Archive for May, 2010

No hoverboard yet.

May 29th, 2010

I’m not an extremist, nor do I think I am asking for too much. I know that a flying car would require quite a bit of zoning work for the Department of Transportation and, frankly, I think people are crazy enough driving on just the X and Y axis.

But where’s my hoverboard? Are we any closer?

While I wait I’ll have to be content with a robot moon station and the crazy balancing scooter chair.

(Check out the multidirectional moving. One large tire consisting of smaller tires. Simple, yet jaw-dropping.)

Google TV to be announced?

May 19th, 2010

Check out the itinerary for the Google I/O developer’s conference. On Thursday, from 1pm to 3:15pm, there’s a section labeled “to be announced” in the Android section.

Currently we have Google Books where you can browse sections of books, as well as full texts of public domain works. Would Google TV be using that sort of indexing mixed with YouTube technology to display TV? Imagine that on a portable phone running Android.

We’ll see tomorrow. Man, that developer’s conference would be awesome to attend.

Like Netflix, but for books

May 18th, 2010

Once Netflix set it up to stream videos to the Wii, I was sold. Even the DVD queue shows up very quickly. I don’t watch TV that much and I have to schedule which shows I watch. Even the ones I schedule now from broadcast TV are not as interesting as shows that I had wanted to watch years ago but didn’t have time. (A teacher asked me if I watched a show that’s currently on right now. I told her there was this great show called X-Files that I found. She looked at me like I’m crazy.)

As a librarian it’s funny that I’m looking for something like Netflix but for books. We loan out books all the time – for free! I wonder if public libraries could start mailing books to people’s homes. At the junior high where I work, everything’s within walking distance, so I have an advantage over the public library.

The big difference between DVDs and books is weight. Books cost a lot more to ship. Prepaid return envelopes would be more expensive.

Some college bookstores are attempting textbook rentals. A friend of mine at ASU says that he tried renting a book and came out even. He saved as much money as he would have made re-selling the textbook to the college bookstore. That’s not always the case, like if I tried to re-sell my complete works of Shakespeare textbook. (Although it’s pretty awesome, so why would I do that?)

One site that’s catching a lot of attention is for textbook rentals. They’ve got a great search interface and what seems like a decent selection of textbooks. That still doesn’t save you from the professor who published a book and requires you to buy that specific book. (Or worse, won’t accept the first edition because you have to buy the second edition where they added a paragraph.)

A site that looks like it is ripping off Netflix (check out their “No Late Fees” graphic…look familiar?) is I don’t know if I would try it because it does look like a scam site. If anyone has had a good experience with the site, let me know.

Bookswim has different pricing plans, but all would add up very quickly to being very expensive each year.

Bookmooch is like a mix between craigslist and Weight Watchers, if that isn’t an interesting enough mental picture. You turn in books and get points to spend (like your WW calorie points) to “mooch” other books. As with craigslist, the selection is only as good as what people contribute.

For textbooks, I could see myself renting one for class. For all other books, though, I think the library still beats all other options. Now if I could get a cheap eReader with a monthly subscription with unlimited selection…that would catch my attention.

Vote on Tuesday

May 17th, 2010

Don’t forget to vote on Tuesday. A lot of big decisions will be made.

Author visit with Ridley Pearson

May 10th, 2010

Last Wednesday we had a great author visit with Ridley Pearson. Both the Peter and the Starcatchers and the Kingdom Keepers series are very popular in our library.

Much like when Frank Beddor visited, I now hear Ridley Pearson’s voice when I read his work. I’m on Kingdom Keepers III right now and many of the real-life stories Ridley shared made it into the book. The characters visit the abandoned carousel room, find the maintenance journal for Soarin’, and ride on a crazed Test Track.

If you ever get a chance to host Ridley, take it. He’s a very interesting individual. Last year he taught English at a university in China and was a substitute teacher in St. Louis. Ridley is very successful – he doesn’t need the extra money. He loves working with students. Every chance he gets he teaches To Kill a Mockingbird, one of my favorite books to read and teach.

He’s in a band with Matt Groening, Amy Tan, Stephen King, Mitch Albom, and Dave Barry. Those have got to be some fun rehearsals. It was during one of those band sessions that Dave Barry and he decided to write Peter and the Starcatchers.

As if that wasn’t interesting enough, he has a pass to get into any Disney location for free at any time. He just calls up, says he needs to do some research, and an Imagineer hooks him up. Ridley showed some spooky photos from It’s a Small World at 5 am. If you’ve read the first Kingdom Keepers book, you know what that’s about.

Ridley was a good mix of fun insider stories about Disney and an experienced perspective on the writing process. He also loved what we’re doing at our school, so I pass the applause on to the teachers for fostering an enjoyment of reading in our students.

Sonoran Desert Resources

May 4th, 2010

Here are some great sites to use for information in Ms. Kulkarni’s Sonoran Desert Ecology Project:

For images, our district recommends a Bing search.