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December 27, 2008

The Big Collection of Advent Calendars 2008

Alright, folks, here is the full version, and now that it is done, here are all the links as well. Now, these will probably stay around through New year's Day, so don't wait - if something intrigues you, go look at it right away.

The collection includes a lot of activities, games, music, videos, recipes, comics, kid's stuff, educational stuff, and of course some resources and opportunities for doing good and learning about the history and meaning of the advent calendar. Would you believe there are even TWO Dr. Who Advent Calendars? I hope you enjoy the collection. Next on my seasonal to-do list is things to do when you are on the long winter holiday or stuck at home ill or on a snow day.

Oh - how did I find all these? Right, that would be nice to share, wouldn't it? For many of them, people shared them on Twitter or other social media. Searching Twitter helped find more, and the following Google search helped find a bunch more.

Google Search: ("advent calendar") (online OR interactive) (specials OR "every day" OR "come back"): http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=(%22advent+calendar%22)+(online+OR+interactive)+(specials+OR+%22every+day%22+OR+%22come+back%22)&start=0&sa=N

About Advent Calendars

USCCB: Christmas Season: http://www.usccb.org/advent/

Episcopalian Diocese of Washington: Advent Calendar 2008: http://www.edow.org/spirituality/advent/2008.html

Squidoo: Christmas Countdown: http://www.squidoo.com/Christmas_Countdown

Cooking Calendars

AllRecipes: Christmas Cookie Countdown:

The Toronto Star: Cookie a day until Christmas: http://www.thestar.com/living/Food/article/544174

Jamie Oliver: Countdown to Christmas: http://www.jamieoliver.com/christmas/calendar.php

Kid’s Calendars

Boowa & Kwala: Online Advent Calendar: http://www.boowakwala.com/calendar/online-advent-calendar.html

DFC: Advent Calendar: http://www.rhgdigital3.co.uk/thedfcadvent/

Help Kidz Learn: Advent Calendar: http://www.helpkidzlearn.com/advent_calendar/advent_calendar.swf

Woodlands Junior School (Tonbridge): http://www.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/Xmas/calendar/

KidThing: Free Countdown to Christmas, 25 surprises: http://store.kidthing.com/detail/?ID=MTI3Mw==

KidZone Finland: Christmas Calendar: http://www.kidzonefinland.org.uk/christmas/flash_content/mainpage.html

LEGO City Advent Calendar (a real life toy to buy)

Teaching Mom: Learning Advent Calendar: http://www.teachingmom.com/features/advent.html

Educational Calendars

BBC: Bach: Advent Calendar: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/bach/adventcalendar/

BBC: Today's Advent Calendar: http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_7749000/7749926.stm

Intute: 2008 Advent Calendar: http://www.intute.ac.uk/artsandhumanities/blog/category/advent-calendar/2008-advent-calendar/

National Museums Liverpool: http://www.liverpoolmuseums.org.uk/online/advent/

New Zealand: Tepapa Museum: Christmas in the Collections: http://collections.tepapa.govt.nz/Theme.aspx?irn=823

Boston: Hubble Space Telescope: Advent Calendar: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2008/12/hubble_space_telescope_advent.html

British Trams Online (Trains): Advent Calendar: http://www.britishtramsonline.co.uk/advent.html

Official Word Magazine Advent Calendar Now Online: http://www.wordmagazine.co.uk/content/official-2008-word-magazine-advent-calendar-now-online

Marketing Calendars

Jamie Cullum: Cullumdar: http://advent.jamiecullum.com/

ThrillJockey: http://www.thrilljockey.com/holiday/?utm_source=AdventCalendar&utm_medium=Promo&utm_campaign=Outlets

WebUser: Online Advent Calendar 2008: http://www.webuser.co.uk/specials/272999.html

Do-It-Yourself Calendars

eHow: How to Sew a Countdown-to-Christmas Calendar: http://www.ehow.com/how_4557225_sew-countdowntochristmas-calendar.html

Unique Advent Calendar from Matchboxes: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/90655/unique_advent_calendar_from_matchboxes.html?cat=30

Maya Made: Countdown Calendar: http://mayamade.blogspot.com/2008/11/countdown-calendar.html

“Good Will” Calendars

Action for Blind People: http://www.actionforblindpeople.org.uk/advent-day-1,659,SA.html

Advent Calendar on Sustainable Development: http://www.advent-calendar.info/

Goodwill Sweater Advent Calendar, part 1 - sample tweet (Tweet):
Sweater #21 and Houston Goodwill Stores http://tinyurl.com/8g4ufn

Goodwill Sweater Advent Calendar, part 2: http://matthewwettergreen.com/2008/12/21/sweater-21-and-houston-goodwill-stores/

Goodwill Sweater Advent Calendar, part 3: Tweet:
Christmas party at Philip’s. Brought all the sweaters and everyone’s wearing one. Only a couple people missing.

Goodwill Sweater Advent Calendar, part 4: Holly, Jolly Christmas Sweaters: http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/life/main/6172196.html

Entertainment & Multimedia Calendars

Calm Asylum: Advent Calendar: http://calm.adventcalendaronline.com/

Dickinson Dees - Games Advent Calendar: http://dickinsondees.adventcalendaronline.com/

Straight No Chaser: http://christmascountdown.sncmusic.com/

Dr Who: Advent Calendar: http://atts-merrychristmas.blogspot.com/

BBC: Dr. Who: Advent Calendar: http://www.bbc.co.uk/doctorwho/s4/misc/advent08/

Electric December: Online Seasonal Countdown Calendar: http://www.electricdecember.org/08/calendar/

French Cinema: http://ns352037.ovh.net/~avent/gdpn/

Throwing Toasters: Grant’s Advent Calendar 2008: http://www.throwingtoasters.com/advent/2008/12/24/grant’s-advent-calendar-2008-video-podcast-day-024-christmas-eve/

PlayLouder: Advent Calendar: http://playlouder.com/content/17579/maps-advent-calendar-free-music-every-day-til-christmas-eve

Holidays on the Net: A Holiday Video Countdown to Christmas: http://www.holidays.net/adventcalendar/

VisuTech: Season’s Greetings: http://www.visumedia.info/advent/visutech/

Blog Calendars

Brendan McKillop: Christmas Comic Cover Countdown Calendar: http://www.brendanmckillip.com/labels/Comic%20Advent%20Calendar%202008.html

2008 Comics Should Be Good Advent Calendar: http://goodcomics.comicbookresources.com/2008/12/01/2008-comics-should-be-good-advent-calendar/

Organized Christmas: Holiday Tip of the Day: http://organizedchristmas.com/

Organized Christmas: Christmas Countdown: http://organizedchristmas.com/christmas-countdown/calendar

Google Holiday Calendars & Countdowns

Google: Countdown to Christmas Doodle 15: http://www.google.com/doodle15.html

Google: Countdown to Christmas Holiday Logos/Doodles Archive: http://www.google.com/intl/en/holidaylogos.html

Google’s Countdown to 2009: http://www.google.com/countdownto2009/

Google: Countdown to 2009:
Christmas Eve: the Weather at the North Pole? Clear and Cold

NORAD: Countdown to Track Santa: http://www.noradsanta.org/en/countdown.html

Lesson Learned?

Tweet: @Blackfeathers:
I still got a lot of time. 376 days until Christmas. LOL

Posted by pfa at 06:23 PM | Comments (0)

December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas to All ...

This is about half of the wonderful online advent calendars (and such) that I found. I didn't have time to show all of them, and hope to expand later. For now, perhaps this collection of recipes, games, and rescued Goodwill Christmas sweaters will provide some distraction and humor, and maybe a bit of inspiration. Merry Christmas, all!

Posted by pfa at 02:18 AM | Comments (2)

December 23, 2008

Autism Healthcare Twitter Day, Dec 23 - Obama Wants to Know

December 16th there was a highly successful discussion and community building session held via Twitter (the social microblogging tool) on the topic of Autism. This conversation was so successful that the person designated to write an advisory report about autism for Obama's transition team has elected to use the same model for a discussion of what is important for President-Elect Obama and his team to know about autism.

Autism & Health Care Twitter Day, December 23, 2008

Here is their charge:

1. To discuss Autism and Health Care reform and draft a submission to the transition Health Policy Team.

2. To use a process to do this that in a way that respects and empowers attendees

3. To identify stories that exemplify the need for health care reform for the families dealing with Autism.

December 23, 2008, all day
Twitter -> you will need to have or create a Twitter account to participate.

You can observe the conversation without participating by tracking one of the following URLs.
Twemes: HHS: http://twemes.com/HHS (requires reload)
Twitter Search: HHS: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23HHS (will auto-update)

For more information, please check here:

Autism & Health Care Twitter Day, December 23, 2008


Posted by pfa at 12:54 AM | Comments (0)

December 17, 2008

Autism Twitter Day, A Digital Scrapbook

Yesterday I briefly blogged about an event that was going on right that moment -- Autism Twitter Day. What is Autism Twitter Day? Well, yesterday it was the first ever Twitter-based 24-hour international marathon discussion of autism, Asperger Syndrome, and autism spectrum disorders by the people who have it, their parents, family and loved ones, all talking about care, treatment, education, interventions, strategies, blessings, gifts, talents, grace, challenges, anger, insurance, and much much more.

Now, I had been informed beforehand that this was going to happen, but beforehand, it seemed like just one more social media do-right event. There are lots of them, and I attend or help with as many as I can, and they ALL seem to have wonderful things happening. This one was something magical. It far surpassed any of my expectations, which were admittedly vague. There was a synchronicity, a dynamism, an energy to the event that crested early and just kept going.

I came into the event pretty late -- it was already midafternoon. I had missed most of the early discussion. I quickly realized something special was going on, and wanted to capture the archive, but discovered that I was already too late - Twitter Search allows you to capture the archive for a topic going back 100 pages, with an average of 15 tweets per page (roughly 1500 tweets maximum in the archive). I'm not sure when the even actually started, but by 3pm the 100 page limit was only going back 6 hours -- about 10am. The first several hours of discussion are forever gone.

As soon as I realized the problem, I did what I could to capture the conversation and archive it, with the assistance of AJ Turner who wrote a script to harvest what was available then of the archive. I supplemented with a lot of cutting and pasting, and will be attempting to glue together pieces. Why I mentioned this is because knowing that I missed several hours worth of conversation, I still have around 5,000 tweets in my collection. If that collection represented the entire 24 hour period, it would average at about three and a half tweets per minute on autism throughout the day. Trying to not just keep up with the flow of conversation, but to also contribute to it!

For comparison with other trending topics, today the 100 page archive for Obama goes back 4 hours, for Santa 6 hours, Xmas 5 hours, and for iPhone 4 hours. The day of the Autism Twitter Day event, the stream of discussion about autism was so intense that twice during the day it outstripped every other topic on Twitter. For one December day on Twitter, autism was bigger than Obama, bigger than Xmas, bigger than Santa. WOW.

I tried to capture a bit of the flavor of the event, from how it was arranged and managed, to the significance for the participants. While autism as a condition is on the rise in America, it is still a topic about which most folk are pretty uninformed. Trust me on this. My son is on the spectrum, albeit on the high end of the spectrum, and I know just how little knowledge is typical from conversations with people at church, in the community, peers at work, and even more surprising educators and clinicians who are in the situation of working with my son professionally. I belong to a couple family groups, email groups, subscribe to a couple newsletters and magazines. I buy books that I skim and mean to read but never manage to finish. You know the drill -- what you do when you need to know and care but can't always cope beyond just getting through the day. On any given day, I might typically receive and notice from one to a half dozen communications about autism spectrum concerns. Comparing that to the thousands that streamed past during Autism Twitter Day is impossible.

The following slideshow is a very selective overview of highlights from the amazing people who highjacked Twitter for a day to function as an autism awareness and advocacy tool, and the amazing experience that was Autism Twitter Day.

Disclaimer: Autism Twitter Day was an amazing experience, but was almost too much to absorb. I suspect that each person to participate experienced the event quite differently. This collection represents only my personal experience and highlights from the event.

This is what the presentation looks like on my computer (since it didn't translate quite right into Slideshare).

Autism Twitter Day, A Digital Scrapbook

This is what it looks like in Slideshare. The important part is you still get the general idea about some of what happened in the event.

Posted by pfa at 11:22 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2008

Autism Twitter Day!

@autismfamily on Twitter has been working to bring off the most amazing social media event I've seen in a long time (aside from the recent American election) -- Autism Twitter Day.

Autism Twitter Day

I will do a full blogpost later about why exactly it is so incredible, but I wanted to give you a head's up to check it out while it is still going on. I feel a bit guilty because I knew it was coming, but did not have any idea it was going to be THIS amazing. Catch it while you can. For background information, please read this.

Autism Family Adventures: RSVP For Autism Twitter Day: http://autismfamiily.blogspot.com/2008/12/rsvp-for-autism-twitter-day.html

Autism Twitter Day

To watch it happen, go here.

Twitter: Search: ASD: http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23ASD

Autism Twitter Day - Stream

Posted by pfa at 10:08 PM | Comments (0)

December 14, 2008

Josie Parker of AADL Saves Christmas Spirit

Janice Greenberg, a librarian from New Jersey, noticed on the national news from CNN a story of a librarian who is being touted as a Librarian Turned Super Hero for rescuing a charity donation box at Christmas time. Janice posted it to her Facebook page. That is how I heard about the librarian heroine who turned out to be our very own Josie Parker of the Ann Arbor District Library. Josie and friends were wrapping books for charity at a local bookstore, as our own Health Science Libraries folk did recently. Librarians are kind of, well, fond of people who buy books for the holidays. The story is that there was a donation jar for charity and someone tried to grab the jar on the way out of the store. Josie injured her leg pretty badly during the rescue attempt. Lesson to be learned -- place the donation jar away from the door, on the opposite side of the table.

Spread the word - Christmas is safe in Ann Arbor.

Posted by pfa at 09:21 AM | Comments (2)

December 13, 2008

Google's Countdown to 2008, Plus

If you haven't already noticed it, the Google Countdown to 2009 is a great way to learn more about the various special features, tips, trick, tools, etcetera built into Google, including some of the newest. For example, I've been meaning to blog about the new video chat in Google, haven't gotten around to it yet, but here it is! Right alongside it are explanations and examples of converters, searching sports scores and movie times, and other features that I've been telling folks about for years.

When I saw this I thought, wow, this is a great little tutorial, a great introduction. Of course, that is what it is supposed to be. I don't know if Google plans to keep it around after the holidays, so here you have some screenshots of what I'm seeing now, plus the links they go to, with a couple other related bits I threw in for fun. I hope you enjoy!

Google Countdown to 2009: google.com/countdownto2009/

Posted by pfa at 09:05 AM | Comments (0)

December 12, 2008

Health Podcasts

Yesterday in Twitter, Susannah Fox from Pew was asking after health podcasts. I had most of this content over on the old Dentistry Library site, which is now gone, so I am going to instead bring some of it over here, and highlight new finds occasionally.

The range and variety of health podcasts is enormous. The many uses include audio blogs, pods by patients for patients, patient education from hospitals, general news service broadcasts and articles, and even into the realm of providing therapy and tools for concerns such as stress reduction.

Podcasts and Accessibility

Posted by pfa at 05:55 AM | Comments (0)