Posts Tagged ‘#blogeverydayofjune’

Me! Me! meme

June 18, 2010

Succumbed to this meme for lack of other inspiration …

Two names you go by:

  • Sue
  • Mum

Two things you are wearing right now:

  • Scarf
  • Socks

Two things you would want (or have) in a relationship:

  • Common values and goals
  • Laughter

Two things you like to do:

  • garden
  • plan house renovations

Two things you want very badly at the moment:

  • a neck and shoulder massage
  • an iPhone 4 or iPad (but it’s just new-techno-envy)

Two things you did last night:

  • watched Stargate Atlantis (again)
  • didn’t sleep well (again)

Two things you ate today:

  • Muesli- I make my own
  • Pad Thai- from the work cafeteria

Two people you last talked to:

Two things you’re doing tomorrow:

  • washing/shopping
  • upgrading itunes and syncing iphone to new lappy

Two Favorite Holidays:

  • long car trips with family
  • Europe with hubby before we had the kids

Two favourite beverages:

  • Tea
  • Cappuccino

Two things about me! Things you may not have known:

  • I am an introvert
  • I was born with a mild club foot

Two jobs I have had in my life:

  • Social Security call centre (before it was Centrelink)
  • ran a Dairy quality control lab

Two movies I would watch over and over:

Two places I have lived:

  • Broken Hill NSW
  • Woomera SA

Two of my favourite foods:

  • Roast leg lamb
  • Apple pie

Two places I’d rather be right now:

  • home on my couch
  • Venice (if I had a squillion $$)

Link post. Friendfeed for early June.

June 18, 2010

I often use threads that I see on Friendfeed as a source for my posts. I tried once to cross-post conversations I mark there to Twitter but Peta bought it to my attention that, as I was locked there, she couldn’t follow the links. Automating cross posting can be fraught.  I have an RSS feed from my discussions in FF to my GReader. The feed seems to break from time to time and a conversation that I thought was a DM appeared there. So I thought I would try a sort of edited summary link post to bring to your attention conversations of recent interest there. It’s way more time consuming but less dangerous. Unfortunately I haven’t yet found a way to embed these conversations on a WordPress.com blog (no iframe embed allowed) but I have tested these links and you should be able to follow them without joining up.

As with all social networks the value lies in the people that you follow. On Friendfeed I have managed to find a community of librarian and scientists both interested in scholarly communication and both contributing to a joint conversation. The links here are to the threads not the source posts as it’s the conversations that are of interest  and often contain links themselves. Unfortunately the titles do not necessarily give an indication of the turn that conversations can take.

So conversations that you may find of interest from the last couple of weeks:

There were others that originated from locked accounts that I can’t link to. If I had more time I should find a way to format these better to attribute the post authors and post commentary about why they were interesting to me. Let me know if you find this useful and I may make this a regular thing and solve those issues. Mind you this was a particularly interesting couple of weeks in the scholarly publishing/library space.

And one last one not on scholarly publishing but that I liked – please follow the link- the last comment I found relevant.

And I know I owe you all another post for yesterday. Mea culpa.

iPhone meme plus extra Science

June 12, 2010

Jenelle and Kim shared their iPhone home screens with us. And this is mine.

I used to sort my apps by category but then read a tip which said to put the apps that you use every day on your home screen . Doh!- so mostly I use these every day or think that I should. Oz weather gets it’s data from BOM and has great radar maps. I paid for the upgrade. Friendfeed, GReader and the Perth Traffic are Safari bookmarks. The Yammer app is useful as a lot of people in my organisation post first thing in the morning Eastern States time- 2 hours before I get to work.

You call tell that I am a social networking (and Suduko) addict.

However their posts returned me to thinking about an ongoing project. I like to seek out science apps.  These are what I have at the moment:

In looking I have come to a few conclusions.

There is a difference between a app that a working scientist would use and one that just appeals to a science geek. Most of the apps on this screen probably fall into the second category. If you are a science geek have a look at pUniverse and SkyVoyager. They aren’t quite augmented reality as they don’t make use of the camera but do make use of all the location features to help you work out what is in the segment of the sky you are looking at. NASA is doing great work in promoting their science in the provision of apps or data for apps such as 3D Sun. Exoplanet is a nice database mashup app written by a student. I don’t know if the data exists all in one place anywhere besides this app. (And I didn’t know that there were 455 currently recorded exoplanets until I looked at the app)

Some apps  which fall into the first category cost a bit more than the usual so I haven’t actually downloaded them to assess them.

Most of the more common productivity and measurement apps would of course be also of use to the working scientist. Other useful categories include specialized calculators such as ChemiCal, and apps which are basically manuals translated into app form like Promega – hopefully with added interactivity. I have doubt whether an app designed to be of most use in a wet lab eg Promega or ChemiCal, would actually be used in an environment where the iPhone would be vulnerable or there would be a computer anyway. A nice development is the dedicated conference app like SciOnline10 and these aren’t restricted to the science field.

One type of app I can see a working scientist using is the one that helps keep them up to date with the science literature. As with the rest of us, spare time for reading is mostly while commuting, a time in which you are most likely to be using an iPhone. Papers stands out here. I just wish it synced with a PC or somebody would develop a PC equivalent so I can justify buying it. Examples such as the ACS mobile and AIP apps are worth a look. As you can’t access the full text unless you are on a subscribing network it would be nice to see some sort of cloud syncing solution besides emailing the abstracts to yourself. In arXiview you can access to full text and save results to a folder but I don’t see anyway to sync the folders to the cloud or larger machine for the use of the citation when writing your own paper. Martin Fenner has a recent and useful write up of Reference Management software where he also mentions that Nature and Scopus have iPhone apps now. There is also a Pubmed search app that I haven’t yet tried. Another limitation of these apps is that you can search and read but not annotate. You can bookmark in Papers but as I said above I haven’t tried it to see how useful the bookmarking is.

One gripe is that the the lack of advanced search or filter in the  iTunes store makes apps like these hard to find except by recommendation. Does anyone have more nice examples of apps that may appeal to the science geek or working scientist to share with me?

Saxophone practice- story of an embed

June 6, 2010

Today I wanted to share with you a typical weekend sound from my home. My husband plays a baritone saxophone for a big band and, as he doesn’t get much time to practice during the week, he practices on weekends. (Be kind when listening. He is just practicing and the “barra” is not a normally solo instrument.) Any way this post is about to turn into a ‘How to” because it wasn’t that easy straightforward. I like to document these infrequent tasks so I can remind myself how to do it next time as much as anything.

I had recorded the audio using the default “Voice memo” app on my phone. There are only 2 ways to “share” from that app – MMS or email so I emailed it to myself. That gave me an .m4a file on my lappy. Next step was to work out how to get it into a blog post.

First discovery was that I couldn’t just upload to the site. I am using the free hosted wordpress.com so I saw the message below when I selected “add audio”.

My first puzzled thought was that there was no audio formats listed as allowed file types. I didn’t actually notice and read the finer type below that tells me I need a paid space upgrade to upload audio file type but did go off to read the help files which told me exactly the same thing. (There are lessons there for us writing manuals or web sites. People don’t read below the first couple of sentences. )

So one possibility was to pay for an upgrade. Another was to look for another site that hosts audio files. I had already signed up to Audioboo on my iPhone so they were the first site I thought of but hadn’t played with the site much. They do allow uploads but not m4a files.

So, solutions so far:

  • pay for the space upgrade.
  • record the playing with the Audioboo app in the first place.
  • convert the file to mp3 and host it on Audioboo. This is pretty easy with iTunes.

    Then I could use the audio code found on these directions to link to the file. (I found the right link in the Audioboo embed code). This is what I have done below. This “audio” code only works with mp3 files.
  • host the file elsewhere. We could be hosting it on our space with our ISP and my husband did FTP it there to test this solution. It worked and I could probably link to it there. Or I could have used someplace such as Mediafire. But I would have only been able to link to it not embed it unless I had done the conversion to mp3.
  • Use Posterous. Posterous allows posting by email and converts the m4a to mp3 on the fly. It worked but I can only link to the post not the file (I think- perhaps Posterous gurus could comment).

There are probably many other solutions. Perhaps readers can suggest some?

Anyway, finally, here is “Saxophone practice”:

A Saturday in winter

June 5, 2010

No rules. I do not want to think about work on a long weekend so the next three posts will probably be about my home.

Anyway this one is.

Winter in my garden means an excess of citrus. I have ripe navel oranges and limes falling from the tree. We are having fresh juice and Mr15 is making orange rasin scones.

I have written this on the wordpress app on my phone so formatting may be “interesting”.

A meta post: on blogging

June 4, 2010

I was brainstorming what to post today. This challenge is hard. I am an infrequent blogger at best and usually only post when riled up about something. (“Riled” is a relative term- I acknowledge my posts are mild on any scale :)) The topics that will get me riled up are professional not personal. I have a few more posts in draft similar in tone to Wednesdays “Gripe 1” but will spread them out in order to dilute the snark.

But a topic has dropped in my lap. And it’s blogging. As a librarian.

Dorothea Salo is on my “must follow” list. I read ALL her posts, follow her on Friendfeed, and frequently pass her public posts onto my colleagues. Her interests coincide the current “big” projects at MPOW and she has insight, experience and researches her topics.

And she is seriously considering shutting down as a blogger.

I would respect her decision – and it is only hers to make- but would be incredibly saddened to lose her voice.

But it raises bigger issues for discussion. Those of us participating in this challenge are not necessarily blogging on professional topics. Of those that aren’t – do you feel constrained in anyway not to speak out on professional topics? I am not saying that you should professionally blog- just wondering if perceptions of risk to career colour that choice. Of those that do post on professional topics- have you ever felt it threatened your career? And even when it’s posts about topics of general interest to the larger profession? I acknowledge it can be foolish to discuss the specifics of a work situation. We do things to distance our personal blogs from our workplace because we can be uncomfortable and not sure of the reaction when we start blogging. I don’t have my full name or place of work on this blog but anyone could work those things out. I don’t hide the fact that I blog from my management and had these posts auto re-posting to an internal blog as an experiment but didn’t actually expect them to find or read them.

Would I feel uncomfortable and constrained if I knew my management were reading these? Probably. But I am also somewhat comfortable in having a low profile. I am not as exposed as Dorothea because I am not as well read. I am not as well read because I am not as insightful. It’s sad that the insightful voices are those we need and those who feel threatened.

(PS Dorothea also linked to Jenica Rogers wonderful post on professional online identity. It’s worth a read if you haven’t yet seen it.)

Thankful Thursday

June 3, 2010

I decided that if I am going to keep up this challenge a deviation from the theme occasionally is permissible, if not required. After all we can all set our own rules.

I am going to be more positive today, take a leaf from CW, and take a moment to count my blessings.

  • I am thankful that today I still have my interesting job. In these day of threats to library services and disruptive change the basics really can’t be taken for granted.
  • I am grateful to my online and RL librarian friends who urge me to get outside my comfort zone and challenge myself.
  • I am blessed by a supportive husband who is capable of making or repairing most things and is teaching our kids these skills and the value of self reliance.
  • Lastly, but definitely not least, I am grateful to have two kids that give me plenty of reasons to be proud of them.

Gripe 1: Inappropriate Email attachments

June 2, 2010

Thank you all for the suggestions in the comments of the previous post and I will try to address those large issues in future posts.

But first a more minor gripe:

Event notifications to librarian email lists where the information is in the attachment. Only the attachment. And the attachment is a .pptx file. And the powerpoint is a one page flyer for the event.

Now you may think that this is a very particular gripe but I have seen it enough times – with variations – that I feel the need to gripe.

What is wrong with the practice?

  1. Putting the information that you are trying to communicate only into an attachment effectively buries it. Your reader will need to open the attachment before getting the information wasting their time (shall I invoke Ranganathan?). This also means they are less likely to read it at all- wasting your time composing and sending the email.
  2. Putting the information only into the attachment also hides it from my email search function. Maybe I do read it but then lose it and am trying to find it again.
  3. It also hides if I want to mark the event in my calendar. I use Outlook and can drag and drop and email to the calendar to create an event. If the information is in the body of the email it also becomes the body of the event which is convenient but not if its only in the attachment.

So maybe you put the information in the email as well as the attachment? Better but still problematic.

  1. I have worked in a small library where my total email box limit was 30Mb. Any attachments inflates the size of the email you send. An attachment in a file format that is naturally large increases the chances that your email will not even reach me.
  2. Maybe I don’t have the software that will open the attachment. I can only open a .pptx easily with the Office 2007. I only got an upgrade a couple of months ago and many people still have not. I may be reading your email in an environment that doesn’t use Microsoft at all.
  3. Maybe I am reading your email of my mobile device? Much less likelihood of downloading the attachment in the first place and of being able to open it.

So why send an attachment at all?  I wouldn’t but as most of them seem to be “pretty” versions of the information I would guess the senders are perceiving a need to provide the information as a flyer that people can put on a notice board. I would question that need but what would be a better format?

Well a PDF version of your file would be a much smaller size and a more universally accessible. Most people have Adobe Reader. You don’t even need the expensive Adobe Acrobat to convert Office documents to PDFs. There are many free PDF converters or “print to PDF” utilities on the web. If you don’t have admin rights and need to make a case to your IT for installation I would think that there are enough times that a librarian needs to create a PDF that you should be able to do that.

There are some larger issues raised in this minor gripe. A librarian regularly doing this shows:

  • inconsideration for the information needs of the email recipient
  • unawareness of the issues of using particular file formats and of inflated file sizes
  • unawareness of the multiplicity of email environments and digital divide issues in our professional community

and maybe that’s what really gripes me.

30 things for 30 posts

June 1, 2010

I am also joining in the 30 posts in 30 days challenge posed on Libraries Interact.

It’s easier to stick to this if I have a theme, so inspired by another tweet from @flexnib and a email from her and @sirexkat I have:

“30 things I wish (special) librarians knew”

I will focus on Special Librarians as I know that area best but as I haven’t compiled my gripe list yet if you want to nominate something – a tool or a skill- that you wish your librarian colleagues just knew, feel free to nominate it in the comments and I will do my best to construct a post for it.

However – I wont be including MARC 🙂