from the archive

Author: Ben

Library tech stats

With all of the news about technology and how it constantly grows, changes, and expands, did you ever wonder what happens behind the scenes at the library? Technology is a critical component of the 21st century library, and we have the stats to prove it!

Books on beer and wine

Recently the library expanded its collection of beer books (as well as BBQ) in memory of former employee Chris Ducko, and there's a little bit for everyone. If you are curious about beer, a guide to all things beer and the many games that go along with it is available. If you enjoy food and grilling, Chef Ted Reader's companion book tells you how to taste and pair beers. Interested in making your own beer? We've got you covered with two books that include 100+ recipes.

E-readers behind the scenes

E-readers may be commonplace now, but do you remember the first generation that arrived way back in 1998? Did you ever wonder why they didn't catch on then? Or how Amazon became so successful? Today I take a look back at the brief history of e-readers via an article I recently read in Domus, a design magazine.

The National Academies Press

Are you a scientist? If not, are you simply interested in science? Maybe you have a job teaching science? Or perhaps creating policy related to science? Science touches all of us, and today I want to draw your attention to an incredibly rich, high-quality source of information: The National Academies. Originally chartered by Congress in 1863, there are now four private, non-profit institutions dedicated to providing expert research and advice in the areas of science, engineering, and medicine.

iPhone app overload

As of April 6, 2012, this article on reports there are over 600,000 apps available for your iPhone! Looking at mine, I only have 63 currently loaded, but I would estimate I've downloaded hundreds over the past two years, both paid and free. Overall, there are only a few apps that I use on a regular basis. Today I'll review which apps I typically use in a few different categories.

Essential technology skills

In an era of rapid technological change, it often feels impossible to keep up. Every year there are new devices and new ways of doing things. Even those of us who work in IT sometimes feel overwhelmed! But if you look at technology in a different way, focusing instead on what you do with the tools available rather than which tool you are using, it becomes a little easier to manage.

Phones are the future

On March 10, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell transmitted the world's first telephone call. The first rotary phones were used in 1919. Touch tone phones were developed in 1961. The first cellular phone call was made in 1973. The first generation iPhone was released in 2007. And soon, you may find an entirely new type of phone – one which runs a computer!

The dream machine

In my last post, I talked about the history of the computer. Today, I go into more detail about The Dream Machine, a book that starts with the life of J. C. R. Licklider, a man who it can be argued first envisioned the Internet and computing as we know it today. Described as "tall, handsome, athletic, and outgoing, with sun-bleached hair and blue eyes", by 1942 he earned his PhD in neuroscience.

Inventing the computer

Last week, George Dyson spoke at the library about his book "Turing's Cathedral." It gives a unique perspective on the development of electronic computers that took place just down the street at the Institute for Advanced Study in the 1940s and 1950s. At the time, the concept of a "computer" was a person who calculated complex equations and made charts and tables of the answers for people to look up.