Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Thing 32 - Google Maps mashups

I created a Google map and placed it on my webpage; I also added Northern Lights Library Network to the local business directory.

Although I do not need much in the way of a mashup for the NLLN Office, I have enjoyed mashups made available at conferences that show the conference site, the hotels, meeting spaces, restaurants, and other things of interest to a conference go-er in a new city.

That seems to me to only one of many useful mashups that I have seen. I'd like to explore further and figure out how to create a mashup of legislative districts in our region....that will take a little more work!

Thing 31 - Twitter (more)

Twitter is endlessly interesting and valuable to me. I like being able to follow topics indicated by hashmarks (#CIL09), to post from my phone, to search topics and events, to post pictures to, and to update my Facebook page if I choose to.

I have recently joined Twibes/librarians -- but haven't figured out exactly what that does. Lots of interesting librarians on it, however!

Truth of the matter is, however, that I like the plain, basic Twitter application pretty much the best. I use Tweetdeck, FriendFeed, Twirl, and others...but for a quick pick-me-up during the day, basic Twitter is the fastest, and most enjoyable form.

At times it can get to feel overwhelming -- and at that point, I consider the Twitter stream like a river. What's already gone past is gone -- just let it go and dip into the river as it is right now. Things tend to pop up again, if they are important, and since it is not possible to follow everyone closely or to click on every link mentioned, it is sometimes best to just let it go...and jump in with whatever is happening currently!

Thing 30

I think that RSS feeds are just the greatest and use the Google Reader on my iGoogle page to read them. They quickly mount up, and with the advent of Twitter, I've found that my use of RSS feeds has dropped off quite a bit. Instead, I'm find that more and more the late breaking news, cool sites, announcements, useful tools, and links to significant blog posts are being posted on Twitter -- and from there it is a quick link to the item.

I also use Friend Feed which allows me to see what people are posting to their delicious account. That is very handy to know what others have found significant and often that is a great way to check out sites that are of interest.

Finally, regarding Delicious, I have found that placing people in my network allows me to look at their Delicious activity and I find many shared interest there. Since my neighbors and several friends got Blackberries at about the same time I did, it has been fun to see what they post on Delicious regarding using a BB -- an easy way to share info.

I'm a huge fan of Delicious and don't know what I would do without it. I use to keep track of all kinds of things -- personally and professionally. It's useful for very simple things, as well as for very complex topics (the Recovery Act funds, for example). And, new topics crop up every day that I want to remember and track.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Thing 29 - redux


This is little Luka, Mary and Jiancarlo's newest family addition. The picture was edited in Picasa and then directly loaded into the blogpost -- which is fast and kind of cool. I also sent the picture and it allowed me to send it from my Gmail account which meant it was possible to do this all from the web-based software that Google owns. I like the way Google tools work with each other.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thing 29 - Google Tools

I love Google! No 2 ways about it. I use a lot of Google tools in a number of different settings.

My Gmail account is set up so that I also receive -- and channel into their own streams -- my various other email accounts. This automatically means that I am creating a searchable, archived, web-accessible back up of my email coming into my work accounts and to other email accounts that I use.

Gmail itself has a lot of attractive features, but grouping conversations and having an excellent search tool saves a lot of time. I do not have to send copies of messages to myself, I don't have to file or organize messages, and I don't even have to bother to delete messages. Gmail has made email much easier to manage in an efficient manner.

gTalk - their chat tool is excellent. Transcriptions are kept just like email messages for easy reference. I can chat via my phone if I'm away from my computer or if I'm on a completely different computer and still have all my contacts, and the record of the chat.

Other Google tools I use are Google alerts -- both for my name (just to be aware of how I'm showing up on the Internet) and for topics of interest on my iGoogle or PageFlakes page. I have news on my iGoogle page as a quick point of seeing what's happening in the news throughout the day. Google Reader allows me to create an easy to use tool for reading and tracking all my RSS feeds. I use the Google toolbar on my computers and use a Google search box on the NLLN website. Google mobile is excellent for accessing my gmail and doing Google search from my phone. And Goog411 is a godsend! I use it all the time for locating businesses, restaurants, museums, etc especially while traveling. Google maps are useful - always.

There are tons of Google tools available and I try to read the Google blog about what is in the works and what is newly available. I also periodically look through their lists of tools just for fun -- always something more to discover.

Google content that is created in my various Google-owned applications and services can be removed at my discretion if I choose not to use those applications in future. It is probably worth reading the Terms of Service to understand how to set privacy levels that you are comfortable with and to determine how to maintain control over your own created content.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Thing 28 - Personal webpage

I have used iGoogle as a personal webpage for a few years. I like to have the RSS feeds all in one place, along with weather from the places my family lives (and in Feb it is nice to see the temps in Costa Rica!), tools I use frequently (like a PDF doc converter), gmail, News, and other similar things.

I did not find it easy to my i'Google page to create a personal learning page so tried out Pageflakes in order to customize a number of different pages on specific topics I want to learn more about. I created a pageflake page in order to aggregate info, rss feeds, delicious tags, documents, alerts,webpages on particular topics. I wanted to learn more about gaming in libraries, about broadband accesssibility/availability in MN, uses of Twitter, and webpage design. Pageflakes works to set up a page on each topic and then I can refer to that page when I'm ready to learn more about that topic or institute a new practice.

Thing 27 - Twitter

I am a confirmed Twitter addict and find it a tremendous resource for keeping up with the world. Professional notices, suggestions, advice, personal info, what's up with friends and colleagues --- always a lot going on, always something interesting. I like the ease with which one can follow others -- or quit following them. The key to using Twitter is to follow interesting people, to post regularly about things beyond what you're eating

I use Friend Feed, a social networking aggregator, as a way to post to Twitter as well as to follow friends on 'Twitter and on a host of other Web 2.0 applications (flickr, facebook, delicious, etc.). Actual conversations are possible on FF.

Posting from my phone is easy and, in certain circumstances, it is worthwhile to be able to receive tweets via SMS (text) messages.

I use Twitpics to post pictures and have set my Flickr account to directly post selected pictures to Twitter.

There are a gazillion apps that work with Twitter -- more than it is possible to keep track of. If you have a special need for a certain kind of application to work with Twitter, chances are that someone has already produced it.

My Twitter username is rcksolie -- feel free to follow me (and I'll follow you in return) or look through the list of people I follow to find others to follow. Hope to see you tweeting soon!