Featured Presentation

Features Presentations

I just got an email from SlideShare telling me that my presentation from yesterday is being featured!!

The talk was presented at the InfoLink Tech is It Day at Rutgers University yesterday. The group I had was awesome because we got to spend a few minutes at the end all talking together about what we thought the next edition of the web would look like. In short – we think that there will be tools that will make it so that we don’t have to reenter the same information on several sites (Facebook, Friendfeed, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc etc).

Publish your blog on the Kindle

I found this on TechCrunch yesterday:

One of the neat little sub-features of Amazon’s Kindle is being able to subscribe to blogs on it. You have to pay for the privilege, but for heavy Kindle users, it makes sense as you can get the content delivered to you wirelessly for your favorite blogs. You know, like TechCrunch.

But the biggest limiting factor of this so far is that only the big blogs have been included in the blog directory. Starting today, anyone can make their blogs available via the new Kindle Publishing for Blogs Beta program.

I don’t know who’d pay to read my blog on their Kindle (where it doesn’t look as nice as it does in their RSS feed reader or on the page itself), but it’s an option.

The future of the web

Today I gave a talk at the InfoLink Tech is IT day in New Brunswick, NJ. I was supposed to summarize what we saw with the Web 2.0 movement and where we were headed. I started by saying that I could only guess and point the attendees to some interesting ideas of what the future holds.

Now I’m home and catching up on blog reading and I see this: Understanding the New Web Era: Web 3.0, Linked Data, Semantic Web. If you were in my talk today you want to read through this post and learn some more about the future of the web.

Espresso Book Machine

A lot of librarians have been posting a link to this article on the Espresso Book Machine launch in London.

It’s not elegant and it’s not sexy – it looks like a large photocopier – but the Espresso Book Machine is being billed as the biggest change for the literary world since Gutenberg invented the printing press more than 500 years ago and made the mass production of books possible. Launching today at Blackwell’s Charing Cross Road branch in London, the machine prints and binds books on demand in five minutes, while customers wait.

This is a great invention that we’ll probably see in book stores all over soon enough. Basically if a book is out of print you can still get a print version using the Espresso Book Machine! What I’d love to see (and probably never will- cause of copyright) is a book scanner at my local library or bookstore that I can use to make digital copies of books – in particular to make a digital copy of the genealogy book that my in-laws have loaned me with the history of their family!!

Saving your digital life

Jason Griffey had a great post last month that I read (but didn’t have time to share with you all) about saving your digital life online. Like most of us, my entire life is on this one machine and should anything happen to it I’d be crippled. When Circuit City was going out of business I bought an external hard drive so that I can automatically back up periodically. Another option that is available to us all is backing our computers up online using one of many services. Jason wrote about how he uses multiple services to store is digital life:

So how do I handle all of this? With one piece of hardware, a few pieces of software, and broadband. The piece of hardware is an expandable, redundant external hard drive called a Drobo , and the software I use is Dropbox and either Mozy or Carbonite.

I’ve heard of some of these services and but not all of them so I’m glad that Jason pointed them out to us all. Check out the entire post and make sure you’re backing up your digital life!!

NFAIS 2009: Engaging the Global Digital Native: Transforming Technologies

The second panel of the day was titled Engaging the Global Digital Native: Transforming Technologies.

Daniel Albohn of Sony was up first and titled his talk Trends and Developments in e-Reading and Digital Content : The advent of electronic paper displays.

He started by talking to us about the technologies behind e-book readers (Sony Reader and the Amazon Kindle). Their first device was launched in 2004 in Japan, but the US consumers were genuinely interested in the product. He showed us the history of these devices and where they’re going with. On a sad note (personally) color probably isn’t coming to e-ink until 2010 – and even then it will be pastels – not deep colors like we’re used to in our textbooks.

The current user-base are public transit users and the techies/gadget lovers. It is now becoming a tool for publishing professionals because of the ‘green effect.’ That’s what I would think would be the biggest draw – I would love to use a digital reader instead of printing out PDFs. I was always told that I couldn’t read PDFs on the Sony Reader – but Daniel told me that PDFs are readable on the Reader. The problem is that when PDFs get heavy on charts and graphics – they don’t render that well, but text heavy PDFs work great.

I guess I have to go back to restart my research and see if I want the Kindle or the Reader for my journal reading :) (it may come down to which has software that works on a Mac).

Salim Roukos with IBM Research Worldwide was next with his talk entitled Real-Time Translation Services.

In 2006 English was the top language used online, but this past summer, Chinese surpassed that, making Chinese the most used language online. Content online is going to become more and more diverse, making it harder to research if you don’t understand multiple languages.

Salim talked to us about three types of translations:

  • Text-to-Text
  • Speech-to-Text
  • Speech-To-Speech

For Text-To-Text, he showed us n.Fluent Translation which has a 90% translation accuracy. He showed us the translation from Arabic to English on the BBC’s website and it was pretty darn good. People can then make corrections and ‘teach’ the machine how to translate properly. He also showed us a Multi-lingual chat they have at IBM. Each user chats in their own language, but it appears for the other person in their language. I tried to find a live demo of this – but wasn’t able to (and had limited Internet access) – so if you know of a way to test this awesome tool, just let me know and I’ll put a link in.

For Speech-To-Text he showed us Tales which is a service that takes news from several channels worldwide and puts the close-captioning immediately – and it’s even better than the close-captioning I’ve seen on US news show.

He then showed us and example of Speech-To-Speech, which was a device they are using in Iraq to let soldiers talk to the locals. The example he gave us was from the device used during the Olympics in China – I have no idea how accurate it was (cause I don’t speak Chinese) but it was pretty darn cool to watch it in action.

Zsolt Silberer from Wolters Kluwer ended this panel with his talk Transforming Technologies – A publishers perspective.

Zsolt started by reminding us that we’re in the midst of unprecedented change and he feels (unlike other’s I’ve heard in the audience here) that it’s a great time to be a publisher because the power of the content curator is valuable online.

He talked about his 4-year-old and how she’s used to instant gratification, seeing the picture on the digital camera right after it’s taken. She also wants to be able to do multiple things at once. While that seems intimidating, Zsolt says that it’s just evolution and we shouldn’t be scared of it.

One way to go with the flow (my words) is to start to understand your customers better. Students aren’t reading textbooks much anymore, they’re learning off of PowerPoint slides put up by their professors and teachers, they’re learning with games and they’re learning by taking notes in class. What can we do to appeal to these students with the new ways they’re learning?

Another example is the prevalence of mobile devices. Doctors have their mobile devices with them while at the patient’s bedside, so it would be best if they can research on those devices. Right now they can search on several sites using mobile devices, but in the end it leads them to a PDF and now they’re stuck … Publishers have to make their content available where ever customers and users want it -and they have to open up your systems to enable experimentation and remixing by developers.

In short, we’re getting there, but we’re not there yet, and it’s time to really focus on getting our content out there onto these devices.

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Tiny Inkless Printer


Oh neat!! This little printer costs less than most wireless printers and fits in your purse.

The Dell Wasabi PZ310™ ultra-mobile ZINK™ printer enables wireless, ink-free on-the-go photo printing and sharing. The Wasabi creates 2″x3″ wallet-size, full-color ZINK™ prints in under a minute. Compatible with Bluetooth-enabled* camera phones, digital cameras and mobile PCs, the Wasabi makes the perfect travel companion for capturing and sharing moments, anytime, anywhere.

Learn more about ZINK™ (Zero Ink) technologies.

We’re in danger of losing our memories

My title is taken from the title of this post over at the Guardian.

As most of you know my new obsession has been creating my family tree. I keep a social tree on Geni.com so that the whole family can work together and a research tree on Ancestry.com so I can find records and more generations. I have also sent out pleas to my family to send me their old scrapbooks and photo albums so I can digitize everything I find and share it back with the whole family. Too much of our history gets lost when our ancestors pass away – I’m trying very hard to preserve that for future generations on our tree.

Lynn, chief executive of the British Library, writes:

Too many of us suffer from a condition that is going to leave our grandchildren bereft. I call it personal digital disorder. Think of those thousands of digital photographs that lie hidden on our computers. Few store them, so those who come after us will not be able to look at them. It’s tragic.

So, will all the work I’ve done and will be doing work to keep our family history in the hands of our future generations? Where would you put your information and artifacts? I have been looking at Kete and thinking of ways to use it for my own personal collection of family history – but what happens when I’m no longer around? Who would maintain it? Maybe that’s why services like this are geared toward libraries – because we all think that libraries will be around forever to preserve our history.

So this is my call for libraries to make sure they have backups and backups and backups – preserve our history so that we don’t lose all of the great research that has been done by and about our ancestors.

Crop and Straighten in Photoshop

Photoshop Crop Tool

Okay, I give up – maybe someone out there can help me. I’m using Mac OSX and Photoshop CS2. One of the features I love with Photoshop is the ‘Crop and Straighten’ automation. This tool is supposed to grab each individual picture on one image file, crop it out and then straighten it. From there I should be able to save or edit each individual image.

I used it all of the time on Windows – but for some reason I can’t get it to work on my Mac (or on my husband’s Windows machine …). I have tried everything (I can think of). In my spare time (ha ha) I have been scanning family pictures for our family tree and I’m having to crop each image one by one. I’d love any tips on how to automate this with Photoshop or Gimp or another tool – I’m not picky – just lazy :)

Nominate Your Web Favs

It’s time for the Open Web Awards – nominate your favorites (one nomination per category per email).

Open Web Awards is the only multilingual international online voting competition that covers major innovations in web technology. Through an online nominating and voting process, the Open Web Awards recognizes and honors the top achievements in 26 categories. This year, we’re partnering with over 100 blog partners, Poll Daddy for extra security and ease of voting and extending the nominations period and voting rounds for greater participation.