Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Estimating Realistic Project Deadlines

from: The Economist

A Project Duration Formula

Combine the awareness of obstacles and their need to have buffer time built into the project time line with a good project duration estimation formula and you'll begin to be more accurate in your ability to meet those project deadlines. Snead and Wycoff provide a simple way to calculate a realistic duration for the project or for the individual next actions within it:


• Te = Realistic time estimate
• To = Most optimistic time estimate (the Sunny Side estimate with no setbacks)
• Tp = Most pessimistic time estimate (with every obstacle happening)
• Tm = Most probable time estimate (this makes you think realistically; some setbacks happen, others don't)

Let's say we have a project of developing a departmental newsletter. The variables break down as follows:
• Tm = 14 days
• To = 10 days
• Tp = 30 days

The calculation would be:

Te = (10+(4X14)+30)/6

The best estimated duration for the project would be 16 days.

By applying both strategies of building in buffer time for obstacles and using a good project duration formula, consistency in estimating deadlines will develop. Being known as someone whose projects come in on time and under budget is always a career helper and improves one's perceived competence. Besides, it also makes us more confident in our abilities and that confidence helps to improve our performance, which boosts our confidence, which, again, elevates our performance. As one can see, there is such a thing as an upward spiral.

iTunes 4.9 Incorporates Podcasts

You can use iTunes to create your own personal digital music library and easily organize and listen to your collection of digital music files. You can also create your own custom audio CDs and transfer your music to an Apple iPod. If you are installing iTunes for use with an iPod, after installing iTunes, use the cable that came with your iPod to connect your iPod to your computer.

In addition, with iTunes 4.9, you can now browse and subscribe to podcasts from within the iTunes Music Store. Podcasts are frequently updated radio-style shows downloadable over the Internet. You can also transfer podcasts to iPod, for listening on the go. Pretty cool.

Free Download

Friday, June 24, 2005


Pretty cool use of blogs, rss, and wikis in one place!

Read more about what Oregon's doing here

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Blogs as Instructional Tools in Libraries - A Survey

From www.librarystuff.net

Help out librarians Lani Draper & Priscilla Coulter by taking part in their blog survey:

"The purpose of this survey is to find out how librarians are using weblogs (blogs) to interact with and teach library users. The results will be presented at the Off-Campus Library Services Conference in Savannah, GA in April 2006. Your participation is greatly appreciated."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

OCLC's e-serials pilot project

From OCLC's web site:

"The pilot will make eSerials as visible as print materials in WorldCat, the world’s largest database of items held in libraries, and will expose those records to searchers on the open Web through the Open WorldCat program."

Will be interesting to see how this interacts with Google Search and libraries' use of Serials Solutions and SFX/MetaLib A'-Z list" (that LINCC Libraies will have in August).

Read more here.

Publishers' Group Asks Google to Stop Scanning Copyrighted Works for 6 Months

From "The Chronicle of Higher Education"

The Association of American Publishers has asked Google to stop scanning copyrighted books published by the association's members for at least six months while the company answers questions about whether its plan to scan millions of volumes in five major research libraries complies with copyright law.

Dina Merrill to appear in librarian documentary

MADISON, WI – The producers of the “The Hollywood Librarian: Librarians in Cinema and Society” announced today that Dina Merrill has agreed to be interviewed for the documentary about librarians.

The actress, now vice chairman of RKO Pictures, starred as “Sylvia Blair” in one of Hollywood’s more positive portrayals of librarians, together with Katharine Hepburn, Joan Blondell and Sue Randall. “Desk Set,” released in 1957, was Ms. Merrill’s film debut vehicle after nearly 10 years on Broadway. In the movie, all four women are seen as competent and professional research librarians as they navigate the reference department in the wake of a newly-installed, 1950’s computer.

Since her film debut, Ms. Merrill has acted in dozens of motion pictures, television shows and miniseries, as well as establishing her position as a leading philanthropist.

Ann Seidl, the writer and director of the documentary, says she was thrilled to talk with Ms. Merrill and delighted with her participation in the film. “‘Desk Set’ contains some of the most recognizable librarians in American cinema,” said Seidl. “And the issue of technology in libraries is one of the major themes of the movie and of the time period. Being able to talk with one of its stars on camera will add greatly to the documentary.”

Seidl plans to interview Ms. Merrill about the film set, her co-stars and the movie’s adaptation from the stage sometime in late summer or early fall in New York, where Ms. Merrill resides. Financing is being sought from documentary grantmakers and library corporations to fund this and other scheduled interviews with librarians and location shoots.

Monday, June 20, 2005

2/3 of Top Chefs Stream Restaurant Music via iPod

From tuaw.com

As part of a "best of" article in this month's "Food & Wine" magazine, the editors surveyed 70 of America's top chefs about a variety of topics, from ranges, to knives, to restaurant sound systems. It turns out 2/3 of the chefs use iPods to program the ambient music in their dining rooms. They didn't ask how many use iPods to blast the requisite punk rock and techno mixes that keep restuarant kitchens moving, but I think we can assume the percentage there is even higher. Some restaurants, like New York's Little Giant even offer "open cradle" nights where regulars can bring pods and take over the speakers for the evening, something to keep in mind the next time you want to create the perfect evening with that special someone at the little bistro around the corner.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Search Google via SMS

With the new Google SMS service, you can do basic Google queries from any SMS-capable phone (which is darn near all of them) by sending text messages to 46645 (GOOGL). Results usually come within a minute, and are text-based only - no links or other craziness that could screw up an SMS.

Teleporting over the internet

This is very cool and not too far into the future....

Read more about it here

TechConnections conference

From Gary Houk (Vice President, Cataloging and Metadata Services Division, OCLC) at the Ohio Regional Library System's TechConnections6 on the topic of “Connecting Users to Library Services in an Amazoogle World: Trends in Information Discovery and Delivery.”

Need to factor in the habits of these “digital natives” when you’re planning your services and the delivery of them. If you’re spending a lot of money on your portal, is that the best use of your money? Most likely your users aren’t starting at your portal.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

A few months old, but still very interesting

A short movie about the evolution of Google through 2014 and its impact on society as it becomes the sole repository for information (and acquires Amazon.com). LINK
"GoogleExpand" -- well, actually, I made that up, I just mean what Google has purchased and what they may purchase in the future. Interesting speculations from Kuro5hin.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Sirsi and Google Scholar

"Sirsi Corporation announced today a new service that permits a library to link its holdings to Google Scholar via Sirsi Resolver, Sirsi's OpenURL reference linking tool. Using this service, library users can search Google Scholar, rely on a link between Sirsi Resolver and Google Scholar to indicate whether or not the library has access to the particular e-resources, and then have one-click access to full-text articles from those licensed e-resources. This linking service will be available at no charge to Sirsi libraries that are already using Sirsi Resolver, including those using Sirsi Resolver through Sirsi Hosted Services. Sirsi has completed the development of this service and is currently working with several academic libraries on its installation, including Bucknell University, the University of Virginia, and Veracruzana University."

Press release

OverDrive Announces Video on Demand for Public Libraries

"OverDrive, the leader in download audiobooks and eBooks for libraries, announced today the addition of Video on Demand (VoD) services and materials to its Digital Library Reserve network. The new Video on Demand service will be demonstrated to the over 20,000 librarians attending the 2005 American Library Association Annual Conference at Booth #1244 McCormick Place, Chicago, June 24-28. The service is scheduled to go live for patron use later this year."


Monday, June 13, 2005

Old-time radio shows via PodCast

Dozens of old radio shows - variety, mystery, music, sci-fi - available for download here.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Free - download all 9 Beethoven symphonies

The BBC is releasing all nine of Beethoven's symphonies (five are up now) as unencumbered MP3s.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Internet Marketing Opportunities Through RSS

posted by Rok Hrastnik in RSS Marketing

When it comes to new internet marketing opportunities for your business, RSS just might be the answer you were looking for. Here are just some of the new opportunities it can provide you with …

1. Podcasting and Videocasting

Podcasting (delivering internet audio content) and Videocasting (delivering internet video content) allow you to communicate via rich media messages, not only making your content more attractive and powerful, but also enabling a more personal »conversation« with your audiences.

Up until know, the internet was predominantly a textual channel. Adding audio and video to the mix, delivering both via RSS, goes beyond the basic capabilities provided by »traditional« internet content delivery channels.
Rich media personalizes the internet experience and gives your company a distinguishable face, while at the same time providing you with a media platform to convey your message so that it is easier to understand, see and feel.

Think about ...
• Delivering press releases in audio or video
• Sending your customers a personal video message from the CEO
• Doing audio interviews to expand your reach and provide more content to your visitors
• Delivering video demonstrations of your products
• Using video and audio to demonstrate how your customers and readers can easily resolve various issues that you are helping them with
• Delivering important messages to your readers, customers and business partners via a more personal audio experience, instead of using impersonal e-mail communications
• And so on ...

In addition, Podcasting and Videocasting form the basis of new business models, giving you the opportunity to expand your product base to include these formats with higher perceived value.

Customer education & support are improved as well, since you can now demonstrate key product usage points via online video  providing customer support content in a format, which can easily demonstrate everything you need to convey to your customers.

2. High Frequency Content Updates

High frequency content updates, even on a daily or hourly basis, are now finally possible with RSS. No more need to hold on your important messages, news and other content for a week or even a month to include it in your e-zine --- with RSS you can update your content as often as you want/need, and your subscribers won't mind.

3. Appcasting

Appcasting goes one step further, giving you the ability to deliver critical software updates and patches to your existing clients, without them having to visit your web site every week to see if the much needed update is already available or not.

4. Product News, Releases And Updates

Product news, releases and updates are now finally possible in an easy-to-consume way. Using RSS, you can provide your customers or prospects with simple tools to create their own »product feeds«, through which they'll be immediately notified when new products that precisely match their interests are available.

As soon as your product portfolio changes, so does the content in the RSS feeds that your customers are subscribed to.

Just think of the following possibilities ...

--> The search tool is one of the most often used in larger web stores, giving your visitors an easy way to find the products they are interested. But the same search results can be delivered via RSS as well. Imagine your customer doing a search for one of your product categories, and then also receiving a link to the RSS feed for those very same search results, to find out immediately when a new product matching his terms is released or available for order.

--> This works for complex searches as well. If your customers are in the habit of searching for specific product categories, but only in a specific price range, you can deliver those very same results to them via RSS, but with a small twist ---> as soon as a new product matching their terms, including the desired price, is launched, they are notified about it via RSS instantly. No need to visit your site again to do the time-consuming search; the release comes directly to them.

--> Of course, the same approach that many are already using for e-mail alerts can be used for RSS. Give your visitors a simple form using which they enter their criteria, and then give them access to an RSS feed bringing them product updates based exactly on their criteria. Why not just use e-mail? Because no one really wants more e-mail messages in their inboxes and no one wants to give away their personal information, while RSS is anonymous, doesn't require an e-mail address and is read when the customer decides he has the time.

5. Personalized Content Services

Personalized/customized database listings are quite similar to product updates, but relate to any kind of complex information you provide to your visitors, such as …
• Job listings
• Dating
• Real estate
• Etc.

Using RSS, your visitors can decide exactly what kind of »content« (in this case, an individual content item could be a new job listing) they are looking for and then have that content delivered directly to them, via their own personalized RSS feed.

And yet, all of these are just some examples of what you can do with RSS. The possibilities for new content delivery & business development models are quite endless.

For example, some companies are already giving their visitors the opportunity to track their FedEx, UPS and other packages via RSS feeds. Yet others are creating new services that allow you to receive critical information from an RSS feed to your mobile phone via SMS (such as getting an SMS notifying you that a new job matching your criteria is available). Yet again other sites enable you to keep track of when you need to return your library material, and even when your holds are ready and when they are about to expire, all this using RSS.

All of these are new business opportunities made possible with RSS, and each of them in a way improves lives of end-users, without placing a larger burden (more e-mail messages) on them.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Google's "Summer of Code"

The Summer of Code is Google's program designed to introduce students to the world of open source software development.

This summer, don't let your programming skills lie fallow. Use them for the greater good of open source software and computer science. Google will provide a $4500 award to each student who successfully completes a project by the end of the summer. LINK

Brazil adopts open-source software

In Brazil's Ministry for Cities, staff are busily at work.

The scene is much like any other modern office: an open-plan work space crammed with desks, telephones and computers.

But there's one big difference. The word 'Microsoft' is nowhere in sight.

Instead, computers here now use the Linux operating system. It has many similar functions to Microsoft's Windows - but unlike Windows, it is available for free. LINK

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Yahoo Launches Sorting Tool For Search Results

"Yahoo Inc. has released in beta a tool that sorts search results according to whether they are commercial or more informational, such as from academic or research-oriented sources.

Called Mindset, the tool is available through the Yahoo Research Labs site Yahoo Next."

Yahoo News story here.