Thursday, September 29, 2005

Palm Treo Uses Windows Mobile

For the first time, a Palm device is running a Microsoft operating system. The newest Treo -- the Treo 700w smart phone -- runs Windows Mobile 5.0. According to CNET, this should encourage corporations to purchase Treos, as they should work more easily with other existing Microsoft software like the Exchange server.

VoIP Must Provide Ability to Wiretap

The Federal Communications Commission released a decision stating that broadband Internet access providers and VoIP providers that connect to the public telephone network must conform to the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA). One of the requirements of CALEA is that these services provide the ability to wiretap. Providers have to comply by spring 2007. [from ZDNet]

StarOffice Version 8 is Available

StarOffice version 8 is based on OpenOffice version 2.0. One goal of this version is to allow Microsoft Office users to easily move to this software. The cost is much less than the Microsoft version -- free for K-12 and academic libraries. Of course, the open source version -- OpenOffice -- is available to all at no charge. [from eWeek]

Mouse Tutorial in Spanish

Some of you may already know about the mouse tutorials at Palm Beach County Library System. Now they've created a mouse tutorial in Spanish. [from Web4Lib]

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Three IMLS Leadership Grants in Texas

Three National Leadership Grants for Libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services have been given to Texas.
  • Stephen F. Austin State University -- Phase II funding for Texas Tides. "This project will enable Texas Tides to expand its services by providing Spanish-language translations of Web site text, rare and educational materials, lesson plans and activities for bilingual classrooms. Texas Tides demonstrates how regional projects can integrate resources with larger state or national projects through compliance with current imaging and metadata standards."
  • Texas State Library and Archives Commission -- "The Texas State Library and Archives Commission, together with 11 partner institutions in the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative, will identify, describe, digitize, preserve, and make broadly accessible special collections materials of history and culture held by libraries, archives, museums, and historical societies throughout the state. The project will ensure seamless, integrated statewide access to these resources by using open source software in support of international standards such as the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) and the Z39.50 information retrieval protocol. A key aspect of the project will be the "uplift" of partner institutions that are not yet compliant with standards to allow searching across the collections; this will be achieved through the provision of metadata upgrades, data translation, controlled vocabularies, and other improvements."
  • The University of Texas at Austin -- "The Open Choice project will create, test, and evaluate an 'open source' Internet content filter for use in libraries."
[from IMLS web site]

Opera Has No Advertisements

Those of you who have used Opera in the past may remember that you could download the browser at no cost, but have advertisements in the upper right corner of the window, or you could purchase it and have no ads. Opera now provides their browser at no cost and with no ads! Premium Support is available for an additional charge. [from Opera]

Cracking Passwords By Listening

Researchers from the University of California-Berkeley have been successfully identifying passwords and other text by recording the key strokes from a keyboard. By using $10 microphones, they can record the key stroke sounds and then run these sounds through software programs to create a transcript of the session. The first pass tries to guess which key has been pressed; the second time, the text is run through spelling/grammar checks; the third time, it is run through to refine the results. After three passes, the computer accurately predicted words 88% of the time and characters 96% of the time. Obviously textual documents are at risk with this method. However, this article points out that passwords are a very likely target. More experiments are being done on this topic. [from ZDNet]

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Yahoo Searches Use Wayback Machine

One of the options in the search results of a Yahoo! search is to look at a cached copy. At the top of the cached copy is a link to the Wayback Machine at the Internet Archive, which will provide you with previous copies of the web page, if they exist. [from ResourceShelf]

Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar (Beta)

A preview release of the Internet Explorer Developer Toolbar just came out. Although the final version may be different, right now you can:
  • View/modify the DOM
  • Find/select specific elements
  • Disable specific IE settings
  • View class names and IDs
  • Validate HTML, CSS, WAI, and RSS feed links
  • Display image information
  • Resize browser window to specific sizes
  • Clear cache and cookies
  • Link directly to W3C standards
  • Display ruler for object alignment
I find it a little ironic that the toolbar allows you to validate to standards, specifically the CSS standard, when the browser itself doesn't even recognize the full CSS version 1 standard. Maybe the upcoming Internet Explorer version 7 will incorporate more standards. We'll see . . . [from RSS Compendium Blog]

RSS Buttons

The RSS Compendium Blog has linked to a page of many of the RSS buttons you see on blogs and feeds. It's great to have them all in one place.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Yahoo! Instant Search

Yahoo! has a new service in beta -- Instant Search. As you type your search query, a bubble may pop up below the search box. If available, it will provide you with the single, relevant answer to the search query. According to the FAQ, you could see:
  • #1 search result for popular searches
  • Yahoo! Shortcuts for information like news and weather
  • Corrections to misspellings
If none of these occur, you'll see the normal search results. Try these, hesitating after each word in the query to see the bubbles:
  • san francisco giants scores
  • time in copenhagen
[from Yahoo! Search Blog]

Thursday, September 15, 2005

New Open Office Version

OpenOffice 1.1.5 is now available for download. Version 2.0 is in its second beta. It's features are very close to those you would see in Microsoft Office or Lotus. [from Cafe con Leche XML News and Resources]

Google Blog Search . . . Beta

Google has yet another beta service -- Blog Search. You can get to this service in four ways: Blog Search searches all blogs that have a site feed. At this point, it only searches blogs from June 2005 on. Google is working on ways to include older posts. You can subscribe to the search itself. At the bottom of each page of search results, you'll see both Atom and RSS listed, each with an option of 10 or 100 results. Copy the URL and paste into your aggregator. Any new posts that conform to the search strategy will automatically be sent to you. Although this functionality is not new, it is nice to know it is available. [from beSpecific]

Friday, September 09, 2005

Making Electricity as you Backpack

According to Wired, researchers have come up with a backpack that makes electricity as you backpack. It makes about 7 watts, enough for MP3 players, cell phones, PDAs. From the article:
The researchers used a backpack fastened to the carrying frame by springs. The up-and-down motion caused by walking powers a small generator, producing electricity that can be used directly or stored in a capacitor or battery.
It currently weighs about 10 pounds, but they are working to get it down to just a couple. Every ounce counts when you're backpacking!

Encyclopedia Britannica Online RSS Feed

This is an RSS feed you might consider adding to your web site. Encyclopedia Britannica Online provides a daily feed which includes two items:
  • This Day in History
  • Biography of the Day
[from LibraryStuff]

RSS 3.0

A new version of RSS, superceding versions .9x and 2.0, is being created. Version 3.0 will provide more documentation of the language, "thereby solving common problems with the existing standards." This version will not replace version 1.0, which is based on RDF, or Atom. At this point, there are still 3 major competing RSS standards. Most readers deal with all of them. This version will provide a full specification as well as a lite. RSS 3 Lite is available in draft form now. [from]

Thursday, September 08, 2005

OCLC DeweyBrowser

I'm not a Dewey user -- almost all the libraries I have ever used (school and public included) used LC. However, this DeweyBrowser is really cool! There is an online demo on the OCLC web site. Basically, you type in a search term/phrase. The results come back with a color-coded listing of generally how many titles are in each of the ten Dewey classes. Hover over the class name and you'll get the number of titles in that class. Click on the class you want and the next layer of classes appears, color-coded and with the number of titles. Click on the section you want and you will get a third layer, similar to the others. Click on this third layer and you will see citations which link back to the record in the database you are searching. You can use Boolean AND (all of the keywords) or OR (any of the keywords), and limit by language. You can also change the language of the Dewey captions. Right now, this is a prototype, but it could be really helpful when searching your online catalog, or a digital repository, or a huge database like OCLC's. [from Outgoing] [FYI -- I work for an OCLC regional service provider.]

Harris County Public Library/Katrina

Other Texas libraries may also be doing this, but I came upon the blog at Harris County Public Library. Check out the listings for: Great resources for evacuees!

THOMAS Updated

The THOMAS web site update is now available. It definitely looks like a part of the Library of Congress web site now. ******************** THOMAS, a federal legislative database created by the Library of Congress, will be updated by the end of the year. Not only will the interface be changed, but functionality will also be added. According to Federal Computer Week, the final list is not yet set, but the following will definitely be available:
  • Improved visual appearance.
  • Headers, footers and other links for easy navigation.
  • A left-side menu for quick access to main content sections.
  • Ability to browse legislation by sponsor.
  • Links to Senate hearings for nominations.
  • Links to legislative resources and learning activities.
  • A new help section.
  • Links to the full text of treaties.
[from ResourceShelf]

Study of Copyright Section 108

The Library of Congress has created the Section 108 Study Group:
to conduct a reexamination of the exceptions and limitations applicable to libraries and archives under the Copyright Act, specifically in light of the changes wrought by digital media. The group will study how Section 108 of the Copyright Act may need to be amended to address the relevant issues and concerns of libraries and archives, as well as creators and other copyright holders. The group will provide findings and recommendations on how to revise the copyright law in order to ensure an appropriate balance among the interests of creators and other copyright holders, libraries and archives in a manner that best serves the national interest. The findings and recommendations will be submitted by mid-2006 to the Librarian of Congress.
My guess is that digital materials will find themselves in the midst of most of the discussion. There is a place for comments from those of us outside the committee. [from ResourceShelf]

Austin TV Station has RSS Feeds

KXAN, an NBC affiliate in Austin, has RSS feeds for the following pages on their web site:
  • Home page
  • News
  • Weather
  • Out on the Porch
  • Health
  • Hill Country & KXAM 14
  • Food for Thought
[from RSS Compendium]

E-Government/Public Sector IT News, a web site providing information for e-government and public sector IT, has RSS feeds. Most of the feeds provide headlines; one lists job vacancies. [from RSS Compendium]

San Angelo Newspaper has RSS Feeds

The San Angelo Standard-Times has RSS feeds for:
  • News
  • Opinion
  • High schools sports
  • Angelo State University sports
  • San Angelo Colts
  • High school football
  • Sports
  • Three columnists
  • Oil and agricultural news
  • Community
  • Entertainment
[from RSS Compendium]

Yahoo! Toolbar for Firefox

You can now get the Yahoo! toolbar if you using either Internet Explorer 5.0+ or Firefox 1.0+. The Internet Explorer version has been out for a while; in late July, Yahoo! introduced the Firefox version. [from Yahoo! Search Blog]

IE 6 Required for FEMA Online Applications

According to Computerworld, FEMA's web site requires Internet Explorer 6.0 for their applications. I found this on the FEMA web site:
The Online registration requires Microsoft's Internet Explorer 6.0 or above. If you do not have Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher, you may still be able to access the Individual Assistance Center where you can check the status of your application and update your information.
Is this a big deal? Maybe not. I would hope that most libraries that are providing Internet access for the evacuees have kept their software updated. As most public libraries have had help from the Gates Library Foundation, Internet Explorer is probably available. However, many schools use Macintoshes and many citizens don't upgrade to the latest and greatest because what they have, e.g., IE 5.0, works just fine. I just found it interesting that the federal government is being proprietary in the browser and operating system that has to be used in an emergency situation. [from Computerworld]

GPL License to be Updated

The General Public License (GPL) is a license which conforms to the open source license, but technically is a Free Software license ("free as in freedom, not price"). The license explains that the software can be freely copied, distributed or modified. Anyone using this license must make their software available under the same license. It's last revision was in 1991 and now they will be updating it once again. With version 3, they hope to:
  • encourage international participation to create a more global license;
  • include patent language;
  • close existing loopholes;
  • possibly discuss the constitutionality of GPL, e.g., does it undermine the US and European system of patents and copyrights?

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

National Vulnerability Database

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has created the National Vulnerability Database, which gives systems administrators a place to go to find out about system vulnerabilities and how to work with them. From the web site:
NVD is a comprehensive cyber security vulnerability database that integrates all publicly available U.S. Government vulnerability resources and provides references to industry resources. It is based on and synchronized with the CVE vulnerability naming standard.
You can search by keyword or, by clicking on Advanced Search, browse by vendor or product. Limiting factors include date, severity, type of exploit, type of impact, type of vulnerability, resource. There are 2 RSS feeds for those that want to keep up without remembering to come back to the NVD web site. One tracks all recent vulnerabilities; the other tracks only fully analyzed vulnerabilities. FYI: This database is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security's National Cyber Security Division. [from be Specific]

Preview of Internet Explorer 7

In early August, Wei-Ming Lee provided an overview of Beta 1 of Internet Explorer 7. Although more work will be done before it is released, it does provide some new functionality for us to consider:
  • Previous/next and Back/Forward buttons have been combined.
  • Stop/refresh buttons are now one.
  • Tabbed browsing.
  • Automatically discovers RSS feeds on a page; can add them to My Favorites.
  • Can Shrink-to-Fit for printing purposes.
  • Can more easily change page orientation for printing.
  • Can change default search engine.
  • Secure sites have a padlock icon in the address bar.
  • Sites identified as phishing sites will be identified.
Good overview, easy read, lots of screenshots. [from beSpecific]

Yahoo! Audio Search

Yahoo! has a beta service called Audio Search. It searches not only music, but also speeches, podcasts, interviews, sound effects -- anything in an audio format. You can save these audio files to Yahoo! My Web, another beta service which provides you with storage. On the search results page, you can limit by music or podcast or other audio. Clicking on More Options allows you to limit by file type, length (longer/shorter than 1 minutes), and source (web or audio service). [from beSpecific]

Searching Podcasts

TVEyes now has a search engine called Podscope which searches podcasts. All words within a podcast are searchable. Instead of seeing a web page, the result would be hearing the audio of a podcast. This service also indexes the audio content within video blogs. [from beSpecific]

Google Print Changes

Because of coyright concerns, the Google Print project is changing how it deals with copyrighted materials. Originally, Google wanted to scan all materials within the libraries they are working with. If the material is under copyright, then Google would display only a few sentences on either side of the search term. Now, however, Google has stopped scanning copyrighted materials and is letting publishers have time to let Google know which materials should not be scanned at all. They expect to resume scanning in November. Publishers, however, see this as backward. They feel that Google should be asking them for permission to scan all copyrighted works. Ultimately, this may end up in court. An article at Internet Week provides the basics of the situation and also cites case law which may be considered. The author of the article seems to think that Google would win such a case. [from Internet Week]

WorldCat Toolbars

OCLC's Open WorldCat service allows Internet searchers to find your collection via search engines. OCLC has worked with both Yahoo! and Google to create toolbars specific to searching Open WorldCat.
  • Yahoo! Toolbar -- Search libraries, i.e., WorldCat, instead of the web. Yahoo! also provides easy access to searching FirstSearch and NetLibrary (authorization may be required). Only works with Internet Explorer 5.0 and above.
  • Google Toolbar -- The AutoLink feature changes to "Show Book Info" if an ISBN number is on the web page. By default, it searches the WorldCat database; however, you can change the provider from WorldCat to another library database. Different versions available for Firefox 1.0+ and Internet Explorer 5.5+.
If you are a Firefox user, there are extensions available for both Yahoo! and Google. [FYI: I work for a network affilifated with OCLC.]

Plans for the Redesign of the Internet

The National Science Foundation is initiating a research grant program aimed at creating a new internet architecture. The program is part of the "Global Environment for Networking Investigations" (GENIE), which will provide a place to explore new architectures. Functionality that will be inherent in the updated internet architecture include security measures, support for wireless devices, and sensors throughout the system, e.g., for traffic. [from Wired News]

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

VoIP Providers May Pay into USF

A Federal Communications Commission board on universal service has suggested that any company using the public switched network should provide funds for the Universal Service Fund. This would primarily affect VoIP providers that allow you to call those that are not on their network. Comments are currently being accepted by the FCC on this issue. [from Edupage]

Google IM and Google Talk

Summer is over and, unlike many of you, I'm just starting to catch up from a very busy spring and summer. Time to catch up on what I've been missing! Google now has a program which also allows you to send instant messages, email (Gmail) and now also allows you to talk to others. Google Talk is bringing all three of these communication methods together. Still in beta, it does require you to have a Gmail account. You can either get an invitation from someone that already has a Gmail account, or provide them with your mobile phone number. I might have missed it, but I don't think anyone else had pulled these three methods into a single interface before Google. It definitely has its advantages. However, most of the people I IM don't use Google. As a matter of fact, I use Trillian for IM because I work with people that use multiple IM networks. So, I figured that this was just another service that would stay within the Google sphere. As I started poking around the web site, I found that I was wrong. Google Talk is currently available to those using IM clients that support Jabber -- Trillian Pro is one of those. From their web site:
We're committed to open communications standards, and want to offer Google Talk users and users of other service providers alike the flexibility to choose which clients, service providers, and platforms they use for their communication needs.
Now, this could be very useful!