A look back [Thing #23]

Wow. That took long enough. It took me all 9 weeks and then some to finally finish this program. I am glad to be done with it. It isn't that I didn't enjoy it, it's just that it was so time consuming.

That being said though, I really did think this was a good program. Coming in, I was already familiar with some aspects of Web 2.0 (YouTube, podcasts, wikis, etc.). At the same time though, there was a lot of stuff I didn't know, and probably never would have if it weren't for this program. The good thing about 23Things is that it really broadens your horizons of Web 2.0 and all of the useful tools out there. Kids today are already so familiar with all of this stuff, it is important for librarians to be able to keep up with them.

All in all, I have to say that I really enjoyed this program. This was a great introduction to Web 2.0!

7 1/2 habits of highly successful lifelong learners [Thing #2]

Oops. I forgot to do this one in the beginning when I was supposed to.

I think the hardest part of the 7 1/2 Habits of Highly Successful Lifelong Learners would be viewing problems as a challenge. It is hard for me in the heat of the moment to look at a problem as a learning experience rather than a bad situation. Some of the examples they give are balancing your check book or learning to change a flat tire. It's true, these experiences teach you many useful life lessons. But when my bank account is -$300 because I don't know how to balance a checkbook, it's pretty hard for me to find the positive in that situation.

The easiest part of this program for me would probably be using technology to an advantage. I'm no computer genius, but I like to think I can find my way around the web pretty easily. I think it comes with the generation you grew up in. It is much easier for me to do things on the computer than it is for my grandparents. Technology is constantly growing, and I think as long as it's around, it should be utilized to it's maximum capabilities. I think I would be able to handle this habit easier than most of the others.

Downloadable Audiobooks [Thing #22]

It wasn't until just recently ('recently' as in maybe 2 or three weeks ago) that I became interested in audiobooks. I looked around the Netlibrary and OverDrive site. I was a little turned off by OverDrive, mainly because I don't like the way it is laid out. Netlibrary was a little easier for me to navigate. I think downloadable audiobooks are great for todays fast paced lifestyle. I started listening to them in the car, and I finished a book in just two days (something I can never seem to accomplish with a regular book). I feel like I never have time to read anymore, and I think that is why I started getting into audiobooks; it is much easier to multi-task while listening to a book than it is while sitting down and reading one.

My issue with these downloadable books is mainly with Apple. I don't know why Apple won't let you download these books onto the iPod, but it's very frustrating. You would think this might be something they would want to get in on. Maybe they're like GM, who had the opportunity to jump on the hybrid bandwagon, but didn't because it wasn't "economically sensible". I'm not sure what their reasoning behind this is, maybe it's a money issue. All I know is that it would be a great move on Apple's part to get in on this audiobook thing, so we'll see what happens.


Podcasts [Thing #21]

As if we haven't heard enough of iGoogle...

Podcasts are one of the many wonderful things that you can integrate into your iGoogle homepage. I get regular Real Time w/Bill Maher podcasts, which I have found to be very useful. These are audio versions of the show that have aired the week before, so if I happened to miss last weeks episode, I can just catch up with my podcasts. The best thing about iGoogle podcasts? They're free. I don't know whether or not you can say the same with iTunes, seeing how I don't really use it. I do have an iPod, but for some reason or another, have never looked into getting Apple podcasts.

Oh, YouTube! [Thing #20]

Now that everyone is 100% aware of my Google obsession, let's move onto the greatness that is YouTube. I know several people that don't like YouTube, and that is a really hard thing for me to understand because I enjoy it so much. There are so many videos available on YouTube, it's hard to not be able to find what you're looking for.

Let's take a minute to enjoy this clip from 'The Decider'....

This is a great example of why I love YouTube. Say you are cheap [which I am], and you don't want to put the money out to buy Bill Maher's stand up on DVD, and the library doesn't own it. You now have two choices; you can either A) Wait for it to air on TV (which doesn't often happen!) or B) Visit YouTube and watch it online. Now, if you are cheap AND impatient (which I am, not a good combination, let me tell you!), then you will most likely go with option B, and watch it on YouTube. And that is just one reason why I like YouTube, because it looks out for those cheap, impatient people such as myself.

iGoogle, One Sentence, and the likes [Thing #19]

So the assignment for Thing #19 is to select a site from the Web 2.0 awards list and discuss. But after looking through such a huge list of categories, it's so hard to choose just one...

1.) Start Pages: iGoogle
I think this choice was pretty obvious, after I just wrote an entire post professing my love for everything Google. But seriously, all favoritism aside, how could you not love iGoogle? You can customize it into anything you want. I have so much stuff on mine, from things as simple as the daily forecast to news concerning Buffy/Angel/Firefly. With a total of 12 boxes, all containing different information, you would think that a page like that would be overwhelming. Guess again! The layout is customizable, which just makes everything that much better. It's actually one of the most useful pages I visit each day, because I can get all of my news, emails, and podcasts in one place. Google's version of one-stop-shopping. Have I mentioned how much I love Google...?

2.) Social Networking: Facebook
I was pretty anti-Facebook for a while. I didn't like how stalker-ish everything seemed. But the more I began to use it, the more I found I liked it. It is a great way to keep in touch with people you don't see very often. Between sharing photos, updating your status, and adding tons of applications, it is becoming more and more popular everyday. The layout is nice and clean, and very user-friendly.

3.) Fun Stuff: One Sentence?
I'm going to be totally honest here; I loved this site. It is in no way useful. What it is, is funny. I think the About section sums everything up pretty nicely:

"One Sentence is an experiment in brevity. Most of the best stories that we tell from our lives have one really, really good part that make the rest of the boring story worth it.

This is about that one line."

And that is why I find this website enjoyable. It is so fun to read these one sentence stories, who really cares how useful it is anyway?

Google Docs etc. [Thing #18]

Okay. I remember when Gmail first came out, I absolutely could not wait to get an account. It was a little hard to come by though, because you had to be invited by someone who already had one. At any rate, after endless reminders, I finally got my dad to invite me. I have been using Gmail ever since then and LOVE it. It is pretty much impossible to run out of space, and everything is so easy to use. I love the layout, the tagging features, everything. I have to say, I have been nothing but pleased with anything Google has come up with. From Google Maps to iGoogle, the possibilities seem endless.

Enter: Google Docs.

I have heard of Google Docs, but have never used it. Except for...wait...I have? When I went to log into Google Docs, I was somewhat surprised to see an old English paper, along with other various school assignments already on file. Anyway, I always email myself copies of my school assignments (that way if I need to make a change, I will always have a copy available no matter where I am) so I was happy to learn that they automatically transfer over. This is where we can come into a problem though. Take the library, for instance. With a word processor like Open Office, you can't always be sure that your document will be compatible. These are the situations where Google Docs becomes extremely useful. With a web-based application like this, you do not need to worry about whether or not different softwares are compatible. And this is just another reason to add to my "Why I Love Everything About Google" list; it eliminates the VERY frustrating issue of having to worry about whether or not you will be able to open your document or not. Because everyone knows that this only happens at the most crucial moments.

Learning 2.0 Sandbox wiki [Thing #17]

I went ahead and added a link back to my 23Things on the Maryland Libraries Sandbox Favorite Blogs page.


Wikis! [Thing #16]

Okay, allow me to start off by saying this: I LOVE WIKIPEDIA. End of story.

"A wiki is a collaborative website and authoring tool that allows users to easily add, remove and edit content"

Now, I have heard people complain about Wikipedia for just this reason, that anyone could go in and edit entries, which makes everything less credible. Okay, I'll take that. I think the reason why I love Wikipedia so much though is because it contains information on just about anything you could possibly think of. Seriously. You could type in something as trivial as 'Internets', and you will get an in depth description of anything you could possibly want to know from the origin to everyday use! Now, don't get me wrong, I wouldn't use Wikipedia to sit down and write my history paper [that's what Phil's for! ; ) ], but it is a very quick and easy resource if you need to look something up. Maybe you need to quickly find out how old Brett Favre is? This is the kind of stuff I use Wikipedia for, and I love it!

Web 2.0, Library 2.0 and the future of libraries [Thing #15]

As far as I am concerned, Library 2.0 is completely necessary to the development of libraries as we know them. Things are not what they were 20 years ago, and I believe that changing with the times is vital to the survival of the public library. The number of people that come to the library just to use the computer is amazing, and probably getting higher all the time. It is hard to imagine that books will ever become totally obsolete, but at the same time, online resources are becoming more and more available. If the library is not constantly keeping up with technology, I am afraid that after a certain amount of time then we will no longer be able to do our job.

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