Friday, June 6, 2008

Thing 11: Tagging and

I've been with for about a year now. At first I was pretty crazy about it. I liked being able to access my bookmarks from anywhere. That was pretty sweet. I don't know how much enthusiam I can (or should) generate for bookmarks. This service is great for work or home!!! I heartily endorse this product!!! The exclaimation points aren't really doing it for me either. Maybe making the text bold? I don't know.

Tagging in is kind of a quagmire. It's good they make suggestions and show how other folks are tagging the same sites. Yeah, that's good. Yeah...good.

Can you tell I'm totally calling this one in.

Maybe I've hit that "comfort level" that some couples get to, when they can just enjoy the silence. It's not awkward or strained when you don't have anything to say to one another. Just sitting there staring off or looking out the window or something. Maybe that's how it is between and I. Didja ever think of that? A genuine, mutual respect and affection for one another without the need to fill the "one-on-one time" with a bunch of useless chatter. Not like what you and I are doing right now. This is just me padding out this entry. That's what this is. What and I have is different and I wouldn't expect you to understand it. Unless you'd been there, and known what it was like in the beginning; having that history that we share. To me, that is what all the sacrifice and hardwork, in building a relationship, is about. The struggle, the pain, the raw emotions laid bare. [Dramatic pause] But to you, these are just words. Just words on a blog with no real context or meaning. Well I feel sorry for you. I do. I guess I can only hope that someday you'll experience even a fraction of what I have. That's the kind of success I hope for you my friend. That's the kind of happiness I hope you can find...with your online bookmarking service.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Thing 10: Wikis

Prior to doing this thing my only experience with "wikis" was Wikipedia. My experience with Wikipedia has not been all bad nor has it been all good. When it comes to wikis it's like I have a line down the middle of my brain. I LOVE the idea of an open forum where people can go, to post opinions, ideas and information, to share with others. I run into problems when ideas and opinions become "facts" because the sheer number of people who agree with them, outnumber those who challenge them. Stephen Colbert calls it wikiality - or "a reality where, if enough people agree with a notion, it must be true".

Working here in The Library, I see many students cite Wikipedia, as well as other [more] questionable websites, in research papers. The prevalance of Wikipedia in bibliographies and works cited, I believe, is because a student's first stop, when doing research, is Google. They enter a search string and, invariably, one of the first ten hits is gonna be a Wikipedia link. This has become sort of a habit for many people. Tom Waits made a comment some years ago that "hands are like dogs", in that they always go back to what is familiar. I think this is pretty accurate in respect to how people do research online.

I don't think limiting information by format will necessarily get the results some instructors are looking for. I think teaching the students how to be descriminating researchers, and how to evaluate the quality of information and souces might be a better approach.

I can see using a wiki for working collaboratively on a best practices project at our school or as a reader's advisory. It seems really well suited for these types of things.

I added the photo below to the 23 Things... wiki:

This photo has nothing to do with anything on the 23 Things on a Stick wiki. However, it does show Prince Randian sitting upright. Which is awesome.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Thing 9: Online Collaboration Tools

Looking at my last post just now, I've decided I will try to keep these entries brief. If I saw a post like that last one on one of your blogs I wouldn't bother to read it. Hell, I wouldn't even skim it. I'm not being mean, I'm just being honest. It's too much. And two thirds of it doesn't even have anything to do with these 23 Things. Not that I'd know that for certain, cuz I'm not reading it anyways. I guess I'm trying to empathize with my readers. Both of you.

I really liked these collaboration tools. I prefer Google to Zoho. It just seemed easier to use. Zoho is like something Fisher-Price would put out for kids. Like Baby's-First-Blackberry or a Close-n-Play Laptop. I wish I had been familiar with Google Docs last quarter cuz it would have totally helped me out with my HLC committee. I see myself using Google Docs a lot in the future and pushing it on anyone who will listen to me.

I'd speculate that the Founding Fathers would have loved these things. Most obviously, cuz they were all rich, white guys. I don't know a rich, white guy alive today that doesn't love messing around with technology. They have all that hardware laying around their office, and a copy of GTA4 sitting in the in-box. They never do anything productive with any of it, but they do love to talk about it like they use it all the time for work related stuff. As if they have actually road tested it and pushed it to its limits. You guys don't fool me. Buncha rich white guys.

Oh, the stories I could regale you with about those guys. Maybe some other time.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thing 8: Share Your Creations

I'd like to preface this post by stating, for the record, that I couldn't complete the 23 things in the alloted time so here I am in 23 Things Summer School. I take the short bus, I smoke cigarettes instead of eat lunch, I wear the same pants for days, and my parents don't talk about where I am all day to their friends and neighbors. That's pretty much me now.

And so, with my conscience cleared I can focus on the task at hand: Sharing My Creations.

Who saw this one coming, huh? Compound my above mentioned humiliation with having to get creative. Just like that. Right outta the remedial gate. Can you even believe the quarter I'm having here? Anyways...

I tried the database option first just cuz I had to see a database, designed by the kind of person who would willingly design a database in their spare time!!!! For FUN!?!?!? Seriously. This is like a whole new breed of masochist. When I was in Baton Rouge I worked on setting up a database that was to be used to search the city archives. It was a nine month project and by the end of it I felt like I had given birth to an angry COBOL programmer. [Editor's note: That's some 400 level Computer Science humor for those of you sitting there with the question mark in the cloud bubble floating above your head.]

Long story even less interesting; I couldn't get the sample database on lazybase to open. The lazybase database was so lazy, it couldn't even open itself. How is that for irony? I guess the "Award Winning Fiction" database will remain a mystery, wrapped in an enigma and smothered in a provocative secret sauce. To me at least.

Sharing photos online? I've climbed that mountain already folks so I moved onto the fertile territory of slideshows. If you're anything like me, you will appreciate my disdain for PowerPoint presentations. I could go on and on about this but I'm not gonna tell you anything you don't already know, now am I? See? Thanks for being so understanding.

Of the four slideshow services provided on the 23 Things site I went with Slideshare. It's kinda like YouTube for PowerPoint presentations. [I know what you're thinking. Don't EVEN say it] It's a really great way to backup slide shows or, if you travel and need to do presentations, you avoid all those tech problems with software compatibility. Seeing as how it's web based, all you'll need is some kind of internet connection. And who doesn't have that, right? The other three slideshow options provided the tools to actually create a slideshow. They each had some kinda nice features but were limited in functionality or in ease of use (intuitive) or providing useful "Help" options.

Here's a bargain basement slideshow of a story I made up called Joe Kennedy & America. [This is a totally fictitious story and any resemblance to people living or dead is completely inconsequential] I didn't have time to illustrate it so it's just the text. It's a children's story that is supposed to be narrarated by a paunchy guy, with a bushy mustache and a bullhorn. He's on a stage, addressing a theater full of sullen Victorian-era scientists in lab coats. Now what kid would't love that? Yeah, I know.

Don't believe those punks at Slideshare. I would never abridge your access to anything as important as a slideshow presentation. If the link below isn't working, use the direct link above. Then tell the people at Slideshare to go and shine it.

eFolio Minnesota looks pretty fun. I did the tour but didn't have time to do anything with it.

I like the fact that all of these "Share Your Creation" options are free and web based. Anyone could walk into a public library, get on a computer, create some really nice looking presentaions in a relatively short amount of time and share them with others.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thing 7: Web 2.0 Communication Tools

This "Thing" seems like that "remedial math" class I ended up taking in 7th grade. It's a lot of stuff you should know by now but if you didn't learn it when you should have, then you're gonna learn it now, mister (or Miss, as your particular case may be).

Email? I don't even know if I COULD do my job without it. Here at The Library we have MS Outlook for work related stuff but I also maintain a Hotmail account for my more covert maneuvers.

Instant Messaging is a great idea and would be really useful here but there is currently a "ban" on it (imposed by our corporate parent company for "security" reasons). A rep from our Tech Department told me that this could change in the next fiscal year. If it does, I'm gonna be all over this IM thing.

Text Messaging? No way. I'm not even a little bit, kinda, remotely, sorta curious about this option. Besides, I have a friend who once told me a totally made up story about a 13 year old girl who would "tex mex" so much that her thumbs became super huge and muscular. It got so bad, she had to have a friend of hers come over to her house once a week to wash her thumbs with a bucket of soapy water and a sponge tied to a hockey stick. That'll never be me.

Web Conferencing? I end up doing this type of thing three or four times a year for continuing education kinda stuff. Usually through "corporate" but sometimes through MINITEX. It's not my favorite venue for getting information. A disembodied voice describing something while a cursor moves magically around the screen? Given the choice, I'd just as soon get the same info face-to-face. I stare slack-jawed at a computer monitor at least 5 hours a day. Break up that monotony with an actual human being already. On the positive side, a one hour demonstration boils down to about 38 minutes (or less) of actual content. You get 11 minutes of "I-know-this-computer-is-really-slow-today" to fill up the space between the bookends of uncomfortable silence from the instructor, 7 minutes of other attendee comments like the "I'm-having-trouble-logging-on-with-the-username-and-password-you-sent-me-last-week" one, or the "Now-my computer-is-freezing-up-on-me-I-think-I-need-to-reboot-do-I-have-to-login-again-with-a new-user-name-or-can-I..." You get the idea.

Now I know what you're thinking, 38 minutes+11 minutes+7 minutes doesn't equal 1 hour. I know that. You're not the only one around here with an abacus. It equals something else. Something much less, I'm sure. Thanks for reminding me I'm still no good at math. Thanks a lot for that.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thing 6: Online Image Generator - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more
The above image was done on Image Chef.

As far as I know, it is a photograph of the drumset, that once belonged to the original drummer for the fictitious rock band The Victorines. The stuff you come across on the internet, when you apply yourself, is just amazing. A big thanks to the staff at "History Detectives" for helping verify the authenticity of this print. You guys are the best.

Thing 5: Fun with Flickr

G Pewter Uppercase Letter O S Pewter Lowercase Letter t coloured card disc letter e V E G O

The above is another of my daily affirmations. Hopefully this "type" (huh? huh? subtle it's chilling) of thing will give me the inner strength to persevere to that most enigmatic of all numbers, 23.

I'm thinking when you read that last paragraph, read it out loud...and in the voice of James Mason. Go ahead and do it right now.

Huh? See what I mean? I think we're beginning to undestand one another a little better now, don't you? Well alright, this is starting to get fun again.