Happiness is…

A very clear way to define happiness is to look at where I spend my time. I can honestly say that I am physically in a a library at least once a week. I love getting audio books, reading magazines, checking the selection of music cds, reviewing the “New” book shelf and just relishing the feeling of being surrounded by so many ideas.

Doobie Brothers cd at the libraryIn addition to visiting my local libraries (yes, I have several favorites), I also check the online books and download them to my pc or other device. So, for many of the books I acquire, I don’t need to walk in a door – I just sit here and click, choose and checkout!

I think we all have places we go that make us happy. Some people visit churches, stadiums, mom’s house, stables, shopping malls, sailboats, beaches… know what I mean? For me it’s libraries.

iPods and Isolation

Sitting in a waiting room today, I looked around and realized there was no conversation going on. Across the entire room I counted 17 people. They were all engaged with hand held devices. The handful of children were clustered around their parent’s devices.

Nobody was reading a magazine or newspaper. Nobody was talking. It was eerie. A room full of people and no eye contact, no converEnglish: The iPod family with, from the left t...sation, no engagement.

It was spooky.

What happened to parents reading stories to children, knitting, writing, reading or talking to each other to to strangers? As our technology gets more savvy, we lose a bit more of our humanity. As technology upgrades year after year, our children lose out on some of the sweetest things of all – playtime, puzzles, socialization, and interaction.
A solitary game of Angry Birds replaces Tic-Tac-Toe. A word game of Words with Friends replaces a family playing Scrabble, Boggle or Hangman. Technology isn’t bad but when it takes the place of connecting, socializing and engaging with the people around you then it has overstepped it’s usefullness.
The end.

Internet Goodie #7: Bookmobile gone wild!

With all the online resources we have at our disposal, it’s hard to believe you could ever be without a good book to read.

Bookshelf full of books
Bookshelf full of books

At Goodreads.com, you can find great book recommendations and once you sign up you can track what you’ve read and create a list of books you plan to read. You can join or form an online book club, make friends and have a new place to call home.

Eye On Books is full of podcasts by authors that explain their stories and reveal the source of their inspiration.  These authors fill in back stories using their words and explain their thought processes. Be sure to check it out – you’ll be very happy you did.

Another source of books is your nearest library. At my library, I can check out books, books on tape, books on cd or online books. The online books can be downloaded to my computer or mobile device (like an iPod or MP3 player as well as iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android)  You may be pleasantly surprised at what they have to offer.

If you’re in a book club or just want a list of some good books to read, check out 100 All Time Best Book Club Books. The great thing about these lists is you’re bound to find an author that writes the kinds of books you like to read.

Now that mobile reading devices like the iPad, Kindle, Sony Reader, iPhone, Android are in the hands of thirsty readers they might be looking for free books. At Project Gutenberg over 33,000 free ebooks are available for download. Perhaps you can start to look at the top 100 ebooks that were downloaded yesterday at the Project Gutenberg website. You’ll be hooked for sure!

Reference sites:

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Internet Goodie #3: Podcasts

The logo used by Apple to represent Podcasting
Podcasting logo used by Apple via Wikipedia

Welcome to the world of Podcasts!

A podcast is an audio (or video) file that can be easily downloaded from the internet.  Are you passionate about photography? Want to learn some history? Care to drop into a college level psychology class and listen to the lesson?  If so, there’s a podcast (plus hundreds more) for you!

Podcasting is a delightful alternative to everyday radio. With podcasting, you can select what you want to hear and tune in. Podcasts can be automatically downloaded to your computer and synced to your MP3 player.  You can listen to podcasts on your computer by using Window Media Player, Quicktime or iTunes. You can also download them to a portable listening device like an iPod or mobile MP3 player.

Once you locate a podcast that intrigues you can elect listen to it on your computer (also known as streaming) or you can subscribe (for free) and you’ll get commercial-free listening.  For those podcasts that do have advertising, they’re low key and kept to a minimum.

As you may have guessed, iTunes leads the way in podcasting.  They have thousands of podcasts that can be downloaded to your computer or iPod.  To find podcasts that appeal to you, search by subject or popularity.  To make the most of your travel, exercise or listening time – check out iTunes U. Universities and colleges across the world strive to be included on this site where their seminars and classes are recorded and shared with the rest of the world… for FREE. (You must download iTunes to your computer first.)

Don’t stop with iTunes though. The internet has a vast selection of material for you. When you search, enter your topic + podcast for example “car restoration + podcast” and you’ll have a wide variety of links to satisfy your listening pleasure.  Most times you’ll have the option to PLAY or Download. Play a few shows before you download to determine if you like the content, information and the voices of the people on the other end.

Already listen to podcasts? I’d be interested to know what you’re listening to … Care to share?

iTunes

Below are some podcasts that I plan to bookmark.

Postaday2011

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