Archive for April, 2008

Passion Quilt Meme: Perspective, Perspective, Perspective

Michael Stephens tagged me for the “Passion Quilt” Meme. (Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.)

Original Image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/wwworks/2222523486/

I found it difficult to narrow this down… (I guess that’s the fun of the meme). In the end I cheated and chose two quotes that, taken together, get the heart of what I’m passionate about; taking responsibility for our perceptions, thoughts, feelings and actions. We look out at the world through our eyes and think that we are seeing reality with a capital “R”. Uh-uh. Nope.

Everything outside of us is just data, and there’s a whole lot of it. Our perceptions are therefore highly selective. First we choose which data to focus on. Then we process that data through filters such as our past experiences, our preconceptions, our expectations, our wishes, our fears, our needs, our desires, etc., etc. Then we generate a thought/judgment/evaluation about the filtered, selective data. Then we may have an emotion or feeling in response to the thought about the filtered, selective data. Then maybe we move into action.

This all usually happens with very little awareness, and it is empowering to bring these processes to a more conscious level. In fact, choosing what to look at and how to look at it can be not only empowering but transformational. Limitations start to seem less solid. As we make more choices, it becomes harder to operate out of a consciousness of victimhood and we see new paths and new options opening up before us.

Becoming aware of our own filters also creates space for us to be present with conflicting viewpoints and disagreements. If I can acknowledge that I do not see things as they are, but as they appear to me after being filtered through my own unique perspective (colored by factors including: cultural, religious, political, gender and age to name a few) I become less vigilant about protecting my version of reality. I may not understand why others see things differently, but I can accept that my perceptions are not necessarily THE TRUTH.

Simple things that we usually take for granted as “true” can reveal themselves to be simple convention. You may have noticed that the picture of the Earth (above) is upside down. We all know that the North Pole is the top and the South Pole is the bottom, right? That’s reality. But that’s no more true than saying Bermuda is the top and Perth Australia is the bottom. It’s a matter of perspective. So it is my passionate wish that we learn see more deeply, more broadly and

But hey, enough of my yakkin’. Let’s hear from some others. I tag the bloggers of CEBuzz:

April 29, 2008 at 12:30 pm 7 comments

Nordstrom Quality Customer Service

Old news, but I never posted it to LG. And hey, good customer service ideas are timeless!
—————————————————————————————

Good for the “New Seasons” Grocery store, which is taking a page out of the Nordstrom Employee manual, “Use your good judgment in all situations.” The New York Times Reported:

[New Seasons] employees are given “get out of jail free” cards with the instructions to do anything a customer wants. Mr. Rohter said one young clerk opened 81 jars of mustard for a customer to taste. Then he went to his supervisor, handed the card to him and explained what happened.

Printed on the back of the card:

Dear Supervisor: The holder of this card was, in their best judgment, doing whatever was necessary to make a happy customer. If you think they may have gone overboard, please take the following steps:

  1. Thank them for giving great customer service.
  2. Listen to the story about the events.
  3. Offer feedback on how they might do it differently next time.
  4. Thank them for giving great customer service.”

“We never reprimand someone for helping a customer”, Mr. Rohter said

From NYTIMES, January 4, 2006: In Oregon, Thinking Local

April 24, 2008 at 10:28 am 1 comment

At least its not the roof . . .

I came home from Minneapolis with the thought that I was going to “reorg” my life. I have way too much going on and not enough time or energy to do it all. So I decided that I needed to start thinking about the things that were really important to me and what I really wanted to focus on.

In my effort to do this, I am posting my progress here to keep me honest. I’ve been back from Minneapolis for a little over 2 weeks and I haven’t gotten far. But I have started making lists of all the things I am currently involved in and what those obligations represent in time/ effort/ energy. The next step is to decide which of those I want to continue, which I can gracefully bow out of or fulfill my current obligation and those that I want to stop immediately if not sooner! And this isn’t just about work. It is about valuing my time. And learning to say no, which I traditionally have a hard time doing, especially if its something that I could be interested in or think I SHOULD be interested in.

What I realize is that this is about me being the most productive and useful in a handful of activities, committees, etc and not over-extending myself. As I start training for 3 sprint triathlons this summer, I don’t need obligations weighing me down!

Help keep me on track! If you have suggestions or want to follow the progress, I think I might try to revive my personal blog to keep track of the reorg as it goes.

(I actually started this post last night when I couldn’t sleep and I was trying to type it on my iphone. At 3:30 in the morning, when it was not working I thought that I couldn’t be more frustrated!! I realized, though, that at least what was keeping me up was this plan I had for reorganizing my life and not the roof at the library!)

April 16, 2008 at 2:49 pm 5 comments

Friday Fun … the best band name for librarians

If you were in a band with a bunch of other librarians, what would you call it? Would you refer to your profession in the title?

Personally, if I were to be in a rock band with fellow librarians, I would go with:

The Dewey Decibel System

If it were an alternative band, I think it would favor:

Mending Potter’s Spine

So, let’s have a little fun this Friday; what are some great band names you can come up for the profession?

April 11, 2008 at 11:14 am 44 comments

Bamboo: Great tool for a great price

Check it out! Look what I can draw on my computer!
Well, yeah… I know it’s not Mona Lisa but, hey, it was my first try. It deserves some credit, right?
Bamboo is marketed as the affordable and ‘fun’ drawing tablet for the recreational artist. At $79, they were right on the money with affordable. As for fun, I am having trouble putting the pen down.
The learning curve for using Bamboo is pretty low. If you know how to hold a pen, and have a semi-steady hand, there really isn’t much else to learn.
Installation is a piece of cake as well, essentially a plug ‘n’ play device. The pen can double as a mouse and the tablet can be used in leiu of the primary mouse. Every button is customizable, which makes it very convenient to the user. As you can probably guess, I have the second button on the pen set to Control-Z in order to quickly erase those all-too-common slips of the hand.
The box also comes with Adobe Photoshop and Corel Ink. Both are solid quality image softwares that should appease most users.
If you are looking to provide a little ‘something more’ for your patrons’ computer resources, Bamboo might just be an ideal purchase. As for programs, it is a great addition for any graphic novel club, Photoshop instruction, and even handy if you wanted to create a digital signature.
You might want to come up with some check-out or anti-theft attachment for the pen and mouse though, both could easily walk.
That said, I know exactly what new tech toy I am going to be pushing at my library.

April 8, 2008 at 3:39 pm 1 comment

You can never guess what will offend someone

While in Minneapolis for PLA I had an opportunity to visit the Minneapolis Public Library and I picked up one of their t-shirts. The back of the one that I bought reads: “If a public library is doing its job, it has something in it that offends every single person.”
What are the first things you think about when you think about “offending” someone in the library? Popular controversies are things like Harry Potter, comics and graphic novels in libraries, unfiltered internet access, etc. The usual intellectual freedom issues.
Each year we have a Dr. Seuss story time at the beginning of March, in conjunction with Read Across America and Dr. Seuss’s birthday. This year we had 2 elephant shaped pinatas, to go with our “Horton Hears A Who” theme. The kids had a great, if sometimes difficult, time getting into the darn things!
However, I recently heard from a board member that a parent who attended with their child mentioned that they were disturbed by the pinatas. Because we were
“teaching children that its ok to hit animals with sticks.”
Who knew that of all things in my library what would offend someone would be pinata?!?! Of course, I have the usual fears that I really did misstep with this one. I’m not a parent and I don’t think I would be offended by something like this. I talked to number of other parents who attended and they told me they were not offended, nor would have even thought about being offended. But I recognize that not everyone has the same outlook!
Its a great reminder that it isn’t always the most obvious thing that will offend your library users or the public you serve . . . it really can what you thought was the most innocuous thing. It could be a pinata!

April 6, 2008 at 11:46 am 6 comments

Friday Find

This post could also be called “Reason #132 that I heart SlideShare”.

I went to SlideShare this morning to upload the slides from my recent presentation at PLA 2008 in Minneapolis and got sidetracked by the featured “Slideshow of the Day” — and also by the response that someone has made. I often get sidetracked by the featured slideshow and in this case both the feature and the response are great teaching tools to show the evolution of e-communication.

Here is featured slideshow: “Peak Email” posted by Engineerswithoutfears

Here is the response: “Squiki” posted by plambe

Doesn’t that make you want a squiki?

Oh, and if you are interested in what I and the other panelists (Michael Porter and Stephanie Gerding) on the “From Hype to Help” session had to say at PLA, a few bloggers have made nice summaries (for which I am thankful) — you can find them here and here. My slides are now posted at SlideShare under my user name JanieH.

April 4, 2008 at 9:57 am 1 comment

Detecting and Protecting your Digital Footprint: ID Theft and You–Yes, You!

Back in December, I blogged about Making–and Protecting–your Digital Footprint: Do you Care? Even a Little Bit??, noting that even though I am online quite a bit, I still consider myself one of “The Concerned and Careful” type, especially concerning personal information available about myself and my family online and take steps to proactively limit and/or keep a watchful eye of our online data. As a previous victim of identity fraud, I must say that it changes your perspectives somewhat. Anyway, according to the very interesting and earlier-mentioned Pew Internet & American Life Project’s “Digital Footprints” report from last December, one in five online adults (21%) fall into this “Concerned and Careful” category, so I know that I am not standing alone.

Well, I said in my earlier post that I would return to this topic, and I do so today because of two reasons: one, I just read my fellow Library Garden blogger and friend Amy Kearns’ funny and enlightening Facebook post yesterday about our “digital” and “real” lives colliding, and about me stalking her in Princeton (OK, she was only joking about the stalking part–no really, she was joking). I have to say that, because since showing a journalist during an interview how easy I could find info on her, she quoted me in her US1 article when I jokingly said, “Now I can stalk you.” (note that the link to my Feb. 2008 website on this topic is included, but the article accidentally hyperlinked a period at the end of the sentence, so remove the period from the URL — it should be http://www.kn.sbc.com/wired/fil/pages/liststudentpe3.html (Personal Profiles and Other Publicly Available Information: An Internet Hotlist on Detecting and Protecting Your Digital Footprint)

Second reason to return to this topic: Rider University’s Center for Business Forensics hosted a free seminar focusing on the major issues surrounding identity theft and fraud, offering to the public insight into the widespread, varying, and serious nature of identity theft. It was well attended and there were a lot of questions, especially since the expert panel consisted of detectives, a VP in banking, and professor in health information management, and my good friend–and Rider’s very own web expert, blogger, and manager of information technology–John LeMasney, who, incidentally, already placed his April Google Docs presentation online for us (another detective also joined the panel not originally listed on the website advertisement, Detective Tracy McKeown, and Investigator Bethany Schussler was unable to make it). This seminar was led by Dr. J. Drew Procaccino, Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems, who has researched identity theft, biometrics and smart card technologies and co-authored an extensive survey of smart-card technologies published by Elsevier/Academic Press in 2004 (see Drew’s directory page above).

I could tell from the many questions asked of the excellent presenters that there is a lot of misinformation out there on the different types of identity theft, the scope of people who commit this type of theft, the trends, and what we can do about better detecting and preventing this theft. Three blogs mentioned in their handout to help us keep up with the latest and greatest scams, schemes, and trends related to ID theft are:

FightIdentityTheft Bloghttp://fightidentitytheft.com/blog
Schneier On Securityhttp://schneier.com/blog
Identity Theft Blog by Trustonhttp://www.mytruston.com/blog

I would like to add three of my favorite sites (also briefly mentioned in their handout) that I regularly use and direct interested people to for great information, found on my previously mentioned workshop website along with other related information, such as notable social networking sites, personal information search engines, and other online identity and privacy info sites:

Privacy Rights Clearinghousehttp://www.privacyrights.org/
Fighting Back Against Identity Thefthttp://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/
Identity Theft Resource Centerhttp://www.idtheftcenter.org/

OK, still not sure if you should care, or if the whole thing is even worth considering? If that is true, then my guess is that you did not look at any of the blogs or sites mentioned above, yet. At least try doing this–take the ID theft test and/or the PC info safety quiz from the Identity Theft Resource Center.

If you are not happy with your scores, then, reread this post and follow the links when you have some time to do something to help yourself and others. You will be glad that you did!

Remember, just as the experts will tell you, following your digital footprint and obtaining your personal info is easy to do if you are not aware, so easy even a caveman….well, you get the picture! ;)

-Robert Lackie

Technorati Tags: digital footprint, identity theft, online content, privacy conundrum, Library Garden

April 3, 2008 at 11:09 am 3 comments

Making Good When You’ve Done Bad… A Guitar Hero Story

As great as the Guitar Hero III game is, it received some negatively publicity for the Wii version.
And deservedly so.

In a previous post I gave the game a glowing review. The controls were pretty good, I loved the addition of a pseudo-plot and the song selection was solid. The sound was always a bit off to me but, I figured that was because of my hearing loss.
Then I learned that it wasn’t just my wonky ears, Activision actually released the Wii version in mono sound. Yeah, it is kind of a cheap thing to do for any video game nowadays but not putting in minimal (and outdated) sound quality for a virtual rock and roll music game!?
Bad Activision, bad!
After enough publicity was generated, Activision started a replacement program for any Wii-GHIII owners who were feeling the sting, which I took part in. About a month ago, they sent a self addressed envelope with a very simple questionnaire and asked me to return my ‘faulty’ CD. Normally, I’d expect this type of mail-in thing to take 4-6 weeks for delivery.
Within 10 days I had a brand new and improved version of Guitar Hero III and, man, the sound was infinitely better. As a consumer I was pleased with the response time but still a little annoyed with Red Octane for trying to pull a fast one with its fanbase.
Two days later, a package arrived in the mail from Activision. I opened it and the enclosed letter read:
Dear value Activision/Red Octane Customer,
You recently received a Guitar Hero III Legends of Rock Wii replacement disc. To show our appreciation for your patience during the re-mastering and manufacturing phase of GHIII, enclosed is a complementary Guitar Hero Faceplate.”

Wow, really? My local gaming store hasn’t had a Wii faceplate in stock for a good two months. Now I don’t have to bother looking each time I go in!
Good move, Red Octane. You could’ve just given the remastered disc and left fans semi-satisfied that the company owned up to its mistake but, instead, you decided to try and win back a little support from the base by throwing in an extra gift. Sure the faceplate probably cost mere cents to make, but it costs consumers $15.
And as a result; will I remember the “The Other Red O Incident” as I’ve come to call it? Yes, but I’ll also remember the ending as well. Freebies and an extra $15 in my pocket.

April 3, 2008 at 9:26 am 1 comment

What Can Your Facebook Status Do For You?

So, if you’re a facebook user like I am you probably know about the “status updates” feature.

This is a little section on facebook where you, well, update your status. The status can be funny, sad, serious, a joke, for real, etc. You can change it as often as you want, and it shows when you last “updated your status.”

Here is an example of what my page looks like right now:


(Hopefully, Kate, Julie and K.G. won’t mind!)

However, earlier today my status was “Amy needs to buy a new digital camera!”

Which is true.

Here’s where you find out what your facebook status can do for you…

Quick story. I was in Princeton today to run a program that CJRLC held on Open Source with LibLime’s Nicole Engard. Afterward, I had the pleasure of going to lunch with some colleagues (including Janie). On our walk back to the parking garage, I was talking about how I need to go buy a new camera.

My camera died right in the middle of PLA much to my dismay (hence my desperate status update on facebook). Nicole took out her camera to show it to me because she likes it. All of a sudden I heard a great booming voice shout, “Is there an Amy Kearns here?!”

Turning around, I saw our very own ROBERT LACKIE! (Phew! I was scared there for a moment!) We all had a good laugh and then tried to piece together how he had come to be standing right there behind me!

(No, Robert isn’t a stalker.) Apparently, Robert had been walking in a group not far behind us and someone overheard the part about “need to buy a new camera,” and Robert knew my facebook status stated that. Then they heard the part about “mine died at PLA” …. and Robert knew it had to be a LIBRARIAN who needed a new camera! He connected these things together and determined that I was nearby! ;-)

[As best as I can tell, this is basically what happened. Robert, you are free to contribute to this tale!]

So, you see, your online facebook status can have an effect in the “real” world! I update my facebook status on a fairly regular basis, and I know that sometimes people do notice it and sometimes do send me a message about it, but I usually really just do it for myself in a way. It never occurred to me that someone might actually apply it to the “real” world (which, I suppose can be good or bad, but that’s another post).

This is a silly and small example that didn’t end up having any great consequences (other than the fact that I got to see Robert, have a good laugh, and have everyone see me nearly jump out of my skin upon hearing my name called out like that!)

But, you never know when something like this may happen and have bigger implications.

For example, Nicole added her own story telling us that she once gave a colleague a ride after seeing their facebook status updated as needing a ride and being nearby! Others probably have similar stories of real life encounters with facebook status updates.

I’m always interested and pleased when my “virtual” life and my “real” live overlap. Especially if it means seeing Robert! :-)

So, what will YOUR facebook status do for YOU?

April 2, 2008 at 9:04 pm

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