Tag Archives: #blogeverydayinjune

Local suppliers

27 Jun

Today was a wonderful day, and it is due partly to relaxing, and allowing myself to just go with the flow, and mostly to my wonderful friends.

Today I started the morning at the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds Farmers Market. It’s fantastic and offers farm fresh vegies, fruit, cheese, beef, lamb and veal and other wonderful goodies. (Chocolate/orange tart this morning for me, raspberry brioche for 1 friend, citrus tart for another, shiraz jam and icecream for another!)
My favourite is Jonesy’s Dairy which supplies me with fresh unhomogenised milk (where the cream is on the top and swirls throughout the milk).

So today’s blog post is a quick appreciation for my suburb, and the joys of the inner city.

Today I went to my local gym the Brunswick Baths. It’s run by the YMCA and boasts a fabulous outdoor heated 50 m swimming pool as well as gym and aerobic/pilates/yoga classes. I got involved in my local council meetings purely so I could fight to retain that pool, and it worked!

I then returned books to our local library – conveniently just across the road from the gym/pool, well stocked and offering fabulous Music in Moreland events live in library spaces, as well as other fabulous community engagement projects such as developing an online local history presence through WikiNorthia.

In the afternoon with friends I visited our local environmental park CERES. Apart from a well stocked cafe, musical events and playspace; they offer environmental learning opportunities for all ages, fantastic nursery with events such as learning how to grow fruit trees, and a Bike Shed where you can learn all sorts of bicycle mechanics.

Loving Melbourne today!

No thoughts today

25 Jun

It’s Friday and it’s been a long week so today you get a short post:
(11:30pm post a MTC play I am revived and full fo energy. Inbetween dancing around the room I shall update my post slightly for today)

5pm: 1 good thing today: I got some things finished today and I still get to leave early! Very exciting.

11:30pm 1 good thing: Fabulous MTC play tonight. My face hurts from laughing. All the things I look for in theatre; strong women characters, brilliant one liners, timing, fabulous lush sets, clever words, flirting. Lack of a plot line barely noticeable. Go see “Boston Marriage”.

1 bad thing: didn’t get to play with iPad today
I finally get a work iPad and it’s not for me. It’s to be used across our entire section. Still I had access to 1 so I was trying to be positive, and then laptop wouldn’t sync with iTunes store with wireless, and then once we fixed that (by which I mean the more patient @carolgauld fixed it) and had a happy time choosing apps, none of them would sync. NONE OF THEM!

1 thing I learnt: there is this great law called Hanlon’s Law that says “never describe as malice that which can be adequately ascribed to stupidity”. That has helped me when faced with many seemingly evil situations today!

5:30pm Today’s link: is to the desert menu at Le Camera restaurant in Southbank (Melbourne). Tonight I am eating the dark chocolate calzone and for a little while EVERYTHING in the world will be great http://www.lacamerasouthgate.com/content-andmine/content/Menus/1/Dessert%20Menu.pdf #betterthandrugs
11:30pm So the restaurant was a little full, service a little slow, and I didn’t have time for desert (amazing!) before the bell rang for show start. So here’s a link to the play I saw tonight which I think is truly spiffy fun; Georgette Heyer as it was more likely lived. Boston Marriage, as the review says the actresses performance are as tight as their corsetry. (Morals definitely looser : – ))

Developing screen presence

24 Jun

Dear Webverse,

I need help.
Hmmm. Perhaps that should be a little more specific.

I need some helpful advice (yes I know this will largely exclude anything you had to say first off @malbooth) on what wonderful technology is out there that allows people to tune into the sound from tv screens with their own headphones.

I know I could do a search on this, however I’m a digital era librarian and I figure I’ll call for help, then go investigate what you all tell me instead.

Today, like many others I was trying to work out how to watch Julia’s first appearance on Question Time (so exciting). I was directed by @katclancy to the abc website streaming tv and got to watch it live. During this performance I realised that some of our library borrowers might want to see this too.

We have new LCD screens in those branches that have been refurbished, and I went off to see how one goes about getting a site up there with short notice. I got some great help from our teaching spaces staff, however in the end the biggest problem turned out to be sound. For obvious reasons (ssssshhhhhh) we haven’t enabled sound on many lcd screens. Even if I was able to, the noise would mean it was hardly an “opt-in” experience, as should be preferable (for everything if any politicians are reading).

One of the staff discovered an alternative source for me, however it’s got me thinking about using this in the future.

so does anyone understand the technology that gives me audio to a screen through my own headphones?

They do it at my gym using radio signals I think. I’m looking for an easy to buy product really ….

Library … on trust

23 Jun

One of the things we are about to try is a library on trust!

Spine label on book

Our Engineering Faculty upgraded it’s student study facilities last year, and moved their branch library out to gain more student space. Library hub for them is close by and it was felt that students wouldn’t need books anymore in a subject where lots of the material has been purchased electronically.

Of course, textbooks are the last evil holdout on this, and the students were soon looking for textbooks close to hand, whilst working in these lovely new 24/7 swipe card access rooms and computer labs.

So the Faculty is trialling using some of their annual allocation to buy items and store them in a swipe card access room in the new area.

No exit gates, no borrowing, no security cameras, no watchful librarians. Library on trust ….

Both the Faculty and the Library are hoping for positive results.


Robot vacuum (the future is here)

22 Jun

I’ve been talking a lot about my robot vacuum cleaner during #blogeverydayinjune so I thought I should get a post up just for it.

According to Wikipedia:
“The Roomba is an autonomous robotic vacuum cleaner made and sold by iRobot. Under normal operating conditions, it is able to navigate a living space and its obstacles while vacuuming the floor. The Roomba was introduced in 2002; as of January 2008, over 2.5 million units have been sold. Several updates and new models have since been released that allow the Roomba to better negotiate obstacles and optimize cleaning”.

I haven’t named mine yet, however I love it as much as a pet, and think it’s one of the best things I ever bought.

Unfortunately I can’t upload you a movie of it vacuuming cause I am too scummy to pay for my blog site to have videos.  However there’s a video on the Wikipedia link and you can imagine it running over your floor. It has a range of sounds for starting, getting flat and “uh-oh I think this is too bumpy”. It’s fantastic.

FAQ:

  • Noise?
    It’s no noisier than your current vacuum
  • How much dirt can something that small hold?
    Yes it only has a small area to store collected dirt so you have to empty it more frequently. However you don’t mind (as you haven’t been doing any vacuuming). It can still do 2 rooms pretty thoroughly.
  • How is it powered?
    It has a small recharging station and it senses where that is and directs itself back there when getting flat (I kid you not!!!)
  • Does it vacuum in straight lines?
    No – apparently that’s bad for the carpet. It scans the room then goes off on angles. If you leave it for long enough it will do the whole floor. However if you just want to target a section eg just knocked over something in one spot, there is a button that does a circle of a specific area only. There is also a remote control so you can drive it … but I haven’t used that yet. It can vacuum along sidewalls and corners too. Does a cute little sideways dancing movement (yes I have personalised it!)
  • Does it knock things over when it gets near them?
    Not with me. It has sensors in it and will slow down as it approaches any blockage. It still nudges them, but will turn around if they don’t move. [I have watched it move a pari of slippers across the room].
  • Can it cope with stairs, shoes, other detritus?
    It senses steps and stops on the edge, makes a considering noise (I am serious) then turns around and comes back. Copes with large objects like shoes and big clothes piles by going around them, but will suck up individual items such as socks and get caught, and then stop.
    So it can be left unsupervised. There’s also a scheduler tool you can buy to set it on a calendar.
  • How does it cope with pets?
    There is a standard model like mine, and a sturdier model that can tackle pert hair (advanced brushes apparently). Most animals & small children, don’t seem to like it though. No so much the noise but the sheer unnerving way it moves without pattern I think.
  • Can I test one?
    If you live in Melbourne you can borrow mine. I borrowed a friend’s to ‘test drive’ before I bought mine. Mine has already visited 5 other houses.
    If you live somewhere else … not that I know of.
  • Where do I buy them?
    The brand is iRobot, the name is Roomba, and you can order online. Reccommended purchaser from my friends to me in Australia was Peters of Kensington. They delivered quickly and provided warranty. Of course you may find alternatives … I’m just not endorsing them.

And if anyone buys any of their other products let me know! There’s apparently also Scooba (floor washer), Dirt Dog (garage sweeper), Verro (pool cleaner) nad Looj (gutter cleaner).

I haven’t thought of a library use for it yet, but there must be a way to put a book holder on the top and train it to fetch and carry [and clean when no one needs it].

RFID and Smart Shelves!

19 Jun

I’m really interested in how libraries are using RFID. If you know a library that has it, or indeed your library uses it, could you let me know?

For those of you without, RFID stands for Radio Frequency IDentification. Tags that have this enabled allow transmission of stored details through radio frequency waves, and hence are proposed to replace the barcode in libraries. It has been used for inventory and stock control in warehouses for some time, and could be used for similar tasks in libraries.

For a full explanation of how RFID works see Wikipedia especially the history of their entry into the library world.

In the circulation world I see the biggest benefits as removing repetitive manual handling tasks, for both borrower and for library staff:

  • RFID enabled Self Service  machines allow borrowers to set down on the reader up to 8 books and they are checked out in a pile. No more explaining how to align the spine and barcode, no more asking borrowers to checkout each book separately!
  • blogged earlier about how we are using RFID media tags, along with a ARS (Automated Returns System), to remove the manual handling we had with our dvds. They are high use items, and have to be opened each time they are returned to make sure they have the correct dvd in them. Now RFID tags store information about matching case and dvd as a set, and the automated returns system checks them on return. Removing manual checking for staff!
  • A related use is jukeboxes, with automated checkin and checkout for books/media. I blogged about these earlier.
  • Another use is for inventory or stocktake. Instead of checking each item visually, RFID tagging of books on shelf can allow you to walk alongside the shelf, with a “wand” or RFID reader scanning the shelves, and recording stored data.We trialled this several years ago for our largest branch in the reserve/short loans area. There was a large problem with items being put back on shelf out of order, or highly prized items being ‘hidden’ in another call number area. The idea was to reduce the manual handling component of constant shelf ordering. At the time it was a little disappointing. The scanner did not cope well with distinguishing tags on thin spine books, being more likely to pick out thicker books close by.
    Although there have been improvements, this problem known as “collision” is still worth checking before you buy any products. Libraries are encouraged to place tags in books in different places, so that there is less chance of 1 tag being in direct line with another. Also the wand had to be scanned across each shelf quite slowly, so it had it’s own manual handling problems. However others may have better experiences to tell now.
  • A feature advertised now by vendors is the idea of loading lists of required material into the “wand” and then scanning shelves. So if you loaded a list of all your missing books, you could then scan sorting shelves etc to see if you could locate the material. Again this sounds wonderful, however in practice in a large library with many shelves, would require a lot of scanning of each shelf separately with the wand – manual handling again.
  • So on my Circulation Christmas list is the wonderful new product Smart Shelves. Basically shelves are RFID reader enabled so that each shelf registers the RFID tagged items placed upon it. Link this to your LMS and you can tell borrowers exactly what shelf, floor etc the item they are looking for is stored on. So if it is on a sorting shelf, or mis-shelved, the item is still not lost.
    Taken to it’s logical conclusion some areas that do not require fine graded sorting for browsing could even reduce staff time spent on reshelving items. eg returned items could just be returned to the 621.381 shelves in no particular order,  as borrowers could check the catalogue on mobile phones and go directly to the correct shelf.
  • A related innovation adds GPS to the mix, and offers the ability to map the path to a book for a borrower through their mobile phone, or another hand held device.

Academic libraries have been slow to move towards RFID, as costs would be high to retag every item in large collections, and originally the choice had to be made between RFID or barcodes. Now many vendors offer hybrid machines. Our current Automated Returns System has separate scanners – 1 for barcodes and 1 for RFID tags. However there cannot be hybrid exit gates, so there is one area a library looking to run a staged progression into RFID, would have to expend twice the funds on.

There are also common concerns about the security of RFID tags in the academic library world. See Alan Butters 2008 article for full analysis.

  • Physically it is felt that as RFID technology is discussed on the Internet, students would learn how to deactivate them easily. I have heard that covering the tag with aluminium foil will block its signal, although I haven’t tested it! The tags themselves are very visible; a large white square with raised bumps, due to the radio antenna contained. So again there is discussion that these tags could be easily removed by borrowers trying to steal an item. Clever vendors have produced tags where the sticker is labelled on front with the library emblem, or some other distracting icon – however they are still visible if someone is searching. Another idea is to place the tag between 2 pages, and glue them closed. This is still a far cry from the hidden “tattletape” running on electro magnetic detection currently on every item in academic collections.
  • Security concerns are also raised in terms of privacy. RFID readers are available for public purchase, and some feel that they could be used to show what someone has borrowed. As some libraries propose RFID borrower cards as well, this could reveal borrowers personal details in the same way. Apparently it is also possible for individual borrowers to buy a blocker, so it could become an opt in choice!

Finally – standards for RFID are evolving. Before purchasing anything it would be good to check what standards your proposed purchase is compliant with, and whether at this stage it would knock out other equipment you wish to add in, in the future. Alan Butters is Australia’s expert on this so you can search his name on the Internet, or read his VALA 2010 paper.

Two about me … another meme

18 Jun

Two names you go by:
1) Ruth
2) restructuregirl
You can try Ruthless … like the 7 million before you but I will not respond.

Two things you are wearing right now:
1) Purple hoodie
2) Sleeping bag
Must get my heating fixed

Two things you would want (or have) in a relationship:
1) Separate houses
2) Fantastic sex
(Yes I’m single for a reason)

Two things you like to do:
1) Talk
2) Ride my bike (no hills though please)

Two things you want very badly at the moment:
1) New challenges
2) Magic sugar that actually makes you lose weight

Two things you did last night:
1) Procrastinated for an hour on the Internet
2) Visited my 3rd/4th cousin twice removed ? new born relative in the NICU unit – a 10.5 pound baby in the same room as 3 premies. She looks even bigger than she sounds in that company : – )

Two things you ate today:
1) Chocolate (weakened and it tasted SO good)
2) Homemade wholemeal bread with butter and vegemite for brekkie!

Two people you last talked to:
1) My friend from bookgroup
2)My sister, down visiting her city hotel (my spare room)

Two things you’re doing tomorrow:
1) Pottery class in the morning
2) Picking up a copy of my bookgroup book cause I only have a week left to read it

Two Favorite Holidays
1) Gorillas in the wild, Rwanda
2) Lonely Planet self directed tour, Athens

Two favourite beverages
1) OJ (when I was 5 I turned yellow I drank so much but it hasn’t put me off it)
2) Vodka cocktails

Two things about me! Things you may not have known.
1) In primary school my parents were called into school because my teacher was worried about my social skills, as I barely spoke to other children during breaks, just sat in a corner of the playground reading books.
2) I was in a Rowing Club for 3 years. (More as Social Dictator than rower, but I did learn)

Two jobs I have had in my life:
1) Coles Layby chick
2) Strawberry picker (very brief)

Two movies I would watch over and over:
1) The Great Race
2) The Big Chill

Two places I have lived:
1) Ballarat, Victoria [country, very cold]
2) Melbourne, Victoria [city, fantastic, wonderful]

Two of my favourite foods:
1) Bread
2) Lime icecream

Two places I’d rather be right now:
1) Athens in the sun with the fresh orange juice
2) Any British pub