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New breed - conclusions

What works for you may not work for me. At this moment, I'm looking for a storage system focused on plain text, Dropbox and (to a lesser extent) Google. Then, I want to be able to get to my files, to revise them, from any of my platforms. I want a clean editing environment that has a handful of functions readily to hand, that doesn't get in my way.
So based on this quick review, I seem to have settled on a few clear choices. All of them (other than Simplenote, which has its own cloud storage) allow me to edit files sitting in Dropbox, which makes them cross-platform.
Windows: Simplenote (and ResophNotes), WriteMonkey and Writebox. WriteMonkey begins to look like a true, new, writing environment. Focuswriter is another good choice. Note that all of these are free.
Mac: Simplenote (and nValt), Writebox, and Focuswriter. But I'm leaving that platform. Again, all are free.
Linux: Simplenote in browser, Focuswriter, and Uberwriter. Uberwriter costs $5; the others are free.
iOS: Si…

New breed - Daedulus

Daedulus is iPad only, and has a unique UI. Instead of the file and folder metaphor, or the two column approach, Daedulus uses "stacks." A stack is like a folder. Sheets can be created within it - and can be flicked around within the stack, or across them in one of the best uses of the touch screen I've seen. I'm writing these reviews in Daedulus, and it's a lot of fun. With the ability to shuffle the sheets, and search across them, this is far better than Plaintext. 
While the basic version is free, to get Dropbox syncing and exporting, you need to shell out some cash. I bought the bundle for $3.99.
Daedulus syncs up with Ulysses III through iCloud, I understand, but I haven't tested that. Although I have a Mac (my son's abandoned laptop), it's not really my basic platform.
It is Dropbox enabled -  the files are syncing to a Daedalus folder within Dropbox.

New breed - Plaintext2

One of the first iPad applications I bought was a version of WriteRoom -- arguably, the Mac app that kicked off the whole minimalist writing movement. 
In general, WriteRoom was a stripped-down screen that offered either one or two columns of text. In the two column version, it offered the title of notes on the left, and a wide panel on the right for the text of the selected entry. WriteRoom could be toggled to one pane - full screen text entry, an immersive environment that left you with nothing but space to write. 
WriteRoom no longer works on my recently updated iOS 8.1.2 iPad 2. So I replaced WriteRoom with Plaintext 2. Frankly, Plaintext 2 is not quite as good. It also isn't free (although it's not expensive). Although it does a fine job of integrating with Dropbox, and makes word counts even handier, it has lost the powerful search function, both within and across notes. Still, for short pieces, and for organizing those pieces into something very like folders, it's …

New breed - Uberwriter

Uberwriter is a Linux-only, Ubuntu-based markdown editor with some strong export options (odt, pdf, epub, rtf, html, latex source, MediaWikie markup).  It sells for $5.
Other features inclue:
- 'Focus' Mode greys out all but the sentence you are actively working on. - Fullscreen Mode - Inline Markdown Highlighting - Live Word and Character counting - Preview - Out of the box math support.
I haven't tried it, but it seems a useful tool, and maybe the only Linux markdown editor of note at this writing.

New breed - SmartDown

The Aflava software, SmartDown, is billed as a minimalist markdown editor for Windows. After its free beta, it had an introductory price of $19.95, down from its retail price of $24.99. (This compares to $14.99 for MarkdownPad for Windows, another contender.)
It has a simple, "sandwich" menu interface, with a pleasant enough gray-blue background. It seems to be close to my essential writer tool chest requirements. 
Note: it appears that I can only edit one file at a time. That's too bad.
It has a full complement of text editing and navigation commands, excepting movement by paragraph ((ctrl-up/down). 
Folding
SmartDown offers *folding*. Anything that follows a heading (line preceded by hashtags) until another heading of the same level or higher can be collapsed simply by clicking on the along the left edge of the window. I guess this includes any other text, until the next header. That's my primary interest in this program.
Spellcheck
It works as expected: anything it…

New breed - WriteMonkey

This writer's environment is free (although donations are accepted, and there is a fee to get various plug-ins), Windows only, and first requires the download and installation of the 4.0+ .net platform (so needs to be installed in anything up to Windows 7, but is there from 8.0 on) . WriteMonkey is a zip file download; once extracted, it can be copied to anywhere, including a USB drive.
The screen is by default perfectly white paper blank. F1 brings up a host of commands. 
Cursor tests
After running through the usual keystrokes:
- all good. There's one change: Alt-Up arrow moves the whole paragraph up, which I adore. Ctrl-Up moves the cursor by paragraph. - I like the automatic indenting that happens after the insertion of a hyphen. - Search and replace is solid - one file at a time, I believe. - ///Bookmarks may be placed - three hyphens, or Alt-M. And the jump command (Alt-Left or Right) allows one to skip around by headings or by bookmarks.
Text checking
- Automatic word count at lo…

New breed - StackEdit

Stackedit (https://stackedit.io/) is a browser-based, markdown editor. It's simple enough for content creation: type on the left panel, see the result on the right.
It also offers a word count, although I had to look for it. On the lower end of the right panel, there's a vertical three dot icon. Touch that, and a box pops up with a panel including a charcter count. Touch that number, and get a word count. The panel will even stay on the screen. It doesn't seem to have a search function, or navigation.
Moreover, although this stores content in the local browser cache, it can be set to sync with Google Docs or Dropbox. Unlike some of the browser editors I've seen, it works well on mobile platforms. It is free, although it prompts you for a $5 donation.

New breed - Writebox

Writebox is a free, in-browser app for Chrome and web browsers. There is a separate app for iOS and Android (for $1.99 each). Its font and background can be fiddled with, but beyond that it is stripped down, perfectly comprehensible, and works with Dropbox and Google Drive. It understands markdown, and can offer a toggled preview. It offers a word count, and the ability to save as html or email text or html. It does not have navigational aids (bookmarks or jump functions) or the ability to directly print.
Apparently it doesn't work as well on the mobile platform browsers. Once you start typing, the menu options disappear.  It has also been reported to struggle with large files (5,000 words or more). But again, there's an advantage to something that stretches across multiple platforms. While it isn't free, it's not expensive, either. I sprung for it.

New breed - Focuswriter

There are a good selection of other "minimalist" programs around on all platforms (WriteRoom, Q10, Darkroom, PyWriter, etc.), but Focuswriter has the distinction of being cross-platform: it is available for the Mac, Windows, and Linux. It is free, and open source.
I looked at it on the Mac. What I like about it:
- plain text - but saves to other formats. - works with Dropbox - “distraction free” environment, meaning full screen - themes (allowing one to change background, including putting an image on the screen, and fiddle with text fonts, sizes, and color)  - word count - spell check - multiple files can be edited at once - a “focus mode” that highlights either the current paragraph or sentence
There are advantages to having a program that looks and works the same on all your desktops. However, Focuswriter doesn't exist on the iPad or Android.

New breed - Simplenote

Simplenote was one of the first applications I adopted to keep track of notes from multiple devices. It follows a two pane format: title on the left column, content on the right.
Simplenote doesn't do formatting (although the web version, and some clients do offer markdown and Rich Text). Nonetheless, it does have a full complement of text editing controls, gives me an automatic word count, offers a fast and powerful search function, and presents a clean user interface. I do a lot of writing in it, mostly short pieces, but sometimes as long as a magazine article. While Simplenote doesn't offer outlining, it does have a robust system of tagging. Tagging isn't outlining. But it's handy.
Simplenote is free. It saves its files on its own cloud, which has proved to be reliable, and does an admirable job of syncing quickly and correctly across every platform I use. (It also has some popular variants on the desktop: Notational Velocity and nValt for the Mac, Resophnotes for …

New breed of writing apps - introduction

Word processing / text editing / writing software is going through some interesting changes lately. A handful of reasons come to mind.
1. Legacy software is often too complex, riddled with little-used options lost in mazes of menus. We spend more time trying to track down the command we do want than in creating content.
2. It's also a sad reality that many of us have lost files to the proprietary formats of now abandoned software. Wordstar is gone. WordPerfect is gone. The files of Microsoft Word (with its "embrace, extend, and extinguish" approach to standards) are notoriously balky, and likely to be corrupted. But the oldest format of plain text - a format  that can be looked at and edited by many free programs on almost any platform - endures. It is reliable and reusable.
3. Mobile computing is on the rise. We spend less time in front of one machine in one location. We spend more time with smart phones and tablets, which run entirely different operating systems. A pa…

What is a public library?

Near the end of my tenure as director of the Douglas County Libraries, a county commissioner proclaimed the purpose of the public library was "to be a repository of books." That's a tragically limited view. 
I've been using another definition for the past several years: "the job of the public library is to gather, organize, and present to the community the intellectual content of the culture."
But that may need some amplification. "The community" doesn't have to be a city; it could be a school or university or company. Or it could be a genre of writing or music.
"Intellectual content" isn't just the usual suspects: books, magazines, movies and music. It also includes people - often the most immediately useful and convenient repository of information, knowledge, or wisdom. That's the meaning of our traditional provision of programs, guest lectures, author visits, public meeting rooms, and the hosting of community discussions.
&quo…

why this book

I am passionately in love with the idea and practice of the Library. I know public libraries best, but love (and have spent many hours in) school and academic libraries, too. I try to pay attention to my colleagues and their successes and challenges.In that process, I have learned that we all share one big challenge: the American culture’s generation’s-long devaluing, even deliberate dismantling, of our shared public infrastructure.The evidence is clear. We have become a nation not of citizens, but of consumers. Our meaning, our merit, is measured now not by what we believe or build. We are judged by what we buy.Ideas matter. In fact, just a few words can make “frames” (see the works of George Lakoff) so powerful that they govern almost every aspect of our lives. The Declaration of Independence is one example: “All men are created equal.” “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Here’s another: “tax burden.”Let me stake out my ground up front. Libraries generally, public librari…

Join the journey

I’ve decided to undertake a grand experiment. Using the program Gingko (https://gingkoapp.com), I’m going to generate a series of blog posts that will flesh out my original outline, and begin to elaborate what will eventually be chapters in a book. Do check out Gingko, by the way. It just might change the way you think about writing.Ultimately, I will self-publish the work as an ebook. Price: $5? (Please comment below. Would you pay that for a roughly 200 page book?)The working title is “Who Needs Libraries?” I invite you along on the journey. Comments from librarians and non-librarians alike will help me write a better book.I’ll be trying to blog at least three times a week, at about 350 words per blog. Along the way, I hope to learn more about this fascinating program.And please, do comment. We’re in this together!

SmartDown - a markdown editor for Windows

SmartDown This is my first use of the of the Aflava software, SmartDown, billed as a minimalist, markdown editor for Windows. I downloaded the trial version (which is due to expire in December). I don't know what the ultimate cost for it might be. But it was mentioned on Outlinersoftware.com, where I often find interesting new software, and I'm intrigued by the quick, zen-like approach to plain text writing.

Let's put it through its paces.
InterfaceSandwich icon on top left (file functions, export function)Character and line count at bottom center. Hover the mouse over it and get word, sentence, page counts. That's essential for most of the writing I do.View icons at lower right: pencil for edit, eye for view output.Column size easily changed by dragging.Right click gives usual cut/copy/paste/delete options.Spellcheck tags. That's it, and so it's a very simple interface, with a pleasant enough gray-blue background. It seems to be close to my essential writer t…

Oh Adobe

Here's the problem: a lot of our "stuff" - both individual and business - is now in the cloud. Leaving aside the security of servers, there are also potential compromises in the transmission to and from the servers.

The issue for libraries is patron confidentiality, which we are both professionally and legally (in all 50 states) bound to preserve. (See Andromeda Yelton's impassioned post about the quandary.) Adobe, for quite some time now the near-monopolistic provider of Digital Rights Management (DRM) for ebooks in libraries, has been outed as having problems with the clear text, unencrypted transmission of user information (probably more than is strictly required to enable syncing across devices, if the usually well-informed Eric Hellman is to be believed, and I do believe him). It's possible that Adobe Digital Editions (ADE) 4 is also doing a little snooping - rummaging around your hard drive looking for other ebook information, although that's still in…

Bulgaria 10 years later

My first trip, a State Department grant, happened back in 1994. Nancy Bolt, then State Librarian of Colorado, teamed up with a former legislator in Iowa to arrange for a series of workshops and travel exchanges. Back then, Bulgaria was still throwing off the Soviet influence. Libraries had been tools of the state: a mechanism for the distribution of propaganda. Perhaps as a consequence, they did not enjoy a lot of public use or support.
There was also a parallel institution: the chistalistes. Think "culture center" - a place to celebrate the folk programs and activities of a country very rich in history.
The purpose of that first visit was to present a model of library as community information center. We talked about helping libraries begin to consciously collect and promote their collections to distinct market segments. We tried to encourage our colleagues to become not just passive distributors of state literature, but active, engaged, and visible "players."
But…

From community reference to library as leader

A few weeks ago (Sept. 14-19) I made a trip to Bulgaria. (Another blog with more about that to follow!) I was a guest of the Bulgarian Library and Information Association, speaking in the national capital of Sofia to about 30, mostly public library directors about what I've called "community reference," and others call "embedded reference." 
Incidentally, as I think more about this, I've decided it might better be called "library as leader." I advocate a process that follows seven stages:
1. Brainstorm the names of community leaders. "Community" here doesn't mean just public leaders. The community could be a university, a public school, or a corporation. "Community" just means "operating environment." And "leaders" means decision-makers or influencers. 
2. Interview them. One of the fundamental skills of librarianship is the reference interview. I suggest three questions:  - what are the key concerns of…

A rebirth of blogging

Since January, I've been blogging about ebook issues for American Libraries. But since I was nominated to run for ALA president, I suggested that this might be seen as a conflict of interest, as favoritism for a candidate. ALA officials agreed, and I am on hiatus.
So I'll try to do a little more blogging here.
Note: I am, however, now writing a monthly column in Library Journal about self-publishing, which I continue to believe is the Next Big Thing for libraries. Here's the first column.

LaRue for ALA president

I am thrilled to announce my candidacy for the 2016-17 Presidency of the American Library Association.

Those of you who know me, know of my deep and abiding passion for libraries. You also know that I've worked -- with many others! -- to make them better. As I've often said, this is the most exciting time in the history of our profession, and we need every live mind and spirit we can find.

But the more I have thought about the state of libraries in the US today, the more concerned I have become. Support for public and academic libraries - measured in terms of public willingness to fund them - has been falling for decades. In too many states, our school libraries are in a state of crisis. Many are on the brink of extinction.

I know most librarians to be conscientious and thoughtful stewards of public funds. Too, I know them to be, in many, many ways, staggeringly effective. Why then, are we losing support? And more importantly, what can we do about it?

Here's what doesn'…

Sick

I get sick very seldom. But after a recent drive over to the Western Slope of Colorado, I found myself dropping off to sleep one night (in a straw bail casita made by my friend Paul) - then was suddenly very awake and unwell. Unwell here just means knife-stabbings inside the throat when I swallowed, a fever, and headache. A cold, I guess, or rhinovirus - maybe this respiratory thing that has been flying around Denver.

So I drove back home the next day so as not to infect the various people I'd been hoping to consult with. The trip wasn't bad, what with the glorious Colorado landscape, and even the rain was nice, like  driving through Scottish hills, migrating clouds, and mist. And I managed to wrap up the "Order of the Phoenix" CDs. Ms Rowling is a compelling storyteller, even when you know it comes out.

When I got home, Suzanne had made chicken soup (she's been brutalized by all this for a week or more), and I was in bed by 6 or so. And slept through till after …

Mindscope

A very cool new program: Mindscope. There are a couple of ways to describe it: a pinboard, a way to enter text, drag it around a screen, nest other text under it (so that clicking an underlined entry opens up a new board with new text), draw arrows connecting things.

It runs on iOS. Here's a picture from my iPad:


As you can see, I just set up a very simple grid that allows me to track some of this week's projects. It's really easy and simple to set up, drag things around, file when you're done. For those of us who sometimes need a couple of systems to stay on top of our world, this one is a keeper.

Ubuntu murdered by impatient and distracted user

On my main laptop at home, I have long been running Windows 7 (which it came with), and using a program called wubi to dual boot into Ubuntu 12.04 (which means I had to decide when I turned on the computer whether I wanted to run Windows or Linux, and usually picked Linux). Ubuntu has worked pretty well for me. But I saw that it had come out with another Long Term Release, 14.04. So while I was doing other things, I said, sure, let's upgrade.

As is so often the case when things go wrong, it was almost certainly my own fault. I'm not sure that I had a fully updated system before I started. I failed to back up a couple of files. I didn't read screens all the way through. I am, in fact, an idiot.

The upgrade went through, but I didn't have menus at the top of the screen. That's a problem that the Internet has located, and several solutions were offered. I tried a couple of them, and it's possible I screwed that up, too, just by being impatient. Bottom line: I tota…

Extraordinary claims

Way back in the 70s, I happened across the book "Worlds in Collision," by Immanuel Velikovsky. It was a thick, sweeping, highly detailed book in which the author, a noted scholar (psychologist) advanced a theory of celestial catastrophes designed to explain various world myths (like the flood, the plagues of Egypt, and so on). It was absolutely absorbing and fascinating. And virtually everything about it has been rejected by scientists, often savagely. As a work of comparative mythology, it was compelling. As a work of science, not so much. Even Carl Sagan took pains to refute most of its core claims (although he did chide academicians for their unwillingness to at least examine the claims first).

Well, I was taking a couple of long car trips, and checked out the 11-disc audiobook set called "The Lost Empire of Atlantis," by Gavin Menzies. Menzies, a former submarine commander, was decidedly not a member of the Atlantis-as-spacemen crowd. But he came to believe, an…

Open government and libraries

It happens that I serve on an advisory committee for an IMLS grant on Open Government. Crafted by the good people at the University of Albany (NY), the grant is about encouraging public libraries to contribute to the open government trend.
That trend seems to comprise several other things:
- the rise of e-government. More and more governments use new technologies (mostly web-based tools) to make it possible to retrieve information that used to require office hours and staff assistance.
- Transparency. Tyranny and waste thrive in secrecy. If government operates in the light, at least in theory it should be easier to detect misbehavior. (On the other hand, it may be that we can have governmental efficiency, OR government transparency, not both.) On the other hand, transparency might lead to something more positive: citizen contributions, and if not efficiency, at least effectiveness.
- Civic engagement. And here the idea is that real citizenship or democracy depends upon a vigorous dis…

Saskatchewan Library Association

Back on May 2, I had the pleasure of speaking at the Saskatchewan Library Association. The location was Moose Jaw, a town of about 40,000. It has a nice vibe: a mix of historic buildings, a lovely old downtown park, and a number of live theaters. 
It wasn't a big conference - I suppose there were about 150 attendees. Most of the public libraries, I gather, are part of municipalities, and get their money from the general fund, and the province. Speaking at the opening event for the conference were the local mayor, and several provincial elected officials. All spoke highly of the importance of libraries. Privately, I've been told that this support is more moral than financial.
In general, it appears that the issues affecting libraries are much the same in North America. There is, nonetheless, a sense that although Canadians have funding woes, too, they don't seem to operate in the highly charged anti-government atmosphere of the states. I think this comes down to the fundament…

Douglas County Unaffiliated voters: declare

For fifteen years in Douglas County, Colorado. I was a Republican. The reason was very simple: Republicans ALWAYS won the general election. The only one that mattered (for people, anyhow, not issues) was the primary. 
When the general election came, I have to say that I don't think I've ever voted a straight ticket. No matter how displeased I might be with one party or the other, I'm not an ideologue. I vote for the most capable candidate, and I've observed that neither party has a lock on competence.
After I left my position as Douglas County Libraries director, in part (but not mostly) because of partisan pressure by a couple of county commissioners trying hard to get me fired, I was pleased to go back to my Unaffiliated status. I am, and always have been (like a lot of Coloradans) an independent. Tell me the issue, I'll tell you my take. But I get to decide that, not a party. In general, I suppose I would consider myself a social liberal and a fiscal conservati…

More thoughts on consulting

One of the challenges of my new consulting career is finding the succinct summary of just what it is that I do.

Here's my latest attempt: I'm a full time public library thought leader. I've decided that the profession I love (librarianship!) is at a tipping point. With some attention on just the right things, I think we can earn long term mind share and support. The point isn't just to benefit libraries, it's to benefit the communities we serve. Libraries just happen to be an extraordinarily effective way to do that.

So just what, exactly, are the "right things" to focus on?

Right now:

planning. After PLA (where I offered some free consulting to the library world, and met some fascinating people), I spent some time thinking about processes to move quickly and precisely to true "strategic" planning -- not just a list of stuff to do, but a narrow focus on the things that matter most.trend tracking. Really, this is just a subset of planning. But so …

More migrations

I've long had an account with Earthlink, which hosts my website and email. But Earthlink only does POP mail, which means that it doesn't stay on the server. Given all the devices I use these days, that made it hard to search for older email.When I left Douglas County, I moved all my work email (DCL and Earthlink) over to gmail. That worked well enough, and I could set up my gmail account to fetch from Earthlink. But there were a couple of problems: first, it took awhile for new email to go from Earthlink to gmail. Second, even though I had gmail set up to send as if it were coming from jlarue.com, in a long thread, it would give the gmail account info and say "on behalf of James LaRue." That's bound to lead to confusion.So I converted to Google Apps, and today moved over my email information. Now I'm sitting here with fingers crossed as the old account email is migrated to the new. Then I'll tackle Calendar, Contacts, Goggle +, Google Drive, and .... othe…

PLA 2014

I've just returned from the Public Library Association's conference in Indianapolis. It was a rich experience, even though (as too often happens), I never made a single program other than the preconference Sharon Morris and I did on Wednesday. (And that session, "Managing the Talent," was a blast. We presented a wholistic look at institutional Human Resources, with lots of relevant exercises. The attendees were engaged, contributed a lot, and seemed to enjoy themselves.)
So what else did I do?
Mostly, I talked with people: colleagues, vendors, industry luminaries, other consultants, and some of the most interesting taxicab drivers I've ever met. (But that's a story for another time. A children's book.)
I also hopped back to my wired hotel room to participate in an American Libraries Live session with Sue Polanka, Troy Juliar (of Recorded Books), and Jeff Metz (of OnceClickdigital). Unfortunately, technical difficulties prevented the very interesting Yoav…

A million dollar idea

I just had coffee with a retired CEO who told me a great story. When someone would come into his office to pitch a new idea, and ask for, say, $10,000, the CEO would tell him to come back when he could ask for a million dollars. Every day, said the CEO, there should be a line outside my door asking for big money for big ideas.
How many times did anyone take him up on it?
Never.
So that's an interesting scenario. If I were to say to you, here's a million bucks for you to radically transform your institution, or at least to begin to in a significant way, what would you spend it on?
I wonder how many librarians could answer that?

Kluge

Author Gary Marcus is a New York University psychologist. In his book, "Kluge: the haphazard construction of the human mind" (Houghton Mifflin, 2008), he provides an accessible and entertaining case for the human brain as something of an evolutionary mishmash. After providing a raft of evidence that suggests that if we were crafted by an Intelligent Designer, He was either a shockingly absent-minded engineer, or was off His meds, Marcus gets to the gist of it:
"It would be foolish to routinely surrender our considered judgment to our unconscious, reflexive system, vulnerable and biased as it often is. But it would just as silly to abandon the ancestral reflexive system altogether: it's not entirely irrational, just less reasoned. In the final analysis, evolution has left us with two systems, each with different capabilities: a reflexive system that excels in handling the routine and a deliberative system that can help us think outside the box."
In his concluding …

Hacked?

So on Thursday, January 23, 2014, apparently the Great Firewall of China collapsed, and all the Internet traffic of the nation was sent to a single IP address in Cheyenne WY, which of course failed immediately - the most colossal failure of the Internet to date. It was down for 8 hours.

The very next day, Gmail, the email program of Google, arguably one of the most technologically sophisticated companies in the world, again, simply failed, although it was repaired far more quickly.

Explanations for both are pretty lame. Yeah, the Firewall made a routing error. Oops, there was a little software bug.

That seems like quite a coincidence. It looks more like a hackfest to me.

Welcome, all, to the new era of vulnerability. Our entire communications network, and all the business conducted on it, is held together by means of physical, and virtual connections far beyond my understanding or ability to secure. And when somebody messes with it, it's hard to know just who, or why.

New website, old boots

My first few days of "retirement" seemed to involve me working harder than ever. But then, it was never "retirement." It was the Next Chapter.

One of my key projects was to update my website. I had to recast what wasn't much more than a set of bookmarks and CV files, to a presentation to the world about how I hope I might be able to help other libraries (and not just libraries) move forward. There are three ways: through speaking, through writing, and through consulting.

I have to say that I really don't like most of the websites I see. I find myself inclining toward a minimalist aesthetic in many areas of my new life. To me, that means an understanding that the most precious resource on our planet is attention. I really don't want to be shunted around 16 panels, 42 photos, 6 Flash videos, 4 Next Pages, and pop-ups. Who has the time?

After a whole lot of thought, I whittled jlarue.com down to 8 pages. That feels ... about right, especially since I can u…

LaRue 2.0

This is just a check-in.

[x] Wrap-up my job as Director of Douglas County Libraries.

While I don't claim to have resolved all issues, I think I worked through a good set of them. I left the organization in good shape, and stepped out at a time when the next director will have a chance to put his or her stamp on things. I loved my time at DCL, and am confident that the institution will continue to do well. There are so many smart and capable people there. But whether it does or not, I'm done as director, effective 18 January 2014.

[-] Start my new career.

I began by crafting a business plan. It's pretty solid, I think. And I've sent out the word. But there is much to be done.

- My website is old, and needs refocusing and refreshing. But I have spent a lot of time thinking about the services I can offer, the value I can add. I'm also having a lot of fun poking around the various templates and possibilities.
- My >1,000 contacts have been whittled down to something…