Monday, March 31, 2008
And for the last report:
Could really take it or leave it. I like the customizable layouts and backgrounds, and there seems to be more prominent places for video, music and pics, but the activity is really low compared to Facebook which I will mention in just a sec. I will admit that I have kept away from these types of networking sites based on the privacy issue. Not that I'm involved in any shady activity, but haven't we all been stalked at one point in our lives? (No? Maybe that's just me.) I've also heard the horror stories of, let's just call them unfortunate, individuals who spilled too much about themselves and were passed over by employers who review these sites before hiring. I realized that I will probably never get really personal in these sites unless I turn on the privacy settings. Otherwise, a fairly common space that includes your education and work connections seems harmless enough, so I will probably let the account live, even if it does become neglected. I gave my page a little bling, and added a couple of friends, but the real UK action is all about Facebook, so I better get moving to that area. Here's my page for a quick look-see, but I guarantee it's pretty boring, except for maybe the spontaneous library musical prank I included in my videos.
I really like this one - but this has to do with the fact that so many people from UK are using it that it quickly begins to feel like a family page. It is a much easier way to stay connected to those who are just a cubicle away or a continent away. With a few clicks you have connected without digging up their e-mail, writing a long treatise and then waiting for a long response. The Facebook method is short, sweet and effective....I like all of the widgets and groups, and even though the reading areas are sometimes miniscule compared to Myspace, somehow it is still very easy to read and follow. It even lets our avatars connect! My former student assistants have congratulated me on finally coming to the darkside by joining Facebook! And on a side note, Facebook just let me re-connect to my High School best friend in Pennsylvania....miracle working technology!
Second Life Librarians:
This one is pretty cool! Very simple to use and should really prove to be helpful when I meet other SL librarians while traversing in-world. This way we can stay connected and talk about SL/Library issues as they arise. And it also comes with a great little widget that I just added to my sidebar! I would say after Blue 2.0, Kentucky Librarians in SL are being well represented in this Ning site. Knowing about Ning is also a nice nugget to file away in the recesses of my brain for future library use.
Farewell to Blue 2.0! It will be interesting to see how many of these applications establish permanent residency in my daily repertoire. Now if only I can manage to keep this library blog alive simply for library issues....hhmmmm.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
This was my favorite of the tasks...I mean, who doesn't love YouTube? From the moment one of my students told me I could watch Gummy Bears for free (back before Disney pulled things like that - of course you can still watch the theme song in Japanese.) I was hooked. I have never downloaded my own video, but I have a huge list of favorites. When searching for libraries or library or books, I expected to run into the same group everyone else had already reviewed, but I still found the variety to be sufficient. An early listing was my quick winner: Mr. Bean at the Library.
As a review, it was horrifying from the archivist standpoint. He starts with writing in the book, then he uses white-out, then he rips out pages, then he cuts out pages, etc. While Mr. Bean is always frustrating to watch, I found this clip to be endearing simply based on his library activities. It makes sense out of all the damaged items I've used in libraries over the years; to realize maybe we just had a few Mr. Beans lurking between the stacks!
Ok, so it's not much of a review since Mr Bean speaks for himself, but here is a small video I couldn't help adding since our March Madness ended so early:
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
I switched to this Google format quite some time ago, but it really has helped in the same way Bloglines has: by grouping some of my favorite news sources into one page. Another time and click saving option that also adds a bit of giggle to your day. It is very customizable and you can pick things such as weather, "Today in
History", "Art of the Day", "Word of the Day" or, my personal favorite, "Funny Cat Photos". What more perfect element is there for librarians than cat photos?! If you're having a cloudy day, these cute cat captioned photos will do the trick!
I signed up for this last night and everything seemed to go well. It was kind of interesting to see my blog ranked at the bottom of almost 5 million. It sure puts the blogging impact in perspective....we may like the writing or sharing....but few to share it with in reality. I really liked the feature of listing the most popular blogs by category...just to see what everyone is reading and searching out new additions to my bloglines feed list.
Besides Technorati, I also registered a while back with Blogflux. It's a nice browsable blog directory, but with one huge drawback: as they add more blogs, they start a new alphabetical list all over again at the end of the first...very frustrating! Blogflux claims to offer a lot of services such as stats, ranking, templates, hosting....all of the same things most blogging services offer, but Blogflux is still very much in the minor leagues as they only claim to feature a little over a hundred thousand blogs in their directory.
But for you Gardeners out there:
I have stumbled across Blotanical. This directory may not have a ton of blogs yet, but the concept is great! They display the gardening locations of the bloggers complete with clickable maps and each blogger listed has a plot of their own to leave messages, list favorite plants or plant expertise. Best of all, the browsing format is so user friendly it practically begs for a cup of hot tea and scone on a cold winters day as one dreams of the gardening season. Remember, below the equator, the gardening season is reversed, so when we are snowed in, they are ranting about their latest garden failure or success. The pictures alone are worth the browse. The popular listings have screen captures and descriptions of the blogs to better help you decide what kind of gardening blog looks promising.
Blinging the Blog:
I will admit to blinging my blog from day one because I love the magic of widgets. I learned about the Library Thing widget almost at the same time Blue 2.0 began so the timing was perfect. I also added my own counters and mapping systems, but I try not to bling too much since I don't want readers overwhelmed with the selection of widget choices. I have been to some blogs that require adjusting my focus just to see the blog posts. Simple, clutter free blogs are so much easier to read.
I do like the tagging option which I added fairly early and I also visited Feedburner to add a nice large RSS button on my blog....I don't understand why this wasn't an offered feature in Blogspot. However, Google just purchased Feedburner, so I would imagine this will be a feature VERY soon!
Just as a wrap up on the Second Life fun had by all the past two weeks:
While poking around Library Thing with their new local registry I noticed that they do have a Second Life Group to join.
Oh, and don't forget to add the official Linden Blog to your RSS feeds since they include important updates and tips!
But the Second Life exploration should really dictate we refer to the past two weeks of Blue 2.0 as Party Weeks since, as you can see below, there are librarians aplenty dancing the afternoon away at the grand opening celebration of Cybrary Island. Touted as a "global village for information professionals", they actually offer space for free in order to "build a more "global village" atmosphere and outreach to more international communities within the library and information science professions." So far, we haven't had the time to explore much of their concept, but they sure do know how to get librarians dancing....just ask the UK Island's Blue 2.0 explorers: Goffredo, Sifriya, All of Manni's Angels (with Manni in tow) and Genevra! Those Librarians sure can move!
Well, off to play in the snow...IF it gets here.
Have a good weekend!
Saturday, March 1, 2008
Innocence is an interesting word to use when describing life "inworld" as most of the main areas are open sewers of avatar porn....so in this instance I am referring to Second Life innocence in the sense of inexperience. From the moment of second birth, the learning process begins and hopefully never ends since educational events will continue to be opportunities for learning. In the first days, however, learning is much more physical in nature as you learn how to become an accomplished puppet master for your new avatar.
To prepare for the Second Life plunge I did some homework, which proved to be an invaluable asset in speeding up the inworld learning process. Ironically, one of first things I learned by accident was the original and morphed meanings of the word avatar (according to MSN Encarta):
1. Incarnation of Hindu deity: an incarnation of a Hindu deity in human or animal form, especially one of the incarnations of Vishnu such as Rama and Krishna. (This definition seems to have some bearing on the Second Life existence as the two main forms allowed from the beginning are human and animal - other forms such as space creatures or the Kool-Aid guy can be created or purchased later.)
2. Embodiment of something: somebody who embodies an idea or concept. (Ideas and concepts do seem to flow from these SL avatar puppet masters on a regular basis.)
3. Online image of somebody in virtual reality: a movable three-dimensional image used to represent somebody in cyberspace.
4. Computer games computer game persona: in computer games, a character or persona of a player with a graphical representation.
This long set of definitions is a great example of how our culture is changing from the inside out as technology becomes more and more ingrained in our daily processes.
My next element of homework included watching YouTube videos about what to expect including tips and tricks. I also reviewed the links set up on the Blue 2.0 post which were helpful as reference tools while playing.
One tip I will pass on that I learned while picking out a name for my avatar: all of the last names are provided by SL and should be looked at closely before selection. I was pleasantly surprised by the long list and while making a list of my favorites actually discovered an ancestral surname or two. This meant many of the names were normal....but before I selected the final last name for my avatar, I did a quick Google search...and was VERY glad I did. One of the last names that I had looked at was one letter away from a surname I knew, but that one letter made a difference in cultural slang. Just a word to the wise.
So my avatar, Sifriya Devin, was finally born on February 26th. SL was having some problems that night and into the next day as I did not receive a confirmation e-mail from them at conception and had to e-mail support to get the finishing step. I have learned that technical difficulties are fairly frequent in this program and even orientation island had to be left before completion of all four tasks due to these problems. I was assured by one of the SL mentors floating around orientation island that it was ok to move on to Help island if you experience difficulties....the key earned at the end is purely morale related to provide a happy moment of accomplishment and not needed to move on...or so the bright pink haired avatar informed me as she flew away.
I quickly learned that taking pictures is a very fun activity in SL. This is my avatar's first photo on orientation island. So far, I have not chosen the wild and crazy representation that many have went with, although I am building new manifestations and saving them in files as Beth instructed in her tip sheet. I may have went with a fairly normal person not unlike the generic girl that you can pick at the beginning (keep in mind when beginning the selection process that in order to arrive for the first time in orientation island in a fully clothed state, you should pick one of the avatar choice models or end up arriving in a naked unformed humanoid representation), although, each time I see her, I keep hoping they have automatic contacts in SL as the only glasses I have found so far are groucho glasses which, while giving everyone a good laugh, will not help me maneuver any better. If you see me stumble around inworld, I'll just blame it on a lack of glasses.
The next big area of discovery was UK Island....and I have to say I am very impressed! The library is amazing and I love the nature elements - the water garden in my favorite. Compared to the rest of SL, this is a fantastic place to practice being an avatar. Lots of room to move around, explore, get a free t-shirt, play in the sandbox (a place that allows you to build or open boxes you have received) and meet up with co-workers. This is a picture of my avatar with co-worker avatar Bambi Yokosuka on the front porch of the Niles Cabin. Several of us have thought the SL Young Library would be a great place to host the next departmental staff meeting!
I have not seen any educational events on UK Island this week, but am looking forward to the next offering! There are many other offerings within SL with the libraries being the most active places around. I am looking forward to the next Jane Austen discussion in Caledon....my dress is ready!
While waiting for events, I have taken the opportunity to explore the amazing things in SL. Some of my favorites have been 3D models of places we don't get to see everyday...mainly in places far away or non-existent in First Life. I have also enjoyed visiting other University representations such as UC, one of my old alumni haunts, and the many historical places that include lots of free clothes. Groups are a good way to keep abreast of the upcoming events by sending personal invitations. With so many library groups it is hard to keep up since SL limits group membership to 25. I will admit that one of the most fun things about SL is dressing my avatar in different outfits....much like the old days of dressing up Barbie!
While I wrap this post up, my avatar is lounging at a beach resort watching the sunset in Tel-Aviv. The beach is rather boring compared to the things my avatar has encountered this week. Here is a top ten of our most favorite moments:
10. Dancing the hula 25 times before finding out the SL tutorial was not going work no matter how many times I gave SD a shake.
9. Riding in the UK hot air balloon.
8. Getting a box stuck on my head while in a Budapest Synagogue. The only guy that saw my humiliation was an Anglican Monk...yes I said an Anglican Monk in a Jewish Synagogue - who was trying to convert me, but the box thing was getting in the way.
7. Realizing that long similarly colored pants are required under skirts to prevent embarassing moments when sitting down.
6. Dressing up in my blue Victorian dress and playing the piano on the UK School of music recital stage - complete with sunrise.
5. Walking around the back of an IDF soldier command post and encountering 3 Obama '08 posters in a garden.
4. Getting my picture taken with a giant Easter Bunny on the Piazza in Venice.
3. Sitting in SL Ireland and hearing a live music performance from FL Belfast.
2. Joining a SL Yeshiva taught by a Rabbi in Israel.
1. Touring a 3D model of the first century temple in Jerusalem and a SL version of the Kotel.
On to more fun and my next assignment....hope to see you "inworld" sometime!
CD aka SD
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
**Update: I did encounter an error in trying to publish to my blog. The pop-up box that requires you to enter your blog id and password also has a place to give the name of your blog and says that this allows the correct blog to be the post recipient. If this is not filled in Google states the program will select whichever blog it comes to first. Problem: I have more than one blog and the non-Blue 2.0 blog is listed first in my dashboard. I looked around for a place to switch the dashboard order, but couldn't find it.....so as an experiment, I allowed the Google Docs item to publish anyway. I didn't like it. The title was not in my nice bold print with designer color and my body font was not consistent with the rest of the blog posts. Being two Google items, I would have thought this process would have been more seamless. I assume it will become more seamless as time roles along, but for now Google Docs looks to be limited to group work or writing on the fly from a foreign computer.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
As for the optional task, I had already completed most of this one when I joined two years ago. Even after all of that time I still LOVE Library Thing! The widget was one of the first things I added to my blog from the first day of blog creation. The only thing I had not done was actually tag my books. I really hadn't seen a use for this since I knew all of the subjects I owned anyway, but after I got started it was handy to tag by century (for antique volumes) and by series since LT lists by title or author instead of keeping known groups together. It became quite addictive for a couple of evenings and I still didn't tag everything since some things just don't fit into a group I might want to access. I think the real joy was seeing my very own tag cloud....it had been depressing to see I didn't have one as I kept procrastinating about this task....thanks Blue 2.0 for giving me a tag kick in the pants!
And for Valentine's Day a special selection from my Library Thing collection:
Now on to Google Docs..... http://del.icio.us/ukilldd
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
My only beef with the wiki world seems to be an isolated nature of pbwiki that does not make the newly created pages all that easy to access once they have been added. I keep hoping for a bold or eye-catching menu but only see my new pages under recently edited pages or when I click to see all pages....some main menu from the home page listing the other pages would seem to improve usability if you are switching back and forth or accessing a lot of pages. Otherwise the experience was easy, just a bit awkward since I read wikis but rarely contribute. I will definitely keep this in mind when we have group projects.
P.S. An added note about the rss feeds....thanks to anonymous "winter blues" Crovo for reminding us about Outlook 2007 feeds already on our sidebar. I had looked at these and deleted what I didn't like but didn't realize how easy it was to add your favs to this feed instead of bloglines....one exception: I did have a weather blog that was added yet Outlook does not update or pull in any new posts. Bloglines treated this feed fine, but Outlook had trouble....again, maybe I just need to look at settings...just an fyi.
Happy Wiki Wednesday! (Sorry, couldn't resist)
Thursday, January 31, 2008
By the way, I was concerned that Bloglines would be a hassle since most account sites ask for the sign-in and password, even after you've told it to "remember me". But happily, bloglines did remember me and it really is just one click to see my list of multiple feeds....very nice way of corralling the herd of tech info!
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
As for the chat issue: This was considerably more difficult as I have been anti-AOL for years and they did not disappoint me with the multiple methods that this chat window appears - weird. I also encountered some of the errors others have commented about and it increased the completion time. After the trouble, I do have a chat account with AOL now, but MSN's IM has always been my preferred, so I think I will check into the Meebo thing to make things simpler.
Chow for now!
Friday, January 18, 2008