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Google

I’ve finally finished the final Great 8 adventure. I did the whole Maps thing, and looked at my house from the air and street. I find this scary in a Big Brother way. Not sure what reasons I would have to use this feature.

I then explored Google Books, and thanks to KF, am now using the “My Library” feature to keep annotated lists of what books I’ve read and what books I’d like to read. I really like the whole Google Books experience, and the magazines online are awesome!

Finally, I read through the LifeHacker’s Top 10 Tricks and learned some cool things, like using “better than —-” for comparison shopping, “reminds me of —” for finding similar items, and “—- sucks” for avoiding certain products and services. Thanks Great 8 for widening my horizons.

Wiki

I had a good time writing a restaurant review – my first ever in print!  I also liked reading other postings and commenting on them.  The interface seems easy enough to navigate.  Wikis would certainly be a good way to go whenever we want to have a collaborative effort at the library, say for compiling tips and tricks we’ve learned for making Staff Day better and better, or compiling  information we’ve found for using Java efficiently.

IM

I had a so-so experience on my first  try.  I asked for information on how safe it was to buy big ticket items, like a tv, from an online vendor.  Jenny from Springfield tried her best and was very courteous, but didn’t come up with much.  She sent me the Amazon returns policy web address and said she tried to find a site that rated online vendors, but came up empty.  I know that  the December issue of Consumer Reports  did an article on buying electronics and it includes ratings of online stores, so it’s too bad Jenny didn’t pick up on that.  Does Ask Away rely on online sources too heavily?

My second try was also so-so.  Jenny from Fresno responded quickly to my question about how many television shows are broadcast in HD now.  She sent me the urls for HDTV magazine and a wikipedia article.  Neither really had the answer.  She said she’d keep hunting, but I ended the session.  I’m not sure there really is an answer out there.  I thought I’d read a figure somewhere (50%), but I couldn’t find it either.

AFAIC, FWIW, GTG.

Podcasts

I tried the Garrison Keillor poetry reading podcast first.  I love his voice, so this was a treat.  Also liked the poem he read.  The only drawback was the horrible, vertiginous graphic content on the screen while I listened.  I had to make sure I looked away the whole time, or else I felt dizzy.  So all in all, I would have preferred to have heard this via radio. 

Then I took a look at the iTunes author interviews.  I listened to Junot Diaz because I recently read his wonderful novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.  I could see this type of podcast as a great enhancement to our Book Club discussions.  I think patrons would be thrilled to hear the author discuss the book the group is reading.

I would have really liked to see the National Geographic podcasts, but I guess I don’t have the necessary software installed on my computer (QuickTime?), so it didn’t work.

Adventure no. 4

I have a leg up on this one since I’m a reference librarian.  Been using these wonderful databases for awhile now.  My favorites are Novelist, esp. to find read-alike authors for patrons, and Biography Resource Center.  I love looking up short bios on famous people.  For example, Tony Curtis has a new autobiography out and it was really bugging me what his real name was.  I used to know it.  It was easily found in this database – Bernard Schwartz, born in the Bronx. 

When I needed to replace my roof last year Consumer Checkbook (ratings for all sorts of Chicago area goods and services) was a great source for ratings of area roofing companies, and a detailed article on the hows and whats of roofing.

Other favorites – Chicago Trib, Firstsearch for library holdings anywhere in the country, and Morningstar for stock and mutual fund ratings (uh oh, stay away from that for the time being), and of course, Reference USA.  All of these make a librarian’s life worth living.

Ok, I’ve now completed #3.  Fun.  I would like to eventually use a vlog for book club promotions.  But I don’t want to be in it.

I chose this little video because, as you already know, I am in love with Sammy puppies.  But I must be getting too old – just watching this makes me exhausted!