Thursday, March 10, 2011

New IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – February 24, 2011

OK! Wow, it was a while since our last meeting! But this one was good...

Joe started off the meeting by telling us about his very creative and interesting “library game” for mobile devices. Based on discussions in the Mobile Discussion Group, Joe designed and created an experimental game that replicates a library search process in order to train users how to do library research. Joe chose the topic of “writing a paper about the history of the discovery of DNA” as the frame for the game narrative. He used iMovie (clips posted in YouTube) and QR codes on cards placed in physical books to engage and immerse the player in the experience. Cool! Ideally the player would have an iPhone or Android to read the QR codes.

Tom continued the discussion by introducing the group to some iPhone and Android emulators for testing mobilized web content: For iPhone and both are web-based and seem to work relatively well. During the discussion we were able to compare the display in the emulator to an iPhone and it turns out that the background colors and font colors in the emulators can be somewhat incorrect, but the layout looks correct. We also talked about the Android emulator without using it. That tool requires a download and installation (and is really designed for developers...)

Nancy pointed out the very useful iPhone app that you can use (with a Chase Bank account) to take a picture of a check that you want to deposit in your own account and the check amount will be automatically deposited. No bank visits, and you can discard the paper check yourself. Nancy saw this on the ever useful NYT column/blog by David Pogue:

Nancy then brought up the merits of password management tools like and 1password These tools help you to safely manage your many, many passwords without resorting to a single easily crack-able password.

Nancy also introduced us to the very cool “light wedge” personal reading light that will not distract or bother others in a darkened space. I can definitely see airline and conference session uses for this!

Karen inquired with the group about portable external hard drives for Macs. Karen said that she had been looking into WesternDigital products and that the New Egg site had been helpful for reviewing a variety of products. The group continued to discuss the relative merits of USB versus FireWire, and then...

Dorothea let us know about the very recent switch that Apple has made to the “ThunderBolt” port and connector: “Thunderbolt is a revolutionary I/O technology that supports high-resolution displays and high-performance data devices through a single, compact port. It sets new standards for speed, flexibility, and simplicity. And it makes its debut in the new MacBook Pro.” So, say good bye to FireWire!

Jim introduced us to the Roku Box player that can be used with NetFlix, Amazon, and Hulu content as well as a variety of other streaming providers. It can work off of your home wireless network and it appears that the pricing is pretty affordable!

Anne mentioned that she was planning to get some noise canceling headphones soon and that they would be great for working in her office!

Tom finished up the hour by mentioning the handy wireless headphones he had received recently and a USB powered laptop cooling pad . No more cords to yank and no more baked legs.

A good first 2011 discussion. See you all in March!

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