Monday, February 25, 2008

8. Jott this down!

What Is Jott?

Jott is a service that takes your voice message and transcribes it into text. After you sign up for a free account, you can call a toll-free number and indicate who you want to "jott". Say your message, and the service records, transcribes and sends the message on. You can jott yourself (to your email account, for example), you can jott your friends (send a text message to your best friend with no typing necessary!) or you can jott many Web 2.0 services and applications for a variety of reasons.

Signing up is easy! Just enter your basic information - as shown on the left - and validate your email address by checking your email and clicking the link in the email that you get from Jott. Enter your phone number (cell or land line numbers work) and then validate it (Jott really doesn't want someone getting signed up without their permission!) by calling the service (another toll-free number) from the phone number you just entered. After that, you are asked to enter in your contacts that you will be "jotting" and you are ready to use the service!

Why use it?

For people who tend to call themselves to leave voice mail messages on their own phones, this is a nice way to get those messages in other places (email, text messaging application, online to-do list application, etc.) as well. You can also put your group of friends into Jott's contact list and send out a single reminder to all of them (Jott lets you put multiple contacts into a group for broadcasting out messages).

Extend it with other Web Applications!
Jott also partners with many different web applications to allow you to "Jott" them. If you have a Remember The Milk account (an online to-do list), you can call Jott, ask it to jott your Remember The Milk task list and add a task - without touching a computer. You can also post to Twitter,, Typepad and many other blogging or microblogging applications from Jott. I've tested out the Jott to Twitter service and it's pretty nice for when I want to post to my Twitter account from a phone, rather than from text messaging.

Do you think Jott could be useful to remind co-workers about upcoming events, tasks or meetings? Would you use that way? How else could you use Jott?

Monday, February 18, 2008

7. Goodreads

Goodreads was developed for Book lovers as a way to keep track of what they're reading, what they've read, what they want to read, and what their friends are reading. You can get recommendations from people you know and read their reviews. Goodreads is free and there is no limit to the number of books you can add to your lists.
To get started

  1. Go to the Goodreads website
  2. Click "get started"
  3. Enter your name, email address and desired password
  4. You'll be promoted to enter your email password, this is so Goodreads can check your address book and connect you with people. You can skip this step if you choose. More and more social networking sites are providing this option to help you locate people you know.
    1. If you enter your email password, Goodreads will provide you a list of friends who have accounts and you can check which ones you want to be "friends" with.
    2. It will also give you the option of sending an invitation to friends who don't have an account.
  5. Start adding books!
  6. There are 2 default "shelves" sort of like tags or subjects they are "to-read" and "currently reading" You can create your own "shelves" books can belong to more than one shelf.
Like many social networking sites you can set your profile options to be as public or as private as you want. You can be as active in the groups, discussions and reviews you like.

Some fun things

  1. You can import lists from your Amazon wishlist or any site you can export your book list from such as LibraryThing.
  2. You can create a widget to put Goodreads on your Myspace page
  3. You can add a Facebook application to add Goodreads to your Facebook page
  4. You can create a widget for your blog.
Additional Links

Monday, February 11, 2008

6. Ebooks and their Readers

Electronic books (ebooks) have been around for quite a while. They've never really taken off, though, because they generally must be read while sitting at a computer. A lot of people don't like spending time reading on a computer screen - the glare and relatively low resolution (compared to print) of the screen makes it uncomfortable for them - or while sitting on a relatively uncomfortable desk chair. On the other hand, being able to do a full-text search of a reference book in ebook format is a definite advantage! To combat the computer screen problem, ebook readers have been coming out for years, trying to make reading from a screen a more pleasurable experience. Many cell phones also now have features and applications that let you read books using your phone. They are convenient, but still not something that most people want to curl up with and read.

The newest ebook readers, most notably the Kindle and the Sony Reader, are appearing on the scene with new technologies designed to make reading on screen more comfortable. The Kindle uses what they call an "electronic paper display". Sony's Reader uses "E-Ink". Both are supposed to be more like reading on paper than on a screen. They are both about book-size and have large book storage capacities. Unfortunately, they are both electronic and not really ready for the bathtub reading that many people like to do.

You can, of course, read lots of ebooks online without needing any kind of reader or even any money. Project Gutenberg, named for the man who brought us the printing press, has a huge selection of books that are no longer copyrighted. All the classic books that you have been meaning to read, all 17,000 of them, are available - if you don't mind reading them on screen or printing them out on paper yourself. More recent books which are still under copyright are available at MRRL through the netLibrary service. These are books that are available for you to use any time - even when the library is closed - and can be checked out just like our printed materials.

Have you ever used an electronic reader (phone or dedicated device)? Have you ever read a book online? Rochelle Hartman, a library manager from Wisconsin, has received a Kindle for her library to use and test out. She wrote about the possibilities of library usage for the Kindle recently. Do you think any ebook reader would be usable in a library? Would you like to see a library offer an ebook reader for checkout (provided the legalities are ironed out)?

Extra Reading

Monday, February 4, 2008

5. Tumblr

Interested in blogging, but don't think you have enough to say? Or just don't know where to start? Tumblr might be the platform for you!

Tumblr is sort of a cross between Twitter and blogging. It allows you to do quick and easy posts about what you're doing. The dashboard gives you 7 types of posts to get you started. It gives you a fast, simple way to share, links, quotes, videos, pictures and more. In just a few minutes you'll have your tumblelog up and running. If you feel more adventurous you can do more customization with it, tie it in to your Twitter account

For this lesson take a look at some of the favorite on the main page to get an idea of how it looks and works. How do you think libraries could use this? How do you think you could use it personally or professionally? How is this different from a regular blog?

You don't have to create an account for the lesson, but you're more than welcome it's a lot of fun!

More reading :