SXSW Interactive – Sunday

Guess who drank too much last night? Everyone!

It’s hangover day here at South by Southwest. The panels are slow and attendance is low.

This morning I went to a panel debating the merits of ignoring users. It matched my mood nicely.

User profiles are taking a beating this year.

Guess who was the only woman in the gaming room playing Guitar Hero and shooting bunnies with the Wii? You may call me Token.

Reverend Billy and the Church of No Shopping are here. They’re staying at our hotel, which was kind of startling when I crawled out of the elevator this morning.

I’m going to try and find someone from the Creative Commons who wants to come speak at Cornell about using the CC in scientific publications. If you know anyone, give me a holler.

NYPL Web Resources Rock my Mundo

I got my New York Public Library card in the mail today.
rosettaspan.jpgAnyone who lives in New York state is eligible for a card, so I now have access to the library’s impressive collection of online resources.

I spent the morning refreshing my Spanish at the NYPL’s Online Language Learning Center. It uses the Rosetta Stone software, which now has a place on my desert island list of media resources, along with the White Album and the entire first season of The Dog Whisperer.

If you haven’t used or seen Rosetta Stone, it is Language learning software with the remarkable ability to hack your brain and force it to actually understand and remember all of those verb conjugations you had to memorize back in college. rosettaspan3.jpgThe lessons are reinforced with audio, video, writing and images, so it imitates an immersion experience more than a typical grammar-based language course. There’s even a module that has you speak into a microphone and shows you a waveform comparing your speech with someone who doesn’t suck.

I haven’t explored the other web resources, but I’m tickled at getting access to this one. The software is in the $300 range, and Cornell doesn’t have a license, so I feel like I’ve gotten my taxes worth this year. Thanks NYPL!

We are the Men of IBM…

url.jpegOne of my student employees, Katie, is being recruited by IBM. We’re proud of her, and not a bit surprised. Our other student, Zach, is trying to decide between working at Google or Amazon. They will be lucky to have him.

One of the advantages to doing web development at a University, is that you get to work with Google-caliber people, but get to pay them student slave wages. For some reason they don’t seem to mind.

So, in honor of our super students, I’d like to direct you to these official IBM Songs that you can listen to online from their corporate archives. Enjoy, and remember: We are the men! Of IBM!

My entire family watches YouTube on Thanksgiving

So here’s what my family of first and second-generation geeks does on Thanksgiving once the stuffing has been consumed:

  • Made up names for our imaginary bands using the Metal Band Name Generator
  • Created personalized Simpson’s and South Park characters (my dad and I are below)
  • Watched a YouTube recording of the Simpson’s voice actors on Inside the Actor’s Studio
  • Hooked up our respective mp3 players and swapped music
  • Traded names of our favorite podcasts
  • Argued about digital camera features
  • thanksgivingfam.png

  • Argued about library policy
  • Updated the firmware on our laptop
  • Ate spanokopeta using a recipe off of

Surge protectors for the L33t

Good design can make anything wonderful. Even something as dreary as surge protectors. I came across these in my e-travels.

surge1.pngBelkin Clamp-On Surge Protector
I do grow so weary of crawling under my desk every day and messing up my chic outfit. No, I’m not reenacting scenes from Secretary. I work in a digital library. Gordian knots of power cables are part of my life.

But checkitout: this surge protector has a clamp on it so you can attach it to your desk, or another convenient surface. Finally, I can unplug the router with dignity.

squid.jpgThe Power Squid
is my friend. He is a squid-shaped surge protector. Instead of forcing you into unaccommodating rows, his noodely appendages absorb plugs of all shapes and sizes.

I plan on getting three of him: one for each office, and one for that damned outlet by the kitchen that only half-works, yet is so conveniently placed.

pwer.jpgThe Power Strip Liberator will save you from huge annoying black bricks that take over your power strip. Instead of letting those monsters take over three entire outlets, plug them into this doohickey and let ’em loom menacingly somewhere else.