Monday, April 2, 2007

#10...Image Generators

OK, so it was not quite the end after all, but close.... So I have gone back to exercise #10 to look at image generators. It was probably seeing Marvin Martian that caught my eye! I went into a few of the generators but it was not clear just what steps to follow to work with them, also I found all the advertising very distracting. I realize advertising is part of the raison d'etre for some of these sites, but it is very difficult to follow the text when most of it ends up being a link to an ad or else lots of pastel thingies are popping up and flying around while you are trying to focus.
But I persevered and ended up using Comic Strip Generator . I was able to manipulate that one, although I did get a little confused while trying to change fonts, colors , margins etc. With some of the options it seemed that once they were set it was stubborn about letting me change them again, but I assume it is just my unfamiliarity with the site and some of the terminology. But here is my result....and why it ended up on top of this page I do not not know. Obviously I have not mastered placement of these photos, but at least I remembered how to upload them (after a few tries I have to admit...) But I did change the title of this picture, although I could not get the color to work in the title. The caption was simple to color, but not so simple to change the font and settings to fit into the balloon. Clearly I have a ways to go, but it was fun to play with. And this old cartoon with the singing, dancing frog has always been one of my favorites!

In fact, I am going to place him again, and see if I can get him where I want him this time. No, he is still at the top of the page!!!. He may not have a sense of humor, but he has a will of his own, that little frog, I will have to review this placement issue again when I have more time.
Now I am navigating away from singing frogs and back to the more mundane world of wikis.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

this is the end,......

Exercise # 15 and 16. Well, it is 4:40 on March 28. I am on vacation tomorrow and still have a lot of things I wanted to get done today. So this may be my last blog about these exercises (I just saw the email with the extension, maybe this is my next to the last?!) Anyway I read through some of the Perspectives on Web 2.0 in exercise 15 and began reading about the Wikis in exercise 16. Actually, they are beginning to blend together. (I was trying to read through them at the service desk and it turned out to be a more busy hour than I expected, so I kept getting interrupted.) I recall that one of the wikis took me to a discussion of "beta" programs which was informative, some of my more tech savvy co-workers will often discuss something being in a beta state, and now I have more specific info. about what that actually means.

I want to read up more about the Wikis and how they are put together. We are beginning to discuss having one for departmental information so that seems more pertinent to my work assignment at this time. One of the articles about Wikis did mention that some people have concerns about quality control. It said that if you are a person to whom control is important then a Wiki may not be for you. That statement puzzled me, I assume there must be Wikis that still have some sort of control...otherwise for certain purposes they may be useless. For instance, if we are going to have a Wiki for library information that is given out to our patrons there has to be some entity that ensures the information is correct. For example, if somebody decides to change a telephone number, or a contact person, but their info. is incorrect...where does that leave us? So I will have to delve into this further and find out what type of Wiki would work best for our dept.

So I have rushed through this post, which I thought would be my last one. It may not make much sense. But maybe I can look it over on Monday and edit. Bye for now...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Thing 15...perspectives on Web2.0

I have read part of this...Away from Icebergs and Into a New World of Librarianship, and a few of the others. The section on Into a new World ...was interesting. It does make me chuckle a bit also, because it addresses librarians' using Web 2.0 and such tools as Instant Messaging, Weblogs, etc. For some time now some of our librarians have complained (some quite vociferously) about our Student Assistants use of just those tools, especially Instant Messaging, on the computers. When I have tried to explain that it is a new generation and that is what they have grown up with and that is how they communicate etc I think it has often fallen on deaf ears. Now the libarians are going to have to learn to use those programs themselves. Perhaps the Student Assistants can give them some pointers.

Yesterday (3/27) a number of support staff and students in our department began figuring out how to use the MYLO Personal Communicator that we are going to begin using at the Reference Desk, (and eventually in other departments?) to contact the floor assistants. For many of the students IM is nothing new, but some of us had never done it so we were experimenting with setting up the Google Talk account that we will share and practiced messaging back and forth. We were also discussing how this new system will work at the desk since we are changing it this coming Monday, with very little time to work out any of the bugs and to let all the desk staff know how to use it. So we all spent quite a while with that, which meant that I was unable to do much of anything with Web 2.0. But I figure that the MYLO and IM is hands-on and immediate technological training. I will continue with Learning 2.0 on my own, but obviously I will not be finishing by March 30. But I still intend to try and read the WIKI section today! (And I know how to do colors too...)

Friday, March 23, 2007

RSS Feeds

March 23: This is exercise 8. Last week I went ahead and began reading about the RSS feeds and I watched the Cnet video. Just now I looked over the Palinet Tutorial two times, just to be sure I was following all the terms correctly. I though the tutorial was very good and I found the information and screen shots very helpful for an introduction. We will see what happens when I actually try to go into blogline and subscribe to feeds.
I just read the next tutorial (Betterdays, Using Bloglines Tutorials) and found it a little more difficult to follow, I went back through it a few times. I set up my bloglines account and began scanning different feeds, before I decided to subscribe to the Onion. It appears to have worked. Enough for today, I am on vacation on Monday and will get back to this Tuesday.

Tuesday, march 27.
I tried to subscribe to one of the Mercury News Feeds, just by copying the URL, and it did not work. I thought one of the tutorials had said not to worry about URL's with html language that begin XML, but when I went to look at it in Bloglines there was nothing there for that feed. My coworker came in at that point and told me she had done it just by pasting the name in (she also told me the listing from the Mercury looked different than when she used it, but that is what we tried and it worked.) So now I have two RSS feeds on my Bloglines.

I find what I am doing now is rushing through these exercises and feeling stressed, but not really absorbing the information. I will continue to read through the information in the exercises, but obviously I am not going to finish by March 30. I am only here today and tomorrow and have a lot of other things to do. So I will continue to go through this tutorial on my own time, (assuming that it will remain accessible,) and I think I will get more out of it that way.

Later I will go back and look at some of the other RSS feeds that are out there. Maybe I will look at Syndic8 that the tutorial mentioned. I can see how they can be valuable and I know some of the online databases have a similar function. But for now I am going to skip ahead and go the section on Wiki's.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Another attempt

Well, I am going to try to link to another webpage again. I will try a different webpage and see if that makes a difference.

And it looked like it was there, I was even able to preview the link... but then when I tried to save it I got a message saying I could not save it because of missing tags.

So here is another attempt:

and here it is with just cutting and pasting...but when I tried to do the same thing using the link button that did not seem to work. So I am confused as to when you use one or the other. Are they always interchangable.

(March 23, Now that I have attended the drop in workshop I am having more success in linking photos and URL's)

Anyway, the above photo is one I found when I was looking for information about local farmers (local to where I live...Santa Cruz county) and I found this website where someone had posted their photos of farms. This one (EllaBella) is only a few miles from me. I have driven past it a number of times and now I know who they are, and yes it is a very pretty spot. Now that it is Spring in my area, and it is still daylight when I drive home, I am noticing more of what is in bloom, soon it will be the apple orchards!

There are a number of new animals that I could not see before because it was too dark when I passed by, numerous baby goats, lambs, calves and some foals. It is this time of year that makes my long commute seem worth it! And obviously my mind is not on technology and web 2.0.
But I need to push on with RSS feeds. I need to go through all of this by March 30, and I am only here for two days next week. (It is spring break after all...). I am going to try to read as much as I can and do some of basic exercises, because there just is not enough time to do them all, especially if I got bogged down like I did in Flickr. But on comparing notes with many people there are all coming to the same conclusion.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

I'm not even sure where I am anymore...

I am just sort of bouncing around through these exercises. On Monday (3/12)I started going through the section on RSS feeds. So I have begun exercise #8. But I realized tody that I had not finished with some of the earlier exercises. So just now I went back into exercise #7 and posted a comment to a co-workers blog. It took a while but I was finally able to get it to work. I was beginning to get very frustrated because I kept getting the message that my password was incorrect and I was trying over and over. One of my co-workers came over and we went through it step-by-step and it appears that it was simply that I was using a comma in my user name instead of a period. Isn't that one of the joys of using all of this computer technology...trying to keep all your passwords, PINs, logons, etc all straight.

Also, I thought I had not discussed anything technology related yet, as we are to do in exercise #7...but I realize that I just did that to a certain extent in the paragraph above. I referred to the frustrations of trying to keep everything straight, and how it seems that you try something that you know should work and cannot figure out why it will not , until someone else points out something simple that you may have missed, like a punctuation point. I experience that often in my work in the library since I work with the public quite a bit. Often there is a simple solution to their problems, like using a correct password, checking a URL, etc. Sometimes the technology issues are not so simple, like the patron who decides they want to buy and sell on Ebay , but have never used a computer, have no email address, etc, and want someone to sit down with them and go through it step by step. Those are the challenging moments!

And now I am going to jump back to exercise #6. Early on I discovered the Flickr Colr Pickr by Jim Bumgardner and I have enjoyed playing with that. I like the fact that he says it is basically just a toy, I was trying to figure out if there was a step I was missing in it's use...I just enjoyed the colors and the photos they lead into, but his comment reassured me that my rather useless use of it was just fine!

Here is the Colr Pickr site:

Well, I guess not. I cannot get it to link properly. I can see it in the Edit Html version, but in Preview it is just a blank space. So I am missing a step, and I have to say that the help instructions from Blogger leave something to be desired!!. They are a bit sketchy. There is probably something obvious that I have missed. But at this point I am not going to worry about it because I do not want to get bogged down (or blogged down?) in this one exercise. I will try to attend the drop-in workshop that is being held next week. I started this on Monday and this is Friday I calling it quits for now.

Update on 3/21...I went to the drop-in workshop and Sandra was just looking this over with me. She was able to get the Flickr Colr Pickr URL to load (which is why it is now linked above) and I think she was able to explain what might have gone wrong before. At least it made sense when she explained it...we will see how much I of it I comprehend when I am on my own again.

I have managed to attach a photo from Flickr...I think I was on the right track last week. It is just that everytime I tried to preview this photo to see if it linked I kept getting a dire warning that I had "unsaved changes" and I thought I would lose everything if I continued. Sandra just told me that the warning is not as dire as it appears, to go ahead and exit and see if the link is there...and it is. That is one thing about working with unfamiliar programs..sometimes you get messages that sound like there could be great consequences if you proceed...and actually there are none. I guess it is when you think everything is going fine that you suddenly lose all your information.

But enough of pondering the evil intentions of some technologies (and this could still be considered exercise #7)... The following picture is of a shade of blue that I intend to paint my from door. I love deep blue doors, and I plan to paint mine this summer. I had a new front porch with a roof and columns put on last year and last summer I spent a great of time painting them. It was a very time-consuming and detailed job, but I am very happy with it and now I would like to repaint the entire house (maybe I will get to it after I retire?)
But a little here and a little there. I actually have paint this color far I have painted two benches and an old cement bird bath with it...I am slowly working up to the door.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

again with exercise #5...still trying to post image to Flickr

Here are the two pictures I found in Flickr. They are of the original J. Paul Getty Museum in Malibu. These were taken by Maveric2003 and are quite beautiful. I was impressed by how many photos of the Getty are in Flickr...and by how many photos in general that maveric2003 posts. There are some people out there who really spend a lot of time on this.

The reason I chose to look at pictures of the Getty musuem is because I planned to go there this spring. I was there over 10 years ago, just before they closed it for renovations...and it is a wonderful place, and the musuem's collection is not too bad either, (although it appears a lot of it was collected in not the most legitimate circumstances, but that is the world of high finance and antiquities) Say what you will about old J. Paul and what a $%&**# he was, he had good taste and the money to support it. I had plans to go there this Spring, but due to circumstances that I will not bore you with they fell apart, so I am living vicariously through Flickr.

I asked my coworker "Sailing Through L2.0" to help me with this because I knew she had passed this point in the exercises. Apparently when I tried last week I was on the right track, but was missing a step somewhere, so she sat down with me and we went through it again...with success this time! She has been helping many in our office with this project.