Monthly Archives: December 2010

These are not resolutions!

But there are some things that I would like to do more of in the coming year… Now that I’m not in school full time, along with being a mom, full-time employee and doing enough writing/presenting to qualify as a part-time job, I’m ready to start focusing on things other than school and work.
First is cooking. I do sooooo much better when I spend a few minutes each weekend before hitting the grocery store just going through some cookbooks (super-easy with all the resources I have on my iPad!) and picking out meals for each day of the week. I get the ingredients on my weekly shopping excursion and I don’t have to wonder each night what I’m going to make when I get home (something that generally encourages a close enough relationship with *more than one* restaurant delivery person that they start asking how my life is going between visits), it’s already planned and in my RTM daily to-do list. Not only will this be cheaper than ordering take-out a couple (or more) times a week, but it should be healthier – especially since I’m going to really try to keep red meat to a weekend-only indulgence. I’m not saying we’ll stop ordering take-out, just that we might try to limit it to weekly, instead of what seems like all-the-freaking-time.
Second is knitting. I’m going to work on getting Christmas gifts knitted in advance this year. I’m still working on the last Christmas gift scarf, days after Christmas is over, and I have spent way too much energy freaking out about getting stuff done this year. I may take January off (since I’ll still be knitting that last scarf into January, I think…), but I’m going to work on a Christmas knitting project a month starting in Feb. That should get everyone on my list *something* next Christmas!!
Third is yoga. I’ve done something really, really mean to my back and last night was miserable – finding a position that didn’t make what feels like a pulled muscle hurt even more (and I really haven’t done anything to earn a pulled muscle!!). I’m hoping that spending some quality time stretching and toning with some yoga will help stave off these random aches and pains. Combine this with healthier eating by cooking at home rather than out all the time and I may just lose a pound or two as well!
Again, these are not resolutions that I’m making – these are just things that I’d like to focus on a bit more in the coming year. No hard-and-fast goals attached to them (well, maybe the knitting one, but other than that…), no pressure on me to keep resolutions, just some things to consider as I try to figure out what to do with the extra time I’ve been devoting to homework and school participation.

The week in Tweets

  • LunarEclipse-Totality [pic] http://ff.im/vBWPQ #
  • @desertlibrarian It ran off with my motivation. I saw them leave together. I would have gone after them, but… #
  • @mstabbycat Merry Christmas to you guys as well. We miss you all too – very much!! #

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E-materials and libraries

I work in a public library, as most of you surely know, and we have recently begun offering Overdrive audio and e-books to our patrons. On one hand, I’m delighted. I’m listening to the Hunger Games on audiobook as I rush through my Christmas knitting projects and love the fact that I can listen to them for free (though I still have my 1 book a month Audible subscription – it’ll be a while before I feel comfortable giving that up). I’m not as crazy about the ebooks because neither of the readers that work with Overdrive on my iPad are particularly pretty (as compared to the Kindle app in which I spend a LOT of time…). Overall, though, it’s a great thing! I’ve informed the librarian in charge of the service (who, in the interests of disclosure is also my boyfriend) that he can forward any iPad related Overdrive questions on to me, since I have the only iPad at the library and can hopefully answer them for patrons as they come in.
What this has taught me is that Overdrive is not a particularly easy to use service – even on the iPad, arguably the absolutely easiest way to use it! Both audio and e-books can be downloaded directly from the Overdrive catalog to the iPad and then consumed using the Overdrive media player, a free iPad app. This should make things easy, but the combination of format issues (not really Overdrive’s fault that the iPad won’t play Windows media files, I suppose…), poor documentation on the Overdrive site and glitches in the Overdrive software make for some frustrating experiences for our patrons.
While Overdrive can (and hopefully will very soon!) fix the documentation and software crashing issues, the format issues are larger and beyond the control of the service. I spent a good 20 minutes on the phone trying to assure a patron that, despite the fact that she “read somewhere” that Windows Media files (WMA) could be played on the iPad, I’ve not seen it happen, nor have I seen any indication that it can happen – and Overdrive says specifically that it won’t happen. This confounded her. She didn’t understand why, if she had Windows Media Player on her computer, she couldn’t then transfer the file to iTunes, then to the iPad. Beyond the fact that this seems like a LOT of trouble to me – it’s also not possible due to file format incompatibilities (I understand – if I’m wrong, please let me know!).

E-books and audiobooks are becoming more and more popular with our patrons. While I try to explain to people who are using them now that they are on the cutting edge of technology and many of the bumps they experience will be smoothed out with time, this really isn’t the case. This stuff has been around for a while and file format issues, DRM (and the problems with signing into various bits of software with YET ANOTHER username and password), and the like should have been taken care of by now. Many library types have already covered the issues with e-material formats and DRM – I know it is something that libraries really need to get cleared up if we expect people to use our services, but I’d also like to take a moment to ask our service providers (and yes, I’m talking to you, Overdrive!) to work on making the experience smoother, as hassle-free as possible and as pretty as commercial vendors do. I will, almost without fail, purchase a book from Amazon to read on my Kindle rather than borrow it from my library to read on the unpleasant e-book reader bundled with the Overdrive Media Console. Maybe when Overdrive puts out its native iPad app (the one available now is actually for the iPhone) the issue of ease of use and desire to use will be taken care of – until then, I’ll continue to help out patrons who are baffled by all the arcana surrounding the use of the current crop of e-materials services and hope for better days.

Collaboration and Social Networking at WWD

Web Worker Daily (www.webworkerdaily.com, WWD) has been posting some great stuff about collaboration and social networking over the past few days. Here is a quick list of the best posts:

* Social Networks allow companies to call “Contingent Workforce”
* Social Tools make managing remote workers easier
* Integrating social collaboration into workflow
* Unleash employees to remain relevant

but there is much more at the WWD site, but those were posted fairly recently and all of them are applicable to any kind of collaborative work – whether you are an enterprise or non-profit organization or library!

Capturing and GTD

Reading through an excellent post on the importance of capturing information at The Cranking Widgets blog, I was reminded of how regularly I fail at this activity. I carry with me a smartphone with Evernote, Memos and unlimited texting on it, an iPad with all that and more and a moleskine notebook with a pen just about everywhere I go (phone in a pocket, iPad and notebook/pen in my purse). I still can’t manage to write stuff down when I should.
I used to use the Jott service, but it started charging for more and more of the stuff I used (occasionally) and I couldn’t really justify the price of the service for how I used it. It was handy to be able to call up a number and dictate a note that would be in my email when I got back to a computer, though. Now I keep thinking I can use Google Voice for that, but I’ve gotten out of the habit and I never think to do it (maybe I should reprogram my speed dial key that still goes to Jott’s number to my Google Voice number… hmmmm). Even then, though, I didn’t remember to write down everything that needed to be written down.
This post won’t conclude with a “and then, I got a brilliant idea and this is how I’ve solved that problem” statement, unfortunately. I’m still bad at capturing things, but I do think that running across articles and blog posts like the one I mentioned above is of great help – it will remind me, for a while at least, to write stuff down when I hear it/think of it/get told about it and maybe, just maybe, this time will be the one that sticks as a habit.

The week in Tweets

  • Smart privacy vs. sharing post by Louis Gray – http://bit.ly/ettYBR #
  • Sitting & knitting before son's concert – not the only one, though – big burly guy to my right is too! #
  • Interesting reading – and really nicely done stats! Gay Sex vs. Straight Sex – OkCupid http://okcupid.com/z/bvji #
  • Just realized that @guyfumble was my 666th follower. That deserves some sort of shout-out, yes? #
  • @dullroar to each his own – I've found my niche in it, others may not. Lots of choices, though, so we can pick & choose what works for us! #

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The demise of FriendFeed?

I tend to use FriendFeed very heavily – I pull my Facebook, Twitter and blog posts in there and I do a lot of “native commenting” as well – comments that originate in the FriendFeed (FF) interface and aren’t just pulled from somewhere else. I also tend to keep FF open most of the day so that I can at least passively watch the conversation. One thing that I’ve noticed about FF that doesn’t seem to be *as true* as with other sites – Facebook included – is that it is very, very social. There are lots of rooms dedicated to social TV watching (the Hoarders room on Monday nights is a blast – makes the show just that much better…), social bitching and social bonding in general.
With all that going on, though, there are a lot of “FF is dying” posts going around on a pretty regular basis. Search in FF is spotty – sometimes it works, sometimes (most of the time?) it doesn’t and there are other glitches that seem to bother people on a regular basis. For the most part, they don’t bother me much (unless the site goes down completely for an extended – longer than 15 minutes, maybe? – period of time – then I get jittery). FF has done something that I don’t think any of the other sites have – it’s transcended it’s technology to bring together a group of folks who, if FF were to go away permanently, would find each other on the next big social network and reconnect very quickly.
The community on FF is stronger than the tech, which is why I don’t really concern myself with whether or not it is going away – as long as the next service that comes up includes ways to divide off into groups, or rooms, and a way to find the folks I’m specifically looking for, it will be all good.

Recent Webinars

I’ve helped to present two webinars in the past couple of months with some pretty amazing co-presenters. First was the “Using Tech To Move Your Small/Rural Library Forward” webinar (link goes to free archive) that I did with Maurice Coleman. That one was all about small and free tech that could be used by libraries with little to no technology budgets or personnel – and of course, even libraries that have money or IT personnel would get some value from saving their dollars for other things, right?
The second one I did was for ALA Techsource with David Lee King and is not (yet?) available as a (paid) archive – I believe they are planning to do this, but I’m not 100% sure. You can get links to readings, slides, documents and other information from the blog linked above, though. That one covered the use of social media in libraries – I talked about collaboration and marketing and David talked about the nitty gritty of using social sites to connect with patrons and communities.
Both webinars were great fun and are, at least partially, available for you to check out!

The week in Tweets

  • @LibrarianE13 @pollyalida Oops – the actual link to the comment on the WordPress category feeds is http://bit.ly/gwwX3N. Hope it helps!! #
  • @LibrarianE13 Good! "See" you later today, then! #
  • Separate facebook page for @davidleeking 's art gallery – what a great idea, Imma gonna steal it! #sociallib #
  • Thank you all for attending the workshop – and thanks to @ALA_TechSource for making it run so smoothly! #sociallib #
  • @LibrarianE13 a great audience makes for a better presentation! There were some great ?'s and discussions! #sociallib @davidleeking #
  • It's the holiday season @ MRRL – food bank workers are picking up a LOT of donated food for fines food and Santa is roaming the building! #
  • I just loaded up 3 "5 ways" posts for the library in WP – 5 ways to get the most out of the lib, 5 ways to give back, 5 ways to give back. #
  • Gulp. I just posted a "tell us what we did right (and wrong) @ MRRL" post on Facebook. Now to hope that our FB fans are generous souls… ;) #

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The week in Tweets

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