Saturday, April 28, 2007

Bewick Babies!

The Bewick's Wren babies have hatched! I haven't actually seen them, but mom and dad wren have been very busy bringing in tons of food and carrying out eggshells. If I could see into the nest, it would look like this:
I so so so so want to open the house and look inside, but I know I shouldn't. I put my ear next to the house, but I couldn't hear anything. I guess if they are just hatching today (and look like the pink scraps above), they probably aren't strong enough to scream for their supper yet.

Friday, April 27, 2007

The Golden Compass

Thanks to a heads up from Rick, I now know that The Golden Compass movie is coming out. Hot damn! If you don't know the book or the trilogy, you must give them a whirl. At the movie's website, you can also create a daemon for yourself. Here's mine:

A tiger! You can see if you agree ...
Update: since some people have clicked on the above daemon and voiced their opinion about my attributes, my daemon has changed to a hare. I like that, too!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Google Blabs

Alert for family and friends: long boring work post ahead.

Today I looked at Google Docs. As I logged in to create a collaborative document, I was asked if I perhaps had an old Writely account? Well, I did! Last year my colleague Claire (South Seattle Community College) had introduced me to Writely. I was able to log in with my new Google account and painlessly transfer over my old Writely account. I created a new document, and talked a bit about how Microsoft so wishes it had managed to do this. My husband had been employed at MS about 7 years ago and was working on this project; in true MS form, they kept changing the goals, staff, department, names, and even physical locations so often nothing got accomplished.

It was very easy to create a document in Zoho. Hmmm! Surprisingly Google-like in appearance! Enough for a lawsuit, I'd say. At this point in time, they offer more collaborative services than does Google. I tried Zoho Writer for a comparison to Google Docs. The interface seems mush more Word-like than does Google as far as all of the toolbar options. Oddly enough, when I used spellcheck in my Zoho document, it did not recognize the word "zoho." This speaks to some major gaps in coding/programming on the part of the developers. Thoroughness is professional. Not being thorough is not professional. I also shared this with KCLS27Things for the learning experiment. I do not see an RSS option.

Next, I headed over to Google Labs. I love Google Labs! They have a lot of great ideas. Being a science nerd, I went straight for Google Mars. Cool! To the right is an image of Olympus Mons. If you've ever read Kim Stanley Robinson's Red Mars, Green Mars, and Blue Mars, this will be especially exciting for you. If you've never read them and you like hard science fiction, you must read them.

Google Video is another Lab item, and it's like searching YouTube, only you are searching the whole net. Wonderful!

Finally, I took a look at Google Scholar, which should be a wonderful research tool. However, I'm so used to being able to limit to full-text items in databases that I was perturbed at getting page after page of results that I couldn't actually access unless I paid for them.

My last learning task for this week was to take a look at some Web 20.0 Awards winners and Webware. These should be the cutting edge applications of web 2.0. I first took a look at the award winners and was surprised that several interesting categories (such as Books, Games, Travel, and Visual Arts) didn't have enough entries to generate winners. I looked at Music, but it was all about new popular music; I want old fogey music. I eventually settled on one of the Games category's honorable mentions: Arcaplay. It looks like a fabulous alternative to MSN Games. But of course, ahem, I can't play on work time.

Soooo, I headed over to Webware. At first glance, this just seems like more ways to waste your time. I actually like to read and go outside sometimes. I tried following the "digital photography" category link, and it crashed my browser along with my unsaved blogger window. Yay! I tried "widgets" next, and re-discovered the Morse Code RSS feeder. I love it! If only I knew Morse code. Still, I'm in love with Steampunk, and especially the Steampunk Workshop. If I was rich I would buy all of these things, or at least pay someone to make them.

People could remember that for my birthday and other important gift-giving occasions.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Manly Bush Tit

Well if that title doesn't get me some web traffic from keyword searches, I don't know what will! Actually, though, this post is about this guy:I've had these small decorative mirrors in my garden for years but never noticed any bird attacking them. This little guy was going at it with gusto. For hours. Michael finally removed the mirror, but he just flew to the next one and began again. That mirror came down, too. I didn't want to be responsible for any tiny headaches.

Here he is clacking away at the mirror. After about 15 seconds I get a shot of one of the Bewick's wrens entering their house. The chirrrr-ing you hear in the backgroung is the wrens.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Archaeology Tidbits

Whenever I read Archaeology magazine, I always find myself exclaiming to Michael (or no one in particular) about all of the cool stuff in it.

Curiomanic Tidbit #1
Geology marches on. At Mesa Verde National Park, a slab of rock the size of a small car fell off the cliff over the Ancestral Puebloan ruins (don't call them Anasazi ...), crushing a building and a ceremonial chamber. This is a bummer, but it's also just nature doing her thing.

Curiomanic Tidbit #2
Chimpanzees in Senegal have been witnessed making wooden spears to hunt smaller primates. Although usually the males hunt, the females are the ones who made the spears. My personal guess is that they did this since they are not as strong as the males. I love this quote from a BBC story:
"The authors conclude that their findings support a theory that females may have played a similarly important role in the evolution of tool technology among early humans. "

Curiomanic Tidbit #3
"Mystical pothead neurosurgeons." 3,000 year old graves in the province of Xinjiang, China show evidence of trepanning. The shamans buried in the cemetary, who were presumably the healers, were buried with well preserved stashes of marijuana. Even though they were possibly high while performing brain surgery, they were successful because the skulls showed evidence of healing (which patients have to live to do), and one skull has seven holes which were not done all at once! This guy came back for more.

Brad-O-Meter: Gatlinburg, TN

Brady has made it to Gatlinburg, TN on the Appalachian Trail:
"I've made it about 200 miles now, I saw a bear today, and watched sunrise from the very highest point on the AT (6,600 or so feet), asked anyone I could if they new how the red sox are doing, and have generally been eating and sleeping well."

He's met a number of interesting folks, as is only natural. I don't think you are likely to run into your average stay-at-home folks out on the AT, all stinky in a shelter.

I need to go to REI, get him some goodies, and send them on to a mail drop.

Bewick's Wrens in Da House!

A couple of years ago I put up two birdhouses: one with a see-through back suction cupped to a bedroom window and a chickadee house nestled under my red trumpet vine. Nobody moved in, and I was sad. I have to admit, I don't actually think any sane bird would raise their children in a nest box with a see-through back that looked into my bedroom.

Now I have birds in my chickadee house! This spring there was a typical Ballard/Seattle housing bidding war between a pair of chickadees and a pair of Bewick's wrens. The wrens won! I'm very excited because much as I love-love-love chickadees, I hardly ever see the sprightly Bewick's wren. Bewick's wrens are very cute and jerk their tails around a lot. I think they might even be swearing.

I've been sitting in my backyard with beer and a magazine for hours on several days, trying to get a picture of them. It is very grueling work sitting in the spring sunshine with a beer, a cat, a bunny, and Archaeology magazine, let me tell you. But I perservered and finally got some shots! I'll let you all know when I have baby bird news.

The photo at the top of the page is not mine, but these are. In the last one, the wren has a mouthful of stuff and is leaning down to fly into the house.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Glitter is NOT Litter

My husband says "Glitter is litter" but boy is he wrong. Most of my friends know he is wrong. I have glitter ground into my wallet and my car's stick shift from wearing it to gigs. My friend Laurie has it permanenetly ground into her guitar for the same reason.

Now, via Boing Boing, I found out people make triptychs with the stuff! Holy Guacamole! These are artists after my own heart. Extreme Craft has an entry called Sparkling Wit. Here's an example of Claire Joyce's work:

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Little tasty internet search rolls!

As an information scientist (imagine me in a white jacket), I really like the idea of creating specialized search tools. In the past librarians or specialists would create a page of links, and the patron would then need to try each link seperately to discover which one best served their needs. With a specialized search engine a patron can simply type in what they are looking for and search the all suggested web sites at once. Sort of like WebFeat for the internet. I like it, I like it!

In looking at Rollyo's list of specialized search engines, I'm really impressed to see that a String Theory searchroll is among the most popular! I only wish it was a little more transparent as to exactly what websites have been added to each specific searchroll. I see know that there is a link at the bottom of the searchroll which shows which web sites are being searched.

Google also offers the same service. I notice that Google's featured custom search engines seem to be more academic and/or professional than the ones featured on Rollyo.

I decided to create a searchroll through Google for free sheet music.

Google Custom Search

Try the search box above, or follow the free sheet music link.

As we head towards the end of our Learning 2.0 experience I looked at several articles on Web 2.0 and libraries. I reluctantly agree with Rick Anderson that we need to abandon our tight grasp on our print collections. I originally wanted to keep all these reference books "just in case" the power went out or the internet went down. But you know -- that rarely happens. And when it does, patrons understand that the info is not reachable, and even so we are able to use our own little brains and find them what they need. I heartily agree with Michael Stephens' caution to embrace Web 2.0 but avoid technolust: "Without a firm foundation in the mission and goals of the institution, new technologies are not implemented for the sake of coolness and status." I believe in John Riemer's statement that libraries should adopt collaborative web technologies to allow users to tag and comment in the library catalog.

One last observation: why were 4 out of 5 authors of these articles men? The library field is largely filled with women. Is it that the technology appeals more to men? Do men still rise to positions of CEO and "head" because they're more interested than women? I don't know, I just wonder. I thought it was odd.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


My brother Brady has begun hiking the Appalachian Trail, and I've decided to set up a Brad-O-Meter to track his progress. The yellow line on the maps shows how far he's gone.

The AT is approximately 2,175 miles long. That will be a lot of walking. I envy him! I wish I had the time to take off a summer or even a week or two to go with him. I've got my vacation time already parcelled out in other ways this year, so no luck for me. Oh well...

He started last weekend at Springer Mountain in Georgia, and he just checked in from Hiawassee, GA and Dicks Creek Gap. He has hiked the most evil amount of 66.6 miles. Ooooooh! Scary!

His buddy Jim has posted photos of Brady starting out on Facebook.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

They Told Me To Have Fun

Well, gee whillikers! They told us just have fun with image generators this week with Learning 2.0, and dag-nabbit if I di'-ent.

I visited South Park and the Simpsons. Here I am on the sets:

And finally, I think I'm going Japanese, I really think so:

This one was from a very fun portrait maker.
Soooo, that was all too much fun. Take a look at the Generator Blog and while away your day!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Happy Easter!

I have created my very first film effort for my nephews Julian and Ian in Maine. Foolishly, I share it here with you! (please excuse the very bad lighting)

Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Wikid Good

Alert for family and friends: long boring work post ahead.

Today I looked more closely at wikis as part of my ongoing Learning 2.0 challenge at work. I admit to frequently grabbing quick info from Wikipedia, although there is some debate among librarians as to whether or not this is a reliable source of information.

I didn't realize that there are many levels of collaboration that can be set up for a wiki so that it can be editied by anyone or only one person, or anything in between. With that in mind, I can see this as a great resource on our intranet at work or even on our KCLS webpage. The different levels of wikiness that I can envision using are:

  • Branch/cluster level: As a part-timer, for once I would love to know what is going on when I start my shift. There's nothing more embarassing than having a patron ask you something like "So what was the result of the big fight/police action/politcial protest that happened three nights ago at the library?" and I have to gape and explain I have no idea anything happened. A local wiki that we can all contribute to regarding events, facilities statuses, patron interactions etc. would be fabulous.

  • System wide Intranet wiki: Collaborating on committee work would be wonderful; sometimes e-mails flying back and forth cross each other and don't contain all of the pertinent back info. Also, the equivalent of a system-wide Rolodex would be wonderful; there are times when I really do need to know where the closest fax to the Auburn library is, even though I work in Shoreline.

  • Public view wikis: It would be a wonderful way to keep the homework help or web links pages current and up to date. However, I doubt that KCLS would allow staff to do this without someone still having to approve everything. Sigh.

  • Comments/tagging in the catalog: This would be something patrons can contribute to, though I still believe we should have some ability to moderate. This is actually in the works right now via our current OPAC. A great way to forge another link with our community.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Shopping 2.0

Anyone going through Learning 2.0 will appreciate this video of Shopping 2.0.