Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Thing #69: RSS After Google Reader

Another month, another Thing. This time it's finding an alternative to Google Reader, or just plain finding an RSS feed "reader." (Anything in quotes is new terminology for me.) Once upon a time, I figured out how to add RSS feeds to my Internet Explorer browser window. But I have to go to a drop down list and pick just one source, which isn't so bad because I can skip the ones I'm not interested in at the time. But I keep hearing about the loss of Google Reader, and I'm getting to the point where I think I need to be a better consumer of news and current events. So, I'm ready. I'm ready for a reader. And I decided to try Feedly.

Why Feedly? Because:
  1. It was among the 10 in the Thing-recommended article 10 Google Reader Alternatives That Will Ease Your RSS Pain;
  2. In the comments to the aforementioned article, many individuals praised and lauded Feedly;
  3. The video tutorial was embedded right there in the Thing write-up.
What happened when I followed the link from Thing #69 to Feedly? Nothing! I'm an Internet Explorer user, out of habit, I guess. Since I have had issues with some websites before, and since it was suggested I try out Firefox, I gave it a whirl, and voila! There it is, Feedly.

Time to log in. What? I need to have a Google account? Is Google playing nice with Feedly? I'm so confused. I wasn't even trying to export Google Reader feeds to Feedly. Why must I use a Google account? Oh, well, it's not that important for me to know why, I just need to jump through the hoop to get to Feedly, and it's one less username and password I have to remember. That's fine with me. I didn't finish watching the tutorial, by the way. I was just curious if the host had to log in using Google and I stopped there.

Now, off to my blank slate. What to add? Off the top of my head: local and state news, New York Times bestsellers. A little bit later, I realized this Thing had come to my attention via the NCompass Blog feed on the main page of the NLC site, so I added NCompass Blog. These I searched for by name. The Omaha World-Herald had several entries, so I guessed and picked one with the most "subscribers."

Now, off to my drop down list. Hmm, what to move over... I decided to try Pew Internet. I went to the website, and then entered http://www.pewinternet.org/ in the search bar on Feedly. Oops. No feeds found. Oh... I need the feed URL, I bet. My bread crumbs: http://www.pewinternet.org/ --> I see SUBSCRIBE in the upper right of the main page, so http://www.pewinternet.org/Subscribe.aspx --> Next, I click on Subscribe by RSS and go to http://www.pewinternet.org/Subscribe-by-RSS.aspx --> I select Reports, and come to http://www.pewinternet.org/RssFeed.aspx?feed=reports. Now, I enter THIS in the search bar in Feedly. It worked!

Along the way, I created some categories of my own: Nebraska news, books, library. Enough to get me started.

Okay, now to the important part. Getting Feedly on my iPhone 4s. I search "Feedly" in iTunes and all that comes up are podcasts. I somehow remember that on the Feedly website, there was an icon and link to download Feedly to my iOS device. So, I go to the website and click on the link. It pops up right away in iTunes and I install it.

Next up, go to the app and log in. Yes, I do need to re-enter my Google username and password. When I then accept the terms, this pops up:

Multiple attempts yield the same result. Here's my emoticon in reaction to the unhappy cloud face :-/

I'm off to other things, other work, so will now wrap up this post. If I have time, I'll come back and post an update as to what happens next on the iPhone.

Back to Firefox. I'm pretty pleased with some of the features of browsing items. "Today" looks like it's organized by my subjects, and then oldest to newest entries. "All" and my subjects list the items, it looks like they are grouped by source and then most recent to oldest entries. I can change how I view the entries (layout) toward the top of the page. I prefer the second layout, with pictures to the left and a short blurb to the right. I'll try that for awhile.

Time will tell how often I use Feedly. If I make the effort to open the app (once it starts to work) or open up Firefox (only to use Feedly and a couple of other sites, most likely, unless I become a Firefox convert), and make it a habit, perhaps I will become a more well-read individual and more in tune with current events and subjects of interest to me. Perhaps I'll be inspired to blog more.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Thing #65: Animate It

I'm hooked on Things. When this month's Nebraska Learns 2.0 Thing was announced, Thing #65: Animate It, I was all over it. Why? First, I had a great idea and wanted to try it out. Two, I realized with my last Thing, that it must be completed in the month it's offered to receive C.E. credit (yes, the incentive helped).

Gathering footage: Picking my subject wasn’t hard. I had just seen a stop-gap animation of books dancing on a shelf recently on Facebook. It took less than five minutes to take the pictures of my subject on my iPhone. It was a challenge to get them to my computer without emailing each one individually, so I posted them all together to Facebook in an album. They did get somewhat out of order. I saved them from Facebook in the order I wanted, “01,” “02,” “03,” etc., for easy uploading to WeGIF.

Working in WeGIF: Since I had numbered my files in the order I wanted them to be shown, uploading them was easy. I didn’t change any of the settings (frame speed, image effects) because I liked what I saw in the preview. All I had to do was set a title (Book Club Kit Shuffle) and caption (which you don’t see in the three-inch version on WeGIF), "Featuring The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, with 9 copies available in a book club kit from the Nebraska Library Commission." --These kits can be checked out by the librarians of Nebraska libraries and Media Centers.-- It was a bit hard to sit and be patient while the video was publishing. I thought I had done something wrong, then called tech support, i.e., Michael Sauers, who reassured me I could log out of my account and come back to it later and it would work its magic. I couldn’t log out while the loading popup window was open, so I x-ed out of the browser window. When I logged back in (after typing some of this up), the video was uploaded. So, users might try x-ing out and going right back in to see if that does the trick. Or, you might try working in another browser (I was using IE).

Sharing: I went back in to my account, saw I had 1 wegifs (argh, a single number attached to a plural noun), which opened my album of one video. I clicked on the video which took me to the page specific to that image. From there, I clicked Send to post it on my Facebook wall (tagged myself and Mr. Sauers). But when I went to my own Facebook wall, nothing was there. What it did was send it in a message. Aha. So I went back and Liked the image, and then I could make a comment and post it on my Facebook wall. Mission accomplished. Well, except… I checked on my feed, and the preview was fine, but when I clicked the small version for it to expand and play, there was a blank square. Feedback from friends indicated the same issue. I tried from the post in Facebook in Firebox. Drew a blank. Tried it on my phone. Took me to the page, but the video didn’t load. Back to IE, I had to follow the text link to take me to the video. Then, it worked like a charm. So, then, to get a short enough URL that would show up okay in Facebook, I went into the html code and grabbed my link. And that’s what I’ve been using since then.

A couple of hiccups I encountered along the way: I tried to log in with my Twitter account. I got an HTTP 500 Internal Server Error. So I created a personal WeGIF account (I do get tired of creating accounts for every little thing. Such a pain to remember usernames and passwords). Later, I logged out of WeGIF, signed in to my Twitter account, went back to WeGIF, and chose the Sign in with Twitter option, and it recognized I was a Twitter user and let me in instantly. Guess I didn’t have to create a personal account after all (ah, well). The other hiccup – once you create a personal account, you go to your email and verify your account. Well, I clicked on the link, and it took me to a Page Not Found 404 error. I clicked on Home and was in anyway. Just a couple of things that might be turn-offs to more hesitant tech newbies or those easily frustrated when glitches occur.

Uses of WeGIF: My goal was to highlight something in the Nebraska Library Commission collection. Librarians could do the same. From start to finish, the 3-step process I described above took about 50 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, it could take 15. Think of the outreach possibilities: posting videos on Facebook, on your website, in email blasts. Include a hook. Mine was: “Just needs a song to accompany it. Ideas, anyone?” Not only will the viewers watch the image (message received and processed), if given the opportunity, they’ll weigh in (feedback and engagement). That’s my idea of outreach.

And now, what you've all been waiting for...

Book Club Kit Shuffle, featuring The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, with 9 copies available in a book club kit from the Nebraska Library Commission, by k_brockmeier on WeGIF

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Thing #58: Tell Your Library Story with Infographics

Well, it's been a while since I posted to this blog. And even longer since I completed a Thing via Nebraska Learns 2.0.

I had been itching to try my hand at an infographic, so I thought I'd give it a whirl and complete Thing #58: Tell Your Library Story with Infographics while I was at it.

As the admin of the Facebook page Nebraska Librarians Learning Together, it's my job to post interesting and engaging content and to track the interaction on the page. The Facebook Insights from the page are the inspiration for today's infographic.

I went with visual.ly and created an account to use the online program. I then selected the Facebook Insights "template." This required me approving the visual.ly Facebook app. Here's the result (and see below it for my reactions):

So, how did visual.ly perform? Poorly (not at all), at first. I couldn't get the list of pages I admin to load. Remembering I was in Internet Explorer, I opened up the program in Firefox and didn't run into that snag.

What's great about this infographic? It shows the demographic profile of the page fans and demonstrates how the content is performing. However, there is one area of the infographic that's not completed (map of storytellers, breakout by gender, and possible names or other profile data about the "most likely" storytellers), and I'm not sure why, but I certainly can't use this infographic in an official report when there's missing data.

One thing about infographics that stands out to me: they're meant for online viewing. I guess I could put this on an 8.5" x 14" document, but who reads on that size paper anymore? If I shrink the length to fit 8.5" x 11", the print will probably be too small to read. It would be nice to be able to format the infographic to different dimensions for different kinds of use. Please note: I was unable to embed the html into this blog post because it was wider than the width of this blog post space (demonstration of this is at the end of this post),

All in all, visual.ly is a good program, easy to use once you find the right internet browser. I look forward to trying out the different templates given the various data I work with on a day-to-day basis.

The html-embedded infographic (See? It overflows to the right because of the width of my blogging space):

create infographics with visual.ly

Friday, August 10, 2012

From library user in his youth to world-reknown astronomer: Carl Sagan

At age 5, Sagan began frequenting the New York Public Library to browse books that could give him a better understanding of the stars. -- Mashable, 8/9/12

Props to Mashable for mentioning that Carl Sagan was a library user in its August 9, 2012, post See Carl Sagan’s Childhood Vision of Space Exploration. See Sagan's reading list.

Who Was Carl Sagan?

Friday, May 11, 2012

Thing 1: Blogs and blogging (cpd23)

There's a point in time where you just gotta take the plunge. I took the plunge in November 2009 and joined the Nebraska Learns 2.0 initiative. I completed 23 Things, and the process was very rewarding. I blogged on each Thing--you are welcome to go back and read my posts.

Nebraska Learns 2.0 is still going strong. And, now that I work at the hosting organization, I keep up with what's new but, alas, don't take time to complete the Things.

At this point, I've worked in a public library for 3 years and now a state library commission for 3.5 years. I'm halfway through my master's program in LIS. It's time to look forward and take steps to become more professional. 23 Things for Professional Development will help me do that.
What's fun for me is completing the tasks alongside others on the same path (example: TraceeTee). I know of several classmates who are participating. We'll be supportive of each other and celebrate the others' successes. That's how I best learn.

And, so, I humbly submit my assignment for Thing 1: Blogs and blogging.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Hi, again!

It's been awhile since I posted. Actually, pretty much since I finished up Nebraska Learns 2.0. But I hope to be back at it on a regular basis to share what I'm learning as a library science student and as a professional.

Monday, May 18, 2009

What do teens think about...?

Good post today on dana boyd's Apophenia blog. Answers Twitterers' (Tweeters'?) suggestions for what to ask teens about their usage of SNS (social network services) such as Facebook. Also delves into teens' perceptions of knowledge acquisition practices. I found this post insightful.