Friday, February 25, 2011

Tree Pollen Season is Here... and So Are Your Allergies

WUFT story that aired this Tuesday on tree pollen season. Please excuse the harsh noise at the beginning, and also the beginning of my package is cut off. We are student-produced, after all.
Un reportaje de WUFT que hice este Martes sobre la temporada de polen de árbol. Disculpe el ruido horrible al principio, y también me cortaron la voz cuando empiezo a hablar. Después de todo... somos sólo estudiantes.
A special thanks to (un especial agradecimiento a) Maria Finkernagel.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Facebook: Define Tu Vida Sentimental

Hace unos días salió la noticia que Facebook ahora ofrece más opciones para definir tu vida sentimental. Se podía elegir; "soltero", "casado", "en una relación", "comprometido", y hasta el dudoso "es complicado." Pero, ahora también tenés para poner: "matrimonio civil" y "conviviendo."

Me parece muy divertido este tema de como definir una relación. Aveces, con toda sinceridad, es complicado definir una cosa tan compleja como una relación, y sumarla en un estado de dos palabras. No sé porque, pero yo soy una de esas personas que siempre queda perpleja con toda la tecnología: los iPhones, Skype, Facebook. No puedo creer todas las cosas que hemos creado, y donde nos ha llevado. Gracias a todas estas cosas, yo puedo estar al día con mis primas, abuelos, tíos, y amigos que están lejísimos.
Este verano durante el mundial, use Skype para hablar con mi familia.
Esto fue después del partido de Uruguay contra Ghana.  
Obviamente, la tecnología puede llegar a tener efectos negativos, pero en general creo que es algo que esta mejorando nuestras vidas todos los días. ¡Ah! y sobre esto de lo de Facebook... mejor! Mejor que dejemos que la tecnología alcance todas los caprichos de la naturaleza que tenemos... aunque sea un poco "complicado."

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Main Street Construction: Nightmare or Blessing?

This is a package I did with Amy Campell about construction in downtown Gainesville for WUFT .
Esto es un reportaje que hice con una compañera, Amy Campell, para WUFT. Es sobre la obra de construcción en Gainesville.

Main Street Constructions from Lucia Tolosa on Vimeo.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Assiduous Erudite Pleas for Limpid Cessacion

No, the title is not in German.
This is actual English, and these are actual English words I need to be able to learn, memorize, digest, and then regurgitate in two weeks... the day I have been waiting for... the day I face my fate... the day I take my GRE.

Now, I took several standardized tests to get into college, but honestly I never bothered studying. And, I did okay considering I go to the 53rd best college in the country. But I learned my lesson at this point, and I realized I really do have to study if I want to get into a decent graduate school.

It's going fairly well so far, and I've seen some pretty good results, but there's one thing I must whine about: the vocab. In the real word when are we going to have to use words like "raconteaur" (-n. a witty storyteller), or "legerdemain" (-n. trickery)? It does not make sense to me that I have to study 400 key GRE words when 10 of them will be on the test.

Frankly, I feel vapid (-adj. empty of interest) and dour (-adj. sullen, gloomy). Sure, it would be wonderful to impress people with my high vocabulary, but someone please tell me how this is supposed to measure how prepared you are to enter grad school... and the "real world." I have thing to say to GRE test-makers: you are nefarious (-adj. vicious, evil).

I must learn 400 words in 2 weeks. 

Monday, February 7, 2011

"Don't Make Me Think" Makes Me Do A Little Thinking

    “Don’t Make Me Think” is unlike any book I have ever read. Grant it, I have not read volumes and volumes on Web usability, but needless to say I did enjoy Steve Krug’s unembellished straight-forwardness. Krug writes so lucidly, it is almost like a little voice whispers “duh” in your ear when you are reading. Because Krug is able to explain such intricate ideas in layman’s terms, “Don’t Make Me Think” is a go-to book for Web site builders, and frankly, it will become one of my go-to books as well.
      Designing Web sites is difficult, but designing Web sites that people can easily comprehend, use, and come back to is even harder. Krug makes it possible for these designers to come back to reality and truly understand what makes people happy when their surfing the Web. Even though I am not a Web designer myself, I can understand how one could get so sucked into their work that they become desensitized to what a user can do or wants to do when on a Web page.
       Krug compares searching for something you want on a Web site like searching for a power tool at a department store. Except that the Web experience offers the user no sense of direction, scale, or location. Krug says that compared to shopping at a physical store, when you are on a Web site you “click on ‘Power Tools’ and you’re suddenly teleported to the Power tools aisle with no traversal of space, no glancing at things along the way.” This is just an example of his style of writing, which both is entertaining and commonsensical.
Reading Krug's "Don't Make Me Think".
       Truthfully, I feel like I already knew all of the information Krug presents in his book. He provides such common sense tips that I would think most people are already aware of. For example, he gives tips like: use visual hierarchy, the less words the better, and make obvious what is clickable. To me these pointers are plainly straightforward, so I felt like I was not learning much in these particular sections or chapters. However, I think this is one of the beauties of Krug’s writing, because most of the time the reader already understands, the concept is only reinforced and drilled into your head.
       Nonetheless, it is still important to understand how all of these commonsense concepts play into the usability of a Web site. I never realized how often I get frustrated and annoyed by unfriendly Web sites. For every extra second that a user has to spend figuring out how to work a company’s site, customers, and essentially money, are lost. Simply put, if it is not navigable it is not useful.
      Although I doubt my career will lead me into directly programming Web sites, there is no doubt I will be using and managing the World Wide Web. The power of the Internet is still remarkable to me, and it will only grow in power and force, so I believe it is crucial to keep in mind Krug’s guidelines.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Groundhog Says Yay to Spring. Yay!

The most intelligent groundhog decided today that these long, cold winter days are soon to be over. Groundhog Day is an American/Canadian tradition celebrated every February 2nd. Bystanders watch attentively to see if the groundhog sees its shadow when it leaves its burrow. If he sees his shadow the winter weather will continue for another 6 weeks. No shadow means no more winter weather.

Punxsutawney Phil held by Bill Deely in Gobber's Knob, Pennsylvania.
Doing a little bit of research, I decided that Groundhog Day has to be one of the quirkiest celebrations known to man. That's why I like it. It's the only holiday I can think of that is determined by watching an animal. The earliest reference to Groundhog Day dates all the way back to 1841. Also, the Pennsylvannia German dialect is the only language spoken at the event (which takes place in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania). Those who speak English pay a penalty, usually in the form of a nickel, dime, or quarter, per word spoken.  According to, Punxsutawney Phil is currently the only true weather forecasting groundhog.

I'm not sure why but whenever February 2nd comes around I always remember that it's Groundhog Day, and it makes me slightly happier thinking about the fact that thousands of people are gathered around watching a groundhog.