About Jami Schwarzwalder

I'm a teen librarian with the Pierce County Library System in Tacoma, WA. I'm an avid gamer and web user.

Living in the Cloud

Lately I’ve had a few computer malfunctions in my life. The laptop I used for work was stolen, and the hard drive on my computer at home had a crash that even spin rite couldn’t fix. I lost some documents I was currently working on, but thankfully I’d been saving most of my important documents to a shared work drive. Since these debacles I’ve been making sure I save in multiple places and even invested in a service called Mozy to back up my files at home.

I wanted to share with you what tools I’ve been using to help offset another computer disaster:
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Privacy through Passwords

This week is  Choose  Privacy Week. To celebrate I wanted to write a post about passwords.

First, how many of you use the same password for every site you log into? Do you have the same user name as well?

I know often times we hear IT and other computer professionals tell us to never use the same password, but in reality we are often over worked, and have more important things to do with our brain cells than memorize a bunch of silly passwords (like memorize a bunch of book titles) Right?

I used to feel the same way until I read a blog post about how easy it is to guess one’s password.  Follow the link to see how easy your password is to hack, and then check back here for tips to make your password more secure. Continue reading

Sharing Computers Without a Footprint

Many libraries have one reference desk, where adult, teen, and youth services work together to provide service for the public. This is a great way to provide consistent access to an expert, but can be disorienting when you are forced to use default computer browsers.

One tool my colleagues and I have been using to fix this is portable USB drives.

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Iphone

Apple recently reached over 10K apps in the Iphone catalog. I’ve been reading about the iPhone and development of smart phones over the past year. Intrigued and also captivated by the ever increasing shiny.

While I have a smart phone, Its not an iPhone. I’ve really not seen many teens with an iPhone or iPod touch. Maybe I’m not looking hard enough though.

All this development for smart phones has me wondering how many libraries are truly prepared for this new trend. Many report that Android will give iPhone a run for its money. I’ve found a few libraries have dabbled in mobile website development, but not many.

My question is this: What services does you library offer via mobile phone? Do you allow people to text with a librarian, or IM using a service that works on peoples phones?

Is you website mobile friendly? Take w3C mobile OK test

Do you have a Apple App? (Recently I read about this site that creates an app for small businesses. Is this something suitable for libraries?)

Read report by Admob

Find out more about mobile usability

Digital Rights Management

This week I came across a comic about why DRM doesn’t work. It outlines the step involved in downloading an Audiobook from a public library. The author had to perform 17 steps before getting frustrated and opting to illegally download the book. This is similar to another image about pirating DVD’s.

Both of these bring up interesting things to think about, including how the public perceives us.

What can our libraries do to make DRM less painful for the public who uses our services, especially when we aren’t the ones who design the interface?

Something to think about during Teen Tech Week.

Images below the break

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Social Networks

I’ve been talking to my teens today and found that most of them are using MyYearbook.com to connect with peers because their parents found their MySpace and Facebook page.

I asked them what they thought about adults being on their social networks and they responded that the library would be cool to be friends with, but they do not want their parents or teachers on the network they use with their friends. Another popular network is Gaia.

What are your teens using?

Low Key Teen Tech Week

For Teen Tech Week this year I tried to do something more low key. Instead of having a big program I optioned to try and promote the different technology-related services the library offers by giving teens a list of questions to answer and tasks to complete. I tried to make them fun; the questions I used are below.

My goal was to promote library services, so I told my staff that they could hand out the questions to any patrons. I was given two $10 Borders gift certificates to give away as an incentive for the teens to complete 8 out of 10 tasks, and so far no teen has turned the sheet back in. Continue reading

Free Anime/TV Online & It’s Legal

FYI- Hulu.com now has a channel where anime fans can watch Naruto, Death Note, and Mushi-shi free, legally online.  If you see someone on the internet terminals watching these shows on YouTube or other websites you can share this legal way of watching the shows.

I’m a fan of Hulu.com. Linda Braun mentioned it previously when it was still in Beta. Over the past year Hulu has grown, as have the minds of many studio executives. Hulu has worked with studios to allow anyone to watch TV episodes and movies online for free. Some of the studios limit the license to the three most recent episodes, meaning older episodes are not always available, but over all, I’m fond of this service and what it means for the future of entertainment. Continue reading