Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Assignment #129

Let me steal another lesson from Learning 2.1

Online File Storage with Omnidrive

Online file storage sites are not new. However, some of the services have added features that make them hard to resist. I've discovered two that I particularly like: Box.net and Omnidrive. Both allow you 1 gigabyte of storage space, and both are absolutely free (and I REALLY like free). In addition, they both allow you to share your files with others which makes for an optimum opportunity for people to collaborate from different locations. Hmmm ... I can think of a lot of PLCMC teams that might need to collaborate from different locations.

I really love Omnidrive. They have combined forces with Zoho so that you can create new documents or edit ones you've uploaded using Zoho Writer or Zoho Sheet - all right from inside your account. In fact, I created this blog from inside Omnidrive using Zoho Writer.

Maybe I'm easy to impress, but I'm impressed. In the first place, I really like the idea of having a web-based storage site. I often find that I'm at home and want to see a file stored on my computer at work. I can just upload those files, then whether I'm at home or on my next trip to Paris, Rome or London (oh, how I wish), I can view them wherever and whenever I choose.

Then there's the sharing feature of Omnidrive. Want to collaborate on a file? If so Omnidrive sends an email to the people you want to share the file with. You determine the level of access. Files can be read-only or editable by the people you share them with.

Photos are another reason to use Omnidrive. SnipShot is another one of their affiliates. You can upload images, then edit them in SnipShot. You can crop, resize, adjust for brightness/contrast and rotate - in short do most of the things you'd ever want to do to an image and all from inside. There's even a option to view your images as a slideshow. Clever.

Another nice feature of Omnidrive is that they let you create a 'Live Folder' that will fill up with files from an RSS feed of your choice.

I've found lots of reasons to like Omnidrive. I'd like to hear what you think.

Discovery Exercise

  1. Open an account at Omnidrive.
  2. Upload a text document, then edit it online using Zoho Writer.
  3. Upload an image, then edit it online using SnipShot
  4. Blog about your experiences using Omnidrive.


Monday, July 30, 2007

Assignment #128


OK, I finally figured this all out (I'm not the sharpest...). If you go to my blog, you should see me on the blog and a mini-me in the address bar. That mini-me is called a favicon. Here’s how to do it.

1) Goto http://www.myfavatar.com/ and register. Verify the email.

2) Whatever picture or thing you want to be your favicon should be a square-96x96 pixels is best. Use your Irfanview to fix it. Make it a gif or jpg.

3) At Myfavatar click CHANGE FAVATAR and upload it.

4) Goto EDIT BLOG and put in the info for your blog-where you want the favicon to go. Don’t forget the forward slash at the end of the URL.

5) Click FAVATAR CODES and go to the fourth one down Favicon Code.

6) COPY the code and follow the instructions-essentially paste the code after the <"head"> in your html code for your blog. For Blogger it’s at SIGN IN-LAYOUT-EDIT HTML or at CUSTOMIZE-EDIT HTML.


Friday, July 27, 2007

Assignment #127

Changing Your Look at Blogger

The email I did on Word Press yesterday got me thinking about my blog a bit. I found that I could change the whole template and make it look real pretty and professional. Here’s one I did as a demo. Anyway, put BLOOGER TEMPLATES into Google and you’ll get lots of sites and templates. You’ll have to download one. Next, go to your blog and sign in, click LAYOUT and then EDIT HTML on the tab. Browse to and upload that template you downloaded, save it and say “boy, was that easy.”


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Assignment #126

Word Press

Now, of course, it’s obvious that my archive blog for this email is at Blogger (see below) but there is a blog that seems to be making a lot of waves. It’s called Word Press and evidently you can do a lot more with it that you can with Blogger or some of the other sites. Smashing Magazine had an extensive tutorial for it at


It’s pretty cool.


Assignment #125

Icons Again

So Monday we did some icons. Did you know that there’s actually a search engine for icons? http://www.iconfinder.net/

Unfortunately, it’s not all that good. But, there are lots of places to get icons on the net. Try http://www.iconarchive.com/


Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Assignment #124

Online Image Generators Again

Those of you who appreciated the online image generators of assignments #110 and #52 should have a great time with this site. It's a blog dedicated to collecting image generators and he's got a bunch of them. The latest one changes your picture into a Simpsons character. http://generatorblog.blogspot.com/

Unfortunately with many of the sites, they allow you to save the
resulting picture at their site but not on your computer. Here's how
to get by this.

With the picture you want to save on you monitor, punch the PRINT SCREEN key. This puts your screen on your clipboard. Now open Irfanview (which you should have downloaded from the assignment yesterday) and EDIT-PASTE. Now, left click your mouse and drag so that you select just the picture and EDIT-LEAVE SELECTION or EDIT-CROP SELECTION either way. Resize if you want and FILE-SAVE AS.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Assignment #123


On my computer at home I have directories for me, my wife and our son, Reed. They contain our stuff. The icons for these directories are pictures of each of us. Here's how to do that.

1) Download and install Irfanview from download.com It's a great little picture editor and viewer and we’ll use it again tomorrow.

2) Open the picture you want to use with Irfanview.

3) FILE-SAVE AS the picture as a Windows icon (ICO) file.

4) Now go to the directory you want the new icon for and RT CLICK - CREATE SHORTCUT (You can't change the icon here).


6) Browse for the icon you made and click OK - OK


Friday, July 20, 2007

Assignment #122

Torrents Again

I went over torrents in Assignment #32 but I thought it might be time to revisit them, especially since Instructables has this cool posting on torrents and how to download them.


Also, here’s an interesting comparison on the best torrent sights though it might be somewhat dated.



Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Assignment #121

Google Search Trick

Here’s a cute trick I just used the other day. I wanted to search for some stuff on the movie/book The Maltese Falcon but I didn’t want everything, just the sites that had a lot of stuff and not just a mention. So…I reasoned that Maltese Falcon would be in the title of the pages that I wanted and I searched for Intitle:”Maltese Falcon”

Worked like a charm.


Assignment #120


Whether you call them Personalized Homepages or Virtual Desktops, you can really up your productivity as far as keeping track of news and information. Now, even though these work with RSS feeds the way Bloglines does, there is a fundamental difference as their widgets don’t keep track of what you’ve looked at and what you haven’t. They just show you the present feed from the site. They’re great for news sites like CNN or magazine sites like New Scientist. And don’t forget Digg for both news and videos. It’s the best. Here’s a good article comparing the top PH/VD’s.


AND there’s a new one coming and it might be the best yet. It’s called Streamy and you can see a cool video here. It combines the news gathering abilities of the virtual desktop with the ability to share said news with a social network. They’re only in Beta so you have to get an invite but it looks great.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Assignment #119


Time Magazine just did this article on the 25 Websites that we can’t live without. http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1638266_1638253,00.html

There were a few sites that I’ve been living without but not many. One of them was Craigslist. This site is basically a newspaper-like classified section for the whole world and theoretically you should never have to pay for a classified ad again, at least, if you only want to reach the geek community.

So now go to Craigslist


Click Guam in the US STATES column.

Note the number of ads next to each heading.

See what’s there. And don’t forget to


Monday, July 16, 2007

Assignment #118

Counting Coup

OK so I finally put a counting tool on my blog. It’s a nice little counting tool. Won’t hurt anybody. I went to


just like Mark Frauenfelder said in his book Rule The Web. I registered and configured what kind of counter I wanted and it was easy enough. It’s pretty too – pale blue against the black background. Maybe you should get one.


Friday, July 13, 2007

Assignment #117

Google Groups/Usenet

Back when the Internet was just getting going, access to the WWW was $8/hour, at least around here. But for $10/month you could get email and something many of us thought was pretty cool called Newsgroups or the Usenet. These electronic bulletin boards on virtually anything were great for getting expert information or finding people of like interests. I set up a job exchange to England using the Usenet and it’s had a soft place in my heart ever since. Here’s the Wikipedia article on Usenet.

Anyway, I thought the Usenet had gone the way of the Dodo but no, it’s alive and well and accessible through Google Groups. Google bought the archive resource for the Usenet brilliantly named DejaNews back in 2001 and has expanded the whole operation.

Now you don’t have to use Google to get to the Usenet. In fact it’s more fun if you don’t. Here’s a complete tutorial and almost everything you’ll want to know.


One thing’s for sure, if you’re going for a merit badge in Geekology, using the Usenet is one way to help you get it. Oh! and Librarians, here’s a good newsgroup just for you:



Thursday, July 12, 2007

Assignment #116

Get Organized with Plaxo

Let’s steal another lesson from Library 2.1 –Thanks Julia!

There are a number of websites that allow users to set up organizational calendars and task lists for free. Among these are Remember the Milk, Jotlet, and Plaxo.

My personal favorite is Plaxo, which seems to have all of the best components of the others with its own special features. For starters, it can sync data with other programs such as Outlook, AOL, and various Web based email services including Yahoo, Hotmail and Gmail. It will automatically pull your contacts and events from any of the programs that you choose, which definitely saves a lot of time and trouble. You can add feeds from Flickr, blogs, and Amazon, which automatically update. You can also subscribe to schedules for sports teams, bands, television shows, etc. using iCal. A great thing about Plaxo is that you can share all or part of your calendar with your contacts, or you can publish it and make it public. Then, of course, there's always the option of just leaving it private and allowing no one else access.

Discovery Exercise

  1. Sign up for Plaxo Basic (or if you're willing to spend the money, Plaxo Premium).
  2. Add a couple of events to your calendar and be sure to mark recurring events.
  3. Try creating separate categories for your calendar (such as home and work), and edit your events into these categories. Make sure you're able to view calendars for each category separately and that you can overlay them onto one another.
  4. Make a countdown of important birthdates and anniversaries.
  5. Create a task list, and be sure to check things off as you complete them.
  6. Pick a band, tv show, or sport of interest and, using icalshare.com, subscribe to it on Plaxo.
  7. And finally, be sure to create a blog post about your discovery experience. While you're at it, think of ways you and your coworkers could use Plaxo (or Jotlet or Remember the Milk) during library hours.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Assignment #115


The last time I checked, Wikipedia had close to 2 million articles and was still climbing. Contrast that with my favorite book encyclopedia, the Americana, which has roughly 100 thousand articles. Anyway, you get my point, Wikipedia will eventually hold all factual information.

So now check out


And on top of those nine things you can add biographies and information on movies, plays, and even individual songs.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Assignment #114


Movies have to be THE art form of the 20th and probably the 21st Century. Like we used to (and still do) share our literary experiences with each other (Harry Potter). It’s more common to talk about Star Wars or the latest Spiderman movie.

Here are four websites that between them give all the info you could want to know about movies.

The Internet Movie Database.


Huge resource, though don’t take everything they say as Gospel. I’ve run across a number of mistakes.

Rotten Tomatoes


The place to go for reviews and when and where.

Chasing The Frog


The real facts behind movies based on real stories.

Teach With Movies


Lesson plans and good facts behind “teachable” movies.


Monday, July 9, 2007

Assignment #113


Here's a great Web2.0 site. It's called Instructables.


Step by step instructions on how to do stuff. Great idea. Wish I'd

thought of it.

Anyway, when Stephen Colbert did his challenge thing with the light

saber, I was awed with the stuff he got and wondered how it was done. Instructables has how to do it and the program to do it with.



Thursday, July 5, 2007

Assignment #112

Social Networking in Plain English

From Common Craft, the people who brought you






comes their latest



for a guy like me who can’t quite seem to see the need for MySpace I kind of went ooooooh! I still can’t quite see it but it is less muddy. But seriously folks, I do enjoy their videos and I always learn something.


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Assignment #111


You parents who are worried about what stuff you kids are looking at on the Net have gotten a new buddy. It's called Glubble.


Glubble restricts your kids to a white list of pre-approved websites.

Here's a more involved explanation.



Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Assignment #110

I’m going to steal today’s assignment from Helene Blowers at Learning 2.1


Well we're big rock singers…

"…we've got golden fingers
And we're loved everywhere we go
We sing about beauty and we sing about truth
At ten thousand dollars a show
We take all kind of pills to give us all kind of thrills
But the thrill we've never known
Is the thrill that'll get you when you get your picture
On the cover of the Rolling Stone."

I don’t know how many of you recognize these lyrics from Dr. Hook’s 1973 hit, On the Cover of the Rolling Stone. But if you've ever dreamed about being featured on a magazine cover, these image generators will give you that chance. (Note: Some magazine image generators may not adhere to library collection management.)

Discovery Exercise: (This one is purely for fun)

  1. Select an image generator of your choice, upload a photo and create your magazine cover.
  2. Save your creation by using your mouse’s right click and select “save image as”
  3. Create a blog post and upload your cover to either your blog or ning profile.

Optional: Upload your magazine cover image to Flickr and tag it “LibMagCovers

Think about how you could use these image generators to create unique signs for your library? Or offer a creative class for library users on magazine cover fun?

In the meantime, why not join me and put yourself “on the cover of the Rolling Stone.” :)


Monday, July 2, 2007

Assignment #109

What are We Thinking/Talking About?

OK, so I found this cool site thanks to Mark Frauenfelder over at Rule The Web


Mark’s also got a book out with the same name and I just got it this last weekend. Great book for learning the Web and I’ll probably steal a bunch of his stuff. ANYWAY, The site he features is called popurls and puts together a bunch of the most popular stuff on the bigger sites


It’s pretty cool.

And it got to thinking-What are we all thinking about right now?

Here’re 3 sites that can help answer that question.

Email me some more.




Ok so the last one is kind of dated but you get the idea.