Friday, September 29, 2006

Arvind is my new best friend!

A few days ago I tried Zoho Writer. I liked it, but had some trouble posting to my blog directly, which is exactly what I put in my post that I wrote out for the 23 Things project. Today, I had a comment on that post from Arvind from Zoho writer. He told me that they are having trouble with Blogger (he was more specific, but it was too technical for me) and gave me instructions for the workaround. So if you were wondering about the "Swift Brown Fox" post, that was what I created while testing/fooling around with Zoho Writer. And now I can post directly. Thanks, Arvind! See, I told you guys that Zoho Writer is cool!

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog. tongue_out

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.

Adults only?

The incentive for this 23 program is a USB-port MP3 player. While I like all the lofty goals of lifelong learning and educating myself and creating a work environment where we all discuss our recent technology finds and woes, a large part of my motivation in this project is the MP3 player. And the main reason I am excited to get one is for listening to audio books, so thing #22 is something I would have done anyway once I had the device.

The tutorial for using NetLibrary was great. I'm sure I'll have to watch it again once I actually have the player in order to figure out how to put the book on my new player. My computer is old enough that I'm fairly sure I can't use it with my computer, but I am hoping to be able to take advantage of my public library's resources and then transfer the book to my device.

I am an audiobook junkie. I always have one in my car, and if I'm going farther away than work, I usually have 2, just in case one is defective. Or boring. However, like my habits for reading books, most of the books I listen to are kid's books or young adult books. I haven't listened to an adult audio book since moving here 6 months ago, and I didn't listen to that many before, either. So my biggest disappointment while searching the library of eAudiobooks available through PLCMC is how few J and YA titles are available. Using only the subject heading, there are 3 Young Adult Classics (and I would have listed all of them as children's titles), 16 Children's Classics, and 15 Children's Fiction titles (and 12 of those 15 are by Brian Jacques). There was no general young adult category at all. Maybe YA titles are integrated with adult titles, but I tried an author search for several of my favorite YA authors and none of them resulted in any hits. One of the questions in the Discovery Exercise is, "Did you locate a title that you might want to try out and download once you have your player?" Well, I'm sure I could, but I couldn't find what I wanted, which would be current, popular J and YA titles.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ask and you shall receive

The greatest thing about libraries is that all you have to do is be willing to ask the question, and you will (almost always) get an answer. And if library staff read your blog and you post a question there, you will get an answer! (Well, it worked for me.)

I recently bemoaned the spelling of the website The wonderful Helene B., who is reading all of our blogs, has supplied the answer. There is a new domain that ends in .us, and there is a new trend to create a web address that is a pun. I like puns, so this should mean that I can tolerate the crazy spelling better, but I still think it is annoying. Though at least I understand the reasoning behind it now. This trend, by the way, is called a domain hack, and you can learn more about it here. Thanks, Helene!

(Incidentally, when I say she is reading all of our blogs, I meant those who are blogging as a part of PLCMC's 23 things. If you just happened to find this blog out there in cyberspace, or if you are a friend or relative, Helene B. may not, in fact, be reading your blog.)

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

I really, really, really want to know why is written/punctuated the way it is. It drives me crazy. Perhaps someday I will go on my rant about how the lack of caring about proper grammar and punctuation is helping to doom this country, especially future generations. And, before any of you can jump to conclusions and be sure that I just like to rant about how younger generations are inferior to older generations, let me tell you that I am 28 years old.

Anyway, now that my frustration over the name is out of the way, at least for the moment, let's move on to my evaluation of the thing itself. Now, those who have been reading previous posts have probably figured out that while I don't run away screaming from new technologies, I don't easily trust the opinions of others (especially those I have never met) and I am not a big fan of reinventing the wheel. Prior to learning about the fu.n that is, I used bookmarks. Yes, throughout the day I use multiple computers. But I don’t use the same sites when I’m on desk that I do when I’m at home, so the benefit of having my bookmarks from computer to computer doesn’t really help me. And yes, I can figure out what bookmarks other people are using through their tags, but we’ve already discussed my distrust of something simply because it is deemed worthy by masses of complete strangers.

Bottom line on I find it not so tasty.

Zoho: Not sure what direction from Houston Street

For thing #18 (told you I was out of order!) I took a look at Zoho Writer, a web-based application, which basically means it's a word processing program (like Word) that you access through the internet and don't need to actually have software. I wasn't really aware that programs like this exist, so I am really glad that this was on the list.

Zoho Writer is easy to use and figure out, especially if you have used other word processing programs, like Word or Word Perfect. (I miss Word Perfect.) There are lots of additional cool things you can do, too, like insert emotions (think smiley faces) or do strikethrough, which I always wondered how people did. I didn't use the group function, but as someone who has written quite a few group papers in the past 2+ years, I certainly think it has possibilities.

I tried to post directly from Zoho Writer, but it couldn't find my blogger username or password; it kept telling me they were invalid. I retyped 4 times, so I know I had it right. But problems aside, I liked Zoho Writer and will use it again.

Monday, September 25, 2006

It's Hip to be Cal!

Thing #19 (I am totally out of order at this point) is to pick one of the Web 2.0 Award-Nominated Web Sites and explore it. The list is intimidating, so I went straight to the short list of the top 3 in each category. From the list, I picked HipCal. HipCal is a calendar program that was developed by 5 college students at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). It has since been bought by Plaxo (resulting in instant jobs for the guys, some of whom haven't graduated yet!) but will remain a free service.

HipCal is pretty similar to other calendar programs I've used. You set the time and date for appointments. You can create categories for your appointments and you can color code them. I really like the color coding. HipCal also has a group calendar function, where you can create a group and have a group calendar. You can choose whether you want it to be an open group or by invite only. This could be useful for a library committee needing to schedule meetings, especially if they are like me and can never seem to figure out Outlook's calendar. It could also potentially be used to see when public meeting rooms in our libraries are available. There is also an address book function, and I assume this part will be expanded upon since address book functions are what Plaxo is all about (from what I could tell from reading their "about us" page, anyway).

I think the coolest thing about this site is the fact that the developers are 5 college fraternity brothers. And I would think that even if they weren’t classmates of my cousin Craig!