Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Things on a Stick: Thing 35, Books 2.0

You might think Books 2.0 represents a move towards replacing books in some robotic, relentless manner. In fact, Books 2.0 is a celebration of books, a means of sharing what you read and enjoy, and finding other people who love the same kind of books you do.

I'm creating accounts on each of the suggested sites for this Thing to see what they offer.

The site allows you to catalog and review your Books, DVDs, Music and Games. Tags can be added to further identify your items.

The tagging here is like del.icio.ous, you need to use underscores to get phrases, or else your tag words will sort alphabetically. The phrase will be smooshed together as one word, but at least you can get the idea across. My example is science_fiction_films which comes out sciencefictionfilms on screen. You will be able to edit and change your tags if they aren't what you had in mind.

A text box is provided for your written review of the item. Unfortunately, once you post the review you are unable change it, you cannot even delete it and start over.

Here are the two entries I did as an experiment:

Use the category tabs at the top of the page to see what others have added from their collections. Choose "My Collection" on the right to see only your own collection. is in its "Alpha" stage, meaning it is very new and it will likely change with its users.


bookjetty's main page says "I am a Reader" in large letters, and it then offers a sort of "Proclamation of a 2.0 Reader":

And I...
I need to keep track of good books I want to read.
I would love to check books availability in my local libraries (from over 300 libraries in 11 different countries).
I want to know what my friends are reading, view Google Books preview, Amazon rating and sales rank, bookshelf widget on my blog, and probably more.

When you log in to bookjetty, you see what books are popular, what has been recently added by other users, and snippets of the latest reviews. You'll need to select "My Books" in order to see your own books or add new ones.

To add a new title to your library (or in my case I'm putting in my "To Read List"), type the title in the search box at the top of the web page. Amazon is searched and a mockup of the cover appears. Clicking on that can confirm for you that you have the right book. Just select "add to shelf" to put the selection in your library list. The search box seemed more forgiving of typos and variant title searches than most such search mechanisms.

Add tags by mousing over the book title.

I cannot see where to add reviews or book description. I must just not see it since there are reviews aplenty on the left column of the screen. This site also has a discussion board where you might discuss particular titles or ideas.


iTrackMine allows you to add a wide variety of items to your collection pages. Books, DVDs, music, and wine. (Although after you've swilled your collection you'll have to go to the trouble of taking it off iTrackMine.)

Because iTrackMine has a Home and Garden category and an "Everything Else" category, I thought this might be a place to enter the plants from my garden. As it turns out, the Home and Garden category is subdivided into such categories as "Kitchen", "Musical Instruments" and "Automotive". No garden plants and no "Everything Else" choice.

Charging onward anywho, I selected "Kitchen" and typed in my plant name, leaving the UPC, Manufacturer ID and other descriptive spots blank. To my surprise I could upload a picture and there were fields for description. I wasn't sure if my entry would be rejected so I didn't fill those in. Finally, I selected the big "Create a Custom Item" arrow and voila! a box popped up pleading with me to make sure my item was unique and not something already included in the catalog they had worked so hard to create.

I was able to add the rose. I could in fact enter my entire garden here, but I would feel guilty since it is clearly not what they intended for the site. There is almost a mini-eBay feel to it, as they ask you to describe items in detail and say where you got it and how much you paid, and would you be willing to loan it out?


They really need to rewrite this paragraph:

Once you've created your shelf, you can find out who have the same books as you do, see what they have on their shelves, and see who else have what they have on their shelves, and what those people have on their shelves, so on and so forth ...

Also "Add your first book (in a breeze)" did they mean "Its a breeze"?

You are encouraged to enter your books by ISBN and are told you can use title but it will take an extra step! That is not very user friendly. As it turns out, searching by title brings up a picture of the book cover, just the way the other book collection sites do. In fact, the site design is identical to bookjetty's, but the language and choices offered are less well thought out.


Booktagger appears to share a site template with another book collection manager called Shelfari. There are plenty of variations however, offering the ability to make booklists (though I'm still working on this function) and create a Book Club in addition to the typical list of books that you own.

Living up to its name, Booktagger has the best tagging options I've seen so far (outside of LibraryThing). It keeps phrases together so I could use "19th Century Novels" and "Psychiatric patients" to tag Wilkie Collins book The Woman in White and those words stayed together as I entered them, without any underscore shenanigans.

The instruction for adding your book to your shelf is to search for it, then drag the cover to the subtopic you wish to use. This can awkwardly slip your book into an unintended category (you can fish it out but it isn't easy). It is also possible to carefully mouse over the title, allowing a set of check boxed categories to show up. Check the correct box, and hit save. Nothing appears to happen (nothing on the screen changes,) but the item will indeed be added to your collection.

I added a Book Club with the titles my msytery book group is reading , or tried to. I could not figure out how to add titles so I ended up slipping them into the "Mission Statement" box and they now are displayed right up front. Lots of possibility with Booktagger, I'll just need to play with it somewhat.

Books on Your Phone

I looked at these sites and can see the value in them for someone who uses their phone for many purposes. I do the old fashioned making and taking calls on mine. Last fall some kid was mistakenly texting me such message gems as "hope you're not late for school, lol!" My husband said he thought I'd be charged every time I looked at one of these witticisms, so I didn't take the time to learn to respond.

I am following Twitterlit on Twitter so I am not a total loss on this part of the Thing.

Reader's Advisory

Reading Trails

This is a good place to compile a booklist to share and allow others to add to it. I created a list of garden writers with 43 titles.

Reading Trails allows you to search for titles in their database and add to it. There are not many covers available so they put up those plain colored covers in many cases. You are able to easily add a title if it is not in their existing list.

There is some sort of venn diagramish trick to the site that is supposed to allow connections between these lists. I'm not sure what to make of that part of the site.

I watched the tech demo, which was impressive, and read the forums a bit which made me feel as if the project were sort of stalled. I think it would be a great addition to any book related site. They seem to be figuring out funding as well. I would think a fee for using the software would be reasonable. If it worked as described it would be a great tool.

What Should I Read Next?

If this is the same company that our library subscribed to at one time, it really isn't up to date enough with its authors and titles to be useful. It was also very weak on local authors.

What's Next? Books in Series

Produced by Kent District Libary this slick series search tool allows for search by Author, Title, Series Name, Book Title, Reading Level and genre.

I did two searches:

Author Name: Tony Hillerman (I can never remember the series name) and a nice numbered list of his Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee books came up.

Series: I always recall the series name "The Edge Chronicles" but not, alas the author, who is Paul Stewart.


Whichbook has an interesting slider selection tool. Pick from each interest range and use the slider to indicate how strongly you feel about any particular attribute. Here are your choices:

larger than life/down to earth
no sex/sex

I chose the far left sliders for happy, funny, safe, expected (the other sliders were not available) and got these results:

My Latest Grievance
by Elinor Lipman
Reader comment
A light but warm touch delivered with minute observation and an obvious enjoyment of words. This novel has just enough tartness to keep it sharp rather than sugar sweet. I found Frederica - one time college mascot and precocious resident teenager endearing, amusing and wise, when she could have been irritating and clever-clever. For readers who prefer humour to make you smile with subtle recogonition rather than laugh out loud.

Read extract
Published: 2006

On Beauty by Zadie Smith
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

The C Words
by Mark Mason
Reader comment
Bridget Jones for men - Brigham Jones perhaps? Chap Lit. rather than Chick Lit. Light, stylish, and very funny this is a fine romantic comedy. Told from a male point of view, it follows two guys getting increasingly stressed out trying to get into bed with the right girl. It seems its a lot harder than I'd ever appreciated.

Read extract
Published: 2005

Bridget Jones' Diary by Helen Fielding
Dinner for Two by Mike Gayle
The Food of Love by Anthony Capella

Blessed Art Thou a Monk Swimming
by Miriam Dunne
Reader comment
A young Catholic girl growing up in Ireland in the 1960s. Highly entertaining and surprisingly poignant. A great first novel.

Read extract
Published: 1997

The Snapper by Roddy Doyle
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

A Matter of Fat
by Sherry Ashworth
Reader comment
On a diet? Obsessed with food? Then this is the book for you! The women in the book are members of a Slimming Club and all have their different reasons for being there. Great fun, but not without a serious side - an entertaining read.

Read extract
Published: 1991

Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes
Rosie Meadows by Catherine Alliott

Diary of a Househusband
by Carl Peters
Reader comment
If you enjoyed Bridget Jones's Diary you'll probably enjoy this. Written from the point of view of a young, black man. Funny, entertaining and ultimately warm. Perfect read for the train or the bus.

Read extract
Published: 1997

The Snapper by Roddy Doyle
Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

I did not see the first time I looked at the site that this is a British site and it links to British libraries. I'm not familiar with many of the recommended titles called "Parallels" so I can't judge how well this system really works. It certainly is intriguing.

Book Stumper

A fine idea, to have a place people can get the titles of lost but not forgotten books figured out for them. An old List Serv, Stumper-L used to do this for free, whilst the bookseller running this charges $2.00 per query. It is possible to read solved queries and help answer queries for free. Here is a sample of the path to non-Stumperdom featuring an old favorite book of my own:

13th is Magic
Joan Howard
Harper & Row, 1950
There are two books I loved as a kid--this goes back almost 50 years, and no-one seems to have any idea of either book. The first was called The Thirteenth is Magic, and involved a couple of children who, on the 13th of each month, could get onto the otherwise non-existant 13th floor of their apartment building, and the magical adventures they had while they were there.

Sounds like: Becker, Eve. Thirteen Means Magic. Harper & Row, 1976. Sound right to you?
That's too late. Try this one instead (although it's very difficult to find!) Howard, Joan. The 13th is Magic. Illustrated by Adrienne Adams. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1950.
Thank you so much! I'm reasonably certain that's the book. Now, if I can just find it, I'll be very happy. Oh, nostalgia....
Hi. So many books I didN'T read as a kid! But there are just as many I did read and want to find again. To start with: Do you or anyone else remember a book about a boy and a girl, possibly siblings or cousins, who are sent back in time via a unicorn tapestry showing a well in their aunt's garden? The boy's name was Ronald and he was called Roland when in the past. The girl's name was Jill? Possible title: The Thirteenth is Magic? Possible author: Patricia Gardener? As I might be confusing this with some other books I'd read and would like to reread, if those strike any chords please let me know. Thanks for running such a great site.
Joan Howard (pseud. Patricia Gordon) , Thirteenth is Magic. NY: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard, '50. The children are named Ronnie & Gillian. The Summer is Magic came out in '52: same publisher & illustrator (Adrienne Adams).
Howard, Joan. The 13th is Magic. Illustrated by Adrienne Adams. Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co., 1950.
Joan Howard/Patricia Gordon wrote other children's books, do you know their names? (One was about a boy going through a dangerous journey where, if a ghost touched him, he would freeze)

Book Calendar

This resource introduces the reader to a book a day. These aren't reviews, but sort of "spot announcements". Non-fiction, as far as I can see, a reader might enjoy having these emailed to themselves daily.

Online Book Commmunities


Devised by a librarian, this site has the hot new books in multiples categories. This is mostly a reader's advisory site. If you dig quite a bit at the bottom of the home page, you are led to an Overbooked NING page with discussion forums. There aren't many discussions going on that I see. I think that this aspect should have its own tab at the top of the page in order to be used more.


Announces in its current post it is going under: "Every year when June rolls around, I try to find some way to mark the anniversary of the official launch of Readerville. I’m sorry to announce that this year, instead, I’m suspending operations." So much for this part of this Thing.

Reader2 and Gabbly Chat!

The forums for this site led to one of those dead doggie/can't load the page pages. The Chat loads up Gabbly Chat! Maybe its a free little chat box program or something, but it flashes FIND A FRIEND! FIND A DATE!


This online book club and possible book club management tool is aimed at the young, hip, having-a-snorting-good-time-over-their-books reader. (Note the photo below). What is long term problematic here is that it promotes Target's limited selection of books.

Living Social

Available on their site or as a Facebook application, Living Social attempts to connect you with other readers based upon the books you input as being your library. Outside of Facebook, I'm not certain how useful this would be.

Book Group Resources

Litlovers is a great resource for groups looking for "serious" reading. For book groups, they offer questions for discussion and themed booklists.

Reading Group Choices

Reading Group Choices offers a wider range of titles for groups. It also offers a monthly newsletter, interviews, and reader comments on guided topics of the month.

Reading Group Guides

Reading Group Guides is similar but it has a relatively active discussion forum. The interface and overall look of Reading Group Guides is a bit more bare bones than Reading Group Choices.


This will be useful for book groups who might want to make their choices available online. The formatting is attractive. A list of Hot Books shows what other groups are reading. Nice way to get an interest group going, I saw one in particular based on reading books on a specific management style.

Wired for Books

From Ohio University, this features audio interviews with writers, and audio readings from various authors works. The tie in forbooks groups would bios?

Audio Books

I listened to a selection from each of the offerings in this section, curious about a volunteer reader. I had to lean over and stick my head under the reference desk in order to hear a little. The readers did admirably.

I was a bit put off by a long (over a minute!)ad for a suspense novel when I started the recording for The Wizard of Oz on Podiobooks.

Open Culture's site with its informative articles and forward looking philosophy was particularly enjoyable.

Book Swaps

BookMooch's lovely front page graphic

These sites can be a great bargain for those who aren't collector types. If you are attached to your collection(s) as I am, no way you'll try this.

Book Review Sites

The Complete Review caught my eye in this section: A selectively comprehensive, objectively opinionated survey of books old and new, trying to meet all your book review, preview, and information needs.

A tall order! The books reviewed are not your run of the mill bestsellers. I found only one book I had hear of, in fact, Jedediah Berry's "The Manual of Detection". This labyrinthine novel of spies and identity and secrets does not get the "complete" treatment". Here is what they say:

Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Gave it 100 pages, just didn't take to it -- despite the promising premises and literary flair it just didn't keep me in any suspense

Chances that we will review it:

Very slim

I loved Book Browse for its timeliness, variety of age and reading choices, and the slick layout of the site. I was admiring some of its extra features such as the ability to search by geographical location and time period (key for fiction lovers!) when I noticed you need membership to access those and it costs $34.95 per year.

The One Minute Critic has one minute video book reviews. Most entertaining without sound, especially the review of the "Eyre Affair". I think this is a great idea, and a reviewer can potentially give a much meatier review with voice and body language included than the usual printed review.

Children's Books

LookyBook is dead: Regrettably, we have come to the last page in our exciting adventure together. It would not have happened without your enthusiasm, support, and patronage.

Lookybook is closed simply due to lack of resources.

Storyline has a "web page not found" message. :( :( :(

The International Digital Children's Library is a really creative teaching resource as well as an online source of stories. I liked their idea of looking at a book written in a language you don't know and writing your own story to go with the pictures.

Just One More Book

Nicely designed site, great resource for finding new children's books and series to read. I thought the background noises in the coffee shop were a bit distracting but these reviews are something the parent and child can listen to together and it may promote book discussion and review in its listeners as a fun thing to do.

Tonight's Bedtime Story

As far as I can tell, these are downloadable files (the stories are not on the site itself for viewing) of public domain stories. I think that might discourage use somewhat.

I thoroughly enjoyed working through this long long Thing!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Table Test Using Windows Live Writer With Blogger

This is
just a test


must show
table border


aha Windows Live Writer allows me to put a table in my blog so I can make lists in neat columns with headings.  Yo ho ho.

you can also insert a map

Map picture

or a picture



You need to download the Windows Live software, give your blog address and pass (though it made me log in anyway).

The actual blog post is written in Windows Live Writer, then you publish it to your Blogger or other blog.  You may also use Windows Live as your blogging site if you’re just starting out.  Very cool.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


She sounded a bit nervous at first but found her voice. I haven't been a big fan of the song "Memory", but as she does with many things, she has given it a whole new life. She sings with such heart and spirit.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Sister's Grimm Fairy-Tale Regurgitator

You gotta try the Sister's Grimm Fairy-Tale Regurgitator. It is the best story generator I've seen. Prompts ask you to fill in words in response to questions and a wild tale such as you see below is generated. I only regret using the word "mirror".

Salaryn’s Fairy-Tale

Once upon a time there was a Warrior named Salaryn with the most beautiful arm in the whole world. Unfortunately, she was very sad because her one heart’s desire was to have a chocolate.

An old witch in her town named Robert told her that she could find a chocolate at the top of Mount Nate. Our hero was filled with hope so she went home and got Jamie, her pet dog, and together they headed off into the forest below the mountain. The forest was dark and creepy and gave Salaryn and Jamie the heebie-jeebies, and it wasn’t long before they both started hearing rustling noises. They were coming from a nearby rose. Before they could run away, a gruesome monster jumped out of the rose, nearly scaring them to death!

“I am the mighty Dagloth! If you wish to pass you must answer three questions,” it said.

“But we don’t have time,” Salaryn cried. “We’re trying to get to the top of Mount Nate.”

“Tough noogies to you,” Dagloth cried. “Answer my questions or go back home. First, could you fit a mirror in your nose?”

“That’s a silly question!” Salaryn said. “I guess I could if I had to!”

“Ha!” Dagloth laughed. “You’re right! You have a huge nose. Now, answer me this. How many pizza could you eat in one sitting?”

“Well, I don’t care much for pizza but if I had to I could probably eat 10.”

The monster laughed even harder. “What does your pet’s leg smell like.”

“I don’t know why you would care but it smells like socks.”

The monster realized our hero was honest and true and allowed her to pass. So, Salaryn and Jamie went farther into the woods until they came to a clearing. There, on a pedestal sat a mirror.

“Well, that’s weird,” Salaryn said. “That monster was just talking about one of these. I suppose I should take it. It might be helpful later on, though I don’t know how.”

So Salaryn and her trusty pet, Jamie, set off again and found themselves at the base of Mount Nate. There they found a vine and used it to scale the mountain. They struggled for 7 days and 3 nights. All the time they were attacked by giant dragons and enormous flying bread with undefined tentacles and pink foot. But, finally, they got to the top of the mountain. It was a good thing, too, because they were both ready to give up and go back home!

At the top of Mount Nate was a huge violet castle with a drawbridge. On the drawbridge was a big basket filled to the top with pizza. “Well, this is peculiar,” Salaryn said. “I remember that lunatic monster in the woods was asking about these, just like he did about my nose and the mirror. I guess I could take these with us in case they come in handy, but to be honest, I have no idea how they could be useful.” So she hoisted the basket onto Jamie’s back and together they went into the castle.

Once inside they found an ugly snake, even more gruesome and smelly than the first monster. In fact, he smelled like pizza that had fallen under the seat of a hot car.

“I am the mighty Matthias, King of the Goobers! I rule this castle and everything in it. I suppose you’ve come here because I have tons of chocolates.”

Salaryn nodded. “It’s my greatest wish to have a chocolate.”

“Then you must show me something remarkable!” King Matthias said.

Salaryn was so angry she danced, but getting mad wasn’t going to solve her problems. She had to do something remarkable and the only thing she could think of was to stick her mirror up her nose. So she did! It was totally disgusting, and Salaryn looked like an idiot with the mirror sticking out of her nostril, but the King of the Goobers applauded. “That is remarkable.”

“I’m glad you’re impressed,” our hero said. “Now may I have a chocolate?”

“No!” the king roared. “To get that you must beat me in an eating contest! I hope you like pizza.” The king hurried Salaryn into a dining room where a huge plate of piping hot pizza was waiting on a table.

“No one has ever eaten more of these than I have but if you can I’ll give you your heart’s desire.”

So, seeing that she had no choice, and being a bit hungry from climbing the mountain, our hero removed the basket from her pet’s back and dumped all the pizza onto the table. Together, she and the King ate and ate. They ate for 25 days and 55 nights. They even ate on Christmas, until the buttons popped off their pants. But, when it was all over, Salaryn had eaten one more pizza than the King of the Goobers.

“I ate more than you,” our hero cried. “Now give me what I came for!”

“Absolutely not,” the king bellowed. “You cheated somehow. I won’t give it to you.”

Our hero was so angry she picked up her pet and shoved Jamie’s leg into the King’s face. The King screeched in horror.

“NO! I can’t stand the smell of dog leg. It’s my only weakness!” And a moment later the King of the Goobers melted into coffee all over the floor. Salaryn and Jamie were glad to be rid of him and searched the castle, finally finding the chocolate! And since the castle was now abandoned they decided to live there, where they would never have to stick a mirror up their nose or eat nasty old pizza again. And besides, they had no idea how to get back down the mountain.

And they lived happily ever after!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

More Things on a Stick: Thing 34 "Is This Our Competition--Online Answer Sites"

We're off to a rollicking start with article one The Future of the Reference Desk. The first line is "I’m not sure the reference desk makes the most sense anymore." The author, Lauren Pressley is an academic librarian. She goes on to say "I say that, though, based entirely on my own experiences at my own institution. Most of the questions I get are either way out of my league and something for a subject specialist, or they are super simple “how do I print” or “where is the restroom” types of questions. Rarely am I asked something that is challenging enough that I’m glad to be there but also isn’t a four hour long, in-depth issue."

My own library experiences have been in school and public libraries. I have never felt in either type of library that a reference desk was outdated or without further use. In the public library especially, as we layer increasingly complex technologies over the traditional services that are still expected and in demand, we do a daily juggling act to answer an incredible range of questions. We serve all ages and interests. If a question is truly beyond our scope we attempt to refer elsewhere, or acquire the information from other sources.

Article two That Thing You Do by RUSA President David A Tyckoson is the most reasonable response to the musical question "Can a librarian be replaced by a really smart photocopier?" Wow! Give this man a hug! He totally understands what libraries and librarians actually do in the course of a day, and the value of having an person to guide the customer through their questions.

This brings us back to the function of the reference librarian
(this is a reference journal, after all). For almost 150 years,
we reference librarians have served to enhance the interactive
nature of the library. We answer questions, suggest reading
materials, advise on research strategy, teach about our resources,
schedule programs and events, help with equipment,
direct people to the bathrooms, and interact in hundreds of
other ways with the people who form our community. The
reference librarian is the library’s human face and a gateway
to an entire social network of library users.


Article three: Librarian 2.0 - Interviews of the future of librarians Certainly an interesting group of librarians and opinions. I most enjoyed and agreed with the philosophies of Tim Spaulding and Meredith Farkas and Sarah Houghton-Jan. Their humanistic approach to all sides of the library equation is what we need to move forward. I particularly enjoyed reading this from Houghton-Jan:

That being said, libraries and librarians are still necessary as an institution of our culture. Erase the libraries, and you've erased the single institution in our culture that evens the educational playing field for all people. Erase the librarians and you've erased the people who help get you that information that educates you, stimulates you, entertains you. Librarians are the people who can help you, whoever you are, find whatever information it is you need. Search engines don't do that. Portals don't do that. You need an expert to get in there and suss out the information you're looking for. For some questions, "just good enough" isn't good enough.

Article four: Evolution to Revolution to Chaos? Reference in Transition by Stephen Abram I saw Stephen Abram speak once, and he has that ability to inspire by making the future seem bright and shiny and irresistable. He does that in this article, presenting a range of scenarios for libraries. Somewhere within his fourteen possibilities is the path we'll take, but slowly.

I don't think that libraries and librarians are really opposed to change (even the dinosaurs such as myself), I think they just change more slowly than many might wish, largely because they are institutions, and politically based and funded institutions. Everything must be passed through a dense set of filters before anything can happen. Sometimes those filters have debris in them that partially and temporarily block the flow of progress before everything can move on through the system and we see change.

David Lee King's Ask-a-Librarian Services Need a Reboot post has its heart in the right place (making sure your email reference service is equivalent to your in person service). He points out the common language used in Ask a Librarian scope of services statements (most saying they will respond within 48 hours and that brief factual answers will be provided).

Having worked on our own statement, I can say we looked at what other libraries at the time were saying and we put similar statements on our site. In reality, we check for Ask A Librarian questions during all of the hours we are open, and we respond back to the customer very quickly, to acknowledge receipt of the question, and we provide an answer if we have one or let them know what we think we will need to do to find their answer. I suspect most Ask A Librarian services work this way. Those formal statements are just that, formal statements. I do not believe most customers even read them, they use the service if it is convenient for them.

Slam the Boards "The 10th of each month is Slam the Boards Day, where librarians demonstrate their reference skills on the online answer boards." I love this idea. It is simple and practical and goes with the "Be where the customers are 2.0 theory of librarianship".

Yahoo Answers

Here are some of the questions under their Home and Garden category. These are all completely typical questions we might get. As with any online discussion forum, you have to take the answers provided by readers with a block of salt. For the questions that do have a set of responses, none cite any further authority, nor do they give the questioner ideas for where to get more information. Ok for grass stains, but dicey if something more expensive or complex is on the line.

1.Fire alarm won't stop beeping even after I take out the battery?

2.What kind of tree to plant in honor of our baby?

3. How can I live in my house for weeks/months without power in the summer, and getting cut off tomorrow?

4.What's the difference from 200, 230 and 300 count sheets?

5. Sharpening a small field knife?

6. Most important woodworking tool?

7. How do you remove jeanstains from your grass?

Small "Lost" Note

Wild Predictions for finale:

Juliet will tell Kate she is pregnant.

John will not "kill" Jacob.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

More Things on a Stick Thing 33: Travel 2.0

The Travel Thing is surely one of the most fun and useful exercises so far.

Travel 2.0 Articles

The article Next Wave of Travel Sites feels like MySpace by Gregory Lamb of the Christian Science Monitor is a great introduction to the "social" aspects of these sites, from blogs to journals to reader recommendations.

What is Travel 2.0 from Susan Breslow Sardone at About.Com provides a list of fourteen travel sites that give reader destination ratings and feedback.

Travel 2.0: Social Networking Takes a Useful Turn by USA Today business travel writer David Grossman talks about the travel community sites as well, but he seems a bit unconvinced that social networking is valuable or desirable.

Travel Blogs and Podcasts

I liked the writing style and presentation on the Lost Girls Blog and on My Kugelhopf best of this set. The blogs were conversational and informative. It was a pleasure to read both sites, whether I might go where they were traveling or not.

A more slick, formal approach can be seen on Notes from the Road I thought this was numerous authors but A. Nonymous kindly corrected me in the comments section of D.O.A. Central. Eric Gauger is the lone author of the blog, so very nicely done.

Review Sites

Most of these sites would be useful if you were looking for information on some particular travel destination. I was taken with Igougo above the rest for its immediate browsability. It took me a bit to see the site is...I Go, You Go smooshed into a smaller word.

Travel Journal Sites

These sites allow you to document your journeys with photos, Google type maps and commentary. None seem very well used however, so perhaps they're new and haven't caught on.

Travel Mashups

Green Routes Find your Green business and restaurants as you travel.

TubeJP is the London Tube Journey Planner. Maps out Underground routes and provides status updates for stations along the way.

Last but not least, the map my husband must *never* see FastFoodMaps We will never eat anything but Burger King or Kentucky Fried again if he finds this. shhhhhh!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Chart Test, nothing to see here, move along...

I've been looking for a way to post a charted or tabled booklist list or other list here without learning html. I thought it might be possible to post an Excel chart as an image but in 2007 version I don't see the option.

Another possibility was to create a Word table, copy it into Windows Paint, then post the image. That works but it isn't easily readable without clicking to enlarge the image. I could not get the lines between the cells to copy into Paint so they don't show up in the final picture either. Also, note that big white area. I take it I should have cropped the image before loading it here.

Needs tweaking.

Hairy Thoughts

The local little old lady population has been vocal about my long graying/whiting/multi-colored hair lately. In a nutshell, they would like me to snip it old bag short and dye it, lord knows what color. Maybe its the multi-colored thing that bugs them?

For them, I offer the Cowsills and their Ode to Hair.

She ask him why
why i'm a hairy guy
I'm hairy noon and nighty-night night
My hair is a fright
I'm hairy high and low
But don't ask me why
cuz he don't know
It's not for lack of bread
Like the Grateful Dead

Gimme a head with hair
Long, beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Give me down to there hair
Shoulder length or longer hair
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy

Hair, hair, hair, hair
Grow it, show it
Long as I can grow it
My hair

I let it fly in the breeze
And get caught in the trees
Give a home for the fleas in my hair
A home for fleas
A hive for the bees
A nest for birds
There ain't no words
For the beauty, the splendor, the wonder
Of my...

Hair, hair, hair, hair,
Grow it, show it
Long as I can grow it
My hair

I want it long, straight, curly, fuzzy
Snaggy, shaggy, ratsy, matsy
Oily, greasy, fleecy
Shining, gleaming, streaming
Flaxen, waxen
Knotted, polka-dotted
Twisted, beaded, braided
Powdered, flowered, and confettied
Bangled, tangled, spangled, and spaghettied!

Oh say can you see
My eyes if you can
Then my hair's too short

Down to here
Down to there

Down to where it stops by itself
(No never have to cut it cos it stops by itself)

Oh give me a head with hair
Long, beautiful hair
Shining, gleaming,
Streaming, flaxen, waxen

Won't you gimme it down to there (hair)
Shoulder length or longer (Hair!)
Here baby, there mama
Everywhere daddy daddy
Hair (hair hair hair)
Grow it
Show it
Long as I can grow it
My hair ( hair hair hair)
Grow it
Show it
Long as I can grow it
My hair( hair hair hair hair hair hair hair hair hair)

Sing it! (hums)

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lolcats Generator

I didn't have a picture of me handy. You are able to make any photo into a Lolcats pic, adding your own caption. Utmost apologies to the elegant Ms Ferris. I saw her about a year ago and she would see the humor in this with her magnificent hat collection, I hope.

Scary Storytime

Scary Storytime

Bad dog that I am I skipped ahead briefly to Thing 36, Comic Relief. They had a new cartoon generator which they billed as made for blogs. This is it! Actually you just blog on their site, as it were, your toons. And...can save them to your real blog after all. It doesn't fit the blog after all. You need to click through to the site, then click once more to enlarge it. Cute toon though if I do say so myself.

More Things on a Stick Thing 32: Google Maps and Mashups

View Twin Cities Favorites in a larger map

Well *doh* this doesn't look like the detailed map I created at all. You can certainly click on this for more detail and see the locations and descriptions but I would sure expect a closer up picture of the Twin Cities. Must check out the Mashups cause this gets a bah humbug.

I found a map of locations found in the television show Lost which looks fine on the link page but it comes up grayed out copying the linked map in here so...mash this fine map here.

Blog Prompts

Describe the type of mashup you created. Just a few favorite Twin Cities locations.
Did you find any mashups that interested you? The Lost Map.

Can you see a use for mashups at your library? If you could get the detailed map it could be used for library locations.

Perhaps it could be used to create topical maps of say, the Museum Pass locations, or in conjunction with the Major Leagues at Your Library Program, baseball field maps?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

More Things on a Stick Thing 31: More Twitter!!!!

Twitter is most informative and entertaining. I have found over 800 interesting people to "Follow" and, somehow I have over 400 "Followers" though I don't say much.

Our 23 Things guides have us look at Tweet Effect to see what we might have said to gain or lose followers.

My "Tweet Effect" says: "In the last 200 updates you had no changes in your follower numbers. Loyal readers, you have." Yoda!

Actually, since I subscribe to yet another such service, called Qwitter I know I lost 5 followers on Income Tax night with a cheery Tweet that common tax forms were outside the front door for the late and desperately taxed.

Tweet Viewers

It looks like there are several Twitter aids that help manage your Twitter displays. They require downloads. I wonder if viewing through these readers is as ponderously slow as Twitter itself has become. They look more heavily graphical so I am not sure it is a good thing to add anything in.

Betwittered has a nice blog page called 32 Hours that explains their service and Twitter itself.

Tweet Deck's display looks slick, dividing the screen into four columns, including one with Facebook freinds status so you can keep tabs 24/7.

I was installing this at home and doing so let me know that the application would give the software complete system access. "Unrestricted Access" was the term. I don't think a piece of software that organizes Twitter needs access to all of my files. So no Tweet Deck for me.

Mobile Twittering

Maybe ok if you're stuck in the airport or under the drill at the dentist's but otherwise...I picture this girl I saw driving down the road last week, head turned to the side thumbing her phone rather than watching the road even a little. Scary.

I looked at some of the other sites on the More Things site, but they aren't useful for my purposes. I have more followers than I need, and now I've reached my secret goal of 400, I'm going to start Tweeting one of these days and that might clear the decks faster than Tax Form notes!

In the meantime, here are the More Things "Do" and Blog about questions and answers.

1. Explore some different ways to view and post to Twitter. What works best for you and why? I did take a look at Tweet Deck and Betwittered, but they don't add enough to be useful, and that "unrestricted access" for Tweet Deck is a bad idea.

2. Have you made Twitter part of your social networking plan? Not really. Why or why not? It is more of an entertaining newsite for me so I don't feel it is a problem to miss anything that might fly by. So I am not getting it sent to my email or phone or anyplace but where it naturally resides. Have you integrated Twitter into any of your other socialmedia sites? Again no, I see it as a standalone application. What do you use it for? I have many interests and I find it relaxing to look through a few pages of updates now and then. That is it!

3. Choose several of the fun things, try them out, and use at least one of them as the basis for a blog post. Include something visual in your post as an example. See visuals above in this long long post.

4. Add your name to the Tweeter Directory and tell us more about it in your blog. I added myself under "bloggers" in the directory rather than in the librarian section because I have three blogs, all different and heaven forbid I should be pigeonholed.

5. Use one of the the alerting or scheduling tools for Twitter. How did it work for you? Can you see how this might be useful? I refuse!

6. Read this post from The Next Web and use it as a Blog Prompt to tell us where you are in the stages of Twitter. Interesting post. I am at stage two still, I think.

7. Here's a long list of what other people think Twitter is. What do you think Twitter is? Include this in your blog post about this thing. I think Twitter is a great place to get little bytes of information. I do think that for many who want to get the word out about themselves, this is a very easy to use, low tech way of doing it. The learning curve and tech saavy required is so minimal, and the potential for reaching a wide readership is phenomenal.