Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Monday @ Computers in Libraries

Monday at Computers in Libraries ~ Web Design & Development Track!

It’s always exciting to go to CIL as there is always something new to learn and this year was no exception. Sometimes being the lone tech person in the department it can be at times challenging to find out what’s new because I tend to be busy with “work”. But I always love new challenges and there is a lot of stuff out there that I’d love to get my hands into if I had an extra 20 hours in the week to “play” with the latest gadgets and gizmos.

The one session that I enjoy tremendously is the 40 Cool Tools for Library Webmasters. These are the items that I’m going to take a “serious” look at:
  • FancyZoom (It’s takes code and drops it on the picture for you to be able to Zoom in and out on the picture. Jill would love it but, shhhh, don’t tell her about it because she’ll want me to add it today and it may be a little more complicated than what it looks on her platform.)
  • UniForm (looks nice, but I usually hate generated code because you have to clean it up sometimes and I have enough trouble looking through my own code. So it’s a definite, I’ll look to see what it can do to know whether or not I like it.)
  • EasyPHP (I’m always looking to learn a new language and this may help me get motivated to learn it more. PHP and mySQL, I could build the next Content Management system using free code.)
  • Texter (a totally geeking thing to do, but when all you do is copy code all day, it would be nice to have something like this. I keep Notepad pinned to my “START” because I use it so much to clean up code, how geeky is that!)
  • ColorWizard (color coordinated web colors, how cool is that? It could also help me to pick out my outfits to know what colors go together. Cool even if you’re not a programmer!)
  • Personal Fonts (I think this is totally cool, although speaking as a programmer it’s not going to do much to add it to a website or anything, but I could definitely use it in Photoshop. My other thought that it was dangerous and could lead to forgery, etc., etc. Only a geek would think of something like this.)
  • More Pie (I don’t think it will measure up to Crystal Reports, but it’s definitely worth a look.)
  • Script.aculo.us (What’s not to love about it, it’s a fun “code” website, I’m sure there is lots of good stuff there.)

Another interesting concept that was presented had to do with Mobile apps. I have an iPod touch so the internet for me works like it does on my computer. But I realize that for users with regular mobile phones, not all websites will work well unless there is a “mobile” version of it. There’s a nice Open Source app that will make it easy to do, so it’s definitely something that I’ll need to do for my websites, but it will take some consensus about what needs to be there since less is more and sometimes it’s hard to get my “Librarian” friends to see that “less is more”. I still love them though, even if they love information! :-)

I have to say that all of the sessions were interesting but there was one in particular that I found myself asking the question, “why am I here?” Ugh, it was dreadfully boring, and I wasn’t the only one who felt it, there were actually people getting up and walking out. I felt bad for the commentator because evidently he didn’t know that he was that boring. It wasn’t that he didn’t have anything to say, it was just like a flashback of when you were in school listening to the professor go on and on and you just felt like, ugh, is it over yet? I won’t mention what the session was, but if you were there, you know what session I’m talking about!

Well, that’s my summary of my session at Computers in Library 2009! I was dreadfully sick that day; I hope that I didn’t pass along my “cooties” to anyone else while I was there. I tried to not sit too close to anyone and it helped that enrollment was down so there were quite a few empty seats around. When I finally got home later that evening, my temperature was 100.1, but despite the illness, it was definitely a learning experience!

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