Sunday, 23 August 2015

Sketching Australia

A new book was added to the collection just in time for the S.T. Gill exhibition at the State Library of Victoria.

The book is "S.T. Gill & his audiences" by Sasha Grishin, has been jointly published by the National Library and State Library.

The cover of the book is a depiction of Gill's 'Doing the Block'

The Block, on fashionable Collins Street, was a stylish shopping strip in the 1880s. It was also a famous spot for promenading and people-watching, an activity known as 'doing the Block'. He completed this lively painting three months before his death at the age of 62, when he died a pauper on the steps of the Post Office.

Samuel Thomas Gill, or STG as he was universally known, was Australia's most significant and popular artist of the mid-nineteenth century. For his contemporaries he epitomised 'Marvellous Melbourne' basking in the glow of the gold rushes. He worked in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales and left some of the most memorable images of urban and rural life in colonial Australia. A passionate defender of Indigenous Australians and of the environment, Gill in his art celebrated the emerging quintessential Australian character. This is the first major comprehensive book to be devoted to Gill and presents a radical reassessment of one of the most important figures in Australian colonial art and reproduces, in some instances for the first time, some of the most startling images from nineteenth-century Australian art.

The exhibition "Australian sketchbook : colonial life and the art of S.T. Gill" is in the Keith Murdoch Gallery until 25th October. If you can't make it to Melbourne there is also an online version. But it doesn't quite measure up to standing in front of the originals. I had a quite moment in front of his 'The Duff children' 151 years after the event.

And while I was familiar with Gill's goldfield watercolours, I was unaware of the origin of his  'Country NW of tableland' (in fact I normally call it 'Doctor Hunger & Captain Thirst' after the cover of the book which had it as the cover).
Gill made this watercolour drawing in 1846 while on the privately funded Horrocks Expedition (of Horrock's Pass fame) to the South Australian interior. In this sweeping panorama, Gill adopted a well-known strategy from Romanticism by showing two figures, seen from behind, contemplating the vastness of nature and thus drawing the viewer into the scene depicted. The taller figure with the gun is Horrocks, the other with a sketchpad is Gill – one claiming and naming the country in front of him, the other recording it.
 A rare opportunity to see more than 200 of Gill's paintings, drawings, watercolours and prints at the exhibition or in the book.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Online ID

Online Identity, Thing 13
My first response was to do what just about everyone has done online at least once - key in your name and see what comes up.
I did, and my anonymity level soared. The real me didn't feature in the first page of results, even the LinkedIn one was someone else.
I did like that the 'I am Pegasus' film-clip got a guernsey.

Online Identity is a current topic of conservation with regards to the whole cyber safety discussions, so yes, it is important to know how to manage your online identities (professional and personal), and also to be able to advise our clients and communities on how to protect their own privacy online (the Tech Savvy program has a session 'Introduction to Cyber Safety') and working through the eSmart modules will deal with both staff and public safety.
It is good that Facebook's settings, including the privacy settings are more transparent now days.

The whole idea of what different organisations know and collect about you was re-enforced the other night as I watched the film version of 1984, so I'll borrow John Pilger's image from 'The war you don't see' to mask my online identity, while I manage privacy versus access.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Pics of the Day

Reminiscing with Twisted Sifter, as they post their best 50 'Pictures of the Day' for 2015.

'Water walkway in Croatia'
One day I'd love to visit the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia - more than once, to see it in different seasons, (and without the crowds of people!).

From the everyday to the extraordinary, the 50 photos of the day cover the gambit from macro - the galaxy inside a flower, to the world encompassing - astronaut's salute to Mr Spock/Leonard Nimoy.

Then there's opportune - a pirate kite, and the what is that, oh - the Yunnan rice paddy terraces.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Games in the library

Gamification is the use of game thinking and technology in a non-game context in order to engage users and solve problems.
The Explore for Thing 12 - Mobile devices have many recreational and lifestyle uses –Culinary inspiration, Interior design, Gardening and landscaping, and sporting events- have to agree Recipes (and cooking shows) are the big thing.
It is a bit of a balancing act between the educational and the purely time-wasters. Need an game app which enjoyably expands your mind. I kid myself that apps like 'Words with friends', 'Flow Free', 'Doodle Find', 'Whirly Words', and 'Mind Puzzle' all fit that bill (but not '4 Pictures 1 Word' at present, it is doing my head in) and are keeping the brain active.

It has already been shown that tablet devices can aid therapy patients.

So what is the best gamification of the Dewey Decimal Classification System?

I did find the "Shelved" app, it says - 'Are you a librarian at heart? Do you have what it takes to work in a library? This game is your test! The point of the game is simple: put the books in order--but any librarian will tell you that's not as simple as it sounds.'
I haven't spent my $1.29 to find out if I have the makings of a librarian.

Related apps included "Escape3D: Library" by, "Know the lingo : the app to help you navigate your library" and a whole load of word game.

Friday, 29 May 2015

Really - Thing 11

Thing 11 is Augmented reality. AR is the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device.

I first encountered an AR app in 2012, with the National Trust's ' 'Lost! 100 lost buildings of Melbourne' the Trust's iPhone app. The interactive 3D app enables users to "ghost" - visually overlay buildings from the past onto the present, by augmenting the iPhone's existing camera function. A history, photos and stories of these often long-demolished buildings is also available. 

On the left is the Fire Brigade Tower at the rear of 447 Little Bourke Street, built in 1882, it was the 6-storey lookout tower of Melbourne's first fire station. 

Playing underwater with the AR screen at The Dock library in Melbourne

Then recently on a visit to the new gee-whiz Library at the Dock in Melbourne's Docklands we got to see and play with their interactive screens, including the underwater themed one in the kids section (though the little girl in the green gumboots was the best prepared), and the time-lapse of the development of Docklands (what they are calling the greening of the precinct, as it changes from industrial to shopping and residential).

And finally I came across this YouTube video at Weburbanist on augmented sandbox real-time 3D topographical landscaping.

Library related applications of AR, include a LibraryThing “overlay” for the mobile phone app Layar. It draws on LibraryThing Local to show you the closest bookshops and libraries. Then how about "Virtual bay-ends" using the Aurasma platform -Pointing a mobile device at a particular image overlays directional arrows to where that type of resource is located – giving users an initial idea of where to find what they are looking for.
Maybe similar to this?
 Among the Thinking Points, I liked the idea of utilising AR technology to "overlay local history film and audio clips into your local environment using an AR app".

Monday, 25 May 2015

10. Reading socially

Tools to support reading and keeping track of social media, looking at
  1. tools to read social media and RSS
  2. tools and apps to interact with other readers (Goodreads and LibraryThing are popular options)
  3. activities like online book clubs
As I'm still getting over the loss of Google Reader, and yet to find a suitable substitute, I was very interested in this Thing.
I checked out Pulse which aggregates blogs, magazines, social networks and newspapers, but is part of LinkedIn - so no.
I've tried Bloglines (now sadly discontinued), Keeeb and a couple of others, but prompted by the 'Discover' section I'm trialling Feedly which will draws together your RSS feeds, Tumblr blogs and Youtube channels. Building it up, but so far so good.

I followed GoodReads on Twitter - they are the people who filled my timeline with innumerable tweets - now gone.I hadn't followed LibraryThing's Talk, however on checking it out the second thread was "Off Topic: Who wants to talk about their cats (or other pets)?" uurrhh online cat lady, so maybe not.
 And the 'Thinking Point' question: follow blogs etc. in a reader or rely more on Twitter for current information? I'm thinking blogs (not just 'cos this is a blog, but) they have greater scope, and more to perk your interest than a tiny-URL.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

A sting in the tale

"After the crash" the first novel by Michel Bussi, has a wonderful premise -

On the night of 22 December 1980, a plane crashes on the Franco-Swiss border and is engulfed in flames. 168 out of 169 passengers are killed instantly. The miraculous sole survivor is a three-month-old baby girl. Two families, one rich, the other poor, step forward to claim her, sparking an investigation that will last for almost two decades. Is she Lyse-Rose or Emilie?
Eighteen years later, having failed to discover the truth, private detective Credule Grand-Duc plans to take his own life, but not before placing an account of his investigation in the girl's hands. But, as he sits at his desk about to pull the trigger, he uncovers a secret that changes everything - then is killed before he can breathe a word of it to anyone...

Monday, 18 May 2015


Sunrise on Heron Island
What a way to reach 200. I've just logged my 200th geocache.
It was a virtual cache on Heron Island, placed by Bundyrumandcoke
What I didn't realise until messaged by Bundy -
"You are a winner. You can now log the oldest unlogged unfound GCA cache in Qld. "
was I was the FTF First-To-Find the cache which was the oldest unfound GeoCacheAustralia cache in Queensland, seems that not many cachers make the journey out to Heron.
Pleased to for Bundy who must have been despairing of anyone actually searching for his cache (it had been released back in February 2008).
So if you are holidaying on Heron Island take some time out to do a bit of searching and see if you can find "No, no, don't do it"
End of the day - Heron sunset

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Eoin for grown-ups

Have loved Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books (especially when read by Nathaniel Parker), but now comes Eoin's hard-bitten crime series with Dan McEvoy "Plugged" and "Screwed".

In the first of the series "Plugged" we're introduced to Daniel McEvoy a scarred ex-Irish Army sergeant now a bouncer at 'Slotz' - a seedy small-time casino.
Dan has a problem, his favourite hostess at Slotz and love-interest - Connie - has been murdered in the parking lot behind the club. And to complicate things Zeb - his dubious Lebonese plastic surgeon has disappeared.
In no time at all, Dan has half the New Jersey mobsters, some dirty cops and his man-crazy agoraphobic upstairs neighbour after him. 
Bullets are flying, eveyone's on the take and McEvoy still doesn't have a clue what's happening. 
By "Screwed", Dan is ready to say goodbye to New Jersy's lawless underground and concentrate on his new life as club owner and bona fide boyfriend...But when Dan is abducted by two bent cops and driven into the Hudson River by a vengefull crime boss, he realises that the New Jersey underworld isn't ready to say goodbye to him.
If Dan is to survive until the grand re-opening of his club, he will have to evade the bad guys on both sides of the law, and find his missing aunt.

Told with head-spinning plot twists and breakneck pacing this is a darker Eoin Colfer. I was reminded of Shane Moloney's Murray Whelan.