Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thing #23: Woo-hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to laugh when I listened to the YouTube video that accompanies Thing #23--"Celebrate"! FANTASTIC!!! It takes me back, and I'm definitely celebrating the completion of the 23 things. And I'm sitting in the perfect place for the festivities: right next to the food table in the TR IS staff room. It's been like Christmas here since well, Christmas. The food has been nonstop. Not so good for swimsuit season--eeks!

I must say that it's been a lot of fun to explore Web 2.0 technology while at work--not too shabby. My favorite discovery exercises have been establishing del.icio.us and Library Thing accounts as well as learning about Google Docs and Zoho. I look forward to further exploring those applications and regularly using them. In a previous post, I mentioned that I wish Microsoft would support a feature like that with its software. If computer users have already bought Office products, there should be some way to store those documents online instead of on a personal hard drive or flash drive.

In completing these exercises, I've discovered that there is use to a lot of these applications. I was a bit wary of establishing so many accounts at various websites, but since learning about these sites, I've become converted.

On to the not-so-good: I didn't care for the RSS feeds. I don't see myself using that beyond this Web 2.0 Challenge. But it never hurts to learn something new.

As for sharing my blog, I've shown it to my sister, and I'll have to send the URL to my parents so they can see what I've been working on over the past few months. I've raved about del.icio.us and LibraryThing. My sis looked at the books I added to LibraryThing, and she thought that together, all those books were a great representation of who I am.

Thanks, OCL, for the e-memories. Cheerio!

Thing #22: ListenNJ

The moral of the story: read instructions. I didn't believe that I'd need to download to the PC Plus machines the software necessary for ListenNJ; I thought I'd be able to do all of it from the computer at my desk. So after fighting with whatever that software was, I finally went to a PC Plus to listen to F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Beautiful and the Damned. Of course, I tried downloading Gone with the Wind, but that wasn't available, so Fitzgerald it was.

Would I listen to audiobooks if I didn't have to do it for this web challenge? I don't think so; not because they aren't a good idea but because I'm a visual person. I really need to see the words on a page or screen to understand and internalize the information that's presented. Hearing it alone is not enough. Of course, if I finish the challenge and get an MP3 player out of the exercise, I'll download a book or two and try it out again.

Thing #21: Finding & Listening to Podcasts

I logged onto podcast.com and searched for "Knuckleheads in the News", which WTOP, a news radio station from D.C., broadcasts on weekday mornings to report about stupid criminals. I always get a kick out of hearing those stories; it adds a bit of levity to the day. Well, my search returned nothing, so I went to the next best thing: food. I noticed that podcast.com provides a link to podcasts about food. (Do you see a trend here...?)

I listened to an NPR podcast about Parsi food, titled "Sugar in the Milk: A Parsi Kitchen Story". So what is Parsi food? It's Persian food! The podcast reported on the Parsi new year and Parsi food that's eaten on special ocassions. I'd sure like to try that food!

Thing #20: YouTube & You

So YouTube's the most popular 2.0 website around now? I never would have guessed that (tongue-in-cheek). I log on all the time. As an MTV-deprived child, I have to catch up on all those great 80s and early 90s videos I never got the chance to see.

World's greatest music video? Falco's Rock Me Amadeus (there are lots of versions, so be sure to check out this one: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wrd7capPKaw)! BRILLIANT song, BRILLIANT video; may Falco rest in peace.

Another fantabulous video: shots of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy to the Right Said Fraid song, "I'm too Sexy" (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L4JGXxmzPHo). Classic! It is laugh-out-loud funny! The screen shots that YouTube user Ladyhawke87 used from Pride and Prejudice to put this video together are pure genius. And it always leads me to this age-old question: why can't all men be like Mr. Darcy? Cold, distant, proper yet with a good heart? Now answering THAT is where the challenge lies!

I salute those valiant YouTube users who have way too much time on their hands to post videos and create videos for my happiness. Great American (or as the case may be, world) heroes!!!

Thing #19: Web 2.0 Awards

Through the Web 2.0 Awards website (another one I'll have to add to Del.icio.us), I found a link to judysbook.com, found under the Web 2.0 Award category, "City Guides & Reviews". From judysbook.com, I found a link to another website, couponlooker.com. That could be handy; who doesn't want to save money?!

Even though it's been blogged about, I'm going to add Pandora to my blog. What a fantastic website--another few electrons to add to my del.icio.us account!

Content Aggregation & Management--whew! That's a mouthfull. It looks like these websites help manage information found on the internet, which I'm sure business need to use.

Thing #18: Web Apps

Storing documents online is something I've been longing for! I already use my email accounts as pseudo-storage bins so I can access documents that are scattered on my home computer or work computer. I am thrilled to learn about Google Docs and Zoho! I've lost flash drives, and other flash drives have up and quit on me, so if I can store my documents on some remote server that I don't have to worry about, I'll be in 7th heaven!

This service will be especially useful at work so that I don't have to attach documents to emails. The TR programming team sends a lot of stuff back and forth, so this will avoid a lot of duplication.

I do wish that Microsoft would provide a service like Google Docs and Zoho so that we could continue using Microsoft software. As much as I get disgusted with Word, I still like it best. But you can be sure I'm going to try out these new services. If I learned nothing else in this challenge, Thing #18 alone would make it worthwhile!

Thing #17: Play in the Sandbox

I played in the sandbox, and it was a bit more cumbersome than I would have expected. I saved my comments a couple of times before it would take. But I eventually was successful, and I posted my blog to the wiki, too.

When the man in the YouTube video for Thing #16 demonstrated the utility of wikis, I saw the convenience of using a wiki over email. It really is a more advanced version of communicating, especially when lots of people are involved. Meagan T., here in the TR branch, is in the process of setting up a wiki for the programming team. Should be helpful!