Friday, January 9, 2009

#67 Stress Savers

Bad Polyxena hasn't done any Learning 2.1 tasks since October! However, fortunately there were only three Things between then and now so hopefully she'll be able to get up to date. Stress savers is the theme for Thing 67 and the idea is to introduce things that will save time.

The Dial A Human site takes one to a list of service providers and gives telephone numbers and tips on how to get to a human being. The site is very US based so I didn't actually try any of the numbers but I noted some of the strategies. For example, the advice on the AMEX number was to press "0" repeatedly to get an operator. I noticed that this was the case with a number of other companies. So it could be worth a try here next time I get stuck on a great long line of possibilities that seem never to end.

Custom Guide is a great little tool. The website provides free computer training tip sheets on a number of programs: Microsoft, Mac, Adobe and a few other extras such as Lotusnotes, Quickbooks and Firefox. We've recently moved to Outlook 7 and there are still some issues with it. So I had a look at that cheat sheet and printed it off for future reference as it seemed a good summary. A double-paged A4 tool is provided. They seem clearly laid out and I can see a great advantage either for staff who have just had training or for printing off and keeping near the public PCs. is a little site that checks whether your preferred user name is available or in use. The idea is that you can use this to ensure that you lock in your preferred name if it is available. You type in the name and the site immediately checks a range of sites from Blogger to tinyurl, via Stumbleupon, LinkedIn and Delicious. I tried Polyxena, Polyxena2, Hecuba and Hecuba's Story and got very mixed results. Some of the accounts I found were me, some weren't, some were quite inconsistent and some were just plain wrong. It's an interesting concept but I don't think that I really need it. The site also suggested that it was a quick way to get to all the sites without delays: in some cases this was very true but in other cases I found access very slow. Maybe it was a slow day at our end?

So all in all, I come away from Thing 67 with a good tool that I can see real benefit in using with staff and the public. I'll have to see about getting that implemented next week.

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