Beware! Labels Stick

Lunch time means a chance for me to catch up on Facebook friends and play a mindless game of Bejeweled 2 or Globs (which is especially relaxing these days since my focus in on Polaris and coordinating the training involved).  Today I happened upon a post by the Central Library Manager, Nina Krzysko that included a link to a YouTube video.  What an enlightening video.  It really struck a chord in me and I just had to share it.

But before you watch this – what would be your first reaction if you saw a man in his early forties, biking around your neighborhood or area where you work every day.  He sometimes wears funny hats or saying on his shirt and he sometimes stops, gets off his bike and waves to the cars that go by.  Bum!  Lunatic.  Or just a harmless guy with nothing but time on his hands?  I’ve heard all of these and more to describe the man in the video.  Now watch the video and tell me what label you would use.  But be careful because those labels stick and are hard to remove.

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Friday and Payday, What’s Not To Like? – Day 5

TGIF!  End to a full, long, interesting week.  One thing I really love about my job is the variety it affords me.  I never really know what will come my way each day.  Since this is the last day for documenting I thought I’d try something a little bit different.

Day 5

  • Pulled into the parking lot and entered the building. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Unforward phones, swap out tapes in the server room, checked Twitter, email and Staff Intranet. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Went to get ice for my green tea, turned on lights for the building, checked reserves and visited my book display on 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Back to the office to get down to business. Annotated video on YouTube
  • Uploaded the aforementioned videos to YouTube since they were too long to use on Flickr
  • Consulted with co-worker who was doing the morning duties.  She was getting bounced back to beginning page of her account in HIP.  Tried recreating it on my machine and she showed me on the Day End machine – still wasn’t able to recreate it.  Chalk it up to computer gremlins.
  • Typed up my blog for yesterday – Day 4
  • Got a phone call from the Glenwood branch manager regarding the email I had sent out asking them to cleanup the branch notices on Staff Intranet.
  • Since my boss was out on vacation, I assigned the IT staff to their day at our Admin office for next week and posted the notice on our Staff Intranet.
  • Uploaded my photos of my 40th Anniversary of the Moon Landing display to Flickr
  • Deleted notices for Glenwood branch manager per email she sent me (after phone conversation)
  • Worked on bounceback email notices – since this is such a tedious mind numbing job I decided to blip some Robert Palmer songs on blip.fm while I did this.  Having great music to listen to helps!
  • Bounce backs make me hungry so I went and popped some 94% fat-free popcorn
  • Checked the helpdesk tickets and assigned on to fellow IT-er
  • Downloaded Adobe Flash CS3 Professional to my Windows machine
  • Got a call from our Network Administrator who is on vacation in England (visiting his wife’s family) – just checking in with us to make sure things are okay
  • Installed Adobe Flash CS3 Professional on my Windows machine
  • Emailed staff member who submitted a helpdesk ticket.  Needed more information so I could solve her issue.  Consulted with web programmer to see if he had any suggestions but agreed we needed more info before we could proceed.
  • Children’s librarian came to my desk asking questions about burning music to a CD for children’s classes.  I pointed her to the FAQ on our Staff Intranet with great instructions and screen shots.
  • Got a call from HR dept. regarding publishing an announcement on our Staff Intranet.
  • Wrote another post for my blog – not related to Library Day in the Life
  • LUNCH finally seems I’ve been eating later and later this week
  • Children’s librarian came back up for some assistance with burning cd – went down and showed her how to add songs, delete ones you don’t want and move them so you get the order you want.
  • Analyzed current navigation and started documenting what different departments use on Staff Intranet in hopes that this will help us set up better navigation for the new version.
  • Got a follow up email from the staff member in regards to her helpdesk ticket.  Solution was a simple one – she needed to log in with username/password to access forms list.  Emailed her back and closed helpdesk ticket
  • Saw a Tweet from @julie and realized I had missed T is for Training podcast.  Logged into the chat area for the last 15 mins or so of the show.
  • Got a call from hubby that severe storm had blown down 2 trees (turned out to be just very large limbs not the whole tree) onto our garage which houses his precious baby, a 1960 MGA.
  • Took personal leave to go home and document damage for any insurance claims.

Help Me To Help You

Psychic Spell Breaker
Image by Metrix X via Flickr

Folks seem to have a lot of faith in the IT department. Not only can we fix anything we can do but we do so because we are psychic. Just takes a laying on of hands or a mere mention “it doesn’t work” and we know everything required to solve your issue. There have been numerous jokes, YouTube videos and the like making fun of the “stupid” other person (be it an employee or customer). I don’t like to poke fun at other people’s expense but there is a grain of truth in there somewhere. Let me shed some light on things from the other side. You want help –

You want help – so help me to help you.

Bad example:

Dear IT,

I can’t access _____.

This is the equivalent of saying “I can’t see the blue sky.” There could be many reasons why you can’t see the blue sky. Are your eyes closed? Are you looking up? Is it day time? Is it cloudy? Is something blocking your view?

Good Example:

Dear IT,

I can’t access _____. I tried to do this and then this and when I finally did this I wasn’t able to access ____.

Using the same analogy again. This lets IT know that your eyes are open, you are looking up, it is daytime but alas you are still unable to see the blue sky. This gives us a starting point, a reference. It let’s us know what you did up to the point where you had a problem.

I don’t expect everyone to understand every piece of technology that crosses their path. But I do expect people to tell me more than it just isn’t working. Try helping someone without knowing what they did or where they started. Not every person starts from the same point (e.g. I might type in a URL, someone else might have it already bookmarked and a third might do a Google search to find the URL).

I know folks get frustrated, I do too with technology sometimes (but that is usually due to my expectations – expectations just set you up for disappointment). I want things to work properly as well. But often I’ve found that user error (too fast clicking, not waiting for something to load, using the wrong software to do the job, etc.) gets in the way.

So just breathe, try again and when you still can’t get what you want – document all the steps you took up until the problem occurred. It will help me to help you and hopefully get you back on the road to what you were doing – sooner!

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Twitter About Friendfeed So Facebook Can Flickr YouTube aka CIL2009 presentation

Now that I’ve had a chance to decompress, find my notes and get some email dealt with I thought I’d post about my presentation at CIL2009.  I had the sincere pleasure of working with not only two talented professionals but two people I now consider good friends – Michael Sauers and Bobbi Newman.   Our presentation dealt with training both staff and customers in regards to the wild, wonderful world of Web 2.0.  More portion of the trilogy dealt with training the customer.

Here are a few links I promised I’d share with people – hope these help you to educate your customers about Web 2.0.

Presentations:

My portion of the presentation

Entire presentation (including Michael and Bobbi’s slides)

My presentation for the public (customers) on Web 2.0 overview

Handouts:

Overview of Web 2.0 class

Photo/video sharing class

Music sharing class

Social Networking class

Next Best Thing To Being There

I tweeted this morning that I was working on more photos from #CIL2009 (Computers in Libraries) and #JointSpringConference (Joint Spring Conference).  I got a reply to my tweet from @webmaster_ref asking to let him know when I had uploaded them.  He appreciated seeing all the tweets that were hashtagged #CIL2009 and the photos that were going up on Flickr.

I too have felt like the only one NOT attending a conference that my peers were attending.  Their blogs, tweets, YouTube videos and Flickr photos help to feel not totally out of the loop.  Of course nothing can replace the actual benefits of attending a conference (all the ideas you are exposed to, learns you learn to do and not to do regarding presenting, networking you do and friends you make).  One friend only Twittered during the conference and even setup a separate Twitter account so his other followers weren’t bombarded with #CIL2009 stuff.

What started as just a way to for me to record my experience at a conference, I’m now seeing in a different light.  With economic times hitting libraries hard these days I think it’s almost a duty of those who do attend to inform those of us who are left behind.  So if I can’t go to Internet Librarian 2009 I hope all my tweeps, freeps, fbookers and blog friends will do their best to make me like I’m there.

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

copypastecharacter.com – 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

screenshot-2

Doodle

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

http://bacoliciou.us – 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

Sold My Soul to Web 2.0 (or I tried)

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I was beginning to wonder if Web 2.0 is just a library thing.  Many of my colleagues across the country have embraced the read/write web but I’ve found that few of my friends or old classmates have.

My series of Web 2.0 classes that I and my fellow co-workers presented at the library were well received.  So I offered myself and another co-worker to be part of the silent auction at our big fund raising event, Evening in the Stacks: Along the Silk Road.  But  I was seriously disappointed to find out that no one from the business community bid on our offer of to come to their business and suggest which Web 2.0 features they could use to promote their business.

Why aren’t people getting it?  I think part of the problem is people are using the read/write web they just don’t know it.  They don’t know that Twitter, Facebook, a blog, uploading to Flickr or Youtube is Web 2.0.  They just use those sites.  They might want to learn more about the features these sites have but they are already using the sites.

Then I open my Google Reader and see feeds like this Yes, We Plan: How Altruism and Advertising Could Change the World or Companies turn to web 2.0 to recruit for trials.   I know I’m finding more and more sites that have Twitter, Facebook or other Web 2.0 badges on them saying “follow me”.   So someone is obviously getting it.   So I guess I just need to figure out how to sell myself better next year so the bids come flying in.  Sorry that I couldn’t help to raise any money for my library – I really thought the idea had merit and wings.

Late night musings of a techie procrastinator…umm trainer

Explore, discover (or rediscover in this case) and play. That is what I’ve been doing all day. Some might be jealous that I had such a luxury but truth be told it was due to a bad case of procrastination. Months ago (last year even) I was spurred on by a Web 2.0 committee meeting. Being part of the staff development committee I had been privy to all the great training we were offering staff when a light bulb came on – why shouldn’t we offer more of this for our customers? Since my base is in the technology world my thoughts immediately turned to computers and the web. So while sitting in a meeting trying to figure out what Web 2.0 features we wanted to explore to give our customers more, it dawned on me – why not start with a class on just what Web 2.0 is.

Forward to this year in May when I submitted to our marketing department, a series of classes (5 in all) touching on Web 2.0. I was fortunate enough to have several committed colleagues that wanted to help me explore Web 2.0 with our customers. Classes included wikis, photo sharing, audio streaming, and social networking. All of which followed my overview class. Classes didn’t start until the second week of October and in May that seemed a long way off. I had thoughts in my head, bookmarks on at least 3 different computers, and a few Impress presentations slides started but nothing really solid.

Monday October 13th. Thank goodness for Christopher Columbus and the government for wanting to celebrate him by giving me a day off from work. However, the Internet service providers weren’t letting me off the hook that easily. I settled in at my desk – laptop, comfy chair, plenty of Diet Coke and my English Springer Spaniel at my feet. Now if only my wifi connection had enough strength to load a page of Google image results I might have gotten something done. Alas it was not in the cards or the stars. Off I trudged to work where I could be assured (I hoped) of a blazing fast connection to the Internet. Bingo!

Felt I got a lot done but time flew before I knew it it was time to pickup my son from school. Stopped to get dog food on the way home, minor bird emergency (son’s cockatiel) to attend to, dinner to fix and eat, being IT had to figure out why hubby’s Windows laptop was suddenly not connecting to the wifi while my Linux laptop had no problem (solved) and at 8:30 pm I was finally able to look at what I had done that day. UGH! What I thought sounded good this afternoon suddenly didn’t flow like I had first thought.

So here I am as if I was back in college pulling an all-nighter. Laptop, FineTune.com playing, and a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke by my side. Sadly the Springer is asleep in her cage. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put the “paintbrush” down. I tend to tweak and tweak and tweak like a painter who is never quite happy with how things look or sound.

So when I go to demo blogs, tags, comments, RSS feeds on Wednesday night, I think I might just keep my class away from my blog. I don’t want them to think I didn’t care enough to do this earlier. Honestly, things have been mulling over in my brain since I first thought about doing this class in 2007. And work has been plentiful this year and in the last couple of months very intense and consuming so much so that when I got home I was usually asleep right after dinner (not a whole lot of time left to work on things).

Lesson learned – even though I know the material inside and out, upside and down it takes time to sort, organize, play a little so you rediscover features and okay, get a little too lost on YouTube (darn those Mac/PC/Linux, Eddie Izzard, and Springer Spaniel videos!).

Patience is a Virtue, Virtue is a Grace, Grace is a Little Girl ….

… who can’t watch long YouTube videos.  Has MTV ruined me?  Has it shortened the attention span of the average computer user?  Or is it just old age in my case?

I’m finding that I can’t put up videos on YouTube that are longer than 3 minutes or so.  Wanted to watch a colleague’s YouTube video for a program they did at their library but after first 3 minutes I found my attention wondering.  It wasn’t that the video was extremely boring or anything (although some editing would have been in order) but it was more like …cut to the chase.

So is this impatience setting in with old age?  Is this being raised on the fast paced editing of MTV videos?  Or is this because most YouTube videos used to be short and sweet now longer ones are available and my mind hasn’t adjusted?

Please tell me I’m not the only one.

Flock Me Baby One More Time

Cool news from the folks at Flock – Flock2 is released and it has the Mozilla’s Firefox 3 technology to thank. We liked Flock so much that we’ve added it to our new staff and public computer images. So now folks here will have a choice of Firefox or Flock (and possibly Opera).

I love how Flock keeps track of everything for me and I don’t have to have a tab open for Twitter, a tab opened for Facebook, a tab open for my RSS feeds, a tab opened for YouTube, a tab opened for Pownce…..you get the picture. I use the side bar and then leave the main part of my browser for what I need it to do.

Thank you Flock folks…I’m still in love.