October 16, 2008

Wrapping up-final words

I'm a firm believer in exploring new web stuff, but only retaining those things which really work for me. I'm always amazed at all the neat free tools that are available right now and I keep finding new ones, but I find it necessary to really winnow through things.

In many ways this course has followed my approach...explore all this stuff and reflect on whether it has a place in your work/life. I was forced to explore some things I was reluctant to check out like Twitter, and, although I decided it wasn't for me, I'm happy I dug into it. There are certainly other tools I explored which I will put to use, including slide show.

Right now my tact is to incorporate other tools into the online stuff I already know. For example, I'm a big fan of Google products and before I take on something completely new, I'm going to make sure I'm integrating all the tools already available to me that I already use. For example, putting together a Google Site, I have the opportunity to bring in things like Google Maps, Docs, Analytics, Slideshow, and Video. It's amazing the free space a person can get and all the software available for free. If we can do this well, I can think of many applications in community work all across my region, but I don't want to go there until I get better myself.

October 13, 2008

Web conferencing

The community economics team uses UMconnect a fair amount and I think it works pretty good. We use it mainly to share documents, organize the meeting through the chat, and to efficiently take minutes in the notes pod. I've set up a room once for the group, but I wouldn't call myself proficient at UM connect yet. I figure it will just take a little more practice.

I did just set up a mock room and tried a few things I haven't done before. I found setting up a poll pretty easy...might use that in the future. Right now we just have people chime in using "my status" with the thumbs up or down to vote. We've never used the whiteboard, but it does seem pretty messy. I'd only use it if I had to draw a picture.

September 25, 2008


Sorry be getting more and more negative as the course moves on, but I wouldn't tough IMing with a ten-foot pole. The best suggestions I saw in the materials would be that IM can be beneficial in creating camaraderie with an online course. I can see that. I can't think of any application in what I do now.

Personally I already feel fairly disconnected from my immediate collegues as it is...I think IM would just make things even more impersonal. My big thing, however, is working to channel energy into priority work. To do this, I've actually started checking e-mail for the first time at noon to allow for an entire morning working on a project uninterrupted. I've also taken off that new e-mail alert function. Too often I feel I get pulled into somebody else's emergency and IM could be deadly in that regard. I'm keeping my distance. Others have called me a digital native, but this is one place where I'm a real caveman...Let's just use phones.

Social Networking Applications

I'm a Facebook user and I like it. I have a good time finding people I've been out of touch with. I firmly believe, against the admonishment of some, that spending time on social network sites builds relationships with real people. I connect with more people through Facebook...it hasn't made me a lonely geek with zero social skills. Anyway...my soapbox.

Still, I have a hard time really seeing an application of social networking sites like Facebook to my professional work. I'm just not there yet. I just see them at this time as purely "social" tools and I'd rather not mix the two.

September 22, 2008

What are worthwhile production tools?

Boy, there are just so many of these little online tools out there...it's hard to even remember their names, much less their use. Anyway, I am a big fan of a number of these tools from google and i'm always on the outlook for others. After exploring the options given, I found slideshow most appealing since I do a number of ppts and I can see uploading particular presetations I did for particular groups and giving out a link instead of attaching a heavy file to share. Also I'm guessing this could integrate with a blog somehow so you could put information in a ppt format and have it accessed directly by visitors instead of navigating away. For my work, with one program I've been doing a while in multiple communities, it may be cool to set up a blog with content like this, so communities can learn from one another...maybe a way to keep ourselves engaged too.

Wikis in my work

A lot of the wikis which were linked were geared towards public consumption. So far, I've used wikis simply to help organize a workgroup. I've used pbwiki a few times and have just started a google site, which seems like a wiki, although it's not called that. I do like that you can designate editors instead of pushing everybody into being editors or leaving it completely "wild west." I've certainly run across some wikis where everybody was an editor and it becomes a big junkpile online. So far the wikis I've created have worked great, mainly because the format in pbwiki makes for a clean format and people can navigate it well.

August 26, 2008


I did some searching around for podcasts and found a few good ones about shopping at farmers markets. Seems like the pros are the best at podcasting with professional channels and such like Bon Appetit. I also re-found a neat podcast done in a barn in Ohio that I had listened to a few times before. It still makes me wonder if audio hasn't been completely overtake by video, however. I can't imagine people downloading to an ipod to listen later...most visit these sites when at a computer, so why not upload video...it's not that exciting watching a playback icon when staring at a screen.

Playing with Flickr

The thing I really like about flickr is the ease of embedding html into a page or blog. I've considered doing some video on my blog, but it's about finding a hosting source I'm comfortable with and figuring out how to link or embed to my blog.

This is a photo I dig...my wife and I are putting up a farm stand soon and I'm obsessed with the "look" of a stand:

RSS feeds

For me being a google fan, I decided to use google reader instead of bloglines. It was very easy to set up, especially because I have a google account and am familiar with adding other google tools.

After doing this about a week and a half ago, I have only now check on my google reader, only because I typically don't follow others blogs. If I did, I'm sure I'd use Reader, especially if I set up igoogle as my home page and accessed each day.

Overall I'm not a fan of readers since I am already overwhelmed with information and content.

August 7, 2008

What I hope to get from course

I'm really here for the MP3 player...just kidding.

Actually I've done a lot of fiddling around with web 2.0 stuff (blogs, wikis, social networks), but I thought I'd be good to get an more complete overview so I can pick up on a couple new things.