December 30, 2008
December 29, 2008
But did you know Ancestry.com has it's own blog? Started in September 2007, the blog features short articles about products and publications, database updates and webinars (online seminars).
For those of us who use Ancestry.com for family history research, the blog adds a layer of up-to-date information which may just help you find that elusive ancestor. Check it out here.
And remember, Ancestry.com is available from the Troy Library computers, free-of-charge.
December 28, 2008
Plus, the site gives you tools to analyze and interpret the data. You can compare one place to another, see where your place ranks against other areas in the United States, and view a map of the statistics overlaid on the place.
A great one-stop resource for demographic information about your community, your region or the nation.
December 24, 2008
“Global notebook shipments exceeded desktops on a quarterly basis for the first time ever…
Notebook PC shipments rose almost 40 percent in the third quarter of 2008 over the same period in 2007, hitting 38.6 million units, said iSuppli, a market research firm….
Desktop PC shipments… fell by 1.3 percent in the third quarter over the previous year to 38.5 million units...
But what about the book publishing business? Will book readers really forgo their paper texts for digital ones, viewable on Amazon’s Kindle, Sony’s Reader, or one of the dozens of other devices now available?
Well, increasingly, evidence shows that they will. According to a recent article in The New York Times:
“For a decade, consumers mostly ignored electronic book devices, which were often hard to use and offered few popular items to read. But this year, in part because of the popularity of Amazon.com’s wireless Kindle device, the e-book has started to take hold…
Many Kindle buyers appear to be outside the usual gadget-hound demographic. Almost as many women as men are buying it… and the device is most popular among 55- to 64-year-olds.
So far, publishers like HarperCollins, Random House and Simon & Schuster say that sales of e-books for any device — including simple laptop downloads — constitute less than 1 percent of total book sales. But there are signs of momentum. The publishers say sales of e-books have tripled or quadrupled in the last year.
Amazon’s Kindle version of “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle” by David Wroblewski, a best seller recommended by [Oprah] Winfrey’s book club, now represents 20 percent of total Amazon sales of the book, according to Brian Murray, chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide.
So you want to give electronic books a try? The Troy Public Library has e-books that you can download to your computer. Visit our website at www.libcoop.net/troy, and click on Downloadable eBooks, Audiobooks and Videos in the left side frame. From here, you’ll be able to access our OverDrive and netLibrary collections, each of which has hundreds of ebooks for you to download and view.
Let us know what you think.
December 23, 2008
Currently, 40% of respondents say they get most of their news from the Internet, up from 24% in September 2007. Thirty-five percent say they rely on newspapers for their news, while 70% rely on television.
For Americans under 30, the Internet now rivals television as a main source of news. Fifty-nine percent of young people say they get most of their news online; an identical percentage cites television. In September 2007, twice as many young people said they relied on television for news as the Internet (68% vs. 34%). This mirrors a trend seen earlier this year in campaign news consumption. (See Internet Now Major Source of Campaign News, October 31, 2008.)
According to the survey, 23% of the public says they get most of their news from CNN, while 17% says Fox News; smaller shares mention other cable and broadcast outlets.
The study says that half of blog readers found blogs useful when they were considering what purchases to make, and more than half of that group said they looked at a blog just when they were about to buy something.
[via The New York Times]
According to Geoff Boucher, writing in the Los Angeles Times:
Pop culture is finally hitting the eject button on the VHS tape, the once-ubiquitous home-video format that will finish this month as a creaky ghost of Christmas past.
After three decades of steady if unspectacular service, the spinning wheels of the home-entertainment stalwart are slowing to a halt at retail outlets. On a crisp Friday morning in October, the final truckload of VHS tapes rolled out of a Palm Harbor, Fla., warehouse run by Ryan J. Kugler, the last major supplier of the tapes.
"It's dead, this is it, this is the last Christmas, without a doubt," said Kugler, 34, a Burbank businessman. "I was the last one buying VHS and the last one selling it, and I'm done. Anything left in warehouse we'll just give away or throw away."
Read VHS Era is Winding Down.
December 21, 2008
Click here to read about 2008's top 10 tech toys, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
December 19, 2008
December 17, 2008
The hole has exposed millions of users to having their computers taken over by hackers.
According to The New York Times, Microsoft said it plans to ship a security update, rated ''critical,'' for the browser on December 17. Those with the Windows Update feature activated on their computers will get the patch automatically.
Microsoft said it has seen attacks targeting the flaw only in Internet Explorer 7, the most widely used version, but has cautioned that all other current editions of the browser are vulnerable.
December 16, 2008
There’s a critical security hole in Internet Explorer, the world’s most popular web browser.
The unpatched vulnerability, first discovered by hackers and recently acknowledged by Microsoft, could allow someone to gain access to a computer through a website that executes a malicious code. Some 10,000 sites have been compromised so far, putting passwords, financial data, and other sensitive information at risk.
In a lengthy security advisory memo on its website, Microsoft urges users to change their “Internet zone security setting” to “high” and to run the browser in “Protected Mode.”
According to the post, savvy surfers can protect their machines, "[b]ut the easier solution may just be to drop IE."
With alternate browsers Firefox and Google's Chrome gaining in popularity, Microsoft's dominance of the browser market may be at an end.
Grand Prize Winner ($10K):
Totally Integrated Digital Home!!! by Ryan Leetsma
5 Runners Up ($500 Gift Card):
The Power to Connect... The Power to Succeed by Eric Michael Hopper
Digital Living by Blake Krone
Wireless Media Paradise at Home and On the Road by Jason Olmstead
A Real Digital Crib by William Urbina
Sixty Seconds in Digital Heaven by Brett Slater
Grand Prize Winner ($10K):
My Multimedia Dilemma by Angpao Martin
5 Runners Up ($500 Gift Card):
My Digital HELL by Chris LaMartina
Cyber-Highway to Hell by Daniel DeLancey
Digital Cribs Hell by Alex Mooney
Cool Technologies by Joe Wood
David's Digital Hell for Design by David Eastwood
Congratulations to all the winners!
Courtesy of Yahoo Finance:
[The Wall Street] Journal said home delivery would be limited to Thursday, Friday and Sunday, with an "abbreviated" print edition available at newsstands on other days. Readers would also be directed to the papers' Web sites.
The changes likely would mean major job cuts, the Journal said.
The Free Press, owned by Gannett Co., had a daily circulation of 314,554 at the end of March; 618,324 on Sunday. The News, owned by MediaNews Group Inc., had daily circulation of 178,280. It does not publish a print edition on Sunday.
Bassett said the papers recognize the "tremendous importance of digital communication and finding ways to better deliver news and information to people in ways that are most convenient to them."
Reporter M.L. Elrick, vice chairman of the Free Press unit of the Detroit Newspaper Guild, said there's anxiety in the newsroom.
"Everyone here is afraid we're going to have staff cuts," he said. "I wish I had my sources call me as often as my colleagues have called the past couple days. No one knows where this is going to end up."
This news follows the growing trend started by the Christian Science Monitor, and more recently PC Magazine, of newspapers pushing towards digital. Unfortunately, this news from the Free Press and News, show the downsides of switching to a more digitally focused medium, as workers fear for losing their jobs.
Ultimately this decision, if made, will benefit the consumer by providing more up to the minute news, and easier delivery. Though it appears that the effect on the workers may be more negative, with job cuts and layoffs in their future. According to Freep.com, the Detroit newspapers will have a major announcement at 11 am. This post will be updated with the breaking news as it happens.
Who knows, we might all be holding Kindles in our hands sooner then we thought...
December 15, 2008
In essence, you are having an online conversation with dozens -- hundreds? -- of your friends simultaneously.
With Twitter, and other social networking sites providing breaking coverage of the events in Mumbai last month, even blogging seems like so last year.
SOCRRA – the municipal corporation that coordinates recycling in Berkley, Beverly Hills, Birmingham, Clawson, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Lathrup Village, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Royal Oak and Troy – now accepts CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, and cassettes for recycling at its Drop-Off Center, 995 Coolidge in Troy, between 14 and 15 Mile Roads. The Center is open Monday-Friday, 7:00 am - 6:00 pm, and on Saturday, 7:00 am - 2:00 pm.
December 14, 2008
A survey of internet leaders, activists and analysts shows they expect major tech advances as the phone becomes a primary device for online access, voice-recognition improves, artificial and virtual reality become more embedded in everyday life, and the architecture of the internet itself improves.
They disagree about whether this will lead to more social tolerance, more forgiving human relations, or better home lives.
Here are the key findings on the survey of experts by the Pew Internet & American Life Project that asked respondents to assess predictions about technology and its roles in the year 2020.
For a complete report (.pdf), The Future of the Internet III.
If so, you may soon be in luck. On December 15, British Petroleum will announce that it has reached a deal with two technology companies, Ruckus Wireless and HarborLink, to start equipping its 9,000 North American gas stations with wi-fi.
According to David Callisch, a spokesman for Ruckus Wireless, quoted in this article in The New York Times, the company is trying to create a “sticky” situation: “People go to the gas station and you can get them to stay longer,” he said. “Wi-Fi quickly becomes a money-making opportunity for [the stations].”
December 13, 2008
Of course at about $359 a pop, the Kindle remains a luxury for most. For interesting commentary make sure to read the posted comments under the article. Don't miss numbers 10, 11 and 16 for thoughtful additions.
December 11, 2008
Bowing to the rapid rise of news distributed digitally rather than on paper, the Pulitzer Prizes will begin immediately accepting submissions from online-only publications.
The Pulitzers, administered by Columbia University, are widely regarded as the most prestigious awards for American newspaper reporting and commentary. Beginning with the 2009 prizes, which cover work done in 2008 and which will be presented in April, Internet newspapers and other news organizations that publish online will be considered for all 14 of the journalism awards, from international reporting to criticism.
To connect, go to the Library's website and click on the Information on Demand -- All Day, Every Day link in the middle of the page. That will take you to our Databases and Electronic Resources list. Click on Magazines, Journals, and Newspapers, and finally, click on Access World News. You will then be asked for your Troy Library card number.
From there, you can click on the Troy Times link within the shortcut menu on the left side, or click through the map until you get to the listing of Michigan newspapers.
December 10, 2008
With so many lists covering so many categories, it is easy to miss several that you are interested in. Luckily, Rex Sorgatz compiles a list of "best of" lists for everything from architecture, music, movies, food, and more. Check it out at his blog here.
December 9, 2008
Here are a quick rundown of some of the pros and cons of Gmail's Tasks:
- Direct and clean integration with Gmail: This is the most important feature for me, as I already use Gmail, Google Calendar, Picasa Photos, and Google Reader on an everyday basis.
-Straightforward and simple design: One of my problems with RtM is the over complexity of the design. With Gmail's Tasks, everything is straightforward and simple to use.
- The ability to add emails to your Task list. This is another killer feature for me personally, as I often like to remember "To-do" certain things that are listed in an email.
- Many other features that are built in are pretty standard in most To-do managers such as due dates, notes on tasks, and the ability to view completed tasks.
- Finally, the ability to create individual lists is an excellent feature. This way, you could have lists such as "Work", "School" and a general "To-Do," if you liked.
- No Google Calendar integration. This one is a bit surprising, though I expect the integration to come soon.
- The lack of the ability to add tasks via phone. This one is probably the biggest con for me, as I frequently text RtM to add tasks on the go.
- Over-simplistic design, might be too simple for some.
- Lack of the ability to prioritize tasks.
While Remember the Milk has all of the features listed in the cons section, it lacks the ability to add email's as tasks, and also the tight single sign-in, Google account integration. These two major features are what are pushing me to use this as my new online to-do list.
Note: As mentioned earlier in the article, this feature is still in the Labs section in the Settings area of Gmail and must be enabled.
December 8, 2008
The idea of setting up networks to beam wireless Internet access across entire cities and towns has been touted for years as a spur to economic development. It also has been promoted as a way to help bridge the so-called digital divide -- the gap between those who have access to all the advantages of the Internet and other digital technology and those who don't, mainly because of lower income.
Progress on such networks has been halting, however, because of financial, technical and political hurdles. And over the past year or so, there have been a string of reversals. The companies that built and maintained some of the most prominent municipal Wi-Fi networks abandoned them, and other projects stalled or were scaled back.
At the same time, though, a handful of communities have applied lessons learned from the first round of failed projects and are developing Wi-Fi networks that are more realistic in their ambitions and business models.
[ via muniwireless.com]
More than half -- 53% -- of all American adults play video games of some kind, whether on a computer, on a gaming console, on a cell phone or other handheld device, on a portable gaming device, or online
Age is the biggest demographic factor in game play by adults. Younger adults are significantly more likely than any other game group to play games, and as age increases game play decreases. Independent of all other factors, younger adults are still more likely to play games.
Among older adults 65+ who play video games, nearly a third play games everyday, a significantly larger percentage than all younger players, of whom about 20% play everyday.
Age is also a factor in determining an individual's preferred game-playing device. Gaming consoles are the most popular for young adults: 75% of 18-29 year old gamers play on consoles, compared with 68% who use computers, the second most popular device for this age group.
Out of all the gaming devices, computers are the most popular among the total adult gaming population, with 73% of adult gamers using computers to play games, compared with 53% console users, 35% who using cell phones, and 25% using portable gaming devices.
Click here for the complete .pdf report, Adults and Video Games.
Some pretty dire predictions on the health of the newspaper industry.
One report by financial ratings firm Fitch put out a report predicting that "several cities could go without a daily print newspaper by 2010."
"Fitch believes more newspapers and newspaper groups will default, be shut down and be liquidated in 2009 and several cities could go without a daily print newspaper by 2010," the Chicago-based credit ratings firm said in a report on the outlook for U.S. media and entertainment."
So, if you're in a public library and your town is potentially dependent on the McPaper or a major national (If the NYT survives), what could you do? Can you use RSS feeds to assemble a local news source from smaller independents? Can you surf the local blogs and aggregate? Would your town miss local news in print? or have they already gone 'e'?
Seems like an opportunity. You might even be able to hire some of the folks being put on the street by the big conglomerates as they lay off folks.
Today's teens were introduced to technology as toddlers and rely on consumer electronic products like computers, cell phones and MP3 players that make their lives easier, according to new research released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). Teens say technology helps them keep in touch with friends and family, although three-quarters of teens said they do not spend less time with people because of technology.
"Teens are comfortable with technology and value the improvements technology makes in their lives," said Steve Koenig, CEA's director of industry analysis. "As this generation looks for all-in-one features and bigger and better products, they will fuel the growth of the consumer electronics industry."
CEA research shows the average teen expects to spend around $312 on consumer electronic (CE) devices in the next six months. Teens are well versed in a number of CE products and spend approximately four hours per school day devoted to technology related activities. Personal ownership of CE devices among teens is, as expected, low because they live at home where many electronics belong to parents. Exceptions include lower cost products such as headphones/earbuds, cell phones and MP3 players, of which teens claim sole ownership.
When asked how they spend their day, nearly half of teen's activities were driven by technology. Four of their five top activities were technology driven, with listening to music as the most popular activity among teens. Purchasing (58 percent), borrowing (56 percent) or receiving a CD (52 percent) as a gift are still the primary sources teens get music, with online stores (51 percent) being a secondary source. Purchasing music through online stores has increase 10 percent since 2006 and teens are accessing music through online sources like YouTube (47 percent). As teens increase their online time, there is expected growth in online consumption of music.
A quarter of teens expect to purchase a new cell phone within the next six months, making it teens' most popular consumer electronic product. When asked to choose only one technology to use for an entire day, teens chose cell phones most often. Not just used for talking, seventy percent of teens use their cell phones for texting. Teens also use their phones to access mobile entertainment, shoot videos, listen to music and watch videos. Over one-third of a teens' cell phone activities are spent accessing and creating content. Based on teen's current cell phone usage and interest in more advanced features, growth can be expected in teen ownership of smartphones.
Looking specifically at what CE products teens want, an upgraded cell phone (a smartphone) and an MP3 player were at the top on their list. Additionally, higher ticket consumer electronic products like computers/laptops, video gaming systems and digital cameras would make popular gifts for the holiday season.
December 7, 2008
Google has upped its commitment to bringing newspaper archives online, first announced in September, by buying 20 million historical pages from Paper of Record, covering the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and Europe. Good news for scholars, students, and "Day you were born" print-out gifts.
According to Bouglas Quenqua, writing in The New York Times:
Pythonline.com, a social network and digital playground, offers clips of old material that people can use to make mash-ups, perhaps inserting their own pet in the killer-rabbit scene from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail.” The home page has a blog format with news about the surviving Pythons; elsewhere there are chat boards and e-mail forums. Membership is free.
There is no shortage of suggestions to the incoming Obama administration about what to do about communications policy in the United States. The body of research from the Pew Internet Project, dating to 2000, indicates that online Americans might have one more suggestion: Make sure the Internet remains a place where users define what it means to be digitally connected.
The report concludes:
In a broadband and increasingly wireless Internet, it is not just about trying new things, but, for many users, also reworking and using them in new ways. Our research into Internet use suggests that maintaining such an online environment will give users the wherewithal to continue to innovate and surprise.
For an copy of the report: Obama’s Online Opportunities.
December 5, 2008
Go here to get your free Gmail stickers!
December 4, 2008
We've now added a link on our web site, which takes you to a list of the games and platforms we have. Go to our web site at www.libcoop.net/troy, and click on Video Game Collection in the center of the page. Or click here.
Suggestions for games? Email our Teen Services Librarian Judy Franklin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Maybe of more concern should be this ongoing study. Does anyone really believe this process does not effect the outcome of learning? What do you think? What do we gain? What do we lose?
December 3, 2008
I bought a copy of the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News, this area's two big daily newspapers.
I am a news junkie, and I have converted about 90% of my intake to electronic format. At work, I have aggressively promoted replacing as much print with electronic as possible. I have blogged about the changes in the news industry. Buying something in print was an extravagance not really necessary in this economy.
Nevertheless, I was seduced by the "tabloid-type" headlines and layout of the automobile industry bailout stories.
Have I read them? No. They sit in my bag, along with a bill to mail. Will I read them tonight after work? Perhaps.
Unless I read the articles first today on the Internet.
December 2, 2008
"If a new study by Nielsen is accurate, reports of the video star's death at the hands of the Internet have been greatly exaggerated. The ratings company tracked the time that Americans spend with the three main "screens" in their life — TV, Internet, and the mobile phone — and found that TV still rules. The study claims that Americans broke new records in TV watching during the 2007-2008 season: households averaged 8 hours and 18 minutes per day, or an average of 4 hours and 45 minutes per person per day. These figures are the highest on record, and they represent a quarterly increase in addition to a yearly increase.
Both regular and time-shifted TV viewing are on the rise, with time-shifted viewing posting a whopping 52.5 percent year-over-year increase from the third quarter of 2007 to the third quarter of 2008; regular viewing was up only 4.1 percent."
[via Stephen's Lighthouse]