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Archive for June, 2007

What would be the costs, and what would be the benefits, of moving to open-source software for our public workstations?

Here I’m talking mainly about changing from Microsoft to Linux — which would also mean ditching MS Office software on computers and replacing it with OpenOffice, and ditching Internet Explorer and replacing it with Firefox, Opera, Epiphany, Konqueror, IceWeasel, or Flock (or all of them).

It wouldn’t have to mean dispensing absolutely with any closed-source products — many of them are available for Linux. And my understanding is that there are is Linux software (Wine) to allow you to run Microsoft programs if you really need.

A few years ago, Arizona State University West did this and reduced the total cost of ownership by nearly $1,000 in the first year. (Summary at www.ala.org/ala/lita/litaevents/2004forum/CS_Linux_West_Library.pdf.)

Given Microsoft’s record on security and their speed with releasing patches, could Linux machines be the way for us to go in the next few years? Heaven knows, most of us already use Firefox rather than the dread Internet Explorer…

Here’s Jessamyn West (www.librarian.net) installing Ubuntu at a small public library (May 8, 2007):

And here’s Jessamyn’s update on how the new computers are doing.

Couldn’t we do that? Maybe just have a fourth-floor pod of Linux machines?

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Indexing office.

Indexing office.,
originally uploaded by Pablo del Norte.

This is my first photo of mine with the “EERL” tag. It, with all the others, should appear in the “Learning 2.0″ set.

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Okay, “Mappr” is a clumsy app. What I want to do is zoom in on a place and see what’s been taken there, but it appears that only tag-searching will take me to anything. I just tried searching their “collections” (pre-defined tags, I guess), and it’s still supposedly loading the photos. (I chose “Architecture”.)

But that Color Fields Colr Pickr is awesome. I can’t think just yet of a learning use for it — though it might be a good design/creation tool if it were used with public-domain photos.

–Paul

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Difficult

Probably all of the 7.5 habits have their easy and difficult aspects. But one that feels absolutely foreign to me is #3: “View problems as challenges.”

When I want to make some bread, I need space on the kitchen counter. If the counter is littered with dishes that need washing and supplies that need putting away, I tend to view that as a problem. Really, what kind of pollyanna views a counter full of dishes to wash as a “challenge”? Perhaps I’m not thinking of the right kind of problem.

There are certainly problems whose solutions I’d like to understand better. When my computer offers me one kind of glitch or another that prevents me from doing what I need to, I really would like to teach myself how to fix the problem: crack open a tech-book, or search (or post to) relevant discussion boards. But do I have the time for this? Usually not. I just want the jackass computer to do what it’s supposed to do.

Well, maybe the idea isn’t totally alien to me. When I realized that the APPI had no authority control, I saw the challenge of bringing its headings toward some kind of order. But I also view that as an integral part of my job from which I shouldn’t hope to be spared.

Easy

This one’s harder. As I look at them, I see difficulty with them all. (Though they sounded easy during the slide show.) But let’s try #1: “Begin with an end in mind.”

I’m good a coming up with goals. There’s lots I want to learn, and I’m good at enumerating those things.

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