#23 – Grand Finale

Well, I hate to say it, but I did find a surprising amount of utility from the Ocean County Library’s Web 2.0 Challenge. Whether keeping up with my LibraryThing, contributing more actively to wikis, or even browsing the Web 2.0 awards for new applications, I have this challenge to thank for it. I may even start keeping a blog of my own.

What I didn’t like is how all this terminology is backward-thinking already, it’s hard to move forward when we’re already looking behind us. This exercise was great to help the uninitiated, but if we’re looking to be cutting-edge, we have to go much farther and delve much deeper.

For those of you interested in the song quotes I’ve placed at the bottom of every post, her are the corresponding artists and songs:

The Mountain Goats – Family Happiness
Los Campesinos! – Don’t Tell Me to do the Maths
Silver Jews – Random Rules
Television – Marquee Moon
King Khan and His Shrines – (How Can I Keep You) Outta Harm’s Way
The Pixies – Manta Ray
Built to Spill – Car
Dirty Projectors – Rise Above (also Black Flag – Rise Above would work)
T. Rex – Spaceball Ricochet
Saloon – Shoot the Singer
The Hold Steady – Stuck Between Stations
Pavement – Frontwards
Wolf Parade – Dear Sons and Daughters of Hungry Ghosts
Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives – I Get By
Cut Copy – Nobody Lost, Nobody Found
Sunset Rubdown – The Taming of the Hands That Came Back to Life
The Replacements – I Will Dare
Pulp – Common People
Okkervil River – Black
The Pogues – The Recruiting Sergeant

and for the final post below: Lucky Soul – One Kiss Don’t Make a Summer

The only thing that ain’t blue is the sky, ’round here

#22 – The Listening Wind

ListenNJ is a great resource for those of you who love audio books.

Me? Can’t stand them, but I would recommend this to anyone appropriate.

This is an important step towards the idea of the “virtual library,” the idea(l) that one can get their library fix from anywhere at anytime, and not be restricted by our brick and mortar chains.

I mentioned in an earlier post how eReaders won’t be popular until their screens don’t have the harshness of a computer monitor, and instead give the softer feel of paper to look at. Ok, so I really said that they won’t become popular until they’re pre-loaded on our mobile devices, but this is an important point to!

I bring this point up because in the interim between posts, I was made aware of amazon.com’s Kindle. While $400 is a downright ludicrous price to sell it at, this is the exact step that needs to be taken.

Come rain or hail or wind or snow
I’m not going out to Flanders oh
There’s fighting in Dublin to be done
Let your sergeants and your commanders go
Let Englishmen fight English wars
It’s nearly time they started oh
I saluted the sergeant a very good night
And there and then we parted oh

#21 – Anybody with a Microphone

I can’t really be against podcasts. I know, I know, my fans are probably disappointed: “Surely Pat can find some minor foible to harp on.” The truth of the matter is…. I can, but it’s like criticizing Google for finding a copious amounts of worthless web pages. Poor podcasts are like poor web pages: weakly executed and devoid of content. Since I came to the realization some years ago that more than 75% of the internet can be ignored for various reasons (i.e.: factually inaccurate, abandoned web sites, biased opinions, lascivious pages of ill repute, etc.), I take the internet-at-large with a grain of salt. That’s why I can accept podcasts as they are, because they aren’t trying to be anything more than the internet.

Podcasts aren’t innovation, per se, they are an audio extension of what is generally a visual medium.

Sifting through the wretched refuse of the general mass of these is too great a task for me this day, but luckily I’ve got a backup. I’m an occasional listener of the Penny Arcade podcast (I’d provide a link, but the language they use probably makes this NSFW), which is two guys who draw a comic strip on the web. Their comic, and really all their content, stems from the hobby of video games, something I grew up with and, being of similar age, had a very similar experience of with the creators. Their acerbic wit, individual psychoses, and general attitude keeps the listening absorbing.

Don’t you realize that I wouldn’t pause,
that I would cut him down with my claws
if I could have somehow never let that happen?

#20 – The paragon of civilization

Ah, youtube, bastion of street fights and fire melons; of parkour and grievous injuries. The other week I was visiting a friend’s apartment and witnessed several children beating another with cardboard tubes and empty 2-liter soda bottles while filming.

This is our culture.

Well, I guess it’s not that bad. While home to some seriously mind-numbing insipid content, youtube is also a vast repository for anything recorded. While a lot of copyrighted material won’t be on there if anyone can make money off of it, the sheer breadth of material is staggering.

The video I’m posting is British, very British. Originally aired on BBC as a satire of educational films of the 70s and 80s, each episode is about ten minutes long. The humor in it is very dry and absurd, so if that’s not your thing, you might not quite enjoy it, but then you would be no friend of mine.

I wanna live like common people

#19 – Award Winning

Well, here’s an entry that I can’t just completely decry the exercise, you guys are asking me to actually find something I like. Sigh

But seriously, I’ve been a user of Last.fm for a couple months now, and I’m a big fan of its properties and interface. For those of you unaware Last.fm is a site that records the titles and artists of the music you listen to on whatever media player you use.

It takes this data and creates charts to show your favorite artist, track, etc., and then takes this data to compare to other users. When the results get back, it also creates charts of recommendations for you, based on other people having similar music tastes. Not only all of this, but it also allows for the listening of thousands of music tracks, in case you want to try some of these recommendations out before you buy. They even go as far as spawning personalized radio stations that allow you to listen to collections of your favorite music, or that of your recommendations.

To retrieve the data, all you have to do is download a small utility that runs in your background. The only trick is if there’s any reason for you to turn this off, you just have to remember to turn it back on. I forgot for about two weeks, so the results I’ll show you aren’t as complete as I’d like. For those interested, my Last.fm page can be located here.

Content Aggregation and Management? C’mon people, you could’ve figured this out on your own. These are sites and tools that are focused on getting data and organizing it. Most of the featured sites’ main facets are spreadsheet programs. The first place Wufoo seems a lot more complete, allowing users to create whatever forms they want for collecting information.

If you will dare, I will dare

#18 – Decentralizing the Office(tm)

Collaborative work has long been a staple of good offices. Too many cooks might spoil the pot, but having more than one avoids oversights, errors, and greatly expands the pool of ideas. Google Docs and Zoho both facilitate this by providing office applications hosted on the internet, this way workers can use and edit the same document without having to pass around a physical copy or send edits via email – a time saver on both counts.

My only real criticisms for all of this are points that would not prevent me from utilizing them: it is perpetually in development software, which can lead to the public using buggy programs; and I’ve heard hearsay stories of documents simply getting lost and other horror stories, but these are few and far between.

She said, “My sails are flapping in the wind.”
I said, “Can I use that in a song?”
She said, “I mean the end begins.”
I said, “I know.
Can I use that too?”

#17 – Building sandcastles in spite of the waves

Altogether, contributing to the wiki was a pleasant experience.

Option-wise, you don’t have many customization choices for your own posts, but I really view this as a godsend. This way, people aren’t going too crazy with their fonts and images and ruining the simplicity of the wiki. There may not be many aesthetic options, but when looking at a wiki page, you’re looking for that familiar format so that you can parse through the page’s information as quickly as possible.

Walking through a paper town
Counting all the reasons to burn the others down