The Love of Things

Of all of the Things in 10 Things @ SPL, Things 2 and 3 are probably the ones I would perish without. Slight exaggeration perhaps, but there's a kernel of truth in there somewhere.

Thing 2, I have a crush on you. RSS feeds have turned my web experience into something altogether different. When I first discovered Bloglines and started subscribing to RSS feeds from my favorite blogs, I was starry-eyed and giddy. Suddenly the world of information was a shiny new object, resplendent with New! Current! Stuff! delivered straight to my virtual doorstep. I kept adding feeds, and then adding some more, and then even more. After topping off at 150 or so, I held steady for awhile, frequently checking my Bloglines account to see if there was anything new to read.

As with any crush, the heart-pounding, clammy-palmed excitement wanes after time, and what you're left with is melancholy dismay that perhaps, maybe just perhaps, this crush is not The One. You end up spending too much time vegged out on the couch, forgetting to brush your teeth, with piles of newspapers and magazines strewn across the floor. Translated into words that actually have something to do with RSS, it probably means you've got a case of Information Overload and it's time to get rid of some feeds.

Librarians, pay attention here. I know you talk about not being able to keep up with everything. But you know what you are good at? Weeding. So do it. If you find you aren't reading new feeds, get rid of those that you added on a whim and have chosen to ignore. It's no biggie. If you miss out on a news item, or celebrity gossip, or your favorite library blog's newest post, or a list of the Library's new DVDs, chances are you'll find the information via another path. You're librarians; you'll be able to find it if you need it.

Once you've tweaked and tinkered with your RSS subscriptions and you find a number you're content with (for me, it's the magic number 90!), you may just decide to stick around to see if this RSS thing develops into anything long lasting. My crush on RSS has developed into something a little more steady, but I'm not afraid to ask Mr. Bloglines to change--by ditching those feeds that I've grown disinterested in and adding the occasional new feed.

Thing 3, Instant Messaging, is also one of my can't-live-withouts. I've been using IM in various iterations since 1997. Over the past few years, I've become a lousy email correspondent. I communicate with most of my friends over IM; it comes in especially handy with my friends in the UK when we don't want to spend any money on long distance charges.

Text messaging is another one of my preferred communication methods. I've been texting so much that the paint on my keypad has worn off. When I'm away from a computer, I often use Google's SMS service to get local information such as addresses and phone numbers of businesses. It saves me the embarrassment of calling the Reference Desk (which, by the way, I have done) to ask for the address of that one Costa Rican restaurant on Milwaukee Ave.


I have a polar bear under my desk

i have a polar bear under my desk, originally uploaded by jennpb.

I've been having a fun time in the YS Lab helping Marilee and Mary with the Flickr thing. Unfortunately, I don't think FUN is how they would describe it. We've had problems galore, and at this point I'd like to blame Yahoo. So this is just a demonstration of how this Thing is supposed to work.


That Blog Thing

Hey, remember over a month ago that I wrote that last post telling you to watch this space? I wasn't lying. It took me long enough to make something happen, but I am finally here. Aren't you lucky? As one of the organizers of the 10 Things @ SPL learning program, it's only fair that I participate.

The Flying Keyboard is not my first blog. I began blogging in 2004 when I wanted an outlet to share stories and experiences that were resulting from some health issues. Talk about making the private public! I kept with it for awhile, but jumped blog-ship when my obsession with medical technology and instruments waned. I still have the interest*, but feel less inclined to write about it.

This blog has been another stop-start venture. My intentions are good--I want to update regularly and I keep a list of topics I could write about if I only had time to spare. Come conference time, I'll use this blog again to take notes on all of the sessions I attend.

I've done some tweaking to my blog's design. I've changed the color scheme, moved elements around on my sidebar, and recently added a widget from my LibraryThing catalog which shows off the last 5 books I've read. All of this has been done with not too much knowledge of HTML coding. It's just taken some trial and error. I find that I learn best by experimenting. If it doesn't look right the first time around, I keep on trying until it looks like something I can live with.

All of the changes I made to the blog template were much, much easier for me than actually writing the blog posts. At first I found it really difficult to articulate my ideas (in fact, I'm having that problem at this very moment!) Once I started writing how I might speak, things became much easier. Whether that makes it easier for my readers, that's an entirely different thing.

* I went to the Old Operating Theatre and Museum while in London in October!