Friday, November 28, 2008

end of 26.2

wow, I believe that's it. Thanks for running with me. I look forward to reading everyone's blogs next and meeting folks on Tuesday. I'll post when I find more things worth blogging about - thanks Jennifer for pushing me to experience and express. I always thought I needed completely original content to bother blogging, but now I'm more comfortable rambling and just doing it for myself. I hope someone else benefits, but just as a self-centered exercise its been useful.


Tonight I was invited to our next door neighbors' annual Thanksgiving feast. I didn't know one of our neighbors is vegan - as I've been since 1991, s0 it was a wonderful surprise and I've now enjoyed two nights in a row of awesome, vegan, thanksgiving inspired fare. With that in mind, here's a link to a recipe on my favorite vegan recipe site, the post-punk kitchen for what looks like a great gravy. Its not actually what we had either time - search out the punk chickpea gravy in Vegan with a Vengeance for the BEST, but I'm sure this is good too.

For a great list of vegan blogs, I haven't found a source better than Wheeler's site. If you haven't tried Wheeler's yet, they make pretty great frozen desserts and are selling them out of a store over by the Symphony Hall / T-stop. One vegan blog of note, vegan lunchbox, is a great example of how someone used a blog to develop an idea and a following that has since turned into a published book. If you've ever wanted ideas on what to feed a vegan child, this author has some amazing, innovative ideas - plus she's the first person I've heard of to ever make vegan Twinkies.


At least one good friend of mine regularly uses Twitter - I know because he integrated it with his Facebook account so I see it there, plus as a sidebar on his blog. I never really understood the point, but on Wednesday night I was listening to all tech considered and heard a great short piece about some people using a private application of the same idea: yammer.

What I remember is basically:
(I'm paraphrasing now) "Email is old, yucky technology. Its fine for one-0n-one communications (although there are better options here too). You have to spend too much time figuring out who to address, what order to list people in for your addresses lists, and people talk too much (like this blog I bet you're thinking)". Twitter's great, but if you have private things you want to share (trade secrets, etc.) its public nature is a deal-killer. So - companies get a private twitter - yammer. When you have a question, ask the group. The first person to reply will let everyone know. Likely someone else will benefit, and time has been optimized. People originally feared that employees would waste too much time if given access to this technology, but experience has shown that while there are some abusers, the advantages WAY outshine the potential troubles.

I'm sure we'll see lots more of this style of communication - both among each other and with technologically connected patrons.

social tunes

I've been using the internet to grab radio stations probably since I first heard a radio station mention that it was available to stream online. When I need want to be reminded of home I tune in The Oasis in the City, Denver's KUVO - the best jazz station I've ever heard. For years I carried around a tape of a show DJ Scotty did with his young son in the studio on Miles Davis' birthday. A truly subliminal show. I love listening to his "Origins, orgy in rhythm. Music from the Black Diaspora" show too. However, this is purely old school radio streamed over the web. I can't skip songs I'm not so into, and I have to tune in at the right time - something I'm increasing less likely to do.

In Denver I also liked to listen to CU Boulder's college station, 1190. It was widely eclectic and always something I wasn't familiar with. Its online too - and was often easier to hear online than actually tune in on the AM dial. In Boston of course I tune into WERS from Emerson College. Of the three so far its the only one that streams online without a third party player (surely using a plug in I previously downloaded, but somehow cleaner & easier than choosing one of my many music players).

Another station with a fun local flavor that I'm pleased to see has gone to online streaming (you used to have to download and install a funky player just to tune them in) is the fully solar radio station out of Angel Fire, New Mexico - KTAO. I fond emmories of listening to the morning show and being totally transported to the big open San Louis valley and the canyons up to Angel Fire, Red River...... ahhh, the perennial question - red or green? (since 1996 the official state question of New Mexico).

Lately for me its been all about Pandora (as readers of this blog on the actual page, not via RSS know from the plugin). I've found a vast majority of want I want to listen to represented on Pandora, but this afternoon I realized that and Seeqpod have deeper catalogs for at least one type of music popular with urban teens - krunk. Looking up the group j-squad I came up with nothing on Pandora but lots on the other two. One frustration I had with Seeqpod though - I couldn't easily see what it was that was playing and at one point one page seemed to be playing two different streams at the same time. I think I'll start checking out more....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Since a link to BPL's first site was in the original guiding post on this subject, let me lead you to the first archived page of my first library - Denver Public Library from Jan 27, 2003. Um, the graphics really don't work... oh well. Looks a bit like one of my earliest sites: from August 16, 2000.

One of my favorite things to do with the live music archive is to look up concerts on a friend's birthday (I often just start with the link for finding shows on today's date and then change some text in the address bar to get the date I want) . I can usually find something significant - I found a cool Dead show in Telluride performed on my wife's 16th birthday for example (at the time you could download a lot more Dead content). Then I download the show and make a set of CDs as a gift. Another cool date to check - new year's eve. I have great shows of Yonder Mountain String Band in 1999 and then in 2000. One word of caution - diving into this archive can consume MASSIVE ammounts of your time. You'll also come across major audiophiles who are very anti-MP3 and other lossless compression formats. Read up on ogg vorbis and flac to really enjoy your time here!

electronic content

I've just finished loading up my ipod for my train ride to NY tomorrow night - or so I thought.

I don't have a kindle but I think that technology is WAY cool! I'm not crazy about the current corporate model, but I'm sure it will be exploded soon enough. It certainly seems to be a major challenge to the book publishing world and those who make a living by warehousing and selling pulped literature. What we as librarians clearly have to do is be loud and vocal about not allowing access to information - the foundation of free speech, become all contracts and only available to those who can afford it.

BUT - back to my train trip - I've of course seen Whitman's Leaves of Grass many times, yet I haven't bothered to pick it up yet. I found its on LibriVox. So I downloaded the first book and will load it up to see how it strikes me. Poetry is always best listened to, so I'm pretty psyched. (oh, I hope my second attempt at downloading goes better than the first which failed at Opera and let it manage the download - for some reason it seems to reliably do a better job than Firefox)


Is IM still new?

I first used Trillian at least 7 years ago. Even before the internet took off I recall using Apple Talk to keep in touch with friends in College across campus. I've had multiple occasions when I've sought tech support from a vendor using an IM interface, but I often had the impression that the person I was talking to was IMing with too many other people at the same time because it always took so long for them to reply.
Lately I've been a bit frustrated by facebook's IM feature - all too often I try and chat with someone only to have their status change to offline. Perhaps its just me?
I know people who've used Meebo, but too often the library networks aren't reliable enough for it. I think texting is really a better alternative, as its not as reliant upon someone being on the other end to receive it immediately - but can be a good, quick tool when someone is.

catching up - delicious!

I've been using for quite a while. My links are here:
I just used it earlier today to remember a page I found that can create pdfs online - I had a publisher file I needed to view but I didn't have publisher installed and didn't want to download the huge trial version just to get a printable copy.
Another site I bookmarked a while ago that I like and mean to look at more frequently than I do is "the librarian without walls" Marylaine Block's "Neat New stuff". It brings me back to the days of Yahoo magazine and the joy of discovering new stuff I didn't know I needed - I love serendipty and often feel there's not nearly enough of it online....

Sunday, November 9, 2008

be a dad - to your brain

I've read "Who moved my cheese" and expected "Who moved my brain" to be similar - buts its way better. Seriously. Go read it now.

Haven't read it yet? Have you ever read, been encouraged to read, or even thought about reading Getting Things Done? If so, you owe it to yourself to read this. It doesn't take long and is worth the time. Its a slide show from a 45 minute presentation, but it will take you maybe 5 minutes to read.

Ok, if you need further convincing, here's the crib sheet:
  1. Identify leeks
  2. Govern access
  3. Minimize notifications
  4. Work in dashes
  5. Renegotiate
Thanks Staying With it!

Friday, November 7, 2008

onlne learning for Hyde Park Teens

hmmmm., I'm challenged to think big about "What kind of online learning program could you develop for your patrons?"

The best online learning program I recall is no longer available for libraries - Rosetta Stone. The way they combined images, sound, and text to immerse you in a language for rapid growth was wonderful. It probably still is, its just not something they're letting us make available to the public anymore, which is really too bad. My ideal online learning program would be similarly completely immersive. Think second life, but easier to enter, with more photo realistic graphics.

There was an online component to my master's program, which usually simply consisted of copies of the week's power point presentation, the course syllabus, and discussion boards. I know some if not all of the classes in the Harvard School of Public Health are filmed and the video is available from the course web site. This could be great, and would be really cool if there were a way to share all these courses with the world.

In my ideal online learning environment, a real person would be (virtually) present to act as a mentor with video conferencing or another means of intimate communication....

office online

I keep a few files online in my google docs account and have tried to interest others in using shared docs and spreadsheets, without much success so far. I love the idea of saving everything online and introduce patrons to it every chance I get - especially any patrons still using floppies.

I hadn't played with google presentations yet, so I decided to create a basic presentation with halloween pics we just got today. Feel free to take a peak.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

social shopping

I'm grateful for the introduction to Etsy. It looks like a great way to find cool stuff from cool people. I ended up checking out some vegan food that people will prepare and send to you - cool idea! I've bought from other online vegan sites but I like the idea how this takes the stress out of this side of the business model.

I've used Vista Print for years - you can usually get a bunch (at least 250) free business cards from there for only the cost of shipping (< $8 last time I needed some). They through an advertisement on the back, or you can pay more and have it removed. One year I think we used them to maje holiday cards using a picture I uploaded and they were very nice. I do NOT recomend getting on their email list. Its probably easy to get off, and I really should, as they send emails avery day or two about some "amazing" new sale.

Being broke, I don't plan to use any of these sites much, but I'm grateful to know they exist for when I do get some dough....