UAH Library LAN Party – 8/30/07 from 3-11pm

We’re still in the early planning phases, but on August 30th we’ll be holding our first LAN party at work! It’s part of our “fall frolic” series of events. The party will sort of be two separate events – an organized PC gaming tournament (exact game TBA), and a collection of console games – DDR, Guitar Hero, and various Wii games are the top candidates so far. Plus we’re hoping for a lot of pick-up DS gaming 🙂

As we get more planning done, we’ll have online registration for the tournament. Our space is a bit limited due to the building’s electrical limitations, so be sure to register. We’ll provide food and prizes. And this isn’t limited to just UAH students either! All are welcome.

Here’s the Facebook event:

If you throw a Second Life party and nobody comes, does it make a sound?

In the most recent print issue of Wired (8/07, the article isn’t online yet), Frank Rose briefly discusses the apparent emptiness of Second Life’s landscape in an article called “Lonely Planet”.

Rose interviewed a number of corporate bigwigs responsible for their business’ Second Life presence – Coke, the NBA, etc. By and large, these places aren’t drawing the hordes of virtual visitors that the Second Life hype machine might suggest. This is all despite the fact that companies can spend upwards of $500,000 a year developing and maintaining their presences.

The article starts out with a pretty critical tone, implying that these companies are simply wasting their time and money. But towards the end Rose admits that there is potential in the idea – and nobody will realize what’s available without simply experimenting and playing around. Right now we see mostly what one ad exec refers to as thinking in analog – simply replicating the real world in the virtual. A virtual store serves as a counterpart of a physical one. But in time we’ll see more effective marketing use of the tools, making a full “conceptual leap”. Neither Rose nor the interviewees suggest what that leap might produce. But without playing today, we’ll never get there. Unfortunately, rose plays down this point and seems to ultimately suggest that Second Life is a waste of time as a business opportunity. I think it’s still way too early to call that decision.
The idea of playing, experimenting for the sake of experimenting, really resonates with me. As one of Coke’s marketing consultants says in the article, “The learning is now”. Play with this stuff, and you can’t help but learn. That’s the beauty of all this 2.0 stuff – you don’t have to be a professional developer to built anymore.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic. Summary: The article was a good read and made me think 🙂

APIs, mashups, etc.

I’ve spent a lot of time recently trying to make various library services play nicely with each other. I’ve had some success, but also can end up quite frustrated when a vendor doesn’t make the task easy.

Just a few years ago, some of these connections would have required entire departments of coders to get the job done. Today, very often one worker can figure it out. Library budgets and resources for these projects can be a bit limited, but now that doesn’t matter nearly as much – the doors are open to vast new areas.

Still, I’ve had to learn a lot of my knowledge in this area by trial and error. Do any library schools offer a class in this area? Hands-on experience with SOAP requests, XML, even simply how to hack apart and recombine a url for search plugins – all this should be covered.

Year in Pictures 2007 – Halfway there

I’m now halfway through my project of taking a photo every day for a year! I’ve kept up with it, and am pretty pleased with the results. I think I had more genuinely good pictures by this point last time I did the project, but I’ve still got some gems this time around. Here’s some of my favorites from the first half of 2007:











ALA 2007 – Wrapup

I’m a bit late in doing this, but I wanted to jot down a few thoughts about ALA Annual overall.

I noticed a few threads that kept popping up in both sessions and casual conversations:

-The library as place. There’s a growing focus on making the library (especially public libraries) into a destination that people visit more like a community center.
-Gaming. Gaming programs in libraries are growing by leaps and bounds.
-Mashups. Web 2.0 services have finally gotten mature enough that truly useful services can be built with them. I’m blown away by how simple it is to do things online that just a few years ago were death to even attempt. Just look at how Youtube revolutionized streaming video, or how simple Meebo’s embedded IM service is.

About halfway through the conference, part of me started wondering if big events like this won’t become extinct in our lifetimes. Presentations and workshops can now be conducted online almost as well as in person. And any worthwhile vendor should be able to get business done online. But then I thought about the wonderful people I met, the friends I re-met, and the brilliant ideas that flow back and forth in just a simple face to face conversation. I always come back from conferences feeling extremely energized and anxious to try out new things. I have yet to come away from an online presentation with the same reaction, no matter how well it’s put together. And a large scale event like ALA Annual always exposes me to a few ideas and viewpoints that I would never have found otherwise. Like anything else worthwhile in life, it’s about the people. Here’s to Anaheim next year 🙂