Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Thing 65: It's hard to think about anything else

Markets Open A Day After Losing 9 Percent In Single Day
The current economic crisis in the U.S. market dominates the news right now, justifiably. There's lots of detailed information (from the pink Financial Times, for example), but I'm having trouble finding something I can understand without spending a lifetime studying it, and I'm sure some of our library users are just as hungry for digestible information. 

So I've spent this afternoon searching for good resources to help us figure it out, free of political bias (I hope). I'm not sure I've found the magic link yet, but here are some suggestions.
Discovery Exercise:
  1. Visit these sites to see what you can learn. I sincerely hope it helps!
  2. If you find other useful sources, please share them with the rest of us via your blog or by posting them to the comments.

Kitten Basket

There, now do we all feel a little better after our cute break?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Thing 64: One-hit wonders

Vintage image of students in classroom
It's September, so we're back in our places with bright, shining faces, right? Or maybe we're just exhausted after a long, hot summer. Well, those of us in North America, anyway.

I always liked it best when the first few days of school were easy days - no homework, not too much to wrap my head around, just basic stuff I'd rely on all year. In that spirit, here's a list of websites I discovered to be really useful this summer. I hope you'll find one or two of them helpful.

Site: CopyPasteCharacter.com
Why it's so great: You never knew how much you needed this. Say you're writing about the Norwegian city Amoy. Except that's not really the name ... how do I make that A with the single dot again, much less the o with the slash? Find the character you need at CopyPasteCharacter.com, and, well, copy and paste it. (It's Åmøy, BTW.)

Site: Kuku Klok
Why it's so great: It's an online alarm clock that promises to work even if your internet connection goes down. Set the clock (using military time), click "Set," and choose from one of 4 alarm sounds. Done. The alarm will go off until you flip back to that page and make it stop.

Why it's so great: Tracks Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes and their projected tracks, a virtual obsession in the PLCMC part of the world this time of year. Clear graphic interface, but loads quickly.

Site: Pixadus
Why it's so great: Social-ranking for pictures. Post a photo; other users rank it, and the ones given the best ranking show up on the front page. The top pictures are usually astounding.

Why it's so great: There's lots of times you need a fake ID on the internet, when you think about it. Maybe it's the thirteenth time you've signed up for a Yahoo! email account because they keep changing the process and you need to be able to explain the new way to patrons. Maybe you just want to hide your real self. No matter what your reason, Fake Name Generator sets you up with a fake name, complete with details like postal address, mother's maiden name, a disposable email address, and so forth, from pretty much any country you'd like. (I'm Rebecca W. Hewitt of Heronsgate, born in 1961, BTW.)

Site: PicApp
Why it's so great: Search for photos (artsy or news-related) to use in your blog posts, all perfectly legal. You can create an account, but there's no need to unless you want to create a lightbox to save your favorites into. (PicApp is the source of the vintage classroom photo above and the picture of Steve Jobs introducing the new iPod Nano below, which I'm posting only a few hours after the photograph was actually taken.)

Apple Introduces New Products

Discovery Exercise
  1. Visit each of the sites listed in this post. Which ones will be useful for you?
  2. Use the comments section of this blog to share your newly-discovered useful sites.
  3. Use Regator (this might be a good place to start) or any other news reader to find one or two more potentially useful websites. Visit and evaluate them in your blog. (It's okay if you decide they aren't worth it; just let us know why.)