Wednesday, April 29, 2009

#22 Suckas!!!

I'm feeling pretty righteous about this step, y'all, since I've been downloading e-books from TCCL for a few months now, and I LOVE it. I have a MP3 player from a few years ago that I never used (it was basically an expensive radio) that works really well, and I've listened to a number of great books while walking during lunch or cleaning house.

In fact, I just finished Maeve Binchy's novel "Heart and Soul" on downloadable audio. There were a zillion holds on print copies, and I got the audio version much earlier than I would have the print one. It helps that I'm fond of Binchy in audio (I love the Irish accents, and the stories are easier to follow than more "literary" fare).

Next to listen to: a P.G. Wodehouse Wooster & Jeeves, a diet book, and the YA novel "Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist."

#21 Pods

I'm old friends with iTunes & listening to podcasts on my computer and iPod, so this was an easy one.

HOWEVER, I've actually had some recent issues with iTunes just this week. Our PC at home was victim to a really nasty trojan horse virus -- despite the fact that we had anti-virus software and had just downloaded the latest updates -- and died a sad, sad death. We bought a Mac, which should make things easier, right? Nope. It appears that my iTunes account, which has ALL of my music and stuff, is only authorized for our old PC and won't function on the new Mac until I authorize it. Blah blah blah. Of course it's not as easy as that -- I messed up my account in various boring ways (changing the username and password but then somehow also keeping the old username...don't ask), so I'm looking forward to (NOT) several hours with Tech Support to get it straightened out.

At any rate, despite this major pain in the arse, I think podcasts are cool, and I'd love to see librarians at TCCL do regular ones about books, technology issues, ideas... Perhaps a podcast to go along with our "Reading Addict" blog series? It seems to me that the big issue will be getting listeners, but there are ways to do that.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009


Well, if at first you don't succeed, try about a billion more times. Sometimes it will actually work.

Well, crud.

I didn't really embed that video, did I?

What did I do wrong?

Hugs, not Drugs... or Cops in Denmark are WAY different

I was going to post a 10-minute walking exercise video that I sometimes play at my desk (& walk along to) during breaks throughout the day, but then I found this. 

There is something just sort of freaking beautiful about it. Instead of a stern warning, these bicyclists without helmets get hugs... and helmets.

It reminds me of a lady I used to teach with, Patty O'Neill (Patty O). Patty O had been teaching for about 30 years, and she was just amazing -- patient, funny, inspiring. But what I loved the most was how she handled misbehaving kids, particularly ones running in the halls. She would stop them, put her arm around them, and say something like, "You know Mrs. O'Neill loves you. She loves you SO much. That's why she wants you to stop [running, yelling, hurling items at other students.]"

Here's hoping my embedding works:

Zillow is like pillow except it's not

So for #19, Web 2.0, I tried out, which won an Web 2.0 award for Real Estate. It's basically a site to find properties to purchase... or put up properties to sell... Pretty nifty, actually. You can do a search for a city, or a zip code, or a particular address, and it will bring up houses for sale in that area. It includes a satellite map, which is cool.

There are other parts of the site, including discussion boards and lists of real estate agents.

I don't know how useful this would be in the library, except to recommend to customers.

Okay, that was cool

I do think it's cool that I was able to post my GoogleDoc directly to my blog.

Chalk one up for technology.

I actually created a GoogleDocs accou...

I actually created a GoogleDocs account about four months ago, because a number of library customers were using it & I wanted to know more.


I like the idea of being able to access my documents from any computer with Internet access. If I trusted the Internet more (and thought it wouldn't go kaput at any moment) I'd probably use this for my graduate school papers, especially my thesis. I get sick of carrying around my thumb drive and working on it from computer to computer, or emailing it to myself to work on another computer.


BUT. Does it do footnotes? Let's see.1 

I guess my basic point with GoogleDocs is: if I'm already comfortable with Word, and it works for me, and I don't REALLY need to access my documents anywhere else, why do GoogleDocs?

  1. Well, sort of. But not like what I need in my thesis.

I played, I saw, I gave up (#17)

Eh. Perhaps because it wasn't a real collaborative project but more like an exercise (which is fine, since that's what "sandboxes" are supposed to be in part), doing the PB wiki thing didn't do all that much for me.

I'd much rather plan a camping trip, a la the Common Craft video, in a wiki! :)

"Wiki wiki" = the sound Fozzie the Bear makes

I actually found this step (#16, if I'm counting correctly) to be really fascinating, since I thought I already knew everything there was to know about wikis and discovered -- as I tend to do -- that I don't know jack.

So here's my first reaction: THERE ARE SO MANY COOL WIKIS OUT THERE!!! Revised: there are so many cool LIBRARY wikis out there! I'm so freaking impressed with Jennifer Greb's Ambient Librarian wiki, and the Library Success one, and the ten others I dipped into. Wow!

Here's my second reaction: Holy crap, I'm having a hard time reading all of these!!!

What is wrong with me? Alas, I think I am just a printed text kind of gal. I found myself exploring, and reading, and following, and underneath it all, really really really REALLY wanting to print it all out so I could read it. And wouldn't it be nice if I could take all of those pages and put them together, like, in a kind of binding, so to speak. Oh, and if we put some kind of hard cover on it...

See where I'm going? Books. I can only seem to read in-depth informational things when they are printed on paper, best when they are in books.

At any rate, I'm on board with wikis. I really love the concept of sharing information and collaborating with others on certain topics, and I love the CommonCraft videos that are linked to in the 23 Things blog that simplify these ideas without getting rid of essential information.

And I'm old. I don't know if I will ever be as comfortable reading words on a screen as I am reading them on a page.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

#15 -- Grumpy Young(ish) Woman... sort of / Librarian 1.5

I am totally aware that many I have appeared, in many of my blog posts, as someone who eschews the delights of technology -- even pooh-poohs it, grumpily rails against it, etc. Call it Grumpy Young(ish) Woman, 1.0.

But honestly, I'm excited by many of the ideas of both Web 2.0 and "Library 2.0" because of the possibilities they present to really help connect people to ideas and books and good stuff like that. Blogs and wikis and tagging and everything seem like a CONTINUATION of the coolest parts of library history: of libraries being innovative in connecting with people and giving them what they need to grow as human beings. I'm particularly wondering if we can include "tagging" to our catalog entries... that seems like an immediately useful idea waiting to happen.

I like what the icebergs guy says about changing or refining our tools to be super-easy for users to, you know, use. I like this: "We have to...find new ways to bring our services to patrons rather than insisting that they come to us -- whether physically or virtually." There is a lot of wisdom in that, and I'm on board for pushing libraries in that direction.

And then I get to the ponytail guy (seriously, dude; ponytails were icky WAY BACK IN 1997... but it's 2009 now!!! ... cut it OFF) and his thoughts about becoming a "Librarian 2.0", and that's all cool stuff, too, mostly, though I believe I'm more of a Librarian 1.5 kinda gal. (I don't "embrace" Web 2.0 tools but I use some of them okay...) He has many useful things to say about not using technology just to use technology and keeping up with trends outside of library world, which make sense and should be listened to.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oops.. that was actually #14

Crap. That was #14. One to go, Joe.

#13... almost done with this batch

Racing toward the end of the 7 thru 14 things... really want to win that $50 Amazon card...

ANYWAY. Okay -- Technorati. Well, I explored it and found some interesting things, some okay things, and then just some things. What does it mean that the #1 search is for "taskbar"? So people are really interested in reading blogs that address the topic of "taskbar"? Weird. Other top searches were for "Jennifer Garner" (okay, I get that) and "Men". Huh.

So many blogs... So much writing out there, but who is reading? I taught English for a few years back in the dark ages, and it troubled me then, too (pre-Internets, pre-blog, pre-alla this stuff): there are so many people who think they can write but don't bother to read. Gee, what a concept: a librarian (okay, an almost-librarian) whining about the populace not reading. But seriously... it just seems like another way for people to get all navel-gazey and tunnel-visiony. Egoist. Blah blah.

The end of this latest rant. Sorry.


I've known about Delicious for awhile, but once again, I just didn't find the energy or gumption or memory to use it. Great idea, can totally see the usefulness, but... I probably won't.

There are just too many danged electronic tools out there, and as good as they all might be, I can't use them all. Is there a tool to organize all of the tools?

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Creeping me out, man

Okay, this isn't related to any of our 23 Things except in a roundabout, technology-ish way, but I just stumbled across this and had to share.

Microsoft is working on a "robot receptionist" -- a computer screen that can do simple administrative tasks like schedule bus shuttles for individuals. It looks like she "reads" the people, takes in what they say, and then responds. It's creepy to watch and listen, but what gets my bugaboo up is that they have named her... Laura.

Why my name? Yuck.

Anyway, take a look:

Monday, March 30, 2009

#12 A pun with some variation of "roll"

Roll over, Beethoven...

Okay, I really like this rollyo site. If I can remember to use it, I think this could be extremely helpful in reference work. (That's always a big "if".)

Here's my rollyo, "Tulsa News & Weather":

It has all of the big news outlets in Tulsa, print and TV. Though I will probably edit it to include local radio stations (I just realized I should do that!).

#11 Things, Things, Things

I don't want to create a LibraryThing account. I'm pretty sure I already have at least two (if not three), PLUS Shelfari, PLUS one through NoveList... which I used for maybe three days on average before forgetting that I had an account(s).

Guess what works for me as far as keeping track of the books I've read? A pad of paper in my desk at work. I always know where it is. And it doesn't involve email, passwords, or remembering to check it and sign in. And my success rate is much higher than the electronic versions.

I know. I know. I really am a hopeless Luddite in some respects.

The funny thing is that I LOVE the idea of these online book things. The reason I have so many accounts is because I think it's fantastic and get very excited about it...and then I forget and don't use it and go back to my trusty pen and paper method.

#10. Guess where I got the text.

Give up? The text ("Fabulous! Fun! Flirty!") was on a sticker for a pack of underwear I bought last week.
I find it hilarious to see on a church sign.
I am probably going straight to the hot place.

#9 Feed me

I found the "Search" tool on bloglines to be unhelpful... BUT I really liked the "Top 1000" list. I'd sort of forgotten about "Get Fuzzy", an old favorite comic strip that once was in the Tulsa paper but was replaced by some other, less funny strip. Anyway, so Fuzzy is back in my life, which is awesome.

That is, if I can remember to use the Bloglines account. Which is another issue entirely. Should I tie it to some other activity I do every day, like flossing my teeth? Is it really that important? Eh.


I dig the concept of RSS feeds and can totally see the usefulness of it, but I just can't seem to train myself to use the accounts (yes, that's plural) I've set up. I'm still stuck in the old way of surfing the 'Net... going directly to web sites I've enjoyed in the past and know I'll probably find interesting things on, and/or going from link to link on stories I'm reading.

Eh. I dunno. Maybe this third account will do the trick. ;)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Technology-related blog (#7)

I want to say a few words about my favorite technology in the world: paper.

Yes, it is a technology, and for many tasks, it is the BEST technology. Kindles and books on CD can be awesome, but printed words on paper -- i.e. books -- will always be the best way to read for depth and understanding.

Furthermore, there are so many physical notes and cards and letters that I treasure... emails? Not so much. But I love going through old stuff and finding a birthday card from my late grandmother -- seeing her handwriting, reading her messages can bring me to tears. So paper is the best technology for remembering dead relatives. For me, anyway.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote a brilliant article in The New Yorker about ten years ago on this topic (the technology of paper), so I won't bore the biblio-blogosphere with any more thoughts.

Oh, and as for a more traditional technology, I also loves me my iPod. It makes running on the treadmill less excruciatingly boring. Nothing better than rediscovering Journey and some of my other favorite 80s bands while I sweat and curse my way to better fitness.

Getting back to the things -- Thing #6

I visited the south of Ireland -- including the lovely Dingle Bay -- nearly twelve (12!!) years ago. These photos take me back, especially the super-bright and lovely painted buildings in town, and the green, green, green everything. (Of course it's green! It's Ireland, baby.) I pasted the link to the entire album because a) this particular picasa-photo-uploader didn't have individual links to each photo, and b) I kinda like the whole thing.

...and now a word about why I haven't done the 23 Things thing since Feb. 12th. I got stuck on Picasa. I downloaded it when I didn't really mean to, and it grabbed all of the photos on my computer, and then I got frustrated when I couldn't get back into it, and then I decided I already had all of my Continuing Ed credits and why was I putting myself through this anyway, and I missed the deadline to win the iPod or whatever it was, and then I ate some ice cream.

My very kind co-worker, and one of the brainmasters of this particular venture, Tim Spindle, coaxed me back. Well, that and the fact that I DO really want to learn more, technologically speaking. Really I do!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Goals -- A Revision

Okay, in thinking about it, I do have other goals for doing this 23 Things, especially since I already have my Technology credits for this continuing ed go-around. I really do want to learn some of these technologies better so I can do a better job with helping customers. I know just enough about just enough to make me dangerous -- I would like to be as comfortable with helping customers find music online, for example, as I am setting up an email account.

My aversion to setting goals for this -- and fair warning, my intermittent antipathy towards new technologies -- comes from the belief that our culture tends to deify technology when, in fact, technology is simply a bunch of TOOLS. Neil Postman (Amusing Ourselves to Death; The Disappearance of Childhood; Technopoly; Crazy Talk, Stupid Talk; but ESPECIALLY The End of Education) is my muse for these thoughts... he writes that technology, especially in education, has become a god that fails us as opposed to a god that serves us.

If there is a larger goal for using the technology, as opposed to just knowing how to plug something in and use it, then I'm down with that. It's the content-less use of technology for technology's sake that irks me and that is WAY too easy to drop into.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Goals and Ends

Oh, my goal for doing this blog is to complete the 23 Things for credit. I wish I had more exalted ends in mind, but... Nope. Credit.

I've Got a Habit

The easiest habit for me is actually the half-habit: Play! I'm curious about a lot of things (I'm polymorphously curious) and find myself following a billion different paths of knowledge. (I often forget much of what I learn, but that's another story...)

The hardest habit for me is probably the using technology one, which seems counter to the half one, right? But while I'm curious about all kinds of other things, wires-and-gizmos-technology has never been one of those things.

Some of this comes from a deep belief that paper is the BEST technology for deep communication, both reading and writing. And I hate trying to figure out which remote I need to use with the TV, and which buttons I should be pushing in what order to make it all go. It just seems a lot of bother for a little bang.