Okay, I'll buy that. Still not sure I am sold on it for personal usage, but I very much see how it would be useful in a classroom and with the blogging workshop I am to attend. Speaking of the workshop, we were all issued invitations to post as well as comment on the facilitator blog. That makes the whole thing more useful in my estimation. What good is a collaborative blog workshop when attendees can not post questions, comments, and issues we hope to raise?
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
About those tags. If you choose a tag others are using, you then are able to see the sites tagged alike. Is this about having your own favorites list? About sharing your favorites list? Or about creating a community where you can find things you like?
Here are a few tag samples. Keep in mind they have to be single word descriptors:
Speaking of time, I read today that a blog is created every second of the day.
A blog is abandoned every two seconds.
Monday, May 22, 2006
It appears to be a way to create or duplicate, for want of a better description, your Internet 'favorites' file online so they may be accessed from any computer. You are able to create tags, again similar to folders in your favorites, and organize your lists. Furthermore, it seems if I use the same tag as created by others in the workshop, we will be able to compile a composite listing of web pages and information. Cool. I created an account this evening but will wait to download the tagging options until I'm using my work computer. Most of the blogging favorites I have are on that computer and include more resources (articles, etc.) than my bloglines account.
Had an interesting first this afternoon while posting to a list serv. Discussion was abound concerning podcasting and uses within academic/public libraries. Someone asked if anyone had suggestions as to how this technology could be used. I sent along some simple ideas that could be used not only as podcasts, but also as audio files within a web page. The respondent right after my post (and I mean right after, it was no more than five minutes) gave me a bit of a smack on the knuckles for my overly simplistic view of audio use and mentioned the practices I suggested had been in use by various libraries for years. They were not actually podcasts if they were lacking rss feed and immediate download to a device.
Ouch. Color me chagrined.
Way to embarrass your peers. To be fair, I'm pretty sure the gentleman in question just figured I was pretty clueless based on my response. And maybe he was correct in that assumption. But ... and that's a bit but ... there are more subtle ways to respond. Interestingly enough, several of the list comments after that were focused on how nice it was that people were using the list to share ideas. Uh-huh.
On a happier note, the rain stopped and it was time to make fudge. Can't make fudge and/or caramels if there is too much humidity. Don't usually make fudge when it isn't Christmas. It's a holiday treat. I was unable to make it home for Mother's Day, so I decided a yummy treat was in order.
Now if I can only stay out of the confection until vacation begins at the end of the week.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
- Searching with Google, blogs came up first because of the rate of posting. The more you post, the higher up the chain your results appear. Five out of ten of the results on the first page were blog related. This wasn't all that unexpected since the blogs are on Blogger. But I was surprised to see what blog was listed first and that they beat out entire web sites because of their updated content.
- The Internet never forgets. I've seen list serv's from 2003 forward, but was surprised this afternoon to see an email sent to a list serv in 1999. Luckily my comments were professional, especially seeing as posting to the list was simply a grad class assignment. Makes you wonder how long posting may follow you around.
- Blogs came up first only when I used Google. Using different search engines - Ask.com, Hotbot, or Yahoo - it took a lot longer to find the blog entries. Again, maybe not so much of a shock when the blogs are blogger hosted.
Big brother might not be watching, but he sure has a long memory.
Friday, May 19, 2006
It sure felt like six days on the road as I was stuck in the car driving five hours today to and from an IG workshop (see notes to self). Rained the whole way down through Columbus and even worse as I headed over towards Dayton. Even driving like the wind I was late arriving. We adjourned in time to hit rush hour traffic on the way back. It's always amazing to me when I see people reading/talking on the cell phone/having dinner/and all sorts of things in addition to driving 75 miles an hour on a four lane highway. And yes, the lady reading did frighten as I watched her big ole suv with some trepidation as it weaved around the white lines.
Nothing exceptional to report today.
The Pirates are playing the Indians so I'm headed to watch the rest of the baseball game while recovering on the sofa eating pretzels. Heck, it's already the 5th inning.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
"I haven't quite made up my mind whether some people's evident fear of or subservience to technology is genuine, or simply a convenient excuse for doing something or, more often, not doing anything."
The entry continues with interesting anecdotes from the author concerning customer service (an oxymoron if there ever was) and technology. But, it can easily be applied to people in work places who don't know how to use technology and don't want to learn how to use technology. If you know how to use it, someone may ask you to do so.
Maybe not such a foolish policy in afterthought.
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Two insights at the beginning of the chapter caught my attention:
The blogging I do here is simply for my enjoyment. Blogs I do at work are of a professional nature, but they do reflect my personality and what I want to convey to the reader. Additionally, my work/professional blogs deal with library and education topics that benefit from looking closely at marketing of the institution. Teachers considering blogs for the classroom need to remember to be themselves as well or the blog could fail simply because it isn't a true reflection of their goals. Education is an outcome based marketing business.
"No one wrote the official blogging rule book. There are no blogging police, and you can do just about anything you want with your blog" (Scoble/Israel, p.149).
"One simple rule for doing it right is be real. If you are going to blog, be authentic. Keep your conversations naked. Let people know who you are and where you are coming from"(Scoble/israel, p. 149).
Oh, why is it obvious this book is a great lunchtime companion? Do you have any idea how many second glances you get when reading a book titled Naked Conversations? It always takes a while for other lunch diners to notice the subtitle. Clever and subtle marketing ploy? You be the judge.
Monday, May 15, 2006
- Don't try to play the little outguess the gas price game with your local gas station early in the week. You snooze, you lose.
- Don't get gas at the local gas station that carries Krispy Kreme doughnuts, you are weak. Yes, I know how weird it sounds to get doughnuts at a gas station, but you get over it when the cravings every six months or so just simply get to much to ignore.
- Just step away from the display.
- When giving a conference evaluation to teachers and librarians, be doubly sure you have checked your spelling and use of words (here/hear). They will find the mistake. They will point it out numerous times on the form when returning the evaluation. Some will use the infamous red pen to correct the error.
- If asking open ended questions and requesting comments and/or feedback from the same group, be prepared for the results. This falls under the old adage, be careful what you wish/ask for ...
- Reading books on blogs? Be sure not to check out too many titles at the same time so they all don't blur together.
- Try to remember and renew your books. Having overdue fines when working the library where you checked them out is just wrong. Shame.
- When people keep asking you if you are staying overnight before a Friday workshop, it's probably a good idea to actually check where the workshop session is located.
- Don't get too snarky with the real extate agent before she finds you an apartment.
- Do laundry instead of playing with the blog.
On another note: It's gone. I'm no longer a spam blogger.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
Packing up after the conference this afternoon we were collecting evaluations and chatting about the cookies and brownie plates provided. While discussing if we really should indulge in yet another sweet treat, someone posed this important question:
If no one sees you eat the cookie, does it count?
I guess more specifically "Blogger's spam-prevention robots have detected that your blog has characteristics of a spam blog." Sigh. Seems because I'm adding links within my postings (that's how we get to more information!) and links to the side bar (ditto), it is suspect. This is the second time I have had to deal with a "false positive" on the spam blog merry-go-round. One of my blogs at work, an update posting new books of all things, was target by the automated system. Since I've also been targeted before by blog-by posting from spam itself, I understand the need. But it is annoying.
Well, now I must go use word verification before posting.
Friday, May 12, 2006
Oh, I didn't mention the rain?
All last week the weather here was FABULOUS. Today, of course, we get rain, rain, and more rain as everyone is having to traverse the conference venue. Everyone was a really good sport about the whole thing. But hey, we can plan and control only so much.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
The planning committee is made up of a diverse group of people. Seeing to a few details this evening - ones that were important to me and not so important to others - I was feeling a bit cranky. I tried to remember that we were all different and that was a good thing to help get a more well rounded outcome (uh-huh). But I was still pretty pissy. The longer I thought, the more irritation I felt, and the more my feet started to hurt. But, it jogged a grad school memory about personality in a library management class.
Why? Was it just a nasty grad school flash back? Nah, I liked grad school for the most part. Must have been something else ...
Anyway, the precursor to a class discussion one week was taking a Myers Briggs personality indicator. I had taken one five years prior and was curious to see if my 'personality' had changed or shifted over this time frame as I had undergone a career change (it hadn't, I was just better adapted at knowing myself by this time). We walked into class the next week and were assigned groups. Unbeknownst to the class, we were placed in groups with other people just like us. The class was given a library management issue to debate and present results to the class after discussion was finished. One group got little or nothing accomplished because they were simply chatting to each other. Another group looked into the issue pretty deeply and didn't really make any decisions. My group? We started a list detailing how we would manage this issue and keep it from happening again by having some sort of guideline established. While it was easy to work in a group full of people like myself, we missed some of the big picture by focusing on the details.
What would have happened if each group had all types of personalities? Could we have accomplished more than our result list? Probably. It may have taken longer and there would undoubtedly have been a lot more discussion involved. One thing led to another and I began thinking on my drive home this evening. We, the planning committee, are all at the collective end of our rope. A bit snarky with it at that. But how successful would the planning have been if we all thought alike and wanted the same things? Could the result have been a poorly planned one-dimensional offering?
My brain is active and the body exhausted, thoughts are swirling haphazardly, so this led to another issue concerning blogs. I remember discussions on different blogs regarding the idea of people who 'get' blogs and those who 'don't get it.' Does that have anything to do with personality type? Is there one, or more, type of personality who are prone to blog? Does the ambiguous nature of the blog help those who are more introverted feel safe posting from home?
Naturally, I had to search out more info on the MBTI. Here goes:
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Later, I am reading comments on two different author blogs where readers are discussing the long waiting list for their favorite new title AND lost/stolen library books. Must be some bad book return juju going on this week. I started thinking about the varied excuses and reasons given for returning late and lost books to a library.
Surely someone has compiled a list!
Of course they have, here are but a few:
Tuesday, May 09, 2006
Monday, May 08, 2006
In fact, the first line says "If you came here expecting to see a copule of middle-aged white guys taking in the nude, you've come to the wrong book" (Scoble, p.1). I must admit to a bit of relief.
What book? The entire title is: Naked conversations: How blogs are changing the way businesses talk with customers. While I am still reading the other blog book, Blogs, Wikki's and Podcasts, the business blog book showed up on the cataloging cart last week. Since the technical services librarians allow us to tag books we want to read, often before they hit the shelves, I grabbed this one. Heck, they will even check them out for us, talk about service! A library is in the business of providing customer service as much as any other mainstream business. Sometimes more so as people continue to babble about the decline of library usage by patrons.
Obviously people who are never in a library. Please.
I am interested in the premise of the book. I was only able to get to chapter 2 at lunch today (too much gossip too little reading), but learned about the "evil empire" Microsoft and how employee blogging helped to change consumer perception. Much of what has been discussed may be applied to academics and education.
If interested, this post title links to the book's accompanying blog. And, in case anyone wonders, the tin can telephone is a nod to the cover art.
Clip art: http://school.discovery.com/clipart
Sunday, May 07, 2006
User stats are provided by blogger that indicate the number of times my profile is viewed. While I consider these somewhat inconclusive, I don't have any counters or other tracking attached to the blogs, looking today I find a couple of interesting things. I've had this blog since April 2006 and blogger profile views are at 74. I can't imagine 74 people being that interested in my profile, but there you go. The number jumps oddly, Wednesday it was 58 and this afternoon 74. I haven't posted that many times here, or on any other blogs with this user name, to elicit 16 people to be that interested in me in a couple of days. Hence my skepticism with the tally. Still, it is something to consider.
I have three professional blogs and I fourth where I am a contributor or team member. These have been on blogger since May, 2005. There are a total of 98 profile views and these numbers are significantly less at approximately 8 per month than the other at 37 per month. Keep in mind this is only the 7th day of my second month here. So, I will ruminate on a few conclusions:
- The professional blogs all have my name and necessary employment information on the main page of the blog. Unless you are interested in what other blogs I am utilizing, the profile is not needed.
- The professional blogs are of a professional nature. I know this seems repetitive, but with the exception of the newest review blog, most are simply easy 'what's new' type blogs. The blog topic and affiliation is more important than the blog author.
- With the exception of one of the professional blogs, people looking at the info know me.
- Because scholarly writing is not exactly what has been exhibited here to date, I don't have personal information on this blog. There may be more inherent curiosity because of the ambiguous nature of the offering.
- One of the blogs I have posted to in the last few months has an exuberant readership. ;-)When posting comments using this account log in, my screen name links back to the profile information. So anyone curious can find this blog (I know, I'm nosy and have gone through other people's post links to see).
All I can think of when I see ads for this show is Ghostbusters, Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray Movies, and the theme song. Yes, just about everything leads me to some kind of music be it 80's pop music or country music (not my grandma's Hee Haw). I'm that person you hate having lunch with in a restaurant with some kind of sound track. Sooner or later I'm going to take notice and begin naming that tune.
But, I digress.
The theme song leads me to Ray Parker Jr. and Huey Lewis. It didn't take a brain surgeon to notice the theme song sounded like a recent HL & the News tune. I had both albums, yes albums, and it was obvious. Seems as recent as five years ago this feud was still on going thanks to an interview HL did on VH1, I love the 80's series. HL is on tour this summer with Chicago.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Broke down and picked up the Tim McGraw greatest hits CD this afternoon. Pretty slick those record companies. Put out an artists greatest hit CD and slap in a couple of new tunes. That way a consumer who has all the CD's compiled on the greatest hit CD has to get the greatest hit CD as well. Sigh. It's in my car right to put me in a good mood to and from work.
And, to Dee who commented on the Toby Keith tune in my last post's title, I am SO JEALOUS that you have been to Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill in Las Vegas (yes, I know the link goes to his OK bar, the Vegas links weren't as good as this one). Toby Keith is a favorite of mine and can't wait until his tour heads my way again this summer. I've seen him the last four years. Yee-haw.
Friday, May 05, 2006
I got an email survey from Blogger/Google this afternoon concerning customer support. Though I wonder where such info eventually ends up in the grand scheme of things, I made sure to answer it like a good little consumer and send it off.
. . . Speaking of good consumers, I do love that American Express advertisement where the little girl wants to know where the pilgrims shop and see's Italian leather slingbacks in her inkblots. I must admit I have share her affinity for shopping. It doesn't have to be buying, although that is preferable, I just like the art of shopping.
Thursday, May 04, 2006
I am chuckling a bit at the irony of her message that in part read; "As the problem is no longer occurring, we are unfortunately unable to further investigate the matter." My muttered response to that was, well duh. Anywho, I appreciate the personal support from the blogger team. I am thankful it's fixed (I have become unnaturally attached to it rather quickly). I will take care when rebuilding the sidebar links. I will move on.
Yes, I know.
Get over it.
"Copyright 2006 Brian Smith. Non-commercial distribution of material from The Laughing Librarian is permitted only if the original URL and this copyright notice is included. All commercial distribution is prohibited without written consent of and large cash payments to the author. Some images are from a commercial clipart package and may not be redistributed." http://www.laughinglibrarian.com
Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Interestingly enough the posts remained in my dashboard. I decided to just hit edit and simply republish the posts. Nothing doing. I went into the template area, saved template changes and republished both the index and the entire blog. Still zip. Cranky by this point, I looked at the css coding in the template and noted most of the script was missing. What's up with that? Then I decided to peruse the help pages and send off email to the blogger support team. Maybe there was a cached version somewhere.
I realize blogger support has about a zillion blogs and customers. So when a canned email response arrived, I was happy with the contact. Not so happy to see the links enclosed telling me to view the help pages and let them know if they helped. Sigh. I had already viewed the help pages, done everything listed, and was ready for real help ... hence my email. Three messages later I decided to just pick a 'new' template, in reality my old template, and let it reinstate the necessary coding to invigorate life in my dead blog.
My blog is back, but ALL of the lovely links and personalization in the side bar are toast. I know that was the chance I took when 'changing' templates, but I'm still a bit pissy about having to redo the whole thing. Right now, I've fixed the about me section with my cute little mystery book. Little steps with success.
On the plus side, the clip art, posts, and comments all returned to their rightful positions. What are a few dozen links?
Tuesday, May 02, 2006
Two days into finals "week" and the mood is somber, quiet, almost funereal in nature. Every computer was in use at various times throughout the day with a marked difference from last week. No chatter, no cell phones, no group projects. The only sounds are muted clattering of keyboards, incessant churning of paper from the printer, and muted ipods (we really are going to have a generation with hearing issues).
In keeping with the purveying mood, I find myself unwilling to do tasks piling up on my desk. Finding anything to do that does not require deep thought or significant purpose has moved to the head of the class. Today? I finessed the CSS in that review blog and was gleefully successful in changing font size and getting rid of ridiculous indents when everything should be lined up to the left.
What were they thinking, please.
This evening? I wrote another short picture book review for said blog so I could continue adding sidebar links without issue. Tomorrow? As requested, I will be updating my resume/vitae for the academic review board. That will undoubtedly include much angst. Something to look forward to? Thursday? Dedications for new buildings are to take place.
I've heard unsubstantiated rumors of cake.
Note: I continue undaunted in my quest to publish blog posts using IE. Just in case, the post has been saved elsewhere. Crossing fingers and toes, I hit publish post.
Monday, May 01, 2006
As a last resort I decide to pull up the Mozilla Firefox browser and see if it perhaps, perchance, to dream, it makes a difference. Viola! I am able to publish, change the template, and make necessary adjustments as needed using this browser. I have been an IE fan for years, but lately it has been driving me crazy. With Netscape getting rid of the composer element - a great tool for teaching very simple web editing, and IE messing with my blogs, how long until I gravitate to using Mozilla?
This is the good news.
Bad news? The template I chose to use appears to have a few charming CSS flaws, issues, concerns, and/or irritants. Instead of the profile containers and archive sections being a separate entity completely down the right side of the page, this template uses the actual posts to push items to the right. Right now there is only a single review on the page for checking. That means if the container items are more sizeable than the posts, they move. Yep, under the post. Yep, it is nasty looking. Yep, I will be picking another template tomorrow.
This, by the way, is the bad news.
As previously mentioned, I am working on setting up a children's book review blog. I did some research and crafted a brief collection development policy statement. It, along with necessary links to professional resource sources, is ready to go. Since I would like the page to to appear somewhat newspaperish (re: easy to read with white space), I spent a happy hour at work trying out different templates. I even put up the first review to it would be easy to see how the layout would appear on my larger screen at work and my crt at home. Content that I would be able to slap this puppy together at home this evening, I began the process.
001 java.net.NoRouteToHostException: No route to host
Well joy. Let's go eat pie.