Archive for the 'wireless' Category

OPLIN 4Cast #129: Virtual Servers, Xoopit, Twitter Tools, WiFi Security

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

1. Server virtualization allows you to use a single set of hardware to drive multiple virtual servers. These virtual servers appear to the outside world as normal, stand alone machines, but all share the same resource pool allowing you to utilize server hardware to its full potential. While virtualization can be a savior for those short on space and servers, it can come at the cost of overall complexity. Here are some links to free software to get you started:

2. Xoopit for Gmail is a Firefox plugin that lets you browse your files, photos, videos, e-mail, etc. all in one spot.

3. Twitter tools

4. WiFi security – the basics

OPLIN 4Cast #101: Ban Second Life? Backscatter, Spam is 30, Xobni

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

1. Virtual worlds in the hot seat
As reported in the 4Cast last week, there are 100+ youth-oriented virtual worlds in existence. With that kind of availability comes vulnerability. One Congressman wants to stop children from accessing these sites in schools and libraries. Below are the links to Congressman Kirk’s (IL) statements and the recent congressional hearings on virtual communities.

2. Now there’s a term for it – “backscattered”.
You open your in-box and you see LOTS of bounced or “return to sender” type messages, so you open one to see what could have possibly come back to you. The thing is, you didn’t send out any pharmaceutical ads, or lottery announcements, or Louis Vuitton ads, or other such spam. Unfortunately, people will use random valid e-mail addresses (sometimes even a librarian’s!) to send out their spam and when their messages reach invalid addresses, it gets bounced to you.

3. Happy birthday, spam!
Spammers love it, users hate it, poetry is written with it, and it’s 30 years old.

4. Xobni
From our Twitter feed…Xobni, or spelled backward, Inbox, is a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook 2003/2007 running on Windows XP/Vista. Basically, it indexes all of your e-mail messages in a more user-friendly way. What’s really cool about it? Xobni Analytics. You can view some really interesting statistics on your e-mail usage, such as what time of day you receive the most mail and who contacts you the most often.

4cast #82: SAFE Act, Broadband, Search Trends, Beyond Google

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. Good Guys, Bad Guys & Wi-Fi

When the U.S. House of Representatives passed the SAFE Act last week, it sent a shudder through coffee shops, hotels, libraries, and anyone else offering open Wi-Fi access to the Internet. While the new bill doesn’t appear to require that these entities actively police their wireless users for illegal online activities, it does up the pressure for them to report any such known or suspected activity.

2. It Sure is Slow Out in the Sticks

According to a recent Pew Internet study, 50% of all Americans now have broadband Internet access at home, but this number still lags far behind in rural areas. As the link between broadband penetration and economic health becomes more apparent, the FCC is coming under increasing fire for their inability to address the problem.

3. The Year in Guilty Pleasures

Google, Yahoo, and Ask have all released their 2007 reports outlining the top search trends, with interesting variations between the three engines. Social networking was huge across the board, and of course… troubled celebrities are always on our minds.

4. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Googling For

Google got your (or your patron’s) goat? There are always more – and in some cases, better – search options out there.

4cast #81: Spectrum Auction, Kindle, Reading, Gaming

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. Sold! To the Giant Corporation with Deep Pockets, in the Back.

In January, the FCC will auction off the 700-MHz broadcast spectrum (see 4cast #66, item 2), with observers predicting an upwards of $30 billion pricetag. At stake is the future course of American wireless network services (including broadband), and the competition should be fierce, with Google, AT&T, and Verizon all poised to bid.

2. Kindle Me This…

Several weeks after its release, people can’t stop writing about the Kindle (see 4cast #80) – particularly, whether it’s going to have any impact on the future of reading, publishing, and/or libraries.

3. See Jack Watch TV (Not Read)

Of course, no device – eBook or otherwise – is going to help the book industry if Americans are really reading less and less, as a new National Endowment of the Arts study (To Read or Not To Read PDF) claims.

4. This Game is Most Definitely ON

So if teens and kids are less interested in books, should libraries start expanding their videogame collections?

OPLIN 4cast #70

Tuesday, September 4th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. Wi-Fi Going Bye-Bye

Not so long ago, cities across the U.S. were chomping at the megabits to provide high-speed, wireless Internet access to every last corner of town. But with the recent demise of several high-profile projects, the odds of municipal Wi-Fi thriving anywhere in the country are suddenly looking slim.

2.“Time is the New Currency”

There’s been another spate of talk about BookSwim, which offers a Netflix-like model for book delivery (see 4cast #40, item 4). Several library blogs have noted that although BookSwim membership is obviously more expensive than a library card, it’s the convenience factor (and lack of fines) that readers may ultimately care about more.

3. Hey, No Fair Use!

Many of the biggest technology companies are teaming together to fight many of the biggest entertainment companies over the increasingly misleading, threatening, and possibly illegal copyright notices attached to practically every sporting event, DVD, and TV broadcast. An official complaint has been filed, calling for an investigation by the Federal Trade Commission.

4. Google on the Go

Summertime usually means more people are outside surfing the waves, not inside surfing the web. But Google is reporting that this year, their mobile services were like, way more popular than expected.

OPLIN 4cast #66

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. You’ve Been Listening to Books Again, Haven’t You?

The New York Times recently ran an article about audiobooks, and how some bibliophiles think listening to the audio version of a book is not as good as actually reading it. Even so, interest in audiobooks is seemingly on the rise.

2. Open, Meet Limited

Last week’s 4cast (item 2) mentioned that the FCC was about to set rules for next year’s auction of the 700-MHz broadcast spectrum. Google had been pushing hard for a nationwide, completely open wireless network, but the FCC’s decision was seen by many analysts as only a limited endorsement of Google’s proposal.

3. Massive Conspiracy to Freely Distribute Copywritten Material Uncovered!

Every now and again, a reporter wanders into a public library for the very first time.

4. How’s Your Spam?

Spam, viruses, phishing, malware, and botnets? Still thriving.

OPLIN 4cast #65

Tuesday, July 31st, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. ‘Net Neutrality Remains in Neutral (For Now)

The debate over net neutrality continues. While proponents believe that a neutral, non-tiered Internet allows the public to shape and control what happens online, telecommunications companies argue that increasing bandwidth demands justify their wanting to prioritize the traffic they deliver. On their side, the entertainment industry sees greater control by ISPs as a way to fight copyright infringement. It’s unclear how the government really feels about it.

2. Google & Telcos Fighting for Air

The fight over what will become of the 700-MHz broadcast spectrum (see 4cast #60, item 4) is intensifying. Google would like to see it turned into a national wireless network that allows anyone to use any mobile device to access it (probably because they’ll be selling one). But the major telcos don’t want to lose control over how their wireless devices are used. The FCC is due to set some ground rules today.

3. We’re the Government & We’re Here to Parent You

The U.S. Senate held hearings last week about children’s online safety, and while some commenters have jumped all over their bipartisan call for universal Internet filtering, others suggest that it was only one part of a more nuanced discussion about information literacy.

4. The Kids Are All Wired

Meanwhile, all evidence suggests that when it comes to the Internet and technology in general, the kids are many, many bytes ahead of the grown-ups.

OPLIN 4cast #60

Tuesday, June 19th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. The Return of Gorman

Former ALA President Michael Gorman has courted controversy in the past for his openly conservative stances on the library profession and what some regard as his out-of-touch, anti-technology viewpoints. Last week, he stirred the pot again when he wrote a series of posts on the Brittanica Blog called “Web 2.0: The Sleep of Reason” and “The Siren Song of the Internet.”

2. Creating Traffic Detours

Various libraries are using popular online resources like Wikipedia, Facebook, and Twitter to draw attention to special collections on their own websites, thereby increasing exposure, search rankings, and most importantly, overall usage. For examples of one modest approach, look for OPLIN’s links on the following Wikipedia pages: Ohio, Ohio Lands, and Identification of trees of the United States.

3. Misc. (Etc.)

David Weinberger’s new book, Everything Is Miscellaneous, is making a big impact in Libraryland and across the web, and the author has been following up its release with a slew of enlightening (and entertaining) interviews and presentations.

4. Something Wireless This Way Comes?

By February 2009, American analog television broadcasts will be a thing of the past, replaced entirely by digital technology. At that point, broadcasters will be forced to relinquish the 700 MHz broadcast spectrum, which UHF TV currently occupies. The U.S. Senate recently held a hearing to explore how the FCC should reassign this spectrum; some parties want it to become a new pipeline for broadband wireless Internet.

OPLIN 4cast #55

Tuesday, May 15th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. The Landline is Dead; Long Live the Cellphone

More and more people, especially the younger set, are ditching their telephone landlines and relying exclusively on cellphones. Big business is in hot pursuit of this audience, particularly when it comes to cellphone-delivered Web services.

2. It’s a Smaller World, After All

While cellphones become more ubiquitous and feature-laden, the computer industry is also making laptop computers smaller and more portable, by replacing traditional, fragile hard drives with durable flash memory (already widely used in USB memory sticks).

3. Meanwhile, Out Yonder

Wireless broadband access is all well and good if you live in an urban area, but what are your options if the “last mile” is actually a hundred miles? Satellite, television, and power companies may each eventually play a role.

4. To Ubuntu or Not to Ubuntu?

If your library is looking to save some bucks on PC operating systems, you might be interested in installing Ubuntu, the free, Linux-based operating system that’s poised for more widespread adoption. Jessamyn West ( recently tried it out at her rural library in Vermont.

OPLIN 4cast #51

Tuesday, April 17th, 2007

This week’s 4cast:

1. Computers In Libraries (In Your Computer)

The 2007 Computers in Libraries Conference is underway in Arlington, Virginia. Maybe you couldn’t attend the conference, but you can always follow the action via the many attendee blogs.

2. LibraryThing Has a New Thing for Libraries

LibraryThing, the social network that allows book lovers to create and share their own virtual catalogs, has introduced a new service aimed directly at libraries, which enables them to enhance their existing OPACs with LibraryThing “data and functionality” (read more on the Thingology Blog).

3. Municipalities: Why Not WiFi?

Cities and towns across the country continue to jump on the municipal wireless network bandwagon. But what impact would municipal WiFi have on the public library (if any)? Recent back-and-forth letters to the The Toledo Blade (regarding a proposed WiFi network there) illustrate one facet of the argument.

4. Let’s Just Start Over With This Internet Thing

Frustrated with the over-commercialization and fundamental lack of security of the current Internet, some university researchers are wondering whether a new Internet should be built from the ground up.