Category Archives: tech
a time of growth, regrowth, renaissance, hard work, learning, growing, absorbing, etc.
this week, which feels like it started today even though it’s Sunday, is going to be a busy one.
today i was so glad that a Milwaukee-based fam-member, Freddi (3rd cousin once removed), gave me a call because she was in town for a quick visit.
our relationship is clear as mud, eh? basically her mom and my grandma — well their grandmothers Brauna and Chana were sisters. our common descendants were Mondral sisters (Brauna and Chana) whose kids (Ben SEGALL ne LOPATKA and Leo STEIN ne Szafirsztejn, among many other LOPATKA and STEINs), cousins from Radzanów, Poland, came to Milwaukee from Poland together. there is another sister, Shaindel, who are also part of the mass exodus from Radzanów, Poland to Milwaukee from abt 1885 to 1939….
basically this is my paternal mom’s branch of Segall and Stein families in Milwaukee.
i don’t usually like to post pics of myself — find the selfie fad to be fundamentally disturbing — but i loved seeing Freddi and i’m smiling like an idiot here so enjoy a rare glimpse.
Broadway Bagel has these mounds of cream cheese, sort of awesome and very New York.
reminds me of the New York chain of Strawberry stores…
so spending a couple hours catching up with Freddi sort of restarted something fundmental in me. i don’t want to say my faith in humanity is restored or anything quite so dramatic, but when i meet up with people who are so clearly mishpucha of loveliness, well it’s a magical thing for me.
it also means in addition to my other summer projects, i’m going to re-focus on the family genealogy. first priority is going to be Frank’s of course (hope he’s doing okay). but then also the Milwaukee branch, who i just love completely.
rest of week plans…
so the rest of the week will be busy.
i am finally sitting down to learn Adobe InDesign CS6. bless you Lynda.com for making tutorials that may take me forever to get through (i get distracted by shiny objects) but are comprehensive and informative.
BagIt/Bagger at METRO
i missed the in-person workshop on File fixity and checksum tools (but got the course materials that i will go over after the InDesign deal).
this Tuesday will be METRO’s BagIt/Bagger workshop. these great workshops are part of the Keeping Collections series, and are excellent. there will be an ExifTool workshop in July that i’m planning on attending.
July 16 (Tuesday) – ExifTool
also this week, in a longer, all-day format, is a MODS workshop called “Using MODS to Describe Cultural Heritage Resources.”
am a little gunshy about attending a cataloging workshop because i have such a low comfort-level with description — haven’t flexed that muscle in any significant sense since taking classes in grad school with the awesome Rick Block. so in other words, no real life experience. but i think that i need to just go and absorb and allow myself to have cataloging anxiety. i hope to surprise myself.
MODS stands for Metadata Object Description Schema and was developed at the Library of Congress. the MODS website is here.
so this week will be intensive skilling up. i need to contact temp agencies and head hunters but i would like to be able to truthfully say i have a familiarity — even if it’s at an Essentials / beginner level — with InDesign. it seems to be a mandatory requirement in addition to Microsoft Office, for word processing jobs in NYC these days. at least for jobs that pay enough for me to work 3 to 4 days a week while i job search and/or work on my passion projects and figure out my future. you know, small stuff!
music discovery of awesomeness ‘o the week!
new Mando Saenz record is out and it is WONDERFUL. produced by Mark Nevers and featuring great folks like Bobby Bare, Jr. and Kim Richey. highly recommend. so so worth it. talented singer-songwriter with a velvet smooth voice.
okay, just wanted to check in here in blog-land. going back to the salt mines of learning! yay….? oy.
ooh deliciousness! Eels has a new record streaming. will be released in the next week or so.
so i am an addict, an addict to the Google Chrome browser. i used to love Firefox, thought it was a sea change from Internet Explorer and Safari. but then along came Google Chrome with the elegant single address bar and search bar. and the theory that each tab was a separate operating instance, so having multiple tabs open at once doesn’t (theoretically) drag you down.
however, recently i’ve noticed there are significant performance issues with Google Chrome. YouTube doesn’t want to play. i today noticed i can’t get sound to play if i use Chrome. and it’s slow to load many tabs now. and locks up very often.
Safari is actually a lot faster and is definitely more stable. but i want to have the tab icons (see above).
well if i continue to have these performance issues i may have to suck it up and lose the tab icon convenience and seductive aesthetic of Google Chrome — and shift to Safari.
i am actually sometimes using Camino, a Mac-only browser i found out about on Lynda.com.
beyond that gripe
i’m still in limbo, of my own creation, of course.
have a bunch of options up in the air. LIS / Archives options that are not paying but would be soul-enriching and lovely if they work out. crossing fingers!
have started to get phone calls and emails from headhunters about Financial Presentation Specialist jobs, a job i know i can do, have loved doing over the last 15 years, but is not really where my heart and vision for the future lies.
am trying to think outside the box, really listen to my heart about things. am not in 100% panic about money thankfully, so although this is a frustrating time i have to believe that things will work out in terms of job(s), career(s), things that i feel passionate about. i am loving being in touch with people and actually spending time out and about more. i was truly under a rock when i was working all the time, second shift, and just not available or around much.
definitely suffer from flabby muscle syndrome. having motivation issues for sure.
also very stubbornly feeling like i want to stay in New York City and not relocate. unless i really love the job opportunity. i am not done with this place, a place where i feel like people understand who i am and what i am doing. a place where there is diversity and community (at least in the sense of having a common existence). i don’t know. much more later, as it goes.
…long strange trip[p]
Sometimes the lights all shining on me
Other times I can barely see
Lately it occurs to me
What a long strange trip it’s been
Truckin’, Lyrics By: Robert Hunter Music By: Jerry Garcia/Bob Weir/Phil Lesh
one of those things people don’t think or talk a lot about is surge suppression for their electronics equipment.
i found out about these Tripp Lites when i worked at Scott Rudin‘s office, first as an intern and then as an on-site office manager for his business manager, Terry Bird.
the office was undergoing extensive renovations where they were putting in high density storage. the new file room had a lot of networking / VoIP equipment. and i noticed they had these very industrial looking power strips. i had never seen anything quite like them. have to say, it was sort of like love at first sight….
these are not your grandparent’s power strips! in addition to providing reduced noise and interference, there are four fuses that will take the direct hit if there is a power surge. so freaking cool!
HEY YOU GUYS!
We’re gonna turn it on
We’re gonna bring you the power
We’re gonna light up the dark of night like the
brightest day in a whole new way
We’re gonna turn it on
We’re gonna bring you the power
It’s coming down the lines, strong as they can be through the courtesy of The Electric Company
The Electric Company
The Electric Company!
god i miss the 1970s. so many cool things about the pop culture then…
a friend of mine lives in a very large pre-war building near 79th and Broadway. his whole building had a massive electric surge and it fried a large number of tenant’s electronics, including his computer.
i had been singing the praises of the Tripp Lite ISOBARs so he got one for his computer, answering machine, printer, router, etc. the surges happened again but this time the Tripp Lite took the hit and his electronics were protected.
West End Avenue Houses
the image below is from around 1910. none of the stoops remain, sadly. the brownstones are in the Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival styles.
the point is my building is freaking OLD. and it is a wood structure. i worry a lot about the wiring, even though my apartment was renovated when i moved in (over 20 years — gulp! — ago).
so i have Tripp Lites everywhere and plug all of my electronics into these surge suppressors. it really gives me peace of mind that things in my apartment at least are covered.
if you can afford it, i recommend looking into these Tripp Lite ISOBARs.i love these old Sanborn Maps. this is my neighborhood, a view from 1912.
happy holidays to all
for those of you who know me, while i continue to move furniture around — redid my desk setup last night (much better now!) — please brace yourselves. after dithering around this morning i undertook the shocking: cleaned my oven.
it isn’t perfect but it is a sea change for sure. and a time of discovery. who knew you could pull out the bottom part of gas ovens and clean the gunk that falls off in one fell swoop? color me surprised. and very happy. with a sort of shiny newly more hygienic oven. oy.
where to begin
so i completed two courses over at Lynda.com so far:
i found James Williamson’s Web Design Fundamentals course to be the most helpful and encouraging. i know how to do most of the stuff on the Hosted Web Site course — the course became a study in clicking on things in the cPanel, so not helpful.
but i am glad i have done both courses. baby steps at this point but i’m flexing the muscle and getting organized.
next steps are where the problems begin: which is probably why i cleaned my oven versus beginning a new course.
i think i am going to back the bus all the way back and restart a course i partially completed on Unix for Mac OS X Users.
then the hardcore stuff begins.
then i’m not sure. more HTML?
i still need to learn:
- and at least have a familiarization with MySQL and PHP
not to mention tutorials for:
- my website – rehaul / update / content
- update TNG (genealogy template)
- host own blog
- frank’s website
- JYY’s website
i also want to get more comfortable with command line computing / Unix, as it seems to be mission critical to everything cool and muscular online.
i have 100 courses in my queue at Lynda.com. so i won’t run out of that resource — or the many other tutorials, etc. online. i have some books i bought during grad school but they are in storage until March 2013 at minimum so for now it’s muddle through with the resources i have, which are plenty.
it would be logical to assume i had a computer / technical segment of training during grad school. while it is true that i actually took most of the computer / technical courses that were offered at Palmer, due to the nature of the school — which was both a plus and a minus — the computer classes were not required. and i do not feel equipped or qualified to claim much official knowledge from the computer courses that i did take.
Palmer is one of two library schools in Manhattan, and the students are mostly made up of people who are working full time like i was, and are either getting the “union card” credential of the degree to further an existing career or are career shifters such as myself. people are busy, school is expensive, and there are no official requirements for computer classes as part of the curriculum. which is i think is shameful but makes sense within the confines of what the school offers.
i loved my time at Palmer dearly, was impressed by both the professors and my fellow students. but the cost of this type of curriculum is that i feel very unprepared from the computer / technical side. i don’t know this for sure but i suspect that the University of Michigan and Syracuse and Austin all have more stringent technical requirements of their students.
looking back at my decision to go to grad school for Library Science, i don’t think i would change my choice of Palmer. however, i would have gone through much slower to do more internships and spend time working on projects to advance my skillsets. this was, of course, advice everyone counseled me to follow, but which i recklessly did not heed. dumb me.
so i am going to do what most smart tech folks i know did: i am going to teach myself the best i can and figure this stuff out. i am a very computer-literate person — it’s in my family genes (brother is a programmer, sister worked at Oracle / works at IBM, etc.). but i am undisciplined in the coding arena. and am very anxious and intimidated by the whole thing. i am not sure if i will even enjoy learning or knowing coding, but i have to try and see.
my computer literacy and expertise is in the arena of the end-user, specifically focused on Microsoft Office. i am proud of these skills but i am not quite sure how to monetize and translate them in this journey. so that is what this is all about….
my favorite, ahem, Manhattan, Project…
man alive, i love Christopher Collett. he was so great in this movie. plus it’s a movie that still gives me chills.
there are a bunch of great tools* that i have been using on my computer and on my website for a while now. i wanted to talk about them a little bit.
i am laying out the tools i use so that i can get more organized. also, maybe if someone stumbles upon this blog the tools might save other folks time and effort in finding workable solutions.
*most are Mac friendly, as i use my MacBook Pro for most fun stuff (i.e., the web) — and my PC laptop for Office-based, less fun stuff (i.e., word processing, budgeting).
genealogy template software
i think i heard about my genealogy template during the Salt Lake City JewishGen convention in 2007, but it seems like i have been using the template longer.
yep, actually signed up for the template in June of 2006, a year beforehand. so i must have heard about the template when i first started to get interested in the family tree — and realized i wanted to make it digitally accessible. i have been using this template for 6 years now.
TNG is inexpensive ($32.99) — so truly reasonable for how great it is. and the man who created it, Darrin Lythgoe, is super patient and responds when there are problems. there is a TNG forum but when i have had major problems (i sometimes break things — the whole a little bit of knowledge can be dangerous thing) Darrin has been great via email.
i have looked at other online solutions for genealogy and nothing has come close. if you want your genealogy online this is the way to go.
TNG is graphically sophisticated, you can control access — which is very important — and the database is super quick because it is set up using PHP and MySQL. plus there are options to use Google Map APIs to show location information.
there is a very easy-to-use Admin area. again, highly recommend.
my setup is completely behind a password-protected wall. family members have a user name and password. i have multiple trees in there (my family, Franks, and other adopted trees). the website is accessible via my main website page or via http://schmattaluv.com/genealogy/.
when i decided to set up the TNG genealogy template online i went with one of the websites Darrin recommends, SimplyHosting.
SimplyHosting is also very reasonably priced (around $5/month). and they have always responded quickly when i have had questions or problems.
they also now offer to do an installation of the TNG software onto your website for you. gone are the white-knuckle days of doing it yourself.
i actually need to upgrade to the latest version of the template software. thankfully it’s a very organized process, the way Darrin sets up the upgrades, but it’s still advanced computing, as far as i am concerned.
the interface that is on the back end of the website is cPanel. which is pretty easy to use. this is where you set up some of the more technical things for your website.
i use CyberDuck for ftp because it’s free and awesome and easy to use. i have donated — which if you use the software a lot i think is a good idea. besides how great it is, i love the yellow rubber duckie icon. i find it a cheerful presence on my dock. thanks to my cousin Alyssa for telling me about this software!
Espresso is a Mac only program that makes it really easy to do HTML updates to your website.
the above colorful ribbons is a screenshot of their website, which i find cheery and inspiring. the software now costs $75 — which is a lot more than i paid for it originally, but for the ease of use i recommend it highly.
this video is a bit rough but it gives you an overview.
and here’s another one, but of an older version of the software. still worth skimming.
i originally got Espresso as part of a MacHeist bundle. just really stumbled upon it. and the price of the whole bundle (~$30, at least a few years ago) was very inexpensive so i think Espresso was a real find. but $75 to make your life easier is a still worth it.
MacRabbit, the company behind Espresso, also has a Photoshop plugin called Slicy ($29) which looks pretty cool. MacRabbit won me over with Espresso so i’m always checking to see what they have going. i may just be won over by their logo, website, and how intuitive the software is to use. YMMV.
this video shows what Slicy can do.
BBEdit is an HTML editor program.
TextWrangler is an HTML and text editor program.
i have been a fan and subscriber of Lynda.com for a while now, but i was glad to see this, that if money gets tight and i decide to let my subscription lapse, this month-long option is available.
there are two sections that i am going to definitely focus on. so glad i stumbled upon these — had previously assumed only technical skill-building was available. this is great!
includes tutorials on: Time Management Strategies, Acing Your Interview, Negotiating Your Salary
includes tutorials on: Job Search Strategies, Managing Your Career, Creating an Effective Resume
there are quite a few technical resources online. these are free.
- W3C‘s Web Education Group wiki (affiliated with W3C)
- W3Schools (not affiliated with W3C)
- Khan Academy
- CS50 at Harvard
so while i’m applying for all of these jobs and trying to finish moving furniture around…
…i’m trying to get organized.
it’s sort of working. baby steps at this point, sometime literally. but slow and steady, progress….
have been pretty frustrated with Apple’s address book and all of the different email addresses and contacts there are to keep track of. i need the information to be on my iPhone, and it needs to sync between all of the different sources.
pleased as punch to have found Cobook.
TechCrunch had a great article that sold me on the desktop app instantly. the headline says it all: “Cobook, A Slick Address Book App That Doesn’t Upload Your Data.”
what i like most
- the privacy thing is awesome — files are not stored with Cobook, everything is stored locally
- it’s deceptively simple
- it works!
- it looks great
- incidental plus — duplicates begone! finding a great solution like this forced me get over myself and take the initiative to delete all duplicates on my email accounts. a blessed thing i was hoping i wouldn’t have to do manually
on the duplication issue: Yahoo! has a delete duplicates function. the gmail solution is more of a merge thing, but it was fine too.
i am trying to approach all of this data mining from a more librarian / archivist perspective — like with EAD, go top down and set up the system. don’t have to be super granular in the approach, as it takes too much T&E (Time & Expense).
it’s almost magical how smart that approach can be!
back to Cobook, i like the desktop version graphically a lot better. the iPhone app is a little too much like the Apple Contacts. the interface makes sense though, so…. but the Cobook desktop app hides in your toolbar up top, and when you click on the phone number it’s these huge white numbers that even someone old like me can read from far away. LOVE this.
this was all discovered before the awesome news this week: Cobook came out with an iPhone App this week!
for all you non-Mac folks, an Android version should be coming out soon.
here’s a video about both the desktop and the iPhone apps.
Cobook – Desktop app
Cobook – iPhone app
i’m a huge fan of these guys at Cobook. this will make my life exponentially easier. yay!