Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bruised but victorious

We certainly finished up with a challenging task -- at least it felt that way for a first-time downloader of an ebook. I found my way to the Reading page of the SPL site and was surprised to discover that there is no heading for ebooks! (There is a heading for audiobooks.) Soon I spotted the appropriate link and was on my way. I thought I was doing well to plow through dense instructions for downloadable ebooks and eaudiobooks, but I had no idea what lay ahead! Endless screens of instuctions and agreements and registrations for Windows Live ID and Adobe DRM Activator might have discouraged me were I not an intrepid 10 Thinger. Pity the hapless patron who attempts an initial download from home. It was worth the effort in the end: I received a clear, eminently readable ebook that is mine until the plug is pulled. The process was by no means a friendly one, however.

Google takes all

Creating a Google Docs word processing document was effortless; saving it to the Internet seemed handy. I'm inclined to agree with the CommonCraft narrator that "Google Docs rocks" -- but did he have to end with that kinda creepy, ambiguous hand signal? Am I to understand that Google offers word processing and recruits for nefarious street organizations?

An Internet home seems useful for some information, but can Google Docs really offer "full control over who can see and access your documents"? And even if Google can do it today, can they do it tomorrow? My radical trust feels a bit strained.

"Get together"

Radical trust. Pardon me, but isn’t this where I came in? Wasn’t I the sincere and idealistic teenager singing, along with the Youngbloods,

C’mon, people now,
Smile on your brother.
Everybody get together,
Try to love one another right now.

Can a 21st-century understanding of trust be applied to the Web? Yes, indeed! (You can take the boy out of the sixties, but you can’t take the sixties out of the boy.) Safeguards are key, but the concept seems to work. As a cataloging librarian, I already find Wikipedia to be one of my most useful resources, especially in the search for leads on new authors and artists in our graphic novel collections. Time and time again, I can't find information in traditional resources, but I can find a valuable starting point in Wikipedia!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Schubert to go

Thing 7 was my introduction to podcasts -- I'd never heard one, much less subscribed to one! I used the suggested directories and, in a flurry of initiative, sought out a few more. offered great leads for discussions of classical music. Did you know that Schubert composed over 900 pieces before he died at age 31? (And I thought I was busy.) Although we're defining podcast as a "non-musical audio broadcast that is distributed over the Internet," a few notes did manage to squeak through.

Tasty is an interesting concept and, in my inaugural attempt, easy to operate. I'm going to have to work with for a while, however, to more fully understand its usefulness. The tag list is a bit overwhelming; I would think that the number of sites per tag might become unwieldy as Web pages proliferate. I can see that specificity of tags is crucial. I felt limited by having to come up with a single word -- until I noticed the many creative compounds.

The tortuous path from Flickr to blog

Now that I've managed to accomplish the Thing, I love being able to enhance my blog with photos! I've long wondered how they do that. The process is easy, but the Thing was not, because the instructions only work if the person preceeding you follows them! Hitting "Blog this" did not allow any link to my blog. It did result in my -- inadvertently -- adding this photo to someone else's blog! (My apologies, Anonymous. Feel free to expunge Sir John Herschel, who, in the right place at the right time, named seven of Saturn's moons.)

Social networking for the over-50 crowd

According to the tag line, Eons is for people "lovin' life on the flip side of 50." Yeah, well, I guess. Registering was easy and the interface had nice big print for myopic seniors. The organization mirrored other social networking sites, so I was able to set things up quickly. How nice of Eons to provide Suzy, an "automatic friend" -- perhaps a doting aunt to the generic Tom of MySpace fame.