Archive for September, 2008

Twitter Litter

Posted in Learn and Play with tags , , , on September 30, 2008 by moamcm

Yep, litter.  Defined as “a disorderly accumulation of objects,” I think litter might be the right word.  After some searching for “subjects” I found mostly useless self involved drivel of no practical value to me.

I wanted to like this idea because it seems like there may be some practical uses at the organizational level, but let’s face it, on the personal level the site is for the most part useless to any normal adult with a life.  I don’t “hang out” online waiting for emails, feeds, “tweets”, or anything else for that matter.   And my friends and I can actually make appointments without the aid of looking to see what each other is doing every second of the day. 

Basically Twitter is ego massage in the age of ego massage.  Someone out there actually believes that they are important enough for anyone to care about seeing what they are doing at every possible moment, lots of someones in fact.  Children are this self involved maybe, but healthy adults should not be.

On the plus side, I can see Twitter as a fantastic tool for communicating quick facts about organizations and what is happening.  And of course because so many people are willing to share so much of their private existence with the world, it is a data pirate’s paradise.  Even better, with places like Twitter and all the social “networking” sites out there, we can finally achieve a society where privacy doesn’t matter anymore.  After all, it seems like millions of people daily freely proclaim everything about their personal life to the world.  Why not just put cameras on every corner and turn the whole world in to a reality TV show!  Can you detect the sarcasm in the above paragraph?

Want to see my first and last Twitter postings?  Enjoy.



Posted in Learn and Play with tags , on September 29, 2008 by moamcm

LibraryThing is fairly interesting, though like most of these sites it could easily become time consuming to build anything worthwhile.  I do like that I can punch in a title I like and see what other users liked it also.  I can then browse their list and see if anything there looks good to me – kind of like having a very large pool of information for reader’s advisory.  Though I hardly scratched the surface, check out my “library.”  Provided I can find the time, I may be back and add some more to this as time goes by.

Feeds Search

Posted in Learn and Play with tags , on September 17, 2008 by moamcm

Found a few new useful gaming feeds I did not know existed (including a couple from a site I have been to many times). By far, Technorati is the most useful site to search. Of course, the hits can be excessive depending on what one is searching for. The bloglines search was fairly effective as well and I like the fact that you can subscribe to the search. I mostly have subscribed to feeds from sites I know and use a lot. See my last post for a link to my feeds page on Bloglines.

I did not find a ton of useful library related links.  Not that there were not a lot, but many were not particularly useful to me or interesting enough to want to look at all the time.  I did pull some feeds from Library Journal’s site though and of course I had to include The Shifted Librarian’s blog feed and Michael Stephen’s Tame the Web as well (see my bloglines page under Books & Mags and Library Related). 

Bloglines – Maybe

Posted in Learn and Play with tags , on September 17, 2008 by moamcm

Not entirely decided on this one yet.  Sometimes it seems cool and other times it just annoys me.

I really dislike that it can be incredibly slow at times and I hate that it sometimes breaks links and pictures on the page.  Of course, this isn’t that big of a deal since you can always click through to the page directly if you want to see it as it was made.  Overall, it seems like a useful tool for pulling a whole lot of resources all at once.  I guess it is interesting enough that I will keep playing with this one for a while.

A Little Bit on Light

Posted in Learn and Play with tags , , , on September 10, 2008 by moamcm

Thing number 7 on our Learn and Play agenda is to speak about anything technology related.  I couldn’t really think of anything big that had caught my attention recently.  But I did realize there was a new piece of technology I had adopted recently (“new” isn’t quite the right word, but it is new for my family anyway).  We recently decided to eliminate all incandescent bulbs in our household in favor of Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs).  Partially this was a decision based on cost of use and partially this was a decision based on doing something small to assist the environment (along with several other things we try to stick to in order to reduce our footprint – though don’t take that wrong, we’re not “environmentalist” just normal people with some concerns).

So why CFLs then?  Well according to the Energy Star website:

“If every American home replaced just one light bulb with an ENERGY STAR qualified bulb, we would save enough energy to light more than 3 million homes for a year, more than $600 million in annual energy costs, and prevent greenhouse gases equivalent to the emissions of more than 800,000 cars.”

If you keep reading after that on the website, you’ll see that on the average a CFL will save about $30 in cost over an average lifetime.  What?  Just $30?  That doesn’t seem like much I know, but consider this.  I have a home full of lights.  I think I replaced roughly 20 bulbs.  So that becomes $600 over the lifetime of the bulbs.  Not bad.  Sure nothing stellar, but hey I am not too proud to admit that I’ll scrimp and save even on that much just to keep some dollars in my family’s pocket.

On the environmental side, there is a bonus as well.  Those 20 bulbs will result in a lot less energy use.  Less energy use here in Ohio means less coal burning.  Less coal burning means less carbon dioxide, less sulfur dioxide, and less of a whole lot of stuff in fact.  It also means less mercury in the air. 

The number one criticism of CFLs is that they contain mercury.  This has been attacked again and again as a reason not to use these bulbs.  If you live in an area where coal burning does not provide your power then maybe skipping out on CFLs is not a bad idea.  However, the truth of the matter is if you live in an area with coal burning power plants then you will be offsetting the amount of mercury going in to the air by using less energy.  Coal burning generates quite a bit of mercury and the mercury in CFLs does not present anywhere near the level of danger that energy production from coal creates.  According to Popular Mechanics. “In 2006, coal-fired power plants produced 1,971 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity, emitting 50.7 tons of mercury into the air—the equivalent amount of mercury contained in more than 9 billion CFLs (the bulbs emit zero mercury when in use or being handled).”

When properly handled is a key point.  You cannot simply throw away CFLs when they go bad.  They do need to be recycled.  There are several places that do this.  Take a look at Earth 911’s website and type in CFL and your zip code to find places where you can recycle these and a whole lot more.

If you break a bulb, you also have to take a few special precautions.  The short list is clear the area and open windows.  Wait about 15 minutes for the vapors to clear.  Use disposable gloves and stiff paper to pick up the materials.  Any powders can be picked up with a piece of tape.  Vacuuming is not recommended since it can contaminate your vacuum cleaner or even get back in to the air through the exhaust.  At this point since the mercury is presumably dissipated, you can just discard of it in an outside trashcan.  The National Geographic page on CFLs where I got this from covers this in better detail and offers a great point that you are more in danger of cutting your finger on broken glass than taking any damage from the mercury content in a CFL.  They point out that according to the EPA, the mercury content of an average CFL is “a hundred times less mercury than is found in a single dental amalgam filling or old-style glass thermometer.”  While I wouldn’t recommend licking the inside of a thermometer or anything, I am of the school of thought that people are a bit too reactive about some things like mercury.  Blame the media and their scare tactics.

So go out and get yourself some CFLs, save money and do a bit of good for the planet.  And while you’re at it grab an order of sushi to go.

Flickr Tools

Posted in Learn and Play with tags , on September 2, 2008 by moamcm

Played around with several of these and found them mostly of the fun variety. Most turned out not to be all that useful honestly. Alright, so you got me. Fun in itself can be useful. Though as I mentioned earlier in these postings, that play part is one of the more difficult ones for me. But I did enjoy the badge creator. Fairly cool little toy.

You can find this here.

The Library at Petra in Jordan

Posted in Learn and Play with tags , , , on September 2, 2008 by moamcm

Isn’t it cool to be a member of one of the world’s oldest professions?

So I finally had a small time frame where I could sit down and explore Flickr. Granted, I’ve used Flickr before, so this was more about me looking around to see what else I could find. Since the site is fairly simple to navigate and use, it turned out to not be a lot though it was a good refresher course. I did find one thing that I have never used, the “blog this” button. That makes this my first “blog this” photo. I’ve always just directly linked photos on my own when I wanted a picture elsewhere. Interesting and useful for people who don’t want to hassle with html.

This photo comes from a set posted by kmccarthy. Check out the link if you want to see more very nicely done photos of Petra and Jordan in general.