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Posts by Jason Griffey

Google Explosion

Submitted by Jason Griffey on December 21, 2009 - 11:24am

The last quarter of 2009 has seen an absolute explosion of Google features, acquisitions, and apps. Here's a summary of the developments that I think have the most significance for libraries and librarians:   Read More »

Chrome is Coming!

Submitted by Jason Griffey on November 23, 2009 - 2:57pm

This past Thursday, Google announced its next large software project, currently named Chrome OS. The announcement came in the form of a press conference and a question and answer session that included not only the lead engineers on the project, but Sergey Brinn himself. This is not to be confused with their Chrome browser, a successful project in its own right, rather it is a new operating system, designed by Google and focused around the Chrome browser. Yes, that's a little confusing. Let's see if we can lay out what Google is doing, and make some sense of it for those who didn't watch the announcement. First up, a short video produced by Google that explains Chrome OS:

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Barnes and Noble's Nook Steps into the Ring with Kindle

Submitted by Jason Griffey on October 21, 2009 - 2:46pm

The Amazon Kindle's first real competitor saw the light of day for the first time this week, and it looks very, very impressive. The Barnes & Noble Nook launched Oct 20th, and it stands toe-to-toe with the standard that has been set by the Kindle, even exceeding it in many ways.

The important bits: The Nook has the same 6-inch eInk screen as the Kindle, and is $20 cheaper (the Nook preorders for $259, while the Kindle 2 is still $279). The Nook also has a remarkable navigation system: a secondary color touchscreen display, directly under the eInk. It's a great-looking innovation, and one that gives the reader's interface flexibility that the Kindle just doesn't have. In my opinion, as you go through the specs, the comparison seems to favor the Nook over the Kindle. Here's the quick rundown of the things I get asked about the most when I talk about eReaders: Read More »

Researching Your Library Tech Decisions

Submitted by Jason Griffey on September 28, 2009 - 9:50am

I spoke this past week in San Diego, at the San Diego Law Library Association's Fall Conference, and one of the members asked me the following question (paraphrased for brevity):

How do you make decisions about what technologies to offer or support at your library? With the explosion of Web 2.0 over the last 5 years, how do you decide what to offer your patrons?

I decided to share my suggestions on how to make those decisions in your library. Read More »

Cool Device Watch: PogoPlug

Submitted by Jason Griffey on August 19, 2009 - 10:17am

For better or worse, I've become a sort of gadget-review guy for TechSource, watching all the new hardware announcements and trying to pay attention to things that I think will be useful, novel, or even just interesting to libraries and librarians. I've found another little bit of technology that I think might be interesting for a few reasons, not the least of which is the future that it holds in its oh-so-small frame. I've been testing one for a couple of weeks now, and it's just so insanely cool and it works so incredibly well that I have to point people at it just to see what someone else thinks about it, because I'm officially won over.

The gadget: Pogoplug
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Planning technology for the next 30 years

Submitted by Jason Griffey on June 23, 2009 - 10:30am

I don't often post specifically about things I'm involved in at my real job (Head of Library IT at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga), and try instead to examine general technology useful to libraries of all types. But this month, I'd like to talk about something that I've been involved in for almost 2 years that has recently come to a head (especially as it concernstechnology). I've spent the better part of the last month hip-deep in planning the technology for UTC's brand new academic library.
  Read More »

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Wolfram Alpha and Libraries

Submitted by Jason Griffey on May 26, 2009 - 10:29am

After months of anticipation, a new tool emerged this past week that should be of interest to reference librarians everywhere: Wolfram¦Alpha. Read More »

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Saving Your Digital Life

Submitted by Jason Griffey on March 27, 2009 - 9:51am

Like most of us online and definitely like most libraries, I create more and more and more digital relics as I go through life. Pictures, videos, songs I've bought, ebooks I've downloaded, things I've name it. If it's being created you can bet it's probably being created digitally. This all adds up, though, and the fate of any hard drive is to be filled with both really important, highly critical files and with digital ephemera that you want, but don't need daily. I've got a three-fold solution that I use, and will hopefully be helpful in solving some problem for libraries (or at least, librarians) out there.

I have, basically, three kinds of data that I'm worried about protecting in some way: working files, files that are important but replaceable, and files that I can't afford to lose at all. Working files are just that: files that I'm currently working on for whatever reason. Might be a photo I'm editing, or a document, or an MP3 that I need to move to another computer...anything that requires action. Files that are important, but replaceable, are things that make my life easier if they are in digital form, mostly media. DVDs I've purchased and CDs I own have all been digitized, because I want to be able to watch them when I want and not when I remember to have a disk of plastic with me. I also want to be able to move them to my iPhone or other portable media player. If I lose the digital, it's ok, because I can just re-digitize them, but I really, really don't want to have to do that. And finally, there are the files that I just can't lose for any reason. Things like tax returns, photos of my daughter, receipts, and other digital items that need to be safe even if there's a natural disaster. Read More »

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Netbooks: a new portable computing solution?

Submitted by Jason Griffey on February 24, 2009 - 9:56am

At my place of work, we are considering circulating so-called netbooks to our students. This would be done initially alongside traditional laptops, but with the possibility of moving the majority of our portable computers to netbooks. In thinking about moving this direction, I've been looking at a lot of these machines, and realizing that there may be a good number of libraries that haven't been watching the rise of this new platform. So I thought I'd take just a few paragraphs to try and explain why these machines are popular and what options are available.

The very term "netbook" is currently under some scrutiny, but it has come to refer to a class of small, portable computers with certain characteristics. These machines have a smaller-than-notebook screen, normally 10-11 inches or under (most notebooks come in a set of standard sizes; 13, 15, or 17 inches). Netbooks tend to use specific types of processors designed for low cost and efficient performance, not for pure speed and efficient processing like the processors you find in standard notebooks. They also tend to have minimal amounts of memory and disk space, often with 1 megabyte of less of RAM. Many of them ship with solid state hard drives that only have 4 or 8 gigabytes of space. The good news about this is that, thanks to Moore's Law, even older, slower, cheaper processors are almost always capable of handling most common computer tasks these days. Read More »

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Podcast tech roundup

Submitted by Jason Griffey on January 29, 2009 - 10:35am

As I was getting ready to leave for ALA Midwinter 2009 in Denver, I found myself packing an almost absurd amount of electronics. For those who don't know, I'm mostly responsible for the podcasts that show up from time to time on LITABlog. For the last few years I've been capturing the audio for programs like Top Tech Trends, and manipulating it so that it can be delivered to the fine people out on the Intertubes.

I realized as I was packing that I never posted about the tech involved, and who doesn't like a great tech-roundup post? So here we go: How I podcasted from ALA Midwinter 2009. Read More »

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