Monthly Archives: October 2009

Tuesday Two.Oh! The home-buying edition!

I’m sorry, folks! Due to the fact that I’m buying a house, and turning 30 (yes, on the same day!) there will be no Tuesday Two.Oh! today. However, I will leave you with some real estate related 2.0 sites to check out.

In no specific order, please enjoy:

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From the site
: “We aim to be a delightfully smart partner when you are looking to buy a home. The smart part should help you find your dream home (or at least the dream home within your budget) and arm you with data and information about local real estate (without too much work). The delightful part should make you smile and keep you coming back.”

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From the site:”HotPads strives to build the most comprehensive, interactive marketplace of real estate and location-based services, presented with an innovative user interface and a memorable brand.”

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From the site:”Our roots go back almost 6 years but unlike many new “real estate technology” companies we are not trying to change the business model, but rather provide the technology to augment an existing one. Over the years we’ve worked very closely with agents and companies both large and small, providing the technology to support their core business, selling homes. Our goal is to “Empower the real estate professional” and as an extension empower the consumer. We don’t believe in placing additional barriers between the consumer and the agent.”

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From the site
:”Zillow.com is an online real estate service dedicated to helping you get an edge in real estate by providing you with valuable tools and information.”

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From the site
:”Homethinking is an online service that helps home owners choose the most remarkable neighborhood real estate agents to sell their house. We measure performance by monitoring real estate transactions to know which houses each real estate agent has sold, for how much and how long on average it took them to do so. There are also user reviews by home owners who have sold their house with the particular agent that helps determine the rank of them. If you’d like to know more, read our manifesto and why the decision to engage a real estate agent is possibly the most financially significant you will make.”

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for fun.

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’re going to have some fun. I am not going to be able to post next week- or at least that’s what I’m thinking right now. For now, let’s take a little bit of time to take a look at Friv.

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Friv is extremely easy to use- and it’s all about currently popular flash games. The site consists of small picture previews of the game, which you click on to get to the embedded version in Friv. Then play. It really is that simple. Your choices are any of the 264 games currently featured on the site. I’ve used Games.Com in the past, and this is more visually pleasing and has a (in my opinion) better and easier interface than Games.Com.

Games are set up like this:

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You just click on the picture and start playing the game:

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On just one game I noticed ads during the load time, but they were not intrusive.

So, get out there and have some fun killing time. I enjoyed this site- especially since this time in the semester is busy busy busy!

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for Book Lovers and Book Traders.

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂

Today’s Tuesday Two.Oh! goes out to my Mom, who likes to give away books as soon as she finishes reading them. I, on the other hand (and much to my husbands shagrin), am a keeper. I have loads and loads of books that I’ve been keeping since I was a teenager. Hey, what do you expect when you marry a librarian? Let’s take a look at Book Mooch.

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From the site: “BookMooch is a community for exchanging used books. BookMooch lets you give away books you no longer need in exchange for books you really want.”

Short and sweet, and in reality that really is a good reflection of the site. The concept is nothing more than what they say it is- upload books you would like to give away, look for books you would like to get in return. All for the price of postage. Keep in mind when signing up for this site to know your limits when sending books. Choose either in your country or worldwide. Shipping internationally can get expensive, so if you’re not willing to spend money on shipping it far, make sure you say so in your preferences.

That said, signing up is very easy.

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Once you have filled out this information, Book Mooch asks that you log in. That done, you will see your homepage. It’s very simple.

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The first thing I decided to do was browse Book Mooch for title I was interested in. I chose to look for All Quiet on the Western Front, an oldie but a goodie.

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The search brings back categorized results, by author and edition. Though I don’t know how they choose their “related searches” as I don’t know what Stephanie Meyer or Chuck Palahniuk have to do with this specific search.

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Here, if you would like to take a closer look at the book, you can see a brief synopsis, as well as see reader reviews.

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If you would like to upload a book to give to someone else, it’s really easy. Just search for your title and edition. Once you’ve chosen to add it to your list of books you’re willing to give away, you’ll get the following warning.

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Your uploaded book will look like this.

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A requested book will look similar.

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If you’re interested, here’s a snapshot of the most listed (to give away) books on Book Mooch.

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As well as the books that are most often borrowed:

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In closing, I think this site has a ton of potential. I am looking forward to using it myself once I have my books unpacked. One of the things that I like the most is that I don’t have to give away a book if I don’t want to- I just list books I would like to share and then can keep the books I get in return. It’s an even-stephans swap. I know I did a lot of screen caps, but I think that the best way to check out this site is to sign up for it if you’re interested. Watch those mailing preferences, and get to reading!

As always, thoughts and comments are welcome.

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Tuesday Two.Oh! Tools for Building Web Forms.

Tuesday Two.Oh! is not meant as an endorsement, but as an exploration of the tools that are out there. Click at your own risk. 🙂

Today on Tuesday Two.Oh! we’ll take a look at a site that helps you create web forms. I know that a lot of you out there are very good at html, but for those of us who might be a bit….rusty, a site like this will help us to create something that looks good as well as being functional. Let’s take a look at Wufoo.

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Find them on Twitter.

When I was working for NSU I thought a lot about web forms. The librarians there disliked email contact, but I kept thinking that a web form with a report would be a good way to go. I wanted our patrons to be able to go to our site, fill out a form with their research question, and have it counted, sorted and archived as well as answerable. If the questioner fills out a form, it would be easy for a group of librarians to route it to the correct research professional.

Currently, however, I no longer have the need to create an online reference form. We are interested in creating a course reserve request sheet, and that’s what I’ve experimented with while using Wufoo.

Overall, the site was extremely easy to use and navigate. The first thing you might want to concern yourself with if you’re interested is site pricing.

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There is a free account option, but I definitely think that if your institution is interested in using this site, one of the paid accounts would be optimal. Sign up was very simple, with no need to check your email for a confirmation link. Simply fill in the information and you can begin building your web form.

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The site has some humorous qualities, and I enjoyed that as I went through.

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Creating the form was extremely easy. Essentially any user of the site (who doesn’t know CSS) will have a basic template to work off of- and I use the phrase “template” loosely. Essentially, you can create whatever kind of form you would like. The site allows for complete manipulation of page elements. Simply use their drag-and-drop interface and you will have created a unique form. Keep in mind, though, if you choose a free account as I have done, the form has a limited amount of fields that can be entered.

Your choice menu for page elements will look like this:

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Which you drag and drop to get something like this:

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From here you will edit what each element says. This will be where you can add directions for the user if something on your form is a little more complicated than “yes or no.”

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One of the things that I appreciate most about the set up to these elements was the option to require a response from your form-taker. For instance, if we decide to use Wufoo to build a Course Reserve Request sheet, we will require the professor to fill out the course information, because without it the request would not make any sense. So, when submitting an unfinished form, the site would send a pop-up asking that the user finish all required fields, hopefully eliminating error and time spent tracking down this information.

When you have finished adding and editing all of the form elements, save your form. You will get a pop-up that will tell you that your form has saved and that you can either return for more editing, check out the sharing options, or quit. Since I’m interested in sharing my Course Reserve document, I clicked on sharing.

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To share your document in Wufoo, you do actually have a lot of options. From a weblink you can copy/paste into email to embedding code to put it on your website. There are also mobile/emailing options to share your web form.

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Also, you can choose how to receive notifications that your form has been filled out.

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Now we’ll move on to the only part of the site that I found frustrating: adding pizazz to your web form. There is a “themes” tab that you’ll see at the top of your screen, and the creation of a them is easy enough. What I found a little frustrating is figuring out how to apply it. But, first let’s take a look at how to build a theme.

Pick a heading image, which will appear live in the preview screen below.

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Then, choose a background.

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There are a lot of other options you can choose while setting up your theme like “shading” and “highlighting.” I really didn’t mess around with all of that too much, but the set up of your options is pretty straight forward. I enjoyed the creation interface here.

The problem I ran into was trying to figure out how to apply my created whale theme (which I named “Busy Busy Whale) to my already created web form. Luckily this moment of confusion and several minutes spent clicking from my form to my theme lead me to the extremely well put together help wiki.

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Keep in mind, that help screen might only be accessible through your own account setup.

The next step is to get your user to fill out the form. Go ahead and fill mine out if you would like.

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When someone has filled out your form, you will get a notification in whatever form you had chosen previously. You’ll click on the link and head back to your homepage, where it will show that a new response has come in and that you are able to look at it.

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All of the answers:

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Take a look at my finished product here.

In closing, I really do think there is a lot of potential for this site to be used in libraries as well as other business entities. Students might even be able to mold the options here to conduct surveys for classes. I felt that the site was easy to use, and though I did run into some confusion their help page was excellent. And there’s nothing better than a well put together help page.

One drawback that I saw would have to be the limitations of their free account- but they are a business and they are offering a product. When I spoke with my colleague about using this site potentially to solicit course reserve requests we wondered if 100 responses were enough to meet our course reserve demands. In this economy it’s hard to justify a small expense in order to ease life when the “way it works now” does actually work. I’m interested to see how people have been applying this tool. If you use it or have any ideas, I welcome your input.

As always, your thoughts and comments are welcomed and encouraged.

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