Tag Archives: Google

Week 9: Things 19-21

Welcome to week 9 of 25 Things @ Huddersfield!

19th Thing – Online Image Generators

These are websites that allow you to manipulate images easily. To get you started, here are a few sample sites:

Find a few image or text generators to play around with and write a post in your blog about one of your favourites and then display the result.

Often adding the image you created to your blog is as simple as copying and pasting code that the page provides. If not, you may just need to right click on the image and then save it to your hard drive before using the blog image button to add it to your post. If you’re having difficulty getting your image added to a post in your blog, ask a colleague for help or email the team.

Step 1: Play around with some image generators and find one that you like.
Step 2: Create several different types of images and save them to your computer.
Step 3: Post some of your creations to your blog and describe your process for creating it.
Note: Be sure to include a link to the image generator(s) you used, so other participants can discover it too.

Take some time and have fun with this exercise. (And remember to be tasteful too!)

20th Thing – Google Docs

Sign in to Google, click on “more” and then select “Documents” from the drop down menu. Create a new document (or try a spreadsheet if you want to get fancy) and enter your favourite things – see below for ideas. Try playing with the formatting if you like.

How about listing your 3 favourite films, books or songs (pubs, places you have been, recipes – whatever)?

Select share – check the 25 Things blogroll to find someone to share with and enter their Google Mail address. Ask your friend to add their favourites to the list and to email your Google mail address when it’s complete.

Remember: do not use Google docs for University business or for sharing sensitive documents

21st Thing – LibraryThing

Are you a booklover or cataloguer at heart? Do you enjoy finding lost and forgotten gems on the shelf to read? Then LibraryThing may be just the tool for you.

(bookshelf spectrum, revisited by chotda)

Developed for booklovers, this online tool not only allows you to create an online catalogue of your own, it also connects you to other people who have similar libraries and reading tastes. Add a book to your catalogue by just entering the title and find other users who share your reading tastes. There are lots of ways to use LibraryThing. You can even view your books on a virtual shelf, add a widget to display titles that are in your catalogue.

Watch this short video which tells you about LibraryThing…

So why not create your own library online. With 29 million books catalogued, you’re bound to discover something new.

Step 1: Take a look around LibraryThing and create an account.

Step 2: Add a least 5 books to your library.

Step 3: Blog about your findings and be sure to link to your LibraryThing catalogue. How popular were your books? Did you find any discussions about your favourites?

Useful LibraryThing links


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Week 7: Things 15-16

Welcome to week 7 of 25 Things @ Huddersfield!

15th Thing – Google Maps

Google Maps is an online mapping services that you use to pan (by dragging the mouse) and zoom (by using the mouse wheel) into a desired location.

Alternatively, you can enter an address, postcode, city, or landmark to quickly find it on the map.

(Castle Hill on Google Maps)

Go to Google Maps and enter the postcode or address of a place known to you – the University (HD1 3DH), your house, the hairdresser’s etc.

Use the map, satellite, terrain and more buttons to look at the different views of this location. Zoom in using the mouse wheel to see how detailed a map you can get.

If you do look at the University, how old do you think the satellite view is and what day of the week do you think it was taken?

Copy the web address of your location and paste it into your blog. Write a few words about Google Maps and how you might use it.

You can also search for businesses and attractions in or near a given place. For example, when you get hungry, you could type in Pizzas in Penistone or Curry in Cleckheaton to find something to eat.

Like many other map services, Google Maps can generate directions between any pair of locations. In Google Maps, click the Get Directions link to find how to get from Huddersfield to Madrid.

In your blog put in the distance and how long Google thinks it will take you.

Google Maps has given rise to a number of interesting offshoot projects and fan sites:

Optional Extra

Using your Google login, you can create and share your own maps. This YouTube video will show you how…

Use the My Maps tab in Google Maps to create a map of your own and add some place marks. Make sure your map is public, then use the Link to the page link to copy and paste the web address of your map into your blog. Write a few words on why this map is important to you.

16th Thing – Google Earth

If your stroll around Google Maps has whetted your appetite for more map-based fun, the next level is Google Earth.

This is a virtual globe that maps the earth by the superimposition of images obtained from satellite imagery, aerial photography and other sources. With Google Earth, you get better resolution, 3-D views, the ability to swoop down a location and a wide range of overlays that show the locations of different things – including stars and planets in the sky.

Perhaps the best place for you to start, would be to take a tour.

The downside of all these extra features is that Google Earth has to be downloaded and installed on your computer – which may not be possible if you are working on a University PC.

Take a look at an example of the interesting and amusing videos that people have created using Google Earth…

Do you think there might be privacy issues relating to the every higher and higher resolution digital mapping? Put your thoughts down in your blog.

You might want to read these BBC News stories for more background information:

Optional Extra

If you are feeling brave and you have the appropriate permissions on your PC, download and explore Google Earth yourself.

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Week 3: Things 8-9

Welcome to week 3 of 25 Things @ Huddersfield!

8th Thing — Learn about RSS feeds and set up Bloglines account

You’ve heard of RSS? You’ve seen those small funny orange icons on websites? You’ve heard friends and colleagues swear by it, but still have no idea what RSS is? Well don’t worry! RSS is not only revolutionalising the way news, media and content creators share information, but it also is swiftly changing the way everyday users are consuming information.

RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication” and is a file format for delivering regularly updated information over the web. Just think about the websites and news information sources you visit everyday. It takes time to visit those sites and scour the ad-filled and image-heavy pages for just the text you want to read, doesn’t it? See this video at BlipTV.

Now imagine if you could visit all those information sources and web pages in just one place and all at the same time … without being bombarded with advertising… without having to search for new information on the page you’d already seen or read before… and without having to consume a lot of time visiting each site individually. Would that be valuable to you? Well, it’s available now through a newsreader and RSS!

(Firework Display, Scotland by foxypar4)

This week’s Things focus on learning about RSS news feeds and what free tools you can use to do this.

  • Using Bloglines Tutorial (how to Keep up with dozens of blogs everyday) – This online tutorial walks you through how to setup a Bloglines account and add newsfeeds. Follow Steps 1 to 3 to set up your Bloglines account. Steps 4 – 9 are optional and cover how to subscribe to different types of feeds (podcasts, Flickr albums, etc)
  • See also a short video on YouTube on how to add feeds
  • Google Reader – You may prefer to set up an RSS aggregator in Google Reader. Tutorials include: Google Reader Tour, Google Reader in Plain English and these two videos

Step 1: Set up your own, personalized RSS feed reader. Learn about the difference between RSS feed readers, Bloglines, and Google Reader.

Step 2: Create a free “RSS aggregator” account from either Bloglines or Google Reader and subscribe to at least 5 newsfeeds to your reader. If you’re struggling to find some newsfeeds, you can use the ones listed below…

Sample newsfeeds

…don’t forget that the 25 Things also has a RSS feed, so you could subscribe to that too!

9th Thing — Finding RSS Feeds

(Magnifying glass by 3fold)

Now that you have a newsreader (your Bloglines or Google Reader account), you can begin adding other newsfeeds that interest you.

There are several ways you can locate newsfeeds:

  • When visiting your favorite websites — Look for RSS icons that indicate the website provides it. Often a feed icon will be displayed somewhere in the navigation bar of the site.
  • Use Bloglines’ Search Tool — Use the “Search for Feeds” option in the search box to locate RSS feeds you might be interested in.
  • Other Search tools that can help you find feeds:
    1. Topix.net — This search tool allows you to locate recent newsfeed items based upon keyword or phrase searching. The tool focuses specifically on news and media outlet RSS feeds for information, not weblogs.
    2. Syndic8.com — Syndic8 is an open directory of RSS feeds that contains thousands of RSS feeds that users have submitted.

Step 1: Explore some of the search tools noted above that can help you locate some news feeds.

Step 2: Create a post in your blog about this exercise. Don’t know what to blog about? Think about these questions:

  • What do you like about RSS and newsreaders?
  • How do you think you might be able to use this technology in your work or personal life?
  • Which method of finding feeds did you find easiest to use?
  • Which Search tool was the easiest for you?
  • Which was more confusing?
  • What kind of useful feeds did you find in your travels?
  • Or what kind of unusual ones did you find?
  • What other tools or ways did you find to locate newsfeeds?

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Week 1: Things 1-4

Welcome to week 1 of 25 Things @ Huddersfield!

1st Thing — Read this blog

Watch this short video clip Web 2.0 … The Machine is Us/ing Us. It illustrates the rapid development of web based communication and information tools and the way they encourage collaboration.

Over the course of the next few months, this blog will highlight a selection of these technologies with exercises to help you become familiar with blogging, RSS news feeds, tagging, wikis, podcasting, online applications, and video and image hosting sites – in total, 25 things.

Each week we will introduce a new set of things, with exercises for you to complete.

You will be allowed one hour of work time each week – discuss with your line manager how best to use this, whether in short bursts or in one go. We hope that you will also spend some of your own time learning about the different things, either at home or at work. If you need help with any activity please contact one of the team (25things@hud.ac.uk) or work with your colleagues.

2nd Thing – Survey

Before you start, we would like you to complete this short survey.

3rd Thing – Set up your blog

You should work at your own pace tracking your progress through a blog where you will be expected to record your thoughts and experiences and add any ideas you may have on how to use these different Web 2.0 tools for yourself or at work. This is your time to experiment, have fun, and learn at the same time.

You can choose to use a screen name if you prefer to keep yourself anonymous. This name will be posted on your blog, but your “real identity” will not be listed. All participants will be linked to the 25 Things @ Huddersfield blog but you will be anonymous if that’s what you choose.

Why blog?

People blog because they want to share with others. They may share their opinions, rants on particular topics, or news from a holiday. They may even have a professional blog where they share views on their work, or they may have a blog all about their pet. When you’re blogging, you can adopt any persona you like. Some people have written from a cat’s perspective.

(keyboard kat by The Flooz)

This programme is based upon blog entries and during its course you’ll need to write on your own blog about each thing you complete. That will let the team track your progress. Will you want to continue blogging after you’ve finished? You may change your ideas on this throughout the course – let us know what you think.

Setting up your blog

Now that you’ve done some exploring around this blog and understand how the programme will work, it’s time to set up your own personal blog. We would also like you to write your very first post where you can introduce yourself, or your persona, or explain what the blog is for.

Remember, your blog is where you will be recording your thoughts and experiences for the 25 Things programme. If you are not sure how much to write, we would suggest at least 100 words each week, but don’t be shy – write as much as you like!

For this exercise ‘Set up your blog’ we are using WordPress, a free online blog hosting service that is extremely easy to use – we use it already in CLS for Grapevine.

Step 1: Go to the WordPress website.

Step 2: Fill in the form – remember, you can use a made up name if you want. Make sure you tick the box about legal flotsam. “Gimme a blog” should be highlighted, so click “Next” and follow the instructions. Make sure you make a note of your username and password and blog address.

Optional extra (A bit on the side…)

When you get your email confirming your blog, you will be able to choose a different theme if you want to personalise your blog’s appearance – just look for the link about themes and search for one you like.

Registering your Blog

Cut and paste the url (address) of the blog YOU have created (this can be found in the address bar on the page from which you are viewing your blog), into an email and send it to us at 25things@hud.ac.uk.

Once you have registered your Blog it will be listed here on the 25 Things @ Huddersfield Blog. The participants’ blog is a good place to gain inspiration and support each other via the comments section in the individual blogs.

Important: Bookmark your blog!

Save your blog to your bookmarks or favourites folder so you can return to it quickly later. You’ll need to add an entry to it for each 25 Things task you complete.

4th Thing – Set up 2 new accounts

To take part in this programme you will need a Yahoo account and a Google Mail account. Some of you may already have these, in which case use them. Otherwise follow these instructions to set up your new accounts…

Click here to go to the Yahoo login page. Click on the “Sign up for Yahoo” link and fill in the form. Make a note of your username and password.

Google Mail
Now create a Google email address which you can use as for any other email, but also when you want to use other Google services such as Google docs. To create an account click here.

So, how was it for you?

For the first post on your own blog, tell us what this first week has been like.

(Retro Keyboard by smileham)

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