Well, I just got back from Portland, and I can tell I am way behind on my number of tattoos and piercings.

When you put about 1900 law librarians in the same building, it can get surprisingly loud. But, add a high-profile techie like David Pogue and the real party begins. I’ve watched David’s presentations on TED, but nothing compares to seeing someone with such wit and humor live.

There were a lot of websites and new tech products that David mentioned, but the one that I went out that night and used immediately was a ready-reference service called 1-800-2ChaCha. In the “library world,” we call a lot of our reference work the “quick and dirty” reference service. Well, this 1-800-2ChaCha service is even quicker and dirtier than that. (I’m sure my good friend Toby has some type of rude comment on “quicker and dirtier research.”)

Okay… so, let’s say your out at dinner with some friends and you’ve finished that first glass of wine. We decide to order the big ocean platter with oysters, fish, calamari, clams, prawns, and another glass of wine. When someone picks up the prawn and asks: “What the heck is a prawn, and why does it look exactly like a shrimp??”

Since I don’t have my reference staff tethered to a blackberry (yet…), I can’t email them and ask them to compile a report for me on the differences between shrimp and prawns. Instead, I pick up my cellphone and call 1-800-2ChaCha (which is difficult on my BlackJack since it doesn’t have the 2 = ABC buttons. So, after figuring it out that in the real world it is 1-800-224-2424 (or you can text 242 424)…. I call in and leave a voice message that asks: “What is the difference between a shrimp and a prawn?). About 2 minutes later, I get a text message back on my phone that says “They are basically the same, prawns are just jumbo shrimp. Thanks for using ChaCha!”, along with a link to the webpage that someone found that gives the answer.

And what did I pay for this?? Not A Thing!! (I love free!!)

Although David mentioned a number of cool items, this ain’t his first rodeo, so there are plenty of other blogs that have posted his tech tool list before, such as this one. However, there is one other site that David mentioned that was rather sick (both literally and figuratively.)

WHOISSICK: A Mash-Up that allows you to post your symptoms online when you or especially your school aged children are sick. This is supposed to counter the times you go to your doctor and he says that “Oh yeah, this is the 15th case I’ve treated this week from your school.” Again, a sick site, in so many ways.

If you get a chance to see David Pogue live, I suggest that you do it.