Submitted by Jason Griffey on March 11, 2010 - 9:04am
Over the course of the last year, there has been a lot of discussion about the interaction between the real and the virtual via mobile phones, specifically about using barcodes as a unique identifier that can be read by a mobile phone's camera. In Japan and other countries, it is very common to see this sort of thing done via a type of code called a QR Code, a form of 2 dimensional barcode. There are lots of places online wh you can create your own QR Code, and many phones come with the ability to read them built in. For smartphones with applications stores, like the iPhone App Store or Android Market, there are many barcode reading apps to chose from.
Some libraries are playing around with QR Codes and other methods of annotating the real world via digital metadata. One tool that I just discovered is called StickyBits, and it takes a different model that I find really interesting. Instead of concentrating on linking physical objects to a single virtual place or information, StickyBits allows people to attach content to a given barcode, and have others see it. It's a form of tagging, but instead of tagging via terms, the user is tagging with any digital information they want: audio, video, photo, or text. For instance, a user could use StickyBits to tag a book with a video review. Read More »
Submitted by Jason Griffey on February 22, 2010 - 9:20am
Google Buzz, the Big G's newest and shiniest tool, launched last week to a huge amount of sturm und drang. What is Buzz? It's a lot of things, all shoved neatly into Gmail and leveraged with every ounce of power that Google could give it. If you've logged into your Gmail account in the last week, you've see a pop-up announcing Buzz, and asking if you were interested. Want to know what you're in for? Here's the very, very general idea.
Buzz is a combination of a few different existing ideas. The first is the concept of the "status update" or microblogging service, a la Twitter or Facebook. The second is the idea of conversation, as Buzz threads your discussions, instead of isolating replies like Twitter. This means that posts and replies are presented as a single thread, similar (very, very similar) to FriendFeed. Read More »
Submitted by Jason Griffey on February 1, 2010 - 8:46am
On Wednesday, the most anticipated technology product announcement of the last few years took place (video of the event here), and Apple finally showed off their tablet computer, the iPad. The iPad is going to dominate the technology discussion for the next several months, but here's a first-blush look at the tech specs and features that are going to be important for libraries and education. as well as what's missing and what we should be worried about.
Read More »
Submitted by Jason Griffey on December 21, 2009 - 10:24am
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 »
Submitted by Jason Griffey on November 23, 2009 - 1:57pm
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:
Read More »
Submitted by Jason Griffey on October 21, 2009 - 1:46pm
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 »
Submitted by Jason Griffey on September 28, 2009 - 8:50am
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 »
Submitted by Jason Griffey on August 19, 2009 - 9:17am
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
Read More »
Submitted by Jason Griffey on June 23, 2009 - 9:30am
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 »
Submitted by Jason Griffey on May 26, 2009 - 9:29am
After months of anticipation, a new tool emerged this past week that should be of interest to reference librarians everywhere: Wolfram¦Alpha. Read More »