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 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,, 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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Pet Album

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Strategies for Digital Natives

Check out this SlideShare Presentation by Helene Blowers from CIL2009:

The Boy Wanted a Cat