I’ve been thinking about my pending tenure hoedown later this year. It’s a big deal for me since it’s my first foray deep into my academe experience, but I’m still unclear about what the mantle of tenure entails. Prestige? More money? Bigger pants? Elbow patches? Well, YES! At least, I think so. Better yet, is it this?
Couple of great things are coming down the pike. The first is the unleashing of another session of SPLAT 101, and the other is my presentation at ACRL in Seattle.
SPLAT (Special Projects Library Action Team) is an initiative to “act in the ‘crows nest’ capacity, searching for innovation, proposing and leading experiments and pilot projects, discovering new opportunities.” SPLAT 101, our second foray, is about showing/playing/experimenting with web tools via a six-week, go at your own pace online course.
Each week we take one web tool and encourage people to spend that one week playing/experimenting with it. After you complete all six modules you get a certificate and the accolades of your fellow library denizens. Last year we had 230 library staff from all over the State of Idaho complete the course and we had a fantastic time doing it.
The best part is all the comments and feedback in each module; there was a richness of content that permeated each session, from thoughts about the nature of the Internet, web tech success stories, issues with blocked networks at schools and some libraries, privacy concerns, excitement at learning something new (and easy), and everything in between. If you’re interested in participating then get thee to this registration link. The first session starts March 16.
The other exciting thing is my attending and presenting at this year’s ACRL (Association of College & Research Libraries) conference in Seattle. I’m doing a presentation on libraries and widgets for one of the Cyber Zed Shed sessions on Saturday, March 14.
The whole trip will be quick tho, as I arrive Friday night and leave Saturday evening. Still, I’m extremely jazzed by the opportunity to hang out in Seattle with a bunch of really great library folk.
Don’t know if I’ll have time to visit two restaurants in Seattle that my good buddy Francisco introduced me to via the Travel Channel’s “Man v. Food” show. The first is Beth’s Cafe, which serves monstrous 12-egg omelets, but the hash browns are supposedly as delicious as their omelets, tho 12 eggs might be a stretch even for me. The other is the Crab Pot, which serves delicious steamed seafood by the bowl (a big bowl) and dumps it right on your table, then is on to the mallet whacking. Writing about this is making me hungry so it’s a sure bet I’ll hit at least one of these places!
If you consider yourself an Internet noob when it comes to all things “viral,” then you must, must I say, check out this list of important and life-changing videos/sites around the web. I’m serious. The “Greg Rutter’s Definitive List of The 99 Things You Should Have Already Experienced On The Internet Unless You’re a Loser or Old or Something” is, well, definitive in the sense that these videos/websites achieved–or rather defined–the term viral. These are Internet culture classics, the million plus views in YouTube, the ones that stretched kitsch into cool and/or pure awesome sauce. And for the most part, funnier than Hades:
This one is a variation of one of the videos on the list:
Ah, good times.
(Apologies, Mr. Diamond) Touch technology has come a long way–Apple certainly hit it out of the ballpark when they mass produced the iPhone/iTouch and unleashed a new sense of expectation from our computing devices.
It’s fairly easy to imagine the ways these new surface technologies will develop, and if the Kindle can blow your socks off, think of the possibilities of the tools shown in this ReadWriteWeb post:
A post, finally! There have been many many things happening right now (Tenure shenanigans, conference meeting shenanigans, work shenanigans, etc.) that I’ve barely had time to squeeze in a blog post about all the amazing and interesting things I’ve found on the web: foxes playing on trampolines, or cats riding Roombas, or funny zombie signs–you get the picture.
So, on with it rather than veg out, right?
One of the things that I do want to share is this meme that made the rounds not too long ago in Facebook: 25 things about you, which goes nicely with the mostly selfish nature of blogs:
Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you.
1. I don’t have a poker face. I wish I did but dang it, you can read me like a book.
2. Lobsters are giant insects, but at least their insides are delectable.
3. I once climbed out a bathroom window w/my best friend to get away from two girls. This was high school so…you know.
4. I see beauty in everything: the curve of a knife, the impasto of a painting, the sleekness of sharks, really nice hand writing.
5. My older sister bonked me on the head with a lead pipe when we were little. I have a tiny scar on my forehead that seems to creep down as my baldness progresses.
6. Related to #5, my increasing baldness makes my forehead scar blaze with anger that I’m going bald.
7. Growing up I always had long hair, even when it wasn’t fashionable, hence my resentment in #5 & #6
8. Part of me thinks werewolves exist just to scare the piss out of me.
9. I have an overactive imagination.
10. I have seen what a bullet can do to a human being. A shotgun blast, too.
11. I emigrated to the U.S. in 1983 from El Salvador and haven’t been back. On a trip to Hawai’i the smell of tropical flowers flooded me with beautiful memories of my childhood.
12. I was going to be an illustrator a la N.C. Wyeth and Frank Frazetta and, while good, was punched on my artistic sensibilities by computerated graphics (that was the term then).
13. I love reading. As a librarian, I can pick the good ones.
14. I find religions fascinating but I’m not a believer. The “ultimate questions” keep me guessing and in flux, which I like.
15. I laugh easily and try to make light of everything. That’s what gets me into trouble too.
16. How come the specter of Death never wears plaid?
17. The funniest bumper sticker to date: “Isis Isis Ra Ra Ra!”
18. I’m really good at games hardly anyone plays anymore: foosball, chess, alligator wrestling.
19. I’m a Sagittarius through and through.
20. I really like beer (stouts & porters), wine (cabs & merlot), and tawny port.
21. I wish I could write creatively. I write like I play basketball: lots of dribbling and drooling but no pretty layouts.
22. I’m thankful for to be alive 99.8 percent of the time. I thought for sure I would never reach 30.
23. I almost choked to death when I gorged myself on powdered milk when I was 12.
24. I mentally whistle Monty Python’s “Always look on the bright side of life” when faced with hostile situations.
25. Caspar David Friedrich’s “Monk by the Sea” is illustrative of my inner self.
Now you know me a little better. Lucky you, huh?
It took a long time but I finally got my birthday present, a netbook computer. Mind you, I researched the hell out of this puppy. I wanted something small (it is), powerful (ditto), easy to type on (yes!) and, possibly the icing on the cake, long battery life–about 6+ hours worth. I got that in the Samsung NC10 netbook. It’s a lovely piece of machinery, blue, with a shiny and sleek cover and a host of cool functions. And it comes with Windows XP, not Vista. That could be a big plus for some people.
In the same arena as the Acers, MSI Wind, and Eee PCs, the Samsung has many of the same features of these mini laptops (10.2 inches), but the battery life is the most impressive, clocking almost 7 hours on conservative use. One of the most recent reviews can be found at Laptopmag. I purchased mine from Amazon.com for $487 total. You have your choice of white, black, and, my choice, blue.
There is also a great blog (out of the UK) of people who’ve purchased a “Sammy” and a fantastic forum where you can join the conversations about specs, tweaks, and other tech issues. You want pictures of its unboxing? Then head on over to my flickr stream and see its unveiling.
I like Firefox. I like that Firefox has scores of different add-ons that enhance my browsing and productivity. I like it that it can bend the laws of web displays. I like it because I can take it with me on a thumb drive and thereby ensure my browsing experience is the same in whatever computer I use. That is, my Firefox lives in my thumb drive. And that’s a good thing because I have my “just right” Firefox in my thumb drive as well as whatever new version of Firefox is made available to developers. I’m not a developer, and reading too much code gives me seizures so I don’t bother. But I do like knowing the next evolutionary steps of my favorite browser so here’s what I do to keep them separate (and safe):
1. Leave your pristine, just-right browser intact.
2. Experiment with the new, intriguing beta version of Firefox by downloading it to your thumb drive/USB
Get your copy of the newest version (3.1 beta 1) at Portableapps.com and check it out. And if you want to experiment even further, you can also download a copy of Google’s newish browser, Chrome. Trying out different browsers by first installing them on your USB is a great way to keep your computer free of crapware and ensuring you install safe, already vetted software. And if you can’t find a portable version of something, then give these sites a try:
Now that President-elect Barack Obama & family will be moving to the White House, I have a feeling they’ll be changing a few things around the house, and that includes the Library. Get a pictorial history of the White House Library at the White House Museum:
The Library is furnished in the style of the late Federal period (1800-1820) with most of the pieces attributed to the New York cabinetmaker Duncan Phyfe. It is less formal than the rooms of the State Floor and is often used for teas and meetings. The soft gray and rose tones of the paneling are complemented by a Tabriz carpet of the mid-19th century. The gilded wood chandelier with a painted red band was made about 1800 and belonged to the family of James Fenimore Cooper, author of The Last of the Mohicans and other classics.
Ever feel the need to vent, pontificate, or share that interesting link without having to bother with an extended blog post? Then microblogging tools like Twitter can provide you with just the platform to share and receive those important (though at times prosaic) bits of conversations, relevant URLs, breaking news, or salient commentary from ever-watchful web denizens, or close friends.
If you haven’t tried Twitter then now is a good time to experiment. It’s simple to use, has scores of applications associated with it, and can enhance that almost-synchronous connections with friends and followers. You can reply one-on-one via private messages, or reply to another person so anyone can see your response. Twitter has improved quite a bit in the past few months; why don’t you start “following” friends, interesting personalities, or your favorite Web 2.0 enterprise? Here are some helpful links to get you started:
- Companies & institutions (from media to businesses to libraries) who use Twitter.
- Twitter applications (web, phone, text, & desktop based applications). There are, literally, dozens of Twitter applications so experiment with a few and see which one tickles your fancy. I prefer Google’s BeTwittered for my iGoogle page, and a Firefox extension called TwitterFox.
- News & posts related to, and about, Twitter and the “top” twitterers.
- I’m on Twitter as m3mo. If you have questions about it, I’d be happy to help. Just click the “follow” (once you sign up for a profile) link below my avatar and I’ll return the favor–then let’s converse!
There are some really great sites out there on the web and to name them would take at least several minutes. If a site consistently provides an excellent snapshot of the web I look for the RSS icon and subscribe to it, but one in particular keeps putting stuff that blows my mind, showing fantastic/weird/unusual/incredible images of our world, linked from sites all over the web. If you get a chance, head on over to Dark Roasted Blend and subscbribe to it. You’ll be amazed at every turn.