Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Navigator Trilogy by Eoin McNamee

The Navigator

Owen is forced to follow in his dead father's footsteps as a "Navigator" someone who can help a hidden group called the "Resisters" stop the deadly "Harsh" from causing time to flow backwards. With little knowledge, and the guidance of his new friends, Owen seeks to keep time from being destroyed. Lots of great characters in this one. Cati, Doctor Diamond, the Sub-Commandant, Pieta and the Raggies just spring to life from their long sleep to fill the pages with adventure. The human traitor Johnston with his love of opera, junk, and his total devotion to evil is a great villainous creation.

The City of Time

Owen, Cati and Dr. Diamond travel to Hadima, the City of Time, to find out how to get a new supply of time for their dying world. Packed with unusual characters and one of the most bizarre road trips ever, the City of Time is full of action. Hadima, the City of Time, is a grand and mysterious creation.

The Frost Child

The answers to the mystery of the Harsh are in this third volume. Earth is recovering from the loss of time and the moon being shifted out of its orbit. The Harsh launch a final and direct assault against the Resisters and earth. Although all loose ends are tied up, Owen's wanderings on the Wayfarer, while interesting and key to the plot's resolution seemed like padding in the story, and broke the tension of the impending Harsh attack. I also really, really was not happy at the sudden turn in the relationship between Cati and Owen. After all they'd been through, suddenly blah blah they're just friends and someone else steps out of the background and becomes their love interest. Nope. Doesn't work at all.

The series as a whole is great for anyone who likes time travel, interesting characters, strange inventions, and journeys to places beyond imagination.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

World's Ugliest Dog, Isn't He a Cutie?

In lighter news, who knew there was a "world's ugliest dog" contest? This year's winner is Pabst, a rescued boxer with some serious need of dental work, or something.
Actually he is pretty cute, and the teeth poking out kind of look like he is giving a very gruff smile. Or...somebody stole his blankie.

He really is a cutie compared to the other entrants.

Another site I came across this week, while we're being cheered by canines is Dogster It has information on dog breeds and adoption, plus it has forums where you can share doggy information and tales. I found others there who were asking about beagles and their pulling ways. I felt vindicated to know that the Gentle Leader harnesses don't fit anybody elses beagles either. The medium is too big and the small is too tiny. And that is just the sort of thing that would be helpful. Ah well.

For even more doggy information try the American Kennel Club site.

Hug your sweet doggie today!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael and the Jackson 5: I'll Be There

Live performance, Mexico. When he was just a sweet kid with an awesome voice.

Photo collage of young Michael

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Having More Fun with the Sticky Things

Now that I'm done with the More Things on a Stick program, I am going back through and adding links on my link lists from the many Things I wished to explore more. I'm hoping for another round of Things in the future. I'll be practising till then.

This Bart Simpson Blackboard Generator is from the "1000 Online Generators" link in my Blog and 2.0-ish Tips category.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More Things on a Stick Thing 47: Evaluation

I'm glad that I had continued blogging between the original 23 Things and More Things on a Stick. There was a ton of new and useful information in this set that helped me build on what I knew and was using, which is the ideal. I read through every item on every Thing and noted and commented on a large portion of the examples.

The blogging tools that add visual elements will be very useful.

I think if I can work with the Screencasting tools a bit more and get both sound and voice to work, I will be able to do some mini-tutorials here. I'd like to try a little podcasting as well, though I did not get that to work this time around either.

I think that this is a great time to put tools such as are included in the 23 Things Programs in the hands of individuals who might be able to offer something new and different to the library world, even if they do not do it from within the confines of their own library web sites.

For those libraries that do embrace these tools, more power to you, I think you will find that you are now a more creative, entertaining and human presence in the lives of your customers.

More Things on a Stick Thing 46: Webjunction Minnesota

I looked at this during the first 23 Things and am digging to find my password for it..stay tuned.

It looks like I did not create an account last year after all, so I created a new one. I sent a friend request to the space guy featured on the front page and I actually found someone in our metro-ey web to ask for friending as well. Social me 101, 102 and 103...

In the online courses area I was pleased to see two Outlook courses which would be most useful to me since I read and send messages only with it like a common luddite. Hopefully one or so of these will make me the uber user I might be.

I looked at the Groups Page and Book Discussions. It doesn't look like there is alot of discussion, but the potential is there. I looked at the MN Destiny User Group as prompted. There look to be only three threads and not much discussion there at all. An active forum is going to have dozens of threads and posts within those threads. This part of Web Junction apparently needs more promotion.

More Things on a Stick Thing 45: Cloud Computing

I read the two articles on cloud computing to try to get an idea of what it actually is. The second article: Could you live in the cloud? does the best job of explaining, I think.

Making a similar list for myself (and I stole some of his headings), I can do these things virtually:

1.E-mail. Already there. I can access personal and work mail from anywhere. If I switch to the more robust gmail account I created, I can have some calendaring and document access as well. I am thankful that I do not generally take my work home or anywhere else with me so those last two are not key.

2.Web searching and bookmarking. I put alot on del.ici.ous but I still don't use it though I could. I just use my bookmarked sites for aimless browsing rather than important must have stuff so that is likely why I haven't moved to using del.ici.ous

3.Word processing. I also use Excel and Publisher for my own purposes and these are not supported virtually so a Flash Drive is still my mobility device for desktop computing and publishing.

4.Photo storage and editing. For blogging purposes the online sites are fine. I don't like the idea of my personal photos ending up with cartoon captions on someone's web site or in a document. Also, much of the work I do with photographs involves scanning files in with a scanner and then having to adapt file size and this is a problem I run into with the online sites, they don't like the file size or who knows what and I do not have the equipment necessary out in the clouds to correct that on the fly. I do appreciate however how simple some of the photo editing software is to use, especially Picnik.

5. Blogging This one is doable anytime anywhere. Mostly done at home sweet home however.

So, I can do much of my computing virtually, but I am lucky and do not spend my life on the road for my job and in my off time I am not doing work related Things, except this.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

More Things on a Stick Thing 44: The Economy

I was not inspired to use cartoons in Thing 36 "Comic Relief" but this economic Thing calls out for relief of some kind.

Even a non-mathematical bozoid like myself can appreciate the visual explanation of how we got to this crummy place in the article It's the Economy, Stupid! It is truly boggling to think that we could get rid of the national debt by each forking over $516,000.

The Thing about Banking 2.0

My Money.gov

I haven't used Digg since the original 23 Things but I added this article to Digg. Digg seems to ask for more confirmations than it previously did, not only tossing up one of those encrypted text thingies that you have to re-type to prove you're human, but it also presented me with a list of articles which it thought might be similar or the same as what I was submitting. I had to confirm my Digg had not already been...dugg. The article/site itself gives tons of information on budgeting, credit and credit repair (including how to handle creditors if you've lost your job), retirement planning and how to start a small business.


The first thing this site asks for is for you to log into your bank account or credit card through Mint!

I assumed this site would let you fill in figures but no, they let their fingers do the walking through your account information. This does not seem safe or advisable.

ClearCheckbook appears to let you enter your own information, get reports, operating more like a free version of other money management software.

What Bills?
They propose taking the paper pile out of your bill paying by emailing you reminders of upcoming due dates.


...is not thriving today, "web page not found". This is something to think about with these helpful financial sites, they can be here today and gone tomorrow with your financial information. Tsk.

Feed the Pig!!!

Feed the pig gives sound savings tips and advice using a very strange pig in a pink suit, with piercing piggie eyes and a genuinely disturbing coin slot in the top of his head. There are also pages devoted to Tweens and Kids which use cartoon pigs so as not to frighten the wee folk.


I used Gas Buddy before leaving work last night to check on gas prices near home because I was nearly empty. This morning I was all set to get the pricing posted at my local station, only to find it was four cents more per gallon. The information appears to be volunteer/spotter added so my local spotters have been snoozing it appears. The site also gives national pricing averages in list and map form.



Blogs, tips, bargain alerts (which do not appear to be localized) and forums. The forums look reasonably active which is a good sign that the site might be valuable if you'd like to compare notes

Frugal Dad

Frugal Dad is a blog site that promotes frugality and saving. It is a surprisingly personal website as well, so don't expect dry tips. His 75 tips for surviving in this economy are practical, and his driving tips are most interesting.

Yard Sale Treasure Map

Ahoy! My mother in law would love this Google Map. Just select your area and what day you'd like to cast off for Yard/Garage sale land and a map with locations and descriptions of what's on sale is produced.

Retail Me Not

This searchable site lets you know what is on sale at your desired shopping destination. It also has printable coupon codes, but couponer beware, they also ask for users to rate their success in using the codes and many do not have good success so, I'm picturing you have to be the type of person who can blow on in to the store and demand satisfaction with your coupon or code.

Fat Wallet

Fat Wallet seems to be a site that lists deals and sales, sort of one stop shopping. It has a coupon search feature as well, but without success comments/ratings.


Mad City Chickens

If you are able to have chickens in your yard, this is the place for information on coops, feeding, growing, tending chickens of all sorts. The coops and chickens looked so nice I checked to see if my city allows these little feathery little cuties. I would never be able to do the chickens in, though, so we'd best not go down that path. My veggie garden this year will have to sustain us.


I liked the three recommended sites for information on local gardening. The garden forum would be especially useful because we do have some unusual growing conditions here and it is nice to be able to ask about what we can grow and how best to grow it, Minnesota style. I would recommend these companies as well for those wishing to start an herb or vegetable garden.

Burpee Vegetable seeds and supplies

The Cook's Garden Seeds, tools, recipes

Edible landscaping Fruit trees and shrubs

John Scheepers Kitchen Garden Seeds Flower, vegetable and herb seeds

Thompson & Morgan Vegetable and herb seeds, garden tools, seed starting supplies

Totally Tomatoes Vast variety of tomatoes and peppers.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

More Things On a Stick Thing 43: Online TV and Video

After my twitchy experience with Pandora, I'm pleased to report I liked Hulu very much. I think it gives the viewer a chance to try out a show they might not have had the chance to see, and at their leisure.

I saw "Fringe" in the Science Fiction category (category searching another plus), highly recommended by staff here but I planned to wait for the DVD. Now I can take a look at it and see what I think. It looks like the earlier episodes from the season aren't available, just episode 10 on. Still, I could get a feel for whether I liked it or not.

You can search movies too, and look! They have The Crawling Hand starring Peter Breck!


Joost offers another series I missed, Babylon5. This was not a series you could jump into in the middle. I see the pilot is there. Fun.

These services both have commercials but they are brief. You can also tag and favorite and review on Joost so there's the 2.0 aspect. Joost also allows you to tie into your Facebook account and let people know what your're watching at any given time, tossing out comments as you go.

Hulu has most watched and most popular categories so they're not quite so tuned in, as it were.

I'll be exploring both of these more on my own.

More Things on a Stick: Thing 42 Music 2.0


I chose the Classic Rock category first and a group I don't care for cropped up. Gave it the thumbs down. I'm all social now. So a group I like is next but a song I don't care for. I "bookmarked" the group. The next few are more awful songs so I figured out how to skip them. Oops!

Unfortunately our music licenses force us to limit the number of songs you may skip. If you want to hear something else, try creating another station starting with a different artist or song.

Hmmmm. So I try Rock n Roll and get nailed on the skippy thing right off. British Invasion? No luck. Pop/ Hair metal???? What on earth is hair metal? Scary sounding but not so bad as "stoner/doom metal". Eeek.

I decide to "Create a New Station". I use John Fogerty, and Pandora finds me someone "like" John Fogerty and they give an analysis of Fogerty's style I wasn't quick enough to write down. They present Down on the Corner by John Fogerty! Boy they can really analyze. Then they branch out and give me a listen to "Proud Mary" by Creedence Clearwater Revival! This program is eerily good!

They branch out EVEN MORE and present "Take it Easy" by the Eagles. I actually like this song though I don't think it is stylistically anything like John Fogerty. So I give it the thumbs up, glad I didn't run into the skippy thingie again.

You have to listen to an entire song or you are a bad doggie and are SKIPPING. The beat goes on, they're offering me more John Fogerty. Life is good and I'm no doubt developing a musical profile that just doesn't quit.

I went to Ebsco Master File and read this article: Pack, T. (2008, May). Pandora Lets Users Create Online Radio Stations. Information Today, 25(5), 38-39. Retrieved June 17, 2009, from MasterFILE Premier database for some background on Pandora. I can see that they are trying to be pleasing and analyze your musical tastes and only present to you songs that fit in with what they have found to be "songs with interesting musical similarities to your choice"

I see what they're trying to do, but I do not understand why they make you listen to an entire song, and don't just let you pick titles or artists and go from there. I definitely don't understand the "skippy" thing.

Last.fm is the other musical choice in this Thing and I looked at that in a previous Thing.

If you do develop a nice list, you could theoretically share your "station" full of brilliant selections.

More Things on a Stick Thing 41: Mash Up Your Life

I looked at all of the sites for aggregating updates to your social sites and services listed in the Thing. Lifestream.fm looked most appealing. They offer aggregation of many more sites than I was aware existed, even after two sessions of "Things on Sticks".

I only entered delicious, Digg and Twitter. Twitter updates came up right off, it looks like all I have done since signing up. Nothing from the others. I will be interested to see if this blog post pops up as an update. Let's just check...Nope it only has eyes for Twitter, tsk. I honestly update even that site very little, so I can't say that this particular Thing will be useful to me.

More Things on a Stick Thing 40: Mash Up the Web

Hai hilarity, as this thing starts off with a music mashup. I haven't listened to the radio since the 1980s, and have just begun listening to music again at all a small bit, having stopped when my mom died in 2005. So...not musically up to date to be sure, except for keeping an eye out for the ever fragile Susan Boyle.

I signed up for last.fm and put in three musical selections (all I could think of before my second cup of coffee):

Tom Petty
John Mellencamp
Los Lobos

The recommendations that came back were:
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Bob Seger
Don Henley
Jackson Browne
Nobody recommended like Los Lobos? :( :(
Actually nobody recommended like John Mellencamp either. Hmmpf.

I can see why those suggestions were made because of musical style, but I am no fan of Don Henley or Jackson Browne so meh. If I ever decide to start listening to the radio again (unlikely because they do so much inane jabbering between songs) I'll race right on over here and get some suggestions.

Book Mashing

This helps you mark your place in a book by letting you say what page you're on. It also obviously serves as a nice "what people reading spot". My first thought looking at it was "too much pressure" to show I'm making progress in any given book. What if my son sees it and notes I dropped reading Twilight for Eoin McNamee's The Frost Child as soon as it came in the mail? Tsk.

Lazy Library
I personally pay no attention to how many pages a book has, but we have lots of book report writers who would love a source of books 200 pages or less to work from.

Book Tour
Book Tour has one of those Google Earth maps with books piled on those lucky states which will have author tours. The east coast has piles and piles of books and Minnesota has about four books. Hey, we're the ones stuck inside six months of the year, come and talk to us instead! I do see some states have no author tours at all so...how sad for them.

Lib Worm

A library topical search engine! I searched for the topic du jour here in Minnesota, "unallotment" and got two informative articles. Very cool.

Social Mashing


Nice tool for finding restaurants in a particular area by zip code. Links to the restaurant sites on the left let you take a peek at menus if they are available. Very useful tool.

Wheel of Food

Actually, the area near our library is loaded with restaurants, which this colorful tool shows off much better. It highlights at the upper left the beloved "Carbones" restaurant so we give this one high marks.

Even More Mashed Photos

Visual Headlines takes photos from Flickr and puts them in letters and you get the date. I kept waiting to see more load on the screen but nope. You could use this as your daily blog or site header. Other than that...zzzzzz


Not so fascinating as they think!

Flickr Memari

I couldn't get the program to grab from my Flickr, so I'm using this bold public library example. They put their staff pictures up in this matching game. Nice way to familiarize the public with staff. Libraries could also introduce new services this way on their web pages. It has that interactivity factor we're always looking for on our web pages.

Parents could certainly use this to put their child's picture up and make a fun game of matching their photos, or even do some recognition of people you know vs strangers type lesson, or letters of the alphabet...lots of possibility here in what looks like something very simple initially.

Video Mashes

I typed in Vietnam War and walked away for five mintes, and still they were searching...So as not to strain its memory banks I tried searching Susan Boyle, and got this neato timeline display of her saga thus far.

It could be useful to track some current topic and present a sort of living timeline of events.

Googly Mashes

Let me Google that for you
I don't see the point. Google is simpler to use since you just type in your term and away you go. You type in your question here and then you have to follow their tiny url...I bet I'm missing the point. It can happen. I typed in that ever gnarly question:

"How much wood would a wood chuck chuck if a wood chuck would chuck wood?"

There are 2,180,000 results for that question so it is, in fact, a burning and valid query.

Crime Reports

Another Google Maps result. It found no crimes near our library and unfortunately we know that is incorrect.

Walk Score

Shows you places of interest in your area within walking distance of the address you put in. A nice way to get a feel for an area. Who knew there was a comic store near me? Off I go! The walk score for my home is only 48 out of 100 however, and it is listed as being "car dependent".

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More Things on a Stick Thing 39: Digital Storytelling

ScrapBlog was the only one of the resources that I felt made it possible to compose a scrap page easily. These digital pages can be useful for web sites and blogs as visual filler.

I do scrapbooking, and I love the color and texture of papers and embellishments such as cloth or buttons or tickets, that make the pages of a real scrapbook so much fun to compose and look through.

A library could use a program such as this to promote an event, show progress on a building project, or give an attractive overview of library services.

More Things on a Stick Thing 38: Screencasting

So...I tried the screencast-o-matic and saved it to my desktop. My accompanying brilliant audio does not seem to have been recorded. The visual steps I took are here though, so, perhaps with some tweaking to get the audio I could have a grand new secondary career creating silly but useful tutorials.

I tried ScreenToaster and am still waiting for a confirmation email from them. here we go! And voila, the audio worked. Plug your ears :)

I Downloaded Jing and successfully did a short video, again no sound. They have a multi-step process for posting the capture which I can't do in the time I have this morning.

I checked my headset sound playback in the Control Panel and it is fine, though I sound really wierd. Oh well. Onward.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

More Things on a Stick Thing 37: Photo Tales

A Walk through Muir Woods March 2009

Well, the music really blares and there's no choice that I saw. The slides are cut off on this blog style, but all in all, sort of nice fades and presentation.

Here is another look at Muir Woods from Slide Create:

Rock You

Yikes had to pull this one! It blasted the song as soon as you loaded my blog yowie.
The advantage of this site is that the musical selections are going to be pleasing for the younger set. I wish it had some editing ability. Also, I could only get three of my original photos to display. I put in another set of just four photographs and it worked fine.


I had considerable trouble getting Collagr to take the url for my flickr photo. I wanted to use the full set of 12 pictures but it wouldn't let me. So here is a lovely spread of Doggie D.O.A...or not. Hmm just the code appears...ok tried again and used the mini-embed code and voila. So this could be a striking tool on a web page or flyer or brochure.

SlideRocket looks slick and professional. When I have more time I'd like to try it out for some sort of tutorial.


This one could use a much nicer caption balloon or something than shows on their page! Wait a minute..where did the caption go? It didn't copy with the picture, yikes. If "Captioner" had actually put the caption in, it would read:

The Bunny ate my shoe!


roflbot did not want to use the photographs I tried from my computer. My guess is they are the wrong picture formatting though this site does not give you an informational error message, it merely says the picture didn't work, try another.

Caption Bubble

The whole page doesn't show up in this particular blog layout. Unlike some pictures, you can't click on the picture to see the whole thing, clicking just takes you to Caption Bubble's home page. On the plus side this site is not particular about picture type, so if you're using something manageable in size this might be a useful site for you. This is one site that would not let me use Print Screen to copy the picture into Microsoft Paint where I could crop it.

Create your own caption


I had no idea what I was getting into on this one agh. They wanted to make a mosaic of 200-400!!!! of your Flickr photos. Like I have that many on there. So, it would let me use everybody's pictures, and I chose flowers. I had to be picky though and look like some nut through 36+ pages of photos to just find ones I liked. I didn't want bees, butterflies or other insectile creatures, and surely not the giant head of some stranger that appeared in many photos. Ya ya I know its their pictures but hey back back back. Anywho, they say they'll email me the picture. Can't wait.

The front or "master" picture I chose was a purple Russell Lupine. You can almost make out that shape if you look hard. These mosaics might work with a more distinctly outlined subject, but it takes alot of photographs and effort for a just an ok result. I see that posters of your mosaic are available. Perhaps in that larger format some of the tiny photographs that comprise the mosaic might show up more.


Animoto does a unique mix of your photos and it syncs them to music they make available on their site. It then presents it as what looks like a short video. It is frustrating to use in some ways, because it does not always "see" the pictures that are on my computer, and it doesn't "see" all of the pictures that I load on Flickr either. This may be a file size issue, but the program is not helpful enough to give you any sort of message that lets you know why you're not getting the pictures you want to include. Highly annoying! Nonetheless, from the pictures of my father that I could get Animoto to load and use, here is a photo collage of my father, in life sequence, you can see how short his story was by how young he was in those last photographs.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

More Things On A Stick Thing 36: Comic Relief

Another fine Thing! I am going to make the deadline of the 20th on these Things. I can cram for a test with the best of them.

The email icon generator

Let's see if the "send money to me/you just won a billion click here to claim it" email boneheads find me again with this icon. Just how how smart are those crawler programs, we ask?

Free Password Generator? That is really not smart. But here is the fine one it generated for me "yVeXAg8p". Steal it for yourself if you need to.

The Phonetic Password Generator offers this oh so pronouncable and memorable password for me "soocuiga". Say that five times in a row real fast and it is yours.

PDF Online

This was very quick and slick. I used a text only Word Document and it sent it to my email very quickly. No sign up or anything. Very cool.

Read Poster

Muhahaha my sister :)

Big Huge Labs Movie Poster

Make your own headlines

Wufoo Form Maker

I wish there were more than the three forms for free but I suppose they just want you to see how it works. I found the interface a little difficult and was uninspired to find a form to create so no example here. I can see lots of uses for libraries in having a simple form creator, especially one that might be used for on the web form.

Tag Clouds!

I could not get the Tag Cloud Generator to produce a tag cloud for me at all. All I got was a white box that said "urlaub" in it.

TagCrowd, however, produced a nice cloud with no problems.

created at TagCrowd.com


A cloud from my gardening blog.

TimeToast Timeline Maker

This could be valuable for school kids and genealogists and anyone seeking to make a simple timeline. I've wanted to make one for family history purposes and looked at using Microsoft Excel as the software but this is nicely done and you can add a picture for each timeline item(though I don't see the picture I thought I added). You will definitely want to have your dates in hand before you begin.

Tiny Tags

This makes for a nice little accent sign, doesn't it? Or a topic header.

The Bridge Hand Generator

I include this sample because my husband, aka "The Bridge King" would enjoy it.


awwwwww...now that's adorable.

I took a peek at the text to movie. I did not sucessfully become Speilberg.

I've done alot of cartooning and prefer Toonlet, Toondoo and Bitstrips. I'll add a toon here if I am inspired, if not just look through my blog, it is riddled with cartoons.

Me as a Dewey Number (I used my real name this time, to get the result, though I cleverly replaced it in the html)

DOA's Dewey Decimal Section:

761 Relief processes (Block printing)

DOA = 2125445 = 212+544+5 = 761

700 Arts & Recreation

Architecture, drawing, painting, music, sports.

What it says about you:
You're creative and fun, and you're good at motivating the people around you. You're attracted to things that are visually interesting. Other people might not always understand your taste or style, but it's yours.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

The Excuse Maker (very handy) I chose self-loathing. Now there's an excuse!

I am an insect, fit only to be squashed. You've reminded me-- oh, it cuts me to the quick-- that I have never thanked you for the Christmas gift. It would be better than I deserve for you to drop me like a maggotty corpse. Say the word, and I will bite glass in apology.

Blog Prompts

Which of the generators seems most useful to you? Many of these can be put to creative use in signage, or Powerpoint presentations, on web pages.

How have you used generators in your library or elsewhere? I've used them on my blog. Our library is in the middle of a self-defining process and these generators do not yet fit the general image we are looking for, is my guess.

How was your experience with the comic generating sites? Can you see any use for a library comic in your work? I think we could use comics as teaching tools, again in Powerpoints and on our web site.