Archive for the ‘STT’ Category

Upgrading to Mountain Lion >Updated< and purring along …

In STT on September 8, 2012 at 11:45 pm

The fifth time’s a charm? Pretty much! With the side rant about calendars … UPDATED!!!

So this is the fifth time I’ve upgraded a Mac on OS X. I’ve gone from Tiger to Leopard to Snow Leopard to Lion to Mountain Lion. Not all on the same Mac mind you, although one of my older work MacBook Pros (which I will also refer to as MBP(s)), has gone from Leopard to Mountain Lion (which I will also refer to as ML), so anyway … that machine and its siblings in my keep, will have had four different versions of OS X and three upgrades.  

[UPDATE: writing these updates about two weeks after the Mountain Lion 10.8.1 update came out and essentially whatever magic was in that update, worked for me!  My MacBook Pro is running better then ever].

I turned Mac about six years ago on a white MacBook running Tiger and I was astounded and amazed my first upgrade oh-so-many-years ago going from Tiger to Leopard. And I continue to be astounded by the crazy notion that you can install a major OS upgrade, not lose anything in the process, not have to type in a crazy long key code, only have one re-boot, and be done within an hour. It’s part of turned me into an Apple fanboy.

This time around, I’ve upgraded 3 machines to Mountain Lion (as of this post) since ML came at the out end of July. Two have been 4-year-old MacBook Pros and the latest is a year old MBP. All these upgrades went smoothly. Two went from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion, the other went from Lion to Mountain Lion, specs listed below in order of upgrades :

  • Snow Leopard to Mountain LionMacBook Pro 15″ Early 2008 / 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo / 4 GB RAM / NVIDIA GeForce 8600M 512 MB ( upgraded the afternoon SL was released, I’m a fanboy!)
  • Lion to Mountain LionMacBook Pro 15″ Early 2008 / 2.5 GHz Core 2 Duo / 4 GB RAM / NVIDIA GeForce 8600M 512 MB
  • Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion MacBook Pro 15″ Early 2011 / 2.2 GHz Quad-Core i7 / 8 GB RAM / AMD Radeon 6750M 1 GB (my current work machine)

The two older MBPs, seem to be working just fine, no discernible issues at all, zippy as ever, nothing crashes, all good. Other then a bum SuperDrive on one, I think these old guys will last forever. My only issue has been on the newest MacBook Pro, my main machine of course …. But, thus far I believe this stems more from the accumulated gunk in my account than ML per se. My OS X account has been transferred between two diffenent MacBook Pros and has gone through at least two OS X upgrades accumulating log files, caches, preferences, left-over bits from deleted apps, etc., etc. So I decided to use CC Cleaner to wipe out years worth of these accumulated log files and caches after the upgrade … and may have gone too far … and maybe should’ve done that before the upgrade eh? 😉  

[UPDATE: Yes, using CC Cleaner and cleaning a bit too well was a mistake, but luckily having a Google account and signing in to Chrome to restore things helped as did, as it always does, Time Machine(!).  I was able to restore a number of preferences and misecallany by copying over from my Time Machine backups, fixed many things and was reminded that maybe being too clean isn’t really such a good thing  😉]

On my 2011 MBP I find my boot-ups and shut-downs to be uncharacteristically slow, but once it gets booted, this machine works very smoothly and I’ve had no problems at all. I’m maybe going to experiment with creating a new admin account for myself and see if that makes a difference … Need to look into this though because OS X of permissions issues transferring documents and files from one account to another, but thinkin’ about it … I’ll post if I do. And anecdotally, it seems to charge its battery much faster now.

[UPDATE:  I did indeed create a new admin user account and was in the process of slowly moving files over to it.  I was finding that initially I had slow boot and that apps and the mouse cursor would freeze and disappear for a second or two, both noticeable and frustrating, but I wasn’t having that issue as much in my new admin account.  Then I went on vacation for a week and let my MacBook rest and when I came back, booted up, first thing it did was install the 10.8.1 OS X update and voilà! My MacBook was running better then ever 😉  … I will note that one of my suspicions of the freezing behavior I was plagued with was due to Outlook or Exchange, but I could never seem to pin it down.  Apple’s  notes for 10.8.1 update state that it will “Improve compatibility when connecting to a Microsoft Exchange server in Mail.” Well it seem to do that and just make everything else run smooth as silk too.]

Also on my 2011 MBP I run Windows XP & Windows 7 in Parallels 6 which does not work with Mountain Lion, I’ll need to upgrade to Parallels 7, so that’s that. And I have a Boot Camp partition on this machine running Windows 7. I had created this partition in Snow Leopard and now under Mountain Lion it work just fine. I’ve had no problems on my Window Boot Camp side of this Mac, a bit of kumbayah luv between Apple and Microsoft … so far … 😉

[UPDATE: Did indeed upgrade to Parallels 7, and again upgrade happened without a hitch, was able to activate both my WinXP and Win7 virtual machines, no problem with the addition of now having my Boot Camp Windows 7 install also accessible via Parallels 7.  I’ve gone through 3-4 upgrades of Parallels and am always impressed how smooth they go and how they keep making the virtual OS experience work better and better.]

So far I like Mountain Lion. It seems a nice refinement to Lion, as Snow Leopard was to Leopard. I knew enough about Lion to know what to tweak in Mountain Lion: the silly upside down scrolling; adding the Save As menu; finding my Library folder. And I’m excited by the new dictation features and the iCloud integration as I use my personal iPad for so many presentations now at work. So in all, another successful upgrade, but I may be shopping for an analog paper calendar in the meantime.

Calendering… Which I knew would an issue, but I upgraded anyway 🙂

I use Exchange in Outlook 2011 for my work calendar. And I’ve been using an Outlook 2011 On-My-Computer calendar for my personal calendar. Thus I can look at one calendar in Outlook 2011 and see both my personal as well as work appointments and it syncs nicely with my iPhone too. In Snow Leopard my Outlook 2011 personal calendar synced with iCal and then with my iPhone via iTunes, sounds convoluted, but it works! Or rather worked …. In Mountain Lion, iCal is now Calendar (to match iOS) and that syncing ain’t going so well. So <sigh> … I may have to switch my personal calendar to iCloud, wait for some luv, or at least détente, between Apple and Microsoft to make Calendar and iCloud work with Exchange and Outlook 2011.

Now how did Palm get calendaring and syncing so right over a decade ago(!) while Microsoft with their Exchange and Apple with iCloud can’t seem to work out quite that same efficiency? I never had serious calender or syncing issues in Mac or Windows on my Palms! It’s 2012 for goodness sake! Okay, so maybe not exactly Mountain Lion’s fault as an OS, but certainly enough blame to go around here for both Apple and Microsoft. I guess I could try getting Google calendar to sync with Exchange and iCloud and my iPhone and my MacBook … Is it too much to ask, really!? 😉

[UPDATE:  Switched my personal calendars to iCloud, kept work with Exchange/Outlook (don’t really have a choice on that <LOL>), I turned off Outlook’s sync with Calendar on the MacBook and I don’t sync my iPhone or iPad with MacBook at all anymore (other than for a backup). I depend on syncing through the clouds of iCloud and Exchange and I’m a happy happy camper.  Apple’s Calendar app syncs with Exhcnage, so I can see my work and life calendars in once place in my MacBook in Calendar or on my iPhone or iPad on the Calendar app.  On the mobile devices I just needed to activate an Exchange account and that calendar will then appear in my Calendar app.  It’s simple and elegant and works!]

The original post was created using Blogsy and iOS 5.1 Dictation on my iPad 🙂

My newer new iPad!

In STT on April 26, 2012 at 8:03 pm

It got to my house as promised on the release date of March 16 that Apple had been publicizing all over the place. Alas, I wasn’t there to sign for it, so it got delivered the next morning, a Saturday, by FedEx. The logistics involved in making all these new iPads appear in stores and on doorsteps all on the same day is mind-blowing. Color me impressed.

As has been said in many other reviews, countless times already, the screen is amazing. And it really is. It’s what you were hoping for all along.  A bright sharp screen where pixels don’t exist.  And where every word is sharp when you tap to edit with the magnifying glass. As much as I liked the “2,” the blurriness of the magnifying glass editor always bugged me. The lack of any textual blurriness also makes this new model of iPad possibly the penultimate e-reader on the market right now. I might actually read a whole book on this thing!  (and a month later I did! -me)

Another thing that surprised me, was how good the built in dictation is. It is really very good and I like that it’s just integrated in to the keyboard whenever possible (app dependent). The only downside is that it’s embarrassing to use the dictation in public and be seen talking to your iPad … Although I suspect it will seem less weird as time goes on and there are more phones with Siri-like voice activation, everyone will be talking to everything.

So I’m writing this post on said new iPad and gotta say, that yes, I’m very very, really, very glad I moved up from the “2.” I am starting to see the iPad as a possible replacement for a laptop. I’m doing all my presentations for workshops on this thing now, I luv the fact how easy it is to carry around (1.5 lbs. vs. 6+ lbs.), as well as the instant-on when hooking it up to a projector.


  • That beautiful screen, it is really gorgeous.
  • Crystal clear magnifying glass for text edits.
  • Snappier processor, apps start up/switch very smoothly.
  • Improved multitouch, or at least due to the better screen and processor, using all the 3 & 4 finger swipes to navigate screens and apps is really becoming efficient (although you could chalk that up more to iOS 5 then the new iPad).
  • The camera … It’s quite good, but I haven’t spent a lot of time using it yet, although eager to do so. What I need is a a tripod mount as basically it’s like holding an view-camera, really hoping someone makes something like this soon.
  • Battery life still quite good, almost amazing. The new iPad does seem to burn down to 50% power much quicker, but does still seem to take a very long time to burn all the way down.
  • And the white iPad seems even whiter? Putting my old iPad 2 next to my new iPad you could definitely see the difference, and my old iPad was only 5 months old and it wasn’t like I was leving out in the sun.


  • Longer time to a full re-charge, presumably due to a bigger battery to recharge and power that beautiful screen.
  • Slightly thicker and heavier than the iPad 2, but it is very slight increase in both categories.


Sorta wish I had bought the 32GB model, because, as other reviewers had predicted and noticed, that new gorgeous screen resolution translates to apps that take up more precious disc space to make them look gorgeous, not to mention the high-res magazines and e-books and videos. I’m finding I need to keep an eye on space management more then I did on my iPad 2 or on my iPhone 4.

Also wish I had just bought this new iPad for myself and not have sold the old iPad 2…. Which i did use to finance the new ipad purchase, but none-the-less … I’d been meaning to post this for over a month, but other than when I use this for presentations for my work, I never see it, my girls always have it!

Who’s got a new iPad 2 !!!???

In STT on November 21, 2011 at 5:21 pm

I do! I do! I do!   … OK, we do we do we do … it’s for the whole family of course 😉

After much hemming and hawing whilst trying to figure a good all-family solution, but especially for our oldest when she’s getting chemo and as she’s recovering from surgery (see Cancer Sucks page).

The choice was between a 11″ MacBook Air, but the base price gave one pause … or just jump on that iPad bandwagon and save a little money, but after buying cases and a Bluetooth keyboard and apps, not sure I saved that much after all 😉

And my thinking is that the iPad 2 is selling so well, why does Apple even need to bring out a new model this Spring!?  I kinda think that they will do what they did with the iPhone, the first four version came out yearly every June, but the 4S came out a year and a half later this Fall, so my theory based on nothing other than my marketing prowess (hah!), is the iPad 3 comes out next Fall along with iOS 6, etc, etc …

So we decided to just do it this weekend Black Friday sales be damned!  And did it even though the iPad 3 may come out this spring or summer, but that’s what is for (successfully sold my old iPhone 3G there and got just enough money to buy Modern Warfare 3!).

So paid full freight, and because we wanted instant gratification didn’t go re-furbished ($50 off at online Apple Store), although with some foresight on this purchase, I would have.  And nope, no state/local govt. employee discounts either (Apple Store guy chuckled at that one), but hey it goes to a good cause right?

  • WiFi – figured I could tether to my iPhone if need be and wifi is everywhere … except at the last two places I just had meetings …
  • White w/ lime green Smart cover  – my girls preference, I vetoed the pink cover 😉
  • 16GB  – because it was cheap and looking at usage on my iPhone and my work’s iPad, I knew it would be video that would fill it up and don’t own that many movies to load on it anyway, that’s what Netflix is for (or was for …)
  • Apple Wireless keyboard  – because some school and work work will be done on it, luv that lil’ keyboard!
  • Incase Origami Workstation keyboard case – it’s a two-piece solution, but this case/stand is pretty darn neat.  Tried out a Logitech Fold Up Keyboard, a snap-on folding keyboard thingy, but it made the slim elegant iPad too bulky, too hard to remove, and it covered the back camera(!).  See/buy the Incase here:
  • Apps …broke down and bought Pages and Keynote (useful for school and work work) as Google Docs doesn’t really work well on the iPad, Office Online doesn’t work at all … really guys!?  You think this tablet thing is a passing fad!?  But Wait!  All the apps I’ve already bought for my iPhone also transfer to the iPad, those that have been optimized for the iPad will install the iPad version, pretty cool!  Of course you still are required by law to buy Angry Birds HD anyway as the iPhone version doesn’t look anywhere as good on the iPad.
  • HDMI video out w/ iOS 5 – yep it really works, you need the special $30 adapter dongle (and a HDMI cable), but you actually see your “desktop” of apps, it shows horizontal or vertical, video goes full screen immediately, Safari works with it … wow!  just like a laptop <LOL> … this been the holy grail for training iOS, and I already luv using Keynote on my work’s iPad for presentations, now I  just need to travel to workshops with a 48″ LCD TV 😉

Luving it!!!!!  But, can’t use it right now as my daughter is watching Annoying Orange on YouTube 😉

Testing geo-link URLs linking to searches & articles

In STT on February 17, 2011 at 4:31 pm

A page to test direct linking of Articles in InfoTrac and Mass. Newsstand.

Click link to “log in”: InfoTrac OneFile (all links via Melrose PL geo-links)

InfoTrac OneFile examples linking a search and a specific article:

ProQuest Mass. Newsstand examples linking a search and a specific article:

The Virtue of Many Browsers

In STT on May 21, 2010 at 4:28 pm

This overdue post (I got sidetracked by the iPad) is a result of …
1)a co-worker trying to get to a PDF document to show up in their browser (fixed with a Firefox plug-in, here) and…
B) watching the Winter Olympics on the web, or rather attempting to watch them on the web via my favorite browser, Firefox…

Both incidents brought to mind the necessity of having to use more than one browser if one is attempting to utilize all the features that the wonderful internet has to offer.  And I don’t mind this, really I don’t.  It’s second nature to me and I’m here to say it ain’t going to change anytime soon (see: Adobe Flash vs. HTML 5 video support).

Now I’m a big fan of Firefox, always have been, and probably always will be (I tried to switch to Chrome, but it only lasted an afternoon, I missed Firefox too much).  I like how I can customize Firefox, add plug-ins for better handy features, it’s speed, it works on Windows and Mac and Linux.  And Firefox was all about apps before apps were cool and everyone (maybe even you?) had an app store.

But Firefox doesn’t play Microsoft Silverlight video (and I just double-checked, still a problem in Firefox 3.6.3).  Yep, this winter I couldn’t watch curling or biathlon on the internet if I tried to use Firefox to access the NBC Olympic website.  The International Olympic Committee (IOC), NBC, and Microsoft had an exclusive agreement to use Microsoft’s Silverlight video format as the only video format for internet broadcasts (instead of the ubiquitous Adobe Flash).  Incidentally the Silverlight video looked great, even at full-screen resolution the images of curlers and skaters and snowboarders were pretty darn sharp and vivid.

So… to watch Curling Team USA, first I had to download and install Microsoft Silverlight (this was true with both my Macs and PCs). Than due to a bug in Firefox that made using Silverlight impossible no matter if you used a Mac or a PC (and all parties can be blamed for this, Firefox, Microsoft, Apple, the IOC…) …Anywho, to watch curling or biathlon, I had to switch to the browser that is made by the same company that makes the computer’s operating system, get it?   So….
-on a Windows PC I’d switch to Microsoft Internet Explorer 8
-on a Mac to Apple Safari

Both IE and Safari are the “native” browsers that are built by Microsoft and Apple to work well and take advantage of Windows and OS X, their respective operating systems.   Oh so many years ago I tried to uninstall IE from my Windows PCs, which in theory you can, but why bother?  It still comes in handy and makes you appreciate Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera …you get the idea.

Here’s my rundown of the browsers I use on an almost daily basis, with one exception, but the geek in me felt compelled to mention it, see below:

Firefox – I could go on and on and gush about what I like, which I kinda laready have, but suffice it to say it like it, I know how it works, and I need my add-ons and my search engines.  As a former refernce librarian and now a library consultant, I have something like 2 dozen+ in my search engine drop-box (everything from Google Images to NOBLE to Wikipedia).  You can find a listing and links to my favorite, got-to-have-them, Firefox add-ons here:

I use it for pretty much everything on Mac or Windows, including MassCat as Internet Explorer does not play nice with the Koha ILS.  I don’t use it when a page doesn’t load correctly or a plug-in doesn’t work.  This hardly ever happens anymore, but some recent examples:
InfoTrac – couldn’t get scroll-menu to work in Browse Publications menu
Winter Olympics –  Silverlight plug-in didn’t work

Safari – Apple’s built-in browser for Mac, now available for free download in Windows too.  I use it when something doesn’t work in Firefox on my Mac.  A handy feature in Safari on the Mac is in the Develop menu, called User Agent.   This allows you to render any webpage as though your Mac’s Safari browser was in fact any version of Microsoft Internet Explorer (which doesn’t run on a Mac, talk about proprietary!),  or any version of Firefox, or even Opera.  Pretty neat, but it’s a feature many Mac users don’t know about because it’s buried in the Advanced settings (Go find it Mac users! Nice step-by-step here.).  I gotta admit I like the look of Safari in Windows better, there are subtle layout differences and I like ’em, but it stills works the same in Windows or Mac.

Other than that it’s kind of boring with very few apps to add on, it just works…  But, I do absolutely luv the homepage option of showing a thumbnail gallery of frequently used pages.   Also Safari is the built-in browser on the iPhone and iPod Touch, so I use it daily on my iPhone without even thinking about it (even though there is now another choice in Opera mini).

Opera – I want to like. I want to use it.  I’ve downloaded it a dozen times in both Windows and Mac and try it for about 15 minutes and then go back to Firefox, Safari and Chrome.  And then I end up up deleting because I never use it again and really have no reason to.  The same has been true of Opera mini on my iPhone.  It’s free and has a mini version of that thumbnail-gallery-of-frequent-sites as your homepage, but has nothing else really to offer.  “Opera, you’re OK, it not you, it’s me…”

Google Chrome – I use mainly when testing a how a webpage looks (if it will work on other browsers), or just for fun, or because it’s FAST! It works equally well on Mac or Windows, it looks fun, has lots of neat “skins” to change it’s appearance, it has that handy thumbnail gallery of frequently used pages like Safari mentioned above, and it’s fast, like WICKED FAST! This last feature is ever-so-useful on ye olde Windows XP computers you might have hanging around.  It’s almost like having a whole new computer on these old machines. How does Google do that???

But I find the bookmarks in Chrome a bit cumbersome to organize and use, and the add-ons are not as polished or reliable as those in Firefox.  Again, as I mentioned above, luv that thumbnails of frequently used sites as a homepage feature as well as it’s speed!

In sum, my feeling towards browsers is:

  • The more the merrier!
  • There’s something for everyone in each browser!
  • Your desktop is a melting pot!  (Coincidentally, it turns out my Mac’s motherboard was a just plain melting, but that’s for my next post…)

See, browsers made by Apple, Google, and Microsoft can all live together, even if they are ruthless competitors in the marketplace.  It’s all good!

BTW – I finished editing this post in Google Chrome.  Why?  Just because… I happened to have it open and editing WordPress works pretty much much the same in any browser …although I can’t vouch for Internet Explorer, never have tried that ;-)

I'm in print! And a handy WiFi tip you already know.

In STT on May 14, 2010 at 10:28 pm

I got a letter to the editor printed in the May issue of MacWorld magazine.  It was in response to an article about wifi hotspots and free ways to get online.  They suggested McDonald’sI suggested you get online for FREE at your local public library!

Find the original article here:
How to Get Online from Anywhere.
Glenn Fleishman. Macworld 27.3 (March 2010)

Find my letter to the editor here:
in print: Macworld 27.5 (May 2010): p13(1)
find it online: InfoTrac OneFile

Thanks to Greg Pronevitz for noticing the letter!  …I’d  already read that issue and hadn’t noticed myself 😉

iPad, i Saw

In STT on April 23, 2010 at 9:20 pm

I finally made the pilgrimage to my local Apple Store to spend some quality time with this new things the kids are all talking about, the iPad.  Here’s my assessment of this gadget without having to actually buy one …even though I wanted to, very badly…

The Look & Feel:
It’s gorgeous, and I know every reviewer says that, but gosh darn it’s true!

Heavier then one would expect, but in a good solid, in a it-better-be-for-$500 sort of way.

The few buttons are totally natural if you’re a iPhone/Touch user, even if not pretty easy to catch on to.

As an e-reader:
A gadget freak and a “real” book lovers delight. The faux hardcover bindings, a peek of said cloth binding at the edge of each page, the screen edge mind you. The ease of turning pages back and forth with your finger …this ain’t no Rocket eBook reader! And Full Color, what will they think of next!?

iPad is easily the one to beat, even Amazon senses this as you can read all your Kindle books on the iPad too.

Only quibble was that I noticed pixel in the text if I looked closely. This might have something to do with now wearing bifocals and trying them out at any opportunity 😉

As a Productivity Tool:
Otherwise known as the “office suite,” only Apple currently offers a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation slide program through it’s iWork for iPad. I was most interested in the slide program Keynote which I ‘m a big fan of on the Mac (similar to PowerPoint). I was most curious if I could use an iPad instead of a laptop for presentations. And I think the answer is yes, and “man that would be sooo cool!”

Using your fingers to manipulate menus and layouts on the slides takes getting use to, but it is fun (when is the last time you described Office as fun?) and becomes very natural very quickly. Granted, creating a slide show is not the same as typing put a dissertation, but I can’t wait for touchscreens to be the norm on all computers!

As a Gaming Device:
This blows touch-screen handhelds like the Nintendo DS out of the water, and I luv the DS.  On the iPad I played both a racing game, Real Racing HD,  where you turn the iPad to steer …and you feel the motion and rumble of the engines in your hands, very very cool.   I also played the iPad version of one of my fav iPhone/Touch games, Flight Control. The bigger screen and crisp graphics had me sold, it’s a delight.

Yes, I wish it had a camera.
Yes, I wish it had more memory.
Yes, I wish it could multi-task.
Yes, I wish it was cheaper.
But it will, and so will all it’s competitors. This genre of tablet / pad / slate computers is going to take off. Mark my words the days of the single use e-reader and laptop are numbered.

Bottom line…
Yes, I wish it had one, right now!

BTW – I wrote this post (except for minor edits and added links) using the WordPress app on my iPhone.  It works pretty well if you don’t mind typing with one finger (I don’t mind) and remember to save like crazy because the app doesn’t save automatically (guess how I learned that?). And it was a lot easier to add a photo then in the full version of WordPress.

[PHOTO] My first STT blog post about the iPad on an iPad! …those bright dots are from the intense lights at the Apple Store, not an iPad screen feature ;-).
Photo by my ye olde iPhone.  Hah! It sez, “I can take pictures, take that iPad!”

iPad you pad we pad they pad … oohh, Pad Thai!

In STT on January 28, 2010 at 12:12 pm

UPDATE – The wifi version of the iPad is out and for sale online or at an Apple Store or Best Buy near you!

I have yet to see one or touch one at a store, but plan to soon!  I will give my readers any further impressions I have once I get the chance to do just that.

In the meantime, here are two nice round-ups of the media coverage as well as reviews from the major media outletsNew York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today): (

Incidentally, if you happen to have one, let me know what you think …and when you’ll let me borrow it 😉

Original Post
I gotta use the word iPad right in the title, it’s required for all tech blogs the day after Apple’s BIG announcement …and I finished this just before lunch.  Here’s my take on the iPad thus far, after I was OK with the name of it …until I started hearing all the jokes…
Helpful must-see links on all things iPad are below.

Steve Jobs is a master at presenting,
if only I could learn his presentation secrets

It’s one heck of an e-reader!

  • That color touch screen.
  • The elegant page turning for ebooks.
  • That faux wooden bookshelf for all your digital editions, this ain’t no Nook.
  • And that New York Times that looks like a real paper newspaper with the columns, nice.
  • Oh, and it uses a real browser and email and maps and games and everything app-wise an iPod Touch/ iPhone uses.
  • And yes, yes, yes, probably another incompatible ebook format with the new iBookstore and more DRM. It’s a pain in the neck for consumer and libraries and readers in general.  Not that I like it one bit, but it’s to be expected for some time to come until publishers and big media figure out how to make sense of the new digital world (who woulda seen this comin’!?).

It’s a big beautiful iPod Touch

  • iPad has a much bigger touch screen (9.7″) than an iPod Touch (3.5″).
  • iPad has same memory specs as Touch (16GB – 64GB).
  • iPad can use almost all the 140,000+ apps in iTunes available to iPod Touch & iPhone users.  Facebook to games and games and games, Apple demoed a lot of games for this the iPad
  • And interesting price points as low-end iPad is $499 and high-end Touch model is $399.

It’s not-quite-a-netbook

  • no hard drive bigger than 64GB
  • no physical keyboard (which I’m use to on my iPhone as are millions of kids (and grown-ups) on their iPod Touch & iPhones).
  • iPad doesn’t have a built-in camera, a mic yes, but no camera … that camera would be real handy for Skype or video-conferencing or taunting friends when playing games or scanning in barcodes for LibraryThing (saw this on LT Twitter feed!) or even just taking pictures!
  • But it does have access to Google Docs online and Apple iWork and other productivity apps thru iTunes.
  • So you could kinda use it as a laptop replacement. But you can do the same thing with an iPod Touch & iPhone, albeit on a smaller screen, but those devices you can take anywhere in your pocket, and the later also makes phone calls … I’m not ready to give up my iPhone.

It goes on sale in March, I’ll see you at the Apple Store
I’ll  just be browsing

The Must-See Links!!!

First Impression Hands-on Reviews


I “watched” the Apple news conference at home with a sick child (Me, excitedly “It’s for Daddy’s work and it’s historic!”  Child’s response … “Can I play Nintendo?”).
So I “watched” on my laptop using the decades old technique of reading updates / viewing photos on various tech blogs (lots of tabs open) from reporters at the conference (found Engadget had the best feed).  And then a Twitter post led me to a link on Ustream of another tech blog reporter (Leo Laporte, TWiT) using an iPhone 3G S with built-in video to broadcast the event live … with tinny sound and choppy video … which in turn I watched on my iPhone (even over 3G), until I couldn’t stand it anymore and went back to reading on Engadget … a mash-up, if you will, of the old and the new …

iPad = and another word to add to my custom dictionary so it stops underlining it in red! 😉

In my crystal ball I see a RedLaser

In STT on December 18, 2009 at 1:08 pm

So there’s this nifty iPhone app called RedLaser ($2) which is touted as the best barcode reader for iPhone available (consistently high ratings and sales rankings in iTunes). And I have it from reputable sources that it works great on the 1st gen iPhones as well as the iPhone 3G and the new iPhone 3G S. I luv it! I’m scanning anything in the office that sits still … and has a barcode … RedLaser website:

RedLaser uses the iPhone’s camera to scan barcodes so you can do on-the-spot price comparisons. It works best on books, DVDs, CDs (who buys those anymore?) and even paper towels and breakfast ceral. But you can also create a link to a custom database so that when you scan a barcode it will link to this custom data source to retrieve results. Yaaawwwnnn…. But what if that custom database was like say a library’s OPAC!?
ooowww aaaahhh ooohhhh!

I’ve heard from fellow iPhone geeks in MVLC and NOBLE who tried this successfully and I created custom database links myself for MassCat, MVLC, and NOBLEand they work! … It’s slooow, as the iPhone is connecting to your custom data source via a web link thru the iPhone’s browser (Safari) and then doing some RedLaser magic (the RedLaser app without a custom setup is pretty pretty quick).

When you set up a custom database what happens is you scan the ISBN from a book and it takes you right into the OPAC’s public record/circ info! Now when I’m in B&N or Borders I can look up books and see if I can get them at my library for free, except those books I really really need to own myself. It’s like my iPhone is saving me money, the iPhone really pays for itself 😉

To create the custom data source, which is actually the URL for ISBN searches, you follow the step-by-step instructions from RedLaser linked below. They are concise, not detailed as to all the possibilities you may encounter, so it may take some time. And it turns out all OPACs are different! The MassCat (Koha) set-up was easy as the parameter was the same as the example RedLaser gives, whereas NOBLE (III) and MVLC (SirsiDynix) were totally different, so it took a lot of trial and error to get the parameters set correctly.

The good news for you dear reader, who happens to use the MassCat, and/or MVLC, and/or NOBLE networks, is that along the way I realized I could do this on the my laptop’s browser. Email the URL to my iPhone, and save my work as I went along by bookmarking. And then I realized I could save these bookmarks to and share with this with other iPhone users! Now you can goto my site, email URL to your iPhone, and add link to your homescreen and not spend time figuring this out!

Crystal Ball Alert! I see the future, in a couple years when everyone (or lots of people … or everyone) has an affordable app-phone w/camera (Droids, GoogleFon, iPhone, whatever), the way people search and access OPACs is going to change and this could be really good for libraries and tech-saavy patrons (incidentally you have a slew of tech-saavy patrons already, they’re called kids).

It’ll will get even more exciting when librarians or vendors develop new Evergreen-Koha -III-Sirsi, etc. mobile app that will allow you to do this and place a hold/request an item in one fell swoop! Being a library user in the 21st century is going to be cool!

Hey, it already is the 21st century, let’s get with it!

Windows 7 and ye olde PCs … woe unto thee …

In STT on December 8, 2009 at 1:51 pm

So I was pretty excited that Windows 7 installed and worked on some of the old laptops we have here at the NMRLS lab (circa 2004-06, see that post here).  But I’m now become disconsolate over the fact that I can’t get it work on some of my favorite ye olde desktop PCs … Well I can get it to actually work and boot up (which I was kinda of amazed at).  And for old geezer PCs, they’re impressively zippy, but I can’t get them on to the internet!

Turns out there are no approved Windows 7 drivers for the 3Com or Linksys Ethernet controllers these “ye olde”PCs use … and the Vista versions of theses drivers won’t work either … All the PCs are Dells  that date from way back in 2002.

The “ye olde” network adapters in question:

Dell Optiplex GX400 + Dell OptiPlex GX 240
Network controller is integrated into motherboard on both these models.

  • 3Com 3C905C integrated network card
    -Windows link
    -3Com link

Dell Dimension 4400
There is no integrated Ethernet or network card on this PC.  It uses an Ethernet to USB adapter for its network connection.

  • Linksys USB200M ver.2.0 Ethernet adapter
    -Windows link
    -Linksys Cisco link

So ironically I upgraded an old computer to a brand new version of Windows, it seemed to work just fine, but I just couldn’t get to the internet tubes!  So there’d be no updates to Windows, or any software, or even reading of this blog!  On the other hand the virus risk would be minimal 😉


Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor
Download, install and run.  A full report with compatibility on hardware and software is the result, read it!

Windows 7 Compatibility Center
A listing of apparently every piece of hardware and software ever put into a PC(!) and site also lists whether Windows 7 will work with hardware or software in question. Compiling this must have been fun for the testers!

In case you’re wondering I didn’t blow away and reformat the Windows XP disks originally installed on these PCs.  I installed Windows 7 on another olde hard drive I had kickin’ around and swapped it out.  Since the Dimension 4400 uses PCI slots for peripheral cards, I may hunt around for a cheap Ethernet card and try to get Windows 7 going on this PC again.

oohhh … so close …