Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why do we do it to ourselves? #blogjune Day 11

Why indeed do we do it to ourselves?  Early in June I raised in a comment to a post of @flexnib the question of why we set ourselves these challenges. I seem to be finding #blogjune particularly hard this year and I have been wondering why. This year for #blogjune I have set myself the task of doing 60 blogposts, 30 on this blog Hecuba's story, and 30 for the Collingwood Historical Society blog.

It didn't seem so hard last year, or have I forgotten?  Last year I did #blogjune for myself but rather than limiting myself to this blog which is about technology I scattered my posts over three of my blogs and talked about quite different things.  I created recipes and blogged about them, I read books and reviewed them, and I did posts on technology.  It was easier somehow to diversify.  We also did #blogjune in MPOW.  But we divided the 30 posts amongst three blogs and @tapsister developed a roster.  I was responsible for ensuring that the requisite number of posts were done on Telling Tales, the family and local history blog, but I sub-rostered some of that out to @bookwoman2000.

So this year I decided to stick to my technology blog and have a mini-challenge within a challenge. I think I decided this partly because of #anz23mthings.  And it's good.  It is causing me to thing about why I use apps and to talk about tech things. But it is harder, if I am honest with myself.  And Collingwood Historical Society?  So far I have done all the blogposts myself and there are certainly many things to post about.  But I think that I am going to ask for assistance - ask for topics people would like to see blogposts about, ask for people to write them! In fact that sounds like a good blogpost for today and won't require me to do the research I was going to do for a couple of others. I would really like more people engaging with the blog and this is one way to do it.

But to return to the initial question? Why do we do it?  Each year I set myself annual challenges and I usually blog about them in the course of another challenge the #blog12daysxmas, both in retrospect and in prospect.  This year was no exception.   I have probably posted enough here about why I heart Flickr and it plays a big role in my challenges. But I had really intended to post today about another challenge I do most years and use technology to monitor.

Goodreads! Goodreads!  Yes, each year I set myself a challenge of the minimum number of books I want to read.  I started doing this a few years ago when I was worried that I wasn't reading and was losing my book knowledge.  Yes, the tech stuff was always there to overtake it.  I reviewed various online tools at the time and finally decided to go with Goodreads.

I am always modest in the goals I set myself as I don't want to set myself up for failure.  Nor do I want to make reading, something I have loved all my life, a chore that needs completing.  So this year I have set myself the modest goal of 52 titles in 2013.  One a week. So how easy is this?  I set myself an annual challenge of 52 books, I record everything I read on Goodreads. Wrong!  Goodreads apparently doesn't like me rereading titles and doesn't count them in the total for the challenge.  Me, I love rereading and relishing old favourites. But I have a way around this.  I register the books I read in 2013 on my "read in 2013" shelf.  I know that I have 53 books on that shelf currently and 7 of those are ones that are works in progress.  So according to my calculations I am well in advance of my challenge. Unfortunately Goodreads thinks I have read many fewer.

Does anyone know how I can get Goodreads to count my rereads as part of my annual reading challenge?  It probably doesn't matter much in the scheme of things but I wish I could do it. #firstworldproblems

Monday, June 10, 2013

Flickr Victorian Public Library Buildings Group #blogjune Day 10

And continuing right on with the "I heart Flickr" theme and in the interests of getting up to date with #blogjune today, this post is about another Flickr group that I coordinate.  So if you are not interested in Victorian hotels for their history, architecture, drinks, meals or music (and I believe there are some librarians who aren't), why not give the Victorian Public Library Buildings Group a go?   Many of you librarians in Victoria must visit public libraries or at least go past them, and I am sure that all interstate librarians visit or at least notice libraries when you visit Victoria.

So next time you are in (or passing) a public library in Victoria take out your phone or camera and take a photo.  Then add it to the Flickr Victorian Public Library Buildings Group. And while you are at it, why don't you go back through your old photos and see what ones you had taken of Victorian public libraries and add them? We would love to have them added to this group.

Flickr Victorian Hotels Group #blogjune Day 9

Have I mentioned before that I really heart Flickr?  I think you all may have got the message.   One of the groups that I coordinate on Flickr is the Victorian Hotels group.  The focus of this is hotels in the State of Victoria - not hotels with Victorian (as in the Queen) architecture or history.  So if you are ever passing by a hotel in Victoria or inside one, why not take a shot and head over to Flickr to add it to the Victorian Hotels group?

If you have the Flickr app on your iPhone you can take the photo using the app, edit it and upload it  to the group.  Unfortunately last I heard you couldn't do that with the android app.  Hopefully Flickr will be mending that.   You can, of course, add the group later within Flickr itself or one of the third party Flickr apps that allow editing.

Genius Scan+ #blogjune Day 8

One of my current favourite little apps is Genius Scan+ which I have on both my iPhone and iPad. Produced by @thegrizzlylabs this app allows me to scan documents as pdfs or JPGs, crop, add titles and tags to the document, merge several scans in to one document and then send by email or to Dropbox and the like.  I like to use the iPad app for bigger scans but I think as the camera is not as good as in the iPhone the quality is not as good.

I think this is a smart little app and one that I find so useful for local and family history. Or just some little piece of correspondence that I need to copy.  No more do I go to the flatbed scanner.  And the quick interface with Dropbox is great for me.

There is also a Genius Fax app which I have loaded but haven't used as I haven't wanted to fax anything since I loaded it.

Does anyone else out there use these apps?  And what do you think of them?

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Games to play - or not #blogjune Day 7

I am not really a dedicated games player, online or elsewhere. I play the occasional spider solitaire on my phone or iTouch and have been known to play a few Zynga games on Facebook. I can get a bit obsessed with the latter but my interest in them ebbs and flows and at the moment they don't particularly interest me. Some of them I never liked at all (e.g. Farmville) and others that I enjoyed in the past (Yoville, Cityville and Castleville) have passed their use-by-date for me (and most others I suspect given the recent Zynga lay-offs).

So a couple of days ago when I was sitting near the local Post Office answering an email on my phone I was a bit surprised to be handed a flyer for a new app game, pokem. This was particularly so as my head was totally in the space of the email I was responding to - slowly I may say as I was trying to work out what to say. I was told using the game app would help my hand and eye coordination, help keep my mind alert, and speed up my ability to text!!  I think I was the one who sarcastically mentioned early onset dementia.  I have never been told I needed to speed up my texting!

Oh dear! Like many members of my family, I started going grey when I was in my 20s and I love silver and white hair.  But I do think people make all sorts of assumptions based on it. This episode reminded me of an experience at a library unconference a few years ago.  I was in a small group discussing local history/GPS/photos etc (basically the topic of #anz23mthing 5 but before its time obviously).  In response to something I raised, a young woman (who probably didn't know that I had put up this topic for discussion) suggested that if I joined Twitter I would get all my answers.  I thought one of my young staff whom I had bludgeoned (in the nicest possible way) into joining Twitter and was in the group was going to explode.  He still talks about the incident.

I had another experience last year on a tram in Melbourne. It was late one Friday or Saturday evening and I was tapping away on my phone, surrounded by a group of young men (slightly the worse for wear from alcohol) who started talking about Twitter.  I think it was pretty new to them.  The one sitting next to me turned and said smartly "Maybe this lady is tweeting".   I responded that of course I was on Twitter but I was currently doing some stuff on Flickr.  Well, that was a conversation stopper.

This wasn't the post I meant to write but it is how it emerged. The people who created the pokem app are young neighbours of mine and are trying to promote it.  I did download the app and try it. They say it is suitable for all ages and I think it probably is.  I think from trying it that my hand/eye coordination probably does need improving and that this app could help.  Try it and see if you want. But maybe also spend some time thinking about some of the issues I have raised here. I am thinking about them too.

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