UAH Library LAN Party – Done!

That went really well! I lost count of the number of positive comments we had from students, including “This is the best campus event I’ve ever been to!” Of course, there are some things that I’d do differently next time, but for first timers I think we did pretty well.

I think the main thing I’d do differently is spread out the console games around the room. We held the whole event in one large open room that usually have reserved for quiet study. For ease of keeping an eye on things, the console team (myself and one other person) had the three 42″ HDTVs lined up in a row. One was Guitar Hero 2, another was Halo 2, and a third was random open play on an Xbox 360 or Wii. Once the tournaments started, a sizeable crowd grew around each one and it was really hard for lots of people to see the screens at once. Putting one TV in each corner of the room, or maybe back to back, might have worked better.

I also learned that laying out specific rules for every possible eventuality is a necessity. I thought the rules I drew up based on other examples of tournaments were very clear, but the participants found many holes to poke in them and I had to make a lot up on the fly 🙂 Thankfully everybody was very good natured about it and I heard almost no complaints at all. Above all, be consistent with the rules. Don’t start making exceptions, and it’ll all work out.

IMG_1900I also learned a little bit about game selection. While we had it available for free play, we did not have an organized Smash Brothers tournament. But people were asking for one constantly. Two different groups of students even brought their own TVs and gamecubes to play it on. So next time, we will definitely schedule that in.

Here’s the full Flickr picture set. At this point we are thinking of doing it again in the spring, or maybe sooner. But the setup was killer – we had to borrow tables and chairs from a church in town, which they very generously offered to us. But hauling them in and out of the U-Haul and the second floor of our building almost killed us. Next time I’d like to do the physical setup a day or more in advance if at all possible. I had a student ask if we could do it again next week, and my muscles instantly started aching.

I’m really, really happy with how successful this event was. Thank you to all our staff who were so willing to help set up, pick up, and stay until midnight.

UAH Library LAN Party (update) – 8/30/07 from 5pm-midnight

I’ve forgotten to post an update about this until now – oops!

Our inaugural LAN party at the library is coming together very nicely for this thursday night! Note that the time has changed slightly.

On the PC side we’ll have an organized Counterstrike: Source tournament. On the Console side we’ll have organized Halo 2 and Guitar Hero 2 tournaments. Each of these will have a cash prize (the exact amount is still being worked out). Free play will also be available on these games, with some Wiis and other random games around to play too.

Plus, feel free to bring your DS or PSP! Signups for the tournaments will be on site that evening only. Full tournament rules will be made available in the next day or so on the official site:

We’ll also have representatives on hand from the US Army’s “America’s Army” game, which is developed right here in Huntsville. I’m told they’ll have free copies of the game and other swag to give away. A representative from their development team will be presenting about how gaming is useful in the real world, and Dr. Richard Petty will provide a counterpoint to that argument with his own presentation in one of our computer labs.

I’m really excited about this! Assuming it goes well, we’re going to seriously look at making it a regular event at the start of every semester.

And again, the official site has a full schedule and more information. There’s also a Facebook event page.

(and we will of course have free food!)

LibraryThing – catching up

I am way, way behind on this, but I’ve finally got my personal book collection up on LibraryThing:

I haven’t done much tagging of my books yet, but for now you can see which of them are autographed.

The biggest barrier that kept me from doing it for so long was the prospect of typing in the ISBN numbers off of so many books (and my collection is downright tiny compared to some). I solved this problem by buying a Cuecat USB barcode scanner directly from LibraryThing. With that in hand, the data entry took me well under half an hour.
The Cuecat itself has a somewhat interesting history, worth a read.

Next up I’ll probably put the Cuecat to use with All My Movies, but I’ll be looking for something similar that’s online first. One of the main points of listing all my movies is that I want to be able to send a list to people easily. Any suggestions? I’d also like something similar that can handle my individual comic book issues.

Librarians vs. Zombies – the eternal struggle

Horror author David Wellington built a name for himself by publishing his novels online, serialized one chapter at a time. He grew a massive fan following, and a number of his books are now printed traditionally as a result. His newest novel, Plague Zone, takes a more scientific approach (if there is such a thing) to a zombie story. I’m a bit behind on it, still catching up.

But the main reason I’m pointing it out is that Tim, the main character, is a librarian. A couple of flashback chapters even take place at ALA’s 2005 annual conference in Chicago (which I was at, so I get a kick out of it), and at one point Tim uses his super-librarian knowledge of how RFID systems work to escape from a military camp. I’m anxious to see if any more of his professional skills come in handy – maybe zombies could use a little reader’s advisory now and then?

According to Wikipedia, Wellington is currently working on a degree in library science. “Write what you know”, indeed.

Here’s chapter 1. Enjoy!