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Tech Fun for Everyone

January 16, 2009

One of the things I like most about the continuing advancement of technology, especially collaborative, online technologies, is that it is getting easier to use these technologies. It used to be if you wanted to create a professional looking website you needed to know a lot of HTML and preferably CSS, etc. Or you needed to have money to hire a professional web designer.

Now, if you want to have a website or a blog, you have many drag-and-drop and WYSIWYG options to choose from to build your own online presence. Now, this is not to say we no longer need skilled web designers, information architects and graphic artists–of course we do! But to have a functional, simple, website is now within the reach of way more of the Internet surfing public. And to me, that is a good thing.

This is basically just a very long-winded way of saying, “Yay! Look at some more cool online stuff I have been playing with and want to share with you.”

First up is LucidChart: an online, collaborative flowchart application. You can make beautiful flowcharts all via drag-and-drop! I think this is so cool. No more wasting time in Word or other programs that can’t make a decent flowchart. You can use LucidChart instead. I might just have to make a flowchart to use in class because of this application.

Of course, that still doesn’t solve the problem of getting people to read flowcharts as evidenced by xkcd comic, “Flow Charts”:

 

Flow Charts comic from xkcd

Flow Charts comic from xkcd

It just can’t be a Friday without sharing an awesome post by Lifehacker; this one is about Self-education. Yes, more self-improvement for the new year. And yes, it includes watching YouTube videos! Now there is no excuse for not learning something when you are staring at your computer screen day after day, for hours on end.

And, finally, here is Michael Stephens’ Ten Trends & Technologies for 2009. A very interesting read about technology and the library. I’m really interested in learning and applying more of the mobile technology applications to the library. I mean, if people are going to insist on being tied to a cellphone or BlackBerry all day, they might as well get optimized library websites and catalogs on there too. (Full disclosure: the one technology I personally am not thrilled with is the cellphone, except for texting, I really like text messages. I just don’t like people calling me all the time; that’s what texts and Twitter are for! I mean, who really needs to know that you are standing in line at the supermarket? Not me.)

But, back to the post, the most exciting bit, to me, is the emphasis on making the library a collaborative space, a learning commons space, The Commons for the campus or community. I think that is how it should be and how it needs to be for libraries to remain vital and vibrant.

Happy Friday, enjoy the weekend!

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