Thursday, August 31, 2006

NetLibrary and other Audiobook sources

I feel like I'm cheating here, I teach the NetLibrary tech talk and have already used Overdrive. I will say a few things about NetLibrary, though.

First, it is getting better. They did a recent face lift and seem to have upgraded the server too, as I noticed the downloads are a lot faster. Of course the files are still rather big so I can't do many on my trusty Muvo since it's just too small. That is one thing about OverDrive, since they break the files up and you can further break them up, you can put them on smaller players, wowie zowie! They still have that whole Windows vs Mac and iPod vs Windows Plays for Sure issues but I do think they are better. Maybe some of the recent legal disputes with Apple's iTunes will turn into forcing the Media players to better compatibility. Here's the ArsTechnica article on the meeting in Norway last month:

Apple, Scandinavian consumer ombudsmen talk iTunes

Second, they added a few tools to browsing. You can now sort by date and even stipulate oldest or newest first. I would like a sort by length however. When finding stuff for classes, I spent hours finding books under 90MB. but for my husband I'd like the longest. Of course with netLibrary being free that isn't that much of an issue.

I also started him on a Librivox book and he liked it but we both can see some difficulties. They are straight mp3 files with no DRM so anybody can listen to them on just about anything, but the readers are amateurs and it shows. They post the books a chapter at a time and frequently have several readers for the same book so there is a loss of continuity that you won't see with paid services like Audible, netLibrary and OverDrive. Anyway, it was nice to try it.

I do want to check out one of the Mercury Theater mp3's too. I bet they would be good if you are into old radio dramas, good thing I am. However, I am a bit reluctant to install BitTorrent to manage the downloads.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Blogger Beta

For any of you who have read this blog before, it has a new look.

For everyone else I'm playing with the new Blogger Beta which is now tied to my Gmail account. There are several new features and I have better control of the location of items. So be forewarned, things will change and I'm playing. That's all for now.

Oh, one change is faster posting. So I no longer see the % complete screen when publishing a new post or making a change to a post. I do like that. It alone is worth the trouble of the upgrade.

If you are interested in my Beta testing trails you might want to read my other blog: PuterNotes

Online graphic generators

Here's a new logo for my blog created on

With my review coming up I thought a bit of wishful thinking was appropriate.

Last but not least I think this would be a fun vanity plate for my car.

Now some more fun!

RSS and all that Jazz...

RSS is almost old to me. I've switched from subscribing to many of the list serves I formerly had, when RSS became available for them. I'm using Yahoo mostly since with Yahoo Mail Beta it is in my mail, kind of a one stop shopping. However I do play with Technorati and bloglines sometimes too. It is hard to set limits and putting them in folders for blogrolls can be useful.

I did use Technorati to find PLCMCL2 blogs and found my Flickr toys blog along with 3 other staffers. I particularly liked Julie B's King Peep Stamp.

I have found kind of a mixed bag on Librarians Internet Index but they are having fun preparing for Talk Like a Pirate Day. Here's the post from Sept 14, they have lots of piratical websites to play on. I started subscribing a while ago and often see references to Web 2.0 and other such. Last week they did a bit more play.


Avast, me hearties!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Skype fun and function

Okay I should be able to do this with iChat since we both have macs but for some reason we can't connect now we are on different networks. But Skype not only let's use talk between my old and soon to be laid t rest PC and her mac but also both of our Mac's with only one issue fixed with a headphone to eliminate the feedback of our mics picking up the other's voice out of the speakers. Anyway this past weekend we had about 3 conversations and could have included her sister if she had the time. We use Gmail chat a lot too but the voice is better. I need to get her a webcam so we can turn it into video calls. Since the daughter I'm talking to is in Bø, Telemark, Norway, this is really wonderful.

Of course, at the risk of showing my age, I will say that I remember when a call between Alaska and Alabama through the regular telephone system was full of delays and frustration. It was 1972 and my brother was living in Kodiak Alaska. There was at least a 5-15 second delay between when I finished speaking and when he heard me finish, again a similar delay between his starting and my hearing him. It was far more like CB or Ham radio than a phone call. Skype isn't substancially different from using a telephone to talk to someone in the same building. It is another case of our flattening world.

Getting attention

Seeing my Motivational Poster created in Flickr toys from fd on Tame the Web did give me a bit of a thrill. Thanks to Helene for pointing that out to me. It seems someone commented on it there too, so I now fully understand some of social networking appeal.

Well, I did say I am relatively private so I don't normally take to a lot of social stuff. Anyway it's a flash in the pan and will be yesterday's news very soon. I think what held me back so much has been my tendency to see 2 sides of every arguement. Now that is a boon when dealing with someone who is unhappy with a library policy but can hold you back when it comes to embracing new things like social networks. So I wasn't the fastest to embrace social networks. I think part of it is being highly satisfied with my life but now the kids are grown and I filled the hole of their launching with a pair of kitties, I've realized my husband and I are a bit insular. I tease him that he's downright neolithic when it comes to computers. Which is why I gave him the google search page there. At least there is some point to going home.

Anyway I now have a new 15 minutes of fame to add to my Employee Spotlight.

Mac with Windows 4 NetLibrary

Well the MacBook now has a Windows Partition. It wasn't my favorite solution but I did get a few minor benefits. Such as the Version of Windows Media Player that came with it is version 9. To tell the truth I had forgotten how much easier it was to handle NetLibrary files. I may keep it on this computer, at least as long as possible to get some screen caps for my audiobooks screencast.

However, I wish I could have held off, I still have hopes from CodeWeavers version of WINE.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Writely as a blog editor

Ths is my first Writely document and so far I don't see a lot to get used to. I find that Google does a good job of keeping you free from viruses such as disabling macros etc. I've been playing with Gmail spreadsheets too and kind of like them though there are things I miss from a regular spreadsheet app like Excel or OpenOffice Spreadsheets. Like dragging a formula down a row, and auto fill features. It's also kind of clunky adding a new row since they only let you do it a row at a time.

Ohhh. I just noticed the Blog tab. Well, I don't see it published but it is in my postings so I'll finish it here and post.

That's my new play this weekend. Now to go install Boot Camp and Windows on the MacBook so I can finally get going on the screencast of NetLibrary. I think I'll try using WMP 9 first and do one for each of the 3 versions of WMP there are out there. Helene asked and I frankly hadn't used 9 in so long I forgot how to sync with a player. However, I do know that NetLibrary says that 10 is better and ofcourse now MS has a beta of 11 available. Wouldn't it be great if it would talk to iPods? I didn't see anything to that effect and I hardly expect it MS would tell people that iPods are losing ground to other Windows Plays 4 Sure players. Perhaps but iPods hold the biggest single market share. Even is Plays4Sure is catching up. you would think with Jobs owning a chunk of MS shares they woulf talk to each other better.

Off to play...

Friday, August 25, 2006

Fun with Flickr Toys

I just added some plcmcl2 photos to my Flickr page a couple with the fd flickr tools. Here's the fun Motivational photo I created.

This one Russ posed for a photo at the Tech Central
sign and is now the cover of a gossip Mag.

This isn't my usual type of thing to play with but I can see uses for it all and will likely play some more over time.

I also played a bit with SitePal. Now other people can see that I'm secretly a really funky gal.

RSS, I got that one down. But I can always look at some more. This is why I abandoned my regular Yahoo and the funky avatar in favor of Yahoo mail beta. I get my RSS feeds right in the mail window.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Yahoo Avatars and other fun and not so fun stuff

Yahoo avatars are fun but if you've already switched to the new Yahoo mail beta, you lose them, sigh. I was sad to see mine go but I do like the handling of the new Yahoo mail service so I'll do without the fun avatar (mine had green hair and glasses, I made a SitePal friend to make up for that loss). The new service will handle much more like Outlook and other email clients than an online email. I've been using it for the past 3-4 months. The only trouble is you have to keep your browser up to date.

Okay, update on my MacBook WINE project. So far the prospect is not looking good for running Windows Media Player without a dual boot so I guess I'll have to clean out under the sofa cushions and dig up enough to buy a Window XP sp2. I've heard from several folks on Sourceforge and some Mac OX bulletin boards and WINE doesn't run much (mostly games) and the new versions of Winodws Media Player seem to be particularly tricky. I won't have more than WMP, Firefox, Audible Manager and Publisher on the Windows partition and there are a couple good free virus scanners for PCs. This weekend the sofa comes clean!

I did find a cool software similar to Camtasia for Mac and it's currently free. They call it iShowU. I plan to try it and perhaps do a couple tutorials for Mac users with it.

Also watched an Opal workshop this morning. On it I heard about Delicious Monster and downloaded it, he said it was kind of like Library Thing but it's a software just for us Mac users! Wow, a catalog of all the stuff my daughter left with us while in Norway!

Sunday, August 13, 2006


I am interrupting a bit to work on migrating to a MacBook at home. So this post is about my journey in that realm. So far I have OpenOffice running in X11 since it's built for Unix not Mac OS X. It runs great despite that and I really like it aside from seeing my USB drive. For now I do it all on the Mac desktop and copy to the USB. Played with the new apps like Garageband, iWeb, and Photo Booth. Of course I now have a new digital camera too since all MacBooks have iSight so I'll include a couple photos of me on Flickr for your enjoyment.

The next major project is getting Windows Media Player 10 to run through WINE. Success here might help a few of our patrons with NetLibrary on Macintosh. It won't fix the whole iPod thing though. I'm going for pure Mac and thus don't want to sully the machine with a dual boot, okay I admit it, I'm just too poor (after buying the Mac) to buy a new copy of Windows XP and I can't move the one on my rapidly dying PC since it's just SP1. If this works I get to use Netlibrary on the Mac since I have a Creative MP3 not an iPod and I can use Audilbe on it too. Yeah, although Audible likes both the Creative Player and Mac OS, they don't like them at the same time. Kind of a pickles and ice cream thing. Anyone know how the idea of pickles and ice cream for pregnant women started. I tried it on a dare when I was expecting and I swear it was what caused the Morning Sickness I got.

So that's my tech travels this week, next week is Tagging.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Flickr Photo Fun

Yep, I set this up back in April and have a few photos there. I just checked and all the public photos had several views but no comments. I'm not really a high end photographer. My camera isn't much better than what cell phones have built in these days. It does as much as I need however and that's okay. I have seen lots of really great photos other people posted.

I saw some cool stuff like 1001 for Mac OS to upload photos and keep you updated on what's new out there either using your tags, your friends, or whatever. Seems a cool way to see what other people like you are up to.