Saturday, February 2, 2008

Barkley, Sweet Pea and I are walking to help homeless pets

My kids and I are going to walk in the local Humane Society's Walk For The Animals on March 1. Our goal is modest, just $150, but I'd appreciate donations of any size. I used to volunteer there, and Barkley recently graduated from their Puppy's a really good place. If you can't help or don't care to, please cheer us on as we train for this 1-1/2 mile walk.

Those of you who live in South Florida, would you like to join our team?

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Card: A Book Lover's Christmas

I got this beautiful Christmas card from someone who works for BCL!!! But...I don't know how to thank the person because they didn't sign it! If it was you, please let me know so I can thank you.

Here is what it says:
A Potter in a Pear Tree
Two Green Eggs & Ham
Three Chilling King Tales
Four Da Vinci Clues
Five Little Golden Books
Six Book Club Meetings
Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
Eight Plots Thickening
Nine Hobbits Dancing
Ten Clancy Heroes Leaping
Eleven Unfortunate Events Unfolding Twelve Grishams Gripping

It is so clever!!!

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

LIT Centerpiece for the Main Library competition!

Here are a few photos of Library Information Technology's entry into the 2007 Main Library Holiday Centerpiece Competition. Click on the thumb for the photos. Wish us luck!

LIT Holiday Centerpiece

Monday, December 10, 2007

How to add the Rollyo search box to your blog

How to add the Rollyo search box to your blog:
1. Log into Rollyo
2. Click on “Dashboard”
3. Scroll down until you see a grey box with the title “Searchbox”, it is on the right near the bottom
4. Click on the red word “Searchbox”
5. Ignore the first blank boxes for now
6. Scroll down to where you see three windows. On the left, you should see the search you created as the first one. Click on it to hightlight it.
7. Click on the box that looks like this to add it to the middle window
8. Choose a radio button for style from under the middle window; you will see the preview of it under the right hand window so experiment
9. Red is the nicest so that is what I chose. Copy the text from the box on the right.
10. Start a new blog entry in your Blogspot blog and paste the text then publish. Here is mine.

Thing 20: YouTube

Well, I'm skipping ahead to Thing #20 because I shot a little video yesterday and posted it! I've been using YouTube for more than a year. I only have a couple of brief videos on it, but it is fun. I also have some videos on Photobucket and Picasa, but YouTube is really the best.

Yesterday, my puppy Barkley spotted a plastic "snake" in the garden. I really don't recall why my ex put the snake out there...perhaps to scare some critter away from the garden...but Barkley just discovered it yesterday and he was so funny to watch!! Actually he was a lot funnier a few minutes before this video, but by the time I went in and got my camera and came back out, he was less animated. Bottom line: I have a puppy, and I need to simply carry the camera everywhere I go!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Thing 15: Roll your own search engine

Well, I tried Rollyo and I can see where it can be of great benefit. I visit some of the rescue organization sites for Cavalier King Charles Spaniels nearly every day, so I thought it would be great to see if I could make a Rollyo search.

Each day I visit Pet Harbor (the database used by the Humane Society of Broward County, Broward County Animal Control, and similar organizations in South Florida); Petfinder; Cavalier Rescue USA, and Lucky Star Cavalier Rescue. I created my Rollyo account and added those four websites to be searched.

My test search used the term "blenheim", which is the coloration of my own CKCS, Barkley. It only retrieved results from Lucky Star and Cavalier Rescue, and one listing of a pair of adopted dogs from Petfinder. Bottom line: this particular search isn't appropriate for Rollyo as I can simply visit those sites daily and spend a few seconds to review new dogs. Actually, Pet Harbor and PetFinder send daily update e-mails when new dogs matching your criteria are listed.

Try your hand at searching for a rescue Cavalier! Here is my Rollyo:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Thing 14: LibraryThing

Well, I know I am going to get kicked out of the librarian's clubhouse for saying this...but I find LibraryThing tedious. Honestly, I can see why so many people think it is cool and why it is so popular, but for me, it is a time waster.

I am very odd in that I don't really like to own too many books. I work in one of the world's best libraries and if I need something, I simply borrow it. If BCL doesn't have it, I order it through ILL. Once in a while I will buy a book after I've borrowed it so that I can refer to it again and again, but in most cases once I'm doing reading a book I have no need to keep it.

I entered five books and was not surprised to see that they are not popular...they are diving and kayaking guides. I spent a little time reviewing and tagging one of them, but I got bored with it. While the social networking aspect of LibraryThing is awesome for fiction and more popular nonfiction, the type of books that I am interested are owned by too few other members for me to benefit from the 2.0 aspects of it.

But don't misunderstand, I am not a sourpuss about LibraryThing! I think it is an AWESOME tool. Many of my friends do keep some type of catalog of the books they own. For me, I own too few books, probably less than 100, to have a need for a personal catalog.

The widgets are pretty cool. So here you go, the widget for the five books I catalogued from my personal library.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Testing the posting of a trading card

Thing 13: Online Image Generators

Oh, what a fun exercise! Image generators are nothing new for me, but I love to discover new ones. While at first glance they may just seem like playthings, they can be very useful when creating web content. I've created many websites over the years and took advantage of free online button generators.

I receive the RSS feed to The Generator Blog and love to play with new items as they are announced. I encourage you to explore the fun and useful generators. Here is one I created back in January with the M&M Character Generator. Don't you think that the likeness is remarkable? :)

Friday, November 16, 2007

Have a great weekend!

Barkley and I wish you a wonderful, fun, and restful weekend!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Thing 12: Thinking about 2.0

I read the articles posted on the TLC 2.0 website, but I think that our own Amy expressed it in more practical terms. Her blog post here (clicky).

Indeed, my pointing to her blog is a 2.0 action! :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Thing 11: Tag your own blog

I love seeing Geeks On Tour for the example of a tagged blog in this exercise. Chris and Jim are long time friends of mine, living the American dream. They sold their Fort Lauderdale computer education company, Computer Savvy, a few years ago...bought a used motorhome on eBay...and took off on the open road with their beloved poodle, Odie. They sell internet satellite dishes and give training on a variety of computer topics as they travel from place to place. If you want to know more about their fun life, visit their blog.

Now it is time for me to blog about my favorite new Cavalier King Charles Spaniel puppy! I've wanted a CKCS for years and years and years. Last fall, I decided to start seeking one in earnest. However, despite contacting rescue societies all over the country, it seems that I could not rescue one. Their excuses ranged from "you work full time" to "you live too far away and we don't ship" (never mind that I would fly up for a dog!) to "this dog hates cats" (I have five cats".

Finally, I found a matched pair just up the coast in Fort Pierce, a boy and a girl 6 and 7 years old. They had to be adopted together. I filled out their application and was interviewed over the phone. The interviewer was very positive and enthusiastic about my suitability as a home for the two.

Then, the wait. I waited and waited and didn't hear. I sent an e-mail that was ignored. Finally, I saw on the rescue's website that the two were adopted by someone else. Then I received a curt message that they found a home where the people didn't work.

Exasperated, I gave up the search for a rescue Cavalier. If I couldn't even adopt two older animals that had to be adopted together, that were a short drive away, it seemed futile to continue. I started searching reputable breeders in the state of Florida. It turns out that Keith Robbins of BlueTide Cavaliers is right here in Broward County, and he is respected nationally for breeding and showing beautiful dogs.

I called him and we had a delightful conversation...indeed, he had two puppies available from two litters and he understands that most people work full time. I made an appointment to visit the baby dogs.

To cut to the chase, a few weeks later, precious Barkley, AKC name BlueTide Captain Morgan, came to live with me. I thought I was buying a dog...but I got a lifestyle! I could blog for hours about how wonderful life is with my beautiful baby boy, but, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. So, here you go, Barkley at Happy Tails Dog Park in Plantation on October 31 at 16 weeks of age. Note that I have added many tags to my blog!

Thing 10: Tagging and

In my last blog post, Blogging About Technology, I promised to write more about newspaper database editing.

Back in the dark ages of electronic database searching, a query had to be quite precise in order to bring back the desired results. This meant that every single story in the daily newspaper has to have "keywords" attached to it so that reporters, editors, and researchers can retrieve them and get relevant results. Because so much newspaper research is done on a tight deadline, they can't afford to weed through irrelevant results.

One of the chores performed by newspaper library staff is called "database enhancement". Basically, it involves making sure that all of the searchable fields are entered correctly: title, date, page, edition, reporter, keywords, and graphics.

Fast forward to the web 2.0 world and now this called "tagging". But that was then, and this is now! In my old newspaper library days, we had to adhere to an approved list of keywords and could not stray without permission from a supervisor. However, many people don't know to search using the formal keywords. A library example of this is that cookbooks are catalogued in the subject "cookery" but customers would search the catalog looking for "cookbook".

Tagging makes searching easier for the lay person. It can make finding things so much easier but on the other hand, can enable the return of many false results.

So far as, I've had an account for some time there. At first, I thought I would find it useful for when I move from computer to computer during the week. As it turns out, though, I have only about 50 websites that I use consistently, and I have them saved to my My Yahoo! portal page. I access most of my daily information from My Yahoo! including e-mail, weather, stocks, headlines, and more. To also add my bookmarks to would be redundant. But that is just for me. I can see where it is a very valuable tool.

Google has made bookmarking somewhat irrelevant anymore. I have the Google toolbar on my browser and if I need a website, I simply type in a couple of key words that I know will bring up my desired is quicker and easier than typing in even a known URL, and faster than going through my bookmarks...whether the ones in my browser or the ones in my account.

I can see where would be useful for reference departments in the library to save frequently used sites for the whole staff. However, I find that I don't really need it on a personal level.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Thing 9: Blog about Technology

I think it is amazing how technology has escalated in such a short time. My first job dealing with computers was in 1970, when I was contract help for a community college's registrations. Students would first line up at a desk where a clerk with a keypunch machine would input the student's information onto a Hollerith card. This was called the "header card". They would go to another station where another clerk would input the card and check it for errors.

Next, cards matching the courses they registered for would be pulled from slots not unlike mail slots. They were stacked under the header card with other cards...I forget what but they probably had to do with lab fees or activity fees or something. I don't remember the rest of the process exactly, but the student's stack of cards would go into the master stack. When the stack was the correct height, I'd run it over to the computer center...a HUGE facility that used to be a department store...and put it into some sort of sorting or checking machine that was the size of a chest freezer. From there, it would eventually work its way into the mainframe and the student would be registered.

The thing that amuses me now is that the huge computer that filled a floor of a once department store had less power than the handheld PocketPC I now carry as a super cell phone.

Another thing that amazes me is reflecting back on my first library job. I worked in the library of a major urban newspaper as an Editorial Researcher. When I started in 1988, there was very little that we could search online. Our main tool was VuText, with which we could search local newspapers for free, but occasionally we needed to search Nexis/Lexis or Dialog when we needed information from other states, other countries, or specialized databases. We needed to use advanced Boolean language and sometimes we had to use an old fashioned modem where we would put the telephone receiver into a coupler. The databases cost up to $600 an hour to search, so we had to construct our search query in advance and have it approved by a supervisor.

My job was amazing and exciting. Many times we were gathering information on deadline and compiling it for reporters and editors. I won several awards for deadline research.

One day everything changed. The search system in VuText became easier to use and was mounted on all reporter and editor terminals. They rarely needed the help of a news librarian to get the information they sought. My free time was filled with database editing, a tedious task at best. More on that in a future blog post for the "Thing" about tagging. I was in library school at that time and the Broward County Libraries Division was growing rapidly. I waited until I was vested at the newspaper, applied to BCL as a Librarian I, got an amazing job at South Regional Library, and never looked back.

Right about that time, the SEFLIN Free-Net was established and it was our first glimpse at FREE internet for anyone. Because of my 5-1/2 years of database searching experience, I was certified as BCL's first Certified SEFLIN Free-Net trainer. I had the best time teaching the public how to look things up using the Lynx Browser and how to use Pine e-mail.

Before long, Mosaic arrived on the scene and then Netscape and then Internet Explorer and things moved so quickly that it was hard to keep up! I joined the team that did the initial FirstSearch training for BCL. Looking back, it was a very cumbersome way to search, and we were also teaching people how to use the mouse and how to right and left click and use their address bar. Just think, today anyone can just type a few words into Google and there is a good chance that they will find just enough to satisfy them...or an overload to sate them!

It amazes me that today, anyone, anywhere with an Internet connection, can easily find the world at their fingertips faster and for free. I feel very fortunate to live in these times and to appreciate how far we've come.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Happy Howl-O-Ween!

My baby Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Barkley, has brought boundless joy to my life in the few weeks that he's lived with me.

We went to PetsMart this week to have his Howl-O-Ween photo taken. It must be lobster mini-season because he sure is a mini lobster! :)

I know what you are going to ask because I've heard it dozens of times already..."how does he get along with your cats?" Just fine! My 15-year-old Cornish Rex, Milosh, is his best pal and they play, sleep, and wrestle all the time. The other cats are tolerant of him because he is a baby...he wants to lick their faces all the time and they seem to be saying "yuck pooey!"

Pets are wonderful, they provide endless entertainment and unconditional love.

Have a GREAT weekend and keep on doing your 23 Things!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Thing 8: RSS and Newsreaders

I have a confession to make: I've been putting off this exercise because I've embraced Bloglines as a newsreader for quite some time. I didn't think I could learn anything new, so I procrastinated on reading Thing 8.

I subscribed to the other participants' blogs during the second week, and it has been interesting to keep up with everyone's progress. I was already subscribed to the recommended feeds in Thing 8.

I have mixed emotions about my Bloglines account. On the good side, it has really cleaned up my e-mail inbox because I stopped subscribing to many e-newsletters that I now get in a feed. On the bad side, I am so overwhelmed with information that I often simply delete them all without reading them. I do try to at least read the headlines when I can.

Here is my blogroll.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thing 7: Blog about Technology

I'm using this post to go public with the fact that I've learned that Flickr really is useful for many things. While it doesn't make the pretty online photo albums that I most enjoy, it does have other applications. I am so happy that we had the previous lesson because I learned that you can indeed link to a Flickr photo, and in a variety of sizes. I always thought that Flickr looks messy...heck, I still think that...and I was too distracted by that to find out its many uses.

Still, while it is tons of fun to explore the bazillions of pictures in Flickr, I don't presently have a professional use for it.

I've been reading the other participants' blogs all along and some of you will find that I've made comments! I am enjoying getting to know all of you.

Thing 6: Flickr Fun

In my previous post, I admitted that I much prefer Picasa to Flickr for my personal photo albums and for sharing them with others...and for keeping up with friends' photo albums. Pretty much everyone I've shared Picasa with has become a convert!

However, when it comes to fun time, Flickr wins hands down. Flickr can become a huge time sucker as you discover all types of silly and creative things to find or to create. I doubt that I'll really use it on the job, but it can be fun for creating humorous images for friends...for example, FD's Flickr Toys has lots of fun projects. It would not surprise my friends to learn that the first one I tried was the lolcat generator.

This is Digby. He is my ancient Cornish Rex cat, and he is living on some borrowed lives because his nine ran out years ago. He is a pure black and pure white cattie, so I made him the mascot for our library's digital laboratory for digitizing our special collections: Digilab. YAY, I figured out how to link my Flickr photos to this blog without saving them to Photobucket!

Unfortunately, the mappr site has been down for a couple of days. I played with this when I attended Computers in Libraries this spring. The Color Pickr is fun but it didn't hold my attention for long. Montager wasn't doing anything past just finding one image using my tag "lolcats"...if I was looking for other "lolcats" it would be easier to just search Flickr. I posted my Librarian Trading Card yesterday. I read the Quick Online Tips article and learned of many useful tools...if I were to use Flickr for my online albums. Alas, I am still a Picasa addict and won't be using them...but I might visit FD's site again to create more lolcats, LOL!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Thing 5: I don't like Flickr and I want you to try Picasa

I love to take pictures. It has been a passion of mine since I was a little girl and was gifted with someone's old B&W camera, the type that you hold at your waist and look down into.

Over the years I became more lazy about film photography. Storage was such a hassle. Where to keep those big bulky albums? I can go for years and years without looking at old photos. If I need to find a particular one, it takes a lot of effort to find the right box with the correct album, select the correct album, and find the picture. And I can just forget ever trying to find the negatives. Only a few people can view an album at one time. I tried slides and a projector for a while, but ended up hating that format and selling the projector. And how do you share your pictures with friends and family in other areas?

Once point-and-shoot digital photography became affordable, I fully embraced it and began carrying my Kodak Easyshare in my purse. I am frequently the one called upon to take candid snaps of social events.

Online photo sharing is not a new concept for me. My first attempts at this were to create my own website and link photos to it, but that was a lot of the document in the html editor, edit it, save it, then upload it and the photos. The emergence of online photo galleries made it so much easier and it can be done from anywhere.

When I purchased my digital camera, I began using the Kodak Easyshare Gallery but soon found it to be cumbersome. Some friends were using Webshots and I liked the sharing aspects of it, but it took a long time to upload and view photos. Someone told me about Snapfish, but that took a long time as well. I used Yahoo! Photos for a while, but they are now Flickr.

You can usually count on Google to come up with a fantastic solution, and they did not disappoint: in 2004, they started offering Picasa, which is free software for editing, organizing, and uploading photos. They offer 1 GB of free storage and despite having many online albums, some with more than 100 pictures, I have not even come close to filling my free quota. It can't be beat for on-the-fly photo editing. You can batch process your photos (for instance, do a batch "sharpen") or you can edit each one one by one. It is incredibly fast...I returned home from a trip to the Bahamas with about 150 digital images and edited and uploaded the entire set in about an hour...I was able to share them with friends who had gone on the trip with me before they had even unpacked their dive gear! Here I am in San Salvador with my partner Jay.

Honestly, while I've had a Flickr account for quite some time, I just can't get excited about it for sharing my personal web albums. I feel that Picasa's interface makes my photos easier to access and in a larger format for others' enjoyment. I don't have a personal need to have my photographs available to the web community at large, and I think Picasa looks much cleaner and more professional. It is easy to subscribe to other Picasa user's albums via RSS, and it is easy to e-mail a particular album to anyone. You can link to any individual picture in a variety of sizes from thumbnail to large and use it on another web page, forum, or social networking site. You can make your Picasa album searchable within Google if you want the world to see your photographic art, but I have disabled that feature.

In addition to the free online albums, Picasa's free software, downloaded to your computer, will help you export html for a web album that you can upload to your own website. It looks so much cleaner than Flickr that I wonder why libraries that use it don't use Picasa instead. Here is an example of one I created after Hurricane Wilma and uploaded to a friend's website. To me, Flickr just looks like a mess and I really wonder if that is the image we want to portray to our customers.

That said...there are a lot of fun Flickr toys that I will explore in Thing 6. Last year I created my own Librarian Trading Card. However, I have been unable to find a way to link directly to the .jpg image within Flickr to post it here. Flickr is VERY limited in how you can use it to link to images on other sites. I can only post to Blogger from within Flickr. Photobucket is a very useful tool for linking photographs to posts. You can easily resize your pictures and you can insert them in web pages or posts on forums and social networking sites. I am an avid road cyclist and SCUBA diver, and here is a photo I have stored in my Photobucket account that I've used on cycling and diving forums.

That said, there is a cumbersome way around linking to images within Flickr. I just saved my trading card to my hard drive and then uploaded it to my Photobucket album. Here you go, enjoy!

Friday, August 31, 2007

A thank you!

I contacted the six bloggers in my previous post to let them know I linked to them and was happily surprised to receive a reply from Barbara at Snopes!

Thank you for doing so. We're honored that you think so highly of our site as to want to include a link to it in your blog.

We do not have a banner per se, but you are most welcome to use either of
these following images (the second is a smaller version of the first) for
that purpose. Please be sure to copy whichever file you decide upon to your
site rather than link to it from ours.

- Barbara

Urban Legends Reference Pages

I added the Snopes logo to my previous blog post...very nice, don't you think?

This social networking stuff works!

Happy Blog Day!

Blog Day 2007On Blog Day, we are asked to link to five of our favorite blogs and notify the bloggers that we have done so. In addition, we are to add the Blog Day tag and a link to the Blog Day website.

My day doesn't start off right without a visit to some of my favorite blogs. Life is serious enough, so I enjoy a little silliness with my morning coffee. Enjoy!

Cute Overload
Some of the silliest animal photos on the internet; has its own language to describe the incredible cutnesses including terms such as 'tocks (cute animal butts), muzzlepowsche (adorable animal muzzle with chubby cheeks), and redonk (ridiculously cute).

Stuff On My Cat
Just what it sounds like...reader submissions of cats in ridiculous poses with various household objects. Be sure to visit sister site Stuff On My Mutt.

A comic strip about a library. My non-librarian friends enjoy this strip as well, but it's more hilarious to us librarians because they make fun of the stuff we see every day!

New Urban Legends
What's new at's Urban Legend Reference Pages. People learn really quickly to not forward ridiculous e-mails to me...because I am evil and I click "reply all" with a link to the appropriate Snopes page. MUA HA HA HA HA

I Can Has Cheezburger
Daily submissions of the latest lolcats.

The Daily Kitten
OK, this makes six, but I can't resist seeing an adorable kitten every day.

Now I'm off to notify the bloggers that I've linked to them.

Have a most glorious three-day weekend...I know I will!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Things 3 and 4: Set up a blog and post it

Well, I set up a blog for TLC from the get-go, and I registered it on the first day, so this week was easy for me! :)

I enjoyed Rich's podcast very much and look forward to more of them.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Thing 2: Lifelong Learning

While this presentation contains extremely valuable information, I found it very painful to sit through. It took way too long and I dislike being read to.

That favorite part of it was the quote, "Even Tiger Woods had to learn the basics of golf." How true! So many times, people are afraid to learn something because it seems so overwhelming. Step back and remember to take it step by step. Each lesson is another brick in the foundation of your knowledge.

For me, the most important of the 7 Habits of Lifelong Learners is to PLAY! I learn best when I can experiment and fool around with a new program.

So let's get out there and play with the rest of the 23 Things!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Successful 2.0 Kickoff, and Thing 1: Registration

The Learning Challenge 2.O kickoff today at Nova Southeastern University's Alvin Sherman Library was fantastic! Nova library staff did a great job setting up the gallery with futuristic blinking toys, a 2.O logo backdrop, and great food. Carrie, Assistant Director of Reference, gave a presentation that was very well received by attendees. Marty, Dave, and I attended to "steal" ideas for BCL's kickoff in October. It is very exciting to collaborate with NSU on this fun and educational adventure.