February 04, 2009

Cool Toys Conversations: January 2009

Starting off the new year with gusto!



YouthVoices (Twitter for teens and teachers): http://youthvoices.net/



Get Satisfaction: Ann Arbor (Online consumer support meets Government 2.0): http://getsatisfaction.com/annarbor/

BizarreFoods (The television show taken off-road and online): http://twitter.com/bizarrefoods

Identi.ca (open source microblogging platform)



Khan Academy (open access mathematics education resources and multimedia):

Cell Stories: http://cellstories.org/

XTimeline: http://xtimeline.com/

Outreach World (education resources for teaching about global cultures): http://outreachworld.org/

Google Lit Trips (a mashup of literature, history, and geography, courtesy of a fine teaching community and Google maps): http://googlelittrips.org/

Ball State University: Emerging Media: http://cms.bsu.edu/Academics/CentersandInstitutes/EmergingMedia.aspx

Google: Countdown to 2009 (a mini Google Tutorial): http://www.google.com/countdownto2009/


Children’s Participation in a Virtual Epidemic in the Science Classroom: Making Connections to Natural Infectious Diseases, Journal of Science Education and Technology 16(1) February, 2007. http://www.springerlink.com/content/e312w7l681h38342/ (Epidemiology meets virtual worlds meets K-12 science classrooms)

SquidSpace (some science/math, some education, some concept learning, ALL games): http://squidspace.com/

Rogue (gaming/browser application, kind of a mashup of play and study, imagine using with edutainment): http://rogue.gotgame.com/

Business and Games: http://www.businessandgames.com/blog/


IBM: Serious Games Event, February 2009: https://www-950.ibm.com/events/wwe/grp/grp004.nsf/v16_agenda?openform&seminar=FE6R8WES&locale=en_US

Torontoist: Can Video Games Be Socially Conscious?: http://torontoist.com/2008/02/can_video_games.php

Power Up (save the world through gaming as crowdsourcing/learning): http://www.powerupthegame/

Stop Disasters (another game to help us learn how to save the world, this time during crisis): http://www.stopdisastersgame.org/en/


Medline.Cognition: http://medline.cognition.com/

Beer Marinade Cuts Cancer Risk: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126883.400-beer-marinade-cuts-steak-cancer-risk.html?DCMP=OTC-rss&nsref=online-news

Health Talk Online: http://healthtalkonline.org/

Youth Health Talk: http://youthhealthtalk.org/

AppleQuack: 20 Ways Surgeons Should Use Evernote: http://applequack.com/2008/09/23/20-ways-surgeons-should-use-evernote/


Medical Student Blog: Twitter Doctors, Medical Students, and Medicine Related: http://www.medicalstudentblog.co.uk/twitter-doctors-medical-students-and-medicine-related/

Make a Difference

Changing the Present: http://changingthepresent.org/

Kiva: kiva.org/

No Name Called Week: http://www.nonamecallingweek.org/


Click it Forward: https://secure1.acuriantrials.com/jsp/facebook/default.html

Innovative Support to Emergencies, Diseases and Disasters: http://instedd.org/

Class Wish: http://classwish.org/

Rightful Place Project: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rightful-Place-Project/46391575761


Shoutcast.com (online radio from around the world and free streams)


Hulu.com (Bring movies and television to the internet)

Connected TV (bring the internet to your television): http://connectedtv.yahoo.com/

GoAnimate (cartoons and original animations in a social context): http://goanimate.com/

Michigan State Grads Physics Rap is a YouTube Hit!: http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/2008/09/michigan_state_grads_physics_r.html

MakeUseOf: Best Places to Watch Documentary Movies Online: http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/the-best-places-to-watch-documentary-movies-online/

PBS Frontline: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/view/

SurfTheChannel: http://www.surfthechannel.com/cat/61482/a.html

FreeDocumentaries: http://www.freedocumentaries.org/

Best Of Documentaries: http://www.bodocus.com/

Miro: http://www.getmiro.com/

Joost.com (online news, videos, etc - did a primo job with the inauguration coverage)


Mustache Inc (iPhone apps, such as Streaks, a motivation and goals calendar tool): http://mustacheinc.com/

WePlay.com (the place that connects everyone involved in youth sports)

Blist.com (social lists -- share, manage, edit)

BusyCal (want to share a Google Calendar on a network?): http://www.busymac.com/busycal.html

CareCalendar (manage family, friends and volunteers for personal assistance and home healthcare): http://www.carecalendar.org/

Listingly: http://www.listingly.com/



ticTOCs: Journal Table of Contents Service: http://www.tictocs.ac.uk/

Otalo.com (borrow someone else's home for your vacation)


Vimo (health insurance search engine): http://vimo.com


Kaboodle.com (social shopping - what could be more fun?)

Socialtrak.com (yet another job search social network, but allowing you to create multiple profiles for different audiences)

SocialToo.com (manage features and special services across several accounts)

97 Bottles (social networking for beer connoisseurs):


Audible.com (audio books of the popular variety, podcasts, nicely organized and findable, all for a small monthly fee)

Booksfree.com (NetFlix for books)

Amazon.com: Kindle (this might convince me to buy an e-book gadget someday)

Compete (compare metrics and influence of different URLs, like UMich, Harvard, Stanford?): http://www.compete.com/

FotoTagger (I saw someone use this to give directions to a party): http://fototagger.com/

Capzles (yet another multimedia timeline tool): http://capzles.com/

Cogitum: Co-Citer: http://www.cogitum.com/co-tracker-text/more.shtml

Cogitum: Co-Tracker: http://www.cogitum.com/co-tracker/index.shtml



ManyEyes: http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/

Many Eyes: Coming of Age in a Computer World: http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/visualizations/coming-of-age-in-a-computer-world

Many Eyes: Ordered Comparison of Popular Vote (Just who voted fro Obama anyway?): http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/visualizations/ordered-comparison-of-popular-vote-b

Visual Wikipedia (for mindmapping): http://visualwikipedia.com/en/

Wordle (Strika): Nuit de l'enfer (Rimbaud): http://www.wordle.net/gallery/wrdl/91756/Nuit_de_l%27enfer%2C_Rimbaud

Wordle: Strika (example of a used focusing on literary analysis visualizations): http://www.wordle.net/gallery?username=Strika


PopSci Best of What's New '08: http://www.popsci.com/bown/2008

Porn Bailout: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/01/07/porn-bailout-larry-flynt_n_155878. html

Gartner Inc: “Last year, we said delete emails. This year, we say delete applications!” http://twitter.com/gartner_inc

Posted by pfa at 03:15 PM | Comments (1)

November 17, 2008

Cool Toys Conversations, October 2008

There were some tech issues last month (mostly with what turned out to be a firewall block between me and Delicious), so I ended up trying something a little different. Instead of presenting live from the web, I used screenshots I'd captured of things that caught my attention during the month. This had the effect of really slowing me down for making the blogpost. Trying to pull out the URLs and names of all the tools, find them again, get them listed ... well, let's just say it took a lot more time than I usually spend on this. The most time consuming part was plugging the pictures into slides, fitting, positioning, arranging, and all that.

Eventually I found a way to do this that worked pretty well, and I might try it again. There is a tool I found, called InsertPictures for the Macintosh that allows me to take a folder of screenshots and it will dump them all into a Powerpoint presentation, in order, resized to fit the screen. Wow. I had spent about 3 weeks working on this in my spare time, and had gotten through about a fifth of the screenshots used in the session. This plugged them all in within 23 seconds. Seconds!!! As in a fraction of a minute. I am still in awe.

So, here are the slides showing a few of the things that caught my attention in October, and the links are below. Enjoy! I promise the November CTC blogpost will go up faster.

Meetings, Scheduling & Events: Scheduling Tools

* Scheduly: http://www.scheduly.com/

Listio: http://www.listio.com/web20/app/Shiftboard/
NOTE: Listio and MakeUseOf are two of my favorite places to discover new tools. This is an example screen showing how looking at one tool can lead you to more like it.

Caloosh: http://beta.caloosh.com/
GatherGrid: http://GatherGrid.com/
Jiffle: http://www.jifflenow.com/
Presdo: http://www.presdo.com/
Schedule Once: http://www.scheduleonce.com/
SMEScheduler: http://www.thesmespace.com/SMEScheduler/ NOTE: Features and integration: polls, schedule - iphone, twitter, outlook, ical, gcal, gmaps, google gadget.
TimeBridge: http://www.timebridge.com/home.php
TimeToMeet: http://www.timetomeet.info/
Tungle: http://www.tungle.com/Home/ NOTE: Selective calendar sharing, for scheduling students or clients.
When Is Good: http://whenisgood.net/
When2Meet: http://www.when2meet.com/
When Should We: http://whenshouldwe.com/

Meetings, Scheduling & Events: Long Distance, International & Global Tools

EasyTZ: Easy Timezone: http://www.easytz.com/
MeetingPuzzle: http://www.meetingpuzzle.com/home.html NOTE: Multilingual. Also facilitates group management
World Time Engine: http://worldtimeengine.com/

Meetings, Scheduling & Events: Managing Groups, Group Spaces & Events

Book Meeting Room: http://www.bookmeetingroom.com/
ShiftBoard: http://www.shiftboard.com/ NOTE: Excellent for managing teams of volunteers
MyCommittee: http://mycommittee.com/
PurpleTrail: http://purpletrail.com/
SetDot: http://www.setdot.com/

Social Networking

TabUp: http://www.tabup.com/">http://www.tabup.com/ NOTE: Organize, share, collaborate with people
Tee Bee Dee: http://www.tbd.com/

Personal Tools

GasBuddy.Com > Detroit: http://www.detroitgasprices.com/index.aspx?&area=Ann%20Arbor
SitOrSquat: http://www.sitorsquat.com/sitorsquat/home# NOTE: Ever been out with a small child and needed to find a restroom, fast?
Sleeptracker: http://sleeptracker.com/
Nearest Post Office Lookup: http://www.melissadata.com/lookups/NearPostOffice.asp
Tip of my Tongue: http://chir.ag/phernalia/tip-of-my-tongue/
WizHelp: http://www.wizhelp.com/en/home NOTE: Trying to help someone with a computer problem who is on the phone? Take over their computer (with permission), and show them how to do it.

Media & Multimedia

JingProject: http://www.jingproject.com/
ScreenToaster: http://www.screentoaster.com/
XtraNormal: http://www.xtranormal.com/

Visual & Image Tools & Search

FaceSaerch: http://www.facesaerch.com/
DualPage: http://www.dualpage.com.br/
Visual Complexity: Obesity System Influence Diagram: http://www.visualcomplexity.com/vc/project.cfm?id=622
Obesity System Influence Diagram: http://www.shiftn.com/obesity/Full-Map.html
CompFight: http://www.compfight.com NOTE: Flickr creative commons search, with other special search features and visual browsing.
Deferential Geometry: Elementary Partical Explorer: http://deferentialgeometry.org/epe/ NOTE: From Garrett Lisi, particle physicist and author of “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything?
TinEye: http://tineye.com/ NOTE: Search images like the one you have, including parodies and snippets and edited images.
Pixolu: http://www.pixolu.de/NOTE: Semantic image search

Specialized Search Tools

TasteKid: http://www.tastekid.com/
FanSnap: http://www.fansnap.com/
GameCurry: http://www.gamecurry.com/gamecurry
Notice the tabbed results from different sources - very fast searching also
Soovle.com NOTE: As you type, it gives suggestions of related terms from a variety of sources - what are the top “hits? in different search engines.

Web Tools

AppLoop: http://apploop.com/
SitePal: http://www.sitepal.com/

Trends, Projects, News

YouTube: India: Indian Institute of Technology/Science: National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning: http://www.youtube.com/user/nptelhrd
YouTube: Project Report: http://www.youtube.com/projectreport
OpenLife: http://www.openlifegrid.com/
ReadTheSpirit: Our Values: http://www.readthespirit.com/ourvalues/introducing-dr-wayne-bake.html
Better Health Care Together: Remote Monitoring Technologies Could Shave Health Care Costs by $197 Billion - Broadband-based Applications Can Improve Care for Chronic Disease: http://betterhealthcaretogether.org/news?&ctid=3&cid=11598&cgid=1
Al Qaida-like Mobile Discussions and Potential Creative Uses (Twittering Terrorists): http://www.fas.org/irp/eprint/mobile.pdf

The End

This presentation was created using PowerPoint 2004 on a MacBook with the InsertPicture Add-In from Jim Gordon: http://www.agentjim.com/MVP/PowerPoint/ppt2004.htm

Posted by pfa at 03:00 PM | Comments (1)

September 30, 2008

Cool Toys Conversations: September 2008

We had a small group today, from computer science and architecture, but wonderful dynamic discussion.

Discussion: Tools for bringing online media into Second Life. We were looking at some items sold in OnRez and talking about WebX.

LabMeeting: http://www.labmeeting.com/signinm
NOTE: Conversation was along the lines of what is going on with online and social media tools to support research processes and long distance collaborations, as well as off campus graduate students.

Google CSE: Disability Info: http://www.google.com/coop/cse?cx=017697754354459676484%3Ae54laa4xksu&hl=en
NOTE: Talked about Google custom search engines (CSEs), with this as an example, focusing on power of CSEs for the expert who really knows their field. Showed briefly how to start your own.

Launchcast: Make Your Own Radio Station: http://music.yahoo.com/launchcast/setup.asp
NOTE: An addition to the various personalized audio experience tools such as Pandora and last.fm, from Yahoo.

Evernote: http://evernote.com/
NOTE: This was discussed as an example of a relatively undiscovered class of tools for annotation, collecting and sharing the web via tools that allow you to embed notes or highlight sections of a web page in a way that allows you to share that note with your friends and colleagues. More web annotation tools are available here: http://delicious.com/rosefirerising/annotation

Joyce Bettencourt: Global Kids Second Life Curriculum: http://www.rezed.org/group/GKslcurriculum
NOTE: Not coming up to speed as fast as you'd like in Second Life? Have grad students or classes you want to bring along quickly? Take a look at this curriculum designed for youth but being also used at the grad student level.

50 Awesome Open Source Resources for Online Writers / By Christina Laun: http://www.jobprofiles.org/library/students/50_awesome_open_source_resources_for_online_writers.htm
NOTE: I have a lot of work to do ...

Story of my Second Life: Imagine a Person Who Is Blind Using Second Life…: http://www.storyofmysecondlife.com/?p=733
NOTE: Several folks interested in web accessibility were at the table, including a few using virtual worlds and gaming. We covered the gamut, from games designed specifically for those with visual impairments to universal access applied to virtual worlds design. This topic needs a whole blogpost just for itself.

DabbleBoard: http://www.dabbleboard.com/main
NOTE: Ideas included putting up blueprints as a background texture and having persons at remote sites sketch on and annotate the design. Need to test to find out if this is possible. Meanwhile, we can do exactly this function in Second Life using the whiteboards available from AngryBeth Shortbread's CyberGrrrl shop.

Simple Wikipedia: http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page
NOTE: Could be used with children, students with learning disabilities, international students seeking assistance in explaining concepts, teaching / expanding literacy, consumer health, writing projects / assignments, and much more.

Keith Jarrett / Welcome to NCS-Tech!: Let students design their own video games with Atmosphir!: http://www.ncs-tech.org/?p=1715
NOTE: Gaming is increasingly important in basic and distance learning. The blogpost has links to several excellent resources and research about gaming for education and learning. Atmosphir is a free tool for making your own video game. Very exciting. We watched the video. :)

Google Base: http://base.google.com/
NOTE: We talked about Google Base Clinical Trials and Google Base: Recipe Search, looking at some interface design issues, content sources, and potential for marketing local content.

VuFind: http://www.vufind.org/
NOTE: Open source searching platform being evaluated by the UM Library system. Potentially very interesting. Discussion about going directly to the best source/tool versus stab-in-the-dark tools.

Plurkshop: Delicious: http://www.plurk.com/p/42esr and http://www.plurk.com/p/4d393
NOTE: Someone mentioned their bookmarks were out of control, so we talked about Delicious, and showed this Plurkshop about things to do with Delicious. Talked about the similarities and differences between Twitter and Plurk.

Embeddable Google Books: http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/09/embeddable-google-books.html
NOTE: Excitement about being able to embed a Google book on the course page for your class. Wondering if it is possible to embed the page you searched, with the search terms highlighted, to promote / provoke discussion.

Superstruct Game: http://www.superstructgame.org/
NOTE: Crowdsourcing meets gaming — solve the world's problems by brainstorming with the best and the worst in "the world's first massively multiplayer forecasting game."

* Flickr: Shareski: Interesting Quotes: http://flickr.com/photos/shareski/sets/72157606411341392/
* Flickr: InJenuity: Slides: http://flickr.com/photos/jentropy/sets/72157606210370733/
* Google Docs: Reflections: http://docs.google.com/Present?docid=dct3x4vw_65hcgq6bg5
NOTE: Looking at how folks use social media to share resources for professional presentations, collaborate on presentations, and as viral marketing for concepts.

* About Garrett Lisi and the e8 Polytope

Talked about open science, open notebook science, the Nature Publishing Group event on scientists and the lack of engagement with social media, impacts on translational research and bench-to-bedside practice, changing publication models, and Garrett Lisi as an examplar of these, and how his work has continued to move through the online social environments into Second Life.

Nature Network: Joanna Scott's Blog: Scientific Researchers and Web 2.0: Social 'NotWorking'?: http://network.nature.com/people/joannascott/blog/2008/09/16/scientific-researchers-and-web-2-0-social-notworking

Open Science Blog: http://www.openscience.org/blog/

SL - SLUM - E8 Polytope

A Preliminary Forensic Exploration of a Scientific Social Technologies Success - The Garrett Lisi Story

Posted by pfa at 03:02 PM | Comments (4)

August 26, 2008

Cool Toys Conversations - 2008 Aug 26 (UM)

Many thanks to Betty Sheldon who hosted this month's Cool Toys Conversation at the NCAC on North Campus, especially for her last minute troubleshooting to get a data projector for the room. As is expected in late August, it was a small but active group. (And I really mean active!)


Hurst, Mark. Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload. [Not available in campus libraries]

Krug, Steve. Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, 2nd Edition. http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu:80/F/?func=direct&doc_number=005068288&local_base=AA_PUB

Housewright, Ross; Schonfeld, Roger. Ithaka's 2006 Studies of Key Stakeholders in the Digital Transformation in Higher Education (August 18, 2008). [PDF] http://www.ithaka.org/research/Ithakas%202006%20Studies%20of%20Key%20Stakeholders%20in%20the%20Digital%20Transformation%20in%20Higher%20Education.pdf


* Discussion: Should small local newspapers survive as daily papers? What is lost when depending on general public for news? What is gained? What are challenges of building citizen journalism resources?

* Examples:
NowPublic: http://www.nowpublic.com/

* Pros & Cons:
The Idea Factory: Propane depot explosions expose shortcomings in breaking news coverage by newspapers living in a Web 2.0 world: http://ideas.typepad.com/webu/2008/08/propane-depot-e.html


ETechLib: Maps, Mashups, and Mirrors, Oh, My! - Innovative Disaster Response & Tracking Tools: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/08/maps_mashups_an.html

UM Health Sciences Libraries: Avian Flu Guide: http://www.lib.umich.edu/hsl/guides/avianflu.html (fed by our Delicious account)


* Discussion: Use these for personal health management, teaching classes, promote a healthy student or employee lifestyle.

Gyminee: http://www.gyminee.com/

Sprigley: https://www.sprigley.com/

SparkPeople: http://www.sparkpeople.com/

ETechLib: Welcome to Virtual Abilities: Assistive Tech Meets 3d Virtual Worlds: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/08/welcome_to_virt.html


ETechLib: My Top Ten Tools Today: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/08/my_top_ten_tool.html

Map A List: http://mapalist.com/
NOTE: Take an address list and create a private or shareable or embeddable Google maps display.
NOTE: Map where your students come from for your department.

iGoogle: http://igoogle.com/ OR http://www.google.com/ig
iGoogle Tab sharing with University of Michigan Health Sciences Library: http://digicmb.blogspot.com/2008/08/igoogle-map-sharing-with-university-of.html
NOTE: Personal efficiency -- aggregating tools such as calendars, to do lists, table of contents for frequently used journals, personalized search tools, etc.
NOTE 2: Institutional branding and sharing of tools and widgets.

PixelPipe: http://pixelpipe.com/
NOTE: Promote your media widely - send your videos to most all the video sharing sites, send your images to all the photo sharing sites, etc.

ETechLib: A.viary.com - A Sweet Suite of Online Graphic Tools: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/08/aviarycom_-_a_s.html


* Discussion: Ethics & politics of falsified information on these tools, of people who give recommendations to get them.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/

Linked In: http://www.linkedin.com/

Konnects: http://www.konnects.com/index.jsp

AcademiaConnect: http://academiaconnect.org/


Zotero: http://www.zotero.org/

Mendeley: http://www.mendeley.com/
Mendeley Announcement: http://www.mendeley.com/blog/2008/08/press-release-research-sharing-start-up-mendeley-launches-with-support-of-lastfm-chairman-and-skypes-former-founding-engineers/

Delicious: http://delicious.com/


* Discussion:

Problem: students sometimes try to use these to cheat.
Solution: Assign project work for teams rather than individual task assignments.

MathWay: http://www.mathway.com/
NOTE: For students struggling with mat concepts, more than just a calculator, this tool illustrates the steps and solution process for math problems entered (from basic math and algebra to calculus).

RentACoder: http://www.rentacoder.com/RentACoder/DotNet/default.aspx?
NOTE: Match software projects to people with skills.

Schaum's Outlines: http://www.mhprofessional.com/category/?cat=145


ETechLib: Widgets for Webmasters: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/08/via_slideshare.html

Feng-GUI: http://feng-gui.com/

BrowserShots: http://browsershots.org/

Posted by pfa at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

August 10, 2008

The Parable of Keith Burtis (Or, Social Media the Way it Ought to Be)

At the most recent Cool Toys Conversations meeting, I mentioned in passing that I'd just bought a wood bowl from Keith Burtis, and how fascinating I found the process that led me to him and his art. I thought it was in passing, anyway, but it turned into a twenty minute discussion, with a lot of enthusiasm and everyone scribbling down his name and website.

Since then, I've been asked repeatedly to retell this story. I've been asked by coworkers, teachers, people at church, musicians, small business owners. So here it is -- a parable featuring Keith Burtis. This is the story of how I found a bowl, one I'd been wanting for 30 years. Or perhaps it is the story of how I found an artist and a kindred spirit. Or perhaps it is the story of how I found a story.

This story began quite a while ago, but my part began on Valentine's Day, on Twitter. I saw a mention on Twitter (I think from @ConnieCrosby, another librarian) of Keith Burtis needing money to pay for an engagement ring to propose to his beloved, and that he was selling turned wood art objects via Twitter in support of this goal. Well, I was intrigued.

About Keith Burtis

Mostly, what captured my interest was the combination of his being a wood worker and marketing through social media. I love wood. I have several pieces of wood working in my home already, most of which I picked up at second hand stores or from friends. As a single parent, I usually can't afford art work from galleries or commercial venues.

I started to follow Keith's Twitter stream, and found him an interesting and engaging real person, not just someone marketing his stuff. I noticed he had a link in his profile to his blog.

Magic Woodworks: http://magicwoodworks.com/blog/

From his blog I found his Etsy store and Flickr stream. Ah, Flickr! (My gut response was along the lines of "Ooooh, shiny.") I loved looking at the wood pieces. Like Keith's Twitter stream, in his Flickr stream he was still a real person, with photos of himself going fishing, lots of fly fishing lures and the occasional personal photo. I also saw conversations Keith was having with other Twitter friends, liked seeing the occasional piece he contributed to charity and for helping friends out, videos he made for mutual friends of their own artwork, as well as hearing about his fiancée. Between Twitter, Flickr and his blog, I had a sense of knowing Keith, and he seemed like what I call "good folk."

Every now and again I'd go window shopping at the Flickr site, but everytime I found something I loved it would have sold before I found it. Hmmmm. Then one day, months later, I saw a burl bowl that I loved, loved, loved and it was still available! I had wanted a piece made from burl for about thirty years, and could never afford them. This one was only $85, which was doable.

Keith Burtis: Mother Earth6

At least I thought it was available. Contacted Keith via Twitter and Flickr, and found it had already sold. But. He had another piece of burl and would make me a bowl like the first one as a commission. My, my, a commission! I felt so fancy.

Then I found out there were even more layers to Keith's exemplary use of social media. He offered to make the bowl while I watched. Now, Keith and I live in the same timezone, but he is in New York and I am in Michigan. Well, it turns out that Keith has a series on BlogTV where he does woodworking live, over the Internet.

Keith Burtis: Australian Brown Malle Burl Bowl

I was very impressed! So here I was, sitting in my living room watching Keith make the bowl I "commissioned", while I was in a chatroom with 15 other people also watching. We all talked about what he was doing, how he was doing it, Keith answered questions from other woodworkers about technique, asked me questions about what I wanted, talked about how he finishes pieces, resharpened the blade a few times, and we had a grand little party going for about an hour and a half while he worked on the bowl. It turned out that Keith was able to record his BlogTV presentations, and that some of them were archived in YouTube.

About Keith Burtis

Then I found that Keith was a bit of, well, other folks are calling him a microcelebrity. I think maybe that means a microblogging celebrity, since Twitter seems to be his primary route to fame, but I could be thinking so just because that's how I know him.

Anyway, it turns out that Keith doesn't just talk to hear himself, but other folks are talking about him. He is featured in other people's videos ...

About Keith Burtis About Keith Burtis


... interviewed in podcast shows ...

About Keith Burtis

... and I can't even begin to count how many folk blog about things he's done. Me included, now, I guess. :)

After a week for finishing and a week for shipping, my bowl arrived!!

Keith Burtis: Rare Earth

Isn't it gorgeous? I have closeups of the wood grain in my Flickr account - it looks like flames. Everyone asks me how much it cost. Well, the piece I originally fell in love with was $85. Keith knew I was willing and able to pay $85. Did he charge me $85? Nope. I paid $66. Can you believe that? When I was in grad school I took a course on managing your own small business. One rule of thumb I recall was about how to charge. Think of how much money you want to make for an annual take home salary. If you want to make $50,000/yr, then you charge 3 times 50 for your hourly rate, or $150. The reason given was twofold: (1) for each billable hour, you have unbillable hours where you are doing prep work or skills building or repairs and can't charge a client; (2) when you are an employee your employer covers expenses like health insurance, life insurance, building space, equipment, marketing and such, but when you are self employed you have to pay for these costs (overhead) yourself. The hidden costs that keep you in business need to be included in your billable hours. By any way I count, Keith is not charging anywhere near what he should be. I poked around the net and found bowls of equal or lesser artistic interest ranging in price from double what I paid to several hundred more, even approaching a thousand dollars. I saw none that I liked better.

How can he afford to do this? Well, I don't believe he has given up his day job (that helps a bit), and all the marketing is coming through social media, mostly through free or inexpensive services. The social media bit is really working well for him. Why is that? I have my own thoughts.

Keith is using social media the way it ought to be used -- he is being himself, and he is doing what he loves. A bit of clarification is in order. Just being yourself isn't enough for everyone. In Keith's case who he is is a nice guy who I'd be proud to have as a neighbor, in the online world or the face-to-face world. Keith is making friends who are real friends, and he is there for them. He helps them out ranging from an interview to fill a tight schedule, to making a piece for auction to raise money for cancer or other good purposes. His friends are there for him, and help out when something happens like his car fails and money is needed for the repairs (for example).

Or, perhaps all we need to say is what Keith says in his most recent blogpost.

Magic Woodworks: What Has Social Media of the Internet Inspired You To Do? http://magicwoodworks.com/blog/?p=245

1. Live your life with passion and enthusiasm every day! Even if that means staying up way past your bedtime to write this blog entry :)

2. Help others and be selfless.

About Keith Burtis

Posted by pfa at 08:43 PM | Comments (3)

July 31, 2008

Cool Toys Conversations 2008-July-29 (Campus Community)

Conversation was the big focus on this month's Cool Toys Conversation! We met at Kinesiology, and thanks to Jean Hunt for hosting the event. Next month we'll be meeting in Room 1601 at the North Campus Acute Care (NCAC) (2901 Hubbard) at noon on August 26, thanks to Betty Sheldon. Attending were folks from kinesiology, computer science, distance learning, UM-Dearborn, engineering, University Libraries, and University administration.

Tuesday was real conversation, with wandering themes and folks swapping business cards. We started with Second Life (SL). Some folks were familiar with it, other not, about half and half. One person has a grant to develop an education project in SL, which got a lot of interest. We talked quite a bit about what value there is in SL, whose there, and what are they doing.

This lead to Plurkshop (http://plurkshops.com/?p=22) in which I participated the evening before. A plurkshop is workshop + Plurk. I was a featured "plurker" at the ones this week on "Second Life - The Value of Immersive Experience".

Plurkshop: Plurkshop #11: Second Life - The Value of Immersive Experience: http://www.plurk.com/p/1vohp

A plurkshop is kind of like a public chatroom on a specific theme that allows the discussion to be archived permanently. Anyone can join who is interested in the topic. It has some real potential as a collaboration and education tool as well as for preliminary surveys or focus groups.

While we were talking about that, I promised to include a few tools for making your own chatrooms for a class or distance learning. A couple weeks ago, Kathy Schrock (the famous educator) put a call out on Twitter for folks to test out ChatMaker with her. We had a good time and good discussion, and as a tool I really liked it. Another that was recommended but I have not tried include Chatzy.

ChatMaker: http://www.chatmaker.net/
Chatzy: http://www. chatzy.net/

You might also be interested in Kathy's list of Web 2.0 tools at Diigo.

Diigo: Kathy Schrock: web20tools: http://www.diigo.com/list/kathyschrock/web20tools

The Plurkshop made a really interesting example of the blending of various social tech tools, since it was using microblogging as a chat tool for conducting what amounted to a professional session and training introduction on Second Life, an online virtual world. Next in the discussion was another example of blending a variety of social media to do something we might not expect. I think we spent about twenty minutes talking about woodworker Keith Burtis, which was so interesting I will do a full blogpost just on that. Next.

Conversation veered over to distance learning and using online social networks as spaces to recruit future students and present accurate information about our disciplines. The question was asked how to find out which social networks or virtual worlds are the ones most used by teens. This was a great graphic for this.

KZero: Updated: Virtual world analysis for tweens and teens: http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/?p=2288

We also poked around in the results of these two Google searches, seeing what turned up most (MySpace) and I showed folks how I save searches to reuse later in my Delicious account.

Google Search: (myspace OR facebook OR del.icio.us OR youtube OR flickr OR twitter OR "social technology" OR "second life" OR "web 2.0" OR "social tech" OR "social media" OR slideshare) (teens OR adolescents OR youth): http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=%28myspace+OR+facebook+OR+del.icio.us+OR+youtube+OR+flickr+OR+twitter+OR+%22social+technology%22+OR+%22second+life%22+OR+%22web+2.0%22+OR+%22social+tech%22+OR+%22social+media%22+OR+slideshare%29+%28teens+OR+adolescents+OR+youth%29&btnG=Search

Google Search: pew internet (metrics OR statistics) (~teens OR ~adolescents): http://www.google.com/search?num=50&hl=en&lr=&newwindow=1&q=pew+internet+(metrics+OR+statistics)+(~teens+OR+~adolescents)&btnG=Search

Delicious: http://delicious.com/rosefirerising/websearch+web2.0

We also talked about issues with safety, security and organizational presence in teen virtual worlds. Here are a few links we had up on screen.

Worlds in Motion: Virtual Worlds Collaborate for International Justice: http://www.worldsinmotion.biz/2008/05/virtual_worlds_collaborate_for.php

Global Kids Digital Media Initiative: [why] Global Kids Brings Kofi Annan into Whyville: http://www.holymeatballs.org/2008/04/why_global_kids_brings_kofi_an.html

From here, we talked about transparency in public online spaces, distance learning, and the University of Michigan's new open courseware initiative.

Open Michigan: https://open.umich.edu/

That got us onto the problem of verifying intellectual property rights for materials we plan to use or share in online spaces and how to find images that are safe for use.

TinEye: http://tineye.com/
NOTE: Search engine that allows you to load a picture to find more like it.

Wikimedia Commons: http://commons.wikimedia.org

Last but not least, Eye-Fi was mentioned - a memory card for your digital camera that will upload pics whenever you enter a wi-fi zone.

Eye-Fi: http://www.eye.fi/

I will admit, I was pretty tired by the end. :) Hope you all enjoyed this!

Posted by pfa at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

July 22, 2008

Cool Toys Conversations: HSL Staff 08-July-22

At today's Cool Toys Conversations lunch, we talked about the following resources and tools.

Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (DUETs): A resource to help prioritise new research: http://www.duets.nhs.uk/
NOTE: "The Database of Uncertainties about the Effects of Treatments (DUETs) has been established in the UK to publish uncertainties that cannot currently be answered by referring to reliable up-to-date systematic reviews of existing research evidence"
NOTE 2: We played with this a bit and found it hard to find things with a very technical or specific search. For now, it seems best to use broad terms and assume few results. Still, what is most intriguing at the moment are the "Uncertainties identified form patients' questions". These seem to imply a clinician - patient dialog related to the evidence that is intriguing.

eTBLAST: http://invention.swmed.edu/etblast/etblast.shtml
NOTE: Allows you to search MEDLINE (and other databases) by pasting in an abstract or uploading a text file. Results include finding the most published authors and journals for the topic, as well as a graph over time of the publication history for the topic. Full blog post to follow.

caBIG: https://cabig.nci.nih.gov/
NOTE: "The National Cancer Institute is launching a 21st century information initiative that will transform the way we do cancer research. We are creating a network that will freely connect the entire cancer community. In doing so, we are leveraging valuable resources and saving precious time toward new discoveries."

StreetAnatomy: Modality Brings Anatomy to the iPhone: http://streetanatomy.com/blog/2008/06/15/modality-brings-anatomy-to-the-iphone/
NOTE: This is the first medical application for the iPhone that I know of. Any others?

FontStruct (build, share, download fonts): http://fontstruct.fontshop.com/
NOTE: Build your own font with wingdings or special characters not supported in regular fonts, such as the Rx symbol.

MedStory: http://www.medstory.com

Eclectic Librarian: CiL 2008: Widgets, Tools, & Doodads for Library Webmasters: http://eclecticlibrarian.net/blog/2008/04/cil-2008-widgets-tools-doodads-for-library-webmasters/

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/
Plurk: http://plurk.com/
Plurkshops: http://www.plurkshops.com/

Q: How do you find cool people to follow on Twitter and Plurk?
A: (1) Many professions have published collections of folks to follow (such as biotechers for the life science community). Sometimes these are on wikis, sometimes blogposts. (2) Sometimes there is a group account in twitter (such as @medlibs or @biotechers) to facilitate communication and discovery for that community. (3) Once you find one cool person, check who they are following. Explore and pick the ones that interest you. (4) Watch conversations and topics. See who's saying the most interesting things. Follow them.

Q: What is a Plurkshop?
A: Plurk + Workshop = Plurkshop. Kind of like a themed discussion via chatroom archived on the web. Useful topics. Hosted by a given individual, organized in advance, open discussion. Example with synopsis and original:

BrandBox: 29 JUNE 2008, Plurkshop #4: Fractured Conversations and How to Manage Them: http://thebrandbox.blogspot.com/2008/06/plurkshop-4-fractured-conversations-and.html

PLURKSHOP: Social Media dialogue across multiple channels: managing and learning from it. http://www.plurk.com/p/v4rf

Posted by pfa at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

June 24, 2008

Cool Toys Conversations 2008-June-23 (Campus Community)


This is a brief synopsis of the topics and tools discussed at the inaugural Cool Toys Conversation for campus. Representation from Medicine, Engineering, Libraries.


Technological literacy
Bit Literacy

How to use tech to support continuity in course development and presentation, especially when having different instructors.
- what worked, what didn't
- collaboration
- crib sheets

Future Topics Requested:
- Gantt charts and similar tools
- mindmapping
- project management & collaborations

Have future CTC meetings by team, small group, themes?
- teamwork and collaboration spaces
- visualization tools
- productivity tools
- writing & presentation tools
- mindmapping
- distance learning
- presentations from folk who've done cool things w/ tech
- image manipulation & generation
- wikis
- what do we wish we had on campus


del.icio.us: http://del.icio.us
NOTE: Social bookmarking tools allows you to merge your web browser bookmarks into one online collection and access them from anywhere with a net connection.

StripGenerator: http://www.stripgenerator.com/
NOTE: Use for creating graphics for presentations, facilitate engagement and retention in learning.

Zotero: http://www.zotero.org/
NOTE: "Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources. It lives right where you do your work — in the web browser itself."

xTimeline: http://www.xtimeline.com/index.aspx
NOTE: xTimeline is a free online multimedia wiki-type tool. Good for collaboration and presentations, useful for team or small group projects focused on process oriented data.

Dipity: http://www.dipity.com/
NOTE: Another multimedia timeline tool. "Dipity is great for ... Your Life, Your Blog, Your Class. Students learn better with Dipity. Text can be dull. Dipity is interactive and engaging."

Slideshare: http://www.slideshare.net
Slideshare: UM HSL Collection: http://www.slideshare.net/umhealthscienceslibraries/slideshows
NOTE: UM HSL collection includes many of our presentation slides on interesting online tools and toys. Slideshare in general is a great place to archive your slides before going on a business trip, to embed an interactive slide presentation in your blog or web page, or to sync with audio as a quick and easy embeddable podcast.

Wetpaint: http://www.wetpaint.com/
SLHealthy: http://slhealthy.wetpaint.com/
Second Life @ University of Michigan:
NOTE: We spent a lot of time on this, talking about problems or lack of functionality with the CTools Wiki, and how Wetpaint offers ease of editing and navigation combined with social networking support. Wishing we could get this kind of functionality in combination with our local security.

Vue (Visual Understanding Environment): http://vue.tufts.edu
NOTE: "The Visual Understanding Environment (VUE) project at Tufts is focused on creating flexible tools for managing and integrating digital resources in support of teaching, learning and research. VUE provides a flexible visual environment for structuring, presenting, and sharing digital information."

LAMS: http://www.lamsinternational.com ; http://www.lamsfoundation.org
NOTE: "LAMS is a revolutionary new tool for designing, managing and delivering online collaborative learning activities. It provides teachers with a highly intuitive visual authoring environment for creating sequences of learning activities. These activities can include a range of individual tasks, small group work and whole class activities based on both content and collaboration"

Depictr: http://www.depicter.com/
NOTE: "Depicter is a web-based vector graphics editor. Store your drawings online, or export them to SVG, PNG or JPEG."

Gliffy: http://www.gliffy.com/
NOTE: "Create and share flow charts, diagrams, and more." Includes tools for mindmapping, organizational charts, and other useful tools.

Flowchart.com: http://flowchart.com/
NOTE: "Flowchart.com is an online multi-user, real-time collaboration flowchart software. Flowcharting made easy. Flowchart.com does not require any software download, it works with your favorite browser such as Fire Fox, IE, Opera, Safari, Konquerer."

Gantt: http://www.freegroups.net/gantt/
NOTE: "Make your own Project Timeline (Gantt Chart)! To manage multiple timelines, add each unique timeline name to the end of your e-mail address when you sign in below (ie. joe_user@somewhere.com-chart1)." I just took a look at this, and will look for something better.

Zoho: http://www.zoho.com
NOTE: A suite of office applications and management productivity tools. Rich collection, worth exploration.

Zoho Show: http://show.zoho.com/
NOTE: From the Zoho suite of applications comes this online presentation & collaboration tool.

Google Docs: http://docs.google.com/
NOTE: Online document creation and collaboration tool. Was discussed for use with student team projects. Presentation tool was compared to Zoho Show as providing small file space and being appropriate for short presentations.

IBM GIO Report: http://domino.watson.ibm.com/comm/www_innovate.nsf/pages/world.gio.gaming.html
NOTE: This was discussed as providing insight into trends in leadership and teaching leadership skills. Additional related links are collected here: http://del.icio.us/rosefirerising/ibm+gaming

Posted by pfa at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

June 18, 2008

Cool Toys Conversation - June 17 (Lib Staff)

We had another library staff Cool Toys Conversation yesterday. Here are the online tools and toys we talked about.

CureHunter: Visual Medical Dictionary: http://curehunter.com/public/dictionary.do
NOTE: A semantic tech application that allows you to search medical terms, and the search results are provided in three columns: (1) alternate terms and related concepts; (2) the definition followed by suggested MeSH terms for MEDLINE searching; (3) a graphic model of the drug-disease relationships. Useful for teaching.

Tag Galaxy: http://www.taggalaxy.de/
NOTE: Visualization tool that takes in a tag (seed concept), finds the top 9 related concepts, and displays them as a rotating solar system model.

The Health 2.0 Definition : Not just the Latest, The Greatest! | Ted Eytan, MD: http://www.tedeytan.com/2008/06/13/1089
NOTE: "Health 2.0 is participatory healthcare. Enabled by information, software, and community that we collect or create, we the patients can be effective partners in our own healthcare, and we the people can participate in reshaping the health system itself."

Sloodle: http:www/sloodle.org
SL - 2008 - SloodleMoot: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rosefirerising/sets/72157603756618446/
NOTE: "Sloodle is an Open Source project which aims to develop and share useful, usable, desireable tools for supporting education in virtual worlds, making teaching easier. Through engagement with an active community of developers and users, the Sloodle project hopes to develop sound pedagogies for teaching across web-based and 3D virtual learning environments. Sloodle integrates the Second Life® multi-user virtual environment and the Moodle learning-management system."

MPK20: Sun's Virtual Workplace: http://research.sun.com/projects/mc/mpk20.html
NOTE: An example of an alternate open source virtual world application.

Cookthink: http://www.cookthink.com/
NOTE: "To find a recipe based on what you're craving, plug up to eight tags into our "cookthink it" search tool." Possibly useful for dietitians and people working with nutritional and dietary behavior modification.

YouConvertIt: Free online media file conversion (Document, Images, Audio, Video & Archives): http://www.youconvertit.com/convertfiles.aspx

Annenberg Community Challenge Finalists Announced: http://networkculture.usc.edu/projects/21-network-culture-projects/61-community-challenge-finalists-announced.html
NOTE: Annenberg will fund 3 of 5 Second Life community projects. Three are healthcare related. Ability Commons is a collaboration of the SL medical librarian community and largest healthcare consumer (patient) support group community in Second Life. Read here: http://tinyurl.com/5c4vam Vote here: http://tinyurl.com/4olwah .

Funky Ways to Express Yourself - BeFunky: http://www.befunky.com/
NOTE: A graphic / image editor tool that take photographs and helps you make them into sketches and cartoons. Potentially useful for added color in slide presentations.

Cullect.com: http://cullect.com/
NOTE: A new RSS feed management tool that has been highly recommended and might be worth exploring.

Posted by pfa at 09:33 PM | Comments (1)

April 25, 2008

Cool Toys Conversation April 22

On April 22nd, we had the first Cool Toys Conversation with staff of the Health Sciences Libraries. A group of us got together, ate lunch, and talked about what new cool tools and resources we've found online lately. Some of these have been previously been highlighted in this blog, some will be forthcoming. Here are the highlights of the conversation.

University of Michigan - iTunes U
The University of Michigan health sciences schools are collaborating on putting course lectures online as podcasts through iTunesU as a partnership with Apple.

ChaCha is a new reference service that will answer reference questions received through the web, text/chat, or by your mobile phone. Fast answers, too. Imagine going for a walk in a new city and sending a message asking, is there a good sushi bar near my location? and getting the answer in 2 minutes.

Open Source Alternative
Can't get your tech admin to buy you a copy of some application you want for your computer? Here is a searchable database of open source (and FREE) software alternatives. Why pay if you can get it free?

LifeHacker is a kind of blog/journal/tech/self-help site with all kinds of tips (both 'hot' and useful) to help make your life easier. All your life -- work, home, you name it. Worth checking out.

This is a tool for a build your own genealogy. We started thinking it would be interesting to use this to create visualizations of evolution of genetic profiles, plants, animals, ideas, memes, etc.

See http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/02/xtimeline.html


MBlog: ETechLib
This blog. Where I sometime mention cool new online toys and trends in emerging technologies.

MBlog: Web 2.0
Another blog highlighting new toys their applications.

EBHC Strategies Wiki
A wiki about evidence-based search and searching strategies. The more the merrier!

There was so much talk about Twitter, I've put it at the bottom to group the longer discussion and various tools.

Twitter is referred to as a microblogging tool, and is the most prominent and popular of this group of social tech tools. Personally, I consider it an example of Web 2.0 and social tech in a microcosm. You know how much research is done with other organisms before human research in part because of the shorter lifespan? Twitter would be the "mouse" of the social tech sphere -- everything that happens in social tech happens there, just faster!

Here are some of the Twitter accounts, tools and concepts we discussed.


TwitterCycle: http://cogdoghouse.wikispaces.com/twittercycle


A2Snooze - local news / police blotter on Twitter

APHA - public health on Twitter

ChaCha - reference on Twitter

GetReady - disaster preparedness on Twitter

PubmedBootcamp - teaching on Twitter
MORE: http://mblog.lib.umich.edu/etechlib/archives/2008/04/pubmed_bootcamp.html

Posted by pfa at 09:20 AM | Comments (0)