Wednesday, July 30, 2008

On the Desk: Copier From Heck #2



Click to enlarge!


Sometimes copier problems are the result of "Operator Error". Someone beats on the machine, puts their copy kittywampus on the glass copy plate, puts no money in the coinbox or it drops through and they don't notice. They sometimes take their frustration out on the poor copy machine before coming to us for help. Naturally, you don't want to do this with the Mark V Bushwhacker, because sometimes State of the Art means more than you bargained for.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Novels that Bite for the Teen Crowd



Last week the teen librarian asked me if I could think of any teen vampire novels and, as often happens, the blank, empty skull syndrome hit. In anticipation of the publication of Stephanie Meyer's Breaking Dawn novel in her Twilight Saga, here are a few vampire series to help slake the thirst of teen vampire fans who want even more vampi-ness. On a personal note, I used to read vampire novels and such in my callow youth, but I think seeing the movie Nosferatu cured me. His picture is featured here :)

Serial Vampires

Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer

Twilight
New Moon
Eclipse
Breaking dawn


Blue Bloods by Melissa De la Cruz

Blue Bloods
Masquerade


House of Night Novels by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Marked
Betrayed
Chosen
Untamed

Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses
Dead Girls Dance
Midnight Alley
Feast of Fools

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy
Frostbite

Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber

Vampire Kisses
Kissing Coffins
Vampireville
Dance with a Vampire
Coffin Club

Vamps by Nancy A. Collins

Vamps

Darkangel Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce

Darkangel
A gathering of gargoyles
The Pearl of the Soul of the World

The Society of S by Susan Hubbard

Society of S
The Year of Disappearances


A few stand alones:

Evernight by Claudia Gray
Suck it up by Brian Meehl
Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause
Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Uninvited by Amanda Marrone
Vampire Island by Adele Griffin
My swordhand is singing by Marcus Sedgewick
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Peeps by Scott Westerfeld
The Last Days by Scott Westerfeld
Thirsty by M.T. Anderson

...Thanks to the Floating Lush for suggesting Peeps and the Last Days by Scott Westerfeld for a unique take on vampirism.
...Thanks to Cleery for suggesting the Dark Angel trilogy, which I read long ago and loved; a new series called Vamps, and Thirsty by M.T. Anderson.
...Thanks to Zengardner for pointing out that there is a sequel to the Society of S. I've moved it up up to the series list. Lets hope Susan Hubbard keeps writing these!

Okay...for the younger set of of Fang Fans:

Bunnicula: a rabbit tale of mystery by Deborah and James Howe
Howliday Inn by James Howe
The Celery Stalks at Midnight by James Howe
Nighty-Nightmare by James Howe
Return to Howliday Inn by James Howe
Bunnicula strikes again! by James Howe
Bunnicula meets Edgar Allan Crow by James Howe
Rabbit-Cadabra! by James Howe

Vampirates! by Justin Somper

Demons of the ocean
Tide of Terror
Blood Captain

Chronicles of Vladimir Tod by Heather Brewer

Eighth grade bites
Ninth grade slays

On the Desk: Copier from Heck #1

Click to enlarge:




It's summertime and humid as anything. This is our theory concerning the copy machine and why it is having all sorts of odd malfunctions these days. Paper is getting stuck in the oddest places in the machine. We think humidity is the culprit. We really do have a state of the art copier, and though we think some days it has it in for us and our customers, it is not called a Mark V Bushwhacker, so don't try to order this particular rogue machine from your local copier supplier.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

On the Desk: Jodi Picoult




The hot writer this summer and most of this year has been Jodi Picoult. So many people have read all of her books and want more more more or they've read alot but want more more more. As prolific as Jodi Picoult is, often we have nothing at all by her on the shelf, and her books all have waiting lists. This is such a disappointment to the customer of course, and you can only hope it cheers them up to know she has another book in the works. Having a list of other authors in mind that Jodi's readers might like helps as well.

Cheers! D.O.A.

Note: the cartoon is from Witty Comics Yet another fine online cartoon generator. I wish they had a few interior backgrounds, but I really like that you can have a longer main title than many allow, and you can caption each panel.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Banal Reader Reads: The Edge of Reason

The Banal Reader will be an ongoing series, that talks about books I read that I either have mixed feelings about or that I can't recommend but would like to mention.

The first book that fits the Banal Reader code of conduct is: "The Edge of Reason" by Melinda Snodgrass. I am still reading this and expect to finish it this weekend. I'm three fourths of the way through, but I have very mixed feelings about the book. It is well written, the plot just buzzes along, and the protagonist is sufficiently interesting and likeable so I want to see what happens to him. However, there are basic points of belief and ethics that are so different from my own, that I find myself being a little twitchy as I'm reading. Full review when complete. The Banal Reader will always be accompanied by a cartoon strip that sums things up, just as the D.O.A. recommends posts will always have skeletal summations of the Good Stuff.

Click on the cartoon to see a larger version.






Review: The Edge of Reason is actually a traditional suspense novel. With a few elements removed it could be a typical cop story, albeit a real page turner. The human characters are well fleshed out, especially Richard, Angela and Weber. The interactions between those characters and secondary characters such as Rhianna and Richard's father Robert make for an interesting drama.

The age old fight between Good and Evil is less convincing. The leader of the "good guys" Kenntnis, is ineffectual and the "bad guys" are just over the top screaming babbling killers, with their front man being a television evangelist who is also just an over the top character with no substance. The case is never made for "Reason", because nobody at all acts reasonably. They're all full of angst and they use magic rather than science to fight their battles.

This appears to be the first in a series. If it does continue, I think in order to showcase how a battle between Good and Evil would be fought between logical beings and illogical beings, some science and reasoning needs to be brought to bear against characters who are multi-dimensional but who have faith in what they can't see.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Link, Therefore I Am

I have been going bonkers trying to figure out how to make what I now know are called "clickable links". I'm not someone who tries to learn every little detail of something new. There is only so much available file space in D.O.A. Skull Central, so I learn the parts I need as I need them.

Behind the scenes here at D.O.A. I have been banging my head against the wall of creating links within my posts. Finally, I stumbled upon Dummies Guide to Blogger: How to make a clickable link

Peter Chen's Dummies Guide to Blogger is a great source for all your blogger questions. He was able to make me understand what a "target" is, like I could pound it into my wee skull in my previous readings...bleh. And, I could see I needed to highlight the text I wanted to be my link, then press the Insert Link button in the Blogger toolbar.

He does not cover the little bit of fiendishness with Active X Controls in Explorer 7+ that makes you say yes, temporarily allow pop up scripting windows. Then you have to press the Insert Links button again before you can copy and paste your desired URL into the scripting window. And make sure you get rid of the extra http:// if you copy and paste one into the window since one is automatically inserted.

I went back and corrected some of my recent linkless posts which are now tidily linked.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

D.O.A. Recommends "An Expert Murder by Nicola Upson"

This was actually my first "D.O.A. Recommends" Toon, from Toonlet. No use wasting the effort of toon creation by not posting the cartoon here! I'm still reading the book. The sleuth is real life mystery author Josephine Tey (a pseudonym for Elizabeth Mackintosh but used as the character name in the novel) who wrote one of my favorite mysteries, "A Daughter of Time". Josephine is friends with a policeman who is very like the Alan Grant character in "Daughter of Time". She is also very involved with theater folk and the crime in this novel revolves around her play Richard II. I love historical mysteries and "An Expert in Murder" brings 1934 London to life, though it deals with devilishly plotted death!
Visit Nicola Upson's website for more information on this new series.

Click to see the full cartoon.


Tweaking the Bard, or, "It is the east, and Juliet is the Squirrel"

William Shakespeare

It is the east, and Juliet is the squirrel.

Which work of Shakespeare was the original quote from?

Get your own quotes:




This wondrous toy comes courtesy of the Floating Lush and LBCM. (http://floatinglush.blogspot.com/). All you do is put a word in the Shakespeare Quote Generator and the words of Sir William are transformed to include your term. In case you can't guess because you are not a Shakespeare fan, I inserted the word "squirrel". In honor of my beloved and fiesty stuffed squirrel chomper Doggie D.O.A.

No longer Faceless on Facebook

Thanks to my co-worker, I have added a picture of my handsome husband (aka Mr. D.O.A) and I to my Facebook profile. Ms. Libba Bray, Cormier and me who we'll call LCBM for short, had a wonderful set of photos from her wedding in digital form. I was able to snare one that is one of the least scary photos of myself in recent times. Mr. D.O.A. always looks good on film. (And in person).

I also took a look at the group pages that I've joined. I'm on the Second Life list and the Librarians 2.0 list and a general science fiction list. I even put in a couple of comments on the science fiction forum. Best, most important science fiction film of all time? Star Wars, Episode IV! Doh!

In a daring gesture I asked LCBM and the Floating Lush (pretty sure that was your hand, Lush) to be buds on Facebook. I looked up a couple of library school friends, and think I found one, but there was no photo (ha ha he's older than me and probably not tech saavy hehe. I can make fun of him because he became a big name, the only one of us in our class who gained any distinction, as far as I can tell, and because he always acted like I was well, sort of childish. If only he could see this blog he would see that nothing has changed on that front).

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

One more cartoon...

Make sure you read this strip vertically, the left column first, then the right side column. You will need to click on the cartoon to enlarge it in order to read it, unless you have remarkable vision.

This Comic Creator is an educational tool from the International Reading Association. It requires no user name or log in. You create the comics a page at a time by dragging objects from folders of characters, conversation balloons, and props, just as most of the comic generators do. Comic Creator does not allow you to see the finished cartoon (unless you do a one cell toon). Your only option is to print sight unseen, which is my excuse for the typos you see. I printed mine, then used markers and colored pencil to try to darken the lines before scanning it in. I was thinking this might be a fun Mouse Exercise for Computer Classes we teach, because of the drag and drop nature and the lack of an account sign up but you're limited to viewing a single cellat a time, perhaps not. I drew in the trees in the first frame, they do not belong to the tool.

There's Nothing to do on Mars by Chris Gall, a Comic Review



Hi D.O.A.-ites, here is another comic strip generator tool that is pretty slick. I say that before I see if it fits on my blog :) The Bitstrips site allows you lots of room in the text balloons (maybe too much if you're verbose like me), and it is easy to add panels. I had trouble when I chose "embed" to put the toon here and ended up emailing the toon to myself, saving it on my hard drive, then inserting it as a picture.

I really love the book There's nothing to do on Mars, let's hope the strip does it some justice. Visit Chris Gall's web site, which includes a short video clip promoting "There's nothing to do on Mars". Chris's Engravings page includes a picture of our former governor Jesse Ventura, for all of you fans.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Must Read Book, Librarian Secrets Revealed!




When I was a librarian in West Virginia, our clever boss liked to promote the motto "We Can Answer Any Question". He would get this in the local paper periodically, and people would call in, excited, and ask what they hoped would be a real stumper in response to the article. Luckily, 99% of the time they asked easy questions. He also had a sign on the reference desk that read "Please Bother Me". I am pretty sure he got a different response to this sign from the female customers than the rest of us, who were mostly young women, got from the gentlemen about town.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Overheard in any online game you ever played

Second Life aside (very civilized), if you play any online game you will run into at least one and maybe hundreds of guys like this fellow. Bring your dictionary and your mace.

\R  U  Barbaric?\

Cartoon Helpers



Since I can't draw but wish I could, I continue to look for tools that will do the work for me. Because I also have a small humourous bent, the online comic generators are really appealing! The above is created through the Comic Strip Generator site www.comicstripgenerator.com It is my least favorite so far but perhaps there is more to it than meets the eye. Nice for a quick book recommendation, as we see.

One of my favorites so far is Toonlet http://toonlet.com which has many mix and match body parts and styles and options for adding as many panels as you like. It also saves your characters so once you have a character all set up you can feature them in a new comic rather than starting from scratch each time. The drawback is that even a two panel comic is too wide for my blog template. There isn't a way to make it fit. So you can create there, but would be limited to a single panel here:




There is an option to email the panel to yourself or your friends as well so you can share your work, just not stick it on your blogger blog.

Another fun one is Toondoo www.toondoo.com It does not allow the character customization you have with Toonlet, but it does fit on the blog with its intriguing floating frame. You are able to create strips in a variety of formats and backgrounds, you can create books with multiple pages or you can do some freeform drawing with their drawing toolset. (Use the slider arrow on this one to view entire comic. I was trying out a longer panel.)

\Computer Basics\



One more that is cute but not so far able to be inserted easily into my blog is Make Belief Comics at www.makebeliefcomix.com This has 3 panel toons, with customizeable moods in set characters that you can email to yourself or friends. I had to scan this comic (crooked, alas) and then upload it as an image. Click on it to read the comic a bit better.






Happy Tooning, Librarian D.O.A.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Which Jane Austen Heroine are you? A Literary Quiz

I'm not a fool for an online quiz or anything, but in order to keep things lively here at D.O.A. I am on the lookout for interesting stuff for the faithful (and ye, even the faithless reader). I'm also trying to master the inserted link thingie. Here is where I confess I have never read a Jane Austen book. I took the quiz nonetheless and I'm pretty sure my Jane Austen character is a real mousey type. Tsk. This tells you how reliable these things are. If you can believe it, I once took a "Which Star Wars character are you?", confident I am just a mirror of Luke Skywalker. But nooo. I came out to be Jar Jar Binks. No chance. I am however, probably the only person on the planet who actually is fond of Jar Jar. Sweet, well meaning Jar Jar. On to the Quiz:

http://www.strangegirl.com/emma/quiz.php

(Bah curses on html and its trickeries. I will have to learn this stuff or die! Oops...already D.O.A.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Night Bookmobile

I happened upon this comic via the Forbidden Planet blog. It is by the author of The Time Traveller's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger. Her cartoon appears in the Guardian Newspaper. Visit the archives of The Night Bookmobile!

We are obviously not as creative with our bookmobile services as we could be!

In honor of The Batman

The new Batman movie opens this week to great reviews. I'm going to see it as soon as I can. In honor of my favorite superhero, that poor tortured soul with an eye for the Bad Guy, I dug through my comics and found this picture of Batman and Alfred in the Batcave. Note his decorations! A Joker playing card, a huge coin (Two-Face), and the little box with the umbrellas and Penguin decorations. Faithful Alfred by his side and his high-tech computer in his low tech Batcave. ( This is from issue 607 of Detective Comics and the artist is Norman Breyfogle.)


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

D.O.A. Recommends Susan Beth Pfeffer




Just mouse over then drag your mouse to the right to see the rest of the toon! It rolls back and forth. I'm experimenting with cartooning as a way to feature books and authors. The cartoon above was created with Toondoo. This cartoon generator lets you select characters and conversation balloons and backgrounds and much more. This was my first try.

I just read The Dead & the Gone this week. It is a companion novel to Susan Beth Pfeffer's "Life as we knew it". Both books posit an asteroid hitting our moon and moving it in its orbit. The world changes immediately. While "Life as we knew it" takes place in a Pennsylvania town, The Dead & the Gone takes place in New York City. Seventeen year old Alex is suddenly responsible for his survival and that of his younger sisters when both of his parents meet unknown fates. He is such a great kid, but he resents having to make many of the choices forced on him.

I have always found post apocalyptic novels fascinating. They generally offer a chance for people to "start over", and to live more simply. That is part of their appeal, I think. In both of Pfeffer's novels, the immediacy of the disaster and its effects on individuals is so page turning. Instead of "how do we rebuild", it is "how do we stay alive one more day, and is it worth it, and right for us to do so?" Read "The Dead & the Gone" and "Life as we knew it" as soon as you can get ahold of them!

Added note: Susan has a poll up on her blog asking what people would like to see in a third book set in the same landscape as these. Go to Susan's blog, Meteors, Moons and Me to help her decide how to present the ongoing stories of our intrepid characters.

Don't Bug Me

Yesterday's Star Tribune carried a fascinating article on mosquitos titled "Buzz off!" Since mosquitos and gnats have been attacking me like carrion beasts every time I go outside, I poured over the article hoping for some anti-bug advice. Alas, it just described their numbers and habits.

This got me traveling down memory road to the days when I lived in lovely mosquito free West Virginia. I proudly wore a t-shirt (purchased here on a visit) that displayed an unnaturally large mosquito with the motto "Minnesota State Bird". People would say "oooohh is it really the state bird?" Sillies.

While they lacked mosquitos, they did have 17 year locusts. I only lived there for about three years but I was sooo lucky to have my final year there be year 17! I also came across a letter I wrote to my mom which said in part "you will have read up on the dread cicadas by now. No doubt you are shuddering in anticipation of the ugly summer (click-click) in store for yours truly." Included on the back of the letter was this great example of my artistic ways.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Things and Beyond

Thinginess

Here is my first post "post-23 Things". I am still pleased I finished this time, and ahead of time. I wanted to not only be a "finisher" but I wanted to take control of my blog for my own diabolical purposes and guilt free write about other Things.

My resolution to keep using the Things tools will of course cause me to write more of Things 23-ish. For instance, I am so glad I followed my boss's example this time around and created a 23 Things notebook with my notes and usernames and passwords. There are far more than 23 accounts to be created and anyone could become confused, especially D.O.A. types who are daydreaming most hours of the day, even when we appear focused.

I had a couple of comments and friends requests on both Gather and Ning, so I wanted to go in and respond to those. Thanks heavens for my little notebook. I had trouble on Ning actually finding the 23 Things page. Logging in at the main Ning screen I found I had no social networks, alas, though I signed up on the 23 Things page. I searched for 23 Things in the search box and got no useful results (maybe it was buried 10 pages in...). So, back to the now beloved 23 Things site to use the link there. Bookmarked the 23 Things Ning Thing, now I'm good.

On Gather, I accepted both personal invitations to be buds, what the heck. (Note! I asked for notice of when one of the people commented or wrote an article and Holy Spamula! 305!!!! comments from this person, yikes yikes in a mere half a day. Nobody has that much to say!)

I also received invitations to two groups. I did fill in some information here regarding my interests but the two invites were nothing to do with anything I would really be interested in. This makes me wonder if people running these groups sometimes just invite anyone new to swell their numbers of apparent members. For future reference, although I believe firmly in both Tolerance and Justice, I think one on one in the real world is the best way to live out those ideals. And, I am not interested in taking over the world, I also do not need invites to groups such as "Leading from the inside out".

I did leap to join a featured new group for video game enthusiasts. Though it is apparently just me and the guy who created the group, this is something I am really interested in, and since my son is off at college I don't have anyone to jabber with this about :( My husband listens politely, but it is just the same for me when he talks sports or math...you can see the mind slipping away and the ears closing their flaps pretty quickly.

D.O.A. out...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

THING 23!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I was not a "finisher" first round. We will ignore just how bad that sounds and glory in the fact that the kind 23 Things people gave myself and other non-finishers the opportunity to work through the remaining things ( I got stuck at about thing 12 first time around) this summer. Call me Ms Complete-O.

Here are my answers to the questions posed for Thing 23:

Go back to your thoughts/ideas about Library 2.0. Has anything changed as a result of this experience? After working through so many variations of social network sites and online tools I can see that we should all go ahead and be more interactive and share what we know and what we think. It is actually alot of fun.


What were your favorite Things and discoveries? Library Thing is my favorite. I've been meaning to catalog my books for years and it is nice to see them out there. I have alot more gardening books than I thought! I think I might enjoy Second Life too, once I log back in and get my boxy little friend to the Island.

How did you connect with others doing the 23 Things On a Stick? I think that Gather and Second Life and who knows maybe even Facebook might be good starting places for great conversations.

Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? Everything I learned has been interesting, even if a few seemed to duplicate each other, or not be practical in a library setting, or there were a few boring ones...

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or content? I think that many people were having trouble with step 1, create the blog and add the avatar. Many stopped cold right there. So, I would recommend you write something up for the next go-round that step by step holds their hand.

If we offered a 23 More Things On a Stick program like this in the future would you participate? Yes, indeed.

How would you describe your learning experience in one word or in one sentence, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things On a Stick learning activities to others? If a D.O.A. Librarian can do 23 Things, so can you...


There we go! The blog will continue, talking libraries, books and tech stuff. I am definitely going to use many of the Things I've learned as we continue. This blog has been great fun. Onward!

The 22nd Thing: What I Learned Today

For this thing, I am to make a resolution to maintain my blog, and to ask myself every day what I learned today. Hmmmm.

I clearly have designed the blog and the Librarian D.O.A. persona to have staying power beyond the initial 23 things purpose.

I named the blog Librarian D.O.A. because I'm a brat and I have grown tired of everyone saying libraries are dead, and nobody uses them and we must reinvent ourselves to be something useful and blah blah blah.

We have so many visitors of all ages in our library everyday. We were closed for three months for remodeling recently and I think we were all surprised by how much our customers loved us (yes we're talking L-O-V-E), and how much we actually adore 98% of them right back (bad, bad two percenters!).

There aren't many places like libraries left. The fact that we do all of the traditional services plus offer help with all the wild new technologies and formats and make people comfortable with those new things everyday in addition to teaching classes and you name it...we are too cool! Libraries are without a doubt the best bargain for your money anytime, anyplace. Libraries aren't dying out, folks, we are just getting started. Who knows where we can go?

What I learned today:

How to use our digital camera and post videos to my blog. This is the start of something beautiful.

People love skeletons. The new avatar I found is a hit on Minnesota Readers (Gather) and I have folk wanting to befriend little Ms D.O.A.

My husband will be a great cameraman for D.O.A. Productions going forward.

The dog is a natural.

The little rubber skeleton we had sitting around the house fits into some doll clothes I also had on hand.

Thing 23 and I'm outta here!

D.O.A. Almost Live

In an attempt to create and post my own video snippet, Mr. D.O.A. and the darling Doggie D.O.A. used our digital camera to film an ultra short slice of D.O.A. life. If this loads successfully, we have D.O.A. herself in one of my more tame garden beds watching the bears who eternally play checkers.

Suddenly, Doggie D.O.A. is lured into the frames by his beloved stuffed squirrel. He was beyond astonished to see his pal outside and eagerly rushed into view. No stuffed squirrels were harmed during the filming of the video. Fingers crossed!


video

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Would you believe...Thing 21 of 23?

The social networks in this Thing are a bit more focused and specialized.

Gather is aiming to be a sort of gathering place for "ideas type people", perhaps. I joined the Minnesota Reader's group and if I can get myself back in a reading mode (summer has me floating outside quite a bit), it would be nice to chat about books there. I saw film reviews on the main pages and I'd like to try my hand at those as well.

Webjunction This one focuses on library topics. It offers forum discussions, resources for varying interest groups, and online courses. I enjoyed the discussion "Boomer's and up: what exactly *is* older" in the Library Services to Older Adults Community forums. The discussion revealed how ever changing "old" really is. RSS feeds are available in the Resources section.

Ning invites you to create your own social network. I did not sign up for this one but it looks like they give you the tools to create a basic website. Also, there must be many tools available for creating interactivity, possibly just the sort of thing known as "widgets" elsewhere. Ratski, I see I have to go in and create an account on Ning, for this Thing. Back soon...

Ok, I commented on Kalla's page, put my brand new Librarian D.O.A. picture up, and with horrible difficulty I managed to get a cute little Ning widget, that proclaims me a member of the 23 Things on a Stick club.

So I am Ning-ed and complete on number 21. Two to go! Yes!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thing 20: Faceless on Facebook

Boy oh boy it took me alot of tries to create a Facebook account without strictly using my own name. As if I want tons of fans clamoring for my autograph, or my dogs, once I get him on YouTube.

I don't have a picture at hand to post there but I did write on the Wall, and join the Library 2.0 group. I also filled in a ton of information in my profile, much more than I would normally toss out there. I'm assuming nobody but the Library 2.0 group and the 23 Thingers (whom I wrote to to be befriended) will look at it so...ta da.

I'll have to spend more time with it and should I become enamored I'll report back.

Thing 19: Attack of the Podcast People

I've listened to podcasts and admire the fact that our library has done a few, notably for the readings from our April Poetry contests. Although I am not generally a fan of reading poetry, I do really like to hear poets read their own poems.

I think shorter podcasts are generally better, anything that goes over an hour causes me to lose interest and my mind wanders off, no matter how fascinating the topic.

I think libraries could use podcasting to do "commercials" for upcoming events.
They could have little mini-shows highlighting services or answering frequently asked questions.

They could do book reviews.

I'll try the Gcast from the privacy of my own home. Stay tuned.

More on Thing 18 You-tubiness

I managed to insert a video clip of William Kent Krueger being interviewed in my last post. I didn't want to mess anything up since it worked, so here are further Tube ruminations:

I did a search for libraries and found lots of fun Second Life videos. I really liked the one where the old bag librarian and her friend turn into a koala bear and a cat. I say old bag because they had a little scrolling bit of text showing the librarian with her prim hairdo and suit before she turned into Hello Kitty. I have a way with words, what can I say?

If libraries can find inexpensive ways to do short promotional bits and put them on YouTube, that would be great. The interviews the Phoenix area bookstore owner did with mystery authors show what can be done, it looks simple in any case.

It would be fun if librarians did short interviews with each other or visiting performers and had them on YouTube then linked them on their web pages.

Short book recommendations with some flair would be fun.

Lastly on this, I'll try to capture D.O.A. Dog on camera and load it to YouTube so he can be justifiably famous.

Thing 18: You-Tubing for fun and profit

Here we have that wonderful Minnesota author, William Kent Krueger in a YouTube interview:


Thing 17 ELM Productivity, perhaps

This has to be the most confusing Thing yet.

EBSCO Alerts

I *think* I am now signed up for EBSCO alerts on Lilacs, should articles appear. I wanted to have Minnesota authors, but the vagaries of how subjects are assigned within EBSCO made that not so doable.

I read the 23 Things instructions on signing up for these feeds. I created my EBSCO account. I did not see anything relating to proxy servers in the feed link that I created within EBSCO, but when I tried to add a subscription with Google Reader, I got errors.

Always a fiend for a workaround solution, I went back to EBSCO and asked for e-mail alerts rather than the RSS alert. We shall see.

I think this would be great if you were doing ongoing research and wanted to know if new information was available on your topic. The whole RSS/EBSCO compatibility thingie needs simplifying/tweaking, however.

Page Composer

While the Page Composer tools are easy enough to use, I cannot see what the particular use would be for this tool. Also, I used the tool to add a link, a title and a background, and the link did not appear at all on the page.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Further Adventures of Librarian-in-a-box in Second Life

I had a nice e-mail this afternoon from a librarian at Info Island kindly offering to befriend me in Second Life. She also offered to transport me to Info Island. Isn't that so sweet? I worked late but logged in when I got home to find alas she wasn't there. I did accept her invitation and managed to send her a message which I take it she will get next time she logs in.

I thought I would continue the tutorial and did some of the communication lessons. I think I will be able to talk to someone, we shall see.

Following a winding path, I was supposed to find a volcano goddess. Instead, I stepped off the path and was flying! No idea how, but I zoomed around the area a bit, dodging signs.

I hoped to exit the tutorial area,and I did see an exit sign (but no exit). Soon I was getting invitational messages from strangers to accept the markers they were sending which apparently could teleport me to their "welcome areas". There must be something irresistible about a flying box or maybe I should put that torch away... If I'm flying though, it looks like a little rocket pack. Zoom zoom!

What a friendly place Second Life is so far.

More when I reach The Island. D.O.A. over and out.

Thing 16: Student 2.0 Tools

Both the U of M Assignment Calculator and the Research Project Calculator are surprisingly useful for procrastinator/Last Minute Louie types like myself. Anything that is a few months away might as well be a decade away in my dreamy little skull.

The U of M Calculator is probably most useful for college students, and specifically U of M students because each step directs you to their own resources and libraries quite a bit. It is certainly possible to extrapolate your own local resources from the type of things they list, but, better yet, use the Research Project Calculator which is listed as being geared to secondary school students. In truth I think it would be useful for any level of student or parent/child combination to help keep on track, for any type of project. There are fewer steps to the process but they are all practical and nice for the chaotic types amongst us.

One Life Might Be Plenty: Thing 15, Second Life




I've been looking forward to trying Second Life ever since I read an article in some journal last winter (sorry can't recall which) about the INFO Island Library. Finally here I am, at Thing 15 and I'm IN!

I was able to choose anything at all as my first name but for some reason I had to choose a last name from a dropdown menu. That is how I came to be known as "LibrarianDOA Hellershanks".

The initial screen for Second Life shows a bunch of twenty-something? people lounging around looking ready to engage in something un-librarian-like, to say the least. So as not to be mistaken for one of these rough and ready types, I cleverly chose an avatar that looks like it is made of a set of cardboard boxes. With little antennae. Nonetheless a shirtless young man was soon attempting to make conversation with my boxiness. I think the Torch sticking out of my back appealed to him in some way.

There are a set of tasks in the tutorial area that included taking a Torch from my inventory. I did so, so I thought. And placed it in my right hand. But as you can see in the accompanying photo of our intrepid little Librarian-in-a-Box, it is sticking embarrassingly out of my back. Note also that although I purchased three chain mail shirts while fumbling with the local shirt seller and I equipped one, I am not seeing any chain mail shirt adorning my character. Another box-headed individual near this vendor had a chainmail shirt and nifty black pants on so we know the Box People can indeed wear clothing.

My initial impressions are:

The world looks less pixilated than pictures I've seen.

Interface is pretty confusing but I'll keep working with it.

Movement is awkward.

I need the tutorial badly so I'll continue through, though I'd love to just head to INFO Island, that librarian mecca. Since I goofed on the Map part of the tutorial, I may never it make though! Here's hoping!

See you on the other side,

LibrarianDOA Hellershanks

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Shiver Me Timbers, Thing 15: Online Games


Thing 15 is one of the fun things, online games being the topic. My gaming roots go back to playing card games such as War and Old Maid and Crazy Eights with my brothers beginning when I was three or so. I could have played these for hours and hours, but my older brothers didn't have the enthusiasm I did, so after a few rounds they would ask if I wanted to play "52 pick up". I want you to know I was only fooled once, but they would say this once they were bored pretty much every time. Or if I wanted to play and they didn't. Sad childhood tale! Now you know how I turned out the way I did. Tsk.

I've played a very few online games like Puzzle Pirates. It seems mostly to be the falling block sort of thing. I chose the "Start an adventure" mode and created a cute pirate. I also chose "Boxing", thinking I could point and click my way through a virtual boxing match. So, immediately a bad guy pirate comes along and stop the presses! He wants to box! But instead of honorable fisticuffs, a screen comes up and I'm supposed to surprise surprise surprise launch colored balls at more colored balls before they all drop. I won my match handily but, with no sense of accomplishment or adventure. More later as I try different modes. Blimey.