Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bloglines alternative

No matter how many online newsreaders I try, I've always gone back to Bloglines. It's not that I'm really terribly fond of Bloglines, just that it works so well. (It's clunky though, both in the way it looks and in some of the features.)

Now I might have found one that works just as well, looks better and has some really nice features - the newly-updated Google Reader.

I tried Google Reader once before, but the updates released earlier this month have made a vast improvement. Google Reader imported my many, many feeds from Bloglines and even organized them into the folders I had set up at Bloglines. I can't recall any other reader that has done that, and it made a very favorable first impression.

The next big improvement is the way Google Reader treats individual items when a feed is open for reading. In Bloglines, once a feed is opened any item in that feed is considered "read" unless you specify otherwise, which means that if a feed has 100 entries and you only manage to read three of them, the other 97 are still marked as "read" and not retained for you to view later.

In Google Reader, however, items are not marked "read" until the feed is opened and you scroll past the item. If you see the first three but stop scrolling there, the other 97 are still marked "unread" and will be waiting for you the next time you sign in.

Google Reader is still a part of Google Labs, and new improvements are being made every day, but I'm really impressed.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Rated R for language - don't say you weren't warned!

Julia, this one's just for you!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Fainting Goats - 26:46

Fainting goats, for those not familiar with them.

The Man in this Relationship... Is(n't) Me!

He's the Man, from YouTube

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

More Library 2.0 and Web 2.0 goodness

Great post from Stephen Abram at his Stephen's Lighthouse blog linking to a terrific article at Libraries and Librarians Rock about the traits of Librarian 2.0.

In another post, Stephen linked to a Solution Watch post about sites useful to students and teachers as they head back to school. Standouts from that list include for resume creation and storage, and Backpack for all sorts of stuff, some of which I haven't figured out yet. MindHacks also created a list of essential sites for students.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The 43 Things

Here's a list, more or less, of the 37 things Stephen Abram mentioned in his "43 Things I might want to do this year" article. (He didn't get to 43.) Some of them I've done as part of the 23 Things project, some I'm just so familiar with doing already that I won't do again. I'll mark those so I can see which ones I still need to do.

  1. Take a digital picture with a camera and/or phone and download it to your PC. - Done in 23 Things
  2. Register at Blogger and start a blog. Post every once in a while and add a photo. - Done in 23 Things
  3. Register at Bloglines and aggregate your blog and RSS subscriptions into one reader. Check out what other blogs aligns with your interests. - Done in 23 Things
  4. Look at Facebook and see the next generation of social networking.
  5. Set up a Flickr account and post a few digital photos online. Tag and annotate them. - Done in 23 Things
  6. Look at LibraryElf and see the potential for personal library tools.
  7. Check out LibraryThing and catalogue a few books from your personal collection. - Done in 23 Things
  8. Register at MSN Photo Album and build an album to share with friends, family or colleagues.
  9. Check out MySpace and see how this service has become so huge globally.
  10. Have some fun with the links on the Generator Blog. - Done in 23 Things
  11. Download Firefox and compare it to Explorer and Opera.
  12. Research bookmarklets and try a few.
  13. Revisit Yahoo! and remind yourself why it is visited more than Google.
  14. Learn about iFILM and viral video. - Done in 23 Things
  15. Get a PubSub account and start searching the future.
  16. Make a map of all the countries or states you've been to at Visited Countries.
  17. Experiment with some sound and picture search engines like Podscope.
  18. Try some new web search engines like, Wink, Gravee, Clusty, Mooter, Kartoo, etc., or others you can find at Search Engine Watch's list.
  19. Learn more about visual display tools like Grokker.
  20. Check out Google Base and see what the fuss is about.
  21. Register with NetFlix and rent a movie. Learn how to deal with streaming media. - Done on my own; I joined NetFlix 4 or 5 years ago.
  22. Get a account and play with social bookmarking and tags. - Done in 23 Things
  23. Play with Blinkx and learn about searching TV shows, video and podcasts. - Done in 23 Things
  24. Try MovieFlix too. There are plenty of free movies to learn to do this with.
  25. Set up a Google Picasa account. Post a picture and then edit it. - Done on my own.
  26. Download an MP3 file to your PC, laptop or phone. Try iTunes, LimeWire, Kazaa, or eDonkey. Look for something that's not music too. - Done on my own, constantly in the case of iTunes. Also, eDonkey has been shut down.
  27. Listen to a podcast. - Done in 23 Things
  28. Find your home and your office on Google Maps.
  29. Check out your local library's website. - Done on my own, many times.
  30. Change your ring tone so you don't jump when everyone else's default ring goes off. - Done on my own. The ringer is set to The Rolling Stones singing "Here Comes Your 19th Nervous Breakdown." It's appropriate.
  31. Visit the Google Labs site regularly.
  32. Set up a personalized Google or My Yahoo! page. - Done on my own.
  33. Play with JibJab.
  34. Play with Wikipedia. Edit an entry, feel the network. - Done on my own.
  35. Play with Copernic and extend your searching.
  36. Play an online multiplayer game.
  37. Take an e-learning course from Click University.
And, adding my own ...
  1. Create a podcast.
  2. Understand bit torrents.
Well, there will be more later.

23 Things - Done. Bring on more!

With this post, all 23 things on the list are done. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Learning 2.0 experience and am almost sad to be finished. Even when "learning" about websites I was already familiar with, I discovered new ways to use them and new things about them.

My favorite site was probably Flickr, which I had explored before but not as much as I should have. It's so wonderfully simple to add a picture to a blog from Flickr! I'll return to Technorati more often, and I'm not finished with my experiment at Consumating.

I enjoyed tracking other staff members' progress through the 23 Things and reading their opinions of each task. I was asked several times to help coworkers finish their tasks, and was honestly surprised at how much help some of them needed. It was a good reminder of how much help Virtual Village computer users will need with these concepts, and of how difficult it is for some people to "play" with a technology they don't know much about. I think they tend to get frightened and hesitant, and don't give themselves permission to poke around and figure things out. With Web 2.0 being perpetually beta, comfort with uncertainity is more and more of a necessity and I hope people will be able to adapt.

I've done the 23 Things, but I'm not done learning. I'll continue to update this blog with my experiences at Consumating, and I'm going to do the remaining items mentioned in the original 43 Things I Might Want to Do This Year article.

So stay tuned!

Consumating update

I've been playing around with Consumating for a few days; so far, I'm having lots of fun!

How Consumating is different from other dating sites:

Consumating SST Derek
Originally uploaded by JChristenbury.

  • No long profile to fill out; just answer questions posed to the entire membership (if you want to - no pressure). You can be sarcastic, goofy or serious, whatever works for you. You can also use pictures in your answers. Questions include "What skeletons live in your closet?" and "What's your favorite toy?"
  • Start a "conversation" - i.e., ask your own questions, get answers if everyone else thinks the question interesting enough.
  • Other members "tag" you, which lets you know more about what they think about you.
  • Your popularity is based more on answers to questions and conversations than how hot you look in a bikini. This is the point system the Wall Street Journal article talked about. You can get (or give) points from any other member, boy or girl, or even a visitor.
  • Frequent "real-life" parties to meet other members.
I'm having lots of fun answering the questions and reading other answers, but I'm not sure I see how Consumating works as a dating site. It's an enjoyable social networking site where you might find someone you're interested in, but I'm not sure how the matchmaking could happen. Maybe if there were more people signed up from the Charlotte area?

Since Consumating isn't all about matchmaking, I encourage everyone to sign up! It really is a lot of fun.

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