Thursday, 19 March 2015

Time and calendars

The 8th Thing is Calendars - electronic calendars and their uses.

'Explore your phone's calendar app and its alert function'. Yes I do that have even been known to set the second alert for some appointments. 
The calendar on the library's website utilises Google Calendars and has the ability to copy its events to your calendar. 
My emails are via Outlook and Yahoo's Mail app, both with calendar functions.
We use Envisionware's PCRes to book library public computers, great that it also counts down their session time and alerts them when approaching the end of the session (has stopped lots of arguments). In some branches it is coupled with LPTOne print management which  governs printing from the pcs (which has stopped even more arguments resulting from 'accidentally' generated copies). 
Have had experience with ticketing sites like Eventbrite for event registrations that prompt your calendar. 

Then there's a whole array of online calendars you encounter when registering events booking, training, conferences, etc.

The electronic reminder/alert is a great assistance to ring a bell/send a message when something may have slipped by the human calendar.

Yet I think there's still a role for the humble print calendar in conjunction with the electronic - even if it is just for it's art.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Talking with Mobile Things

Thing 7 is Communicating.
I found it interesting that the 23 People's first paragraph states "It often seems as though distance and time are the enemy, yet there are many opportunities to work together using technology to break down the tyranny of distance. In this Thing we’re taking a closer look at Skype and Google+ Hangouts to see how libraries are using them to deliver client focused services and to work together as teams."
As 'Tyranny of distance' is the title I used for the slide on my 'IT in history' presentation, where I discussed this topic - I've reproduced it below.
Here are just 3 of the most popular methods of talking & conferencing online.
Facetime - make video calls with WiFi on your iPhone, iPad or Mac computer.
- is the most popular application on the market for making video calls, mobile calls, and sending instant messages and SMS. Good for group teleconferencing as it works on most devices phone, smart TV, PC or Mac.  
With Google+ Hangouts you can make video calls, send messages and photos, it works on computers, Android and Apple devices. Users can share documents, or over Google+. 
All basic services are free, until you reach 10 or more people, then you start paying money.

We use Skype to communicate with the rest of the Swift libraries, it allows people spread 'round the state to communicate remotely, and coupled with screen-sharing products, allows staff to work together without spending half their time traveling. I've seen Google+ Hangouts operate, but with people who already had Google accounts (if it can be utilised by the Space Station, then there's really no tyranny of distance). I think using it for bookclubs is a great idea for those people who avoid joining bookclubs due to time or location limitations - you could even participate in a session in your jim-jams.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Quick reads

Mobile Thing 9: QR codes.
I posted about QR codes a few weeks ago (Technology gone wild) and how great they were in the airline business, but I hadn't conceived the range of uses that other people have already adopted.
The smart pjs are...well astonishing.

I've come across QR codes in a variety of situations - on books as in my post "An island in time"; with Munzee scavenger hunts (similar to Geocaching but utilising QR code technology); in shops like Macca's to pre-order your coffee, etc.

I had already loaded some barcode & QR code reading apps to my phone, as well as the Bookwire app (from the Books In Print people) that scans ISBNs AND then adds the bib info to a list for ordering later.
I remember reading that QR codes are being used by the British Museum instead of/in addition to the little exhibit cards. While not as revolutionary as the pj idea, I can see a real role in such an application when you are constrained by how much writing you can fit on a card and how small the font can be; adding audio and/or video to the explanation.

I think the take up of QR codes is still to come.

Lost 100

A new book from the people who produced "100 places you will never visit" see my post 'Keep out' in 2013 - now comes "100 things you will never find".
The book by Daniel Smith details lost cities, hidden treasures, legendary quests, coverted artefacts and concealed secrets.
This book unlocks the world's lost property cupboard and sifts through buried treasure, mysterious disappearances and unknown locations, examining the evidence - and the conspiracy theories - surrounding the world's most legendary lost objects. Who erased the Nixon tapes? Did Captain Kidd really bury his treasure on Rhode Island? Is Lord Lucan still alive? Did NASA tape over the Apollo 11 recordings? Ranging from a single gemstone (the Great Mogul Diamond) to hoards of jewels (treasure of the Knights Templar); and from a single man (hijacker D.B. Cooper) to swathes of people (the Lost Army of Cambyses); via Shergar the stolen horse, the top secret recipe for KFC, the fifth spy in the 'Cambridge Five'; Daniel Smith shines a torch into the darkest speculative theories and examines the hidden truth. 

A fascinating catalogue of lost things, "100 Things You Will Never Find" will take you on a unique quest around the globe and across the centuries, searching for the legendary items that have inspired generations of explorers, scientists and storytellers alike. 
It gives a potted history of the thing may have been lost, stolen, hidden or just forgotten over the years; it then gives some hypothesis and theories on what may have transpired or why it will never be found.
Again there are a number of Australian entries -  "The story of the Kelly Gang" film, the Tassie tiger, the Mahogany Ship, and the disappearance of Harold Holt.
Faberge's Lily of the Valley egg

There are some of my favourites - Amelia Earhart's aeroplane, the crew of the Mary Celeste,
and the perennial favourites Atlantis, the Loch Ness Monster, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Holy Grail.
And then some that I wasn't aware of - the missing JFK brain, the Russian Imperial Faberge Easter Eggs, or the Tybee Island u-bomb.

Read more about these and the other 88 things you will never find. Or better yet devise your own 100 things never to be found...starting with Lasseter's Reef, the AE1, Lake Pedder, Excalibur, ...

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Mobile Thing 6 - Videoing things

This Thing covers the use of YouTube and other applications for videoing in libraries, and things generally. 
Having played with some of the other tools Vimeo, and Animoto previously (it was amazing to realise that it was 6 years ago though), I decided to Explore 'YouTube' - Record a video on your mobile device and upload a YouTube video, (I had created a YouTube Account, just hadn't uploaded anything, so now is the chance to do so) and combine it with some of the Thinking Points - local history and library programs and promotion. The result being an information video on the 'Wimmera in Photographs' project.
The video can then be utilised by both staff and the public to familarise them with the scope of the project, it could be on the Digital Photo Frame prior to Collection Days.
So here is the 'Wimmera in Photographs' video from YouTube, via the library's channel.


Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Lights - Camera - Lego!

There are few toys as timeless and iconic as the humble LEGO block. However, in the 55 years since the LEGO block was born, another industry has created thousands of iconic images that we’ve grown to know and love.

What better way to celebrate the motion picture industry than by recreating some of these recognisable images in LEGO form?

Charlton Heston drives some static horses in 'Ben Hur'
'The Matrix' complete with water-wall effect
In ‘Brick Flicks : 60 iconic movie scenes and posters to make from Lego’ by Warren Elsmore, the author has recreated 60 famous movies from one of the earliest colour films - ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939), right up to the computer-generated imagery of ‘The Life of Pi’ (2012). The journey takes us through action, comedy, drama, science fiction and more as we celebrate the versatility of the LEGO palette. 
Each film brings its own challenges to create an image that is instantly recognisable. In some instances, the author has chosen to use a scene from the film itself and in some cases the movie poster itself is the ‘main protagonist’. Either way, the image brings back memories – or perhaps triggers a desire to expand your own film collection!

Check out this YouTube clip, especially the ‘Dr No’ and ‘The Shining’ ones (the Lego face does look like Jack Nicholson).

Yes - 'My heart will go on' , 'Titanic'

The full-colour photography is accompanied by a commentary and interesting facts on the movie, how the scenes were made, and step-by-step instructions for constructing some of the smaller projects yourself at home.

Warren Elsmore is an adult fan of LEGO, he's been in love with the little plastic brick since the age of four, and now lives out many people’s dream of earning a living playing with Lego!
Orson Welles' classic 'Citizen Kane'

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Interesting pin

Have to give a gong to someone using the moniker mulzi. Seems mulzi is the hundredth person to follow my Pinterest page.
My Pinterest Page
 While your Pinterest boards are personal - your likes/interests/hobbies - its great to see how universal they can be, when people follow you, or repin, or like your pin board/s. 

Interestingly my pin with the greatest interest has been the librarian t-shirt (more kudos to librarians everywhere) - 82 people have repined it, and 14 have 'liked' it.
The pinners I've 'encountered' are from all over and unknowns - none are people I actually know or have met - it's a bit weird to know of people with similar interests.
So it is back to my pinboards and the next milestone - maybe my 30th board or 5,000th pin?

Monday, 9 February 2015

Technology gone wild

Got to embrace some new uses of technology today - well new to me.

The first was the mobile checkin for flights ( I had thought that the email boarding pass was a great leap forward, now this is even better). Just click on the link in your ticketing info confirm a few details and the airline sends you a message with a QR code for your boarding pass no queues no waiting just hold your screen over their scanner at the gate.
For me it was even easier on a 2 person ticket it sent each code to different phones I didn't even need to make the a connection.
The next new tech I encountered was wi-fi on the plane. I can still remember when a mobile phone was likely to bring down a plane by interfering with its electronics, now the planes come equipped with public wi-fi.
And yes, the flight crew couldn't get it to make a connection on the way up, and then on the flight back they needed extra hamsters to spin the speed up (I endeavoured to download an ebook from Bolinda's BorrowBox but it just kept whirling), but hey gotta love the concept each passenger in their own electronic cocoon.

I think anything that can ease the steps involved in passage through the airport is a plus plus.

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Not to be carried into any attack

'Not to be carried into any attack' That's the warning printed on the top of the map of which features on the endpapers of "Mapping the First World War : the Great War through maps from 1914 to 1918".

(the book's front cover is a famous photograph by Frank Hurley, of five members of the 4th Australian Division field artillery brigade, passing along duckboards over mud among gaunt bare tree trunks in the devastated Chateau Wood, a portion of one of the battlegrounds in the Ypres salient. Left to right: Gunner James Macrea Fulton, 110 Battery, 10th Field Artillery Brigade; Lieutenant Anthony Devine; Sergeant Clive Stewart Smith. It has also been claimed that the third soldier from the left is Gunner Hubert Lionel Nichols with his brother Gunner Douglas Roy Nichols, immediately behind. The Nichols brothers both served in the 110th Howitzer Battery. All the identified men served in 4th Australian Division artillery units. The last man in the group is unknown. Western Front, 29 October 1917). 
Gathered by Peter Chasseaud from the collection of the Imperial War Museums.
During the years of the First World War, the world saw the rise of technology, including improvements in the making and disseminating of maps. Portable printing units, aerial photographs, and precise measurement became an integral part of strategy, troop placement, bombardment, and even retreats. The number of maps produced was staggering British production alone was more than 34 million maps. Featuring more than 150 maps, this work shows the trenches, troop placement, planning, and even propaganda. The maps are reproduced in high-quality colour, and there is a plethora of accompanying black-and-white photographs. The work includes maps representing all battlefronts, from the Atlantic to the Pacific. .
More than 150 maps (some previously unpublished) demonstrate how World War I was fought around the world -
  • Small scale maps show country boundaries and occupied territories.
  • Large-scale maps cover the key battles and offensives on all fronts of the war, and trench maps show detailed positions of the front line.
  • Maps from newspapers are also included, as well as battle planning and propaganda. 
Key offensives covered include the Battles of the Marne and Ypres; Tannenberg and the Eastern Front; Verdun and the Somme; the Gallipoli Campaign; Battle of Jutland; the Advances to Jerusalem, Damascus, and Baghdad; Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele; and the German 1918 offensives and Allied counter-offensives. 
It includes the lesser known African campaigns with one German map which includes an annotation of 'Reserved Football Ground for Tame Englishmen' set in the Sahara Desert.
The book is more than a collection of coloured maps though. Along with the maps, key historical events are described - from the causes of the war to the role of sea & air forces -  giving an illustrated history of the war from an expert historian.
As the hype ramps up for the centenary of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli, books such as 'Mapping the First World War" will come into their own.