Monday, May 19, 2008

Thing #23: Wrapping Up

Whew, I'm glad this is nearly over! It's been a pretty wild ride from my end, trying to keep up with editing blog entries, reading blog posts, tracking players on our spreadsheet and completing my own 23 things.

I'd had some experience with most of the things on the list, so the real challenge for me was teaching folks without sitting right next to them. The chatty blog posts that we cribbed from PLCMC are not my style; I prefer bullet points and numbered lists, and I think the players would have an easier time figuring out what they needed to do with lists. The podcasts from PLCMC should probably go as well. I didn't find them helpful and it was just another time-consuming step for folks to follow. I'd like to see things more streamlined for next year.

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Thing #22 : ListenNJ

I used audiobooks to keep up with reading for my literature classes while I was in college. I would have used ListenNJ to get my hands on a lot of the titles that the library didn't have on the shelf.

I didn't have any real problems downloading and installing the software, and I downloaded Jack Kerouac's Big Sur. I should have listened to the excerpt clip that was provided, because only after I downloaded, burned CDs and tranferred the book to my iPod did I listen to the reader and discovered I couldn't stand his voice. Ah, well. I know many audiobook consumers can be particular about the readers, so having the sample audio is a great feature. The bib record doesn't clearly state the reader's name, but it's under the author's name and they are indexed so voice groupies can find their faves.

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Thing #21: Podcasts

I have an iPod and and use iTunes to download at least a dozen podcasts each week. It's easy to find and subscribe to them, and i always have a new episode to listen to.

I used Odeo to find the Onion podcast embedded below. From their homepage I clicked on the comedy link, and The Onion was one of the featured podcasts. I love their print and digital stuff, but I wouldn't subscribe and download the podcasts as they're just short clips. It's easier to go to Odeo and listen to them, and embedding in a blogpost is pretty easy.

powered by ODEO is easier to search, download and subscribe to feeds of podcasts, but you can't embed, only email a link. I'm probably more likely to return to this site rather than Odeo to do any downloading.

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Thing #20: YouTube

YouTube could be a major timesuck at home if it didn't take 45 minutes to load a 4-minute video on dial-up. There are some pretty creative people adding their own content, but they are definitely in the minority. In the digital age, any twit with a digital camera can upload a video of themselves lipsynching some crappy song or reenacting a scene from last night's episode of The Hills. Blech.

I love being able to find TV clips from days gone by and other countries, as well as old music videos and live performances. In the last year, I've gotten hooked on Flight of the Conchords and found a bunch of clips from Australian and New Zealand tv appearances from earlier in their career. It's interesting to see the evolution of their stage personae as well as the songs.

"Bowie" on Wellington NZ local cable show Newtown Salad in 2000:

From @ 2002 on Australian tv:

And from their 2007 HBO series:

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Thing #19: Web 2.0 Awards

I've browsed through and tried out a bunch of the winners and honorable mentions, most notably 43 Things, Wayfaring, Clipmarks, Craigslist, Wetpaint, Zillow and Facebook. There are a lot of great resources here, but I find it difficult to use most of them from home due to having dial-up access.

If I still had my own desk and pc at work, I would definitely be using Pandora every day (if I wasn't listening to WFMU shows). I've created a couple of stations, but what I like best is being introduced to new music. I have eclectic taste, so choosing a more obscure artist to create a station around usually leads me to an interesting mix of unfamiliar music.

There are other music tools I've found that didn't make it onto the Web 2.0 Awards, but I recommend them highly:

Mixaloo lets you create playlists that can be saved, shared and embedded. You can listen to streams of other folks' mixes all day long, and you can buy and sell mixes as well.

Finetune is another playlist tool that allows tagging of individual songs as well as artists, and can generate playlists based on user provided metadata

Musicovery is an interactive discovery web that lets you choose the style, mood, time frame and popularity level of music and lets you listen to music while seeing related artists and songs. You can also change the country orientation (US, UK, France, Spain, Portugal) to add international flavor.

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thing #18 - Web Apps

Before joining the OCL Web Things committee, I'd never tried using Google Docs, but now I'm hooked. This is a great solution for anyone with internet access to use instead of shelling out for Microsoft Office. I'd especially recommend it to students who need to work on papers from different locations (school, home, library); they can be sure there's a copy of their work archived online.

I could see branches using it for meeting minutes and memos that need to be shared among staff, and Google Docs could act as a collective archive. Any committee could use it for the same reason, and keep collaborative projects going there as well.

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