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" 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]


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]

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] [from CNET]

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

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.


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.


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 version 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]