Tuesday, November 13, 2007


This was almost too easy! I had my account set up and the first Jott done within 5 minutes. That included verifying my email etc. I can really see the use for this when you are listening to the radio and want to "Jott" down a name, book title, or song title. Of course I recommend having some kind of hands free headset.

I personally prefer the wired head sets. I know everyone is going Bluetooth but there are some serious considerations when looking at Bluetooth.

Bluetooth makes a serious reduction in battery life for your phone, requiring more frequent recharging. I can go 3 days without chanrging. Bluetooth reduces battery life to 1/3.

Many bluetooth headsets are heavy and not particularly comfortable after only a short time wearing it.

Bluetooth is not (I repeat, NOT) a secure connection. Anyone may listen in so if you are discussing personal info , such as SS# or credit card info, you are taking a big risk of identity theft using bluetooth. Although it is possible tap into any cell call or any other phone for that matter, most cell phones allow encryption that will reduce the risk considerably. Using a bluetooth headset is about as secure as using a megaphone, it doesn't even take any special equipment to tap in.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Groups from Usenet

Usenet was indeed the beginning. Groups aren't that new either I joined my first Yahoo! Group in 1999, New Nordic Folk. I could keep up with new music and find out about the next Nordic music festival in Minneapolis. I've been known to make pilgrimages so joining a group isn't far out of line for me. However, if you look at the Ning Networks and all the different groups there you can discover the next development of the idea of places to share ideas.

I admit that Virtual Worlds are likely to be the next step in this progression. Although I have had singularly bad luck with it, Second Life is the next step. Librarians are gathering on Info Island and sharing there. I just wish I could get past getting an avatar. For some reason they keep saying I already have a character on the island but I never got past the signup and I've even tried new emails that I created jsut for that. Grrr!!! Yes, even I can meet my technological barriers. I will beat it though just not tomight.


This has a lot of potential but is still a bit new. I did start learning German but I hope they continue to add new languages. I can't wait to begin Norwegian or Swedish. I suspect my daughter would enjoy the chance to keep up her Norwegian and Finnish too. Of course they are still in Beta but I hope they keep going.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Not bad but I wish there was greater control of the animation. Also I had trouble with uploading my music. Additionally, it took a long time, 15 minutes, to render the video. Still I am not totally displeased with the results.


I can see a real audience for this one also, provided the user is into lots of popular music, movies, foods, tv, places, toys, fashions, or arcade games, all the topics offered. I didn't find anything of interest since I am compulsively into the non-popular. I know there are groups for me just not here. Of course, being one of the least sentimental people I know I rarely like to think about "good old days" besides for me they were anything but good. Anyway I couldn't do much here since I found myself back in the outcast era of my life. I would recommend this to someone trying to meet others who do have fond memories of "good old days."

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Social Networking: Age and Apps

In light of the recent NYT article on social networking sites for an older generation, I thought I would make a first appearance discussing Facebook.* As Paul Kedrosky says, teens might be tire kickers, but in my experience they move because there is an improvement from, say, Friendster to Facebook. I never used Friendster, and I have a fundamental dislike of Myspace. I think Myspace is ugly and the embedded music annoys me. If the music was optional - something that the visitor turned on rather than being required to turn off - I would feel more positively about it. My point, rather, is to discuss the plethora of new applications that Facebook has gained this year.

Facebook originally appealed because it was a college student exclusive. No little brothers and no mums were going to see what you were saying to your friends. All that has changed as Facebook opened to the general public, with no small amount of protest and a stepping up of personal information security. So why are people still using Facebook, now that their employers can check out whether their profile is displaying unprofessional behavior? Well, online scrabble can't be the only reason, but for my part it is certainly getting me to sign in to the site a lot more. It must be true for a number of other users as well, as the Scrabbulous developers have had to make a number of upgrades and server moves to keep the application running smoothly. Poking has been upgraded through news apps that allow users to do whatever action they wish to their friends, and applications now exist for sharing huge lists of one's favorite music, movies, and books. There are at least three applications for sharing the contents of one's book shelves and reading lists with space for users to write reviews, explore the books of users with similar tastes even if they are not friends, and one even taps into Amazon enough to give recommendations of other books one might enjoy.

A small complaint: all of the apps tap into Amazon.com, while I would just as soon have a quick and easy link to see if my local library has a book that I am interested in reading. Now that would be libraries moving in a new direction to serve the public.

A glaring problem: there are three different book applications that I know about. Some of my friends use iBook, others Visual Bookshelf, and still others the Books app, so if I want to see what all my friends are reading I have to use all three applications. It isn't a problem limited to books, and Facebook doesn't regulate the apps to assure that there are not multiple applications serving the same function. Despite this aggravation, Facebook has still made an important step in opening up application creation to so many minds. Users have a direct link to developers through application wall posts to request new functions or report bugs, making Facebook far more responsive to user desires. In effect, Facebook doesn't have to do all the work to allow the application to adapt and mature with its users, with the potential to cross the generational gaps as well as the international borders that it already dances over.

The best thing: Facebook has added its own new applications that allow users to post music and video to their profiles. These sound and video files are activated by the visitor and not auto-run. Despite fears by may users before Facebook opened to the general public, it hasn't become Myspace.

*Reflink: LibraryCrunch

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Thing 33: Expressing myself

It's not often I can create some art that I can appreciate. I frequently tell people "I am artistically challenged", or "I married an artist since I am not one". I will say that the Stringspin was fun I created 2 masterpieces, one with each version:

Anyway I still am behind 2 more Things so I must keep going.

Getting back on track

This summer has been incredibly complicated. One staffer is a new father, another has been in high demand as a conference speaker, and yet another is on a Technology Scholarship. Add to that mix, 2 week long summer camps for kids with the attendant planning required. A collection of animations to edit together as a video for the lobby Plasma Screen. But it doesn't end there, I was also active in the Harry Potter and Jim Dale event planning and those ended up being major projects too. To say the least I've barely had time to think much less keep up with the Learning 2.1 activities. I plan to work on those as soon as the Animation video is finished.

However, I would like to take this opportunity to state that some of the blogs here may not be mine. I have added my daughter, Kjersti, as a guest blogger here. Kjersti had a blog she kept last year Curry Potatoes. She was dong a year of study abroad in Bø, Norway. It was an experience of a lifetime as her blog shows. Kjersti plans to go for an MLS now that she has finished her undergrad work and that's why she will be contributing to my blog. If all goes well she may be starting her own Learning 2.1 blog. She has applied for several PLCMC positions and finally has an interview coming up next week.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Photobucket and Meez

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Now here is where I think Photobucket shines. The Avatars are fun! Though I did get frustrated that not everything is free. This is a mashup of Photobucket and Meez avatars. Since I was using it through Photobucket I didn't even have to sign up with Meez, how slick can it be?

I chose to dress in what I would wear were I a 20 something, cropped cargo pants, boots. I do wish I could have found the hair in other colors, like green or bright red. The animation is Global Warming and since it's summer and we barely had a winter this year, I'm feeling the heat, though that might just be that I'm in my 50's but still think young.

Still I managed to get this not only posted to Photobucket but it adds to your blog easily too! My only comment is that you have to go into the blog to add the text as an edit. Other services just give you the code and you paste to the blog. See the ToonDoo post a bit back. There I could chose between a straight post and a flash file, I used the flash so moving your mouse pointer over the comic will scroll dynamically.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


I like a clean desktop, so I'm not a big one for adding widgets to my desktop but I can also add a few to my blog so that's the way I went. For those primarily using shared staff PC's this will be a good solution to doing this Thing. There are a few more steps but they help you with getting them code copied. Just add another element to the page and there you are. If you've added Technorati, or an RSS feed you already know how to do it.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


While researching for a program on other Google products I discovered a 3D modeling software called SketchUp. Now at first it seemed rather intimidating but I think I finally have it figured out. Here's a model of my dream kitchen for my house. Working in a facility with kids and teens we are always looking to new ways to stimulate kids and give them new opportunities to stimulate development. I am pleased with this progress. Since I am using the free version there are limits to what I can do with it. I can post it to 3D warehouse and Google Earth both of which I plan to do since it's part of the experience. The nicest part of this is that it's a free software so the library can definitely afford to offer it. The main limitation is having someone to support it, thus my trying to learn it.

So what do I work on next? Well, there are still some rather high end software out there, enter Blender, a 3D Modeling and Animation software. Now if I felt intimidated by SketchUp I was really a wimp. Blender is COMPLICATED, there are a ton of buttons and controls and many are toggle buttons. Learning the interface is a major step according to the tutorials I found. But surprisingly the whole software is only about 20 MB and again it's free. I do hear that once you get going it makes much more sense so I do have hopes, especially since I managed to build a sphere with little trouble, that was very hard in SketchUp. Getting the sphere transparent and overlapping another might not be so easy but we'll see.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Visitors are up

Well, I'm playing around with having a Frappr Map vs Clustrmap. Personally, I like the Clustr as it has a cleaner look on the page but Frappr has some fun features like visitors can add their picture and a comment along with a pin to the map. However, the best info I get from Stat Counter. I put this on last fall and I'm getting some really interesting data from it. First of all I've had a significant increase in visits from the Blogger Navbar. Also from Technorati and Del.icio.us. I also am getting lots of attention from the PBWiki for Learning 2.1 but perhaps that's because only 2 other people have added their blog there.

I am disappointed that few people are coming from the Ning network, ExplorediscoverPlay, that Jamie set up for Learning 2.1. After all that has gotten several members and since it started and people are using the chatterwalls and generally having fun there. Then again they may be having so much fun in the Network they aren't going to the blogs. The PBWiki has been pretty quiet so anyone going there is going to follow what ever leads they can get.

ToonDoo Comic Strip Maker

It's Sunday and we walked the gauntlet of people anxious to get into the building trying to get into work. I have to give one of my coworkers, Russ Reed, credit for finding this.

There are some other Comic Strip Generators though:
Comic Strip Generator
Read Write Think - geared to kids
Make Beliefs Comix - another specially for kids

Check them out!

Thank you Zamzar!

I had discovered this from another source and I love it! It solved an issue I had with getting submissions to an animation this summer. Just have the kids post to YouTube and I can convert them to avi's for including in the final video for the Plazma in the lobby and in the August Film Festival! I just tested and the animations from 3D Choreographer loaded great but the CoreFx still presents a problem. We may need to set aside some floppies for those captures.

If they don't have internet access Staff will still need to assist with posting. The idea here is to minimize the need for staff intervention.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Temporary Page Element

Okay it's just temporary but I am very excited that my daughter will be returning from Norway in a week. So for the next week, I have a countdown counter in the upper right corner of the blog. So I can see exactly how long before she arrives!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Apple news

Apple has gotten a lot of news this year with the announcement of the forthcoming iPhone. But they have a lot more going on despite the delays to Leopard.

There is a new Mac Pro (well about a month ago) with 2 quad core processors! This week they upgraded to MacBook but it's not a drastic change, now I have the bottom line laptop instead of an upgrade. They are also getting ready to release a new version of Final Cut Studio. I actually had guessed that was coming but when the Quad Core was announced I figured I had missed. But the new Final Cut comes out May 31! My prediction meter is going up, I personally give credit for that to all the pods I listen to on the bus with the mp3 player from Learning 2.0 last fall.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Apple is finally taking off DRM

That's right they are finally doing something not just issuing calls to remove DRM. They announced Monday a deal with EMI music to put the entire catalog on iTunes DRM free. There is a catch, it costs $.30 more but you get twice the bit rate so I think it's worth it especially for classical the tends to loose a bit at the 128kbps rate. I even have my first purchase picked out. EMI has a big catalog but one part is a big Classical collection. They are the only label that has Alison Balsom, a phenomenal trumpeter. I hadn't gotten any of the tunes from iTunes with her as the nuances of her music would get lost in the downloadable version. The new version is CD quality so every little nuance will be there to enjoy. So I'll be checking every week until they get posted and once they are I buy it. i think it's important to show the music companies that this will work. That people will buy music legally if what they want is available when they want it. They don't want such restrictions.

I have not purchased audiobooks from iTunes as I can get them cheaper from Audible and don't have to have an iPod so audiobooks are strictly a Windows thing for me. That's why I did the compromise and loaded the Windows partition. Sometmes I wish I had just gotten the ipod. A refurbished shuffle is available for only $49 so it would have been cheaper than a copy of Windows but my player was free and Jan's was only $30 last year and we have them already. Besides where else was I going to test Office 2007? I do have to admit I generally use Open Office instead though. I just prefer Mac OS.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

NING has a community for Library 2.0!

Since Social Networking is so much a part of Web 2.0 I decided to take a look at this company that provided software for creating social networks. The cool part is it's free!

In searching through the networks there I stumbled on one dedicated to Library 2.0. I found a reference to the Wired article on our Learning 2.0 project and how it is taking the world by storm. No wonder Helene was named a Mover and Shaker this year.

Next I found a link to a blog called Other Librarian and an article on non-tech Library 2.0 things you can do. Since not all staff are naturally tech savvy, I thought these might be interesting ways to approach Library 2.0 for some of our staff.

But to help bring people up to speed, what about creating online courses with Moodle, an open source e-learning software? I hadn't heard of it but it seems someone has developed Sloodle, a mashup of Moodle and Second Life. How virtual can we get!

Okay, I'm running out of time today so I'll explore more tomorrow.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Daylight Savings is a rip-off!

You know Daylight savings only works if you sleep late. If you are one of the people who gets up early because of having to be at work early (my husband) or just does it because you like to do stuff before going to work, there is no savings, you just get up that much before the sun comes up. I just checked and since I get up at 5 a.m., I save - - nothing and never did! What I get is to have reduced sleep all summer because I have a harder time getting to sleep with the sun is still up or has just set. If I get up at 5:30 I would save a measly 19 hours and at 6 only 79 under either daylight savings scheme, to gain from the new system I have to get up at 6:30 and then I only save 2 hours more! Does anyone really think 2 hours of daylight will make a speck of difference? What I've lost is an hour of sleep everyday it exists. My husband has to be at work at 7 and has a half hour drive so we get up at 5 to shower, eat, make the bed, and update his podcasts before he has to be on the road (in the dark I might add at 6:30 now).

Chronic late sleepers will figure out how to adjust their work schedule to allow them to not gain anyway. So really it's all a waste of time and energy. So if you are a late sleeper who gets up at the last minute to squeak into work at 8 or 9 then yes the time change will force you to save some daylight. But for the rest we just lose sleep.

If you are interesting in finding out is you actually do save anything in this check out this website. You will need your latitude and longitude and what the difference is between you and UTC is:

Friday, March 09, 2007

DRM blues

Steve Jobs has added his voice to the "get rid of DRM" crowd. Of course, lots of people are pointing out that he's holding out with an all or nothing stand. There are plenty of small labels that want their music DRM free.

We deal with this issue all the time with NetLibrary and OverDrive. Both of these are shackled to Windows Media DRM 2.0. Those files won't play on Mac OS or iPods. and just to keep things annoying, Microsoft opened their new store exclusively for their new Zune player. Guess what files from the Zune store won't play on Creative, iRivier, or SanDisk. They might manage NetLibrary and OverDrive but not Zune.

Actually there are quite a few music stores that don't work with many portable players. Some are for streaming only, though at least most of those are free. It's facinating that the iPod has such a large market share but it can only accept DRM-Free MP3's, ripped from CD, and iTunes Music. According to the Steve Jobs letter mentioned earlier 90% of the content on iPods comes from ripped Cd's. If you don't already know, ripped music is music that has been converted to MP3 some other digital format froma CD. Record Labels really don't like to hear this and have threatened to put DRM on CD's so If you plan to use the music on a portable you have to buy another copy for the portable device. What this will mean is that if you have an iPod, your son has a Sandisk MP3, your daughter has a CD player, and your husband has a PocketPC, you might have to buy 4 copies of the music for each player. Actually the son and husband might be able to share but not anyone else. What is the standard today is to get the CD, make a copy for the daughter to use and rip it to mp3 for everyone else. Then the CD may just sit on the shelf somewhere. Now the copy under current law is legal, that is considered FairUse. though multiple copies wouldn't be. Ripping to MP3 is a bit questionable and Windows Media Player is now applying DRM in that process so you can't share the MP3 with many players, I'm not sure of the limit but I think it's 5. Each time you move the file you must connect to the web to get the license for the new player. So far I don't think iTunes does that but it could be just a matter of time.

Although, I agree that all this would be simpler with only one DRM scheme, I suspect the record labels love it. They now have an excuse to make people buy multiple copies of music for each player they own. I suspect they would love tying even CD's to just one player. So if you and your whole family love a particular CD, you can't share it unless you trade CD players too.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

New Mashups

Yahoo Pipes - a mashup variation on an RSS Feed aggrigator. Put together your own Feed and set up filters to remove the stuff you don't want.

Doggdot.us - this one is a mashup of Digg, Slashdot, and Del.icio.us. For those of you who like those guys someone has them together in one place.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Hmmm, rumors

I've run across several podcasts, blogs and other resources talking about Google's newest MS Office wannabe, Presently. But in searching Google all I find is other people talking about it, Google is absolutely mum, so I'm beginning to think this one is just rumor. First of all, I wonder why Google would call this one Presently when they call the former Writely just plain Docs. For Presently to make sense Writely should have kept it's name and Spreadsheets should have been Excellently, Additionally, or Summarily perhaps?

I have used Spreadsheets and Docs and like them both somewhat but neither is quite an Office killer. I really can't see a corporation using them when almost any corp has Office and major co

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Microsoft Office 2007

Okay, I have it, they gave full licenses to attendees of the Launch event in January at the Convention Center. You download the demo but the license you got at the event removes the restrictions and time limits, woohoo. I was rather surprised at the download rate since I was doing it through the WiFi at ImaginOn, on a weekend when we were full of MySpace and YouTube users.

All I can say is, forget everything you know about Office! Or at least where all the tools are. They did away with the Menu and made it all tabs with bigger icons for the tools. No, you don't lose screen real estate as instead of the Menu Bar you now have a group a tabs and each tab has it's own set of tools. They also changed a few shortcuts so be prepared there too. For long time Office users there will be a delay while relearning but from what I can see it seems to be more intuitive. So new users may find they are learning faster and can get more done. Sigh, I'm teaching Office 2003 this month to Home Schooled children and am having to really work at keeping from using 2007 from my laptop instead of 2003 like they will have on their computers.

I feel sorry for all the Technology teachers who are still catching up on the 2000 to XP to 2003 upgrades.

The only other comment I can make right now is they are continuing the trend to have most of the clipart and templates available online only. In fact I'm not sure they have as many as the minimal clipart in the compact load of Office 95 (you only got about 40 but files were available for another 400). Of course, this might just be since I got it free for attending the event and didn't buy the discs. But I haven't done that since Office 97. My husband is pretty tolerant of my interest in keeping up with computers but I do have to set a spending limit and the MacBook blew the whole budget for a while.

Google news

First you'll never guess the most popular Google Search term. It's


Yep people are going to one search giant to find the other.

Google is also putting more pressure on Microsoft with another addition to Docs (formerly Writely) and Spreadsheets. So far this one is only getting mention in Google's blog and some blogs and podcasts that follow it. I got this from CNet's Buzz Out Loud podcast. At present, (pardon the pun) it's called


Okay, I don't think it's original either but what can I say. I checked and it's not in Google Labs yet but I promise to try it once it is available. Google is rapidly becoming one of my favorite one stop web spots.

Upgrades, arrgh!

I'm back after a hiatus to catch up on other areas of my life, including a 3 week visit over Christmas from our daughter who is spending a year in Norway.
This brings Skype to mind. This is a rapidly evolving company. Around Christmas they had an upgrade to version 2. It introduced video calls! I had expected loss of quality and was happy that the audio is just as good even if I did add video to the mix. I will admit the video is rather jumpy and low resolution but hey it's free and let's us talk for hours about a third of the way around the earth! The important part is that the voice is as good or better than a land based phone across town. Adding the video is not quite the same as being with her but it's sure close. Now for the arrgh. They just released version 3! This one allows desktop sharing, a shared whiteboard, conference calls, and a ton of mashups and widgets from the web, they are also offering some Web 2.0 services of their own to compete with other services out there like Picasa, Flickr, etc. From what I can tell this is rapidly becoming a Web 2.0/3.0 product. I have to admit that many of the new products only work on Windows so I'm safe from them but can anyone keep up here?

Of course as hard as it is to keep up with Skype, last night I discovered that there is no keeping up with Flash. Several kids regularly go to Disney.com to play online games at ImaginOn. This is a very popular site for younger kids but last night it was no go at the library. Disney has bought into the latest version of Flash and we are a version behind. I put in a Help Desk Ticket about it and it seems we had been running Flash 7 up until very recently when we were upgraded to 8. I guess Disney skipped right over 8 and went straight to 9 because they won't let you do anything on their site without upgrading to 9. All you can do is click on the download the upgrade link. Poor IT, when a high demand online service does this, we are forced to ask to respond.