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David Lee King

What did we do before the Web?



Google Hangout with people from SpainOn Wednesday, I was at Rutgers University for the day, visiting with LIS students and giving an evening presentation on makerspaces. The presentation went great – here’s a link to my slides.

That afternoon, I had the privilege of visiting Joyce Valenza‘s LIS class. Her class is focused on social media, and the students discussed QR codes and AR (augmented reality).

Most of the students had smartphones, so they were able to test out some AR apps, like Layar and ChromVille, during the class. I even helped a bit, by answering questions and showing how the app connected to the book The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore works.

But this is 2014, so Joyce also called the ChromVille developers (who live in Spain) using Google Hangouts, and the LIS students were able to have a really cool conversation with them (and with Shannon Miller, who also visited via the hangout).

The photo in this post shows the developers previewing their not-yet-released updated version of ChromVille to the students.

Just sorta mind-boggling to me. I graduated from Library School in 1995 (University of Tennessee). Technology things like LCD projectors existed, but were hard to deal with. Video conferencing was around, but didn’t work all that great. Most of my classes involving that type of technology were spent, quite honestly, watching the professors trying to make things work.

Today however, that stuff is so much easier. If you have adequate wifi, you can connect to practically anyone in the world. Wow.

Besides Google Hangouts, Joyce was using some online content curation tools, some Ed Tech stuff I’d never heard of, and Dropbox as part of her class. And probably a whole bunch of other handy online tools, too. All of which help make her class easy to deal with – collaboration and connecting with her and other students (and app developers in Spain) is a breeze.

The coolest thing? All of this technology helps make the face-to-face class time that much more enriching.

We’ve come a long way, huh?

 

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What’s in Your Bag?



Photo of stuff in my bag

What do you carry around every day? I just reassessed what’s in my bag … because I purchased a new one.

I’ve been an avid fan of Timbuk2 bags, and have owned three of them. The first two lasted a couple of years, and then the strap broke on the first one, and the second one developed a lovely little hole.

The third one’s been fine, but I recently changed from a 15″ laptop to a 13″ laptop … and the 13″ is MUCH smaller. So I decided to treat myself to a new laptop bag.

This time, I decided to try another bag. I’ve heard good things about Tom Bihn bags, so I bought the Tom Bihn Ristretto bag, made for 13″ laptops. Short story on this bag: I had been eying the olive bag, but when I finally went to purchase it, they didn’t have any more olive bags listed. So I emailed customer service and asked if there happened to be any more lying around the office (and really didn’t expect to hear back from them).

Guess what? Someone from the company promptly emailed back and said I was in luck – there was ONE more olive bag, and she’d hold it for me! So I’m pretty sure I have the LAST Olive Ristretto bag :-). Great customer service from Tom Bihn (and thanks Hannah)!

The smaller size of my new bag made me reassess what I was carrying around. I realized I was carrying around a lot of stuff I really didn’t need to be carrying. And it’s now cleaned out.

So what am I carrying now? Here’s a list (the photo in this post is my stuff, too):

  • 13” macbook pro, mouse and power cable
  • iPhone cable, iPhone battery charger, earbuds
  • extra mouse batteries and charger
  • business cards in black case
  • USB thumb drive
  • reading glasses
  • pens & pencils
  • Some presenter stuff: macbook VGA adapter & Kensington Wireless Presenter pointer
  • bandaid and Advil
  • Work stuff: keys & work door badge
  • Video stuff: Photojojo iPhone camera lenses, lapel microphone, Glif iPhone holder & handgrip
  • and a buckeye from my grandpa

So … what’s in your bag? Please share!

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Does your library Spotify?



I follow Ellen Forsyth, a really smart Australian librarian, on Flickr. Yesterday, I saw this image in her photo stream (see the pic in this post).

Feast magazine has created a Spotify account. Here’s what the magazine says about it:

We are excited to announce that Feast is now on Spotify! Join us at sbsfeastmagazine to listen to the new additions to our profile: a Greek-themed playlist to match our Global Roaming story on life in Lesvos, and Christmas songs from around the world to get you in the spirit while you whip up festive goodies. Old favourites abound in ‘Char Time’ for tunes while you grill, and ‘Celebrate: Diwali’ to channel your inner Bollywood star are still online as well.

What a cool idea! Can libraries do this? I bet so. Spotify (huge music streaming service, for those not familiar with Spotify) allows users to create and share playlists of music.

A library could easily set up some fun playlists. Some examples:

  • seasonal or holiday-based music
  • theme-based music for new books or movies
  • a playlist connected to a major event (i.e., summer reading)
  • literary-focused music playlist
  • or just have fun with staff favorites

What do you think? Has any library done this? Please share!

Pic by Ellen Forsyth

 

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Last week, I gave four presentations at Internet Librarian 2014. As usual, it was a really useful conference, full of takeaways for me.

Here are the presentations I gave:

Web Trends to Watch in 2015: web design trends to watch for, think about, and maybe adapt (included in this post).

Emerging Technology Trends in Libraries for 2015: 10 emerging technology trends, and how they might affect libraries. This was a three hour pre-conference session.

Make your Website UX ROCK: All about basic website UX improvements.

Five Firsts of Website Strategy: This one was presented at the Library Leaders Digital Strategy Summit, which ran concurrently to Internet Librarian. Fun time! I prepared slides, and then the format changed at the last minute. So instead of slides, I gave short table talks about my topic. Much fun and some good discussion happened.

Enjoy!

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On Friday, I was getting ready to fly to Monterey, CA for Internet Librarian 2014, and needed to pay for something on my flight with American Airlines. The screenshot above is the credit card payment page on American Airline’s website.

It’s weird. Instead of running your name, address, etc left to right, they run everything up to down. So my name? There are three vertical boxes for first, middle initial, and last.

That’s pretty much like no other credit card page ever.

And it forced me to think about the functionality of the page. For example, I really, really wanted to type my middle initial in the Country box, and my last name in the City box. Then, since I’m used to typing left to right, when I reached the Street address box, I couldn’t enter my city next. I had to search for the City box … because 9 times out of 10, most of us generally type address, city, state, zipcode. Except, apparently, for American Airlines.

So instead of thinking about my purchase (paying $15 extra to board in group 1), I was having to think about where to type my middle initial and my city.

My point? Don’t ever force your website visitors to have to think about your website and your poorly-done forms. Keep website visitors focused and thinking about the things they really want to do (i.e., check out a book! borrow a movie! read your cool blog post! etc).

If your website visitors have to think about how the functionality of your website works … you have failed.

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