30 April 2010

college students come to the library to . . .

remember family feud? no, students don't come to the library for that. i'm asking you! remember, family feud? contestants had to find the most popular answers to questions.

the host would say, "100 people surveyed, top 5 answers on the board. name a place you leave your keys. and there were buzzers and crazy answers and hilarity ensued.

number of people surveyed. top answer on the board. name the reason college students go to the library. according to brian mathews, librarian, college students come to the library to, wait for it, wait for it . . .

use the computers?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? SACREBLEU!!! say it ain't so. oops, sorry. please refrain from expressing that sentiment verbally, my good man.

as anyone who's anyone knows, you read the chronicle of higher education to find out what's happening in the world of academia. and in perusing said publication this morning, i found THIS!

which led to THIS!

ACK!! what is the world coming to when you can't depend on a library to be a . . . a . . .a . . . LIBRARY!!

and aye, there's the rub. for what is a library? i hear that question being asked AND answered and it includes more than just providing books (paper or electronic) or research assistance. did you know NCSU has a director of learning commons services? iiiiiit's true! (tip of the hat to paul harvey)

i went on a lackadaisical walkthrough of the upper floor of the academic library in which i spend some time and, occasionally avoid work. i found students engaged in the following:

eating - 1
sleeping - 2
chatting - 5
studying w/o laptop - 32
studying w/laptop - 38
using commons computers - 23

combining those students using computers - 61 vs. studying w/o computer - 32

i should have counted how many students w/o laptops had library books next to them. oh well. i never proclaimed to have mastered the scientific process.

what does all this mean? how the heck should i know? sorry, fellow traveler, i am only the conduit for information. i have no answers. only things for you to ponder and observe.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

20 April 2010

it's a bird, it's a plane, it's . . .

iPad to the rescue?? on the college campus? maybe yes, maybe no. comme ci comme ca.

if, dear reader, you have been a regular follower of my blog (and i KNOW you have), then you have read my previous posts regarding the amazon kindle and the colleges that engaged in pilot programs to integrate the e-reader into their libraries and curriculum.

well, basically, the amazon kindle got a grade of C- in this endeavor. but never let it be said that the walls of academia are staid and backward thinking. we forge ahead. to the 21st century and the iPad.

Reed College, one of the initial colleges to participate in the kindle project, is now doing the same thing with the iPad. no, it's true. cuz it's in the chronicle of higher education.

and it seems as though reed college isn't the only college gung-ho about this revolutionary device called the iPad: Seton Hill (not Seton Hall) is giving EVERY FULL-TIME student a brand, spanking new iPad!! woohoo! makes you wanna go back, doesn't it?

BUT . . .

leave it to the wall street journal to rain on steve jobs iParade. with a headline like IPad struggles at some colleges, what is one to think? exactly! connectivity and network issues came to my mind immediately too! [sigh]

the road through innovation is paved with hot coals.

happy reading . . . whatever the format!

11 April 2010

the ipad is . . . okay, amazing

my first, actual, real, live, impression of the apple ipad.

first of all, i would like to admit my bias up front. i like the amazon kindle. i like what it does and it does what i expect, seamlessly, effortlessly and, the best part, immediately. if i owned a kindle, i would have definitely bought a book this weekend, anxious to see the next book in a new series. $9.99 would have been burning a hole in jeff bezos' pocket\, i tell you.

i also think that comparing ipads to kindles is like comparing strawberries to bananas foster. sure there's a fruit involved, but isn't that really where the similarity ends?

having said that - the apple ipad is amazing. what's amazing about it is not so much what it does but how it does it. my friends and colleagues and i have come to the conclusion that the apple ipad is a manifestation of steve jobs' vision of computing. small, sleek, portable, ready, personalized. using an apple ipad changes how you interact with your computing machine. steve jobs wants to change HOW . . . YOU . . . LIVE. that's right. because we already live with computers. yes you do!

the first thing you notice about the ipad is its sleekness. nothing sticking out, no buttons, switches, nothing. almost like holding a thick piece of glass, and not even THAT thick. there is one "button" on the front, but it's dimpled inward. press the button and the magic begins. the screen automatically shifts between portrait and landscape depending on how you're holding it. 360 degrees. there is no up/down. right side up, upside down. it just is. the second thing you notice is the crisp visuality (is that a word?). everything is so . . . pretty. and colorful. it's almost like having a TV in your hand. but the biggest thing is the swiping. only if you work for merry maids will you do this much swiping in your lifetime . . . unless. unless swiping is the "wave" of the future. because that's what steve jobs thinks it should be. even though there is a touch keyboard on the ipad, steve jobs doesn't want you to use keyboard commands to access information. the keyboard is the most basic i've seen, including cell phone keyboards.

the beauty is in the apps. not being an apple product user, i've only heard rumors of these APPS 'they' speak of. you've heard the saying, "there's an app for that." well, i'm here to tell you . . . there is! some are free, some are reasonable and some are pricey, but they're there. they're there. i crack myself up.

so if this ipad thingie has thousands of apps for just about anything i can think of, why haven't they sold more? why isn't there a run at the pawnshop, or ebay or craigslist for PC liquidation sales?

well, one thing is cost. they are not cheap, and with the introduction of netbooks, some people may eschew pretty for function and savings.

secondly, the least expensive of the ipads is wi-fi only, vs the more expensive models which have 3G wireless built in (like the kindle -smile). that means that you would have to be at a hotspot to have internet access if you wanna be cheap.

tertiarially (is that a word? if not, it should be. i shall write oxford momentarily). it's not THAT lightweight. and it's not THAT small. granted, it's not laptop weighty, but weightier than an e-reader if that's what you're looking for.

having said all this . . . if someone were to gift me with an apple ipad, i would gladly accept it. if i had an extra 800 bucks lying around, i'm not so sure . . . yet. why?

take a gander at this and this.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

05 April 2010

reading on an iPad . . .

but not by me, unfortunately. but soon. hey, remember, don't hate the playa, hate the game. more to come, but, in the meantime . . .

here is a review about actually using the iPad for reading, courtesy of the bookcase, the blog over at bookpage.com.

and on a totally unrelated note, the winner of the 2009 diagram prize for the oddest book title is click here.

happy reading . . . no matter the format!

01 April 2010


here is a follow up to yesterday's review by walt mossberg of the wall street journal. never say i don't keep you on the cutting edge of technology, innovation, information, blah, blah, blah.