Thursday, October 22, 2009

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – October 22, 2009

We met in October despite WLA conflicts and poor weather!

Bob: got us off and running with a very interesting demo of Google Sketchup. He showed us a file his daughter (an architect) had created to design an end-table. A nice design! One can design objects, add textures, obtain precise measurements of the objects, and make objects transparent for easier observation. Bob showed us that it is possible to import an image of a floorplan, then scale that image to the correct proportions, and then finally draw the walls/doors to exact scale. That is amazing! Bob finds that the "Missing Manual" for Google Sketchup by Chris Grover is a good book to use to learn this tool:

Jim: showed us a variety of great sources of information for staying ahead of technology change and development. The first site we visited was TWiT: (This Week in Tech) - This site includes a series of podcasts (as well as other sources of information) focused on specific topics. Jim notes that the Leo Laporte "tech guy" podcast is very good. He also listens to "Windows Weekly" and the Macbreak Weekly podcast looks good too. From there Jim brought us to to take a look at their site, also chock full of interesting information. in particular, Jim pointed out the TechCrunch50 Conference that they sponsor every year: At this event, top startups present their new ideas, and compete for fabulous prizes... Finally, Jim noted this very promising-looking financial application called Mint: It helps you manage your personal finances.

Karen: finished up the hour by showing us the NatureBreak site: This site has been created by noted wildlife documentary creator Vanessa Serrao to "bring together people who love nature." There are a variety of nature themed videos to watch, including a few that are "viral" on YouTube. I will let you all ask Karen why that is... :-0

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

LILI IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – September 24, 2009

Here we are back for a new semester. At the September meeting we looked at and discussed several very interesting tools/technologies:

1) Jim: started off the meeting by showing us the free Prezi presentation tool: It is really very cool! This presentation tool can replace PowerPoint, but functions in a way that is significantly different. Instead of moving sequentially through a series of slides, Prezi presentations are created as one large "screen" that can be rotated and focused in on at varying levels of magnification as a way of bundling packets of presentation information. If that makes no sense, go to the site and watch the demo. The Prezi site also include tutorials. The entire package is slick, and artistically mesmerizing. Jim notes that the presentations can live on their servers, or you can also download the file.

2) Entire group: discussed smart boards in libraries. Jim notes that the MERIT library recently purchased two smart boards, and they look like they have a variety of potential uses in library instruction. Depending on the brand/type of SB, they function differently. Some require an external device (ie. stylus) to interact with the board, and others just use the touch of a hand. Jody (welcome!) notes that in the K-12 school environment they are in use already. She notes that some come equipped with built in keyboards. Jill and Bob both mentioned that they had seen museum displays (example: Art Institute - American wing) that used these tools. They can run/display the standard computer applications too. The group noted that this looks like a promising item that libraries could experiment with in public spaces.

3) Bob mentioned a very handy desktop set-up that he had been working with. This includes two monitors with a single PC. He has also been experimenting with Windows 7 since June, and he likes it. Phil mentioned that it is possible (it looks like for students) to get the Windows7 home version for $30 if you use a university email address. Gizmodo: Lifehacker: