Mythology with Erin

Adventures in storytelling

Tag: Tech Tip

Tech Tip: Embedding Twine

Here is my very first Twine game! Enjoy, and stay tuned for a full Twine story soon!

Image: Backlit keyboard. Source – Pixabay.

Tech Tip: Twine Game Link

Here is my very first Twine game!

Pick a Number

Uploading this file to Oucreate was pretty simple, except after I did it I couldn’t figure out how to view the actually page, and Oucreate was acting up. Luckily, OUIT is the bomb, and they were able to help me find the right link and work out the issue! I’m excited to make more of these games, and hopefully I’ll do a Twine story for class very soon!

Image 1: Backlit keyboard. Source – Pixabay.

Image 2: Game controller. Source – Pixabay.

Tech Tip: Twine

I was fascinated when Laura introduced me to Twine, a free online program for creating nonlinear, choose-your-own stories. I immediately downloaded the application, but I could not figure out how to make it work. I was so excited to see this tech tip get added with clear instructions!

To get familiar with Twine, I created a number guessing game kind of like 20 questions where my game will figure out what number the player is thinking of. It’s super simple, but it was a great experiment because I started to understand the program more and could see how the game can loop back onto itself and create new paths. 

I’m 100% interested in writing a Twine story or two for this class because I love choose-your-adventure stories, and it’s a unique challenge to write it and get it posted. I think it will be especially nice for an interactive, spooky Halloween themed story in October.

I do wish the colors/text of the published Twine game could be customized to be less dark or add pictures. Maybe those things are possible with a little bit of coding, and I’ll see if I can figure it out. If not, it’s still a fun application, and I’m excited for my next Tech Tip, where I’ll learn how to publish my Twine file online.

Image 1: Backlit keyboard. Source – Pixabay.

Image 2: Kitten playing with yarn. Source – Public Domain Pictures

Tech Tip: Typing Test

I remember in elementary school, we had a computer skills class once a week in the library, and sometimes they tried to teach us touch typing. For me, it never stuck. It felt awkward and forced, so I never really learned how to type. 

In middle school, though, I started writing large works, like my first novel. I was putting out hundreds of words at a time, and while I never sat down to learn how to touch-type, it kind of just…happened. I don’t have to look at the keyboard to type what I want, though I often do glance down as a way of “balancing” myself. Now, the way I touch type does not used the conventional finger assignments, which upsets the purists I’ve spoken with, but I wanted to see if my adapted touch typing could compare to the traditional method. Luckily, there are tons of online typing tests you can use to gauge your typing speed.

The first online test I tried was the KeyHero Typing Practice. I liked this test because it provided a different excerpt each time, and it provided detailed feedback about acceleration, deceleration, and types of errors. I did about 11 excerpts so I could get a good understanding of my average typing. For this test, that was 88.21 WPM with a 97% accuracy. My fastest round was 109 BPM! This test did not tell me how that speed compares to the average typer, but I was satisfied with my speed and my accuracy. I found excerpts easier when they were written in styles I’m more familiar with, like the YA prose of Mark Zusak and John Green, and the excerpts that were more technical or contained a lot of punctuation were more difficult.

The next test I tried was TypingTest.com, which espouses itself as the #1 online typing test. I only did this one once and chose to do the Aesop excerpt. I got 88 WPM, exactly the same as from the previous test! I also had 100% accuracy on this excerpt. The website rated this as a “Pro” score. It said the average overall score was 36 WPM, and the overall touch-typist score was 58 WPM. I think 58 WPM is pretty slow for touch-typing, honestly, or maybe I really am an outlier.

I decided to take a third typing test to try to confirm my average typing speed, and I chose the Speed Typing Online test. I didn’t like this test very much because of the font the exercise was written in and the way it didn’t scroll down; it just replaced lines at the top, which was disorienting. It was also different from the other test because instead of an excerpt with complete sentences, it was just a bunch of random words like “red” “house” and “staff.” Maybe that’s a perfectly legitimate way of testing typing speed, but it was strange because much of my typing instincts come from being able to string common phrases together fairly quickly. That being said, I got 89 WPM on the test at 97% accuracy.

I would say that taking these tests confirmed that my atypical touch-typing patterns are just as legitimate as traditional ones. I don’t think I need to improve my typing speed because it’s way up there, but I also don’t think I type that quickly on a regular basis. Most of the time I’m trying to conjure words into sentences while I’m typing; I’m not just copying things like in these tests. I do think it’s important to know how to type coherently (not hunting-and-pecking) because we use computers constantly now, and a slow typing speed is only a hindrance. Everyone should be comfortable behind a keyboard, even though the QWERTY arrangement doesn’t make much sense.

Image 1: Backlit keyboard. Source – Pixabay.

Image 2: Person using Macbook. Source – Pexels.

Tech Tip: Padlet Pets

I used the class Pets Padlet to upload a picture of my cat, Sonny. It’s going to be fun to see pictures of everyone’s animals!

Made with Padlet

Padlet is a cute and intuitive online bulletin board tool that looks great and can easily organize links and images. I’ve used Pinterest with obsessive fervor for many years now, so I love the online bulletin board format for storing and sorting things. I like how Padlet makes it easy for others to contribute to a board, and it’s built on making brand new entries rather than “repinning” pre-existing items.

I would love to create a Padlet of my own to make it easy to share ideas and collections. I wonder how it would differ from Pinterest; maybe it’s easier to embed around the web. Overall, I think these kinds of boards are a great way to keep track of ideas in an organized way.

Image: Backlit keyboard. Source – Pixabay.

Tech Tip: Twitter Lists

I mentioned in last week’s Tech Tip that I looooove folders, and folks we have had a breakthrough. Twitter has folders. Okay, not really; it has lists, but they operate kind of like folders. You can curate a list of Twitter users to create a stream of just those user’s posts. This stops the inevitable confusion and feeling of disorganization when you have your sports, your news, your friends, and your musicians all in the same feed. To try this out, I made a list for one of my favorite Twitter communities: Writing Twitter.

Writing Twitter consists of authors, publishers, editors, agents, librarians, and book lovers who all tweet about–you guessed it–books. I follow a lot of these people, and seeing their amusing jibes about writing is one of the reasons I get on Twitter every day. What better than to give all of my Writing Twitter a place of its own?

Now that I know I can put people on the list without following them, I’m going to add quite a few more authors. I plan on making a sports list so I can check up on OU football without have three million sports Tweets on my regular feed. I think lists are a great tool to help people use Twitter in a more focused and manageable way.

Image 1: Backlit keyboard. Source – Pixabay.

Image 2: Twitter Bird Logo. Source – Pixabay.

Tech Tip: Getting Started with Diigo

As a writer, I’m always doing tons of research, and it’s useful to be able to bookmark pages to come back to later. However, sometimes having all of those bookmarks on my browser makes it a little cluttered. Even when I have my writing research sorted to a different bookmark folder in Safari, it can be hard to find exactly what page I’m looking for.

I just got started with Diigo, an online bookmarking application. So far it’s making my little Type A heart happy. I love adding new bookmarks and typing up the tags to make it easier to find later.

I started by bookmarking several video game walkthroughs and guides that I keep on hand for when I’m playing. I felt that importing all of my current browser bookmarks would just make a huge mess. Additionally, I don’t feel that Diigo is going to become my primary homepage; it’s just too easy to open a new tab and click the giant red Netflix button when I want to watch a movie. However, maybe for writing research, Diigo will be a nice place to keep everything separate from my casual bookmarks.

I do have a lot of caveats and questions about the application, though. I don’t think the interface is very attractive or user-friendly. Part of that may come from the fact that I have a free account. The bookmarks don’t have thumbnails, so it’s difficult to tell websites apart. I’m also disappointed that there isn’t a more intuitive way to create folders. I love folders. There are a billion folders and subfolders on my computer; it’s how my brain works. In Diigo, everything just seems to be thrown together in a list. I suppose I could be a bit more picky with the tags, but if I have multiple projects with many different kinds of research, plus some of my personal bookmarks, I feel like even organizing by tags will get to be too messy.

I tried to combat the folder problem by making an Outliner, which seems to be a way to make project outlines within the Diigo application. I created a “Video Games” outline and inserted the primary walkthrough home pages for the three games I had bookmarks for. Then I inserted some of the smaller guides for each game underneath those walkthroughs as sub-levels. Technically, it worked. I have something that looks like a main folder with three subfolders and their contents. However, it was a bit clunky to have to manually insert everything into that document. I would much prefer to be able to drag everything into its own folder. Is there a better way to accomplish this kind of organization and sorting?

I would like to continue playing around with Diigo since it seems like such a useful application. Maybe I’ll find a way to make it work for my own purpose, or maybe it’s just not the bookmarking application for me. In the end, though, I do feel like I’ve learned a little bit more about web applications and bookmarking!

Image 1: Backlit keyboard. Source – Pixabay

Image 2: Diigo logo. Source – Wikipedia

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