Friday, October 13, 2006

This Blog Has Moved

This blog has moved to: http://libtechtexas.wordpress.com/ Please update your bookmarks or RSS feeds.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

It's Nice and Warm Here

In Florida, it's humid and warm -- just as I remember it from years ago!

It's Nice and Warm Here

In Florida, it's humid and warm -- just as I remember it from years ago!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Demonstrations for Washington

Not a difficult thing to do . . . blogging . . . you just have to like to write!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Checking in on a Monday Afternoon

We're just demonstrating the Blogger software. Have a great afternoon!

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Firefox 1.5.0.6

Firefox has just released an update - version 1.5.0.6. This version fixes an issue with Windows Media Player not being recognized. [from Cafe con Leche XML News and Resources] [CNET News.com]

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Cool Plates

I'm sure you've seen hot plates for coffee -- many people depend on them while using their computer. For those of you who prefer cold drinks, there is now a cool plate -- the U.S.B. Beverage Chiller from CoolIT Systems. This device plugs into your USB port and promises to keep the bottom third of your drink between 45 and 51 degrees. [from New York Times]

Friday, July 28, 2006

Customize Google Toolbar with Buttons

The Google Toolbar, which is now out of beta, has incorporated an easy way to add buttons/functionality. There are many buttons that come with the Toolbar. However, others are creating buttons and providing them for you to use. To add a button from the Gallery, just click on "Add to Toolbar." You can add a button that:
  • checks the weather (of course)
  • checks blogs
  • buy movie tickets
  • search Answers.com
  • find reviews
There are many more! [from Official Google Blog]

Help for All Google Services

Google has created a single page which includes help for all their services. Instead of trying to find that FAQ for Google Desktop through the service name, you can come to Google Help. Great idea! [from Official Google Blog]

Electric Sheep

Electric Sheep are fractal images that morph into other fractal images, partly based on input we provide. Electric Sheep is an open source project which uses your computer's CPU when it isn't working. It uses it to take two images and create a third. Genetics plays a part, but a real geneticist would have to explain it. Everything is available under the GNU Free Documentation License. These images are popularly used as wallpaper. [from CNET News.com]

Using Second Life for Simulations

Second Life, a virtual world, is being used to create simulations for emergencies. This video focuses on firefighters, but you can easily see how it could be extended to other areas. [from CNET News.com] Video of overview of Second Life Video of entrepreneurs in Second Life

Google Hosts Open Source Repository

Google is now hosting a repository for open source software -- Google Code. They will post their free source code and APIs; others can post their open source code also.

[from CNET News.com]

GPL Version 3, Draft 2

The changes in the second draft of the General Public License primarily focuses on the intersection of the license and Digital Rights Management. It makes it clear that the license only applies to the GPL software, not to other software or information/data. This draft also states that, if a key or authorization is needed to install/execute, then it should be included in the source. [from CNET News.com]

IE 7 Updated Through Automated Update Service

There is a lot of concern/discussion about the manner in which the new version of Internet Explorer will be provided to users. Instead of providing a link to update, as most browsers do, this update will come through their automated Microsoft Update service. The choice will still be yours, but many are saying there is the possibility that this will result in broken web pages for users. [from CNET News.com]

House Passes HR 5319

The House of Representatives passed HR 5319 which amends "the Communications Act of 1934 to require recipients of universal service support for schools and libraries to protect minors from commercial social networking websites and chat rooms." It is also known as the Deleting Online Predators Act of 2006. This bill has now moved to the Senate and it is not clear if/how the wording will be changed. However, for libraries, these are the points I think are important:
  • The certification for E-Rate funding made by schools must also affirm that a technology protection measure is in place that "protects against access to a commercial social networking website or chat room unless used for an educational purpose with adult supervision."
  • The certification for E-Rate funding made by public libraries must also affirm that a technology protection measure is in place that "protects against access by minors without parental authorization to a commercial social networking website or chat room, and informs parents that sexual predators can use these websites and chat rooms to prey on children."
  • The definitions of "social networking site" and "chat room" will be determined within 120 days of the passage of the bill.
  • Schools are now able to disable the technology protection measure if there is adult supervision and if there is an educational purpose.
  • Within 6 months of passage of the bill, the Federal Trade Commission will issue a consumer alert concerning the potential dangers of commercial social networking sites and chat rooms and create a website as a resource for parents, teachers, administrators, and others.
The discussion on the House floor is a good indicator that, although the vote was 410 - 15 in favor of the bill, there were many questions as to its effectiveness and the focus. [from beSpacific]

Security Issues in Beta Versions of Vista

Symantec has written two reports based on the Microsoft's beta versions of Vista. Both reports identify security flaws/issues in the software. FYI - the final version of Vista is not slated to be delivered until January 2007, so there is time to deal with them. [from PCMag.com]

This Blog Is Moving

I will be moving my blog from Blogger to WordPress. For the next month, I'll be double posting, but at of the end of August, I'll delete this blog at Blogger. To subscribe to the new blog: The Library Technology in Texas blog now resides at: http://libtechtexas.wordpress.com/

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The iPod: Another Training Partner

Nike and Apple have teamed up to provide an iPod Nano that can keep track of time, distance and speed on its screen or via headphones. The Nike + iPod Sport Kit consists of a sensor that fits into the bottom of the shoes and a receiver which attaches to the iPod. Coming soon to iTunes . . . the Nike Sport Music section specially designed for this kit. [from New York Times]

Screenshots from Firefox 2 Beta 1

CNET has posted some screenshots from the first beta of Firefox 2. FYI: Mozilla is suggesting that only developers download this version. Functionality that can be seen here:
  • Anti-phishing controls
  • Restoration of open tabs after reboot
  • Bookmarking a page within Live Bookmarks or another RSS reader
  • Extensions and themes managed in a single console

Technical Terms Now in Dictionaries

Both Merriam-Webster and the Oxford English Dictionary added more technical terms to their dictionaries. "Google" is getting the most press. It means to search the Google database. The only difference between the two dictionaries is that M-W uses lowercase (google) and the OED uses a capital letter (Google). Other terms that were added include:
  • adware - OED
  • cybrarian - OED
  • cybrary - OED
  • mash-up - OED
  • mouse potato (think couch potato) - M-W
  • pixelate - OED
  • ringtone - M-W
  • spyware - M-W
  • text message - OED
  • text messaging - M-W
  • uninstall - OED
[CNET.com]

Eight Working Draft of XHTML 2.0

XHTML 2.0 is still in the working draft phase, having just released its eighth. If you haven't started looking at the changes from version 1.0 to 2.0, you should. There are some new elements and attributes, as well as new ways to create functionality. Some of the changes include:
  • New section element allows you to mark up document structure more clearly.
  • horizontal rule has been renamed separator.
  • Instead of using the line break, there is now a line element that allows you to identify where lines should be broken.
  • paragraph elements can now includes more than just text, e.g., lists, tables.
  • New navigation list element to be used for . . . yes . . . navigation lists.
  • source attribute can be used on any element; long description for images is brought within the document.
  • Table content model has been simplified, but with the same functionality.
  • New edit attribute to be used for insertions and deletions.
  • href attribute can be used in any element.
  • role attribute can be used to provide semantics for an element.
  • XML Events will be used to create event handlers like onclick.
  • XML Forms will be used to create forms.
This has not yet finished going through the W3C process, but it's worth taking the time to scan. [W3C News]

How are Libraries Using Social Software

The current issue of Library Technology Reports provides an overview of best practices for implementing social software in libraries. Michael Stephens has authored the July/August 2006 issue "Web 2.0 & Libraries: Best Practices for Social Software." The table of contents and a few key pages are available on the web. The cost is $63.00. [Tame the Web]

Headsets with No Microphone

Later this year, the Invisio Q7 headset will be available from Radio Shack. It is a bluetooth-enabled headset that does not use a microphone. Instead, it uses "bone-conduction technology," which converts the vibrations of your skull into sound. This means that you could be taking a phone call in a very loud environment, e.g., a football game, concert, and still be heard very clearly on the other end without shouting. [SciFi Tech] [Wired.com]

Sections 508/255 to be Updated

The World Wide Web Consortium has appointed a committee to revise Section 255 and Section 508.
  • Section 255 requires that telecommunications products/services be accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Section 508 requires Federal agencies to have technology that 1) ensures that Federal employees with disabilities have access to and can use information/data and 2) ensures that members of the public with disabilities also have access to and can use information/data.
[W3C News]

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Friday, July 28th is System Administrator Appreciation Day

Put it on your calendars -- System Administrator Appreciation Day is Friday, July 28th.
System Administrator Appreciation Day - A special day, once a year, to acknowledge the worthiness and appreciation of the person occupying the role, especially as it is often this person who really keeps the wheels of your company turning.
Cookies, cakes, Mountain Dew, iPods are all welcome! Wikipedia entry

Google Accessible Search

Google Labs is experimenting with a search engine that provides results based on how simple the web page layouts are -- hopefully making it easier for those using screen readers. Google Accessible Search "tends to favor pages that have few visual distractions and that are likely to render well with images turned off." This search engine may help those with visual disabilities, but it also may help those with cognitive. [CNET News.com]

Comparing Three Major Browsers

This year has seen many changes in browsers. Firefox and Internet Explorer both have new versions in beta and Opera came out with a new version. ExtremeTech has written a comparison of these three versions. Caveat -- this comparison is of the browsers as they are now. Software in beta usually incorporate modifications or additions before its final release.

Microsoft and Yahoo! Can Chat With Each Other

As promised by the two companies last year, Microsoft's Windows Live Messenger and Yahoo's Messenger with Voice (both instant messaging clients) can now interoperate on a basic level. If you use one of these two services, you can add contacts from the other service and chat with them without using a second IM service. At this point, the only interoperability is the chat function. Other IM aggregators allow interoperability between multiple IM services with additional functionality. I'm hoping to see Microsoft and Yahoo! incorporate more common IM functionality. On the other hand, with aggregators, you have to sign in on multiple IM services; with Microsoft/Yahoo, you only need one. A nice benefit. [PCMag.com]

Friday, July 21, 2006

Nanotechnology Center at UT-Austin

The University of Texas at Austin has just gotten the authorization to seek funding/grants for the creation of the South West Academy for Nanotechnology. As part of this academy, eight faculty will be hired for the Austin, Dallas, and Arlington campuses.
Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating the tiniest units of matter -- no larger than a billionth of a meter or 1/100,000th the diameter of a hair -- and making use of the unusual properties many substances exhibit at those scales.
At least initially, one of their projects will be to create a new type of electronic switch that can be used in small devices like laptops or cell phones. This would enable our devices to be smaller and lighter. Look for this academy to be operational within a year. [SiliconValley.com]

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Flock

The Flock browser is based on Firefox and it still in beta -- but it has some very interesting capabilities:
  • Manipulating photos for blogs or personal spaces (MySpace, FaceBook) is much easier
  • Search provides results as you type and from multiple sources
  • Subscribing to RSS feeds can be a one-click function
  • Blogging into a specific service can be done via Flock
  • Creating Favorites is easy and can automatically feed into your social bookmarks service
It's not all there yet. Their release notes state that you cannot:
  • View your favorites by tag
  • Upload photos directly from a camera in Windows
  • Use Flock via a proxy server
  • Export Favorites to a file
  • Import Favorites from anywhere but Firefox the first time
If you are OK with these limitations, which I assume will be dealt with in future releases, this looks like a great browser to try!

IMalibrarian.com

Want to know which libraries are instant messaging? Check out IMalibrarian. You can find libraries by state. If you are IMing and you aren't listed, you can email/IM Cynthia Wilson, who will add you.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Tablet Laptops for Virginia Tech

Starting this year, the engineering students at Virginia Tech will be required to have a tablet laptop -- the Fujitsu LifeBook T4000. It is a laptop that converts from a screen/keyboard to a tablet. [from ZDNet]

Mashing Up the Library Competition

For all of you programmers, here's your chance! Talis is sponsoring a competition for library mash-ups. It's goal is to " . . . encourage innovation in the display, use, and reuse of data from and about libraries." The deadline is August 18, 2006 and first prize is £1,000. I'm very interested in the results of this competition. I'm probably focused too narrowly, but I have a hard time thinking about services that can use our bibliographic data. I'm hoping this will open my eyes!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Best Practices for RFID

The Center for Democracy and Technology has posted an interim draft of "CDT Working Group on RFID: Privacy Best Practices for Deployment of RFID Technology." These guidelines are being developed to address privacy concerns. The best practices currently include:
  • Notice should be provided when information is collected via RFID and linked with personal information.
  • Choice concerning the removal/destruction of an RFID tag.
  • Choice and consent of linked information use(s).
  • Information collected by other organizations should incorporate, at minimum, the level of protection of the primary organization.
  • Users should have access to personal information on an RFID tag.
  • Companies should try to secure RFID tags.
These are just summaries of the main points. The document provides much more detailed information on each. [from librarian.net]

Fonts for Kids (and Us, Too)

Great fonts for kids, but many can also be used for adults. Definitely worth a look. [from LibrarianInBlack]

Accessibility Color Wheel

Thanks to the Librarian in Black for this great color wheel -- the Accessibility Color Wheel. Hover your mouse over different colors and you'll see the results on the page and how people with three types of color blindness will see your pages.

How a Computer Works (Fun)

Do you have a few minutes? Check out this animation of how a computer works. [from LibrarianInBlack]

LibX

LibX is an extension for the Firefox browser which provides you access to your library's resources. Provided by Virginia Tech, it is distributed under the Mozilla Public License and seems to be easier to customize than others. From the website, this toolbar includes:
  • The "Magic Button" - simply select an article title and have Scholar & the OpenURL resolver deliver an appropriate (accessible, "paid-for") copy. This is a feature we use daily for our own research, it's proved to be a tremendous time saver.
  • Lookups of a complete book title, author, or ISBN - usually by selecting & right-clicking on a webpage.
  • Proxying a page or link when coming from off-campus.
  • Using cues to get from pages that a user frequently uses to the library catalog.
  • Improvements to vendor-provided pages.
[from LibrarianInBlack]

Comparison of RSS Web-Based Readers

TechCrunch has posted a comparison of web-based RSS readers. The readers compared are:
  • Attensa Online
  • Bloglines
  • FeedLounge
  • Google Reader
  • Gritwire
  • News Alloy
  • NewsGator Online
  • Pluck Web Edition
  • Rojo
Rojo comes up first in this list. [from LibrarianInBlack]

NISO/RFID for Library Applications

NISO created a working group called "RFID for Library Applications." Its charge is:
  • Develop a set of guidelines that lay out current best practices for the use of RFID in library applications.
  • Prepare an input document that outlines US practices and concerns to an ISO TC46 working group on an RFID data model for library applications.
  • Serve as a sounding board for the NISO representative to the ISO TC 46 working group. Continue to work with ALA/BISG working group around the interaction of technology and privacy issues.
You can keep up with their work on their website. FYI -- We have a Texas member of the group -- Corrie Marsh of the University of North Texas. [from Librarians' Internet Index]

Literature Map

More visualization -- the Literature Map services asks you for an author's name. It then responds with other authors that you might like. These author's names hover around your author's name -- the closer they are to your author's name, the more likely you will like them. [from Library Stories]

LITA Top Tech Trends - June 2006

Although LITA will post something more formal on their website, Michelle Boule posted a good overview of the Top Technology Trends on the LITA Blog. There were seven panelists this year and here is an overview. More information is provided on the LITA Blog and most panelists provided more discussion on their own blogs. Andrew Pace
  • Findability
  • Aggregating all information
  • Automatic classification and natural language entry points
  • Landlords of the information space
Marshall Breeding
  • Solving the OPAC problem
  • Consolidation in the information industry
Clifford Lynch
  • Fast IP connectivity availability
  • Net neutrality
  • Data curation
  • Institutional repositories
  • Sharing sites
  • Computational use of literature
Karen Schneider
  • OPAC issues
  • Managed open source
  • Privacy
  • Faceted navigation
  • eBooks
  • Graphic novels
Eric Lease Morgan
  • Voice over IP
  • Blogs and wikis as the norm
  • Social networking sites
  • Open source influencing other ideas
  • Metasearch
  • Mass digitization
  • Licensed content/digital management software
  • Discontent with library catalogs
Tom Wilson
  • Everything we do is an interim solution
  • Systems we use/provide access to should not be seen as monolithic
Roy Tennant
  • Next generation finding tools
  • Rise of filtering and selection
  • Rise of micro communities
Sarah Houghton
  • Power over content returned to content owner
  • OCLC ILS
  • Online outreach
Peter Murray's post on T3 Karen Comb's post on T3 [from LITA Blog]

More Dell Recycling

Dell has changed its recyling program for the better. Dell will now recycle any Dell device at no charge to you, even if a replacement Dell device is not purchased. Even shipping is paid for by Dell. Dell Announcement [from New York Times]

Wikipedia Changes Its Editing Rules

Originally, Wikipedia allowed anyone to edit any of its pages. Because of recent vandalism, they have changed this policy on some of their pages. Although they have always had the ability to discontinue editing on specific pages for a time, they now have a semi-protected category, which allows editing only by those have been registered at Wikipedia for at least four days. Wikipedia's Protection Policy Wikipedia's List of Protected Pages [from New York Times]

Underwater iPods

I shouldn't be surprised at the innovation I see, but I am . . . constantly. If you have an iPod, you can purchase a waterproof case and headphones. The sound through the headphones isn't great above water, but much better when submerged and sealed. So, you can listen to music while you swim laps . . . or take a shower . . . or . . . sing in the rain! [from New York Times]

Ring Tones You Can't Hear

Well . . you can't hear them if you're older. These are ring tones that can be heard by younger people - technically, those that still can hear sounds at the high end of the audio frequency range -- but not by those that are middle-aged or older. The ring tone originally was developed by a security company to annoy teenagers (disperse a group) and not bother adults. It is described as "an ear-splitting 17-kilohertz buzzer." The idea was hi-jacked and is now an off-shoot is available at no charge over the Internet. The original company now has its own ring tone available -- the Mosquitotone. [from New York Times]

Chief Security Officer for MySpace.com

Update: MySpace.com is also changing some of its policies toward its younger users:
  • Specific types of advertisements will not be shown to users under 18.
  • Older users must know more than a user name in order to contact users under 18; they must know either their first and last names or their email address.
  • Members can designate their profiles as "private" and only available to a specific set of friends.
FYI: These policies work only if the users set their age correctly. [from New York Times] *********************** MySpace.com has been in the news lately for the ease of finding personal information about its users. Partially in response to this, they have created and filled a Chief Security Officer position. Hemanshu Nigam, director of consumer security outreach and child safe computing and Microsoft, has been hired. MySpace.com will also initiate an advertising program, focused on young people and Internet safety. [from New York Times]

Imagery for Searching Google Images

Imagery provides an alternative interface for searching Google Images. Currently, it works only with Firefox 1.5+ and is only a prototype -- not even a beta version. It's aim is to show that image searching can be improved upon what is available now. It provides some very helpful aids; you can:
  • easily see how large the image is in relation to your browser window.
  • see image information displayed, e.g., title, width, height, size, and URL
  • delete images from the search results
  • open tabs within Imagery
You can also limit your search by:
  • SafeSearch
  • small/medium/large size
  • black & white/grayscale/full color
  • file type: jpg/gif/png
[from Research Buzz]

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Dell Notebooks Now Have 1 Year Warranty

Dell has increased its warranties for Inspiron notebooks from 90 days to 1 year. [from CNET.com]

Feed Rinse

Feed Rinse is a service that will filter RSS feeds for you. It's not an RSS reader/aggregator -- just a service that serves as an intermediary between your reader and the original feed. Export your feeds in OPML. Import them into Feed Rinse. Decide how you want to filter: specific keywords, tags, authors. Export the feeds back into your reader. There is a free version available, as well as per month options. [from beSpacific]

Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0

The W3C document, Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0, is a listing and discussion of 60 best practices for improving the user's experience of the Web on mobile devices. In addition to good, overall information on how to design/code for mobile devices, the best practices section includes explanations of the issue(s) involved, how to implement correctly, and how to test for correct implementation. This document is currently a Candidate Recommendation, meaning that this is a stable document and implementation is encouraged. [from W3C News]

XHTML Basic Version 1.1

XHTML Basic is geared toward the creation of web pages for clients that do not support the full feature set of XHTML. These clients include cell phone, PDAs, TVs, and pagers, as well as other information appliances. This language includes a very basic set of elements. [from W3c News]

CSS Version 2.1

In April, the World Wide Web Consortium published Cascading Style Sheets version 2.1. Version 2.0 came out in 1998. Version 2.1 has multiple aims:
  • Incorporating errata found in 2.0;
  • Removing version 2.0 features which have been rejected by the CSS community;
  • Removing version 2.0 features which will be obsolete in version 3.0;
  • Adding a few new property values;
  • Modifying the specification to reflect common practice.
So, version 2.1 is not totally backwards-compatible with version 2.0. From the website:
Thus, while it is not the case that a CSS2 style sheet is necessarily forwards-compatible with CSS 2.1, it is the case that a style sheet restricting itself to CSS 2.1 features is more likely to find a compliant user agent today and to preserve forwards compatibility in the future. While breaking forward compatibility is not desirable, we believe the advantages to the revisions in CSS 2.1 are worthwhile.
FYI: This is still a working draft, not yet a W3C recommendation. [from W3C News]

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Digital Bumper Stickers on Your Car

Yes, you can now have a digital bumper sticker on your car. Called Driv-e-mocion, I think it actually attaches to your back window. Using a remote control, you can change the messages to:
  • a sad face
  • a happy face
  • "Back Off"
  • "Thanks"
No customization of messages . . . yet. [from Ziff Davis]

Monday, June 26, 2006

Review of Security-Control Software

Richard Wayne of The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center Library has written an article in the June 2006 issue of Computers in Libraries. (Sorry -- is not available electronically.) It is part of the series "the Helping You Buy series" and is called "June: Security-Control Software." Wayne discusses features and testing and provides a chart of fourteen products and their functionality.

Ten Tips for Technology Training

Rachel Singer Gordon and Michael Stephens wrote an article for the May 2006 issue of Computers in Libraries called "Ten Tips for Technology Training." (Sorry -- there is a fee for this one.) For those of you who have been doing this for some time, there are no surprises here -- just good reminders:
  • Carry multiple version of your training documents
  • Use real-world examples
  • Create an online community around your training
  • Use A/V and hands-on tools
  • Create with PowerPoint
  • Promote classes using Flickr
  • Keep up to date
  • Rehearse, but be flexible in the class
  • Play with and use Web 2.0 tools, e.g., IM, blogs, wikis, feeds
  • Enjoy it
Good ideas that support the theories of adult education. Interaction . . . make it practical . . . interaction . . . give me materials I can use after the course . . . interaction . . . keep up with new tools . . . interaction . . . have fun!

Are We Ready for Web 2.0?

Marshall Breeding wrote a very thought-provoking article in the May 2006 issue of Computers in Libraries called "Web 2.0? Let's Get to Web 1.0 First." (Sorry -- this one isn't free online.) He makes some great points. Are we putting the cart before the horse? Have we finished Web 1.0? Have we even made good in-roads? A few of the things he mentions:
  • A professional, updated web site for each library
  • Valid HTML/XHTML
  • DOCTYPE within HTML
Excellent reading and a reminder that most of us have some Web 1.0 to finish up as we move toward Web 2.0.

Descriptive Metadata for Copyright Status

Karen Coyle wrote an interesting article for First Monday about additional metadata we might want to consider for digitized materials. There is some copyright information embedded within metadata elements. Coyle is discussing the addition of metadata that would state how the material could be used or help someone find the rights holder, e.g., to determine how the material could be used. Her list of possible elements includes those that help users determine the copyright status of a work, as well as information taken from the material and any research done by the library that would help determine copyright status and rights holders. I'm not sure if this idea has been discussed any further; if you know, let me know!

Getting Your Attention

Last year, I read an article in the New York Times Magazine about how we focus (or unfocus) our attention while working on computers. It's a fascinating article and I urge you to read it. Some highlights:
  • A study found that employees could work on a project for 11 minutes before being interrupted; it would take approximately 25 minutes to get back to the original project.
  • Another study found that employees have an average of 8 windows open at one time and spend about 20 seconds looking at one window before moving to another.
  • A subsequent study looked at using a larger screen (15" vs. 42"). They found that tasks were completed between 10%-44% more quickly and they were less taxing. "The clearer the screen, the calmer your mind."
  • Researchers are doing experiments, trying to figure out if a computer can determine a user's "busy state." If they are busy, the computer stores small interruptions until later. With a little artificial intelligence, software might be able to predict when you will be free, allowing others to contact you when you might be less busy and more open to interruptions.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Wireless USB Devices

Wouldn't you think that, by now, USB devices would be wireless? The technology, called Wireless USB (WUSB), is ready, but there are no devices on the market ready to use it. Current testing has WUSB working five feet from the hub. Apparently, manufacturers are trying to make the switch from wired to wireless USB devices very simple -- and that takes time and thought. WUSB will be a supplemental package for Windows Vista and Windows XP in 2007. [from PCMag.com]

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Opera Version 9 Available

Opera's version 9 is now available. According to their web site, you should now be able to:
  • download a large file using BitTorrent without needing a separate BitTorrent application
  • add your favorite search engine
  • set preferences by site
  • use more advanced text editing features
  • block specific types of content, e.g., images or advertisements
  • see a thumbnail of a web site when you have multiple tabs open
  • use Opera Widgets
Widgets are small programs that can run while Opera is open -- calendars, clocks, games, news, direct access to specific web services like Pandora or IP lookup. It is similar to Google's Gadgets in their Google Desktop.

Monday, June 19, 2006

eNewspapers are Coming

In 2007, some newspapers will be providing an electronic version. Users can download the contents onto a digital screen and take it with them. Apparently, the resolution is very sharp -- "easier on the eyes than light-emitting laptop or cellphone displays" -- and it is energy efficient. The Houston Chronicle will probably be one of the first to try this on a limited basis later this year. [from PCMag.com]

Google Spreadsheet

Yes, Google is getting into office productivity software. There is a beta version available of its web-based Google Spreadsheet software right now, but only by invitation. PCMag.com has a preview which includes screenshots. It's very basic right now, having just a fraction of the functionality of Microsoft's Excel. However, it allows you to easily share spreadsheets with others, allow others to edit your spreadsheet, and chat while you are using the spreadsheet.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Letting Browsers Find Your Feed

Have you noticed that some websites that includes RSS feeds include an RSS icon in the address bar? This means that the browsers has found the feed. You can help this along by adding a link element in the head of your HTML document. You can see the code and a brief explanation. [from blogwithoutalibrary]

Blogging Libraries Wiki

Want to find out who is blogging? The Blogging Libraries Wiki could be the answer. It is divided by type of libraries, e.g., academic, public, school, special, internal to the library, and library associations. If your library blogs, check to see whether you're listed. [from beSpacific]

Podcasting Legal Guide

Colette Vogele and Mia Garlick, both of the Stanford Center for Internet and Society, have published the Podcasting Legal Guide. Much of the information has to do with copyright and should be familiar to libraries, however, there are sections that deal with audio and trademarks. Definitely a good read if you are thinking about podcasting. [from beSpacific]

Open Source Evergreen ILS Software in Beta

The Georgia Public Library Service has announced a beta release of its open source integrated library system software called Evergreen. Written for the PINES consortium, a Georgia public library automation and lending network for 249 libraries in 123 counties, they are providing it at no charge for libraries that would like to implement it. If you are interested, you can follow its development in the open-ils blog. [from OSS-Discuss]

ISPs to Save Web Surfing Information?

The Justice Department is asking Internet providers to save detailed records of where people go on the Internet for at most two years. They are not looking at keeping the content, e.g., attachments or web sites that were found, but the data related to the search or message. Currently, this type of information is kept for 180 days if an investigation is underway. Before this change would take effect, Congress would have to authorize it. [from Mercury News.com]

NGC4LIB Discussion List

Eric Lease Morgan of the University of Notre Dame has created a new discussion list -- NCG4LIB. Its purpose is to discuss Next Generation Catalogs for Libraries. Should be a lively discussion! Subscription information is available on the web page.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Google Notebook

If you use Firefox 1.5+ or Internet Explorer 6.0 as your browser and have a Google account, you can download Google Notebook. This service from Google Labs allows you to easily copy information to the Notebook (keeping the URL), add notes, and organize information you find. Your notebooks are stored on a Google server, thereby allowing you to access them from any computer. You also have the option of making your Notebook public or subscribing to others' notebooks. This can be a big help is you research topics in various locations on the web. Although you can copy and paste information elsewhere, this service brings the URL with it and allows notes. You can create multiple Notebooks on different subjects.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2 Available

Update: PCMag.com has posted a review of Beta 2. Before you download and play with it, you might want to read through this. **************** If you want to check out the functionality of Office 2007, the second beta version is available. It has the full functionality. [from Microsoft Inside Office Newsletter]

Sunday, May 21, 2006

802.11n Fails

The new wireless draft standard, 802.11n, failed on its first ballot through the IEEE standards process. In order to pass, the draft standard needed at least a 75% approval rate by its members; instead, it received 46%. According to an article in ExtremeTech, technical draft standards generally go through this process a few times before being ratified. On the consumer side, be careful if you are purchasing "802.11n-compliant" equipment. This is equipment that is built to the draft standard. It will be called "802.11n-compatible" when it adheres to the ratified standard.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Consumer Reports' "Easy PC Fixes"

The June 2006 issues of Consumer Reports includes an article on "Easy PC Fixes." It describes five steps that help you determine if you can fix it yourself or find help. It also includes 11 remedies for common computer problems:
  • Trouble starting the computer with Windows XP
  • No video or other display problem
  • No sound
  • Printer isn't working
  • CD or DVD won't play
  • Windows taskbar disappears
  • Pointing device doesn't work or jumps around
  • A hardware device won't work
  • Wi-Fi connection isn't working
  • Can't connect to the Internet
  • Virus or spyware infection

Consumer Reports' "The End of Privacy"

The June 2006 issue of Consumer Reports has a good, understandable article about RFID and privacy. It discusses the basics of how RFID works, how and in which areas it is proliferating, why privacy is an issue and how information can be stolen. Good overview for those that know little about the technology.

Game Controller Keyboard

Those of you who are comfortable using a game controller might also be interested in the AlphaGrip AG-5 keyboard from AlphaGrips, Inc. At a cost of around $100, it comes with either a touch pad or a joystick control. According to the review in ExtremeTech, it is one of the best keyboard alternatives available, however, there is a steep learning curve.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Google Search Poster

I may be the last to see this. Google is providing a very nice poster that briefly explains basic searching:
  • Exact phrase
  • Excluded words
  • Similar words
  • Multiple words
  • Numerical ranges
  • Find meanings
  • Site specific
  • Linked pages
  • Math answers
  • Conversions
Very nice looking poster available in both 8.5" x 11" and 17" x 22".

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Drupal Implementers

If you are or will be implementing Drupal, a content management system, a website for sharing information has just been developed. Drupalib:
. . . is intended as a place for Drupal implementors to share ideas, configurations, themes, and maybe even to incubate the development of some modules that allow commonly desired functionality in library websites.
[from Web4Lib]

Internet Explorer Version 7 Beta Available

Update: BetaNews provides more detail on the technical side of IE 7:
  • CSS has improved
  • PNG is supported
  • Native support for XMLHTTP
The site, Add-Ons for Internet Explorer, allows you to extend the browser's initial functionality. It looks like it is similar to Firefox's extensions. They've categorized their add-ons:
  • Security (online protection, parental controls, pop-up blockers, privacy)
  • Time Savers (e.g., auto-fill forms, bookmark managers, developer tools, feeds)
  • Browsers (offline browsers, other browsers)
  • Entertainment (e.g., animation players, design tools, music players, video players)
If you install this version 7 beta, it will replace version 6, but you will be able to uninstall to go back to 6. The final version will install over the beta. [from BetaNews] ****************** The beta version of Internet Explorer 7 is now available to the public. PCMag.com has a good overview of the software, as well as many screenshots. Some highlights:
  • Well implemented tabbed browsing (Quick Tabs, adding group of tabs as Favorites, allowing multiple tabs as Home Pages
  • Streamlined toolbars
  • Allowing your choice of default search engines
  • RSS detection/reader
  • Identification of suspected and known phishing sites
  • Improved print preview
It sounds like IE 7 is better than IE 6, but the writer of this column will still be staying with Firefox. Hopefully, the final version will fix the current outstanding problems. [from PCMag.com]

Monday, April 17, 2006

Demonstration to Tech Topics Class

A demonstration of how to create a blog post within Blogger. Simple as pie!

Friday, April 14, 2006

TSLAC Library Technology Consultant

After a number of years, the Library Technology Consultant position at the Texas State Library and Archives Commission has been filled. Eduardo Loera, lately from Portland, Oregon, but previously from Texas has been hired. [from Library Developments]

Internet Explorer /Secunia Vulnerability

Internet Explorer 6.0 has a vulnerability, which was not patched in the latest round of Microsoft updates, that allows a site to show a different URL in the address bar than the site you are seeing. It is a phishing attack. Secunia has posted an advisory on it. They've also provided a test to see whether you are vulnerable. [from PCmag.com]

Search Google (Sort Of) on your Cell Phone

Google's new service -- of course, in beta -- is Google Short Message Service (SMS). You can send short messages to Google (without Internet service) and response brief responses. Although you cannot search the Google database, you can find:
  • Business listings by geographic area
  • Residential listings (for those publicly listed)
  • Driving directions (without the map)
  • Movie showtimes by geographic area
  • Weather by geographic area
  • Stock quotes
  • Fact-based questions
  • Product prices (using Froogle)
  • Definitions
  • Sports scores (for in-season sports; for NBA, NCAA basketball, NHL, MLB, NFL)
  • Up to 2 excerpts from search results from a Google search
  • Calculator
  • Translator
  • Currency conversion
  • Area code look-up
  • Zip code look-up
As you've probably guessed, there are some syntax rules for getting this information. However, they have also provided a wallet-sized tip sheet to carry with you. They are also looking for more types of information you might want over your cell phone. For other, more technical questions, check out their FAQ.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

TechEssence.Info

TechEssence.Info is a technology web site/blog for library decision makers. It's goal is to provide easy to understand information about technology. From the web site:
You're busy. You don't have time for a lot of jargon, techie posturing, or attitudes. You've come to the right place. We don't put you down, we don't talk down to you, we just give it to you straight. Come here for accurate, understandable explanations of important information technologies for libraries. Go elsewhere for the hype.
There is a great listing of contributors. I know, or know of, most of them and can say that they are able to discuss technology in simple terms. They've already tackled topics like: [from Web4Lib]

Monday, April 10, 2006

Code for a Cause

Adam Wright of the North Texas Regional Library System has created a place for non-profits and web/software developers to get together -- Code for a Cause. As he mentions in his introductory email message:
It gives non profits a chance to post projects requiring software and web developers. I think it would be a great place for libraries to post their projects.
Another great idea from Adam!

Library Track of the HigherEd BlogCon

HigherEd BlogCon is " . . . a fully web-based event focused on how new online communications technologies and social tools are changing Higher Education." The Library and Information Resources track starts today, runs through Friday the 14th, and is available for you to subscribe and/or read.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Best Practices for RFID in Libraries

The National Information Standards Organization (NISO) has created a committee that will create guidelines for the use of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) within libraries. This document will feed into an international process, identifying US needs for the RFID tag. [from PACS-L]

Monday, April 03, 2006

Wiki for System Administrators

Splunk Base (from "spelunking") is a wiki designed for IT professionals to post problems and solutions found when managing their data centers. It allows tagging so that others can find this information quickly. Although it just became available Monday, April 3rd, there are hundreds of posts already. [from CNET.com]

iPods Have Sound Limit

Apple has released Software Update 1.1.1. One of the important features of this update is the ability to set the maximum volume of an iPod. Knowing how many times, I take the headphones from one of my sons to check the volume myself, I think this is great. It doesn't work for all iPods , however -- only 5th generation iPods and Nanos. Still -- better than before. [from PCMag.com]

IE and ActiveX

Internet Explorer uses ActiveX controls to share information among applications -- even applications that are not from Microsoft. This allows other software developers to use parts of the Windows operating system and share other pieces in order to make a more interactive web experience. Because of the Eolas case, Microsoft is changing the way they initiative ActiveX controls. An IE patch (which is currently not labeled as "critical") changes the behavior of IE. If a web site that uses ActiveX controls has not been re-written to accommodate these changes, the user will be asked to agree to run each control before it loads. [from eWeek]

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Marketing with Metadata

The Pilot Engineering Repository Xsearch (PerX) project deals with subject resource discovery. One of its documents deals with using metadata to provide access to your digital collections -- Marketing with Metadata - How Metadata Can Increase Exposure and Visibility of Online Content. The audience for this document is a non-technical one. It deals with:
  • Benefits
  • Definition
  • Harvesting -- OAI
  • Distributed searching -- Z39.50, SRU/SRW
  • Syndication -- RSS
Looks like a very good summary.

New Ways to Think of "Inputting"

We're all so tied to our computers and cell phones that we really don't think much about how we provide input for these devices. Generally, we use a keyboard or a pointing device. Aaron Schmidt of Walking Paper has pulled together a list of some touch input devices that are in the research stage. All of them work with touch, although in different ways. Each has a short video that helps explain how they work right now. It seems that each is working toward integrating them into our environments -- instead of carrying computers with us, they would be available in various forms wherever we are. What is fascinating to me is thinking about how we might use these types of devices in our day-to-day work with computers.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Office 2007 Video

Microsoft has posted a video for Office 2007. The most helpful part of this video is that it shows you how you will be working in Office -- how commands and functions work while you are in documents. If you are interested in what it will look like or the changes that will be coming, I definitely recommend it. [from SIGIA-l]

Store 'n' Go Pocket Hard Drives

Verbatim has a line of portable hard drives -- Store 'n' Go - that are larger than a flash drive, but smaller than other portable drives. It's less than 3 inches square, has a USB connector, is less than 3 ounces, and can hold up to 8 gigabytes of information. With the current versions, Windows users can install and use software off the drive. Costs range from around $100 for the 4gb version to $200 for the 8gb. For those of us that travel, this could be very helpful. You would need to be in a place that already had a computer for you -- or at least a USB port. Plugging into the USB port would give you many/most of your home files. There is a limited set of software you can actually install on the drive -- would be more helpful if I could install, say, PowerPoint. Then I could come into a conference, use the existing computer, plug my drive in and everything would be exactly as I had created it. As it is, I could bring my files and rely on the computer's software. It has possibilities . . . [from New York Times]

Feed Auto-Discovery

I have often wondered why some web pages with RSS feeds did not trigger the auto-discovery tool in Firefox, but hadn't gotten around to figuring out why. Pete Freitag explains how enable auto-discovery by adding a single HTML tag to your web pages. For those of you who know HTML, add a link tag in the head that identifies the feed. E.g.,
<link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS Feed for petefreitag.com" href="/rss/" />
You would, of course, change the title and href to reflect your feed. If using Atom, change the type to "application/atom+xml." [from blogwithoutalibrary]

Monday, March 27, 2006

Creative Commons License in Court

Not in a US court, but one in the Netherlands. The Creative Commons license, used by many to provide flexibility in how material can (or cannot) be used, has never been legally tested. In this case, Adam Curry posted pictures of his daughter on Flickr and a magazine used them. Curry's photos were covered by a specific CC license, but the magazine said that wasn't made clear. The magazine lost. It will be interesting to see if this case holds any sway in the United States. [from CNET News.com]

TRGCC Blog

The Texas Regional Group of Catalogers and Classifiers of the Texas Library Association has a blog! In addition to a web site! It looks like the current chair, Cynthia Ward Cooper, maintains the blog, although many can post. It is a paid Live Journal account, which I'm assuming means that TRGCC is paying for it out of their budget. I know that other TLA units have been looking into having blogs, wikis, and RSS feeds, but have been trying to go through TLA to get this done. This looks like a quick, efficient, inexpensive way to do it. I hope the members post so that is becomes active! [from Catalogablog]

IE 7 Bug Database

Microsoft has never before provided a bug database for its browser, Internet Explorer. It is common practice with other browsers for users to be able to comment on problems and fixes. With Internet Explorer version 7, Microsoft will have such a public database -- Microsoft Connect. Comments on earlier versions will not be accepted. [from CNET News.com]

Microsoft Delays

Vista, Microsoft's new operating system, has been delayed until January 2007. Originally, PC makers thought they would be able to sell systems for the holiday season with the new operating system. Office 2007 has also been delayed until January 2007. [from CNET News.com] [from CNET News.com]

Concepts of RFID

ExtremeTech has a good, brief article on RFID. It is an excerpt from the book RFID Toys, but gives an overview of how it works and provides a table that includes various frequencies, uses, advantages and disadvantages, and range. A little on the technical side, but solid.

RSS Feeds for Houston Genealogical Society

The Houston Genealogical Society now has RSS feeds for:
  • Press releases
  • Articles
  • Calendar events
  • Job listings
  • Resume listings
[from RSS Compendium]

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Firefox 2.0 Alpha 1 Released

Update: CNET has posted a brief video (just over one minute), which shows you Places, the RSS feeds, and the placement changes for History. ****************** Version 2.0 of Firefox promises to have many changes -- including the interface. The first alpha release is out, but unless you are a real beta tester, I wouldn't download it. It is not a stable release; wait for August for that. Although this release is not yet complete, some of the changes so far include:
  • Updated/new extension manager, including a function that will block bad extensions from running
  • Updated RSS detection and feed reading
  • New bookmarks/history function called "places;" easier to bookmark
  • Updated look -- colors and icons
[from internetnews.com]

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Single Sign-on for Meebo

If you've been following Meebo (a web-based instant messenger program that can work with multiple IM services), they've now added a single sign-on. Before, you would go to the Meebo site and log into each IM service separately. Now, you can create a sign-on for Meebo, which will automatically connect to all the IM services at once. Great work! [from LibrarianInBlack]

Digital Rights Management: A Primer for Librarians

Michael Godwin has written an excellent overview of digital rights management for ALA's Office for Information Technology Policy. If you aren't sure what DRM is or want to know what the issues are, this is a great beginning. Godwin begins by laying the groundwork for copyright law, printing, and copying. From there, he discusses the DRM technology and its issues. [from LibrarianInBlack]

Technology Training in Other Languages

Microsoft Unlimited Potential provides technology training materials that can be used in a face-to-face setting or as part of a self-paced learning program. The different modules cover:
  • Computer fundamentals
  • Using the Internet and World Wide Web
  • Digital Media Fundamentals
  • Word processing fundamentals
  • Spreadsheet fundamentals
  • Presentation fundamentals
  • Web design fundamentals
  • Database fundamentals
The course materials are available in:
  • English
  • Arabic
  • French
  • German
  • Russian
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Spanish
  • Thai
  • Vietnamese
  • Traditional Chinese
  • Bahasa Malaysia
[from LibrarianInBlack]

Provide Clusty Site Search

Vivisimo is providing their Clusty Site Search at no charge for organizations that have domains that end with .edu, .org, .net and school districts whose domain includes "k12" and ends in .us. This search clusters results, giving you a list of topic areas instead just a list of links. If you haven't yet seen this type of search engine, take a few minutes to play with it. [from ResourceShelf]

Viruses in RFID

Until now, most experts have not thought that RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) could include software viruses because of its small amount of memory. At the Pervasive Computing and Communications Conference, however, researchers explained how this could happen. The article in the New York Times goes on to explain that a virus within an RFID tag could infect the control system and then infect other RFID tags. Another scenario includes changing the information on an RFID tag.

Leetspeak

Microsoft's Security At Home has a good article on "leetspeak." This is the language used when typists replace letters with other characters or numbers that either look or sound similar to the original. For example:
  • kewl -- cool
  • d00d -- dude
  • roxx0rs -- rocks
The article includes some key points for interpreting leetspeak. [from Security At Home]

Beaumont Newspaper Feeds

The Examiner Online from Beaumont, Texas now has RSS feeds for:
  • Announcements
  • FAQs
  • Events calendar
  • Job listings
  • Columns & newsletters
  • News
  • Letters to the editor
  • Coupons & bargains
  • Resume listings
[from RSS Compendium]

Outdoor Wireless Mesh Project in Austin

The city of Austin will have a wireless network that covers parts of downtown, East Austin, and Zilker Park by this summer. The impetus is the coming of the World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) in May. Cisco will be donating wireless equipment so that WCIT attendees will have access. After, the city and Austin Energy will continue to build and maintain the network. [from Austin-American Statesman]

Monday, March 20, 2006

Tales from the Public Domain

The Duke Center for the Study of the Public Domain has put out a comic book-style story on the public domain called Tales from the Public Domain: Bound by Law? It seems to be very well done. I'm definitely not an expert on copyright, but the characters make good points -- most of them backed up by legislation and court cases. Very good read. [from Walt at Random]

Submitting Articles for Google News

Update: An even more interesting follow-up from Wiggins concerning Will Ferrell, Google Research, and CNN. ********************** Richard Wiggins has a very interesting post on his blog -- Wigblog. Apparently, you can create a story with an Internet-based "PR agency." Google News will see and post that article to Google News. Read his post to see how easy it is and how we should definitely be wary of news articles.

802.11n

The first draft of another wireless standard was approved earlier this month. The 802.11n standard is specifically for wireless local area networks with a theoretical speed that should reach 540 megabits per second. The next step in the standards process is balloting, in which issues are raised and, hopefully, dealt with. If there are no major problems, we could see a standard in late summer. According to vendor sources, you should start to see 802.11n products by mid-year. If you decide to purchase before the standard is set, be sure the product is upgradeable to the standard. [from WNN Wi-Fi Net News]

Microsoft's Origami

Microsoft has just unveiled a new computer -- 2.5 pounds with a 7-inch touch screen. Called the Ultra-Mobile PC (UMPC), it is focused for now for those that travel -- from city to city or room to room. Although announced by Microsoft, the two UMPCs are made by Samsung and Asus. Functionality:
  • WiFi access
  • Connects to a Bluetooth-enabled phone
  • Full versions of Office software
  • Optional GPS/mapping software
  • Synchronize with another/primary PC
  • Windows XP Tablet software
Looking at the hardware, you can see many connections, but since there are no hardware specifications yet, it is difficult to tell exactly how this could be used. Thanks for the heads up, Chris! [from Yahoo! News]

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Netscape 8.1

Netscape version 8.1 is now available. This version now includes, among other items:
  • Anti-spyware protection
  • Security enhancements
  • Enhanced RSS support

Firefox 1.5.0.1

Firefox version 1.5.0.1 is now available. This update includes security fixes and enhancements. Everyone should upgrade.

Houston Chronicle Tops List of Best Newspaper Blogs

An undergraduate journalism class at New York University looked at the 100 largest newspapers and determined those with the best blogs. The Houston Chronicle won first place easily; the San Antonio Express-News came in sixth. The class looked at:
  • Ease-of-use and clear navigation
  • Currency
  • Quality of writing, thinking and linking
  • Voice
  • Comments and reader participation
  • Range and originality
  • Explain what blogging is on your blogs page
  • Show commitment
Two of the top six are from Texas -- not too bad!

Preview of Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2

The second beta version of Internet Explorer 7 came out last month. It is available for download, however, Microsoft states that this release is specifically for developers and information technology professionals -- not you and me. However, if you still want to download it, you can. Just be aware that it will upgrade your instance of Internet Explorer -- the two versions cannot co-exist. However, you can uninstall it to go back to your original version. If you'll be waiting -- like me -- he O'Reilly Windows DevCenter has published a preview with screenshots. It's not long, but well worth your time to see some of the changes that will be coming.

Security and the Cell Phone Gadget

The New York Times has an article concerning security and wireless/Wi-Fi gadgets. More and more workers are purchasing their own personal gadgets (that can include cell phone/email/contact list/calendar/to-do list/documents). Although the expense is usually on the employee's side, it can cause security issues. The article mentions that many of these gadgets are left or misplaced. For example, 85,000 cell phones and 21,000 hand-held computers were left in Chicago taxis in a single month. This can cause security issues with the data on the gadgets. One company, Seitlin, has started purchasing these gadgets for their employees, but has also put in place security:
  • They purchased the same gadget for everyone.
  • The company decided what information could be stored on the gadget.
  • They can be remotely monitored and locked.
  • Private information is not loaded onto the gadget, but available via a company web site.
  • Information on the gadgets can be wiped remotely (if lost).
  • Data is stored on a removable memory card; if removed, it is wiped.
  • Email messages are automatically sent, not manually downloaded.
  • Rebuilding software onto a new Treo can be done remotely within a few minutes.
  • Logs are created for all transactions.
By purchasing the gadgets, the company can create policies concerning their use -- which can minimize security issues. [from New York Times]

Blackberry Case Settled

Both RIM and NTP have now settled the case concerning the BlackBerry. RIM will pay NTP $612.5 million one time with no residuals. In return NTP will give RIM a license for all current and future wireless email NTP patents. [from eWeek]

Friday, February 17, 2006

Best Browser For You

PC Mag.com has an article compiling their reviews on the current versions of the major browsers. Most (if not all) of these articles were written when the latest release became public, so, for example, the article for Internet Explorer 6.0 was written in 2002. The reviews include:

Monday, February 13, 2006

Hard Drive Recovery

PC Magazine has a great article on a data recovery firm -- Ontrack Data Recovery -- and how they recovered data from a hard drive that was willfully cooked in a campfire. They recovered 100% of the data. Other (non-cooked) damaged drives, however, that were sent to the firm in a regular manila envelope (no padding) left them little chance. No data was recovered on one and only 26% on the other. If mailed properly, I'm guessing those percentages would have been higher.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Technology Grant News

Four times a year, Technology Grant News send grant opportunities for colleges and universities, K-12 schools, non-profits, libraries and museums, and towns and cities. From their website:
Technology Grant News provides, accurate, one-stop information on technology grants, free technology resources, technology partnerships, strategic alliances and technology advancement for your organization.
Subscription information is available.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Virus' 20th Anniversary

Twenty years ago this month, the first PC virus hit. Called Brain.A, it was a boot sector virus that did little harm. Although it was just the beginning of many other viruses and worms, Brain.A itself is now extinct. [from CNET.com] [from F-Secure]

More Wireless: 802.11n

Although not yet a standard, IEEE approved the first draft of 802.11n . This standard will:
. . . allow notebook users to connect to wireless access points at much faster speeds than currently available with 802.11g technology. It will use a technology called MIMO (multiple-in, multiple-out), which allows the chips to use multiple antennas that can each handle more than one data signal at a time. This is expected to improve the range and throughput of 802.11n products to the point where they should be able to send video content around a house without interrupted playback. Products with 802.11n chips will be able to work with older 802.11a/b/g products at their slower speeds.
The final standard should be available in about a year, with products following that. [from CNET.com] [from CNET.com]

Digital Rights Management: A Guide for Librarians

ALA's Office of Information Technology Policy has prepared a policy brief on Digital Rights Management. This is an extensive review of DRM and copyright and fair use. Good article to use as a foundation. [from LJ Tech Blog]

Buying Domains for Babies

According to the New York Times, a new trend is for parents (and parents-to-be) to purchase domains and email addresses for their babies (or fetuses). Some want to use it as a virtual baby book, with friends and relatives leaving messages and parents posting pictures and videos. Others are purchasing them for the future. Instead of having a Hotmail or AOL email address, they will have their own domain name. [from CNET.com]

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

New Mission Statement for Dublin Core

The Dublin Core Metadata Initiative now has a new mission statement. From the web site:
Originally, the main focus of attention of DCMI was the development of standards based on the initial vision of providing a basic approach to discovery of Web resources. In recent years, the attention has turned towards meeting the practical needs of organizations developing and deploying metadata solutions to provide services and products to their clients and customers.
The organization is moving from a focus on resource discovery to resource description. [from ResourceShelf]

Polaris Incorporates RSS

The current version of Polaris (3.2) now incorporates RSS feeds from the catalog. Feeds can check new and on order materials. [from Library Technology NOW]

RSS in Outlook/IE

Microsoft is working on integrating RSS feeds into Outlook. Some screenshots are available. Internet Explorer 7 and Windows have also adopted the Firefox RSS icon: to represent RSS "with the full support of the Mozilla team." [from beSpacific]

Windows XP Service Pack 3

Microsoft has noted that Service Pack 3 for Windows XP Professional (and Home Edition) is preliminarily planned for the second half of 2007. Service Pack 2 came out on August 9th of 2004. Service Pack 2 for Windows Server 2003 is preliminarily planned for the second half of 2006. [from ExtremeTech]

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

How Do You Say "GIF?"

There's a great web page on whether GIF is pronounced "ghif" or "jif." The GIF Pronunciation Page has lots of good background information that supports their position. Which is correct? Check the page! ;-) [from CNET.com]

Book: Primer on Computer Technologies for the Low-Tech Librarian

I haven't seen a copy yet, but the title and the authors make this title worth a look -- "Technology for the Rest of Us: A Primer on Computer Technologies for the Low-Tech Librarian" by Nancy Courtney. The sections and authors include:
  • Computer networks by Robert Molyneux
  • Wireless LANs by Wilfred Drew
  • Cybertheft, network security and the library without walls by Mark Cain
  • OpenURL basics by Walt Crawford
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) by Eric H Schnell
  • Blogs & RSS by Darlene Fichter and H Frank Cervone
  • Introduction to XML by Art Rhyno
  • Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting by Sarah L Shreeves
  • Institutional repositories by Charly Bauer
  • Adaptive technologies by Jerry Hensley
  • Let's get digital by Samantha K Hastings and Elise C Lewis
Good array of current technology topics that are currently in use in libraries and that are still being developed. [from LibrarianInBlack]

First Impressions

According to an article in Nature, web users form an initial impression of your web site within 500 milliseconds. These quick decisions correlate closely to the decisions made after longer study of a web site. Moral of the story -- make sure your web site is visually appealing. [from LJ Tech Blog]

Google Pack

Google continues to change how we view them. If you think you have them categorized, just wait and they'll release something that doesn't fit. This is one that "doesn't fit" -- which means I have to re-categorize them . . . again. Google Pack is a collection of software you can install at all once. Google Updater is part of the package and will help you keep the software up-to-date. The collection includes: During installation, you can decide which of these packages to install and which to skip. Except for Norton, all of this software is available at no cost. You can download and install it yourself. However, for some it might be nice to have a single installation process and also help in keeping it all up to date. [from Google Blog]

Google Talk Works with Other Clients

The Google Talk service now allows you to use clients other than its native Google Talk client. The Google Talk service is based on the XMPP protocol. Any client using the same protocol can be used with the Google Talk service. The list of clients includes GAIM, iChat, and Trillian Pro (as well as others). [from Google Blog]

Instant Messaging Quiz

Microsoft has a short quiz on instant messaging safety -- only 7 questions. Well worth your time. [from Recent Security at Home Information]

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Corpus Christi and Intel's Digital Communities Initiative

Intel's program, Digital Communities Initiative, "is helping progressive cities, regions, and communities worldwide enhance quality of life for their citizens with advanced government services based on broadband connectivity." Corpus Christi is one of three cities used as models. Corpus Christi will initially install an 18.5 square mile mesh network. City vehicles will be tracked via the network, police cars have the ability to monitor and control real-time streaming video, building inspection data can be updated while in the field, and utility meters can be read via Wi-Fi devices without going to the locations. [from Save Muni Wireless]

AIM Presence Information on Your Web Site

One of the frustrating things about providing instant messaging service through your library is that it is difficult to determine whether the library is "online" or "away." Within these services, you can provide an away message that lets others know whether your offline or will be back soon. Chris DeWeese has provided an easy way to provide AIM presence information on your web site. This lets patrons know whether you're online or offline. It's an easy change to the HTML -- definintely something to look into! [from The Shifted Librarian]

NCSU's New Look

Update: Andrew Pace, Head of Systems at NCSU, has posted information on their implementation of Endeca. ******************************** The North Carolina State University Libraries has given all of us something more to think about. They've taken a traditional online catalog interface -- in this case, SIRSI -- used Endeca on top of it and came up with an interface that includes many functions that we see across the Internet. A press release is available, as is a quick guide to the new features. [from Stephen's Lighthouse]

Wallet-Type USB

In a post by Stephen Abram, he discusses a USB drive that is more like a credit card than the stick-type drives you normally see. This one, produced by Walletex, will fit easily into your wallet. Although I use normal USB drives, I really like Wallet Flash because it will more easily fit into my life . . . and my purse. The drives cost between $28 and $280 and have between 64mb and 2gb of memory.

SANS Top 20 Internet Security Vulnerabilities

SANS has put out their 2005 version of the top 20 most critical Internet security vulnerabilities. From the web page:
Hence, the Top-20 2005 is a consensus list of vulnerabilities that require immediate remediation. It is the result of a process that brought together dozens of leading security experts. They come from the most security-conscious government agencies in the UK, US, and Singapore; the leading security software vendors and consulting firms; the top university-based security programs; many other user organizations; and the SANS Institute.
For the first time, they have includes categories for Cross-Platform Applications and Networking Products. Categories include: Windows Systems:
  • Windows services
  • Internet Explorer
  • Windows libraries
  • Microsoft Office and Outlook Express
  • Windows configuration weaknesses
Cross-Platform Applications:
  • Backup software
  • Anti-virus software
  • PHP-based applications
  • Database software
  • File sharing applications
  • DNS software
  • Media players
  • Instant messaging applications
  • Mozilla and Firefox browsers
  • Other cross-platform applications
UNIX Systems:
  • UNIX configuration weaknesses
  • Mac OS X
Networking Products
  • Cisco IOS and non-ISO products
  • Juniper, CheckPoint and Symantec products
  • Cisco devices configuration weaknesses
If you have not updated your systems in over a year, they suggest looking at their 2004 list and remedying those issues before starting on this 2005 list. [from beSpecific]

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Internet Explorer for Mac Support Ends

Microsoft has officially ended support for the Macintosh version of Internet Explorer. If you will be looking for another browser, I've seen recommendations for Apple's Safari browser. [from Cafe con Leche News]

Firefox - Rediscover the Web

If you didn't see the announcement, Firefox has a new version -- version 1.5. It includes many of the most popular extensions. If you are a Firefox user, this is definitely worth your time. [from Firefox]