When I saw this I got so excited I nearly had kittens! There is a browser add-on for Gmail (also for Outlook) that puts an Unsubscribe button in the menu bar for emails. It enables you to tell the software to figure out how to unsubscribe you from listservs, email lists, etc. instead of ferreting that info out and losing all that time doing it one by one.

On the free version, you get 5 unsubscribes a month with the option to upgrade to unlimited unsubscribes for a fee (though at that point one would have to wonder why you are subscribing to all of these things in the first place if you don’t want them ;P)

Genius.

Also, as a delightful aside, you can now stream Netflix through your PS3 & Wii without a disc! Please see instructions in Netflix for details.

It’s about time!

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The wiki experience that I had most recently was with the New England Library Leadership Symposium (NELLS) Wiki. There were 33 people at NELLS and in times of old, all of these people would be introduced at the event and all other information would be sent in a static email, to which to sender would get eleventy million replies. With NELLS, though, the coordinators set up a wiki with their own introductions and the details of the trip, and it was up to the rest of us to fill in our own information. This was great because when we arrived, we already had some knowledge of each other and something to talk about! You knew whose brain you might want to pick over a particular problem. And, it save the coordinators all that time, so they could focus on the Symposium and not on reading 33 individual emails a day!

I have always thought that a wiki would be the ideal policy writing tool. If your library needs a policy written, toss a draft up in a wiki and let everyone edit it until it is the right policy for your institution with everyone’s input included. Plus, you didn’t have to sit through hours and hours of meetings just to say that you found a minor typo. And again, it saves the person who is ultimately responsible for presenting the final version from having to read 10 different emails with 10 different attached documents with 10 different sets of edits. We just did some policies at my work and I totally did not suggest this method, but I will next time!

Overall I really like the wiki, but this technology more than any other seems to be the 2.0 thing everyone and their mother is using. I see so many wikis that just don’t make sense as wikis. And their not being used as wikis, their being used a websites. This is not to say that one can’t also be the other, what I’m saying is that a lot of wikis are being used as websites and NOT wikis. I don’t know, maybe I’m being picky, but I was always taught to use the right tools for the job. Does this mean that I never unscrew something with a butter knife…no. But do I know that I am using the inappropriate tool…yes. Do these places (I wish I had a good example off the top of my head…maybe I’ll insert one later) know that they are not using the right tool for the job…maybe/maybe not. I guess I think there would be more success with these things if more people allowed themselves the time, like in this course, to really figure out what this stuff is about for before implementing it. I’d love to see the success rate go up a little, that’s all.

I put this invitation out there on my RSS post to explore Google Reader sharing with me and, by gum, someone took the bait! Thanks, Rhonda!

Of course, this meant that I’d actually have to figure out how. Well, like all things Google, there is not the way, there are the ways. So here’s the breakdown:

  1. Friends via Google Brand – people who have Google Talk or Gmail Chat and have Google Reader accounts are automatically subscribed to your shared items. There’s even a handy little link in the main Google Reader menu for “Friend’s Shared Items.” As one would expect, Google brand products communicate very nicely with each other. My fella is auto-subscribed to my Google Reader which is nice for him because I share all of the Linux tips I find. Verdict: This is the way for Google Brand junkies who have or would be willing to enable the chat function for each other.
  2. A direct link – lucky for everyone, Google is not vicious and they’ve provided many other ways, like a link to your shared items. It’s right there when you click on “Shared Items” in Reader, as are the rest of these options. It’s nice because it sends the user to a page formatted nicely for the viewing public. Verdict: this is the way for people who do not have or want feed readers but do a bit of bookmark/favorites checking.
  3. A feed – better yet, if all parties have feed readers, you can give that to folks and they can set you up in their reader. The feed is available from your link page. Verdict: this is the way for folks who have feed readers, even Google Readers, but are not your chattin’ buddies.
  4. Email – you can email your list directly to folks who do not really keep favorites/bookmarks or have readers. Google is smart; it only send a short message and the link to your shared page, and also the feed, which would be a good way to get the feed to friends without too much hassle. Verdict: this is the way for folks who aren’t really tethered to the internet but check email. Also a convenient way to get the feed to your reader folks.
  5. Put it in your Blog – you can insert a clip of your shared items into your blog. Let’s try it out, shall we…hmmm, no luck. Reader does specify that the script they give you to cut and paste needs to be added to a javascript enabled blah, blah, blah. I’ll figure this one out later. If you’re a Blogger user, this is super easy because you just click a button that says “Add to Blogger,” which I would imagine works something like blogging from Flickr. Verdict: Awesome for Blogger users, may also be nice for snappier folks who can figure out how to get into other blogs!

Thanks, Google, for a plethora of ways to share stuff. Rhonda, I’d say our best bet is to try option 3, and anyone else who wants to give it a go. Here’s the feed to my shared items (right click, copy link location, and paste into the area where you add subscriptions).

Feed

Feel free to delete it when your done playing if you have no interest in the following topics:

  1. Linux
  2. Google and Mozilla extensions
  3. Weird practical tips, like keeping onions in pantyhose
  4. Open source software