Category Archives: Technology

Starbucks Chiseled Collection as the mainstreaming of the New Aesthetic

It’s been a while since I last posted. I’ve been working on a bunch of projects, some articles are in the pipeline, a book chapter or two will be coming out in the next year, and just general academic librarian issues.

I’m currently sitting at Starbucks, drinking what is possibly one of the sweetest drinks I’ve ever had here – a Caramel Ribbon Frap, just to try it out. I was looking at their marketing for the drink and their new collection and realized it’s very…New Aesthetic-y. You know, that new glitch aesthetic, homemade/handmade/diy/imperfect. Examples of New Aesthetic include this tumblr, a very good article from Wired, and this post by Gizmodo with links to other examples.

At Starbucks, they released their early summer drinks and a new collection of cups that are chiseled like idealized icebergs. Looking at it, I don’t get the cool/chill look that they are going for – I get the digital, imperfect aesthetic that they didn’t mean for. It’s almost the perfect example of a mainstreaming of the New Aesthetic – an introduction to the world of a new look for consumer products.

What do you think? Are you familiar with the New Aesthetic? What do you think of it?

I miss #il2012 already!

Internet Librarian (#il2012) is easily my most favorite conference. I always learn something new, meet someone new, and get the chance to share new things going on with me with the library community. It was a crazy, whirlwind week, with two conferences within two weeks. I’ll use that as an excuse for the delay in my rundown of #il2012. My review process is as follows: look over my Twitter stream, and retype anything with the hashtag #internetlibrarian or #il2012. I didn’t attend as many sessions on Tuesday, but that’s mainly because I was preparing for mine. I’ll write up a separate post for it when I get the chance.

The bad thing about doing that, is that I don’t quite capture everything. However, for me, #internetlibrarian isn’t about writing down notes, but about being inspired. I’ve organized the notes as follows: web services stuff, ebooks stuff, everything else

Web Services:

Usability and the development of a mobile site for a university library by Danielle Becker of Hunter College.
1) Five guiding principles for usability: solid information architecture, clear navigation systems, strong visual appeal, understandable terminology, user-centered design.
2) Use a think-aloud process when usability testing – allows you to figure out what the user is thinking as they are navigating in real time.
3) It is important to cross link and have multiple access points
4) Design the mobile site to include what the students will use/ask for – database access, catalog access, etc. All depending on survey results

Web Analytics session
1) Eight principles of Information Architecture: http://www.asis.org/Bulletin/Aug-10/AugSep10_ Brown.pdf
2) Google Analytics has a lot of power behind it – I should look into it more.
3) Look into click analytics/heatmaps to figure out how best to improve the Library experience

Mobile UX with Roy Degler
1) Students prefer a web interface over a native app when it comes to Library information
2) Look into Foundation and Bootstrap as two frameworks for responsive design

User Research on user research: http://www.slideshare.net/etches
1) Amanda Etches looked into how researchers at her university used the tools that were available to them for their research
2) Observation, rather than asking, a better way to gather data when it comes to researching researchers.
3) Sample question: tell us about a research collaboration that was conducted online
4) Another question: Tell us about the tools you use
5) Look into what Virtual Research Environment CSUEB has for it’s researchers

Cross Platform Linking
1) Using an XML file to update hours across all Library websites
2) Look into using Xibo as our digital signage platform
3) Think about using the mTouch table as our digital wayfinding device – interactive maps???

eBooks and Devices:

eBook session from Seattle Public Library
1) Know the target audience for whom you are implementing eBooks
2) Four levels of training for eBooks: getting started guides for patrons, classes for patrons, trainings for staff, practice for staff
3) Getting Started Guides live online – able to update them quickly
4) Provide staff with enough training to answer basic questions for patrons

eReader/Tablet devices in the Library session by CSU Northridge (I need to contact them about this – this was a very informative session
1) There is funding/interest in provide etextbooks in California (we know this as part of CSUEB)
2) Out of the top 13 activities that people do on their Tablet device, 5 of them are school related
3) There are a lot of challenges out there – like technological challenges, market challenges, content challenges, etc.
4) Future problems: Figure out why students aren’t using tablets and ereaders more (beyond the cost of the devices)

Everything else:

Big Data – I wanted to learn more about Big Data and this was a good introductory session on it
1) Five Characteristics of Big Data: Volume, Velocity, Variety, Verification, Value. Librarians have a chance to work with the last two.
2) Cool Big Data Tools to play around with: pic.twitter.com/DaufowOg

Academic Makerspaces with Tod Colegrove
1) Makerspaces as collaborative spaces for work
2) Make incremental chances to increase buy-in
3) The Library has to be open to collaboration with different groups to create pride in ones library

Twitter Backchannel conversations:
1) Why doesn’t our online presence get as much attention as our physical presence?
2) UX is about desire and emotion, Usability is about “does it work right?”
3) Embrace the fact that libraries are hyper-local, yet connected to a shared network

Can’t wait for next year! See you all on the flip side…

On the need for a conversation

These past two weeks, I’ve spent them considering what to do for some conference/paper proposals.

As an exercise in becoming a better, more proficient writer, I figured I should start to write down my ideas and see if I can get a conversation started about them.

There’s a call out for the gameRT for proposals for ALA Midwinter and I figured the best proposal would be one that I’m familiar with: hosting the first International Gaming Day @ Your Library event here at Cal State East Bay. I’ll talk about proposing it, the setup, the advertising, the actual event. Then discuss successes, failures and future possibilities for gaming events. I’d also like to see how many other academic libraries hosted such an event – maybe there could be a network of us!

One more is a call for papers for a journal called Library Hi Tech. The theme of the issue is smart spaces, and I was considering modifying one of my presentations on personal learning networks and talking about how learning networks have changed in virtual space, and how we need to be malleable with our spaces. This one isn’t as fully fleshed out thought.

Not for a proposal, but I am interested in editing some previous papers that I wrote in college and updating them to include new research and maybe submitting them to a journal, specially the ones I wrote about World of Warcraft, and some other ones I wrote about celebrity theory.

Oh! Actually! Speaking of celebrity theory, how does this sound – I’m thinking of a PCA/ACA proposal, in which I examine Hallyu and the perfection of the celebrity industry within it? It would consider celebrity theory, pop culture theory and psychology. It’s very in-vogue, and totally within my realm of interest.

There are a few more sitting in the back burner, but I’m not yet ready to reveal them. All in due time…

On programming, and picking up skills that I should have developed before…

Ever since I started this job, I’ve been thinking in the back of my head that I’ll have to end up doing a bunch of programming – just for my own benefit.

It’s now come to this – I’ll have to step up my game with Processing.

Reason: I have a touch table in my room now and, while it runs Windows 7, I’d like to be able to create some applications that are specifically touch related. It looks as though there is a way to use a library of code called TouchLib that will allow touch interaction, but to get beyond the simple demos I’ll have to make my own applications. It said I needed to use C++.

Thank god that’s not actually true – I can use Processing – which I have been learning on my own anyway! Perfect!

A lot of my time has now been dedicated to doing something awesome – I’m pretty excited about this project, and any other web projects I may have. I’ll for sure be updating the blog with more of my shenanigans…heh

Ready, Steady, Go: Ready Player One and the celebration of nostalgia

I just started reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and so far, I’m enjoying the possibilities in it.

The book is organized into 2 levels with multiple chapters within each level. I’m currently still in Level 1, Chapter 5. Despite the setting of a near-future Earth, I don’t feel like it’s too sci-fi-y. In all honesty, it almost feels like a Neal Stephenson book, in the style of writing. Parts of it feel like it could be lifted from Snow Crash, which I have yet to finish too (maybe I should get on that….). That being said, I don’t think this will be part of the pantheon of sci-fi writing at all – it feels too…normal. Nothing is outlandish, everything feels like it could happen, it’s great!

I was side-eyeing the book though, when the history of GSS was being discussed…it felt almost like a word for word description of the founding of Apple. As inspiration, he definitely could have done worst but, at the same time, be a bit more original! I just needed to change the names to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak and it was Apple.

I’m really looking forward to finishing this book, mainly because I love, love, love seeing games, simulations, virtual environments, AR, being discussed in a book as part of normal society and not some sort of fringe element. I hope that the rest of the book continues as it’s been so far.

What I really can’t wait for (especially since it’s too early to tell right now) is the element of nostalgia that really drew me to this book. Nostalgia is always such an interesting thing – why do we venerate things that have passed? Why do we only pick out the most interesting elements of the past and hold them up on a pedestal? I’m totally a perpetrator for nostalgia – I always look back fondly at the past. At least in Ready Player One, there is a reason – they need to become well-versed with the past to unlock the secrets of a game.

I’m very excited to finish this book. Here’s hoping it’s as good as I’m building it up to be!

What is this #libday8 thing going on…I guess I should participate?

It’s been months since I wrote anything as part of the series Day in the Life of an Electronic Resources Librarian. What a better time to restart it than during #libday8 and talk about my week so far.

Even though it’s only Tuesday, I feel like I’ve had a long week….lots of ebook processing going on. Monday – I had to process a whole bunch of ABC-CLIO ebooks and come up with call numbers for each title. In our library catalog, we have it set up so that we include a copy record with any new ebooks that we acquire. This makes sense for us because this way, if we were to lose access to any ebook or ebook vendor, we could easily clear it out of our catalog.

Actually….let me back up a bit – how many people actually list their ebooks in the library catalog and add copy records for it? When I first got this job, I thought it was a bit silly to add copy records, especially once I looked at other library catalogs and noticed that they didn’t have copy records. Having dealt with them these past few months, it makes sense as a way to future proof our catalog.

Okay, back to the story – so I had to find call numbers for all of these ebooks. Man, was it a PAIN…I had to go through WorldCat and try to find a public library that had the ebook titles. Mainly because most of the catalogs that had these titles were colleges – while I wouldn’t have minded using LC…we’re a school library, gotta live in a Dewey world. Thank goodness I was able to find call numbers for each title.

Can you imagine….if I had to come up with these call numbers myself? YIKES! I mean, I love the idea of cataloging and stuff and building call numbers…but I don’t have access to OCLC…I would have had to use an abridged version of DDC13. *sigh*

One fun thing to come out of these adventures in ebooks is that I figured out the MARC field to add copies to your catalog! Go 852!

=852 \\$hCall Number$pBarcode

What up!

Definitely making dealing with the ebooks easier – before I used to just upload the records to the catalog, then go into each campus catalog and manually add a copy. Now? Only have to upload the records to each catalogs, which takes less time than having to add copies.

In the next installment…we will talk about what happened last October/November (because yes…it’s been that long) J/K – Already talked about my hard drive crash…up next..will be me talking about what I want to do with iBook Author.

Delicious’d: Logic Games Online – Nurikabe

So this is the first post in another series I’ve decided to start, and I’m calling it Delicious’d – a series of posts about things that I’ve bookmarked in Delicious. In this way, I get to review the things that I thought were apparently good enough to save.

For this first post, I decided to go with the first thing I ever Delicious’d: Nurikabe.

What a fun little logic game, similar to minesweeper in that you have to use clues to determine the binary nature of each block. Each reload of the page will bring you a new Nurikabe to work with. You should definitely check it out if you want something to do to kill time

I think at this point, I might have been going through my Sudoku phase…although, was sudoku big in the US in 2006? I don’t recall it being super popular yet. I wonder why this was the first thing I ever book marked. The interesting thing is that it says “Imported” as one of the tags..imported from where? Was I using a different bookmarking tool at the time? I actually think I might have been using Furl – I loved it cause it saved a cached copy of the page!

This is going to be an interesting series…I wonder what I’ll find in my 5 years of Deliciousing! (OMG, it’s been five years? The first thing I ever bookmarked, was on Nov 3rd, 2006…)

New series: A year in the life of an Electronic Resources Librarian

It’s been a while since I posted, but there’s a reason for this!

I’ve been busy – finished up my web design summer school class, and have had two weeks of orientation for my new job.

That’s right folks, I’ve gotten a promotion – I went from being a Library Clerk to being an Electronic Resources Librarian. I think it could be fun to write about my experience as a first-time Electronic Resources Librarian (ERL) – first time in the sense that it’s my first professional job, first time in the sense that this is the first time my work has found they had a need for this and first time as the ERL at the school I work at. How many K-12 schools out there can say they have an ERL? I feel like I’m going down a path that few people have gone, so it feels necessary to blog about this, so that I may hopefully find a community out there.

There are going to be quite a few bumps along this road.

The first major issue is that this is something completely new for this school – they don’t quite know how to view this position, how to work with this position, what to exactly do. It’ll be a learning experience for work. As the clerk, I did a lot of the work of an ERL – managing our database subscriptions, troubleshooting outages, general technical issues, etc.

The second major issue is that this is something new to me – I don’t know exactly what is quite appropriate in terms of my responsibilities. As much as I know what to do in terms of the resources, what can/should I do? Is there a boundary that I need to respect? It’ll be a learning experience for me. As the incoming ERL, I want to do as much as I can to ensure that our resources are always available for the community. But I know I’ll probably also want to do so many other things. This will definitely test my time management skills, as well as my ability to make choices: I’ll have to learn to make hard choices about giving up on projects and knowing when to say “no”.

I’ll be blogging about this topic sporadically – only what can be shared and what is appropriate. I’m pretty jazzed, but I know I’ll be stressed out a lot. We will see how this goes. Wish me luck!

More views of the Uncanny Valley

God, what’s wrong with me? I enjoy any mention of the Uncanny Valley, especially when there is scientific evidence about the existence of it/how our brains react to it.

It appears that there is evidence of an issue in our brain when we encounter the Uncanny Valley. The activity in our brain when we see three different types of objects were scanned using fMRI: robot, android, and human. From my understanding of the scans, it looks like our brains reacted JUST similarly enough to both Android and Human motion/appearance to make it seem unsettling that the android was not human. In simpler terms,  I guess you could say that there was just something off about the motion of the Android that made us aware of the fact that it wasn’t human.

Maybe it is the fight or flight response – our brain is taking in all of these cues regarding the person in front of us, processing it for behavior, action, appearance, and then encouraging us to act on what we see. A human moves how we expect it to me, with fluidity, bending motions, etc, whereas an android, no matter how well designed the gears, motors, rotors, moving parts, still moves similarly to a robot. We see what we think is a human, but it moves like a robot – induce panic, fear, action. In some cases, it just creates a sense of unease.

I have never actually experienced the Uncanny Valley before, but I have felt in my gut that things were off in things that aren’t related to human/android interactions. I may be looking at a book or some kind of print, and feel ill at ease regarding it – maybe I subconsciously realized that it was offset, or had typos and I get this vague feeling that something was wrong. I wonder if the Uncanny Valley is applicable to this feeling, or if I’m just hoping to put a phrase to it. Maybe it’s intuition, or just being particular. Any clues?

Brainscans in the Uncanny Valley – Boing Boing.

The Internet as subject: referencing pop culture in works of art

In slowly trying to finish off my Draft posts queue, I sometimes wonder what I was thinking when I saved an article to writer about later on. I think I liked this article mainly because of the confluence it depicts regarding the rise and acceptance of the Internet in our daily lives and the need for writers to address the existence of the Internet.

I often wonder how writers of a certain generation choose to deal with the popular culture of the time. For example, how did writers in the 60’s address the hippie movement, free love, all of that jazz? Was it something that they focused on, or was it mainly some throw away comment that no one will ever really remember? Notice that I mention Popular Culture, because culture itself should be mentioned and addressed in works of art. I mean, look at the works of art that were created during World War II – they were mainly reactions to the big cultural event at the time.

I wonder why we place less emphasis on Popular Culture and it’s effect on art – by definition, popular culture is the more widespread and accepted form of culture. Referring back to the article I link below, I can’t believe there is even a question about how to address the rise to importance of the Internet on our daily lives. As something that affects our actions and decisions every day, it is imperative to address it in art. I can understand the worry that referencing something that is constantly evolving could be seen as something dangerous – what if your reference becomes outdated quickly? What do you do? But at the same time, it seems negligent not to discuss something that we are all familiar with. Crafting a novel that is set in the present time, and to ignore the effects of the Internet, just seems odd and outdate – like the author is a Luddite.

As one commenter pointed out, the issue with referencing the Internet is that the vast majority of it is textual – it’s a little boring to mention text in your novel, I guess. Anyway, things to ponder regarding this topic: what other popular culture movements have you noticed there being a lack of in works of art? Do you think not recognizing the effects of the Internet, and not referencing it in works of art, show that the author is out of touch with reality?  I’ll wait to hear back from other regarding this, before I put up my own thoughts and ideas as a comment.

How novels came to terms with the internet | Books | The Guardian.