Five questions about blogs

1. What is a blog?
A weblog is just a tool for organizing information. Think of a weblog the same way you think about a physical book or magazine—-it is just a tool, so it can be about any topic.

2. What do blogs look like?
Well, you’re reading one right now. Many follow the same format. There’s a title at the top and a sidebar for archives and links. Most importantly, there’s a column of posts—-brief entries arranged with the newest stuff on top, often peppered with links to other websites.

3. How many blogs are out there?
Weblogs first started popping up on the internet in 1998. As easy-to-use self-publishing tools were developed, the phenomenon grew exponentially. Technorati currently tracks 30 million registered weblogs, a figure that doubles every 5-and-a-half months.

4.Who writes these blogs?
Corportations, news hounds, libraries and librarians, politicians and talking heads, rock stars, tech folks and everyday people…basically, anyone who has something to say and, increasingly, many people who don’t.

5. How do I start?
Sign up for my Tech Talk–Weblogs: Fresh Content, Fresh Context. There are two sessions scheduled, Wednesday, March 29th or Monday, April 10th. Come out, discover a bit of history, see creative examples of how people are using weblogs, then learn how to set up one of your own in the hands-on portion of our workshop.

Author James Kelly

ThinkFree Office Online

Here is another free, online office-like application that looks and feels like Office. A basic account is free. You just need to create a username and password–just like you would for a free email account.

Here are some details from the ThinkFree site:

With ThinkFree Office Online you can :

  • Create Microsoft Office-compatible documents from the Web.
  • Open and edit your Office documents anywhere and anytime.
  • Create powerful Web presentations using a familiar interface.
  • Add flickr photos to your documents.
  • Post ThinkFree documents directly to a blog.
  • Convert your existing documents to PDF format, simply use the Save As PDF
    function in the File menu when saving your document.
  • Save your documents in ThinkFree Office Online. You can create, read and revise your documents anytime and anywhere you want. If you save your documents in a secure Web storage account provided by ThinkFree Office Online, you can access and edit them at school, home, work or anywhere else you can think of.
  • 30 MB of free storage.

Click on the image above to view a larger image.

Give ThinkFree a try, and post your comments below. We will be interested to see what staff think.

The End is Just the Beginning

Today is the last day of the “official” Core I months of January and February, but that does not mean that training and learning on Core I will not continue.

So far I have made visits to D, WBL, MOR, COR, NCO, UC, HG, MTI, BC, SUG to conduct staff training in small groups and one-on-one on the Core I checklist. The staff at all locations found this to be very helpful and appreciated the opportunity to ask lots and lots of questions.

If I have not made it to your location yet, I will soon. I will be scheduling visits to other locations later this week.

As the month comes to an end I thought I would share some quotes for you to ponder:

Hardware: the parts of a computer that can be kicked. ~Jeff Pesis

If it draws blood, it’s hardware. ~Author Unknown

The most overlooked advantage to owning a computer is that if they foul up, there’s no law against whacking them around a little. ~Eric Porterfield

Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day; teach that person to use the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks. ~Author Unknown

The Internet is the world’s largest library. It’s just that all the books are on the floor. ~John Allen Paulos

I just wish my mouth had a backspace key. ~Author Unknown

Any comments or feedback that you would like to share on the past two months of Core Competencies training? Click the comments link below to post comments.

Troubleshooting Floppy Disks

In the February Core Competencies Report, we shared a tip from Howard M. about troubleshooting floppy disks. Did you know there is also a tip sheet for this topic?

Do you have any other tips to share for troubleshooting floppy disks? If so, click below on “Comments” to post a comment.


Have you ever tried to send someone a link to an item from

Sometimes links can be so long that they break apart in email programs and no longer work. Why do they break? Because a URL cannot have any spaces in it. When a URL spans across multiple lines in an email message, some email programs will add a hard return that breaks the link in two.

The solution?


Tiny URL is a free service at that takes a long link such as my link above that was 115 characters and creates a new link,, of only 24 characters.

Best of all, the new link never expires. TinyURL has a huge database where they store the old and new URLs together so that if you click on the TinyURL link in 2 years, the link will still work.

Try it yourself!