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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Can You Hear the Bells?

Of all sound of all bells, the most solemn and touching is the peal which rings out the Old Year.---Charles Lamb







Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.---Alfred Lord Tennyson




May the New Year bring you peace and happiness.





We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year's Day.---Edith Lovejoy Pierce


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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

It's Not Superior Knowledge or Magic, Folks

I stumbled across a blog post today that incorporated a flow chart for computer troubleshooting which I liked very much. So much, in fact, that I took a screenshot of it, pulled it into Picasa for cropping and printed several copies for distribution.

While it is flattering to be asked to help when computer problems arise, the world of computers and software is so vast and varied that one person cannot possibly know everything about the whole. Most often, if people would try in a slow and logical fashion to reason , they could probably solve their own problem. My own mantra when I have a problem is this: Read the Screen Stupid.Frequently the solution to your problem may be staring you in the face. You just need to pay attention. Here, thanks to Kim Cofino, is the flow chart which will make you the local computer expert.






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Twitter Workshop

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Curious Christmas


Quite a few years ago I found a beer stein while "antiquing" or "junking" that I liked and thought would be a decorative holiday piece at home.

I've always intended to try to find out more about it, but have never really followed through. There isn't a lot of information to work with.

Here's a photo of the decorative stein. I still wonder "who is A. E. Hemke"?

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Monday, December 14, 2009

Tweet Insight

For those who are unfamiliar with how information is shared on Twitter, this little video clip from the Web2.0 Expo explains Twitter behavior:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Some Holiday Glitter

Since it's the holiday season, I thought I'd look for something ornamental to add to the blog. I found these cute ornaments and couldn't decide which to use so added them both. I liked the cozy fire for this bitter cold weather, but the tree was pretty too and reminded me of newly fallen snow.

Myspace Comments
Christmas Ornaments Comments
Myspace 2.0 Layouts


Myspace Comments
Christmas Ornaments Comments
Myspace 2.0 Layouts




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Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Did You Know 4.0

NCLC Board Chair Cindy Miller shared this video with the rest of the NCLC governing board at our meeting today. The discussion that ensued was interesting. Comments indicated that the technology development highlighted indicate that the digital divide is growing wider for those in rural areas and with low incomes. The technology development is not "bridging" the gap for rural communities in the current poor economy.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

How To Do Scherenschnitte

One of my favorite Christmas projects was a scherenschnitte scene from a Better Homes and Gardens Christmas book. My grandson was fascinated by the detail. It's really worth buying good scissors if you want to do this. I found that the artist here has a page on Facebook that has her blog posts on it, so I became a fan.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Life With A Cat

This brings back fond memories of cats I have known. My brother must have some of the same memories. He won't close his eyes when there's a cat around.




more about "Life With A Cat", posted with vodpod

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Heritage Lost?

There is sad news for those interested in genealogy and history of the Iron Range in northeast Minnesota today. We have learned from staff at the Iron Range Research Library that they are closing for lack of operating funds. In fact, a news story from WDIO TV indicates that the entire facility (recently renamed the Minnesota Discovery Center) will be shuttered.

It remains to be seen what will become of the collections and archives of the Research Library. They have been collecting and preserving records of the area for many years. Folk from the region had trust that the records would be safely preserved for the education and use of this and future generations. It would seem that in the current economic and political climate that those charged with management and responsibility for that trust feel safe in breaking the contract implicit in their agreement to preserve these historical and genealogical records.

The bottom line is that nobody will be discovering anything at the Minnesota Discovery Center anymore. Northeast Minnesota's historical and genealogical records are locked up tight. Money is the key that can unlock them for public use again, but I don't see much hope of that happening anytime soon. It seems quite ironic that the facility should be allowed to languish when hundreds of thousands of dollars in legacy funds have been made available recently for funding of arts and history programs by a tax authorized by voters in 2008 for exactly the purpose that the Research Center Library served. Because the Iron Range Research Center was established and serving this purpose prior to the passage of the tax, they are ineligible for this funding.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

This morning (Friday the 13th) I received an e-mail from Lemony Snicket with this announcement:

Dear Reader,

Something terrible has happened.

The entire text of THE BAD BEGINNING, the first book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, has been made available online. For FREE. Open to anyone. Including horrible villains, innocent readers, and you.

PLEASE DO NOT FORWARD THIS LINK TO FRIENDS, FAMILY, OR PEOPLE WITH COMPUTERS.
SHARING THE UNABRIDGED FREE VERSION OF THE BAD BEGINNING WITH SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER READ IT IS COMPLETELY IRRESPONSIBLE. "Completely irresponsible" is a phrase which here means no one will be able to prove you did it.

Click here to view Lemony Snicket's video response to this latest unfortunate event.

The sudden appearance of the uncoded text online may be a horrible mistake. Hopefully, it will be corrected as soon as possible.

With all due respect,




so here's the link and the widget supplied by publisher HarperCollins:



I LOVE their marketing approach.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

State of the Internet 2009: Pew Internet Project Findings and Implications for Libraries

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Libraries and Transliteracy

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

OFF THE WALL - GUERRILLA KNITTING

A unique knitting concept?

Friday, September 25, 2009

Is the Internet Ready?



This older video's issue is still relevant. If you want to sign up for further information on Broadband for America you can sign up at their website.

Braided Rag Rug Instructions

I like the simple instructions for making this project. I'd been looking for this for some time after seeing an article by Martha Stewart using towels to make a bath mat in this way. I first learned how to do it in 4-H many years ago from my friend Carol Laitola Lukkari's mother Syl Laitola. Martha's article suggested using a rotary cutter to cut the towels.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Rachel John, Extreme Knitting, 1000 Strand Knit

Friday, August 14, 2009

Fun with Google Doodles

I enjoy the doodles Google has used in their logo for special day commemorations. And someone has put together a video sharing some of them for viewing fun.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Picture Book Award Winner -- FLOTSAM

The publisher put out this video promoting David Wiesner's Flotsam picturebook. It's the one that I took a series of pictures of my grandson David looking at, so engrossed he didn't even notice I was photographing him. If you check out the video you'll get the idea of why he found it so fascinating.



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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Thinking About Friendfeed and Facebook

I'm not really sure how I feel about the acquisition of Friendfeed by Facebook, but this is a somewhat amusing take on it.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The Downside of Social Networking

During the More Things on a Stick program, one of our projects required that we explore sites that let you make scrapbook pages, like those applications Scrapblog or Smilebox.

I discovered it was rather fun to make scrapbook pages, but did require some planning in advance. You need to have a selection of photographs, a theme, and some doodads for embellishment. I used both Smilebox and Scrapblog to produce projects. While exploring Scrapblog, I was "friended" by an obviously talented person who kindly offered encouragement and advice. I've been too busy to go back and do any more pages lately, but have received notices of new pages made by friends. The notice I got today made me go look at the page which was posted yesterday. I was dismayed and horrified by the necessity for her post which I have included below. Since I've seen the same kind of snarky comments on some of the blogs I read, I understand the reason for her direct address to this kind of snarkiness. It is an unfortunate downside to social networking that, thankfully, happens less frequently than sharing expertise and admiration for people's efforts. It seems there always has to be one rotten apple in the basket. I admire this "friend's" direct approach in confronting her snide critic.



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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What the F**K is Social Media: One Year Later

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Nailed 'Em -- Library Crime

Think this kid will understand why he was banned from the library? I wonder if they kick out tourists who come to read the newspaper too?

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Nailed 'Em - Library Crime
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorMark Sanford

Monday, July 13, 2009

What is "the semantic web"?

The term "Semantic Web" bandied about quite a bit. Here's a brief but concise introduction that helps to explain it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Social Media, Innovation and Adoption

I liked this video by Clay Shirky about how communication innovation is changing the way conversation happens:





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Monday, July 6, 2009

Where's George?

Last week the lunch crew in the building I work in decided to have a Franken pizza party (presumably to celebrate the fact that Minnesota again has two senators) but more likely because the cupboard at home was bare and lunch ingredients were elusive. They came around asking for preferences (for pizza, not political) and based on participation, the collection was three dollars per person for lunch. I went to dig out the requisite three dollars and as I got them ready to hand over noticed that one bill had stamped on it in red ink Where's George.com.

Being the curious sort, I had to check it out. So I scounged up another bill for the pizza, kept the one with the red stamp on it and did some web investigation. What I found was an intriguing little website where you can find out where that paper money in your pocket has been or where it will go next.All you need to do is enter the denomination, series, and serial number of any US dollar bill, and your current USA ZIP or Canadian Post Code in the box.

If the dollar bill you enter has been entered here before, you will get back a list of all the cities/states where that bill has been, as well as travel time, distance and speed of each hop!

If this dollar bill has not been entered before, you started the list!



Since my bill was already stamped, I registered at the site, followed the instructions for tracking a bill and found that the bill had originated in St. Cloud, MN on May 28, 2009.



One little flaw I found in the tracking information was that in following the directions in entering my bill by using my current zip code where I was, it did not actually track the bill's entire path. I knew where I had received the bill in change (Pat's Foods in Ontonagon, MI) and it had traveled considerably farther than the 150 miles to Mountain Iron, MN indicated by using my current location. It was interesting, nevertheless.

The site allows you to send and receive an anonymous e-mail message to contact the person who entered the bill and get a response from them if you wish to do so. There are a number of other things to do here too, fun/tools, a store, a top ten list, help, and a variety of reports that can be generated. It's easy to navigate and some curious fun besides.

If you're from Canada, be sure to check out Where's Willy? to track your Canadian Currency!





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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Thing 42 Music 2.0

I set up both a Pandora account and a Last.fm account as well as using blip.fm and Grooveshark. I left an embedded Grooveshark widget from this winter's cold spell in my sidebar for fun..Baby, It's Cold Outside..and it was!

My Last.FM widget is in the sidebar. I've received some suggestions from people, but mostly listen as the spirit moves me.

I do listen to a variety of Internet radio stations. The one I enjoyed most this winter was listening to friends from Ontonagon play Trivia as teams on the local station there. It was nice to hear friendly voices playing, even when you couldn't be there to participate.










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Thing 41 Mashup Your Life

I tried out a number of different aggregators. The one I use the most and find helpful is Friendfeed. I added my Friendfeed badge to the sidebar. You can see most of my web2.0 affiliations are added to it.

What I like about it is that you can be as active or inactive as you like on Friendfeed. It's like Twitter expanded. You can chose to be part of the conversation, or just be solitary when you want to. Like Twitter, what gives it value is the people you follow. I've learned a lot of things just by seeing what those I follow are interested in. It's sometimes led me in unexpected directions. It's definitely expanded my interests and my world. I use it more for professional interests. Facebook is for my closer contacts.

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Thing 39 Digital Storytelling





This thing could eat up lots of my time and was lots of fun. It was amazing to see what you could do free so easily. For more options, you could pay for additional capabilities.

I created one project in Smilebox and another in Scrapblog. The pages from Scrapblog are posted above.

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Picture Book Fun for Thing 37

Thing 37 Photo Tales

I skipped way ahead to do some fun stuff. I love photographs or pictures and words put together. Animoto is a very fun application to use and easy as well. And they keep making it more versatile. You can see a number of things I did with Animoto by looking at some of my blog posts from late 2008.

I recently upgraded to a Flickr Pro account as Flickr is so convenient to use for sharing photos and integrates well with other social media applications. I added Flickr to my Facebook application, but find that even so it sometimes takes as much as two weeks for my uploads to Flickr to post to my Facebook account. But they do eventually get there. If you want to share in real time, though, it's best to load directly to your Facebook photo albums.

I added Picasa to my computer to manage photos and find it very useful and easy to use. Did you know that all the images you post to your Blogger blog can be found in your online Picasa album? I didn't, but found out in the course of using Blogger that this is true. How cool is that?

I've used Photobucket and Picnik as well since they integrate with some of the Web2.0 apps that Flickr or Picasa don't. There's room for all of them, but they all are user friendly.

I'll share one of my Animoto creations as a separate post, but I intend to do a lot more things with this thing.


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Thing 31 More Twitter

Believe it or not, I have actually read all of these things and tried all of them..but before I wrote the "Thing". In doing so, I discovered how useful Tweetdeck can be for viewing and organizing how you view tweets.

The thing I use the least is mobile tweeting. I don't want to be tied to a cell phone and consequently only carry one when traveling for work. I do understand the convenience of mobile tweeting for some people. It's been especially interesting to see it used as events continue to unfold in Iran. In fact, the use of Twitter to circumvent the shutdown of the normal news media channels and other communication avenues is making Twitter itself newsworthy again. Despite the best efforts of the Iranian government, Twitter is allowing news there to leak out to the rest of the world in addition to within Iran itself. I did notice that most reputable US news agencies are careful to note that the information spread via Twitter cannot be authenticated and should be taken with a grain of caution.

Two Twitter tools I enjoy using are Twitpic for sharing photos and using Tinysong with Grooveshark to share a live link to tunes I'm listening to. I don't tweet songs a lot, but sometimes it's fun to share the current tune. One person I follow tweets entirely too many tunes, especially when it's music I don't really enjoy, but I haven't unfollowed yet because of that. I just ignore it.

There are so many Twitter tools that keep popping up that it's hard to keep up. Mashable has a nice organized list of them that's a good place to check. I like some of the ones that let you save a copy of the Tweet for use as a blog illustration.

I like the convenience of Tweetdeck for replying, retweeting and direct messaging. I also use Twhirl, Betwittered, and the web interface depending on where I am and how I'm tweeting. When using a computer that isn't my own, the web interface is most convenient. My current background is courtesy of PrincesstimeToys, some spring tulips. I really like the ability to change the background, but Twitter has had some difficulties with this off and on. I was stuck with a Christmas background for longer than I wanted to be because of their technical difficulties.

I've integrated Twitter into my Facebook and Friendfeed applications as well as some other social media aggregators I use. I also have my latest tweets in my blog sidebar, and have a twitter badge there too.

Scheduling tweets worked well when I knew I would be away to my internet connection to deliver expected information when I had promised to provide it. This feature would work well for a library who tweets.

I think Twitter is what you make of it. If you give it a chance, you'll soon become a believer. And if you don't give it a chance, you'll never even know what you're missing. And those of us who do use Twitter and LIKE it will have less noise because you don't use it. To those who do enjoy the flexibility of Twitter, I salute your astuteness. I've had great unexpected information supplied via Twitter and fun things as well. I might be labeled a Twitaholic; I love it that much. And as I use it, I become more convinced of its value as a communication tool.



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Friday, June 19, 2009

Thing 30 More Ways to Use RSS & Delicious

It was interesting to investigate the options for filtering RSS feeds. I tried a quick test of FeedRinse. Feed Sifter which filtered in by keyword was also intriguing. I used it to find something I knew was there and saved a bit of time.RSSFWD announced their shutdown via Twitter in mid-January.The idea behind Feed My Inbox is good and I can see some use for it, but I'm trying to cut down on mail, not create more. I do regularly add and subtract feeds from my Google Reader application.

I did like the reminder applications and can see that they would occasionally be useful when you are busy. I also liked the usefulness of RSSWeather.com especially in the spring/summer severe weather season. It's nice to have the warning.

I added a widget to my blog from a Govt. RSS feed (Federal Legislative tracker) relating ta bill introduced to eliminate the need to keep track of calls on work supplied cell phones made for personal use. It's a GOOD THING! I hope it passes.

I used Delicious search features regularly, even before this thing. I like being able to take advantage of the accumulated knowledge of others. And I mourned the disappearance of Favthumb as I really liked their visual display of thumbnails of pages. I guess I am a more visual person than I realized. I like the display of my delicious tags in the sidebar of my blog. It's a BIG cloud. And there's a link to my delicous account there too.

I found some new tools for special purposes here that I'm sure I will come back to use when needed.


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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Thing 29 Google Tools

It's almost scary to contemplate all the Google tools I use on a daily basis. What would I do without them? I have a iGoogle home page, use Google Reader, am overwhelmed daily by Google News (I've learned to hit delete without guilt), and frequent Google web search and Google Scholar and Book Search with hourly regularity. Google is a librarian's best friend, if you know how and when to use the tools they offer.

For this thing, I set up a number of Google Alerts: one for mention of my hometown, one each for mention of my favorite jazz artists, and one for my own name. It didn't create too many additional e-mail notices, but I did find the results interesting. It works much the same way Twilert worked when I used it to score a hard to come by Nintendo WiiFit at Christmas time. I was notified of the release date of both favored artists new albums and used that information to pre-order their music so I actually got it on the day it was released (not that I needed to, but it was nice to have.)The hometown alert brought up news stories from sources other than those I normally read in an RSS feed, and despite all my Web2.0 activities, my name didn't show up anywhere I didn't expect it to, easing fears of identity theft and privacy concerns.

For productivity, Gmail is a boon while traveling since it is so easily accessible. Recentl changes to gmail have made it even easier to find archived mail. I had set up an account for the original 23 Things program use, and have found it so handy, that it has become my default for mail I want to be sure I see. It's also easy to have that same mail sent to my main work account for my convenience as well. The best thing about it is their ability to identify spam as spam and not accidentally eliminate real messages that I would want to receive. I only wish my work ISP mail service could do as well. There legitimate messages are regularly flagged as spam when they are NOT.

I am very excited by Google Sites. It looks like it would be great for those of us who are HTML challenged with no time to study up on it, and would allow us to have a vital, easy to update website. I intend to investigate it further and keep an eye on this as a possible venue for our NCLC web page.I'd have made the change already, except for the fact that when I checked it did not support the use of forms which I use as part of our interlibrary loan service. If and when forms are supported, it would be perfect for us.

And the Google apps and features just keep on coming. While editing a post today, I learned that my Blogger blog's photos have their own album in Picasa Web Albums. I signed in, went and looked, and there they were. What a cool tool that is as well.



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Monday, June 15, 2009

How I Spent My Summer Vacation Week

 

Posted by Picasa


It was rainy and cold much of the week so the knitting bag came out again.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Books and Birthdays

 

Just sharing this birthday card I received from my brother and his wife for my birthday in March because it amused me.

Posted by Picasa


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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Thing 28 Customized Home Pages

I explored Pageflakes, Netvibes and iGoogle for this thing. In fact, I created homepages in all of them, three total in iGoogle alone. They all have their attractions and I found that having all of my Web2.0 things on one page made them easier to access. However, I also found that it took a long time loading those pages on my dial up connection at home, so I stripped down one of my iGoogle pages to make it friendlier to the snail speed of my connection there. At work, I stuck with the iGoogle page I had set up previously which includes many gadgets and searches that I use regularly in my interlibrary loan activities.

While exploring Pageflakes, I found that it seems they are on shaky financial ground, so if you're using them, you should be prepared for possible sudden disappearance of your home page. With that in mind, I decided my time would be better spent using other services. That would be a shame as their customized page is very attractive. Netvibes was very nice as well, but with a different look. I liked use of tabs there for various types of activities.

Gadgets on the home page include time and date, a calendar, a timer, sticky notes, weather, current moon phase, word of the day, online English grammar, wikipedia search, google search, latest from Computerworld, CNET Reviews, dictionary/thesaurus, zipcode search, mapquest, website translator, lyrics search, TV Guide, Betty Crocker Recipe of the Day, 101 Cookbooks, WebMD Health, Dell support and JRR Tolkien quote of the day. Also on my homepage are some of my Web2.0 apps, Twitter via BeTwittered, Youtube, Friendfeed, Gmail via gadget, and Facebook.

I made a Blidget for my homepage as well, and also posted it in the sidebar of my blog. This was very easy to do. It might also be used on a web page if you had one, to send people to your blog.

It's nice to know there're a variety of options out there to use free. Customized home pages can put your digital life right at your fingertips, all in one place. That same convenience could be put to use for a library or group of library staff as well, making a place for them to find the information they need to use on a regular basis.



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Bird in My Backyard


IMG_0051
Originally uploaded by linda_wadman
I finally was able to catch Mr. Pileated Woodpecker at work in my backyard! Unfortunately, the dogs in the house also saw him so I couldn't take the camera outside to take some shots without them escaping and scaring him off so had to be satisfied with shooting him through the double-paned patio door glass. The shots were somewhat fuzzy, but an automatic adjustment with Picasa worked quite well.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Susan Boyle Sang for Charity

I guess Britain's Got Talent. I wonder how they kept her secret for so long. Or did they not realize how very talented she was until now? And not only does she have talent, she has humor and heart. How could they not know after hearing this rendition of Cry Me a River ten whole years ago?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dusk or Dawn?

I'm a sucker for these silly polls:




You Are Dusk



You are a naturally idealistic and creative person. You look forward to nights where everything is possible.

You spend most of your energy on play. Work is okay, but the true you emerges after the work day is done.



You're an offbeat type that doesn't like rules or schedules. Life's too short to waste at a desk in a cube.

Whether you spend your night socializing or working on side projects, you like that your time is yours.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax Day 2009

I love this tweet I saw this evening in my Twitter stream. I often thought the same thing while working in a public library, but never said it aloud and there was no Twitter at that time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Just to say Thanks to Library Staff for All You Do


Since 2004 in order to recognize the hard work, dedication, and expertise of library support staff and librarians The U. S. Congress has proclaimed the Tuesday of National Library Week be designated National Library Workers Day; and, that on that day, interested library workers, library groups, and libraries should advocate for better compensation for all library workers.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Thing 27 Twitter


Since I wrote Thing 27 for the most part, I viewed and read all the contents that it has. I combed through hundreds of tagged items in Del.icio.us to pick out what were in my own opinion the most helpful to understanding Twitter. Understanding Twitter is not an easy thing; I think it is many things to many people. One thing it is is adaptable; new uses spring up everyday.

My username on Twitter is @lindawadman. I created an account in the first round of things just to try it out. I could not imagine what possible use Twitter might be, but as I used it it I found more and more value to it. Some view it as a time waster, and it could indeed be that for the unenlightened, just as many other things are. What it become for you is entirely up to you. I have found it to be a valuable tool in many ways. You can glean a lot from following a twitterstream of a conference you cannot attend. Where else can you follow someone who is a leader in their field and perhaps get a direct response to a query? You can do it on Twitter. It will be as useful to you as you allow it to be.

Twitter's rapid growth should be a clue that there's something there to pay attention to. If you don't get it, how will you ever understand it without using it?

I'm currently using a Twitter theme that is included by Twitter. They are having some difficulty with uploading images and backgrounds that I hope they will resolve soon. I had a background with first snowflakes, and then valentine hearts both from PrincessTime Toys, but as they were seasonal it was time for them to go. I've not been able to upload my background of choice because of their troubles, but I'll keep trying.

Since I had my "aha" moment on how libraries can use Twitter, I love it. There are many interesting as well as fun applications using it. Twitpic is a favorite, but I use many more.

I use Tweetdeck, Twirl, BeTwittered, Twitter's Gmail Gadget,and am trying out a new one AlertThingy which also can include status updates from Facebook, Flickr, Twitpic and some other social networking applications. All have their uses, but the one that I like best is Tweetdeck.

Another Twitter application I like is Tweet Replies. Since I don't monitor Twitter continuously, Tweet Replies enables me to see all the Tweets that are @replies to me so that I don't miss them. The @replies are e-mailed to me so my Twitter friends can be sure I see their tweets even if I'm not on Twitter when they tweet. I love it! And if you like Twitter, you will love it too.

I tried all the things in the Challenges as well to make sure that they worked. It was an interesting and learning experience. Scheduling Tweets is useful if you tweet for a library, so that even when you're not working, or the library is closed, you can still keep your Twitter stream going.

I went from skeptic to an adopter who loves Twitter and finds it enormously useful and fun as well. My Twitter friends are many and varied, including my eighty year old father. There's a lot going on there and I'm enjoying the Twitter.







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Thing 26 Join the Ning

I joined the Ning in the first round of 23 Things on a Stick, but didn't find much activity there so didn't return much. As a result of Thing 26, however, I have visited it many times. I've added the Ning badge to my sidebar where it's more noticeable than in the blog post from the first round of things.


What have I done there? I added to my profile and fleshed out my page. I've left several comments there for others. I uploaded a bunch of photos to it,some personal, some related to the project, that have elicited comments to which I've responded. I've added to the discussion forum about Twitter. I've looked at the groups there and seeing regional groups developing created a group for the NCLC region. I may join the knitting group when I have more time for it.

While the level of activity on the Ning is still not great, it is increasing and may develop into a destination for networking, at least among the 23 Things and More on a Stick participants.

In chatting with a public library director recently, she expressed her idea for creating a meeting place for those interested in her hobby. None of the things she'd looked at seemed to have everything she wanted, most particularly the ability to have a forum. Because of the 23Things Ning experience, I was able to point her to a Ning as a possibility for what she wants to do. I think it will work well for her planned activity.


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Thing 25 : Bloggers' Toolkit

This Thing was my idea, a toolkit of things that would help make it easier for you to blog and to make your blog more friendly for those readers who visit it. There are a variety of tools out there that help "automate" or organize you when adding to your blog whether it be via post or other functionality. I found some things that help me when getting a post ready and wanted to share what helps me. My helpers include Zemanta, Pixresizer, Irfanview, Picasa and a number of Firefox addons among others. This thing took quite a bit of time, but I just did a bit at a time. It was nice to have all the information in one place even if it did take a lot of time to get through it all.

20 Usability Tips for Your Blog offered many tips and ideas for making your blog a good one that people will want to visit. While currently my blog is an eclectic mix because it is a sandbox for the Things on a Stick program and my explorations of the web, after this program I may make some changes to focus on specific topics related to work, or else make it more personal. I need to think about this and decide what avenue to take, but for now the eclectic mix suits me, and I really am not trying to please or cater to others.

Posting by e-mail was among the things to do, so since I had already e-mailed an article on My Favorite Things to be used in the More on a Stick newsletter, I decided to use it as a test and e-mailed it to blogger as well. I set up the process in my dashboard. It was easy and worked flawlessly. However, if you e-mail your post, you do have to make any edits, pictures or links you want to put in it from Blogger itself. This elicits some error messages that I chose to ignore and just made the changes and saved anyway. Again it worked just fine.

About the gadgets: I read the info and watched the videos, but really learned nothing I didn't already know. Since I already had more than forty widgets on my blog page, I had quite a bit of experience with them. Gadgets added recently are a weather gadget, my latest TwitPic picture, another Flickr gadget, a federal legislative tracker, West of East's widget with samples of their soon to released allbum, and a monthly calendar of events.

Shortly after the second round of 23 Things on a Stick ended, I had read in an RSS feed I subscribe to how to turn your blog into a podcast, and also make it possible for people to listen to your post when they visit your blog. I did this using Odiogo in May. Sometimes the voice uses some interesting pronunciations, but for the most part provides an acceptable result. It's a male voice, and one of the other apps uses a female voice that's nice, but I chose to stay with my Odiogo app since when I had a problem in September the Odiogo help staff was quick to respond and fix my problem, and it works well. I did try all the other options just to see how they worked.

About Comments: I investigated Disqus, ClickComments, and Outbrain. All looked like they had some value to offer and I will probably explore them further later. Right now I like the ability to control comments on Blogger that is offered by their own comment system. I don't have time to deal with possible dumping of spam in the comments as I've seen elsewhere. I noticed while reading blogs that the Outbrain people gave some advice about how to set up Outbrain so you had some control of the content it added at the end of your post. Since I mostly use Zemanta to add content,I won't use Outbrain now, but may change my mind later, not wanting to add so much stuff to my posts that it's cumbersome.

About Statistics Collection: I added ClustrMaps to my blog about the same time as I added Odiogo. I also have two other map gadgets in the sidebar: MapLoco and Who's Amung Us. I like the place name lists generated by MapLoco telling where visitors are from. When it was hiccuping a while back I tried out Who's Amung Us. It's interesting to compare the results of each of the three map gadgets which each give somewhat different information. Maybe it's overkill, but I find it satisfies my curiosity. Since I signed up for Darren Rowse's building a better blog 31 day course discovered via Twitter, I needed to install Google Analytics to get ready for it. I combed through the code of my blog template only to find the tag I needed two lines from the end of the code, thirty-seven pages of code at that. Good thing I had my new glasses and they work! Google Analytics is now successfully installed in my template according to the reports I accessed the day after installation.

About Photos & Photo Tools: I have used PixResizer and Picasa since the original 23 Things on a Stick, having found them when seeking tools to help make photos usable with some of the social software apps included in 23 Things. ResizeImage.Org online was easy to use and marked for future use. Pixenate also was easy to use for general photo editing and didn't require a download either so was marked for future use. I looked at all of the copyright free photo sites and did the searches. The amount and quality of the photos available for use just for the attribution is nothing short of amazing. I created a Flickr slideshow, and have also added some from Slideshare, PictureTrail, Slide.com, and Animoto. I made my Christmas card using Animoto this year, in fact several of them, and they can be found in some posts in December 2008.

About Blog Quizzes/Polls: I read the articles on using polls in your blog which were very good. I looked at each of the applications listed and tried them out. I posted just one as an example, asking about social applications used that I made in Glowday, posted here.

I find the added functionality of Snapshots to be annoying and won't be doing that. Apture is possible down the road. I want to keep things simple right now, and turning my blog into a multimedia experience isn't high on my list of priorities. I want to think about how to do it effectively, not distractingly.

About useful features: I did add a search box at the top of my blog. I already had a tag cloud, an archive calendar,a a clock (My Slice of Time.) I had a share this button in my sidebar, but also added this to each blog post to make sharing easier. I also claimed my blog at Technorati, added a Twit This button, buttons for subscribing to my blog, comments, and podcast among others.

About Get Social: I looked at all the listed items. I already have my Friendfeed Badge in the sidebar leading to my feed. My twitter feed is also in the sidebar. Some of the other things could be added to my blog, but many are already part of my iGoogle page.

I had already done the two fun things here: Blog Readability test and Typealyzer. I apparently didn't post the Typealyzer results, but my recollection is that the result was I was a DO-er. One of the other tests indicated that my blog was written by a man, news to me. I've done the test a number of times with a time period in between results and gotten different results. I know I saved the code, but can't seem to find it at present and it doesn't seem to be working tonight as I write this.

I looked at the various widget sources and the amount of these available is astounding as well. I checked out some that my region bloggers were having trouble with so as to help them be able to use those they wanted in their blogs. They didn't realize that many of the widgets allow you to adjust the size to fit the space you have available. It doesn't require much knowledge of code to be able to make the adjustments.

I also backed up my blog before changing the template and plan to do regular back ups. I read the information on exporting your blog which may prove to be useful in the future. I plan to keep refining and adding functionality and interest to my blog as I try and discover things, and can make an organized plan for it. I'm hoping that the course on building a better blog will help with this. I shared the link via Twitter and at least two others doing More on a Stick have signed up for it as well.




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