Category Archives: Personal

Just a quick note that I am producing a CES 2015 wrap up video that has a variety of things that I haven’t talked about or linked to yet, including some of my favorite overall pieces of tech that I had a chance to see and play with at the show. However, going through ALL of the video I took is taking me some time (at a quick glance, I took something like 3 gigabytes of video while I was in Las Vegas). Which means editing it together isn’t a quick affair.

It will be out this week. But later this week. Keep watching this space.

CES Unveiled 2015

After a full day of travel, I attended the first press event for CES 2015, CES Unveiled. This is the event where the eager press gets its first shot at video and interviews with newest and shiniest tech of the year…and some of the silliest. The standout at this particular event seemed to be Belty, a (and I assure you, I am not making this up) automated smart belt. It was so popular that I couldn’t even get close.

It’s pretty easy to make fun of some of the products, whether that’s the bluetooth enabled propane tank sensor (even more frightening? There’s MORE THAN ONE OF THEM ON THE MARKET) or the $180 smart basketball.  On the other hand, there are some really interesting things as well, like the Ozobot robot platform that allows kids to learn programming thru interacting with it via the Blockly programming language. Even better, the company that makes them is working towards open sourcing the hardware to allow the enabling of even more interesting interactions.

All of those, and more cool stuff, in the video below. Thanks for watching!

CES 2015 coverage sponsored by Springshare. If your library needs a solution for desk scheduling, research guides, or room booking, check out their LibApp platform

Marriott & other hotels petition to kill non-approved wifi devices

Wifi signal around here
Marriott hotels, along with the American Hotel & Lodging Association and Ryman Hospitality Properties have petitioned the FCC to allow them to kill non-approved wifi signals within their hotels and conference centers. This is of particular interest to me, not only because I’m a Tennessee resident and Ryman is a huge presence here in TN (they own the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville, along with the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium). The main reason that this is of special interest to me is that their attempt to kill “rogue” wifi hotspots will also kill the ability to use a LibraryBox in the same manner.

If you would like to read their petition, the full text is available on the FCC’s website, along with the very long list of opposition comments. Major technology players are lining up to agree this is a terrible idea, from Google to Microsoft and even universities. For a really good summary of the filing and the issues behind it, take a look at Glenn Fleishman’s BoingBoing post.

This isn’t the first time that Marriott has tried something like this, but at least the last time they got smacked by the FCC.

Because of their continued attempts to limit persons abilities to use an unlicensed segment of public bandwidth (something that is clearly and unmistakably against the law of the US and, I would argue, firmly against the public good) I have filed an opposition filing on behalf of the LibraryBox Project. The text of my filing can be read here, and I will link to the appropriate FCC page as soon as it is approved. If you or your library, school, or other organization would like to file a comment in opposition to the attempted hijacking of a public good, you can go here and click “Submit a Filing in RM-11737“.

Photo by nicolasnova – http://flic.kr/p/4Exfo2

Revisiting my medium

I’ve decided to try and change the way I interact online, and have already made a few changes that almost certainly no one has noticed but me. The first is that while I visit and “use” Facebook, I have never actually liked it very much and do so really only because that’s where the people are. On the other hand, I really do enjoy Twitter, and am far more engaged there than I ever was or will be on Facebook. I was piping my Twitter posts into Facebook, just as a simulacrum of interaction…but I don’t think I want to do that anymore. So I’m not.

I have also gone weeks this year without blogging, and after consideration, I don’t like that very much. Why not just use Facebook to write things like this? Because I really do feel very strongly about controlling how my words are displayed, and I want to own my own voice. So I’m going to try to blog more frequently, about things that I find interesting, and share those things out to Facebook and Twitter and elsewhere…but I want to try and make my blog somewhere people can come and learn about what I’m doing and what I think is cool in the world. It used to be that, and I think I need it to be that again.

The TL;DR version is: I’m going to try and blog more, and share more accurately the things that I think are interesting or important. I will use Facebook and Twitter as other channels to talk, but if the medium really is the message, I don’t want my message to be Facebook and Twitter. I want the medium to be my own.

Caganer for Christmas

Giant Caganer

Here’s my semi-regular post around the holidays about my very, very favorite holiday tradition: the Caganer and Caga Tio. I’ve posted about this several times in the past, and it just never gets old.  Thank you, Catalonia,  for such a wonderfully strange tradition.

I love the fact that pop culture figures get reimagined by this tradition every year…just take a look at the Google Image search to see what I mean. More info also over at Time magazine.

And thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can even print your own.

Salting your WordPress keys

Did you know that WordPress provides a salt-generation engine with copy/paste ready text that you can use for your wp-config.php file to help make your WordPress installations that much safer from password cracking? If you aren’t familiar with the concept of salting cryptographic data, Wikipedia has a great entry.

The output of that URL looks like this (WARNING: Do not use these values)

define('AUTH_KEY',         'lsN32UCfT=-}ToXgR={6+OYzrV_!^qaZvQ$gQ&q?Rj#4lYpl-5r,(-k(b9^0M<C~');
define('SECURE_AUTH_KEY',  'O@$?-d^82Z1t+[V)+{ot6f./uR6nMppeI,IEB9Vbm]l^Vk6FS$04xt)lX:P!@9(G');
define('LOGGED_IN_KEY',    '&!0}EW$U5qCDo{3jFZV[!$;`t|0QN&DvO|>FC.{~V7~Yzq2HR2/wb:ZE&=TAjwK~');
define('NONCE_KEY',        '.Tx 2G+|)-@iI,74;M-2Aj+LdG@*SN|^D`|;^|0HJS`1V6FJ2`:oy2EQE|/;/vjz');
define('AUTH_SALT',        'qVK*v<Ehe_YW>#gKh>+aI9h@9&ZJB|D{is][raYOXS5,z0R3NWIT4fjWNiX3DG:5');
define('SECURE_AUTH_SALT', 't-Y;V9Wx7CK{T,_Y/{iUr[US?x_|@eZu6)O4 m{P`+n8xBkd.^9C{*$P`X|1xB!H');
define('LOGGED_IN_SALT',   ']V@Xh;|[EX81$n&Iaj>tXC5+WRW@Qk/D_BW TGzfj#I5+N3$2r96cKMXx$|[+pb*');
define('NONCE_SALT',       ':]+qOBD+h5pW4m |3,P5!mCXQ5]w~@7P>+#]gr,3NP/^8#;llu1v_l7 _fM1cnqa');

Take 5 minutes and go generate your own salts and update your wp-config.php file. It will greatly increase the security of your sites.

CES 2015 Planning

For the 6th year in a row, I will be attending CES in Las Vegas during the first week of January. For the uninitiated, CES is the largest consumer electronics trade show in the world, and where the world comes together to see what’s on tap for technology for the upcoming year. They reported that 2014 was the largest attendance yet for CES, at 160, 498 attendees…this is like a mid-sized city worth of technology to look at over the course of about 4 days.

This year, they have finally seriously outgrown the Las Vegas Convention Center, and have spread all around town to include exhibits at the Venetian and Wynn conference centers as well. I’m still planning a method of attack, but I expect that I’m going to be spending a lot of time looking at 3D printing again (the technology is changing so fast, I want to see what the newest printers can do). I’m also betting that this year is a huge explosion of connected household/Internet of Things systems, so that will be interesting to see what’s likely to be important in that area. And, of course, I’m expecting to see smartwatches hanging on every booth.

My coverage this go round is likely to be mostly video based, and my goal is going to be to get a video out every day of the show with summaries of what I’ve seen and what I think is important. I’ll be posting those videos on my YouTube channel, here on Pattern Recognition, and they are also going to be showing up over on the ALA TechSource blog. Any writing that I manage to do will be here as well, and I’ll be tweeting from the show like crazy if you want the blow-by-blow sort of take on CES. If you want to follow what I’m writing here, you can just save this search.

The biggest change in my coverage this year is in my funding model. In the past, I have done a variety of things in order to try and cover my costs for attending CES. For my first and second visit, my employer funded the trip. For the third, I was funded partially by my work writing for American Libraries and the Perpetual Beta blog. In 2013, I tried yet another method, actually crowdfunding the coverage by asking for donations and providing a central repository for all the material (video, photos, tweets, etc). For the record, that attempt went very poorly.

So for CES2015, I decided to try yet another way of covering the costs of attendance…selling ads in my reports. I approached four library vendors and gave them an opportunity to buy a variety of different ads, ranging from logo-only visuals to the reading of an ad in one of my video packages. Two of those vendors came back with a very quick “no”…one because it wasn’t the sort of thing they do, and another because I don’t think they understood what I was doing. :-)

A third vendor countered, and asked if they could simply be the only sponsor for the coverage, covering the costs of my attendance while I included some very small mentions of them in the videos that I will be producing from Las Vegas. That sounded like a fantastic idea to me, and so my CES2015 coverage is going to be sponsored by Springshare.

SpringyLogo600px

I will be mentioning Springshare and thanking them in the videos I produce, but it isn’t going to be like the Texaco Star Theater, I promise. Unless you really, really wanna see me sing and dance (protip: you do not).

I look forward to seeing what is coming in the next year in technology and reporting it out to all the librarians that I can. If you have questions, things you think I should pay special attention to, feedback from previous year’s coverage, or really anything else: please leave a comment or drop me an email. I’d love to hear from you.

Here are some blasts from CES past to whet your appetite:

CES 2010

CES 2012

CES 2013

CES 2014