I’m officially a big fan of ÜberConference. Their blog sums up the service, “A free audio conferencing service with a visual interface, ÜberConference solves the most common problems faced in teleconferencing including making a conference easy to join, knowing who is participating, knowing who is speaking, and making advanced features easy to use.”

I had to request an invitation, but got one fairly quickly.  Once I had an account set up, I was assigned a conference number, an organizer pin, and an open pin. I can set up a conference call using that number and send the open pin to anyone I want to conference with.  With the organizer pin, I can log in from any phone. I need no pin if I am calling in from my phone.

There is also a web component which works pretty slickly. I added contacts for my committee to the system and set up a test call with one of them. She and I both received an email to let us know the call was set up and to remind us 5 minutes before.  We called in using the phone number, then also clicked on the ‘See Conference’  button in the email.  With that, we were able to see who was in the call and determine exactly who was talking. High on my list are 2 functions – chat and recording. I recorded our call and chatted enough to see that it worked.

After the call was over, I saw a statistics screen which told me who was there, who talked the most (me, big surprise) and gave me options for downloading the chat transcript and the recording. I didn’t need to, though, because ÜberConference followed my call with an email that had those items included.

Important to note – I still have to pay for the cost of the call. A different service, Meeting.io, works great as well (better in the videoconferencing department) but limits me to 5 participants and doesn’t have recording yet.  With ÜberConference, I essentially sold my privacy on LinkedIn to get space for 2 more people. I hope my committee recognizes the sacrifices I am making for them.

I would recommend this tool particularly to my journalism students and friends. It would be great for distance interviewing and recording.

Working hard and playing hard – AALL 2012

Hi friends,

AALL 2012 is upon us. I don’t know about you, but my travels here were gloriously smooth. No delays. No lost paper work.  The worst thing that happened was that I had to stand in the TSA Booth of Shame with my arms above my head.  Will I have to pay the piper on my way home?
I always like the day before the conference. For me, there is a real feeling anticipation of everything I am going to learn and see.  Plus, there are usually some really fun events planned so I get to hang with people I don’t see very often. For me, that was the “Alphabet Soup” reception last night, then Karaoke with Ken, in which I did not actually carry through with my promise to sing “Roller Derby Queen” in honor of my friend, Katie Brown. This was a wise decision on my part.  Others, however, showed me that karaoke is an art form. We have some talented members, people!

I know many of you were already hard at work yesterday between CONELL, leadership training, PLL Summit and more.  I also saw some of you heading to other fun events, like a ball game.  That is the beauty of this conference – we work and we play hard.  I hope you enjoy every minute of it. I plan to.  See you at the keynote!

Google rolls out Knowledge Graph

To me, this looks a lot like the innovations we’ve seen in the last year or so in Westlaw.  Google explains that they are building on the searches others have done and what they’ve found useful.  They are trying to differentiate concepts that all my have the same word.  ‘Taj Mahal’ is the given example. Does the searcher mean the building in India or the singer or the restaurant down the street?

Search on Google for Taj Mahal

You can read Google’s press release from yesterday at: Introducing the Knowledge Graph: things, not strings | Official Google Blog.

One big difference? Google is free.

Scheduling Meetings – the bane of my existance

At least until I found Doodle. Doodle is an online tool that lets group members indicate when they are free to meet.  The organizer creates a poll with the times they have free – which makes it good to be the organizer!  Once the poll is created, the organizer sends a link to members of the group via email.  Members then click the link and indicate on the poll when they can meeting. Once everyone has voted, the poll is closed and the best time (or that there is no good time) is apparent. Easy peasy!  And free.

Digitization projects – Oxford Teams Up with the Vatican

Maybe it is just me, but I find projects like this fascinating and so exciting. The Bodleian Libraries of the University of Oxford and the Vatican said on Thursday are joining forces to digitize 1.5 million pages of ancient texts and make them freely available online.

And yet, I wonder if Dan Brown is wondering what the Vatican may not be offering for digitization. ;)