Writing so people give a darn

Writing so people give a darn

This week, the OPLIN 4Cast took a look at how social media does or does not affect attention.  I thought I’d supplement that with something else that tends to lose people’s attention on the Web. All too often, when I…
Is this the right word?

Is this the right word?

Yesterday was a Sunday, which usually means that I can be found sitting at my computer, working on my second book, while the rest of the world enjoys…well, everything else.  Suffice it to say, spending a gorgeous day inside working…
Stop checking in

Stop checking in

I want to admit this, right up front.  This is more of a rant than my usual, more considered posts. I want you to stop checking into your own library on Foursquare.  Or Gowalla. Or Facebook Places or Google Latitude…
Think differently: where's the payoff?

Where’s the payoff?

I’ve been doing a lot of teaching about social media lately, and one of the points I drive home constantly is that human beings are inherently selfish.  When presented with anything new, the question in our heads is always and…

Website work starts with education

“Though art may be subjective, Web design is not. In Web design, there is a right way and a wrong way to approach layout, navigation, copy, white space, and other critical website components.”—Andrew Follett A lot of what I do…
Grown-up Easter eggs

Grown-up Easter eggs

This weekend, millions of children will be searching their yards in search of eggs and goodies allegedly left by the Easter Bunny.  Chances are good that, if you’re a parent, you’ve already been noshing on those goodies*.  In that case,…
Social search and grokking Greplin

Social search & grokking Greplin

Many times, only half-jokingly, I have told people that I have the memory of a sieve.  That is to say, none at all.  I suspect that, in this age of the information barrage, I’m not alone.  How many times have…
Phishing: It happens, even in libraries

Phishing: it happens, even in libraries

When the folks I work with at OPLIN suggested this topic, my first reaction was “Isn’t that too basic for MeanLaura to be covering?”  All of my colleagues assured me, sadly, that it wasn’t.  And then I, too, was sad.…
Is it time to queue up for Quora?

Time to queue up for Quora?

Quora is somewhat new (heck, it barely left beta 6 months ago), but already has gained major traction.  Wikipedia describes Quora as an “online knowledge market.  ”  If you’re familiar with Yahoo! Answers or Ask MetaFilter, those are also examples…

Lock those virtual doors

What would happen if your library closed up at night and purposefully left the front door unlocked?  Every night? Eventually, some unscrupulous individual would figure it out.  He/she would have the run of the library at night, and could easily…

Ignorantiaphobia

It’s no secret, yet it’s not widely talked about.  There’s a divide in library staff.  It’s not between degreed and the not, and it’s not digital.   It’s not about who uses Twitter and who doesn’t.   This divide may not…

Web images: TANSTAAFL*

Recently, I heard about how a public library recently found itself in some very hot water.  It ran afoul of a very large provider of stock photography.  The library used a licensed photograph from a stock photo site without paying…

Got a Fiverr?

We all know that libraries are in a major budget crisis.  What we don’t always know is how to cut costs.  Well, I won’t make any claims that I can answer that question, either.  What I will share with you…

What is Second Life?

I admit it; I’ve put off writing about Second Life for a while. Mostly because I’ve gotten very tired of uninformed people making judgements about it based on the hype, rather than the reality. Last year, an ignorant speaker at…

Broadcasting with Qik

As more people start using smartphones (e.g., Droids, Blackberries, iPhones, et al), we’re also starting to see a lot more applications that can be downloaded and used on them.  One I’ve been doing a bit of experimenting with is Qik…

Figuring out Foursquare

Physical locations in combination with the web are starting to hit it big, and is predicted to seriously take off this year.  One example of an application that is rapidly heading that way is Foursquare. From Wikipedia: Foursquare is a…

How are you wasting time?

It’s the week before Christmas.  Let’s be honest here…most of us are not thinking about work.  If Twitter and Facebook are any indication, most people I know are physically at work, but mentally they’re caroling and gulping eggnog.  (I plead…

HTML 5: don’t get too excited yet

Yes, it’s finally coming.  The last official release of HTML was in 1999 (yes, you read that right, 10 years ago) at version 4.01.  At long last, the W3C* is almost finished with the specifications for a new version.  Pay…

The Internet of Things

“The idea is as simple as its application is difficult. If all cans, books, shoes or parts of cars are equipped with minuscule identifying devices, daily life on our planet will undergo a transformation. Things like running out of stock…

Crowdsource and engage

I crowdsourced this week’s post.  I asked (via Twitter/Facebook) library staff to tell me what their favorite technology is, and why.  Here’s most of what I got: “I’m digging on Excel right now because I love turning lots of numbers…

Unsticking Glue

This week I’m chatting about a web application called Glue .  I look at a good number of web applications, and some are useful.  Unfortunately, Glue is not one of those. The premise of Glue is that it “shows you…

What is “The Real-Time Web?”

When Michael Jackson died on June 25, millions of people flooded onto Google News to find the latest information about what had happened. The spike in traffic was so massive that Google suspected a malware attack and began blocking anyone…

A tale of social media woe

Recently, a frustrated librarian contacted me because she wanted to discuss a situation that had occurred at her library.  After hearing her story, I asked her permission to recount it here (and to keep identifying details confidential). In essence, here…

Listen up: you’re in charge!

It’s a pain, but security is each user’s responsibility, not just the tech’s.–Bobbi Galvin, OPLIN One of the most common misconceptions library staff typically have about their email accounts is that nobody would want to hack them. WRONG. Your email…

Building social capital

If your library is on Facebook, Twitter or other social media site, congratulations.  You’ve started down the road to helping your library engage in new forms of communication and public relations.  However, just being there isn’t enough, and it may…

5 ways for your library to Fail at Twitter

Twitter has finally hit the mainstream (If Oprah isn’t the mainstream, then I don’t know what is).  So we’re finally seeing more and more public libraries putting their feet into the Twitterstream.  This is generally a good thing; however, I…

CSS Part I: Why you need them

scary words–> CASCADING STYLE SHEETS! <–scary words Are you scared?  Cowering in a corner?  (Okay, I suspected you weren’t.)   How about uncomfortable?  A teeny bit? If you’re a regular user of CSS, you probably think I’m a bit nuts. …

Polar bears, Che Guevara and porn

(Eric Jordan did an update to his first “Webmaster” vignette, and I’m posting it here for collective enjoyment.  Thanks, Eric!) Web Master 1.1 (I had enough fun with the first one, I decided to upgrade!) The Programmer approached the Web…

Intermediate Twitter: #hashtags

(Thanks to Don Yarman for suggesting this topic–I’m always on the lookout for new fodder.  Send your ideas to meanlaura@oplin.org.) I have to assume that, by now, your library has finally jumped on the Twitter wagon.  (See here for additional…

Sharing your slides

Whether you do presentations in Powerpoint, OpenOffice or something else, making your slides publicly available can sometimes be a headache.  Enter Slideshare, which could arguably be considered the YouTube of presentation slides. Slideshare allows you to create a (free) account,…

Getting buy-in

I am often asked about how to get buy-in for new web-based initiatives.  I ran across this slideshow today, which is fabulous material for demonstrating the usual roadblocks one can run into. Web Tech Guy and Angry Staff Person View…

Cloud computing

What does weather have to do with computers?  Well, not much, actually.  But cloud computing is a term that has gained in the buzz department recently, although it has actually been around for several years. “Cloud computing” is really just…

404: Houston, we have a problem

It happens all the time.  You’re looking for a web page.  You suddenly encounter a “404:  File Not Found” error.  Which usually means that the page you were has moved or no longer exists.  Perhaps you came to it through…

Signing in with ONE account

One of the most common complaints I’ve heard about using various web services and social networking sites is the need for multiple accounts; multiple user names, multiple passwords, multiple things to forget.  Who hasn’t used those handy “Forgot your password?”…

Is your library coded?

Well, I am. See that 2-dimensional code to the left? That code contains the following information about me: First & last name Email address Web site URL Phone number Physical address, including country of origin All that is in there?…

I can haz internet meme?

It’s the day after Turkey Day. Obviously, not a day for deep thoughts or complex topics, since most of us are probably still zoned out from large quantities of comestibles. Therefore, LOLcats are the perfect subject for today’s post. To…