Pics please! Instagram and Flickr

In 2003 I went out to lunch with a techie friend from the State Library. His newest phone had a camera! It felt strange having my photo taken with a phone- my phone at the time was a little Nokia, capable of little more than texting and well, calling people.

10 years later and the  vast majority of the photos I take now are with my phone, rather than my camera. In fact it was a major factor in deciding to go with the phone I currently have.

My modus operandi is to take a photo and then share it via Flickr, Instagram,  Facebook or my blog, which is good if I feel  the need to post something, but don’t have the words :). I can also take photos with the Instagram and Flickr apps on my phone which then have the option of sharing via other social networks.

Untitled No 3 #anz23mthings

I have had a Flickr account for a long time, and used it more as a repository of images rather than a network to browse. It has really only been since I participated in a couple of librarian-inspired challenges that I was actively using it on a regular basis. I have found that the mobile functionality on the Android version of the Flickr app is quite limited. I can’t seem to find a way to link an image to a group via the app- I have to go to the desktop. I can place an image in a set, and I can browse through my contacts’ images via my app and that’s pretty much it.

Morning walk #happy365 #2013pad # SLV #melbourne

I must admit I was turned off by Instagram’s revised Terms of Service and deleted my original account, but after a while I succumbed to peer pressure and rejoined. I must admit I am in awe of peeps like Kim who take selfies, as I feel uncomfortable with seeing myself when I take a photo. I do find that Instagram is much more like Twitter, in that you can follow other people’s accounts/photostreams, and they don’t have to follow you back. Accounts can either be private or public, and a picture can definitely inspire great conversations!

Flickr though has greater flexibility in that you can choose which images are private or public and you can release your images out into the wild with a Creative Commons licence. There are some images of my children which are limited to friends and family, but other images are available for others to see.

Girl on a train #happy365 #2013pad #ballarat #Emily #heritageweekend

Exploring Flickr and Instagram as an individual, I see they are quite different beasts. Flickr has the greater advantage of being a repository , while Instagram is a far more social animal. If Flickr wishes to take Instagram on, it really needs to upgrade the mobile user experience, in order to replicate the desktop version.

For use in library settings, much of the corporate use of Flickr is in sharing an institution’s image collections-and a good way to share your images from Flickr is to link to them on Twitter or Facebook. Next time you’re on Twitter, search for  #collectionfishing, a hash tag used by instutions such as PROV and NLA do this quite well as do the SLV

This exercise, especially when thinking of how to use these apps in a library environment, does raise some questions. Is the librarian evolving from being content curators to creators? Is our role library to document,  or to promote? Can we be a community hub, much like Christchurch city libraries and use Flickr and Instagram to broaden our content?

The story of Bookgrrl and the sex shop

I changed my picture profile on Facebook to one of my holiday pics, this time in Bruges. I remember it was one of the sunnier days. We had just spent the morning sightseeing, had been at the park and were on our way back to the hotel to rest.

For once Mr BG had the camera. He said “Smile!” with a cheeky grin on his face I turned around and click went the camera. I knew what he was trying to do.*

bookgrrl and the sex shop

Our hotel’s entrance was down a small laneway and right at the front of the laneway was a sex shop. Unlike similar shops here in Australia, the merchandise was displayed in the shop windows in a very matter of fact kind of fashion. There was none of the blacked out windows, or signs assuring discretion, it was quite an upmarket looking shop. It was also impossible not to walk past it! Usually we tried to walk past briskly, but the naked models and the pink vibrators were an irresistible combination for my two. Miss BG pronounced she would like one of the masks and the pink fluffy handcuffs, and Master BG was simply agog, his eyes like saucers. For once he was speechless.

“What does that do Mum?” asked Miss BG pointing to one of the vibrators in the window.”It’s something to help grownups relax, ” I replied, much to my husband’s merriment (I seem to be the one to get the curly questions…). “Can I have one when I grow up?” was her next question.

I smiled.


10 things I love about maths

This morning Kate Hunter on website Mamamia wrote a humorous post on the 10 things she hated about maths.
She’s right, there are people who don’t get maths, who proclaim their hopelessness with numbers, and who hate it with a passion, much in the same way I hate Brussel sprouts with a passion.
However just as there are math-phobes in the world, there are those who enjoy numbers. I’m a math nerd from waaay back, and here are my 10 reasons for loving maths.

1. Maths is more than numbers. It’s patterns, shapes, angles, curves, and letters. It is visual, tactile and cerebral at the same time.
2. You can get a wrong answer in maths and still be right , well sort of. I remember getting a maths question wrong in a spectacular fashion for a question during my mid year Year 12 exams. However, my workings out of the problem showed the examiner I had understood the concept, applied the correct rules and followed through correctly. I just managed to stuff up a little bit along the way. Applying what you learned and blagging your way through got me through in the end :).
3.Rules for maths don’t really change, so much as evolve. On the other hand, teaching methods do change- my son is learning maths differently to the way I did, which did involve a lot of rote learning and flashcards of my times tables. He is learning patterns, measurement and the fact that maths is an everyday part of life. We haven’t yet gotten to long division, and I hoe we never do- I loathed long division!
4. You wouldn’t have Google, Facebook, Twitter, nor the Internet without maths. The biggest conveyor of information, pictures, communication tool is all down to the fact that groups of very clever people nutted it out with numbers, algorithms and lots of 1’s and 0’s. Though I ask the people of Twitter- why 140 characters? Why? Why? Why?
5. There are 26 letters in the Western alphabet and look at how language has evolved, with new words being created and added to the Oxford English Dictionary- with just 26 letters. Numbers, on the other hand, stretch to infinity! It is the universal language which makes it all inclusive, rather than exclusive. One of my maths lecturers at uni was very hard to understand when speaking, but his equations were much easier to comprehend.
6. Numbers cAN make you joyous- the amount of money you have in your bank account on payday, when you’ve had your long service leave paid out, and when your husband’s EP is the number 1 selling title for a label.
7. Do you budget, bake, crochet, knit, drive? Do you play Scrabble or Sudoku? Are you blogging or writing to a deadline of time or to a word limit? Do you write poetry, songs, or even sonnets? Chances are you are using your numeracy skills, and you don’t even know it.
8. Being a ‘word’ person or a ‘numbers’ person aren’t mutually exclusive. In Year 11 I could recite tracts of Shakespeare’s Macbeth and knew the value of Pi to about 50 places. I can count in French, Italian and German, and love reading
9. 567, 796.48, 994, 004.78. In my early days as a librarian in a public library, I got to know the Dewey Decimal Classification (which classifies and organises non-fiction books in a library) very well. Dinosaurs were located at Dewey number 567, the Olympic Games at 796.48, Australian History was at 994 and the Internet was at 004.78. Surely the combination of words and numbers is a marriage made in heaven?
10. My dad was a maths teacher. He made maths fun for me, and if I was sick at home would leave me little sums to work out. He showed me not to be afraid of numbers and was extremely patient with me when it came to teaching me new concepts (he was my maths A teacher in Year 12). The only times he was angry at me was as a dad, and that was a lot! I think the number of white hairs on his head increased exponentially when I reached puberty.

My mum always claimed to be ‘rubbish’ at maths, but she was the budgeter, paid the bills, and managed the family’s finances. In some way it was a bit of a self-esteem issue, as she was seen as the less clever child in comparison to her elder sister.
There are so many different aspects to mathematics, and numbers that it can be a bit of a generalisation to say you hate maths. I don’t want to see this hatred or fear normalised, especially amongst girls and young women. There needs to be more positive angles given to stories about maths (pun intended) :).

Being thankful

Five weeks ago, we were very lucky to be invited to a Thanksgiving dinner by a family whose husband is an American expatriate.

We were a varied group whose number included neighbours, people from work, from the local community garden and fellow American expatriates.

The dinner was a traditional turkey and stuffing, mashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, greens and corn bread, with apple pie, pumpkin pie and ice cream for dessert.

Before the meal we were asked to say what we were thankful for. My response was I was thankful for the kids in keeping me grounded. I was also thankful, in that they behaved very well and played very well with the younger children present.

As Christmas passes and the New Year approaches, I’m thankful for other things…

I am thankful for Twitter and Facebook, which has allowed me to remain in contact with old friends and make new friends. A Secret Santa was organised via Twitter, and the blogeverydayinjune, 1pic1thoughtinaugust and blog12daysofxmas were all organised through Twitter as well.

I am thankful for my blog. I love the outlet of writing and enjoy thinking about what to write in my head, jotting down notes, and typing a few words, before being interrupted by world war three emanating from the lounge room.

I am thankful for my blog’s readers, for your comments and support during my moments of feeling blah.

I am thankful for my lovely friends, both online and those I see, for making me laugh and cry.

I am thankful for my family, for being there when I need them.

I am thankful for my lovely Mr BG, for his honesty and love and for his ability to pick the perfect Christmas presents- a ghost tour of the Daylesford Convent, Body Shop gift set, a set of matroyshka measuring cups and a re-release of the first Duran Duran album, with bonus tracks and DVD.

Happy New Year


Communication Breakdown

If I seem a bit quiet on Monday in my usual haunts, ie Facebook and Twitter, it’s not because I’m ignoring you. I’m taking part in Communication Shutdown on Monday November 1 to raise awareness autism, and the idea is not to use Facebook or Twitter for 24 hours (I thought it was both when I signed up!).

The shutdown is aimed  at people outside the autism community and is supposed to simulate those feelings of frustration at the inability to properly communicate. As these two sites are the first two I check when I wake up in the morning, this is undoubtedly going to piss me off to no end.

Of course, I also have the options of email, blogging, texting, phoning someone and talking face-to-face to people tomorrow. However, from experience this STILL doesn’t mean I don’t always get my message across *sigh*…



Has it been THAT long since my last post? Tsk, tsk, tsk…

Well I guess that’s what happens when Master BG has a 5th birthday extravaganza, which seemed to stretch on forever, a presentation for library staff on Web 2.0 on Monday, which caused a number of logistical headaches (the usual dropping kids off for a sleepover at grandparents’ place headache), and a dead slow internet connection, that happens at the end of the month when our broadband limit runs out.

As a result, I have a couple of half-completed posts, and some posts which I wrote WITH A PEN in a journal (I know! A paper diary! How retro is that?!).

All will be revealed soon, but for now a couple of tidbits to keep you amused 🙂

Librarian’s Guide to Etiquette– slightly tongue-in-cheek, always entertaining

Another kindred spirit who acknowledges the sexiness of the librarian– in this case the male librarian. I know where she’s coming from, seeing as I’m married to one…

Zombie Survival Guide– A great use of the libguide application from the University of Florida in the event of a zombie infestation and you need to access the library remotely. Thanks to @KatieTT

A Provocative Statement about Libraries– actually quite nice really…

Young Learners need librarians, not just Google– another nice article about the value of librarians in an educational setting

How to make a Super Sultandwich

A I spend an inordinate of time here, so it makes sense to know Facebook Facts & Figures

All you wanted to know about the State of the Blogosphere

PS– a blogger who always has something to say about wine, cycling, tattoos and the stupidity of Stephen Conroy. Also a good friend.

Santa Claus is coming to Town

After much discussion, it has been decided to leave out some gingerbread and a glass of apple juice for Santa, as this is what Master BG likes and some carrots for the reindeer. (Mental note: may sub the apple juice for some whiskey…)

As a Christmas present to my family and my overloaded brain, I am spending time away from the PC- no emails, facebook, twitter and definitely no blog until my return to work on the 4th January.

As a Christmas present to you my dear readers, (and I think I know every one of you by name), here is some holiday reading. I hope you all have a happy and safe Christmas, read lots, eat lots, drink lots and love lots- which is what I hope to be doing :). If anyone is still wondering what to get bookgrrl for Christmas, I would like David Tennant in my Christmas stocking. Failing that a kiss under the mistletoe is always welcome…

Much of the links involve looking back over the past decade and looking at what will be.

According to Mashable, Marketing in 2010 will be about Data-the article also mentions issues of privacy and the concept of metadata. Actually the world has been becoming about data for a while, especially if you consider a search engine company is about to enter the world of telecommunications, real estate and is sitting on mountains of data, not just the web, but our thoughts, dreams, desires and viewing habits. Speaking of viewing habits, also check out the top trends in Twitter, and Digg.

The 15 Biggest Internet Controversies of the decade– mainly social networking issues (MySpace, Twitter and Facebook), also issues of censorship (China and Amazon’s censorship of gay and lesbian literature), filesharing and net neutrality. I just remember in 2001-2 telling other librarians in a zine about Google when it first cam out. A lot has happened since then.

Another myth busted, namely the 3-clicks rule, which stipulates that any content on a website or intranet should only be three clicks away from a home page. Usability testing by Jared Spool has shown that users don’t mind how many clicks are involved, provided they know they’re on the right path. What is entailed then, is designing navigation that is intuitive and allows users to ‘scent’ the information.

More library blogs– Lisnews published every year a list of 10 library blogs to read each year, here is a retrospective list of the last four years. Some are good, some are not so good…

Might as well face it, you’re addicted to…

My mobile.

I may not use it all that often, but I like to know it’s there. I left my mobile phone at home this morning and realised while I was halfway to the station. Faced with either returning home to retrieve phone, and miss my train (and having to wait35 minutes for the next train- ahh the joys of living in regional Victoria) or get my train, I chose the latter. Owing to the long queue for tickets I was lucky to get on the train at all!

It’s mainly used for people to keep in contact with me- daycare for my children, texts from friends, mum and dad and the gym. I will use it to check my twitter and facebook, but browsing on a mobile is hideously expensive, and not that usable either; Jakob Nioelsen’s recent report on mobile web usability was spot on.

Did I miss it? I missed the convenience, but give me a couple of days and I think I would be weaned off it. The PC, however would be a different matter altogether. I have been online at home since 1999, at work since 1997 and was using the Internet at uni in 1994. I have never gone more than a couple of days without logging in to my hotmail, and that was when I was on holidays overseas, and access was occasionally hit and miss.

My mum is not a big fan of computers- she dislikes the antisocial aspect, and the fact it ‘draws you in’ (her words). I can argue to her about the social aspect of the Internet, but the Web is indeed a mesmerising place and it is easy to get lost in it, and ignore your nearest and dearest. And when your nearest and dearest are busy jumping on couches and climbing on tables, it is best not to ignore them :).

So here’s my challenge to myself- go offline, no Twitter, Facebook, Hotmail, news websites- until I am back in at work on Wednesday. Will let you know how I go and what I do to fill my time up…

Burning the midnight oil

No post yesterday, as I am rushing to meet a deadline for uni. For those interested I have to annotate a bibliography, and discuss the role of information professionals in knowledge management. Luckily for me, I can lodge it electronically, so there are no trips to uni to post the paper in the essay box with minutes to spare. My deadline  is midnight tonight.

I must admit a perverse joy in studying- even if the universe in the form of cooking, laundry and son, daughter and Mr Bookgrrl conspire against me. And I won’t of course mention the other online distractions of Facebook and Twitter…:)

I will be off the air tomorrow owing to a quick trip to Sydney for a friend’s 40th birthday party. I remember going to his 30th, as Mr Bookgrrl and I had arrived home that morning from our first trip to the UK. This will be the fourth 40th party I have attended of a personal friend- I am getting old…

Have a great weekend. For Australians this Monday is the Queen’s Birthday public holiday- the only day when I am a monarchist!