IT'S HERE! The final installment of the harry potter saga. I read about 200 some pages on saturday, then read most of the afternoon/evening sunday, and stayed up until 3am finishing it. IT WAS SO GOOD! There were a couple things that weren't totally resolved for me.. [SPOILER] Where did neville get gryffindor's sword from (to kill nagini) if griphook took it in the lestrange's gringotts vault?[/SPOILER] But I loved it and could barely put it down. I've found some very cool harry potter-related entertainment on the web. 20q.net has a HP version of the game here. Think of anything in the harry potter books or movies. Select what category it falls under (person, place thing), and the game will try and guess what you're thinking of in 20 questions or less. It's CRAZY how smart thing thing is. I once chose harry's sock (the one he gave to free dobby from the malfoys), and the 20q game got it! I've also fallen in love with the potter puppet pals:

[EDIT SPOILER MUSING]I figured out how neville got the sword after talking it over with my fiancé! Neville pulled it out of the sorting hat (like harry did in COS) after voldemort put it on his head. I can sleep now![/EDIT SPOILER MUSING]


The Finish Line

Thing #23 Summarize your thoughts about this program and learn more about where to go from here.

Okay, it's that time! I'm ending my journey through the 23 Things! My first post was on june 7th. Since then, I've advanced my knowledge of technology, and learned a few new tidbits that the world of web 2.0 has to offer. I've also discovered the existence of library 2.0. It was very interesting to explore how knowing about these new technologies can help librarians serve the community better. Looking back, there were a few things that this program brought to my attention that I may never have learned about before. For example, I had no idea there were such things as "online productivity web-based applications". Rollyo and LibraryThing were also brand new concepts to me. My favorite Thing was #5 (explore flickr) because I got to show off my dog. hehe! I enjoyed looking through the list of web 2.0 award winning sites too. I'm happy I signed up for the program and was able to broaden my "world wide web horizons" further than I thought possible. Hopefully I can help others do the same!


Downloading Audiobooks

Here is Thing #22 Learn about audio books. As I said before, talking books and I don't really mix! I don't think I would ever download ebooks, but it was pretty neat learning about them. I watched some of the tutorials in Overdrive's digital media guided tour. This service allows you to browse or search their collection of audio books, and then download them to listen to on your pc, transfer to a portable media device, or burn to a cd (depending on the book's copyrights). The audio files automatically expire after the 21 day loan period. One thing I didn't understand about this service is why aren't the number of copies available of an audio book unlimited? It seems that if it's just a file that is being copied from another computer, that the file could be copied over and over again with no limitations.
I also explored project gutenberg. This site allows you to keep your downloaded books. They have computer-generated audio books, and also human-read audio books. The project also allows you to download text versions to read on your computer. The content seems to be partly user driven. You can help add content following a few rules. The gutenberg project advertises an rss feed so you can keep on top of new books added, or books that were recently updated. Since all the books here are free to keep forever, the selection is somewhat limited. I didn't really find anything on these sites that I, personally, would go through the trouble of downloading, but I thought it was pretty cool that the gutenberg project had sheet music!. These sites seem like another great resource developing from web 2.0.


Only two more to go!

I'm coming down the stretch here with Thing #21 Discover some useful tools for locating podcasts. For a while, I thought that podcasts were only for uploading to an iPod, but you can listen to them on any type of portable media device, including your computer. I explored podcast.net for a while, and found that there are tens of thousands of podcasts available for listening. I found an interesting podcast feed that focuses on photography. It's called LensWork Podcasts. I added it to my bloglines account (which now has a total of 19 feeds). I don't think I'd really take advantage of this podcasting technology. I think I need something to stimulate me visually while listening, just like how I can't listen to books on tape. My mind wanders too easily, and I'm constantly getting lost! I am impressed with how widespread this is, though. There were podcasts in a ton of different languages. And it I like how flexible the format is. You can download the podcast, and put it on your mp3 player or on a CD.



Thing number 20 is Discover YouTube and a few sites that allow you to upload video. I discovered the magic of youtube about a year ago. It's an amazing tool. If there was a video made about something, you can bet it's on here. There are also social aspects to youtube - commenting on other member's videos or sending them an email message through youtube. One feature I've enjoyed is the "share video" function. You can email any video to anyone you'd like. If you sign up for an account with youtube, you can customize your own youtube page with a list of your favorite videos, blogs, and of course your own videos. Here is a video I uploaded to youtube. I filmed it at the baltimore aquarium.

I definitely love the "goofy" side of youtube, but there are a lot of educational videos to watch as well. I've watched some knitting instructions that I could never understand by just reading the text instructions! another neat thing I like about youtube is on the main page, there is a section which refreshes every few seconds with a list of videos being watched at that moment. One way they keep you hooked on the site is by showing you a list of related videos to the one you're watching now. So you're just constantly being sucked into video, after video, after video! hehe.


And the award goes to..

Wow I've finished out week 8! This post is on Thing #19 - Discover any site from the Web 2.0 awards list. I definitely liked the sound of that, and I wasn't disappointed! the Web 2.0 awards list was brimming with awesome cutting edge technology. There were many categories to explore. Of course, I immediately went for the "games" award category. I really enjoyed playing around with Guess-the-Google, "the image guessing game". They show you 20 pictures returned in a google image search all found with the same keyword. You need to guess what the common keyword is for all the pictures in 20 seconds. I would say this game uses the same technological ideas as tagging. My highscore was 222! This game reminds me of one I discovered while searching for mashups. Google has a game that helps them improve the quality of their image search. It's called Google Image Labeler. You're partnered randomly with another player, and over a 2 minute period, you're shown different pictures and you need to match the other player's tag suggestions. The more specific the tag match, the more points you get. It's highly addicting! Well there really is nothing useful about the site I discovered on the web 2.0 awards list.. except maybe as a stress reliever! Which is something we probably all need from time to time! haha.


zoho, zoho, it's off to work we go!

Thing number 18 already! The following was composed with zoho writer. I published it directly from zoho's site, and it was easy as pie.

Zoho writer is a cool tool!

All the little buttons here are intriguing!
They even have some emoticons here to use! laughing

Here is a table that was easily added
You just select the table button and tell it how many cells you'd like!

There is a chart for inserting "special characters" so that I can type "my fiancé" correctly!

Zoho writer is similar to any "word" program. It's conviently housed on the web, so there are no problems with OS compatibility, and you can save the file in any format. Zoho has several other services that I found interesting, such as zoho show, to make things like power points. (they even have a wiki!)

Playing in the Sandbox!

Thing #17 was "Add an entry into the Sandbox Wiki created with PB Wiki". I visited the Maryland Libraries sandbox wiki. It was pretty fun, I must say. I added my blog to the "favorite blogs" page, and I when I viewed the "currently reading" section, I decided to add my current book! You can see my edit here. This was really easy. You don't even need to know html. I also discovered that any one can create a wiki. pbwiki.com lets you make a free one. This sounds useful for someone running a club, fan site, or the like.



I'm on to Thing #16. We were asked to learn about wikis and discover some innovative ways that libraries are using them. wikis are huge networks of information on anything under the sun provided by anyone who wants to contribute. That fact has always discouraged me from using these types of websites as resources for something I need the absolute truth on. Any average joe can edit the page on rocket science, plus the navigation on wiki sites has always been a little confusing for me. I can see, however, how it would be beneficial to librarians to use wikis for researching topics for patrons (while using more trusted sites as supplements), or sharing information with other libraries. I actually didn't find anything that really interested me on any of the suggested wikis. I think I prefer the infamous wikipedia. This site has millions of articles on anything you can possibly imagine. I like how these articles have a place that editors list the external resources they used. I also think the random page link is pretty fun to play around with. I've been from an article about an australian high school to an article all about britney spears's baby one more time tour (haha). There are links to entries that pertain to what you searched for, so you could be lead on a seemingly endless trail of information. Here is information on fallston, MD. I learned that Melvin Mora from the Orioles lives or lived in the area. I had a lot of fun looking at the demographics of various cities in maryland. While Being circumspect, wikis make learning fun!


The Future is Here!

Thing number 15. Read a few perspectives on Web 2.0, Library 2.0 & the future of libraries. With the evolution of web 2.0, the library has had to morph into it's own 2.0 version, adopting new ideas for creating and supplying new services to the public. I read the OCLC article Away From Icebergs. It presented a few challenges (or "icebergs") that libraries will potentially face in the future if we don't all shift over to serving in 2.0 form. Another article that rang true for me was Into a New World of Librarianship. Librarians themselves need to become 2.0 as well. They need to be trained in and study the new technologies that will allow them to help patrons navigate new channels of research. Because before you know it, 3.0 will be here!


Getting Technical With Technorati

For Thing #14, I discovered technorati! It is a HUGE network of anything related to blogs & blog posts, including videos, photos and more. I conducted the suggested search for "learning 2.0" in blogs and posts. These 2 searches differ in that you either find blogs dedicated to learning 2.0, or just one single post about learning 2.0 that could be from any type of blog. I did my own search for australian shepherds. I found a blog belonging to an aussie breeder in Texas. There were also tons of pictures and videos of australian shepherds in the technorati search results.
If you have a membership with technorati, you can keep a list of your favorite blogs! I will probably join the site at some point. When I do, I think my first favorite will be engadget, a really neat blog all about technology. It is also ranked #1 in technorati's top 100. Technorati is yet another site I've discovered through 23 Things to spend hours and hours on!


"del.icio.us" is fun to type.

Week #6 - Thing #13: discover del.icio.us & tagging. Tagging is a cool way to organize just about anything. It's simply attaching key search words to a particular piece of content. Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking site. It allows you to catalog all of your favorite websites and tag them so you and/or other users can find them easily. You can also view how many people have a specific website bookmarked. I searched for the tag "23 things". The PLCMC library's "official learning 2.0" blog came up. 941 del.icio.us users have this site bookmarked. If you click on the number of bookmarks, it takes you to a page that lets you see exactly who else has that site bookmarked, and also, any comments that users have posted about that site. Some comments on this learning 2.0 blog were: "Get your library up to date", and "designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies".
I can see how surfing through del.icio.us could take up a ton of someone's time. Sharing your bookmarks allows others to find some hidden gems in the world wide web! I found a cool google map mashup. Dig to the Other Side. It lets you pick your location on one side of the world, and then shows you where you would end up if you dug a hole to the other side of the world. If I dug a hole in my bedroom to the other side of the earth, I'd end up in the indian ocean off the coast of australia!
I think another way del.icio.us can serve you is by giving you a place to access your bookmarks from any computer. It would also be a useful research tool to use, while searching in del.icio.us for sites with specific tags, you can see what other sites were tagged similarly that may not have shown up in a plain google search.



I have tackled thing number 12, which is roll your own search tool with rollyo. Rollyo is a site which allows you to create a custom search engine. You can search only the sites in which you want your results to appear. I was having a hard time thinking of what I wanted my search roll to specialize in, so I peeked at a list of starter subjects that rollyo had. I chose shopping, and entered a few of my favorite online shopping sites. The results page was a little confusing. There are a lot of hits from sites that I didn't ask to have searched, like blogs and "sponsored links". To help narrow things down, you can opt to just show results from one select site. I'm not sure I'd actually use rollyo for shopping! Nevertheless, Here is my shopping search roll. I also added a search box over there to the right. It allows you to either search the web, my shopping sites, or my blog (just choose from the drop down list). There are more useful search rolls on rollyo that others have created! I liked the quick quotes search roll, and the free photos search roll.



Thing number 11. (about half way through the program already!!) Take a look at LibraryThing, and catalog some books. To start, I created a librarything account. It was very very easy. You just needed to type in a user name and password, and you're in. After you're signed in the first time, it takes you to a place where you can begin cataloging your books. It's as simple as typing in some words from the title, author name, isbn number or even the book's bar code. Librarything searches amazon, the library of congress and 70 other world libraries for matches to your search. The hits are shown, you click on your book, and it's automatically added to your personal catalog. Here is my list of books on librarything. I wish there was a feature to sort your list according to author. Right now it's done by title. Maybe the feature is just hiding from me in the "display view" options. I think librarything could stand to be a bit more user friendly as far as changing the sort options of your list. Also in the world of librarything, there are groups where you can talk to other librarything users with like tastes in reading materials. Another way to connect to your neighbors in librarything is to see who has a library that includes books in your own library. This function hasn't been working since june 13th, apparently. It's a shame because that was one of the features I was most looking forward to trying. You can also look at each individual book's "social information" in your library, and see who else has that booked cataloged as well. For example, the book Marley and me by John Grogan was added to my library and 1,394 other member's libraries! Librarything has another cool feature to offer. You can search for recommendations based on books you've read or owned. There is also an UnSuggester, which shows you books you would probably NOT want to read, based on books you've read or owned! I tried an UnSuggester search with Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. Librarything thinks I would probably not enjoy How to be Popular by Meg Cabot. I think they're right about that one! Librarything is one great way to keep track of a huge book collection, find like-minded readers, or to find your next book to read.


Show Me the Images!

Today, I completed Thing #10 - Play around with online image generators. Most of those that I tried were very random, and purely for entertainment. I created my own personal avatar from yahoo! Avatars:

Yahoo! Avatars U.K. & Ireland
It was a lot of fun. There were so many elements to customize: eye color, outfit, jewelry, even her mood! Another great site for avatar making is portrait illustration maker. Here is what I made there:

I also found some interesting image generators from The Generator Blog. They have a longlong list of different generators, not just image generators, but ones like name generators, phrase generators, ect. One image generator from this blog that I liked a lot was Typo Generator. In a text box, you type in any amount of words you want (for instance, I used the first sentence from my most recent blog post), and the generator searches google with your supplied words and creates an image with text and pictures from the search! It also applies effects to both components, and look what I got!:

This exercise would definitely fit into the "play" category of the 7 1/2 habits of a life long learner!


Numero Nueve!

Thing number nine in week four. explore merlin, a site for maryland library staff to learn about technology. It seems to be a great resource for librarians to keep up to speed with what patrons are interested in doing nowadays. There are endless mazes of links to information on the learning links section of the site. One topic that piqued my interest was web design. It gives a list of webpages with site building tools, html guides, design tips, ect. Merlin also has forums for members to discuss topics, and ask questions of each other. I discovered some library related blogs through merlin. I added library garden blog and the shifted librarian blog to my bloglines account! Today I also browsed around some newsfeed search sites. I used technorati to view some interesting feeds on birds! (because I count bird watching as a hobby of mine) I searched on syndic8.com for a newsfeed on one of my favorite bands, evanescence. It led me to a feed from topix.net which had lots of current news on the band. I added that one to my bloglines account as well! These search tools are very handy for finding information on subjects of interest. While they might not always lead to "reliable" information, it can help to narrow down a field of research or create more points of discussion.


Really Simple!

On to Thing #8! I set up an account with bloglines, and added 10 feeds. Here is my public bloglines page. At first I really didn't think a newsreader was something I'd ever use. After exploring bloglines.com for a while, I actually think it's pretty cool. When I heard the term "newsreader", I was just thinking like fox news, local news, blahblahblah. But you can subscribe to any website that offers rss publication. I discovered a lot of little blogs that looked interesting. They aren't sites I'd go out of my way to visit individually, but are fun to scan. These types of sites are perfect to add to a newsreader. You can easily browse through tons of feeds you have subscribed to, and read which posts you want to all on one website. A few notable blogs I found on bloglines are double tongued dictionary "A growing lexicon of slang, jargon, and new words from the fringes of English", and yarn harlot "Stephanie Pearl-McPhee goes on (and on) about knitting". (stephanie pearl-mcphee is one of my favorite humor writers, plus, she writes about knitting!) So, this session of learning 2.0 was enlightening. =) I had fun, and learned that setting up a newsreader isn't as boring as it sounds. hehe!


"I love technology, but not as much as you, you see!"

Thing #7 - blog about anything technology related. Okay, let's not get too specific here guys! I think I'll stick with what it seems I've been blogging about all week. Digital photography! It's so amazing what you can do with your own personal pictures these days. I have a basic point and shoot digital camera. It's an olympus 750. It's slim and compact and I take it everywhere with me. Photography is definitely my favorite form of art, and technology today makes it easy for me to display my masterpieces. There are tons of websites that let you share your photos with the online community. My personal favorite is, of course, Flickr. I talk all about that site in this post.

Shutterfly Is another favorite photo site of mine. Here, you can upload your digipics and get them professionally printed in all the standard sizes, even poster size or printed on artist canvas! You can design a full color custom photo book with your pictures, you can put your photos on coffee mugs, shirts, bags, jewelry, mousepads, and more. Why not turn your favorite photograph into a puzzle? Shutterfly is oozing with creative juices. I can't imagine what advanced technology in the future will bring to the table for photography, and I can't wait for it either!


Cruising Through Flickr

I loved exploring the flickr mashups! (Thing #6)
The mashup I was most enthralled by was the retrievr. It's amazing!! You draw a sketch of something, and retrievr will bring up flickr photos that resemble what you've drawn. I'm not so great at drawing.. but I tried to sketch a picture of a woman with long brown hair, wearing a blue shirt. Sure enough, the number one result from flickr photos was a girl with long brown hair wearing a blue shirt! matchr is another awesome mashup! It's a match/puzzle game using photos grabbed off flickr. I'm a sucker for puzzle games anyways :) I hope the remaining 17 Things are as enjoyable as the last few have been!

Exploring Flickr

For "thing number 5" (explore flickr), I decided to blog about some of my own photos! Of course, it's going to be pictures of my baby Jandy.
Please scratch my tummy!
I think I have a million pictures of her saved on my computer. She's a mutt - australian shepherd and shar pei. She's so much fun to photograph because I catch her in the craziest poses.
These are two of my favorite shots of Jandy. I sat on the floor with her that day and took about 10-15 pictures of her just being a goofball :)

I can spend hours and hours on flickr. One awesome photo always leads to another! It's also a big social network. You can communicate with your fellow photographers by leaving their pictures comments, or responding to comments they've left on your pictures. There are thousands of group pools with specific themes in which you can add your own picture that fits with the theme. You can invite other people's photos to join you in the pool as well, and participate in group discussions on the group message boards. You can also subscribe to someone's photo stream, and when any of your "subscriptions", aka contacts, post new photos, you can see them all on one page.
As you probably realized by now, I'm completely sold on this whole flickr thing. I've been posting my pictures there since march, and I think I'll stick around there for a long long time =)


Lifelong Learning

I just finished watching the tutorial on the 7 1/2 habits of a lifelong learner. I believe I pretty much practice all of these habits in my everyday life. Especially: using technology to my advantage and viewing problems as challenges. Another habit that I could identify easily with is creating my own learning "toolbox". I'm always getting into something new, so if I see a book on that subject I buy it (or check it out at the library =D), I bookmark webpages that deal with what I'm interested in, etc.


First Post

I'll start by stating the obvious: this is my new blog, and this is my first post! I like blogging. I've had my own private blog and my own domain name for about 3 or 4 years now. I don't use blogger for it, I just use straight html and good old notepad to compose new posts. I'll be blogging here about my journey in the 23 things program with my work! I'm most excited about playing with flickr mashups. Flickr is my all time favorite website! I bought a pro account awhile ago, and it's definitely worth the money. =)