Printing: An Ah-Ha Moment

Banning of incandescent lightbulbs
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I have a love/hate relationship with printing.  Ask almost anyone I work with and they will tell you it is one of my “soap box” issues that I don’t hesitate to get up on and preach.  I haven’t given up on getting the message across that the web was not originally designed to be a print medium – it is suppose to be read on a screen not from a piece of paper.  I’m not naive, I know people will continue to print for many reasons.

I admit that I myself print things from time to time.  But it wasn’t until today that the love part of my realtionship with printing actually fully blossomed.  Our network administrator and #1 open source fan showed me a really cool feature on Linux.  When he was done I just sat there with my mouth open.  How had I not known about this before?  My life will never be the same.  Sad part is this would have been absolutely PERFECT to show my class yesterday (I was teaching our staff about our PACs and printing was one of the topics).  Alas, a day late in learning.

On my Ubuntu box he was showing me something to do with CUPS (common Unix printing system) when I asked him why was PDF listed as a printer.  He said “you can print to PDF”.  Huh?  I think I literally scratched my head and looked sideways at him.  Isn’t a PDF a form of a document how can I print to it?  What he meant is this – I can print a web site page as a PDF.

Oh the lightbulb went on, the clouds parted, the angels sang – AH HA!  I did a test.  Fantastic, just click on File – Print – select PDF.  It saves the page as a PDF on your desktop.  All those times I’ve been on a laptop, ordered something from a site, reach the confirmation screen and cant’ print (because at the time we didn’t have a wireless printer at home) are now behind me.  I’ve always just clicked File – Save Page As and wound up with a folder full of things that are required if I wish to view that screen again.  A PDF is sooooo much nicer and easier.  I can choose to NOT print it (just save it on my computer) or if I must I can print it.  Linux is just so cool.

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Best in Show – Best on the Web

aaronAnother day, another attempt at live blogging at CIL2009. Probably spending my day in Track C.

The Best of the Web – Aaron Schmidt.

Aaron had us introduce ourselves to someone next to us and talk about what we like on the web.

Firefox – cool another fan. Greasemonkey fan as well, smart keywords, better Gmail

Google Reader – Helvetireader

Book City Jackets – brown wrappers – cool idea for display perhaps for banned book week?

Wikimedia commons – sister site of wikipedia

Flickr image search – creative commons – pictobrowser gives you code to include a slide show on a web page

Skitch – screenshot tool – annotate them – upload to Flickr from Skitch

Jing – only Mac or Windows (their loss no one smart enough or good enough to program it for LInux)

Screentoaster – completely web based

Vimeo – artier than Youtube, clean – free or pro accounts – customize how they are embedded

PostRiank – library’s blog feed address and will tell you which posts are more popular than others (must do this for our blogs at work) – helps you gear content to your audience – if you don’t know code you can copy and paste it into your web site or blog. I’d prefer that you learn the code but okay.

Today’sMeet – create temporary online space – discuss things – had the front row setup a room and login pretty simple



Let me Google that for you

Color lovers!! YES one of my favorites.

TagCrowd – enter URL or block of text and pulls out the tags for you or you can use Wordle

Qapture – real time capture of what is going on in Twitter mentioned this morning at the keynote

Twitter – power of searching on twitter pulled Aaron in – Tweetdeck select who you want to display helps you filter out unwanted tweets

VYEW – online web conferencing tool – run a web page through and puts a piece of bacon on it – friend sees web page w/bacon

Thematic theme for WordPress – easy to modify cheap way to improve library web site

Ted talks (or videos) – expensive conference but they bring the interesting people together

Google Voice – for voice mail – get voice mail transcribed so you can read it

Google Forms – create a form

Netnewswire – for Macs only Rss reader

What is Prezi? – not intuitive – neat looking presentations – bit of a learning curve by invite only right now

280Slides – online presentation maker – make, save and share

Lovely Charts – register and make org charts, network diagrams, flow charts

Typetester – enter sample text – css params in the middle and will see 3 different fonts – then copy CSS and paste it

must use the right tool for the job – and library is the place to find them

Who Moved My Facebook?

I must be the exception to the norm.  I have yet to be phased by any of the changes that Facebook has made to their site.  That’s not to say that I think all their changes have been needed or even warranted.  It is the one site where I seem to just go with the flow.

There are enough people, however, each time change comes that get upset when someone moves their cheese.  They create pages, groups, applications to announce their displeasure.  Is this such a bad thing?  At first I would have said yes but then I got to thinking.  What better way to get feedback from your users?!  Most web sites are lucky if someone takes the time to fill out a contact us form.  Facebook fans take full advantage of Web 2.0.  Maybe the rest of the web could take a page from Facebook and think of more ways to allow our users to express pleasure or displeasure.

I hardly see Facebook changing back (but you never know enough of an uproar might make a difference).  It will be interesting to monitor this.  I am one for change and don’t mind just going with the flow.  All I ask is just don’t expect me to comment, start a group or create an application – unless it is “I Went With the Flow – Facebook Changes Don’t Phase Me” flair.  🙂

Customer Service With a Helping of Open Source

The power of the Internet. Typing away in Google docs when Meebo pops up with a message from someone coming in through my blog. The conversation started out with a few questions about what IM client I used and turned out to be a programmer from Grooveshark.  He had read my blog post about the widget and he wanted to resolve my problems with it.

I was utterly blown away.  This is what I call customer service 2.0.  Keeping track of what is said about you on the web and addressing issues right away is fantastic.  Only other company to do that was Napster.  The programmer from Grooveshark explained that they had had some issues when they first went live (boy can I relate to that) and he wanted to know if I had created any other widgets since my first one.  I hadn’t and told him I’d give it a try.

Went on to talk a little bit about open source (they use many open source applications and hope to go with more as their software matures) and my library (which is big on open source).  He liked our web site and was impressed with how fast the pages loaded.  Thanks to our web programmer genius, Danny Bouman.

This is definitely the power of the web being used for good.  Going to go back and make a new widget as Grooveshark is becoming fast my favorite music site.

Open Mouth, Insert Both Feet

*sigh*  I should have known it wasn’t going to be a good day.  Both dogs (Lab mix and English Springer Spaniel) slept with me last night but due to windows being opened decided to alert me every 2 hours that something was in our yard.  God knows if there really was anything out there other than our usual visitors (deer).  But my sleep circle was off to say the least.

I seem to be on a roll today.  I’ve managed to open mouth insert foot at least 3 times this morning.  Twice on the web and once in person (although that one was a setup by my boss who was laughing the whole time).  That maybe a new record.

I’ve prided myself, up until now, on keeping snarky/opinionated comments out of social networking feeds.  For several reasons – a) my feeds are subscribed to by more than just family or friends but many co-workers and fellow library people and b) the old adage still holds true … “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”.  Obviously I didn’t follow directions well today.

I made the terrible mistake of commenting on something from our staff Intranet.  It was my opinion but since it wasn’t worded in the best manner it should have stayed inside my head where it would have done no harm.  Instead I vocalized to the social networking community.  I thought I was being smart by not posting it to Twitter but to FriendFeed instead.  Something told me that I should haven’t posted it but I thought “Pshaw, no one will read this on FriendFeed so I’m safe.”  FAIL!

I completely forgot that not only Twitter but FriendFeed as well feeds into my Facebook account.  Lo and behold the comment that I didn’t want known was read by the person I didn’t want to read it because they are a friend on Facebook.   How’d did I find this out?  That person graciously sent me a humorous comment on my status.  Talk about 20 shades of red.

So what did I learn?  Don’t post snarky/opinionated comments to your social networking sites?  No, I knew not to do that but instead I learned that if I don’t have anything nice to say that it belongs inside my head not out on the web.

So since I publicly made a comment I figured the best way to apologize is to also do it publicly and ironically through social networking sites.  My blog feeds into Twitter, FriendFeed and my Facebook account.  So hopefully the gracious person with a great sense of humor will read my most sincere apology and know that I learned a big lesson today.  I can’t thank them enough for not calling me out but instead using humor to diffuse what could have been a nasty situation if they had chosen that route.  They took the high road where I did not.  I am humbled by their choice and will apply it to all my future Tweets/Feeds/Posts.

Only 21??!!

HMRPF! I’m more than a little irked by NetworkWorld’s list of Top 50 Tech Visionaries. Linus Torvalds creator of Linux, the open source operating system that totally rocks, came in as number 21 out of 50. As a champion of open source I felt he should be higher on the list. *sigh* Maybe next year.

Side notes:

I was happy to see some women named on this list, although the first one – Grace Murray Hopper (among many things coined the term “bug”) – doesn’t appear until number 26. Others mentioned are Meg Whitman (eBay), Ann Winblad (key in Web 1.0), Arianna Huffington (politico who they feel proved the power of the blog), and Susan Kare (Mac 1.0 innovator).

Why Herbie Hancock? Yeah, “Rockit” was huge in the 80’s but I don’t see him as really being a tech visionary.