January 31, 2008 at 5:32 pm (Library 2.0)

I just tried out kwout, a screenshot making service. Pretty sweet. I kwouted an earlier post of mine. To do this, i went to kwout, did the demo, and plugged in this blog’s URL. It brought me back a screenshot of the entire page (not just the top screen’s worth of page, but the whole page). Then i used the mouse to click and drag out a rectangle to keep. Afterwards, i got a block of code to embed, which i simply pasted here, in this blog post:

Here We Are. What Now? via kwout

I guess i shouldn’t say “simply” just yet – in WordPress (here) i had to paste the code into the code tab.  In blogger, i just had to paste it into the body of the blog post, and it didn’t matter that i wasn’t on the code tab.


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lulu and others

January 28, 2008 at 1:02 am (1)

Well, I’m going to give a try, at least up to a point.  I’ve been thinking a lot about how the world of publishing is evolving in a variety of ways, both online and in print, and trying to get a picture of what the field might look like in ten or twenty years.  Evidence for me so far consists of:  the new Kindle reader from Amazon, representing the higher end of technology – you get your info piped direct to you in a relatively easy to read format.  Another hi-tech evolution i’m keeping an eye on is e-paper.  Combine the e-paper idea with the Kindle idea, and you have, potentially, a bound book that you can load with whatever text you want.  It looks and feels like a book, only it’s made out of e-paper.  You load you favorite books on it, or textbooks for class, or whatever.  You take notes in the margins, and the pages save them for you, or hide them.

Then there’s the lower-tech evidence – has made print on demand a fairly easy process, and for a small fee gives you the power to market yourself.  With some net savvy and a little bit of persistence, a person could publish a book and sell enough copies to cover the cost of publication.  Depending on how much royalty you cut for yourself, you can sell more copies for less, or fewer copies for more.

Another take on print-on-demand is the giant copier like machine that’s starting to be used by some of the giant libraries – you can print and bind a 300 page book in a matter of minutes, at a lower cost than buying or requesting the book from another system.  Works great with classics and public domain works, but if restrictions between publishers and the big machine can be smoothed, it could be a major method of distributing very basic, low-grade versions of popular books.

Then there’s even lower-tech – i just read about a resurgence of interest in printing presses.  Now, in the article the focus was on cards, invitations, and small jobs like that.  But i could see some printer out there with some William Morris hero-worship going on who decides to publish hand printed versions of great works of literature.  Or, more lucratively, letter pressed, hand bound versions of books by popular authors, for collectors of such things.  One such case would be JK Rowling’s “Tales of Beedle The Bard,” of which 7 copies were hand made for auction.

So, here’s my somewhat disjointed vision of the future of books:  Three levels of distribution.  The base level for the broadest/cheapest distribution – electronically, to wide variety of e-reader devices, like Kindle or the not-yet-invented e-paperback.  The middle level, with middle expense – printed books.  These will of course have their own levels – mass market, TPB and hard back.  I’m surprised hard back books haven’t disappeared yet.  I mean, a hardback is supposed to be the most durable, but really it’s just the most expensive, and from my perspective, hardbacks can often fall apart faster than paperbacks. And the final level is the fine art of books – the crafted book, the hand-made, the letter-pressed version of books, for the bibliophiles and collectors of the world, for the special gift, etc.

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January 24, 2008 at 1:03 am (Library 2.0)

Sounds intriguing, i know.  Tastymate is a restaurant rating/sharing network.  Pretty straightforward – sign up, make friends, find your favorite eateries, rate them, etc.  If the one you want isn’t in there, you can add it – the add feature is hard to locate – it’s at the very bottom of the page, in very small lettering – i think they want people to search before they add anything, to limit duplications.  If you join, make friends with me, and we’ll share our wonderful and interesting memories of eating together.  I mean, we’ll share together – it’s not likely we’ll have eaten together.  I think this place is pretty new on the radar, btw, so it might be fun to see how one of these networks grows, changes, adapts, evolves, etc. as people either join or not join, you know?  You can follow updates and additions to tastymate on twitter – i wonder if a facebook app will be along as well.

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open congress

January 22, 2008 at 10:19 pm (1)

it’s been a while since i found a social network that was different enough from the other networks to justify joining and fiddling with.  This morning i came across OpenCongress, a social network that helps you track government officials, bills and resolutions that you are interested in.  It’s really user friendly, so far, and pulls information from a wide variety of sources.  You can also vote on bills, comment on them, and rate other people’s comments.  If you decide to sign up for it, let me know by making friends with me there!   Here’s my profile:

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Video sharing is on the rise!

January 13, 2008 at 8:39 pm (Blogs Of Note)

That’s more exciting to me now than it was six months ago – now i’m making videos for the One Minute Critic.

Hey, while I’m at it, why don’t i make iLibrarian one of my “Blogs Of Note!”

When i first started reading blogs, i went a bit crazy collecting library related blogs.  Then i realized that i could get my fill of library related information, and tech information as it relates to libraries, in just a few blogs, so i went and trimmed things back down.  I do a partial weed of feeds every three or four months, to trim out things that i don’t read, or that i only read because i feel compelled to by their presence in my feed reader.  There are several blogs that never get weeded, and iLibrarian is one of them.

Lately, she has been blogging “by the book,” in that she includes lots of lists, and links to other interesting and helpful resources, and has a smattering of her own opinions and observations placed throughout the blog as well.  Too much of anything is too much for me, and iLibrarian has good variety, posts moderately (a couple per day, at most), and keeps her posts concise.

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GPS based social network

January 9, 2008 at 11:44 pm (1)


Well, if this is for real, then i think it’s a bit of evidence for the next level of social networking.    It’s a GPS-based social network, where people download free GPS software to their phone, and use it to make their location known to their friends, in real time, on a Google Map.  You can wander around, send pictures to bliin, and have those pictures show up as part of your walk.   It would appear that you can make little “trips” where you walk around, maybe doing a famous walk in Paris or someplace, and take pictures of landmarks and things, and then have all that available in your profile, so people can go through past walks with you, or join you in real-time.

Some next gen stuff that would amp up this site in a big way would be real-time maps of larger cities, or portions of large cities.  Say you have a satellite in geosynchronous orbit over London, for example.  Why not London – it’s already the most watched city on earth, with the most surveillance cameras.  Add in a real-time satellite image of the city, and a social network like bliin, and you have real people moving around the city in realtime, self reporting their location, transmitting news as it happens, etc.  The potential for abuse, is of course, huge.  Talk about a tool for stalkers!

Back to reality:  I think this place is pretty new, but i can’t tell for sure.  I don’t have a GPS enabled phone, and most folks in the US don’t either, at least last time i checked.  So this network might enjoy greater popularity in Europe.  The demo on the site focused on Paris, but had it’s tutorial in English.

Anyway, whether or not bliin is good or bad, or if it is successful or not, it does look like a real, viable indicator of things to come.  Right now it’s your position on a map, plus photos.  Why not video, or even real-time video?  It can’t be far behind.

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post holiday shopping thoughts

January 7, 2008 at 12:57 am (1)

I’ve been working on ways of making different web 2.0ish sites play well together, these days centered around online shopping.  This all started when I was asked to put together a tutorial on how to use the site etsy.  Etsy is a handmade craft store.  Users can buy and sell handmade crafts on the site.  Everyone gets a user profile.  Sellers have a little virtual store front where they can upload pictures of their wares, assign prices, talk about the items, etc.  Big bonus for online shoppers – etsy works with Paypal, like ebay.  So if people are used to shopping on ebay, it’s a smooth transition.

But that’s just one site, right?  Well, that brings me to the working well together part – A while ago I started using “Kaboodle” to keep track of things that i want to buy one of these days.  It’s easy to make lists of all different kinds, and they have handy “add to Kaboodle” buttons that you can put on your browser, like with  Mainly I’d use Kaboodle with ebay and amazon to make lists of movies, tv on dvd, and video games that i’d like to look for used in the future (instead of paying full price, which is always too expensive…).  But of course i realized after examining etsy that kaboodle would be a great way to keep track of handmade items that you think are interesting, either to look for in the future, to keep track of a certain craft maker, or to get ideas for crafts of your own.

Kaboodle works a bit like, in that when you are on a page with the product you want to keep track of, you click your handy ‘add to kaboodle’ button, and a new window pops up.  Kaboodle looks at the page you’re on and pulls out information that looks like it’s about a product – a picture, prices, descriptions, etc.  Most of the time it does a pretty good job, sometimes it gets the wrong picture or description.  Not to worry – you can fix the details, and select from other photos on the site, different descriptions, or write your own.

Once i started down that road, i wondered how kaboodle worked with other, less traditional shopping sites, like craigslist – and it’s pretty much the same.  Kaboodle just pulls the relevant information off the page, and you edit if you need to.

Also, i read a few months ago that Kaboodle works well with ebay too – there’s actually a way that you can use ebay and kaboodle together to set up a collector page to show off your collections, for sale or not.  It’s called “My Collectibles.”  So if you have a collection of, say, bobble heads, then you can use the two programs to create a list of your collection, with available photos, prices, and descriptions.  You can then find other collectors of similar ephemera.

You can also put a kaboodle widget on your facebook profile.

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mixx, digg, etcc.

December 26, 2007 at 8:55 pm (1)

Mixx is a new news tagging site, like Digg, only with the ability to form groups around certain topics – so if you’re following a particular candidate in the upcoming elections, you can get news about them, and be a part of a group that is interested in reading about that person and commenting on the stories.  So, little mini-communities surrounding news items.  I imagine this could be very successful around famous people, but it might be a nice way to get news and comment about any topic of interest, like Global Warming, or Electric Cars, or whatever.  I like the idea – i’ll have to try it out and see how it goes.  What’s with the double letters as part of Web 2.0 names?

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My new years resolution is…

December 26, 2007 at 8:03 pm (1)

Well, my personal resolution will have something to do with getting regular exercise, drinking more water, and learning to play a real song on the guitar.  Achievable goals.  There are a variety of sites out there that try to help you attain your various goals, and signing up for one or several of them might be a fun way to try and keep yourself on track.  I did 43Things a while back, and though i don’t use it so much, i still get a regular email from them reminding me to learn how to play the guitar.  I’m prompted now to go back there and add some new items to the list (like the aforementioned resolutions), and set up the regular emails again, and see if it has any effect on my general unwillingness to do what i tell myself i should do.

I was just over at TechCrunch, and found a nice post with 5 diet and health related social network sites.  I’ll try and dig in to them in more detail later, but in case you missed it there, and if it’s something that presses in on you at the end of the holidays, and you like the way social networks work for supporting you in your goals, then it might be worth heading to one of them right away.  Happy Holidays!

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Happy holidays…

December 23, 2007 at 7:58 pm (1)

Maybe over Christmas, I’ll dig in to Z w i n k y and see if i can’t figure out some more stuff about it – my one post on that site has generated more traffic for this blog than most of my other posts combined.  That suggests that there is an information need out there that isn’t getting fulfilled.  The problem i’m having with Z w i n k y is that when you download it and install it, it comes with this really invasive toolbar that shows up in any browser to have on your computer, as well as in your installed email programs, like outlook.  I was pretty ticked when i saw that, and it’s taken me a little bit of digging to scrape enough of it out that i don’t have to look at it all the time.  I have Vista on my home computer, so if i do it on that one, who knows what awful things might happen – the program’s fragile, you know?  Anyway, I’ll be quiet for a few days, for mostly obvious reasons.  Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Oh, and if you haven’t already – think about joining my One Minute Critic group on facebook and/or goodreads!

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