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Friday Fun: Can Saturday Night Live Predict Future Technology

Back in 2001 when the iPhone was just a glimmer in Steve Jobs’ eye, Saturday Night Live did three skits based on an ultra hip and pretentious store called Jeffrey’s.  The skit centered around two snooty store employees dressed in black making fun of customers as they wanted to buy clothes.  In the end, the store manager, Will Ferrell would come out in some outlandish outfit on a mobilty scooter.  Soon after Will enters the scene a phone ring would ring and he would fish out an incredibly tiny (postage stamp size) cell phone and talk about some “important” event happening.  They would all rush out of the store with their designer man bags to event.  There were three sketches in all and in the second one the cell phone was smaller than the first, requiring Will to don special magnifying glasses and use a toothpick to type.  However, the last sketch the tiny cell phone is absent.  The phone rings and Will pulls out a giant brick phone (circa 1983) and talks on it.  The ultra hip employees are stunned until Will pronounces, “Big is the new small,” then they dash off again.    

Two of the three videos can be found online, unfortunately I could not, for the life of me, find the final sketch with the brick phone, but I did find its transcript.

As I mentioned these skits were written and produced in 2001, well before the iPhone.  Most of the cell phones looked like this and the ability to take pictures with them was new and a big deal.  It wouldn’t be much of a jump though to say phones would be getting smaller and smaller, but to say that they would be getting bigger well that is just for laughs in comedy sketches right?

That is what I thought until I read the article, When Phones Are Too Big For Pockets, on CNNTech.  The article describes how some new cell phones are now too big to fit in a jeans pocket.  I read the article and this quote just jumped out at me:

As mobile phone technology improved, “there definitely was a trend for smaller and there definitely was a trend for thinner,” said Ramon Llamas, a senior research analyst who covers mobile technology for IDC. “But I think we’re seeing the pendulum swinging back in favor of larger phones.”

Immediately I heard Will Ferrell’s voice in my head stating, “Big is the new small,” and for fun I typed the terms Will Ferrell and cell phone into Google. I had hoped to just watch that specific Jeffrey’s skit for a quick laugh and then get on with my day.  But low and behold I found another article, “How Will Ferrell Predicted the Diorphone.” 

It looks like I am not the only one wondering if the writers at SNL have a crystal ball.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - September 3, 2010 at 3:03 pm

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Transition from Print to Electronic: Ebooks on the Same Path as EJournals

Yesterday I posted about ebooks and what some of the librarians attending the Springer LibraryZone Virtual eBook webinar discussed.  Today I saw a post on liblicense from Scott Plutchak comparing the transition and the situation to what librarians experienced when journals transitioned from print to electronic. 

Interesting.  I have to admit that just never occurred to me.  But Scott brought up some excellent points saying just like now with ebooks, librarians were very frustrated and up in arms when journals started becoming much more electronic.  Just think, the official version of BMJ isn’t the print any more, it is the online journal.  PubMed citations for BMJ journals no longer include page numbers, just the doi.  Did anybody see that coming when ejournals started going big? 

I wouldn’t say our experiences with ejournals are all rosy now, nor do I think Scott would say that.  But they certainly were a lot bumpier back then.  (“Back then”…. it almost sounds like I am talking about the days before automobiles and talkie films.)  Basically we are farther along in the online process with ejournals than we are with ebooks.  In a few years perhaps much of the issues and confusion over content, ILL, access, etc. will have been worked out a little bit. 

It is an interesting thought, and I am wondering what other librarians might think about the comparison of print journals to ejournals and print books to ebooks.

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1 comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - September 2, 2010 at 4:07 pm

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Finding Past Tweets

Twitter is a nice conversation tool for quickly asking questions among friends/colleagues, sharing quick bits of information and news stories, and is also especially popular among conference goers.  But what happens when you want to refer back to an old tweet?  Is it easy to find?  Well if the person used a hashtag (a hashtag is a word with the number sign in front of it, like #mla) then you can search specifically for that hashtag.  But that can be complicated after a while because tweets seem to fall off the face of the Twittersphere after a few weeks.  Not all search engines are created equal especially when it comes to finding tweets.  Forget about regular Google that doesn’t work.

David Lee King compiled a list of Twitter specific search engines that can find old tweets.  He was looking for old tweets regarding a question on how people get permission to use things.  His search engine list is organized on how well they performed.  He discovered Topsy, twazzup, and crowdeye found most recent tweet plus others, while many other Twitter search engines (including Twitter itself) found only the most recent tweet or nothing at all.

David’s list is helpful for those finding old tweets.  But while I was researching how to find old tweets, I thought, “You know Google has to have gotten into this mess.  After all the dispaly tweets for ‘real time’ searching.”  Sure enough Google has a Twitter search, but it is in development and it is hidden. 

Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land wrote, All The Old Tweets Are Found: Google Launches Twitter Archive Search describing Google’s Twitter archive service.  According to the article it currently works for tweets posted from Feb 2010-Present, but “soon it will be available for all tweets from March 2006, when Twitter was first launched.”

It is a fairly robust search.  You can search via hashtag or you can search for multiple keywords or phrase.  Search Engine Land also mentions a lot of other ways Google Twitter search can be used for data analysis.  Because it is in experiment mode, I haven’t found a very good way of getting to Google Twitter search other than through this link Search Engine Land provides (which is a search for Obama on Twitter).  But if you can change the search term and get results.  Now if you go to the link you will see highlighted in yellow that “The experiment you’re trying to access is no longer available. Go to experiments overview.”  I am not quite sure what that exactly means, because when I search #medlib I get results as recent as August 16, 2010.  So it appears to be working and it works MUCH better than this Google Custom Twitter Search which is what you will find if you type Google Twitter search in the Google search box.  If you use the Custom Twitter Search with the term #medlib you get the Twitter conversations mixed in with other things mentioning medlibs.

So if you are looking for old tweets I would use either experimental Google Twitter search (but it might not be really current) or I would use David’s three he recommends.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - August 24, 2010 at 5:12 pm

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Friday Fun: Librarians in the Movies

For those librarians dealing with this really hot summer, what better way to beat the heat than to watch a movie this weekend.  Yeah you could go see Eat Pray Love, but why not rent a movie and stay at home (crank the a/c).  You don’t have to pay extra for your favorite foods, nobody (but you or your significant other) will be talking during the movie, and if you have to go to the bathroom you can hit pause.

If that is up your alley for fun this weekend then have I got a list for you.  The Huffington Postcreated a list of 11 films that “give librarians the center stage.”  There is something for everyone; the sarcastic GenX librarian in Party Girl, adventure themed movies like National Treasure and The Mummy, thrillers like Foul Play and Peeping Tom, and classics like the Desk Set.

Have a good weekend

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3 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - August 20, 2010 at 4:17 pm

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PubMed Health

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) is developing a new site called PubMed Health.  According to MidContinental Region News, “PubMedHealth will focus on consumer-level, evidence-based health information.”  PubMed Health is under development at the National Library of Medicine’s National Center for Biotechnology  Information and  is being introduced in phases, starting with consumer drug information provided by the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.  According to the Sheridan Libraries blog post, ”The drug information will be integrated with several other NCBI databases, ultimately providing a linked resource for finding information about diseases and conditions, treatments, and other related data.”

I know what you are thinking, “What does this mean for MedlinePlus?”  Personally, I have no clue.  But according to the MidContinental Region News, “PubMed Health does not replace MedlinePlus (http://medlineplus.gov/), NLM’s premier health Web site for patients and their families and friends. ”

Ok so MedlinePlus isn’t going away, that still doesn’t answer a lot of other questions, like how will PubMed Health integrate with other NCBI resources?  I have been looking for more information on PubMed Health but there just isn’t a lot out there on it.  Apparently, an NLM Technical Bulletin article about PubMed Health will be published once the site is ready to be launched.  (I think it would be nice if they were a little more proactive and write something up sooner rather than when the site is ready for launch because a quick search on some drugs in Google is already yielding some PubMed Health results, like progesterone, amlodipine, and methadone.)

I just worry about possible confusion with this new resource.  If it is for consumers then calling it something very similar to an already established consumer database is going to be confusing IMHO.  I will post more about PubMed Health when I learn more and if anybody has any information on it that they would like to share, please comment.

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2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - August 19, 2010 at 3:50 pm

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Friday Fun: Netflix Classification System

Take The Onion and the Chronicle of Higher Education and mash them up and you get CronkNews.  Once you understand that, it isn’t surprising then to see the article, Librarians Abandon Dewey Decimal System in Favor of Netflix Categories.  It makes for a quick fun read just before the weekend. 

It also gets me thinking how the Netflix Category Classification System would work in the medical libraries. ;)

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2 comments - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - August 13, 2010 at 1:51 pm

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Premium Version of Epocrates Free to Med Students

According to a poston iMedicalApps, the premium version of Epocrates is free for medical students if they download it BEFORE August 31, 2010.  There are some caveats to it, students must have an iPhone, iPod Touch, Windows Mobile, or Blackberry.  And to those who are using Androids or PalmPre’s, “No soup for you!” You are out of luck because there isn’t a premium version available to those phones. 

The premium version of Epocrates is normally $159.  Medical students must register by creating an Epocrates account and then selecting the medical school.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - August 12, 2010 at 3:50 pm

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WISER Available on the Blackberry

Whether it is due to persoan choices or institutional restrictions, there is a large group of physicians who use a Blackberry.  Unfortunately there is not a lot of medical software for the Blackberry. 

The National Library of Medicine just released WISER (Wireless Information System for Emergency Responders) for the Blackberry.  WISER for BlackBerry can be downloaded from the WISER Web site and includes “quick online access to WISER’s full database of chemical, biological and radiological substances” as well as “easy access to WISER help identify capability and full suite of tools.”

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - August 10, 2010 at 1:49 pm

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Following Facebook

Millions of teenagers and I have something in common.  My mother is on Facebook.  I never thought the day would come, and quite frankly I never pushed her because I didn’t think she would be interested.  But my mom joined.  For her it is all one sided.  She is a lurker, she doesn’t say that specifically but she told me she just really joined so she could follow my siblings and I and our cousins in our day to day musings and family photos. 

Facebook is becoming more pervasive and more and more people are joining.  MLA now has an official MLA Facebook pageand a lot of hospitals are using Facebook to do outreach.  If you haven’t noticed it, local news channels are using Facebook as well as other established companies.  On a personal note I have noticed more people finding me on Facebook too….. including my mom.

So I have begun to separate my librarian life from my personal life on Facebook just a little bit more.  Just like email, I now have a professional account and a personal account.  In the following weeks I will be doing more of my professional librarian type stuff on my Facebook Fan Page http://www.facebook.com/KraftyLibrarian. I will also begin to weed my personal page.  I know Scott Plutchak has mentioned a few times that he doesn’t really consider himself to be segmented into a personal life and work life, that they all are a part of his life and make up who he is.  I agree with that, my kids, my husband, my hobbies as well as librarianship all go into making me who I am.  However, I find that for my sanity, it is easier for me to have two somewhat different social networking lives/personas.  My family and close friends (non librarians) are not as interested in PubMed, MeSH, the user experience, NLM, and MLA as I am.  Likewise I am sure there are many librarians who I am friends with who are way more interested in the librarianship stuff rather than my family trip to St. Louis, my kids’ fascination with Guitar Hero songs, and what SciFi movie I just saw.  I kind of look at Facebook as simplified telephone, I am not going to talk about the finer points of searching MEDLINE using both Ovid and PubMed with my brother.  Likewise I am not going to talk about how the 104 degree heat plus a well place pebble on the highway required me to replace the windshield on my brand new car.  That is not to say there won’t be any cross over.  Au contraire, just like Scott said, all these pieces are who I am, and they lend a bit of flavor to the story or message I am trying to convey.  However, the primary topic on those sites will be more specific.

So I want to let everybody know that in the next few weeks my personal Facebook site will no longer be sending out library related news and it will be more personal in nature.  Fair warning I will also be “un-friending” some people.  It is nothing personal, if I do it to you it is just because I thought you were more interested in library stuff rather than how much cooler and bigger the Magic House in St. Louis has gotten since I was a kid.  If you want to still remain on my personal site, drop me a note.  If you would rather follow me professionally, don’t forget to go to my fan page and become a Fan.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - August 9, 2010 at 5:18 pm

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Blogging Vacation

I will be taking a vacation from blogging and all other online things. I will be back with the wired world next Monday.

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Be the first to comment - What do you think?  Posted by KraftyLibrarian - August 1, 2010 at 11:02 pm

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