Monday, June 8, 2009

Thing #47: Evaluation

Once again, it's been great! I'm glad you extended the deadline, because for some reason, this seemed to take me longer than the 23 Things did. Don't know if it was my busy schedule or if there was more packed into the "More" Things.

As I said in my evaluation, I'm definitely making use of what I've learned in both my personal and work lives. We have so many online students at our college -- meaning fewer students actually coming into the library -- that we're looking for ways to reach them and teach them via their computers. The Things give us a lot to work with.

One thing I really like about the Things program is the community aspect of it. So I hope you'll come up with further learning opportunities for us. Oh, and I enjoyed how this had "fun" stuff as well as work. The music, video and travel "things" were great to learn about.

Thanks for a terrific program!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Thing #46: WebJunction Minnesota

How could this have escaped me? I know I'd heard the name WebJunction, but I guess I never knew what it was!

I found the calendar feature useful and also the list of courses, which are apparently available to us for free (up to two at a time.) Nice resource.

Let's see... what sort of Minnesota resources would I like to see? Maybe some sort of a comprehensive directory of libraries in Minnesota? More discussion threads would be nice, too.

Nice finding out about WebJunction!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Thing #45: Cloud Computing

I've been using a My Yahoo page for a few years now, so I guess that would count as a Web OS. I started using that when our family retired our AOL account. It took me a short while to get used to, but I find I love having my information portable now. Disadvantages? I suppose someone could potentially get into my personal information -- for example, if I forgot to sign off at a public computer.

I don't do GoogleDocs or Zoho. I guess my computing in the cloud is, so far, rather limited. I am planning to try out a Wiki for putting together subject resources for classes, so I guess that would be using the cloud. Seems that will allow much more flexibility than what we've been doing, plus allow for input by others. Also -- I'm not sure whether this counts as "the cloud" or not, but I use TurboTax for my taxes, and that information is available from any computer I sign into. So, even though this is a paid service, perhaps it counts as "the cloud"?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Thing #44: The Economy

I clicked on most of the links provided, so I did look at least briefly at most of these sites. I'd say my favorite is Craigslist. In fact, it's thanks to Craigslist that I have the apartment I'm living in! Seems Craigslist has gone from being a little-known, "alternative" classifieds site to the mainstream. In the Jobs section, I even spotted an opening from Minnesota Public Radio. I also know people who have sold furniture via Craigslist.

I thought looked really useful, though I didn't go so far as to register. I'm sure there are safeguards built in or else you wouldn't have had a link to the site and it wouldn't have won awards from PC Magazine and Money Magazine, but I do feel a bit nervous at the idea of inputting my accounts into the "cloud." Also, my finances are pretty simple, so I don't need too much help managing my budget.

The garage sale sites were fascinating. I myself don't shop at garage sales because I already have too much stuff :), but if I did, I would find those mash-ups like Weekend Treasures very useful, for sure!

My own tips for economizing?... Get books from the library rather than buying them. If I am tempted to buy a book, I put it on my Amazon wish list and hold it there for a while rather than do an impulse purchase. On the 1st of each month, I allow myself a $25 purchase (which qualifies for free shipping) from my wish list. In the realm of eating, I try to use what's in my cupboards and fridge before buying more food. And when I eat out, if it's a big portion (which is usually the case in restaurants) I try not to pig out and instead ask for a container and bring half home for the next day's lunch. (But OK, OK, sometimes I do pig out :) )

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Thing #43: Online TV & Video

I took this opportunity to sign up for Hulu, which I've been hearing about from a coworker and from friends. It sounded too good to be true, and you know... it sort of *is* -- all these things for free! Amazing.

I watched the beginning of the show that was highlighted, and that was Conan O'Brien's first night as host of the Tonight Show. That was fun, as I'd missed it on broadcast TV. Then I put some featured, popular shows in my queue: a couple of highlights of Conan's previous shows -- and then I did some searching and found some old favorites, like the original Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore shows. Wonderful! So a few of those went in the queue, as well.

I explored the Time-Based Search, which was very cool. You can search a time period and find the shows that were on then.

It's good to know this is there, but I don't know that it will change my viewing habits too much. For one thing, I try not to watch too much TV, period. And when I do watch movies or TV shows in series, I tend to get them in DVD format. I don't have a way to connect my computer to my TV at this point, so I wouldn't be able to watch the Hulu shows on the big screen.

It is interesting to speculate on what this might mean for traditional broadcast and cable TV. I don't feel I know the ins and outs of it enough to comment, but it will certainly keep the dominant formats from being the monopoly in the future.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Thing #42: Music 2.0

Voila! There is my widget over in the left column, down beneath my Shelfari bookshelf.

I'm a music lover, so this may be my favorite Thing so far. Don't know that we'd use it in the Library, but I sure had fun with it.

I already had a account. Once again, I have to credit my children for this. My daughter had me sign up a couple of years ago, but I really haven't used it. She just wanted to see what I was listening to! Doing this Thing got me to explore it a bit further. I loved seeing how, whatever plays from my iTunes, you get a photo of the artist, biographical info about them, reviews, and everything. Very cool indeed. (I also checked out what my daughter is listening to these days. :)

I explored the Radio section of my iTunes. I hadn't done much with this before. Didn't really know what it was. What a goldmine! I didn't know where to start... or stop! I clicked on the International classification and was listening to Radio Alsace, then Persian radio, Italy, and more. Then I checked other categories and listened to an '80s station.

I can't say whether Internet radio will take over or not, since I don't know the ins and outs of everything. But it sure looks good. It's free, it opens up a world of music and news you couldn't access, otherwise. What's not to like? Oh, and since the Morning Show was mentioned in the Thing post... I do occasionally listen to Dale Connelly on Radio Heartland via the Internet. It is awfully nice. Maybe this will indeed become the way to listen to radio.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thing #41: Mashup Your Life

I signed up for a account and added some of my services: Facebook, Twitter, and delicious. It was cool but also kind of spooky to see a whole stream of everything I've posted in all these different places suddenly appear in my Lifestream feed.

I could see possibly using this for institutional purposes once we get more Web 2.0 stuff up and running and really used in the Library. Not sure about that yet. As for personal use, I don't think I'll use it. I've got things set up the way I like with my personal 2.0 accounts, so I don't feel I need to rock the boat by changing how I get my news. Also, it feels like overload to me. I don't need to know what all my friends have bookmarked, etc. in a continual stream. Still, these are powerful tools, and it's fun to try them out and know they exist.