Thursday, August 30, 2007

Things What Go to Eleven

More fun as I try to find a theme for this blog.

Unless you haven't, you've seen the clip. Nigel Tufnel and Martin DiBergi looking at the control panel of an amplifier. All of the dials go from 1 to 11 instead of the usual 1 to 10. Nigel explains how it works.

NIGEL: ...all the way up. You’re on ten on your guitar...where can you go from where? Where?
MARTY: I don’t know....
NIGEL: Nowhere. Exactly. What we do is if we need that extra... push over the know what we do?
MARTY: Put it up to eleven.
NIGEL: Eleven. Exactly. One louder.
MARTY: Why don’t you just make ten louder and make ten be the top... number... and make that a little louder?
NIGEL: These go to eleven.
[Transcribed from the movie, This Is Spinal Tap]

Pure hilarity. Perhaps I could have a blog dedicated to things that have that extra push over the cliff. Things which are one louder. Things that go to eleven.

For example, Izzy Stradlin's album, "117 Degrees". Like all of Stradlin's albums, 117 Degrees rocks. That would be a great place to start on a blog going to eleven. (I know, I could have started with This is Spinal Tap, but that would have been too obvious.)

I know what you're thinking. "Mark, you're basically stealing from Tap." But you're wrong. I'm actually stealing from Jump The Shark. I borrowed from Tap to steal from Shark.

Okay, I'm stealing from both. I could make it a hat trick by stealing from Izzy and calling it "Things What Go to 117." I'll keep that idea in mind.


Get to share things over a cliff, things going to 11, and things going to 117
Free advertising for folks who contribute to society


That whole stealing thing.
I run the risk of over popularizing things, which makes them totally not go to 11
It may further dilute the cleverness of the original joke.

And have a good day.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Libraries 2.0 week 8: Social OPACs

This week's adventures take us to a world called Folksonomy.

I checked 3 OPACs: LibraryThing, LibraryThing for Libraries (Danbury Library), and Endeca (North Carolina State University).

We'll just skip right over Endeca because I had trouble seeing how it was a Social OPAC. I couldn't find tags anywhere.

Danbury Library was a bit better. It appeared to me that you could only search with tags by going to a record with tags and clicking on one from there. But this gave me a good example of a flaw of folksonomy. The book Patton had tags, but no one thought to include the tag "Patton," thus any tag search for Patton would have missed the book Patton. And, of course, that's only including the books people have thought to tag. Unpopular books would become even more unpopular as they would be ignored by a search engine (I hope I'm using that term correctly.) But Danbury Library demonstrated a good mix of traditional cataloging and folksonomy, as both are valuable.

LibraryThing was a hoot. It's a little too personalized. People would placing "Read in 2006," "Read in 2007," "read," "unread," etc. as tags, but no traditional cataloging (unless you count the library-types in who sneaked in and used library terms as tags). I'd be too worried to miss something using this. At least with Danbury Library, I could start on tags and run to a librarian as a backup plan. (I strongly encourage going to a librarian near the beginning of the process, for best results.)

Of the three, I like Danbury Library's the best. It gave the best of both worlds and gave me the options to use as I see fit.

And have a good day.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


The continuing saga of trying to find focus for this blog.

We've all seen the articles about the recent research. You know, the 5- and 10-year studies on the effects of walking into a bar with a priest, a Packer fan, and/or a Clinton. Unfortunately, by the time we read it, it is old news. There's no drama, no personal investment, no daily updates on the Today Show. It's like finding out the score to a baseball game before you watch it. It's just no fun.

I could try something different. Near real-time research information posted on the blog called Weblog research or "WeSearch." As all the data come in, I would post the results on the blog. Readers could keep score at home or try to solve or predict the results. Readers could comment on why a certain data set differed so much from other data sets. And it's always good to have a second (third, fourth, etc.) pair of eyes checking the math. Las Vegas could get involved--placing odds on results--but we'd need to make sure gamblers didn't fix any results. The final publication would be like the highlight video in the sports world--nostalgic as well as informative.


New interest in science and the scientific method

Millions of eyes checking for errors before publication of study begins

I get royalties when the term WeSearch is used

Researchers (me) may start receiving insane celebrity salaries


Internet publicity could bring influenced results

Anyone could write the published paper and steal my credit

Sensitive information published on the web could be labelled inappropriate

With many readers commenting, author lists could be a nightmare

And have a good day.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Libraries 2.0 week 7: social bookmarking

For this week's assignment, we toured around (Sorry, I forgot to check for a background on the name peculiarities.)

I would like to pass a word of advice on to anyone planning to create a account: do it BEFORE you start exploring I explored first and then created an account. While exploring I found a few links to add to my account. Since my account didn't exist, the links are lost for the ages. Anyway, food for thought.

During week 6, I had a conversation with a fellow blogger on his blog about privacy issues. He and I were concerned about privacy and security issues with having personal information accumulated online. This takes it one step further. I'm actually broadcasting information to any and all who chose to listen. I have to admit, there was a bookmark of mine that I chose not add for fear it would come back to haunt me in my quest for the presidency. (A shiny new doughnut to the first person to guess the link!) There were other links I didn't add, but this was the only one I didn't add out of fear.

A benefit of this is that you can access your bookmarks from anywhere. Another benefit is, as opposed to search engines, the sites you find on others' accounts have been at least mildly endorsed. You don't have that bonus on search engines.

For the average person, social bookmarking looks like a few more steps to find your favorite web sites.

For the non-average person (read: researcher), it looks like a great way to build up an online resource list. And searching that list is easier and faster because you have the tags you can click and have it search for you.

And have a good day.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Sports Announcers Bloopers

This week's attempt to find focus in a blog with none.

I don't know if you all turned on the television this weekend. If you did, you may have seen that they are showing football games again. Those of you who regularly follow football know that the broadcast booths are populated with people less interested in announcing football games than auditioning for cinematic buddy comedies. There is only one way to make listening to that tolerable: listening for stupid quotes. For example, one from last year had Joe Buck befuddled by the thought that people actually know which cleat length is longer: 3/8", 1/2", or 5/8".

Maybe I could do a blog about the stupid quotes each week.

There are plenty stupid quotes from which to choose
The quotes can be quite humorous
Others could collaborate and share quotes they've heard via comments

It's unfair to base the perception of a person's performance on one or two quotes given in 3 hours of talking.
I don't have the time or resources study all of the games to find THE stupidest quote.
It would entail listening intently to these guys: some of whom hurt my brain
One school of thought is to use blogs to share intelligence.

So, we have another idea to throw in the hat. Or throw in the towel.

And have a good day.

This entry was added via Zoho

This week's assignment is on the subject of 2.0 collaboration tools--specifically, Zoho and Google Docs. There are two things wrong with Zoho and Google Docs.


First, I don't see task list or GANNT chart options.


Second, I found out about this AFTER my Project Manager course. This would have been great for writing up Scope Statements, Team Contracts, Business Cases, etc. since my project mates and I didn't have a share drive we could use. At least we were all local for that. A previous "job" I had entailed working with people from all over the U.S., from Canada, and one person in Japan. It would have been a lot easier with these collaboration tools.


Another great tool for 2.0.


If I am successful with this, it will be posted on my blog

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Advocating Devil's Advocates

In this, the latest installment of ideas for a focus/expertise for this blog, we look at a longtime interest of mine: group think. While definitions vary, I think of group think as the refrain from mentioning a plan's obvious flaw(s) in order to not disturb the feel-good social dynamics in a group. In other words, to keep a country-club atmosphere, don't say anything negative.

So here's how this will work:
1) I become an expert in group think by writing about it a lot
2) I win a Nobel prize for my expertise in group think
3) We have a party to celebrate my Nobel prize.

So we'd better start planning the party. We'll need refreshments. A band, maybe several; as it will probably demand a several day celebration. We'd best invite the President of the United States, or he'll be put off. Let him bring Cheney, too. We'll need a committee to organize the satellite celebrations in London, Moscow, Sydney, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, and Berlin. Better plan it for June, 2008. We want good weather, but we can't have the celebration too long after I win the prize.

Well, that's a good start. Just in time for lunch, too. Any thoughts?

Great plan
We'll get started right away
I love it!
That's why you're the boss
Aces, chief

I can't think of any
If there are flaws, it'd take Sherlock Holmes to find them

So we're off (to lunch)

And have a good day!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Week 5: part II

As instructed, I edited a wiki. I had never done that before and found it to be easy.

But not easy enough. There was some coding to be done. I think I tagged my name to print in boldface. I didn't see where there was a list of common tags for the wiki. Yes, I know that a few tags here and there will be enough, but it's a small hurdle for those who are not comfortable with computers. I just need to learn the tags--if that is what they are even called--and share that info with the people using any wiki I create.

But, as we've learned, there is another simple solution in wiki world for the problem of tags: don't use 'em. Someone else will, hopefully, stop by and clean up the coding for the page. I'm not certain how that jibes with wiki etiquette, but it is one solution. But it gets the job done.

And have a good day!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Mama Told Me (Not to Come)

This week (week 5.0, for those keeping score at home) in Libraries 2.0, we are learning about wikis. I am interested in wikis as I think it would be cool to set one up for my family to create a family history. Hopefully, by the end of this, I will have learned how.

I had looked at wikis before. We were also given a list of wikis to browse as examples. A few things struck me.
First, were format changes. Most of the wikis I've seen look that same; only the names are different. However, a couple of the wikis on the browse list actually looked not like Wikipedia. That's always good. Good except that you can't necessarily tell at a glance that the web site you're on is a wiki. We'll learn.
Second, I can't imagine trying to look at all of the pages, even in a smaller one. It's not organized in an orderly enough fashion. It seems, and I'm no ... um ... expert in this, to be a mini-web inside the web--just as difficult to search and just as important to bookmark favorites.
Third, I noticed one had an RSS feed icon. Can you imagine that? Imagine the feeds from Wikipedia with how often it is added to and edited.

By the way, the blog post's title comes from a link in one of the wikis. For a bit of fun, they gave a link to a web site where you could see the song which was number 1 on the charts the day you were born. Unfortunately, I was born under a Three Dog Night song called "Mama Told Me (Not to Come)". It explains a lot, but I can't be held responsible for it, can I?

And have a good day.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Libraries 2.0: Exercise 4

3. Write a blog post telling the group what your experience with this week's exercise was like. For example, how do you think RSS features might impact the Libraries' current awareness and tables of contents services in the future?

Both the PubMed feed and the journal feed seem useful. (Disclaimer: as always, please consult your local expert searcher for more efficient results on PubMed. Results may vary.) Unfortunately, I didn't see an RSS feed for the EBSCO business journals. I can, and did, test it with other journals, but I like to have these exercises apply directly to me. That way, my opinions are based less in the hypothetical. But, if I were someone who had an professional-level interest in a specific medical subject for a PubMed search or medical journal, this would be slick for me.

Larry, in his blog, mentioned using building something like this for the library. What could be great with that would be the ability to check off and automatically request scans of articles. Of course, that's only if the patron and library didn't own a subscription to the online.

And have a good day.