are part of "their team."

I suspect the "team" level of fandom has a lot to do with where you grew up or where you find yourself living. I know my Caps fandom is a result of growing up in the DC area and going to games.

Same with my Baltimore Orioles fandom. I grew up watching the Os because there was no baseball in DC. Living in Baltimore for 7 years only deepened the fandom. Yes, even while they stunk and had bad juju in the clubhouse and made it very very very hard to root for them. Though the Nationals are now in town, and I've gone to a couple of games, I'm still an O's fangirl at heart.

Proximity makes it easier to follow the small stories and tidbits that make an organization come to life.

A web developer being made an NHL goalie for a day.

A veteran defenseman defying all odds and returning from what seemed to be a career-ending concussion.

The little bizarre moments during games that make memories.

Time allows you to watch people come and go. See the team ride the continuum between greatness and gruesomeness (some organizations swing more wildly, of course). And collect many many stories.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

One Step Forward



Yup - I think this picture pretty much sums up Game 7 - Caps v. Pens.

It looks worse than it really is.

Thanks to the nurse in the first aid station behind section 414, Verizon Center for patching me up after I found a nice patch of spilled beer to step in.

Hobbling around this morning. Hopefully, I'll be good to go by Monday.
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It's been over a decade since the Capitals have gotten this far. To my thinking, we are just getting started.

Consider - the Hershey Bears, the Caps AHL minor league affiliate, essentially WERE the Washington Capitals through a large chunk of the season.

Our savior goalie (last night was not his fault - please read On Frozen Blog's commentary) was supposed to be in Hershey right now. He wasn't scheduled to be anywhere NEAR the NHL this year. Maybe warming the bench in a pinch. Much less leading the Caps through the playoffs.

The Bears are now preparing to take the next step after beating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (fondly known as the Baby Pens).

I'm seeing if I can get to Hershey this weekend.....

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This is section 413 during the 3rd period. I think we were still down 4-0 at this point. Not a lot of joy in Mudville.

These people didn't move until the end of the game.

Well after the end of the game.

I dare say 2/3rd of the fans stayed in their seats - even though all was long lost.

For a city with a (probably deserved) reputation for fair weather fans, that says volumes.

The standing ovation starting at the 2 minute mark and through the handshakes says volumes.

The Penguins fans who stopped me after the game and commented
You guys have some AWESOME fans. I've never seen anything like it.

Says volumes.

Still proud to be a Caps fan.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Editing Blogger Templates part Deux

So I received a comment on my post Changing Blogger Templates wondering how I edited my Blogger template and how I managed to get my widgets to work.

Maybe this will get me re-inspired.......

1) For the existing widgets on my older template - I made sure I had a text file of the original HTML code. This way, if I really screwed things up, I can go back to my old template.



Wendy's HTML focused on Google Analytics......Because I needed to remember where I put things.

2) Blogger has some tips in their help page on changing and customizing templates. They also have some tips on Add Ons. My blogger page is actually pretty basic. I want people to use Feed Readers and not have to come visit the actual page. :')

3) The newer templates allow you to use Gadgets. Dig through the gadgets to see if there is one that already does what you want it to do - without the copy/paste.



This picture shows you the configuration of my sidebar and the Add a Gadget screen.

4) Many of the items on my sidebar use the HTML / JavaScript Gadget. Partially because I have a special widget (eLearningLearning) that has custom code. Partially because I am a well-documented control freak.

5) To directly answer Insider-Insight's question, I created the Popular Posts sidebar item using the HTML / Javascript gadget.

a)I tagged the posts I wanted to appear at the particular link. Example: all of my posts for Annual Gathering 2009 I tagged AG08.

b) I used Blogger's Search Blog feature to make sure that all of the AG08 posts appeared when I used the tag AG08.

c) I copied the resulting link http://in-the-middle-of-the-curve.blogspot.com/search/label/AG08 for safekeeping in WordPad. Because I am paranoid.

d) I then used the HTML / Javascript widget to program the links I wanted to appear under Popular Topics.

e) I repeated this process each time I wanted to add something to my Popular Topics list.

This is what my Popular Topics HTML/JavaScript gadget looks like as of today.


I'm sure there is an easier way to do this....but it's worked for me so far....

Hope this helps......

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Social Media Burnout

Hi y'all.

A combination of allergies, life, hockey and the feeling that I don't have anything substantive to say at the moment has reduced my blogging / twittering / facebooking / etc.

I promise that I will be back whenever I have something new to add to the stuff going on in the bloggosphere.

Happy spring!