Thursday, June 18, 2009

Thing 6: Blog Readers

Signed up for Google Reader to keep track of some the 23 Things blogs. Also signed up for the "staff recommendations bundle." After a quick examination I dumped about half of the staff picks. The diversity of blogs is endless but the quality seems to be another matter.

The Google reader interface is attractive and easy to use. The Google mobile app on the iPhone looks great, too.

My initial reaction to the content available is that the amount of material out there is absolutely dizzying. As librarians one way we can help our patrons is to help them find their way through this maze of information.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Image Generators

The possibilities are endless, aren't they?
The Big Huge Labs site is a lot of fun.

Flickr Mashups

Way too much fun. No end to the possibilities with these apps.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Flickr: Cars, Guitars, and Buzzards

This was a fun one. I enjoyed flickr. (I must ask, though, why no "e"? Why must so many web apps be so hostile to spelling? Educators have it tough enough already, no?

I had fun with flickr (fn wth flckr...great) pouring over exterior and interior photos of libraries from around the world. I like the storage and easy sharing aspects, worthy of more investigation for sure. I created an account and posted a few pictures to get started:

I didn't check but I doubt there are other flickr pages with the tags: cars guitars buzzards, but that's just the photo trio I had handy. My car, two of my guitars, and a buzzard who decided to perch outside my office window recently for twenty minutes or so, staring into my office much of that time. Not the bird middle-aged men want hanging around, but its visit did make for some iPhone photo fun.

On top of that, I'm pretty sure just typing theses words:
"iPhone Buzzard Pics"

just created a little more work for a tireless Google bot somewhere, bless its pointy little, algebraic head.

Flickr mashups next time. Looks like special effects fun.

My photo mashup may star-- or not: The Buzzard.

Learning about Web 2.0

Trying to catch up on the 23 Things--have done some of the Things but haven't blogged about them yet. I read the articles and watched the videos on "Learning about Library 2.o" I found Tim O'Reilly's article to be the most informative. I found his description here to be helpful:

"Like many important concepts, Web 2.0 doesn't have a hard boundary, but rather, a gravitational core."

The article is four years old, but as my alter ego, the 1,047 year-old (we had a birthday last week) Scottish monk might remind us: The latest ain't always the greatest. He would also like to remind us that electronic storage is not stable and predicts someday we will be asking to borrow his quill and inkwell.

He's a bit of a humbug, that old monk.

In essence, it seems Web 2.0 should be used to help us share information with our colleagues and to help steer our students and patrons to better information sources. I guess we'll see how close we get to those goals by the time we're through with this experience.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sir Arthur Was Right

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

- Arthur C. Clarke

Alright, I admit it. Contrary to information found elsewhere on this blog, I'm not a 1,046 year old monk. I'm not writing from a scriptorium high in a mossy keep overlooking the dark, wind-strafed waters of the North Sea.

But it's an appealing scene, isn't it?

I think there's something compelling about trying to imagine living in those times, to experience the slowness of that long distant past. The scholarly, monastic life holds an allure in its sharply focused simplicity, a lifestyle so different from our fractured modern ways. No doubt this fascination partly explains the success of recent popular fiction set in the Middle Ages, and continued interest in the history of the time. More than most perhaps, we librarians today tend to be information-saturated, splintered, and thoroughly "e"-ified. Clarke knew, and his fellow futurists know, that keeping up with the accelerating rate of change is a constant struggle. Slipping into the known but still romantically mysterious past for a few hours can make an engaging techno-stress palliative.

A few days ago I bought a record album on my iPhone for the first time. I had downloaded songs with it over the last six months, and I have roughly 1,500 songs in my iTunes library, both on laptop and phone, but this was the first time I had downloaded an album wirelessly. I purchased Roman Candle's Oh Tall Tree in the Ear via the 3G network while talking on my office phone and answering work e mail.

And these thoughts occurred to me: My closet is filled with the musty records and tapes of my youth. My first car had an eight track player that I was very pleased to have, and I just bought a record album via satellite. I paid for the record wirelessly. It was delivered in minutes, also wirelessly, invisibly, to my phone. The record is now on my phone. When I leave the library, I will plug my phone into my car and listen to my new record as I drive home.

And I did.

Magic, indeed.

Sitting in my office, the revelation startled me so that I knocked Beowulf off my desk.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Old School. Really, Really, OLDE School.

What be this "web 2.0" of which my esteemed colleagues speak? Is it akin to a hand loom or a butter churn? Doth it burn wood for fuel? I know not even if it be animal, vegetable, or mineral. Can it be seen with the human eye? Or might it exist in the province of magick? Hath our Holy Father endorsed the use of "web 2.0" for all believers? Is its span many cubits? If so, mayhaps it resembles the thick castle walls that protect us from the fury of the Norsemen. Conversely, might "web 2.0" fit in one of the small ink wells on my desk?

It is with a mixture of dread and excitement I ponder these questions in the gathering gloom. I anticipate much learning of this thing will flow in the days to come. But for now I must go--darkness falls fast here in the scriptorium, and my candles are almost spent. Rest ye well, fellow acolytes, and I pray to find that this "web 2.0" is used only for the Goode.