Monthly Archives

March 2012

But what shall we call it?

io9 invites us to “bask in the metallic magnificence” of this VW Beetle turned dinosaur sculpture.  But, to combine another article from the same site, can we call it that?  While doing just what was suggested and planning a quick post over here, I encountered a story about New York City schools’ planned ban on certain words for standardized tests.  These are words that might make some students feel “uncomfortable.”  Like “dinosaur.”

This all leaves me feeling distinctly…something.  Not sure if “uncomfortable” is quite the word for it.  Perhaps “flabbergasted” more aptly covers the emotion?

Visualizing Impact

My team is a big fan of infographics, and who can blame us?  They make just about any topic more understandable and also serve as great expression of graphic design chops. Plus, they are just fun to look at. So we thought it might not be a terrible idea to turn one of our staid, numbers-heavy event wrap up reports into an infographic of our very own. The recent Spring 2012 Forum at Berks seemed like the prime candidate and – with the help of both Lauren and Carla – I turned this around in a little over a day of planning and tinkering in Illustrator and Photoshop:


I think there’s the potential for this to expand to cover even more Media Commons events as well as our semester reports and wrap ups.

This really happened

Sometimes it’s good to be reminded that people are awesome.  Tonight the job is done Jarno Smeets, a inventor/engineer who has just created working bird wings for himself.

Where’s Leonardo da Vinci when you need him?

…or maybe it didn’t happen, in which case people suck.  Either/or.

Update: This guy is a douche.

New MC Location at Altoona

With the help of Penn State Altoona’s CIO, Joanne Peca and Library Director, Bonnie Imler – as well as the wonderful Instructional Technology staff, Media Commons has become a part of the new Information Commons.

Located on the lower level of the Library, the Information Commons is a collaborative workspace for students to study, research and more.  With reconfigurable furniture, its own information desk and an open floorplan, the Information Commons is a popular destination for those looking to do serious work.

In the Fall semester, I met with Joanne and Bonnie to discuss the Knowledge Commons project at UP and the successes Media Commons has had at other campuses with Library partnerships.  All were in agreement that separating the studio and editing spaces was the best bet for increasing usage of both as well as ensuring ready access to the editing computers (which had previously been behind a locked door and are now available when the Library is open to anyone who stops by).   A former microforms room was identified as a great candidate space and the changeover happened before the start of Spring semester.


I have to say, I’m extremely pleased with the results and excited to see how the Media Commons can continue to grow at Altoona’s Ivyside location – and beyond!

Missing the Point?

I know, I know:  some people love the feel of a real, printed book in their hands and prefer the act of reading words on a printed page.  I completely understand that they are out there.  Many of my good friends (and family members) are librarians!

But this just seems like a massive waste of resources.  This being the Espresso Book Machine, that is.  Basically, it’s the exact opposite of the future that I had hoped for when the iPad (not the new one or the former new one, but the original) was announced.  That future being a world where only the most masterful, artistic books would make it to print.  The books that celebrate the art of bookmaking or truly take advantage of the affordances of paper.  Books as only a vehicle for knowledge delivery would be absorbed into the digital publishing realm and many a forest would rejoice!

Instead, this machine seems poised to make very physical digitally stored versions of books for potentially single-purpose use and on demand at that.  Perhaps it’s cheaper than a fleet of iPads or other e-readers, but it sure does seem silly, doesn’t it?

At a Loss for Words

A lot has been said about SXSW, calling it both one of the coolest gatherings of creative folks and one of the most loathsome.  As I’ve never attended, I really have no idea what to say about the conference.  Similarly, I have no idea what to make of the Homeless Hotspots that you’ve surely seen trending around the web.  Launched as an idea to turn homeless Austin residents into “MiFi managers” who can charge conference attendees for access to the wireless internet they carry on their persons, the entire program has drawn a bit of breathless befuddlement, anger and (far less so) support from the internet at large.

Wired has the (“damning” – so we know where they fall) backstory if you’d like to know something/more about what this is all about.

Plastering homeless people with t-shirts that essentially turn their names into the completely forgettable monikers of your neighbors’ WiFi base stations?  Really dehumanizing.  Giving homeless people and conference attendees reason to interact when they’d otherwise ignore one another?  Admirable.  Leaving the MiFi managers to their own devices after this effort has ended?  Smacks of stunt.  Way to keep this going?  Possibly…maybe.

The QWERTY effect

“We know how a word is spoken can affect its meaning. So can how it’s typed,” said cognitive scientist Kyle Jasmin of the University of College London, co-author of a study about the so-called “QWERTY effect” in Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. “As we filter language, hundreds or thousands of words, through our fingers, we seem to be connecting the meanings of the words with the physical way they’re typed on the keyboard.”

That’s…unexpected.  I find myself visualizing the left side of the keyboard far more positively than the right, though (and I’m right handed).  I wonder what kind of inverted brain that points to?  Regardless, the subtle influences of our everyday things never ceases to amaze me!


And here we are

Two years and some months later, I find myself in a very similar position to one I’ve been in before:  the Mass Effect 3 collector’s edition is installing its first DLC while a new iPad (the third iteration, if that’s even possible) is on the horizon.  Amazing how technology – and time – progresses when you aren’t looking.


This find from the web today combines two of my loves:  cars and storytelling.  This find being Subaru’s sponsored “First Car Story” web app.  You can use the site to create a custom-animated telling of something that happened to you in your first set of wheels.  The goal is clearly to make your next ride Subaru’s new Impreza (not a bad car, just not really one I’m interested in) and the creativity certainly will win this arm of Fuji Heavy Industries a few points in quite a few shoppers’ books.