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I Love Paperback Sci-Fi

09-Jan-08

Sun of SunsThe other day I picked up Sun of Suns: Book One of Virga by Karl Schroeder. It’s good, really good. It’s sort of a Flash Gordon meets Victorian England/Steampunk in a no gravity bubble. This is really beside the point though. What I really wanted to talk about is my love of the Mass Market Paperback. One day during the summer between 7th and 8th grade I wandered up to our attic because I was bored. Up in the attic I found my father’s bags of paperback sci-fi novels. I think I was up there for 6 hours before I finally came up for air. I had always been a reader but it was that event that not only got me hooked but also had me forever addicted to sci-fi. To this day flipping through paperback books reminds of a warm dusty attic and the smell of old paper. I also forgot how nice paperbacks can be. I’ve been reading a lot of trade paperbacks which are about the size of a hardcover so I haven’t had the luxury of a Mass Market Paperback. Mass Market paperbacks are small enough to fit in your back pocket. You can carry them around with you and pull them out whenever you have a moment to read. Sometimes I think that sci-fi is meant to be read in a paperback format. There is something about the genre that fits nicely on those 4″ x 7″ pages.

LIS 768 Course Reflection

19-Dec-07

All in all I was fairly satisfied with the LIS 768 class. The topics were engaging and my classmates were amicable. Michael Stephens is an exciting teacher and has a great way of communicating his ideas to the students. One thing that I found disappointing was that at the beginning of the class Michael mentioned another similar class (in Arizona I think) that might join us in some of our projects. This never came to pass and I was really disappointed that we didn’t get to really test some of these technologies over a distance. I was looking forward to having a larger group of people to collaborate with, it’s too bad we could never do this.

Out of 10 stars I would give this class a 8.5.

On a side note… one thing I found annoying is the Meebo widget on the LIS 768 blog. As far as I can tell Michael Stephens was never available to chat, so why include a chat widget that will never be used?

LIS 768 Paper Abstract – The Digital Native

19-Dec-07

My final research paper for my LIS 768 class was an examination of the Digital Native and a recommendation for libraries (school specifically but public also) on ways to attract and cater to the Digital Native. I focused on three aspects of the digital native: learning, communication/socializing, and producing/consuming media. From the learning perspective I examined how the digital native approached the assimilation and synthesizing of information. From the communication/socializing aspect I examined how the Digital Native used new technologies and services to gather and collaborate with others. I also looked at some of the negatives of social networks (and how some of the dangers may be a bit overblown). Finally, from the producing/consuming media aspect I defines how the Digital Native used new technology to view media and how they seek out media rather than passively waiting for it to come to them (and how they share it).

To wrap it all up I made some suggestions for the school media specialist on how they might make their library friendlier to the new ways the the Digital Native learns and communicates.

Del.icio.us Tagging Post

18-Dec-07

delicious.jpgI like Del.icio.us. I probably don’t use it the way it’s supposed to be used. I tend to use it like a web scrapbook. I put things there that I want to remember for later or things that I don’t have time to read but plan to get back to. It works pretty well for me and I tend to keep it pretty tidy, getting rid of stuff a month or two after I saved it. I’ll probably get rid of all the LIS768 tagged stuff once my class is completely over. There are a couple of things that I think Del.icio.us needs to do to improve their over all service.

  • Build in some kind of bibliographic control for tags. I’ve posted about this once before, there needs to be some kind of standard for tagging. Something like, no plurals, correcting spelling, etc…
  • They need to build in support for multi-word tags. It drives me crazy that everything has to be a single mass rather than two or more terms (i.e. “web 2.0”, “graphic novel”, “science fiction”, etc…). Other web 2.0 apps can do it, how come Del.icio.us can’t?
  • Design. I like the simple basic design of Del.icio.us but they need to do just a little bit more… Nothing fancy, but how about alternating shades of gray for each link so that it’s easier to differentiate between different links.

All in all Del.icio.us is a pretty useful tool. Supposedly there is going to be a redesign next year, but we’ll see about that…

Wiki Presentation.

12-Dec-07

All in all I would have to say that I really enjoyed putting together the presentation on Wikis for LIS 768. I had good technological experiences with my group members and I felt it was some of the most successful online collaboration I had been involved with yet. We had 2 IM meetings in which we discussed what content we would include, what project we would build using a wiki and who would present what during the presentation. I also found our use of Google Docs interesting. This was the first time I had used the presentation  application so there was a bit of a learning curve. Although Google Presentation is simplistic (no fancy bells and whistles) I did find it fairly easy to use and responsive. I wish we had more of a chance to play with the online live presentation chat but it was  still nice to use. The one drawback to this project was out use of PBWiki. I found PBWiki clunky, unresponsive, ugly and unintuitive. Help documents were seemed really hard to find and WYSIWYG didn’t seem to work very well at all. I found myself reverting to the original PBWiki code which is simplistic but got the job done and also kept the formatting uniform. I looked at the commercial features of PBWiki and really thought they were lacking. The company that I host from charges just as much as PBWiki but offers a whole lot more as far as server space is concerned and one click installs of various free software. I do have to do more of my own work to get a wiki up and running on my host, but there are an infinite number of configurations and options available (as well as Mediawiki is solid software with no, or very little clunkiness). I would not recommend PBWiki for a wiki project.

Library as Place – Chicago Public Library

28-Nov-07

I hope CPL is listening.

I Have Senioritis…

28-Nov-07

I go to work every day and I work hard. I come home and I take care of my kids and help my wife with all the housework and stuff. After the kids are put to bed and the house is cleaned up I am supposed to do my work for my graduate class. I don’t. Instead I sit on the computer and do stuff or watch TV/movies or read a book or play video games. I do everything EXCEPT my school work. I am extremely unmotivated. I have senioritis.

I was going to post a picture of myself laying on the couch playing video games but I can’t muster up the motivation to do it. I can barely motivate myself to publish this post.