Friday, April 28, 2006

LIFT06 Post-conference Evaluation Report

LIFT06 was assessed as a big success by most attendees – 93% plan to attend LIFT07. According to the attendees, LIFT06 was successful in providing information and influencing their attitudes about emerging technology. One third of attendees saw the main benefit of attending LIFT06 as networking and are looking towards more facilitated networking at LIFT07. The quality of the presentations varied considerably for many attendees and a different selection process may be appropriate for LIFT07. In terms of the conference format, attendees suggested more interactive sessions and workshops around the conference. LIFT06 was successful in connecting people and provoking ongoing discussions amongst attendees and beyond the conference.

Googler goes 3D

More free software from Google. Today Google released free 3-D modeling software called Google SketchUp. It lets you create virtual models of home additions and other objects, with the idea that you can then upload the buildings and objects to Google Earth or share them with others. Is this an attempt to give Google Earth a Second Life by turning it into a virtual world where visitors can create their own buildings, vehicles, and other objects or just roam around?

(The software download is only available for Windows, but a Mac version is promised soon).

See it here

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Microsoft's Greatest Blunder

John Dvorak thinks IE is their greatest blunder. Read more in his April 24th column in PC magazine. He says, in part, "All of Microsoft's Internet-era public-relations and legal problems (in some way or another) stem from Internet Explorer. If you were to put together a comprehensive profit-and-loss statement for IE, there would be a zero in the profits column and billions in the losses column—billions."

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Berkeley on iTunes U' free to the public

From: Playlist

Apple’s iTunes U program enables colleges and universities to post audio and video educational content online. While some universities restrict access to posted content specifically to their students and faculty, the University of California, Berkeley has done one better — it’s announced that Berkeley on iTunes U is available to the public, as well as all UC Berkeley students.

“As a public university, UC Berkeley has a tradition of openness,” said Obadiah Greenberg, product manager for webcast.berkeley in a recent statement. “It really speaks to our motto - ‘Fiat Lux,’ Let there be light.”

Webcast.berkeley is the university’s local Web site that delivers course and event content as podcasts and streaming video. This semester, webcast.berkeley has offered 30 courses as podcasts. You can listen to individual lectures or subscribe to courses.

Also available for download are symposiums and presentations on a wide range of topics in the arts, journalism, politics and other subjects. Visitors can also get a taste of U.C. Berkeley campus life by taking an audio tour of the university and listening to highlights of the football season.

Gartner sees RFID as $3 billion business by 2010

From ZDNet News
Worldwide spending on the emerging wireless tracking technology is set to reach $504 million this year, up more than one-third from 2004, market researcher Gartner said Tuesday. Adoption will accelerate by 2007, with spending pegged to hit $3 billion by the end of the decade.

RFID, or radio frequency identification, has been hailed for its promise as a superior way to keep tabs on merchandise in warehouses and retail outlets. Scanning of data-laden chips on pallets and products would help keep inventories in order and assure buyers that they're not paying money for counterfeit goods.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

New feature on Google Scholar

From The Official Google Blog

Today we're launching a feature of Google Scholar which will make it easier for researchers to keep up with recent research. From quantum computing to copper binding in prion protein. It's not just a plain sort by date, but rather we try to rank recent papers the way researchers do, by looking at the prominence of the author's and journal's previous papers, how many citations it already has, when it was written, and so on.

Scholarly endeavors are about learning what has already been done and building on it. We hope this feature will help researchers worldwide learn from and build on the latest advances.

The Changing Nature of the Catalog and its Integration with Other Discovery Tools

The Library of Congress has released a report entitled "The Changing Nature of the Catalog and its Integration with Other Discovery Tools." It was written by Karen Calhoun of Cornell University Library to "challenge assumptions about the traditional library catalog and propose new directions for the research library catalog in the digital era."

Read it here.

B&N CEO: "Best sellers represent less than 5 percent of our sales."

From The Book Standard

In a Q&A with the New York Times on Saturday, Barnes & Noble chief executive Stephen Riggio was bullish on the state of publishing and book-retail industries, saying: "It's a stable business and it's resilient in the face of competition for people's time from TV, Internet and video games."

"It's a good time to be in the book business," Riggio told Times reporter Ken Jaworowski. The heaviest book buyers are over 40 years old and that's the fastest-growing segment of the population. Education is booming in America. More Americans are earning college degrees. And there's a post-9/11 baby boomlet that is good for sales of children's books.

Best sellers represent less than 5 percent of our sales.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Internet in your pocket or purse?

How about the Internet in the pen that's in your pocket or purse? Flexible Organic Light Emitting Devices will make it possible and in full color! Here's an overview of the technology and a link to a video. Numerous DOD contracts seem to be driving a speedup in the development of this technology.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

RFID Book Reader

Here are some photos of a futuristic apartment in Korea. RFID is used to detect a book on a desk and show a corresponding digital book on a large screen.

If you have a book, desk, and a display equipped with RFID chips, now you can read the whole contents through a large display just by putting the book on the desk ; antenna reads the chip information and delivers them to the display. Of course, you can actually use your hands - if you want - for a touch screen or a remote control.

Nabaztag - a toy with a future.

Nabaztag is a plastic box shaped like a rabbit, with pastel ears and facial features akin to Hello Kitty, it has a few flashing lights, a rudimentary speaker, one button and a name derived from the Armenian word for rabbit.

The device's key characteristic is permanent wireless connectivity to the Internet via a Wi-Fi network, preferably one that stretches across the entire city in which it is located.

For now, Nabaztag is a basic communications device that uses lights, sounds and movements of its ears to discreetly pass on messages to anyone nearby. Sounds can include MP3 files of music, voice or noises, and any combinations of colored lights and patterns can be used to signal specific information. It costs $115, plus a $5.00 monthly subscription fee.

It may seem trite, but this is just the beginning for connected blogjects. Says John Gage, chief researcher at Sun Microsystems,
''A device like this changes the actual environment of the recipient, kind of like a bouquet of flowers. Once they get enough of them out there, I would love to see a global piece of installation art created by moving all their ears at once.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Enter the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google

Enter the Da Vinci Code Quest on Google. This 24-day online puzzle adventure inspired by the upcoming movie could win you trips to New York, Paris, London and Rome. You will need a Google account and add the Da Vinci Code module to your search page.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Money Magazine's best job list

Not really library related (except that "Librarian" didn't make the list), but I thought some might have kids researching a career or might be rethinking their own!

Will Apple challenge Sony's upcoming ebook due this summer?

From Macsimum News

Making a case for Apple challenging the upcoming Sony Reader ebook/tablet can be done on so many levels, that’s it’s virtually a no-brainer. Publishing is a core market of Apple’s, and they’ll certainly defend that position to the best of their ability. Whether Apple will decide to introduce an all new e-book device or simply add it to their iPod line-up, is neither here nor there.

To back that up, the facts supporting this position were made abundantly clear throughout the first quarter of 2006. This is when the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office revealed a series of new Apple patents regarding touch screen technologies and a tablet PC doubling as an ebook.

Within those patents, Apple revealed a plethora of advanced features that would certainly dwarf those found in Sony’s first iteration of their Reader, such as giving the user the ability to access Apple’s online iTunes Music Store via simple touch screen commands. More specifically and in context to an ebook, patent number 20060026535 titled “Mode-based graphical user interfaces for touch sensitive input devices,” – describes initiating “page turns… .associated with an electronic book.” Further on, the patent goes on to describe a new multiple-page-swipe technology that will allow users to virtually-flip through pages quickly as they naturally do today with a magazine or technical book etc.

More at the link.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

TechEssence.Info The essence of technology for library decision-makers.

From Librarian in Black
"TechEssence is a brand spanking new site providing "accurate, understandable explanations of important information technologies for libraries." The site was started by Roy Tennant, and has contributions by Andrew Pace, Meredith Farkas, Dorothea Salo, Eric Lease Morgan, Jenn Riley, Jerry Kuntz, Marshall Breeding, and Thomas Dowling. Umm. Wow."

From TechEssence
You're busy. You don't have time for a lot of jargon, techie posturing, or attitudes. You've come to the right place. We don't put you down, we don't talk down to you, we just give it to you straight. Come here for accurate, understandable explanations of important information technologies for libraries. Go elsewhere for the hype.

Google Calendar is up and running

From Google Blogscopeed
Wouldn't it be great to be able to keep track of all the events in your life, coordinate schedules with friends and family, and find new things to do -- all with one online calendar? We thought so, too.

  • Seeing the big picture
    With Google Calendar, you can see your friends' and family's schedules right next to your own; quickly add events mentioned in Gmail conversations or saved in other calendar applications; and add other interesting events that you find online.

  • Sharing events and calendars
    You decide who can see your calendar and which details they can view. Planning an event? You can create invitations, send reminders and keep track of RSVPs right inside Google Calendar. Organizations can promote events, too.

  • Staying on schedule
    You can set up automatic event reminders, including SMS notifications, and instantly bring up anything on your calendar with the built-in search tool.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

EBay invests $2 million in social networking site

From Macworld

EBay has invested $2 million in social networking company Meetup, according to a form 8-k eBay filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Tuesday.

Last month Meetup announced that it was receiving investment from several sources — eBay among them — but did not specify the amount of the investment. Other investors announced at the time included Omidyar Network, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Esther Dyson and Allen & Co.

In Tuesday’s 8-k filing, eBay disclosed the amount of its investment in Meetup, and cited investment in Meetup by eBay founder and Chairman Pierre Omidyar as the reason for disclosing the amount. Omidyar also sits on Meetup’s board of directors and “entities owned by” him hold more than a 10 percent equity share in Meetup, eBay stated in its filing. is a site for people to link up with others who have common interests, hobbies or causes so they can set up and attend meetings and events in their local geographic regions.

EBay spokesman Hani Durzy said Wednesday that eBay invested in Meetup because the two companies share a common focus of connecting people and creating online communities, not because of Omidyar’s stake in the social networking company.

“We’ve been seeing examples of eBay members arranging local meet-ups in their areas, and since there is crossover we thought it was an interesting company so we chose to make an investment,” he said.

Google Confirms Licensing Search Engine, Hiring Creator

From Yahoo! News: "Google Inc. on Tuesday confirmed that it has licensed a search algorithm from an Australian university that says the technology delivers expanded results that make it more likely people will chose the right link to the most relevant Web page."

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Add comments, notes and tables of contents to WorldCat records

Repost from LISNews

OCLC sent out an email to their customers today informing them of new features added to WorldCat. Namely, users can now add reviews, notes and tables of contents to WorldCat records. No word yet on when users will be able to post pictures of themselves reading the books or Google maps of book locations.

User-contributed content helps extend the OCLC cooperative to include record-enhancing information from non-cataloging library professionals as well as library users. For example, family members may add notes to records for genealogical materials about their families, or community members may comment on historical photographs or documents from digital collections about their communities that reside in the WorldCat database.

Ex Libris MetaLib customers Shibbolize user authentication

"The Ex Libris Group is pleased to announce that the Patron Directory Services (PDS) module was successfully ‘Shibbolized' by a number of MetaLib customers in Finland, the US, and the UK. ‘Shibbolizing' PDS -- adjusting the service to enable access via Shibboleth -- provides a seamless single sign-on (SSO) environment for MetaLib users."

Full press release available here.

Monday, April 03, 2006

MPAA has lost its collective mind

From The LA Times:
Major studios today will make mainstream movies available for downloading the same day they are released on DVD — a significant step in Hollywood's tentative migration to the Internet.

But movie fans will pay for the convenience: Downloadable flicks such as "Brokeback Mountain," "King Kong" and "Pride and Prejudice" may cost as much as twice what the DVD versions do and play only on a personal computer. New releases can't be rented online, just purchased.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) actually believes consumers will buy the overpriced, PC-only downloads for "convenience factor." What's so convenient about being charged twice the current retail price for movies you're less free to enjoy as you please on the devices you own?