02 December 2007

Google Docs and iGoogle

I uploaded a presentation slide show which I made years ago for my course to Google Docs today. It's quite a useful tool, especially for storing stuff remotely. It worked fine even with a ppt. presentation I cobbled together in Windows 98. Very easy to use. I then sent it to a few friends who are also doing the 23 things project, just to see if this was easy. It seemed to work fine.
Earlier today, I spent some screentanning time customising my iGoogle page, which was moderately entertaining. I selected something called 'spider' and now there is a very lifelike spider crawling around on my page. Perhaps this will help tone down my arachnaphobia...
For friends outside work who check my blog, sorry, there might be a few posts in a row to do with what I'm doing in Library 2.0/23 things stuff as I hurry to finish my set tasks for the project. Sorry if there is less cultural stuff/reviews for the next week or two.
Does anyone else feel like they are in a big ad for Google this week?....

30 November 2007

Book Search

I had a look at Google Book Search today. It was pretty interesting. I tried searching for a couple of obscure and hard to get books which took me ages to find when I wanted to buy a copy years ago. One was The sexual politics of meat which convinced me to be a vegetarian for about 7 years. Maybe I should read it again. The other was the weirdest book I ever read, Nothing in this book is true but it's exactly how things are. This has a great meditation at the end of the book which always made me feel fantastic afterwards. With the first book, I notice the text starts at page 12 so it's not complete. With the second book, they tell you some pages have been omitted as well. It's enough to get a fair idea of what the book is about though. I like the 'find this book in a library' link. Since my friends had an intervention with me about excessive book buying about 10 years ago during which I was encouraged to get a job in a library (hey presto!), I have bought very few books. The whole selection of links to places where you can buy the book you are looking at is inevitable I guess, but if I was going to buy the book online, my first choice would probably be Amazon still. Maybe that will change. Book Search is a reasonably good tool, although there are less reviews than on Amazon but maybe that's because it hasn't been around as long. As for reading the book on screen, that's never going to happen - my eyes are already packing up.
On the topic of reading books onscreen, I heard about the new Amazon product Kindle the other day, a hand-held device for reading whole books on screen. I'll be interested to see if this takes off, how much, and what the demographics are on who gets really into it.

21 November 2007

Google Maps

A while ago I had a look at Google Earth
It was great fun: I could see my house with the car in the drive and I had a look at the Pyramids of Giza, Paris, the Grand Canyon, the top of Everest and other amazing places. I could also see my local swimming pool, which was somehow more exciting. I have found Google Maps
really useful too, especially the hybrid map/satellite function. It's useful for linking directions when I invite people over to my house and for working out the best way to get to places. Mostly its just fun to look at my neighbourhood or places I used to live. Google Sky is also amazing - I took a tour of nebulas the other day and was absolutely captivated. Hours of fun!

15 November 2007

Searching for and subscribing to other blogs

Today I had a go at Google Blog Search and subscribed to some blogs about libraries, about knitting, and also to some friends' blogs. I found this quite a handy tool and after getting over my initial shock about the number of feeds coming in to my Google Reader, I think I will be able to adjust my feeds down to a manageable level. It all kind of requires one to check the reader every single day, which assumes I want to be this on top of news all the time. I don't think I can adjust my life to fit the technology, so I will experiment with ways it can be a useful tool for me, rather than another information pressure.
I am really enjoying the whole 23 things experience, though, and it has got me thinking about how to use technology in ways that enhance my quality of life, rather than load it down. Was this what it was like when TV went on the market, or mass printing? Did people go o my god, I can't keep up? Maybe they just gave up and called it a tool of the devil because the new ways of receiving information made them feel vulnerable and overwhelmed.
I am a bit behind with my tasks for 23 things and have decided to just keep going at my own pace and eventually catch up.

10 November 2007

Feed reader

I've just been getting a screen tan looking at Google Reader in the middle of the night. I am feeling pasty and vague from the thousands of pieces of information. Although a feed reader is a great way to keep track of all my favourite blogs in one place, having subscribed to a bunch of stuff, there were thousands of items. Digg.com is a little overwhelming but I found out some interesting stuff, particularly about Facebook , which I've been enjoying using for about two months. Apparently, there is a whole bunch of new advertising and information gathering getting in on the act, which is disappointing. For some tips, go here. So with regard to Google Reader I think it is useful for keeping up with a few blogs and sites but information overload if I keep subscribing to as many as I have.

08 November 2007

Commenting on other people's blogs

As part of our library's 23 things project, one of the things we were asked to do after making our own blogs was to comment on each other's blogs. I have been doing a lot of this but forgot to mention it here. Commenting on each other's blogs has been a great way to share common interests as well as to help each other out with the technical side of the project. I've really enjoyed the room to give and receive feedback between colleagues.

I've been on holiday the last three weeks but managed to set up Google Reader and subscribe to digg.com
I've yet to explore these much but will report back when I have.

25 October 2007

The film I saw tonight

Tonight I went to see John Pilger's The War on Democracy. It was an incredibly powerful film and I was at times shocked, outraged, and moved to tears as the histories of the rise and fall of governments in Central and South America were portrayed through interviews, archival footage and John Pilger's narrative. What struck me most was the human cost of the U.S.'s involvement in political coups, dictatorships and corrupt governments throughout these regions. The first-hand accounts of human rights abuses including torture were horrifying.
At other moments ironic laugher broke out in the cinema as John Pilger responded to insane arguments from ex-CIA agents with a raised eyebrow and a classic "yeah right".
The line that wins the prize for the most original and disturbing piece of denial I have ever heard has to be that from a (Chilean?) woman who stated words to the effect of "Of course our government didn't torture people - why would you torture people when you can kill them?"
I am going to do some book-learnin' on the history of Central and South America. This is something I know very little about and need to know more about.
Also, now I'm on holidays and have to time to think, it's time I joined Amnesty International now that I'm all grown up and have a job.

14 October 2007


08 October 2007

Image generators

Last week for the 23 things project we were invited to use an image generator. I went with the first suggestion and simpsonized myself. Here is the result:

I don't know how I feel about this look but it was kind of fun.

I'll try some other image generators soon.

If you want to simpsonize yourself, go here.

04 October 2007

Climate change

Here is getup's answer to the government's climate change campaign.

To join getup, go here.

28 September 2007


Today for the 23 things project I put some photos in Flickr. I had to join a group too. Seeing as I had only put 3 photos and one of them was of my cat and there are about a squillion groups for photos of cats, I chose a group for my photo of a dead flower - yes there are groups for people who like photos of dead flowers. Who knew?
You can see my photo of a dead iris in the Flickr group Dead or dried flora
How exciting.

27 September 2007

Search engines with a difference

I was talking to a friend about different search engines and remembered this one.
It's Google but designed as the bottom of a Macca's bag. Your results come up as icons for fries.
Works the same as usual.
And another is the same guy's version of Amazon, called Flamazon. Try it out.
Does anyone know of any other interesting search engine designs?

25 September 2007

More music

The Devil Goat Family String Band where wonderful on Thursday with their own special renditions of some classic favourites.

Then on Sunday I headed off to the Hi-Vibes Festival in Northcote. Beautiful weather and plenty to see and hear.
The highlight had to be the second of three sets played by the hardest working band in Northcote, The Band Who Knew Too Much, at the Town Hall.
A couple of really happy guys started dancing, then some kids started dancing. Soon there were about 50 people dancing. This band is wonderful. Guaranteed to create an exhuberant atmosphere wherever they are.

20 September 2007


Loving music again this week.
Think I'll go see a friend play tonight.
The band is called The Devil Goat Family String Band.

Check out their myspace page at:


for some rockin' bluegrass delight.

19 September 2007

Speaking of Laurie Anderson

She's coming to Melbourne for the Arts Festival to perform her work Homeland and also giving a talk.
Her web page sounds beautiful:

and her myspace page is pretty wonderful too:

What an incredible artist.

Word #1

meme (mēm) Pronunciation Key
n. A unit of cultural information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that is transmitted verbally or by repeated action from one mind to another.

[Shortening (modeled on gene) of mimeme, from Greek mimēma, something imitated, from mimeisthai, to imitate; see mimesis.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2004. 18 Sep. 2007. http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/meme>.

What a useful word.

"Language - it's a virus' Laurie Anderson.

14 September 2007

Strange loops and 23 things

Today is the first day of my work on 23 things and it is really hard to think of a name for a new thing. So this is my strange loops blog and my first task was to swim in the Sea of Memes and find a title.
I'm having fun and have lots of ideas.
Welcome to my blog.