Explorations with Information and Technology

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July 2019

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Language is a rich resource. Not only do we have the words we’ve inherited over time, but we can make new ones and use them differently. In professions, we have terms of art as well, creating even more nuanced ways of expressing ideas. It has been funny to me watching technology try to manage that nuance. I don’t, of course, mean Nuance, the voice recognition company recently acquired by Microsoft as part of its cloud
I’ll be talking to my staff soon about employee engagement and, in particular, a survey they contributed to at my place of work. While I’m pleased that they reported that they were, for the most part, highly engaged, I don’t take credit for that. What has struck me, though, as I prepare for this meeting, is how simple it can be to create engagement, how often we fail to do so, and how difficult it…
I used to play around a lot with productivity apps. After awhile, my world settled enough that either there weren’t a lot of new apps or I wasn’t as interested in chasing them. Maybe I reached peak productivity. The release of Windows 10 has brought me to Microsoft Sticky Notes. I … like them. But I can be a fickle consumer. I decided to try them out against Google’s Keep to see if either provided…
Dad. Boss. Colleague. We carry many labels. This post sprang from thinking about collective nouns for librarians. I’d seen another community addressed with one that I wasn’t sure was that apt. And it got me wondering: what is a collective noun for librarians? A shelf of librarians reflects a particular, physical approach to our work. What about a horizon of librarians? I quickly moved on to other things we are labeled or call ourselves and…
Over a decade ago, someone told me that print legal texts only had about 5 more years to go. Even by that time, the e-book had a place in the information world. It continues to escape law library funders and governance boards why we haven’t converted entirely to this format. One gets the sense sometimes that they view the failure to do so reflects backwards thinking on the part of law librarians. At the risk…
Passwords and password management are evergreen topics. It’s one of those things that, while everyone uses passwords, they arrive at password management in different ways and at different times. Password management can be confusing because there are so many different ways to do it. I’ve touched on password management before. How storing them in a web browser can lead to them being exposed if someone else accesses the browser. How I prefer offline password managers
I needed to find a government document. I had seen a link to the document on a site that was not controlled by the US government, so it was not the content I was looking for so much as an authoritative copy. It was unlikely that many other people were looking for it. After emailing a variety of government departments, I got a copy but the document was not publicly accessible anywhere. But it made…
I was invited to speak at the Northern California Association of Law Libraries’ Spring Institute. It was a bit of a stretch for me. I’m not accustomed to talking about myself and it was also my first virtual conference presentation. I’ve posted previously about what people should do and so I tried to follow my own advice/admonitions. This is a post mortem of what worked, what didn’t, and what things I need to figure…
We upgraded to broadband about 2 months ago. The difference makes me understand better the unaligned expectations of information providers. It was also a good opportunity to revisit how our home network is set up and leverage other opportunities that are available. I have always preferred DSL for internet. In theory, the direct line to your internet service provider should provide you with a constant bandwidth. Cable connections are shared among nearby consumers and so,…