Tuesday, October 7, 2008

exercise 23

I'm afraid I can't think of any great insights to send you. I thought some of the sites might be quite interesting, if you really had nothing better to do, and all day to do it in. I mean, you could choose a subject and then investigate more and more people's ideas and comments about it, I suppose. But I can't see myself ever sitting at a computer and vaguely surfing other people's blogs or comments or anything. I'd much rather read a book or do the gardening. But I suppose I should look at it from the library's point of view, and obviously it's useful if library staff have some idea of what young patrons are doing and talking about, so in that way I suppose it's been useful, though I still know so little about computers that it's very soon obvious that I really haven't got a clue what they're on about. I can't see myself using anything I've done on the course - even if I remembered what it was, which is fairly doubtful, I'm afraid. As far as my lifelong learning goals go - well, I don't know that I've got any, actually; I just tend to absorb things as they come up. My life's being made up as I go along, with no master plan in mind. But I can't imagine that my goals would include looking through other people's holiday photos and writing "Wow" and "Awesome" under them, or having anyone do the same to mine. Or sitting through a cooking demonstration of some basic dish, when all I wanted was a recipe.

exercise 22

I thought the "Information just wants to be free" (if that's the right title) was quite interesting, but I must admit I didn't read all of it, as it wasn't as interesting as all that, and it was very long. So were some of the others - fairly interesting, I mean, not very long. I still can't imagine wanting to be a "friend" of a library, but then I can't imagine putting personal information about myself on a site like that, so perhaps I'm not the right person to judge. It sounds as though quite a lot of young people do respond to the library sites, so they must be making a connection with them, and perhaps it will increase the teenagers' willingness to use the library, which is surely a good thing (from our point of view, anyway). But why just libraries? I'd be interested to know what other organisations ae also there: schools? music shops? clothes shops? McDonalds? Pizza Hut? Greenpeace? I can see that some teens might feel their space was being invaded.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I'm supposed to add an image. So I clicked on the image button, and it said "Add image" (so I knew I was on the right track). Full of entusiasm, when the next page came up I clicked on "Add an iamage from your computer", then chose the file from the saved ones on my computer, and then ... I didn't know what to do next. I tried "Upload file", but nothing happened; I started to go back and do the whole thing again in case I'd missed some vital bit, but when I was about halfway through, I must have clicked the wrong thing, because an incomprehensible list of things came up, so I went back again, and it was all just the same as normal, except for one thing: when you put the cursor on the image button, it doesn't say "Add image", and sure enough, it won't do anything at all, even if you click until you're blue in the face and you've run out of insults to hurl at it. I even closed it and started it again, thinking it might have forgotten, but no. So I suppose I'll never know how to do it. Unless you have some advice.
It might also have saved me a lot of time and frustration if you'd indicated how to request to be a friend. I spent a lot of time clicking random things trying to find some way of requesting to be a friend, until my ever-helpful son told me that you had to click on Add friend (which I'd alreaady done, of course, but didn't realise that it worked reciprocally, and that that was the only way to do it).
Anyway, apart from that, I looked at them all, and looked up a few famous names. I don't think I learnt very much, except that Helen Clark likes the "Star Wars" films; unless that was John Key. It all seems a bit desperate - I mean, having to tell everyone that you exist and that you've got lots and lots of friends, so you must really be a fabulous and interesting person - a bit like Ja'mie from Summer Heights High. But obviously, if you're the right age, and all your friends are on it, then you'd want to be too. I didn't quite see what the libraries were doing there - why not just have all that on the website? If you think that people are more likely to look on Facebook (was it Facebook? I can't remember), I can understand that, but if they're not going to look at the website, then why would you expect them to look you up on Facebook?
I think I'm supposed to tell you which I liked best, but I'm afraid I can't remember any differences between them; or I can't remember which was which, which I suppose is the same thing. Is there any difference, or is one just cooler than the others?
And by the way, the request to be a friend will be denied, as it's under this name, not my real one.

exercise 20

I read all those things about ebooks, and I can see there are plenty of good things about them. However, when there are also such obvious disadvantages (having to lug a computer round with you when you just want to read something when you're at the beach or on a bus; not being able to read it in the bath; having to have batteries or electricity, etc.), why shoot yourself in the foot by trying to promote it by saying things like: "You can mark your page with an electronic bookmark and jump straight to it when you open the book"? I mean, has it ever struck the author why it's called a "bookmark"? Because it's a copy of a device which has been used for centuries to "mark your page and jump straight to it when you open the book"!
I looked up "Mary Barton" in Gutenberg. It was a bit hard to find, as I'd put the author's name (Mrs. Gaskell), and it said it didn't have it. I thought perhaps I'd made a mistake, so I just tried "Mary Barton", and found that they'd used the author's full namd, Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell. I would have thought they'd have had it under both. (I've also just looked up "John Halifax, Gentleman" by Mrs. Craik, and found the same thing. As both authors were only known by their maried titles, it seems odd that you can't find them using that name).
It's offered in Plucker and plaiin text.
I didn't really find out anything interesting about it, as I've read it several times, so I knew what subjects were covered. So I thought I should try one I hadn't read, so first I tried "Hereward the Wake". Well, the interesting thing I found was that it doesn't exist as a book - it's just a chapter in another book, about heroes. So then I loked up "Dombey and Son" and found what that was about, and it was interesting that it covered many of the same subjects as "Mary Barton", but is obviously not as dramatic "Murder trials" doesn't feature in the list, for instance). It's available in another format as well, HTML, but that wasn't exactly riveting information.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Oh dear, oh dear. I tried, I really did. I became so bewildered that in the end I had to ask my son, who came, with much eye-rolling and with loud, heavy sighs, to see what stupidity I was up to.
It started with the introduction. Words like :
regular streaming audio or video
MP3 file format
compressed format for audio files
directing [can't read my own wtiting] service
pull the RSS feed

are designed to strike terror, as well as incomprehension, into my heart, but I know that the exercises are usually fairly straightforward, and you don't have to know anything about what you're doing. How wrong I was! I started trying to follow the techtorial, but didn't get very far (ther was nothing saying "Free download" when you went to iTunes). After scouring the whole page several times, I asked my son for his advice, and he said I didn't need to do that anyway, because he already had iTunes installed. I can only assume it was a different edition of it, as every instruction they gave seemed to be different (top right instead of bottom left, iTunes store instead of music store, etc.) , but my son helped me through that. (The fact that I have thereby reinforced his considered opinion that I am a complete halfwit not worthy to be left in charge of a wind-up toy, let alone a computer, is obviously my problem, not yours). I was left alone to ponder how I would know "when the podcast appeared in my music library", and in the end, after trying a number of things, I clicked "downloads", which seemed to get me to the next page all right.
Anyway, then I tried to listen to some podcasts. I couldn't see anything that seemed to be related to libraries or books, so I tried Food again. The first one turned out not to be about food at all: he was talking about someone who'd recently died of cancer. So then I tried some of the others, but there seemed to be no instructions on how to hear the podcasts. I kept choosing things and clicking away with enthusiasm, but without audible results.One of them (Podcastalley) was fairly typical. I chose a podcast and followed the instructions to copy the address. The next page (to download a podcast aggregator, which seemed to be what they wanted me to do) was next, and I got as far as How to use podcast downloader. I thought success was within my grasp! Until I saw instruction 1: Select the "podcast" in toolbar. I'm afraid I was stumped. I know that the toolbar is one of those lines of icons and things along the top, but I couldn't see anything sayding "the podcast". In fact, I'm not even sure there was a toolbar.
So I gave up, and went back to the exercises, to see whether I could salvage anything from the whole sorry business. But I saw that the next instruction was "Add the RSS feed for a podcast to your Blogline account." Now, I think that a Blogline account was something we did a while ago, so perhaps if I go thrugh the old exercises I could fiind out what it was - but what is an RSS feed? I'm sure that's never come up before. I'm afraid you often assume rather more knowledge than I've got. (And while I'm in this state of shame and degradation, I may as well ask what "browser" and "server" mean. I hoped that would eventually become obvious the more they were used, as when learning a foreign language, but alas! no).
I was workng all this week, as it turned out, so I couldn't get to Birkenhead until today (Friday), when Kathy wasn't there. I may be able to come over one day next week.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I chose one called "Sophie can walk", which I thought was quite funny. And I watched a couple of library ones, but it's getting late, so I haven't got time for any more. Personally, I wouldn't want to spend a lot of (any, actually) time searching through Youtube for one that might be interesting - I prefer my son to tell me about good ones and then I can just watch them.
Yes, I'm sure if someone could make an entertaining one about libraries they could use it as a recruitment tool or something (though I can't quite imagine what they would put in it that would make people leap up out of their seats shouting,"Yes! yes yes yes! I want to be a librarian!")
I looked at the "Food" section. They were mostly video clips of people cooking particular recipes. I suppose if you chose a particularly tricky recipe, this would be very useful, but the ones I watched could have been very easily made just by following written instructions, so if I'd wanted to make them I would probably just have Googled "apple sauce brownies" or "salt roast chicken" and got he recipe that way - quicker than waiting for someone to do it in front of you. I'm afraid I can't see an application for this in a library setting. But one of them might be, I suppose, if it worked properly. It was called urbanspoon, and it said it was going to tell you where restaurants could be found near any address in the chosen city. Apart from the States, you only had the choice of London or two in Australia, so I tried "Paddington Station" - and it said sorry, it couldn't find it! So I tried a street near there (Norfolk Sq, Paddington), and it said it couldn't find that either, but did I mean Norfolk Sq, W2? I clicked that, but it said it was still lost, but then on another part of the page I saw that it was already offering me some choices. They didn't have menus, but you could tell from the reviews what sort of restaurants they were, so I suppose if you had a patron who wanted information on restaurants in a city, you could use that. But they probably wouldn't ask a librarian, they'd ask a travel agent.I also looked at the education one, but that looked a bit boring, and then a health one, but that was too exciting. Well, there were so many things you could look at and find out about - if you were particularly interested in some disease, I expect you could find out a lot.