Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Episode 13: IGoogle Screencast

In this screencast, I demonstrate how to get started on Create a theme, add a tab and gadgets, and how to create a customized gadget.

Click here to play screencast

Click here to view screencast transcript

Episode 13: IGoogle Podcast

This is the 13th podcast and screencast in the Cool Tools series. In this entry, I'll be talking about some of the features found at

IGoogle provides a way to quickly and easily personalize your own homepage. IGoogle provides over 1000 gadgets that perform a variety of functions, such as RSS feeds, games, book and movie search, and photo display.

IGoogle also allows you to share any of your pages or gadgets with your friends. IGoogle is an easy and effective way to gather and organize information.

If you have a Gmail or GoogleTalk account, then you already have access to Use your login info to get started on IGoogle today!

Click here to play podcast

Click here to view podcast transcript

Episode 12: Digg Vidcast

Below is a vidcast for I've hosted it on it can be found at: The same screencast can also be found at: There's a lot to Digg, but the vidcast gives a sufficient introduction to get you started.

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

For a summary of this vidcast, see the transcript for the podcast below.

Episode 12: Digg Podcast

Digg has been a lot of fun exploring and I am excited about sharing this resource! Digg is a site that aggregates and displays stories, podcasts, videos, and sites that have been submitted by members--and basically allows everyone to vote on each story. Not only does Digg allow every member to engage in the review process, it also promotes communication by allowing comments on every "dugg" story, and allows anyone to view members' profiles and to see all the stories they have submitted.

Digg Podcast Transcript as follows:

Welcome to the Cool Tools Library Podcast Series, part of a series exploring innovative web 2.0 tools. The Cool Tools Podcasts and Vidcasts can be found at

My name is Trevor and I’ll be talking about which can be found at:
D I G G DOT COM. Digg is a web site that, using members' feedback, aggregates and displays information. Any member can submit a blogpost, a website, a news article or video—anything on the web—to Digg. Members can then check out the submissions, and by clicking a small button to the left of each linked story, members effectively vote for that site—or “Digg” it. People can see how many members have "Dugg" a particular story by the number to the left of the link. So if 532 people have dug a page and think others should read it, a small box with the number 532 will be displayed. Digg is a very democratic system. Eventually, when enough people have "Dug" a page, the submitted site makes its way to Digg's front page where it can be more readily seen by members and non-members alike.

For stories that have few votes, users can click on the "Upcoming" link to see stories that have been submitted but which have very few votes—usually because the site has been very recently submitted.

Members can also choose what type of stories they would like to see displayed. By clicking the "customize" button, members can choose what sorts of topics interest them, and only those topics will be displayed when they log in.

On the front page of Digg, members can even more specifically limit what is displayed. The front page includes a menu of topics in which they have indicated an interest, and by clicking one of these topics, only stories relating to that will be shown. So if a member only want to see stories, from, say, “Technology” he or she can just click on the “technology” tab and only those sort of stories will be included.

Also on the front page is a “top ten” list of all categories—a very useful list to see what’s going on of interest on the web.

Members can also search for specific topics. After entering a search term in the upper right hand corner of every page, a list of sites will appear that relate to the search term. Digg searches through the metadata of a page and allows users to search in the following fields: title, description, or url – or some permutation of all of these. And in good Web2.0 fashion, Digg includes RSS so that every time a new story is submitted relating to a specific search term, users’ RSS readers will be updated.

Digg is an exceptional site to see what is hot on the web, and what others are talking, reading, and writing about. Stories of little or narrow interest can be submitted but rarely garnish the number of votes necessary to make it to the front page. As well, each story displays who submitted it, and allows anyone to click on that person’s handle to see all the stories he or she has submitted.

Digg is not only an excellent resource for news hunters, culture jammers, and web-izens, for is social connectivity and on-the-minute updates, it can also be a terrific resource for more casual web-surfers as well. Any news item that has surfaced on the web, and that has been submitted to Digg can be found using the search tool. And while Digg certainly is not as vigorous a news search engine as some of the paid-subscription services, it can act as a beneficial tool for those who don’t mind browsing a bit. And let’s not forget: it’s free!

That should get you started with Digg. Thanks for tuning in.

Click to listen to the podcast


follow this url:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Vidcast Episode 11 - Zotero

Watch the screencast below to learn how to save books and journal articles to your research library using Zotero and Firefox. For an overview of Zotero and its features, listen to my previous podcast (Podcast Episode 11).

View the screencast (4:35, 640 x 480, Quicktime format)
For the script of this screencast, click here.

Podcast Episode 11 - Zotero

Zotero is a Firefox add-on that allows you to collect and organize research material from within your web browser. Zotero can automatically extract bibliographic data from online catalogs, journal articles, and more, and store the information for you in your personal research library. You can also use Zotero to bookmark web sites, archive web pages, and store PDFs. In this episode of the podcast, we talk about the researcher's new best friend.

Click to play (5:30)

Click here for the script.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Vidcast Episode 10 – Google Docs

In the screencast below, you can see how to upload and share a document to Google Docs. Be sure to read the previous blog post and listen to the accompanying Podcast in order to learn more about this great tool.

View the original screencast (3:09, 640x480) [see the script]
Or you can watch it right here!

Podcast Episode 10 – Google Docs

Here’s the 10th podcast in the CoolTools series. This time, we’ll be looking at Google Docs.

Google Docs is a free Web-based application for documents, spreadsheets and presentations. It’s analogous to having Microsoft Office’s Word, Excel, and PowerPoint available online so that you can not only create and store those files online, but you can also share the files with others and easily collaborate on them.

This Podcast gives more information on this fascinating tool.

Listen to the Podcast (4:04) [see the script].

Livemocha screencast

This is Victor again. This tool has so many features that I would need several screencasts to suggest the full range. There are messages, friends, IMs, face-to-face interviews with webcams, real live audio conversations with native speakers in several languages. Once again, my efforts do not do justice to this cool new social way to learn languages.

Once again, clicking the link should get the screencast.


Livemocha logo

I tried Livemocha, which is a new social way to learn languages. The CEO, Shirish Nadkarni, explains in the launch video how the best electronic language tools are still on CDROM, early 1990s technology. Livemocha is in beta, so it is still free. You can sign up for a course, have your work evaluated by native speakers, chat with native speakers or with a group of people all learning the same language, you can speak and hear if you have a microphone and headset, and you can even communicate via video if you have a webcam. When they started there were 6 core languages, but this has already expanded to 27. As our communities become more linguistically diverse and as the world becomes more integrated, I think that Livemocha will be a great tool for library staff to learn other languages and also as something to recommend to the public. Clicking on the logo at the top of this post or the link at the end of this sentence should get the podcast.

Here is the text. Victor for Cool Tools, signing off.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Episode 7 - Voice Thread

While Voice Thread is a simple application, I could have created a very long screen cast about all of its features. Below is a screen cast that covers the three basic steps to create a Voice Thread.

Episode 7 - Voice Thread

Voice Thread is a new Web 2.0 application that allows users to create interactive slide shows. Users can leave audio and text comments and even a simple doodle on each photo. Users can then share their Voice Thread and invite other users to comment and draw on the slide show. I am excited about sharing this application with the teachers at my high school. Below is the Cool Tools Podcast and my very first Voice Thread. Please feel free to leave a comment or a drawing.

I got permission to use the music from the musician, my fiancee.

Click to listen to episode #7

Click for transcript of podcast.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Cooltools Vidcast Episode 6 -

This vidcast demonstrates how to create a floorplan using the diagramming tool available at, which can also be used to create other diagrams. The video demonstrates the easy-to-use drag and drop feature, and briefly discusses how to edit, save, embed and share diagrams created by the user.

Click HERE to see the vidcast.

Cooltools Podcast Episode 6 -

This podcast explains a great diagramming tool available at It is a web-based, graphics software tool that can be used to create, share and collaborate with a wide range of diagrams that can be used in numerous situations. With Gliffy, anyone can create technical drawings, network schematics, user interfaces, methodologies, landscape designs, seating charts, wire frames, mind maps, work flows, floor plans and more.

Click here to read the full-text of the podcast.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Cool Tools Vidcast Episode 5 -TalkShoe

Episode 5 of the Cool Tools Vidcast demonstrates how to create a live TalkCast using and their free TalkShoe Live! software.

This vidcast takes users step-by-step through the process of creating, scheduling, and hosting your own TalkCast. These TalkCasts can be interactive talk shows, podcasts, conversations between family and friends, or a conference call between coworkers.

Hosts can manage and schedule recurring TalkCasts and subcribe to other hosts podcasts through RSS feeds. Best of all, all TalkCasts can be recorded and downloaded or played at any time. TalkShoe widgets allow you to integrate your TalkCasts into different types of web pages.

There are many features available through the TalkShoe service, but this vidcast only demonstrates hosting your own vidcast. Users can also simply listen and/or participate in other hosts' TalkCasts, but that is not covered in this vidcast.

Watch the Episode 5 vidcast

Cool Tools Podcast Episode 5 - TalkShoe

TalkShoe allows anyone to easily create, join, or listen to live "TalkCasts," which can be interactive discussions, talkshows, conversations, podcasts or audioblogs. TalkCasts created using TalkShoe Live! software can be recorded and listened to, subscribed to, and downloaded.

This podcast outlines the numerous features available through and the TalkShoe Live! software. You can also view the PDF transcript with live links.

Listen to Episode 5 podcast

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Cool Tools Vidcast Episode 4- Jaiku

Unfortunately, I have been waiting 5 days for a Jaiku account. Currently, Jaiku is testing a beta version and until the sale to Google is finalized, Jaiku is only allowing a fixed number of accounts. So I signed up and am waiting for the email to be sent to me containing my Jaiku account information and authorization.

So instead of showing you how to use Jaiku, I have made a vidcast touring the Jaiku website and showing where to find things on the site. Hopefully my account will be activated soon and I can make a vidcast showing how to use Jaiku. As soon as that happens, I will post it here.

Cool Tools Podcast Episode 4- Jaiku

Episode 4 regards the in's and out's of the social networking site known as Jaiku which was recently acquired by Google. Jaiku is a form of micro-blogging that is basically an activity stream that lets an individual post short blog posts (under 200 characters) using their computer or mobile phone. According to Wikipedia, Jaiku is one of the fastest growing communities on the net according to Wikipedia.

Jaiku lets users compose posts to their profile, search and add friends and comment on other user's messages. That can all be done using a computer. But it seems that the future of Jaiku is the mobile phone. Currently a Jaiku software package can only be downloaded to a Nokia S60 phone, but hopefully soon it will be compatible with more models and types of phones. In addition, Jaiku posts can be sent as read as text message, emails and instant messages. Please click below to hear a podcast describing the history of Jaiku, why it is/can be relevant and to learn about its uses. For a transcript of the podcast, click here.

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cool Tools Vidcast Episode 3 - Google Books

In Cool Tools Vidcast Episode 3, I present a brief demo of the Google Books Search and My Library interfaces. Viewers will get a feel for the two primary interfaces for accessing book information as well as the new, somewhat limited library functionality.

Cool Tools Podcast Episode 3 - Google Books

This episode of the Cool Tools podcast series introduces the Google Books project. As collaborative effort between Google and both libraries and publishers, the project is concerned with preservation and organization as well as access. Although the project has been met with much resistance and has inspired much controversy, the services provided are certainly innovative and valuable, from the user's perspective.

Google Books offers users the opportunity to view and search the full content of books. For titles which have gone out of copyright or for which rights holders have given permission, users can also view either full content or limited previews of content. Users can search on a variety of standard library metadata, and they'll also find a host of supplemental information, including access information and lists of citing and related books. My Library is a relatively new feature of the Google Books project. It allows users to create their own collections of books to which they may also assign labels and reviews. Collections can be shared by RSS. As the audience for a universal, digital library continues to grow, the Google Books project presents users with an easy to use, familiar interface and a rich database, which, even if controversial, provides a wealth of information.

Without further ado, I present Cool Tools Podcast Episode 3 - Google Books:

You can also download the podcast transcript as an RTF file.

Google Books links:
Google Books Search
My Library

Thanks to Royalty Free Music for the intro/exit music.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cool Tools Screencast Episode 2 - Google Calendar

This episode is focused on Google Calendar. In the screencast is a brief tutorial (approximately 3 minutes) on how to add events to your Google Calendar. The "quick add" method is described as well as the longer method used for more details. Feel free to view it at:

Cool Tools Podcast Episode 2 - Google Calendar

This episode of the Cool Tools series focuses on Google Calendar. Google Calendar is an amazing way to organize your dates and times. Adding events is quick and easy with a simple "point on the day" fill out method. You can easily edit the event for more complex details such as a description of the event or event reminders. In that same screen you can add guests to the event to collaborate with friends & family. They don't need to be a member of Google Calendar as well. They can still post responses and accept your invitation. The search feature on Google Calendar searches through all of your events, friend events, and public calendar events (public calendars are a great way to find out events going on in your area). Do you like to check your calendar on the go? Google Calendar has great mobile features. One is the ability to view it on your mobile device. Just point to and click on the "calendar link." The other feature is its ability to send you text messages before the event. On a final note, Google Calendar seamlessly integrates with Gmail (Google's solution for e-mail organization) to deliver a powerful tool. It will notice event times and dates in your email and prompt you if you'd like to add it to your calendar. It is as simple as that.

Here is the script used for the podcast:
Welcome to the cool tools podcast series; a collection of podcasts describing some of today’s latest tools. Visit the blog at

My name is Thomas and on this podcast I am going to talk about Google Calendar. You can visit the Google Calendar webpage at As the webpage says “Simplify. Organize. (And relax.) Organizing your schedule shouldn't be a burden.” This is not just another calendar tool that attempts to solve the problem of organizing times and dates. This calendar has so many more features that are constantly being updated.

As you could probably guess, this tool is in the suite of products offered by Google. Google takes its approach to the calendar dilemma by using the platform of the web. There is no software to download or license to buy; just sign up for a free Google account and you are on your way. By having it on the web, Google can offer Calendar to anyone that has a supported web browser and access to the internet.

By now you probably want to hear some of the great features employed by Google.

Starting off, the tool is easy to use. The first visit to your Calendar will give you an immediate response on what to do. Go ahead and click on any date to add an event. It is that easy. After clicking on a date, there are two ways to add an event. One is to fill out the “What:” field and then clicking on “Create Event.” This is the “Quick Add” feature. The other is to click on the “edit event details.” This will take you to a more detailed screen where you can fill out as many details as you want. This is also where you can do the next feature, inviting other people to the event.

Inviting people is easy. After clicking “edit event details,” go ahead and click on “Add Guests.” You can enter in people’s email addresses and Google Calendar will do the rest for you. It is okay if the invitee does not use Google Calendar, they will be able to receive the invitation and post responses.

Do you have some people that you want to share your calendar with? Google Calendar deals magnificently with viewing other people’s calendars as well as telling them about yours. It is so easy to use. Just click on the “add” button where the calendars are located (on the left of the screen) and follow the on screen instructions. From there you can turn off other people’s calendars (if it is filling up your calendar view) or turn them on (to see what they are doing).

There are also public event calendars for viewing. These calendars are events that are going on in your area that have publicized on Google Calendar. You can get to these calendars by searching for them. That leads into the next feature; search.

What would a Google tool be without a search feature? At the top of the screen, Google added a search box so that you can search your events and your friends’ events with ease. Public event calendars are also incorporated into the search.

Now for all you mobile users out there, Google has added some features to help you out in using your cell phone for remembering those hard to remember occasions. One feature is the mobile calendar website. Point your mobile device to and click on the calendar link. It’ll take you to a wonderfully designed mobile site with all your calendar info. Another mobile tool that Google and implemented is the SMS feature. For any event that you add, you can have Google send a text message to your cell phone reminding you of the event.

Finally, I am going to mention the Gmail integration. If you have a Gmail account (that’s Google’s solution for email), then you have a powerful tool combination. Let’s say that someone emails you with their birthday party information. It is a pain to add that into your calendar manually. So why not let Google do it for you. Google recognizes calendar event information and prompts you on the right of an email if you would like to add it to your calendar.

So go ahead and give Google Calendar a go. It is definitely worth trying out.

For more cool tools, feel free to visit the cool tool blog at Thanks for listening and have fun organizing your life with Google!

Listen to the podcast here:

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Cool Tools Vidcast Episode 1 - Technorati

This post provides a link to the vidcast on using Technorati, part of the Cool Tools series at this website. In the vidcast I give a brief overview of the Technorati website, how to search blogs, and the helpful information provided for the blogs indexed by Technorati. Technorati provides quite a few easy-to-install widgets for your browser, desktop and blog. In the vidcast I also go over how to “ping” Technorati so that your latest blog postings don’t go unnoticed (and mention how this can also be set up to be done automatically).

There are many features on the site that I didn’t have time to cover in a three minute vidcast, but hopefully the information presented is enough to get you started!

To watch the vidcast, click this link: Technorati vidcast (Note: Give it a while to load - it's a big file!)

The script for the vidcast is also linked here. And you may want to listen to the podcast also on this site.

The vidcast is also posted on

Cool Tools Podcast Episode 1 - Technorati

This post provides a link to the podcast on using Technorati, part of the Cool Tools series at this website. Technorati tracks and indexes blogs and the latest blog postings on the web. Whether you read blogs or are a blogger yourself, Technorati is a useful site to know about. You can always find out "what's popping" by visiting Technorati!

In the podcast I talk about some of the value-added by Technorati, such as the authority rating for blogs, based on number of links to a blog. I cover favorite lists and "watchlists" and why you might want to add your own blog to both of these.

The Technorati search engine is tailored to search the blogosphere, and I go over some of the advanced search features, and how to get the most from the search results.

If you are a blogger, you will want to make sure that Technorati knows about your blog and keeps up with your content. In the podcast, "pinging" Technorati about new content is covered.

Technorati developers and the community at large create helpful widgets that expand on Technorati services. For example, you can create a tag cloud for your blog, or add a news ticker. In the podcast I mention some of the widgets available on the Technorati site.

To listen to the podcast, click this link: Technorati Podcast

The script for the podcast is also linked here. And you may want to watch the Technorati vidcast also on this site!

The podcast is also posted on (click the thumbnail image below, then click again where it says "click to start" to listen to the podcast):

Note: Soundtrack music clips used at the beginning and end of these Cool Tool podcasts are from the Royalty Free Music website. The vidcast music is from Melody Loops.