Wednesday, 6 July 2011


I wasn't sure whether to do the 23 things 2.0 thing at all, but I think I've decided that I won't. Instead, I'm going to start documenting the things about Word 2010 that strike me as being almost irredeemably stupid.

The latest one I've found is insert/overtype mode. In all the previous versions of Word for Windows that I can remember, and I think the earliest I've used was 1.1 or 2, you control this by pressing the Insert key. Clearly this isn't good enough for the idiots that designed Word 2010, so it's now disabled by default. You can enable it by going into the advanced settings bit of options, but that only enables it's use for overtype mode - you have to right-click on the status bar and select an option there to get the current mode to display!

There will be more of these irritations in the future!

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Light at the end of the tunnel?

or is it an oncoming train?

LinkedIn; thing 17

This is another thing I'm going to skip. According to my wife, most of the practical uses of this come after you've paid up, so I'm not going to waste my time on this.

Facebook; thing 16

Oh dear, no way of avoiding it I suppose (especially since there's a least one other 'Thing' I'm not going to do). So, I've signed up to Fa*e*oo* under a pseudonym a while ago, solely to see that was being said on a group about the UL. The signing up process was pretty grim, actually. Their process objected to the first name 'I.', saying "The name contains too many periods". It also objected to 'I' ("You must provide your full name"), "IM" ("The name contains too many capital letters") and even "Im" responding with a message which I think means it only likes Anglo-Saxon first names. And, you have to have a first name, so if you're someone like U Thant you've got problems. 'U' is a Burmese honorific, so U Thant's whole name is 'Thant' (or so I've been told).

So no marks to Fa*e*oo* for cultural sensitivity - but why should this be a surprise?

Anyway, I can tick the box, but I'm probably too old to appreciate this. Why for example does every entry on the wall have an icon of the Fa*e*oo* page that added the entry? It looks really quite odd.

Though the screen shot above probably won't do it justice.
PS The 23 things instructions include this:

gender and date of birth but (and I haven't told you this) it doesn't have to be truthful.

Why be so coy? I'm not telling anyone my real date of birth and interestingly Fa*e*oo* have decided to ignore the date of birth I gave them and substitute the date I joined.

Monday, 23 August 2010

LibraryThing; things 14 & 15

I had to think about a use for this, given that I'm not keen on shelling out actual money, so I decided to create a small catalogue of items in the UL I'm interested in.

What do I think? So far, so good. I've added two items, and one of these is a rather obscure history of the 144th Regiment, Royal Armoured Corps, later the 4th Royal Tank Regiment. It will be interesting to see if I can export this list in some useful format. A quick look at the help pages and indeed it does offer an export function, and into CSV. This means it could go into Excel and from there into Access if I so desired. I could even create a catalogue of my books at home by importing 200 items, exporting them to CSV, deleting them and then importing another 200, and so on.

I've sorted the collections part, though this instruction:

To move books into the collection, click on the folder icon and select the relevant collection.

seemed a little abstruse. Perhaps "click on the folder icon on the right" might have been a little clearer. All that being said, it's rather nice. Pity about the 200 book limit (but that'll be the Scot in me coming out). One thing I didn't like was the widget, which has looks rather ugly in my blog. I've moved it a little, but the colours are still a bit odd. No doubt there are ways of altering these, but I shouldn't have to have an in-depth knowledge of html to change this.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Reflections; thing 13

"God almechty, it's Reflections"

which should confuse anyone who hasn't heard of Scotland the What, and probably quite a few who have.

This is what I'm supposed to be reflecting on:

1. And so what?

See below.

2. How have your skills/knowledge improved?

A little

3. Have the 'Things' covered everything that you need to know, or think it relevant to know?

Probably not, but it would be unreasonable to expect them to do so.

4. Have the activities suited your learning style? (If you're not sure what your learning style is you can complete a very short VARK questionnaire which gives an indication of your learning style. There are lots of other similar questionnaires on the internet)

Not really. See below.

5. Do you feel more competent and confident?


6. How can you apply this learning?
7. What would you do differently - and what might change about how you approach the next 12 Things?

6 & 7. Not sure about that.

8. Is there one (or more) Thing that you would be happy to recommend to a colleague? Why?

Google calendars, but then I was using it anyway.

More detailed responses:
4/ I think the 'things' perhaps ought to have had more detailed instructions available. They occasionally read like someone who had already done this loads of times was jotting down some notes as an aide memoire. The screenshots really ought to have been of plain browsers with no themes, styles, etc. Many people may be starting this from scratch and to see Firefox decorated with planets or something equally distracting isn't necessarily helpful.

1/ The good, the bad and the ugly, or more accurately, the very good, the OK and the 'please uninvent this now'.

Very good: Google calendars; Doodle; Flickr/images.
OK: Tagging
No thanks; Twitter, and I might be tempted to include Delicious as well in this category.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Delicious; thing 12

After some mucking about with Delicious, I've come to the conclusion that there's one major advantage to it from a personal point of view. This is being able to find out who else has bookmarked a particular URL and to see what other bookmarks they've got - this way you may be able to find out useful URLs you've missed.

From the perspective of a library, it could be useful, but I think I might want them to appear as though they were part of my web pages, not something completely separate. I wasn't sure about the navigation aspect either - it struck me that Firefox could do some of what Delicious can do, and I don't think it would be impossible to write the bookmarking aspect of a browser to provide a list sorted by tags.

Finally I was a bit puzzled with this comment:

Compare this with saving your bookmarks via the browser menu command, where you can only access them from the computer you saved them on.)

If you were working on two separate PCs which didn't have roaming profiles, you could of course export your URLs and import them at the other PC - this isn't difficult with Firefox, but is a bit of a pain. Alternatively you could run the browser from a memory stick - both Opera and Firefox allow this.