Tools from the edUi 2012 Conference

edui logoLast week I went to the edUi conference in Richmond, and I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s certainly the best conference I’ve ever been to for work.

In their words, edUi is “A conference for web professionals serving colleges, universities, libraries, museums, and beyond”. I think that’s the main reason I liked it – it brought in perspectives from outside libraries, but ones that are still relevant to our mission. Like any conference some sessions were better than others, but I came away feeling inspired and anxious to get to work. I highly recommend it for anybody who does any kind of web development in higher ed.

Here’s a list of some of the tools I learned about:

PaLA Northwest Chapter presentation.

Tomorrow morning I’ll be presenting a workshop for the fine folks at the Northwest Chapter of the Pennsylvania Library Association. Aside from being a good excuse to get back and visit my old stomping grounds, I’m quite excited about my presentation and the afternoon hands-on session.

Here’s the handout of links I mentioned in the talk, and the slides themselves:

(As usual, my slides may not be entirely useful without my narration. But here they are anyway!)

Interesting things I’ve read this week – 9/19/12

William Gibson on Punk Rock, Internet Memes, and ‘Gangnam Style’ (Wired)
Part 3 of an interview with the always fascinating Gibson ends with a tiny bit about ebooks.

How To See The Future (
Warren Ellis is one of the weirdest & smartest future-thinkers I’ve ever found. This recent speech from him made me think about our present and the future in whole new ways.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg: We Burned Two Years Betting On Mobile Web Vs. Apps (Forbes)
I’ve always hoped that the mobile web would win out over apps. But it’s looking more and more like I might have been wrong.

The forgotten Kindle

I don’t think there’s any consumer product line I’m more conflicted about than the Kindle. As a consumer, my Kindle Touch makes me very happy. At the same time, the Kindle Fire I’ve used made me very sad. (And as a librarian, well that’s another story entirely.)

But one thing’s for sure, the whole family of devices continues to be a big hit. Today’s announcement of the expansion of the Fire line to three different devices will no doubt have a major effect on the tablet market. And I’m certainly lusting after the new ‘paperwhite’ Kindle.

But what about the Kindle DX? The current version of this largest Kindle (with an 9.7″ e-ink screen) was released over two years ago, and hasn’t seen a major software upgrade since that time. Despite being seemingly tailor-made for reading PDF journal articles comfortably on an e-ink screen, the DX is missing the advanced PDF highlighting and navigation functions that were added to all the smaller Kindles long ago. The price hasn’t changed since July 2010 either – it’s still $379. (For the record, $379 could buy you five regular Kindles with money left over for books now.)

At this point I have to wonder what plans Amazon has for the DX. Sometimes I picture a warehouse somewhere packed full of the devices after an accidental massive over-order long ago. But even if that were true, why hasn’t the price dropped at all?

Amazon sometimes has mysterious motives, but with the DX it seems to be playing an unusually long and confusing game.

What happens to your iTunes library when you die?

This turned out to be a hoax, but yesterday Bruce Willis was supposedly going to sue Apple for the right to leave his iTunes music to family in his will.

Again, it was a hoax. But the story still highlights some very important questions. It’s all very grey: the lack of DRM on most music purchases means I can in practice give my mp3s to someone else, but the license I agreed to when I purchased those files still says I can’t. That was the first red flag to me that this might be a haox – why would someone sue over this when it would make no practical difference?

It would make more sense to go after Amazon for similar rights for ebooks (they’ve still got DRM preventing an easy transfer) or iTunes for movies.

(This also highlights just how weird internet rumors can be.)

Quickly share screenshots with Snipping Tool++

I’m going to try posting more frequently with shorter items. So here’s a good start: Snipping tool ++ is my new favorite bit of free software. Windows 7’s built-in snipping tool is great, but I often need to quickly share a screenshot with someone else online. ST++ auto-uploads it and puts the link in my clipboard all ready to paste into a chat. Ta-da!

Here’s a screenshot I uploaded while composing this post. It’s a no-doubt fascinating view of my taskbar, and took just one keypress and one mouse click to create:

My taskbar

You can get the tool here:

(Found via Lifehacker)