October 21, 2008

Web Conferencing

A good exercise was a class on the Mpls campus about a year ago in which we set up web conferences in the labs and were able to 'play' with the tools. I'd suggest this may be a good way for teams to get themselves acquainted with the option some day. We were paired up and then each of us put in separate labs so we were technically in different sites.

We were able to pass around the presenter role, modify the screen and work on screens together. We learned the hazards in the class of opening up the entire group as presenter and how chaos could ensue!

I like the options available for redesigning the look of the screen. Some situations just call for a different look and options available to the audience.

Our dairy team has conducted a couple team conferences via UMConnect. Some are not comfortable with it yet and it suspect it is because they can't insert their opinions as readily as they can on a conference call in person. Having to raise your hand isn't all bad!!

IM'ing

When I first hit this lesson a while back I did go to the UMChat and get set up. In the process there I did manage to reconnect with a fraternity brother I had pretty much lost track of since graduating from college. Found out he has relocated in a town near us where he and his wife have a small business.

I checked Twitter originally but had real trouble getting my head around how it could be useful to me. After the program conference opening speaker I thought it may have more possibilities. Even after re-reading the "Twitter for Academics" article, I'm still not convinced. It seems to me I'd spend a lot of time sifting through the chaff to find the grains I want and need.

In another prof improvement offering, we were supposed to set up and use a chat line. I found it dragged. If I know the person is available anyway, I much prefer to speak with them on a phone so I can also read their tone of voice. The IM loses that inflection that can be so important to any dialogue. The IM is almost sterile of that emotion.

ZOHO productivity suite

I was intrigued by the possibility of something like ZOHO for working from a computer (not my own) in another location where I could access and work on my own files. I found some of the tools fairly friendly but others not so friendly. I imported a spreadsheet with which I have been working to see how it went. The import was pretty good, but then working in it was awkward and there were a couple features I just never figured out that seem so natural in Excel.

Productivity Tools

I use the UMCal feature quite a bit to check on the availability of others for calls, conferences and even carpooling. It's a nice feature, WHEN users keep their calendars current on it.

I like the netfiles, but am wondering this -- can full directories be loaded or do we have to load file by file? If it has to be file by file, it inhibits moving some history I'd like to have available there.

One more thing on productivity -- it sure would be nice if all these tools we've been exploring were simply accessed by a link on our "myuspace" page rather than having to remember to go to each of them individually and remembering the proper URL's.

October 13, 2008

The Finish LIne!!! At least for now

# What were your favorite discoveries or exercises?
I don't kow that I had a favorite. I might have found a few more frustrating that others, though.

# How has this program assisted or affected your everyday work?
It's undoubtedly opened me up to some of the new communication and productivity technologies that I didn't know about before. So far it has moved across my screen and desk too fast for me to consider seriously implementing much. I have been doing a blog for a few months, anyway, so that one was already familiar. I suspect I will use one of the photo/image storage sites as I get time to do some moving of files.

# What could we do differently to improve this program?
I wonder if we got a bit too much too fast. We had a lot of notions thrown at us but with only short times to think about how we would apply them practically. I suspect most of us did a quick practice exercise, but that isn't enough to ingrain it in our minds or our work.


# If another enrichment course of this nature were offered in the future, would you try to participate

Probably

The Finish LIne!!! At least for now

# What were your favorite discoveries or exercises?
I don't kow that I had a favorite. I might have found a few more frustrating that others, though.

# How has this program assisted or affected your everyday work?
It's undoubtedly opened me up to some of the new communication and productivity technologies that I didn't know about before. So far it has moved across my screen and desk too fast for me to consider seriously implementing much. I have been doing a blog for a few months, anyway, so that one was already familiar. I suspect I will use one of the photo/image storage sites as I get time to do some moving of files.

# What could we do differently to improve this program?
I wonder if we got a bit too much too fast. We had a lot of notions thrown at us but with only short times to think about how we would apply them practically. I suspect most of us did a quick practice exercise, but that isn't enough to ingrain it in our minds or our work.


# If another enrichment course of this nature were offered in the future, would you try to participate

Probably

September 25, 2008

"crotchety guy"

I certainly hope I don't turn into one of those! I cringe when I hear of those who have someone else do all their tech work, even some simple stuff!

Thanks for this course. It challenges some of us to expand a bit.

Chuck

September 22, 2008

research article with different view

In the recommended article on social networking, it was interesting to note the findings that differed from the Pew Institute's regarding the digital divide. I say that because it seems that lately the Pew Institute's findings have been widely quoted in a variety of fields as a final word when we have to remember they are one source, but not necessarily the final word.

Catching up & comments

I've been catching up on the work since I was out of town last week.

I sometimes wonder if we have too many options for connecting with people. Some people like blogs; some like social networks;some like wiki's; some like e-mail; some like the phone; some even like to talk to someone else face to face! When we have so many options available, how much do we risk missing people because we are all using different preferred methods? I don't think many of us want, or can spend the time, to check a lot of options on a regular basis.

I suppose some would be critical of my position, but I kind of like my cell phone that is still pretty basic to making phone calls!

September 8, 2008

Wiki additions

After looking at the disaster response wiki, I should probably post an entry related to building assessment following a weather incident. I have some excellent slides showing structural problems that are often hidden inside walls or behind other structural elements. It might make people think twice before investing too much in repairs that look minor from the outside, or from remodeling an existing building for a new function.

I suppose while I am at it, that full set of slides could go onto an on-llne picture storage site as well.

Guess I'd better get at it.

August 26, 2008

podcasts

So far I've found a limited number of podcasts that might be of interest.

As a dairy extension team we discussed developing and using podcasts, but talks with dairy producers have suggested it may not worth our time now. They aren't users themselves of the technology. The question then becomes, how do we determine when the audience is ready? Just putting it up because we can isn't always good use of our time resource.

August 19, 2008

feeds and images

The past couple units have been interesting and I see some options. The one thing that always concerns me is the number of different programs that may be feeding into my e-mail system that I need to sort out, and the continual need for user names and passwords to all the options available.

Suggestions??

August 7, 2008

It's nice to know someone is reading the blogs.

I sometimes wonder if anyone is out there reading my AgBuzz blog, but it was nice to have someone come up at the Goodhue County Fair yesterday and talk about reading my blog and appreciating the topics I've been addressing.

Somebody really is out there! We probably need to encourage more feedback, even if just short, quick comments.

August 4, 2008

CRS Blog - up and running

I started participating in a blog earlier this summer with AgBuzz.com. I find it a relatively easy way to put out some ideas and notes about my program work that is less formal than the typical news release. Until you get 'comments' back, however, you still have the question whether it is being read. Time will tell.

CRS Blog - up and running

I started participating in a blog earlier this summer with AgBuzz.com. I find it a relatively easy way to put out some ideas and notes about my program work that is less formal than the typical news release. Until you get 'comments' back, however, you still have the question whether it is being read. Time will tell.