Sunday, February 22, 2009

Play Week: Parts 10-12

There are so many image and text generators out there! Just paging through The Generator Blog yielded more funny and thought-provoking generators than I thought existed. As you can see from the image above, I chose Superstickies as my generator for this demonstration. It took about five minutes to type in my list and generate the image for this blog. I can think of lots of uses for this, especially when I feel like being a lazy blogger on my other blogs.

Library Thing

It was pretty easy to catalog some of my books into Library Thing. I don't think I would use it other than trying it out for this exercise, though. It's pretty easy for me to (as I sit here at my desk typing) turn my head slightly to my right to see my bookshelf. On the other hand, it might be useful to catalog my cookbooks (at least those which I intend to keep forever).

Offering an online book-clubby-type atmosphere in the Talk and Groups section is worthwhile, as are the local events posted in the community. My favorite part was reading about the funny requests from patrons post. Definitely worth the visit.


This is probably one of the niftiest little applications that I've seen yet through Learning 2.0. Rollyo allows you to not only make (small 25 or fewer) collections of web sites search able via a little "Searchroll," but it also gives you an option to create your own custom search field for your site. You can see mine up on the right, at the top of the right-most column.

I made mine by creating a couple of Searchrolls by entering in some sites that I visit regularly, then I created the search field by filling in a very simple form at Rollyo. A snap!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Pecha Kucha

Pecha Kucha (pronounced pe CHAch KA) reminds me of when I was in Toastmasters International, except that instead of 20 slides x 20 seconds per slide, it was more like five minutes total and you could use slides, no slides, props, no props, etc.

It seems like an interesting way to see a lot of material all at once. Although, I'd probably find it beautiful, yet overwhelming.

However, I like the discipline of the slides moving on automatically at 20 second intervals. It gets the focus really on the side and the material that needs to be conveyed at the moment. It would be a great way to help people get over their fear of presentations, especially given the fact that you MUST rehearse your presentation and limit it to 6 minutes 40 seconds.

I'd be willing to try Pecha Kucha, especially if other folks were challenged to do it as well.

My first one would more than likely be a cooking presentation. I've already made a few short films, so getting it to be a slide presentation shouldn't be that difficult.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Bloglines Is Not for Me, but Those Blogging Librarians Are (Parts 8 and 9)

My, but it's clunky and klugy. I just don't like it at all. It took me several tries to even sign up. Then, when I fed URLs into the Add Feed form, it rejected most of them.

I've been using RSS readers since Mozilla first introduced one in one of its early versions of Firefox back in 2005 (or early 2006). Since then, I've switched over to the very easy-to-use and agreeable Google Reader. The same URLs I fed into Bloglines were successfully incorporated into Google Reader.

I first used the Firefox RSS reader in the browser primarily to access news. These days, however, I follow 50 or so food blogs in Google Reader. To be honest, I just don't see myself adopting another RSS reader, especially Bloglines, when my needs are already met with Google Reader.

When I started looking for library/librarian-focused blogs to add to my Google Reader, I searched Google for "librarian blogs," and came across the list of Top 25 Librarian Bloggers. In Web years, it's pretty old (published Sept. 4, 2007), but I decided to take a look at some of the top bloggers anyway. Here are the top 5. -- I LOVE the tagline "putting the rarin back in librarian since 1999." How clever! For a newbie like me, however, the blog comes off as an insider's conversation. On the other hand, I could easily access archives dating back to 2003 if I wished to do some research. I like her "small bites" style of blogging -- little pieces, like thought appetizers. It's up to you to get the rest of the meal.

The Shifted Librarian -- This blog would probably be the one of choice for me. The writing is very open and good, and I can identify with her most recent piece about being a Gen X'er. I'll definitely subscribe to Jenny's blog.

Librarian in Black -- I really enjoyed this blog as well. I like the tech focus and the constant supply of interesting resources. It's understandable that this one came up in the top three.

Free Range Librarian -- Another one I'll add to my Google Reader. Its clever, tongue-in-cheek look at noteworthy news for those in the profession is refreshing.

Law Librarian Blog -- My focus isn't law libraries, but I found it to be a very interesting and easy-to-follow blog. If you're interested in law libraries, you might want to start here.

After looking at those blogs for a while, I went to Technorati, as suggested, and entered the search term "librarians." I thought that would lead me to blogs by librarians for librarians. Not so. It just pulled up posts featuring the word "librarians."

Next, I clicked on the link to Feedster. It timed out. Then, I turned to Topix. Again, it was case of finding blog entries, but not the blogs. Guess my first instinct was the right one here. I'm sure this way of searching isn't always the best way to go, but it worked on the first try, revealing some pretty neat blogs that I'll be reading regularly now.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Flickr Fun and Technology (parts 5-7)

I'm glad we get to write about our experiences with Flickr. I've had a Flickr account for a few years, but don't use it often at all since I've discovered how much more seamlessly Blogger works with Picasa (same company, it should).

Originally, I had used Flickr to display some of my chocolates when I was promoting my wee chocolate business. My favorite Flickr collection is the one of how I make my chocolate turtles with the groovy shells (shown below).

That photo was invited to join the Flickr Animal-Shaped Food group. It was kind of the group to ask, so I accepted and added my turtles on the move to that group.

After adding a few more tags to my chocolate photos, I tried out some of the photo manipulators out on the Web that pull from Flickr (Mappr, Flickr Color Pickr, and Montagr). I'm always awed by the programming skills of people. I'm also grateful to those who provide their wares free of charge for the amusement of the general public. Out of the three, I enjoyed Color Pickr the most because it selected some beautiful and vibrant photos.

At the Learning 2.0 blog, I learned about the Trading Card Maker. There I made a trading card from a photo I have posted in a private area in Picasa. This is the outcome:

The one thing I don't like about the technology is that it took me five tries to embed that image into my blogger entry. It also took me a while to figure out how to get to the actual jpg link from within Flickr. Guess I'm just so used to Picasa now that I've forgotten how to work from Flickr.

As far as technology as a concept goes, I'm all for it. Sitting here at my home office, I'm using an ergo keyboard with a touch pad instead of a mouse; a laptop on a pedestal instead of a desktop; a speaker phone with so many features I can't even name them all; my cel phone in case my husband has to reach me (the cel phone isn't actually a cel at all it's a Palm Centro -- a PDA); a brand spankin' new color printer to my left and a b/w laser printer to my right; an external hard drive next to the laser printer for backing up my data; and a handful of cables to connect the Centro to my computer and my camera to my computer to upload/download data and photos.

We also have Ethernet cables running throughout the house so John and I can jump online anywhere (even the deck) without being bumped off the wireless network. That was particularly helpful when I had foot surgery last year and had to work from my bed.

While sometimes technology is especially frustrating (like the ecompanion going down all day on Monday, and since then they've been making incremental changes to it that have been crashing it periodically), I'm still a big fan.