Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Have No Friends

I logged in to check email this evening, and discovered that someone new had subscribed to my YouTube page (thanks, rogue2408!). This prompted me to visit the same page, and update a couple things...

I'm getting to the point, I swear.

While updating my profile, I had quite a laugh at the glaring message displayed in the Friends box at the bottom of my YouTube page:

You have no Friends.

Yeah, I know, YouTube, but how did you? You must be tapping my phone, falling asleep from the lack of calls to record.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Lightbulb Man

One of my birthday presents was a 50-movie DVD pack of horrible, Z-grade flicks (to go along with the three other packs we already had). We like to watch them Mystery Science Theater style, coming up with our own dialog. While watching War of the Robots the other night, I noticed that the helmet worn by the main character made him look like a lightbulb. I started singing a song to go along with his adventures, and liked the result enough to create a video of it, and make you sit through it, too...

Lightbulb Man: A shining beacon for the future. Run!

The Guitarminator

My youngest and I spent a recent Saturday afternoon filming along our road. I was wanting to try out a special effect technique in Movie Maker, and needed footage to work with. The result is The Guitarminator:

Sent back in time, the Guitarminator is guaranteeing the future is safe from country music. Especially Conway Twitty.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Turkey From a Galaxy Far, Far Away

To better appreciate Aardman Animation, here's the opposite end of the spectrum: Turkish Star Wars, featuring Indiana Jones theme music...

Ahh, ten minutes of your life you can never get back. I was wondering where all the cosplayers came from. Apparently, they bounced over from Turkey, led by an old, gap-toothed guy with gloves of death.

The Brilliance of Aardman

I've not posted in a while, so thought I'd share the brilliance of Aardman Animation, the creators of Wallace & Gromit, Chicken Run, and other classic bits of claymation. I'll share a compilation of shorts featuring Purple and Brown:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Balancing Act

A year ago, our family was heavily in to geocaching. If you aren't familiar with this activity, just head on over to If you enjoy treasure or scavenger hunts, it's quite a bit of fun.

But here's the rub. Last weekend, after a three-month layoff, we finally tracked down three new caches. As with most of the hobbies I enjoy, I will obsess over a single activity for a length of time, then move on, sometimes not returning to that activity for months. The only exception to this rule seems to be reading, which I enjoy nearly every day.

I already know I suffer from
gameritis, an affliction I've passed on to my daughters. We're all gamers, and can't seem to pass up new games, even though we've not finished the ones we currently own. Sure, I lost sleep over Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion for a month straight, but since then, I've barely fired it up. Worse, I have at least three games I've not even loaded on the computer yet.

I think the key is to dabble- a mix of my favorite things in smaller doses, much like eating right. If only this 500 pound Halo 3 gorilla wasn't sucking up all our time, I'd get the balance right.

Sure, it'll happen.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Where are my gold boots?

It's been ages since I posted on this blog. After such a long absence, the least I can do is embed this golden gem of a clip. It's quite possibly the funniest thing I have ever seen.

How can you not love this?

Monday, July 9, 2007

Web Comics and Casts

I've not posted anything in some time, so thought I'd share my latest obsession: Web comics. In particular, those found at places like


I discovered both these sites as a result of stumbling across a podcast that appeals to my odd nature. Scott Johnson, a native of Utah, and a web comic artist, has a weekly panel podcast with two other artists, during which they discuss... well... just about anything. It's often hilarious, and I've listened to enough of their archives to become a regular listener. I listen to them while making dinner. I take them with me when I walk every day. And more often than not, I'm answering questions out loud as if they can hear me. Perhaps I need help, but I'm having fun. You should, too. The Extra Life web site above is your ticket to joy.

Monday, April 9, 2007

The EyeOh Channel

Having access to both digital video and audio tools, I decided to start making odd bits of multimedia madness, and start posting them on a YouTube channel. I've made five films so far, and have spent time at home doing things like taping a digital camera to the top of a remote-control car, or photographing plastic dinosaurs to create stop-motion animation. Fortunately, my family hasn't kicked me out on the street, and are actually willing to help. My oldest daughter and I are going to tackle the next project, which has a budget of $1.95, making my dream of a location shoot possible.

I'll attempt to embed a video example here, but in case anyone's interested, go to

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Orion, I Think I'm in Love

I'm a happy composer again, thanks to Synapse Software's Orion 7.1. This brilliant music sequencer/mixing desk package is one I've wanted for years, and now am wondering why I didn't purchase sooner. VST plugin support gives me a virtual instrumentation palette that's nearly unlimited, and Orion's effects and mixing abilities are equally huge. Each instrument and effect is displayed on the desktop as a knob-encrusted rack module- a surprisingly effective way to give the appearance I'm making adjustments to a physical rather than virtual control. Combined with my spiffy new Evolution MIDI controller, it's a perfect team. I think I'm in love...

Thursday, March 8, 2007

I'm a Podaholic

I blame Robin and Bobbi (the developers of our Library 2.0 program) for my new podcast addiction. I spent umpteen hours this last weekend working on projects around the house while plugged in, listening to tech reviews, sci-fi discussions, and far too many other topics. Podcasts are confections from hell, continuously tempting me to download just one more hour of obscure discussion before I stop listening...

... Because apparently I've got to know who Summer Brooks and the other Kick Ass Mystic Ninjas think would win in a fight between Airwolf and Blue Thunder. I opened up my Bloglines account last night, noticed that the Ninjas had a new show up, a discussion of the first Highlander movie, and I actually said, "alright!"

For Highlander? What is wrong with me?

So, thank you both very much. And my children thank you, as I remain blissfully unaware of their plaintive, hungry cries.

Friday, February 9, 2007

My Light Bulb is Dim

I've been brainstorming for an idea of what I'd like to learn more about, but wasn't covered in these lessons. The light bulb above my head is a little dim, but what I keep thinking of is this: I would have liked a lesson that shared Library 2.0 success stories from other libraries- how they have integrated 2.0 technologies into their library system. Perhaps combined with this lesson could be a request for one or two suggestions on how we might be able to do the same here. It might get us in the mood for change.

I'm done now. May I have a cookie?

Thursday, February 8, 2007

You've Reached the End... Turn Around

Having finished up the Library Learning lessons (say that ten times fast), I feel like the guy in a high-speed Internet commercial that ran a couple years ago. He's browsing online, when a message flashes on his screen: You've reached the end. Please turn around. Or something along those lines. Fortunately, just like the Internet, there really is no end to Library Learning, and the more you study, the more there is to learn. How Zen.

I enjoy new technologies, consider myself reasonably proficient with computers, and am comfortable with online tools and applications. Because of this, I assumed the lessons would be appealing, and they were. What surprised me, however, was how many of the lessons covered territory I hadn't experienced before. All the applications are current technologies in use by a good portion of the online world, yet I wasn't taking advantage of them. Shame on me.

This isn't to say I'm ready and willing to use all the tools I've explored. I need more experience with and technorati to declare myself a convert, and the MySpace page I set up will most likely collect dust- I have enough Web pages to update already. To each their own.

There were plenty of highlights to my experience, though, including tagging, using Library Thing, messing around with image generators, creating maps on, and most of all, finally entering the world of information feeds. I love my Bloglines account, and can't believe I've managed to overlook this tool for so long.

I can be told how to ride a bike, but won't actually learn until I pedal one. Rather than absorbing a demonstration, I've always learned best by simply sitting down with a tool, and discovering what it's capable of. Introducing Library 2.0 ways of thinking through hands-on, self-paced experiences is an effective method, and one that works especially well in a busy work environment. Considering all I learned, it obviously worked for me.

Throughout these lessons, the emphasis on libraries as part of a global, interactive community could not have been better placed. Libraries are tasked with offering informational access to everyone, and doing so without taking advantage of emerging technologies would result in an ever-increasing loss of patrons. They will expect us to change with the times, and it's our responsibility to do so. In my mind, the key to this change is accessibility- tools that are intuitive for those with little experience, yet complex enough to meet the demands of the technologically savvy. And they must continuously change with the times.

My Book Needs Batteries

Having spent time perusing Meditations of Marcus Aurelius Antoninus and The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, random ebook samplings I chose from NetLibrary, I have the same opinion I've had before: when it comes to recreational reading, electronic books just aren't my thing. I love my computer, reading articles and blogs online, and keeping up with new technologies, but I just can't get excited over reading a novel in my office chair, or lounging with a PDA.

Figuring my reluctance was more based on age than anything else, I asked my sixteen-year-old if she could see her future self reading electronic bedtime books to her children. I was surprised when she said no, simply because half the time she could be mistaken for a computer. It could very well be that she will be downloading books and reading them from a touch-screen built into the wall above her child's bed, but as of now, she's not excited about the prospect.

Thinking back a few lessons, I can see a beta is forever approach being key in this area. A slow, steady introduction of electronic formats will result in greater acceptance. But declaring the death of the traditional book today simply doesn't make sense to me, and the crowds at Barnes & Noble would seem to back this up. More engaging formats will be necessary to win me over, but I'm certainly willing to try.

Wednesday, February 7, 2007


Finding and listening to podcasts is a simple process. Finding regularly-updated podcasts is a different story. Many of the ones I discovered during this Library Learning lesson hadn't been updated in the last year. It reminded me of a couple of weekend movie box office sites I used to have links to in Explorer- at the time I deleted the links, both sites hadn't been updated in two years! There is no end to the number of dead pages on servers around the world, and depending on your search terms, this is also true of podcasts. Why bother linking to a science tech review podcast that hasn't been updated in two years?

Luckily, there are still plenty of current ones out there. Of the three search engines used during this lesson, Yahoo! Podcasts seemed to give me the simplest, most current results, with visual style. Then again, this could have something to do with the odd searching I did. My Bloglines account now has feeds from Geek Speak Radio and The Kick-Ass Mystic Ninjas. It's best not to ask.

In a library setting, podcasting makes as much sense as embedded video. We could have anything from a book recommendation corner to children's stories in streaming format on our site- all recorded by staff. Interactivity is the key, and this would be a simple way to make a personal connection with our patrons.

Monday, February 5, 2007

Watching the Tube

My teenage daughters know all about YouTube, and have forced me to watch approximately ten million anime music videos in the last year. If I see one more video made from Advent Children clips, I might require physical restraints. And considering the varying levels of talent displayed here, to say that YouTube encourages anyone to try is an understatement. Digging for YouTube diamonds can be quite a task, depending on your tastes. Yet, I've enjoyed nearly every search, and viewed talent I otherwise would never have seen.

I'll post a good example of this. During a search for Japanese art, I came across this video of a week's worth of ever-changing artwork painted on a wall. Time-lapsed, various people flit across the screen, adding this, taking away that, at times washing it all away to begin again. It's amazingly complex work at times, and if it weren't for this video, I'm not sure how many would have seen and enjoyed it before it was gone. Thanks to YouTube, it's available for all.

To me, the benefits to the library of a site such as this are obvious. With embedding, filmed examples of library programs or community events could be added to our site. We could even film our new technologies in action, and post the results as short instructional videos.

Wayfaring Across the Universe

Library Learning lesson #24 had me explore one of the many applications nominated for the Web 2.0 awards presented by SEOmoz. I chose, the winner in the mapping category. It is much like any one of the million mapping sites out there, but with nice route creation and tagging features. It makes the experience more interactive... in a Web 2.0 way. Go figure.

As an exercise, I mapped out my daily commute to the library, with visual tags for my house, the library, and the Capitol building- all built with simple mouse clicks on a map. The distance of the route was calculated as I clicked (7.61 miles, if you're curious), and the resulting map saved under my profile, able to be shared with other users. I'm not sure why they'd want to see it, but it's available if I wish to share. I might use this tool to show the route of our family trip to Montana last year (complete with tagged highlights) for my extended family to view. Won't they be thrilled? Come on, it's better than sitting around with a photo album.

Friday, February 2, 2007

Lab Rat

Having spent some time exploring Google Labs, I've found a couple applications I enjoyed using. By far, the most useful to me would have to be Google Notebook, which allows me to clip, paste, organize and save information as I browse, without having to leave the browser. The result is saved for future use, from any location. Neat! Although not as useful, Google Trends is certainly fun to play around with. Trends displays comparative information for multiple search terms. For instance, I typed in Denver Broncos, Kansas City Chiefs, then searched. The engine gave me a chart comparing the number of Google searches for both terms over the last two years, and displayed the results on a chart. Of course, the Broncos won. Everyone knows that ;)
Of these two "toys," Notebook certainly has the greatest potential to graduate into a full-fledged Google tool. I'd use it.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Blog About a Document That Became a Blog

I'm using Google Docs and Spreadsheets, a free online service, to create this blog entry. I've always relied on MS Publisher, Word, or other variations lurking on my drive at home to create documents. This online version has most the bells and whistles those programs have, but besides being free, what makes it most exciting is the simple sharing and collaborative editing of documents. And we all have instant access to the same version of the program... yes! This is nice.

Monday, January 29, 2007

The Great Search

I'm using various engines to search the web, and comparing the results. For comparison purposes, I've chosen to search for international monks, simply because these were the first random words to pop into my head. What psychological statement this makes about me, I'm not certain, but here are the results:

1) Exalead- Many internationally-flavored sites on monks and monestaries came up.

2) Wink- Only social networks are searched, so the results were odd. The web search tab on this page links to the personal search engine, making me wonder why it's even on here.

3) Gravee- News search results only. However, if I ever wish to know what international monks are up to, this would work just fine.

4) Clusty- Results very similar to Exalead, with many of the same hits in the top ten.

5) Mooter- Interesting graphic-cluster approach to searching, but I didn't notice any difference between the results displayed for each cluster! They all had the same links, all to news.

6) KartOO- No flash player is loaded on the workstation I'm at, so I shall attempt later...

7) Yahoo- Emphasis on news and music in the results. Not the same as Clusty or Exalead.

What have I learned from all this searching? Different search terms might be necessary to get similar results, but as is, the results I wish to get would determine which engine to use. Emphasis is on news items when using Yahoo or Gravee, blogs and personal pages with Wink. When it comes down to it, even though I might branch out to other engines now and then, I'm still a happy Googler.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Beta is Forever

Week eight of Library Learning has brought me to the crux of this class: How is library technology changing to fit the needs of an ever-increasingly connected patron base? What mindsets need changing in order to grasp the online information explosion, and changing needs of our patrons? The title of this blog is the favorite line I read concerning this issue. Beta versions of software are ones that are in a late testing stage, not yet ready for full release. Changes are constantly being made to work out the bugs. In order to fully serve the patron base, and gain new ones, libraries must take a beta is forever approach, constantly updating and changing rather than waiting for a technological plateau that will never arrive. It's a smart approach, but one that I have a couple questions about... Actually, I have many more, but won't take the time to type them.

1) How will we offer new approaches for younger patrons while still maintaining services for those who aren't technologically savvy? For instance, I don't believe it is realistic to expect an older and younger patron to adapt in the same ways. As the population ages, this problem will lessen, but today, we have to consider this gap. How do we avoid driving off a considerable portion of those we are tasked to serve? If they don't understand it, they won't use it.

2) Which formats, and how simple will they be to upgrade? Reading through the material for this lesson, the meaning behind the text is clear: Printed materials are dinosaurs, stumbling around the edges of a tar pit. Digital formats are fine, but constantly change. Digital libraries will need to reformat on an amazingly regular basis, or risk becoming the digital version of an 8-track tape. A book, printed a hundred years ago, yet taken care of, is as readable today as the day it was printed. Yet, there are already a mind-boggling array of digital text, image and audio formats (some proprietary, some not), and more always right around the corner. Beta is forever. What standards do we choose, and why? Our digital formats need to be easily upgradable, and cost effective, to work. A digital library must allow all patrons access to data, not just those with the latest gear. Will we rely on remote databases, and hope those running them upgrade to the latest formats, or will we be in charge of our own collection on our own servers?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

North Dakota, It's Nothing Personal

Having clicked on various states at, I discovered what I'd known for some time- I've visited a majority of the US. Unfortunately, having seen my travels displayed on a map, I've learned something new... Apparently, I hate North Dakota. I hadn't realized this. It sits atop my map, lonely and white, in a sea of red. Sure, I've not been to the New England states, or the extreme southeast, but at least they are able to handle the rejection as a group. Even Michigan and Wisconsin can hug one another for support. But not poor, sad North Dakota.

My unknowing rejection makes me want to plan a trip. After all, the Roughrider State has much to offer, including Theodore Roosevelt National Park, International Peace Garden, and approximately fifty million tons of open space. But apparently, being the northern sister of a state with huge granite faces is enough to keep me away. North Dakota, I promise it's not personal.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A New Generation

I get to play this week. Good thing, because I was starting to become a dull boy. There are a slew (I know, because I looked up the word) of image and text generators available online, and I'm visiting many of them, creating odd artwork and text for web pages, blogs and such. There are approximately a billion sites, so I have my work cut out for me. By the time I'm finished, my sites and blog pages could look like a night on the Vegas Strip. Here's what I found...
One of the larger sites of image generators I discovered was at Everything from warning signs to fake book covers are linked to here, for users to edit. Not finding anything that interests you? Well, then, you might rather choose to upload a photo and create a text image out of it (using just the numbers 1 and 0) at (I feel like such a shill). I enjoy this more than most the sign generators I played with.
Last but not least, I earned Library Learning 2.0 frequent flier miles by...
a) noticing a link within the news from Library Thing, which was possible due to...
b) having set up a Bloglines newsreader account, and read it diligently (stop laughing). I then...
c) linked to a nifty generator which creates animated .GIFs that look like those equally-nifty scrolling LED signs. Finally...
d) I typed the universal phrase Eat At Joe's into the generator, and pasted the results into the top of my blog page.
The magic link I found? It's

Friday, January 19, 2007

Feeding Frenzy Continues...

I'm enjoying a feeding frenzy, thanks to Syndic8, a search site for news feeds. Of the sites I used as part of the Library Learning lesson, this was my favorite. For the most part, search results were accurate, and simple to browse through and add to my Bloglines page. In fairness, I need more experience with Feedster to give a full comparison, but thus far, the numbers of irrelevant results were far greater on Feedster. I go with what works for me.
As an experiment, I simply used Google to search for Missouri library news feeds, and found all kinds of interesting ones, with minimal fuss. I think the best approach for me is a combination of tools- I haven't found a magic bullet yet.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Feed Me, Seymour

I've now entered the world of RSS feeds, and am loving it. Having access to the news and information from the sites I regularly visit, without having to visit them all, is brilliant. And ad-free, to boot. Again, how in the world have I not been taking advantage of this until now? I have no excuses.
The account setup process at Bloglines was simple, and the listing of recommended feeds displayed while signing up was helpful. I've added many more on my own, and have quite a list of others I plan to, which brings me to my only concern...
Although feeds will save me the time formerly wasted on linking to various sites, and slogging through ads, the ease of adding new feeds to my list makes the volume of information I want to read through much greater. How much time do I expect to spend reading all this? I think I'll have to pick and choose my feeds a bit more carefully.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

I'm A User

Several friends over the years have asked if I can write computer code. My answer has always been, "I'm a User." A geeky reference to the movie Tron notwithstanding, it sums me up as someone who uses tools supplied by others to create my own works. I can't write a computer game, but I can use an editor to create new levels to play. I'm not able to modify something from source code, but with some sort of interface, I'm able to create my own worlds.
Through APIs, creative programmers are mashing together the best bits of different applications to create new, interesting ones, and I think it's fantastic. In many cases, the result is a more exciting use of the technology than the sources. Allowing others to modify your efforts is a great way to keep the creativity flowing, but the best part of the deal is that I get to play around with the results.
Of the mashups featured on Flickr, my favorite would have to be retrievr. A few mouse-drawn lines or squiggles sends the search engine off to retrieve images that match both the color and shape of what I sketched. Some of the results may be head-scratchers (photos of eyes seem to match any sketch!), but what a cool way to search for photos!

Friday, January 12, 2007

A Bright Flickr'ing Light

The latest Library Learning lesson (say that ten times fast) takes me to Flickr, and online photo albums and sharing. I could waste hours here, and probably will on my own time. The driving force behind sites like this is the same device driving my own amateur love of photography: the digital camera. No more waiting for film developing, only to find that those perfectly-framed photos are not developed, nor perfectly-framed. Flickr's uploading tools are simple, and adding tags and such is a nice feature. With a simple search for abstract architecture, I was able to pull up loads of photos similar to this one I took at the St. Louis Science Center. It may also be found on my Flickr page:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

I Am a Library Thing

For better or worse, I've updated a book review site for years now. But after playing in the sandbox at, I realize how much simpler this process can be. With auto-linking tools for publication data and cover art, creating lists at is a breeze, and makes more sense than my approach. Wow, a new trick. This dog must not be as old as I thought. Now if only I can convince a daughter to cut-n-paste a couple hundred reviews while I play Half-Life2, I'll be all set.

You're It: The Sequel

Tags, links, lists, directories, searches, posts... aarrgg! They are beginning to get as muddled in my head as the million user/password combinations currently residing there...
Yet, somehow, through it all, I can still recall that seagulls drink seawater (thanks to a nifty natural filtering system in their heads).
My adventures in tagging continue, in yet a different sense. What am I tagging about now? Search engines. Specifically, search engines for blogs. Now we're cooking with gas, as my mother would say (even though she was curiously silent about the whole seagull/seawater thing). Just as with ordinary web sites, all the beautiful blogging in the world is for naught if no one reads your thoughts. The quick addition of a tag to a blog assures that search engines such as Technorati are able to find your pearls of wisdom, no matter what size... as long as the search matches your tag. C'mon, who wouldn't want to read about MRRL2.0? I'm excited just typing it.
Searching on Technorati is quick, but interpreting the results a bit more complex. Having messed around with the various search modes with the search words learning 2.0, I found what I was looking for with a directory search rather than a blog or tag one. Blog searches, in particular, will result in a hodgepodge of results (especially if not filtered by language!).
Technorati Tag:

You're It!

I'm in deeper water now, paddling around the Library Learning pool in my inflatable platypus ring, tagging things. Having only tagged on the playground before, working with is a new experience. I'm all for simplifying my methods of organization, especially considering the sad state of my favorites list within Explorer (time to add yet another file folder of links). Is the method simpler? Sure. Is it an effective research tool? Absolutely. Is it helpful to see what other users are interested in? You bet. But is tasty enough to tempt me? Hmm. Paddle, paddle, paddle.

Friday, January 5, 2007

My Space, Your Space, Our Space

My Space is quite a place. It develops both a feeling of individuality and of being part of a community. In this regard, it's similar to other online experiences, such as MMORPGs (massive multiplayer online role-playing games). I'm not certain I'd appreciate meeting up with a MRRL elf, an institutional rather than individual avatar, essentially waving a library flag at me. As a teen on My Space, however, would I view library spaces as "invasions" of a community of individuals? I'm not sure most teens care. The web is bursting with sites of all types, the difference between them and a page on My Space being arguable.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Wiki Wiki

Week two of Library Learning 2.0 led me through various wikis, and how to edit them. I had no idea where the term wiki originated, but I had experienced them to varying degrees online. The format is tailor-made for reviews- an approach minus the urge to give things higher marks in order to have others recommend a review. Of the examples in the lesson, I prefer Book Lovers over iRead, mostly because I learn more from a thoughtful review than a list of recommended titles. My favorite usage of wikis, however, would have to be while searching for obscure information on people, places and terms. Sure, I'm never certain what to believe, but verifying the information is half the fun.

Wednesday, January 3, 2007

What is an EyeOh?

It lives! As part of Missouri River Regional Library's Learning Library 2.0, I've created my niche in the blogosphere... But what, exactly, is an EyeOh?

Back in '88, fresh from college and living in California, I was a big fan of Depeche Mode, the English synth band. Discovering my roomie's synth collecting dust in the corner, I began picking out Mode melodies on it, playing along with my cassette tapes. Five years and one horrendous garage band later, I stumbled across OctaMED, computer-based music composition software, and have been using different flavors of such software ever since. Needing a "band" name for myself, I settled on Io (io), a reference to Jupiter's volatile inner moon. This name soon evolved into EyeOh, the same name written phonetically. Over the years, I've written several CDs worth of music, and collaborated with fellow MED users as far away as Ireland and England. I'm not certain I've helped make them better musicians, but I couldn't help but learn from them.

Is this blog work related? No, but now perhaps when you read the name EyeOh, it won't remind you of singing dwarves.