Friday, December 10, 2010

How Many Does It Take?

How many library trustees does it take to change a light bulb? Apparently three.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

4 Dpns

All things electronic have been put on hold recently with the wintry snowstorms we've been getting rather regularly. Instead, with the inspiration of my friend Hollaye, who decided she wanted to learn to knit socks and found a knitting tutor to help her, I've also been learning to knit socks. I'd tried to knit them before, but my knitting tension is so loose, I would lose the doublepointed needles; they would just fall out of my stitches. So I gave up. But with the basic pattern Hollaye got from her tutor, and a determined effort to control my tension, I am finally knitting SOCKS! on 4 double pointed needles.

This may have been a mistake, because it seems to be addicting. I don't know if it's a passion for knitting socks as Hollaye claims, or just wanting to have warm feet. Handknit wool socks + wool clogs=warm feet. And that is not a bad thing in NE Minnesota or Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

If you've a desire to learn to knit socks, I found a very helpful tutorial online Silver's Sock Class. It has good step by step illustrations if you need a visual reference and I found it a great help.

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

The memory of the November storm in the UP thirty-five years ago is still fresh in my memory. The waves were crashing over the sand dune along the shore in Ontonagon and the water pooled in the yards of homes along Lake Superior's shoreline. I've never seen that either before or since the night the Edmund Fitzgerald went down.

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Saturday, October 23, 2010

Changing Education Paradigms

This video clip certainly give one something to think about. I'm sure it could be the starting point for some vigorous debate.

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Technology in the Classroom

I liked this infographic which I found courtesy of Jamadots. Especially like the inclusion of the downside of technology in #10 being included as a consideration.

Technology in the Classroom
Via: Online Colleges and Universities

Friday, October 8, 2010

Improvised Sign

It might be the Minnesota Discovery Center now, but this improvised sign made to collect items they had on loan when they closed says it all; they have a long way to go. And the sign was made by people who provide service to the institution.

If you can't read the teeny tiny print penciled in on the sign, it says "they call it closed" and "not anymore", reflecting the closure and later reopening .

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hard Times in Libraries

Times are really tough in Libraryland these days...or is this the ultimate in recycling? Popcorn fish would beat the shedding fluff that goes everywhere from jiffy bag packing, but probably smell pretty rank by the time it was delivered in any heat.

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hunger Scale

One of my libraries was looking for this hunger scale graph today. It was kind of interesting to find that if you eat when feeling 6 or higher you may be eating to fill an emotional need, and not because you're really hungry.

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Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Reading Rewards

"It's summertime and the living is easy" , oh too easy for children to forget those reading skills they honed during the school year. Now that summer is upon us, we as parents, librarians and educators fret about how to prevent "summer learning loss". After spending the school year advancing reading and study skills, how can we get kids to keep reading and engaged in pursuits to retain their literacy? Libraries offer summer reading programs, but not all children are able to get to the library regularly. What to do? Michelle Skamene, a Montreal, Canada mother who is a web designer by trade, took a pro-active approach and decided to challenge her children to match the amount of time they spent in front of TV and computer screens with time reading books. Her husband suggested that a web site for tracking time spent reading might be helpful to her challenge. And so Reading Rewards and its French language counterpart were born. And thanks to the social web, we can all use it.

The Reading Rewards website is very easy to use. Kids set up a free, private account which must be approved by a parent. Families determine together what rewards should be for a set amount of reading. Kids log in periodically to record their time spent reading and earn RR Miles for their reading (RR miles-- think similar to airline miles) which must be validated by a parent. But the site goes far beyond tracking reading time. They can also see what other kids their age are reading, write their own reviews, and get reading recommendations by age from a variety of sources, including the National Education Association, Coretta Scott King Book Awards, recommended by,Parents Choice Foundation, Cybils, recommended by, Publisher's Weekly Books of the Year, Newbery Medals and Honors, Caldecott, and American Library Association.

Reading Rewards can be used on an individual basis, of course, but has the ability to create groups, making it suitable for use by teachers to manage a group from a single account.

Creating a group couldn't be easier. From the 'Groups' tab, click on create to set up a new group. Give your group a specific name that your kids will be able to find. Put in the start and end dates. Click on 'Create' and you will then be able to add the details for your group and put in a description and rules, if any. If you have a reading target (in minutes), you can enter it as well. Click on 'Apply changes'. You can also set up a default reward for the kids in the group (optional). When you are ready, click 'Publish'.

Once your group is published, just let your kids know how to find it. Tell them to register on Reading Rewards, and find your group in the 'Groups' tab. Once they've found it, all they need do is click on 'Join' to become a member and start tracking their reading.

Rewards can be set up as a group, or individually since some kids need more encouragement than others. You can click on 'Change reward' next to each child's name and modify their reading targets. By clicking on the smiley face next to each child's name in your group, you can send little messages to encourage them. These message appear in their news feed, on their public page.

If you want to have a list of 'Books I Recommend' appear on your group's page, simply click on the 'Add book' button and find the books on their Amazon-driven website. More about this can be found in the slide show.

Think about how you and those you know might use Reading Rewards to keep those kids reading skills in tip top shape over the long hot summer or anytime for that matter. And for those folk on Facebook, you can search an like their page on Facebook:

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Reading Utilities: Readability and Instapaper

Reading on the web can sometimes be challenging. Text blocks are broken up, advertisements are flashing relentlessly, type can be tiny. What is a person to do to make reading on a web page more pleasant? Enter Readability , a nifty utility that removes the clutter around what you’re reading. Readability works with most major modern browsers and has been tested on many news sites and blogs. It isn’t 100% effective but works surprisingly well.

First you can choose your preferred style from among newspaper, novel, ebook, inverse (light on dark) or Athelas (graceful using white space to advantage). Then choose your font size from a range of five from extra small to extra large. Finally choose your margin width ranging from extra narrow to extra wide. All of these selection choices can be viewed for effect at the bottom of the page as you choose so you can immediately see their effects and fiddle until you're happy with your selections.

You have an option to convert hyperlinks to footnotes by checking the box at the bottom of your setting choices. What will this do? Articles are often strewn with links — distracting you from the content — and pulling your attention elsewhere. Selecting the "Convert hyperlinks to footnotes" checkbox will pull the links out of your articles and format them as footnotes. Originally linked text will be marked with a simple reference mark so that you know exactly where footnotes correspond to your documents.

Once you have selected your settings, you simply drag the bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmark toolbar. When you find an article that you want to read, click on the bookmarklet and presto, you will be able to read it in the format that you have chosen.

Readability - Installation Video for Firefox, Safari & Chrome from Arc90 on Vimeo.

Install Readability and enjoy some quiet reading without distraction thanks to the folks at Arc90 and their laboratory experiment. And if you like their little experiment, don’t forget to follow their RSS feed or Twitter while you’re there.


Now that you’ve used Readability to declutter your reading space, you might want to check out another utility that allows you to save web pages or articles for reading later. Instapaper is an app that will bookmark web pages, but rather than saving them to your PC or Mac, Instapaper allows you to access archived articles from any computer you own, even smartphones and Kindle e-book readers.

Instapaper works the same way as Readability by creating a button in your browser toolbar. Go to Instapaper and click on “register for a free account”.

When you’ve registered, this is what you’ll see:

Simply drag the “Read Later” bookmarklet to your bookmarks toolbar. (If you have trouble with installation, check to be sure that Ad Aware or another pop-up blocker isn’t blocking you from adding the bookmarklet.) Once installed, all you need do is click the “Read Later” bookmarklet on a page you want to read later.

Be sure to check out the “Extras” tab at the top of the page to see what other tools, toys, features and applications are available to get content into and out of Instapaper. There are so many ways which you can use Instapaper, it will make your head spin. Check out the many ways from bookmark to e-mail to ebook readers to mobile devices and RSS feeds that you can save content to read later. There’s even an app similar to Readability but using a different technical approach called “Instapaper Text” which you might wish to try. And you can export your list of saved articles, up to the most recent 2000 articles you've saved.

Play outdoors while the sun shines but stock up your reading for a rainy summer day using Instapaper.

Happy reading with Readability and Instapaper!

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

Read with Marge McPeak

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Marge holds a little poster that Brian Minor the ALS graphic artist whipped up quickly this morning. He took a photo of Marge against a blank wall & put the background in later and printed it. It was Marge's last ALS Board meeting as president.

Marge (a former NCLC Board Chair as well) shared an acronym with us (we librarians just love acronyms; Marge is a retired librarian): SABLE - Stash Acquistion Beyond Life Expectancy, which is managing to acquire more yarn than you can possibly use up in your lifetime.

I don't think of it as a problem so much as a goal.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Google is good. Libraries are better.

This seemed appropriate to include after previous post..fair and balanced, right?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Amusement for Cats

This video makes me miss Miss Kitty & want to get both a cat & and IPad.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Lund's Swedish Pancake Mix

Lund's Swedish Pancake Mix
Originally uploaded by afiler
If you've got a plett pan, you need to get the best tasting Swedish pancake mix on the market...nothing else will do.

I found this photo on Flickr to show you what it looks like.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Hoppy Easter!

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This is a papier mache Easter bunny I made several years ago.

Friday, January 29, 2010

(Unfortunate)Serendipity ?

I bet George Stephanopoulos was surprised at his DNA results showing his genealogical ancestry. And if you look at the side by side photographs carefully, you can actually see similarities especially in the nose and eyes. You can pick your friends, but not your relatives.

Simplicity is Simply Ketchup

Simplicity is to be desired in computer applications, particularly those social Web2.0 applications. The easier they are to use, and easier they make your life, the better.

Today I bumped into the simplest of apps, that looks to be very useful as well. It's called Ketchup. Ketchup looks like it can help organize your life, a sort of diary in the cloud, to keep track on your meetings with the ability to date and name the meeting and participants, keep track of the agenda, and make any notes you might want to remember about the meeting, and all of this in one place. If you do a lot of phone or online meetings, Ketchup could help you organize these notes. Your meeting notes can be printed as well. Clicking the box labeled "public" at the top of the page makes your notes accessible to others, and generates a URL that can be shared.

This screenshot has a much better explanation:

Ketchup launched several weeks ago and is currently free. While there are plans to monetize, they do say they will retain a free version for light users.

Simplicity is Ketchup's charm. When you sign up to try it, send some invitations for friends. They'll thank you for it.

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

21st Century Literacy

Literacy doesn't necessarily have the same meaning today as it has in the past. A newly coined word for today's understanding of literacy is "transliteracy".

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Buzz the Gut circa 1990

An old friend found and shared this video from Youtube. It's a copy of a copy of a copy of an old video converted to a new format. The bridge at the beginning of the video no longer exists. It was torn down and replaced in another location which bypassed River Street, the main drag. This video is a slow motion "buzz the gut" that generations of kids have done. Many of the buildings are no longer there. Here's a cruise through Ontonagon in 1990, ending at the piers and beach at the end of the street.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

New Year Resolutions

Since the New Year has arrived, I looked for a New Year's resolution generator and found one that's fun here.

The two favorites I generated are included below here,in no particular order.

In all seriousness, I do need to take more pictures this year. With two point and shoot, one SLR and a Flip camera at hand, I just need to remember to take more pictures. I'm hoping to learn more photography skills by experimenting with my cameras and making it fun. Besides that, I've got a Flickr Pro account, so I might as well use it.

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Friday, January 8, 2010

Governor Huckabee's Plan

I kind of like Governor Huckabee's plan. It may not be politically correct, but at least it isn't apologetic. It might even have the deterrent effect on terrorists that a court trial has not.

Not Surprising!

And I bet the shoddy software wasn't cheap either!

Monday, January 4, 2010

How Big?

This illustration gives one an idea of the vastness and reach of the Internet.

A Day in the Internet
Created by Online Education

Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Friend's Dream and Home for a While


This video is of a home built by my friend Judy and her husband. As we worked on a record conversion project for her school library one summer, she and her husband were busily working on the finishing touches of their dream home.

They only lived in the home for a short time before he died quite suddenly, leaving her with a home that was now a big responsibility for her. She's had it up for sale.
This house is priced to sell! For more information contact Judy Klun (218) 235-1570.

You can read more about this lovely home here.

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