Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Best Call Recording Service Ever!

I was looking to record a cell phone conversation. I found many really pricey services that didn't give you the option of downloading the conversation. With a little more searching, I found a much better alternative that will work with my cell phone or a regular land line.

  • Free conference calls with a long distance call-in number
  • Only 10 cents per minute (per caller) with a toll-free call-in number
  • Free MP3 recording with the 10 cent plan
I was looking for a solution that would be free for the person I'm talking to as well as have the ability to have the conversation recorded (with their consent) and easily transferred to my computer for cleanup (think podcast). This is a great solution for recording interviews. For a quick 10 minute interview between two people using the premium plan, it costs only $2. They even partner with a company that does transcripts (though, who & how much are not disclosed).

Now I've got to just line those interviews up.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Good Enough?

I just revisited the Slate article entitled, "A Librarian's Worst Nightmare." I had been hanging on to a print copy of it for some time--waiting for a moment to comment on it. That time is now.

It talks about the demise of Google Answers and the rise of Yahoo! Answers. The author gives the following simile and reflection:
[Yahoo! Answers] has the same value as listening to two random guys at a bar talk about what to do if you are driving during a tornado.
You may not learn very much by eavesdropping—and you certainly
shouldn't trust what you hear if disaster strikes—but that isn't really
the purpose. The lesson Yahoo! Answers teaches is that, for millions of
people on the Web, it's less important to get a good answer than to get
someone to listen to your question in the first place. [emphasis added]
Reading over it again, I was reminded of OCLC's (and I'm sure other's) reports regarding information seeker behavior. Specifically, our profession's concern over whether "good enough" in the age of instant answers is detrimental to research quality.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008


ISSU = An online publishing service that creates products which mimic physical magazines.

I've seen online publications, especially catalogs, take advantage of vector-based graphic designs that mock the appearance and physical characteristics of magazines. Issu opens the gates to let non-programmers create dynamic online periodicals, and it does so free for non-business users.

Users upload their document, and Issu converts the document into flash. Issu presents the pages as if they were bound with shading down the inner spine as well as other rendering techniques, and it is much more dynamic and fluid than a PDF. ISSU has also built in features like commenting, rating, and embedding features for social networks. I think the last point is particularly important for getting your product in front of as many users as possible.

The only critical points I have regard ISSU's zoom feature. ISSU's zoom feature acts shaky as you pan across the pages, and it is difficult to control. Additionally, it would be nice if the scroll on your mouse controlled the zoom while in the zoom feature (ala Google SketchUp) versus the vertical viewing aspects of the page.

In all, I think ISSU is a worthwhile endeavor, and it might be something to investigate for an organizational newsletter, etc.

As seen on Springwise

Tuesday, April 01, 2008 vs.

I've used for a while now. I've never paid much attention to, but could learn a couple things from them.

For example,'s user interface aesthetically looks closer to the Web design of 2005+ vs.'s 1998-esque, Windows-based interface. includes an AddThis button on the top to make it easy to bookmark the site using social bookmarking. And the final blow to TinyURL is the ability to "create personal or unique addresses using a keyword." So, instead of some gobbledygook that spits out, you can have a very clean URL like

I will concede that does have 2 nice features.
  1. A Firefox Add on
  2. The ability to create a "preview" URL where one is directed to's site. Once the user arrives at's site, one can see exactly where they will be directed. This is especially nice if you don't necessarily trust the site you're at
However, has a Firefox add on, and uses preview pages (this is one of the ways they make there money through ad revenues).

So, wins.

Aristotle 1300-2010

I was reading over Sherman Clarke's blog, and he mentioned WorldCat Identities. An interesting feature is the graphic that represents the publishing activity by or about a particular luminary. Above is the publication timeline for Aristotle. It would be interesting to see if there are direct correlations between the thinking of the particular period and the publishing activity. Of course, one would also have to take into consideration the accuracy of WorldCat's records, duplications, etc.