On a Wing and a Prayer

I was asked by my boss to fill in for her filling in for the original speaker at the Third Annual ACS Conference.  I was happy to do so even if I didn’t have much notice.  I had to take slides from the original presenter and talk about how Howard County Library has implemented 4 different Web 2.0 applications (blogs, Facebook, Wiki and Google Docs).  Web 2.0, right up my alley!  I wrote up some quick notes this morning and knew that my passion would carry me through “winging it”.

It was great to be part of a panel that presented how our different organizations were using Web 2.0 to reach their customers or constituents.  Sites like Digg, Technorati, Facebook, My Space, Google, StumbleUpon, SlideShare, Delicious, Scribd, Yahoo, and Issuu were mentioned.  Tools such as widgets, wikis  and Twitter were also mentioned.  I loved hearing how The Horizon Foundation was using widgets to important Yahoo feed or Delicious bookmark feed into their CERN site.  Columbia Festival for the Arts uses YouTube and the Internet to research artists instead of being inundated by tons of press releases, cds and dvds.  The participants asked lots of questions and they appeared to eagerly lap up all the information the presenters had to give.  I walked away with a warm fuzzy knowing all that Web 2.0 can do for non-profits organizations was shared today.

Although I’m sorry for the family emergency that kept the original presenter from being here today, I was thrilled for the opportunity.  Not only to present about my favorite topic (Web 2.0) but to see what others in our community are doing with it.

Photos from ACS Conference

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Windows? I Ain’t Got No Windows!

I don’t need no windows! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ windows!” to continue to parody what I learned is the one of the most misquoted movie lines from the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Over the last 3 months or so I’ve been a dual operating system kind of gal.  Not a dual boot but 2 CPU’s with 2 different OS on them.  Considering that we are an open source shop you’d be surprised to learn that I used Windows OS at all.  Because I had to use a client based ILS that only ran on Windows I was stuck.  But with our upcoming migration to Koha, an open source web-based ILS, I’ve been able to switch over to using Ubuntu (like the rest of my co-workers).

At first I found myself swiveling my chair between the Windows PC on my right and the Ubuntu machine in front of me.  Then I realized more and more I wasn’t moving from the machine in front of me.  Other than the times I need to look something up in the ILS client (e.g. customer account) or if I have to use PhotoShop (sorry, haven’t taken time to learn GIMP yet) most of the day my Windows machine stays unused.

I have my beloved Firefox, Thunderbird, Flock, and OpenOffice on the Ubuntu machine.  I have Meebo, Staff Intranet (using Joomla), DeskNow (collaborative email/file sharing/calendar software), FriendFeed, Facebook, Flickr, other Web 2.0 sites and our soon to be new ILS all in the browser of my choice.  I have TwitterFox, web developer toolbar, Stumbleupon toolbar and colorful tabs as some of my Firefox addons.  I’m in heaven on my Ubuntu machine.  Only thing I miss about my Windows machine is I had dual monitors hooked up to it.  Just need to find another monitor and I’ll be set.

What is really amazing is how quickly one can adapt if one has to or wants to.  I honestly could not help someone with an Word/PowerPoint/Excel question if I tried.  I can’t remember the last time I used them.  Ask me how to do it OpenOffice and I can pretty much answer them or at least find out how by going to Solveig Haugland’s great blog, OpenOffice.org Training, Tips and Ideas.  I had a staff member ask me about her home pc which is running on Windows XP and she uses Internet Explorer as her browser.  I haven’t used IE in years!  I was struggling to remember just where something was located on the menu bar.  I could easily tell her how to do it on Firefox.  It is amazing – you get used to what you use.  If I had remained on Windows I would have seen Linux as being a hard thing to convert to – now that I’ve been converted it wasn’t that hard at all to switch.

Do I miss Windows?  No, because the operating system shouldn’t be what’s important.  With more and more being about web-based solutions to issues the concern should be with the browser.  Do I miss Internet Explorer?  Heck No!  Matter of fact I think you do yourself and your customers/users a huge disservice to tie yourself with one operarting system, one browser.  People love choice.  If you are writing for the web you need to adhere to web standards so that your site can work in the browser of my choice (or anyone’s choice).

I can’t wait for the day that I can cut the cord to my Windows machine completely.

Mass Production

<rant>

Well it is Friday and I’ve been bad about keeping up with my promise to post some rants. However, today’s is a long standing one.

*sigh* Don’t get me wrong, I love email. I do. However, I do not like, understand, abide, or forgive easily those who can not use it properly. What I mean is joy of joys – the wonderful “mass email”. You know the email that has gone out to 5,673 people where the darn header is longer than the body of the email itself. Oh the excuses I hear – “well I wanted everyone to know ____” or “Oh, I know but I didn’t have time to do it that way…this was quicker.” And 9 times out of 10 it is an Urban Legend or some other piece of junk I don’t need but that is a rant for another Friday.

It is not quicker to enter addresses in the To: line than it is to enter them in the BCC: line. Thank you, now all 5,673 of your friends and family (of which I may only know a handful) have my email address. Not only that but some of the people have their email client setup to harvest email address (so now I’m in their addressbook even though they don’t know me). On top of that I’d say about 99% of these people don’t know the first thing about computers, viruses or how to properly email. Therefore they are sure to get a virus/trojan horse on their machine which will immediately go to their addressbook and start sending out emails from anyone of a number of folks in the addressbook. Great I’m now a spammer because you don’t know how to properly send out an email to more than 5 people. Or worse they will forward this mass email to everyone in their addressbook failing to remove the header information (containing all 5,673 including MINE).

I StumbleUpon this Bcc Please and the next time I get one of those mass emails I’m going to click on REPLY ALL and send them this link. Yeah, I know reply all isn’t proper either but I’m hoping that maybe more than just the sender will be educated. More than likely this will piss a few people off but I’m past the point of caring.

Here endth the </rant>