Monday, September 13, 2010

group stuff

So, on Saturday I got to learn about all sorts of jazz.

We discussed presentation tools, which I'd already investigated, but I learned more about SlideShare, such as embedding PDFs and other tools in the midst of a presentation, which isn't something that typically happens in a normal presentation. That's a new feature. Additionally, I'd already realized that animations in the original presentation weren't reflected in SlideShare, but Trevor also showed that music attached to the original presentation wouldn't show up either.

We discussed bookmarking as well. Bookmarks are interesting because I can see how they might be useful in some situations, but now that web browsers have come up with this lovely tool where you can start typing in the title of a web page or part of a URL that you've visited before and a dropdown menu will appear with most commonly visited webpages with that text in their titles or URLs. The main differences between bookmarks and these tools is that 1) bookmarks don't actually require you to type anything, just click; 2) perhaps the site you're looking for is important but not one that you visit often, so it might not show up on this list; and 3) sometimes a page has input such that the URL doesn't save your previous input, but a bookmark might.
Other than these things, however, bookmarks aren't revolutionary in the way they might be without this other feature.

We also discussed social book networking. This is essentially a database of members' inputs of books they have read and their ratings. You can share this on your blog and see what your friends and family have said about different books. This is a bit like a virtual book club, and you can follow up with people you know who have read certain books to discuss the book with them.
Personally, this isn't something that's ever really appealed to me; most of my friends have a very different taste in books than I do, and so seeing a high rating on a book by one of my friends is often an indicator I won't want to read that book myself. Exceptions are Harry Potter, the Ender and Bean series by OSC, but Twilight? Just not my style.
I will, however, add one of these widgets to my own profile so that we can all see what these look like in case we haven't experienced them before. And who knows? Perhaps I'll find another friend who reads Ayn Rand and Henry James and we can rejoice in our shared love of "The Fountainhead" and "Portrait of a Lady". Good stuff, y'all.

Update: OK, here I go. GoodReads only works properly with Wordpress blogs, but it gave me a lovely URL to put into a blog anyhow.



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