April had Princeton denizens looking backward and forward at the same time. Record Store Day celebrated musical sound recordings on vinyl, Earth Day 2017 revived and took on a campaign for environmental and climate literacy and the March for Science commandeered Hinds Plaza and gained momentum as more than 2,000 people rallied and marched to Monument […]
from the archive
Call me Sisyphus. You might remember him from your elementary school literature unit on Greek myths. He's the guy who is tasked with rolling an enormous ball up a hill only to watch it roll back down, leaving him to start all over again from square one. For eternity!
Now, more than ever, I find myself in a love-hate relationship with my smartphone. I love the convenience of reading a magazine, listening to an audiobook, playing a podcast, plugging in my headphones and enjoying music, or reading an ebook from the small electronic device I carry everywhere. At the touch of a fingertip I have available the world at large, together with the smaller universe of my own personal contacts. My camera is always with me. So useful. So many possibilities. So much potential for connected burnout.
While most of us were asleep at 3 a.m. EST on April 10 (midnight at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, CA), Sonja Vloeberghs, Head of Lending Services at Princeton Public Library was placing her order of an Apple Watch. When I asked why she would disrupt a good night's sleep to place one of the first orders, she proudly admitted she loves the hype of new technology.
John LeMasney, a technologist, consultant and designer-developer, has become one the library's valued instructors, teaching classes like Raspberry Pi, Arduino, Evernote, and more. He has gained a bit of a following and reputation for being someone to ask for anything computer-related. Lucky for us, John has agreed to share his top five tips for making your computer faster and more organized.
Last year, our Youth Services department, and specifically our Teen Center, underwent a freshening up. After reconfiguring our floor space and thinking about how it is used, we decided to purchase several MacBook PROs for afterschool use. We had been circulating e-readers and tablets, so this was a natural next step for us.
We made an initial purchase of eight laptops, and the kids went wild! We rolled out this new service a year ago and it has proven to be so popular that we recently invested in six more just to keep up with the demand.
The summer tech series kicks off with Capturing Campus, starting with a guided walking tour of Princeton University to take pictures of some especially photogenic sites. Back at the library, we'll gather in the Tech Center to learn how to move digital images from devices to iMac computers. We will also practice simple editing and photo sharing techniques.
Have you attended any of the library's technology classes? Whether you have yet, or not, this summer is the perfect time to sit in on a session! While it's hot outdoors, enjoy the cool space of our technology center, which is home to 12 state-of-the-art iMacs. During the months of July and August, we're offering 30 classes, so you'll surely find some that you're interested in.
The courses include some of our most popular topics:
Our Youth Services department has entered the 21st century in technology. Recently we added two iPads as part of our Early Literacy Initiative. These new devices are perfect for our little customers and their grown-ups and replaced our popular pre-school computers. Each day we feature an “app of the day.” These apps are bright, colorful and perfect for young children. We choose apps that are based on some of the more popular books that kids are drawn to including, books by Mo Willems and Sandra Boynton.
Experience the latest technology by making Princeton Public Library's technology center a frequent destination. The spring series of technology classes is off to a robust start. Friday's LinkedIn class was a full house, as was last week's resume writing class.
If you haven’t recently had a chance to visit our downloadable eBook and audiobook website, eLibrarynj.com, you might not be aware of the many improvements implemented last week. ELibraryNJ has been completely redesigned to be more user-friendly in order to make the downloading process more accessible to all patrons, not just the tech savvy ones. Narrowing down your search results is now a much easier feat enabling you to find the perfect book.
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!
'Tis the season for gadget giving! If you attended Doug Dixon's annual roundup of tempting new gadgets at the library on Nov. 28, you probably left with a list of great tech gifts to get for others – or to add to your own wish list. If you didn't attend, read on to learn about the hot sellers this season.
Listening to books just keeps getting better. I always have at least one audiobook in progress on my “reading shelf.” Recently I’ve started borrowing audiobooks from Princeton Public Library’s OneClickDigital collection. No more shuffling CD discs in the car stereo; my phone holds my audiobooks. They travel where I go and OneClick’s new iOS, Android, and Kindle apps make it easy to play them whenever I have a moment to listen.
Whether you're a Droid Defender or part of the Apple Army, the "SmartPhone Smackdown: Droid vs iOS" debate at Princeton Public Library on October 23 gave everyone more to consider when purchasing their next phone, along with an evening of entertainment.
Princeton Public Library's Fall Technology Classes have started. From now through December, the library is offering over 30 classes from Downloading e-Books to Marketing Your Small Business with Pinterest to an iPhoto class and more. Our instructors are experts in the fields they're teaching and are looking forward to teaching what they're passionate about.
NASA's Curiosity has now landed and begun beaming back pictures from the surface of Mars. But how exactly does the Internet work in outer space? Today I'll break down the publicly available details. We'll start with the Rover itself and work backwards from there.
Over the last couple of weeks you may have seen people in the library or walking around town with red Princeton Public Library bags. “What are these cute, little bags?” you ask yourself, “What is the library up to now?” These red bags are the brand new carrying cases for our e-readers. Those of you who have checked out an e-reader with us before will remember the bulky plastic boxes in which they came. They are now being replaced with our easy-to-carry, compact, and convenient e-reader bags.
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.
Do you know someone who wants to learn to search online but has no idea how to get started? Someone who doesn’t know a mouse from a touch screen? Someone who wants to know what everyone is doing on the computer, has heard of Google, but has no idea how to “Google"?
Princeton Public Library offers classes for beginners. If you’re reading this blog, I think it’s safe to say, this class isn’t for you! But maybe you know someone who would benefit from computer lessons.
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.
As of April 6, 2012, this article on ZDNet.com 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.
PHOTOS & VIDEOS
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.
Just a short walk down Nassau Street from Princeton Public Library, Tigerlabs is getting settled into a new home. Picture an open, beamed loft area painted in bright and cheery colors, with great light, an informal vibe, several rows of wired tables, comfy office chairs, a kitchen, lockers, a ping pong table, and even a traditional red British phone box. People are working at computers, chatting together, taking a break for a snack, having a meeting, and yes, playing a bit of ping pong.
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!
Have you noticed that ticker feed of viewer comments on the bottom of the screen when you watch television news? That’s the Twitter Effect – immediate crowdsourced information from a variety of perspectives. When broadcasters ask viewers to submit pictures and videos of local breaking news we all benefit not only from the incredible immediacy, but from the larger, holistic perspective that is created by the aggregate of thousands of individual “tweets.”
"Let the world know who you are and the right people will find you." This was the sage advice from Matthew Levy, the speaker at the library's most recent Tuesday Networking Breakfast. A job coach with more than two decades experience "on both sides of the desk," Levy offered insightful and useful information about using the professional social media site LinkedIn.
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.
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.