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.