Tag Archives: tools

New Blog Theme

Adam reviewed the code for ShadowBox, the new WordPress theme I developed and installed it in on WordPress at Midd.  Of course, I immediately used it on our CT team blog and took advantage of some of its capabilities to give a sense of the new possibilities for layout and presentation that it introduces.

I should make it clear that this theme doesn’t introduce any functionality that other themes haven’t explored.  It is modeled first and foremost on Kubrick, the default WordPress theme.  In addition to this basic theme, I looked at a number of the most popular themes at wordpress.org including Atahualpa, Ahimsa, iNove to get a sense of the direction of theme development in the WordPress community.

I am hoping this will help us determine where we want to publish our work.  In particular, whether we want to merge all of our work into the new LIS blog and discontinue this blog or perhaps keep this blog around an example of innovative uses of WordPress…

Surveys and Focus Groups

Clearly both surveys and focus groups are important tools for gathering information about a particular population.  Usually surveys are used first, to a get general sense of the population.  Surveys are then followed by focus groups that get more in depth information.

However a case can be made for reversing this order and starting with focus groups first, followed by surveys (see: “Use of Focus Groups in Survey Item Development“, The Qualitative Report, Nassar and Borders, March, 2002).  Focus groups can often help to define survey questions or inform how questions are phrased.  This can be particularly important for technology surveys, helping to couch questions in terms that those surveyed can understand.

Eating our own dogfood… yum

The current tagline for the Curricular Technology blog is “eating our own dogfood… yum.” I recently changed this from “That’s Team with a capital T, baby!” in consultation with Bryan Carson.

The phrase, eating one’s own dogfood is frequently used by technology companies to indicate that employees in these companies use the software they are developing.  This is done for various reasons including helping to test the software, gain familarity with the products being developed, expressing confidence in the product and so on.

Responding to the Curricular Technology Blog Tagline survey is a good example of eating one’s own dogfood.  The survey was created with Google Apps which we have used quite a bit in our team work.  The survey is essentially a form that is linked to a spreadsheet.  It’s a great way to quickly gather information from others and can evolve as responses come in.  For example, as others submit tagline suggestions, the form can be updated to include these new suggestions and also people to rate them.

Brown Bag Web Tools Series

Submitted by Elin Waagen

Last week we held the 3rd in a series of Brown Bag Web 2.0 sessions.
If you missed it – be sure to put the next one on your calendar!
(Let us know if you want to share a tool you are using)

Many thanks to our presenters!
Here is summary of fun – and productive – tools LIS staff are currently using:
Jeff uses iGoogle to keep multiple resources in one easy to access place
Adam F uses Twitter to log his daily activity – and extracts a list when its time to write his PFDP
Mike uses FeedDemon for PC to easily track sites he is following
Adam F uses NetNewsWire – the Mac version – as his reader
Elin uses CommonCraft as a site for easy explanations of web 2.0 tools
Mary uses GoodReads to build her personal reading list and to see and share what others are reading

Mike uses ChaCha to settle bar bets
Mike uses RememberTheMilk to track everything he has to do
Mike uses Jott as a reminder service
Adam D uses GrandCentral to personalize and control his phone
Bryan uses Delicious to share and store his bookmarks
Joe A uses Facebook to remember birthdays and to connect with family

So…not only do you get to have fun, you can also win a prize!
The following people have won coffee mugs (with coffee card included):Steve Bertolino, Pij Slater, and Mike Lynch
Others have won silly toy prizes – for non-web fun: Rachel Manning, Mary Backus, Jean Simmons, Judy Watts, Mack Roark, Alex Chapin, Adam Franco and Carrie Macfarlane.

Do you have a fun web tool that you are using for work or play? Have you discovered a new tool still in beta?
Interested in sharing it with others in LIS?
Want to present? Presentations are casual and short – no lengthy preparation required.
Just want to share an idea that we can present for you?
If so, please contact Elin or Bryan.

Save the date and time!
The next Tasty Web Tidbits mealtime session is scheduled for Tuesday 11/25 at 6 pm in Lib 105. The idea is to get together, have some fun and share the web tools we are using. Presentations are about 10 minutes long max. Each session has 3 – 4 presenters with time for spur of the moment sharing. There is a prize drawing at each session. Attendance at all sessions increases the chance to win the grand prize in December.
Please bring your own bag meal – and enjoy a fun meal-time hour with co-workers.
Hope you can join us!