Wednesday, April 27, 2005

 

News and Notes

Technology News and Notes

EnvivoCMS - Library Journal is going to interview me on Friday about Content Management Systems (CMS). I have been involved in CMS for the last seven years. First, I designed one for BMC Software's Business Intelligence Departmetnt in the late 90s. Recently, I have introduced a lite-weight CMS system called EnvivoCMS to my current employer. We also utilize this CMS system for LTN. I highly recommend it for a library. It helps if you know HTML and ASP, but it is not required. It is very reasonable in price as well. We got a non-profit version for around $450. If you need some further direction on CMS, please email me. Check out EnvivoCMS at: http://www.envivosoft.com/.

Make sure you type carefully. Have you ever typed in an URL incorrectly? Crooks are punishing you for your bad typing skills. Might be a good idea to warn your patraons. Here is the article: http://www.techweb.com/wire/security/161600537

Watching TV on your cell phone. I am sure everyone has seen the commercial where the three very cool guys gather together on a couch to watch television; only to pull out a cell phone where they then proceed to watch the basketball game. How realistic is this? According to this article, it is the next big thing. Watch for patrons doing this in your library (staff too). It will be interesting to see if it becomes an issue. Anyone written a Cell Phone TV Watching Policy for their library. http://www.mobilepipeline.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=161600865

Opera 8.0 Now Available. Here is another alternative browser to IE. http://www.techweb.com/wire/software/161501050.

Netscape's Highly Critical Flaw. Here is a story to show that alternative browsers face many of the same issues as IE. Hackers don't seem to care what software you are using. http://news.com.com/Highly+critical+flaw+reported+for+Netscape+software/2100-1002_3-5685688.html?tag=nefd.top

Monday, April 25, 2005

 

News and Notes

Technology News and Notes

Phishing and Library Patrons. Phishing is the terrible practice of tricking someone online to devulge personal confidential information. A person will usually receive an email asking them to verify authentication information, credit card information, etc. When the person clicks on the link, he or she is presented with an official looking website suppossedly from the company that sent the email. My father was victim of this type of crime. The latest Virtual Chase newsletter covers a new type of phishing scam. Check it out at: http://www.virtualchase.com/tvcalert/apr05/25apr05.html

IE is putting tabs. If you have had a chance to check out Firefox, your quickly realize one of the nice features is the ability to open up websites in a tabbed layout. In other words, you can open up multiple websites withen one browser window. If you working with a patron on your PAC, you can open up several websites for them at once. It is a nice feature. Microsoft seems to be realizing the benefits, too. Check it out at:
http://www.techweb.com/wire/ebiz/161500440.

Microsoft launches 64-bit Windows. http://news.com.com/Microsoft+launches+64-bit+Windows/2100-1016_3-5681639.html?tag=nefd.top. If you are lucky enough to have a 64-bit chip, Microsoft has the OS for it now. What does this really mean? It means that computers with the 64-bit chip will be able to move more data more quickly. It will make your computers that much faster.

Friday, April 22, 2005

 

News and Notes

LTN News
We still haven't gotten our listserv up and running yet. I am asking Lsoft if they could host the lists for LTN instead of us hosting it ourselves. Keep your fingers crossed.

Technology News and Notes

WiMAX closer than we think? - Intel plans to release some WiMAX enabled chipsets by the end of 2006. What does this mean? With Intel's backing, Wireless WANs will become more popular and more widespread. There is a good possibility that libraries will find vendors offering WiMAX services in their communities which means more options when it comes to Broadband access. The speed will be in the 10-Mbps range and cover a range of 1 to 10 miles. Nothing to sneeze at... Check it out at: http://www.outlook4mobility.com/main.htm.

I am currently reading about some great websites in PC Magazine. Here are my favorites.

Process Library. When you hit ctrl-alt-delete on your keypad, you are given several options. One of these options is Task Manager. One of the tabs on the Task Manager is Processes. Ever wonder what some of these do? I just read about a website that might be able to help out. I recommend going to each of your Public Access Computers and looking over the processes. You should then check them here at this website. You might have some unwanted guests that need to be removed. Check it out at: http://www.processlibrary.com

Mail2Web. I have been using this website for quite sometime. If you want to check your POP3 email and you don't already have a web-based GUI, this is the place to do it. Best thing is that it is free. I believe patrons would love to find out about this page. Pass it on: http://www.mail2web.com.

DLL Files. Are you getting an error message on your library's computers about a certain DLL file missing. This is the place to go to find it. They have over 400 free DLL files. Of course, you have to pay for some as well. http://www.dll-files.com.

Shields Up. https://www.grc.com/x/ne.dll?bh0bkyd2. This website is not featured in the PC Magazine article, but it is a favorite of mine. This website will show you all of your security holes and advise you on how to patch them. It has been a godsend to us here at NTRLS.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

 

News and Notes

Technology News and Notes

Identity Theft. I was at a library yesterday that was concerned about identity theft. She was worried that people who use the Internet to purchase items would have their private information stolen. One way to prevent this from happening is by utilizing software that would "erase" all the actions taken on the computer during the day. Deepfreeze from faronics is an example of a software that can do this for you. We have been installing this software at numerous sites with great success. Check it out at: http://www.faronics.com

MP3 players and Audible.com. I am currently making my rounds to my member libraries discussing their technology plans. One five year goal that keeps coming up is implementing MP3 players and audio books. I have read about several libraries doing this lately. One library was getting 16 audio books on one MP3 player. This library would then circulate the MP3 player to their patrons. Audible.com is a service where you can download audio books on a monthly basis. They work with libraries. Check it out:
http://www.audible.com.

Usage Ratio. One question I receive at least once a month is: How do I know how many workstations to add to my infrastructure? I advise them to track their computer users on a monthly basis. Take this monthly total and divide it by your number of Public Access Workstations. This ratio could then be used as a baseline for determining if you need to add additional PACs to your infrastrucutre. For example, say Anytown Public Library has a 100 users per month with 10 workstations. The ratio is 10 users per 1 workstation. If the library continues to track their computer usage and notices the ratio has gone up, or down, they can plan accordingly. If you try this, please let me know how it works for you. We
would like to further refain the ratio to account for other factors.

Windows Server 2003 Security Update Breaks 14 Apps. Should we be surprised.
http://www.techweb.com/wire/software/160911549

Skeletons on your hard drive. You will want to read this before disposing of your old computers in your library.
http://news.com.com/Skeletons+on+your+hard+drive/2100-1029_3-5676995.html?tag=nefd.top

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

 

News and Notes

Technology News and Notes
Help with tracking that web research. If you a lot of Web reference work in your position, there are a ton of tools available to assist you with keeping track of it. Onfolio, Inc. announces the official release of version 2.0. of its product. I have no direct experience with it, but I have numerous good remarks about it. http://www.onfolio.com

Merger of TV and the Web. I know the hype has been there before, but phone companies SBC and Verizon are racing to provide TV through their fiber optics networks. They will be using a technology called IP TV. Viewers will be able to request programming via the networks. I hope they include public performance pricing as well. Think of it. Libraries would able to request programming for their patrons who can't afford to get the educational programming themselves. Just another possible service offering.... Here is the link to the article. You have to have a subscription. http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB111377749479709036,00.html?mod=3Dtodays_u=s_marketplace.

Adobe buys Macromedia. This is somewhat old news, but I didn't make an entry yesterday. Adobe is really positioning itself against Microsoft who has said that Longhorn, their next OS version, will have a file reader utility that will make Adobe Reader obselote. Libraries should keep an eye on this for their patrons since pdfs are so common on the web and once the OS is released, patrons will be asking to use it to read web material. Here is an article with further information. http://www.crn.com/showArticle.jhtml;jsessionid=SEL3EMQ4HPDFUQSNDBCCKHSCJUMEKJVN?articleID=160902269

Firefox top 10 annoyances. Lately, you hear so much good about Firefox that you can sometimes forget that it is not perfect. Check it out at http://www.theinquirer.net/?article=22634

Friday, April 15, 2005

 

News and Notes

LTN News

I am going to set up the LTN listservs again this morning. We lost them for a bit while we migrated to our dedicated server. L-Soft was kind enough to donate their product to us. I will be placing a logo on the LTN website acknowledging their contribution. LTN volunteers should expect to receive news announcements from the listserv starting next week.

News and Notes

Techsoup.org. If you didn't already know about this place, I highly recommend you check it out. Microsoft has recently revised their Software Donation Program for libraries to include Windows Server 2003. http://www.techsoup.org/stock/libraries/microsoft/faq.asp

Blogs and Censorship. Here is an interesting survey about what blogs should be allowed to publish. Most people feel personal information should not be published on blogs. I tend to agree. http://news.com.com/Blog+censorship+gains+support/2100-1028_3-5670096.html?t=ag=3Dnefd.top


Librarians upset over Intel Bounty. The story I reported yesterday has apparently lead to an increase in the theft of the issue Intel wants. I retract my advice from yesterday...never thought it would lead to this. http://news.com.com/Librarians+fuming+over+Intel+magazine+bounty/2100-1006_3-5671169.html?tag=nefd.top

Podcasts catch fire. Here is another article on podcasts. http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/internet/04/11/podcasting.reut/index.html

VOIP in your library. If you haven't discoverd Voice over IP (VOIP), this article says you should be on the look out for it. In essence, VOIP allows for phone calls to take place through your broadband connection. I have it at home and have saved over $60 a month using it. http://www.cnn.com/2005/TECH/internet/04/13/voip.players.ap/index.html.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

 

News and Notes

News and Notes from the Library Technology World

Podcasting Search engine. For those who don't know, Podcasts are audio blogs. Interesting concept. I should do one for the LTN blog. Here is a news about a new search engine, Podscope from TVEyes. http://www.podscope.com

oss4lib.org updated. Oss4lib.org is a website of open source projects for libraries. It is very well done and deserves a visit if you are looking for a software solution. The author of the website recently updated the page so there are lots a new projects. Check it out: oss4lib.org.

Blogs as weapons. Yes. Hackers have figured out how to use blogs for launching malicious attacks. http://www.techweb.com/wire/ebiz/160702361

Intel posts $10K award. "The number of transistors on a chip doubles every 18 months." said Intel co-founder Gordon Moore in 1965. This was quickly labeled Moore's law. Intel is now willing to pay $10K for the April 19, 1965 issue of Electronics Magazine. The ebay listing requires the magazine to be in excellent condition. Great way for a library to raise some money...

Does your library have MP3 players yet? According to InternetWeek.com, these portable music players are expected to increase 35 percent in the next year. I have read about several libraries, the latest issue of Library Journal mentions it briefly, buying several MP3 players and downloading audio books to them for circulation. Interesting concept and great way to reach your teen crowd.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

 

News and Notes

LTN News

As we move forward with LTN, I am hoping I can build on the technical team. Right now, we have two volunteers. If you are interested in assisting us with the backend of LTN, please contact us.

I have not been able to check email for the web producer account since we went live last week. If you sent an email to this account, please be patient as I work out the issues.

News and Notes

Our next theme is Alternatives to Microsoft. One line of products we plan to review are alternatives to IE. Here is an interesting article on Firefox from a librarian's standpoint. http://www.virtualchase.com/articles/firefox.html.

Windows XP Service Pack 2 begins to be downloaded to Windows computers everywhere (at least those turned on for automatic updates). Microsoft says it will enhance the OSs security. We have heard this before.

Worried about support for analog TV going away in 2007. It seems that the movement is losing steam.
http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA516226.html?display=3DPolicy&referral==3DSUPP

 

TLA - Day 3 plus News and Notes

Blogger was down the latter part of the week so here is the post I tried to make Thursday night....

LTN Notes
We have out a lot more pencils today. Hopefully, the word will spread...
Alternatives to Microsoft is the next theme. If you would like to write a review on an alternative OS, Browser or some other Microsoft dominated vertical, let us know.

News and Notes
Today, I made it to two presentations which were both very enlightening. The morning session was Geogrpahic Information Systems (GIS). Joshua Bean, GIS Librarian at the University of Texas at Arlington, gave the presentation. I know Josh because he did some GIS work for NTRLS not too long ago. He did some nice work. The point of the presentation was to introduce the attendees to the wonders of GIS and let them know that it might be something they can use in their libraries. He gave a handout on several GIS demos that he has put together. If you would like a copy of these, let me know.

The afternoon session was by Steven M. Cohen, who does the blog Library Juice. Interesting guy. Introduced the crowd to the idea of social networks and utilizing the collective knowlege of group by establishing expertise within an organization. In my days as Knowledge Management Engineer at BMC Software, this is exactly what I did for the company's Business Intelligence Department. Creaing this database of expertise, or expert database as it was called when I was in the business is nothing new. It has been rebranded as a social network. In my experience, the theory works better than the implementation. At NTRLS, we are in the process of determining how we can build a database of technical expertise that exists within our member libraries. It is not easy as I could not locate any software packages to handle this task so I would have to develop it myself; something I am trying to move away from...

I had to leave early from this presentation as I had to visit a vendor in the exhibit hall. Before I left however, Stephen did a nice job describing open taging and gave some examples. Here are the sites he mentioned: FURL, del.icio.us, del.ire.us and sitesulike.org. All of these sites follow the open tagging concept where people can assign descriptive tags to their favorite websites. The tags are then cataloged and made available for searching by others. It is an interesting idea, but I have to agree with Stephen about a middle ground needing to be reached between the traditional library science cataloging concepts and this new open tagging concept. Can we have a open taxonomy where people contribute to it and then utilize the tags from it. There has to a happy medium.

I also gave a presentation today on Web Statistics. We use analog and Report Magician for our web stats at NTRLS and I gave a demo on what we did to set it up. It was quite crowd, about 30 people, for a rather bland topic. It went really well. I even lost track of time which I never do during a presentation. I really got into it. If you would like to see a copy of the powerpoint that came with it, go to http://www.ntrls2.org/TLA/ to download it.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

 

TLA - Day 2

LTN News

We sent out the following press release to several publications this morning:

Library Technology NOW!News, Opinions, Wisdomhttp://librarytechnologynow.org/

April 6, 2005

Library Technology NOW! Announces Site LaunchSite will feature technology news aimed at the library community

AUSTIN — April 6, 2005 — A new online resource for librarians debuted today at the annual Texas Library Association conference. Library Technology NOW! (LTN) features detailed product reviews about current technology of interest to libraries. Recent articles include reviews of firewalls, spyware tools, and anti-virus software. Staffed by volunteer writers and editors from the professional library community, the LTN web site is located at http://librarytechnologynow.org/.
“We’re very happy that we were able to launch the site on time and on budget, especially with how quickly it has grown,” said Diane Neal, Web Producer and head of LTN’s Editorial Board. “We even have volunteers from Canada, Egypt, and India. The response from the library community has been overwhelmingly positive.”
In addition to thorough reviews, LTN offers user forums where library professionals can discuss their own impressions of a product or tool. The LTN site also serves up the latest library-related technology news through a variety of RSS feeds. This makes LTN a one-stop place to keep up with technology that affects libraries.
About LTN
Library Technology NOW! was founded in early 2004 by the North Texas Regional Library System’s Technology Committee and the Automation and Technology Round Table of the Texas Library Association. Other partners include Texas Woman’s Univ., Univ. of North Texas, Texas A&M Kingsville and Univ. of Texas at Arlington.
#########
For more information: Adam Wright, 1-800-856-3050, awright@ntrls.org

According to Evelyn Barker, Editorial Board member and the person who sent out the press release, Teacher Librarian plans to quote the press release. Let's hope this is one of many. Many thanks to the Marketing Team, Diane Neal, Evelyn Barker and Dodie Jownes, for doing such a wonderful job on the press release and setting up the table at our booth.

Speaking of the booth, I spent a good hour and half at the booth this morning. For those who don't know, the Automation and Technology Round Table have a booth this year's conference and is promoting the launch of LTN. We were giving out pencils to anyone who even looked our way. Of course, down the aisle a bit, there was a publishing company that had two Penguins and a Boa Constrictor. The pencils just did not compete, but we did okay. When I checked back later in the afternoon, we had given over 50 pencils away.

More PR Notes for LTN: I did a presentation today at TLA about how to market your library on the web. I mentioned LTN several times because I was using this project as example of what can be done on the web. We were also mentioned at a presentation about the TLA leadership program, Tall Texans. I attended this leadership seminar last year and it was mentioned several times (as told to me by one attendee). Overall, about 260 people heard about LTN at these presentations. Hopefully, next year, we can make a presentation about LTN. We tried to arrange one this year, but it was turned down.

Other TLA notes

For the second straight year, I did not attend a program myself. I was too busy taking care of responsibilities. I plan to go to a couple tomorrow morning and hit the exhibit hall. I will be on the look out for any new, interesting library technology which I will report here tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

 

Texas Library Association 2005 Conference

LTN News

Hi. I hope everyone is enjoying Library Technology NOW. We need the following volunteers:

1. Graphic Designer - I am sure you have noticed that the LTN website is not visually appealing as it could be. We would love to have a Graphic Designer join the LTN community and design us some new icons and logos. If you are interested, email me.

2. LTN - Ad Hoc Content Management System Committee - LTN is running off a very light weight content management system which we anticipate it will quickly outgrow. In preparation of this, the editorial board has agreed to form the before mentioned ad-hoc committee with the intent of finding the most appropriate CMS system for our needs. If you are interested in joining this committee, please email me.

The Texas Library Conference - LTN Report

We had preconferences today. I facilitated the one given by the Automation and Technology Round Table in conjunction with the Texas State Library and Archives Commission and the Catalogers Round Table. The title of the workshop was Setting up a Wireless Network. The presenters were Jerry McCulley, Technology Consultant Northeast Texas Library System and Richard Wayne, Assistant Director I.S., UT Southwestern Medical Library. The two did a wonderful job of conveying a difficult subject and should be commended. I especially liked the way they worked together. Good job guys!!!

We had a total of 36 people register for the preconference and 32 showed up in the end. I think the most interesting points were about some open source software tools you can use to assist with setting up a wireless network.

ZoneCD (http://www.publicip.net/zonecd/download.php) is a wonderful tool that will build a secure wireless node on your landline network for public use. It comes built with a homepage redirection and splash page. It even includes content filtering if you use them. You can have users authenticate to the wireless network and set daily time limits for your patrons. Lots of neat stuff. Here are the minimum requirements as reported on the above link:


Any WiFi compliant wireless router or access point
Standard router for Internet connection/firewall
Computer with:
An Intel-compatible CPU
Minimum 128 MB RAM.
Bootable CD-ROM drive.
Floppy drive or USB thumb drive (0.6-0)
2 Network Interface Cards (NIC's)
High-speed Internet connection
Login for Control Server

NetStumbler and Airsnort(http://www.sourceforge.net) are two tools that allow you get a better grasp on the wireless networks in your library and whether your WEP key is strong enough. NetStumbler will show you all of the wireless networks in your library vicinity and show you the signal strength of each one. Airsnort is used by network administrator to test WEP keys. Jerry said, "If Airsnort can break your WEP key in thirty minutes, you need to lengthen it to make it stronger."

If you would like a copy of the presentation, please email me.

Friday, April 01, 2005

 

News and Notes

LTN News

LTN is now up and running! Thanks to everyone for their hard work. Check it out at http://www.librarytechnologynow.org.

News from Library Technology Guides (4/1/2005)

Marshall Breeding does a wonderful job with this newsletter. You can sign up for it by emailing Marshall at marshall.breeding@vanderbilt.edu.

Auto-Graphics launches AGent LibraryCard, [Auto-Graphics, Inc.]Auto-Graphics announced that AGent LibraryCard, an online library cardapplication system, is now available to all statewide, consortium, andindividual libraries as a powerful tool for new patron enrollmentinitiatives. AGent LibraryCard is designed to reach an increasinglysignificant number of residents that obtain most or all of theirinformation from online sources and may not visit their local publiclibrary. Comments: Sounds like an interesting take on the authentication issue.

Elsevier announces xqDoc: open source cross-referencing tool forXQuery applications, [Elsevier]Elsevier is announced xqDoc, an open source cross-referencing tool forXQuery applications, and recognizes Darin McBeath, an Elsevier employeein the company’s Advanced Technology Group, as the developer of thecode. The tool is now freely available to the open source community.

Louisiana is latest state library to launch WebFeat system, [WebFeat]State Library of Louisiana launched its state-of-the-art WebFeatfederated search system, which enables patrons to search all of theState Library's online databases simultaneously with a single intuitiveinterface. Databases can be searched at the State Library of Louisianain Baton Rouge or at any of the 338 urban and rural public librariesstatewide. Comments: Check out Texas' version of this at the Texas State and Library Archives Library of Texas at http://www.libraryoftexas.org.

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