Category Archives: Personal

LibraryBox

What is LibraryBox? It’s my newest hack, a hardware and software project that takes the “pirate” out of PirateBox to produce a tiny, battery-powered, linux-based, anonymous file server capable of serving arbitrary types of digital files to anyone with a wifi-enabled device.

But, you may ask, what is it for? It’s for any situation where you need to distribue digital files but don’t have or don’t want Internet access. LibraryBox is based on a fork of the PirateBox project, using the TP-Link MR-3020 router, an 802.11n router that is capable of running on a USB 5 volt power source. This means that for about $40 and some time, you can have a file server that fits in your pocket. I loaded my demo unit with the top 100 Public Domain ebooks from Feedbooks and Project Gutenberg, and hooked it up to an iPad battery pack that will run it for 16 hours.

This means I can be a walking digital library, giving people access to eBooks anywhere I happen to have the LibraryBox. These could be used in a million different ways, from bringing eBooks, Audio, even movies to areas with digital devices but without Internet access to just being a personal file server for conference slides or other resources.

More information, including pictures and such, are all up on the LibraryBox website. The code is all licensed under the GPL and is available on Github. Several people have looked at the project, and I’m hoping that others will see the value and help me make it better. There’s lots of improvements possible, and I (and hopefully many others) will be working on making the process easier and better for users.

Because without impermanence

Emptiness is impermanence, it is change.
We should not complain about impermanence,
because without impermanence, nothing is possible.

I am not a spiritual person. I do not believe in a God, or a spirit, or an afterlife. But I can see the beauty and truth in the above Buddhist quote, and I feel its weight. It is incredible to me how emotional I have been tonight after learning about the death of Steve Jobs. It is fortunate for the 21st century that we had Steve as long as we did, but I will not complain about impermanence. It is what allows the future to happen.

Thanks for showing us your vision of the future, Steve. I look forward to seeing what is possible next.

The Future is Already Here

Yesterday I had the pleasure of presenting to the librarians at Western Kentucky University during their 2011 kickoff event. When discussing a topic with the Dean, I was told that they were interested in the future of the academic library, technology, and how to manage the changes that are coming. That’s definitely in the sweet spot of my library interests, so I gave it a shot. Below you’ll find a slideshow with accompanying audio of my presentation, along with the Q/A session at the end. The whole thing is about 1.5 hours, but my presentation is just the first hour or so. I’d love to hear what you think, especially if you disagree with any of my points.

Keynote about the future of libraries, change management, and technology over the next 5 years given to Western Kentucky University Libraries, August 24, 2011 by Jason Griffey

More on the Family Fang

I know I just blogged about this a few days ago, but there’s been more amazing responses to Kevin’s book that I thought I needed to follow up. There was this really great review from NPR, during Fresh Air on Aug 8th that is about 6.5 minutes of praise about the book. And then there is, most strange to me, a biographical piece in the New York Times that talks about Kevin’s family and life in Sewanee. It’s not strange because it’s untrue, or because it’s hyperbolic, but just because it’s strange seeing the people I hang out with in the NYT. This is especially true of Griff, one of Eliza’s best friends…from the article:

The family lives outside Sewanee on the edge of a one-acre pond in a thicket of woods teeming with rabbits, bats and deer. Inside the house signs of Griff, 3, were everywhere: a basket of toys near the wood-burning fireplace, a child-size canvas swing from Ikea hanging from the ceiling and a remote-controlled train set taking up most of Ms. Couch’s office upstairs, where she writes her poetry on a drafting desk in the corner.

I’m thrilled to see Kevin getting such attention…he and his family are amazing, awesome people. I hope that The Family Fang is a massive hit, and that they find the success they deserve. As I said in my last post, if you haven’t bought it, go buy it. It’s an awesome read, and hopefully one of the year’s bestsellers.

And if you are in any of the cities where Kevin is speaking/reading on his book tour (going on NOW…he’s speaking in an hour or so in Birmingham, AL) you should definitely go and see him read.

Literally while I was writing this, my wife texted me to tell me that she was taking Eliza to the playground to meet up with Leigh Anne and Griff. Hilarious!

The Family Fang

One of my best friends, and the father of one of Eliza’s best friends (and maybe Eliza’s favorite person who isn’t Mom or Dad)  is an incredible, wonderful writer. His name is Kevin Wilson, and his first novel, The Family Fang, is coming out August 9th. I mention this because today the book got an outstanding review in the New York Times.

Mr. Wilson explores the damage inflicted on children raised in an atmosphere that is intentionally confusing. They have been told that their parents do important things; they have been told that their own feelings do not matter. They have learned the hard way that either of them might be betrayed in an instant by parents who bring a lofty, arty, guilt-free approach to everything they do. So as “The Family Fang” begins, Mr. Wilson shows just how badly the adult Annie and Buster have been damaged by Fang ideas of fun. He also makes it clear that the senior Fangs can be amusing. And then, all of a sudden, they are not.

His previous book of short stories, Tunneling to the Center of the Earth, won an Alex award from YALSA in 2010, and should be a part of any library collection by now. If you haven’t picked it up, do so…it’s an incredibly good book.

The Family Fang is something else entirely. It’s a book that stands up to anything on the shelves, a brilliant first novel. I’m in awe of Kevin when it comes to his skill with words, his imagination, and can’t wait for this thing to be a huge hit so that everyone can see how talented he is. And it’s not just that I know the guy…he’s getting reviews from all over:

So: Go buy it now. Seriously. Buy a copy for yourself, and put it on the purchase list for your library. It’s going to be huge.

 

Writing, ownership, and blogging

I don’t remember the last time that I went an entire month without writing something here. It’s becoming increasingly clear to me that my blogging here at Pattern Recognition has suffered as a results of many things. Some of those reasons are simple;: I’ve got other platforms that I’m using now, including other social networks (Twitter, Google+, Friendfeed, Tumblr) and other blogs (ALA Techsource and American Libraries’ Perpetual Beta). I use some of these because they are easy, some because I like the conversations/community, and some because they pay me.

What I don’t like is that my writing, thoughts, interests…the comprehensive set of my online self, really…are distributed and scattered. I was ok with it for a long time, and I’m becoming very much not ok with it anymore. In the past, I’ve dabbled with pulling things from those other networks back here, but that doesn’t actually bring any of the reasons I use them here….it just brings the content. Which isn’t always what it’s about.

When I started writing here at PatRec back in 2003, none of those other networks even existed. It’s possible that if I were to start writing online these days, I wouldn’t even think of hosting my own blog, and one of the possibilities is that it’s time to let PatRec die a natural death. It may be that a distributed presence is the future of personhood on the ‘net….except I don’t think that’s true. I believe strongly, more than ever, that it’s important to own and control your own words, both in presentation and in regards to copyright/legal control. So I’m confronted with this tension: I like the tools that I don’t own, but I want to own the stuff I make with those tools.

I’ve been thinking a LOT about this. And I’m going to start experimenting with some ways to change things, starting with a post that I’m working on now about iCloud and Lion and the future of the filesystem. I would love to start a conversation about this, and see how others are dealing with this tension. Because I think I’m going to start reeling things in, reducing my contributions to other channels, and try to re-center my online presence.

Goin’ down to New Orleans

I leave today for ALA Annual 2011 conference in New Orleans. My schedule is a hot mess…I would normally throw it here on the blog, but it really wouldn’t do anyone any good. I’m triple-booked for most of the weekend, so I’m not even sure I’ll know where I am most times. The only guarantees are that I’ll be at LITA Happy Hour, the LITA Board meetings, and defending my crown at Battledecks.

However, if you’re there, come say hello! I’m looking forward to seeing friends and learning things. Not so much looking forward to hours of meetings, but that’s the price you pay for trying to fix things. :-)

Hope to see you in NOLA! Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Come work with me!

We have two tenure-track librarian positions now open at the UTC Library, and YOU (yes, you!) should apply. We’ve taken a new direction with our Serials and Electronic Resources positions, and are looking for two excited, knowledgeable, and dynamic librarians to help move us into the digital future.

UTC Library is a phenomenal place to work, but it’s not for the meek. We move fast, change fast, and get stuff done. We’ve got crazy smart and active people like Colleen Harris, Virginia Cairns, Caitlin Shanley, Lane Wilkinson, Bo Baker, our awesome Dean Theresa Liedtka, and more. I’ve never been in a library so many incredibly smart and energetic people. Do you want to join us? Apply!

Electronic Resources and Serials Librarian
The Electronic Resources and Serials Librarian ensures optimal and accurate access to subscription resources in all formats, including databases, electronic journals and books, print journals and other continuations.

Digital Integration Librarian
The Digital Integration Librarian implements public facing digital tools and services, such as link resolvers, that connect electronic and other library resources for patrons.

View a chart comparing requirements and qualifications for each position
View the library’s organization chart

A review of applications will begin on July 5, 2011 and will continue until the positions are filled. Interested applicants should submit 1) a letter of interest, 2) a current CV, and 3) the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and e-mail addresses of three references including the professional relationship of each reference to facultyvitae@utc.edu.