Visualize Tasks with DropTask

DropTask

Lifehacker pointed me to this cool looking tool that I thought might interest some of you. It’s called DropTask and it lets you visualize your tasks in a sort of Ven Diagram way. I created a couple tasks in a project called ‘Blogs':

DropTask

This from Lifehacker:

DropTask is incredibly intuitive, and while it can seem a little weird at first—not to mention space-inefficient—it can be pretty handy if you’re managing larger projects. In fact, where it really shows its stuff is when you work with other people. If you sign your entire team up for DropTask, you can assign tasks or groups of tasks to different people with just a flick of the mouse, making it really easy to dole out responsibilities. Check out the video above to see it in action, or click the link below to try it out.

Collaboration is Key

collaborate

When I was in college I would often work on my assignments with my husband (not my husband then of course) and most of our professors were fine with that because they realized that in the real world jobs are done in collaboration … well at least jobs in most successful companies. Opensource.com repeats my opinion:

Most businesses today know that utilizing collaboration tools increases the liklihood success for a project, and for the organization as a whole. When people work together, brain power is multiplied; not only does more work tend to get done, but better work. The loner mentality—whether it’s applied to how we think about office space, meetings, or project management—just doesn’t measure up.

They also have a little poll where they’re asking what collaboration tools you use most in your organization. At ByWater I said it’s IRC, although I guess Email is a close second. Working in a virtual office, IRC is how we keep in touch all day long, it’s how we make it feel like we’re actually all sitting in the same office. What tools do you use most for collaboration?

On Pinterest

Tonight I attended a talk on Pinterest given by John LeMasney. Pinterest does one thing and does that one thing very well – it’s an image sharing/bookmarking tool.

Social Visual Bookmarking Precedents

John started by showing us sites that came before Pinterest that had/have a similar purpose :

  • Delicious
    The idea of social bookmarking became popular with Delicious, but has lost a lot of users because of Yahoo!’s poor management of the news that they were no longer going to support it.
  • Diigo
    Diigo sort of picked up the pieces when it looked like Delicious was going away. They took the model of Delicious and then built more features on to it.
  • FFFFOUND
    This tool allows a limited set of users who were found to be digital content curators to share their images with others. The limit to users means that you probably can’t get an account, but it also means that you’re going to find many amazing images. This site is geared more toward the visual designer versus the average user.
  • We♥It
    Another visual sharing site, but is much less exclusive than FFFFOUND is.
  • Vi.sualize.us
    Another visual sharing site.
  • Piccsy
    Yet another visual sharing site.

Pinning, repinning, following and liking

Which brings us to Pinterest. John gave us a brief tour of the features of Pinterest including: Searching, Pinning, and Pinboards

Pinning is how you share images on Pinterest. Like on Delicious where you would ‘bookmark’ a page, on Pinterest you ‘pin’ it. You then organize your ‘pins’ by putting them on Pinboards. You can also create group managed Pinboards like my ‘Picture for Presentations‘ board. What you can’t do yet is create a private board – all boards that you create a public at this time (this is one of the suggestions John has on his Pinterest Suggestions board).

We’re going to come back to this, but if, when you pin something, you take the time to enter a citation in the description box, you will avoid some of the potential trouble with Pinterest’s terms of service.

Another thing we found while asking questions and poking around was that people can add you to groups without your approval, you can remove yourself from groups. If you’re seeing things on your Pinterest list of ‘Pinners you follow’ from people you don’t know it might be that you were added to a group, so click on the image and see if you can track down why you’re seeing it and remove yourself from the group if you’re not really interested in that topic.

Lots of people are using Pinterest to try and sell things – but we’re not trying to sell – we’re just trying to get people in the library. Free is so much easier than selling, we just have to be in people’s faces and right now those faces are in front of Pinterest.

You can also ‘Repin’ items. This is when you find an image that someone else shared and you re-share it. One example is if you have a cooking program. You can find the board owned by the chef showing pics of his/her recipes and repin them to the library board to promote the event.

Branding best practices

Some obvious best practicees – participate! So many people and organizations sign up and then don’t use the tool. This looks very bad for you and for your brand. I have found several companies on Pinterest that have never shared a thing! Don’t do this. And along with that participation is to do something regularly.

Obviously you want to respect copyright and ownership. Add citations to descriptions and educate others how to do this.

Include links! You want to add a link to the description or by editing the image you have posted and adding in a link. You want to make sure you link back to your library site or ILS or whatever page at your library you’re posting content from.

Make sure you remember your brand! If you’re sharing content on your library site on Pinterest you want to make sure you stick to your brand. Make sure you use language that you’d use in a press release or on your website in your descriptions. That said, don’t only pin your own stuff. Make sure you share things from other boards that have to do with your events, your philosophy, your mission, etc. This makes you a member of the community on Pinterest.

Use group boards. Collaborate with colleagues and patrons so that you can benefit from their participation and extend your community even more. A group you could share with your patrons is to say ‘What I Like About Libraries’ and have your patrons share things they like about libraries – it gives you ideas and promotes libraries in general. Always remember to add keywords and hashtags to add metadata to a system where there is no other great method for metadata (yet).

More tips: http://bloggingwithamy.com/pinterest-tips.

Copyright and fair use

What do Facebook, Pinterest and a scholarly article all have in common?

It could be peer review, it could be respecting copyright, it could be proper citations – you just have to make it that way!

Why does Pinterest say they own all of your pins?

Because they’re trying to cover their behinds. In Pinterest’s terms of service they say that they own everything you post on Pinterest. In reality what they’re trying to say is that they’re not responsible if someone illegally shares your work on their site. They don’t want to be sued because they provided a platform for copyright infringement.

Copyright is not given – so in the end Pinterest cannot say that they “own” your content, they’re just trying to protect themselves.

Filtering and search

Basically you can search for images, boards and people. Nothing much else to say here.

Settings

Going to your settings in Pinterest will allow you to turn off sharing on Facebook and other social networks. So if you use Pinterest for personal reasons and Facebook for professional or vice versa you might not want to share content from Pinterest on Facebook automatically. You can also limit emails that you receive and other general settings.

Suggested improvements

  • Improved searching. It would be great to search by color, camera, etc etc etc.
  • Metadata. Adding tags and tag clouds would help you find information and see what type of things certain people are pinning.
  • Tagging people and places. It would nice to geotag and tag faces like you can in Facebook and Flickr.
  • Android App. There is only an iPhone app right now.
  • Licensing options. I should be able to say that this is not mine, or is mine, or put a creative commons license on it – again this is something that Flickr does already.
  • Threaded discussion. There is no way to reply to a specific comment – it’s a flat discussion format.
  • See John’s Pinterest Suggestions

Slides

John will be posting his slides and a video online and I’ll add that when it’s available, but I didn’t want to wait to share all I learned with you all!!

[update] Slides and video are now online on John’s site [/update]

Links in Google Calendar Events

When I was teaching my WordPress class recently a librarian asked me if they could link to the registration page from their Google Calendar (the one I told them to embed in their WordPress site) – and I said I didn’t think so. Now, I don’t remember who that librarian was so I’m going to share this with you all and hope that she’s reading :)

In a recent post by Allie Jordan on LibraryTechTalk I learned that it is possible to put links in your Google Calendar events. Her post talks about how to use Google Docs & Calendar for event registration at your library. This tutorial is a must read if you’re using Google Apps in your library!!

Communication w/out email

A few years ago I was all over the place talking about how you can use your Intranet to improve communications within your library. I always said emails were a disaster when it came to project management – now Shareflow has popped onto the scene saying the same thing and offering a solution:

shareflow

The more you use email, the more work you create for your team. Important information gets lost in the shuffle.

Found via SmashingApps.

Another way to use Zoho

This from ReadWriteWeb:

Zoho, the web office company that competes with Google’s online tools (and does so quite well), has introduced a new feature to their online suite of productivity applications: Zoho Chat 2.0. Built atop the original Zoho Chat platform, this iteration now integrates all the major instant messaging networks. But a multi-protocol IM client is not the big news – it’s the fact that Zoho Chat 2.0 is integrated within the majority of the company’s applications to allow for real-time collaboration with colleagues.

In Zoho Chat 2.0, you now have the ability to connect with others – both Zoho users and not – on IM networks like Yahoo!, Google Chat, MSN/Windows Live, AIM, ICQ, and any network that supports Jabber. The chat application itself can be launched from within nearly every Zoho online application with the exception of Creator, Share, Invoice, and Database & Reports. But when you look at the list of apps, you can see there are far more that have chat than those that don’t.

Sounds pretty awesome. We use Google Apps for work so I’m kind of stuck on Google for my online collaboration for now, but I keep meaning to give Zoho another shot and try it out – especially since there are so many options available through Zoho.

Yelp Makes it to the Big Time

But when can you truly say that a company has “made it?”

It’s when people start hating you, of course.

Sites like Yelp-Sucks and IHateYelp have been popping up, with the general theme being an angry business owner who was Yelped. Those business owners that think they must use Yelp for competitive reasons are getting frustrated over some of Yelp’s policies, and are starting to complain about it. Loudly.

The good news for Yelp is that when businesses are afraid of you, it’s only because they realize how much power you really have. See, for example, Paypal and Ebay, two of the most reviled and profitable businesses on the Internet.

Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman said recently in the NY Times, “We put the community first, the consumer second and businesses third.” Their goal is clearly to make businesses need Yelp, but not to expect a lot of help when it comes to disputes. Complain all you want, you’re just proving that you need Yelp more than they need you.

This from TechCrunch.

I’ve been a member of Yelp since soon after my wedding when I had a big complaint to post about my photographer! I then sort of forgot about the site until I started working for LibLime. I am traveling so much that Yelping has become a hobby for me. I review every place I go while traveling and have been going back to review places I have been in the past. Unlike the implications above, I actually have mostly positive reviews on my account with only a few below 3 stars.

This is a great tool and over my vacation I invited something like 50 people to join Yelp and share their reviews. Now I’m inviting all of you! Join in the fun!

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Another big name online office suite

Adobe now has an online office suite. This from DownloadSquad:

Adobe has built a suite of online office applications to compliment Buzzword, the company’s online word processor. We’ve covered Buzzword in the past. It’s pretty, fast, and not really all that much more useful than similar products from Google or Zoho. Here’s a rundown of the other applications you’ll find at Acrobat.com:

  • ConnectNow: A web conferenceing tool that lets you share your desktop with others, chat, talk over a VoIP connection, or share files and mark up whiteboards.
  • Share: Selectively share files with other users. Adobe Share lets you send files to a list of contacts, and lets the recipients view PDF image, and video files online.
  • Create PDF: Seriously, do we need to tell you what this does?
  • My Files: Store and organize up to 5GB of files online.

Sounds neat – but it seems to have a small graphical issue on my computer – I think there is a menu across the top of the homepage, but it’s cut off.

I’ll probably give these tools a test before my next Office 2.0 class :)

Google Apps – free from IT

I’ve been sitting on this article all day. I’m not sure where I stand on the issue – but I still feel that it’s something I should bring to your attention:

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) today announced Google Apps Team Edition as the simplest and fastest way for groups of employees and students to collaborate within an organization using Google Apps™. Once users verify their business or school email address, they can instantly share documents and calendars securely without burdening IT for support. Team Edition can easily be switched to Google Apps Standard, Premier or Education Edition for communications and collaboration across the entire company.

Now, I’m using Google Apps as part of a series of tools to assist in me telecommuting – however – mine was IT approved. I can see how this would be great for small orgs without and IT staff – but if your IT staff has reasonable (and I stress reasonable) policies in place for not using Google Apps, should employees be going against those guidelines? I have to agree with Joel:

Google’s approach seems predicated on the old adage that it’s always easier to get forgiveness than permission.

Is this wrong? I don’t know – I know I’ve followed this “old adage” before (in various arenas) – would I with this? I might – but I can certainly see the IT point of view.

So, in short – I’ve brought it to your attention and now you can make up your own mind about it :)

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Drupal Mailing List

Okay – I’ve been fighting with Drupal for months! Now there is finally some help in sight!

As the name implies, ‘DRUPAL4LIB‘ is for those interested in Drupal, a popular open-source CMS, as it relates to libraries and librarians. The idea is to have a forum to exchange ideas and advice, share experiences, and maybe even collaborate on a couple of projects that highlight the use of Drupal in a library context.

Via LISNews.

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