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Posts by Tom Peters

The Prodigal Aardvark

Submitted by Tom Peters on February 23, 2010 - 9:46am

Earlier this month, Google bought a small start-up company that provides a social search service called Aardvark (www.vark.com)  that helps satisfy people’s information needs. 

Big deal, right? This happens all the time.  Large tech companies always are on the lookout for small companies doing innovative things that they can acquire.  Sometimes the big company wants the innovation, or its the talent pool, or it just wants to acquire and kill a threat to its business model.  It’s probably cheaper and more efficient overall to buy innovation rather than create it in-house.  Read More »


Anticipating Apple's Announcement...

Submitted by Tom Peters on January 27, 2010 - 9:01am

As apple's big announcement draws near, our own Tom Peters ponders it's significance.


Somnambulant Texting

Submitted by Tom Peters on January 20, 2010 - 3:47pm

Eighteen months ago (11.5 Internet years), during the most recent Petersian Congress (the highfalutin name we’ve given to our triennial family reunion), we ribbed our niece (then 16 years old) about her apparent ability to continue texting messages on her cell phone as she fell asleep.  Someone snapped a picture of her in blissful repose with her fingers still poised on the tiny little keyboard. Read More »


The Joy of Text

Submitted by Tom Peters on December 17, 2009 - 10:53am

As I enter the homestretch of my 23rd year as a librarian, I find myself thinking about my settled likes and dislikes.  The negative side the ledger contains the usual suspects.  Interminable meetings are frustrating, whether they are held in person, via conference call, online via webconferencing, or in a virtual world such as Second Life.  Despite the fact that I have not directly worked in a physical library for the past six years, I have not been liberated from the tedium of meetings.  Annual performance appraisals, either as the appraiser or the recipient, are near the top of my dislikes list, too.  There has to be a better way to encourage and enable people to do their best.

For years, book selection has been on my short-list of professional likes.  I love to read reviews, select titles, analyze collections and their usage, and eke out the maximum benefit to a community of readers who are often surviving on meager collections budgets.  Currently, I get to satisfy this professional passion by selecting new audio books for the Unabridged downloadable digital audio book service (http://www.unabridged.info), which serves blind and low-vision users in seven states. 

Surprisingly, the newest item on my likes list is providing SMS-based text reference service to mobile phone users.  For the past six months, I have been one of many volunteer service providers for the Info Quest (IQ) collaborative reference service (http://www.myinfoquest.info).  When I first signed up to be a service provider, my hunch was that actually providing the service would gradually drift onto my dislikes list.  I have been pleasantly surprised by the joy of text.  Read More »


Opening the Secret Garden: Kindle to Become More Accessible

Submitted by Tom Peters on December 9, 2009 - 10:51am

When it comes to blind and low-vision members of our society, the stakes of the digital information revolution may be higher for than for the sighted population.  Once a text has been created in or converted to a digital format, the accessibility options blossom and bloom, at least in theory. Read More »

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Is the Nook a Crook?

Submitted by Tom Peters on November 6, 2009 - 3:22pm

Everything I read and hear about the forthcoming Nook portable eReading device from Barnes & Noble (http://www.nook.com), including Jason Griffey’s post here on the TechSource blog, indicates that the Nook will be a significant new development in the burgeoning portable eReader device market.  It may become the much-anticipated Kindle Killer.  

The Nook clearly is not a crock, but earlier this week, a news release raised another question:  Is the Nook a Crook? Read More »


Sky me a River

Submitted by Tom Peters on October 14, 2009 - 9:45am

It’s not every day that a new bibliographic utility bursts onto the library tech scene. Even public services librarians like myself– who are generally averse to the finer details of cataloging and metadata matters–took notice of last week’s announcement that a new bibliographic utility called SkyRiver (www.theskyriver.com) is forming. Like Halley’s Comet, SkyRiver will grow in brightness over the next few months, with the best viewing after it is completely launched in January 2010. Read More »


Fast Flip Flops

Submitted by Tom Peters on September 18, 2009 - 8:40am

The elves over at Google Labs have emerged once again with yet another interesting information experience--Google Fast Flip, which they announced on Monday on the Official Google Blog. Fast Flip was designed to address one of the nagging problems of using the Web as a news source: when trying to browse quickly through several news sites to get up to date on what’s happening, many users, including those with “fast” Internet connections, find that it takes too long to load all of the content and pop-up laden webpages of the major newspapers and magazines. Thus, users in search of an informative web experience get a frustrating one instead. Read More »


A Tale of Two Twitters

Submitted by Tom Peters on August 17, 2009 - 10:02am

It was the best of Twitter, it was the worst of Twitter, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity.

Okay, that’s 140 characters.  While I used to be ambivalent about the value of Twitter, now, based on a whole bunch of tweeting that I observed during a recent online conference, I have become strongly ambivalent about Twitter.  Twitter is a good tool for some things, but in some ways, I find it deeply troubling. Read More »


Cheapskate

Submitted by Tom Peters on July 16, 2009 - 9:44am

I’m a cheapskate and proud of it.  If I can get something I want or need with little or no out-of-pocket expense, I can ignore the resulting flurry of ads and give sales callers a virtual karate chop with the best of them.  So, when I became aware that Chris Anderson has a new book out, published on July 7, called Free: The Future of a Radical Price, that was available for free (as in no direct out-of-pocket expense), I downloaded the free audiobook version and transferred it to my Creative Zen audio player in a heartbeat.  Then I headed off for ALA Annual Conference in Chicago. Read More »

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