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.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Art - more than tagging

I had been intending to check out the Geelong B power station site for some time, but now there is an added attraction - the street art of a number of graffiti and mural artists.
Retasking the environment
Geelong B is located in North Geelong alongside Corio Bay, and was the largest power station (outside the Latrobe Valley) in Victoria. It opened on 8th October 1954 and closed in 1970. It used brown coal initially sourced from Winchelsea, then Anglesea and finally from Yallourn. The station could generate 30,000 kilowatts from 3 boilers connected to the power house. The boilers, transformers,generators, coal-handling equipment and all the other gear has been removed, leaving the hollow shell of the power house - a blank canvas. 

Love the fusion piece by Duke (top), and check out the light-bulb moment, it is actually sunlight through an existing hole in the wall - wonderful utilisation of the surface.

'Powerhouse' is a great concept, as proof I'd usually be looking to capture the massive size of the abandonment, this time it was the painted images that monopolised the camera lens.

Entrance to Powerhouse
Plywood stand works from a January competition
But it wasn't only the large art works which grab your attention. What thought processes came up with the idea of making these engine blocks (well some type of machinery must have been mounted on these concrete plinths) into chocolate bars, and it works even the partly unwrapped Kit-Kat! (I've mirror-imaged the photo so you can read the labels).

Have a Crunchie, Kit-Kat or a Twirl
by Cax One

On the left is a beautiful piece, did you immediately think of Michelangelo's Hand of God to Adam? Also liked the Vespa image next door.

In addition to the works on the interior and exterior walls, in the grounds there are a number of vans, shipping containers, etc. which have been sprayed.

Mobile art (the ninja turtle is by Honkey)

I have looked at Rone's mural 'Unknown Girl of the Street' in Collins Street any number of times, but his 'Broken window theory' at Powerhouse is even better.
From Rone's site, taken from an elevated angle
The bookend to this mural is a spectacular one by Mark Meataxe Taylor. 

The spray-paint muralist who specialises in photo-realism portraiture, took 17 days from sunrise to sunset perched on a crane to complete the huge 4-storey piece.

It dominates the scene as you approach the front gates.

'Powerhouse' is a must visit site when going to Geelong, it is in Mackey Street, and only a donation at the door - well worth it.

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.

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

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, ...