Sue Waters Blog

December 15, 2007
by Sue Waters
12 Comments

Are You Going To Be More Sharing And Caring?

Depending on your love of Google Reader you will either be grateful that Google has given us an early Christmas present or be concerned, like me, that you may need to change your sharing habits. For those who don’t use Google Reader, or who have no idea what I am talking about, Google has linked Reader with Google Talk so now all your shared items will be visible to your friends from Google Talk, and vice versa.

You will have the option to choose which friends you link with and to invite more. Plus the option to clear your shared items.

This is definitely one of the biggest changes that Google Reader has made and it will impact of how we use our Readers. Not everyone in the blogosphere is impressed with this feature with posts warning of further information overload and duplications of posts. from friends.

My thoughts are I will need to seriously rethink how I use the Sharred feature of Google Reader because it is a feature I have totally ignored because I have not been interested in using it. Now I have to make the decision:

  1. Do I want to start caring about my friends and and making sure I share really good posts
  2. Or share nothing using Google Reader instead use blogging to link to posts I really want to share

googlereadersharing.jpg

FINAL THOUGHT

Refer to my posts on Getting more out of Google reader and Update on Getting more out of Google Reader for information on using Reader effectively.

If you are currently using Google Reader please let me know your thoughts on the integration of Reader with Google Talk — how will it change what you do? Is it a good or bad feature?

Also I am aware that many of my readers don’t use Google Reader — so please tell me more about your Feed Reader because I would be interested in learning how you get the most out of your Reader.

July 20, 2007
by Sue Waters
4 Comments

My Everyday Tools

In the last couple of days I have noticed people blogging on tools that I have been using for quite awhile – I assumed that everyone knew about them – wrong assumption. So I thought today I would post about tools that I use all the time:

1. SnagIt snagit2

Don’t care that it costs money – was worth every cent – they let you download and trial this software for a month – give it a go. Thanks Evil Sue for putting me onto this great screen capture software. This is how I create all the great “How-to-do” images for my web sites (check out “how to create instructional videos” must transfer this to Mobile Technology in TAFE wiki).

2. Microsoft LiveWriter live

All my blog posts are written using LiveWriter. Definitely much quicker and easy than using my blog dashboard. Thanks Frances for getting me to try it. If you have not tried LiveWriter – TRY IT

3. Flickr Creative Commons photos, Lynetter’s Interesting Snippets, Flickr Storm

I use these to locate photos that I can legally use. Lynetter’s Interesting Snippets contains great images with excellent quotes that I have been using for some of my different web sites. These snippets have inspired me to create some of my own. [Snippet by Lynetter].

If you do not have your own Flickr account (online photosharing website), I recommend you get one – here are some of the reasons why I have a Flickr account.

376632696_3f4d7a3755_mmagazine7797076

4. fd’s Flickr Toys

This site has so many excellent toys that you can use to create posters, badges , mosaics etc from Flickr photos. Thanks Robyn for putting me onto Flickr toys and Storm.

This is a magazine cover that I created using Flickr Toys. Yes – we can all agree that I am not that creative – so I shall not be leaving my day job yet – tip if you want the photo to work it needs to be 619 pixels wide by 800 pixels high.

5. Audacity, MovieMaker and SuperC

I use Audacity for creating audio podcasts, MovieMaker for my video podcast (would like to use a Mac for video – but that is a really long story) and SuperC for converting my videos from .wmv to .mp4 format (less problems when I upload to my podcast site). Here are my instructions on “how to create audio podcasts“, “how to create video podcasts” and “how to convert .wmv to .mp4“.

If you have time, please give me your opinion on which tool to use – screencasting software, Photostory or MovieMaker (definitely worth time to read this post and the comments because of the differing in opinion by my readers).

6. Managing my online World

I use Skype, Google Talk, Twitter, iGoogle, Google Reader and del.icio.us to manage my world online. My preferred method of communication is now through chat – have to admit Google Talk is now my favorite because you can search gmail and chat history to easy locate information you discussed.

I am really into my Personalised Google Home page because the homepage makes it easier to manage my online world. Also there are so many Gadgets (Widgets) you can add to your Google Homepage (just click on add more stuff).

If you liked this post on My Everyday Tools then I suggest you read my post on Tools of the Trade (about Web 2.0 tools such as wikis, delicious, blogs that I recommend every lecturer should use and why. I also suggests ways they can use these tools with students).

Read my detailed tips for managing your World online if you want to know more.

July 12, 2007
by Sue Waters
6 Comments

Why you should use Gmail and Google Talk!

When I first started using Gmail and Google Talk, I have to admit I was not really fussed about either. I mean really I already had two email accounts (work and home) – and who needs another account? Have been using Skype for years and love it why would I want to change? Besides I hated the fact that the emails and Google Talk collapsed on top of each other (oops to all those people I sent the wrong chat message to).

Well that has all changed for one reason!

SEARCH!!

Google in their wisdom has given us the one feature with the applications that makes them stand out from the opposition. The ability to search our mail or chat history and locate emails/chat that contain a particular word.

No longer do I need to remember who said what and on which day because all I need to do is enter the search term and it does all the work for me. And it searches in both my chat and email records so I do not have to switch between them.

gmail

Definitely a fickle consumer because Skype and Outlook used to be my preferred options; but this SEARCH feature has changed all this. Google this SEARCH feature is what you should be promoting on your sign up for Gmail account page!

Sign up for a Gmail account today! Then download and install Google Talk!

gtalk

Sign into Google Talk with your gmail address and password.

Set up your iGoogle Homepage and add gmail gadget so that you can easily access your gmail account. While you are at it add a Google Reader gadget as well.

ENJOY!

June 5, 2007
by Sue Waters
11 Comments

Tools of the Trade

tool2.jpgDarren at Drape’s Take did an excellent post today on Why Every Teacher Should Have A Google Account. This is a list of basic tools that I recommend to lecturers:

Bookmarking

Definitely a bookmarking site is a must. It is so great to be able to bookmark a website online that you can then view from any computer. I just love the fact that where ever I am I can go yes I remember reading an article on a particular topic and pull up my del.icio.us site and locate the articles I want to read without having to relocate the article again (and normally I fail to locate the original article). You can also set up del.icio.us sites with students so that they can collaboratively bookmark sites to select the top sites for information on topics.

However if you are going to bookmark using del.icio.us I suggest you:

  1. Use tags that have meaning e.g podcasting, PodcastingEquipment (if you put a space between Podcasting and Equipment you will have two separate tags and Equipment to me may also mean aquaculture equipment. Alternatively you could separate with an underscore Podcasting_Equipment)
  2. Sort your tags by setting up bundles and put your tags into the correct bundles – this way you can located the articles you want to read easier)
  3. If you are using Firefox as your browser there is a new cool Add-on for del.icio.us. If you are not using Firefox then think about installing it because it is a great Browser, I now use it more than Internet Explorer.

If you want to know more about using del.icio.us check out my information on getting more out of del.ici.ous.

Wiki

I like using wikis as a quick and easy web site to share information with others. They are also excellent for encouraging collaborative learning between students. Personally I like using Wikipaces because their wiki is very easy to use and they have excellent customer service. If you want to know more about using wikis check out my information on getting more out of wiki.

Blog

I like both blogger (easy to use) and edublogs for blogging. I strongly recommend that you download and use Microsoft Livewriter which makes writing blog posts so much easier; and what a fanastic program. I had a hard time getting into blogging until I watched the following videos on blogging: Video: Blog History – shorten version and Long Video : Blogumentary – (1 hour) Thanks to Kate from Waxlyrical blog for recommending these videos. Check out Vicki Davis’s at Cool Cat Teacher’s blog tips on how to be an incredible blogger. While I agree with Darren about the value of teacher’s blogging I do think that Derek’s thoughts on online participation that for new people starting by commenting on blogs may be a good starting point.

Podcasting

I use Podomatic for podcasting however occasionally use Odeo. I prefer podomatic because it gives me a great podcast page which Odeo doesn’t. There are things about podomatic that I don’t like. For ideas for setting up a podcast page check out my podcast site aquaculturepda.podomatic.com

Comics

I have used two different free comic makers ToonDoo and Comeeko. No reason other than it is fun!!!!

ToonDoo is really easy to use (as they made it easy for kids to use) and they have lots of great characters, backgrounds and props that you can use. Basically anyone can easily create nice comics using ToonDoo – great fun for all ages – my 8 year old really enjoyed using ToonDoo as do I. The only issue I have had with ToonDoo is embedding my comics into my blog posts, these are my instructions on how to embed ToonDoo comics into an edublog blog.

The difference between ToonDoo and Comeeko is that with Comeeko you can use your own photos to make the comic. Comeeko is considerably harder to use than ToonDoo however a lot of fun because you use your own photos (which is very appealing).

Photosharing

Finally started to appreciate the value of photosharing and now am using Flickr.

Google

I am definitely a Google addict. Here is my list of Google MUSTS:

1. Personalized google homepage

I have set up my own personalized google homepage. If you haven’t give it a try. All you need to do is set up a Google account and then click on “Personalize this page” at the top of Google. You can add lots of little cool gadgets to the page (e.g. “to do list”, news feeds, Weather information, world clock, Google video) and whatever computer you are on you can sign into your personalized Google and access the items on the page (if you become too addicted you can add extra tabs – yes I know I need a life).

2. Google Reader

I use Google reader to subscribe to blogs and podcasts feeds. It is really easy to use, and I can put a gadget for it on my Personalized google homepage that shows me the latest 9 blogs and podcasts. Also I love how people are embedding Google Reader in their blogs and sharing their items that they like from their reader. I was totally unable to get into blogging until I started appreciating the value of blogs by subscribing to blogs using Google Reader

3. Google Talk

I use Google Talk for chatting with others but prefer Skype for VOIP. OOPS occassionally with Google Talk I have sent the wrong chat to the wrong person. If you don’t have a VOIP application on your computer. Definitely a must – you can talk or chat to anyone, anywhere, using the Internet, at no cost.

4. Google Video

I prefer to upload videos to google video if I want to embed them in wikis or blogs.

BTW I keep failing Vicki Davis’s 3 Rule of 10 habits of bloggers that winRULE 3 Write and then cut in half! :) There is no hope for me? :D