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.