Thursday, March 24, 2005


Anyone need/want an invite to get a Gmail account? I just got a bunch more. Let me know.

P.S. I'm looking for an Orkut invite. I know that's kinda like cheating, but I just want to take a peek.

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

ebooks on your phone

There's an AP an article about the new Japanese phenomenon of reading books on cell phones.

Random House just invested in mobile phone application developer, Vocel.


I did a little more surfing and found Mobipocket, providers of a free reader for smart phones and PDAs. They sell books as well.

Also, a few public libraries provide ebooks for the Mobipocket reader:
Cleveland Public library
Cuyahoga County Public Library
Essex County Council

Gadgets almost worth drooling over...

I've run across a lot of nifty toys the past few weeks on my search for a digital wallet (a portable hard drive with a built in display that I can store my digital photos on without the need to drag my laptop or a bunch of spare flash cards along on my trip to Europe this May). While not a digital wallet, one of the most promising new toys that I think has the potential to end up in our patrons hands over the next few months is The Gizmondo (It will certainly give Sony's new PSP a run for its money).

Features include a camera, music player, movie player, messaging, GPS (global positioning), and Bluetooth (wireless connectivity). The 400 Mhz processor as well as an Nvidia graphics chip and a high resolution TFT display translate into a hand held device worth playing games on. The coolest thing about the Gizmondo is its use of GPS.

..the technology blurs the line between physical and virtual for Gizmondo's debut title, Colors. In Colors, you and your friends can form gangs to wage war for control of the streets. However, because the game utilizes GPS technology, the virtual rumbles can take place on the streets of the very village, town or city in which you live. When you've kicked sufficient butt, you and your mates can go elsewhere to challenge Colors gangs in another part of town or even in an entirely different city.

Not only can Gizmondo make the most of existing location-based services like searching for the nearest ATM or McDonald's, if your friends own a Gizmondo you can find them too - perfect when you're at a festival or concert!

Very cool! Slap a hard drive and a cell phone in this baby and I'd be in love. I don't think it will be too long before the perfect device exists. One that has gaming, music, video, and storage as well as productivity software and a cell phone. Gizmondo isn't quite there yet but, I'm keeping my eye out for version 2.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Adware and Spyware and Malware...oh my!

We have a lot of problems with the wares at work. Adware/Spyware/Malware etc, quickly and easily make themselves at home on staff machines repeatedly, despite the presence of Norton Antivirus. Although I suppose I could spend hours trying to teach better surfing habits to the librarians, circ and tech processing staff I support, I find it easier to let them roam free and clean up the mess afterward.

In the past this cleanup effort meant rebooting in safe mode, running AdAware, hijackThis, and Spybot Search & Destroy (my preferred trio of tools. You don't need the links, just keep reading), then manually cleansing the regsitry to remove any bits and pieces these tools left behind. In order to determine what to look for in the registry a visit to Symantec's Security Response website and Trend Micro's virus info page were required as well. This whole process took anywhere from half an hour to half a day, depending on the extent of the infection.

Then came ...Microsoft's AntiSpyware. Still in the beta testing phase, this tool is not perfect, but it is a definite step in the right direction. I've been using it on both of my home computers as well as several computers at work since January and it's been great. One very nice thing about this program is that it offers real-time protection in the form of a small window near the clock alerting the user when a website attempts to install software, cookies, etc (you can turn this off if you like). So, if a user accidentally starts a download or install from a website, the antivirus tool will give them a second chance to say no. You can also run a scan of the computer without rebooting in safemode because it has the ability to kill processes on its own(A lot of viruses/adware/spyware remain active, running silently under other programs you are using. Older removal tools could not fully remove them unless you started up the computer in safemode which prevents most processes from starting up).

If you didn't understand a bit of that...Microsoft's new AntiSpyware tool is free* and better than most other free tools available. Get it, use it, love it. It's a good thing.

*Once the beta test is over Microsoft will launch a version with more bells and whistles that they will charge for. There will always be a free version available however (most likely to avoid lawsuits over shabby security of I.E. and Windows).



Can't sleep...

I figured out how to use my flickr account to send pictures from my camera phone directly to my blog. Look mom, I'm Moblogging!

Monday, March 21, 2005

Wish You Were Here...

I posted some pictures from D.C. taken during Computers in Libraries 2005. You can see them Here.

RFID tags and you

InCom, a California company, has developed a an RFID based attendence and tracking system to be used in schools. Badges with RFID chips are distributed to students who can then be tracked throughout a campus, wherever overhead readers are installed. The company is marketing it as an easy, error free, way for faculty to take attendance.

InCom piloted the system at Brittan Elementary School in California but had to remove it early due protests from parents and civil liberties groups.

I wonder how long it will be before libraries and other companies, who already have RFID systems installed, attach tags to I.D. cards as well.

TV Search cool is this?!

Blinkxtv allows you to search for video clips that have aired on various television channels. They use speech recognition software to create searchable transcripts.

It seems to be mostly news clips at the moment but the company is currently talking with broadcasters to add more content.

If you really dig it, they give you the code to add a search box to your website.

Sunday, March 20, 2005


Stephen Abram showed this flash movie (, a spoof/prediction of the power of Google, at his CIL Cybertour, Taking on Google: 7 Library Responses on Tuesday, March 17th.

The movie is definitely an interesting take on the Google phenomenon and, after seeing all the blogers at CIL last week as well as the buzz about personas, rss, and targeted content, probably isn't that far off from what could realistically occur.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

To blog or not to blog...

A few months ago when one of the librarians told me she wanted to start a blog for the library I was skeptical. I just couldn't see how a blog would be useful. What would the librarians write about that the patrons, mostly college students, would want to read? She didn't know the answer to that either, but she heard the crowd buzzing and wanted in.

I had become an avid blog reader myself about a year and a half ago. The blogs I was familiar with were more anecdotal than informative, containing basic narratives of peoples' lives. I still remember the first blog I read. It was an online journal filled with the ramblings of a twenty something girl dealing with day to day life. I was instantly drawn in to this stranger's world. I soon discovered other blogs by wonderful writers on various topics, for the most part, still very personal in nature. In those early days of discovery I spent the bulk of my web surfing time visiting both new and favorite blogs, devouring stories as fast as they could be written. It wasn't long before I was bloging myself, contributing to a community that I felt had given me so much. I just recently celebrated the anniversary of my personal blog which now contains more than 500 posts and several pictures about my life.

I knew what bloging was, I was living it, yet I couldn't see how it could be used as a productivity tool for a library, especially when they already had a webmaster (me). Then, I started thinking about what I had seen at Computers in Libraries last week, and I began to understand the draw. There was a whole crowd of people bloging the conference. At first I thought it was silly. I found their cat calls and whistles at the mere mention of the word 'blog' almost comical. Then it hit me. No middleman. You can share your ideas with the world as fast as you can type, or say, or record them without having to rely on anyone else. That is powerful (maybe even a little bit magical).

So here I am, fresh off the heels of my very first Computers in Libraries conference, starting a brand new work related blog at 11 pm on a Saturday night. Wishing I could have seen its value months ago. Hoping that late truly is better than never. And, looking forward to helping that librarian start her very own blog next week.

As for the conference, my head is swimming with information, ideas, affirmations, as well as a bit of a crush on one of the speakers. It was so great to hear what other libraries are doing and experiencing, in their own words.

I'm excited to get back to work on Monday and share everything I've learned. I should be able to get a few sentences out before they get tired of to my fandangled ideas and banish me back to my cube.

I'll post more thoughts on specific sessions in the next few days. For now I'll leave you with what I observed to be the hottest trends in library circles: bloging, knitting and Michael Stephens.