Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Out from Under the Carpet

Well, isn't it astounding how much time goes by while your back is turned? I guess there is no inactive file for blogs, so I am resurrecting this one and pushing it into something else entirely. J with J was originally created as part of an inservice training project investigating web 2.0 stuff, but now I might want to talk about other things, like books, music, thinking, communicating, because that really is what juggling is, communicating, I mean.

Folks who play music together, or dance together know about this already, and juggling is a way of talking too, because there is no language barrier to get over if the skill is known by all involved. Right?

If you think about it, there are probably thousands of ways to communicate, and I'm not even thinking of electronically-assisted ones....

Friday, August 31, 2007

Learning is Forever

Coming to the end and looking back over what I've learned versus how uncomfortable I felt at first, the learning bit won out. I have to admit that I entered into this business with trepidation because I'm really private about most things and really didn't want myself "out there" all that much, but I really did gain confidence as I went along.

So here's what I learned:
Blogging is important for tracking your progress and for the moderators to make sure that you're keeping honest. But I'm not really a diary person. Nobody really has time to read everyone's blogs, and, frankly, who cares? I don't care to transmit information this way.

Flickr was fun, and a nice way to post photos, but I have my own favorite photo software that I'm comfortable with. I liked exploring it, though, but won't go back to it.

RSS feeds were really valuable. There are a lot of quality products out there, and lots of good information to subscribe to. What's hard is customizing it to really specific tastes. Most things are too general. But if you know NPR, well, what's not to like? I will keep these, and add to them.

Online image generators probably have passed me by. I'm not that keen on avatars, or making a badge or trading card, or a mosaic of myself but it was fun knowing about them. I loved the Library Thing, and marveled at how many people liked the same books I did.

It's great having Merlin and the MLA site to refer folks to who have jobs to offer. I will be posting soon some freelance positions there. I would not have known about this if not for this exercise.

Delving deeper into wikis was helpful to me since I use Wikipedia and didn't realize there were others. Powerful stuff here, and freedom of speech issues need to be explored.

Liked all the open source stuff and the ability to share docs and spreadsheets between computers and with others. Would not have known about these if not for this exercise because it wouldn't have occurred to me to know they exist!

The Web 2.0 awards list was most helpful. A del.ici.ous bookmark. Thanks for this! I'll come back to this again and again. Great stuff here.

YouTube is great fun, as is any streaming audio or video site where you can be entertained. I enjoyed the podcasting sites, even though you had to really hunt for good stuff, and Overdrive is nice for long painting projects and road trips.

All in all, great tutorials, good pace, most of the difficult things came at the beginning or maybe as confidence took over it just got easier. I did all of it at home; I can't imagine how staff were able to complete these exercises at work with all the interruptions and distractions, plus not being able to download software to a public machine. I would do another of these because it's important to keep up! I don't want to miss anything! Using the Internet continues to be like trying to get a drink from a fire hose, but you can't stop.

Unexpected? I didn't think I would learn as much as I did, and being directed to think about how these tools would affect libraries was very centering. All of the things we learned will help shape information transmission in the future. I hope I can be part of it.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Rosenblatt on Overdrive

Boy is this fun, having Barbara Rosenblatt's fabulous voice coming out of my 4 huge Magnaplanar speakers. I'm listening to her read The Dancing Floor by Barbara Michaels, unfortunately abridged, but beggars can't be choosers. Overdrive is easy to use, and I downloaded an IMAX movie too and will connect my laptop to the HD TV to check this out.
The software is easy to download and the interface is simple. You can see how long each ebook is, and you can start, stop, go backwards and forwards in timed steps just in case you zone out and forgot what you heard.

I like how all this technology can work together. Wowee. Things like this will make it even harder and harder to leave the house. Come on, winter!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


There's an awful lot of material out there, some of it pretty amateurish, and you have to wade through before you can find some real gems. For fans of Joss Whedon's Firefly TV series on Fox, check out this feed and you won't be disappointed.


Libraries can use this tool for storytelling, booktalking, advertising upcoming programs, and in other ways, but there's so much out there that's so mediocre that you'd have to get some real marketing expertise to make a BCPL podcast really stand out, and then have some fabulous voice actors to execute it, and some pretty darn good engineering too.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


There's a real range of things out there, something for everybody. I really enjoyed March of the Librarians and some of the other library related videos, but, as an EastEnders fan I was impressed to see whole episodes on there. This runs in real time in the UK but we're 5 years behind here, so it's interesting to see lots of new faces on the show that will eventually show up on PBS. Great fun.

Here's a tribute to one of the show's longest cast members, Wendy Richard, who retired after many years with the series. If you liked the Britcom "Are You Being Served" you will recognize her as Miss Brahms.


This could have applications for teaching anything visual, sharing ideas for children's programming, demonstrating things like how to tell a story, how to merchandise, advertising the summer reading club--this technology really has great possibilities for libraries.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Web 2.0 Award Winners

Well, I guess we know what makes a winner a real winner. I played around with one of the music sites: Last.FM (Get it here http://www.last.fm/download/) thinking, oh yeah, how can they tailor a playlist for me based on my obscure music tastes, and, I was not disappointed. I put in what I thought was a real show-stopper (who's ever heard of the Italian group Arti e Mestieri) and not only did they find it, but produced so much music like them that I was astounded. Much of this music I own and played on WJHU when it was a carrier current 10 watter coming out of the Alumni Memorial Residences at Hopkins back in the eighties. Loved it then. Love it now. Just wish the sampling rate could be better, but picky picky picky.
Coolness factor: ten out of ten. Gain a teen's trust and turn them on to this, and you have a customer for life. Just make sure they have broadband.

Publishing on the Web

Word processing and spreadsheets on the web are great for folks who have a computer but don't want to spend big bucks for Microsoft products. And they are very easy to share--I like Google Docs because when you log into your mail you are already logged in and you don't have to create a separate account. It was very intuitive to use, so I shared a document that my father had given me that means a lot to me, both then and now.
Very powerful stuff.