Thursday, May 29, 2008

Thing #23: Wrapping Up

I'm going to handle my last post like it's an interview.

What was your favorite thing you learned about?
My favorite thing that I learned about in the Web Challenge is either Delicious or Google Docs. Delicious, definitely because it makes bookmarking so much easier and productive. Google Docs, because its wonderful. It makes writing on the go so much easier. Have you checked it out yet?

No, not yet.

You really should. It's life changing.

That's interesting. What did you like least about Web 2.0?

The RSS Feeds is kind of redundant, since I got on board with the whole Delicious scene. It's the technology that I think I'll use least. It's nice and all, but I like looking at the original pages. Call me a purist.

What areas of Web 2.0 do you think the library should get more involved in?

That's kind of a loaded question. But I think that our staff should be more aware of Google Docs, as now we won't need to have dedicated word processing terminals. Just put them on Google Docs and they can type their letters, reports, essays whatever.

I do like the ideas of the shared Delicious accounts for staff to share useful websites, and I can see that being useful.

What Web 2.0 services have you shared with your friends and family?

Pandora, because I'm a music junkie. Google Docs, because its awesome. Library Thing, because I have lots of friends that like to brag and show off their book collections. How cool would it be if Library Thing allowed you to add movies and music....

Thing #22: Listen NJ

My thoughts on Books on Tape are mixed. I like them for long car, plane or train rides. I loathe them driving to work or when I go jogging. If I'm going to be listening to an audio book, it needs my undivided attention.

Anyway, I decided to give Listen NJ a spin on my work computer. Unfortunately, LNJ isn't compatible with iPods or Macs just yet. The software set up was very easy. When I was looking for a book to download, I remembered my friend giving me a glowing review of the historical account of a zombie invasion called World War Z, which my friend gave a glowing review to thanks to it featuring voice work from punk rocker Henry Rollins and Star Wars dude Mark Hamil.

I entered the title into the search box, doubtful that it would appear. But it did!

I downloaded the audio book and skimmed through it. I was pleasantly surprised that LNJ had it available! Now that's impressive.

You can check out WWZ at:

Thing #21 : Finding & Listening to Podcasts

Podcasting is very cool and something I wish I could get into. I do enjoy listening to audio content, especially interviews. For this discovery exercise, you are supposed to look for and listen to a podcast.

During dinner, I watch NBC's nightly news, and they always mention that they have special podcasts available. I looked on the two suggested site Podcast had their podcast, but Odeo did not.

You can listen/watch this programming over the Podcast website, but sometimes doing other things with your web browser can conflict. I prefer using iTunes to manage my podcasts.

It does a great job indexing podcasts for you to download, working like Google Reader but for podcasts. From their, you can listen to them on your iPod or computer, with it tracking where you left off last time you listened.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Thing #20 - YouTube and You

YouTube is great; it has video clips of everything you can imagine.

For my blog, I chose this clip from the band Shadows Fall. The video of them is performing their song "Thoughts Without Words" from the album The Art of Balance

What's cool about this video is that the visual part was filmed at a concert at Club Krome in NJ. I was at this concert and I remember it being an awesome time. I think this was the third or fourth time I saw SF, and I have had the pleasure of seeing them many more times over the years.

Thing #19 - 2.0 Awards

Oh how I love Pandora.

Unfortunately, I've spent way too much time bugging fellow staff and committee members with how it has changed my musical listening life. Instead, I'll blog about something else on the list.

LULU--1st Place, Books

Have you ever thought about publishing your own book? Aside from actually writing it, determining how to get it printed is the biggest challenge facing a budding author. Lulu is allowing them to find a way to get their work out to the public.

The old way would be to go to a printer, have them print a minimum order of the book, and the author would then have to go out of there way to sell the book. This includes payment processing, shipping and handling, fulfillment and such. Not only does this take a lot of time, but it is expensive. The author has to purchase the books, regardless if they sell. Let's say your book cost $20 to manufacture and you had a minimum order of 1000. That means your already out of $20,000, without even selling a single copy. Ouch.

Lulu is a print on demand publisher. The author uploads their book to Lulu. That's it. Uploading the book is free to the author, and the title becomes available for sale through Lulu's bookstore.

Now what happens when someone wants to order that book? Lulu handles the purchasing with the customer. They process the order, print the book and ship it to the customer. 

So how does anyone make money through a Lulu book?

Lulu sets a minimum fee for a book. Let's say your historical fiction on Napoleon's long lost twin brother costs $12 to print via Lulu. That price includes all their production fees. The author then sets the MSRP to $19. Lulu gets $12 to make the book and their overhead, the author gets $7 , and someone gets a book that they want.

Lulu makes it simple for everyone to get their books published.

In review, why Lulu?
  • No inventory/overstock to pay for or have stored.
  • Lulu handles everything; the author just has to write their book
Lulu is a 2.0 way to do a 1.0 thing. Way to go Lulu!

Thing #18 - Web Apps

What's not to like about Web Apps like Google Docs and Zoho? They are very similar to the Microsoft Office software we are all used to. GD and Zoho are nearly identical; they are based on the same programming code!

I've been a big fan of Google Docs, due to its portability and simplicity. When I added my name to the Google Doc, you could really see how easy it is. So many of our coworkers added their name, edited the type/color/formatting and some even adding pictures! How great is that!

I've been using Google Docs for a variety of things, especially sharing information from my  home computer and work computer. Currently I am using it to write a book with a few friends--one located in Calgary, the other in Freehold. 

By using Google Docs, it makes editing/writing on this collaborative effort so much easier. I'm now a card carrying, sworn believer in the power of the Google Doc!

Thing #17 - Play in the Sandbox

I played around in the Sandbox!

I added my blog (CHRIS' BLOG OF DOOM-- to the blogs page.

In addition, I also left a note in the Sand Box section, proclaiming my love for Surf Taco.

Wiki's are very easy to update and creae. There are several useful ways Wikis could be used here at OCL, including:
  • A guide to successful library programs
  • Holidays throughout the year
  • Computer tips
  • PR and photography information
A wiki would be a great way for everyone in the system to share information about how to do daily tasks/projects more efficiently.

Thing #16 - Wikis

The Wiki (and Wikipedia) is one of my favorite parts of the Internet. It is probably the only encyclopedia like creation in the world that valued Mr. Belvedere in the same light as the Gettysburgh Address. Since it is a collaborative effort, people feel vested into it and take great pride writing and editing it entries. Sometimes people let their opinions get the best of them, but since anyone can edit/change the entries, exaggerated entries are fixed very quickly.

I've checked out the OCL page on Wiki, and I'm responsible for the color change :) Guilty as charged.

I liked the idea of the "Best Practices" blog. I think that would be very helpful to library staff. I know there have been a few Sundays that I have worked and was stumped. Having helpful tips and suggestions would be great to help everyone.

Thing 15- Library 2.0

Quite frankly, I don't know what I think about Library 2.0.  What I do know is that Web 2.0 and other internet services are offering alternatives to the library. In some ways, this puts the Net and the library into competition with each other. 

With access to so much information available online, I can see why someone would prefer to hit up a search engine like Google on their lunch break as opposed to going to visit the library after work. I don't remember when the last time I asked a reference question; I always turn to the net and start from their.

If libraries want to remain relevant in the future, they must find a way to reinvent themselves. Here are some suggestions:
  1. Be flexible and adapt new technologies that are emerging. Our library system is doing that; the Web Challenge is a great step in being committed to that.
  2. Become and edutainment center. So much of the stigma of libraries is that they are a place for academia. Public libraries should not only be able to provide research help, but an ample selection of media that people want for entertainment purposes.
  3. Make the library fun. Anyone who has been to a Borders or Barnes and Noble knows that these bookstores are a popular place for people to visit. The library needs to change its image, and be seen as a fun place for people to visit.
What it comes down to is that the library must balance its primary goal of being an information provider with the ability to be flexible and adapt to the world around them. That's what I think, and I'm sticking to it.

Thing #14 - Getting not-so-technical with Technorati

Technorati really facilitates live long learning. The great thing about so much of the 2.0 technology is that it develops constantly. Businesses/programmers/technerds are constantly thinking up of new services/programs that are changing the internet. 

Not only that, but its a great way to learn about other things. Someone once said that the Blogosphere is the digital equivalent of a room full of loud drunks, each willing to tell you something or share a story if your willing to listen. A site like Technorati helps point you in the direction of Blogs that you might be interested in.

A look at what was popular on Technorati was interesting. The top searches were predominately tech related, except for Barack Obama (6) and Lindsay Lohan (11). Obama, I can understand. But Lohan being on the list just shows how crazy we all are for celebrity gossip.

Thing #13 - Tagging, folksonomies & social bookmarking in

A lot of the services we have looked at so far, I have only had a mild interest in. Delicious, on the other hand, is something that I could see myself getting into very much. I like the idea of saving my favorites as a web page and having a great way to organize them.

This is much better than just bookmarking pages to your web browser for two reasons:
  1. At home, I use two different computers, depending on where I am in the house. Having everything bookmarked/indexed/organized on Delicious makes it much easier to keep track of the websites I regularly visit, as it would be available on any computer with Internet access.
  2. Since I use Macs at home, I prefer to use Safari as my web browser. Unfortunately, some websites aren't designed with that webkit in mind, and I have to view them with Firefox. Again, it would be easier to bookmark/index websites that I regularly visit on on Delicious as opposed to having two sets of the same bookmarks on two different browsers.
Anyway, go Delicious. It's awesome.

Thing #12 - NetLibrary/WorldCat

Today, it's the double dose of Library Internet fun.


Oh, how I would have loved to have had access to NetLibrary back when I was in college. It makes me feel really old just saying that. I found a lot of great books on the analysis of music and pop culture. Having access to this would have saved so much time and aggravation writing all of those media analysis papers. Oh well.


WorldCat must be a godsend for library staff who have to deal with customers looking for books and materials that are not in our collection. A quick search of some CDs reveal that Indiana State University has a nice collection of some obscurer Scandinavian metal bands. Who would have thought?

It's very easy to use. I played around with it a bit to see if any libraries had the late 1990s Deadpool comic book series. I was surprised to find that eight libraries across the country had the monthly issues in their collection. Very impressive

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Thing #11 - A thing about Library Thing

So I signed up for Library Thing, which is pretty cool. Library Thing allows you to set up a virtual reality version of your book collection. Best of all, it allows you to add search tags to your books. LibraryThing users seem to be really into tagging books, which allows you to find books on any topic. I can see this being really beneficial to the people who work at the reference and circ desks be able to help our customers find books.

I embedded the LibraryThing widget on my blog. You can check it out over in the top right corner or here.

One thing of note is that you can see how popular your library is. LibraryThing bases this on how many registered users have that title. My most popular book is Chuck Klosterman's Killing Yourself To Live. 748 other LibraryThing users have that book. The other titles in my selection have about 30-40 owners each. 


I guess I'm too obscure for my own good. :)

Thing #10 - Technology Blogging

Apple files patent for solar charging

I found this over on The Unofficial Apple Weblog, and this is great. Apple has filed a patent for a new type of transparent solar cell to power your electronics, like your iPod or laptop.

Personally, I think this is a great idea. There has been times that I haven't been able to find my power chord for my iPod and had to suffer the consequences---awful radio for a five hour ride home. However, if my iPod had the solar cell that this article is about, I could just leave it in a window sill and charge it up.

Way to go green!

PS...Endgaget is a great tech blog. Check it out!

Thing #9 - Finding Feeds

Using the feed searchers, I decided to put them to a stringent test---coming up with an obscure heavy metal band from Sweden called One Man Army and the Undead Quartet. Yes, I know that this is a limiting search term, but I'm sure that it would result in pointing me in the direction of some cool metal blogs. How did the search feeds work?

TECHNORATI:  They came up with 22 blog post results, with none of them pertaining to the band. Technorati did redeem itself, as it came up with a few YouTube videos of the band, including some fan made ones and one that was shot at a concert of theirs.

SYNDIC8:  Zilch. I'm not surprised, because I really wasn't impressed with their interphase. It did come up with a few suggestions.

TOPIX:  They did the best, actually pointing me in the direction of the band's MySpace page, which features the band's blog. Kudos to them for finding the right place.

Overall, Technorati seems to be the dominant party in the feed finding universe. Its very well done, visually and content wise. While looking up another band, I found that Technorati actually linked to my Flickr account! Now that's cool!

I do like the "Find Feeds" icon, as it makes setting up a blog reader much easier.

Thing #8 - Make life "really simple" with RSS & a newsreader

So I signed up for the RSS feed, these are the sites that I am receiving via RSS....

Progressive Ruin--a comic book blog.
Blabbermouth--a heavy metal news site
Entertainment Weekly--I added this out of guilt due to me no longer subscribing to them in print form
FreeDarko--a NBA blog
Pensburgh--a Pittsburgh Penguins blog
Blueland Blog--an Atlanta Thrasher blog
SLC Dunk--a Utah Jazz blog
TUAW--a blog about Apple, Inc. and all their awesome products
Jim Hill Media--a blog about Disney things
Comic Book Resources--a comics news site

It was a nice set up, with everything coming to your reader at once. But to me there was something lacking. I don't know if it was the lack of anticipation when there is a new post. Maybe its that the reader kind of ignores the typography or layout of the original sites. I guess I'll stick to viewing the websites by themselves for now.

However, I can see how this would be great for library web sites. You could set up a RSS feed with progamming updates to make it easier for library customers to find out what is going on.

Thing #7 - The Scanner and You

For my scanner and you exercise, I've scanned a CD that I picked up this weekend at the Princeton Record Exchange. It is none other than the reissue of New Jersey's very own mathcore band the Dillinger Escape Plan's self-titled debut EP from 1997. 

It contains three bonus tracks--
  • "Sugar Coated Sour (Live)" - 3:34
  • "Abe the Cop (Live)" - 4:54
  • "The Running Board (Live)" - 3:15 
which were not on the original pressing. This completes my collection of DEP's discography.

Thing #6 - More Photo Fun

I'd like to think I'm a Flickr guru. I've been using the service for a while and upgraded to the pro version. It's a great way to store my photos and share them with friends/family/the world.

I added this photo of the TR Mosaic to the "oclwebthings" tag. You can check it out here .

Friday, May 16, 2008

Thing #5: Flickr

Flickr is a super cool website, filled with awesome pictures of everything.

I stumbled across this photo:

This is John Stockton, one of the best point guards in basketball EVER, celebrating his clutch three pointer that sent the Utah Jazz to their first NBA Finals appearance way back in 1997. You can just see the happiness radiating from him in this one.

Thing #4--Registration of Blog

Registration of the Blog is finally done.

Better late than never,

Your pal,

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Thing 3--my blog

Here it is. This is my blog. Make like the Beastie Boys and "Check it Out!"

Thing 2: Life Long Learning

What's my favorite part of life long learning. The challenge. It makes life much more interesting when everything is done as a challenge. Take this blog...I'm trying to do it under the strictest of time constraints. Now that's a challenge.

As for my least favorite part of life long learning, it is definitely mentoring. Sometimes I can have a really difficult job of helping someone with a new technology skill. I can explain it to them, but giving them step-by-step instructions is my downfall. The plus of being on the Web 2.0 Chlallenge committee is that I now have a chance to work on my mentoring skills.