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.

Friday, September 19, 2008

That was easier than I expected. When I sawthe introduction and read words and phrases like "different software versions or file types", "versioning", "convert documents as multiplt file types" "HTML and pdf", I thought it was going to be yet another exercise I couldn't do. However, I found that you didn't need to know what any of those things meant, which was good, but there were a whole lot of new things. It was just like an ordinary word processor, but with more things on it. I tried them all, with varying degrees of success and comprehension. Why does "quote" mean "orange box"? What do "subscript", "superscript", the anchor and "page break" do? What does "Toggle HTML source" mean? And why did I end up in a large (and expandable) box (and why was it called a layer?) which I didn't seem able to delete?
I'm sure this would be useful if you wanted to do some fancy documents - fancier than you can do on your ordinary word processor. Did you ask me to say how you could use it in a library? (Or is that the next exercise? I misread the numbers at first, and started doing no.17) Well, I'm sure you sometimes need to make fancy signs and things in the library, so ti would be good for that.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Stuck again, I'm afraid. How do I create a link to my searchroll? I looked all over, and couldn't find anything that looked like an address that you would be able to use to find it. The one at the top just says - nothing to do with my particular one.
Is Rollyo just like a large "Favourites" list? That's what it seems to be - except that you can apparently get into other people's favourites if you and they want. I couldn't think of anything to put on my searchroll, so I just found some sites in my "Favourites" list and put them in. I hope that's all right.
I spent a while looking at the things you suggested to see what Rollyo was about. I found that one of them seemed to be a place to look up books , and then if you belonged to a library I think you could see which libraries had them, so I suppose it was a sort of interloan facility. I also looked at the Freephotos one, but found a strange thing in the middle (buzzwords) which was nothing to do with photos, just telling me about Britney and Paris and Pepsi iced cucmber. Which might have been quite interesting, but my son's anxiously waiting for the computer.
Another thing I've obviously forgotten is how to stop losing pages all the time - I keep having to go right back to square 1 to read the exercises, for instance, but I'm sure Kathy showed me how to keep things handy so that you just have to click on something to bring them up again.
I think I 've got a day free next week - in fact, possibly two, so I'll see whether I can fix a time to come and ask for advice. I seem to be ploughing through the exercises quite steadily, but actually I'm usually having to give up before they're finished because I don't know how to do the vital bits.


I can't believe that anyone who is interested enough in books to join librarything could have only 200 books! I must have almost that just on my bedside table waiting to be read. So it's a bit silly to say you can do it free, or pay and enter as many books as you like - obviously, everyone would need to pay. But it would take years to put all your books in! Time that could much better be spent reading more books. I would need to keep running upstairs and collecting boxloads of books off the shelves to bring downstairs to the computer to add to my list, and then taking them back upstairs and putting them back on the shelves ... it doesn't bear thinking about. I'm afraid I can't really see the point (yet again). Unless you wanted to borrow someone else's books, perhaps. It just seems like a rather expanded book group, really. The free books for preview would be nice - but then you'd have to make sure you read them in time. Speaking as someone who's had a book out for nearly seven weeks and hasn't yet had a chance even to open it, I can see that might be a problem.


I'm afraid I've failed again. Unfortunately, some of your instructions are a bit vague for people who don't know what you're talking about. I right-clicked on my image, saved it with a file name, and found the image button (at least, that's what it seemed to be - it said something like "add image"). But how do you get the image on to the blog? I typed in the file name at every opportunity, but it just sat there looking at me and not doing anything. I hadn't been able to find a code to copy - the bit at the top jsut said "image generator" or something, but it didn't change when I put my word in, so I'm sure that wouldn't have been much use to you.
I looked at all three of those things - the first one seemed a bit laboured and pointless - just making up silly names and things. I thought they were actually going to use my name to create another one, which might have been quite clever, but if you're just going to pick words at random, I don't know why you'd bother. I thought the James one was much better; and the third one might very well be quite interesting if you've got some photos, but I haven't, so I didn't really look at that one much.
Now this is where you should see a nice picture of a happy German person playing Scrabble, and just putting the last letter of "Spaetzle" in, but it's obviously lost inside my computer somewhere, and I don't know how to get it out.
And oh, dear, sorry, I can't remember what number this is. 13? I'll try that. I really will check when I find the exrcises again. It could be 14.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

no. 12

I put my name on the list, but I don't know whether that was what I was supposed to do. Was I supposed to put the address at the top there instead? (I mean, the http://blogger.etc.)
I was a bit worried, I must say, when they said (in the last exercise) "Staring a wiki is easy!" and then bombarded me, in Step 1, with words and phrases like "choose software", "configure wiki", "wiki farms", "server" and "customizability", which are like a foreign language to me, so I can't believe that just writing my blog name somewhere constitutes a whole exercise.


Yes, I looked at a lot of those ... what? websites? (Some were wikis, but some were about wikis, so I don't know quite how you define them.) Anyway, they seemed quite sensible and useful - like sending an email to everyone concerned, with them replying with suggestions, but obviously much less cumbersome. The one drawback from my point of view is that with an email addressed to me, I'll read it (or at least consider it and decide whether or not to read it), whereas with anything else on the web, I would never think of looking to see what there might be to read. Except for airline tickets, and things like that. I mean, I would never go trawling around in the hope of finding something interesting or useful. Unless, perhaps, someone sent me an email saying,"Go to such-and-such a wiki and read it." But I'd probably forget to.

exercise 10 - future of libraries

Well, that was quite easy. I read three of them, and they all seemed to be saying that people use computers a lot more now, and books become out-of-date, and librarians need to know how to help people use the internet to get information. Which all sounds very true, though perhaps hardly world-shattering in its originality. However, it obviously doesn't apply to fiction, which is a large part of a community library. The major effect it had on me was to make me glad that I'm not just starting out on a lifetime career as a librarian: what attracted me to the job was being able to work with books and people, and it sounds as though books at least, and a lot of interaction with people (e.g. at the issues desk) will become a smaller and smaller part of the job.

number 9

I hope no one has been sitting with bated breath waiting for a communication from me - I'm afraid I'd completely forgotten about the whole programme! Then a couple of days ago I saw a newsletter in my inbox, and wondered what on earth it could be about, and opened it .... and remembered that I was supposed to be doing all these exercises. I couldn't quite remember where I was up to, but I settled on the first one that was completely unfamiliar, the Technorati one. However, I haven't got very far with it. We're supposed to do a keyword search for "Learning 2.0" in Blog posts, tags and blog directory, but I don't know where any of those things are. I tried entering them in the "Search" boxes, but came up with useful things such as "My dog ate your blog", which I felt was probably not what you had in mind. I'll go back and have another look, but if I have no luck I'll just go on to the next exercise.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

exercise 8

My first experience of the site was complete bafflement, as I clicked one place after another, with every one just giving me more and more of the same. But then I tried Bookmarks, and managed to fine one that actually had some comments attached - but as they were all things like "Wow!" and "Awesome!", they weren't terribly interesting. then I found another one, about computers, with (no doubt) much more intelligent but cery technical comments. The next one turned out to be an auction for some silver tableware, so I don't know what that was doing there - no comments, as far as I could see. The next one was followed by lots of comments, most of them obscenties about Canadians. Unfortunately, most of the time I had no idea from the title of the article what it was going to be about. Well, usually about computers and things like that, but precisely what, was a mystery; so I can't really comment on the quality of the comments, but people certainly seemed to be willing to take the time to write them, so they must find them useful, or at least interesting (I can't see that adding "Awesome!" to an article really adds to the sum of human knowledge, but at least it means they aren't out beating up old ladies or racing their cars through the streets). I can see that if you wanted to use these tags (once you found something you were interested in), they could be very useful.