Sunday, September 30, 2007

Thing #23 - Reflections

All right - I'm approaching the finish line! This has been quite a journey, filled with exciting new things (or should I say THINGS??) to learn, many challenges, and some seemingly insurmountable obstacles. I am just amazed at all the things that are available out there on the Internet that I was completely unaware of. As I noted back at the beginning of this adventure, I didn't even really know what blogs were, let alone Flickr, Wikis, Rollyo, RSS feeds, etc. Exploring these online applications and discovering personal uses for them has been most rewarding.
I feel that the program was very well-structured. The discovery resources for each Thing were beneficial, and the discovery exercises were clearly stated. My main drawback to the program was that, as a reference substitute, I did not have any "work" time to complete the activities. I have put in many hours here at home - just me and the Things, sometimes getting along with each other and sometimes not so much!
My blog is entitled, very uncreatively, Lifelong Learning and my participation in this program has certainly been an exercise in acquiring much new knowledge along with many new skills. This activity is now complete, but the learning and exploration will continue as all of the Things to which we have been exposed are constantly changing, developing, and expanding. Knowledge and learning are not static but rather an ongoing - lifelong - process.

Thing #22 - Audiobooks

I was able to browse the selections on the Overdrive site without establishing an account or downloading the OverDrive Media Console. There was no reason for me to download this tool to my computer as I know that I will not be listening to books on the computer and I do not have a portable device (at least, not yet!) I viewed the discovery resources tours on both Overdrive and NetLibrary and feel that I have a good understanding of how the download process works when and if I should ever choose to establish an account and make use of the features. I can see that this is a wonderful service to have available for people who have long commutes or who just enjoy listening to audio books. As I mentioned in my previous post, I have hearing problems. That, combined with the fact that I have always been a visual learner, makes me an unlikely candidate for much use of HCPL's downloadable audiobook services.

Thing #21 - Podcasts

As I explored the three podcast directories suggested as discovery resources, I noticed that doesn't appear to have been updated since December of 2006 and Yahoo.Podcasts has a message that the site will be closing down after October 31 of this year. I hope that other directory sites are developed to take their place. Yahoo, especially, was very easy to search. When I did a search for book reviews, I got a listing of 158 series of podcasts on this topic.
I had a bit of difficulty getting some of the podcasts that I was interested in hearing to play. I think it might have something to do with the pop-up guard on my computer. I disabled the guard for that particular site but still didn't have success in some cases. The pop-up would display, but nothing would happen when I clicked the "play" arrow. At the other extreme, I couldn't get one of the podcasts to stop playing, and it was a 30 minute cast that I didn't really want to listen to after hearing the first few minutes. I finally had to turn the sound off on the computer!
I think that podcasts are great resources for many people. I, personally, will probably not use them much as I have hearing difficulties and much prefer to receive information visually.

Thing #20 - YouTube

I have visited You Tube and I don't imagine that I will return to this site very often. I don't see the attraction, but evidently many people do enjoy watching these videos. Some of them have been viewed as many as 300,000 times. The first video I clicked on was on the featured page. It was entitled "Erbert and Gerbert's Human Flipbook". While I was viewing it I couldn't imagine that anyone would spend that much time and effort on this project, no matter how clever it was. Then I realized that it was made as an advertisement for a Sub Shop. It really is kind of cute. I am going to try to embed this video in my blog just because I want to see if I can do that successfully.

Well, it seems that all went well with that endeavor. Yippee!
I explored YouTube's categories and its search engine in an attempt to find the video of the security guards sleeping at the Peach Bottom Atomic Power Plant. This is of interest to me because the plant is located 2 miles from my town. I thought this video would certainly be available on YouTube since it's received a lot of attention in the news recently. However, none of my search terms (Peach Bottom, atomic plant, guards, sleeping, etc.) turned up any matches. I find that surprising.

Thing 19 - Discover Any Site from Web 2.0 Awards List

The Web 2.0 awards site is a great resource for finding top-rated tools/sites in many different categories. Its well-organized listings and brief descriptions make it easy to click on sites that one thinks might be of interest or value. I explored several of the sites. is one of my favorites. It is a travel guide and trip planner where one can read about others' experiences, find travel deals, and map out a vacation. I was also interested in, an investing site with all kinds of information on the stock market, stock message boards, etc.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Thing #18 - Online Productivity Tools

Zoho vs. Word

kissWell, hi there. Bill Gates doesn't allow me to start off with a kiss! I am creating a test document in the Zoho Writer program (embarassed oops, web-based application). So far it seems fairly similar to Word. I can't find a tutorial on the site except for the FAQ section, so I hope I don't have too many questions. Let me see if I can get this over to my blog. wink Bye now.

Now I'm back in Blogger. It was quite easy to get my Zoho document over to my blog. Zoho Writer is a neat site. I was interested in looking over the templates on the site as I need to create a poster about an upcoming concert, but I didn't find anything that would help in that endeavor.
I'm off to explore Google Doc. Bye - sorry no wink this time!

Thing #17 - Maryland Libraries Sandbox Wiki

I thought playing in the sandbox would be more fun!! From the directions at the top of the site, I thought I had to create a new page and then add it to the Favorite Blogs page. Of course, that was wrong, and it took me quite a while to get my page deleted. At one point I was afraid that I was about to delete the entire Sandbox! Eventually I got my blog listed correctly with the other Harford County blogs. At least I hope it's still there and that the link still works! After that I went on to add short edits to two other pages - Favorites and Favorite Childhood Books. That went smoothly, so I was able to leave the sandbox on a positive note.