Sunday, May 20, 2007

Ripping Music

In my quest to learn everything I can about technology before I move into a school library and have to look like I actually understand what the students are talking about, I’ve added a new talent to my repertoire: I’ve learned how to rip a CD.

Now I know, that doesn’t sound like an easy task. Those silver disks break easy when you smash them against something or step on one with your heel, but to actually be able to rip one with your bare hands? Impossible!

Of course, that’s not at all what it means to rip a CD. Silly me!

To rip a CD means simply to transfer the contents—usually music—from the CD onto your computer files for the purpose of listening to them while you work or so you can load them onto your MP3 player. Since an MP3 will hold a lot more music than a CD will, this transfer allows you to listen to music for a longer time without the interruption of changing the CD.

I won’t go into the details of how to rip a CD. You can find instructions on the internet for your own system. My purpose here is to say, if I can do it, anyone can! Whoever thought a woman who once listened 78 rpm records, reel-to-reel tapes, and had a 8-Track player in her stereo could advance this far into understand the modern world of audio?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

iTunes and American Idol

I am a huge fan of American Idol. Since Season 2, I’ve bought the compilation CD and many of the CDs the finalists have produced.

So this year, I was bugged that AI wasn’t releasing a compilation. How dare they? I wanted my favorites and I wanted them now!

And today, that’s exactly what I got. I celebrated a birthday two weeks ago and my husband bought me an iPod. Today I learned to download music, and I hit the American Idol website first thing, and I’m here to tell you, this is better than any compilation CD.

Not only can I have studio versions of the songs I loved, but I can pick and choose which artists I want—Sorry, Sanjaya. I skipped your tracks.—and I can have more than one song by the performers I most like.

Next stop, iTunes. Welcome to the world of technology!

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Adding Tags or Labels to Blogs and Podcasts

I’ve recently attended two technology conferences, and at both of them participants were taught about the importance of using tags, sometimes known as labels.

Tags allow visitors to find your entries more easily. Let’s say you were interested in the reality television show, American Idol. A search on Google will lead you to nearly 24 millions hits, including the connection for the official A.I. site, a daunting task to search through even a fraction of those for the information you might need.

At the top of the Google task bar, click on More, choose blogs and re-enter your search keywords. Although 623,000 hits now appear, you’ll also notice the toolbar down the left side of the screen which lets you to sort entries for the most recent postings, as recent as 2 minutes ago as I write.

Back at Google, a click on Even More will take you to more options for searching including images, videos, and books. Add the word podcasts to the search line, and additional links will be found for you.

Adding labels to a blog page provide another service to readers. Each label not only identifies the subject covered in the entries, but it also tells readers how many blogs contain information of that topic. A click on one of these labels takes readers directly to the topics they are interested in reading. For instance, if you visit and click on the label of my name, you’ll be taken directly to the entries I have made since this blog began.

Explore your favorite blog and podcast sites. Do the authors use tags or labels? Do these labels help you find entries that are of interest to you? How might you use tags and labels on your own blogs and podcasts, either now or in the future? How do you think they will become valuable to you?