trying out the iPad

I have borrowed an iPad from work to take notes on at ER&L next week. So far I’m learning that I can’t touch type on it, so I’ll have my head down a lot. Also, the screen is very sensitive, so I’m making typos when my fingers get too close. Will be needing to hone my hovering skills.

I’m also bringing my laptop, so I can switch to that if this gets frustrating.

RALC Lightening Round Micro-Conference: Morning Sessions

Andy Morton:  “5-minute madness – The Madness Concept
He’s on the desk at the moment, so he made a video.

Teresa Doherty: “Cool sounds for Aleph Circ Transactions”
Originally presented at ELUNA as a poster session. They use custom sounds and colors to indicate specific circulation transaction alerts, i.e. checkin/checkout alerts. The sounds were selected because they’re short and fairly expressive without being offensive to users who may hear them.

Amanda Hartman: “Reaching Millennials: Understanding and Teaching the Next Generation” 
Those born 1980-1996-ish. These are generalizations, so they don’t describe everyone fully. They’re special and sheltered, team and goal oriented, more likely to be involved in community service, digital natives (mainly mobile tech) but don’t necessarily understand all of the implications or functions, impatient, and multi-taskers. They consider themselves to be relatively savvy searchers, so they may be less likely to ask for help. They have certain expectations about tech that libraries often can’t keep up with. They want learning to be participatory and active, with opportunities to express themselves online, and they have a sense of entitlement – get good grades for hard work, not necessarily for the product of the work. Libraries should have a mobile website. Hire staff that can support tech questions. Provide group workspaces. Explain why, not just how.

Deborah Vroman: “Errors, errors, everywhere! Common citation errors in Literature Resources from Gale”
Until recently, Gale was giving incorrect page ranges for citations for articles reprinted in their collections.  The problem is now fixed by removing the page numbers.

Anna Creech: “Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
Uh, that’s me.

Suzanne Sherry: “Goodreads: I read, you read, everybody READS”
Social networking site for readers. You start off with read, to-read, and currently reading, but you can add other tags that then form collections. Once you’ve read a book, you can rate it and write a review. While you’re reading the book, you can leave comments with updates of your progress. The social element is handy for recommending books to friends and discussing the books you read. There are tools for virtual book clubs and online communities for local book clubs.

Nell Chenault: “Scanning to Save or Send”
They have 12 scanning stations, both Mac and PC, including two slide scanners. Also, they have microform scanners instead of the old light box machines. In the past five years, they’ve seen use increase 325%.

Abiodun Solanke: “Netbooks or Laptops” 
In the last hardware replacement cycle, they replaced circulating laptops with netbooks. Cost, capabilities, and portability were factors considered. Some specialized programs could not be loaded, but there are many desktop computer alternatives. Student reaction appears to be divided along gender – male students thought they were too small, but female students liked them. They did a survey of users borrowing the netbooks, and found that over time the negative comments reduced. They concluded that initial reactions to new things aren’t always indicative of their success. Currently would like to add netbooks with Mac OS.

Darnell Law: “Up In The Air: Text-A-Librarian and Mobile Technologies at Johnston Memorial Library”
Implemented service at the end of the spring semester, so they haven’t seen much use yet. They’re using a service called Text a Librarian. Users enter a specific number and a short code at the beginning of the message. The questions are answered through the service website. The phone numbers are anonymized. Some of the advantages of this service include working with any carrier, not requiring a cell phone to answer the texts, relatively inexpensive (~$1100/yr), answer templates for quick responses, and promotional materials.

switching teams

No, not that team!

This evening, I placed an order through the Apple Education Store for a brand-new 20-inch 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo iMac with iWork ’08 preinstalled. I have been eying this thing for months as a replacement for my Compaq Presario R3000 laptop. The old girl is still chugging along, but her memory is failing and she can’t keep up with all the apps I need to run at the same time.

I decided to go for a desktop since that’s really what I need at home now. The Presario worked okay as both my desktop and portable laptop, but it’s heavy, and the keyboard isn’t comfortable for long-term use. A Macbook would be lighter, but the keyboard thing would still be an issue. And, since I have a laptop at work, I won’t need to have something to cover the portability thing. In any case, I mainly needed it for work-related things such as taking notes at conferences and staying connected to work while on the road.

I waffled for a while between getting a Windows machine or getting a Mac, but in the end I decided that I’d get more bang for my buck with a Mac. I’m sure there will be a few applications I’ll miss from my PC, but from what I understand, there are more and more equivalent or better applications to do the same thing on a Mac, plus there’s the whole Parallels thing if I want to bother with it.

I’m not going to get rid of the ol’ Presario anytime soon, either. I’m pretty sure it will take me a while to transfer all my important files, and I may just turn her into my dedicated music server, depending on whether or not my external hard drive containing all my tunes will work with the iMac or not.

nasig part six

After the RSS tactics session, I took a break from conference stuff. My laptop and I went down to a Dunn Bros coffee shop where I sat out at a sidewalk table, sipped my Americano, and caught up on email using their free wi-fi. This also gave me time to decompress and get ready for the evening’s performance at Windows on Minnesota during the 20th Anniversary Party/Dinner. You can view the results of that here. I’m in the second skit.