Friday, May 4, 2012

New IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – April 26, 2012

For this month's meeting, we explored two video-casting tools:

1) Jim, Ian, and Tom experimented with this web tool before and during the meeting, and it works pretty well. You can create an account for free, but there are some advanced functions that you will have to pay for, including removing advertizements and increasing storage space. Ustream allows some handy free customizations, including the ability to record your sessions and have them play on your channel when your channel is not broadcasting live. Once you have created an account, simply click on the "Broadcast Now" link listed under your account menu. After giving the site access to your camera and mic, you click "Start Broadcast."

2) Jim discovered and demoed this tool. It allows you to creat a free account, but there is no free recording/storage for videos. It is strictly a live broadcast. However, it does offer the very helpful option to broadcast multiple cameras from within a single broadcast instance (and on a single browser screen), including cameras from people who have joined the video-cast, but are not members of the site.

Those two tools used up the entire hour, and were all we had time for! If you know of other video casting tools, let us know too!

See you next time!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

New IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – February 23 and March 23, 2012

For this blog entry, we are combining February and March. For both months, we had shortened meetings/discussions, and the notes combine well into one post...

The group started by welcoming Ashley, Memorial’s ISIP student worker during the Spring Semester.

The group then discussed various cloud storage applications. In all, we discussed SkyDrive, iCloud, GoogleDocs, MyWebSpace, and DropBox: Sue has used iCloud (5Gig free) for her personal contact book, calendar, and AppleNotes and said that it works ok for her personal purposes. We have all used Google Docs (1GB free), and though it has quirks it works OK. Ashley has used SkyDrive (was 100MB, now appears to be expanded to 25GB free), and she thinks it worked OK for storage. Ian has used DropBox for file transfer (2 Gigs free) and has also found it to work OK. This comparison page may also help. It is from June 2011. We have all also used MyWebSpace. An interesting interface...

Ian reminded the group about the Campus Mobile App bundle (v1.2 out soon, or now) that consists of a suite of apps related to UW and useful for faculty, students, and staff.

Sue noted that she has used (in her iPad) the Papers app as a PDF reader and the Scribble app to annotate on the PDFs. Cool.

Nancy demonstrated the Dragon Dictation app on her iPhone. She uses it to recognize names in her contact list, and then also dictate texts/email/twitter posts. Amazingly, when dictating text, it accurately recognizes when to capitalize proper nouns. Cool! Nancy also mentioned the Dragon Go app which you can use to speak your queries and look up information in Wikipedia, Google, NetFlix, IMDB, Amazon, YouTube, etc... Also cool!

Friday, January 27, 2012

New IT Interest Group Meeting Notes – January 26, 2012

Here we are in a new year, with many interesting tech ideas before us just waiting to be discovered. Happy 2012!

We began the meeting with a discussion of how patrons with mobile devices such as iPads would likely access and use ebooks available through the EBL platform. It proved to be an interesting and useful experiment. (Many thanks to Ian and Sue for bringing iPads and getting them hooked up to the projector.) We approached the experiment as though we were complete newbies, and went through the entire process that a new EBL user would encounter.

  • We accessed the EBL database with the iPad and opened a book.
  • After clicking the book's “Download” tab, in the screen’s lower left there are some non-obvious instructions for downloading the BlueFire app. This app is required to download and use the book.
  • If a user were to access the EBL books using a PC, the instructions would direct the user to download and install the Adobe “Digital Editions” application. This is something that public services staff might want to carefully note. Sue noted that Adobe “Digital Editions” is needed when downloading Overdrive ebooks from the MPL.
  • At this point, it is not clear how the user is to proceed. After some experimentation we determined that the user must go to the site to create an “Adobe ID.”
  • After logging into our new Adobe ID, we can click the EBL download button that shows up in the download tab for the book. The book is downloaded to our iPad, and is listed in the BlueFire app when accessed.
  • We did a bit more experimentation, and we can happily report that the ebook is usable on the iPad with the WiFi turned off.
A very cool experiment! A big thanks to everyone for participating.

Ian kept his iPad running, and told us about the new (and great) efficiency app that College and the DoIT Infolabs have put together for accessing the Equipment Checkout System. The app allows students to “Stay informed on the availability and location of hardware that can be checked out from over a dozen locations from the University of Wisconsin-Madison DoIT InfoLabs program.” It looks fantastically useful. This is exactly the kind of app development that the libraries need too. Ian mentioned that the libraries could benefit from an app that schedules study rooms. It sounds great. Ian encouraged everyone to be sure to check out the UW suite of very helpful campus apps:

Tom mentioned the UW “Classroom Media Support” site, which every liaison librarian should know about. The site provides a very thorough overview of campus classroom media and AV equipment, and provides a channel for applying for a pass code to access the “Podium Touch Panel Control Systems” installed in many classrooms across campus. The tutorials cover both new and obsolete technology (laptop access, document cameras, DVD players and VCRs) … pretty much every piece of AV equipment you would use in a classroom

Jim told us about the very useful Edudemic site that focuses on promoting and experimenting with social media in education. In particular, Jim drew our attention to the “100 Teaching Tools You Should Know About” on the site. This is a great list. The IT Interest Group has looked at many of these but there are a bunch that we have not played with, yet! We highly recommend taking a look!

Karen told us about an “agriculturally-themed” game called Pig Chase, that lets users interact with REAL PIGS! (Holy Oink!) See this article and the YouTube video: And here is the game site: (Yes, they are Dutch pigs. No, we do not know if the pigs will wear wooden shoes.)

Ian finished off the hour by bringing up the debate that has swirled around the proposed SOPA-PIPA legislation and the proposed ACTA treaty. (Search Google News for plenty of news stories on all three.) Ian showed a portion of the informative and humorous (and to the point) video clip about SOPA and PIPA at the Penny Arcade TV site:

Thanks for a great first 2012 meeting. See you next time!