Tuesday, March 10, 2009

My 'Black History Month' column

Belatedly, here is the Internet column I wrote for Black History Month.

We are in the middle of Black History Month. I've tried to write about that in past columns, when I could find a site interesting enough to make that worthwhile.
This would seem to be one of those times, because the Smithsonian Institution has mounted a Virtual Heritage Tour on African American History.
The tour is an online exhibit of various objects in the Smithsonian's collection that relate to black history and culture. Visit it here
One thing I liked about the tour was that navigating around it was so easy. There are different ways to browse the site, none of them wrong. Clicking on "Timeline" and "Explore Objects" at the top of the page worked, but so did clicking on little icons of the objects themselves at the bottom of the page.
The exhibit seems to be aimed at children, although there's enough substance to keep the attention of adults. As I clicked on each, I could read a brief caption and hear a brief audio lecture.
Lawton's former Congressman, J.C. Watts, played a role in creating what will be the new National Museum of African-American History and Culture, which will likely be another wonderful Smithsonian museum in Washington, D.C. You can find out how the museum is coming along by going to nmaahc.si.edu.
I downloaded document from the site that told me an architect for the new museum is supposed to be selected in April. The estimated start of construction is in 2012, with the museum to be finished by 2015.
Weather alerts. In light of the tornado damage at Lone Grove, it seems timely to remind everyone that the state government offers weather alerts at www.ok.gov/notifications/index.php.
Notifications are available for winter weather, flash flood, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. The alerts can be sent as e-mails or as text messages to your cell phone.
Love me, love my pet? I should have gotten around to mentioning this site before Valentine's Day. Oh well. Date My Pet (www.datemypet.com) is a site that aims to unite dog and cat lovers. Visitors can browse the site for photos of owners and their pets.
Visiting college campuses. If someone in your family is trying to figure out where to go to college, point that person to Campus Tours (www.campustours.com), which offers virtual tours (or least links to home pages) for many different colleges across the U.S.
Customizing your signature. Like many people, I run all of my e-mail through my Gmail account. It means I can check all of my e-mail in one place, rather than three different places.
But I've had one complaint about Gmail. The signature I use for my work address (promoting my newspaper's Web site) is not the one I wanted to use for my personal e-mail. Gmail only lets me create one signature, but I needed two. I wanted a personal sig to promote my personal blog site.
Wisestamp (www.wisestamp.com) is an extension for the Firefox Web browser that lets me create different business and personal signatures, and quickly choose one when composing an e-mail.
(Tom Jackson wants to hear about interesting Southwest Oklahoma Web sites and blogs, and sites that his readers find interesting or useful. Write to him at tom.jackson@gmail.com).

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