iPads, iPhones, and Flash

I have an iPhone. I also have an iPad2. And apparently, I don’t have Flash.

I say “apparently” … because I haven’t really missed it. Sure, there’s been a couple of times that I’ve run into the “you need to install flash to view this” message – usually on a poorly-designed website that I tried to get to from a link in an article I was reading.

But have I missed Flash? No, not really. Most of my browsing activity comes from reading RSS feeds, which I get just fine. Most of my video viewing comes via Youtube, which I also get just fine.

If I need to test something from my library’s website, our library catalog, or our databases, I get those just fine too. No Flash required.

How about you? Do you find yourself missing Flash? Is it a problem? If so, how come? Please share!

Videos are a Familiar Format

Are you using video to connect with your customers? If not … Guess what? These days, most of your customers are used to connecting to people, to ideas, and to stories through video.

Don’t believe me? Answer this – have you ever cried while watching a movie? Been moved by a rather dramatic turn in the plot? I’m guessing your answer was “yes.” Some of us are even moved while watching the evening news (when a powerful story is being told).

My point? Most of us these days are used to connecting to stuff and to people through video. Video isn’t a new format at all – video, in one form or another, has been around for over 130 years. It’s just extremely easy to do now.

So dust off that camera, and start using video to share your organization’s story, or the story of what you sell or create as a business (yes, libraries are creating and selling things. Do you know what those things are?).

pic from Wikipedia

The Daily Grape and the Daily Book?

Gary Vaynerchuk, who made videos about wine at Wine Library TV and now at the Daily Grape, has a really cool idea about how to add value to his wine videos, and to help his viewers keep track of (and buy) wine they’re interesting in trying.

Here’s what Gary wants to do (from episode #1 of the Daily Grape):

  • Create mobile app-based video (and have a web-based version too)
  • Make his videos shorter
  • Make the content entertaining and usable
  • Created a mobile app (Daily Grape in the iTunes app store) that goes along with the videos

Gary noticed that he mentions a lot of wine, and some of his viewers forget about the wine after they’re done watching the video. So why not make an app to solve that problem?

Here’s how Gary’s app works:

  • sign up for a free account through the Daily Grape app.
  • Then, watch one of Gary’s videos
  • If you like the sound of a wine Gary mentions, you can click through to the video details, and add the wine to your wish list.
  • Then you have a handy list when you’re at a restaurant or a wine store.
  • You can also comment on the wines found on the app.

Cool idea, huh? Believe it or not, I think this could work for libraries, too. More wine for everybody! No, just kidding.

We have books, don’t we? My library has a collection of almost 500,000 books/videos/etc. Do you think our patrons can remember all those titles?

Right – probably not. But that’s why some of the newer ILS’s include things like wish lists, tags, and comments. I’ve seen some library catalogs that let you take those wish lists and turn them into RSS feeds, which gives your patrons the ability to embed their lists wherever they want.

That’s cool. But what if library staff did the same thing? Why not keep a running list of staff picks that can be discovered in the catalog and on the website. And on the library’s blog sidebar (since it’s embeddable). And in Facebook (with a little coding added in).

In fact, my library is already providing some of that, in the form of blog posts with links to good books that happen to be in our collection.

So – just a slightly different, slightly more purposeful way to think about content created by library staff. Be a bit purposeful, like Gary Vaynerchuk – direct your customer to good content, help them check stuff out – and provide them with ways to remember the books they want to read.

Do you do that? If so – how do you do it?

The Glif – an iPhone Tripod Mount

This video was created for the sole purpose of testing out the Glif, a stand/mount/tripod attachment for the iPhone. It works great! Here’s a photo of the Glif in action, acting as an iPhone stand.

The guys who created the Glif did it in an interesting way – they raised money for the project via Kickstarter. Kickstarter helps raise money for creative projects, and has a “unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.” Cool way to raise money!