Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label technology. Show all posts

27.1.19

Technology in the Classroom: How to Create a Digital Editable Document with Google Docs for You and Your Students

I made this Greek Mythology resource shareable and editable!
I like to share with my students and I recently noticed that my digital file type of choice are PDFs and I most-often work with Google Docs when creating. However:

  1. PDFs are static and it is hard to edit them
  2. A Google Doc is editable; but, how can I share what I have created but still keep the integrity of my originals?
Here's what I have done (by following a simple Google hack)

26.8.14

Public Libraries Still Matter in the Age of Amazon

Poets House in Battery Park City (Manhattan)
is a good model for how libraries should look and feel.
News flash: libraries have been offering e-books for free long before Amazon started doling out an e-book subscription service. With Amazon’s recent Kindle Unlimited service, readers can access thousands of books for free. The catch? It’s ten dollars a month. But libraries have been offering a similar service for free to patrons for years. Why not more press on libraries? To answer some questions about libraries, free books, and bridging the digital divide, I teamed up with New York University Reference Librarian Ray Pun to discuss how libraries are helping to mind the digital gap. The result is this commentary.
Use It Or Lose It
There's a saying that goes "use it or lose it." It’s an apt reason to keep your brain active, because, you know, you’ll lose it. The analogy applies to why we use libraries and how they’re helping to not only bridge the digital divide but adding more fodder to the trough. If you don’t use books — well — I don’t even want to think about what it would be like to lose it.
Libraries Matter
I have a hunch that people think that since there’s the Internet then libraries don’t matter. It’s just a hunch, but it’s hidden in the comments I get on being a librarian: “You need a degree to do that?” Yes, librarians need a degree to do “that.” Putting aside my rancor for such questions, I think it tells us a little bit about the current cultural zeitgeist and where we’re going.
There's a misconception that if I can Google it then it must be free. While the open Internet is indeed a treasure trove of knowledge, it's also a depository of useless junk. Librarians keep the door open between the open Internet and its mass chaos of information and the stuff that’s behind closed doors.
To give an idea of what I am talking about, take a look at the Internet Public Library. It’s a deceptively simple website, but it does something different that Google does not do. Behind the HTML code and links are a team of librarians who are constantly updating links to provide access to good information. So, if you need to get reputable and accurate sources you could Google it, but knowing that a team of information specialists curate and cull the “good stuff” makes the Internet Public Library, a unique place.
Knowledge Deserves To Be Free
We tend to think of libraries as brick and mortar buildings that house books, and while this is true, the concept of “the library” is less about locking knowledge up in a safe deposit box, and more about the free dissemination of ideas. The word free is cheap, and I do not mean to suggest that “free” equates with “worthless.”
Libraries are free in the sense that they keep us as a community free from all the nasty stuff that comes from not being free. What would it look like to live in the tyranny of a library-less world? I’d say it would be rather gloomy. And not too pretty.
We might think, “I already own an iPad, and my house has enough books, so why should I bother about using the library?” The logic that stipulates freedom with “I already have that” is the logic that one day could threaten the very concept libraries embody — equal access to knowledge. I use knowledge in the broadest sense of the term. Knowledge cannot be confined by a book, iPad, or even Google’s vast search engine. Yet -- not everyone owns an iPad. And while according to an April 2014 Pew Research study, 87% of adults have access to the Internet, it isn’t 100%. Some libraries have started to mend the gap by lending out tablets such as iPads to people, library users, and complete strangers with library cards! Other institutions such as the New York Public Library are experimenting with a new service: lending portable MiFi Hotspot devices to underserved youth and communities by allowing them to have Internet access outside of the library hours.
Knowledge is bound up with community. Knowledge is supposed to be shareable, and the access we enjoy through our libraries is only as free as we struggle for its freedom. That’s why libraries, even though they are strapped with mounting operational costs and the threat of being cut off from state, local, and federal funding, continue to innovate, to continue to bridge the digital divide. For example, the simple innovation of providing MiFi devices to users who cannot access library services during opening hours closes the gap a little bit. Or loaning out iPads and laptops to users who otherwise cannot afford these gateways to knowledge.
Support Libraries
Support your public library, starting today and in numerous ways: whether it is with monetary or book donations, paying off your library fines or writing to your state and local assembly person about why your library is important to you and your community. You need to stand up for your library because you are standing up for your community. When you keep visiting your libraries, it brings up their “public services metrics” or in layman’s terms, the “headcount” reader goes up, which translates into more resources libraries can roll out for public use. Keeping the building filled with people who use it is good for the library. They can then report to their constituents about the increases of public users in their libraries on a quarterly basis.
I'll End With A Story
It reminds me of a story a friend of mine told me that I thought reflects what libraries do. When he was a teenager, he lived in a small town in South Louisiana with a local municipal public library. He went to the library in the Summer to find a book he wanted to read. He told me, “I don’t remember who told me about the book, but it was called Birdy by William Wharton.” The library did not have it nor did any of the local branches, so the librarian looked at him with a smile on her face and said, “Let’s do an interlibrary loan.” He told me that he didn’t know what an interlibrary loan was, but it sounded neat. “She had me fill out a form — and mind you; this was before the Internet was all the rage,” he said. “In a few weeks, the book arrived from the State Library, and I was able to read the book. I had no idea such a small miracle was possible.” For him, it was like Christmas in July; he’s now a writer and teaches philosophy. Now that ninety percent of all libraries in the U.S. loan out e-books, interlibrary loan looks like an antiquated version of lending, but most libraries still have it and it’s the most thanked-for feature of public libraries by patrons.
Librarians intrinsically know the value of libraries. We just don’t talk about it enough. Let’s spread the word. A call to action: use it and don’t lose it — for the present and future lovers of knowledge out there. Including me. And you. All of us. You can still subscribe to Kindle Unlimited if you want, but check out the library too.
By Greig Roselli (with Ray Pun)

N.B.: The above article is a reprint from the same LinkedIn Pulse article.
Image Source: Poets House

3.1.11

True Story: The Death of a MacBook Pro

The specs: 17" 2008 Aluminum MacBook Pro; 2.5 GHz; 4 GB RAM; 200 GB hard drive. But, that's only the hardware. The truth is ...
I loved my Mac as much as a human being can possibly love a machine. My friend Bonnie says people are growing up with attachments, not with people, or pets, but with machines. She says this is the cause of the proliferation of Autism.

Maybe she's right. We're more fond of our binary buddies then we are of our flesh and blood compadres.

I know it's not "right" to have loved a machine. To use the word "love" is sacrilegious when what I really mean is what Aristotle meant by storge. A kind of love that is built on use and use alone. I love my Mac cause I used my Mac.

What I miss is not the machine itself but the use of the machine which fired my loins and made me whisper, "Mac ... Mac ... Light of my life ... Fire of my loins."

(Mac is not my Lolita. I just couldn't help but use a Nabokov reference.)

The practical loss is I'm bereft of a machine.

The iPhone is my primary computer now.

The good news is I'm backed up on Carbonite. If you don't know, it's a nifty online storage solution that backs up your files in the background to the Cloud.

I'm thinking my next Lolita will be a Mac Mini. I'm fond of its portability. I thought maybe I would go bold with the iPad but I'm still not rogue enough to give up the traditional computer. Besides, I don't think the first-generation iPad is capable of replacing a computer 100%.

What I miss most about my Mac in its absence:

1. My cute Finder boyfriend.
2. iWork: and how the only library computer lab with Mac's exclusive productivity suite is Bobst.

3. Movies: But, hey I'm reading
more. Last night I finished Lyotard's Lessons on the Analytic of the Sublime.
4. BitTorrent (Using Transmission). On an iPhone, I can't download an entire Season of Dobey Gillis.
5. Google Docs. I can't edit Docs on a smartphone. :-(

29.4.10

Augmented Reality in Billboards in the Netherlands

I first saw this technology on aroundme for the iPhone. Now it's on billboards. Woah. Check out the vid and tell us what you think. Thanks, Mashable for the info.





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18.4.10

How to set up a bookmark folder in Firefox (3.6.3) to open your favorite sites in tabs on a Mac

In a previous post, I demonstrated how to open multiple web pages in Firefox in tabs on startup, but if you're like me, sometimes it is just annoying to have your new sites pop up every time you open up an application, so this trick may serve people better who may only want pages to open in the morning and a certain set of pages to open in the evening. Or set up pages to open for a specific task, like research a paper, for example.

26.1.10

Apple's New Creation (and I hope it's not called an iPad)

A company known for its draconian tactics to protect internal secrets, Apple is expected to announce its new creation tomorrow (which was sent out to "friends" last week but cannot be found on Apple's site).
Everyone is abuzz. Since Christmas, I have been reading blog forecasts about the secret Apple device. What's it going to be? Apple remains mute. The consensus among the technorati seems to be some kind of multi-touch super-sized iPod on steroids running a version of the Mac OS X operating system.

As David Pogue wrote in his blog, quoting Robert Burns, “There is no such uncertainty as a sure thing.” The certainty is so certain all of us are in some kind of suspended state of uncertainty: "What's it going to be?!" I have never experienced such a paradox: an emphatic declaration of a device's existence that may or may not exist. When journalists write about the iPad (I hope they don't name it this, as Mad TV humorously demonstrated), iSlate, iTablet, Mac Tablet, MacBook Touch - or whatever the damn thing's going to be called - it is usually prefaced with the epithet "the probable" or "expected" Apple miracle device. Are we talking about an unidentified flying object or a real thing? I dunno.

The device (which may or may not exist) has been deemed to have any number of features:

  • a Kindle killer
  • vendors will allow consumers to download lush, color graphic books, magazines, and newspapers. I must say if I can read National Geographic in full color and swipe the pages with my finger I want an iThingy too. 
  • a Nexus One killer
  •  If the new device signs on with Verizon who's going to want a Nexus One? I really doubt though that people who will have bought a Nexus One anyway are going to drop it for Apple.
  • Video Game Console Killer  
  • Adolescents and twenty-somethings will supposedly be wowed by the device which will undoubtedly beat anything the Playstation can do (Grand Theft Auto anyone?)
  • and even a laptop killer
 Well, if all you do is search the net and check email, then yes a multi-touch device would be an adequate replacement. But, anything more than that, in my humble opinion, is going to need a laptop or a desktop.    
I have read it may have the following features:
Whatever "the creation" is, I have the same sinking suspicion as David Pogue, that "there are some aspects, some angles, that nobody’s guessed." Apple has been notorious in the past for concealing its hidden angles. Throughout the company's history, Apple has revealed products that wow the masses and changed the status quo. Here are some notable game-changing features Apple has wowed us with in the past:
With the company's successes, however, there have been some notable guffaws, 
  • the Newton (which seems to be the closest product matching tomorrow's rumored gadget) 
  • or the Cube. Now, even though the Cube was a failure, Apple persisted and came up with the Mini. So, if tomorrow's device is some kind of tablet PC, hopefully, it will forgive the tarnish of the Newton.
Amidst the mass of speculation, I think I can offer one piece of clear, objective fact. Whatever is unveiled at tomorrow's press conference in San Francisco will inevitably face the trial of the hoi polloi. If the announcement does not live up to its hype, then Cupertino will surely suffer. People will be quick to say, "Apple has lost its ability to produce cutting-edge products." If the product dazzles, then Apple shares will exponentially rise. But: here is the rub. How quickly can Apple's Research and Development team concoct the next WOW device before the public gets bored of this one (which is not even out yet!)? Apple has always been able to foresee a market niche even before the market realizes such a niche exists. Case in point is the iPhone. Apple realized creating content for the mobile web was the way go even though many phones on the market only had measly WAP access to the net.

Apple's greatest strength is its weakness. Can it continue to foresee market trends? With Google now in on the hardware market, I think Apple will have a tough time in the future staying above the rest. I personally do not think they have lost their edge.

My own prognostication is that tomorrow's device will surely wow us. We will be impressed. I have a hunch though, that by Christmas 2010, the technorati will be buzzing again about another fabled Apple device. The question is, can Apple keep up with this game? What will the rumors be in six months? The flexible Apple device that fits in the palm of your hand, feels like a book, but miraculously is made up of tiny nanomites that feed its internal architecture (thanks GI Joe)!

2.11.09

Software Review: Google Voice

Google has entered the telecommunications realm with its introduction of Google Voice, a service created by Google's addition last year of Grand Central, a nifty feature that transcribes voicemail messages and cloaks all your phones and telecommunication devices under the umbrella of one number: a Google number. 
     In effect, you can give out one number to all your buddies, colleagues, friends or whoever and all your phones can be connected seamlessly. Also, you can send free SMS and have voicemails transcribed for you (also, available by other services, such as Callwave).
     I had read about the service at least a year ago when Google first acquired Grand Central but was only giving the service to customers by invitation only. Alas, I was not one of the chosen few. Ugh.
    So, I was happy to discover one day, a message in my Gmail inbox that Google Voice was now available for me to sign-up.
    I would love to use the full functionality of Google Voice but, because of a move by Apple to pull the plug on Google Voice on the iPhone, I can only use the service through my computer. I am a loyal Apple fan, but here, Apple has sold itself to AT&T. Google had created a Google Voice app for the iPhone, but Apple deleted it from the Apple store.
    Personally, I think Apple's move was a bit draconian. It would be like if Microsoft did not allow you to download Firefox onto your computer and forced you to use Internet Explorer.
    But don't worry, in a recent blog post, David Pogue assures us that Google will eventually develop a web app to counteract Apple's icks-nay of its newest FREE gadget. Now, you can only use Google Voice on its android phone or on a blackberry, on your home computer, or on a web app compatible device. But the web app does not work yet on the iPhone. Just a matter of time.
    But, why is Google Voice so cool?
    Well, it is like having CallWave, Skype and Gmail all rolled up into one. I hate listening to voicemails and would just rather read them. Also, I am an addict when it comes to new digital features. Also, I am a proponent for Open Source. Apple should not decide how I access information and what platform I use to do so.
    In the meantime, you can call me through your computer until I get Google Voice, fully.*

*This functionality has been disabled.


15.10.09

News Repost: David Pogue on NPR

David Pogue was recently interviewed on NPR.

I never laughed so hard in a long time.
He was testing a new camera that has a projector with a video of a clown intended to entertain children while you take their pictures.

Pogue tests the camera on a beach in Connecticut and suspicious mom's ask him what he is doing (he's wearing a leather jacket and pressing buttons on his camera and he tells the ladies, "I am a reporter from the New York Times," and as if this is enough to assuage their wandering minds, they laugh and say okay and ask if the camera is any good!

OMG

LOL

I was on the floor in my apartment laughing REALLY hard.

9.8.09

Samples from SIGGRAPH 2009

Here are some pictures from SIGGRAPH 2009 in New Orleans.

Google had their tent at SIGGRAPH.

Sigh: no public transportation directions yet for RTA in New Orleans in Google Maps. Note to self: write to RTA.


There were several booths displaying a virtual reality experience. In this showcase, the actor is fitted with a facial device (which show up as bright colored lights on camera but are not so in real life). In this example, she is channeling a mean dude. On the second floor, another actress was channeling a digital rhino.
This dude from France demonstrated a cool virtual goggle that can interact with game pieces on a virtual display. Practical implications: Virtual RPG.
PDF Copy for Printing

7.8.09

Conference Notes: On My Way to Siggraph 2009 in New Orleans

I went to SIGGRAPH 2009 today, an international exhibition of technology and interactive graphics. The question that pervaded my mind was, "What is graphics?" Graphics is not only animation nor is it always easy to define. Graphics can be both analog or digital, or a mixture of both. I brought to the conference questions about the nature of graphics. Bonnie Wood had told me about SIGGRAPH years ago and I was waiting for their return to the Crescent City. The last time the conference was in New Orleans was ten years ago. Because animation studios work out of Los Angeles, and Asia is so close, usually the conference is out west, so I was thrilled when they decided to come South every decade or so. I heard the last conference was bigger than this one, but I must say I was still impressed. Nearly the entire convention center was filled. I seldom come to this next of the woods. I call it the big building built beneath the expressway.

This morning I was running late, took the streetcar downtown and walked five or so blocks to meet Bonnie. I registered but I did not see her so I waited for a half-hour and people watched. My phone was out of commission. I am going to save my iPhone story for another blog:

But, Max did an autopsy on my phone and it is dead. I am stuck with my old cingular phone (which I also left), which is fine, but I realized how dependent on my iPhone I have become: no Google maps on the fly, no email on the go, no random checking of random checking. I absolutely hate it. A person dies without water in the desert; in a digital desert I would die without my phone. I have become so used to having it as an information companion that without it I feel similar withdrawal symptoms associated with people quitting tobacco or alcohol. I am grateful to Max though for agreeing to fix my screen although I was not much help as I stood in his living room, suppressing panic mode, as he took apart my phone with an Exacto knife.
Sitting in the convention lobby. Watching the stream of people.
I will write tomorrow more about the exhibitions, but I am tired right now.
:-)

4.8.09

Old tech librarians are not complaining, just saying the future will be “a lot more crazy change.”

When researching this blog post on the future of information technology, drinking a cup of coffee, I assumed I would find happy Web 2.0 advocates (and excited librarians for Web 3.0) proudly discussing new trends in the field of library and information science.
While one may find an uncommon, optimistic librarian, like this very optimistic teacher hilariously touting “digital citizenship,” this is not always the case. The professionals are not completely pessimistic but many question their identities as librarians and feel ALA has lost its verve a long time ago. Blogs written by professionals in the field joke about technology and some write objectively about new advancements. Whether it is tongue in cheek or written in nebulous prose, an RSS feed of good blogs give a decent feel for the current pulse. Thinking intuitively as I read blog posts, I sense librarians blasé about the newest trends, even to the point of mocking librarians who seem to spend their hard-earned MLIS degrees serving adolescent teens wanting to get on Second Life (an online simulated world like The Sims) or acquiring a trendy gaming system at their local library rather than true grit research or simply finding information for their homework. Consider the Annoyed Librarian’s humorous quips. She or he is one of the tech bloggers I am talking about: seriously knowledgeable about trends but seriously opinionated about it too! S/he has a spoof virtual reference desk called Library Five-O to share with the world: to search the library’s OPAC go to Amazon; If you need a reference question answered, go to Google; if you want to consult an encyclopedia go to Wikipedia; Need storytime for the kids? Go to Youtube!
Librarians are in a predicament because on the one hand, librarianship is a civic idea, designed to simply provide information no matter how glitzy. Librarians are somehow also supposed to package technological finds in attractive ribbons to make it more palpable to the masses. He uses a marketing strategy from Trent Reznor (of Metallica fame). Reznor apparently draws consumers by throwing thumb drives to fans replete with songs and allowing free downloading of podcasts on the Metallica web site. Should the technological librarian do the same and follow the “Trent Reznor Experience?” Is it true the technological library ought to be built according to the equation CwC + Rtb = a dynamic library. Where CwC is “connect with community” and RtU is “reason to use.”
It seems to me tech does not necessitate community. A community has to pre-suppose tech. If there is initially no community then technology will not work -- or worse. create a false community. Although, I don't agree with everything he said. a prelate from Britain talks about the dangers of pseudo-communities on the internet. Although I do not agree that Facebook and myspace lead children to commit suicide. But. I am not going to get into that here. Back to libraries.
The disconnect between librarian’s professional identities and community needs is widening. It is no wonder there is a common collective exasperation in the professional library world when it comes to advances in technology. The pioneers of information technology reminisce about their first foray into the technological world of librarianship when computers first became standard in local public libraries and schools. Now that most libraries have computer labs and most librarians are expected to have some kind of computer skill, the once optimistic and forward-thinking attitudes librarians dreamed of has become a reality. But, with more advances, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to integrate new trends without a full-time systems librarian on hand. Not all librarians are systems librarians, but because librarianship has become so permeated by technology, every librarian has to have not only working knowledge of the principles of librarianship, or even working knowledge of information literacy, BUT working knowledge of how to use and implement information technologies. Librarians are becoming exasperated because librarianship has become ipso facto systems work. It is no longer feasible to be purely analog these days; a librarian has to not only be able to evaluate an HTML page but also create one.
Also, librarians are not necessarily happy about new technological advances. Some are nostalgic for the old days of technology when things were simpler! Stephen’s Lighthouse has on his blog a link to a Wired magazine article about “100 technological advances our kids do not know about” And another link to “50 gadgets from the past”! Sadly, VHS players and stamp vending machines are now as nostalgic as jukeboxes and BETA. I hate bloggers who bemoan the imminent loss of LCD displays, music CDs, Anti-Virus software and stamp vending machines. But, thankfully, one techie admonishes her readers that obsolescence is necessary for innovation (sorry, if you can find the origin of this phrase I will kiss your left nut).

But, anyway, what do you do with those people who just won’t give up their tried and true, who stick to the obsolete? Fire them? And even the most dogged among us still want our traditions. We have reached a point in information technology when we can be nostalgic. With librarians chucking their VHS tapes for DVDs some wonder when they will have to yet again overhaul the collection for the newest digital format. And God bless the library who invested in Beta or Super 8 tracks! The ephemeral nature of free Web 2.0 products and services that libraries often utilize sometimes fail. If a web 2.0 company busts, then all the work and content is lost related to the service. One example is Mag.nolia, a popular social bookmarking web site that folded recently (thanks to information wants to be free!). Once a library adopts a free service (like Wet Paint or even Google Docs) the workload is sometimes doubled especially when a new version comes out that negates previous work or newer operating systems cannot read older files.

Then there is the talk about the future of technology that is more speculation than actual hard technology. Mash-up is the new way of talking about technology. All one has to do is imagine what the future of the book will be like, as in a mash-up of a future e-book reader in this youtube video. The utopian world of book size screens that act as iPhones; the ability to flick through pages with the flick of tap; the ability to scan a book at the bookstore and have it sent to your e-reader; super thin e-readers that allow you to zoom; edit content; add notes with a stylus and more are all utopian ideas librarians talk about but no on really believes these new technologies will not come without a price.


But before we get to the utopia librarians dream some librarians think up I think we need to get people to do a simple, effective Google search. We have a long way to go before technology utopia. I mean, come on, let us be caustic: most folks don't know fuck. It is so fail. Sorry. I mean, it is not always people: the internet is fail. For the most advanced among us, the ostensibly easy "task" is fricking difficult. I want library 3.0. Sure. But, something has to happen. Get rid of proprietary bullshit and let the memes run the show.