Monthly Archives: May 2008

That’s just magic!


magic

Originally uploaded by tsheko

Here’s a visual search with a difference. Have some fun at http://amaztype.tha.jp/

The word you enter in the search box is created visually using books on that theme. Images are continuously generated so it’s a moving thing, but if you click on one of the books, you get information from Amazon about the book.  You can also do it for music. Well, it kept me amused for a while. Let me know what you think.

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#15 Is this Second Life?


imagine working at google

Originally uploaded by tsheko

I’ve watched the film Working for Google before and it made me blink in disbelief. Was I watching a science fiction film? Had I ended up in Second Life? Something definitely surreal about this… The fact that a workplace would provide employees things like on-site doctors, dentists, massage and yoga, day care, SHORELINE RUNNING TRAILS!, snacks, stock options, maternity and paternity leave, free lunch!! What’s the catch? Do you have to sell your soul to Google? Actually, if you look at ‘Top 10 reasons to work at Google’ some of the descriptions of the Google workplace could easily be mistaken for that of the school library. I’ve selected and slightly modified 3 points to apply to school libraries and staff:

1. With hundreds of visitors every month, the school library has become an essential part of everyday life – like a good friend – connecting people with the information they need to live great lives.

6.   Innovation is our bloodline. Even the best technology can be improved. We see endless opportunity to create even more relevant, more useful, and better products for our users. The school library is the information and communication technology leader in organizing the world’s information.

9.   Boldly go where no one has gone before. There are hundreds of challenges yet to solve. Your creative ideas matter here and are worth exploring. You’ll have the opportunity to develop innovative new products that millions of people will find useful.

What I’d really like to be able to say is that, like Googlers, library staff ‘range from former neurosurgeons, CEOs, and puzzle champions to alligator wrestlers and former-Marines’. That would be something. Alligator wrestlers in particular would come in handy when our boys come into the library at lunchtimes.

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iGoogle therefore i am #15

iGoogle page

Originally uploaded by tsheko

I’ve set my iGoogle page as my second homepage (first is school homepage) with an extra tab. I’m not blown away by iGoogle and I don’t know why because theoretically it should be great, but I suppose I’ll keep thinking about it.

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#14 Google book search


Little suck a thumb 2

Originally uploaded by daniel.schenzer

I thought I’d search an old German children’s book to test out Google Book Search. Can’t believe it, not only did I get a result, but also whole page images (which I couldn’t copy), extracts of popular passages and interesting background information. I still can’t believe this book – so violent and politically incorrect. It’s fascinating to see what was important for children of nineteenth century Germany. The author wrote and illustrated it in 1845 as a Christmas present for his 3 year old son. I’m not sure of the psychological damage done to this little boy as he pored over stories with gruesome consequences that befell children who tormented animals, played with matches, sucked their thumbs and refused to eat their soup. As you can see from the picture I’ve included about the boy who sucked his thumb, the illustrations spare no detail. Actually, it reminds me a little of Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons – not the moralising part, just the violence. I’m not sure what I thought of all this when I read it as a young girl. I must have realised that it wasn’t a realistic depiction of what would happen to me if I displayed any of this behaviour. Grimms’ fairy tales were no less gruesome. I think kids like that, actually. Look at older kids watching South Park.

The Google book search gives a synopsis, reviews, other editions, where to buy or borrow from a library, the option to add to your Google library or write a review. You can search genres within fiction and non-fiction.

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Filed under Children's books, Web 2.0

#13 Google maps

Google map Watsonia Donvale

Well, that’s one way of getting there. But it’s not the way I go. I suppose Google maps doesn’t have an innate knowledge of traffic. Doesn’t have a ‘backway’ route.

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The elephant and the balloon

I know that many people are kicking against this Web 2.0 learning curve. I’m not saying everyone, but I have spoken to several (more than 3) people who are finding this experience more pain than gain. Well, I just want to say , don’t give up! Once you pass a certain threshold, you suddenly get stuck into it, and you know what, you can’t stop.

Personally, I’m  finding  that I have an opportunity to learn which I feel is always a privilege. As a child I enjoyed learning at school, always something to look forward to. There was a time in my life (quite a prolonged time ) when I didn’t have the opportunity to learn as much as I was used to. I’d say that these were the years when my children were very young. Sure, I had to learn stuff, but you know what I mean, there was no time for me.

This program has given me the opportunity for exploration and creativity. I thrive on that. Without it, I’m not in a good state. As I read others’ blogs, the links in these, look at possibilities offered by Web 2.0 applications, I feel like I could do anything. Lately, I’ve decided I could write a children’s book. Do you ever think that? How hard could it be?  Well, here’s a YouTube video from the British comedy show Black Books that I think illustrates what would happen if I ever tried to write a children’s book.

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/mAM-ceTC1io" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

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#12 Google docs


Some Questions Can’t Be Answered by Google

Originally uploaded by Mykl Roventine

The unmistakable beauty of Google Docs is that they can be saved and accessed on any computer. It seems that all good things are free-floating. We’re no longer anchored to one harbour. That goes for del.icio.us, furl, librarything and others I can’t think of at the moment.
I played with a google doc, created a folder, was able to see ‘all revisions’ made and how long ago, compared different versions of the document. The ‘sharing’ aspect is cool. This is the meat in the Web 2.0 sandwich, the networking aspect. I had the option to invite people either as collaborators or as viewers. I could even give my ‘collaborators’ permission to invite other collaborators. A socialnetworking army! I feel so powerful!
Lastly, you get the option of saving the document in different formats: html, open document (what the…), pdf, rtf (what the…), text, word – have a look for yourself.
Zohowriter was similar, and enabled me to save folders as tags, ensuring easier location and access. Inserting images is apparently easy, and you can post it to your blog. You can also make a draft post. The ‘add comments’ feature is useful for teacher/student interaction.

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