Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thing 18: YouTube

Let's check out YouTube. Usually a fun thing to do. Sometimes a waste of time. You know, hundreds of videos of cats playing the piano, or reading a book, or flushing a toilet. Sometimes there is quality video on YouTube, too. I watched the Adventures of the Super Librarian, the Super Librarian piece, and the Allen piece. The first two were cute. They displayed the librarian in a good stead, warding off pesky stereotypes, and creating a feel-good kind of aura around the library itself. Being the odd bird that I am, I was especially interested in the digitization video. It was quite interesting seeing how books are photographed. I found a real faux pas in the presentation when handlers touched the artifacts with bare hands. This is not good archival technique. You should always wear white cotton gloves to protect the documents from oils and dirt that invariably attach themselves to the handler's hands. Get right, Allen!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

17: Don't Stop Streaming

I checked out and was pleased to find they had golden oldies like the Carpenters, Olivia Newton John and Barry Manilow. You can stream the 1970s and 1980s just as easily as you can stream today's music. I stream baseball games, football games and radio stations. It is a convenient way to stay connected. It works best with high-speed Internet connections (duh!) otherwise you get frustrated by all the buffering. Another fun thing: if you miss a favorite TV program a lot of times you can find it on the Web, either at the network site or hulu. I caught up with "24" using this method. My church streams its 11 o'clock service (good if you are sick and can't go in person).

Thing 16: Cloud Computing

Let's hear it for Google! Hip-hip-hooray! Some time back Google decided to take on Microsoft and challenge the latter's near monopoly on business tool applications, namely Office. The outcome of that challenge is Google Docs. They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Microsoft must be blushing. Google pretty much borrowed the standard Office interface for its products. That said, they are familiar and easy to use because we've used them before -- just not in a cloud. The other advantages include price point (the Google products are free) and accessibility (they are a web products and available anywhere the web is accessed -- except maybe the People's Republic of China). I think this product would be outstanding when utilized in a classroom setting.

Google Maps

Time for the 15th Thing. This one is easy because I use it all the time. I get into Google maps. I like to switch between maps and satellite view. It is interesting to see the street view, but it can also be confusing. I don't think it is particularly precise. As an indication of how geeky I can get, I was curious about the Museum of the American Railroad would get their rolling stock collection from Fair Park to Frisco. I had a marvelous time following the railroad tracks out of the Fair Park area and followed them west and north until one finally reached Frisco. Another fun thing to do is to find your place of residence on the map and zoom in.

Here's a map I created to, of all things, Frisco Public Library! Check it out:

View Frisco Library in a larger map

Thing 14: YouSendIt

This is a fantastic tool. I sent an advertisement I created at another company to myself (please, no jokes about not having any friends -- it's a sensitive issue;-). The file was an .eps file of almost 6megs. I used to hate sending graphical files because they were so big and would invariably get kicked back by my wimpy email vendor. This solves that issue. Some publications have a built in FTP program where you can download your advertisement, but for the pubs that don't, this is a great tool to use!

Tiny URL

Love it. I went to the Tiny URL site with a long url (the url to the 23 Things listing on Google Reader) and presto-change-o, out popped That's a much easier way to remember the url.