Contact me

These days, I'm the director of the American Library Association' s Office for Intellectual Freedom. I'm also executive director and secretary of the Freedom to Read Foundation. See "About Me" for contact information.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Tomorrow's library

I wrote my second column about the post-Kindle public library building, here.

Then Sharon Morris sent me a couple of links about not just imaginings of what I wrote about, but actual experiments in Aarhus, Denmark.

The Children's Interactive Library

and

The Transformation Lab (I think my daughter Maddy sent this one to me about a year ago -- probably where I stole all my visionary ideas, once I forgot where I got them. Sigh.)

It's clear to me that a fact-finding trip to Denmark is in order. Mail contributions to my home address.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Fedora 10 wireless issues

I'm about to give up. Fedora 10, as noted below, is a gorgeous and well-documented distro. But I have had persistent problems with my wireless connection. These days, Web access is my main home computer use.

1. Fedora defaults to the Network Manager "service" to manage wireless devices. That is, it uses EITHER Network Manager OR Network. Since I've been having so much trouble with this (other wireless networks show up but mine doesn't, when it does connect I often get a kernel bug message, the connection disappears after a logout), I went to System>Administration>Services and turned off Network Manager, then enabled and restarted Network (an alternative service to manage connections). Then I edited the Network settings to make sure those were right, and reboot.

2. The boot process took a lot longer -- and failed. I saw something that other folks have reported -- it tried to connect using completely different encryption keys (verified in iwconfig). I managed to force a connection (command line reset of encryption key, ifup eth1), then reboot to see if it was persistent, and never did manage to connect again.

So I went back to the Network Manager, and did get connected after a long mysterious delay. But I'm getting pretty frustrated. If wireless worked, I'd be a happy Fedora camper. Everything else works fine (well, occasionally my display resets oddly, but that's easily fixed). I understand that no distro can be counted on to work well with every setup, and have about concluded that my machine just doesn't like F10's wireless management.

PCLinuxOS was far more reliable in that respect. I indicated that I might have to distro-hop a bit, and I might be there again. Dunno what to try next. Maybe Mint (based on Ubuntu), or maybe ZenWalk (based on Slackware, which I've never tried). But it makes me kind of sad. Fedora is very handsome and feels familiar. I wanted it to work. :(

Next day: I fiddled around with several things, today. First, some experiments trying to use the IPv4 settings under Edit Connections. Might have been making progress -- but then it all fell apart again. So, second I wound up UNchecking the "automatically connect" button, and find that, so far, at least my local network shows up in the list, and one click connects me. Still mysterious...

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Jeff Donlan's "At the Library" newspaper column

One of the things I enjoy about being a librarian in Colorado is the extraordinary quality of my colleagues. Case in point: Jeff Donlan, director of the Salida Regional Library. Jeff writes a weekly column called "At the Library," which he posts at his library's website, and is available here. This location gives you his most current. If you want previous pieces, pull down "Choose a column" from the top.

His March 23, 2009 piece on Amazon's ebook reader, the Kindle, got me thinking, so I wrote my own column on the topic, available here. I think it's a good idea to pose some scenarios based on radical change. As we learned from the newspaper world, it can happen fast.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Carl's cancer blog

My good friend and mentor Carl Volkmann has his own blog up now, detailing his now 10 year+ battle with cancer. (Click the title of this entry to get there.) That's how he sees it (a war -- and he's a very gentle man!), and his continuing focus is impressive.

We were talking today (as he chauffeured me around Springfield) about this weird truth: there are some people who avoid him now. They don't know what to say about his cancer. Yet the important thing to Carl is that his friends know what's up -- he's convinced that their active support is part of what keeps him healthy and whole.

I have other friends battling other diseases. But I found this a powerful reminder: talk to each other. Ask direct questions. Let our friends know they matter to us. We are more than our diseases.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Springfield IL

I'm a keynote speaker for tomorrow's "On the Front Lines" conference, put on by my friends at the Illinois State Library.

When I arrived at the Springfield airport, I was picked up by my former boss and mentor, Carl Volkmann, and his wife, the wonderful Roberta. Later, we were joined by Judy Rake for a fabulous Italian dinner.

Now I'm in the conference hotel. It happens to be just north of Lincoln Library -- where I worked as Circulation Department Head, then Assistant Director. I'm on the 24th floor -- a rare height here in the midwest. And I'm listening to a train moan through the town.

My talk focuses on several things: current brain research, how to grow use, how to zero in on some of the key trends of modern librarianship, and finally, how to grow support. Being here again reminds of just how much I learned in this town, from this library.

I hope my comments are helpful.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Nokia morph concept

Click the entry for the link -- a Youtube video about a nanotechnology-driven mobile device called Morph. Fascinating. My son sent this to me.

I like this approach: illustrate some concepts with simple animation, and show how such technology might really be used. Clearly, the progress toward ever more capable and flexible mobile devices is a trend.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Synching the Acer Aspire One to the Palm Centro

It turns out to be simplicity itself -- once you know the arcane commands. They can be found by clicking the title of this entry.

I have to say that since installing Fedora 10 on my home computer, using Linpus Lite (the Xfce version of Fedora 8) seems easier. I suppose it's about getting comfortable with the menus and mindset.

But at any rate, this little netbook now communicates quite easily with the other mobile device in my life: the Palm Treo. Wonderful!

(I also added some Gnome themes that better matched the Xfce themes, giving me a nice graphite scroll bar to match the Aqua look of the window decorations. Man, I am geeking out.)

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Generations Updated

My daughter sent me this link (click the title of this entry) to Kate Zernike's New York Times article, "Generation OMG." It does appear that the coming-of-age Millennials are facing tougher times as they enter the world's workforce. But what struck me was the generation still at home, born after 2000. One name proposed for them has been the "Homelanders" -- born in the post-911 world, and so even more obsessively protected than the Millennials. The works of Howe and Strauss continue to hold up for me, their notion of the generational dynamic as a reliable predictor of social moods.

All of which seems to suggest the sort of hunkering down we see everywhere: caution, restricting expenditures, and slowly starting to rediscover the value of the public sector.