From time to time I find myself wondering what module a given Drupal site uses to perform some nifty action or another. A while back I found a tool that helps with that spy work for WordPress called simply What WordPress Theme is that? And then I finally found Drupal X-Ray, which does the same thing for Drupal sites.
Oh, and if you're not sure which CMS (Content Management System) you're looking at, try http://whatcms.org/
Ooh, this doesn't sound good. The Digital Reader is reporting that come July, 2014, Adobe will be requiring vendors and hardware to support an updated version of their DRM (Digital Rights Management) solution. So what, you ask?
"This means that any app or device which still uses the older Adobe DRM will be cut off. Luckily for many users, that penalty probably will not affect readers who use Kobo or Google reading apps or devices; to the best of my knowledge neither uses the Adobe DRM internally. And of course Kindle and Apple customers won’t even notice, thanks to those companies’ wise decision to use their own DRM.
But everyone else just got screwed."
Well, it was a good run while it lasted, but LogMeIn Free is going away by the end of this month :-( I've been using and recommending this wonderful product since 2007 to remotely access my home iMac from work, and my work machine from home. I've also used it on occasion to provide remote assistance to my in-laws. Bought the Ignition iPad app as well for $20, my most expensive app purchase ever! That app seems to have disappeared from the iTunes store, but there's a new version for free that offers in-app purchases for yearly subscriptions at $65(CDN) per year.
The new Pro pricing isn't too bad, but the FAQ says purchasers of the Ignition app will receive some sort of preferential pricing, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it'll be very attractive, as it's a great product and I wouldn't mind sticking with them.
That said, we're using the business version of TeamViewer here in the library, and they offer a free personal version as well, so check that out if you need to stay free! Or look at some of the VNC options, but I've always appreciated how drop-dead-simple LogMeIn is.
I also can't quite tell how LogMeIn Central differs from Pro, and since they say there's still a free version of Central I'll be checking that out as well.
As announced on the Plum Analytics blog, Plum Analytics Becomes Part of EBSCO Information Services. I find this fascinating because I know how instrumental Mike and Andrea were to the start and early success of ProQuest's Summon. Wonder if EBSCO will try to pick their brains on that product...
Not a brand-new read, but *I* just finished reading the Educause annual paper, Top-Ten IT Issues, 2013: Welcome to the Connected Age (PDF). While libraries are only explicitly mentioned once or twice in the entire 19 pages, one of the panelists was a librarian, so there is that I guess. I only bother to mention that because while I read it I found myself checking off how almost each of the ten issues apply almost directly to my library, in addition to the institution as a whole.
Here's the list:
Each section concludes with a series of strategic questions to consider about each point. Well worth the read if you have anything to do with IT in your library. In addition to the paper itself, there's some supporting material on a companion website.
My quest continues. I didn't think it was all the way back in January that I last posted about this dream, but it was! Postifier is a little gizmo intended to be put inside a mailbox that will alert you when there's actually something placed inside:
The device lives on the inner roof of your postbox, attached with adhesive. It has a sensor that detects changes in infrared light when new mail arrives. When it detects mail, it activates the Bluetooth module and waits for the Postifier/smartphone reunion, at which point it will connect with your paired device and tell you the news.
So it's not quite the reporting structure I imagine, but the technology would be perfect to detect whether there's a pair of legs under a given study table, no?
Postifier doesn't actually exist yet, as it's looking for funding on Indiegogo. Waffling about whether to throw in some money just for testing. At $20-$25 each, it's still not an economical way to cover a couple hundred seats :-(
I should also point out this project at Oregon State that Cathrine linked to in the comments of my earlier post: http://beaversource.oregonstate.edu/projects/44x201213. Can anyone tell if these design files are enough to manufacture? I had been in touch with the students involved in the project, but haven't heard anything from them lately...
Oh, and there's this too: Wimoto.
I haven't had a chance to look through it at all, but was really pleased to learn about the new Alberta Open Data Portal, which,
...makes data the provincial government collects on behalf of citizens publicly available in machine readable formats with an open licence. This means there are no technical or legal restrictions for using the data.
By sharing this data, the Alberta government is increasing the transparency of government business, promoting economic opportunity and increasing citizen involvement in government.
The open data portal currently contains about 280 data sets. New data will be added to the site on an ongoing basis as departments identify what data is available and ensure it does not contain any personal or proprietary information. The public can also request data sets through the portal.
Also announced is a landing page for official Government of Alberta mobile apps. I'm less enamoured of the fact that money was spent to develop an app for Alberta Baby Names when funding for higher education in Alberta has been so recently and brutally slashed.
Thanks for the notice, Dani!
Serveral weeks ago as a result of a post by Michael Stephens I was introduced to this awesome page of usage visualizations at the Traverse Area District Library (Traverse City, MI). I had a great email exchange with the developer, Bill Rockwood, about how he put it together, and he's since posted a page outlining how it was built. Eventually, as time permits, Bill and his team will put the code up on GitHub for the rest of the world to use :-) Definitely worth a peek. Are you aware of any similar projects?
Just wanted to draw your attention to a great article I finally got around to reading: How Users Search the Library from a Single Search Box, May 2013 College & Research Libraries, vol. 74 no. 3 227-241. It's the story of how the search box at NCSU Libraries was developed, and word for word it pretty much mirrors why and how we built ours here at the U of Calgary.
Oh wow, this might actually be a real game-changer. Clippick is a cross-platform (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android) tool / app that does one thing only: you copy something on one device, and then the next time you hit Paste on any of your other devices, whatever you copied on the first device ends up there. In my very limited testing so far, text and URLs are available to paste almost instantly. Haven't tried yet with images.
I distinctly remember sitting next to a student while helping him work through a search back in, probably 1995 or 1996 - it was when I was working at Nova Southeastern University. We were running the same search on computers next to each other, and I had found something with a long URL that I wanted to share. I thought, "self, wouldn't it be cool if there was some way I could just copy this URL and have it appear on his screen?". THIS is that tool!
As it's currently configured, you couldn't just install this on all the machines in your reference area 'cause people would be pasting other people's peanut butter all over their chocolate. But if this could be configured with multiple accounts, or some sort of trigger that support staff could flip when desired, this tool could come in play as necessary.
Check out the intro video - There's no specific iPad app, but you can install the iPhone app there and it works just fine.
Back in November I posted about my desire for some way to reliably monitor and report available study seats within the library. I recently heard about Pinoccio, an Indiegogo project, and suspect it might do the trick! It's a very small Arduino board with an optional WiFi board. If one plugged a motion sensor, or used the included temperature sensor, it'd probably be able to report whether there was a body sitting at a given location. Small enough to work, WiFi and a long-life(?) battery. Ooh, even better, you don't need the WiFi bridge for each unit, only one for a given area, so that brings down the cost and complexity.
Pricing in bulk seems reasonable - they have a $999 package that would get you 20 monitors and a WiFi shield. Unfortunately we still have a couple hundred seats I'd like to be able to monitor, so realistically we probably still have to get the cost down. That's the primary reason I haven't given more thought to a more finished product like Twine... I think I'll drop the founders a note asking if they think this whole thing would work, and if so, go ahead and pick up a starter kit for testing.