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Sunday, January 07, 2007

First Week

So the first week of 2007 has come and gone. Felt like a month to me.

We've made arrangements for a moving company to come get our stuff on February 8th. They brought a bunch of boxes and bubble wrap in case we feel like packing first, but they will be happy to pack if we just sort everything out for them first. Yeah. We could just make one room be the "stay" room and the rest be the "go" room.

In addition, on Friday I started a temporary job. Four weeks of elementary school children, twice a week for about 2.5 hours each. Friday it was 2nd and 3rd graders, for 2.5 hours. I read three stories, and we sang "Old McDonald" and played "Simon Says". I also answered some questions about myself and my family. By the end, I had them all totally charmed.

I originally thought that I would be teaching three different age groups every day, but instead each age group gets two or three days. Totally cung, as Earl pointed out when I told him.

It will be OK. I can be charming for two and a half hours, especially if I do a bit of planning, put together a Powerpoint presentation or two and bring some fun ideas. I am just tackling this as a sort of public relations gig: helping kids to think that English can be more than just a lot of work.

You may have noticed that with my format change, I added a link to Librarything over to the left. It's pretty cool. I've always wanted to keep track of all of my books. When I was in junior high ("middle school" to you youngsters out there) I tried writing them down in a notebook. I'm not sure how many I recorded, but I got tired of it pretty quickly, as a notebook has no option for alphabetizing a list. Later I started on a computer data base version, but didn't get far with that either. I'm not sure what went wrong with that, but it probably had something to do with being in university, hence not in the same house as most of my books. I believe that I started on an old MacIntosh, though I wouldn't bet on it.

Now this Librarything is something else all together. You sign up for an account with just an email address and a password you make up, then they never bother you again unless you want them to. Click on the button to add a book to your library, and off you go. Type in an author or a title, and it gives you a list to choose from, including thumbnails of covers, so you can even be picky about which edition you are adding.

For now I have decided to just add books as I read them, as it would be way too easy to just sit and spend an hour or two adding books to my online catalog.

And if that weren't enough, it packs a few other features that could very easily lead to spending lots of time on line: discussion groups, for starters, based on genre and other things.

I found it in sort of a roundabout way, starting at Neil Gaiman's blog. (Be careful, the man is not only a very good author, he posts links to things that are fun to read. On this particular night of "research" I spent an hour and a half getting not much done!) He refered to this article, about the way books are organized in libraries and the way information is being organized on the web. It is a very fascinating read, if a bit lengthy. Not at all difficult to read, and it will point out things that you may have noticed.

They both mentioned the Librarything in ways that piqued my interest, so I checked it out. And now it's one of my regular websites. I've got a button for it on my personal task bar. Whenever I go online, I buzz it up and add whatever book I'm reading or have read recently.

One other way to waste (sorry, I meant spend) time at the Librarything is with the Suggester. You type in a book you like, and it goes through its vast library lists and tells you what books other people have in their libraries when they also have the book that you suggested. It's not really a recommendation, just a sort of observation: "So, you have Dune in your library? You know, a lot of people who have Dune in their library also have 'Ringworld' by Larry Niven, 'Man plus' by Frederick Pohl and these others. And they tag 'Red Mars' and 'The Left Hand of Darkness' the same way. Oh, and suggests these books..."

It is what the name says it is: a suggester. But along with it, on the same page in fact, is the unSuggestor. The unSuggestor looks at other collections with the book you type in, and notes which books seem to be missing from those libraries. Right now the database seems a bit small, because almost any SF title you give to the unSuggestor throws back Christian books, and vice versa. Eventually I will help to iron out this statistical anomaly, but I will absolutely not sit down and type in my library just to satisfy myself on this point.

I'm afraid I need to be doing other things. Horyon will already be upset that I spent time Roblogging when I should be packing.



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A Brief Introduction

Roblog is my writing lab. It is my goal to not let seven days pass without a new post. I welcome your criticism, as I cannot improve on my own.

Here is a link to my cung post, which remains the only word which I have ever invented, and which has not, as far as I know, caught on. Yet.