Friday, August 3, 2007

Week 9, Thing 23: Summarize Your Thoughts

What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey?
My favorite discovery was the bloglines account and being able to subscribe to news feeds and favorite blogs. It makes my blog even more useful to me since I can access my blogroll right from my blog site! I also especially liked learning to set up a wiki. It's going to help me with a project that I'm working on for my job.

How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals?
This program has helped tremendously. A blog is a great way to record my thoughts and ideas as I learn new things. It's much better than taking notes on paper for me. It doesn't take up physical space, and I don't forget where I put it. It's something that I can continually refer to if needed.

Were there any take-aways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?
Yes, I didn't realize that I would find a wiki to be such a useful too. I was surprised at how many new and useful things that I learned.

What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept? I liked the program just the way it was, but sometimes found it difficult to spend as much time as I wanted on particular topics. That's ok though. I can always go back and explore further.

And last but not least…
If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you again chose to participate?
Yes, I would definitely participate. This is a great way to learn, and I can work at my own pace.

How would you describe your learning experience in a few words or a few sentences, so we can share our successes and promote this program? Fun, Useful, Creative, Exciting

Week 9, Thing 22: Learn About Audiobooks

This was an especially helpful exercise for me due to the increase of related customer questions. I can instruct people much easier when I have actually explored it myself. My most FAQ has been about whether there's a need to download the software before being able to listen to the book. I downloaded the software for Overdrive onto my computer, and it took a long time with my dial-up connection. I do not have a portable player yet, so I listen to the audiobooks via the computer. I am curious to find out how to put it onto the MP3 player. Can this be done directly or do I have to first download to my computer and then transfer it to the player?

I'm really looking forward to using a portable player to listen to books. Being busy with my children makes it more difficult for me to read print books, so this will be a nice option!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Week 9, Thing 21: Discover Useful Tools for Locating Podcasts

I looked at two tools for locating podcasts. and Both led me to find interesting literature related podcasts like Book Voyages which I added to my bloglines account. I saw several podcasts that do online readings of literature and storytelling! It's pretty neat that anyone can create a podcast. I can definitely see how libraries could use this format for book reviews, storytelling, etc. While participating in the 23 Things program, the podcasts proved to be a helpful learning tool. Sometimes I remember more if I hear it rather than just reading it.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Week 8, Thing 19: Web 2.0 Awards

I explored Minti which serves as an online community where parents all over the world share and post advice about parenting and childcare. I especially like the format where you can easily search for the kind of advice that you want. You can rate the advice that you read. You can also post your own advice. In my case, I searched for "potty training" advice since we've had the potty training palooza at my house lately with my two toddlers.

Overall, I liked the site. You can get a free family blog there, which I may try. It seems to be an interesting way to connect with and even make friends with other parents worldwide. It's also a nice way to find advice from experienced parents. It's fascinating to read parenting blogs and advice from so many different perspectives.

Week 8, Thing 18: Online ProductivityTools

I explored the Zoho Writer online word processor. I am impressed with the online productivity tools and features! I created my document entitled "Spring of the Cats" with a fun story about my family of cat visitors. Then I inserted photos from my photobucket account. I was surprised about how quickly it pasted the photos into my document. Next I tried the publishing feature that let me post it directly to my blog! It was all very easy and fast.

I think that online productivity tools are wonderful. You can just save your documents into your online account and then access them from any computer with internet service! You don't have to worry about what programs are available on the computer since the word processor feature is part of the web site.

Spring of the Cats

Spring of the Cats


    We live out on the edge of a farm near a barn, so we do not get too surprised when a stray cat shows up on our doorstep. This first happened six years ago when a skinny orange striped cat whom we named Tansy made her appearance. One year later, our very funny Abner came meowing. Several years went by before a CATastrophic event ocurred during the Spring of 2007.



    The "Spring of the Cats" started very innocently when a small black cat with white spots followed my husband and kids home from a walk. We felt sorry for him because he was missing an eye, so we immediately decided to keep him. We had noticed another black and white cat that looked like our neighbor's cat following at a distance. The following day, the second cat planted himself on our doorstep and we noticed a third solid black cat lurking in the bushes watching us. On the third day, a fourth black and white cat appeared! Then a fifth gray cat came calling!



    By this time I felt overwhelmed with the crowd of kitties who were pleading for food and attention. We were also apalled because we mistakenly thought that two of the cats belonged to our neighbors who were away on vacation. They actually own a black and white plus a gray cat, so we thought that they had left their two cats to fend for themselves! We were wrong. The neighbors' cats and our two house cats were gleefully peeking out of windows watching the kitty saga that was unfolding outside.



    The cats appeared to be siblings and they were at least six months old. I was worried that we would have a further complicated case of multiplying cats, so I rounded up three of them to be spayed and neutered at the travelling low cost vet. We thought that it was best to take care of that potential problem while we decided what to do. I then began calling no-kill animal shelters and the humane society to see if someone would take them because it was very difficult for us to provide shelter and food for so many cats.


    Keep in mind that someone had loved these cats. They were all extremely friendly and loving. Two of them loved to ride in the bottom of our kids' jogging stroller when we went out on long walks! They were obviously used to children. We assume that a family had owned the cats, but had to move or for some reason couldn't continue to take care of them. Instead of taking them to the Humane Society, they abandoned them at the barn near our house in the middle of the night. I suppose they thought that the cats would have a better chance as barn kitties rather than being euthanized at the Humane Society. Since they were loving cats who wanted to be with people, they went searching and found us!


    All of the shelters that I called were overcrowded and overflowing with cats, so we began asking aquaintances and friends to adopt a cat. One of our coworkers kindly adopted two! We were very thrilled that two of them would have a good home and could be together there. We continued to try to find homes for the remaining three cats, but could find no takers. Needless to say, we have fallen in love with each one. They are all very friendly and love children. We are planning on keeping them as outdoor cats, but will have to think about how we will shelter them during the Winter. Meanwhile, we have noticed another stray cat hanging around. Here we go again!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Week 7, Thing 17: Add an Entry to the Sandbox Wiki

I got to practice using a Wiki by editing the "favorite blogs" page and adding a link to my blog. The only thing that scared me a little is that I accidentally deleted another person's blog link, but I hadn't saved the changes. All was OK once I hit the cancel button! But I see how easy it could be to accidentally delete someone's post! Yikes! The new thing that I learned was how to post to the wiki and link the post to my blog.