Friday, November 2, 2007

#23 Summarize Your Thoughts

I usually like to complain about things but I have to admit that my only problem with 23 Things was in finding the time to work on it. Other than that, I had a ball.

I would highly recommend that other programs of this sort be developed and implemented. Our staffs are all over the map when it comes to technology - from technophobes to propeller heads. With 23 Things, I believe, we were presented with something useful and approachable to both extremes.

I could write several pages to address the other questions in exercise number 23. However, if you glance down the list of the blog postings that I've made, you will notice that I already have. So I'll wrap it up here. Thank you very much.

#22 Downloadable Audiobooks

I established accounts to Overdrive and NetLibrary/Recorded Books a couple of years ago and have actually done online selection for Overdrive on several occasions. In 2005 I also bought myself an MP3 player and switched from listening to audiobooks on CD Rom to downloadable audiobooks when I bought it. So I'm the rare instance of someone who has a lot of experience with these things.

Actually, I think in five or ten years, downloadable audiobooks will entirely replace books on CD. It will take some time, though. The technology works but it is still clunky and confusing.

#21 Podcasts

I looked at the podcast directories and selected an RSS feed from the directory - their top 10 podcasts feed. I then subscribed to it via Bloglines.

However sometimes the way you respond to the, " What did you find that was most useful here?" kind of question is to say that you learned that something might not necessarily be very useful.

For library purposes I'm a bit dubious about podcasts. Audio visual production is not really our business and (except for the occasional director's message type podcast on our website) I doubt we could do it well without taking too much in the way of time and resources from things that have a higher priority.

However, I'd love to find an outside vendor that would (at a reasonable price) produce these things for libraries and let libraries brand them as their own. Booktalk podcasts, storytime podcasts, tutorial podcasts, etc. all could be enormously useful if we could subscribe to a service that would produce them for libraries.

#20 YouTube

I LOVE YouTube. Last year I was buying opera DVDs and was able to use it to look over operas (though not particular performances) to see if they were good enough to be worth buying. I do have to admit that I often found myself doing more looking than buying.

I've included two clips below. They're from the Russian version of War and Peace. This film was made about forty years ago but it still looks spectacular. The clips I've included are two parts of one battle - a rearguard action fought in 1805, shortly before the great French victory at Austerlitz.

As for library uses just for starters tutorials come to mind, along with book talks.

#19 The Web 2.9 Awards List

This was a dangerous question. I could spend something like the next year playing with this stuff.

Just to move things along, though, I got arbitrary and looked at a service called This site is billed as "the fun and easy way to find, review and talk about what's great -and not so great- in your area."

Well, not my area. It's a new service and it is clearly based in California. How can I tell?

The service gives you a hint. Something like 75 California cities are profiled compared to one (Baltimore) in Maryland. So, if you want to find information about Albany, it better be the Albany that's in California. The Albany in New York is nowhere to be found.

On the other hand, I was in Albany, New York, a few years back. I had pneumonia at the time and had to drive about seven hours to get there. Looking around when I arrived at my destination, I realized that having pneumonia would probably be the high point of the trip.

Anyway, to get back to what I'm supposed to be talking about, yelp looks like a fairly good piece of directory software. It arrests all the usual suspects - restaurants, hotels, shopping, etc. - plus some less usual (but still common enough) suspects such as education. Unfortunately I didn't see libraries listed in the education category but I was able to do a search in the directory's search window. When I did, Enoch Pratt popped up pretty quickly.

The role of a service like yelp as far as libraries are concerned is, at the very least, to make sure they are included in the local yelp directory. Also, though, if yelp ever decided that (even though it isn't in California) Howard County is worth a directory, this could be an extremely useful source of local directory information. Of course, the big search engines are already pretty good at providing local directory information but, as they say, the more the merrier.

# 18 Online Productivity Tools

I could just as easily write this blog post directly onto my blog. Just for form's sake, though, I'm going to write it in Zoho Writer. I'm not going to be stupid about it, though. Since I want to finish 23 Things sometime in the current century, I'm just going to write it in Zoho and then cut and paste it into my blog (Note - I tried this after finishing this and it didn't work too well. Turned out that I needed to export what I had written and then cut and paste it.)

The above wasn't a complaint about 23 Things, by the way. The program is an absolute blast. I do have other things that need doing, though, and need some time to devote to them.

So anyway, just in case I don't have enough accounts in enough web based services, I established a Zoho writer account and started writing this missive.

In the course of writing I fiddled with a few of the program's features. It all seems pretty straightforward. Still, I'd be reluctant to use this program if I had any other options. Web services can be absolutely wonderful but they have a bad habit of being here today and gone tomorrow. Who needs to wake up some day in November of the year 2017 and discover that ten years of correspondence has just disappeared?

#17 Add an entry to the Sandbox Wiki

First I did what I was told and created an account in the Sandbox Wiki. Does anybody have any notion of how many accounts to how many services this 23 Things program has caused us to establish?

Then I added my blog to the "favorite blogs" list, which seems kind of dishonest since it absolutely is not one of my favorite blogs. Orders is orders, though.