Social Bookmarking – Diigo

Social bookmarking is one of the most useful aspects of the web. You can use it to create your own online library, organized to your own interests by using tags. Although I’ve been using some form of social bookmarking for years, every so often I want to review what I can do with the social bookmarking tools I use.

Currently I use Diigo and del.icio.us.

One of the useful aspects of webapps is that many give you notice when an upgrade is available, and then, when you install it, open a page explaining all the changes. Diigo has recently upgraded and among the items available in the upgrade page were these very informative videos:

I use two social bookmarking apps because I’m wary of any web app closing down, and having two makes it more likely that I’ll still have access to most of my saved bookmarks if one closes. But who wants to do that extra work you ask? It’s no extra work, because I can save to Diigo and have my new bookmark automatically added to my del.icio.us account.

Diigo to del.icio.us
Diigo to del.icio.us

The final step I’ve taken is to add a del.icio.us widget to my blog so readers can see what I’ve been saving.

My del.icio.us widget
My del.icio.us widget

If you don’t already use social bookmarking, you might want to give it a try.

MagNet Presentation on Researching Using the Web


I’ve noticed that when I speak, I have my deepest focus on what I’m saying and trying to communicate, but that I pay substantial subsidiary attention to the audience’s reaction. If they don’t respond, it doesn’t matter how good my material is and my intentions are, I feel like I’m tanking. So, yesterday, when I presented, I automatically checked the audience’s reaction.

Before I fill you in on what happened, let me describe the set up. There was a big screen at the front of the third of the ballroom we had, in the middle. I project well, but I couldn’t be heard without a microphone. I was using a PowerPoint (because I suspected the wifi would fail. It did.) so I was tied to my laptop, especially since the remote that worked before and after the session didn’t work IN the session. My laptop was on a podium, on a platform on the audiences’ right at the front of the room.

Let me clarify, My podium was in line with the edge of the audience seats on one side, the screen was in the middle of this wide room, and the audience stretched out in a slight curving layout beyond the screen. There were only a few rows, but it stretched 20 feet, maybe more, across. My over 3 feet high platform had my podium on it and a six foot table, with at least another six feet across the floor to the screen, and, as I said, the audience ranged beyond that. It was the most bizarre set up for a speaker I’ve ever encountered, and I’ve been in some clumsy ones.

Then there was the beginning as the IT guy tried to make the wifi worked. I tried to speak while I was re-starting (wifi still didn’t work) and re-setting up myPowerPont program. Not smooth. Finally I started, only to be interrupted by audience members and coached on how to position my head so the mic would work. I kept on going, only somewhat daunted.

During my talks, I usually throw out little bits of humour to get a sense of the audience. I did this to the MagNet audience a few times, and nobody laughed. Whoops. I kept going, but noticed subliminally that I was feeling disconcerted. Looked out at the audience and noted that a substantial number were highly focussed on taking notes. Decided that must be a good sign, and, anyhow, the show had to go on.

I got several positive comments after I finished, but I won’t know until I get the formal feedback, what most of the audience thought.

When I present, I love having a slideshow to help me stay on point and keep me going when I talk! It’s a great security blanket when I don’t feel much resonance from the audience, and so it was yesterday. My PowerPoint was there when the wifi wasn’t, and when I felt worried about whether the audience was with me.

I have some observations, I hate under-designed, almost anti-speaker designed venues BUT I can survive them.

Finally, in lieu of handouts, I put my presentation up on SlideShare. This morning I received an email from them telling me it would be up in their News & Politics feature page for 16 to 20 hours, (News & Politics?!?) so that’s an audience reaction I can enjoy ;->

Beyond Google featured on SlideShare
"Beyond Google" featured on SlideShare

MagNet ’09

I GO-trained into Toronto today to attend some sessions  at the MagNet ’09 Conference. I was really impressed with the excellent level of organization and with the high quality of the two sessions I attended, a session with a panel of literary agents answering questions and a session with Harry van Bommel on self-publishing. Both were excellent. Harry van Bommel speaks frequently and if you ever get a chance to hear him, do it! I learned a lot from him. http://www.harryvanbommel.com/Harry_van_Bommel/HOME.html

Harry van Bommel's Home Page
Harry van Bommel's Home Page

It was a lovely day to be in downtown Toronto:

Torontos Old City Hall
Toronto's Old City Hall
Toronto's current City Hall

Tomorrow I give my presentation on researching using the web.

iQ mobile Search - an iPhone Screenshot
iQ mobile Search - an iPhone Screenshot

I worry a little because the audience will be doubly diverse. They will have many different angles on what they want to research and what for. Plus, today I noticed a wide range in web awareness and know-how in those attending the sessions I was in. As well, I’ve been tweeting using the hashtag #MagNet09, and when I’ve searched, very few seem to be using it. I’m hoping I’ve got something for everyone but tomorrow will tell.

I’m using a PowerPoint, for three reasons.

  1. I like KeyNote better, but if anything went wrong with my laptop, there might not be another Mac handy and a PowerPoint file will play on a Mac or a Windows platform. (Not that I’m paranoid ;-> but I’ve emailed a copy to my Google mail, and I have a memory stick with my presentation on it which I carry separately from my laptop,)
  2. I’ve just found PowerPoint’s Presenter Tool –  something I thought only Keynote had – and that will make my presentation easier to run.
  3. I don’t trust hotel wi-fi having had previous bad experiences with giving web-based presentations where the promised wi-fi was down more than up.

So tomorrow, I will be looking at this screen –

PowerPoints Presenter Tools
PowerPoint's Presenter Tools

Wish me luck ;->

Chunkit and Cuil

In the past few days I’ve been alerted to two new search tools. A friend, knowing my web-fascination, sent me a link to Cuil – http://www.cuil.com/info/ – I have only briefly played with it, but the information has hit the Twitterverse, and it was created by Google alumni, so you might want to check it out.

Searching for Vygotsky
Searching for Vygotsky

The other search tool I found out about from a comment from someone called Sasha on my blog. Chunkit is still in beta, you have to add a small download – Windows, Mac & Linux, IE 6.0+ or Firefox 2.0+ – but I found the Chunkit videos and information intriguing enough to download the application.

Searching for Vygotsky 2
Searching for Vygotsky 2

When you click on the most interesting text on the left, you are taken to the source site with the relevant text highlighted:

Source site
Source site

This looks like a handy research tool to me. I found the videos helped me learn how to use Chunkit, including the Search Options –

Chunkit Search
Chunkit Search

I have 3 small criticisms, less to more important:

  • the colours, orange and black are Hallowe’en colours – ugly;
  • The toolbar takes up a chunk of my small laptop screen; and
  • the education-oriented videos are all oriented toward the partying, last-minute essay writing, and one almost suggests plagiarism – inappropriate.

However, some of the videos have pages attached, like this one on Gutenberg for those who want a static set of instructions. The abudance of videos for many purposes, household, shopping, news, academics, and business, make it easy for the viewer to dip into the different uses he or she might make of Chunkit. After sampling a few, I found it easy to navigate Chunkit, and to use it for my purposes.

Chunkit PLE
Chunkit PLE

So what do you think? Are either of these a helpful addition to your searching? One more than the other? I interested in how others see them.