Sunday, 28 January 2007

Things 20-23 Podcasts, Video & Downloadable audio

The following is a quote from the 2003 Environmental Scan from the OCLC. Nice to know that my theme in these blogs had a good basis. In this case the report is reminding us that asking the right question is more important than asking a lot of questions.

“The answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything—as given by the supercomputer Deep Thought to a group of mice in Douglas Adams’s comic science fiction series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy—is 42.

According to the Guide, mice are 3-dimensional profiles of a pan-dimensional, super-intelligent race of beings. They built Deep Thought, the second greatest computer of all time and space, to tell them the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything. After seven and a half million years the computer divulges the answer: 42.

‘Forty-two!’ yelled Loonquawl. ‘Is that all you’ve got to show for seven and a half million years’ work?’

‘I checked it very thoroughly, said the computer, and that quite definitely is the answer. I think the problem, to be quite honest with you, is that you’ve never actually known what the question is.’”


Thing 20: Discover YouTube

Had also been familiar with YouTube and already had an account. The video I wanted to find is no longer there. But you can find it here.

Liked this one from the Hubble space telescope. Absolutely awsome. Try getting your head around it...

Also thought these Quick Change Artists were worth a look.

Thing 21: Podcasting

As a consequence of my lengthy commute each day, and the daily exposure to the possibility of speed cameras, I needed something to occupy my head while driving. Radio didn't cut it. My phone was a Motorola Razr V3i. I discovered that the "i" stood for iTunes! It had a built-in iTunes player. I installed the PC program and went looking for podcasts in my areas of interest. Now I can load up the phone with 14 hours of listening and drive to and from work in a way that does not involve "press on" driving and associate tickets.

My podcast selection includes several items from
Radio National: Ockham's Razor, The Philosopher's Zone, Big Ideas, The Health Report, The Science Show and Enough Rope. Astronomy podcasts include Universe Today, Slackerpedia Galactica, Science @ Nasa, and Astronomy Cast. General interest area include CSIROpod, Brains Matter, The Physics of Sex, and the Fall 2006 General Psychology course from a uni in the USA.

I also found a podcast called Skepticality. It had two presenters, Derek and Swoopy. I was catching up on their podcasts from 2005. To my great surprise, around November 2005 Derek had suffered a stroke and the response was quite amazing. So much support came pouring in and Swoopy rose to the occasion. Over a year on, Derek refers to booting his Brain 2.0! His language faculties may never be the same, but the show is still excellent. Skepticality is now the official podcast of Skeptic Magazine.

Three other podcasts, more in the area of social commentry were
Logically Critical, Quick Hitts and Road Rage. I'd found several sites through one referencing another.

One episode of Logically Critical on Gay Marriage really shows how much we discriminate against minorities. Just amazing.

Dave Hitt is a cranky old bastard who nevertheless makes a hell of a lot of sense. Much of his venom is rightly directed at the nonsense that passes for politics in the USA. He points accurately at how people fail to think clearly in so many matters.

AJ from Road Rage had a magazine style program with snippets of news from around the world, but mainly from the USA and his local area around Maine. It was surprizingly engaging. I'd been listening to all of these podcasts gradually working my way through to the current one. So it was another shock to hear from Dave Hitt of the death of AJ from Road Rage! Heart attack. I hadn't realised that I had just listened to the last Road Rage episode that there would ever be.

I bought an MP3 player recently, a Sansa E280. Used by my lovely lady Lorraine. Very sexy little device. I used Windows Media Player (WMP) to load it with goodies. I can still use MP3s from iTunes, but have to use WMP to load them. And the WMP interface really sucks.

The main library podcast seems to be from the SirsiDynix Institute one. And we may have our own Library featured in an upcoming episode. Stephen Abrams' podcast on 25 Technologies in 50 minutes actually takes an hour and is most relevant to our Learning 2.0 program.

Thing 22: Audiobooks

Had also played in this area before. I'd downloaded the chapters of Alice in Wonderland. Started listening to them and discovered to my horror that they were read by different people. That wasn't too bad until you got someone who was a pretentious git and whose voice made you want to hurl.

The alternative was books "read" by computer generated speech. This is not much better, but is at least consistent through out the book. The one I tried was Tarzan of the Apes.

I think we's all prefer audiobooks that are read by a human. The same one for a complete book. That, or a much improved computer voice.

Thing 23: Summarise my thoughts on this program.

It's been a great program. It forced me to look at a number of pieces of technology that I had read about or knew of, but had never played with. And there were a few pieces I did not know about. It's been quite time consuming. I thought I would work through it faster than I have. I don't consider myself proficient in most of the areas covered, but at least the fog is thinner now. Biggest problem is the proliferation of accounts and the need to keep track of them.

It's 11:25PM on the last day that I have to finish this. Procrastination has been alive and well for me. I hope whoever wins the laptop, enjoys it. The odds are really good for a worthy prize.

So finally to the quote from Sir Winston Churchill: "Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."

Things 18-19 Online Applications & Tools

Arthur: Normality? We can talk about normality until the cows come home.
Ford: What is normal?
Trillian: What is home?
Zaphod: What're cows?

Douglas Adams: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy


Thing 18:

Created the Zoho account. This was all pretty easy. Even installed the Zoho plugins for Microsoft Office. All worked well and had started formatting a document with headings and a table. Then I started getting "error on page" from IE. Grrr. Shut down everything and started again.

I've already used Google's Docs and Spreadsheets. I used one to document the printers we have within YPRL. While handy for sharing and collaboration, the functionality is far far short of what I expect and what I use regularly. Especially for spreadsheets. For example, there is only a limited subset of Excel commands available, no array formulae, and no charting ability. Good effort, but no cigar. I used the Publish as html feature to obtain the link under the word printers above. I do like the ability to publish to PDF and other formats.

Thing 19:

Selected HipCal from the list. Unfortunately, as a web based calendar, I wasn't impressed. Once again, I'd already had a play with Google's calendar.

Things 16-17 Wikis

Arthur Dent: It's a big-biggy Ford, a big-biggy! I mean what if it rips us all into tiny little atomic partical things?
Zaphod: This is the right one! I have a hunch!
Ford: [smiling] His hunches are good! Arthur! I say we go!
Arthur Dent: Go with a hunch of a man who's brain is fueled by lemons?

Douglas Adams Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy


Thing 16

Ahhh wikis. Love wikipedia. Even made a correction to an entry once. Don't remember what.

The online communities success stories is a good guide to how our library may use wikis to get more involved in the community.

We will soon have a wiki on the YPRL intranet and it will be very interesting to see how it evolves. I think it will have to be restricted for staff use. I see security and containment of malicious content to be an issue for any community wikis we set up. Who polices these things? Apart from that, and being mainly internally focused, I feel wikis will be a boon to documentation and keeping policy and procedures up to date and relevant.

Set up my own PBwiki but once again ran out of time to play with it enough.

Thing 17

Created an account and added my blog to the PLCMC Learning 2.0 wiki. See Slartibartfast in the Australian section. Resisted the urge to correct some other syntax challenged entries. Also added the Austronomy Picture of the Day to their Favorite Websites page. All very easy and quite cool. Have wanted to play with wikis ever since I first heard about them a few years ago. Now's my chance.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Things 13-15 Tagging, Folksonomies & Technorati

Arthur Dent: I'm sorry, did you just say you needed my brain?
Fook: Yes, to complete the program.
Arthur Dent: Well, you can't have it, I'm using it!
Fook: Hardly.

Douglas Adams: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy


Thing 13:

Not impressed initially with Adding the tags to internet explorer caused it to hang on opening. And that was messy to fix. Did eventually get it working.

Went through the Us.ef.ul "A beginner's guide to The Next Big Thing" page and it became obvious that there is more to than can be quickly absorbed.

I've been using Google Bookmarks for some months and find them invaluable. I move between 4 different PCs. So the "bookmarks kept on the web" concept was quite familiar. But it doesn't have the social, sharing features of I created an account and had a play. Loaded my internet explorer bookmarks into Very interesting to see how much was bookmarked in common with others. And more interesting to see the other related links that they had which I did not have.

Saw how to add my tags to my blog, but did not do so. Need time to clean them up first. This whole area is too big to look at in one afternoon. Need more time on this one...

Thing 14:

First, claiming the blog for Technorati => Technorati Profile

Then adding the Blogger and Technorati buttons and search box. See the items at lower right.

Added YPRL as a keyword.. and an automating ping for Technorati. Found this blog in Technorati as expected after a delay of several minutes.

Thing 15:

Read all five of the "perspectives". Particularly liked the "chain of meaning" "from commodity to product to service to experience" analogy with coffee from Dr. Wendy Schultz in her Infinite Futures piece. She not only speaks well on Library 1.0 and 2.0, she talks for the first time in my experience about Library 3.0 and 4.0. Absolutely love her concept of the knowledge spa. Wonderful imagery. Hopefully the world will get itself educated, with our help of course, to the level required to realise it.

Also found and it looks like this has useful views on what we should have in our future SOE for YPRL.

Friday, 26 January 2007

Things 10-12 Play Week

Marvin: I think you ought to know I'm feeling very depressed.
Trillian: Well, we have something that may take your mind off it.
Marvin: It won't work, I have an exceptionally large mind.
Trillian: Yeah, we know.
Douglas Adams: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Had also played with a couple of generators before...

LibraryThing is terrific! Very impressive. Managed to catalog about 90 books.

I'm a devout practicing skeptic. I'll believe. Just show me the evidence. So my Rollyo searchroll is Skeptic.

Sunday, 24 December 2006

Things 8-9 RSS & Newsreaders

Marvin: I've been talking to the main computer.
Arthur: And?
Marvin: It hates me.
Douglas Adams: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I already had a Bloglines account.

Hadn't used it that much but managed to add this blog to the feed.

Then added the Yarra Plenty Online Learning feed. And others as per the exercise.

This then is my Bloglines feeds list.

So to the questions:
(1) What do you like about RSS and newsreaders? One word - Convenience.
(2) How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your work or personal life? Only as an end user at this stage. Will have to give more thought to how we can use this as a developer of content.
(3) How can libraries use RSS or take advantage of this new technology? The obvious answers are pushing out information on new loan items, events, and possibly to notify of items that are on hold for a patron.

The problem with having better search engines for blogs etc., is that you have to have the time to read all of them. I've added the Astronomy Picture of the Day site to my bloglines account, as well as a couple of other sites.

Things 5-7 Photos & Images

Slartibartfast: Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I think that the chances of finding out what's actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day.
Arthur Dent: And are you?
Slartibartfast: Ah, no. [laughs, snorts] Well, that's where it all falls down, of course.
Douglas Adams: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Hey, Flickr was better than expected. Picasa is good but addresses different areas.

Uploaded a couple of pictures.

Mapr was not worth while due to its USA only centricity.

Found a mashup that was quite cool: Described as: a musical realization of the motion graphics of John Whitney as described in his book "digital harmony". Wonderful combination of the visual and musical.

For a discussion of technology, I think that the fictional one called the Somebody Else's Problem field is well worthy of consideration.

Signature below courtesy of Spell with Flickr.