Use Pictures to Plan Travel

PixMeAway Pictures Take 2

There is a new site out there that’s fun for people like me who like to travel and love pictures! PixMeAway lets you pick a series of pictures that interest you to determine where you should travel to next. I decided to play a bit with the tool to see where I should go. First I chose these pictures:

But then it told me that a percentage of me was interested in adventure and that is very much not the case so I chose again and decided on these pictures:

This was a bit more accurate, but not exactly how I’d describe me so I went with it and choose my preferences on the next screen:

And then the result! Apparently the first place I should visit next is Tel Aviv:

Where did PixMeAway say you should go?

Hacking and a rant on texting

Drawing of a key by John LeMasney via

I just finished reading an article by Mat Honan on how his digital life was hacked and totally destroyed due to one hacker who just wanted to get his hands on Mat’s 3 letter Twitter handle. This is a must read! More and more of our lives are in the cloud and more and more of our content accessible via other accounts (Google linked to Twitter linked to Amazon linked to iCloud …) making it easy to get in to all of them with info for just one.

Drawing of a key by John LeMasney via

One of the things that Mat recommends is to turn on two factor security in Google (and so do others). So I went right to that because I am an Android phone user and have an Android tablet and Google is my life. Here’s where it gets tricky though! In order to do this I have give them my cell phone number so they can text me, well I don’t pay for a texting plan because why bother when I have data and Google Voice. Why waste my money each month on a texting plan that I don’t need to send texts? So, now where am I? Forced to pay per text so I can set up this two factor security? Of course I’m going to do it, but I’m just annoyed at the number of services out there that assume that you have a texting plan and don’t accept VOIP texting services (like Google’s own). I also get automated messages sometimes from new sites I sign up with or new services (like my new salon) I make appointments with – what is up with that? There was a time that no one would send a text without first asking if it was going to cost you to receive it?

Anyway, the real point of this post was to point you to this very important article on how hackers can get in to your accounts so you can protect yourself … the rant was just to make me feel better :)

If you’re using the extra authentication in Google I’d love to hear if you think it’s worth it and if it’s easy enough to use and if it sends more than one text message so I can budget for using it ;)

What should I be reading?

I’m sure (if anyone is still reading this site) that you’ve noticed that I haven’t been writing recently. I had a rough patch there for a couple years with my health and surgeries and writing a book and traveling all over the world … but things are finally settled and I’m ready to get back in to the swing of things!

My hip replacement in September was the best thing I could have done! I’m without pain and able to act my age finally! After that I was promoted at work which has allowed me to cut down on travel. And finally, a couple weeks ago I sent the final edited version of the galley for The Accidental Systems Librarian 2d to Information Today.

So, now I must admit that I am a bit out of touch and need help from you all to know what blogs I should be subscribed to. What should I be reading on the web to keep up with current technology and technology issues in libraries? Share your favorites with me in the comments. I have cleared out my Google Reader and am ready to start repopulating it.

Nicole’s Back

That’s right folks, I am home and recovering! After one night in the hospital I was able to walk up and down the hospital hallway (with a walker) and that was all I needed to be able to get in the car and come home. Today my home care specialists will come by and evaluate my situation and help me get around a bit more. Thank you all for the kind words shared across various networks. I will keep you posted as I move along in my recovery.

Nicole’s Surgery: Recovery

After her recovery period, Nicole was groggy and drifted in and out of sleep.  She was soon moved to her room, where she did much the same thing for a while.

Eventually the physical therapist came to teach her to walk again.  Nicole met this with a lot of resistance, as she was in a considerable amount of pain while on her feet.  However, sometime later I came back after checking on the dogs, and found that she had been walking up and down the corridor outside her room (walker assisted), and was no longer in excruciating pain.  Tomorrow she gets to come home!

Nicole’s Surgery: Success!

The doctor just came out and told us that Nicole’s surgery was a success, and went according to plan.  There was some minor issue with the anesthesia, and she had had an allergic reaction to the antibiotics they had her on initially, but all that got worked out, and now she’s through surgery and in recovery.

Her mom and I are now waiting (about 45 minutes) for her to leave recovery and go to her room, so we can go and see her post-0p.  The doctor plans on prescribing some fairly light pain meds, which is encouraging.  But for now, all’s well, and Nicole is now the proud owner of a brand new bionic hip.

Nicole’s Surgery: It Starts

Nicole mentioned a while back, I think, that I (Brian, her husband) would be posting on her behalf during her surgery and recovery, to keep you up-to-date on what was going on.

Right now, I’m sitting in the waiting room at the Rothman Institute, while she is prepped for surgery.  Once her IVs are started and the anesthesia has begun, I and her mother will be brought back to see her, one at a time.  It’s early right now, six in the morning; we were up at 3:30.  Very soon she’ll be under the knife.

The surgery, itself, will take about two hours, but I don’t imagine that we’ll be able to see her for closer to three.  Her mother and I will be staying with her for the bulk of the day, with infrequent forays back home to take care of the dogs and make sure they’re not freaking out about being left home all day.  She’ll be staying overnight tonight, and will be released tomorrow (or, that’s the plan, at least).

There’s some dispute regarding recovery time; the doctor has told us 7-10 days, then she’ll be walking on her own, and that she won’t need narcotics.  The physician’s assistant, on the other hand, has quoted us 10-14 days on a walker, and on narcotics.  We aren’t sure who to believe at this point; the doctor has more medical knowledge, but the assistant probably has more practical experience with recovering patients.  We’ll see I guess.

That’s all for now; I’ll update again when she’s out of surgery.

Writing More

Hello loyal friends and readers! I know that I have been absent for a very long time and I’d like to explain and give you some good news.

For the last few years I have been writing books almost non-stop. The first was Library Mashups in 2009, followed by Practical Open Source for Libraries in 2010 and just recently I have finished writing (but not sent to the printer yet) the second edition of The Accidental Systems Librarian. This process has taken all of the words out of my little head and put them to paper … leaving me little desire to write even more here. Throw in to the mix the fact that over the last few years I’ve been struggling as my right hip slowly died and you have one very tired, un-creative person.

All that is over though! The books are done and I plan on taking a break from writing for print (you hear me Rachel?), I have cut back on my contract training a bit and just this week I scheduled surgery for a total right hip replacement. While the hip is still dying and I’m still in quite a bit of pain, the knowledge that it will all be over soon lifts a huge weight off of my shoulders and leaves me with the desire to write and share again.

In addition to sharing my usually technology tips, in September (starting September 12th) I will have my husband here making some guest posts to keep you all posted as I go through and recover from surgery. I have been given some very good news about the whole process and I should be on my feet (and my new bionic hip) the day of surgery and out of the hospital within 24 hours! While I’ll still have physical therapy to look forward after that, I will not be in pain and that’s the whole point of all of this.

So, thank you for sticking with me and here’s to many more years of learning technology together!

Learn Open Source in a Day Long Camp

In March I’m doing a day long camp for NyLink on open source software in libraries. If you’re in the area make sure you sign up because space is limited.

The library community is abuzz about open source software. Open source usually refers to an application whose source code is made available for use or modification as users see fit. Make sense? Probably not! Would it help if you knew that open source is not just about programming, but about following a philosophy?

Still confused? Not surprising. What will open source mean to our libraries? More flexibility and freedom than software purchased with license restrictions. This is an important path for libraries to consider. Why open source? Because both the open source community and the library world live by the same rules and principles.

In this one-day camp, Nicole Engard will give you the facts and dispel myths about open source. After an intro to open source, attendees will share their stories and experiences. Nicole will be on hand to answer questions; show possible tools and how libraries are using them; and to facilitate the day. Bring your laptops to experiment and try out new technologies!


  • Define open source and be able to answer basic questions the nature of open source and its uses

  • List open source applications for the library, home and office
  • Compare open source applications to traditional proprietary options
  • Discuss examples & experiences from other libraries

Available Classes

  • A 1 day(s) Conference at Nylink 3rd fl. Training Facility Rm. on: 03/08 (9:00 AM-4:00 PM ET)

I hope to see some of you there!!