Monday, April 27, 2009


C'est fini!

#22 Audio books

We have to deal with questions about Overdrive and downloadable audio from time to time in the Hotline. Most of the time, I just send these down to IT, because I haven't used this services myself and don't know much about using or troubleshooting it. I very rarely listen to audiobooks, so it's not a feature that I would normally consider. However, with the recent addition of music and videos, it does have more appeal. It will be interesting to see how this particular collection grows.

#21 podcasts

I've had some exposure to podcast, but not much, at least not in a subscription way. I catch up on a few shows on Hulu, but that's about it, and since those are major studio productions, that's probably not quite the same as what's being addressed in this 'thing'.

The podcast directories seemed to me to be limited in their usefulness, as far as browsing goes. They have the audio podcast separated into very broad categories, but after that, they are just listed by name, so unless the name itself gives a specific description of what the podcast is about, there's no way to look for particular topics. Even worse were the video podcasts, which were what interested me more. They are even divided up by categories, just all lumped together as video.

So, I just went to couple of sites with which I was already familiar and subscribed to a couple of their podcasts. The first was YouTube, which has a feed for the most discussed videos of the day. I figure this way I can keep up with the latest viral videos, which is of course of the utmost importance. The second was Studio Tulsa on KWGS.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

#20 Online Video

I did a search on YouTube under Tulsa Library, and the only 3 hits that I saw there actually about the library were these two posted by Karl from the Ghosts preformance from the now defunct Tuesday Tunes program, and this one from a Music Sandwiched In series:

YouTube could be useful for TCCL as a place to post video tutorials for basic library services, such as how to access your library account online, how to place holds, how to access some of our databases, etc. I don't know if we do anything like that now or not, but it might be something worth trying.

#19 Web 2.0 tools

I took a look at two sites, under Real Estate, and under Music.

Zillow provides information on residential properties (maybe commercial too, I didn't look), including size and features, and provides an estimate value of the house. I'm not too sure about the accuracy of the figure it gave me on my house. It was about $15,000 more than what I paid for it 2 years ago. That's a good number to see, of course, but only if it's accurate. I'm guessing the number they give is based on recent sales of other property in my area, which is a standard practice as I understand it. They obviously aren't taking into account the fact that my house needs some repair and updating. Anyway, it is nice to see what the property could potentially be worth given a little work. looks like to be similar to Pandora, in that it creates customized radio stations based on artists you like. However, also has features that remind me of, such as biographical info & discographies for artists and lists of similar artists that you can look at immediately. The site also offers you the option to purchase albums, and a social feature that allows you to create a profile, leave comments on an artist's page, and create personalized playlists. I couldn't listen to the radio feature on the desk, so I don't know how good the radio station feature is, but it looks like a site worth using.

#18 web based docs

Huzzah, I wrote the previous post on Google Docs and transfer it from there to the blog. I'm giving myself an A for this step.

Very handy tool. I have an old Mac at home, and the word processing software is not compatable with Microsoft office, so I hardly ever use it. This will make things easier.

I have helped some customers with Goo...

I have helped some customers with Google docs before, and it seems like a great idea to me. No more having to worry about compatability of software between different machines. Of course, it does require internet access, so it may not be as useful to some of our patrons who can't get online from home, but for those who do have access from home, and use the library for printing, this service could eliminate a lot of headaches.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Wikis #16 & 17

Before today, I had yet to delve into the world of editing wikis, although there is one, a huge time waster called, that I have often been tempted to join. The library wikis looked interesting, and may be of some use for TCCL, but it looks like a lot of the information on those example pages was stuff we already had on our site in one form or another, either via a blog, pathfinder, or some other tool. Perhaps a wiki could serve a hub for those other avenues, but I don't know if that would make things easier or just complicate them.

I had a little trouble with the TCCL pbwiki page. The first entry, under favorite movies, was no problem, but when I tried to add my name on the 'blogs' page, it wouldn't take. After several tries, Tim came to the rescue and figured that there was a problem with the html on a previous entry that was blocking my edits. He deleted some interfering code and that fixed things, so huzzah for Tim. I took a one time Con Ed class on html a few years ago, and have had to deal with it some on the Featured Services blog, but aside from that I'm pretty ignorant about it. Maybe it's time I practiced up on it.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

#15 library 2.0

I'm not an MLIS student or graduate, so I haven't read as much about 2.0 as a lot of the other 23 Thingers have. Seems like it has its ups and downs. Finding better ways to get our resources to our patrons is a necessary change that we've already been experiencing for some time. I can imagine a time in the near future when our Askus Hotline grows into a larger, increasingly important entity, as more of our services become available remotely and more patrons seek our help outside of our library buildings. Sharing information, techniques and ideas is a great idea, and necessary if we are to keep up. At the same time, having too much information can be almost as problematic as having not enough, if it's not organized in a way that makes it findable. As long as it has a real structure that makes it useful, then it sounds great.

As for the idea of allowing the public to post comments, reviews, ideas, etc on library sites, it's fine to give people a forum to express their thoughts and opinions, but I don't know about its usefulness as a tool for shaping library procedures and services. Very often when I read the comments section of any article that is even remotely controversial (or sometimes not even), I usually feel dumber for having done so. (Of course, that may be simply a testament to the sorts of sites I frequent.) Yes, we should listen to public opinion and cater our services to our patrons, but again, the effectiveness of this will depend on the structure its given.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

#14 - Technorati

Now that I've been using the RSS feeds for a couple of weeks, this Technorati site may become more useful than I previously had thought. At first I didn't think I would have a desire to search out more feeds, being more or less content with the ones I had, and knowing I could add further feeds as I discovered them. But the bloglines account has made things easier than I expected, so I have more time to spend or waste on additional blogs. Huzzah!

That said, I've only spent a short amount of time looking through the popular blogs and searches on Technorati. Instead I've been looking more at the stats and other info on there about the blogging world. It's pretty phenomenal just how pervasive blogging has become. I kept a personal blog on my old Myspace page that I pretty much abandoned quite a while ago, but have thought about restarting on Blogger. It was pretty much a pointless exercise in narcissism, which I imagine many blogs are, but that sure didn't stop me, mainly because a handful of people actually read it. I may have to give it another shot, if I can find an audience (which very well could exist, judging by the huge number of blogs with some amount of 'Technorati Authority').

Monday, March 30, 2009

#13 - Delicious

This site could have a lot of potential as a work tool, perhaps as a Ready Reference tool in Hotline. I threw together a handful of readers advisory tools just to get started, and will probably add more later.

I noticed that every time I entered the tag 'readers advisory', it split the phrase into two separate tags, which was kind of strange. I just changed them all to 'readersadvisory' instead. I thought maybe it would allow me to then just search a portion of the word (so that if I typed in readers, it would pull up entries that had the full readersadvisory tag), but that was not the case, so I guess I'll have to keep that in mind. Of course, I only have 4 items on there right now, so it's not like I'm going to lost in a sea of tags any time soon.

I did this first look at the site from one of the service desks, so I didn't add the browser button features. Can we do that on our workroom PCs without Admin permission?

Friday, March 27, 2009

#12 Rollyo

Put together a couple of searchrolls, one on home improvement stuff and the other on movies.

Maybe if I have enough resources at hand, I'll finally start some of the work on my house that I've been putting off.

Seems like a pretty handy tool.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

#11 librarything

Turns out I signed up on this site about 3 years ago, but it looks like that was about all I did with it. I'm pretty sure I've got long abandoned Shelfari and Goodreads accounts too. These sites are interesting, and several times I have thought that it would be beneficial to keep a journal of what I read, but it never seems to happen. Maybe one day I'll get on the ball and maintain one of these accounts.

I do like the Librarything site though. There were a handful of books on my page from my initial delve into it, and I added several more after digging it up again for this exercise. About half of them are selections from a book group I'm in. Some of the members of my group may be interested in this site, so I'll have to pass it along to them at our next meeting.

Here's the widget, I hope.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

#10 - image generator

Other generator results:

If I were a bacteria, I'd be Coprothermobacter Alkalibacterium

My Mole-man name (courtesy of John Hodgman) is Mr. Jonas Rough-Right-Palm-Smooth-Left-Palm, A Cornersman

And my Sarah Palin Baby name is Meat Notgay Palin

This is still considered work, right?

#9 - RSS cont.

I'm not really all that interested in seeking out new feeds just for the sake of having more stuff to add to my account, so I just gave most of these sites a cursory look. The sites that I've subscribed to are those that were already of some interest to me before. If I stumble across another interesting one, on my own or from someone's recommendation, I might go ahead and it, but if I went searching for news just for the sake of having them, then I'd probably never leave.

If I were seeking out additional feeds to add though, of the sites given in this exercise, I would probably go with bloglines or technorati. They seemed a little more coherent to me. Syndic8's setup didn't make much sense to me, but that may be my fault, being new to the RSS world.

Monday, March 23, 2009

#7 post for real

Okay, here's my legit entry for item # 7. I should preface this with a disclaimer that this post is largely conjecture, and I have no economics or sociology background, so it may very well be nonsense. However, it has to do with Web 2.0, so hopefully it still counts.

Last week I was watching something on Hulu and an ad came on for a website that allowed consumers in the U.S. to conduct business almost directly with third world artisans. I can't remember the name of the site, but it seemed to be similar to Ten Thousand Villages

It got me thinking about how the internet has changed the world of commerce, not just in that many companies now have their products online, but that other forms of trade are gaining larger crowds. With the emergence of eBay and other auction sites, average people without any company to represent have become independent salespeople and retailers. Classified ads sites such as Craigslist have pages in which people offer goods or services in exchange for other goods or services, with no cash changing hands, creating a barter system.

This article from Business Week Online talks about the lack of innovation in online shopping in recent years, and offers some suggestions on how companies can make their customers' shopping experience more convenient or more enjoyable. It speaks of new upstarts leading the charge, since most of the established big guys currently seem to be resting on their laurels. But I wonder if, especially in these bleaker times, perhaps a growing number of people are looking for different ways to shop via new avenues rather than better ways to shop via the old ones.

While I realize that neither eBay nor Craigslist are new and both are extremely popular already, I imagine there are many people who have yet to give them a try. American culture is often criticized for what many see as rampant consumerism, but now that so many consumers have watched their buying power take a dive, they may be looking for other forms of commerce in order to meet their needs and wants. When your spending power is limited, second hand items that can be obtained through auctions or barter (or even better, absolutely free) start looking much more attractive. I wonder if these sorts of sites will see (if they haven't already) a major upswing in traffic as people leave the major retailers for cheaper deals. Recent history has shown us that Americans may not be especially smart when it comes to saving our money, but we do love a good bargain when we spend it.

So what does this have to do with that Hulu commercial? Well, maybe not much, I'm kind of winging it here, because the commercial had to do with free trade and assisting those in underdeveloped parts of the world, and that's not really what this entry is about, but it did get me thinking about the varieties of online commerce. If the eBays and Craigslists and Freecycles out there do become an even more powerful element of our economic structure than they already are, and more and more people become used to a world of shopping that exists outside of department stores (whether online or at the mall), this might encourage more business not only for the swaping of secondhand goods, but also an increased trust in and market for smaller companies or individual artisans, farmers, or whatever. People may love and trust established labels, but with all the news of taxpayer funded bailouts, the major companies that own those labels could lose the loyalty, and the cash, of the average shopper. This article indicates that a lot of major brand names, even those from supposedly safe or recession proof companies, are having trouble. The emerging culture of sustainable living, with its emphasis on support of local businesses, is pulling some customers away from grocery store chains and toward independent markets. Could this also happen with manufactured goods? Seems possible.

This may all be old news, or not really even news at all. Like I said, I'm no economist, so I don't know. When the web was first emerging, we were all amazed at our ability to communicate with people halfway across the world. If a change in the way we buy and sell and barter is in the works, then Web 2.0 is going to play a huge part in how we do that not with people around the world, but also in our own backyards.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

I can't find Mr. Furranklin Cuddleston III

Oh, thank God.

On an unrelated note, despite the fun that can be had in flustering Cara, I plan on posting a more legit blog entry for Thing #7. I know my readers (all 2 of you!) will be waiting with bated breath.

Friday, February 27, 2009

#7 Technology post

Cell phones are great. I'm glad I have one. It's hard to remember what life was like before they were commonplace.

In conclusion:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

#6 Picasa

This nice shot of the Great Wall of China was on the front page of Picasa when I first opened the site. That's a landmark I'd like to visit some day.

I'd also like to see some European castles, particularly in Germany. Here's a beautiful shot:

The one following it in the same album, with the snow fall, is nice too.

Here's a good pic of the contrast in colors between some changing trees in fall:

Tried about 5 rounds of the Where in the World game. My high score is 1,236, but I don't know if that's any good or not. Scored a big fat zero on one round.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

blog eats blog

This blog was created as part of an exercise for work. I used to post my weird dreams on my myspace page, but don't use that site much any longer, so this blog might absorb that little hobby. We'll see.

23 things blog

Of the 7 1/2 habits, my biggest stumbling block is beginning with the end in sight. More often than not, I'm a man without a plan, at least in the long term. Or if I decide I want to reach a particular end result, I don't spend enough time plotting out the incremental steps, which means I tend to get overwhelmed.

As for strong points, I like to think that I view problems as challenges, at least in that I try to make sure I learn something from them, which in most cases is a lesson in what not to do the next time. As far as the Toolbox goes, I also like to think I'm pretty good at improvising and being able to use what's on hand for accomplishing tasks if better tools are not readily available. A couple of years ago, there was a childrens program on the second floor. The program involved many helium filled balloons, and the next morning, dozens of balloons had collected on the ceiling in the lobby area, far out of anyone's reach. From the 3rd floor railing, Cleo and I were able to retrieve all of the balloons using a package of rubber bands, a yard stick and some duct tape. It was pretty fun. That might not be quite what they meant in the healthy habits video, but discovering ways to use tools beyond their original purpose can be a good way to learn too.