Saturday, November 15, 2008

Ha, Ha

I troll around on a site called Yahooray, It's a classic aggro, topic obessed sausagefest, but occasionally I find good info about printing and such, anyway, it has the obligatory LOL post and here are a few of my favorites.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

c'mon, c'mon

It's been a while. How ya been? Me? Well, yesterday I went back to the ancestral family home town and celebrated my granny's 100th birthday. It was good to see cousins and 2nd cousins and twiced removed and what have you. I spent the afternoon hopping between the grown-up children's room and the adult room. The first room carried on a lively discussion about smart phones, IT, motion graphics and internet porn. The adults chatted about absent family members and weather and vacations and such.

As the day wound down, I went in to tell my grandmother how wonderful it was to see her looking so fine and staying so strong. She told me that she couldn't believe so many people remembered her. Then she told me that she'd seen technology changing so quickly that she can't follow it, then she looked a little sad. I told her not to feel too bad, and that I get confused all the time.

That brings me to aging and technology. As I sat with a table of friends later that evening, I wondered aloud what was in store for us. My grandmother suffers greatly from the aging process. She is nearly blind and almost completely deaf. Her bones are weak and she is wheelchair bound. Will medical technology advance far enough to spare us that fate? Would an implant, chip or wearable electronic device change our lives? Does exist now in a way that can enhance my grandmother's life with out being too intrusive or intimidating?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Thursday, May 1, 2008


Yes. I am now done with my paper. That was Hard. I received my degree in OIL-painting fercryinoutloud. Shout to Chicken for the formatting info.

Now I'm engaging in my post project ritual of blasting music, drinking coffee and tidying up my virtual and real life desktop.

2 weeks til summer session starts...what have I done?

Monday, April 28, 2008

We now return to our regularly scheduled programming

So, the last few months my blog has been dedicated to the Slis 544 class I was attending. 12 entries dedicated to the details of class life and minutia. But, All I have to do is write a 6 page paper and I'll be done. Then my blog returns to the details and minutia attending my JOB. Perhaps some Personal lite stuff. I hate boring people with the details of my life. Srsly, all I did last weekend was clean my sty of an apartment. Someone broke into my garage and stole my radial arm saw, just tore it off the bench, good luck pawning that cheap, now broken thing. Idiots, they deserve the lives they wind up with.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Retrospect Part I (slis544#12)

The project I've been working on for my first ever class in the bid for a Master's of Library Science is nearly complete. It's been a learning experience. And that's what I paid for. Building a wiki was a multi-stage process that was fraught with the kind of unknown quantities that drive me absolutely nuts. Even so, there was always a little core deep inside that told me not to worry too hard. I would catch myself tossing and turning, compulsing about some detail or element that needed attention, and I'd have to say to myself "Stop it! Put that DOWN!" much in the way that you would to a toddler that has something in his/her mouth. I have a very active inner child. I have to discipline it sometimes. Last week I caught it stealing money from my purse.

Making the training videos was a challenge but I learned so much about how to stream line the process of editing. I used iShowU and was tweaking the capture settings through the whole process. What I settled on was recording on a high setting and adjusting the point of interest for each step rather than re recording a separate close up. I'm loving Final Cut Pro. This project finally prompted me to add more RAM to my home computer because video is a tall order. So, there you have it. More Retrospect to follow...

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Usability Testing (s544 #11)

Here I sit, In the Allen County Public Library's Public Computing Center...On a Sunday. This is not an easy gig. Sundays are notoriously rough. I understand why. If you spend you week working and don't have a computer, sometimes a Sunday is the only time open for computing. This center is open from 12 to 5 pm during the school year. It is always packed on Sundays, with a 25 to 60 minute wait. Tempers flare towards the end of the day amongst late arriving patrons who can't reserve a computer because they are all booked until closing. This makes for drama because these patrons are :
1. Pissed off at you because you are sitting at the desk in the computer center that is full.
2. In a last minute panic.
3. Upset because they see kids playing games on the computers they so desperately need.

This puts staff in a bad place.
1. You have to absorb the anger that is directed at you without taking it personally. You are not intentionally denying them access to a computer. The number of workstations is limited and it is based on a first come, first served basis and library staff do not make any kind of value judgments about what patrons do with their system-alloted 1 hour of computer time.

The pace picks up, I'm up and down the aisles, helping people access their government assistance accounts. I help a middle aged man and then a teen boy set up an Email account. I inform residents of Allen County who wish to use library computers that they are required to have library cards. The time goes quickly most of the time. It grinds to a halt when the room is full and there are six people standing in line, each needing personal attention. Or when a small child starts to cry hysterically. Or when there is a special needs patron who requires all of my attention. Or I look at the clock and calculate that I will be here another 4 hours.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

CML and Helene Blowers (s544 #10)

I recently made a trip to Columbus, Ohio to visit with Helene Blowers.(I'm the ham with the cheesy smile on the left, she's the one humoring me on the right.) The manager of the ACPL's IT department (Sean Robinson) really respects Helene and her philosophies regarding a library's relationship with its community and the form that relationship takes. We were given a tour of the CML's opperations Center and had a chance to chat with her team of smart, talented library professionals. Sean interviewed Helene for a podcast and I was struck by several points she made.

But first, a little backstory. Helene is Director of Digital Strategy for the Columbus Metropolitan Library. She is the creator of Learning 2.0 which is series of self propeled learning modules based loosely around free web-based social networking tools like Flickr, Google, Delicious etc.

The beautiful thing about Helene's strategy is that the benefit is way bigger than the sum of its parts. Getting library employees to label themselves life long learners creates a tech friendly state of mind that is much more important than being able to post pictures on the internet for the world to see. These small steps gang together to make technology less scary or silly to a population that might be reluctant to align themselves with something called "Druple" or "Twitter", but might be less threatened by the surge of technology they will be expected to be familiar with. Anyway I had a lovely time in Columbus and you can see pictures of my visit here.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Library 2.0 (s544#9)

The T-shirt I designed as a gift to all participants of ACPL's Library Genius 2.0 program has turned up in the current issue of ALA's American Libraries. I love spontaneous product placement. This brings me to today's topic. In class we are starting to explore 2.0. I finally feel like we a covering territory that is familiar to me. It is so exciting to check the syllabus and see topics that are near and dear to my heart.
Podcasting? Love'em! I just listened to one today about on of my favorite cartoonists, Drew Friedman
Screencast? No Problem! I do them all the time using an great Mac only piece of software called iShowYou.
My laptop has a built in camera and mic and I can use my still camera to make short movies too. Soon the syllabus will return to uncharted territory for me, but I'll enjoy it while it lasts.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Take Me To Your Portal (s544#8)

In the readings for this week, it was stated that the patrons who interface with their libraries through the internet are expecting to customize their experience more and more. Similar to the practice of "Pimping" your myspace or facebook page, personalizing an online experience is becoming de riguer these days. My question is, does it enhance the patron's interaction or is just a way to build "Brand Loyalty" to a library.

If both are true, who loses? The more you can get people to identify with an institution, the more they will support and protect it when times get tough. If the changes made by a patron to her page make it functionally easier for her to do tasks such as renewal, holds and fine payment, great! But does it encourage association? MyACPL, for example would allow people to receive direct RSS feeds from the library's calendaring software that have been screened to reflect that person's interests. "Cooking with Librarian Louise" would show up in a section set aside for upcoming events of interest. The site would recognize returning users and greet them by name, pop ups would announce when holds have arrived. Creepy or seamless? you decide.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Exercise is Torture (s544#7)

The phrase "Exercise in tedium" is redundant. I hate exercising. I've done it 3-4 times a week for the last million years and everytime it sucks. Every day I have the same conversation with myself that involves whining and cajoling and bribes. Luckily I have learned to distract my inner 3 year old with pretty, colorful magazines and an ipod shuffle. I prefer to use the elipsoidal because I don't have to use a second of brain power to pay attention to where I am going or what I am doing. Even still, I find that as the end of the preprogrammed routine gets closer, the more I have to bargin with myself, "Micro-goaling" is what the experts call it. The dialog goes like this:
Me: "Bah! This is boring, let's go eat cookies"
Me: "Come on, you're at 27:00, let's go to 28:00, then if you want to stop we will.
Me: "Does it really matter if we quit 3 minutes early?"
Me "Yes, remember that quitters wind up miserable and alone, penniless and unloved by all."
Me: "Geez, ok, we are at 28:30 now can we quit?"
Me: "Look, just another half song and we will be done, and riteous because we reached our goal."
Me: "You are seriously no fun."
Anyway, tangent aside, I feel like working on a widely scoped project needs to be micro-goaled. If I look at a project like the Wiki as a whole, I start to freak out and demand cookies. If I break it down to pieces and trust my team mates implicitly, I spend less time trying to fit my brain around the task and more time being creative.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Wiki Wackiness (S544 #6)

Sorry, sorry, I couldn't resist the silly name. This week I ran into a little bit of a roadblock on my Web 2.0 journey and here we get to the crux of the issue. I want to customize my test wiki site and it's kind of a pain in the butt. I spent a good long time trying to remove the grid lines from my table. The CSS for wiki pages is weird because it's all prefaced with wikithis and wikithat. Plus, space is usually divided up with DIVs in CSS and not tables. I wish I could just design up a section to go into the wiki shell and dump it in. and this is what you find with the warm fuzzy 2.0 applications. It's easy for anyone to start, but once you know a little bit, you can quickly run into limitations and start to resent them. I know you can customize, but each site is different, over at MysSpace you can use html to hack your profile by planting it all in the "About Me" window. Anyway, It's back to the drawing board for me, I'll bet I'm not the only one who is experiencing these problems in my class.

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Death of 2.0 (s544 #5)

Sean Robinson and I made a podcast about Sean's opinion that "2.0 stuff well that’s dead also. The .com bubble burst so will the 2.0 bubble. Sorry I really liked this trend but it’s gone. This is fashion not technology." The rest of the list is here.

I tend to side with Steve Rubel on this issue, he says "Web 2.0 is definitely here to stay. The tools overall empower people to do what they have been for thousands of years and that's express themselves."

I see Web 2.0 as a revolution. Not in the vein of the Gutenberg Press, more along the lines of what happened when artists in Medieval Europe stopped using tempera paint and started using oils. If you were a painter in the Middle Ages, you used a very difficult to work with medium called egg tempera. The egg acted as a binding agent to the pigments. This sucked. The stuff went bad over night, it had to mixed up in little batches and pigment was so expensive and hard to get during this time that if an artist mixed up too much, it was a waste.

Then, in the Netherlands at the beginning of the Renaissance, the practice of mixing pigments with slow drying oils such as linseed became popular. This changed everything. Artists could mix up large amounts of the stuff. Trade routes opened and pigments became cheaper and more easily attained. The physical process of painting became easier. People didn't have to know arcane paint recipes, they could just buy it and do it. Artists didn't have to understand every single stinking step in the manufacture and application of snooty egg tempera. This change in medium and its ease of distribution leveled the playing field, allowing people with a vision to create without having the limitations of the medium tripping them up.

I see a correlation between egg tempera and the difficult process of building and maintaining a web presence the old way, i.e. owning or buying server space, hosting your own video and pictures, writing your own html code, actively collecting and organizing all your contacts. I see oils as being the easy to use 2.0 applications that move the power of communication out of the hands of the few and into the realm of the many.

Friday, February 8, 2008

s544 #4

I was grabbing a quick dinner at Henry's last night when an acquaintance walked up to my booth and set a cd of his latest poetic work down on my table. He retreated quickly, saying as he walked away,"This is some of my latest stuff." I don't know the guy very well, but our paths cross occasionally and I was intrigued. The whole interaction was interesting to me, talk about peer to peer file sharing. It couldn't have been more direct unless he sat down and recited the poems into my ear as I sat chewing away at my salad.

While I respect the guerrilla marketing technique of handing your work to someone in person, I was less impressed by the packaging. Sharpie on a CD-r in a plastic sleeve. This gets to the core of my posting today. You have to be able to effectively market your service/idea/vision/work. I think there is a resistance to hustling in my life, my library department and my library. It seems, er, unseemly to worry about gussying up your pure information so that people will want it. They should want it based on its academic merits. I know, I get it, I feel the same way, but not all advertising is evil. Making someone feel fat or unattractive so they buy something symbolic yet useless is an abuse of power. Persuading someone to use your service to increase their access to life enhancing information is almost a mandate.

But back to the poet. As I sat there looking at his offering, turning it over in my hands and my mind, I felt compelled to help him. Perhaps use my computer and my printing press to whip up some unbelievably compulsively over-designed CD case/objet d'art. Would that be offensive to him? Or would it be as inspiring to him as it had been to me?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

s544: Everything I Know, I Learned from a Coffee Grinder

It all started with a bag of coffee. In an effort to cut costs and economize now that I'm a "Returning Student", I thought it wise to start cutting back on my coffee expenditures. These new austerity measures included buying the basic components of coffee and assembling them in the privacy of my own home. I inadvertently bought whole beans instead of pre-chewed and realized I was going to have to grind them up before I could extract the caffeinated goodness. It struck me that for Christmas I'd received some small device that had blades and a motor and had a chopping/grinding shape. I dug it out of a closet and set to assembling it. That was tough because like most red blooded Americans, I'd thrown the manual away at some point, thinking "It's a chopper, how hard?" How hard, indeed.

I 'd filled it with beans and struggled with the locking mechanism for a good twenty minutes before it started to sink in that I might be in over my head. Then through some one-million-typing-monkeys style stoke of fortune I managed to get it locked. "Hot Damn!" I yelled, a bit prematurely in that I'd forgotten to engage the blade apparatus. Flash forward twenty additional minutes to a really vile and disgusting cup of coffee. I sat at my table ignoring the now cold cup of turpentine/rat poison flavored liquid. As I looked at the grinder it dawned on me. It was a food processor, not a coffee grinder. I could grind away forever on the thing and it would still not make the bits small enough to make good coffee. I was using the wrong technology. Like when patrons come in and use Microsoft Paint to make a brochure when we have Microsoft Publisher. They can work on it for hours and it will still look awful. My protestant work ethic tells me that if I work hard enough on something it will be good. But that is not the case when I'm using the wrong tools. The challenge is to get the right technology into the hands that need them as seamlessly as possible.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Blog#2 for S554

I had a small moment of introspection this evening in class. It came to me as we were defining ourselves into the technologically Brave or Timorous categories. I don't consider myself confident at all when it comes to new and strange situations and when it comes down to it, exposure to new technology is an new and strange situation. I feel anxious and I'm afraid I'll miss some important piece of information and then I'll have to ask a stupid question. I know, I know, "No such thing as a stupid question." Try being the only one in the room that glossed over some key element. I feel a mild panic rising when everyone else seems to know what's going on. At that point I can pretend that I'm in the know, but I'm just cheating myself.

This reminds me of when I went to the mother-ship in Seattle. The Seattle Public Library (splorg!) has got to be the most imposing piece of glass I've ever seen. Just finding the public computer area gave me hives, forget about trying to figure out what was the protocol for out-of-towners. It was only after I'd returned for another daily session that I was informed that outsiders got one half hour of sweet lady Internet before they were cut off forever, cast out to the streets to fend for themselves in distant, over priced "Internet Caf├ęs" that were dirty and anxiety inducing in their own over-caffeinated way. Had I known, I wouldn't have squandered those precious minutes sending off Emails to friends and relatives back home. I'd have been filling out the online complaint form. I felt dumb when the man told me to go away, I felt like I'd done something wrong.

Michael Stephens Interview Done!

I've finished editing the 4th "Conversation" piece. I'm really liking how they are coming together as a collection. It was great to meet Michael Stephens and he had some very encouraging things to say about the future of librarianship. An all around nice guy/visionary.
Helen Bowers is visiting soon and hopefully Sean and I can get an interview with her next,

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Poster Idea

I was digging around and found this post from the Librarian in Black, sadly the post it references is broken. Anyway, I wish I could make a fun poster, or better yet, short video clip debunking some common library myths like, "Everyone who works in a library is a librarian." heh heh. Perhaps for library week.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Vimeo Review

Originally uploaded by Kay Graphic
I recently ran into a dilemma about a video clip I'd edited. The director had put a lot of work into making it look and sound great. When it came time to put the 19 minute piece up on the library's YouTube account, it looked and sounded terrible, all pixilated and tinny, bleh, plus it was a pain to compress it down below 100 megabytes. Don't get me wrong, YouTube is fine for shorts under 5 minutes because you don't have to worry about ultra compression. So, I thought I'd give Vimeo a try. A friend in the art scene had told me about it. He said that it was a cut above the YouTube scratchers and he was right. The site is well designed, the interface is clean and easy to use and there is a generous weekly limit of 500MG. It makes a Quicktime download of the clip available right there on the page, as a link, amazing! Gone is the clutter of ads that plagues YouTube's home pages. The page design is blog-like and sports an intuitive interface. Snappy drop downs keep the site looking spare but organized. What can I say? I'm a complete sucker for rounded corners. Any way, check it out for yourself.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Tecumseh is Done!

I had to put it up on Vimeo because it was too big and urmmm, it was over the time limit for YouTube. So, without further ado.

Computer Center Trend 2008

I'm just Idly surfing here in the CC, looking at all the new trends for 2008, here's a color trend projection from the folks at Pantone. Chicken or Egg? Do designers look at the color combos picked out by the Pantoneers and say to themselves, "My that's pretty, and it's in style too, I guess I'll use them"? Sometimes it is easier to look at a preselected set of color than to slog through a whole book.

I've taken to picking up those paint strips at Lowes where they suggest combos.