Totally reproducing a press release here, but there is no affiliate link included, it's just a friendly FYI if you've got kids interested in programming (or like to learn at a kids' level ;-)
Summer can be tough on kids, and cabin fever can be even worse for parents. But with the new ebook bundle from No Starch Press, boredom is banished. San Francisco-based No Starch Press has a history of publishing smart books for curious kids, and now, with its Humble "School's Out!" Bundle, readers can pay what they want for a selection of its best books for kids, valued at over $300.
"This bundle includes great books on Arduino, Linux, Scratch programming, science, and even LEGO robotics," says Bill Pollock, No Starch Press founder. "No matter where your interests lie, you'll find something cool that makes learning fun. For the price of a frappuccino, you can get a whole geeky summer camp in a box!"
And as with the previous Humble Bundle presented by No Starch Press, every sale benefits organizations that make a real difference. Pollock explains, "I was excited that our readers raised over $100,000 for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Freedom of the Press Foundation in February, with our previous Humble ebook Bundle. We're happy to be doing it again—parents get great books for their kids (and themselves!) and support organizations that matter."
Customers who pay any amount receive:
- Super Scratch Programming Adventure!: Learn to Program by Making Cool Games
- The LEGO Adventure Book, Vol. 2: Spaceships, Pirates, Dragons & More!
- The Manga Guide to Databases
- Wonderful Life with the Elements
- The Art of LEGO Design
Customers who pay more than the average user also receive:
- The Unofficial LEGO Technic Builder's Guide
- Learn to Program with Scratch
- Arduino Workshop: A Hands-On Introduction with 65 Projects
- The Linux Command Line
And customers who pay $17 or more receive all of the above, plus:
- The LEGO MINDSTORMS EV3 Discovery Book: A Beginner's Guide to Building and Programming Robots
- Teach Your Kids to Code: A Parent-Friendly Guide to Python Programming
- Automate the Boring Stuff with Python
Readers can choose how much of their payment goes to No Starch Press, Humble Bundle, and the nonprofits (the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Freedom of the Press Foundation).
The Humble "School's Out!" Bundle runs for two weeks and ends July 1, 2015, at 2pm EST.
My colleague Rob sent a link out about this new 2-page brief from the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL): Identifying and avoiding predatory publishers: a primer for researchers (pdf).
So-called predatory publishers are those that lack discernible scholarship, academic rigour or credibility. They use aggressive practices to recruit authors and editors. Predatory publishers’ opaque operations and editorial processes are suggestive of an intention to deceive both authors and readers (Butler, 2013).
One of the links in the document points out that Jeffrey Beall maintains a list of Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers. I was surprised at how long it was! :-(
We have lots of conversations in my extended family about the role of the public library these days, and I happened across an interesting post from an unlikely source - the Kickstarter blog. In a post titled, Libraries are Everywhere, the author asks the following questions of four founders or employees of very non-traditional, yet public, libraries:
Nice to hear from folks outside the traditional fold.
number of lawsuits in my life: 0. yes, friends, it's over. details to follow, someday, but for now, just a big thanks to all who helped.— Dale Askey (@daskey) February 4, 2015
I happened across this list of the 18 Best Open Source Tools for 2014, and thought you might find something of use in there. Of particular interest for this audience, take a peek at ShareX, "an open source program that lets you take screenshots or screencasts of any selected area with a single key, save them in your clipboard, hard disk or instantly upload them to over 30 different file hosting services. In addition to taking screenshots, it can upload images, text files and all other different file types."
Hint: click on the images in each post to go to the site in question.
Way back in 2011 I thought it'd be fun to note the books I had read the previous year. I kept the info in a text file and created a couple of infographics to go along with the post. I did the same in 2012, but never got around to 2013. I have been logging all my reads in Goodreads though, so it's time for a quick update. I wish they provided some graphics to go along with, but c'est la vie.
I do almost all of my reading on my Kindle Paperwhite now, with most books coming from Overdrive at Calgary Public Library, loaded through Calibre. Any remainders would be in paper. It'd still be interesting (to me) to do the breakdown by month and genre, as I had done originally, so maybe I'll update this post over the holidays.
A few days ago TechSmith released a new Labs tool called AppShow which is intended to allow developers to record demos of their iOS apps to include in the App Store. Just about the same time, Amit at Digital Inspiration posted how to do the same thing using QuickTime player. I finally carved out a few minutes to see how this all worked.
AppShow provides quite a few options to guide the user in creating an intro and various scenes; I found them to be overkill for what I was trying to do, but someone really trying to make something polished for the App Store might find these options useful.
First a note that you must have the latest version of OSX installed, Yosemite. Second, you can edit recordings made via either method via Camtasia Studio, or probably any other video editing software, but other than adding a quick title slide, I didn't do any other editing or processing using CS. I also chose to use a game instead of a library-specific app because I wanted to see how well the recordings did with motion and audio. The recordings were done with an iPhone5 and a mid-2009 MacBook Pro.
And finally, it took me quite some time to figure out how to export from AppShow to Camtasia Studio; couldn't find anything in the documentation or the File menu item, so here's your hint:
Here are four videos I posted to YouTube so you can compare the quality.
tl;dr Quality of all is quite good, and for quick and dirty QuickTime Player is the way to go - throw the recording into Camtasia Studio if you need to polish it up after the fact.
QuickTime (Title added via Camtasia Studio)
QuickTime (Direct export):
AppShow (Title added via Camtasia Studio)
AppShow (Direct export):
The latest issue of Library Hi Tech News has the following article, which contains a pretty good list of free and freemium tools that may be new to you as many were to me.
Christine Palma Forbes , (2014),"Free Web-based Tools for Information Literacy Instruction", Library Hi Tech News, Vol. 31 Iss 10
Got a free 1/2 hour? Use it to listen to a recent episode of The Current, Designing libraries that are relevant in the digital age, which is mostly about the new Halifax Central Public Library.
No mention of Calgary's new Central Library, but I guess that's 'cause it's not nearly so far along. Glass seems to be the thing, though!
I ended up not being able to attend this presentation in person, but there's now a nicely-edited video of last week's presentation on the design of Calgary's New Central Library. You can watch the preliminaries, but I recommend starting at the 8:15 mark where the interesting design discussion actually begins, IMHO.
Yesterday evening instead of attending the prologue of the 2014 Tour of Alberta as I had planned, I found myself at the Calgary stop of Richard Pietro's Open Government Tour. I totally made the right choice!
Over the past year I've found myself increasingly interested in both linked data and civic affairs, and this 3-hour event brought them together in a wonderful way, though it was much more about open data than linked data. I'm not going to attempt to recreate the discussion here, but as much for myself as for anyone else who's interested, I'm going to list the participants along with some of the sites and tools that were discussed.
Sameer Vasta – Data Catalyst, MaRS Discovery District, Toronto (via Skype)
DJ Kelly – Strategy Lead, Cultural Transformation, The City of Calgary
Bill Ptacek - CEO of Calgary Public Library
Grant Neufeld – Calgary Democracy, member Calgary eGovernment Strategy Advisory Comm.
Lori Stewart – Co-founder Hopper Dev, member Calgary eGovernment Strategy Advisory Comm.
Walter Simbirski – Open Data Strategist, The City of Calgary
Mark Gayler – Technology Strategist, Microsoft Canada
Paul Fairie – Political Science, University of Calgary
Sites of interest: