Family, Life, Technology, Titusville, PA

Bluetooth Headphones

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A few weeks ago I wrote one of my THREE THINGS posts that included a section called OPINIONS ON THE INTERNETIt basically boiled down to this: my family and I enjoyed the Justice League film and the internet hated it so much and were very loud about it and that made me think about how the internet has become a really horrible and tiring place.

Those thoughts about the internet, coupled with what may be the end of the internet as  we know it with the repeal of net neutrality, have been on my mind recently. These thoughts came up even more so after seeing Star Wars: The Last Jedi and reading about the wave of negativity that ensued on the internet after the movie had premiered. And then these thoughts came up a third time because I went on a nice holiday break away from work and basically the rest of the world. In other words, I didn’t leave the house once (except for a family holiday get together) between Thursday December 21-Wednesday December 27.

Being away from people who are not in my immediate family for that long was refreshing. Don’t worry: if you’re reading this I’m not saying I don’t like you. I like you a lot actually. It’s just that as I’ve gotten older I’ve come to appreciate time away from other human beings a lot more than time with other human beings. In my twenties I was the opposite. If someone rang me up and wanted to do something of course I’d be out the door ASAP.  These days, I want to get up, weigh myself, brush my teeth, take a shower, put on some comfy clothes, and drink tea, hang out with my family all day. I’ll also dabble in some video games and write/record some music. That’s just the way things are right now.

And that brings me to bluetooth headphones, yes the ones you see me wearing in the photo above. Those bluetooth headphones were a gift from my mother in law, and a gift that I treasure so very much. I had a bad year with headphones in 2017; I lost them, I broke them, and I dealt with the horrible Apple Lightning to Headphone input jack dongle doo-dad. I love listening to music and podcasts as much as I can. They help me function and grow as a person. Art and conversation are two of the greatest things we have in this world. So this gift was more than just a pair of headphones. It was something that allows me to be more present in the real world. It gives me the chance to not have to plan long periods of time where I stay inside. It allows me to go out there, go shopping, and take walks. It gives me a way to be around people while at the same time staying in my own world.

I went to Wal Mart on December 27 to pick up a few things that we needed in the house. A trip to that place usually fills me with dread. Who will I run into this time? What kind of awkward conversation will we have? Why are at least half of the 5,000 or so residents of Titusville in this Wal Mart right now? However this time I had my bluetooth headphones on my side. I listened to Sunshine Tomorrow Volume 2 by the Beach Boys as I made my way through the aisles, grabbed what I needed, paid and left. The absolutely wonderful gem “Little Pad” from 1967’s SMILEY SMILE filled my ears, and for the first moment in a long time I felt pretty happy being in my own place while at the same time being surrounded by other humans.

This is the way that I will continue to exist in a world where more and more I feel like I don’t want to be a part of. These bluetooth headphones are my 2017 saviors. I hope yinz y’all find your own saviors too.

FYI: I liked The Last Jedi. I’ve seen it twice now and I think that despite one or two hiccups that it was an enjoyable film because the characters were all so great and WHO REALLY CARES it is just a film. 

 

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ebooks, Google, Libraries, Music, Social Media, Technology

Post Holiday Library Technology Help

Like most librarians in a public library, I am expecting a sizable number of patrons visiting the library after the holidays in search of technology help.  For the last few years, I’ve watched this phenomenon grow a spattering of random technology questions to something that libraries need to plan in advance for.  Luckily, we’re already doing that.  I point to these two awesome examples:

PrincePLTechHelp

Over the next few days, the Princeton Public Library in Princeton, NJ is having a number of programs focused on helping patrons with their new devices.  The program mentioned above, Help Desk for Holiday Gadgets, is just one of many offerings that the library has to help out their community.  You can click here to see the full list of programs being offered by the Princeton Public Library that focus on post holiday technology help.

MSLTechHelp

The Maine State Library tweeted about their Getting Started with eBooks page and it caught my eye.  If your library can’t have programs like the Princeton Public Library, offering an online walk through will no doubt help out your community.  You can view the full Getting Started with eBooks page here.

LogoFactory17

 

The Darien Library in Darien, CT does a great job at throughly collecting technology help resources for you at their eBooks page.  They offer both print and video resources to help you navigate your new devices.  Double bonus points goes to them for offering this digital only catalog: http://digital.darienlibrary.org

And finally, why not give YouTube a try?  There are many public libraries out there utilizing YouTube to share video walk troughs for their community to view.  I really liked this well put together video by the Hennepin County Library.  It is well made and very clear and easy to follow.

In closing, I pose this question: Should public libraries begin to look to next year when there will most likely be even more of a need for technology help?  Should we look to establishing year round technology help departments in our library?

Technology, Things

SIX THINGS I’M CURRENTLY THINKING ABOUT TECHNOLOGY

I REALLY LIKE  
It’s only been a week, but I am fond of Google+ and here’s why.  Facebook is good and all, but I always had trouble with just putting it all out there.  Yes, I know there are ways of limiting what you share, but so much emphasis is placed on controlling who you share to on Google+ that it just makes it feel easier.  The layout of the stream is easy on the eyes and has yet to overwhelm me.  Granted, this thing is just starting out, so it may only be a matter of time before it all gets clogged up, but for now I am enjoying it very much.
QR CODES ARE REALLY BORING
I don’t see what the rage about QR codes is.  Personally, I don’t know a lot of people with smart phones.  The ones that do have them will just do a quick Google search for what they’re looking for.  The teens I work in my library don’t even have access to their own computer let alone something to scan a weird looking barcode.  At the same time, this isn’t boring but I don’t see many folks going this route.
I LOVE/HATE GOOGLE CHROME NETBOOKS and I LOVE/HATE APPLE PRODUCTS
I was lucky enough to be one of the people that got a Google Chrome CR-48 netbook before they hit the stores a few months ago.  It is an amazing little machine that pretty much does everything I need to do when I’m on a computer.  Between a steady internet connection, Google Docs, and Google Talk, I’m all set for about 99% of my computer needs.
It drives me nuts though that I can’t do anything but that.  As much as I am a Google super user, I still really like iTunes and iPods for organizing/collecting/listening to music.  I wish there was a bit more flexibility with both companies in regards to their products.  I have all that I need when it comes to computing needs, so please don’t make me go out and buy another netbook just to manage my music.  This proprietary “THIS IS MY PRODUCT AND YOU HAVE TO USE IT LIKE I WANT YOU TO USE IT” shit is killing me and ultimately driving me away from your product.
CLOUD BASED MUSIC SERVICES HAVE A LONG WAY TO GO

I’ve only dove into Google Music and Amazon’s Cloud Player, but overall I’m not that impressed.  It could be my phone that needs some work (LG Ally Android) but Music Beta is slow, clunky, and many times unresponsive.  Amazon’s Cloud Player is just boring, and I’m not all that into buying MP3’s through Amazon (I think it’s an age thing.  In my youth I relied heavily on them for import CD’s).  I love the idea of having a vast library of music at my fingertips, but I actually want it to load, stream well, and sound good.  So far, that isn’t happening.
MERCURYAPP.COM IS AWESOME
“Capture.  Reflect.  Improve” is their slogan, and that’s just about all you need to know.  I log onto MercuryApp twice a day to record my mood while at work.  They send me an email, tell me to update, and I do it.  Since I started using it about a year ago, my overall mood is 3.83 out of 5 while I am at work.  There’s also a log that allows me to give keywords to describe my moods, and it tells me that my most used words are “feeling, person, teens, day, work, library, good, ready, are, here”.  You can learn a lot about yourself through this little website.  Now, MercuryApp.com developers, where’s my Android app?
TABLETS ARE SUPER AWESOME
I see the power of tablets  everyday.  Sitting around the house, I use my iPad to tune into the news, check Twitter, and just stay connected to the world.  I explore Wikipanion and learn about topics that pique my interest at the time.  But the real beauty comes through when I see my 2.5 year old son Finn pick up the iPad and explore.  He’s been using it for about a year now to watch videos, draw, and more, and every day I see him getting more proficient at using it.  He’s skilled at finding the YouTube videos he wants to watch.  He scrolls, looks through recommendations, and finds what he wants.  I’m just waiting for the moment where he discovers spelling and searching.  This one observation has led me to end this blog post by standing up on virtual soapbox to proclaim this: tablets are the future.  Their ease of use, portability, and just interesting nature are the things that are going to guide us into so much more interesting technology in the near future.
Books, Technology

The stereotypical “I GOT AN IPAD” post

I’ll save you a lot of hassle and sum it up all neatly in a few bullet points:

  • Yes, I love the IPad.
  • It’s totally fucking cool.  It’s like I am in 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Complaints?  I wish Google Docs would work with it.  I wish it wasn’t so expensive.
  • DRM is a pain in the butt and a big problem for libraries, however, when I use my IPad I’m really not thinking about DRM.
  • EBooks on the IPad = EXCELLENT
  • I sure wish I could borrow library books on my IPad.
  • $12.99 for an EBook?  Seriously?
  • Gaming?  Awesome.  Sort of wish I had a controller though.
  • Reading?  Awesome.  No complaints.
  • Video?  Can’t find a lot of stuff I want on YouTube but…the app works pretty well other than that.
  • Netflix?  The app is a bit slow, but there is room for improvement.

That’s my wife and little boy enjoying some videos on the IPad.  They dig it.  And that means the world to me.  Our family sits around the IPad reading and consuming content.  It’s fun.  We can go from reading to watching a video in a second.  That’s a cool thing.

Is it for everyone?  I don’t know.  Just test one out at an Apple store.  You will be pretty amazed but the real joy happens when you take one home.  Relaxing, reading, watching, playing, etc…well, it just takes the device to a whole new level.