Friday, September 07, 2007
Sunday, August 19, 2007
My favorite parts of this journey were the ones that involved using RSS feeds in different ways. I am an avid user of Google Reader now. In the past, I had this humongous list of sites that I tried to visit every few days, and I didn't always know where the new stuff was. Now I can visit everyone who has new content every day, if I like. In the case of "The Brick Testament," sometimes the new content was rather buried, and I had no idea how to find the new stuff without digging a little. I never have miss "The News From Lake Wobegone," or "CarTalk" anymore, because it's ready for me when I'm ready now. I don't have to remember these things anymore.
This program has given me tools to free up my brain to accomplish other tasks. I keep thinking of how writing freed up the human memory for other tasks. We are certainly evolving, all within a couple generations.
I liked being able to do the fun things. I didn't expect it to be as much fun as it was. And even though it was "play," the outcome was an understanding of concepts that could have been pretty dry (mashups, for example).
There were little snag here and there that had to be worked out. For example, users were required to an additional level of registration in order to make their Bloglines public. That wasn't all that obvious. The location of the Flickr mashups wasn't as obvious to the very beginner as it might have been. But these things were all worked out in the end.
I would most certainly participate in another discovery program like this. I need to stay "in the know" because of the type of work I do. I would say to other users who haven't jumped on the bandwagon: "Please do this. You will thank me, and yourself." The difference between using 1.0 and 2.0 technology is like the difference between walking on all fours and walking on two legs. Evolve, people! Free up your hands to do other tasks, like building fires! (sorry...I was a biology major once).
Neither of the two services is compatible with the IPOD. The player must be PC-compatible. I've heard people saying that there are some PC-based players that don't work with the services, but I don't know which ones to avoid. I haven't had any trouble at all with the two I have owned (both manufactured by Creative Labs).
Of the two services, I prefer NetLibrary. Overdrive's downloads are usually comprised of multiple parts. You need to use software downloaded from the site to manage these files. Also, there is a lot of competition for access to the to books. Overdrive only allows a certain number of concurrent users per book, based upon how many concurrent uses have been purchased from the vendor. Okay, I understand this - but it's not a physical BOOK!
NetLibrary allows unlimited usage of its 1600+ titles. (When we started, there were just under 1000) Wonderful. And the file download is managed by Windows, and played by Windows Media Player. Easy. Now, for those of us who are using MP3 Players with "Flash Memory," Netlibrary can be a bit harder to use, because the book is contained within one continuous file. Ideally, one should use a player that allows bookmarking. Otherwise, if you should choose to listen to anything else on your player, you are forced to remember where you stopped, and to fast-forward eternally until you find your place. This is very wearing on the battery. If you replace the battery, you may have to hunt for your place all over again. Sigh.
Since I have been a NetLibrary user for about 2 years, I spend some time with Project Gutenberg for this "Thing." Project Gutenberg's Audiobooks project is an excellent resource for a student who is short on time. However, I have to say that I'd need to be desperate to use the audiobooks that are read by a computer (rather than by a person). My mind kept wandering during the reading of Tom Sawyer. I tried "The Little Match Girl," which is one of the 273 "human-read" files, and was pretty impressed. It wasn't a dramatic reading by any stretch of the imagination, but still, the reader was better than one author I once heard who insisted upon reading her own book on tape. I'd certainly recommend these to anyone who is pressed for time, or perhaps to teachers of students with reading disabilities.
Saturday, August 18, 2007
I've been using my Bloglines and Google Reader to access three different podcasts: Garrison Keillor's "News From Lake Wobegone," NPR's "CarTalk" (Starring Click and Clack, the Tappett Brothers), and now "The Secrets: Podcast for Writers." I found "The Secrets" using Podcast.net, which I find to be an excellent tool for finding podcasts about any subject under the sun.
I found it interesting that I did not find the other two podcasts to which I have been subscribing. I'm sure there's a good reason. My guess is that the podcaster must self-report the podcast (there was a form that one can use to do this).
Here is the link for "The Secrets: Podcast for Writers" podcast. Enjoy.
This is my niece, Rhea, when she was about 9 months or so old. Obviously, I chose this video because she's "our" kid. This baby has relatives on 3 continents: North America, Europe, and Asia. Kodak Gallery has been our best friend, because I can post the pictures, and just send an email to her grandparents and aunts. I have actually decided to use Flickr since I started Library 2.0, because it's quicker, and non-commercial. YouTube works in the same way - I can upload films taken with a simple digital camera, and voila! Rhea's relatives get to see her in action. How cool is that?
The video was taken by her mom, Risa (pronounced Reesa), and uploaded by me. Uploading to YouTube was foolproof. One thing you must note, though. There is a time delay, which seems to be varied for some reason. One video showed up right away (it was 3 seconds long). This one took about half an hour. I have no idea why. Anyway, it was very easy. If you feel a little uncomfortable about strangers viewing your personal videos, you can easily make them private such that only people you invite may see them.
Friday, August 17, 2007
We've come a long way. Video games used to be even simpler than this one. I had PONG when I was 15. You had a little blip that went back and forth across the screen, and two light paddles that you used to bounce the blip around. Your game choices were: Tennis. TABLE Tennis, Handball, and one-person Handball. I feel so lame, particularly when I see the sophisticated, first-person-shooter games that let you go around pretending to kill things in rather realistic scenes. Or am I? I doubt that any child ever played the lame "Table Tennis" and then went out and shot up his campus. Just saying...
So I really like Arcaplay, because it's a major blast from the past. And you can find some relatively innocent games to recommend to your customers who don't want their kids to be emotionally traumatized.
I had actually embedded the game into my blog, but it was just too noisy and annoying. Please click the link below if you want to give Donkey Kong a try.
Week 8: Zoho Writer
(This document was written and published to this blog using the ZohoWriter "Publish" feature).
I started using Zoho writer about a month ago. I have to say that I really like being able to keep my documents all in one place. I use 2 1/2 computers at home (a desktop, a laptop, and a pocket PC), and several at work (on my own desk, the reference desk, AND two different training labs). Housing the documents on any one computer makes them inaccessible on all the others. I started solving this problem by keeping documents on the server at work - but that's inaccessible from home. So I also have a flash drive that I carry around - and ran through the washing machine accidentally (it survived!!!).
Being able to keep my important documents online is a bit safer, since routine backups are constantly being done. Zoho writer's controls are all visible at once, and none of the commands are buried, such as with Microsoft Word.
Having the software online is certainly a bonus for the customer. We have had sporadic compatibility issues concerning the different versions of Word that were in use at the public schools and community college. Add to this that most PC-compatible computers that are sold for home use come with the dreaded "Microsoft Works," which is just awful. Zoho Writer saves every few minutes, which protects the "non-saver" from him/herself. This also helps the library, because the media on which the document is to be saved is no longer an issue.
I had a little trouble when saving - I've written several documents that have reformatted (removed line breaks between paragraphs) for no apparent reason. That's rather irritating. I'm hoping I'll be able to figure out the reason why at some point. The last time that happened, I copied and pasted everything over to Google Docs, though.
This one was pretty straightforward and easy, considering that I've already been editing a wiki sporadially. There was a glitch that would not allow my to make my text into a link, like so: "nette 2.0" but this is a known issue, and everyone has been instructed to just enter the link itself.
Wikis are unnerving. I started working on the HCPL Wiki's Tech Fair/Library 2.0 areas. What has been difficult for me is the idea that many people can edit one another's work. It's a new way of working that I'll just have to grow accustomed to.
St. Joseph County Public Library has a group of "subject guides" that are being managed and edited wiki-style. I would love to explore using this technology for my library's "Online Resources" page. I wouldn't mind having anyone have access to it, either, as this is a whopper of a task to maintain. I think that my personal "sticking point" is trusting others not to delete all the hours of work that have gone into the database (accidentally, of course). And what kinds of procedures would need to be put in place to track changes? The wiki keeps track, but somehow, those little emails I get when someone has changed our wiki don't make much of an impression.
Once again, I think my confusion has to do with how the way I work is evolving. I haven't arrived yet, obviously, because the emails seem to stop me in my tracks. With traditional emails, I take in the information. I delete it or save it. These little wiki notifications that show every little change require time to interpret and absorb. I'm not really thinking about the topic at hand when the emails come through. There needs to be a special way of handling this email, because it really is a different animal - at least in my mind, at this point.
Friday, July 13, 2007
15. Read a few perspectives on Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and the future of libraries and blog your thoughts.
"Away From the Icebergs:"
In this article, Rick Anderson discussses the role of librarians and libraries in light of 2.0. One of the ideas he introduces is that we must realize that the library no longer has a monopoly on information. Now that anyone can "Google" a topic, or look something up in Wikipedia (among other places), we must consider changing the way we work to incorporate these tools, and help our customers.
I don't even like the idea of the library having a monopoly on information. Having so many tools out there that are freely available to anyone who chooses to use them is a bonus for customers - but also a bonus for the library. The amount of information that we can now access has increased manifold. So what if we don't own it? We get to use it, and what's more, it's mostly FREE!
Our role as information professionals has not been diminished; it's become enhanced, because now we can take on the job of helping people to understand and use these tools with a critical eye. Wikipedia, for example, is a tool where anyone can contribute. This means that the quality of the information may be uneven. We librarians should take on the role of teaching the public how to critically assess the information they find, just as we always have. I've been using Usenet newsgroups in the same way for quite a few years. I have used "hearsay" information I've uncovered by searching Usenet as clues that have helped me immensely when researching some obscure topic. With Wikipedia, all one really needs to know is that facts need to be verified via some other source. It's still an excellent jumping-off place, and I recommend it highly.
Anderson states that: "No profession can survive if it throws its core principles and values overboard in response to every shift in the zeitgeist. However, it can be equally disastrous when a profession fails to acknowledge and adapt to radical, fundamental change in the marketplace it serves. " I agree. I predict that there are lots of wonderful tools that are part of "2.0," but eventually, we will sift through and find that certain ones are nice, but not necessary in the library world. We will keep others that lend themselves heavily to the work we do. Some of those tools will evolve into even better ones. But we must go through all of this revolution, try out everything to get from where we started to where we are going.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Thursday, July 05, 2007
13. Learn about tagging and discover a Del.icio.us (a social bookmaking site)
14. Explore Technorati and learn how tags work with blog posts.
Ok, I'm sold. At first I had a little difficulty trusting the whole "folksonomy" idea, but now that I've seen it work for me, I'm digging it. I am kind of a geek; I like to read and write fanfiction. Fanfiction is what fans of various TV series/movies/books, etc., write when they run out of media to view or read. There's a lot out there. Some of it is quite good. A lot of is is...not so good. Some of the stories that I have read are great, but they just don't appeal to me, because the authors have the characters doing things that are OOC (out-of-character), or just plain silly...or maybe even a little icky (Some authors like to turn characters into zombies, or werewolves, and that just ain't my bag, man.
Blogging and RSS REALLY enables my fanfiction habit. I can use a feed reader to let me know when my favorite authors have come up with something new, or an update to a story that is written in PARTS. Tagging makes it all even COOLER, because I can now also search the blog world (and other websites) for the kinds of stories I like. Also, I can gather links to the stories I want to re-read in Technorati OR del.icio.us. I can tag my links to these stories using my own terminology so that I can find them again. Other people can see my tags, and use them as well. I can find people out there who liked particular stories that I enjoyed, and find out what else they have read, because sometimes, birds of a feather read together!
One issue bothers me, though. Not everyone tags as efficiently as everyone else. One person might lump all her favorite stories under "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and "fanfic" and "AU." I might use, for the same story: "STNG" and "fan fiction" and "alternate universe." If we don't use the same terms, it's likely that we might not find one another's links. Now, the logical solution would be for the software to cross-reference those similar terms, like LC subject headings. I'm not seeing that, so far - but I've only had a few days' experience with Technorati and Del.icio.us, so maybe I just don't see it yet. So far, even within my own links, I must watch carefully that I use the same exact tags. Within my own account, this is fairly easy. I did have two sets of links at one point, though, because I thought I needed to place a comma after each term to separate it from the others. I ended up with one tag with a comma attached to the word, and another without.
And then there is the whole issue of the multi-word tag. This has bothered me for a while. If I want to tag with a concept, such as "Rhea's Birthday," it seems to be a problem. In del.icio.us, I end up with two funny tags with codes attached, and they are not linked to one another. If I leave out the quotation marks, I still will have two separate tags: one will be "Rhea's," and the other will be "Birthday." Technically, I can see that this will be okay, since, as long as I use both words, the links will be found. But - the "tag cloud" no longer seems to make sense when I do that. Who cares if I have this tag cloud with the words "birthday" and "Rhea" jumbled within?
I suppose I just need more time to get it.
I'm also not so certain about Technorati's authority feature. It tries to rate the authority of a blog based on how many others have linked to its pages. There are posts out there with an authority of 23,000! Well, my most popular blog has an authority of...6.
Note: So far, I have never attended a Star Trek convention - I swear! Please take me off the nerd list!
Thursday, June 21, 2007
I hadn't actually used the "Blog This" Feature from Flickr, and people have been asking me how to do it, so I thought I'd better! It's easy, folks. Just click on the thumbnail of your picture, then select "Blog This!" which is at the top of your pic. Follow the prompts that will allow Flickr and your blog to talk to one another, and eventually you will reach a point where you are looking at your picture with a place to type text next to it (this is where I am right now). Below the post box is a blue button that will let you post your entry. Do that, and you're done!. Nice.
BTW this is a picture of my niece, Rhea, who is about 13 months old in this photo. She's a real character - I'm always saying on her behalf: "My daddy's a ham, and I'm a little pork chop!" Since this posting, I have done the "Blog This" task again, and placed it in the proper order on my 2.0 blog. So why is this still here? 'Cuz it's on the front page, and the kid is cute!
Friday, June 01, 2007
Okay, maybe I need more time with Rollyo. Because right now, it doesn't seem to be what I had in mind as a search tool. I plugged in some movie/tv/celebrity-related search engines, like the Internet Movie Database, the Movie Review Query Engine, the Dead People Server, and TV-Guide. The results I got were overwhelming...and kind of useless. It is possible to isolate the results from each service. I think I find it a lot easier, still, to bookmark these sites and search them individually. I'll keep trying, though.
The search tool I created is in the sidebar to your right.
Okay, I catalogued a few titles. I like this database - what's really neat is that your list of materials is housed ELSEWHERE. If I had a fire in my home, I'd have a list of the titles that need to be replaced. Now if I could catalog my electronics stuff... I especially like being able to view my titles in several different ways. The only problem I have with LibraryThing is that there is no real registration process, and no way of recovering your password if you should forget it. Every time I tried a different password, it created an account for me. Perhaps they dump empty accounts every so often?
On your right you will see the three books I have catalogued so far. I love that the covers are shown.
10. Play around with an online image generator.
Take a look at the $100 on the right - I kind of did these out of order a little. I've created my own money - I tried paying an I.O.U. for the soda fund with a $100 nette 2.0 buck, but all I got was a laugh. I've also created a billboard - Your Name in Lights (below)- using one of the little toys I found at The Image Generator Blog.
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
8. Learn about RSS feeds and setup your own Bloglines newsreader account.
I signed up for Google Reader and Bloglines so that I could compare two different RSS feed readers. I like the look and feel of Google Reader. It's much more user-friendly, and less busy than Bloglines. Bloglines has several tabs in which you can do other things, like create your own blog, for instance. It also has a tab labeled "Clippings" and one labeled "Playlists." I have yet to investigate those. When I do, I will edit this post with the information.
Finally, it all makes sense. I was really beginning to get pretty irritated with bookmarking everything. Having all these little blogs running around in my head and in my browser was really getting on my nerves, and keeping up with what I had already read, as opposed to what I hadn't was giving me major information overload syndrome (MIOS). I was really beginning to feel rather put upon by all the blogs that people have been insisting that I take a look at, especially when they really were just for fun. I always put those on the back burner - my private thoughts were: "Do I have time to see the latest little doo-dad you've put on your blog? Do I look like I have time to look at that?
It's pretty easy with a feed reader, believe me. Because you only have one place to look, and that one place shows you what is new, right off the bat.
I happen to get a real kick out of "The Brick Testament." Some guy, a self-ordained minister, has taken on the task of reproducing the Bible using Legos. I've been reading it for years. It's funny enough to choke a moose, seriously. Anyway, whenever something new is added, I have to hunt around for the entry that is labeled with "NEW!" If it's been quite a while since I've looked at the site, I might actually miss that little "NEW!" label.
I am completely sold on blogs now, because RSS makes it so easy to keep up and keep track. RSS feed readers keep track of what you have read and the new content waits for you until you are ready to read it. And you can sort entries in chronological order (rather than the reverse, which is how blogs usually are). So when I go to Google Reader and sign in, I get a list of all my subscriptions and the number of new posts. I click the "Brick Testament" subscription name and get a list of all the new posts, which I can read or mark as read, until I'm done looking at them.
Browsers can serve as feed readers, or you can use a reader that resides somewhere on the web. I recommend the latter, because you don't have to be at your own computer. Google Reader is excellent, in my opinion, because it is so simple. It also has a nice optional feature: each entry is marked as read once you've scrolled through it.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
7. Create a blog post about anything technology related that interests you this week.
Something Chris Anderson (The Long Tail) said during his address to MLA has kind of nagged at the back of my mind. He told us that his children have no concept of television that is NOT on demand. They are accustomed to being able to select exactly what they will watch at all times.
Look how far we've come.
A short walk down memory lane - go back 30 years, when I was ... an infant (yeah, that's the ticket), I lived in Baltimore, and we had 2 color TVs. We used rabbit ears to receive 5 channels: ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, and whatever channel 45 was (it's FOX now - btw, FOX didn't exist). We waited for the programs we wanted to watch, and if you missed it, shame on you, because you were stuck waiting for the re-runs in a few months, if you did. And your friends would discuss whatever was on "Starky & Hutch" the night before, and ruin it all for you.
Nowadays, I have the TV on a lot in my condo, but it's mostly for background noise, because I don't really watch it, except for the news and "House, MD," my favorite show. Tuesday night at 9PM on FOX. I'm not doing anything but House during that time, so don't ask.
I've become a total fanatic - no - FANGIRL - that's the correct term now. You can log on to the House, MD website, and any number of unofficial websites about the show, too. There is a whole livejournal community of fangirls/boys out there who actually discuss the program on the Internet while it's in progress.
Hundreds of messages are flying back and forth all around the World about exactly what is happening on the screen, whether the writers are doing a good job, whether the characters and lines were silly or on-target.
Did I say WORLD? I meant it. There are folks on the West Coast who just can't wait another 3 hours for their Hugh Laurie fix, and people in England who watch the posts because they can't wait for season three to start over there! And someone in Canada seems to get what's happening about one minute before everyone else, and sends spoilers every now and then.
People who are actually watching express their irritation with whatever they don't like, or their pleasure, or what-have-you. Immediately after the show you can log on to another site to participate in the "Post-Mortem," where everyone takes the show apart after the fact.
If you should miss the show, you can just wait about a week and head over to TV-Links to see if someone has posted a link to a pirated copy of the program. Commercial-free. How cool is that? Of course, you can just wait until the following week and watch the latest House, MD on another network. Seriously, TV-Links is very cool. I was able to catch up on all the "Pimp My Ride" episodes which had kind of gone off my radar screen a couple seasons back, but I'm all caught up now."
I'm such a fanatic, though, that I bought a DVD recorder (I'm not buying TIVO for one show) - $95 at Walmart. So I have about half the season recorded, just in case I want to re-watch before the re-rerun season. Good thing, too, because I wanted to see a re-broadcast of "Il Barbiere di Siviglia" at a local movie theatre the other day, and it ran from 7-10PM. The New York Metropolitan Opera is simulcasting live operas in HD to movie theatres now! (Why haven't we been doing this since forever? Sports are shown all over creation, but the arts? What's wrong with us?) Anyway I got to have my cake and eat it, too.
So we truly get to control our consumption of media now. And I am torn between shocked and thrilled that there is a whole generation that has no idea what it's like to have to wait - a long time - until the media is ready. And they are being preceded by a generation that didn't have "tying your shoelaces" as a developmental milestone.
Every time I am confronted with evidence of such a major change in the way we live our lives, I have to remind myself that there was once a time when the ancient philosophers were concerned that writing everything down, rather than memorizing it, might be detrimental to humanity. They were worried that it might de-evolve us in some way (of course, not in those exact words). Instead, writing things down freed up the brain for other thinking, enhanced by information stored elsewhere. Think of all the ways the brain is being freed by computers, the Internet, and now, all the cool 2.0 tools out there. We've been in the middle of a tremendous intellectual renaissance for quite some time; I have no idea where we're going to end up, but I can't wait to see where we will be.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Hi, I'm apparently going to appear in theaters - one near YOU - sometime this month.
I explored some of the cool toys in Flickr, and settled on making a movie poster for myself. It's a musical with dance numbers, choreographed by yours truly. This comes as a result of my brief stint on American Idol. Below is a picture of Simon's reaction to my audition:
Monday, April 30, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Friday, April 20, 2007
To do list:
6. Have some Flickr fun and discover some Flickr mashups & 3rd party sites.
7. Create a blog post about anything technology related that interests you this week.
And I have a lot of other work to do, too, so I'll probably not get through this until next Friday.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Inspecting the new saxophones.
This is THING 5b.
I'm kind of an old pro at uploading pictures any and everywhere. Doing it through blogger seems kind of round-about, but it does eliminate having to upload the picture a second time. And I don't have to be at my own desktop to do it (with pictures that have already been uploaded).
5. Explore Flickr and learn about this popular image hosting site.
I have taken several photographs, including a few postcards taken from SecondLife. Some of the pix are about my library. I have given all of the photos tags. To get a look at what I've been up to, click here.
One interesting thing was that some of my photos are tagged with the name of "R. David Lankes," who presented a paper on SecondLife. When I clicked that tag, I found one photograph that someone else had taken of the same presentation. Cool.
The next part of this involves posting a picture from my Flickr accound, and will be in the next blog post.
I've also started keeping the "23 Things Tracking Log" to keep track of my progress. Our HR department will need this when I have completed the 23 Things.
Week 1: Introduction
Thing 1-I read the blog and
Thing 2-read the pointers from lifelong learners and learned some way of nurturing my own learning process.
As you watch and listen, write down which habit among the 7 & 1/2 that is easiest for you and which is hardest. You will use your personal blog (which you will set up next) to post your thoughts about lifelong learning.
My easiest of the habits? the 7.5th one, of course - PLAY. I learn best when I am not forcing myself to learn things. Usually experimentation is play for me, and what I end up doing is trying out all kinds of permutations of whatever concept I am trying to learn exist. Play also can be repetition of a skill - in this way, the skill has a greater chance of becoming second nature.
The hardest: The first one! Begin with the end in mind? It's easy for me to do this on someone else's behalf, but sometimes I get a little bogged down in the steps, and focusing on the end result sometimes just makes it seem that much more difficult. But! I have a cure. I have the end in mind, but I don't look at it all the time. I look at the steps, and work my way through with the goal of that particular step in mind, rather than the ultimate end result.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
The ones on the left are all Asian-style teapots, and on the right are European. I'm kind of partial to the Asian ones. My favorite is the cast iron Tetsubin teapot (the little black one on the stand). I've had it for years, long before they started popping up all over the place. Now they are a dime a dozen, and they are usually much larger, and have colors painted on them, even.
I think I have about 40 teapots right now.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
This is my Library 2.0 journey. I am the Technical Resources Librarian at Harford County Public Library. I do a lot of staff training, in addition to working the reference desk, and all the other kinds of librarian-type tasks.
Why am I here, now? We are, as a system, on the verge of embracing Library 2.0. So it is very natural that we trainers take the first steps. Here I go...