Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Sea, sand, stick = happy dog

This is my attempt to add a photo from Flickr to my blog. It was supposed to be in another post, but I only managed to get it into its own indvidiual post. It just takes time to figure these things out. Time which I don't have right now. Ideally I would have liked the text to the left of this photos, but I can't figure out how to change it.
Sea, sand, stick = happy dog


Time for another spot of blogging.

Last week's Thing was to look at and use Flikr which was fun. I had heard mention of Flickr but hadn't looked it at all before last week. It was lovely to see all the photos of the Library in Sir Cam and Idlethink. As the Library is a no go place for children, I took the opportunity to show my son where I work. He managed to tear his eyes away from the the PS3 game for brief seconds as a cycled through my favourites and said he'd look properly later. He hasn't!

I, however, did enjoy seeing the Library afresh from new perspectives. I would never have thought that canteen chairs could look so special. When we get our staff tearoom makeover we will only have the photos as reminders. Maybe we should decorate the walls with a poster size print?

Learning about CreativeCommons was also interesting. It is good to know that if you use and credit the photo you will not break any copyright.

I also opened an account and uploaded one photo just to see how it works, and as I do not need to worry about the copyright, I can embed (or is it upload) it here:

Ok, so that didn't work. Let's try now:

OK, copying and pasting the url isn't working, but I have managed to import it into it's own bog entry.

This thing leads from one thing to another and before you know it an hour plus has gone by. I feel like I'm following a trail of breadcrumbs through the forest, turning round and feeling lost!

However, despite not being able to immediately get a photo into this post, I do like Flikr, I mean Flickr (I can never spell this word right first time!). I like looking at the photos, discovering what's out there, and will use it to share photos. It's also good to know of an alternative source of images from Google Images.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Twitter & Tags

The end of the week is approaching fast, and as I'm not in the office tomorrow, I thought I'd better do a quick blog about Thing 8 - tagging and also add a little more about Thing 7 - Twitter. I'm only half-way through the article which we were asked to read about tagging, but have had a quick whizz through my posts and put in some more tags. As my posts have pretty much stuck to the 23 Things without much rumination, I think I can manage with the basics of which Thing I was blogging about and which number it actually is. As it is part of Cam 23 I wasn't sure whether or not to put Cam 23 as a tag on each entry or not, and unless someone tells me it is a good idea, I don't think I'll bother unless I've particularly mentioned it.

Obviously, I can see the sense in adding tags in order to be able to quickly jump back and reference what I have said in the past or for others to get a general idea of what's covered in the blog. It's definitely easier to do as you go along.

Twitter is still pretty difficult to get into. As I mentioned in an earlier blog, I'm not a librarian so I can't get involved in the library discussions and apart from Cam 23 I don't have much else to comment on to people I don't know. It seems to me that others are finding it a similar experience as after the first couple of days of the week, Twitter seems to have been a lot quieter (or maybe I'm just getting used to it?).

I'm using JournoTwit on my desktop and Seesmic on my iTouch to make accessing Twitter a bit more user friendly. They have definitely helped. I prefer Seesmic because it lists peoples replies to me in a separate tab under the name Replies, so I can't miss them! I didn't have a clue that there were any replies to me there until then. In general, both do make things a lot more manageable than just one long stream of tweets, but I do find that I still need to go into Twitter itself to manage my account and look for people to follow. It may be possible to do this on the applications, but I haven't figured out how yet. I also find it difficult to stick to the 140 character limit. Not having enough experience, I don't know if saying one thing over several posts is workable, so I've had to edit down what I've been saying, which is a drag.

We have discussed, in the research unit, the possibilities of blogging, Facebooking and Twittering as a way of promoting our work to go along side our website and newsletter. It seems that it might be something we try in the future, but don't have the resources to make it happen right now. I'm hoping that when we do move in this direction that the things I've learned whilst taking part in Cam 23 will be useful then.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Twittering: weird or what?

Crikey! Thing 7 is a bit mind-blowing!

Must admit was approaching Twitter with some trepidation, having looked but not joined before. I was hoping to get what the fuss was all about. Read up on the blogs of those who'd got their Twittering done on Monday and only found one positive post (at the time. There may be more now).

Have to say that I find Twitter kind of overwhelming. Like everyone is talking [to me] at once, and I'm spinning around wondering what? what? what?

Anyway, despite having nothing to say on Twitter, having signed up late last night, I got into work to find I already had 3 followers. Now, exciting as that is, I know it wasn't for the sparkling and witty comments I've made so far, but it does make you feel part of 'the gang'.

I am reserving judgement on this Thing until I've had a chance to acclimatize myself.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Exploring Things further

I have been enjoying reading through people's blogs. Now they are altogether in a handy fashion it is very easy. Libreation recommended MeetingWizard as an alternative to Doodle, and out of curiosity I have given it a go. It was also a straight-forward experience, but I prefer Doodle for its overall simplicity and ease of use.

I've also been playing around with the background look of the blog and gone for a nature theme (for now!). Hope you like it.

Also, I've just been introduced to Dropbox.

It is a free file sharing program you can download off the internet. You can use it to share files with yourself or others across multiple computers and mobile phones. We are planning to use it in our department to share files with colleagues without having to email. This will be useful when sharing large image files. I don't know whether we are covering this in 23 Things, but check it out anyway.

Dropbox replaces:
  • Emailing file attachments to yourself and other people
  • Using USB drives to move files between computers
  • Renaming files to keep a history of previous versions
  • Complicated backup software and hardware

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Calendars all around - but do I know what I'm doing

I have had replies! Yes, my Doodle poll has worked and responses have been flooding in and a time and place have now been scheduled.

Actually, I do quite like Doodle. The page where the poll is created with its little table listing the options you can poll against is very handy. I can see at a glance which time and date is the most viable and all the options have been totalled up for me.

I will definitely use that again. We don't often have meetings so I hope I can remember what to do when I want to do another poll.

Today's Thing has been no trouble at all, as already mentioned, I had already set up a calendar and shared it with another colleague s0 that was nothing new. I did however learn a little about the settings which I've now adjusted.

My problem now is that I have multiple work calendars on the go - a wall planner, a page per day diary and the Google calendar. And, having had all 3 on the go for a while, I know from experience that the Google calendar is the one I'm least likely to use. Despite the leaps and bounds in technology in general, and my use of it, in particular, I still prefer using a pen and paper!

OK. There - I've admitted it, and it makes me feel very old-fashioned!

Anyway, while 23 Things is afoot I am sure that I will make more of an effort to use the Google calendar. Thinking a little about it, I think one of the reasons I'm not too keen on it is that I don't like the way it looks. If the layout was more pleasing on the eye, maybe I would be more happy to use it. I wonder if there is a way to change the font?

Monday, 7 June 2010

Drawing or doodling

Today I worked out how to find something that has been saved in draft form on my blog. And, for all you who are still figuring it out the blogging programme autosaves what you write every minute or so and if you click on the edit posts tab you can see both posted and draft entries.

So today has been all about Doodling.

Now, if you are like me, you might think that Doodling is a form of drawing or scribbling, but actually it is about setting up the equivalent of a straw poll. So our task was to set up a meeting using this electronic straw poll. Luckily for me my department is planning a staff meeting later this month and it's my job to collate the replies. And, having had no responses to my initial email request a couple of weeks ago, I decided I would send my colleagues a Doodle link to engage them in the decision of which dates suit the most people.

I found the process pretty straightforward. Thank goodness. I have got the link to my poll and have forwarded onto my colleagues. But one thing I haven't figured out yet is how to link it to my iGoogle page. I mean, I couldn't even get it to add to my bookmarks, let alone my Library tab.

I did open a Doodle account and linked it with my Google calendar, which I already had set up before 23 Things was started. I'm looking forward to seeing what things I might be able to do with the calendar which I don't already know about.

Anyway, I am now awaiting responses.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

A tricky problem or just Thing 4

Hooray. - I've done! I've actually uploaded a screenshot to the blog! .... Well, at least I think I have. At the moment, it just looks like text, but when I click preview it does show the picture, so hopefully when this entry is posted the picture will look like a picture.

Actually, this exercise has involved a fair amount of cursing and pulling out of hair. At one point, I was sorely tempted to throw all my toys out of the pram and not play anymore. However, I decided to sleep on it and try again.

The problems were: not having any image software on my office pc, trying unsuccessfully to get a screenshot into my photo software at home, and trying to do the same thing on a Mac which has no print screen key.

However, a bit of sleep and a day to calm down and face the computer again, along with success in fixing another computer problem in the meantime, meant I was ready to face the challenge again! A quick bit of googling and the shortcut for 'take a screen shot on a Mac' was found, and once I'd worked out that it had automatically saved it to the desktop it was a fairly straightforward job to upload it. I must admit, though, that just after I'd uploaded it the phone rang and I saved the blog entry with just the screenshot in it and when I came back into the blog I couldn't find the blasted thing! So the shot above is actually a second upload.

I have had a chance to look at a few other posts and have learnt from Ange that I'm probably a journaler blogger, and I also think that my presentation is a bit basic. No handy paragraph titles here. Maybe that will come on later, but for now learning the basics is enough for me.

Now, I see that it is time for Things 1 & 2 to get a mention. This will be brief as these things were done over a week ago and, to be honest, that stuff is all in the past and a distant memory. Luckily, I didn't have to create a Google ID as I already had one, but I did have to create an iGoogle page and, as I recall, the initial setting up was easy-peasy. However, the finished creation looked far too busy and cluttered so I then had a "fun" time - not, trying to organise the blasted gadgets into different sections and I deleted a whole load too. Anyway, it got done but I have to say, it looks pretty boring compared to some of the other screenshots of igoogle pages I've checked out in the other blogs. I will have to call it a work in progress and hope I can improve it throughout the course.

Looking back over Thing 2 instructions I see I added an RSS feed for 23 Things to my iGoogle page. I think this must have been pretty straightforward as I don't really recall doing it. I do remember thinking I must add a few more feeds, but haven't done so yet and I also haven't really used the feed that I've got properly. Still, blogging about it has meant that I've had another look at it, and I think I can now get to the 23 Things pages without having to google for them. Now that's got to be an improvement.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Baby-stepping through 23 things

Hi Y'all (I guess you guys running 23 Things might read this, but it's hard to imagine anyone else reading it.)

This is my first entry of my first blog.

It seems to me that keeping a blog is just like keeping a diary. It's something I've fancied doing - writing a diary that is - and occasionally started, but for one reason or another never managed to keep going for more than a few weeks. I wonder whether blogging will end up being a flash-in-the-pan?

For now though, with 23 Things to keep me going I think I will stick to it until the end of the programme - at least.

So, I work in the UL but I'm not a Librarian. Despite this (drawback?) I thought it would still be a good idea to take part in 23 Things and I like the fact that I can work through it at basically my own pace and do it all online without having to go to group seminars or any meetings. This is because I work part-time and my time is not really my own. When I'm at work I have to be at my desk and not at tutorials or seminars etc.

I'm not super up-to-date with internet technology so I think I am going to learn a lot. I'm interested, in general, about what the Internet can do and how you can do it, but I don't have the time or the patience to spend hours researching what is available. So having some pointers and help through 23 Things, I hope, will be a fast-track through to being more au-fait with the possibilities out there. Having completed (almost!) the first 3 things, I have already done things online which I hadn't done before. I must admit that I found setting up the iGoogle page pretty tricky and I'm not 100% convinced of it's value, but maybe I will change my opinion by the end of this programme. I don't have any experience of Web 2.0. I'm not actually sure what it is. I do use Facebook and have even posted up some photos for family/friends to look at, but as for Twitter or anything else, they are still one step beyond...

I plan to read up some of the links about blogging in general and maybe learn whether it is a bit more than just a bit of navel gazing.