Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Week #5: Foiled "Mermaid Mania" Rollyo Search Roll

Rollyo is an appealing tool for collecting websites. It was fun to browse other people's search rolls. By doing so, I stumbled across a list of online guitar tabulature sites, which will come in handy when I start playing my acoustic on a regular basis.

What could I create a search roll about? After pondering briefly, I decided to do one on mermaids. Nobody else on Rollyo had a search roll about mermaids yet. And so "Mermaid Mania" was born, and I began scouring the internet for suitable list material.

Unfortunately, Rollyo has some flaws. While compiling my search roll URL list, I came up against the first really annoying thing: Rollyo only takes Top Level Domain Names. Which is great if you're putting together a list of, say, shopping websites, or bookseller websites, or personal finance websites, but NOT so great if you're putting together a compilation of websites about the more arcane topic of mermaids. Most of the sites I found with mermaid-related content tended to have it buried well below the Top Level Domain Name.

For instance, has a nifty article about the 15th century origin of the Starbucks mermaid logo. Unfortunately, since Rollyo only takes Top Level Domain Names (and strips out all additional typage), anyone who actually tried to access the page I selected would arrive at the main page only. The Dead Programmer main page has no obvious link to the Starbucks article. The site had a page on the Syrena, the mermaid mascot of Warsaw, Poland. But alas, said page was a few levels down within

As a last resort, I tried running the lengthy URLs through This was another dead end. Since Rollyo only takes Top Level Domain Names, anything put into TinyURL would still be one level below Rollyo's requirements.

Final Thoughts: Interesting tool, but only useful for standard topics. More arcane subject areas--the kind usually added as an afterthought, or an addition, to websites--don't lend themselves to be listed in a search roll. How sad! If Rollyo is going to be used by libraries, the programming that limits the URLs to Top Level only will need to be tweaked.

Second annoying thing about Rollyo: spammers creep around in here just like they do everywhere else. While looking under the list of newly-added search rolls, I couldn't help noticing 3 or 4 (all posted by the same person) about Natural Minerals Make-up. Hurray. So I can't put up a search roll about mermaids, but some idiot can post spam lists about cosmetics.

By the way, if you'd like to check out the links I compiled for my Mermaid Mania Rollyo, here they are:

History of the Starbucks Mermaid Logo

Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen, Denmark:

Mermaid History and Art:

Weeki Watchee, FL City of Live Mermaids:

Analysis of Hans Christian Anderson's "Little Mermaid" fairy tale:

Coney Island Mermaid Parade:

Syrena, Mermaid Mascot of Warsaw, Poland:

Mermaid Mummies:

Monday, July 30, 2007

Leftover Week #3 Exercise: Comments on Flickr

I uploaded a picture of my cat and played around with it using a "bead effect" FlickrToy. Very nifty tool for putting artistic flourishes on photos. I'd like to update more pics and try a photo collage. It was fun finding photos of particular subjects (searching the term "mermaids", for instance, brought up lots of pics of the Coney Island, NY mermaid parade) and also using the geographic tool to find photos taken in or near my neighborhood.

Week #5: Link to my LibraryThing Catalog

Click on this thingy to see what's in my LibraryThing collection:

Random comments about Library Thing

1) Liked the Top 50 rankings, esp. seeing the Top 50 as well as the Bottom 50. No surprise, J.K. Rowling is first amongst the Top 50. Of the Bottom 50, the only familiar names are Matthew Lesko and Patti Davis.

2) The "Completest" Author Ranking. This ranks the average number of different books held by people who have any books bu that author. Perhaps unsurprisingly, a number of manga artists were represented. When you write a story arc that spans anywhere from 10 to 30 volumes, why wouldn't your fans want to get every single book? Throw in the fact that some manga authors (Rumiko Takahashi, for example) are incredibly prolific, and the number of volumes quintuplifies. Still, a nifty statistic.

3) Most interesting tag (IMHO) is the Atlantean Reference Library. Had me thinking about the lost continent of Atlantis, until I clicked on the link. Subject matter appears to be matters medieval, eg titles such as "A Thousand Years of Stained Glass" and "Life in Elizabethan England".

Summary: LibraryThing is a neat way to pass the time, and to peek at what other people have in their collections. If you're seeking a rare or out of print title, it's a useful way to connect with someone who might be willing to lend or swap it. This tool may be used by libraries as yet another way to market items in their collections or for reader's advisory.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Comments on Meez Exercise

Although I created my Meez some time ago, I intially had problems uploading it to Blogspot. When you try to upload a GIF image into the "New Post/Image" generator, it reproduces the image multiple times. I had to click on the "Edit HTML" tab and delete the coding for the extra images.

Making a Meez character was a lot of fun, although the clothing and accessory options seemed to be geared towards the teen universe. I'm a singer, but no way was I going to choose the "Emote Like An American Idol" microphone setting! As for clothing options, well, let's just say that my style is way too understated for most of the blingy, Hollywood-type options. However,'s beach theater background with its B-movie marquee was ideal for this fan of kitsch and funky roadside attractions.

Week #5: My Meez Character (made from image generator)

Monday, July 9, 2007

Week #4: RSS Feeds for Web Comics

RSS feeds are way cool! Once I started coming up with sites to add to my Bloglines account, it became much more enjoyable. With 23 Things, there's always been the inevitable, "Oh geez, I signed where the heck should I go to find content to add?" I tend to be an internet user who surfs for necessary info and then is done, not someone who spends hours online. This tendency may have been exacerbated by slow-as-molasses dial-up service. Now that I have DSL, I find it's much easier to lose track of time while web surfing.

Current RSS delicacies in my Bloglines roll include Neil Gaiman's LiveJournal entries, Carolyn Hax's WashPost column "Tell Me About It", the Unshelved feed, a couple of freelance writing advice sites, and several of the library-related feeds we were supposed to sign up for. Sure beats visiting website after website in search of fresh content! The only annoying thing is that the Carolyn Hax feed continually sends me the same content and still calls it "new."

Favorite RSS feed? "Naked in the Public Library", in which librarian Ophelia Paine blogs about the joys of ref desk service at Funnyfarm Public (definitely a pseudonym!). Reading her posts makes it clear that I'm not the only person who's driven nuts by wacky customer behavior.

While questing for additional RSS feeds to add to my Bloglines roll, I stumbled across this website that lists webcomics that have RSS feeds: . Haven't had a chance yet to check it for accuracy...or even to see if the webcomics it lists are any good!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Week #3 Flickr Exercise

"Mermaid of the Ocean Depths" - A collage by Flickr artist heyjupiter21.
OK, so it's not where I wanted it to be, but at least it uploaded. :-)