Tag Archives: Technology

Join me in fighting for Net Neutrality

Please join me, contact the FCC and tell them to and abandon their plan to repeal current net neutrality rules, and keep strong net neutrality regulations in place.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has an easy to use page for submitting comments to the FCC. The EFF also has many other posts about the issues around net neutrality. As they put it, “the right to access all Internet content freely without your Internet provider slowing down or even blocking content… is fundamental to our democracy.” Please help us keep that right.

I has internet

Monday I was FINALLY hooked up with phone service at my house, and yesterday my DSL modem arrived!

i'm in ur internets cloggin ur tubes

That was 19 days I went without having internet access at home. I don’t think I’ve gone more than a week without some kind of online access since my days of connecting to computer bulletin board systems on my Atari 800XL computer. And talk about broadband, that was with a state-of-the-art, 300 baud modem. Yes, I am old.

Being without home internet access for so long made me realize how much it’s a part of my everyday activities: reading the online news in the morning with a cup of coffee, using it to find phone numbers, getting a quick map, listening to new music streams, and just keeping up with friends and family. I almost felt like I had lost one of my senses.

Internet Librarian: day three

Crafting the User-Centered Library
presented by Cliff Landis

Why use emerging tech?

  • It’s not enough to shove your bad services (such as our crappy OPACs) into new things.
  • Don’t do it because everyone else is.
  • For outreach.
  • We don’t need things designed FOR the user, we need things designed BY the user.

Planning – it takes too long. Too man hoops to jump through, eventually good ideas can just fade away.

The committee approach ? can take any good idea and destroy it. Exploits the negative aspects. To many times people ask “what if…” Cliff then showed us a funny YouTube video, Association Professionals Through the Ages, that illustrates how good ideas can be destroyed in such a manner.

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Internet Librarian: day two

2.0 Learning and 1.8 Users: Bridging the Gap
presented by Rudy Leon (SUNY Potsdam) and Colleen Harris (Univ. of Tennessee, Chattanooga)

The speakers began this session by talking about myths of the millenial generation.

  • They are skilled online searchers
  • Are at ease with new gadgets
  • Are always connected
  • Are effective multitaskers

But as recent news reports and studies have shown, these are not true. Millennials do use the technology, but in a simplified way. In general they are unaware of how powerful the tools they are using can be.

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I have many obsolete skills

I came across this list of obsolete skills. Reading it just makes me feel old. Some of the more ancient skills I possess:

  • Adjusting a television’s vertical and horizontal holds
  • Adjusting the levels for recording to audio tape
  • Balancing the tone-arm on a turntable
  • Changing the C120 film cartridge in an Instamatic camera (yes, I had one)
  • Editing audio tape with a razor blade and splicing block (video tape too!)
  • Typing in code for “freeware” programs from a computer magazine
  • Using Gopher (the early days of the internet before the world-wide-web)
  • Loading data from a cassette tape (my first computer, an Atari 800 had a tape drive)
  • Punching a hole in the shell of a single-sided 5.25″ floppy disc to make it double-sided (I even owned a special hole-punch for this)
  • Rewinding an audio cassette using a pen or pencil
  • Ripping the little holes off the sides of continuous feed computer paper
  • Setting a baud rate, parity and stop-bits
  • Setting up a modem using AT commands
  • Switching a cars headlights to high beams by stomping a button on the floor
  • Using a flash cube (on my Instamatic camera, of course)

All now useless bits of information, just taking up brain cells…

The Nikon D40

Many years ago, I had a film single lens reflex camera. SLRs are great for their flexibility, allowing you to change lenses, add filters, and manually adjust settings. For a while now, I’ve been wishing for some of that flexibility in a digital camera, and have been thinking about buying a digital SLR. Early last month, a local camera store was having a sale on the Nikon D40 — a deal I couldn’t pass up.


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Today I returned home from the Computers in Libraries conference (more on that soon). I was away for a week, and what I missed most was my internet connection. I found myself very envious of the librarians who had their own notebook computers, and were taking advantage of the free wi-fi in the conference rooms.

I spend a great deal of my normal day (both working and off days) using a computer. Going without access while seeing others online almost made me feel like a junkie in need of a fix. Waiting in line to use one of the conference’s eight email stations for ten minutes did not cut it. I wanted to check out the cool things the librarians were talking about in their presentations. I wanted to be able to take notes more efficiently. And, I wanted to do some of the normal, daily things I do on the web.

I seriously need a notebook computer.

One of the pod people

I’ve been wanting to replace my old MP3 player for a while now. It’s a few years old, so the features and storage capacity are lacking compared to players on the market now. I decided to give in to my technolust and started shopping around.

Part of me was reluctant to go with an Apple iPod. My old player was from Sansa, and concerns about Apple’s proprietary software bothered me a bit. After reading some online reviews, I decided to try one of the new Sansa models. I was not impressed. The controls seemed clumsy and hard to get used to. I experimented with loading music from my computer onto the player, and that was a clumsy experience as well. So, I returned the Sansa player, and picked up a 4 GB Apple iPod Nano. Wow! What a nice device. Yes that’s right, I am now one of the Pod People.

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On being a virtual librarian

Last Spring, my library signed on to AskAway, a virtual reference service. AskAway is the Wisconsin division of the QuestionPoint consortia, which provides virtual reference (via online chat) throughout the United States. That means our patrons can get reference help from a librarian, 24 hours a day, even on holidays. In turn, some of our librarians spend an hour or so per week answering virtual reference questions from patrons all over the country.

It’s been an interesting experience providing online reference help. When I first started, it was a little unnerving and overwhelming (much like the first few times I was working at the reference desk in the real world). But just like that other reference situation, those feelings fade with experience.

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