Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Season's Greetings to All

Photo of flowering red gum by Georgie Sharp from Flickr

Best wishes to my friends far and near for a wonderful holiday season.

I'm missing the snow a little, and envious of my friends in Maine who have had TWO snow days already this winter. In a somewhat bizarre turn of the weather in Melbourne the weather bureau is saying it might snow here this weekend. Melbourne is suffering through a terrible drought, but it has been raining for the last two days. What a wonderful gift for everyone!

I don't have a lot of time to read at the moment, but am enjoying a nightly chapter or so of The Memory Room by Christopher Koch, one of my all time favourite writers. It's a busy time for a casual librarian - lots of other people taking time off.

I will be having Christmas dinner in my back garden with family and friends, and of course The Sainted Grandson, who has taken to looking at presents and saying hopefully 'train?'. I hope Santa has a train in his sack for Abraham William and I hope whoever brings your presents, that you get at least one great book!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

What I've been reading #3

In the last weeks I have read some truly wonderful books!
Away by Amy Bloom was recommended by my good friend Ellen, who is in Maine. She and I worked together and have a very similar taste in books. I always trust her recommendations, and she has lead me to some wonderful authors. Away is the story of Lillian Leyb, who immigrates to The United States from Russia in the 1920s. Lillian fears her daughter Sophie was killed during a pogrom but finds out she is still alive and so sets off to find her. Lillian is an engaging heroine, determined to do whatever she has to to make her way. It is well written, funny, and not as sad as one might think.

It reminded me of another book I read on Ellen's recommendation The Law of Dreams by Peter Behrens. This is another immigrant story, this time Irish and told by Fergus O'Brien. Fergus relates his story as he is driven off his family's small holding by the potato famine, and travels to Dublin, Montreal and Boston. Behrens is a wonderful and poetic writer and I will be looking out for more books by him.

souvlaki from avlyx, via flickr.

I love reading mysteries of most varieties and have read two wonderful ones recently. Nice Try by Shane Moloney is the third in the Murray Whelan series. It felt a bit like a souvlaki to me - immensely satisfying in a slightly guilty way. It is very funny, and being set in my part of the world even more interesting to me.

I went to hear Ian Rankin on his recent book tour, and he was saying that a number of well known authors are living in Edinburgh now. He mentioned that Kate Atkinson is writing mysteries, and he recommended them. I read One Good Turn and can endorse it with enthusiasm. Great characters and lots about the Edinburgh Festival from a somewhat sardonic view. And the plot twist that is revealed on the last page was a kicker!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Why I'm not Reading

I haven't been reading much lately, too much going on. And I have been watching a bit of TV. I am loving Rain Shadow, on the ABC. It's finished now, but maybe it will return. The scenery is beautiful and the story line interesting. It presents country Australia struggling with drought, and the performances are wonderful.

One piece of technology I have come to love is the hard disc video recorder, I can set it to record programs I want to watch, and then watch when I have time. This of course results in more TV watching than I should do.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

#24 I haven't Stopped Learning!

Posted by Picasa
I have very fond memories of visiting the Botanic Gardens with my mother as a child, and then of taking the boys when they were little. So one recent Sunday morning, Grammy & Grandad took Bram. It turns out you aren't allowed to feed the ducks any more, but it is still a lot of fun.
I uploaded these photos into Picasa and then published them directly into my blog from there. It's taken me an hour - but I'm very pleased with myself for doing it!
I often get inspiration from my colleagues - Chellie suggested visiting the swans. Thanks Chellie, we all had a great time.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

More on podcasts

AND I can get podcasts of The Book Show. I love listening to the radio but I often miss out on my favourite show. Now I can just download them, and listen whenever I want to.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

#23 Is This the End?

Well, obviously hopefully not!

I have enjoyed this program. I have found out how some things that I was interested in work (youtube, podcasts), found some very useful things that I didn't know about (del.icio.us), and generally had some fun.

I think I will continue to use Flickr and the image generators, Del.icio.us, IGoogle and Bloglines. And let's not forget Library Thang!

I have found that as I have looked into some things, I have been lead down paths towards others. I have found some very interesting blogs (Steve Abraham, James Oppenheim).

Some of my colleagues have found it hard to complete the course. Not everyone has the time or the equipment to do the work at home. I think that I have done more than 90% of the work at home on my own time. I am fortunate that I am able to do that. If I still had children at home, or if I was studying it would be much more difficult. Our lives are already very busy, and it's hard to find the extra time to complete something like this, no matter how interesting and valuable it is.
I have had help, encouragement and inspiration from my colleagues. Maybe we could all get together and swap stories and hints some time!

Photo of the New York Public Library taken by Dr. DeNo.

#21 Podcasts

Again, what fun. I looked through some of these, and then I went to look at two of my favourite radio programs. This American Life and Prairie Home Companion and found that I can download both of these as podcasts. Then (I am reliably informed by my resident computer guru) that I can load them on to my mp3 player and listen to them. There are lots of great radio shows out there, I was aware that I could listen to podcasts (John Faine keeps on telling me), but I didn't know it was actually so easy.


I will certainly book mark the podcast sites, and use them to find information about particular authors. Should come in handy for book talks!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

#22 Downloadable audio books

I am an enthusiastic audio book user, and have been using Aduible.com for some time. I love listening to audio books, I listen when I'm walking sometimes, when I'm doing boring things around the house and when I'm travelling. Having an audio book on the mp3 player is great when you are in that exhausted state about twenty hours after you have left home, and you're still in the airplane and you can't read, and can't sleep and the movie is stupid.

The Lord of the Rings read by Rob Ingles is truly wonderful - I encourage everyone to listen to it.
A year ago when I was still working in the States downloadable audio books were just starting to become available in public libraries. I'm waiting for them to be available here. Maybe something that Gulliver should look at?

More thoughts on ZOHO writer

It's certainly easy to use, and posting is not a problem, adding tags within ZOHO adds the tags to Technorati, which isn't what I was expecting. I have trouble in getting the formatting the way I want it though. I would like all of my blog posts to look the same and I can't quite figure out how to do that.
O, well back to the drawing board!

Monday, November 5, 2007

ZOHO Writer revisited

After looking through some of my colleagues' blogs, particularly Jules the Xmas blog (http://xmas-jewls.blogspot.com/), I decided to give ZoHo writer another try.
I would like to be able to put some nifty little animations here,
and I'm jumping for joy because I did!
Now can I publish into my blog?

Technorati Tags ,,,

Sunday, November 4, 2007

#20 YouTube

This is fun, it was done in Maine, notice the pine trees? Posting is easy, but a bit restricted. I can't figure out how to add tags.
I could become addicted to YouTube though. Lots of things I haven't looked for yet!

#19 Web 2.0 awards

I've been playing around a little with this list. The fare watcher looked interesting, but not only doesn't deal with fares outside the USA, but doesn't deal with any of the biggest cities in the US. A work in progress. The city guides are all for the USA also, and the one I looked at seemed to be full of reviews put on by college students that listed where to get the cheapest beer (useful information for some I'm sure).

I tried the games site, since I'm somewhat of a computer games junkie, and looked around at Ning (who knew there was a network of gay nudists in Melbourne?)

I will go back to the start page applications, at first glance I quite like Netvibes, since it automatically came up with Australian news, one of the things that I have been thinking about since I started this class is to set up a home page for myself. I have had a My Yahoo page for quite some time, but I want to do something different. I will play with Netvibes a bit more I think.

I did a Google search for Web 2.0 awards and restricted the search to Australia thinking I might find some Australian sites, but no luck so far.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

What I'm Reading #2

This week I took a holiday from Perdio Station, I haven't given up on it yet and I will probably finish it, I'm still not sure what I think about it.

Meanwhile I read Alphabet Sisters by Monica McInerney. I saw it in a Horizon Books in Traverse City (which by the way is a truly wonderful independent book shop, and well worth a visit), and my sister-in-law pointed out it was Australian, and asked if I had heard of it. I hadn't heard of Monica McInerney at all, but made a note of the name so I could look out her books on my return. Well, I DID read it, not my favourite kind of read. Why in books like this (three sisters torn apart by a terrible fight, feisty grandmother, romances, etc, etc) does someone ALWAYS have to get cancer and die in a very elegant and beautiful way? Everyone is very sad, but they get over it in a heart warming fashion and go on with their lives. Maybe I'm a bit jaded and twisted, but I find it all a little light weight and tedious. That being said, she is compared to Maeve Binchy, and I can see why. Enough said, I would certainly recommend her books to others based upon what sort of books they like to read, but not for me.

I also read Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson. Much more my thing. One of the Alan Banks series, this is a thoughtful and well written police procedural. This being said I don't think it is the best in the series, a bit too much time spend on the lives of the two police officers and a bit too little on the actual crimes. I do enjoy the sense of place in his writing though, a quite different view of the Yorkshire dales than that seen through James Herriot's books!

The book I enjoyed most this week was Beneath the Bleeding by Val McDermid. Another police procedural, featuring Tony Hill and Carol Jordan. Having seen the TV show I always see Robson Green in my mind when I read about Tony Hill, and that's not a bad thing! A good book, a complex investigation that certainly kept me guessing and enough character development to keep the series going along. We do learn a little more about Tony Hill's past life, and find out what has helped to make him the strange person he is. Maybe that's why I like him so much!

ENOUGH! Using Google Docs to create blog posts

Well, I decided that I liked creating posts in Google Docs. However... if you create in Google Docs, you lose the automatic formatting that Blogger applies to the post, and you don't have the possibility to add tags. I need to fool around with for a bit. I think the formatting thing can be overcome, but I'm not sure about the tags.
Grr! Well, I've been fooling around with this long enough to do two loads of laundry and put it out, so I"M DONE!
Maybe I'll go back and try to figure out how to format my Google Docs to keep my posts looking the way I want them to, but NOT today.

#18 On-line Productivity Tools

Google docs. I already use Google calendar to keep track of comings and goings in my house. I've been using it for a couple of months now, and find it helpful. It's great to be able to check it at work when I want to see what's happening.

I tried Zoho also, and created a nifty to-do list (time to make the Christmas pudding and refine the address list for writing Christmas cards). I think I will keep the list up, it's possible that being able to access it quickly from any computer might be helpful. I'll see (ask me after Christmas if I feel more organized!)

While I think that these applications could be useful for people who don't have access to the commercial products, I think that most people who are savvy enough to know about them and use them undoubtedly have Microsoft Office also.

I will keep them in mind if I need to have a document that other people could collaborate on with me (I needed this last week when I was working on homework for the ABS training!)

Posting to my blog from Google Docs is a snap. It's easier to work with images with Google docs, but uploading from a file on my computer doesn't seem to work. Somehow in the process of uploading the .jpg gets removed, and then of course I get a message saying 'the file is not in the correct format'. All of this is somewhat frustrating and time consuming, but then this often happens while exploring new applications. One of things I know about exploring all of these wonderful things is that you have to expect it to be frustrating sometimes, and not everything will work the way you expect it to. AND, you have to expect to spend a little time with it to get it right.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

#17 Playing Around in the sandbox

By now this wiki is somewhat unwieldy. I don't think anyone will be searching for my entry about favourite places to eat in East Brunswick, but just in case you want to know

The Gelo Bar
A Minor Place
The Lomond Hotel

I do intend to play around with a wiki to share with some friends as we plan a trip. It seems that this will be a better way to share information than circular emails.
Posting and editing were easy.

Why I work in a public library

I encourage everyone to read the post 'Thoughts on Customer Service' on Icarus, the Santa Fe Public Library blog. This is so well put, and echoes many of my thoughts.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Bit of Fun

This is my avatar. I couldn't get it perfect, I would have added a book as well as a martini glass. Note the groovy red shoes!

#16 Wikis

I like the idea of a wiki for some things. I particularly like the idea of a wiki where patrons contribute reviews, but I notice that the Princeton Library wiki hasn't had new posts in a while. I notice that some of wikis have restricted who can add information, and my librarian's soul approves of that. A wiki that has infomation about a city, for example the Ann Arbor one, seems very useful also.

Like a lot of other people I question the value of an information source that can be changed and added to by anyone, but maybe this is a somewhat old-fashioned idea. To paraphrase George Orwell 'All infomration is correct, but some information is more correct than others' We shouldn't lose sight of the fact that one of the most important roles that libraries and librarians have in these days of deluges of information is to sort and verify, so our patrons not only have the information but have the correct information.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

# 15 Library 2.0

I've been working in libraries since 1977, when I started work as a trainee library technician, working in the basement of the State Library. The first thing we were shown was how to make the tea! Very important. Back then the State Library's catalogue was still on cards, some of them written in beautiful copper plate. I've worked in a number of different places, done a number of different library jobs, done some studying. Life in the library has changed.

In the best of all possible worlds a library is a place where anyone can come in and be respected, where we try to tailor our services to meet our users needs, where we treat each and every request with attention. But we live in a world where we deal with constantly shrinking budgets and rising expectations. The library is one of the few places where those closed out of the digital world can come and expect to find real help. We need to remember this. I don't know one person in my son's generation who uses the public library - I keep on having conversations that begin with 'You know if you went to the library you could ...' We are failing to reach these people, and I wonder why.

This learning project has been a wonderful opportunity to come to grips with some of the new technologies available, and to remind us that as soon as we learn something, it is already out of date. There is something new 'coming down the pike' (as they say in Maine).

If Library 2.0 is all about access, and letting the customer have input into the service, we need to rethink some of our policies and procedures. Why don't we have wireless Internet access in all of our branches, why has it taken us so long to allow customers to use memory sticks, why are we charging for Internet access? Just a few questions that have occurred to me as I have been doing this course.

And finally, if you want a bit of a laugh about Internet 2.0 check out The Librarian's guide to Etiquette.

#14 Technorati (2)

I think this is another thing that I will need to spend some time with. I haven't been able to watch the video on the site, I just can't get it to load. I have registered, and I will create a list of favourite blogs. I'm still not quite sure if I have my blog tagged or not.

#13 Del.ic.ious

I LOVE this, it is so much fun. I want to play with it for hours! I have been going through my bookmarks and adding them to Del.ic.ious. I can think of many ways to use it.

Next year I'm going on a trip with some friends, how fun to set up a place on Del.ic.ious where we can all load sites of interest.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

What I'm Reading

I had planned that this blog would be about what I'm reading as much as it would be about library 2.0. As it happens I haven't been paying the reading part of it much attention.

I have listed some of my favourite sites for book information. Matilda is a wonderful blog about Australian literature, I don't always read all of the reviews in the weekend papers, but Perry keeps me up to date.
The Waterboro Library h20boro lib blog (in beautiful Waterboro, Maine) is a great places for bits and pieces of book related information - and written and maintained by a volunteer. Good work Molly!
Both of these sites also have great lists of links.

At the moment I am reading Perdio Station, it is a fantasy, and I'm not gobbling it up. I am interested enough to keep reading, but not to the point that I am anxious to get back to it. Bram will come over tonight and I can forsee a few readings of Where is the Green Sheep. I try to have a new book for him every time he comes over but we don't always get time to read. I have a Julie Vivas book I Went Walking in the book bag for him, we will see if he likes it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Half way

I have been enjoying these exercises, some more than others. I love using Flickr, and the image generators, and hope to be able to use them some more. As with most learning exercises, the trick is in finding what might be of most use. As a casual I have a limited scope for putting some of the more exciting applications to practical use in my work. I use the web every day at home though, and will go back and work on the RSS feeds, and maybe Rollyo to streamline my personal page.

There are some things that I would like to know how to do, that I can't quite figure out. For example does anyone know how to make a direct link from a catalogue record to the blog? I would like to create a link from my What I am Reading and Recently Read lists directly to the WHMRLS catalog.

Now off to BOX for some Sunday fun.

#12 Roll your Own Search Blog

I've looked at this, and I think I understand it, but it's not of much interest to me. I don't have a list of sites that I search often, maybe I should. I use Google quite a bit, and when I was doing a lot of making up annotated book lists, I used to search a number of news papers for book reviews.

And of course if you use the custom searches, there isn't much Australian content.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Lonely Blogger

I work as a casual, that means that I don't see any of my colleagues on a regular basis. I'm finding this learning project interesting but somewhat lonely! Is anybody out there?
Is anybody reading my blog?

Please leave me a message if you are reading my blog, I promise I will leave a message if I read yours.
BTW have I mentioned how much fun I'm having with FDs Flicker toys?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

#11 Library Thing

Is anyone else tempted to say this as "Library Thaaaang" in a exaggerated Southern accent? Just wondering.

I LOVE Library Thing, not the least because it comes from my old home town, Portland, Maine.

I have added some pretty pictures of books I've recently read, to myself and to the lovely Bram. His current favourite (by a country mile) is Where is the Green Sheep?

#10 More Image Generating

As before, it's very easy for me to get lost playing with this.
This is a lot of fun.

From FD's Flicker Toys

#10 Image Generators

Well I'm back in Brunswick and even worked yesterday. Working is good after six weeks away. I find that I need to think about how to do some things, but that's not a bad thing.
I'm pleased to be able to talk to my colleagues about the program also, and find out what they are doing.
The image generator is fun, I have created three images so far and discarded them. I like the Dylan film, but it takes so long to load. I did a ribbon, but I didn't like the way it looked. I also did a TV widget generator, but when it loaded up it had ads on it that looked VERY dodgy (The Napster of Porn, Live Asian girls web cam), and I really don't want those on my blog!

But this should work

And this

Images from AlphaPicture

Monday, October 8, 2007

RSS Feeds etc

I'm still not really getting this properly I think. One of the problems is because I have the new version of IE when I try to add something to my feeds, it automatically gets added to my IE favourites. I need to clean this up, and figure out how best to organise them.

It's been unseasonably hot here in Northern Michigan, so yesterday we were all on the lake.

Today we begin the trek home, I hope to be back to blogging at the end of the week.

Friday, October 5, 2007

#9 Finding Feeds

I found this somewhat disappointing. I searched for 'barge, burgundy, France' (guess where I'm going next year?), but didn't find anything of interest. Maybe I should try to search for something more obvious. And of course, once I start looking around it is SO easy to get distracted. Lots of great information and pictures of one of my favourite cities.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

#8 Making Life Simple

Well, I've created a Bloglines account. It's easy to get excited and subscribe to too many feeds. I will have to work with what I get and refine it as I go. This should be fun!

More fun with Photos

A little out of order here, but I've been having more fun with the camera and Flickr. Today, I took photos, edited them with Picasa, uploaded them to Flickr, and made a badge with them.
I'm feeling clever!
Look to the right to see photos of beautiful Torch Lake.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

#7 Blog about Technology

Apart from having to come to grips with new technology in my professional life, there are two facts about my life in the last few years that have made me want to learn new technologies.

First I moved from Australia to the United States. I was often home sick and felt out of touch. Being able to read my favourite newspaper, browse in a book shop, read about Australian literature, and see what's on helped me to maintain a connection.

I have three adult sons, and when I am not able to see them often being able to look at their Flickr accounts, see them on Face book, and read their blogs has been wonderful.

In my professional life I am constantly amazed by the information I can find for library users in databases, and on the Internet. The revolution in technology has meant that I can almost always find some information to answer even the most off the wall question ("I need some information about commercial uses for seaweed"). I find this very satisfying. I have also found library and literary blogs very helpful in keeping up with reader's advisory. I have put links to some of my favourite sites, blogs and otherwise on the right. More to follow.

I have embraced technologies that I find useful (Tivo, blogs, photo sharing), but this program will help me to learn about other things.

And last but not least - another photo of my grandson!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

#6 More Flickr fun

I am having trouble with this. Some of the links don't work, and some just seem very confusing.

I am going to take some photos later on today with my digital camera and load them onto Flickr so should be able to do some more things once I have photos loaded.
But just so you know I'm still paying attention, here's another photo of Bram, looking a little dirty - but doesn't he have a great smile?

#5 Flickr - still playing

Well, as I suspected the bit I'm REALLY good at is playing. I've spent all morning fooling around on Flickr and Blogger. What I've learnt along the way is how to find photos on Flikr, how to download them so I can imbed them in my Blogger posts, and how to position the photos in the post.

I have found photos of my high school (Taken by Colros)

Photos of Falmouth, Maine where I lived for 12 years.

Photos of Torch Lake, Michigan - where I am at the moment.

And photos of my beautiful grandson - he's two now but still beautiful!

#5 Flickr - Nostalgia

Five Islands
Originally uploaded by topshampatti
I lived and worked in Maine for 12 years. It is a beautiful place, and as far as I am concerned the only way to eat a lobster (crayfish), is to be sitting on a dock, looking at a view like this. Add a fine bottle of Australian bubbly, some good friends and a little conversation - nothing could be better.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Are we sitting comfortably children?

Then let's begin!

I want to use this blog to talk about books I've read and recommend sites of interest to other book lovers.

Currently I am in beautiful Torch Lake, Michigan. The sun is shining through the trees, the river is sparkling and all is good. This is what the river look like last night.
That is enough to begin with, I hope to add more features as I learn more.

Back to real life and work in two weeks!

Currently I am reading

The Life and Times of the Thuderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson.

It's laugh out loud funny.