Tagged: technology

Head in the Clouds

For the past 3-4 weeks I have been firmly rooted in detail and day-to-day issues that I haven’t allowed myself to look up and daydream. I am doing that today!

My oldest daughter has been talking about college a lot lately which is funny since she just finished Kindergarten. I don’t bring it up. She just wants to know what college is like and if she can bring her stuffed animals. It makes me wonder what life will be like for her and her sister when they finish high school. Lots of possibilities. Nothing is certain. It could be a mess. It could be wonderful. I’m looking forward to experiencing whatever may come with them.

One thing for certain is that technology will play a big role in their lives. What kind of devices will be making life easier for us? So many things will evolve and ‘simply’ appear in the next few years. It’s fun to imagine the possibilities. This is one of the advantages of my job. I get to learn about new(er) technologies and hopefully stay ahead of most people a little. The trick I’m still trying  figuring out which new technologies are worth learning more about. Which ones will be helpful to me and which will be helpful to my library. It’s kind of fun.

Links for the week:

This two part post by Joe Weinman on GigaOM fascinates me. He was a keynote speaker at the IEEE First Technology Time Machine Symposium in Hong Kong earlier this month. Just the name of that symposium makes me want to go.

In the two posts below he outlines some of the technologies that are probably going to be part of our lives in the near future, what they can do and what needs to be done to make them happen. In the first part he states that a company’s “new sensor chip has the power of the original Pentium chip but fits on the head of a pin.” This leaves me a little slack jawed at the possibilities. It makes things like this seem more likely. I enjoy living in the future now. Just wait till the ‘real’ future happens.

The post below is the introduction to a larger work that I have just begun to read. I hope I can read it this weekend…if the kids let me. The authors state that we are in the third era of the web: The Social Web. (First = the Web Browser. Second = the Search Engine) That’s about right. We are firmly in an era of social connectivity that has been enabled and reinforced by the web. This post focuses on Facebook and Google as leaders of the social web. They discuss how the social web is different and how it could evolve. It makes me wonder…what’s the next era of the web?

Friday Reads – Rushed Edition

Not too much to report for this week. I’ve been thinking about other things. Family has been taking up most of my time and thoughts. Over the weekend I learned my grandmother has days left… To say that I’ve been incredibly sad doesn’t quite describe my feelings. I’m headed home to see her and be with my mother today so this has been a bit rushed…

I did get a good evaluation though. Thanks boss!

On to the readings for this week:

After reading some less than positive things about the public library this is most welcome. David Morris provides a quick history of the public library in the US then follows up with a rebuke of privatization efforts and the closing of libraries to ‘save money.’ He points to some interesting studies that highlight how the money invested in public libraries provides an economic stimulus to the community. I’ll have to try and read some of those. Looks interesting.

Om Malik gives us a very thoughtful post about the past, future and limits of technology. Are people the limiting factor of technology?

If the hue and cry over Apple’s location data collection methodologies is any indication, then are we the people becoming the limiting factor in the evolution of technology and its adoption? Will the idea of what computing can do and what it will be in the future be limited by our collective ability to grok these changes? I mean, things aren’t exactly getting less complicated.

Jeff Jarvis wrote a piece about the business rules and realities of news. I’m including the post here because I think they apply to libraries as well. They could probably apply to a variety of occupations. Some of my favorites:

    • Tradition is not a business model.
    • Virtue is not a business model.
    • You no longer control the market. You are a member of an ecosystem.

I’m beginning to like Francine Fialkoff. This post on the commonalities of librarians is thought provoking. She attended the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) conference in Philadelphia recently and believes the disparity between public and academic librarians is shrinking. One of the sessions she attended featured ‘next-gen’ librarians. They focused on a set of virtues that we could all use:

collegiality, playfulness, collaboration, flexibility, creativity, courage, and service-orientation, characteristics that must span the profession if we are to move our libraries ahead.

I also like the ‘rapid prototype model’ she mentions. It is essentially a philosophy that encourages:

incremental testing so that failure comes quickly in the process of change and at little cost.

My new toys are here!

I’ve gotten all of my new toys! I received the iPad, Nook and Sony Reader today. I must say that I’m pretty giddy! It’s kinda like Christmas in October. My plans for a “Technology Petting Zoo” are taking shape. All I need to do now is get to know the devices better and schedule a time to visit the branches.

I’m writing this post via the iPad to see how easy it us to type. I think I may a get used to it but right now it’s a bit odd. I do like the iPad. Very slick. I think after a week I’m going to want my own. For now I’m more than happy to be using this one.

I’ve been fiddling with the Nook and Sony Reader for about an hour and think they will be useful. I’ve had the Kindle for over a week. I’m going to reserve judgement until I play with all of them for a few weeks.

It’s days like this when I really love my job! I’m a very lucky guy.

Cross Reality and Libraries

My library system has recently added a committee called Futures and Trends.  It’s purpose is to:

To recognize, review, and evaluate new or future trends in library service and communicate with Library Administration and related committees.  To consider feasibility, priority, and planning of new ideas for system wide needs that improve or enhance public service or efficiency.

I am fortunate enough to be on this committee and am really looking forward to seeing what it can do!

With this in mind I read 2 posts recently on ReadWriteWeb about a new technology being developed at MIT’s Responsive Environments Group.  You can read the posts here and here and what they describe is quite fascinating. These people are wicked smart!

What is cross reality? It is a way to connect information on-line and in person via ubiquitous sensors in a kind of virtual reality. But really, read the articles…they explain it much better. From RWW:

Cross Reality is about connecting “location-specific 3D animated constructs” in virtual worlds to in-building sensor installations.

In the second post on RWW they use bookstores as an example of how cross reality could possibly work.

Imagine for example walking down to your local shops and entering a bookstore. Theoretically, the bookstore would recognize you as you entered and would ‘ping’ your mobile device, which then might bring up that wish list of books you’ve been compiling…The app would let you know which of your wish list books are available. Also it would display a virtual map on your phone of exactly where each book is located in the store, via the barcodes of the books. Armed with all of this handy, very contextual information, you make your way to the first bookshelf.

This example just screams library to me. Really, just imagine a person walking into a library with a list of items they are looking for in their phone, a map of the library coming up that helps them locate those items.  How cool is that? Granted, it may make the reference desk a thing of the past but that is something that some have been advocating for a while. What are some other possibilities? I don’t know but it is exciting!

I’m sure something like this is a few years away from becoming an everyday thing but just thinking about how the use of technology is mixing with real life is mind boggling.  For an example of the “Tip of the Iceberg” check out this video.

Thanks to DCPL Labs for posting this video so I could find it.