i &hearts robot

April 24, 2008


I’m not one for product endorsements — for one thing, technology products are rarely as good as they seem they should be (Littermaid self cleaning litterbox, cool mp3 stuff that only works with ipods, etc.), but I think I love my new vacuum cleaner. Yes, I &hearts a vacuum cleaner. In case you haven’t seen/heard about it, the roomba is a self cleaning vacuum cleaner, a robot of sorts. Oh, wow, it is soooo cool. I can set it and voilá, my house is clean. Of course, it’s not perfect — it’s a little noisy, and it takes a while to get through the house.

So now, I’m wishing I had a scooba. One step closer to a rosie the robot.


disposable video camera

March 10, 2008

Well, this is kind of old news (2005!), but CVS now sells a disposable video camera.
I wonder if they sell a disposable waterproof video camera … Anyhow, kind of interesting, but then considering how many phones and cheapie digital cameras now shoot video, I wonder how long this will last? Or perhaps, everything will move towards disposability.  At least, the cameras seem like they are recyclable!

Product website:
<a href=”http://www.puredigitalinc.com/products/otucvideo.html”>http://www.puredigitalinc.com/products/otucvideo.html</a&gt;

Review:
<a href=”http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/CVS-One-Time-Use-Video-Camcorder.htm”>http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/CVS-One-Time-Use-Video-Camcorder.htm </a>

How to download it your computer:
(Honestly, returning it the retailer is kind of a pain, isn’t it? I also am not sure the CVS in my area would really be able to process these, as they seem like older stores.)

<a href=”http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2005/08/how_to_cvs_vide_1.html”>http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2005/08/how_to_cvs_vide_1.html</a&gt;


Disposable video camera (and downloading video rather than processing it)

March 10, 2008

Well, this is kind of old news (2005!), but CVS now sells a disposable video camera.
I wonder if they sell a disposable waterproof video camera … Anyhow, kind of interesting, but then considering how many phones and cheapie digital cameras now shoot video, I wonder how long this will last? Or perhaps, everything will move towards disposability. At least, the cameras seem like they are recyclable!

Product website:
http://www.puredigitalinc.com/products/otucvideo.html

Review:
http://www.camcorderinfo.com/content/CVS-One-Time-Use-Video-Camcorder.htm

How to download it your computer:
(Honestly, returning it the retailer is kind of a pain, isn’t it? I also am not sure the CVS in my area would really be able to process these, as they seem like older stores.)

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2005/08/how_to_cvs_vide_1.html


wearable electronics, smart fabrics, smart accessories

January 15, 2008


A while ago, I heard about a new version of my bookbag (an Ipack). I decided when I needed a new book/computer bag, I would look to some of the new smart fabric products.

This fabric is not hypercolor. Remember hypercolor? The fabric was heat sensitive and when touched, changed colors. I had a pair of purple socks that finally turned completely orange. The thermochromatic dye used was really not too stable. Anyhow, that technology is old news. It’s now available in toys and even in beer bottle wrappers.

Now, there is clothing and accessories with built in ipod functionality. How cool is that? I’m willing to test any of this stuff. 😉 Send me a nice ski/snowboard jacket and I’ll definitely put it to use.

..and for those of you interested, the newer controls are even dry cleanable!

Read more here from the company’s website

Lots of news about smart fabrics @ crunchwear


new things for 2008… crystal ball gazing with opensource, social networking, digital identity, and more aka the predictions.

December 31, 2007

I was poking around trying to find a better video editor, when I stumbled across an opensource project called, Jahshaka. Jahshaka is positioning itself as being a fullbodied product that can compete with such software as finalcut pro (wow!). Not sure about that, because I could never (ever, ever) get the windows installer to work properly. Maybe if I had already switched to ubuntu ALREADY…

Anyhow, I started thinking about all of the new things out there that I probably don’t know about (and some that I do) and somehow I ended up crystal ball gazing (a very dangerous occupation).

It is really amazing how fullbodied some of the opensource products are (openoffice, wordpress, drupal, anyone?) and perhaps, even more amazing, all of the online tools now available (thinkfree, etc.)

As for my thoughts on the near future on the ‘net: niche social networking, user centered aggregated content (perhaps, even some consolidation?), and digital identity. Web3.0 and semantic web? Maybe.

I think niche social networking will become even more popular (social networking sites tailored to the needs of visual artists have popped up recently). Considering how easy it is to get lost in the crowd at facebook or myspace, I can see how appealing a specialized site is. Plus, the one size fits all just does not really… well, fit. Visual artists have been advocating/begging/petitioning myspace for years to create a visual arts portal, as myspace has for musicians. Why bother with that, when there are several sites specifically for visual artists?

However, having a specialized site means another profile and spot on the web to maintain. Social networking and content aggregators are surely to be even stronger in ’08. How else to manage all of the personal content bits floating out on the web? All of the stuff you want to read? Google reader can help, Pageflakes might be even be more useful (a variety of content, not just feeds or clipped websites), but then there is the other stuff: all of the various profiles, with logins and passwords. Social networking aggregators such as spokeo, profilactic and others, can be handy. Digital identity tools are certainly helpful, for logging in OpenID (one login for multiple sites) and in distinguishing what is yours and perhaps, more importantly, what is NOT yours (and is in no way affiliated.) Consolidation is bound to happen and a little is a good thing — unless google ends up owning EVERYTHING….

Among sites being touted as ‘hot’ for ’08: PowerSearch (a semantic search engine) , Pownce (social networking & more), etsy (an online store similar to ebay focused on handmade and originally produced products… most of the art community that I know, do not seem overly enamored with etsy, thus far), Dopplr.com (a travel & meetup site), twitter (really? I thought we were all tired of twitter by now), children’s social networking such as moshimonsters and webkinz (if you know a tween or preteen, just ask them about webkinz), seesmic (video diaries)…

..and of course, Google opensocial, if it ever makes headway. I also like some of the projects which allow users to make a positive contribution to a body of knowledge in some way, like the steve museum project, where users assign keywords/tag artwork, identifying artists’ work, and more) and also recaptcha, which uses scanned images from books as captchas (a phrase or word typed in some sort of form, that the user must enter in a text box, which prevent spambots from automatically using the form).

..and then there is always wikipedia, citizendium, the new Google Knol, and those sorts of sites.

Other trends & technologies that have popped up in the onslaught of 2008 predictions posts/articles include:

Location based services (niche marketing of a sort), Mobile Social Networking (I keep reading about this as a big trend, but it just seems more like a means of access to me — be it a pda, iphone, laptop, desktop, psp or whatever… but freely available WIFI at most public buildings, that could definitely continue to change things), lots of chatter about Google taking on the cellphone/mobile industry with Android, Gaming, SecondLife/Virtual Worlds (OpenSL?), internet habits changing as the mobile industry & high demand downloads continue to increase, increase in usage of Linux and other opensource projects (evergreen, the opensource ILS?), and an increase in distrust in google (I love google products, but they are a corporation after all.)

Creating widgets and apps to work with much of this technology is usually (but not always, of course) fairly easy to do and can easily be done by someone with minimal coding experience. I see lots of places where libraries can be, if they want to be. I guess that is the question.

Facebook is so last year http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2007/dec/24/facebook.socialnetworking

2008 Predictions http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/2008_web_predictions.php

2008 Technology predictions http://latestgeeknews.blogspot.com/2007/12/2008-technology-prediction.html

The Economists Prediction for 2008 http://www.economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10410912

Top 10 Startups Worth Watching in 2008 http://www.wired.com/techbiz/startups/news/2007/12/YE_10_startups

30 Library Technology Predictions http://stephenslighthouse.sirsidynix.com/archives/2007/12/30_library_tech.html

..and of course, a generous sprinkling of my thoughts.


Yahoo tests social network

September 18, 2007

Article about yahoo’s attempt to crack myspace and facebook’s domain; more at techcrunch. Also some brief discussion about whether this is the end of Yahoo 360. I wondered the same thing.

Of course, mash is invitation only and I didn’t receive an invitation (despite the fact that I really have been using yahoo’s services for EVER it feels like…)

I always wonder how they determine who gets invites….
Anyhow, if you have one, would you mind sharing? email me at georgiawebgurl@yahoo.com


opensource alternatives to common commercial products

September 13, 2007

Although the introduction of this article is overly simplified in terms of the changes in library technology (I couldn’t help but laugh a little in a couple of places) , once you’re past that, the rest is a good little overview of some of the more popular opensource products. I’ve hotlinked and listed the products below, the article gives a more indepth overview.

The products are:
ubuntu (ms windows alternative based on linux)
firefox (web browser; ms internet explorer alternative)
openoffice (productivity suite with wordprocessing, presentation, and spreadsheets; ms office alternative)
thunderbird (e-mail + rss reader; ms outlook express alternative)
songbird ( media player; windows media player alternative?)
gimpshop (image editing; adobe photoshop alternative)
pdfcreator (pdf creator; adobe acrobat alternative)
Audacity (audio burning software)
avidemux (video creation)

Other stuff (web publishing, etc.):
wordpress
drupal
mediawiki and also twiki.

As far as libraries go, there is
koha
evergreen
vufind
liblime

I’ve talked a little about evergreen and vufind here. At home, I still run MS for the operating system and commercial stuff for my server; but then everything else is opensource or web based services (Firefox, gimp, ghostwriter+pdf, openoffice, etc.) Setting up these products on a small personal computer is fairly easy (really!). I’m not sure how that would translate to a large network, which could possibly be a hidden cost factor: installing these, configuring them as needed, and upgrading. Of course, admins already have to do that for any programs that they support. Training issues (oh the fun of trying to teach a group of web editors to use Drupal…) as well as potential security risks given the opensource nature would be other potential costs.

http://www.degreetutor.com/library/managing-expenses/open-source-library