New Amazon Kindle 2 hands-on review and Amazon Changes Text to Speech Feature…02.28.09

28 02 2009

There is a good new review of Amazon’s Kindle 2 by the Boy Genius Report today titled Amazon Kindle 2 hands-on review whose conclusion is related below.  LISNews today reports that “Amazon announced today that it will let publishers decide whether they want the new Kindle e-book device to read their books aloud.”

“…Last but not least is the Text to Speech function. This experimental feature actually works better than expected. It reads the text back in a computerized voice but does so with surprising clarity and proper enunciation. It is not as ‘sterile’ and ‘robotic’ as expected. It won’t replace audible and all those folks upset about this feature should not be concerned about book lovers opting for the Kindle audio version of a book over the audible version. The Text to Speech lacks the intonations, inflections and drama that a real person reading would bring to a book. Nonetheless, the Text to Speech is quite listenable and is a great accessibility feature to boot.

Overall Conclusion

Kindle 2 PROS:

  • Whispernet service makes book searching and purchasing a breeze
  • Kindle 2 is thin, well-balanced with a nice layout of buttons
  • QWERTY keyboard makes entering text easy and allows for features like note taking and web browsing
  • Text is crisp and easy to read with minimal glare and the screen refresh is quick
  • Navigation is easy and intuitive

Kindle 2 CONS:

  • Device is a bit long due to the presence of the QWERTY keyboard
  • Side buttons are a bit awkward to press as you have to push the inner edge and not the outer edge of the button
  • 5-way controller can be difficult to use
  • Cost is a bit prohibitive and you need to purchase a case asthe retail pack does not include one

Overall, the Kindle 2 is a gorgeous looking device that makes digital book reading a joy. For those looking to make the jump into the digital book reading experience, the Kindle 2 is an excellent choice and the experience it provides will be tough to match with a competitive reader. The price tag of $359 is a bit high, especially when you consider the extra $30 you’ll need to shell out for a cover. Never the less, the ability to have all your books on one device and new content accessible via a wireless connection is indispensible and lessens the sting of the high price tag. If you are an avid book reader and have the cash on hand, the Kindle 2 is definitely the way to go. Amazon did a fantastic job and while it might not live up to the hype surrounding its launch, it most definitely came a whole lot closer than we expected.”

© Copyright Boy Genius Report Inc 2006-2007





Top 10 Learning Tools for 2009…02.28.09

28 02 2009

According to Jane’s E-Learning Pick of the Day‘s post Top Tools for Learning 2009 today:

 “…These will be the top tools Learners use for their personal learning, be it formal or informal…” 

“I asked the group of learners on the MSc in E-Learning at Oxford University (where I am a Visting Lecturer) to kick-start the search for the Top Tools for Learners for me, by sharing their Top 10 Tools.  Their collective Top 10 was as follows.

  1. YouTube
  2. Facebook
  3. Google Search
  4. Wikipedia
  5. Furefox (and extentions)
  6. Google Scholar
  7. Google Mail
  8. Skype
  9. PowerPoint
  10. Word”




Google Never Forgets–Important Thoughts on Personal Branding for Librarians and Everyone…02.28.09

28 02 2009

brandjpg

(Image source: © 2000, 2009. Reach Communications Consulting, Inc.)

We all know this or should but everyone needs to be reminded that their online footprints are never deleted.  Here is a good post from marketing specialist Seth Godin titled Personal branding in the age of Google that emphasizes the fact that everyone should think before they post anything online like we should think before we speak:

“A friend advertised on Craigslist for a housekeeper.

Three interesting resumes came to the top. She googled each person’s name.

The first search turned up a MySpace page. There was a picture of the applicant, drinking beer from a funnel. Under hobbies, the first entry was, “binge drinking.”

The second search turned up a personal blog (a good one, actually). The most recent entry said something like, “I am applying for some menial jobs that are below me, and I’m annoyed by it. I’ll certainly quit the minute I sell a few paintings.”

And the third? There were only six matches, and the sixth was from the local police department, indicating that the applicant had been arrested for shoplifting two years earlier.

Three for three.

Google never forgets.

Of course, you don’t have to be a drunk, a thief or a bitter failure for this to backfire. Everything you do now ends up in your permanent record. The best plan is to overload Google with a long tail of good stuff and to always act as if you’re on Candid Camera, because you are.”





FREE WebJunction “23 Things Summit”…02.28.09

28 02 2009

New post on WebJunction titled A Special WJ Event: 23 Things Summit :

“On Tuesday, March 3rd, you are invited to join WebJunction, MaintainIT and an impressive cadre of widely recognized and respected library professionals as we bring you a very special online event, our “23 Things Summit”.

This free, two hour, live online event will detail success stories, ideas and examples of how the innovative 23 Things Program has been used in libraries as a transformational training and continuing education tool. Join in, learn, share your stories and ask questions about this program and how you can use ’23 Things’ to help your library, your community and your career blossom.

Some of the special guests scheduled to appear include:
Brenda Hough
Bobbi NewmanMichael SauersDavid Lee KingCindi HickeyHelene BlowersAnn Walker SmalleyRuth SolieMala MuralidharanMichael Porter and Shirley Biladeau. Please join us this coming Tuesday and add your name to this stellar line-up.

*Registration is required and can be accessed here.”





Kindle Student Version May Be Coming Soon…02.27.09

27 02 2009

student-kindle

TechCrunch reports: Kindle Student Edition Rumored to Be In the Works





“LibGuides” “Library 2.0 Knowledge Sharing System”…02.27.09

27 02 2009

School library blog The Unquiet Librarian posted A New Path to Research: LibGuides! today which discusses a new tool that “over 500 colleges and schools are now using.” LibGuides description from the post:

“…LibGuides is the amazingly popular, easy to use, web 2.0 library knowledge sharing system. Librarians use it to create attractive multimedia content, share knowledge and information, and promote library resources to the community. Academic, Public, Special, and K-12 School Libraries find LibGuides an ideal solution for subject guides, information portals, course guides, community guides, research help, faculty/teacher support, etc…”





Twiiter Co-Founder Video on TED-Ideas Worth Spreading…02.27.09

27 02 2009

ted_logo

A VERY good video on Twitter:

Evan Williams: How Twitter’s spectacular growth is being driven by unexpected uses

“In the year leading up to this talk, the web tool Twitter exploded in size (up 10x during 2008 alone). Co-founder Evan Williams reveals that many of the ideas driving that growth came from unexpected uses invented by the users themselves…”

© TED CONFERENCES, LLC





“Top 5 Semantic Search Engines”…02.27.09

27 02 2009

semantic-search

The following is an excerpt from the recent  Top 5 Semantic Search Engines post on the Pandia Search Engine News site:

Semantic” is a word with a magic ring to it in search engine circles. The way it’s hyped makes you suspect it is the second coming of search… 

What is semantic search?

A semantics searc engine attempts to make sense of search results based on context. It automatically identifies the concepts structuring the texts. For instance, if you search for ‘election’ a semantic search engine might retrieve documents containing the words “vote”, ‘campaigning’ and ‘ballot’, even if the word ‘election’ is not found in the source document.

An important part of this process is disambiguation, both of the queries and of the content on the web. What this means is that the search engine — through natural language processing — will know whether you are looking for a car or a big cat when you search for ‘jaguar’.

The five search engines below all use semantic analysis to sift through and present data. But, as you will see, they do not do this in the same way and present five different products.

When to use semantic search engines

Semantic search has the power to enhance traditional web search, but it will not replace it. A large portion of queries are navigational and semantic search is not a replacement for these. Research queries, on the other hand, will benefit from semantic search…

Hakia is a general purpose semantic search engine, as opposed to e.g. Powerset and Cognition (below), that search structured corpora (text) like Wikipedia…

SenseBot is a web search engine that summarizes search results into one concise digest on the topic of your query. The search engine attempts to understand what the result pages are about. For this purpose it uses text mining to analyze Web pages and identify their key semantic concepts…

Powerseet is at present not a regular web search engine. It works best on smaller, relatively structured corpora…

DeepDyve DeepDyve is a powerful, professional research tool available for free for the general public…

Cognition has a search business based on a semantic map, built over the past 24 years, which the company claims is the most comprehensive and complete map of the English language available today. It is used in support of business analytics, machine translation, document search, context search, and much more…”

© P&S Koch, 1998-2009.





Librarian ALERT: “Recorded Knowlege” is an Oxymoron…02.27.09

27 02 2009

There is a GREAT post today from Virtual Dave which librarians and information professionals need to heed titled Bullet Point: “Recorded Knowledge is an Oxymoron” and excerpted here:

There is a phrase widely used in librarianship that has always bothered me – ‘recorded knowledge.’ It bothers me for a couple reasons, not the least of which it is often invoked by folks who define librarianship as collections and stacks. However, it is much more problematic in the light of participatory librarianship

Regardless of what your theoretical stance is on knowing, however, why limit the field of librarianship to simply organizing and pointing to artifacts? Why ever limit knowledge to what is recorded – ask indigenous people, or the under represented, or the fringe, or even the craftsman. The main goal of librarianship isn’t the orderly distribution and location of stuff. It’s to make our communities smarter, and to make the world a better place. By focusing on recorded knowledge, which I take to mean artifacts like books, DVD’s, web pages, papyrus scrolls, stone tablets, and tapestry (among others), we move our attention away from where it matters – our members/users/patrons…

We forever stand at the breach, the frontline between ignorance and enlightenment. We are the kind hand that conveys our communities from the darkness of the uninformed into the light of knowledge. We must stand shoulder to shoulder with our communities to hold back the tide of indifference and intolerance. Through active service, we must not only point the way to better days, but we must live the way…”





“Core Values of Christian Librarianship” Presentation…02.26.09

26 02 2009

Contrary to the opinion of some, the relationship between the Christian faith and librarianship need not be adversarial...”

freedom

(Image source: www.successinsweatpants.com/)

At the end of January, my post ““A Rationale for Integrating Christian Faith and Librarianship”…01.30.09” contained the conclusion from an essay titled A Rationale for Integrating Christian Faith and Librarianship by Gregory A. Smith which I found quite interesting and worth reading. 

You can view an equally interesting slide presentation by Gregory A. Smith which I found today titled “The Core Values of Christian Librarianship: A Round Table Discussion” which will be fodder for future discourse. You can also read his 2002 essay The Core Value of Christian Leadership online.

Although I have not read it, I have been told there is another essay on a similar topic entitled “A Christian Approach to Intellectual Freedom in Libraries” by James R. Johnson worth reading in Christian Librarianship: Essays on the Integration of Faith and Profession by Gregory A. Smith and Donald G Davis.

 

comic

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(Comics: Unshelved)

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“Grown Up Digital”…02.26.09

26 02 2009

Worth a watch (thanks to Stehpen’s Lighthouse):





Are Social Websites Harming the Brains of Children?…02.25.09

25 02 2009

A post from the UK’s Library and Information Update blog titled Social websites harm children’s brains – warns Prof Susan Greenfield discusses an unsettling Daily Mail article from yesterday and is excerpted here:

“A rather worrying article in today’s Daily Mail, reflecting growing concerns – in some quarters – that social media (Facebook, Twitter, Bebo et al) may be rewiring children’s brains, in less than helpful ways: Social websites harm children’s brains: Chilling warning to parents from top neuroscientist.

I wonder if this relates to the recently publicised finding that the ‘Flynn effect‘ of gradually rising IQs has gone into reverse – amongst UK teenagers…?” 

This one is worth looking into since there is sure to be more media coverage like that of the Nebraska library gaming situation.





Cloud Computing Customers Need an Exit Strategy…02.25.09

25 02 2009

In an InformationWorld article today by Mary Hayes Weier titled Coghead Failure Highlights Risks Of Cloud Computing today, we are advised “…no matter who the vendor, customers should have a good emergency exit strategy.”

Here is an excerpt of the article:

“…On Tuesday, a few days after Coghead said it was shutting down, a more widely known cloud vendor – Google (NSDQ: GOOG) – had a brief outage of its Gmail service due to a data center problem. Undaunted, Google announced that same day that it’ll start charging for Google Apps Engine, its Web-based application platform (or platform-as-a-service).

No one should expect cloud computing to be infallible; software and servers never are, not matter where they reside. But Coghead’s closure lends sobriety to the excitement surrounding cloud computing, which has attracted entrepreneurs big and small and fueled a new wave of venture capital in recent years.

Coghead’s sudden closure also highlights the biggest gotcha of a platform-as-a-service, software-as-a-service, or anything else in the cloud genre: the vendor controls the systems and software. Coghead has told its customers their data needs to be out of its systems by April 30. If a traditional software vendor suddenly went belly up, at least its customers wouldn’t face the pressure of a five-week timeframe to find new software.

Choosing a stable vendor can reduce some of the risks of cloud computing. But even Google acknowledges that the migration path off the Google Apps Engine, should its customers want one, needs some work…”

Copyright © 2008 United Business Media LLC





“Exploring a ‘Deep Web’ That Google Can’t Grasp” with DeepPeep. Etc….02.25.09

25 02 2009

There was a short article drawing attention to the problem of searching the Deep Web in the Sunday NYT titled Exploring a ‘Deep Web’ That Google Can’t Grasp by Alex Wright that is excerpted here:

“…To extract meaningful data from the Deep Web, search engines have to analyze users’ search terms and figure out how to broker those queries to particular databases… 

That approach may sound straightforward in theory, but in practice the vast variety of database structures and possible search terms poses a thorny computational challenge.

‘This is the most interesting data integration problem imaginable,’ says Alon Halevy, a former computer science professor at the University of Washington who is now leading a team at Google that is trying to solve the Deep Web conundrum.

Google’s Deep Web search strategy involves sending out a program to analyze the contents of every database it encounters…

In a similar vein, Prof. Juliana Freire at the University of Utah is working on an ambitious project called DeepPeep (www.deeppeep.org) that eventually aims to crawl and index every database on the public Web. Extracting the contents of so many far-flung data sets requires a sophisticated kind of computational guessing game.

‘The naïve way would be to query all the words in the dictionary,’ Ms. Freire said. Instead, DeepPeep starts by posing a small number of sample queries, ‘so we can then use that to build up our understanding of the databases and choose which words to search.’

Based on that analysis, the program then fires off automated search terms in an effort to dislodge as much data as possible. Ms. Freire claims that her approach retrieves better than 90 percent of the content stored in any given database. Ms. Freire’s work has recently attracted overtures from one of the major search engine companies…”

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

See how the DeepPeep search interface looks like now here:

http://www.deeppeep.org/index.jsp 

deeppeep2





Librarians and Others–FREE “Visual CV”…02.25.09

25 02 2009

Check out the tour of VisualCV  which describes itself as follows:

What is a VisualCV?

VisualCV.com gives you an easy new way to present your Curriculum Vitae (CV) online. VisualCV replaces the traditional resume with an online professional profile. VisualCV.com is the first website that allows you to create an Internet-based resume, build and manage an integrated online career portfolio, and securely share professional qualifications with your customers, partners, employers and colleagues.

How is it used?

You’ll use VisualCVs for professional networking, job searching, business development, and personal brand management. The VisualCV’s compelling Internet-based format helps you to differentiate yourself in a whole new way!…”

visualcv© 2009





Free Sources Help When Searching Open Access LIS e-journals…02.25.09

25 02 2009

Here is the interesting and relevant conclusions from LIS Open Access E-Journal—Where Are You?  by Izabella Taler published in the most recent issue of Webology which I learned about from DigitalKoans :

Library professionals who want to refer users to the most appropriate sources will often gravitate to long-established indexing and abstracting sources, which also happen to be most often subscription-based. However, this study showed that there may be faster and easier approaches requiring fewer stops on the research road.

What are the best venues for users to find open access LIS e-journals that began publishing in the 21st century and to get access to the research that these e-journals provide? The findings reported above certainly point against the use of many traditional library resources such as SD, MFL, LL, LISA, and AS because they fail to cover a significant number of LIS e-journals examined herein.

There is no clear explanation as to what is to blame for commercial databases not covering a significant number of e-journals. Databases do not clearly explain on their websites the procedure and policy about how they select the journals they cover. Perhaps some editors actively seek inclusion in commercial databases, and are therefore more successful in getting their journals covered.

Regardless, the results of this research easily support Swan and Hamilton’s findings about the effectiveness of Google Scholar. Furthermore, as shown above, there are other free resources to keep in mind when assisting users with open access LIS e-journals and its contents: DOAJ, WorldCat, and EBSCO’s LISTA. The data summarized herein show that users can easily bypass expensive resources, and go directly to free resources. This fact may be an important consideration for libraries that are facing tight budgetary climates.”





“New Concepts in Digital Reference”…02.25.09

25 02 2009

Virtual Dave (R.David Lankes), who is involved with Reference Extract, points out what appears to be a very interesting, 64 pg. lecture titled New Concepts in Digital Reference that is now available (Synthesis lectures are available online to all users at licensing institutions or by individual purchase and download from the Morgan & Claypool site)- a portion of the abstract is related here:

“…Digital reference is a deceptively simple concept on its face: ‘the incorporation of human expertise into the information system.‘ This lecture seeks to explore the question of how human expertise is incorporated into a variety of information systems, from libraries, to digital libraries, to information retrieval engines, to knowledge bases. What we learn through this endeavor, begun primarily in the library context, is that the models, methods, standards, and experiments in digital reference have wide applicability. We also catch a glimpse of an unfolding future in which ubiquitous computing makes the identification, interaction, and capture of expertise increasingly important. It is a future that is much more complex than we had anticipated. It is a future in which documents and artifacts are less important than the contexts of their creation and use…”





“Who is watching your space?” from OCLC Conference…02.25.09

25 02 2009

David Booker, The Centered Librarian, brought my attention to the following interesting video below from an OCLC conference last month titled Who is watching your space? 

Too bad more librarians aren’t allowed to or asked to participate in professional conferences and associations.  At least the new technologies available to us help keep us informed.





Teaching the Use of Wikipedia and Google Scholar as “Pre-Searching”…02.25.09

25 02 2009

I really liked the following comments from Dean Giusini, UBC Biomedical Branch librarian at Vancouver hospital, from his Wikipedia & Google Scholar as “pre-search” post yesterday on The Search Principle blog:

“Last week, I spoke to a group of librarians about Google scholar. I get weary talking of Google but realize it’s incredibly influential. However, I’ve branched out into other areas in my information practice and try to keep up with web 2.0 and web 3.0 issues, not to mention teaching and learning concerns.

That said, I do see Google scholar as an important browsing tool – and part of what might be called an ideal ‘pre-search’ tool. But what is a pre-search tool?

Use pre-search tools to orient yourself, to browse, ask questions and get acquainted with topics. Who are the leading authors in a given field? What articles are seminalPre-search as a concept is also applicable to Wikipedia. Think of mother Google this way (i.e. presearch) as well.

Both Google scholar and Wikipedia can confidently be called ‘pre-search’ tools. Let’s convince our faculty users who ban Wikipedia for undergraduate research that much can be learned by using these tools and critiquing them against better sources. It’s part of media and information literacy in the digital age…”





The Need for Training Librarians to Really Be “Social” Online…02.25.09

25 02 2009

Librarian Idol has a very thoughtful post titled Libraries and Online Social Networking   which needs to be read by our fellow professionals which begins with this:

Eloquence. Empathy. Comprehension. These are but some of the basic interpersonal skills that are absolutely necessary, when it comes to being a librarian – being able to relate to, understand, and communicate with members of the library community.
We are often excellent at this face-to-face and over the phone. We use these skills to foster appreciation of our services amongst our clients.

So, how do we fare, when it comes to online interaction?

Over the past few years, there has been a huge focus on libraries and social media. Well, the technology, at least. Many librarians have been put through training programs, learning how to set up accounts in MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter… learning how to set up blogs, and read feeds… learning how to edit wikis and use social bookmarks.

But I often observe the deluded assumption of ‘If we build it, they will come’.

And then, when the library blog sits deserted, or when the facebook/myspace page doesn’t get any friends, the nay-sayers step in, shunning social media as a fad that has no relevance to libraries.

So, here’s one thing I’d like to see. If we’re so focused on libraries using social media, then we need to train our librarians up on actual social networking skills for online communication…”





Kindle 2 Dissection…02.25.09

25 02 2009

The Boy Genius Report has an interesting post titled Kindle 2 teardown reveals some surprising surprises with photos of a dissection of the new Kindle 2 today excerpted here:

The Kindle 2 is one of those gadgets that people either love or hate. One the one hand it’s a glimpse into the more versatile, eco-friendly and portable future for the written (and spoken) word. On the other hand it is also the devil’s dandruff, a little white monster that is attempting to ruin the noble and glorious history of the written word. But no matter what people think of it, most everyone is fascinated by the Kinde 2 and the technology that lurks underneath those understated looks…”

 kindle-2-dissected-2





“Reinventing the Kindle (part II)”-Ideas from Seth Godin…02.25.09

25 02 2009

Marketing phenom Seth Godin has some very interesting suggestions for Amazon’s use of Kindle 2 in his post Reinventing the Kindle (part II) this week which is excerpted here:

“…1. Give publishers (throughout this post, when I say publishers, I also mean self-published authors) the ability to insert passalong credit with a book. So, if you buy a book, it might come with the right to forward it, for free, to two other people who also have Kindles. Three clicks and you just spread the book…

2. Give publishers the ability to send free samples of new books to people who have opted in… 

3. Anytime I send someone a book (see #1) or recommend a book, let me (with the other person’s consent) see the comments they write in the margins of the book as they read it. Imagine being able to read a novel this way with your book group, or a sales manual with your department.

4. Create dynamic pricing. As a book gets more popular, allow the publisher to give a rebate to the first # of  readers… either all or part of a book. If I get good at reading hit books first, I’ll end up paying close to nothing but be rewarded for my good taste and ability to sneeze ideas.

5. Let anyone become a publisher with just a few clicks.

6. Demolish the textbook market as soon as possible by publishing open source textbooks for free. It’s only natural that profit-minded professors will work to replace this by using #5.

7. Give publishers the ability to insert quizzes or feedback. This creates a certification or continuing ed or textbook opportunity far bigger than a book can deliver.

8. Allow all-you-can-eat subscriptions if the author or publisher wants to provide it…

9. And my last one, which I think I mentioned earlier, but it’s so good, I’ll mention it again: ship the Kindle with $1000 worth of books on it. I’m willing to contribute a couple of titles, and my guess is that most authors would.

It’s pretty simple: many book publishers look at this new medium and ask, ‘how can I use it to augment my current business model.’ I’d like Amazon to challenge that thinking and say to the world, ‘how can you use this platform to create a new business model?‘…”





Searching the Deep Web with DeepPeep…02.25.09

25 02 2009

This is interesting from SEO Shootout blog post today titled DeepPeep Another Approach to the ‘Deep Web’ :

“…DeepPeep is funded by the National Science Foundation at  the University of Utah. It’s aimed both at the casual and professional-level searcher who wants to query the Web in a free-form manner. Professor Juliana Freire’s team is attempting to spider and index every database on the public Web. 

deeppeep They currently track 13,000 forms over seven domains.  

Many database’s don’t have handy ‘www’ Web addresses. They are theoretically publicly available, but are designed to be reached by ‘detailed, formal and formulaic typed queries.’  Professor Freire explains that ‘the naïve way would be to query all the words in the dictionary but the smart way is to pose a small number of sample queries that we can then use to build up our understanding of the databases and choose which words to search.‘…”





FREE TODAY–”Introduction to Booklist Online” Webinar…02.25.09

25 02 2009

booklist

Here is a FREE webinar tour/introduction to Booklist Online (ALA book reviews) TODAY:

Reserve your Webinar Seat Now at:
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/638377917
Don’t miss your chance for a guided tour. This free orientation, led by Senior Editor Keir Graff, demonstrates Booklist Online’s value as a selection, collection development, and readers’ advisory tool—for both library staff and library patrons. Reserve your seat today!    

 

Title:   An Introduction to Booklist Online
 
Date:   Wednesday, February 25, 2009
 
Time:   3:00 PM – 4:00 PM CDT




FREE “PDF to Word The Most Accurate PDF to Word Converter”…02.25.09

25 02 2009

Check out this FREE and useful download PDF to Word:

“Using our PDF-to-Word conversion technology, you can quickly and easily create editable DOC/RTF files, making it a cinch to re-use PDF content in applications like Microsoft Word, Excel, OpenOffice, and WordPerfect.

Best of all, it’s entirely free!”

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pdftoword2

pdf5

©2009, Nitro PDF, Inc., and Nitro PDF Pty. Ltd.





“What Cloud Computing Really Means”…02.24.09

24 02 2009

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(Image source: http://infreemation.net/cloud-computing-linear-utility-or-complex-ecosystem/)

InfoWorld has a lengthy article today called What cloud computing really means by Galen Gruman and Eric Knorr worth reading.  Here is a small excerpt of interest:

“…Cloud computing comes into focus only when you think about what IT always needs: a way to increase capacity or add capabilities on the fly without investing in new infrastructure, training new personnel, or licensing new software. Cloud computing encompasses any subscription-based or pay-per-use service that, in real time over the Internet, extends IT’s existing capabilities.

Cloud computing is at an early stage, with a motley crew of providers large and small delivering a slew of cloud-based services, from full-blown applications to storage services to spam filtering. Yes, utility-style infrastructure providers are part of the mix, but so are SaaS (software as a service) providers such as Salesforce.com. Today, for the most part, IT must plug into cloud-based services individually, but cloud computing aggregators and integrators are already emerging.

InfoWorld talked to dozens of vendors, analysts, and IT customers to tease out the various components of cloud computing. Based on those discussions, here’s a rough breakdown of what cloud computing is all about...”

© 1994 – 2009, InfoWorld Inc.





Making Presentations While the Audience Twitters Away…02.24.09

24 02 2009

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The Librarian By Day has a very relevant post today about a topic all presenters today will appreciate titled Presenting during the Age of Twitter in which she relates the following helpful insights for presenters:

“If you’ve been presenting for a while you know that Twitter has changed the audience.

  • Presenting pre-Twitter – you saw a sea of faces looking at you
  • Presenting during the age of Twiter – you see a sea of heads looking at laptops or smart phones

It can be disconcerting if you’re not used to it.  Pistachio has a great article on How to Present While People are Twittering covering topics such as

Benefits of the back channel to the audience- As a presenter, the idea of presenting while people are talking about you is disconcerting. But to balance that, there are huge benefits to the individual members of the audience and to the overall output of a conference or meeting

What about the speaker? Yes, presenting with the back-channel is challenging. Prepare yourself for what it will be like. We’re used to having eye contact with our audience and using that eye contact and audience reaction to measure how well we’re engaging the audience. Now when you say something brilliant, instead of nods of appreciation, there will be a flurry of tapping.

Managing the back channel - We used to suffer in silence through bad presentations. Today, the audience is now connected. They get to know that others are suffering too – and that changes the way they react.”





“Viral Education 2.0″…02.24.09

24 02 2009

This is a well-done video from the UK’s Coventry University:





NEW Kindle 2 Release Day–Wired Product Review…02.24.09

24 02 2009

kindle-2

Here is an excerpted version of Wired‘s review of Amazon.com Kindle 2:

The most notable feature of the Kindle 2 (Amazon.com’s long-awaited update to its groundbreaking but somewhat flawed electronic reading device) is that it’s possible to pick it up and not turn the page. This sounds like faint praise, but anyone using the original Kindle quickly found the oversized buttons covering both sides of the device made grasping it a delicate, stressful task — kind of like picking up a sea urchin. Anything less than perfect finger placement would lose your place.

Not so with the Kindle 2, which fixes that problem and a host of others through thoughtful, businesslike improvements and innovations.

Are the improvements big enough for the Kindle 2 to spark an iPod effect, causing bookstores to shutter, forests to grow unchecked and the tomes on our shelves to disappear, replaced by plants and bobble-head dolls? Not any time soon.

The evolution toward e-reading devices as the dominant means of reading books will be a drawn-out and complicated affair. It will require screen technology with inexpensive, high-resolution color, multitouch and flexible displays. These are all features that the Kindle, as well as competitors like the Sony eReader, are still waiting for. A mass-market solution will also involve pricing that acknowledges how much cheaper it is to distribute books digitally; currently Amazon sells e-books for about half the price of their hardcover equivalents. But for now, the Kindle 2 is the closest thing to this magic formula…

The strengths of the device are the same. The dense, readable display and paperback size allow readers to sink into an author’s world just as they do with a physical tome. But this “book” is augmented by digital technology, allowing you to store hundreds of manuscripts, search through them, and look up words in an onboard dictionary, on the web or through Wikipedia. It also has a free wireless connection to the Amazon Kindle store — now hawking 230,000 books (as well as magazines and newspapers).

The most dramatic changes are in the physical design. Abandoning the quirky shape of the original, which was meant to evoke the form of a real book, the designers boiled down the shape to a pencil-thin (.36-inch) slab, which feels completely natural in hand. Though you can buy an “official” $30 leather cover (it has special hooks that keep the device in place, something that was missing in the original), I found it most comfortable to read bareback. But if you’re into playing it safe, I’d recommend one of the third-party neoprene cases available on Amazon.com…

The Kindle 2 is zippier, with pages turning 20 percent faster (yes, you can tell the difference). It has more memory (2 gigabytes, enough for storing up to 2500 books onboard). And it flaunts a more powerful built-in battery: Amazon claims that the Kindle lasts four to five days with the wireless on (I got 4.5 days in my first test) and up to two weeks with it off. After a week of limited wireless, my meter is around 50 percent. Amazon also says that after 500 charges, it will hold 80 percent of its original juice. That means that most users won’t have to replace the battery (a $60 procedure) for about a decade or so

But text-to-speech works just as well with your own content — you can upload Word files into your Kindle for a dime apiece.

Looking over the horizon, it’s clear that Amazon’s biggest competitor in selling digital books will be Google, whose recent agreement with publishers and authors will make it a virtually exclusive seller for millions of books in copyright but not in print. But right now at least, the Google and Amazon formats aren’t compatible: I was unsuccessful in getting a PDF of a public domain book downloaded from Google to appear in readable form on my Kindle…

WIRED The best e-reading system on the market. Welcome improvements to aesthetics, more functional industrial design, better graphics and longer battery life. Sleeker than the original: A third of an inch thick and 10 ounces.

TIRED Quite expensive. Book content shackled with DRM. Interface is improved, sure, but it could be even better.”

© 2009 CondéNet, Inc.





Cataloging With ‡biblios…02.24.09

24 02 2009

This is from Nicole on the What I Learned Today blog:

“I have uploaded some video tutorials that I put together for ‡biblios.net to YouTube - check them out and learn how to catalog with ‡biblios.net.”

I’m going to try and embed the entire playlist here – so feel free to browse through the videos:

Here is the actual CATALOGING with ‡biblios video:








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