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Showing posts from March, 2008

Defeated by Darth

At Legoland I met, and was defeated by, the Sith lord.

This humiliation was captured by my own son on his cellphone.


Curse you, Darth Vader!

Taiga Forum Provocative Statements

The title of this entry is a link to 15 statements made by the Taiga Forum -- a collection of Associate/University Librarians. They are self-styled "provocative statments," predicated on things that will happen "within the next five years."

I'm a public librarian, so this isn't my world. But the statements are certainly provocative -- although I also think many are unlikely in the extreme.

Linux distributions, file formats, and the future

I've been using Linux (or more properly GNU/Linux), both on my computer at home and at work, since August of 2002. Now, in 2008, I've settled on two distributions: PCLinuxOS at home, and Ubuntu at work.

"Distributions" are confusing to some people. There's only one flavor of Windows (well, not really, if you count 2000, XP, Vista versions, and so on). There's only one flavor of the Macintosh's OSX (well, not really, since 10.3, 10.4, 10.5 are all out there). But the point is that those operating systems are corporate properties. They are owned, and supported, by a single entity. They are families of operating system, usually along an upgrade path.

Because open source software can be tweaked by programmers, quite legally, a single individual can patch together various pieces of software -- the Linux kernel, various choices among the GNU software repositories, a host of other background and icon themes -- and put his or her own name on it. And hundreds of pe…

Newspaper columns

I have been writing a weekly newspaper column since 1987. For 3 years, it ran in the Greeley Tribune. Since then, it has run in various subsidiaries of the Douglas County News Press. I still have most of my columns in digital format.

For many years, I only gave myself one rule: try to work the word "library" into every piece. My intent was to think in public about just what librarianship means at the end of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st.

There have been many advantages for me. I found that putting library plans out in front of the public, and getting feedback about them, helped me make better decisions. Sometimes, I found that it was very difficult for me to describe those plans or policies -- the kind of thing that makes me realize that they might not be good ideas after all. The weekly discipline of explaining my profession to the public keeps me more mindful, more honest. It also has provided steady visibility for the library and its issues.

I maintain an emai…

old dog, new tricks

I'm intrigued by blogging. On the one hand, it's nothing more complicated than keeping a journal. But this journal is open to the world.

Blogspot software is brilliant. I spent some time trying to figure out how to duplicate this kind of "entry" template, which would give me a text window, automatically stack recent entries at the top, and provide a search function. It was beyond me.

But given these built-in tools, blogging is simple. But simple doesn't automatically equate to interesting.

I almost went back and renamed this blog "Captain's Log." I am the administrator of a public library. But I'm sure it's been done!

Authors @ Douglas County Libraries

Our library has a wonderful partnership with The Network DC, our local government cable channel. They are decidedly not what you probably expect from government cable TV, though. For one thing, they have several times won honest-to-God Emmies. Among their projects is the Youtube video (see below). They also set up and shoot a monthly author program. I find the authors, and get to ask them questions. For a look, see

www.douglas.co.us/networkdc/authors/

Douglas County Libraries Youtube PSA

DC The Network, our local government cable station, has won a variety of awards for their programming. We contracted with them to produce a Public Service Announcement for us. Their people got so excited that they put way more time into than we'd asked for. But they're very proud of it. We are, too.

Here it is: www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKcsZ_KAHkI

Libraries interested in finding a way to adapt this to their own use should contact:

Katie Klossner
Community Relations Manager

Douglas County Libraries
100 S. Wilcox Street
Castle Rock, CO 80104
303-791-READ / 303-688-7655 (fax)//

kklossner@dclibraries.org

P.S. On July 19, 2008, we won an Emmy for this piece! See here.

the Segway

Max and I are vacationing near San Diego, CA. So we had a couple of hours to kill after checking out of our hotel, and before getting to the airport. Thanks again to my wife's thoughtfulness and research, we knew about a Segway tour company in Coronado (just south of downtown San Diego).

The trip there took us on a bridge that was 256 feet high. Very impressive view of the bay.

The Segway tour company was run by a retired newspaper publisher. His goal, he said, was not to make money, although he didn't want too lose any. He had 2 models of the Segway; the original required twisting the handlebars to turn. The newer version had bars that just tilted left or right - much simpler.

We got maybe 5 minutes of instruction, the hardest part of which involved just stepping on and off without pulling on the handlebars. But moving forward and back was remarkably easy and obvious: tilt forward or back.

For the first bit, we were in training mode, pretty slow. Then we moved into full mode -- o…

bonding with the kids

When my daughter Maddy was 17, my wife, Suzanne, booked Maddy and me on a trip to Portland, Oregon. None of us had ever been there before.

It was an incredible gift. Maddy and I had the chance to wander a new town, but more significantly, to talk to each other. To listen to each other. Maddy was poised at the cusp of a lot of life changes. It was a good time to talk.

This time, the trip was to Encinitas, California. Our son, Max, is 14, and he's on spring break. He's going through some life changes, too. And it's been very cool to spend some time talking and listening to him. The Pacific Ocean is a great backdrop.

Not every family has a wife wise enough to book transition time with the children. Mine does, and I'm glad of it.

myliblog

My
Library
Blog
=
myliblog

I'm traveling a lot lately with my little Nokia N800, called Loki. At home, I use regular desktop applications. Now, I'm exploring a Google-verse.

In some ways, this worries me. Microsoft wants to buy Yahoo. Yahoo, started by folks who think like librarians, has been a trusted portal for me. I'm not sure how I feel about Google yet; their superhub status, the aggregation of data, and what I rermember as their historic willingness to share information with the intelligence community could lead to the kind of Big Brother spying I think we need to avoid.

On the other hand, I have no international conspiracies to nurture.

So there it is. My first post.