Sunday, March 4, 2007

Fiddlers Rule!

Ha! Not done yet! For everyone curious about the SF Scottish Fiddlers or what I'm talking about when I yammer on and on about camp and concerts, this says it all! Come see us in April if you can!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Week 9 - Thing 23 - Summary

Hooray! I made it!

Without a doubt, my favorite discoveries revolved around the communication tools, especially blogging and wikis. And it was fun to jazz them up with images; I was surprised to see how easy it was in most instances. I've learned (and this definitely pertains to my lifelong learning goals) to never prejudge a technology as something silly or just for teens or techies. Anyone can do this, and much of it is not only fun but useful. That indeed surprised me.

What really SHOCKED me was the fact that when I posted my complaint about being unable to send my Zoho document to my blog, a representative from Zoho read it and posted a response! Someone outside SJPL actually READ my blog!!! That's a little scary.

Actually, much of what I learned surprised me. Technological tools have come a long way and are much easier to use than they were 10 years or so ago. I think part of the reason why some older people avoid current technologies is because they had bad experiences using old ones. I was surprised to find that there were useful videos on YouTube - and not just home videos of kids and dogs. And did I mention how much I love blogging and wikis?

This program was a ton of fun, but some of the assignments required significant effort and lots of time (over an hour) to complete. I think more people would've participated in the program if the commitment required had been more accurately described.

Even though it was a lot of work, I had a great time, and should a similar opportunity arise in the future, I will be the very first one in line to participate.

Week 9 - Thing 22 - Ebooks

Although I'm not an ebook reader, I appreciate their worth and especially the work done by the Gutenberg Project. I frequently point out ebooks to customers looking for something they need quickly, especially when it's a classic needed for homework purposes and no print copies are available.

In order to access World EBook Fair, I had to leave the Library's home page and search for it on Google. There I learned that World EBook is free only in July and October; otherwise, an account costs $8.95 a year. The Gutenberg Project does offer 20,000 titles for free but makes an ardent plea for donations. I looked for one of my favorite books, Raintree County, but it is not one of GP's titles. So instead I looked at GP's Top 100. That was fun. The #1 title was Kamasutra! Followed by #2 Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, and #3 15,000 Useful Phrases. (Amusing, when you start to think creatively.) Lots of classics are available here, again something to consider when working with a customer who needs one of those titles for a book report due tomorrow.

It's amazing how much is available, and I'm very glad that so many people are making the effort to provide written material in so many different formats.

Week 9 - Thing 21 - Podcasts

I've seen podcasts many times before, but had never actually searched for one until now. It was really easy to search all the sites, and I was really amazed to see what was available, but subscribing to them was another story. Maybe I'm just not very adept at this stuff yet.

I found several of the same podcasts available on Podcast.net, Podcastalley.com and Yahoo Podcasts. That did surprise me. I found lots of interesting podcasts on Podcastalley.com but could not, for the life of me, figure out how to get them to my Bloglines account. There were no instructions or faqs or help available anywhere. Then I saw that apparently the site is run by someone 25 years old. Ok.........He might not need help understanding this stuff, but I do.

Finally, in frustration, I decided to go straight to Bloglines and see what they had to say about adding podcasts. Bingo. They even suggested a couple of other sites, so I went to Podcastingnews.com. There I was able to find one of the podcasts I'd been trying to add elsewhere, Chronicle Books, get the url and go back and add it to my Bloglines account. Thank goodness!

It was frustrating to see all this great stuff available and not know how to get it. Like being in the Nordstrom Shoe Department with a maxed out credit card.

Week 9 - Thing 20 - YouTube

I'd heard a lot about YouTube before. After all, it has everything from cartoons to kids ranting on their webcams to uncensored footage of people being beheaded in Iraq. I wasn't sure I'd find anything of value to me, but couldn't resist searching for a Dr. Pepper commercial I appeared in in about 1992. It wasn't there, alas.

However, I did find a video presentation of pictures of Owen and Mzee! Owen and Mzee are a tortoise and hippo who became fast friends when Owen was orphaned and came to live with Mzee at a wildlife rescue park. What's more, the picture books that have been written about the two have been on the NY Times Best Seller List. I'd be interested in seeing our library catalog link to videos like this one so that people interested in a topic had easy access to even more information in an additional format. Along these lines, why not include video of Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech with books about Rev. King? There are lots of possibilities for making use of sites such as YouTube.

I was impressed with how easy it was to use the site. In fact, it was even easier to include the video in the blog than anticipated. All it took was a couple of clicks. No editing was necessary. So yes, this was yet another positive Learning 2.0 experience. Happily, there are quality videos available on the net.

Owen and Mzee

Read the book? Now see the movie!

Week 8 - Thing 19 - LibraryThing

At first I was skeptical. I don't have room for a lot of books at home so I don't feel a desperate need to catalog them. Besides, I think we need a whole new system. Neither Dewey nor LC work for me. I think we should all file our books by subject: aardvarks africa agriculture armies ...bark bark bark....ok...

I must say, this has its uses. I do sometimes wish I could remember exactly what's on my shelf at home, and this is where LibraryThing is most useful for me. I do like the fact that I can keep my library private. And some of my books are pretty obscure, so it's good that I can search so many sites, including all those world libraries. (In fact, they're so obscure I couldn't remember what they were to include them on my list....)

There are indeed people discussing some of my books and they can blab all they want. That's not for me. What I do appreciate are the recommendations, and they're pretty right on. This works for me with Netflix as well, and I really enjoy finding new treasures this way. I already have a couple titles to search for when time allows.

So, here it is, my Library (thusfar):