Thursday, July 26, 2007

Thing # 23 Summarize Your Thoughts

Wow! I did it! I completed the program! Some of the parts were more complete than others, but I think that is Okay. This program has assisted my lifelong learning in that it has given me confidence in myself - enough to be able to evaluate what is most important and relevant for me in a learning experience.

My favorite Things were blogs and Wikis, again, because I see them as most key to my own job in the very near future. Also high on my list were the 2.0 award winning sites - I feel more comfortable in myself because I understand more what people are on about, even if I don't want to join in everything. My most fun thing was discovering Pandora.

My next lifelong learning goals include taking further what I have learned in this training. I discovered a few gaps in my knowledge of basic computing skills that I can close in short order. More importantly, and long-term, I am planning two Web 2.0 projects.

I am going to use what I have learned about tagging and blogging to make BlogaBook more visible and searchable by the outside world. I am going to use more links, feeds, and visuals to make the blog more attractive and interactive.

I am going to use what I have learned about Wikis to create collaboratively at least one training aid or reader's advisory pathfinder.

I would do another similar training program again any time. One comment would be that it took longer than advertized - everyone said they needed to spend more time than they had bargained on each Thing. Another comment - the Participants' blog was confusing at first and the method for signing up. I worked it out; but, I didn't have a very good feeling about the start, and others I spoke to felt the same.

One unexpected outcome is that I realized I am not so technically unsavvy as I thought. Outside of work I spoke to my children who are in the late 20s and to friends who are in their teens and who all have IPods, Blackberries, DVRs, etc. and who had no clue about half the things I have been learning about. It seems to me people in general now feel free to pick and choose from consumer technology to suit their own needs. I got several converts to Pandora!

Thing #22, Learn about audiobooks

I signed up for a NetLibray account on the HCPL home page. I searched for an audiobook and checked one out and downloaded it. If I had not seen the NetLibrary Web 2.0 tutorial I would have been stumped on how to get a license as there were no instructions I could see. I did as suggested and closed down and signed on again directly to NetLibrary.

It is hard to choose between NetLibrary and Overdrive. From the tutorials Overdrive looks simpler to use. Overdrive includes DVDs. The main difference is in the content: Netlibrary is Recorded Books recordings, Overdrive has other publishers, including Brilliance, which recently has started to acquire rights to more of the bestsellers. I believe from a libary subscription point of view both offer different advantages - I think Recorded Books don't make limitations on the number of simultaneous downloads. Overdrive is provided by SAILOR and the number of titles our library has available depends on the level of our financial participation (am I remembering correctly?)

Project Gutenberg is a common good, but disappointing in that it is old books (out of copyright). I was surprised to see some of the recordings are abridged. Doesn't that defeat the purpose?

Thing # 21 Discover some useful tools for locating podcasts

I pasted this URL into my Bloglines account so that I get regular updates of this podcast on emerging technology.

I like better than Yahoo Podcasts. I think it is because Podcasts seems to have more podcasts that could be used by libraries - reviews, news, how-tos, subject guides to things like business and investing.

I looked at Merlin for examples of what libraries are doing. I liked the storytimes especially.

I had some technical problems viewing some of the vodcasts I found on Yahoo because they wanted me to download software I did not have.

I have a question for our trainers on the difference between pasting a podcast URL into our Bloglines account and subscribing to a feed.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thing #20 Discover YouTube

This is a link to a Monty Python sketch I liked. I couldn't find the "embeddable player" in the time I allowed myself (quite a long time!) I chose this video purely by serendipity.

YouTube has just concluded its first political debate. It looks as though it was a success. Lots of people watched. You can see lots of the video clips on the favorites page today - nearly all from the debate. There are 67 comments about it on the YouTube blog. That looks like one use libraries might make their own in some way for programming.

I saw welcome videos from colleges - libraries could do welcome to our library services and put the URL on their web page to share it, or e-mail it to a mailing list.

There were video competitions running - libraries could encourage creativity with teen groups, perhaps, just as they do with poetry competitions.

I liked some features of the site. I disliked the clutter. It is hard to search and get anything meaningful - maybe it is cluttered with junk. One person's junk is another's treasure; but...

I can see that it is a site for alternative social and political viewpoints. It seems to be wasting its potential, but it might be a vehicle for social change.

You can sort out your search results by looking at the ratings stars.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Thing #19 Discover any site from Web 2.0 awards list

I chose Pandora because I was hoping to find music clips for my blog. I quickly discovered that Pandora is not like that, but I liked it a lot anyway.

It is a site that simulates a radio station, but it plays only the music you like. You type in a song title or artist you would like to hear and from their archive, "The Music Genome Project" they create a playlist of other songs that have the same characteristics. They guarantee not to play the same tune over again in 4 hours of music. You can have multiple playlists, which are called "radio station."

Pandora is free. If you subscribe for pay you get enhanced content. Because of licencing agreements you can't do certain things to the songs, like rewind or fast forward, but you can erase songs from the list, mark them as ones you really like, skip forward or back through the list, stop in mid-song. It's not obvious to the text-oriented among us at first, what to do, but a little exploration quickly shows you. It's hard to backtrack through the different pages. The navigation is a bit rudimentary, but adequate.

You can customize your radio station by adding other songs and artists. You can tell them never to play a certain tune again!

You can bookmark songs you like as you hear them. This is a good aide-memoir for making future playlists.

You can makes links to your radio stations on your blog. You can link from your web page to your Pandora profile. You can fill in personal stuff about you and make notes on the music.

Uses in libraries: suggested listening lists on web pages or blogs. Uses for the info in the Music Genome Project.

I can see that the analyses of the music and the categories would be very useful to musicologists. The database is not infinite but very large and growing all the time. New musicians can add themselves. This could be a wonderful resource for anyone researching emerging music.

Meanwhile, I am having great fun!

I am creating a link to my radio stations on my blog sidebar.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Making my blog look more interesting

When I started this blog, it was just very plain, because I viewed it as a place to simply record my progress and do my assignments. I did, however spend some time on deciding which template to use. I wish there were more to choose from, but in the end chose one that I thought looked bookish.

I now have got a bit ahead of myself with the Things, so have given myself some time to explore and edit the blog template a bit. I like this template because the editor is quick and easy to use. It seems to me that on my other blog I have to go into the html to change things, add links, etc.

Is anyone out there who can tell me (1) if you can go online and import templates to Blogger, and (2) if there is any way to easily edit the standard blog template without going into the html.
I liked the way in my 2.0 blog I could just add links by pasting them into an editing box. In my other blog I have to find the place in the html that deals with the sidebars and then edit the code. My inaccurate typing and poor eyesight make that such a chore!

Thing #18 Take a look at some online productivity tools

Things I found out about ZohoWriter:

I found out that it appears very simple to use, and if you are encountering problems there is a FAQ tab right there at the top. It has most of the features of Microsoft, plus some really quick ways of doing extra things, like publish the document as a web page, or post any selected content from any web page to your account in Zoho Writer.

Again, I can see that the key words when thinking about the advantages of Zoho are "shared" and "collaboration." I was intrigued by the feature that lets you collaboratively create a document and then send it round for digital signatures.

Another advantage is the portability. It really opens up possibilities for people who don't have their own computer or expensive software, like many public library computer users.

Along those lines of public library use - I liked the templates, which included sample resumes. Could perhaps use a few more to choose from.

I shared this document by e-mailing it to myself. I used the option that allowed me to both read and edit it when I got it.

Then I published this document to my blog.