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.